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Daniel chapter 5 is where our reading is taken from this evening. I want to preach to you later on under the title 'A Close Encounter Of The Divine Kind'. We're reading from verse 1 of chapter 5.

This is often how God works. God is a God who breaks through our crises, and makes the most godless of men and women know that He exists

This is the word of the Lord: "Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone".

"In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in all the king's wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied. Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers; Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation".

"Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry? I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing: And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation".

Now what God did for Newton, for Belshazzar, for the Philippian jailer in Acts 16, was that He broke into their godless existence, and they had a 'God experience', they had a close encounter of the divine kind

"O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians".

"Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old".

I was going to share with you, just in introduction to my message, the story of the man who wrote 'Amazing Grace', John Newton. I have done this in the past, but I feel it's applicable tonight to the message. John Newton had a godly mother, but she died when John was only seven years of age. He was turned over to relatives, and soon forgot the Scriptures that his mother had taught him at her knee. He began to dream about following his father's footsteps - he was a sea captain. At the age of 11 he realised his dream and joined his father's ship, but from that moment on it was far from plain sailing - because he soon learned the ways of sin of many seafaring men. His biography tells us that he began to fight with his own father, he clashed with his employers, he was flogged for desertion, and finally he ended up in jail. He even earned the reputation of being able to curse for two hours straight without repeating a word. But punishment didn't even change him, after he was released from prison he continued an immoral life, living in unrestrained debauchery. Eventually his downward path led him to desert the Navy and he fled to Africa so that, in his own words, I quote him: 'I might sin my fill'. He eventually ended up in the most despicable of all trades in those days, the slave trade. Because he was a skilled navigator he earned the position of the first mate on a slave ship, but while the captain, on one occasion, was ashore, Newton broke into the ship's rum and got the entire crew drunk. When the captain came back he was so incensed that he hit Newton, knocking him overboard - and Newton would have drowned, only for a sailor who threw a hook, a spear, into the water. It went through his thigh, and he lifted him out like a fish. The wound was so big, his biography says, that you could put your fist into it in his left leg.

The problem with revelling in sensual pleasures for them and for our 21st-century world today, is that you can be so blinded by the pleasures of time that you cannot see the realities of eternity

But one day Newton, on this slave ship off the north-west of the coast of Ireland, hit a storm. That storm thundered against the vessel, so much so that the whole crew feared for their lives. The water began to fill the decks, and they all got their pails and their pumps, and tried to get it out of the boat - but Newton and the crew knew that they could do nothing. Fearing for his life, Newton said: 'If this will not do, then the Lord have mercy on us'. Then, all of a sudden, when he said that, he was arrested in his heart - he thought to himself: 'What mercy can there be for me? A man who is a wretch of a sinner, who has lived such a sinful life, I find myself in this storm, in a crisis, my life is at threat - what mercy could there be from God for the likes of me?'. Miraculously the storm abated, and Newton was gloriously converted by God's grace - and later he penned 'Amazing Grace', and that verse is particularly poignant when you think of it:

'Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come'.

He died on the 21st of December 1807 in London, having served the Lord after that moment of conversion for 60 years. On his tombstone in the churchyard at Olney, where he served as a minister, it says: 'John Newton, clerk, once an infidel, a libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy'. Newton had a close encounter of the divine kind, a similar one to that of King Belshazzar that we read of in Daniel chapter 5.

You see, what I want you to notice this evening is that this is often how God works. God is a God who breaks through our crises, and makes the most godless of men and women know that He exists. This was the same for the jailer in Acts chapter 16, a godless man to all intents and purposes. Now some people are spoken to by God over a protracted period in a still small voice in a very mundane and simplistic way, but there are other people, especially deep-dyed sinful people, and God needs - like the jailer - to send them an earthquake to shake them out of their apathy and their spiritual slumber. In other words, God needs, for those type of people like Belshazzar, to bare His hand.

That is the theme, if there is one theme, of the book of Daniel. It's found in chapter 2 and verse 28: 'There is a God in heaven' - do you know that this evening? Maybe you've come into this place, and you say: 'Well, I'm an atheist, I don't believe in God'. Maybe you're an agnostic, and you admit that there are a lot of questions and mysteries in life and in the spiritual realm, but you just don't know about these things, and you think you can't be sure. Maybe you're a practical atheist, that's someone who believes in God in your head, maybe even in your heart - but you live a life as if God were dead, as if He wasn't your Creator, or one day will be your Judge.

The fact of the matter is: most people in this world today are just living for sensual pleasures, and they have ignored the realities of eternity

Now what God did for Newton, for Belshazzar, for the Philippian jailer in Acts 16, was that He broke into their godless existence, and they had a 'God experience', they had a close encounter of the divine kind. I wonder are you here this evening, and you have a godless existence. 'What is that?', you say - well, we find it in this chapter outlined and illustrated for us. In verses 1 to 4 we see that King Belshazzar and his court revelled in sensual pleasures. They lived for the senses, what they could feel and experience. They lived for the asceticism of life, they lived on the principle: 'Whatever your eye sees, if you want it, take it and make it your own. Enjoy life to the full, eat, drink, and be merry, because tomorrow you're going to be dead and you can't enjoy yourself any longer'. Is that your philosophy?

The problem with revelling in sensual pleasures for them and for our 21st-century world today, is that you can be so blinded by the pleasures of time that you cannot see the realities of eternity. This life down here is not all that there is. Jesus told the story in Luke chapter 12 of a rich business farmer, so rich and successful that he had to pull down his existing barns and expand and build greater. He said to his own soul: 'Soul, eat, drink and be merry. You're so successful, enjoy your success now', and he was living as if there was nothing but time. Then the Bible says that one night God came to him, and God says: 'You're a fool, for this night your soul will be required of you - and then whose shall those things be which you've provided'. You see, the Bible says that if you forget God in life, God will forget you in death: 'The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God'.

I'm not against enjoying yourself, and I hope I'm not a party-pooper in any shape or form - but the fact of the matter is: most people in this world today are just living for sensual pleasures, and they have ignored the realities of eternity. That is a godless existence. If that's you, you're just living to enjoy yourself - some Christians live like that, you know.

Then secondly we see in verses 2 and 3 that Belshazzar's godless existence was illustrated in that he was playing fast and loose with holy things. His father, Nebuchadnezzar, before him had stolen these receptacles from the Temple, and they were gold and silver, and they started to take them out for a bit of a laugh in their drunkenness, and poke fun at religion. You've experienced this, haven't you? Tell a joke about Jesus or something like that, and this is what they were doing in their own context. Then they come and they fill these vessels that were meant to be holy, set apart for the use of God, with wine - and they get intoxicated with it. Playing fast and loose with holy things, a lack of respect and reverence, total sacrilege and blasphemy - is that you? Is that what comes out of your mouth? Is that the way you think?

This is not reserved to the enemy nations of God, like Babylon. In fact, if we go further back in the Old Testament to 1 Samuel, we find that Eli's sons, they played fast and loose with holy things. They were priests in the Tabernacle, but do you know what they were doing? They were lying, having sexual relations with the women that assembled at the door of the Tabernacle congregation, and they probably worked in the Tabernacle vicinity. Here they were, meant to be representing God as holy men in holy things, and they were actually defiling holy practices, playing fast and loose with holy things! Are you a person that says you're a Christian, takes the name of Christ, maybe involved in a Christian work of some kind, and you're dabbling in the sexually immoral? You don't have to be doing that. In the New Testament we come to 1 Corinthians 11, and we read that there were people at the Lord's Table, Holy Communion if you want to call it that, and they were eating and drinking unworthily - they were eating and drinking damnation to themselves. This goes on every Sunday in Ulster, people around the Lord's Table, the Communion Table, they're maybe communicant members of some denomination or other, and they're not converted - they're playing fast and loose with holy things. Is that you?

Playing fast and loose with holy things, a lack of respect and reverence, total sacrilege and blasphemy - is that you? Is that what comes out of your mouth? Is that the way you think?

That is a godless existence if ever there was one. Maybe you're charismatic, maybe you've seen some wonders done, you have cast demons out or seen it happen, you've done mighty works, you've spoken in tongues or one thing or another - don't think that that in any way says that you're saved. In Matthew 7:22 the Lord Jesus says that many will come to Him on the day of judgment and say: 'Lord, Lord, did we not do these things' - all of those that I have listed - 'in Your name?', and He will say: 'Depart from me ye cursed, I never knew you!'. You can have those things and still have a godless existence - sure, didn't Peter the apostle deny the Lord Jesus with oaths and curses, Judas for thirty pieces of silver sold out the Lord Jesus Christ, and had the audacity to betray Him with a kiss. People have been cursing the name of Christ for centuries and selling Him out for even less than 30 pieces of silver.

Belshazzar's father, Nebuchadnezzar, we read was a converted man. He was like a John Newton, he was converted by the grace of God - but before God saved his soul, God had to put him through the mill. God had blessed him, even in his unconverted state. Maybe you're here tonight and you can identify with that, things are going well for you in your business or in your family life, your career - but because God had blessed, and he attributed it to having come from his own hand, his own success and aptitude, so his heart was raised in pride. Pride got in, and you need to remember, we all need to remember, that pride is the sin that made the devil the devil. He was an angel, he became proud, he wanted to take the place of God in the universe - maybe that's where you are tonight: you want to pilot your own life, you want to be in the driving seat, in control of your own destiny. Well, God had to come and humble him.

Oh Belshazzar had witnessed this, his own father was a man who God had raised up, and because of his pride He had to pull him down again, and actually make him to crawl in a field like a beast and eat the grass - to humble him to know that there is a God in heaven who rules over all. Now isn't it remarkable, and doesn't it tell us a lot about sinful man, when we see in verse 22 that Daniel tells Belshazzar: 'Thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all these things'. You have repeated the same mistakes of your father, maybe even done worse! Yet you have remained unconverted - at least Nebuchadnezzar was saved by God's grace, and when God started to put him through the mill he humbled himself, and looked up to heaven and pleaded the mercy of God.

I'm sure there are many here this evening in father-son relationships, maybe mother-daughter relationships. Father or mother, what are you teaching your sons and your daughters? What example are you giving them? Is your godless existence starting to rub off on your own children? Son or daughter, what are you learning from your father or mother? Is it a way of sinfulness, a life of pride before God, a godless existence revelling in sensual pleasures, playing fast and loose with holy things? My friend, if you hold onto those sins, even though they be the examples of your parents, you will damn your own soul!

Father or mother, what are you teaching your sons and your daughters? What example are you giving them? Is your godless existence starting to rub off on your own children?

I never fail to shudder when I hear, again and again, the story of a young intellectual man who was dying without faith in God or Christ. The doctor said to him as he lay there in the last breathing moments of his life: 'You will meet your God'. He cried out immediately: 'I have no God, I have fought against God, and I have fought against my mother's prayers, and it means today that I will be in hell'. Then he turned to his father who was standing in the corner of that room, and he said: 'Father, you taught me this way'. Could your son say that of you? Son, could you say that of your own father? Do you know what he did? He cursed his father, and the sweat broke out on his father's brow, and his mother was carried out of that room - and that young intellectual man died in his profanity, cursing God, cursing his fellow man. He lived a godless existence, and to live a godless existence will mean that you will experience a godless eternity.

I think it rich at times talking to some people - and I don't mean to be unkind - but it's staggering to think that they feel they can live a godless existence in the face of a holy God, and throw everything they've got in rebellion towards Him, and then He's going to let them into heaven in the end. My friend, that cannot be the case. A godless existence was seen in the revelling and sensual pleasure, playing fast and loose with spiritual things, but thirdly: they worshipped at the shrine of materialism. They worshipped the gods, verse 4 says, of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood and stone. They were living for things - is that you? Come on now! Answer the question! All that matters for you is your career, or your clothes, or your fashion, or your sexual relationships, or your luxurious existence of affluence! Maybe all that matters for you is four wheels, a car. We were talking to a man over the Mission Weekend, and he said: 'I don't want anything to do with this Gospel, I live for Land Rovers' - Land Rovers! You've heard the song 'You can't get to heaven...' - you can't get to heaven in a four-wheel-drive! A Land Rover will not get you out of hell, or a Mercedes, or a Jaguar, or a BMW - nothing you have now will you take with you into eternity. It will prove no good for you at all! What we have in our society today is millions upon millions of people amusing themselves to death - they have a godless existence, and they're on their way to hell, and they don't even see it!

Oh, my friend, that God would quicken you tonight to realise the danger you're in. Several years ago I heard the story of how the Eskimos catch polar bears. They, until recently, have lived an existence that's almost 500 years old. They depend almost entirely upon the polar bear. Its meat is their food, its fur is their clothing, its fat they cook with, its bones and teeth are their tools. They have developed, over those centuries, ingenious ways of catching the polar bear. What they do first of all is they kill a small animal, maybe a seal. Then they drag the blood through the snow leading to one central location. They get a dagger about two feet long, and they freeze the shaft of the dagger, the handle, into the ice. Then what they will do is they take that animal's carcass, and they will place it on the blade. The polar bear will come along, it picks up the trail and finds the easy meat, and the delicacy is devoured very quickly - but the Eskimos are smart enough to know never to use a large animal. They want the polar bear to be hungry, and it's incredibly hungry. After eating the seal, it just likes to keep - like a child licking a cake spoon from its mother - it wants to keep on licking, and licking, and licking. It licks the blade, until it doesn't even realise that there has been a transition from licking the blood of the seal to licking its own blood, until it bleeds to death!

The more they lick the more they get, but what was attracting them was their own blood - and the lust for it killed them. My friend, are you living an orgy of decadent and godless celebration? God is not in all your thoughts, you're living a life that is separate to the existence of God - whether you're revelling in sensual pleasures, or playing fast and loose with holy things, or worshipping simply at the shrine of materialism - beware! Why? Here's the warning of God: in the same hour, at that moment, God broke into the godless existence of Belshazzar. It wasn't that there was some kind of parallel universe, but the existence that Belshazzar had denied all of his life was real, and God wanted him to know it. Are you here tonight, my friend, and you're presently having a close encounter of the divine kind? Are you having a 'God experience'?

Maybe all that matters for you is four wheels, a car. We were talking to a man over the Mission Weekend, and he said: 'I don't want anything to do with this Gospel, I live for Land Rovers' - Land Rovers!

Well, let me show you what this is - in verse 5 he got a sudden spiritual shock. The finger of God visibly reached out and pointed out his godless existence. Can I ask you: has the finger of God touched your life recently? What are you talking about? Well, one of the mentions of the finger of God in the Bible is found regarding the third plague that God sent upon the Egyptians to free the Israelites. It was a plague of lice, God made the dust of the ground into lice that went throughout the whole cattle and destroyed the livestock. Again, like in the book of Daniel, the soothsayers and the magicians, the occult witches and wizards, were called by Pharaoh: 'Can you tell me what this is and can you do something with it?'. This was what those godless men said: 'This is the finger of God'.

Are you experiencing, tonight, the finger of God? Is it some plague of sin? You know the way of the transgressor is hard, the wages of sin is death, and maybe you're sitting tonight shocked by how low you have gone in sin, and the consequences of the sin that you're living in presently. But there are various ways that you can be touched by the finger of God. Job tells us in chapter 33 of his book that God can speak once, and speak twice, and men don't regard it. Has God been speaking to you quietly and very simply in a still small voice through the reading of the Scriptures, maybe it's through observation of the heavens and the wonders of creation and science? Maybe your conscience has been speaking to you quietly? Maybe friends and loved ones - you have grown up in a Christian home, and you've witnessed the gospel godly influence, but you haven't listened! Once, twice, God has spoken, but you've put it out of your mind. Well then, Job says what can often happen is that God comes and speak through sickness, pain and disaster.

Is that what's happening to you? He says of a man lying who God speaks like this to: 'His flesh is consumed away that it cannot be seen, and his bones that were not seen stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyer'. C. S. Lewis said: 'God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains'. Is God speaking to you tonight, because you haven't listened to Him once, twice, through His word, through a godly influence, through your conscience, and now He has to shout to you through a disaster, through a tragedy? If that doesn't work, sometimes He sends a messenger, Job says. You say: 'Well, I have never had any messenger sent to me' - don't you ever say that! For 'the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world'. God sent His only begotten Son for you, and He went to Calvary to die for you, and He took upon Him your sin, and was punished in your place and on your behalf - He bore hell for you! Don't ever say that no messenger has ever come!

The spiritual shock was sudden to this man - has it been sudden to you? It shook him to the core of his being. I don't know what you're going through tonight, but if you look at verse 6 of chapter 5 you see that the King's countenance was changed - visibly, he was shaken to the core, and his thoughts troubled him. Mentally he was troubled, he was troubled to the depths of his emotions, emotionally - then it says that 'The joints of his loins were loosed'. Physically he actually shook! His knees knocked together, because there was a spiritual reality that was coming forcibly home to him. He hadn't even a moment to think about it or do anything for it: one moment he has a godless existence, the next moment he is having a God experience, and he knows he's without hope because he's left God out of his life!

The spiritual shock was sudden to this man - has it been sudden to you? It shook him to the core of his being

Then we see that he sought help in the wrong places. He sent for the soothsayers and the magicians, and maybe there's someone here tonight and that's exactly what you're doing. You're going to the occult, or you're reading your horoscopes, somebody is reading your palm, or doing tarot cards, or looking into the bottom of your teacup. My friend, don't you look there, the devil will damn your soul through those things. But you know, there are religious folk, and they point you in other places. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress has so much instruction. When the man read in the book that he was to flee from the wrath to come, the Evangelist pointed him to the cross where every lost soul should go, but then Mr Worldly-Wiseman - his name says everything - came along and said: 'You can't get rid of your burden like that', and he pointed him to the village of Morality. He says: 'Go and meet a gentleman called Legality, who has a son named Civility' - be civil! Obey God's law, be moral, that's enough to get rid of the burden of sin - no, it's not!

His family even tried to quell his fears, his wife tried to calm him down like Pilgrim's wife in Pilgrim's Progress. Indeed, his whole family said that they were sore amazed, they thought that some frenzied distemper had got into his head: 'Therefore, it drawing towards night, and hoping that sleep might settle his brains, they hasted him to bed'. My friend, if you are troubled for your sin, there's not something wrong with you - hallelujah! - you're in good spiritual health, but you need to get to Christ! You need to put your fingers in your ears, and whoever is trying to distract you or dissuade you from the Gospel, you need to ignore them and cry: 'Life! Life! Eternal life!'.

Someone eventually came to Belshazzar, and told him of a man who could help him. You listen to this carefully now: in John chapter 4 there was a woman at a well, a deeply immoral woman. The Lord Jesus, with His prophetic vision, came to her and said: 'You have been married five times, and the one who you're living with is not your husband. You're an immoral woman, a loose woman, and I know that about you' - but what He was saying was: 'I love you'. She said: 'Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet'. He said: 'I can give you water that will satisfy your soul, so that you're not running around immorally trying to get some sensual pleasure to satisfy your longing, but I will give you eternal life'. To cut a long story short, she embraced Him as her Saviour, and she went and told the men that she'd been with: 'Come, see a man that told me all things that ever I did. Is not this the Christ?'. There is a man!

Belshazzar was told in verse 11: 'There is a man, and he has God's message' - but I want to preach to you about not Daniel, but the Saviour, the Lord Jesus. He has God's message, He is anointed, He said: 'God has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to release the captives'. He couldn't be compromised, just like Daniel, He couldn't be bought, He couldn't be bribed. He went to the cross, whilst men tried to dissuade Him from doing so. He spoke against sinful pride in the religious establishment, He proclaimed that the judgment of God was coming, and men needed to repent - and that's what the Bible teaches! 'It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment'. He told of personal folly in rebellion against God, He told them: 'Except ye repent, ye shall perish'. He predicted death and irretrievable loss if they did not embrace His message. God honoured His Servant the Lord Jesus, just like He did Daniel, because when He died on the cross for sin, God rose Him again the third day - and has exalted Him to the highest place that heaven affords, and given Him a name above every name, so that one day at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess that He is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.

God's man came with God's message, but God's message was rejected in the heart of Belshazzar, and in that night his soul was required of him!

God fulfilled His word for Daniel, and God will fulfil His word for the Lord Jesus Christ. 'Though heaven and earth pass away', Jesus said, 'My words shall never pass away'. This is what I want you to see: God's man came with God's message, but God's message was rejected in the heart of Belshazzar, and in that night his soul was required of him! Like the rich man in Luke chapter 16, he lifted up his eyes in hell, being in torment. Do you know, my friend, that your life is a vapour? It only appears for a little time, and then it vanishes away. Are you playing fast and loose with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Or has God recently, maybe even tonight, broken into your godless existence? You're having a God experience, a close encounter of the divine kind: God is speaking to you - oh, today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart. 'For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'.

Let us pray: Oh, our Father, with your all-seeing eye You can see into the hearts and lives of every soul present here. You know those who have a godless existence. Presently they are revelling in sensual pleasures, they're playing fast and loose with holy things, they're worshipping at the shrine of materialism - but oh that, if not already, that tonight they would have a God experience, a sudden spiritual shock that will bring them to life, that will shock them to their core visibly, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. That they'll not seek help in the wrong places, and whatever their families and friends might think or say or do, that they'll hear of this Man of Calvary who died for them, and that they'll realise that this is the One who can help them, the One with God's message anointed of God, the One who God has honoured. Oh, Lord, fulfil Your word tonight, and as the Saviour has been lifted as the only way for sinful men to be saved, save souls from hell we pray. Restore backsliders, to the glory of God, for we ask these things in the Saviour's name. Amen.

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Transcribed by:
Preach The Word.
April 2006

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording, titled "A Close Encounter Of The Divine Kind" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.

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