Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The call of God has been upon our life much before even we could comprehend our left hand from the right. That is the time when God had people in place who would take care to raise us up. How has your call played out? Do you see yourself facilitating ...

Opening Illustration: A friend of mine by the name of Joseph who I met while teaching at a Catholic school. At that time he was climbing up the corporate ladder of the Catholic church which was grooming and raising him up to be a father and possibly a bishop or cardinal in the future. In our free time we would meet up and talk many things but zeroing down to how our faiths in Christ differed.

All those talks one day bore fruit after we had left India for the Middle East. He disclosed to me that he accepted Christ as his Savior and the Catholic diocese had excommunicated him for his stand. He recognized that God had and has a profound call upon his life right from the time he was born. The only difference was that he was trying to live it out through the man made corporate but now he was in complete surrender to God. Today he is an independent bishop of a group of churches and planted a couple of schools and institutes in North India. He is a man sold out to the call of God upon his life.

Introduction: Samson was a man destined for greatness. As we will see in this message, before he was born Samson was chosen for a great mission by God. His life is marked by great victories and by even greater failures. He was a man used by the Holy Spirit, but utterly ruled by the flesh. Samson was the strongest man who ever lived, yet he was also the weakest. Samson was dedicated to God before his birth, but dedicated to himself until the day of his death. In the end, his weaknesses overcame all the strengths.

Samson’s life is a sad tale of the consequences of demanding your own way. Samson had a weakness for ungodly women. He pursued that weakness with reckless abandon, until God abandoned him to the way he chose to live his life. Though the Lord worked in his life, Samson was determined to pursue his sin and he reaped the consequences of the decisions he made in life.

We can learn much from this puzzling man. In Hebrews 11:32 Samson is mentioned as a man of faith. Yet his life clearly displays his unfaithfulness. Samson was undisciplined, undependable, un-predictable and did not have self-control. He is a good illustration of James 1:8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” In fact the Psalmist in chap. 119 does not have a liking for such people and advises to stay away from them. Samson is a good example of what a believer should NOT be. Yet, I fear that he represents many of us in our own walk with the Lord. As we follow the life of Samson through all the victories and failures that marked it, let the Lord speak to your heart. It may just be that you will see some weakness that dominates your life. It may be that you will see yourself reflected in the mirror of Samson’s life.

How does the call of God play out?

1. Determined much before birth (vs. 1-5)

Before Samson was born or even conceived God had a purpose for his life. An angel appeared to a Jewish woman from the tribe of Dan and told her that though she had been barren, she would conceive and bear a son. She was told that this child would be a Nazirite to God from birth. This referred to the Nazirite vow the Jews occasionally took to temporarily devote themselves completely to God. They were to demonstrate their devotion through abstaining from wine (no small thing in the Jewish culture) and not cutting their hair. This Nazirite vow was almost always a temporary state which might last a few weeks or months. In Samson's case, it was to be his rule of life for all his days. It was a permanent call.

When the Psalmist in chapter 139:13 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb” tells us that God knows us much before we were born. He has seen us being designed in our mother’s womb. He knows everything about us. He has even planned and thought good thoughts about us which are better than what we can even think about ourselves. The time when we did not have the ability to think for ourselves and about ourselves, He had already thought for us and about us. That is the God we have … one who has determined our calling much before we were born.

When God sees us before our birth, He sees us as His because we are being created in His image. Whatever is His, He wants to pour into us. His ways, His thoughts, His plans, His abundant blessings and His amazing love. This is what builds us to facilitate His call. When God does His part, do we respond by doing our part by choosing what He chose for us and positioning ourselves to facilitate that call which He has already put upon our lives much before we were born.

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