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Sermon 125 – The NEB Syndrome

In Daniel chapter 2, 3 and 4 we read the story of Nebuchadnezzar and his interactions with Daniel and Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. The Neb Syndrome is based on the behaviour pattern of King Nebuchadnezzar. Everybody has this syndrome inherent in their sinful nature. Everyone’s born a Neb at some level depending on one’s social position, family position, wealth and education. You can pretend to hide it but sooner or later it will be exposed when you don’t get what you want. If you truly want salvation, the Neb in you has to be killed.

Nebs put you up and then pull you down.

In Chapter 2:49, Nebuchadnezzar promoted Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, but when they wouldn’t comply with his demands, he tore them down; no discussion, no enquiry, just intimidation. The inherent Neb in us hates people who won’t do it our way. Nebs will promote you if it’s to their own advantage, like making you a special friend, or puffing you up to create envy against a more popular opponent, but they’re always ready to pull you down when you offend or challenge their self-worth.

Nebs have a golden image of themselves

In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar built a huge golden image to himself and demanded everyone bow when he played the music. Similarly, in their deceived mind, Nebs think they’re special, or important, or gifted, or educated. They appear to worship God, but they love themselves and expect others to treat them with the respect they believe they deserve whenever they play their music. They think they are good, making themselves equal with God, and thinking themselves blessed if things work out to their advantage, and look for others to blame if they don’t. Nebs believe that if they’re in trouble, it’s everyone else’s fault.

They live by their feelings. Their selfish belief is … I’m good and special, so if you hurt my feelings, you’re bad, so I’ll wait till you change your mind and you realise I’m right and you’re wrong.

Nebs blame you for upsetting them, or not listening to them, or not respecting their opinion. Everything’s based on how they feel and how someone makes them feel. It’s MY feelings first, God second.

Nebs think they should have the No.1 position

Nebs want the limelight. If you seem to be above them, Nebs try to pull you down, and if you seem to be below them, Nebs try to keep you down there. Nebs envy anyone who threatens their position. Nebs hate people who are positioned above them. They live for their own happiness and despise anyone who’s more happy, or more popular, or more successful than themselves, or more intimate with God.

Nebs love power and control

Neb’s are so self-important they can’t believe you won’t agree with their point of view. Nebs hate you if you won’t comply with their thinking. If they had the ultimate power like Nebuchadnezzar himself, they would kill you for not complying, and throw you into their furnace. They eventually object to any rules that put controls on them … as far as they’re concerned, they’re the one who should be in control; they’re the one who has the right to control what they want and how others should behave towards them.

Nebs are bi-polar

One minute they’re nice, and the next they’re unexpectantly intimidating. One minute everything seems to be ok and co-operative, and the next they’re demanding you dance to their music and bow to their thinking. You never know where you stand with a Neb. Nebs have one foot in the world and one foot in God. Thus, as in James 1:8, Nebs are double-minded and unstable in their heart.

Nebs can’t afford to be wrong, so they believe everything they do is somehow always right. So, when they’re corrected, they are flabbergasted at the suggestion that you would think them bad; besides, they think they’re always good, so you must be wrong.

Nebs think that they’re so good, God will obviously save them, bless them and protect them. Their ingenuine goodness is just a manipulation to get God to be good back to them. Their pride puts them in fear of being thought of as bad, or a failure.

Nebs often use obedience or generosity to obligate you to conform to their wishes or ignore their short-comings, when all the time, in their heart, they’re resistant and defiant of your authority.

Nebs can act religious, even think they keep the commandments by not practicing adultery or murder or steal, but they always fail the God first test, the bear false witness test, and the covet test.

Nebs are anti-Christ’s

They may agree they’re wrong so you can’t argue their defiance, but they won’t change their position. They can appear to be in sheep’s clothing, but ultimately, they’re wolves, controlled by Satan, and anti- the Holy Spirit.

Nebs think they’re good, but … Ezekiel 33:31

They come unto you and sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness.

It’s important to note, that Nebuchadnezzar was not good. He didn’t find God based on his goodness, but rather, when he killed his own self-image and replaced it with God’s Spirit.

The bottom line

Nebs won’t be told; rather, they tell others what’s right and wrong.

On the other hand …

SMA’s = full of the Spirit that inhabited Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego

SMA’s are not full of their own importance. They don’t chase position, or value, or human recognition, but leave position to God. Any position is attributed to God, not self. Self-position has been shattered. They serve God because they love Him; not for a deal.

They don’t think they’re good. They know that only God is good and they’re thankful for God’s grace towards their bad.

Like Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, in Daniel 3:17 & 18, SMA’s don’t demand or expect God to fix their problems. Rather, they trust God’s outcome and rest in His plan.

Probably the most defining factor about SMA’s is that they are envied by Nebs, and sooner or later are confronted by Nebs so their faith is tested.

SMA’s are called and chosen.

SMA’s don’t bow to intimidation when challenged to change gods.

Neb to SMA

Everyone has an image of themselves to worship themselves. If you want to be an SMA your image has to be shattered, broken and destroyed. You can’t serve God and worship your own image at the same time; it’s contradictory and satanic.

If you’re not an SMA then somewhere in the crevices of your heart lies a Neb. SMA’s are few and far between. Most of the so-called Christians I’ve met in my life are really just Nebs in some form of nice disguise. The good news is, Saul became a Paul, so anyone can be changed. You can change if you want to, but you can’t because you won’t. To a Neb, ‘ME’ is too important, and what people think is more real than what an imaginary God thinks; besides, a Neb doesn’t really think it needs to change because it’s already basically good.

If you want to be an SMA it requires God to put you on a cross and embarrass your self-image and shatter all your self-plans. No wonder there’s hardly any SMA’s. God is looking for an empty vessel; not one that’s already full of its own importance.

The salvation test

I’ve lost count how many Nebs I’ve encountered who believe they are a good Christian. They’re deceived. Salvation is not just being a Christian, but also sacrificing your Neb position and having it tested by fire. In fact, where there’s no fire test, there’s no salvation … all that live Godly in Christ will suffer persecution … 2 Timothy 3:12. Also, your reaction to a Neb will reveal what god you really serve.  SMA’s don’t compromise to keep the majority happy; they stand on God’s Word, for God, and cop the defaming consequences. The modern church systems are not training soldiers to die for Christ, they’re collecting numbers for money.

Demons use Nebs

As confirmed in Ephesians 6, we’re not fighting flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. It’s important for an SMA to know how demonic spirits operate against them. A Neb is under the influence of demonic spirits and ultimately their design is to attack and discredit, or discourage, or kill SMA’s. SMA’s should be encouraged that a demonic attack is a positive process to strengthen their faith in Almighty God.

Thankyou God, that even though heavily outnumbered, You live through your called and chosen humble SMA’s, and that Your plan is higher than Satan’s.

 

Pastor Jonathan Faranze

 

 

 

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Posted by on May 10, 2018 in arrogance

 

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Sermon 124 – Dance to my Tune

In Daniel chapter 4, we read the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about a huge tree cut down to the stump. Daniel warned the king that he was that tree and that he was about to be removed from his throne because he was puffed-up with his own pride. Even this warning did not soften his stubbornness. His pride could only see his pride and to him it looked like greatness and importance. The moment he declared that his kingdom was established by his own might, he lost his sanity and became an animal. By God’s grace he came to his right mind but only after seven years had passed and then he made this final statement in v.37 … now I, Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride, He is able to abase.

The lie of our good gets good

This all happened whilst Nebuchadnezzar was compiling a list of the things that God had done for him (v.2). The problem was, the emphasis was on him, not God. So many of us believe the lie that the good things that happen to us are signs of how good we are and therefore, how much God loves and favours us. Our pride thinks that the good things are because of our goodness. Our pride might thank God but underneath we praise ourselves.

His pride could only see his pride, but to pride it looks like good

On a number of occasions, God had already revealed Himself to Nebuchadnezzar. The problem was, that every time God did something for Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar interpreted it as his own personal importance. Back further in chapter 2, Daniel not only interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream but he also recalled the dream he had forgotten. Nebuchadnezzar makes this declaration in v.47 … of a truth, your God is the God of gods, and a Lord of Kings, and a revealer of secrets. Yet, despite his proclamation, his heart remained full of his own importance. In fact, if God was giving him this information then surely he must be important (his pride would have suggested to him).

God reveals Himself to us and many times He resolves our issues, but we conveniently interpret it as our own personal value because we still like our pride. We can worship Him and honour Him, but we’re not saved until our pride is broken. Until it’s broken, our pride is silently proud of itself.

Who is on your throne?

You may praise God but you’re not saved until your pride is broken. Our pride is our god until we let God smash our pride and replace it with the faith of the true God.

Anyone who thinks they’re important or special will never know God until their pride is broken. Pride can only see pride, but to pride it looks like ‘special’, or ‘important’, or ‘gifted’, or ‘greatness’, so it looks good, not bad. Everyone thinks they’re something special; it’s inherent in our sin, but there isn’t any access to heaven until this self-importance is smashed. The thing Jesus came to save us from is our pride.  Our pride is the expression of our sinful nature and it’s our inherent link to Satan. An eternal relationship with Jesus will not occur until our pride is removed from our throne.

Pride blocks what God has done

In Daniel chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar built a golden statue of himself and demanded everyone bow and worship it whenever the music played. Three Jews refused, so in his anger, Nebuchadnezzar threw them into a fiery furnace, then in his amazement, watched as Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego simply walked through the furnace. Even his own soldiers had been killed by the radiating heat, but these three Jews were unscathed. In v.28, Nebuchadnezzar blesses the God of Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego and decrees that everybody must only worship their God. Yet, despite his own proclamation, he honoured God but with his pride still in place. If pride isn’t broken then your worship is in vain.

Dance to my tune

Pride is building a golden statue of ourselves and demanding that everyone bow down and worship it every time they hear the music. What’s the music we play? It’s the music of moodiness, or false humility, or intimidation to get people to recognise our value and do things we want them to do for us. It’s getting people to bow to our wants and wishes and reacting with anger, fear or sadness when they don’t. Our reactions prove which god we really serve … if you won’t dance to my tune then I’ll throw you into my furnace of spite, envy and hate, until you do what I want.

None of us think we do that because we cover it with our lies and fake niceness; but when the opportunity arises, we do play our music and expect others to dance to our tune, and if they won’t, then we treat them as enemies and justify our hatred as them being the ones who are unloving. It’s not Holy Spirit; it’s satanic, and until we’re cut down to size, there is no salvation. In fact, if God isn’t cutting you down to size then He knows you’re beyond breaking.

Pride twists your mind

In Daniel 2:49, at Daniel’s request, Nebuchadnezzar had elevated Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego over the affairs of Babylon, yet when Nebuchadnezzar demanded everyone bend and bow to his golden statue, he didn’t have any regard for his valued servants. It was as though he didn’t recognise them. The same mind lapse occurred with King Saul in 1 Samuel 17:55. David used to play the harp to settle his spirit as well as be Saul’s armour-bearer, but when David killed Goliath he couldn’t recall who he was.

When the mind is full of its own importance there’s no room for the value of others; everything centres around our own value. You can camouflage it with niceness, helps and generosity but when the opportunity arises we demand everyone to bow to our music and dance to our tune. It’s the music that reveals our true selves, not the generosity or kindness.

The higher you are the further you fall

Why Nebuchadnezzar and not King Saul? Only God knows the heart of man. You’ll see Nebuchadnezzar in heaven but you won’t see King Saul. Most of us refuse to be broken no matter what the burdens against us, preferring to blame others, or God, or mother nature, too proud to see our own pride in the picture, always justifying our own rightness.

How stubborn is our human pride!

God uses evil to break our pride

God allows evil circumstances to bring down our stubbornness, so to wish for no hassles or no problems is just selfish foolishness. It’s the hassles of life that breaks our pride. The good things of life promote our pride. In fact, God said that those that live Godly in Christ will suffer persecution. The hatred of others towards you because you love God is a healthy sign (though not necessarily full proof) that your pride is in the right place.

Don’t think you’re not a Nebuchadnezzar

Don’t think that the story of evil Nebuchadnezzar is not relevant to you. If it wasn’t personally relevant to you, it would just be an historical fact. It wouldn’t be in the Word of God unless it was universally relevant. Everyone has a flavour of Nebuchadnezzar. Most feed that flavour, the chosen confront it by God’s faith through the hardships of life. The good news is, it’s not your goodness that saves you, it’s your brokenness.

 

Pastor Jonathan Faranze

 

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2018 in Pride

 

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