Monday, October 26, 2009

Sermon Outline for: God Can Rescue

Last week was a crazy week for me. My little daughter Kaleigh Grace entered the world and she has been wrecking me ever since. Because of her birth, I didn't get a chance to develop the outline for my message this past Sunday. So, here it is for those who want it.

Highly Flammable: God Can Rescue (Week 3)

Highlighted passage that we are unpacking: Daniel 3:16-17

Four questions that help us to understand more about God's ability to rescue:

1. How do we know God can rescue?

God is Sovereign. Sovereignty means that God is in control of all of his creation. He is all-powerful. Nothing is impossible with God, because God is above all things.

Two aspects of God's Sovereignty:

i. Transcendent otherness: God is beyond us. He is over and above the creation. He is not dependent on the creation to be God. His throne is in heaven and the earth is his footstool (Isaiah 66:1).

ii. Immanent nearness: God is at work within his creation. Though he is above that which he has created, he is at work in that which he has created.

Because of these two things, we know that God can rescue. Our God is Sovereign above all things. He can rescue because he is both above and beyond his creation, yet he is immanent in that he works intimately in his creation.

2. In what ways does God rescue?

i. Miracles
A miracle is God changes a set of circumstances that were deemed as unchangeable. A miracle is not God's intervention because this would imply his absence or distance from the situation (deism).

ii. Decrees
A decree is when God speaks forth his words and they set into motion that which he has spoken. We see this in the creation of the world (Genesis 1). God can still decree our rescue and it will set into motion the changes that are necessary.

3. How can we evoke God's rescuing action?

i. Prayer
Prayer changes how God acts. God has ordained that the prayers of his people will shape how the world we be.

ii. Faithfulness
Living a life of faithfulness means to live a life devoted, loyal, and obedient to Jesus Christ. Faithfulness is not church attendance, its moment by moment relationship to the Savior.

4. Why does God rescue?

i. God rescues to point us to the reality of the Kingdom's advancement.
ii. God rescues to bring himself greater glory.
iii. God rescues because of his love and compassion for his children.

Ultimately, if you want to know if God can rescue you from your circumstances and trials, look no further than the cross. For the cross of Jesus Christ is the greatest demonstration of God's ability to rescue.


  1. Erik,
    Sovereign does not mean that God is in control over everything.
    Sovereign does mean that He is all powerful and He is the Highest power.
    In His sovereign power He gave us control over the whole earth and everything in it (see Genesis 1:26 and Luke 10:19)
    What God does depends on what we do and say (see Matthew 18:18 and Matthew 9:29)
    Jesus is our example of how to go about doing that (see John 14:12).

    Have you ever read Daniel 3:16-18 like this - King Neb. if what you say is true that we have to bow down to you or be thrown in the fiery furnace, our God is ABLE AND WILL deliver us - BUT if what you say is not true that we have to bow down to you or be thrown in the fiery furnace be it known unto you, O King, that we still will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
    That passage is often mistaken for 'if it is God's will He will deliver and if it is not His will, He won't'. But deliverance is His will everytime according to the Bible (3 John 2 and Matthew 6:10). God's will for earth is just like His will for heaven.
    Something to think about!!!

    alan h

  2. Alan,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Though you present well thought out ideas, they are self-contradictory in that if you truly think Sovereignty is not that God is in control over everything, then you deny He is sovereign. If He is not in control, then He is not all-powerful, if He is not all-powerful, He is not only less than Sovereign, He is not God.

    God is not dependent upon humans for anything as you suggest. Rather, God could from the stones raise up children of Abraham (Matthew 3:9). God is one who "does whatever he pleases" (Psalm 115:3).
    To say that God is dependent upon His creation for anything is to suggest there is a need that goes unfulfilled without humans. But this is not the case. He does not need anything at all in the whole world, even though everything in the world needs God. So God is God - completely and perfectly - without anything in the world helping God to be God. Paul reminds us in Acts 17 that God is not "served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything."

    I think if you listen to the message, you will see that the context of this message is that we serve a God who is able to save us and rescue us from our trials and tribulations. But the key word is "able" not obligated. I invite you to listen to the sermon:

    And I also invite you to listen to this coming Sunday's message. It may give you a more complete picture of the case that I'm making. However, after all is said and done. You and I may not agree, but that is okay. There need be issues that divide us (Christ's atonement, resurrection, doctrine of the Trinity, etc.), and there should be doctrinal issues that need not divide us (speaking in tongues, Calvinism vs Arminianism, Dispensationalism vs Covenant theology, etc.). I believe that what we are talking about is great conversation, but need not be something that divide us.

    Jesus is King. Grace be with you.


  3. Choosing to read Daniel 3:16-18 without the full force of the language can create a different thought. But since all major Biblical translation either use the phrase "..but if not " in conjunction with the previous statment shows that their faith was in serving Him not in deliverance.

    The passage in the 3rd Letter of John is not a proclaimation of deliverance. It is a desire of John to see that those reading the letter where in a condition of wellness of their soul. It was a common greeting of that time.

    The idea that God's wills deliverance in all things, would be interesting to stack up against those who have died for the faith or succomb to death through a sickness or violent death.

    For me this passage and the sermon series is about God's grace and mercy in the midst of our living out the Character of Christ in us. Whether we live or die, the question is not is God going to deliver us, but are we going serve Him through life's joys and perils with the same intention.

    True deliverance was granted to all on the Cross which Christ died and sealed at His resurrection. There will be a day when we all will see that final deliverance... Can God Rescue?...He already has !!

  4. Esther realized that God is Sovereign.That is why she was willing to put her life on the line.For such a time as this, she was part of God's plan.Overcoming fear for herself she knew all she could do was to obey Whatever her fate, God's way was right.
    We become confused as to how powerful God is when we try to make him into a granter of our every wish. God's ways are not our ways. We want things fixed quick and easy. He likes to perform His work in His time(perfect)and usually involves the least likely circumstances and people to accomplish it.