Prepping For Use

Gen. 50:15-19

I have been sharing as of late about moral earthquakes in our lives. Just like physical earthquakes don’t just happen, neither do moral earthquakes just appear overnight.

Earthquakes, though in our eyes seem to come out of the blue, have actually been in the making for some time. As the continental plates shift and slide against each other they become stuck or jammed. When these plates free themselves a major jolt is felt above ground. It rumbles and shakes and tosses and jerks and wreaks havoc on the surface.

These “edges” let’s say, are called fault lines.

In moral earthquakes the scenario is the same. What we visibly see on the outside in someone’s life has been in the works beneath the surface for a while. Secret fault lines.

It is where we get the phrase: no blow outs just small leaks.

When we think of Samson in the bible we often conclude that Delilah was his undoing. As you study scripture you quickly find out his undoing began some twenty years earlier.

Though we have seen where Samson had ignored God’s will, word, and work, we have another man we can look at to see the other side of the coin.

Joseph.

Joseph and Samson had a lot in common.

According to scripture they were both handsome young men. They had great personalities. They both had the Lord with them. They both found themselves away from home in the midst of hostile and heathen environments. They even faced very similar temptations.

What made the difference in the outcome?

We have already labored over Samson and have seen where, though God had gifted him with Godly parents, he chose to ignore their wisdom and substitute the world’s ways instead.

Let’s look at Joseph.

  • The End. Gen. 50:15-19
    • Ending well is important.
      •  It is not always the journey along the way that tells the real story as much as the end of the journey.
    • What we see in this scripture is a man, who in the world’s eyes, has every right to be vengeful, hard, down right tortuous to these men.
      • But what we see is a man full of grace because he had already received it.
      • We cannot give what we haven’t received.

I want to give you three truths in the preparation of God’s man Joseph.

  • His Location Developed His Capacity.
    • In slavery Joseph labored under difficult circumstances. 
      • Never do you read where he thought he deserved better. Where he complained or was ready to throw in the towel.
      • Joseph knew who held his future.
    • Has it ever dawned on you, the difficult place you are in may be the divine hand of God preparing you for a greater use?
      • How many folks have fell out with God because of the places they find themselves in? 
      • What they don’t remember is asking God, whatever it takes God.
    • So as God even uses their blindness, bulliness, and brainlessness to build them. Waiting on them to turn to Him.
      • God may put you in places that seem so wrong, so negative, yet it is here that he is equipping you for a greater use. 
    • In slavery, Joseph’s life was hard and unappreciated. What he did was expected of him. Even if he did more than expected he was still in the place of a slave.
      • It was in and through this miserable time that God developed him for a far greater use.
    • This should be great encouragement for you who are suffering hardship.
      • Rather it is the issue that has arisen from this pandemic, or people you work with or family you live with. Proverbs has a great word for you.
      • Pr 16:3, “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established”
    • Don’t act foolishly to adverse circumstances.
      • Don’t blame others for your misery, your ill temperament, your cussing and fussing.
      • Joseph never sought vengeance against his brothers.
      • Remember: Ro 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
      • It doesn’t say “all things are good”.
  • His Lowliness Developed His Character.
    • Joseph worked as a slave. Then he worked as an inmate and worked up to a trustee.
      • The proudest people I’ve met usually came from nothing and act as if they are God’s gift to mankind.
      • Joseph was a favored son. He was a prince in one respect.
      • From favored son to fellow slave. From prince to pauper.
    • Nowhere do you read where he was crying ‘you just don’t know how it used to be”.
      • 1Pe 5:6, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”
    • Character is vital for service. 
      • This is what people know you by. Your character.
    • God goes to great lengths to develop character in His chosen.
      • If you are born again, you are His chosen.
    • So often you hear hardships develop character. In truth, hardships reveal character.
      • God has been busy revealing the character of His church.
      • God is far more interested in changing your character than your circumstances.
  • Joseph’s Attitude Developed His Consideration.
    • When Joseph was brought to Potiphar’s house to work, he worked. He served.
      • The fact that he was mistreated and enslaved didn’t affect his work ethic.
      • Because he did good with where he was and what he had, folks took notice.
    • It is easy to say when you feel you’re in the right place and position that you’re doing well.
      • Real testimony of character comes when you’re in the wrong place and position and you’re doing well.
  • Samson and Joseph had a lot of similarities but one major difference.
    • Samson knew God, knew about God, but trusted in himself.
    • Joseph knew God, knew about God, and trusted God.
    • It made a major difference in their outlook and their outcome.

Today are you more like Samson or Joseph?

Have you been blessed with the knowledge of the truth but still place your trust in yourself?

Or have you realized, what trusting in yourself has really produced?

These are unique times we are in. God is using them to draw folks to Him. The Way, Truth ,and Life.

He is using them to reveal and build the character of His body.

Fishing

James 3:11-12, Judges 16

This time of year we start to notice a strange behavior in both men and women. Their arm begins to casting motions. As they sit their hands start reeling an imaginary reel. Grant you there is the hearty soul who never stops through the year, but many have hung it up till the weather began to warm. Fishing is on the agenda.

Fishing is like hunting. Just because you go doesn’t mean you will be successful. We find ways to attempt to lay the odds in our favor. They have developed so many types of live worms and bugs that it’s like ordering ice cream at one of those 99 flavor spots. Then artificial! Do you want it to float, sink, dance, or do a tease? They got it all.  All of this is to tempt the fish to bite and ignore the sharp thing that will hook them. 

As we spoke about Samson last week, we noticed that though Delilah was his undoing, his end began some twenty years earlier.

  • When will we learn? Judges 16:4-5
    • Looks like Samson would have learned his lesson.
      • But the problems with the Philistines only deepened his rebellion.
    • Like many modern day saints, he claimed belief in the ways of the Lord, but didn’t act like it.
      • He disclaimed the ways of the world but then conformed himself to them at every turn.
    • By the time Samson ran into Delilah he had been indulging his rebellion, following his heart, leaning to his thoughts for twenty years.
      • When we allow our secret faults to continue un-arrested and unabated over the years, we lose the ability to exercise even the most basic elements of common sense.
      • Pr 25:28, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls”
      • No protection just come and get it.
    • Up till now, though feeding his fleshly desires he was seen as a champion of God’s people and a scourge to the Philistines.
      • God was not blessing him in spite of his sin. Listen!
      • Ro 2:3-4, “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
      • God in His enduring mercy and never ending grace was giving Samson time and time to repent.
    • We can get by for so long then, bam, the hook is set.
  • Fishing the Bait.
    • Sometimes when fishing you have to let the fish run with the bait. Meaning you let it go a little so it feels comfortable enough and secure enough to swallow it.
      • Then Wham-O! you snatch it in him.
    • Judges 16:6-14. In these verses we see Samson running with the bait three times.
      • 3 times Delilah attempts to find his weakness. Three times he spins a yarn. 
      • But as Moses spoke to the children of Gad and Ruben, be sure your sin will find you out.
    • Just like the fish that keeps trying to steal the bait Samson finally got hooked.
  • Samson exemplifies the irony of sin in the believer.
    • He knew full well the difference between right and wrong. He chose wrong.
      • Sin always takes you farther than you intend to go. Keeps you longer than you intend to stay, and costs you more than you ever intended to pay.
    • Judges 16:20-21 are some of the saddest verses in the life of Samson.
      • No such thing as a blowout. Only small leaks.
      • One time champion of God’s people. Blind, bound and belittled.
    • That is the truth of sin. It blinds us. It belittles us. It bounds us.
  • Party Entertainment.
    • The Philistines put God’s man out on display. 
      • In doing so they mocked him and mocked the God he said he served.
    • That is the sting of sin.
      • When we claim to believe the way of the Lord but don’t act like it. When we disclaim the ways of the world but conform to them at every turn. We give reason to a lost and blind world to mock the name of God who deserves the praise of all people everywhere.
    • For twenty years Samson thought he could ignore the secret fault lines that developed from his disobedience. But they couldn’t ignore him
      • Like the modern day saint, we think we can ignore our little indiscretions, our little sins, but the fact is they won’t ignore us.
  • Taking the Bait.
    • You can fish all day but wont catch nothing until the fish decides to take the bait.
      • Jas 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
      • The word enticed literally means “bait”
      • When we allow ourselves to be drawn away and enticed, when we take the bait, we eventually get hooked.
    • Sin occurs when we are drawn away from our place of security by natural desires fixed upon some unnatural end.
      • Our minds are like hotels. We cannot keep someone from coming into the lobby, but we can keep them from getting a room.
    • Do you want to succeed in God’s plan for you? Obey what you already know. 
      • You don’t have to be a Samson. Missing out on the much more.

Shaky Ground or Strong Man Down

For those who are unable to attend service, we are working on new ways to minister to you. We look forward to connect with you on social media over the coming weeks. Please reach out to us with prayer request and concerns.

Sunday March 22, 2020

10:45 Worship

Judges 13:1-5

I am aware that it would seem a good pastor would be right up there preaching up on current events that are affecting us. Namely this corona virus. Spiritually speaking I believe that is what I do every time I have the opportunity to speak God’s word. For there is nothing more current than your present standing with God.I would like to speak to you today on where we are as a Nation, a church, as individuals. I want to give you some sure footed advice to strengthen you through these upcoming days.Pastor O. S. Hawkins has been pastor at 1st Baptist Dallas for years and also president and CEO of the SBC Annuity Board. I’ve had the joy to hear him speak on many occasions. He also is an author of many books, most of which I have read and has been a great help to me in my spiritual walk. Over the next few weeks I intend to share some thoughts with y’all that I have desired to for some time, which has been generated from one of his books “Moral Earthquakes”. It is one of those things that God births in your heart years before you actually use it.Here in the great state of Florida we have not been associated much with earthquakes. Though there have been some recorded they are not as prominent here as they are other places. We deal enough with hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, roundabouts and mosquitoes. Many of us can remember watching the horrible effects of the earthquake in China’s Tang-shan province in 1976. Mexico City in 85, and here in the God Blessed U.S.A. in California’s San Francisco area in 1989. There have been more since these but all have one thing in common, devastation and loss of many lives.When an earthquake strikes, no matter how much you have prepared, you are totally helpless. You are at the mercy of its gargantuan force of destruction. What moments before provided our greatest comfort and security is suddenly transformed into hurtling possessions and collapsing walls.Devastating as earthquakes are to this world in which we live, I believe moral earthquakes are even more shattering. It is evidenced in our society. Please understand, I am not referring to New York, England, the Islands, other faraway places, but right here in the great metropolis of Mayo.We like to pretend that everything here is fine, but in truth, all the things we have impacted our kids with and our own minds through the various media outlets have come back to haunt us. You cannot expect that when we subject our children and ourselves to shows on a regular basis where homosexuality is championed, cohabitation is the norm, sex is the chief objective to a relationship, alcohol, rebelling against authority, and children are smarter than adults and the like, that it is not going to have an effect. Add to this the humanistic teaching of our education system, the watered down, non-offending gospel that’s being preached and the “let the kid raise themselves” parenting program that’s so popular.It is affecting them and it has infected us.But there is hope! There is a solution!When the bible speaks to guide us and ground us, it hardly ever directs it to the weak but to the strong. Even those who simply perceive themselves as strong.That ought to have you take note. Awaken your spirit today. 1Co 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Samson was a man, though very blessed by God, traded it all in. He exchanged The Truth for The lie. We can learn some very important lessons from his life to help us succeed in ours. That’s the whole question in a nutshell. Is it important to you to live a life that’s successful in God’s eyes?

  • Samson’s beginning. Judges 13:1-5
  • Samson was a promise of God. He was raised in a good family and had the advantages of a solid good moral upbringing.
  • If we read on we find that in his life, he went from hero to zero.
  • What could cause such a loss?
  • We like to blame Delilah. It’s always the woman’s fault. But like in most cases, closer examination reveals another story.
  • Earthquakes don’t just happen.
  • They come from things well beyond our sight, well beneath the surface.
  • Shifting rock plates continually moving against each other sometimes get caught or stuck on each other till one breaks and then total chaos.
  • They call these areas of contact fault lines.
  • What we see as an all of a sudden event actually has been quietly occurring beneath the surface for years, decades, centuries.
  • Though we see Delilah as Samson’s greatest fault, truth is, the root of his downfall began some twenty something years earlier.
  • He had a special calling of God. He was a Nazarite.
  • If you will look when you get home in Numbers chp. 6 you will find the law of the Nazarite.
  • You will see that a Nazarite is not to drink wine or strong drink or even touch a grape in any stage of its life.
  • They are not to cut their hair.
  • They are not to touch a dead body.
  • These were all meant to be an external symbol of an internal reality.
  • Samson’s beginning of His end. Judges 14
  • 14:1, Hanging with those he was supposed to be delivering God’s people from.
  • Who you associate with is who you become.
  • 14:1-2, Dominated by his desires.
  • Pr 25:28, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls”
  • Samson abandoned his calling. He rejected his parents guidance and upbringing based entirely on his emotions, senses. His flesh.
  • His first lust/love story.
  • He never met her, talked to her, met her parents, and knew nothing about her except how she looked.
  • Now because he was following his heart we see one thing leads to another.
  • Jer 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
  • Where are they? Vineyards.
  • What happens? Kills a lion.
  • V8, We see he comes back and inspects the dead lion. He not only touches it but eats from it!
  • What are two things a Nazarite is not supposed to do? Touch grapes or anything dead.
  • One sin leads to another.
  • One compromise leads to the next.
  • When we say no to God in one area of our lives the fault line begins to spread throughout the rest of our life.
  • Many of us are involved in things.
  • Sinful habits, moral compromise, spiritual laziness.
  • We rationalize them as petty, trivial, and unimportant. We see them as no big deal.
  • Later we discover, often when it’s too late living our lives on such fault lines has caused incomprehensible damage to ourselves and to others.
  • Samson was no different than many of us today.
  • We get caught up in the moment. Carried by passion, emotion, ruled by our heart.
  • We know the old saying. What flows from the bucket of the mouth comes from the well of the heart. The same is true of our emotions.
  • I’m asked often; why do I feel this way or why do I act that way.
  • Simply because that is what your heart is full of.
  • We ain’t got to be Samson.
  • We don’t have to wait to the end to hopefully get it right. Today ,those here, those watching, God is speaking to you.
  • The sad descent into addictive behaviors all begin small indiscretions.
  • But end in great devastation.
  • Today it is not too late.
  • IF,IF,IF, you really want to live a life that is successful in the eyes of God. Simply because He is worth it you can do something about it today.
  • 1Jo 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  • You are here today because the God of creation wanted you to hear this and submit, agree to it .