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Samson - Week 4

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For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again. Alright let's do this, the final week of the series called Samson. If you have your Bibles with you, let's turn to Judges, Chapter 16. Or you can log onto your mobile devices at YouVersion. We are so glad to have everybody with us at all of our LifeChurches, our Network Churches, our Church Online family, and those of you listening through podcast or whatever, thank you for joining us today. Let me wrap back to where we've been in case perhaps maybe you've missed one or more of the previous weeks. We are looking at one of the most frustrating characters in the Bible. This was a guy who was given so much by God. From birth, Samson was actually called by God, set apart by God, empowered with supernatural strength from God to fulfill God's calling on his life, which was to help deliver the Israelites from the oppressive hands of the bad guys, or the Philistines. And even though he was given all of this power and this divine calling, he like so many of us men messed up again and again and again. We said that he was an incredibly strong man with a dangerously weak will and again and again broke his vows to God chasing after the wrong women, touching things he wasn't supposed to touch, drinking things he wasn't supposed to drink, and getting a really bad haircut when he was never supposed to get his hair cut. We also looked at his emotions and we recognize that one of his problems is that he was emotion driven, not Spirit led. That's a problem for a lot of us as men, our emotions get out of control and we end up letting them drive us rather than the Spirit drive us. Last week, we saw that most men don't ruin their lives all at once, how do they ruin their lives? They ruin them one step at a time. And so, we are going to watch as this guy who was given so much, just like so many of us, blew it big time. And we're going to pick him up in the story when he's supposed to be delivering God's people, he's actually now a prisoner and his eyes had been gouged out. Now, most commentaries actually believe that the Philistines would have burned his eyes with fire first and then dug out what was remaining. He's in shackles, he's actually grinding. What he would have been doing, is he was actually fastened to this big wooden grind and he would have been doing what an ox or an animal would have done just day after day. He's pushing this thing in a circle as everybody's mocking him, throwing stuff at him, calling him names, making fun of him and such. And so, it just doesn't get any lower than the low point where Samson is. His condition right now in the story, it raises the question, what do you do when you realize you've blown it? What do you do men, when you realize you've wasted years that God gave you? You've wasted the gifts He's given you? You've done some things that you can't undo, you're embarrassed by your actions, you've hurt people that you love, and you didn't do what God created you to do. And the problem is for us men is that we take this kind of failure very, very personally, because men and women typically find value in different ways. For example, ladies, you typically receive value in relationships. If that's true women, say with a high pitched, "That's true!" everybody say it, "That's true!" very good okay! You get value in relationships because for when everything is about relationships, it's "Do you like me?" and "Are we friends?" and "Can we hug?" and "Can we cry?" and "You took 72 seconds to text me back, are we still BFF's? Just tell me we are because I love you so much and I love everybody!" and it's all about relationships. Everything is relational for women, everything is relational. Everything, even going to the bathroom, it's relational! Women don't go to the bathroom alone, "Would you like to go to the bathroom?" "Sure!" "Do we know anybody else? Women, ladies, anybody, let's go to the bathroom!" And then, four hours later, you come out of the bathroom. We don't know what happens! That's not the way men are. Men, we like to be liked but it's not everything for us. We get value, not as much from relationships but from accomplishments. How do we measure up? Did we do good? Did we win? Can we conquer? We like to be liked, but it's not all about relationships. No guy that you trust ever says to his friends, "Hey, let's all go to the bathroom together!" They just don't do that! And if you ever do see a friend in the bathroom, you are allowed to talk; you can speak but you just don't make eye contact, you look at the wall. You never look; you just don't do that! Just look at the wall! And if you do look you lose your man card! Because men, we want to be..., it's not so much that, "Hey, do you like me?" it's, "Do you respect me?" And so, when we fail we take it so personally and we often feel like we can never recover from failure. If you're taking notes, that's why generally speaking, a man's greatest fear is failure and his greatest pain is regret. For most men, our greatest fear, we don't want to fail, we want to measure up, and we want to be successful. And when we don't live up to our expectations or someone else's, typically our greatest pain is regret, "I wish I could have" and "I should have" and "Why didn't I?" In fact, there are a lot of you one day that you are going to face some significant regret. Unfortunately, many men will one day look their wives in the eye, the woman who has been faithful to them for years, popped out kids and served them, and he'll have to try to explain why he was getting his jollies with some image on a computer screen as she cries and cries and cries. Or he'll try to explain something that's inexplicable, why he betrayed his vow to her and chased after some floosy thing at his office. And he'll face the regret of betraying the woman who has been so faithful to him. Or, it might be the guy who is so frustrated because he's in a career that feels beneath him and he's living paycheck to paycheck and some of his friends are doing better and he feels like a failure because of that. Or, it could be the guy who regrets not marrying. And years later he's like, "Well, had I treated her better, or hadn't been such a selfish jerk! And now, here I am alone and I wish I wasn't". Or, it could be the guy who is married and his marriage is pathetic and he hates that his marriage is pathetic. He doesn't like his marriage, his wife knows it's not good and he knows it's not good; and yet, he's not man enough to not do anything about it. He just kind of resigns to it, and he hates that it's that way but he doesn't do anything about it. Or, it may not be the outward failure, sometimes it's the inward failure that no one else sees that gets him. It's the promise he made to himself or the promise that he made to God that, "I'll never, ever, do that again!" And then by Thursday he does it again and internally he feels like such a failure. Samson's story men, it teaches us something that we have to embrace, internalize, to live with. It's the principle that just because you failed at something does not mean that you are a failure. Write this down: A failure is an event, never a person. A failure is an event, never a person. We're going to see in Samson's life, a guy who failed over and over and over and over and over and over again, and then when it looks like he failed way too much for God to ever even love him much less use him, we're going to watch and see a God who still accomplishes His purposes through a man that repeatedly could not get it right. I'm here to tell somebody some good news. Just because you're down, you are not out. If you failed at something, you are not a failure, because a failure is an event never a person. Let's watch this story unfold in Judges 16, verse 23. Here's what the Bible says: Now the rulers of the Philistines... Those are the bad guys: ...they assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, "Our god Dagon has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands."... Now, let's pause there for a moment and kind of unpack kind of what we just read. They would have been gathered in the temple, but for our understanding it looked more like a coliseum, that's what we would picture. There's a big open area, and then there's layers of seating on top of each other. And there would have been gathered at least 3,000 people at this event, maybe as many as 5,000. And they're worshiping Dagon, which was the god of the harvest. And Dagon, the image of this god had a man head and a fish body. Okay, the man-fish god. And so, they were going, 'Man-fish god, thank you for delivering Samson into our hands!' And they're making sacrifices and praising the man-fish god. Okay, verse 24; not judging, but I like our God better than the man-fish god, okay! Verse 24: When the people saw Samson, they praised their god, saying, "Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who... Did what? Everybody say it aloud, the one who: ...laid waste our land... Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when we studied the 150-pair of foxes incident? When he put the torch in the foxes and burned their land, this is what they're talking about, 'Hey, he's the guy who burned our land and the one who did what else? ...and multiplied our slain." Do you remember the jawbone incident? Where he took the jawbone of a donkey and killed a thousand of them. They're saying, 'This is the guy.' Verse 25: ...While they were in high spirits, they shouted, "Bring out Samson to entertain us." So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. It doesn't get any lower than this. He is totally and completely, 100% totally and completely shamed in front of God's enemies, he has failed massively. Now, there are two responses to failure, if you're taking notes: The natural response is remorse. And this unfortunately is where a lot of men stop. Remorse, "I feel bad about what I did, I shouldn't have done it, I'm a bad person." Sometimes remorse will turn inward, "I'm horrible, I'm no good, I'm the worst person who has ever lived, I have no future, I hate myself, I hate my life!" and it turns inward. Other times, it turns outward into kind of the "I'm the victim and it's someone else's fault." It's, "This wouldn't have happened if you hadn't...", and "I didn't ask for this!" and 'You know what? It's all Delilah's fault, when she came up to me with all that stuff!' And you know, 'Dedicate me a love song Samson! Delilah!' Or it was her fault when she did that whole nagging thing. Now unfortunately, some of you men have only memorized one verse from this whole story that, 'She prodded him and nagged him...' help me out, ' after day after day, until he was..' What? '...until he was tired to...' look at you memorizing God's Word! Do not quote that at your wife ever, ever! Don't let anyone plow with your heifer and don't quote that verse ever, right? If you missed the earlier weeks you know, "What's he talking about?" Don't miss church or you'd understand these awesome jokes! And so, it's this deep remorse; "I'm a loser, I'm no good, it's someone else's fault." There's a better response though and that is: Repentance. There is remorse, the natural response; the better response though is repentance. And that is, "I own it, my fault, I blew it." But it's not just, "Hey, I didn't do what God entrusted me to do, I'm turning away from that which I did wrong and I'm turning toward that which is right." It's repentance. Remember last week, most men don't ruin their lives all at once. How do they do it? They do it one step at a time. And if you're going in the wrong direction, what do you do? You turn around, you turn around, and that's what repentance is. Remorse focuses on the bad, it looks back to all of the things we did wrong. Repentance turns from the lower, that which is higher; 're' means turn, 'pent' means the highest, we turn from our lower, sinful ways, and turn back to God's higher ways. It's not just, "I feel bad about this", but "I'm turning completely to God to let him redeem me to his divine purposes." You see, all of us, we're going to do some things we can't undo. For example, I don't know if all of you know or not, but you can group text people now. How many of you know that? You can group text people. You've got to be careful with that, okay, because Amy group texted me along with her friends, to tell me something when I was on a trip. It was about eleven o'clock at night and we've been known to practice what I call, 'hot text', do you know what I'm saying? Okay, we're married, a little romance! You know Amy, she does it to me all of the time, all of the time! It gets old! She's always like, "I can't wait! I want you!" You know, "You're my..." you know, and you've got to deal with it! And so, I decided just to give her a little Song of Solomon love action on the phone! I'm on the road and I can't wait to get home and so I sent it to her. Then the moment I pressed send, I looked on there and I actually responded to the group text. I just sexted my wife's friends! And I mean, it's like that commercial where the guy sends the email and then he screams! I mean, Pastor Craig! I can't go and run and get their phones and throw them in the toilet! I mean, I'm devastated! And then, thirty seconds later my phone rings and it's Amy, she's like, "Do you realize?" "Yes, I do!" And here's the deal, there are some things you cannot undo! You cannot unsend, but you can repent! You cannot unsend, but you can repent! Gentlemen, some of you, you're going to come up on the horrible realization, you can't unsleep with that person you slept with, but you can repent. Not, "I'm sorry, I got caught and I shouldn't have!" I'm talking repent. You can't undo the bad deal that you did, but you can repent. You can't unsay what you said, you can't undo what you did, you can't unlook at what you looked at, but you can repent. You can't unsend, but you can repent! And for the record, if you're ever texting a group text, you also can't unsend. Just saying, be careful when you are sending love messages to your wife and she could have sent you a group text. You can't undo some things, but you can repent. And I believe that Samson, he comes to some point in his life where he remembers who he was created to be. I wasn't created to be entertainment to the enemies; I was created and set apart by God to do something significant. And it's my prayer gentlemen, that somewhere along in this series of messages, that you will remember that you were created to honor and glorify God with your life, that you'll remember who you were created to be. And you don't let your spiritual enemy lure you into a remorse, looking back, "Oh, I wish I could have, if I would have, I shouldn't have, I didn't, I hate myself, it's not my fault." But instead of being remorseful looking back, repentance says, "I'm not going to let what I did stop me from doing what God wants me to do. I'm turning away from my sin and I'm turning toward God! I cannot change my past." You cannot change your past, but you can change your future. Just because you're down, you are not out. Don't internalize the failure; you are not what you did, you are who God says you are. And watch as Samson realizes this in verse 25: When they stood him among the pillars... So he's in this temple, it's like a coliseum with these giant pillars that support the weight of the place. Samson, in verse 26 said to the servant who held his hand: "Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple so I can lean against them"... Then I love this: Samson prayed to the Lord, "O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me..." Somebody help me out with this, he prays: "..O God, please strengthen me just once more..." I love this more than I can tell you. He says, "Please strengthen me just once more." In other words, 'I've blown it a thousand times, but I don't need a thousand more chances. I've blown it too many times to count, but I don't need multiple opportunities. God, all I need from you is one more chance. One time God, one time. Just find it in your mercy to give me your strength just this once more.' What is he? He's broken. It's no longer about him, now it's all about God. I believe with all of my heart he stepped across some kind of spiritual line, where he's saying, 'For the first time in my life it's no longer about me, it's always been about me, it's always been about me; but it's no longer about me and I'm stepping across a spiritual line. And from this moment forward, whatever I have left I will give it all to the God who gave me all that I have.' And he steps across the line and he says, 'I'm no longer the main character of this story, my God is the main character of this story and everything that I have I will use to honor him just one more time.' I had a friend who betrayed a significant vow to many people he loved. And he came to me and he said, "Craig, I can't even tell you as my good friend and my pastor how sorry I am. But I will tell you this, for the rest of my life my actions will prove to you that I want to honor God with my life." That's the once more, "For the rest of my life I'm never the same, everything in me is different. It's no longer about me, it's all about Him." Here he is at the lowest point; I'm talking massive public humiliation. Nobody believes there's anything good in this guy, and internally he has a private moment with God just as some of you will have. "Just one more time God, one more time, one more chance. You give me Your strength and I will use the rest of my life to leverage what You give me for Your glory and for Your goodness." When a man is down he is not out. Write this down, we're going to watch as God shows us: Even in our failures, God can still accomplish His purposes. This is such good news. Even in our failures, God can still accomplish His purposes. What was God's purpose for Samson's life? That he would help start to deliver God's people from the hand of the Philistines. Verse 29: Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other... Verse 30: Then Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. He pushed the pillars with all of his might. Everything came crumbling down and he destroyed more of God's enemies when he died than in all of the years that he lived. It goes to show you that even in your failures, God can still use you. Even though you've messed up, it's not over yet. You are not what you did; you are who God said who you are. If you're not dead gentlemen, you're not done. There's more in you. Quit living in remorse of the past, "Well, I shouldn't have", and "I'm not", and "I'm never", and "They're never going to trust me again", and you know, "Financially I'm just a mess", and "I'm never going to make anything out of my career", and "I'm not keeping up with them!" Quit your whining! I mean, quit your whining! If you are a Christian, you have the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead living inside of you. You may be down but you are not out. You may be down but you are not out. You can be a man of God. "Well, I messed up so bad and all the stuff I did!" Guess what? That makes your story even better! Well, look what God brought you out of! "For years, I lied and lied and lied." "For years I was an addict." "For years I was locked in a pornographic world!" And guess just how much better God looks when everybody sees that God took you out of darkness and brought you into light! Our God is not finished with you yet. So gentlemen, here's the thing; some of you, it's time to push some pillars down. It's time to push some pillars down. What pillars do you need to push down? And I want to get real specific here. Why? Because men are really, really simple. Not supposed to be that funny, but it is and we are! I have to write everything down because I'm a man and I have the spiritual gift of forgetting! I went to the grocery store Friday night to get one thing, frozen fruit to make smoothies. Two hundred some odd dollars of food later, I came home without frozen fruit! Why? Because I'm a man and we do that well! So, what I want you to do is write it down very specifically: What pillars are you pushing down? What pillars are you pushing down? And how are you going to do it? What pillars are you pushing down? Some of you, it's time to push down the pillars of pride: "I need help! I'm alone! I'm messing up! I'm afraid! I feel like a failure! I've got this thing going on that I wish I didn't, but I do and I don't know how to get out! I'm addicted, I've been lying! I'm not exactly who I said I was!" Push down the pillar of pride and get some help. Push it down. Brothers, with you it might be anger. Just push it down. "I've been mad at the whole world when in reality I'm mad at myself!" Push it down. What are you going to do about it? Here's where the rubber meets the road. You can't just say, "I want something to be different", and not do anything different. If you want a different result, you've got to do something different. You're going to call and get counseling, you're going to check yourself in for rehab, you're going to confess to your wife and other godly men, "I need help!" You're going to confess to your small group. You're going to say, "I need help managing my money." You're going to have someone say, "Let's help you get out of a career that's a dead-end career and get into something different." You're going to stop being an every now and then Sunday church attender and you're going to be a real man of God; you're going to get your butt up and get your family involved in the church and you're going to actually grow spiritually. It's not just pretending you're going to do something about it. You're going to stop knowing you've got a bad marriage and you're going to lead your way out of it, you're going to love your way out of it. You're not going to waste another day with your kids, thinking, "One day I'll slow down and be a dad, but right now I'm making money for my family." You know, get over that stupid stuff and be a dad now before your kids are gone, do something different! You've got a calling on your life; don't wallow in the past, turn. Not remorse, "Well I feel bad, I feel guilty!" Well, do something different. Turn away from your sin, turn toward God and watch as God shows you, you may be down but you're not out. Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again. You can do it! If you're a Christian, you have resurrection power within your life! Don't give up! Don't just go be a stronger man, Satan loves to make strong men weak; but our God loves to make weak men strong! Don't just try to improve yourself and just be a better man, be a man of God, a man of God. A man who says, "It's no longer about me, it's all about Him. It's been about me forever, it's no longer about me, it's all about Him!" Then push those pillars down, die to yourself to live for Him! Now check this out, what Samson did was right. He did what God told him to do, he pushed the pillars down and he died. Hero! Yay! Sunday school story for fourth graders forever! Okay, what he did was right, but I'm also here to tell you that it was incredibly easy, very easy. You say, "Wait, no, no, no, no, no! When he died, he gave his life for this!" Easy, easy, easy; easy, peasy, weasy, okay! It's easy for a guy to do that because in all of us there's that dormant hero ready to give your life. I'm telling you, every single one of you; some attacker breaks into your house and threatens someone you love, what are you going to do man? You're getting out of bed in your boxers, you're lamp is a weapon and you're going to kill him or you're going to die trying to! You've got no reservation, do you? Not a bit! You'll give your life for someone you love for what's right, you'll do it. And that's easy, to give your life one time. Samson gave his life one time, but real men of God give their lives daily. That's good preaching! Real men, they give their lives daily. Paul said, 'I die daily'. And you know what? I just believe in you all so much. Man, I'm telling you, I believe in you so much. I believe in what a fully surrendered man can be and I'm like, the quote we used the first week: The world is yet to see what God can do through one man wholly surrendered unto Him. Why don't you be that man? "Well I messed up, I messed up!" You think Satan doesn't tell me all of the time, "You can't be a pastor at LifeChurch after what you did? You chased down three teenage boys that flipped you off and you tried to whip them!" Listen, remorse; "I shouldn't have, I didn't." Here's what you do: You're going the wrong way, repent and turn to God. "It's not about me; I give you my whole life. You gave me something and I didn't do what you wanted me to do with it. I'm sorry, I own it. For the rest of my life it's no longer about me, it's all about you." Men, when you do that the world has yet to see what God can do through one man whose heart is totally surrendered unto Him. Gentlemen, you be that man! Father, I pray that Your Spirit would work deep within our hearts and that all of us, but God I pray especially for our men, that you would do something significant, that Your Spirit would do a healing work. And God, no matter what we've done in the past, we would be who you created us to be. All of our churches, as you're praying today, let's just kind of recapture through this whole four weeks. If God is saying something very specifically to you; you might be caught up in the, "I want it, I deserve it, I can handle it." Maybe for you it was the second week, it was the pride and it was the anger, it was the emotions and not the Spirit. Maybe it's the third week where you recognize, "You know, I really am, I've been stepping very slowly away from God. My hair is still long but my heart has drifted from Him." Or maybe it's today you just feel, "You know, I really have, I've blown it and I've messed up and I feel so bad about it. I just don't know if I could ever go back, if it could ever be good again" and God is speaking to you. You are not what you did; you are who He says you are. God is showing you something very specific in this series and you want Him to do everything that He wants to do in your life, would you lift up your hands right now? All of our different churches just lift them up high. God, I thank you today for all of the people you're speaking to. I pray God very specifically, especially for our men, that we would be able to say, "Here's the pillar", or whatever it is, "Here are the pillars that we are going to push down." And then God, I thank you that we don't have to do it with our strength, but God it's with Your strength; You give us the strength to do it. God, I pray that every man would be able to name here specifically the pillars, that with the help of God we're pushing down. And then God, I pray that we would be different, forever different because we've been in Your presence, because Your Word has been proclaimed and because Your Spirit is here. We thank you God that in Your presence we cannot be the same. I pray O God for life transformation by the power of Christ, that we wouldn't be stronger in our own strength, but we would be weaker, and Your strength would be made perfect through us. Thank you God for all of the ways You're going to use Your men to accomplish Your purposes all for Your glory. As you keep praying today at all of our different churches, here's the best part of our time together. There are those of you that you feel very, very guilty for the things you've done. You look at your life and say, "I've blown it, I've messed up so many different ways. I've blown it in such a big way." Here is the good news; you are here today because God wanted you to be here, because His love is greater than your greatest sin, because God in His love for you, while we were still sinners, He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us. On the cross, Jesus became sin for us; He shed His blood to cover our sins. He died and He rose again so that anyone and that includes you, it doesn't matter what you've done, it doesn't matter how low you feel. It doesn't matter how far away from God you believe you are, no matter what you've done, anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. What does that mean? Your sins will be forgiven, you will be brand new. Your old life, it's gone and everything is new. That's why many of you are here today to call on Him, "I've failed, I've sinned, and I need a Savior! Jesus, take my life and make me new. I step across the line, it's no longer about me, it's all about You. I give my life wholly and completely to You God, take my life. Jesus, I give it to You." If that's your prayer today, would you lift your hands high right now? Lift them up now all over the place and leave them up if you will. Right up here sir, God bless you, praise God for you! And over here as well, right back over here sir, welcome into God's family. Praise God for you here in the middle section. Church Online, you click right below me. Others of you, ma'am right here and sir right over here. Right back over here, a man of God being born. Others today say, "Yes, that's my prayer!" Lift up your hands and say, "I call on Him, Jesus, would You save me?" Right over here in this section, praise God for you. Others today, "I need His grace, I need His mercy, I need His forgiveness!" Everybody, would you pray aloud with those around you, Pray Heavenly Father, save me from my sins and make me new. I believe Jesus died for me and He rose again so I could live for You. Make me new, make me Yours. Fill me with Your Spirit so I could serve you for the rest of my life. I repent, I turn to You. Thank You for new life, now You have mine. In Jesus' name I pray! All of our churches, would you go crazy, would you applaud, would you celebrate, would you welcome those today born into God's family?

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Duration: 36 minutes and 49 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Mar 9, 2012

Samson - Week 4 - Craig Groeschel -

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