Press To Win
Text - Judges 16:21-30
Recently, Mark Brunnett and his wife Roma Downey (who played Monica on Touched By An Angel), produced a 10 hour mini-series called, ‘The Bible’ on the history channel. Mark Brunnett for those who don’t know, is the mastermind behind some of the largest and most popular reality shows of all time including: 1. Survivor 2. The Apprentice 3. Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader 4. Shark Tank and probably the one most of watch; 5. The Voice. Yet, when he and his wife produced the Bible mini-series, it shattered the ratings and became the History channel’s most watched show ever. This series has been seen by over 100 million viewers and According to 20th Century Fox, "The Bible" ranks as the fastest-selling TV title released on home video in the last five years, and ranks as the top miniseries title ever during its first week of release, selling 525,000 units! Now, I know nothing about Mark Brunnett’s walk with God but if he’s saved, what a powerful work done by one of God’s sons. If he doesn’t know the Lord and just did it as just another project, just look how mightily God used that project to spread the Gospel to over 1.5 million people!
And yet, as great and accurate as some aspects of the series seemed to be, there were some parts that Mark got wrong; perhaps due to time constraints, budget constraints or what have you. The tale of Samson is one of those areas that was slightly off. You see, Samson was depicted in the story as a man of God, respectfully listening to his mother and performing great deeds. Yet, that is NOT the Samson of the Bible. Samson was a man who was far less than he should have been. He came into this world born of a promise from God that he would be a Nazarite set apart for the glory of God, and that he would be the deliverer of the nation of Israel, Jud. 13:1-14. There can be little doubt that the Lord used Samson in his life, but his service to the Lord was hampered by the sins that marred his life.
Samson was a man characterized by weakness in his flesh. He had a weakness for wicked women. That desire for illicit sexual relationships continually hindered his usefulness to the Lord and eventually it cost him his freedom, his ministry and his life.
The story of Samson goes from Judges chapter 13 all the way over to Judges chapter 16. It begins with an angel coming to see his father Manoah and his mother who is unnamed and barren. The angel promises her that she will conceive of a son but gives her very specific instructions to drink no wine or strong drink while she is pregnant [PAUSE – isn’t it awesome when you see just how wise God is. Thousands of years ago He told a woman not drink while pregnant to protect the child and only in these last few decades have we learned the enormous damage that can be done to a fetus when the mother heavily drinks. Brain damage, still births, retardation, all manner of issues can result. So don’t sit there and tell me my God is too old school to matter today! He matters!]
Back to the instructions: so the angel of the Lord further instructed the couple that this child was to be a Nazirite from the womb and to never lay a razor on his head. A Nazirite is one who is separated & specially dedicated to God. The law of the Nazirites is contained in Numbers chapter 6 but in general, the vows of a Nazirite said that you could not:
1. Drink any strong drink
2. Could not cut your hair
3. Keep clear of any pollution of your body by dead things
Besides Samson, the Bible tells us that both Samuel and John the Baptist were Nazirites.
So, Samson was born and was blessed by the Lord. Scripture says that the Spirit of the Lord moved upon him. And yet, in the very next verse of that chapter, we see Samson scoping out a Philistine woman to marry. As an Israelite, God forbade going into other nations for wives as they were considered to be uncircumcised heathens. On top of that, the Philistines were the enemies of the Israelites at that time so why would he want to go after her? Because his lust and desire for her overruled his vows to God and his sense of right and wrong. By this point, Samson, the Nazirite, was (like the old folks used to say) starting to get full of himself and think he could do whatever he wanted.
Point – It doesn’t matter what your title is, you must still remain humble and submitted before God so that He can lead you in the paths of righteousness and away from the sin-path
So, he goes back home and tells his parents that he wants this Philistine woman for a wife. However, Samson's Parents refuse to correct him: they should have said,
• “Intermarriage with non-Israelites is forbidden by the LORD.”
• They should have said, “The Lord has called you to be a Nazirite.
• They should have said, The LORD’S agenda is for you to deliver us from the Philistine oppression, not to marry them”
Point - Parents need to parent their children and if that means saying the hard things then say them. Today too many parents want to be their child’s friend and that’s where the child goes wrong. No, your staying out all night, no, your not bringing home some boy or some girl to spend the night. Oh, you want to date this boy? Where is he? Why haven’t I met him? Train your child, set rules, lead, advise and guide. Be a parent.
So he ends up marrying this woman and at the wedding banquet, this woman ends up tricking Samson out of a secret to a riddle that he had asked causing him fly off in a rage and leave.
Coming up to chapter 16, we see that Samson has once again found another Philistine woman to lust after named Delilah and she tricked Samson into revealing the source of his strength to her. His strength was not his own; it came from the Lord. Samson’s power was related to his Nazarite vows. His hair symbolized that vow. When he allowed Delilah to cut his hair, Samson showed contempt for his vows to the Lord. As a result, the Lord removed His hand from Samson’s life and God allowed him to be captured by his enemies. The Philistines tied Samson, put out his eyes and took him to the prison, where he was forced to grind. The mighty judge of Israel was reduced to doing the work of the lowest slave.
But I’m so glad that the story doesn’t end there because if it did, then there would be no hope for any us. Every sexual failure, every moral failure would mean that we are lost. But thank God He have us a picture of the hope that we have when we mess up. These verses remind us that no matter how far we may fall, if we are saved we are still His, and He has a plan to bring us back to Him.
Point - The successful Christian is not the person who never fails, but it is the person who when they fail, gets back up and goes on for the Lord. The successful Christian is the person who accepts God’s remedy for sin and reaches up to God for cleansing and forgiveness when he does fail.
Don’t think that the lusts of Samson were just for him in his day. We’re living in a day and age when sex and sexual perversions are all around us. Our senses are literally bombarded from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed with images of sex. You can’t watch a TV program without seeing commercial after commercial alluding to some sexual fantasy, every magazine you pick up shows alluring pictures of men and women with so-called perfect bodies teasing and tempting our eyes. Even PG-rated movies today do not sell unless they have sexual innuendos. Out of the thousands upon thousands of drugs that we have today to combat disease, Viagra is listed at number 45 of the highest selling drugs. This just goes to show that sex is waaaay up on the collective minds of people today. Even Bill Gates, the MS CEO, is offering up $100,000 to anyone that can invent a better condom!
Our children are being pressured today to have sex like never before. You can ignore the facts if you want to but the bottom line is that every one of our children whether in the church or not, either have been, currently are, or will be pressured to have sex. STATISTICS – 62% of high school seniors have had sexual intercourse that comes out to over 9 million teens!
Our boys are brought up thinking it’s a badge of honor to have sex early on and they pressure girls who should still be playing with Barbie dolls to have sex. They pressure them with the “If you loved me, or I just want our relationship to go deeper…”. Sex today is considered just a casual thing to do, with as many partners as you care to have. There is no thought to the consequences of sex which can sometimes last a lifetime (Herpes, a baby)and sometimes 1 sexual act can pronounce a death sentence upon your whole life (HIV).
But I came here to tell you that even if our standards of sexual conduct have slid down into the gutter, God’s standards have not and will not change.
He states very clearly in 1 Cor 6:9-10 that:
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God
Its not me saying this, it’s the word of God! Sexual immorality in all and any form is not tolerated by God. You may think your getting away with some illicit sexual relationship on Saturday and then sliding into the choir stand on Sunday but if no one else is watching, God is watching! So, men, sleep with that woman outside your marriage if you want to, women – allow yourself to be enticed into a bed with someone that’s not your husband if you want to, young boys and girls, slip that boyfriend or girlfriend into Mom and Dad’s house if you want to but don’t for one minute think your getting away with anything. God is not mocked! If He stated a command then He intends for it to be followed.
And we as Christians, are called to look different from the world. We are not be conformed but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. That means that despite the sexual pressures that come up on me each day, God demands that we not engage in these ill-gotten relationships.
Listen, let me give you some notes for how sin works:
1 John 2:16 says that there are only three sins that take shape in different forms: lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and pride of life.
So, if I’m saved, and trying to live for God, how do I slip and fall into sexual sin or any sin?
The devil knows how to entice you with those things that will cause you to fall and here’s the formula:
ENTICEMENT DESIRE ACTION = SIN
Sin in all its forms, is a slippery slope that travels:
Saints of God, you have to understand that our bodies were not meant for sexual misconduct. 1 Cor 6:13-17:
13 The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[a] 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Pressing to win
So, back to our text. In verses 21 – 25, we see Samson still a blind slave, still down and out. The Philistines decide to have a party in the temple of their god (dagon) and bring Samson out to parade him around like a clown. 3000 men and women, laughing and making sport out of him. But, then comes verse 28. Samson is leaning against the pillars of the temple and he cries out to God to strengthen him once more. The power of God comes upon him and he reaches out with both hands against the pillars of the temple and begins to push; yeah yeah he begins to PRESS. I can see the Philistines laughing at him and thinking he has no power left. I can see a few of them glance up as a crack starts to appear over each column. And then with one final, might PRESS, the pillars are knocked down and all 3000 along with Samson are destroyed! In his death, Samson killed more Philistines than he did in his life. But the key to his returned power was that he stopped looking at himself, he stopped thinking it was his power and he turned God who is the source of our strength!
It puts me in mind of another passage over in Phillipians. Chapter 3 vs 12-14:
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Samson was finally able to overcome his enemies by reaching up to God and then PRESSING against the pillars. How do we avoid falling into sexual traps? How do we avoid giving in to desires? How do we resist taking actions when enticed? HOW DO WE WIN THIS FIGHT? WE TURN OUR FOCUS OFF OF THE TEMPORARY LUSTS OF THIS WORLD AND TURN OUR ATTETION UPWARD TO THE ETERNAL GOD. THEN, After we call on the name of Jesus and pray for the power of the Holy Ghost, WE PRESS!!
SAMSON DEFEATED HIS ENEMIES WHEN HE PRESSED
WHEN THAT WOMAN LOOKS TOO GOOD, I PRESS
WHEN THAT MAN TEMPTS ME, I’LL PRESS
WHEN THE ENTICING MEDIA IS PUT IN FRONT OF MY FACE, I’LL PRESS
LORD, I DON’T’ WANT TO LOSE MY FAMILY
I DON’T WANT TO LOSE MY JOB
I DON’T WANT TO LOSE MY MINISTRY
I DON’T WANT TO LOSE MY LIFE
LORD, HELP ME TO PRESS!!!
I never knew how far sin would make me stray
I never knew how low sin would take me away
I never knew how much sin would make me pay
Yet now I decree, sin has no hold on me as of this Day!
Thru the power and blood of Jesus, I stand here and say
Devil, the sexual chains have been broken and daily shall I pray
Father God, hold me up, strengthen me and guide me along the narrow way!
Make up your mind today to press your way through every sexual challenge that comes your way