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Samson - Week 1

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Alright men, this one is for you! If you agree men, when I'm finished give me a little shout out. There are two types of movies men, there's chick flicks and there's good movies! If you agree could you shout out? Men, this one is for you! I'm very pumped that over the next four weeks, I believe God is going to do something supernatural. All of our LifeChurch campuses, I want to take a moment and celebrate something very special today. Right now live, we are launching our very first campus in Broken Arrow, with over 2,000 people gathering at Broken Arrow. Welcome into the LifeChurch family! We celebrate with you guys! The reason I'm so excited, I believe that over the next four weeks God is going to do something supernatural in the lives of our men because gentlemen, within you if you are a follower of Christ, there is a potential of supernatural greatness. And if you'll make a commitment over the next four weeks, to be in God's presence hearing His Word, I believe that God is going to raise up some spiritual leaders that will make a tremendous difference in this world. And the reality is this is so important because historically, there's often been a shortage of godly men. In fact, I want to open up this series with what is to me one of the most tragic verses in the Bible, found in Ezekiel 22:30. This is God speaking and God said: I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it... God said: ...I looked for such a man... But how many did He find? Scripture says: ...but I found none. Zero, not one; not one man who would stand in the gap! Perhaps if God were speaking that verse today, He would say: 'I'm looking for a man with integrity; I'm looking for a man of courage; I'm looking for a man who will stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves; I'm looking for a man who would lay down his life to serve his bride as Christ laid down His to serve the church. I'm looking for a man who would impart spiritual truth to the next generation. I'm looking for a man who would stand in the gap.' And I believe with all of my heart, if God looked for such a man at this place, He wouldn't find none, but He would find many. I believe that God would find some whose heart beats only for Him. In fact, years ago there was a guy named Henry Varley. One man who said to another man, D.L. Moody; Varley said to Moody, who would become one of the greatest evangelists of modern times, he said to Moody: The world has yet to see what God can do through one man whose heart is totally surrendered unto Him. And Moody declared what I pray you will declare: I will be that man! If God is looking for men of integrity of honor and courage and faithfulness, I will be such a man. Today we're launching into a new series as we're going to study the life of Samson for four weeks. If you want to read ahead, I would encourage you to do so. You can jot in your notes, Judges Chapter 13, 14, 15 and 16; you can read all about Samson in Judges 13-16. Today, I'm going to give you an overview of Chapter 13 to develop a foundational understanding of this strong man and then we'll dive in to some attitudes that make strong men weak. A lot of people know a little about Samson. I want you to know a lot. Let's dive in and talk about who he was. First of all, Samson's accomplishments are legendary. At the same time, so are his weaknesses. In fact men, he's like a lot of us. Samson had so much God-given potential; and yet, again and again he made bad decisions and self-destructed. God had given him, just like you, so much potential for righteousness and kingdom movement; and yet, again and again, he made poor decisions. In fact, if I would summarize his life with one statement, if you're taking notes, here is the summary in one statement: Samson was an incredibly strong man with a dangerously weak will. Just like so many of us men, incredibly strong with tremendous spiritual potential, but at the same time with a dangerously weak will. Let me tell you the high-altitude view of his story: The Israelites had been unfaithful to God. So God put them under the rule of the Philistines, their enemies. For years and years and years God said, 'Finally you've learned your lesson. I'm going to rise up a man, Samson, who will help start to deliver you from bondage to the Philistines.' So, an angel of the Lord appeared to a couple that were unable to conceive. And the angel says, 'You're going to give birth to Samson.' And God, from the very beginning of Samson's life, the Spirit of the Lord stirred within him and God came upon him in supernatural ways with a strength that is beyond anything we could imagine. And the angel said, 'I want you, your family, to live by what's known as the Nazirite vows.' Now, if you want to jot down in your notes, Numbers Chapter Six, you can go read about the Nazirite vows. You may say, "What in the world is a Nazirite vow?" Well, this was essentially a way where a non-priest, an ordinary person, could make some vows to be set apart for the use and glory of God. So, a non-priest could say, "I'm living by these vows. I am devoting myself to serve God wholly." And there were three vows we are going to see that Samson had to live by. The first vow is: Don't get drunk! No Coronas, no martinis, not margaritas with your Mexican food! Don't let your lips touch alcohol, no getting drunk! The second thing is: Don't touch anything dead. Anything unclean, don't touch it! Third thing is: Don't get your hair cut, let your hair grow long. Now some of you may say, you know, "What style was it?" I don't know exactly what hairstyle he had with it long, but I can promise you one thing with every bit of spiritual integrity I have, Samson never had a mullet! Just want you to know, there was no mullet on Samson! That is ungodly, it has been through history, and everybody who agrees said amen! Even if you wore one in 1982 and thought you were cool! You were not! There is grace for your mullet, you can be forgiven and healed! So anyway, Samson had this long hair. You may be saying, "What's up with the hair?" Well just like, and I praise God in Heaven that this weekend at all of our LifeChurches, we are celebrating over 1,000 people being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, which is truly amazing! Just like baptism is an outward and visible testimony, a sign of an inward and spiritual truth. Just like my wedding ring is an outward sign that I am committed to Amy, the long hair was an outward and a visible sign that he was set apart for the use of God. And so, here we see all of this greatness, God's hand is on him, God's strength is with him. So much so that when God's Spirit came upon him, Samson could slay, righteously kill 1,000 Philistine men. When God's strength would come on him he could rip a lion apart. And yet, with all of this God-given potential, his weak will got him into trouble again and again. We are going to watch as Samson betrays God for a stupid handful of honey. We're going to watch as his temper gets the best of him and he unrighteously kills 30 innocent men for a bet that he lost. We're going to watch as he again and again falls victim to pursuing the wrong kind of woman, and his lust for women again and again gets him in trouble. Gentlemen, he's just like us. He had so much potential for greatness, and yet again and again he squandered that potential with stupid living. And I don't know what it would be for you, but we see it all of the time. I don't know how many men that I've seen that are very, very aggressive at work, type A leaders, go take charge, conquer; and then yet, they come home and they're very, very passive. They're hands off, they don't lead their family or their kids anywhere. They're committed in one place and uncommitted in another. I know men everywhere that are committed to their finances, their career, and their hobby; and yet, they can't commit to a woman! What's up with that? I know men that will study everything, research. You know, seven hours, what's the best rod and reel? You know, what's that best kind of TV to buy? And yet, they'll spend all of that time doing that, but they won't spend five minutes in God's Word to help spiritually build them. I know so many men that truly do love God, really do, truly do love their wives. And yet, these men with so many attributes are locked in a prison of lust and are too afraid to ask for help. So much potential and yet, at the same time, self-destructing with bad decision after bad decision. Why do you think so many potentially great men fall apart again and again and again? Well, Samson's life shows us the three very specific attitudes that make strong men weak. Those attitudes in your notes, they are: Lust, entitlement and pride. All of our churches, what are the attitudes that make strong men weak? Say it aloud, they are: Lust, entitlement and pride. What is lust? When a man sees something that he desires, what does he say? He lusts after it and he says: I want it! I got to have it! I'm going to get it! I want it! Come on men, give me a little I want it! Tell me how you say it! Give it to me! One, two, three...I want it! That's not bad! You almost have got to get a little growl in there! I'm a man, I want it! And what will happen is, a man who wants something who slips into a pattern of lust, he forgets about all logic. It may be that he wants the woman, the hit, the quick fix, the sexual thrill. It could be that he wants the advancement in his career or the money, or to conquer something. It may be the boat or the new house, or the new car, whatever it is. But when he wants it, he'll forget about every step of logic and he'll pursue what he wants with reckless abandon. And we'll see Samson do this in Judges 14:1-2, watch: Samson went down to Timnah and there saw a smoking hot young Philistine woman... I added that part, but I promise you it's true, because he was a sucker for smoking-hot women! Verse two: When he returned, he said to his father and mother, "I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife." 'I saw it, I want it! She's good!' Now, what did he do? He left Zora, his home town, and he traveled four miles to Timnah, which was in enemy territory. He left his friends and went to his enemies and saw a woman that was forbidden to him because God said, 'You shall not intermarry with those who do not worship me'. And at that moment, he looks at her and he forgets everything else and he says, 'I want it! I don't care what my God says; I don't care what my Dad says. I don't care what my Mom says, I don't care what's right and I don't care what's wise, because I'm a man and I've got my desires and I want it!' And over and over and over again, we will see lust make strong men weak. The second thing we see is a spirit of entitlement. Not only men do we want it, but we believe that we deserve it. Come on, give me a little love, everybody say it, I deserve it! "I work hard, I deserve it!" "I've been slaving away, I deserve it!" "I put up with her, I deserve it!" Whatever you know, "I deserve this!" And we're going to watch as he gets this attitude. Sorry about that...I put up with her, but you know, maybe he did! Just saying! So, he's going along one day, and a lion jumps out! Okay now, you may read this and go, "So what, he killed a lion, David killed a lion, no big deal!" The reason you feel like that is because you've never seen a lion in the wild like I have! Oh yes, I have! I live in the middle of nowhere and God as my witness, I saw, not a regular lion, but a mountain lion! That is a lion that can climb mountains! Scariest thing I've ever seen, I'm here to tell you man. I mean, I know those cats, they talk, and they get back and forth. They know my reputation! I'm saying, it was the biggest steroid-filled, satanic cat you've ever seen! It scared the fire out of me! I've also seen three bobcats. In fact, believe it or not, I saw a bobcat this week. They're small, but still really scary. My dog was barking about ten o'clock at night, and my kids are like, "Daddy is there something outside?" I said, "Stand back, have no fear, your Dad will take care of it!" And armed with my iPhone flashlight app and my nunchucks, I went out to destroy anything that was in my yard! Because when the Spirit of the Lord comes on me I can take anything out with my nunchucks! Not kidding, I'm serious, even without the Spirit of the Lord I could probably do it! So anyway, I'm outside and my dog has up in a tree, a bobcat, it's up in a tree! So, I'm like shining my flashlight, it's a bobcat! So, nobody is going to believe me so I decided to take a picture of it. Let me see if I can get that picture up. Is it? See look at it, see those eyes right there? Those are bob-freaking-cat eyes, right there looking at me in a tree! And all of a sudden I'm going like, "That's a bobcat!" I was a little nervous and the bobcat then jumped off of that limb, onto the ground! Now, I am 87% sure that I didn't say a cuss word! But I'm a 100% sure I thought one! And I ran as fast as I could back to my house, locked the doors, because you never know, they could get thumbs one day, okay? If you don't know what I'm talking about, you missed church last week! But anyway, I didn't let the kids come out of the house for like seven days! It was so scary! Well anyway, I just had to tell you that because he came across a lion and the Spirit of God came on him and he ripped this lion apart! Now, that's cocky! That's cool man; he ripped the big cat apart! Okay now, sometime later, the Bible says, verse eight, we don't know how long, but sometime later, when he went back to marry this Philistine chick, what did he do? The Bible says: ...he turned aside. That's when we get in trouble, when we're going to where we're supposed to be going men, and we turn aside: look at the lion's carcass. So he got this ripped-up, dead lion. And the Bible says: In it was a swarm of bees and some honey, which he scooped out with his hands and he ate as he went along. Two things: 1. That's nasty! You've got to admit that's nasty! Then the reason is men, because we're nasty! Just say it, say it like you mean it men, "We are nasty!" If you don't believe me, just watch how a man determines if a pair of underwear on the ground is clean or dirty! What does a man do when there's a pair of underwear on the ground to determine if it's clean or dirty, what does he do? I'm not even going to tell you; but men, just say it, we're nasty! Don't any of you act like you've never done that before, you've done it! And if it's dirty what do you do? You turn it inside out and you wear it again! All of these people not coming back to LifeChurch! We're going to clear out our overflowing problem right now, over a pair of nasty underwear! So anyway: 1. That's nasty, okay! 2. What was he not supposed to touch? He wasn't supposed to touch dead things, things that were unclean. And what did he do? The same God that gave him the power to rip apart the lion he betrays, he betrays a vow to the God who blessed him. For what? For a handful of honey. Who would be stupid enough to betray God for a handful of honey? The answer is that men do it every single day. Betray our God who blessed us for stupid, sinful things that only hurt us and those around us. Lust, I want it. Entitlement: I deserve it. And then whenever it comes to temptation, there's the third attitude that makes strong men weak, and that is: Pride. What do we think men? We think, "Oh, I can handle it! I'm strong, I can handle it! What were the three vows? Help me out: Don't cut your hair. Don't touch dead things. Don't get drunk. So what does he do? Mr. strong, I think I can handle it guy in verse ten says: Now his father went down to see the woman... What are they doing? They're planning a wedding: ...And Samson made a feast there, as was customary for bridegrooms. The Hebrew word that's translated as feast is the word 'mishteh'. It means a feast or a party. Very literally, it means an occasion for drinking. Let me tell you what he did, the dude threw himself a keg party, that's what he did. He's about to get married, 'Call in my buddies, tap the keg, I can handle it, I can handle it.' And that's what happens to strong men over and over and over again. God has given you great potential to do works to bring glory to His name; and yet we think, "I'm strong, I want it, I deserve it, I can handle it, I want it, I deserve it, I can handle it!" And I don't know what it would be for you. It could be any number of things, but all of us know, a man with such great potential who thinks, "I want a drink, or a bottle, or a pill, or a smoke," or whatever it is, "I deserve it, I can handle it!" And before long, a substance handles him. We know again and again, someone who says, "I want the boat, I want the car, I want the toy! I deserve it! I can handle the payments!" And before long, he's drowning in a sea of financial debt and feeling like he cannot get out. "I want to look!" "I want to have her stay!" "I deserve a little know, I want it!" And then the next thing you know, his lust leads him into a downward spiral. "I'm strong!" "I want it, I deserve it, I can handle it!" If you fast forward to the end of Samson's life, let me just tell you what we're going to see in week number four. We are going to see, perhaps the strongest man who ever lived, who from birth had God's hand upon him, God's Spirit strengthening him. And we're going to see this man with his eyes gouged out, nothing but dark sockets. We're going to see the strongest man who ever lived bound with his prized hair cut, and we're going to see him in front of over 3,000 of his enemies in a coliseum, and he is the entertainment as they mock him and he is the total laughingstock. And that is what lust and entitlement and pride can do to a man who should have made a difference in this world. It takes him down. You say, "Well, are you telling me Craig, well, I'm going to have my eyes gouged out?" No, no, no, no, no! I'm telling you, it could be something much worse than that, seriously, much worse than that. It could be in your forties or your fifties or your sixties, you look back at a failed marriage and you realize, "Oh my gosh, it was mostly my fault! I can't believe I'm here with these regrets!" I'm going to tell you, there may be a day when your children don't want to see you at Christmas time. They have no respect for you, no respect; they don't want to be in your presence. And you'll have to live with that because of decisions you make. There may be a time when your private life becomes public and you don't want to go out in public anymore, because you are humiliated by your own actions, because that is where sin leads. But here's the deal men, it doesn't have to go down that way. I'm telling you, it doesn't have to go down that way. If you are a follower of Christ, I want you to know there is spiritual greatness within you. That with God's power, no matter what you've been into, you can be transformed, you can be new, you can be different. You can make a difference in this world, you can be that man. You can be a man of courage, you can be a man with spiritual strength, you can be a man who defends those who are defenseless, you can be a godly husband, you can be a godly dad. No matter what's happened in the past, you can be that if you'll stop trying to be strong in your own strength. Because here's the deal, our spiritual enemy, Satan, he loves to make strong men weak, but our good God loves to make weak men strong! And our God is with you and our God is for you! I don't know how it is that just half of you are clapping, I'm telling you, that's some good preaching right there! That we serve a God who when a man will be a real man and will say, "I'm weak and I'm vulnerable, and I need strength and I need His presence," God specializes in making weak men strong! Satan wants to take you out, I'm telling you, he wants to take you out and shame you and cause you to waste your God-given potential on stupid stuff, and our God wants to redeem you and lift you and use you for His glory. There are attitudes that make strong men weak, "I want it, I deserve it, I can handle it!" I want to give you three attitudes though, that make weak men strong. Instead of saying, "I want it"; whatever 'it' is, instead gentlemen you say: I want God. Everybody say it, I want God! I need God! I need God's strength! I want God! I want His daily power; I want His Word living inside my spirit. I want his strength; I want Him ordering my steps. I want His Spirit convicting me when I sin and correcting me and leading me in righteousness. I want His voice directing me, I want God! "Well you know, religion and God is a crutch for the weak." Yeah, absolutely, hands down, unquestionably; I am weak and I want God! I need His strength! "Well, I deserve it! I deserve these things!" No, no, no; an attitude that makes weak men strong is this, "I deserve death." What do you deserve men? You deserve death! Ladies, you're sitting back going, "Oh this is so good! Just get those men!" No, this is what you deserve, you deserve death too! The wages of sin is death, that which we deserve for our sinfulness against a Holy God is death. We don't deserve anything, we're not entitled to anything. "God, you owe me!" God doesn't owe us anything. When we realize that we are dead in our transgressions and sins, but God in His goodness, while we were still sinners, sent Christ to forgive our sin. Suddenly, we're not deserving, we are humble before a Holy God saying, "I don't have to serve you, I want to serve you!" Why? Because I need God, I deserve death. And when every other strong man says, "I can handle it, I can handle it!" What are you going to say weak men? You're going to say, "I can't handle anything without God!" I can't handle anything without God. I don't know about you, but I am capable of anything ungodly without the presence of God. I need God, I deserve death and I can't handle anything without God. I had a real touching moment with a group of college students that came in from another campus to worship with us. And there was a handful of young girls and they were like, "Pastor Craig, we're so thankful for you! Our dads weren't godly men and you're an example of godliness, and you're such a strong man of God and we pray every day for a strong man of God to marry like you one day!" I was like, "Woa, woa, woa; hello, thank you, flattered!" all this kind of stuff. I said, "What you need to understand is that I am not strong, not at all!" And I just looked at them and I said, "I am the weakest man that you've ever met." And they looked really confused and I just tried to explain to them, "You know you don't want some guy who looks all strong; you need a guy, the only way that I can stand strong is because I've been on my knees today, and every day before God." I am weak and I am vulnerable. I'm telling you, I am capable of doing anything and everything ungodly without the presence of God in my life day by day. Men, I want you to hear this men. We want to be strong, man we're strong! No listen, listen; the men that change the world are the ones who admit to their need, "I am weak!" Some of you, you're locked in a very lonely prison and today you need to be weak enough to ask for help. You need to be weak enough to confess your sins. You need to be weak enough to stand before someone else and say, "I need your help, I need your prayers, I need you to kick me in the butt, I need you to hold me accountable." Here's the deal, you think you're strong? Satan loves to take you out, he will take you out! Satan loves to make strong men weak, but God loves to make weak men strong. His Spirit, His power; gentlemen, I want you to know, there is spiritual greatness in you. God can stir you, God can strengthen you. It doesn't matter what happened in the past, from this moment forward, the world is yet to see what God can do through one man! One man wholly surrendered unto Him! You can be that man! You can be that man! You can be a man of courage; you can be a man of spiritual strength; you can be a man of integrity; you can be a man who defends those who are defenseless; you can be a man after God's own heart! But you'll never be that man as long as you're strong in your own strength, because God loves to make weak men strong. In our weakness His strength is made perfect. God, make some weak men strong in Your Spirit, by Your Power, for Your glory, that we could serve and honor you in every way. God I ask today, that your presence, your Word, your Spirit would speak to every single man young and old. I pray that you would stir everyone God, men and women, to a desperate point of need where we realize our weakness and call on you to be our strength. All of our churches as you're praying today, at all of our churches and Network Churches; men and women, I'm wondering how many of you are going to recognize and call it what it is, "I'm weak and I really need God." Some of you are facing a temptation you cannot overcome. You've got a problem, it's too big for you to handle. There's a mountain that you cannot move. You need Him. You may be tempted to think, "Well, I want this, I deserve that, I can handle whatever," and you're realizing that that's nothing but pride, that's nothing but lust, that's nothing but entitlement, "I want God, I need God, I deserve death, I can't handle anything without Him." At all of our churches, in a moment of humility, those of you who would say, "I really do, I need His strength, I need His presence, I need His power, I need God!" Would you lift up your hands right now? Just all over the place, lift them up at campuses all over the place. Man, thank you God for those today who recognize the truth. God, I pray that wherever they are weak in a temptation, we thank you that you always give us a way out. Be their strength. God, for those with a relational challenge, be their strength and their wisdom. God, for someone who is cornered and doesn't see a way out, God I pray that your presence would be real to them at this moment. God, you be their strength. God, to the one who wants to give up and feels like a failure and feels like it's all gone; God, I pray that your Spirit would be their strength, God, that they would realize that you can make all things new. God, I pray for everyone that you, in our weakness your strength would be made perfect. And God, I pray especially for the men that you would cause them to rise up to live out their full potential for your glory and for your name sake. God, for the world is yet to see what you could do through these men, wholly surrendered to you. I pray God, you would raise up such men. As you keep praying today at all of our churches, a lot of you are going to be sitting there right now thinking the same thing I've thought so many times I can't count it, "I've blown it, I've blown it. I've messed up, I have blown it!" When you feel like that, let me just tell your right now, that is the first and most important step that you're going to take toward God to realize that you have blown it, and so have I. Every single one of us, all of us, every single one of us, we have sinned against a Holy God. And to recognize that is to take the step toward Him. And here's what I hope you'll understand, we do deserve death. Our sin, it should be punished by God, but God in His mercy, He did something for us that we couldn't do for ourselves. He sent His Son Jesus, who was sinless and did not deserve death. But Jesus took on all of our sins, He became sin for us. He shed His blood, He died, and He rose again so that anyone and that includes you, who calls on His name will be saved, will be forgiven! I'm telling you right now, you're here because you need Him, call on Him! As you do, He will make all things new. Everything you've ever done, He will forget your sins, He will fill you with His Spirit and you will be different. That's why you're here. At all of our churches, those of you who would say, "That's me, I'm weak, I need His strength. I am a sinner, I need Him as Savior. Jesus, take my life, I give it to you, I need you. Holding nothing back, I want to be wholly surrendered to you, I give you my life!" If that's your prayer today, lift up your hands high right now. All over the place lift them up high now, all over, lift them up and leave them up if you will! Right back over here, all four or five of you back in this section, praise God for you guys. Right up here, awesome! In this section, all four of you right here together, sir right here! Man, praise God! Back here in this section, I want to look you in the eye. Two back here in the back row, God bless you guys. Sir right up here, welcome into God's family. Right here ma'am, both of you here together. Way back here toward the back of this section. I don't know how you're sitting here just kind of watching this! Two people, men, right here in the middle section, praise God for you guys! Ma'am right back here in this section, right back here as well, all the way in the back. Church Online, you guys click right below me. Others of you today, call it what it is, you need a Savior, "Jesus save me!" Lift up your hands and call on Him, He will make all things new. Way back over there in this section, praise God for you guys. Everybody pray aloud. Pray Heavenly Father, save me from my sins, make me new. I believe Jesus died for me so I could live for you. Fill me with your Spirit so I could serve you for the rest of my life. In my weakness, you be strong. Thank you for new life, I give you mine. In Jesus' name I pray. Somebody better go crazy! Worship God; welcome those today born into His family!

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Duration: 37 minutes and 10 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Feb 21, 2012

Samson - Week 1 - Craig Groeschel -

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