Samson Part #2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
What was it that made these people heroes? What enabled them to leave their families and go to foreign lands? It was because they were consecrated, thoroughly consecrated to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is there anything in the world that the consecrated man cannot do? Tempt him, offer him wealth or fame, take him to the mountain top, show him all the kingdoms of the world, and tell him that he can have them all if he will just bow down and worship the god of this world. What will the consecrated man say? “Get behind me, Satan; I already have more than you can offer me; this world is mine, and worlds to come; I despise your temptation; I will not bow before thee.”
When men threaten the consecrated man, what does he say? “I fear God, and therefore I can’t fear you; you may choose to serve man instead of God, but for me, I will serve only God.” You may have known a consecrated man in your life.Was he famous? Was there anything that he couldn’t do? When he preached the Gospel, did his enemies attack him, and did they distort his qualities and call them vices, and were his slightest faults made into the greatest crimes. At times, it seems like he doesn’t have any friends; even fellow ministers of the Gospel shun him; he is believed to be strange to the point that everyone must avoid him.
What does he do? Within his heart, he holds a conference with God; he asks, am I right? The Holy Spirit gives the answer...yes! Then he says, “If I am right, I will continue on as before, and follow my conscience.” He may feel that he has been deserted, but he doesn’t express that in public. In public, no one can tell if any of these things bother him; and he can say along with Paul-“None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me that I may win Christ and finish my course with joy.”
Is there anything that a consecrated man cannot do? I believe that if he had the whole world against him, he would prove more than a match for it because he is more than a conqueror through Him that loved him.
The one who is consecrated to the Lord Jesus Christ is not alone. You may ask, “Can we be consecrated to Christ? I thought that it was only for ministers.” Listen. All God’s children must be consecrated; men and women.
Now let’s consider our situation here at the Inn. I don’t know your financial conditions if you have much or little, and I don’t want to know; it’s none of my business. But I know that the word of God says that we are to give to him with a cheerful heart. We don’t give because He needs it; we give because we love Him and because He wants to bless us. So, I would encourage you to give something to your church. When you first came to God, when you joined the church, did you say something like this, “All that I am, and all that I have, shall be forever thine; whatever you bid me to give, I will give cheerfully.”
If you ever made a vow to God to give, you should honor your vow. I will not say any more about this after today, but I want to encourage you to give to God; give him your love, your prayers, your testimony, your tithe, and offering. Consecrate your money to the Lord and consecrate your life to the Lord; for happy is the man who is consecrated unto the Lord; and where ever he is he will do wonders.
I believe that today we are all little men and little women. A hundred years ago, if we would have gone through the churches, we would have found men and women of great faith and ministers who were preachers with power. But now, we are little men and women, our names will not be remembered because we do nothing to deserve it.
The littleness of Christians today results from the littleness of their consecration to Christ. The age of D.L. Moody was the age of great preachers, but that was also the age of great consecration. Those great preachers whose names we remember were men who desired nothing for their own, and they gave up all that they had willingly to the Lord. They lived to preach the Gospel to thousands or to just a few. They became great men because they were totally given up to God.
If we could say to ourselves, “From the crown of my head to the soul of my foot, there is not a drop of blood that is not wholly God’s; all my time, all my talents, -everything I have is God’s”-if we could say that, and back it up with our life, we would be strong like Sampson, for the consecrated must be strong.
II. Now, the second point is, THERE IS A SECRET TO THEIR STRENGTH.
What makes the consecrated man strong? There is no strength in man himself. Sampson, without God, was just a poor fool. The secret of Sampson’s strength was this...as long as he was consecrated, he was strong; as long as he was thoroughly devoted to God, and had no other purpose other than to serve God (and that was to be indicated by the growing of his hair) then God would be with him and help him. It is the same for us; if we have any strength to serve God, that strength comes from God.
Some men will tell you that the strength of their character and their good deeds will carry them to heaven. Man’s character and good works have never carried anyone to heaven, but many are in hell today who thought they would.
There is not enough strength in our human nature to bring us to serve God righteously. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to him. No man can come to Christ, except the Holy Spirit draws him. The Bible describes our condition this way, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” I believe that everyone who is truly saved will eventually feel this way. I doubt if anyone could be saved even for a day without finding his own weakness. The child of God quickly discovers that he needs to take a hold of the Father’s hand or he will fall.
Could you imagine Sampson without God going against a thousand men? They would laugh at him, and he would be terrified and run from them or be torn to pieces.
Imagine him without God, locked up in Gaza. When he tries to escape, he is caught. Where is his deliverance; without God, he is like other men. The secret of his strength lies in his consecration and in his God. So, remember the secret of your strength.
Never think that you have any power of your own; rely completely on God, and remember that the channel through which that strength must come to you must be your consecration to God.
III. The third point is, THERE IS A DANGER FOR THE CONSECRATED MAN.
The danger is that his locks may be cut, that is to say, that his consecration may be broken down. As long as he is consecrated he is strong, but break that, and he is as weak as water.
Now, there are a thousand razors which the Devil can use to shave off the locks of a consecrated man. He is cleverer than any barber; he can shave off believer’s locks without them knowing it. Let me tell you about some of the razors that he can use to accomplish his work. Sometimes he uses the sharp razor of pride, and when the Christian is not watching, he comes with it and says, “You’re a good man and you have done some pretty good things. People appreciate you and they talk well of you.” The razor of pride will cut off his locks and he won’t even notice that they are gone. He will just think to himself, “I’m pretty brave! I’m a great person!” And that’s how the razor of pride works. When you wake up, you find that you are bald, and all your strength is gone. Have you ever had that razor on your head? I confess I have had it on mine. Pride had been doing its work when you complimented yourself for being patient, or for turning aside from some temptation. Pride is a violation of our consecration because in that pride we take away from God’s glory. Listen. God will never give you strength to use to glorify yourself with. God will give you a crown, but not to put on your own head. When a Christian begins to recount his feats and triumphs and make himself great, God will cut him down.
There is still another more blatant danger, and that is when a consecrated man begins to change his purpose in life and to live for himself; that is a razor that shaves clean, indeed. The example here is the minister who starts out his service by saying, “My only object is to preach the Gospel faithfully and to honor my master.” In time, tempted by Satan, he changes his tone and talks like this, “I need to tone down my sermons to keep from stepping on anybody’s toes. I don’t want anyone to leave and go to another church. That would look bad and what would my friends think.” When a preacher begins to care so much about what the world thinks it is all over for him. When he goes to his pulpit he must have this on his mind, “I have a message to deliver, and whether they will hear it or not, I will deliver it as God has laid it on my heart.” A man who will not let the opinions of others move him is mighty indeed.