Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

Daniel Whyte III Preaches Adaptation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Sermon, “But If Not…”

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his sermon titled “But If Not…” at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on November 5, 1967.

TEXT: Daniel 3:16-18

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.


In this passage, we find three Hebrew young men confronted with the command to bow before a great golden image that the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Of course, bowing before any image is against the laws of God. However, the penalty for not bowing is being thrown into the fiery furnace and burned alive. Knowing the consequences, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego bravely refuse to bow before the king’s image and tell the king so to his face.

As they did what they did, they made it very clear that they knew that God had the power to spare them. They said that to the king: “Now we know that the God that we worship is able to deliver us.” They had experienced God in nature and they knew God as the creator. They had seen God in history. And they had seen God in their personal lives. They never doubted God’s power to deliver them.

But they also knew that God, in His sovereign reasoning, could very well choose not to deliver them. And they want the king to know that, despite this, they still will not bow. They say, “But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” ‘But if not… But if he doesn’t deliver us, we still are not going to bow.’

The ultimate test of one’s faith is his ability to say, “But if not.” You see there is what you may call an ‘if’ faith, and there is a ‘though’ faith. The permanent faith, the lasting faith, the powerful faith is the ‘though’ faith. Now the ‘if’ faith says, “I’ll serve God if all goes well; if life is hopeful, prosperous, and happy; if I don’t have to go to jail; if I don’t have to face the agonies and burdens of life; if I’m never called bad names because of taking a stand.” That’s the ‘if’ faith. And a lot of people have the ‘if’ faith.

But, the ‘though’ faith is different. The ‘though’ faith says, “I will serve God even though things go wrong; even though evil is temporarily triumphant; even though sickness comes and the cross looms. Nevertheless! I’m going to believe anyway and I’m going to have faith anyway.” In the words of the Psalmist, “Even though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, even though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof, the LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Job got a hold of the ‘though’ faith when he said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” The question is whether you have an ‘if’ faith, or whether you have a ‘though’ faith.

There is a reward that awaits those who have a ‘though’ faith. For the Hebrew boys, somehow that burning fiery furnace was transformed into an air-conditioned living room. King Nebuchadnezzar looked in there and said, “We put three in here, but now we see four.” God was his servants in the fiery furnace. Don’t ever think you’re by yourself. Go on to jail if necessary but you’ll never go alone. Take a stand for that which is right, and the world may misunderstand and criticize you, but you’ll never go alone.

Ludie Pickett wrote:

I’ve seen the lightning flashing,
And heard the thunder roll;
I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing,
Trying to conquer my soul;
I’ve heard the voice of Jesus,
Telling me still to fight on;
He promised never to leave me,
Never to leave me alone.

Wherever you’re going, tell the world that you’re going with the truth. You’re going with goodness. You have an eternal companion. The world will look at you and they won’t understand you, because your fiery furnace will be all around you, but you’ll go on anyhow. But if not, I will not bow. May God grant that we will never bow before the gods of evil.

The only God whom we ought to bow before is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — the God who delivered the Hebrew boys — the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.