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Samson: The Man Who Brought the House Down on Himself Part 5

Judges 16:30-31

I would really like to meet the person who can say; "I have walked perfectly with my God, I have never failed in my understanding of God's plan, and my motives have always been completely pure." If you're here this morning, I would like to talk to you after the service. Most of us cannot say that, can we? In fact, only Jesus can. Our lives at this point are not perfect reflections of our God. We're growing and being conformed more and more to Christ's likeness each day, but only when we stand in eternity will we perfectly mirror our Lord (1 Cor. 13:12; Rom. 8:29, etc.). If that's the case, then it's going to be a common problem for all believers to live in the tension of not having our act totally together, while attempting to walk with a holy and perfect God.

 

In the preface of a book about Bob Pearce, the author identifies and illustrates this common dilemma and tension.

"This book is Bob Pearce in the raw, as he was, and as God used him. He was a sinner, and no one knew it better than he. But he knew also the exceeding gracious forgiveness of our Lord. He was extraordinarily gifted, but he was never impressed by his gifts. He was simply grateful."

The results of this outlook were incredible! The author continues:

"From God's standpoint, he was an earthen vessel available at all times for the exclusive use of his Lord. And the Lord certainly did use this man; he was responsible for founding World Vision, the Samaritan's Purse, and many other ministries... "

A prayer by Bob Pearce written at the beginning of his ministry life further describes why God chose to use this failing, imperfect Christian.

"Lord, I don't know how to run my life. I'm second rate. But will you let me have a chance at doing the best a second rater can do? And if you will help me, I will promise that I won't say no. I will sign a contract with you right now and let the angels record it forever in heaven, that I give you a license to do Your will with me whether I like it or not, irrevocable for the rest of my life. You can write it on anything you want and I can scream my head off and beg and deny it and say I want out, but I give you authority forever to do your will in my life."

Do we need any further confirmation of the power of this kind of prayer?

In the fourth lesson in our study of the life of Samson, we also saw how God was present in the midst of a colossal failure to restore and use a repentant and imperfect Samson. Let's finish our story of Samson.

The Burial of Samson

30b]-Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. 31] Then his brothers and his father's whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years.

Can you picture the scene? Can you see his brothers, his nephews, nieces, maybe even his parents, coming down to this pagan temple to get the body of Samson? Can you imagine how mixed their emotions were? Samson was a hero, but a hero with marks, who died prematurely. We know what effect his Spirit-empowered act had on the Philistines, but what impact did his death have on his family and all of Israel? It's hard to tell

It would only be speculation, because we don't really know for sure, but this scene causes me to ponder a few moments the impact our lives will have on the next generation, and even our immediate families. I think about that often when it comes to Hillcrest Chapel when I observe our kids. I also began to think anew about our impact as a church when I saw the first class of students who had gone all the way through the church from birth to college.

As I view these scenes and watch our children grow up, I want to be sure we have had a good impact on them! I'm planning and praying for the passing on of a spiritual legacy that will be an example to them in the tough times as well as the good. I'm asking God that every child and young person have a consistent walk with God all through their lives, not a last-minute victory brought about because their whole world fell down around them.

One of the ways we can certainly help is by being consistent models of faith and spiritual maturity. Hebrews 11 can be a place of inspiration to us. As I have said a hundred times, it's the next generation that is proof of our spirituality. I don't want our kids to view a lot of sad funerals and hear questions about what might have been if only we had walked consistently with our God.

I think Samson should arrest our attention.

By God's grace, therefore, let's commit ourselves to dealing with our failures quickly. We reviewed that in detail last time. But here's the other side of the proposition:

Have you learned to deal with success?

As I shared last week, Hebrews 11—often celebrated as "God's Hall of Faith"—could equally be entitled, "God's Hall of Reclaimed Failures." There is scarcely an individual in that chapter without a serious blemish in his life, but God is in the business of restoring failures.

Therefore, I invite you to join "The Hillcrest Chapel Hall of Reclaimed Failures." If you want to join, here are our distinctives:

  1. We pray that God will enable us to "fail forward."

  2. We believe as members of this hall that human failures can become God's heroes of faith.

  3. We won't be able to avoid failure, but we pledge ourselves to learn how to truly repent of our sins and accept God's remedy for failures, i.e., His forgiveness.

  4. We trust in His timing, and will find ourselves useful and productive as we are changed day by day into Christ's image.

  5. We sign a contract with God right now, and let the angels record it forever in heaven,-that we give God a license to do His will with us whether we like it or not, irrevocable for the rest of our life.-We may scream our headd off and beg and deny this contract and say we want out, but we give our Lord the authority forever to do His will in our lives.

Next, what is your resolve for the future?

  1. Don't be mastered by anything-I Cor. 6:12.

  2. Keep the body pure-I Cor. 6:19-29; Rom. 12:1.

  3. Keep the mind pure-I Cor. 2:16; Rom. 12:2.

  4. Practice temperance, self-discipline and self-control-Gal. 5:23; I Thess. 5:6,8; Titus 2:12.

Conclusion

When it's all said and done, what does the story of Samson say to us?

If we discover the joy of total submission to God:

  1. He will slay all the Philistines in our lives. All of our enemies can be counted as dead.

  2. He can deal with the lions in our lives, too.

  3. He will be adequate to fulfill every godly desire and drive, no matter how impossible it may seem.

  4. God will bring us into a time of peace and victory over our sins.

However, if we don't deal with the weaknesses in our lives:

  1. We won't enjoy the life God has planned for us.

  2. We won't be able to encourage and facilitate complete victory in others, either. The Spirit of God has come upon us, not just to deliver us from our problems and weaknesses and bail us out over and over again. The Spirit of God has come so that we might be His instruments of deliverance in the lives of others, too.

Are we fully free from the old life? Have we allowed the Spirit free access into our lives? If not, we know what the end will be. If so, we have nothing but victory ahead.