August 30, 1998

Christian Liberty

Daniel 1:8

Observe: The clear and obvious theme of Daniel is that God's providence controls and he sovereignly rules all kingdoms of men at all times. He does only his good pleasure in and with them, and they do only what is pleasing to him. What a blessed assurance for his church for all times.

Daniel 1:8-16

V. 8, though Daniel was forced to be here at a young age, probably 12, he still had his convictions. He had been taught very well by his parents. Daniel was schooled in Judah during the time of Jehoiakim, a very wicked ruler. So corruption in civil leadership is no excuse for corruption in individuals.

V. 9, Daniel purposed, and God's providence worked it out. It was Daniel's relationship with the Lord that made his decision for him. Daniel first separated himself to the Lord, then separated himself from the world--true separation.

V. 12, pulse and water. Pulse referred to any vegetable grown from seeds. All kinds of roots, herbs, fruits, &c. (Gen. 1:29.) This was a trial of Daniel's faith.

Daniel closely resembles what took place with Moses -- Though there certainly was nothing wrong with riches, Moses refused to the riches of Egypt for the higher calling in Christ. Daniel and his friends refused the riches of Babylon for the higher calling in Christ. Too bad this is such a hard choice today. Very few today can make this choice.

V. 8, king's meat

Meaning that within this space he might have the test, and that no man would be able to know about it: and thus he spoke, being moved by the Spirit of God. (p) Not that it was a thing abominable to eat dainty meats, and to drink wine, as both before and after they did, but if they would have by this been won to the King, and had refused their own religion, that meat and drink would have been accursed. (Geneva)
In other words, the king's meat was not unlawful for Daniel and his friends, for they ate it latter on. The problem was that if the four had eaten the meat at this point, the Babylonians would have understood it as a denial of the Lord God. The king's meat here was not wrong, but eating the king's meat at this point would have sent the wrong message.

Many things are lawful for the child of God to do, but not all of them are expedient. (Profitable, or for the good of.)

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (Slave, we must not be governed by those things, though they may be "lawful.")
1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
Paul says the same thing twice, 6:12 and 10:23. Though Paul is speaking specifically of foods to be eaten, he presents a general principle.

The problem in 1 Corinthians was that Christians were saying that adultery and fornication were now lawful for them.

[The news yesterday reported that Jerry Fawell is calling on pastors to preach against immorality from the pulpits. Who would have ever thought that in America, a supposed Christian nation, preachers would have to be pleaded with to preach against adultery, fornication and sodomy? But the logical implications of "Christian Liberty" as taught today is exactly what Paul had to deal with in 1 Corinthians. They are taking literally that Paul said All things are lawful unto me...]

Paul is only speaking of things that are indifferent. He says that those things that control us, though the word of God may not speak directly to them, are to be avoided, in the sense that we must not be slaves to them.

Php 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
Paul calls that fleshly appetite that controls us a god, and it is not the Christian God.

The consideration here was not whether or not a Child of God can to these things "lawfully," but whether or not the action upholds the Christian testimony.

Gal 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Christian liberty is not a liberty so we can be in bondage even to "lawful" things.

Though food in general is completely lawful, the sin of eating too much is condemned with the same language as is drunkenness. Christian liberty allows us to be temperate, and not controlled by the gods of this world.

1 Cor 10:23 (All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.)

I. He gives a caution against abusing our liberty in lawful things. That may be lawful which is not expedient, which will not edify. A Christian must not barely consider what is lawful, but what is expedient, and for the use of edification. A private Christian should do so even in his private conduct. He must not seek his own only, but his neighbour's wealth. He must be concerned not to hurt his neighbour, nay, he must be concerned to promote his welfare; and must consider how to act so that he may help others, and not hinder them in their holiness, comfort, or salvation. Those who allow themselves in every thing not plainly sinful in itself will often run into what is evil by accident, and do much mischief to others. Every thing lawful in itself to be done is not therefore lawfully done. Circumstances may make that a sin which in itself is none. These must be weighed, and the expediency of an action, and its tendency to edification, must be considered before it be done. Note, The welfare of others, as well as our own convenience, must be consulted in many things we do, if we would do them well. (MH. Online Bible)
Note, Christians should be very cautious of doing what may thus prejudice the consciences of others, and weaken their authority with them, which is by all means to be kept up. (MH.)
Just because something fits within Christian liberty does not mean a Christian is at liberty to do it. In other words, Christians must take care not to use their liberty in Christ to hurt others, nor to bring reproach upon themselves, nor to bring reproach upon Christ.
Romans 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
The general rule is found in 1 Cor 10:31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. True Christian liberty allows us to be "controlled" only by what brings glory to God.

It is wrong to be controlled by what is in fashion.

It is wrong to be controlled by what others might think of us.

It is wrong to be controlled by our own desires and passions.


If the TV keeps us from doing what is required of us by the Lord, then it is sin. We are a slave to it, and it is a god.

Everyone is waning short dresses well above the knees, so I will also. It is the fashion. We are slave to the fashion of the day.

Note here that one of the worse things a Christian can do is compromise to get along or to "win someone to the Lord."

Our control must be 1 Cor 10:31.

Our basic standard is certainly based in the word of God, for we cannot violate it. However, there are a great number of things that are not directly addressed, or that are "lawful" for Christians that just are not expedient.

Note the expedience is not what is expedient for us, but what is expedient for the Glory of God.

Note Paul's agreement, 1 Cor 10:31-33, his own example. Paul's example was that he neglected many things that were both profitable and lawful to him for the profit of the salvation of others.

Though Daniel seems to be the "instigator" of the matter of standing for the Lord, the Lord provided three other boys to stand with him. The story revolves around Daniel, but how much help were the three for Daniel to be true to his stand? Daniel publically put God to the test, as his people are commanded to do. (Mal. 3:10.)

V. 13, Daniel asked to be "put to the test." Note that he said that if his God did not take care of them in this matter, they would do as had been requested by the prince. Thus he left the decision in the Lord's hands: "We will do what we are required to do by the Lord, and it is up to him if we continue on."

V. 15, the four kids stood for the Lord, and the Lord honored their stand.

Those who think they can infuluence those around them for the Kingdom of God by joining with them even in things that are "lawful," are sadly mistaken. God is the one who must move in the hearts of those around us, and he does it in response of our faithfulness to what he has given us. God used these three youngsters to influence the king of the one world government, the head of gold, for the Kingdom of God. They did it not by being like everyone else, though it was lawful, but they did it by being unlike everyone else.