The call came at 15.40 on Saturday afternoon. “Good after mam”, I heard. I said … “good afternoon”. The voice said … “sorry for that sir. I am …. From the University of Cape Town. May I ask you a few questions about COVID.” I said yes as long as I can ask you a few questions afterwards. He said … “Yes. Sir, how old are you and where do you live”. I said … “I am 72” … he said … “so you were born in 1944?” “No” I said, “you need to go back to university and do mathematics”. He laughs. “And the province?” I said “Gauteng”. “Thank you sir” he says. “May I remind you that all calls are recorded? Have you had the first vaccination for COVID?” “Yes” I said to which he said “so you are fully vaccinated?” I said yes. He said “thank you very much and have a good day”. I quickly said … “No, I asked you whether I could ask you a few questions and you said yes. Remember the call is recorded.” He said “yes”. I asked: “If you died tonight and stood before God and He asked you why He ought to admit you into His heaven, what would you say?” He responded by saying he lived a holy life. I ask what that means. He struggled to answer. I asked if he sinned. He first said “no” … then changed it to yes, saying … “but I live by the ten principles” … (that is commandments). I asked “how can you be holy and be a sinner at the same time?” He was silent. Then I said … “the only way into God’s heaven is through the blood of Jesus” … to which he responded “that’s right.” I left it there for him to think … and his lasts words were … “Thank you sir, I learnt something today.” Before that, in the morning Jenny and I had a coffee at Woolies in Queenswood. As we were drinking the coffee, three guys were stopping people on the pavement, talking to them and then giving them a leaflet. They eventually stopped where we were and asked whether they could ask us a question. We said “yes”. The question was … “Have you heard of the gospel?” My response was … “a few times.” There was some humorous, enjoyable banter. They were from an Afrikaans Reformed Church near to where we live. I really admired them for giving up Saturday mornings to do Street Evangelism”. Although we could say the Apostle Paul was a great Biblical Expositor with accurate doctrine … he was firstly an evangelist. He taught
Ro 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
People need to hear the gospel for without hearing the gospel proclaimed (taught, shared), the gospel cannot infiltrate the mind, causing thought and reflection that could lead to salvation. A few verses later on he says
Ro 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
That is the gospel message. Unless one hears they cannot digest its Truthfulness, Claims and Requirements. People are converted to Jesus through the gospel. You might think me questioning the man who called yesterday rather arrogant … but if he asked me questions about life … COVID Vaccinations … surely I have the right to ask him questions about eternal life. You might think those three chaps walking the streets to share the gospel is an invasion into people’s privacy, especially as they go about their Saturday morning shopping. But … unless they hear the gospel they will not be provoked to consider repenting and believing and being saved. Once again our theme … “Dare to be a Daniel” is helping to challenge us to consider evangelism, whoever and wherever we are.
6) You, O King need to repent and believe. As we look at verse 27, we see how daring he is … but equally respectful at the same time.
Dan 4:27 “Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”
Remember the interpretation is given. The king has no question in his mind as to what the dream means. He is about to face the judgment of God because he will not acknowledge Daniel’s God as the one, true, living God.
(1) Daniel is concerned for the king’s welfare … that is his spiritual wellbeing … Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice. This is equivalent to the preacher or evangelist pleading with the hearer or hearers to come to Jesus. There is no arrogance … Daniel is not a know it all. He has a heart for souls because he knew what will happen to the rebellious souls who die without having a relationship with God. If you find you don’t have a desire for souls, ask God to show you in your mind’s eye a picture of heaven and a picture of hell. Then ask Him to implant a love for souls in your heart.
(2) Now see the gospel presented to the king. Remember he is likely shell shocked by hearing the dream’s interpretation …
(a) Renounce your sins by doing what is right. Daniel is calling the king to repent of his sin before the true God. Sin is the relational barrier before God. Sin, unless understood in some way as the opposite of holiness, you will never understand God’s boiling anger (wrath) against rebellious people. The king needed to see that he pursued two fundamental problems …
(i) Rebellion against God;
(ii) Seeing himself as a demi-god in his position as ruler of the known and inhabited world. These two matters left him in total opposition to God. He needed the 180 degree turn from sin to righteousness.
(b) And your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. Repentance needed to be proved. Many today go through rituals, ceremonies and verbal consent … but these do not prove renunciation of their wicked past. Neither does it demonstration real surrender to and commitment to God as Lord. Repentance is a “loaded” term, for in this context (renounce) it includes faith, confession and repentance. This is why Daniel correctly explains to the king that he needs to prove his repentance. Consider this passage and see the fruits of repentance in verse 10 …
Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(c) It may be that then your prosperity will continue. For the king this was both spiritual and literal. For us it is spiritual. See Eph. 1:3.
Father, thank You for the mercy You pour out upon all who repent and trust You for eternal life. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for opening our hearing. Amen.