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2-6-22 “A Message from the Lord”

“A Message from the Lord” (Judges 13:6-24)

David Peterson / General

Holiness of God / Judges 13:6–24

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: The messenger of the Lord gives us the gift of God’s presence in our lives, which gives our life a mission/vocation–filled with meaning and purpose. Jesus is the messenger of the Lord.

Introduction

1. Background to judges. The judges cycle.

2. Samson is last in 6 major cycles. Here they no longer cry out to God. They have become dead to his presence.

I. The message comes as sheer gift.

1. Samson is a picture of Israel’s failure. Israel is a picture of humanity’s failure.

Samson experienced the onrush of the Spirit of Yahweh more frequently, and with more intensity, than any other character in the OT. In Samson’s solar title we see glimmers of  his intended role as the mirror image of divine power and as the bearer of the manifested divine splendor, the Spirit of Yahweh . Such high hopes only throw the subsequent behavior of Samson into dark relief. (Cornerstone Bible Commentary)

2. The birth of Samson, to a barren couple, is a picture of God’s grace. Making alive what is dead.

3. With Jesus’ coming, we who are spiritually dead are made alive.

Dr. Erwin Lutzer teaches preaching courses at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Every year, he takes his students on a field trip to the local cemetery—so they can preach. He says:

I take them to a little cemetery in Deerfield, Illinois, and I have them all gather around a certain gravesite. I point out the name, and then I tell one of the students, “Preach the gospel to Mr. Smith here.”

They look at me like I’m nuts. So I preach to Mr. Smith with enthusiasm: “Sir, Jesus died for your sins, and you must put your faith in him.”

Then I look at the students and tell them, “This is no different than preaching the gospel to unsaved people. The Bible says that they are dead in their sins. You can preach your heart out, but nothing will happen unless God does a miracle to give them the life to listen.” (preachingtoday.com)

II. The message reveals one who is wonderful beyond compare.

1. Seeing God is encountering something not of this world but which fills those in this with a sense of wonder and awe

The NLT’s “wonderful” translates pel’i [TH6383, ZH7100], from the root pala’. The term vexes translators since it captures a range of perception and sensibility, not just a simple idea. The idea seems to be something different, extraordinary, or unusual. It can denote the miraculous, the portentous, or sometimes that which is extremely difficult or impossible either literally or conceptually, i.e., incomprehensible. The idea is of a boundary: On one side is utter inconceivability, on the other is the ability to do the inconceivable (HALOT 2.927; NIDOTTE s.v. pala’; TDOT 11:533–546). Often expressions of mystification or resistance to understanding are linked to the word, so that the NLT reasonably adds “too … for you to understand.” (Cornerstone Bible Commentary)

2. The inevitable result is an awareness of one’s lack of fitness for such an encounter: Peter, “go away from me. I’m a sinful man” (Luke 5:8), Isaiah, “woe is me. I am a sinner” (Isaiah 6:5), Manoah, “we are doomed to die!” (Judges 13:22)

3. A real encounter involves a real challenge, but in the end a changed life.

“When the fear of God is gone, the decisions of daily life are threatened.”

Source: Roberta Hestenes, speaking at the 1989 Evangelical press Association convention. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 15. (cited at preachingtoday.com)

“a re-awakened sense of sin will beget a reawakened sense of wonder.” Andrew Murray

III. The message calls us to a mission from God.

1. The Minister as Diagnostician by Paul W. Pruyser: Awareness of the Holy, a sense of Providence, stance of Faith, sense of Grace/Gratefulness, process of repenting, feeling of Communion, sense of Vocation (sense of mission)

2. Isaiah, “Lord send me”, Jesus to Peter, “You will be fishers of men”, Samson’s parents, “raise the boy this way”

3. The Christian vocation, “You are the body of Christ and each of you is a member of it.”

Conclusion

A Surprising ‘Greatest Fear in Life’

Maria Stenvinkel, a corporate consultant from Sweden, asked 65 people from around the world, “What’s your greatest fear in life?”

As you might expect, people mentioned the fear of “dying alone” or of “losing my job.” But of these 65 people, at least 14 (more than 1 in every 5) expressed a different fear: Living a life without purpose or meaning.

Listen to their own words:

My biggest fear is never taking a risk in an effort to find my true calling. – Anthony, New York City

My greatest fear is to go through life living small but not realizing it until it’s too late. – Rebekka, Stuttgart, Germany

My greatest fear would be missing out on my purpose here on earth. … I know I have a purpose that I am not yet serving. – Danielle, Sacramento

To go through life without leaving a positive mark. – Luciana, Sintra, Portugal

My greatest fear is regretting all that I didn’t do, as I lay in my hospital bed as an elderly man. – Ralph, North Brunswick

Source: Maria Stenvinkel, “What’s Your Greatest Fear in Life? 65 Brave Answers from People in 18 Countries,” Linkedin.com (12-19-16) cited at preachingtoday.com

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