Kenneth Copeland - If You Bow, You Burn
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When this ministry began to grow and we stepped out and refused to compromise. And I'll tell you in a few moments what that meant to us and still does. We were just getting along fine. We were just struggling along like everybody else. And all of a sudden, we're on 700 radio stations in a year. And all of a sudden, you mean to tell me they don't borrow money? What is wrong with them? You can't do that and not borrow money. And I know and I won't tell you who that said, "He must be doing something wrong". Could it be we might've been doing something right? No, no, no. If you're doing it better than we are, you must be doing something wrong.
Now, that's what they felt about the apostle Paul. He's got to be doing something wrong. Look at the people that following him around. Maybe we need to kill him. That's already been tried. And the last one they killed got raised from the dead. And so did this one. Yeah, amen. Thank You, Jesus. Refusing to compromise the message and the mission that Jesus personally gave him. In fact, thank You, Lord. Let me add a little something here to that, you remember when He sent, when Jesus sent Ananias to lay hands on him, that he might receive his sight and receive the Holy Spirit. And he said, "For I have already showed him what he must suffer for my name's sake". He went into the ministry that Jesus called him to with his eyes wide open.
Now don't twist that around, make something religious out of it. Well, he was suffering for Jesus. No, he wasn't. No. And what he said, "What he must suffer for my name's sake". The apostle Paul wrote most of the New Testament. It was his calling and Jesus, he entered into it, agreeing to that because he was called to prove. Now he's the one of the apostles educated highly enough to get this job. He knew that first covenant inside and out and therefore everything he did was based squarely on the Word. Then all of his writings, which turned out to be the most of the second covenant and he proved in the field that what Jesus did would work. He said, "I know both how to be abased, I know how to abound. I know how". He didn't say, "Sometimes I abound and sometimes I'm abased". No, he said, "I know how". That's huge. I know how. Glory to God. In the field he proved it. Amen.
Now in the eighth verse, at that time certain Chaldeans came near and accused the Jews. They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever". Oh yeah, start off with that. That's what you need to do. Put your little con deal in there first. They spoke and said to the King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever". Now "O king" has made a decree and they went over this whole thing. The king knew full well, what he had made. He's the one that did it, but they had to repeat it all. And verse 12, "There are certain Jews whom thou has set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These men, O king, have not regarded thee, they serve not thy gods or worship the golden image which you have set up".
Well, it worked. It made the king mad. What happened to all that great man stuff? What happened to all the gifts that he gave? The devil happened, that's what happened. Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring them there and they brought them. He spoke and said, "Is it true? Do not ye serve my God, no worship the golden image which I have set up? Now, if you be ready that the time that you hear, if you fall down and worship the image, which has made". Well, that's all that we'll just settle this right now. That's it. "'But if you worship not, you shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands'? Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter if it be,'" now notice the word so is in italics, "If it be our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand O king".
But, now wait a minute. Why would they say something like that? They said he's able, but we've never been in a burning, fiery furnace before. We never heard of anybody ever being delivered from one. That makes it even more important. They have nobody's testimony. They came out of Jerusalem as young kids. They've literally grown up here. By this time they're fluent in Chaldean. Now they've got an edge there, these Jews. They spoke Chaldean but these other guys probably did not speak Hebrew. That's a little gravelly right there because they can stand there and talk and they couldn't understand what they're saying. That's kind of nasty, but they don't say much because they're the boss. But now listen, "but if not, if he is not able, be it known unto thee O king, we will not serve your gods nor worship the golden image which you have set up". Whether He's able or not, we will not do it. We say He's able, but it doesn't make any difference. We'd rather burn. We'd rather burn.
The first time I ever heard this message, Oral Roberts preached it. My father in the faith. He's the one that sowed that non-compromising seed in me. Because up until then I was a compromise going somewhere to happen. I didn't want to confront anybody. No, man. Just don't rock the boat. But he changed that. And watching his life and watching all of the opportunities that he had to just ease up on some things and not get such hard persecution. And particularly those of you that are too young to have been around at that time, you don't have any idea of what he went through. They accused him. They accused him of everything you could think of. There were lies told about that man that were just unreasonable and I inherited a lot of it. There were people writing books about me and this ministry. Said, "What did you do, Brother Copeland"?
First thing I did was not read them. And the Lord helped me by Oral Roberts and his example and what I saw happen to him, the Lord helped me with that at the very, very beginning of this ministry, because I saw if I'm going to follow in his footsteps, I'm going to get the same thing. And it started. The Lord after a time of prayer said to me, Jerry, you remember when this happened. The Lord said, "I can't expand your ministry anymore". I said, "Why"? He said, "One thing, you're too high tempered. And somebody just says something crossways about your ministry and particularly your family, you get mad and fly off the handle". And He said, "You're going to have to stop that". And he said, "Somebody just says the least little thing crosswise in the ministry and starts to telling stuff".
He said, "Stop reading anything about yourself in print, don't ever read anything. And you advise your staff don't ever bring you anything in any newspaper article or in any magazine or anything else about you in print. Don't read it". He said, "It's too hard to get rid of. It just goes over and over and over and over. It's like this never ending loop that just goes over and over and over in your mind. And you start that business about your answer to them, all the stuff you'd like to say". And most of it, not all that good. I'm just going to give them a piece of my mind. Hey, you better keep watching, God. You got a whole lot left now, don't be given a piece of it away particularly in that frame of mind. He said, "Don't read it in the first place".
Now He said, "It's hard to get rid of". But He said, "What's harder to get rid of than that is when they start bragging on you in the paper". Well, that never happened yet but think about how Nebuchadnezzar bragged on Daniel. He didn't pay any attention to it. And the Lord said, "You don't try to get rid of that and that's dangerous". And so we've done our very best to keep that and do that. My goodness, there's been all kinds of nasty stuff that I just never didn't know. This came to me one day all at one time when somebody said something to me. It just came out my mouth. They said, "Did you read what they've said about you in the paper"? I said, "Of course not". I said, "Besides that, tomorrow it'll be at the bottom of a bird cage and the bird knows what to do with it".
Now, I didn't think I'm not smart enough to think that out. But I'm kind of glad it came out. Amen. And that's exactly the way I think about it, feel about it. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury and the form of his visage was changed. Boy, the devil took him over. Now these young men, all four of them had been high in his estimation. But that spirit of envy in those men that were trying to do their best to do some harm to these Jews and get them out of the way, got on that king. "And he spoke and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was wanting to be heated". He's going to overheat this thing. He's going to run the risk of blowing the thing up. Right there it tells you that furnace wasn't even built to get that hot. Seven times. He commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind them, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, their hats, other garments and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Therefore, because the king's commandment was urgent, the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew the men that took Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and these three men fell down bound. They fell down bound. They fell down into the midst of that fiery furnace. It wasn't something you could just walk into. This was not a mechanical furnace. This thing was a pit. It was huge. It was a pit. They just walked in there and fell down in that thing. Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished and rose up in haste and spoken and said of these counselors, "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire"? They answered and said unto the king, "True O king". He answered and said, "Lo I see four men loose, walking". Loose, loose, it burned up the thing, what they had them bound up with, burned it, burned it up. "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire and they have no hurt and the form of the fourth is like the son of God".
The first time I ever heard this, I heard Oral Roberts preach the fourth man. Who is this man? And he went through all of the books of the Bible. In the book of Genesis, He's the creator and in the book of Exodus, He's the great deliverer and right on down. And His name is Jesus. Who is this fourth man? And then Jerry Savelle come up with just preached it just like Oral. Just preached it and then the first time I ever heard that I'm telling you the power of God just got up and walked around that place. And the place was just packed out. This was back in the tent days. I was in two of the last three tent meetings Oral Roberts had and I heard him preach the fourth man. And I've never gotten over it yet. Don't plan to get over it. I have a little book and I got it out and started reading it again that I've had for a long time. I've had it long enough that the pages are yellow. Little small book that Oral Roberts wrote, "Don't ever give up".
Now, this is what I heard him preach. This is what he drilled into me, Phil. This was his statement, "If you bow, you burn. Whatever you compromise to keep, you will eventually lose it". What does the Word, our covenant with God, say? What does the Word say? You need to know that and believe it. What does it say? What does it say about your spiritual life? What does it say about your healing? What does it say about your finances? All right, Second Peter Chapter 1, please. Verse 1, "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ". Now this just thrilled me. I'll tell you back in the early days I was a scriptural illiterate and I read things like this. I just could hardly stand it. It just got to me. This is the great apostle Peter. This is Simon Barjona that got his name covenant changed. His name wasn't Peter until Jesus named him Peter. Call him a rock. "Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you".
Now remember, remember this is a Hebrew boy. This is an Orthodox Jew. Peace. Good friend, Billye Brim, good friend of our family. Oh just, the Lord spoke to Billye Brim and told her to go to Jerusalem and study Hebrew. Well, that's a big step for a widow woman. And just go to Jerusalem, tell them you want to learn Hebrew. And she just obeyed God. Since shalom, peace is a greeting in Israel, since it is a greeting and this is one of the first things that they learn, that this is one of the most, arguably the most important word in the Hebrew language. Peace. It's translated prosperity. It's translated healing. It's translated tranquility. But the Hebrew teacher said this, particularly the Gentiles and Jews that speak another language and they're having to learn Hebrew that, the easiest way to describe shalom is nothing missing, nothing broken. Ooh, that's good. Isn't that good?
Now it's amazing to me that the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul notice this. Grace and peace be multiplies. Now, grace is to us Gentiles, shalom is to the Jew. Well, since we're grafted in Jews, it's to us too but you can see the impact that it's having on him because God called him to preach to the Gentiles and he's talking to Jews at the same time. Nothing missing, nothing broken. That covers your finances. And notice this, notice the nothing missing, nothing broken in what this great apostle is about to say. "Grace and shalom be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord". According, it's according to something. Say according. "According as his divine power hath given unto us". Read it with me. "All things that pertain to life and godliness". How? Through this covenant. Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you".