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I invite you to join me in Judges 13 Page 180
Community Bible Chapel Podcast
6/2/19 A Different Way To Live – Living At Full Potential
Jack was gifted in High school.
-He was the quarterback and the star in the musical.
-He had lots of friends and he and his buddies would get together on
Friday nights and play cards.
-He was smart and got a scholarship to an Ivy League school.
-He worked a job through school and especially loved the little group of guys who bet on the weekly football games.
-He excelled in college and graduated with honors.
-He married his college sweet heart and the kids came along.
-The All-American guy that seemed like everything he touched turned to gold.
-But Jack’s habit of playing cards turned into sports betting and playing the horses.
-Over time that turned into other forms of gambling that drained his bank accounts.
-Not only did it take all their extra money, but it put his family in debt.
-The more he tried to get out of debt, the more he bet and the more he lost.
-It was an ever deepening pit.
-His marriage fell apart and his life just fell apart.
Now, we might wonder if there is any help for Jack?
-He had so much potential that seemed to be wasted.
-And don’t get hung up on the gambling. I just used that as an example of how our lives can get into the deep weeds.
-The issue that caused it can be gambling, sex, power, greed, or a million other things.
-So insert your own struggle into the story.
Today we continue the series A Different Way To Live
-We introduced the series with the Hope of the resurrection, and looked at a number of different issues that the Gospel changes drastically.
Today, we are going to look at Living at Full Potential.
-We will not be looking at the depth of a lost potential in the person of Samson and the warnings we might gain from his mistakes.
-Then we will revisit Jack and a different way to live.
I invite you to join me in Judges 13 Page 180
– You version (internet – CBC Guest)
-The life of Samson begins with his special status.
-His parents are visited by an angel? Or the angel of the Lord? Or the pre-incarnate Christ?
-And not once, but twice did his parents get a special visit.
-Whoever the visitor was, Samson was one special dude.
-Not only the visits, but the call of God on his life to be a Nazirite from birth.
-He grew up with God’s special blessing on him.
-All this creates a huge expectation for us as we see the spiritual advantage he has.
-13:24 says “He grew and the LORD blessed him, and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan . . .”
-As we read, we are excited to see what God is going to do through this spiritually gifted person.
-But then we read the very next verse and our expectation drops off the cliff because we didn’t see this coming.
“Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman”
-After telling his parents to get her, they reason with him to look elsewhere, but he rejects all sound logic and his parents plea.
-Wow, where did that come from?
Now, there are three areas we will outline today that are a plague to living up to the full potential that God has for you and will derail your life.
-Now, as we consider the lost potential we have to assume that Samson didn’t just rise up and head down to this Philistine town.
-I think we can also assume that Samson didn’t just begin to speak to reject his parents and speak to them this way.
-The dynamics of their relationship had developed over time and we are getting to see some of the fruit of a selfish heart.
-We are seeing for the first time, some of the character of Samson.
-It’s safe to say that Samson was not cruising along as a perfect young man and was just having a bad day.
-The road to sin is walked one step at a time and one decision at a time.
-James 1 speaks to this very clearly “desire gives birth to sin, sin when it is full grown gives birth to death.”
-We are seeing the desire morphing into the sin stage being developed in Samson’s character in this event.
-And the character we are seeing is an out of control bully.
-He is pushing his parents around and about to take advantage of this woman.
-Selfishness does what it wants and doesn’t care about anyone or anything else.
“I must have it my way.”
-His selfish heart has gone unchecked and selfish desires are beginning to flourish in the absence of a desire for God.
-God is not on the radar screen of Samson’s mind.
As we consider how to live at full potential, we are forced to consider our own selfish hearts.
-This account is ugly and makes us cringe because of the potential that is lost and the rawness of Samson’s sin.
-This pushes toward its potential being realized in our selfish desires because that is all it knows.
-We see it all the time: “Just do it” “Go for the gusto” or “Self actualized, do what makes you happy type living.
-The world says that the person who is happy must be living at their full potential.-And we struggle to even know what is best for us and become easily deceived.
DA Carson’s devotional – “For the Love of God”, quoted John Piper.
-Again, it’s doing the little things that develop the character of our lives and will
determine how we respond when the bigger issues of life come down the road.
–But the Bible defines our potential much differently.
-Jesus talked about Golden rule living in Matt. 7:12
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
-That is something we all learned in kindergarten.
-And that is great, but Jesus also raised the bar and taught us to live by the Diamond rule in John 13:34
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
-Not only should we treat others how we want them to treat us, but we should treat others in the way that God treats us.
-That pushes us past our selfish desires to do what is best for the other person, no matter the cost to ourselves.
-And Jesus pushes us past our selfish hearts in even more graphic term Max Potential Living.
Mark 8:35 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
-That’s always putting others first – always putting the gospel first.
-To reach our full potential, we have to battle our selfish hearts daily.
Rebellion Against Authority
-Next we see that Samson didn’t do well with authority in his life.
-He totally dissed his parents and their counsel about not marrying a non-believer.
-Instead of listening to what they were saying for his best interest, he demanded they go and get the woman.
-Then in 14:9 we read that Samson digs honey out of the dead lion.
-That might not seem like much to us, but God commanded his people not to touch anything dead or they would be defiled – ceremonial unclean.
-So, he is living in rebellion to God’s authority in his life all over the place.
-On top of that, he offers it to his parents without telling them where it came from –no care for defiling his parents.
-Our parents are given by God to lead us, teach us, train us, and most importantly, they teach us how to submit to God’s leading, teaching, and training in our lives.
-Since God gives us parents, our response to them is a response to God.
-You can’t separate those apart as God commanded us to “honor our parents.”
-If we don’t learn how to respect parental authority when we are young, we will struggle to learn how to respect God when we leave our parents house.
-And let me say this – every college or ministry recommendation I have ever filled out included questions on how the applicant deals with the authority in their lives.
-As I always say, do the little things and build habits and character of submitting to authority, don’t expect it to just show up when you need it.
-You won’t suddenly be submissive to your boss unless you learned how to be submissive earlier in your life.
-It will only be there when you have built it into your life daily.
-Parents, we teach our kids how to respond to our authority by our response to the authority in our lives.
-We sit around the dinner table and complain about the president or defy my boss or local police officers – we are teaching our children how to respond to us.
-We throw away the potential in our lives by not submitting God’s authority.
-There is nothing more tragic than watching someone who claims to be a believer, but then lives their life as if God doesn’t exist.
-In their decision making, in how they treat other people, in their thinking.
-If we are going to live to our full potential, we need to learn how to submit to the authority in our lives.
-Samson’s sin continued to build as we see in 16:1
“One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute.
He went in to spend the night with her.”
-Using and degrading women for his own selfish-sexual sin.
-Sexual purity was certainly not on Samson’s agenda.
-Samson would have fit right into our sexually charged culture today.
-That lack of a desire for sexual purity affects our marriages, families, and the church as a whole.
-But more importantly, it affects the glory of God being revealed in the world.
-God has created sexuality to be exclusive to the marriage or a man and a woman and only in the covenant relationship of marriage.
-Everything else is outside of God’s plan, and outside of God’s blessing as well.
I John 2:16 “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
-We are much more like Samson than we care to admit and we tend to follow our eyes rather than training our eyes to see what God sees.
-To see people as wonderfully created by God to be honored for God’s glory.
-God has created sex for His glory and we glorify God by keeping sex for the relationship of marriage – only.
-The blessings are wonderful as husband and wife celebrate:
-Their “one flesh” relationship.
-Where children will be a blessing.
-Where they are able to express their love for one another.
-And where God’s gift of sex can be fully enjoyed.
-Sex is such a wonderful gift that everybody wants it, but when we try to grab it outside of the marriage – the blessing of God turns into a curse.
-We might call Samson a sex addict and like every habit, he seems to be getting the best of it right up until it gets the best of him.
-We know the end of the story – his head is shaven, he is captured, his eyes plucked out, and he gets sent to grinding grain.
-All through the account, Samson “saw”, he looked at, and set his desire after the things of the world.
-Now, grinding grain, he has no eyes to see the things of the world
Restoration – Full Potential
-But that is right where God wanted him and we read some of the most hopeful words in all of Scripture – 16:22
“But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.”
-And then we read where Samson’s true potential came from.
“Then Samson prayed to the LORD, O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more . . .”
-Finally, Samson reaches his God given potential to the praise of God’s glory.
-If you are struggling with a life dominating sin, don’t give up.
-There is always hope as you turn to the Lord.
-But as we consider Samson, it’s sad because he had to get to this point before he turned to the Lord.-You can’t read this account and not lament the “what could have been!”
We return to Jack and see a different way to live.
-After losing everything, Jack recognized his need for help.
-He humbled himself and did the last thing people in trouble do . . .he visited his pastor. (yea – finally)
-His pastor was well aware of the problem already because Jack had rejected his help in the past when the marriage was falling apart.
-So, this visit was the hardest thing Jack could do, but it was also the most important thing he could do.
-Jack’s Pastor began to work with him and over the next six months, life had begun to change.
-He wasn’t out of the woods yet, but hadn’t gambled in months, had a steady job, was beginning to pay off his debts.
-While still separated from his wife, the marriage relationship was, only by the grace of God in reset mode.
-Jack had begun to address his habits in light of the sufficiency of God’s Word.
-The pastor had placed a dozen guys around him to walk beside him.
-He had always kept his distance from other men in the church, but now realized that those relationships were life and death for him.
-Over the next 5 years, he became the leader of the men’s ministry and was in the position of helping other fellow strugglers to overcome their difficulties.
-Then he attended CBC’s Biblical Counseling Conference and got certified as a Biblical Counselor and really became a help to other men struggling with all kinds of life dominating sin.
-As he continued growing and serving, his marriage was also restored and like it never was before.
-And Jack’s was living life differently – not according to his potential, but toward
God’s potential in him.