Summary: A message on elements of the Christian life.
THE WEAKNESS OF A STRONG MAN
INTRO: I once heard the testimony of Paul Anderson, the world’s strongest man at the time. In his testimony, he tells how he was brought under conviction and accepted Christ as he personal savior after listening to the testimony of someone who was in a wheel chair. God uses the strong and the weak just the same. Samson was a strong man, but, because of his sins, God’s power left him unaware. Many of us are strong today, but Satan is gearing up for a battle against us to try to destroy our power with God.
I. CHOSEN BY GOD (Chapter 13).
God needed a man to deliver his people out of the hands of the Philistines. Samson was that man. An angel of God spoke to the mother of Samson who was childless. The angel told her about God’s plan to deliver His people. She was instructed to take the vows of a Nazirite, and to raise her son the same way.
Each of us have been chosen by God. We may not have the strength of Samson, but we have the same God as Samson, and He expects the same things of us that he expected of Samson.
ILLUS: God holds His people responsible because we are in a position where we can either draw people toward Christ or drive them away from Him.
This is illustrated in the life of the famous author Mark Twain. Church leaders were largely to blame for his becoming hostile to the Bible and the Christian faith. As he grew up, he knew elders and deacons who owned slaves and abused them. He heard men using foul language and saw them practice dishonesty during the week after speaking piously in church on Sunday. He listened to ministers use the Bible to justify slavery. Although he saw genuine love for the Lord Jesus in some people, including his mother and his wife, he was so disturbed by the bad teaching and poor example of church leaders that he became bitter toward the things of God.
II. COMPROMISE OF SAMSON (Chapter 16).
Samson had already broken some of the Nazirite vows, so it was easy to break the rest of them. He met a woman he loved and fell into sin with her. She was friendly with the Philistines, and plotted against Samson. Samson compromised a little at first, so the next time it wasn’t as difficult to compromise.
ILLUS: I used to live in a small, rural community. There were lots of cattle ranches around there and, every once in a while, a cow would wander off and get lost. It’s a big deal because if you happen to hit (as in “drive into”) a lost cow, it’s your fault and you have to pay the rancher for his cow. That is part of the rural culture—they have to worry about runaway cows.
Ask a rancher how a cow gets lost, and chances are he will reply, “Well, the cow starts nibbling on a tuft of green grass, and when it finishes, it looks ahead to the next tuft of green grass, and when it finishes, it looks ahead to the next tuft of green grass and starts nibbling on that one, and then it nibbles on a tuft of grass right next to a hole in the fence. It then sees another tuft of green grass on the other side of the fence, so it nibbles on that one and then goes on to the next tuft. The next thing you know, the cow has nibbled itself into being lost.”
That’s the way it is with sin. We commit a sin, fail to confess it, then it gets easier the next time to ignore our built in warning system.
ILLUS: The brake pad warning sensor on an automobile. If you ignore it long enough, you have major repair costs.
III. CONQUERING OF SAMSON (Chapter 16).
The deeper in sin Samson slipped, the closer to the truth of his power he came. Finally, he told Delilah the source of his power and strength.
Like Delilah, Satan is shrewd. He eases into our life a little at a time. He doesn’t bring in the conquerors for us to see. He keeps them outside, then brings them in when he has lulled us to sleep with sin. Then, at the proper moment, he comes into our house and overpowers us. Satan will conquer us, like Delilah conquered Samson if we don’t protect ourselves by studying God’s Word.
CONC: ILLUS: A pilot was flying his small plane one day, when he heard a noise which he recognized as the gnawing of a rat. Wondering what its sharp teeth were cutting through, he suddenly realized with horror that it might be an electric wire. Then he remembered that rodents can’t survive at high altitudes. Immediately he began climbing until finally he had to put on his oxygen mask. Soon the gnawing sound ceased, and when he landed he found the rat—dead.