River Church NOLA
May 2 Running with Samson
  • Counting On God
  • Set A Fire
  • You Never Let Go
  • Gracefully Broken
  • Intro
    John Maxwell Running with the Giants… Learning from the Giants… Wisdom from the Women of the Bible...
    We can learn a lot from the Heroes of the faith. You can read about a lot of these in Hebrews 11.
    After writing about all of these heroes of the faith, in chapter 12, he says…
    Hebrews 12:1 NLT
    1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
    What we are doing with this series… the same that we did before is that we want to pull one of these heroes from the crowd of witnesses.
    Today we want to learn some lessons from Samson. Samson was one of the Judges. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11. There are some names there, and there are some folks you wonder why they are not there and some you wonder why they are there. Samson is one you wonder, how in the world did he get included in Heb 11… the Faith hall of fame.
    Samson had a call of God on his life but he was a miserable person. He was full of dishonesty, a strong desire to please himself. He was all about himself. He did not live up to his calling. He ends up with a woman named Delilah. She learns the secret of his strength and cuts his hair and the Philistines capture him and gouge his eyes out with a knife and blinded him and spends the rest of his life chained to a grain mill where the oxe is supposed to be.
    We are going to putt him out of the stands because we know he is there. So we are going to hear from him because I think that he would say he would do things differently if he could do it over again.
    I think He would say to us today...

    For when you think you see everything clearly all on your own...

    You don’t have to lose your eyes to be blind

    You can be blind even though can see. We simply don’t see everything clearly on our own.
    There are several things that we don’t see clearly … like…

    We can be blind to God’s Purpose for our life

    Samson had a call on his life. He was gifted with awesome strength and abilities, but he threw it all away.
    Judges 13:5 NIV
    5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
    Nazarite - not cut hair… dedicated to God.
    Fear - that you go through life without a sense that “my life matters. You have a call on your life. When you understand that, you make better choices. You live differently when you know your purpose.
    Proverbs 29:18 NIV84
    18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
    When you have no sense of purpose, people just decide to do whatever. … doesn’t matter.

    When I don’t see God’s vision for my life, I am in danger of settling for an earthly counterfeit.

    We can be blind to the power of relationships

    Bad relationbships are powerful in a bad way… God relationships are good in a powerful way...
    Judges 14:2–3 NLT
    2 When he returned home, he told his father and mother, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.” 3 His father and mother objected. “Isn’t there even one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry?” they asked. “Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?” But Samson told his father, “Get her for me! She looks good to me.”
    This was not racist, it was religious… like us telling you don’t date or go into business with non christians…
    Samson did not realize this would be the worst decision of his life. He made bad relationship decisions … you too.
    1 Corinthians 15:33 NLT
    33 Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”
    Your friends show what your future will be. Young people need to listen to their parents and grand parents. They have seen further down the road than you have.
    Ephesians 6:2–3 NLT
    2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
    This has a promise. You have to have other sets of eyes and some of those are your parents and grand parents… your spiritual parents.

    When you’re 15, somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them. Taylor Swift

    Listen to me… 15… 20… don’t believe them. Guys you know what I am saying. We told many girls we loved them, but we didn’t… we wanted some sugar. Come on guys… Girls, don’t believe these guys.
    Samson was blind to relationships around him. He disregarded his parents instructions.

    We can be Blind to the nature of God

    Samson was gifted by God but he didn’t understand it. He had amazing strength. When he got with Deliliah, she wanted to know the source of his strength. So he was already sleeping around with the wrong people.
    So he would lie to D and she would fall for it and he would just go out and defeat the Philistines because God was still with him. As sinful as he was, God still was using him.
    Judges 16:19–21 NLT
    19 Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him. 20 Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him. 21 So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison.
    When he woke up, he thought God will forgive me and I’ll just go out and do like I did before… he didn’t even know the presence of the Lord had left him. So they captured him and gouged out his eyes with a knife and had him hooked up to a mill wheel like an ox.
    He was going to spend the rest of his life grinding grain.
    God is a God of grace and forgiveness but he is also a holy God. And he will not put up with us forever. He will at some point let you reap the rewards of your behavior.
    Genesis 6:3 NKJV
    3 And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
    He will let you step out from under his covering…
    Romans 6:1–2 ESV
    1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
    He will let you do what you want but he will let you reap the rewards of that choice. We need to have a healthy fear of the Lord.

    When I understand what it means to fear God, I can live fearlessly.

    Samson’s Word of Encouragement

    Now we want to hear what else he might say. Write these down…

    1. Cultivate the presence of God

    Do whatever it takes to increase the favor of God on your life. What does that? Obedience.
    Listen, some of you hear the WOG, but still walk around in disobedience to him. He rewards obedience.
    It is amazing how many people will accept Jesus but not follow though with water baptism.
    1 Thessalonians 5:19 NLT
    19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.
    Ephesians 4:30 NLT
    30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

    Put God first.

    Here is another thing Samson would say.

    2. Choose your relationships carefully

    Samson chose poorly in his relationships. Some of you are choosing poorly… over and over again. Some of you need to get rid of some of your relationships and add good relationships.

    Nurture important relationships Restore broken relationships Sever harmful relationships Initiate some meaningful relationships

    Work on your relationships…
    Proverbs 13:20 NLT
    20 Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
    You will get your eyes gouged out.
    Here’s what you need to do…
    Hebrews 10:25 NLT
    25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
    Being connected is vital.
    Here’s maybe a reason why Samson made it onto the list. Many people on the list lived not so good, but they finished well.
    Samson is on the list because of how he finished his life.

    3. Failure is never final

    Judges 16:28 NLT
    28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.”
    We serve a once more kind of God. You can mess up all your life but cry out to him…
    Then he pulled down the temple and killed more P than ever before.
    You need to hear this today. Even though we reap what we sow… we serve a forgiving and a second chance God. Listen… you need to hear this…
    God is the god of second chances.

    Failure is only final when you refuse to get back up

    Proverbs 24:16 NLT
    16 The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
    Someone hearing me today needs to get up again. Failure as a parent… business leader… moral failure… dreams… Let them know you are a once more kind of God. Let them know that even people who didn’t get it right ended up on the Hall of fame because they repented and prayed.
    It’s time for you to put God first in your life.
    If you are hearing me, and maybe you are far from God, but don’t want to be… turn to God. He is waiting for you to turn to him.
    Pray salvation prayer.
    1 Timothy 1:15–16 NLT
    15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
      • Hebrews 12:1TLB

      • Judges 13:5TLB

      • Proverbs 29:18TLB

      • Judges 14:2–3TLB

      • 1 Corinthians 15:33TLB

      • Ephesians 6:2–3TLB

      • Judges 16:19–21TLB

      • Genesis 6:3TLB

      • Romans 6:1–2TLB

      • 1 Thessalonians 5:19TLB

      • Ephesians 4:30TLB

      • Proverbs 13:20TLB

      • Hebrews 10:25TLB

      • Judges 16:28TLB

      • Proverbs 24:16TLB

      • 1 Timothy 1:15–16TLB

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