On Sunday we looked at the story of Daniel and the Lion’s den. We really dove into it, past the simple highlight, and into the world of power and politics. The story of Daniel is set in the world of power, politics, governments, and kingdoms. And at the heart of the story is one simple but compelling question: where does your allegiance lie?
That’s the question we explored on Sunday. Does you allegiance lie with God above, or those around you? Do you follow our heavenly king, or earthly rulers? Who gets the final say in your life – God or yourself?
What we saw was how one man changed an entire nation. While it might sound extreme to say that but that is exactly what Daniel did. Worship of God was outlawed and Daniel had to choose where to place his allegiance. And rather than placing his allegiance with the powers around him, he placed it in the power of God above him and he changed his world.
Daniel was saved from the lion’s den, and the law outlawing the worship of God was overruled and turned into a farce. Through Daniel’s courageous act to challenge the powers that be, he brought about change.
This is our calling as well as Christians, as it has always been. We are called to follow God’s voice and his commands to stand up for justice, the orphan, widow, and foreigner. Our gospel is a political gospel in that it calls us to stand up to the kingdoms and rulers of this world seeking to follow God’s calling of loving him and loving others. Stanley Hauerwas once wrote:
Jesus’ death was a political death. If you ask one of the crucial theological questions – why was Jesus killed? – the answer isn’t “Because God want us to love one another.” Why would anyone kill Jesus for that? That’s stupid. It’s not even interesting. Why did Jesus get killed? Because he challenged the powers that be.
I think that is true. Our calling is to be like Jesus calling into question the powers that oppress and marginalize.
So we wrapped it up by asking one simple question: where does your allegiance lie? And as we explored it we asked people that when this week’s decisions arise between following Jesus and following the rules of this world, that we choose Christ. This is how we change the world. Doing this means sometimes you get thrown into a den of lions, sometimes you get thrown into a furnace, and sometimes you get nailed to a cross. But what does happen every time we are faithful to God, we see God’s Kingdom come, we see the Spirit move, and we see the world changed one small bit at a time. And that’s what following Jesus is about, following Jesus one step at a time.
Big Idea: Who has your allegiance?
- This world is running contrary to God’s Kingdom
- How do you change a world that is going in the wrong direction?
- The Gospel is a political reality and a political statement
- His Kingdom is not based on killing, lying, or coercive power. His Kingdom is based on sacrifice, life, and truth.
- Key choices set the direction of your life
- It’s not the knowing that’s hard, It’s the doing that’s hard
- The longer you wait to make the right decision, the harder it is to make the right decision
- This story is about allegiance
- I may not face life and death decisions everyday, but I do face decisions to bring life or day into my life everyday
- We need to suffer the consequences of following God
Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What did you take away? What was new? Where is your allegiance? Is it to God or things of this world? What made you most uncomfortable when we were talking? What grabbed your attention or your heart? How is God asking you to live our allegiance to him in this world this week?
Discussion Questions for Young Families Talk with your kids about the things of this world that aren’t from God (Hunger, war, violence, disease). Talk to them about how as Christians we are called to stand up and change those things. Ask them which things they want to change and then find a way to do it (i.e. sponsor a child, build a well, go to a homeless shelter etc)
Challenge for this Week Give God you Allegiance