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Is Samson a Hero or Villain in the Bible?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
September 14, 2022 3:42 pm

Is Samson a Hero or Villain in the Bible?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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September 14, 2022 3:42 pm

Episode 1054 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

 

Questions in this Episode

 

1. What is the significance of the Bible mentioning God using his right hand?

2. How can a Christian balance ambition and contentment?

3. Is Samson the hero or the villain of the story?

4. Do I need to be re-baptized if I was baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness?

5. What can I say to help convince my friend that God isn’t punishing him?

6. What can I say to fellow Christians who believe that homosexuality is OK?

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Was Samson a hero or a villain in the Bible? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Our phone lines are open right now, and you can call us at 833-THE-CORE with your question.

833-843-2673. And we're also open to questions about doctrine or theology or maybe even some doubts you have about the Christian faith. We'd love to hear from you.

So give us a buzz right now. 833-THE-CORE. First up today, let's go to Reed calling in from Minnesota. Reed, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? I've read the Bible since 1979 completely through every year, and I can never find where God uses His right hand. He always uses His right hand. He never uses His left hand. He always uses His right hand. Thanks, Reed, for that question. Well, God must be right-handed.

I'm just joking. This symbol that we have in Scripture, you see this language all over the place in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, the right hand of power. You think about God's deliverance in the book of Exodus, for example, the Song of Moses. In Exodus 15, verse 6, your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. Jesus talks about seeing the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven. So it's a symbol, this image of power, authority, God's strength to save, to redeem, to judge.

And that's how we're to understand it. We have to be careful that when we read these things in the Bible, we're not thinking, okay, God is right-handed or He has a hand. No, God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. God doesn't have a body like us. Now, the Son of God, the eternal word of the Father, the second person of the Holy Trinity, assumed humanity so that He was born of a virgin, and Jesus has a body, a glorified body.

But the language of God's right hand, which I'm not talking literally here, it's a symbol of God's power. And so that's why we see it throughout the Bible, Reed. Thanks for the question. Thanks so much, Reed.

Appreciate you. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you've got a question about the Bible or the Christian life.

Here's a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners earlier this week. Hey, Pastor Adriel. My question is how, as Christians, are we to balance ambition and contentment? You know, there are calls to be content, and then Paul in Philippians talks about being content and good and for bad. Yeah, I'm just curious, can ambition and contentment coexist? Because I'm of the opinion, you know, society doesn't advance if ambitious people don't exist. So just curious to hear your thoughts on that.

Thank you. Yeah, I mean, definitely. I think ambition and contentment can and should coexist.

You know, I think we're called. I guess it just depends on how you're defining ambition. So there's a good kind of ambition, and then there's a demonic kind of ambition, which I'll talk about right now. But the good kind of ambition, I think, is being diligent, working hard, seeking to pursue the Lord in all things and to serve the Lord and to serve the people around us. And there's that Protestant work ethic you might have heard about, you know, just this drive that is a good thing and honoring to the Lord. The Bible says if we don't work, we don't eat.

And so this is important. You know, Scripture says a lot of things about laziness as a sin, something we have to be cautious of. But there is an evil kind of ambition, a demonic kind of ambition, and this is what James talks about in James chapter three. Who is wise and understanding among you? This is verse 13.

By his good conduct, let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

In other words, this selfish ambition looks like that deep jealousy that drives us to be better than others, to be superior to others. And James says this is not the wisdom that comes from above. This is not how God calls us to live.

There's something very sensual, something very demonic about this. And he goes on in verse 17. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. There's a diligence there, sowing, harvesting, working, but being led by the Spirit of the Lord. And in that, being content.

And contentment, again, doesn't mean that we just sort of sit back and don't work hard. It means that we accept, you know, whatever situation that we're in, that we don't have that sort of covetous desire that is sinful. But instead, we're trusting the Lord in whatever situation we're in, but we're also pursuing him and we're working hard. And so, may God help us to do that. May God help us to steer clear of that demonic ambition that James spoke about in James chapter 3.

Good counsel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Hey, an invitation to you today. If you're one of our regular listeners, if you've listened to Core Christianity for a while and you believe in what we do, we have a group of people that we call the inner core, and we'd like to invite you to consider joining that group. Yeah, this is, you know, a small way that you can partner with us to spread the truth of the Christian faith, the biblical Christianity, really Core Christianity and the core doctrines of the Christian faith. And we're inviting you to join us in, as Bill said, it's called the inner core, and it's a group that gives a monthly donation of $25 or more, and we hope also that you will be praying for us, but it's how we can work together to continue to produce the material that we're producing here, to spread the word about Christ and about his word. And so if you've been blessed by the work that we do here at Core Christianity, would you consider joining the inner core? And as we say, we'll send you a copy of the book Core Christianity written by Dr. Michael Horton, a wonderful resource on the Christian faith.

It's easy to join the inner core. Just go to our website corechristianity.com forward slash inner core. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash inner core. We'd ask you to prayerfully consider joining that group of folks maybe this week. We would really appreciate it. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core.

You can call us anytime 24 hours a day at 833-THE-CORE, 833-THE-CORE. And here's one from one of our listeners named Viola. Pastor Sanchez, I want to thank you for your faithfulness and for how you teach us. My question is about Samson. 1 John 4, 1 says to test the spirits and see if they be of God. But as I read about Samson in Judges 14 and 15, I'm a little confused. First of all, he's disobedient in wanting to have a wife. You know, which is he set apart? And he wants a wife from a mom to fill the spines.

And then he's disrespectful to his parents. I know he's in the, in Hebrews, in the hall of faith, but it just doesn't seem like his spirit is in alignment with God, even though the Word says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he did some of these things. So please explain to us the lesson we should learn from Samson. Thank you. God bless you. Yeah.

Thank you for that question. I mean, Samson is, as a judge, called by the Lord, filled with the Holy Spirit in a powerful way so that he brought judgment against the enemies of God's people. And yet his life was a real tragedy, wasn't it? And we read about it, and there are times where, I think this is what you were struck by, you know, you're reading the story of Samson, you think, is this guy just a total fool? I mean, how is he falling into some of the things that he's fallen into?

He's just got to be totally clueless. And you think about that, here's what I think the big takeaway is, because as you said, he is in the hall of faith in Hebrews chapter 11. He's treated as this exemplar, this witness to the goodness of God and to the promises of God. And so I think that what we see and what we can take comfort from in our own lives is, one, we see the deceptive nature of sin, right?

That we can look at a guy like him and say, man, how could you make the same mistakes over and over again and be so blind? And yet, brothers and sisters, isn't that the case with us so often? Just doing things, sinning in ways that we know, this is not right, and yet still, there's this great contradiction there. And of course, we're humbled by the Lord, and we're always called to repent and confess, and yet for many of us, we still find ourselves in those same situations. I think in one sense, Samson is this picture of the struggle that many believers do experience and the fact that God works in and even through that. But there is a warning here for us about the deceptive nature of sin and about the consequences of sin, and Samson definitely experienced many of those comments. The way in which he died was tragic, totally, just blinded and mocked, and there is this sort of strange irony, bringing the house down on the enemies of the Lord. He calls upon God, and God fills him again with his Spirit. And in some respects there, not as a sinner, but as this one who is tortured and brings judgment against the enemies of the Lord.

It's this picture of this type of Christ. And so there's so many different things to see, but I think one of the things that I'm comforted by when I read the story of Samson, and this is just true of the stories of every person in the Bible that we treat as a quote-unquote hero, is you look at their lives and you say, man, that person was pretty messed up, and yet God still used them. They still experienced the grace of God. It doesn't justify, I'm not saying that the way in which he lived and the things that he did, that they were okay, that God just sort of turned the blind eye.

No, not at all. He doesn't with our sin. We take it very seriously. God chastises us when we sin. But there's a comfort in seeing the Lord's hand on his life and God's mercy toward Samson. And I think it gives hope to people who mess up, people who make the same mistakes over and over again. And so I think we're meant to see these stories and glorify the grace of God while also be warned about, again, the deceptive nature of sin. Thank you for giving us a call and for your encouragement as well. And there are so many characters in the Bible who are fallible in so many ways, and it gives me hope because I know I'm just as fallible to make mistakes and to sin as they are. So thanks for that, Adriel.

Appreciate it. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Brittany called in from Oregon and has this question. She says, Adriel, thanks so much for your show. I've grown so much listening to it. If I was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness and I'm now a Christian, do I need to get re-baptized? Brittany, thank you for your encouragement.

I'm so glad that you're listening. And my advice for you as a pastor would be, yes, I mean, you do need to get baptized, truly baptized for the first time because the Jehovah's Witness cult is not a true church. So they don't have the ordinances of Jesus Christ, baptism, and the Lord's Supper because they don't have the pure gospel of Christ. In fact, they deny Christ. They don't believe that He's God. They teach that He's a created being.

This is one of the earliest heresies in the church known as Arianism, and it was condemned. And so Jehovah's Witnesses, you know, even though they might do good things in the community and have a zeal for spreading their doctrine, their religion, you see them going door to door and so on and so forth, you can say, man, they're such nice people. Same thing with the Mormons. But they don't have the true faith.

They don't have the gospel. And so if you were baptized as a Jehovah's Witness and say they baptized you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, it wasn't a true baptism because the Son in their estimation is a created being, being baptized into the name of a creature, one who was created. This is why, actually, even when we think about baptism, being baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, it's further evidence that Christ isn't a creature but that He's the Lord, that He's the source of grace and life for His people. We're baptized into the divine life of the Holy Trinity, if you will, by the grace of the Holy Spirit. And so I would say to you, it's not that you need to get re-baptized, it's that you need to be truly baptized for the first time in a church that does preach the truth and does embrace who God is, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one in essence and undivided, where you can experience the true ordinance, sacrament, as it was meant to be experienced. And I pray that you do do that and that you do do that sooner, that you're in a good church where you're encouraged and growing together with believers.

I'm so glad that you're no longer with the Jehovah's Witnesses and may the Lord bless you and draw you closer to Him and bless you even as you pursue baptism. This is CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. In fact, you can call us. For the next eight minutes or so, we'll be taking your calls at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Jace, who's calling in from Missouri. Jace, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi. I have a good friend who was in a car accident and he lost his pregnant wife and four-year-old daughter. He thinks that God is punishing him because of his past career as a Marine and did some difficult jobs.

What can I say to help him realize that this is not true? Hey Jace, thank you so much for giving us a call. Boy, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend and this terrible tragedy. Often when terrible things like this happen, we're looking for some sort of reason.

We want to blame someone sometimes and frequently people will blame themselves. And it sounds, Jace, like that's what your friend is doing. Now, what can you say? Is there one Bible verse that you can give to a person to change his mind? I don't think that there's one verse to go to. We know that we live, Jace, in a world that is full of sin and death and that we, individually as sinners, participate in that. But to conclude from this, this terrible thing that your friend experienced, that's just God punishing him, judging him.

I don't think that that's the right approach. He needs to be comforted and reminded of the glory of God, the fact that God is sovereign even over these kinds of tragic things. I know that sounds strange, Jace, but I think recognizing, it's like Psalm 139 says, God has written each and every one of our days in his book when as yet there was none of them. And so I think one thing you could do in talking to your friend is praying for him and reminding him of the fact that these things are terrible. They're a part of the fallen world in which we live, but that God is not taken by surprise and that he knows each and every one of our days. And so this situation is something that the Lord knew about and was not, I wouldn't say, punishing this person. But we have to be careful also when we think about the chastisement of the Lord. When we sin, God does discipline us as Christians, and it's always out of love. It's something that he does not because he's trying to condemn us or ruin us, quite the opposite. And so, Jace, maybe your friend also has just a bad understanding of the discipline of the Lord because if he thinks, God just wants to crush me and destroy me because I was such a bad person, things that I did in my past, then that's not the God of the Bible. And so I think continually also giving a clear picture of the love of God in Jesus Christ, what God did for him in sending his son into the world to experience the weight of our sin. I don't know what his particular situation was in terms of what he feels guilty about, but those sins Jesus took. Jesus took those sins so that we are not condemned and God is not just waiting to crush us like this cruel dictator. No, he's merciful and kind, and when he does discipline us, again, it's out of love. So that doesn't seem like what was taking place there. But I would just encourage you, brother, to be continually in prayer for your friend, to pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to come, and maybe having those conversations about the nature of God's discipline specifically for his people, not to crush them or to condemn them, but to sanctify them and out of love.

It doesn't sound to me like that's what this is. This sounds like a tragic event that God knew about all our days written in his book, but not punishment for this individual sin. Christ took our punishment on the cross, and so he comforts us in the midst of our affliction. And, Jace, our prayer would be that you can help your friend get plugged into a church, if he's not already, where he can be surrounded by believers who will love him and comfort him and help him through this process. And we'll be praying for this gentleman and his situation.

So thanks so much for your caring heart. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Gail, who's calling in from Missouri, I guess. Gail, where exactly do you live?

I'm just in northeast Missouri. All right, what's your question for Adriel? Well, while I was teaching children's church, another teacher mentioned to me that she didn't think that leading a gay lifestyle was against God's word, that she felt like it was biblical, that she said according to some Hebrew and Greek texts that it was okay, and that she said that the only time it would be against the Bible would be if it was rape. And I couldn't even believe I was hearing this because I wouldn't want her guiding a child in her class to believing that it was okay. I guess it caused me to doubt my own beliefs, and I went home and did research, and I couldn't find one place in the Bible where it was okay to lead a gay lifestyle.

Yeah. Gail, I also would be concerned if this person was teaching in the church and teaching the children of the church because you're right. The Bible is very clear when it comes to gay and lesbian practicing homosexuality. And so there are people today who try to make the case and say, well, when you look at the Greek word here or the historical context there, it's not really talking about gay and lesbian relationships, but that's just not the case.

I mean, the arguments are not strong. It really is a twisting of Scripture and a twisting of Scripture in order to accommodate the modern, very progressive view on sexuality that we see all around us in our culture. And so what do you say to someone like this? I think you, one, ask them, well, is your view really coming from Scripture? Is this rooted in what God has said? Or are you being shaped more by the world and the culture and the culture's view of sexuality than you are the Bible?

For you, what's the priority? And sadly, too often what we see today is, for many people, the priority is not the Word of God. We're looking to shape the Word of God or twist the Word of God around whatever the sort of cultural climate is. And that's a shame.

That's terrible. And ultimately, it leads people to destruction. When we twist Scripture and we're unwilling to call sin, sin, and we confirm people in their sin, it's devastating. And so, one, I would say an individual who believes like this and teaches this should not be teaching in the church because it's dangerous theology. It's dangerous spiritually. And two, I would say pray for this person, but have that conversation.

Say, look, what's the priority for you? And we have some resources on homosexuality with a guide, 10 Things You Need to Know About the Bible and Homosexuality, over at corechristianity.com forward slash downloads. Try to get a hold of that.

I think it'll help you. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar. Or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-25 15:55:18 / 2023-02-25 16:04:46 / 9

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