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Summary: The Powerball Lottery reminds us of 2 types of people; one group who gamble their souls that they can ignore God, and the other who gamble that God is real and will do what He said. Which are you?

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THE GAMBLER

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR

1. J.E. Bedenbaugh said, “My grandmother, a staunch Southern Baptist, had marched me off to Sunday school and church regularly.

2. So when I switched to the Episcopal church after marriage, she challenged me: "What’s wrong with the Baptist Church, son?"

3. "Well," I explained, "Carole and I flipped a coin to see if we would go to her church or mine, and I lost."

4. "Serves you right," said my grandmother. "Good Baptists don’t gamble."

5. I would say that everybody gambles in some form or another, even good Assembly of God people.

B. THE POWERBALL

1. The Powerball Lottery has been making big news lately with the supposed payout topping $1.5 Billion. There is set to be another drawing tonight.

2. The New York Times wrote an article yesterday entitled, “You Will Not Win the Powerball Jackpot.”

3. “The odds of hitting the jackpot are one in 292.2 million. If you printed out the name of every United States resident on individual pieces of paper, put them in a giant bowl and selected one at random, the odds of picking President Obama are not far from the odds of winning the Powerball.”

4. “The odds of being struck by lightning this year are one in 1.19 million, making it about 246 times as likely as winning the Powerball jackpot.”

5. “With an estimated one in 12,500 chance, an amateur golfer is about 23,376 times as likely to make a hole in one.”

C. THESIS

1. GAMBLE (def.) – “to play a game for money or property; to bet on an uncertain outcome; to stake something on a contingency; to take a chance”.

2. So I want us to notice two types of gambling in the Bible & the world; people who gamble their souls that they can ignore God, and those who gamble that Jesus Christ is who He says He is.

I. SOME WHO GAMBLED TO IGNORE GOD

A. GAMBLING BY PROCRASTINATION

1. FELIX. “Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” Acts 24:24,25.

2. How He Gambled:

a. Felix was a Roman ruler who wanted a little entertainment and possibly a bribe. He got more.

b. Paul began to talk about the holiness of God, the fall of man, our sin and transgressions, God’s judgment, heaven & hell…

c. Paul was under the anointing of the H.S.; spiritual things became real to Felix and he understood his danger (he “trembled”) before God.

d. He must make a decision! Shall he now accept Christ’s salvation? Satan whispered – “Later! Don’t do it today; maybe some other time”.

e. He gambled and lost. Within two years he was recalled to Rome to stand trial before Caesar.

B. GAMBLING BY DISOBEDIENCE

1. SAMSON. “After putting him to sleep on her lap, [Delilah] called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. 20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison” Judges 16:19-21.

2. SAMSON HUMOR

a. Q Why did Samson try to avoid arguing with Delilah? Because he didn’t want to split hairs!

b. Who was the most popular actor in the Bible? Samson – he brought the house down!

3. SAMSON GAMBLED…

a. First, by playing with sin. The Bible says, “Be sure – Your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23).

b. God had a sacred calling on Samson (Nazarite). He was raised in a Christian family. But Samson chose to take chances with the lost people around him.

c. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death”. Samson paid a terrible price for his sin. Do we have any Samsons here this evening? It’s not too late to change!

d. GOOD ENDING: Samson came to his senses, returned to God, and did at least one great exploit before he died. You can too! There’s hope!

C. GAMBLING BY SELLING OUT

1. ESAU. “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done” Hebrews 12:16-17.

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