On Sunday, July 2, 2017, John Maulella continued our sermon series on Holiness by talking about the story of Samson in Judges 13 to 17.
God wants to break chains. Samson gives us examples of living in holiness and not living in holiness.
The refrain in Judges is "everyone did what was right in his own eyes."
1) The Pick Judges 13
Holiness, or set-apart-ness, begins with being chosen.
Numbers 6:1-21 tells about the Nazarite vow. They were to let their hair grow, drink no wine, and touch nothing dead.
Ephesians 1:3-4 -- Don't fight God picking you.
2) The Power Judges 14
Holiness sets us up to be used powerfully by God.
There was a major conflict between Samson's appetites and his identity.
God used Samson's flaws, mistakes and sins for His own purposes.
God will use anything to pry his people away from idols.
The Spirit of the Lord comes on Samson - in this way, he is a prototype of the church. He had power to do what he couldn't normally do.
Distinguish between the Holy Spirit's gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It's possible to have one without the other. What if we were a church who said: We want both!
3) The Pitfall Judges 16
Pitfalls to holiness rob us of our strength.
Samson didn't see the danger - he'd never lost.
Be careful where you lay your head! He got tired.
"But he did not know that the Lord had left him." He was blind before anyone touched his eyes. He was bound before anyone put him in chains.
Note of hope: His hair began to grow again. Even if you've failed, the story isn't finished.
God's promise was that he would be a Nazarite until the day of his death.
Judges 16:28 - At the end of his life, Samson finally gets it. He realizes his strength came from God.
How do we live picked and powerful lives and avoid pitfalls?
1) Watch your eyes.
Every problem Samson had began with something he saw. For discerning true value, our eyes are worthless.
2) Cultivate an appetite for God.
Fight appetites with a greater one. We catch appetites from other people. Catch an appetite for God from others.
3) Kill the beetles!
Japanese beetles love to eat roses. What are the beetles in your life? They may take really small bites. Samson got worn down. Romans 6 - Put to death sin in our lives. Disrupt the rhythm of sin in your life.
4) Let your hair grow!
Do you have a physical sign of your apartness? What's a reminder that you are different?
Why study Samson?
We're a church full of Samsons.
We're gifted and we're called by God. Our sign of God's gift is our new building. But some of us use our gifts for ourselves.
Samson points us to a better Samson.
The leaders of Israel ultimately failed, except Jesus. Samson is mentioned in Hebrews 11 for his faith - "whose weakness was turned to strength." He was never more powerful than at the end.
Our weakness leaves room for God.