Spring Conference Highlights

Gathering with followers of Christ refreshes weary souls and rekindles fervency for the gospel. The preaching and fellowship at the 2018 Spring OBF Conference certainly served those Scriptural goals. Captain Steve Brown (Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy, retired; Endorser/President, Associated Gospel Churches) preached four excellent messages on theme “Responding Right to Coercive Government.” Captain Brown demonstrated how Daniel and his colleagues provide an inspired pattern from Daniel 1-4. Pastor Dan Greenfield and the people of Orwell Bible Church extended exceptional hospitality and graciously provided excellent meals.

The following summarizes the content of the messages and notable matters from the business portion.

 

Notable matters:

  • The Ohio Bible Fellowship recognized its 50 years of existence. Letters of appreciation from Chris Seawright, Thomas Zartman, and Mark Perry were read. The OBF members passed a resolution that summarized the history, stated our position, and set our ongoing goals.
  • Per recommendation of the OBF Executive Committee, churches will have the option to host conferences in a one or two-day format
  • Elections were held for the 2018-19 OBF Executive Committee with the following results:
    •  President – Dan Greenfield
    •  Vice President – Tony Garren
    •  Treasurer – George Bailey
    •  Secretary – Stephen Howard
    •  Publicity Chairman – Nathaniel Pringle

 

Session Summaries: (Clilck here for audio)

Session 1 – Responding to Governmental Pressure to Conform to Paganism (Daniel 1)

Structure:

o   The advancement of paganism: Encroaching on the godly (1-2)

  • God’s judgment – Judging His people for their sin
  • God’s jurisdiction – God sovereignly controls the nations

o   The aim of paganism: Assimilation (3-5)

  • Coercive commands (3) – Not about freedom, demands endorsement
  • Calculated commands (4-5) – Aims for best and brightest, accommodates basic needs, alters the identity
  • Comprehensive commands (4-5) – Literature, language, names, food – Impossible to escape

o   The answer to paganism

  • Profound response of Daniel to government authority (7-16)
    • Reflective (8)
    • Resolute (8)
    • Respectful (8)
    • Resourceful (10-14)
    • Replete with faith (9-16)
  • Providential response of God
    • Solved the crisis of the four
    • Sharpened the court of the pagan government

Summary:

o   Who do you really work for?

o   What lines have your drawn and are they Biblical or just personal preferences?

o   What are you willing to die for?

o   What creative alternatives can you offer that are Biblical and mission effective?

o   Will you allow God to exalt you and more importantly Himself through the crisis?

 

Session 2 – Responding to Rash and Abusive Governmental Authority (Daniel 2)

Structure:

o   The arrogance of paganism

  • Note its demand – tell me NOW (9-11)
  • Note its decree – fury (12)

o   The answer to arrogant paganism

  • Prudent initiative (14-16)
  • Prayerful intercession (17-18) – “Powerless Christians are usually prayerless Christians.”
  • Praiseworthy identification
    • God’s answer is evidenced (23)
    • God’s authority is exalted (30, 47)
    • God’s ambassadors are elevated (48f)

Summary:

o   Not all problems in the world have a happy ending

o   But for God’s children all problems have a happy end

o   The requirement is faithfulness to the One True King

o   The next time a serious conflict emerges with someone in authority ask yourself, “Is God exalting Himself through me?” He is, so let Him! He will with or without your cooperation

 

Session 3 – Responding to Governmental Coerced Idolatry (Daniel 3)

Structure:

o   The coerced idolatry of a pagan government

  • Government developed religion (1)
    • Self-aggrandizement
    • State authenticity
    • State amalgamation
  • Government directed worship (4-5)
  • Government defined punishment (6) – “Worship, or else…”

o   The constant integrity of three men

  • The unavoidable confrontation
    • Spiteful indictment (8-12)
    • Sovereign investigation (13-15)
    • Sovereign irrationality (19f)
  • The unexpected comeback
    • A certain reply (16)
    • A confident reply
    • A confrontational reply
    • A courteous reply

o   The consummate identification of the One True Almighty God

  • Exalted above kings
  • Exalted in the kinetic
  • Exalted in the exchange of wrath for praise
  • Exalted in the elevation of Himself
  • Exalted in the elevation of His servants

Summary:

o   God will be exalted in our lives by sending us to reach a pagan world, or by sending the pagan world to us

o   We are wired to worship and only the true God is worthy of worship

o   Government has no right to steal worship due to God

o   God is to be worshipped even in our firm/respectful responses to pagan government

o   God can and will take care of Himself and His people

o   We are servants of the Most High God

o   As Nebuchadnezzar, all creation will bow in submission – remain faithful!

 

 

Session 4 – Responding to/Advising a Proud Pagan King Who Learned His Lesson the Hard Way (Daniel 4)

Structure:

o   Daniel was used of God to inspire a pagan royal doxology (1-3)

o   Daniel was used of God to interpret a pagan king’s dream (4-27)

  • The fanciful machination (10-18)
  • The failing magicians (7)
  • The faithful messenger
    • Lauded by the king (9)
    • Loyal to the king (19)
    • Loyal to the King of kings!

o   Daniel was used of God to illuminate a pagan king’s darkness (34)

o   Daniel was used of God to inspire a pardoned king’s second doxology (34-37)

Summary:

o   All authority should honor God

o   All will someday. Some will along the way.

o   WE are to be men and women of truth, tactful yet truthful advisors to those in authority over us

o   We should be loyal truth givers to the authority God places over us – the gospel changes EVERYTHING