I Will Take The Children: The Turnaround – Ps John Bendixen (JHB)
Scripture reference: 1 Corinthians 6:12 (AMPC); 1 Corinthians 6:12 (MSG); Judges 13:1-14 (AMPC); Judges 16:21, 26-30 (AMPC); Acts 9:3-7 (AMPC)
Praise You, Jesus. Just raise your hands. Praise You, Lord. Praise You, Jesus. Praise You, Father. Praise You, Lord. Praise You, Lord. Praise You, Jesus. Glory to Your name, Lord. Praise You, Jesus. Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord. This morning I ask You, Father, to touch our hearts. A simple prayer, touch our hearts today. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen. You may be seated.
What you saw on this video is from last Sunday morning, and actually I asked early in the morning, Sunday morning, I phoned Garth and I said this is what I want out of the praise and worship because something has started to stir in my spirit and I have not done it naturally yet. I am waiting for it to happen to me naturally. I have a sense of the timing of it but actually, in my spirit, I have heard a shout. I hear a shout of victory and a shout of confrontation that praise has against the enemy of God to bring victory to His people. Hallelujah. It is loud in my spirit, it is loud in my spirit and the way that I felt best to express it last Sunday was to have extravagant skilful musicians play and praise is to God. Hallelujah. Praise Jesus. Glory to God.
Pastor Sharon has been preaching on the message that God will take the children. So I am really trusting that God will touch your heart this morning. I am going to start off the message by telling you something that happened to Pastor Sharon, then I will read my scriptures. Pastor Sharon was sixteen years old, of course, I didn’t know her then, but she was sixteen years old and she was at an Afrikaans, I think it was an Afrikaans AGS, AFM church and of course she went to church because her parents went to church. She didn’t go to church because she wanted to be at church – she was a teenager. But it so happened that at one of these church services, she encountered God. She gave her life and she gave her heart to Jesus and the experience was so powerful and so real to her that she just wanted to serve God with everything that she had.
At that time what happened was she encountered the religious spirit, and the religious spirit said you are sixteen, what do you know about church? What do you know about God? What do you know about anything? And we don’t have any outlet to – other than you can go and help in the – it was not called children’s church then – it was called Sondag skool.” Sunday School, that is what it was called. But there was no outlet for her as a teenager to serve God and to connect with other teenagers that wanted to serve God. Within a very short space of time, she reverted back to her friends and her ways that were friendships that no one, none of the friends that she knew at high school or anything else were serving God. So she just went to becoming friends with her old friends again. That zealous fire that was in her to serve God just left. A common church term to use would be backslidden which really means that you refuse to recognise God in your life as God in your life. And you refuse to just actually to acknowledge that He is the God for your life. It means that everything else is more important to you than God. That is what backslidden is. Right? Everything else is more important to you than God.
She turned to the world, and of course, she lived the way the world lives. She lived from weekend to weekend, and what teenagers and young adults do on weekends. They go to parties and they go to clubs and they do stuff that all their other friends do. Right? So if she told you the story herself, she will tell you that actually she found herself, and the worst thing for her was that she would have a weekend, anytime on a weekend where she didn’t have a friend around her or have something to do with a friend because then she would have to face herself. The last thing she wanted to do was face herself. So she made sure that every weekend, from the beginning of the weekend to the end of Sunday night was full of social events and social activity and always having people around her because it was that important to her because she did not want to face herself.
Hey? Are you all with me? She found herself one Sunday afternoon in a place where she had nothing to do, and in desperation, she phoned her sister and said, “What are you doing? Can I come visit?” And her sister said, “Well, we are going to church. If you want to come to church you are welcome but we are going to church.” She said, “Alright, I will come to church.” You know, anything to not be alone and face myself. The reason she did not want to face herself was because herself was the self that she was sixteen that she always wanted to go back to. But now she had become comfortable living a life that was without that, and she was concerned that if she found herself back there she would find herself in a hopeless, religious environment that would disappoint her again. So she did not want to face herself. She thought at least if I go to a Sunday service there are people I can talk to and I can have conversations and I won’t be alone.
Well, she happened to be sitting in the church, and as she was sitting in the church service, because she is a recreated spirit even though she was not serving God, and her recreated spirit, through her recreated spirit God spoke to her as she was standing there. She was as far away from God in her lifestyle, and in her choices and in her thinking and stuff as she could possibly be, but the Lord spoke to her and He said, “I want you to stop your nonsense,” just like that, “I want you to stop your nonsense and I want you to follow Me.”
He spoke it to her spirit. She did not hear it with an audible ear. He spoke it to her spirit. Standing in that meeting she said to the Lord, inside she said, “ Yes, Lord, I will do that.” No tears, no outward emotion, no falling on her knee, no outward repentance of any sort, but she made a choice in her heart. She walked outside and her sister and the friends that were with her sister, they were all around her and her sister asked her a question. She said, “So, Sharon, how did you find the service?” She said, “It was just fine.” She said, “But I will be serving God for the rest of my life from now onwards.” There was so little emotion, there was so little outward repentance to her decision, that actually her sister thought that she has got to the ultimate form of rebellion, and she is being blasphemous now. She almost thought that she has sunk so low as a Christian that she can’t go worse than to be blasphemous and say in front of her friends, “I am going to serve God for the rest of my life.” That is the way her sister saw it. But she went home and she immediately began to have conversations with God in her way. From that day to this day, she has served God all the days of her life. I can tell you this for sure; there was a girl that I was dating in matric that everybody in my church thought we were ideal marriage partners. Ideal marriage partners. I can tell you that if I had not married Pastor Sharon, I don’t know where I would have been in my ministry because I chose God with all my heart. The thing that drew me to Pastor Sharon was not; (A) I got the whole package; sexy, beautiful, personality to burn. I got the whole package. But the thing that drew me to her was not how beautiful she was. The thing that drew me to her was how much she loved Jesus and I loved Jesus that way and I wanted to spend my life loving Jesus with someone that way. Bearing in mind, I knew before I could hardly even remember anything, I knew I was called to do what I’m doing now. I have never been unsure about this my whole life. I knew that I was called to do this and I knew that someone that was going to do this with me, would have to have the same passion for God that I have. If you are called to be in business, you don’t have to have a partner that is passionate about business, they just have to understand that you are in business and there are some other understandings that must come with that. But when you are called to the five-fold, full-time ministry, the passion for God is essential. You understand what I am saying?
I am going to read you a passage of scripture in the Amplified and then I’m going to read it to you in the Message translation. First Corinthians chapter 6 verse 12 says 12Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; everything, but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power (1 Corinthians 6:12 AMPC) In other words, the Apostle Paul is saying, as a born-again spirit, whose spirit is going to always go to heaven, I am completely free to pursue anything I want to pursue, it’s lawful for me, but not everything is profitable, it’s not expedient, it’s not good for me because when I follow those things I become a slave to those things. It’s a process of habituation. It’s not a process of, ‘I just found myself here one day.’ It’s habituation. You make a choice; I choose to do this thing. And then every time I do it again and again and again, I become habituated to it and therefore I become a slave to it and now it’s very unprofitable and it’s no longer expedient.
The Message translation says it this way, 12Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims (1 Corinthians 6:12 MSG). Does that sound like the way that most people live their lives today? Certainly, if you are not living on the bread line and you have got options in life, then many, many people just live according to their whims. “I feel like doing this, I feel like doing that, I feel like doing this.” Come on, every time you say that or you think that I feel like doing this, I feel like doing that – it’s an habituation to doing what you feel like and that’s lawful for you but it’s not appropriate; it’s not profitable. It’s not expedient for you to live according to anything that just takes your fancy to do cause I feel like doing it. So you have to make a choice to turn around your life because living by ‘I am going to do what I feel like all the time’ becomes such a pattern of what you feel like that you don’t know how else to live but by what you feel like. Hey?
I want to read to you from the Easton’s Bible Dictionary, what the word, repentance means. I’m reading word for word. (I don’t want you to put it on the screen) I am reading word for word. There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. Number 1; the verb, metamelomai, is used of a change of mind. So you change your mind. Right? So you decide; I’m going to go to this restaurant, I think I’ll go and have lunch there but ah no, mmm, maybe I feel more like a steak or a whatever. They don’t serve such good steak, so I change my mind then I’m going to another restaurant. Right? You change your mind. You are going one direction, you are going to change it, you’re going to go in another direction. Such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin but not necessarily a change of heart. The word is used with repentance of Judas. So he changed, he was remorseful and regretful what he did with Jesus but it didn’t change his heart. Such repentance is not useful because your heart will eventually dictate the course of your life. Just because you change your mind, doesn’t make it that you change your world.
Number 2; metanoeo meaning to change one’s mind and purpose as the result of after knowledge. So this is kind of, look where I have been coming from. So I have knowledge of where I have been and where I’ve been going. Now I am changing not just my mind but I am changing my purpose. Repentance.
Number 3, the cognitive noun which is metanoia it’s used of true repentance; a change of mind and purpose and life – living, to which remission of sin is promised. So not only do you change your mind, but you change your purpose and your lifestyle comes in alignment with the way you have changed your mind and your purpose.
So these are the different Greek words that are used in the New Testament for repentance. So this is still the Easton’s Dictionary. It says; evangelical repentance consists of, (1) A true sense of one’s own guilt and sinfulness. (2) An apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ and (3) An actual hatred of sin and turning from it to God. A persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of His Commandments. The true penitent is conscious of guilt, of pollution and of helplessness, thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares himself to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin but also an apprehension of mercy without which there can be no true repentance.
So this is the evangelical form of repentance that says if you’re here and you have never given your life to Jesus, it’s time to give your life to Jesus and be born again. That repentance is a sense of one’s sin, one’s guilt, a sense of hopelessness, a sense of all of the things that comes with the way you have been living and now you understand that by mercy you have a chance to be free.
The distinction is made between the repentance of a sinner that does not have Jesus in their heart, cannot understand purpose of life, cannot understand living a changed lifestyle although they want to have a change in lifestyle because of what’s happened. Are you all with me?
How many of you sitting here today have specifically been sent to this earth in your body by the Father? Is it true to say that if God didn’t want you here, you would not be here? Physical intimacy between a man and a woman was just the mechanism God used to get you here but you are not here because of that. You are here because God wanted you to be here. That’s where you get your sense of purpose. You’re here because God wants you here; not just because you were born to parents. Everybody has got to be born to parents or biological male and female.
I have a point to prove to you today and I am trying to get through this as quickly as possible because I am calling for you today to repent in your heart. I am not going to call for you to repent on your bended knee. I’m not going to call for you to repent in public today. But I am here today to call for your repentance which means a turnaround. It means you understand that your life must live in the purpose that God wants you and your living lifestyle must follow the purpose.
In my preparation, I really felt if the Lord wants me to do this again then I will do this again and I will have other, many, many, many other. But I know that Pastor Sharon has already talked to you about Hannah and Samuel. She’s talked to you about Elizabeth and Zachariah with John. I know she’s talked to you about all of those things and so, you know, in my own personal study of both listening to her and studying for myself there are many examples that one could be given. And if the Lord wanted me to do more on this I would but I’m trying to, I believe that today is the day that if Pastor Sharon needs to say more about this, and I believe she will, it’s because we believe, both she and I that this message that God has been bringing out of her is supposed to be for the world. This message is not just for this church. It’s starting here in Johannesburg but it is a message that has got to go to parents and young people everywhere in the world. We have been given a platform that is on television that is Africa wide and we have been given a platform because of our international ministry that we believe God is going to use for us to bring this message to parents and children everywhere. It’s needed. But it has to start – to coin a Bible phrase – in Jerusalem before it can go to Judea and Samaria and the rest of the world and this is the Judea, right here.
There’s a man that God wants to bring in the earth. There’s a man, a male child that He wants to bring in the earth. I read from Judges chapter 13 verse 1 1And the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years (Judges 13:1 AMPC). If you think sinning against God has no consequences, you’re wrong. Even as a born-again believer, sinning against God has a consequence in your life. You can never get away from the consequence if you do things against the pure life of God. Amen.
Brynn and I were talking about it in the car coming here and we were just saying how, if you go to the gym and you do workouts like he used to do, you know, it’s a common thing that before you go and do a workout in gym guys would actually buy tablets. They’ve got 100 mg, 200 mg of caffeine in and they would drink these tablets so as to stimulate things in your body as a stimulant that would energise your body so that you could actually feel like I want to pump more because I’ve got this artificial stimulant in my body, you know. But there’s a price to pay for that. We were talking about the price that you pay. When you say, “Oh, I feel good right now. I’m going to do this. I’m going to pump, I’m going to pump, I’m going to pump. Ah – check at me.” But years later your body becomes intolerant of things that you didn’t – “Why is my body not dealing with this? Why is my body not coping with this? Why can’t I do this and why is it struggling with this?” Well, at the moment it seemed lawful but not profitable. Come on.
2And there was a certain man of Zorah, the tribe of Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children (Judges 13:2 AMPC). It’s amazing how many times God uses barren women to bring someone into the earth that He needs to have in the earth. This is a very critical point in what I’m trying to prove to you because you might understand this intellectually. You might understand if I say to you that you are only here because God wanted you here. I’m trying to show you that this woman was barren, could bear no children. God shows up in her life. 3And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, Behold, you are barren and have no children, statement of fact, but you shall become pregnant and bear a son (Judges 13:3 AMPC). Why? Because God wanted to use her and her husband to bring a spirit into the earth that would occupy a body that was brought by them. If God wasn’t purposeful about that He would have used some other parents to bring that body into the earth and that spirit. Someone that wasn’t barren. But God is purposeful about it to the point where He will take someone who can’t bear children and say, “Now you are going to bear children because you are the chosen vessels that I want to bring a spirit into the earth.”
4Therefore, you woman, beware and drink no wine or strong drink and eat nothing unclean. 5For behold, you shall become pregnant and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from birth, and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. 6Then the woman went and told her husband, saying, A Man of God came to me and his face was like the face of the Angel of God, to be greatly and reverently feared. I did not ask him from where he came, and he did not tell me his name. 7But he said to me, Behold, you shall become pregnant and bear a son, and now drink no wine or strong drink and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from birth to the day of his death. 8Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, O Lord (Judges 13:4-8 AMPC). Now, this man is hearing it from his wife and he’s looking like this – this girl is a bit, you know. I’m not sure if she had too much strong drink already, you know, because I’ve lived with her for a while and she can’t be pregnant.
So he 8entreated the Lord and said, O Lord let the Man of God whom You sent come again to us and teach us what we shall do with the child that shall be born (Judges 13:8 AMPC). So here’s a lesson, I mean he’s like asking for verification. But it’s also, he is asking, “If I am going to have such a special child, how do I raise him?” 9And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10And the woman ran in haste and told her husband and said to him, Behold, the Man who came to me the other day has appeared to me. 11And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the Man and said to him, Are you the Man who spoke to this woman? And he said, I am. 12And Manoah said, Now when your words come true, how shall we manage the child, and what is he to do? (Judges 1:8-12 AMPC). How shall we manage the child, and what is he to do?
Let me tell you, parents, or anybody who is ever going to listen to this message. If you are going to have children and you can’t ask God the question; how shall we manage the child, and what is he or she to do? Then don’t have children until you can answer that question before God. Because you are the ones who are supposed to manage them the way God wants you to manage them for the purposes that He called them, not for what your desires for them are. They didn’t come here…
Let me tell you when I was 18 years old I had no choice but to obey the government who called me to go to military service. Actually I was still 17 when I went to the army. I turned 18 in my basic service. Seventeen years old – my government deemed it fit enough for me to teach me how to use a rifle, to teach me how to use weapons of destruction. I never had a choice, I had to go. I ask you; at that point, at that point, how much say did my father and mother have over my life? Did it matter anything to them what my dreams were? Neither did it matter to my government what my dreams were. “We need you to fight. We will teach you to fight. If you don’t fight you will sit in prison for the two years but you will go.”
I’m saying this to you that when children get to a certain age they are not yours. You only manage them until God has a plan for them to come to pass. Then they are no longer yours. They are God’s. If you have managed and raised your children, parents, the way you want to manage your children and raised them with your purposes in mind, with what you wanted to have them achieve as a dream in their life; you need to repent for that. Because the only way that you can have God’s purpose come to pass in their life is if you repent for what you managed them and trained them and taught them to do all those years. Otherwise, you will still think you have a right to say what must happen. In fact, they may already be taking a course of action in their life that is everything that you’ve trained them to do and they’re no longer following God with all their heart. Or in their heart they have chosen, “I will not follow God.” Or, “I will follow God conditionally, as long as following God serves my dream. As long as He serves my dream, I’m good to go with God.”
You think that’s the reason God birthed any child into the earth. You have your dreams and I’ll just stand by and watch it. I didn’t birth you into the earth for that. I birthed you into the earth because I have a plan for you. I have a dream for you. I have got things for you that you need to accomplish.
12…How shall we manage the child and what is he to do 13and the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, Let the mother beware of all that I told her. 14She may not eat of anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe (Judges 13:12-14 AMPC). Why? Not only would it affect the way the child was going to be growing in her womb but it would also affect how she lived after he was born because after he was born she was going to feed him. Management.
If I just eat in my household, I’m just using a basic thing here. If I just eat in my household whatever I want to eat in my household, that’s what I’m going to learn. I become habituated to the taste of Pronutro, Future Life and I won’t get started on that. If you’re eating Future Life for breakfast because it’s inexpensive and cheap, you’ve just placed a value on your child’s life. It’s about ten rand a day. Instead of feeding them something very healthy you’ll eat Future Life because it’s quick and easy and it doesn’t cost much. I’m not just preaching to you all, you understand. I’m preaching to everybody. Instead of giving them a healthy breakfast, have a quick Future Life breakfast. You’ve just placed a value. Nie waar nie? (Isn’t it true?)
I want to remind you that repentance doesn’t happen, this turnaround doesn’t happen because I say something. This turnaround happens because you receive something. If you do not want to receive what I’m telling you today then you will not have a turnaround. I’m going to use one of the greatest men of faith that I know as an example because God spoke to him for many years, “You must exercise, you must exercise, you must exercise.” And he just hated exercise and he allowed those words to come out of his mouth for fifty years. When he became eighty years old the Lord said to him, “If you want to have the long life that I’m asking you to believe Me for, you need to exercise.” He talks about how God spoke to him how many times during the course of those fifty years to exercise and he just refused to do it because he didn’t like it. His name is Kenneth Copeland. Now he has a personal trainer and he works out five days a week. The man can do more push-ups today than he could do at any given time in his previous fifty years of his life, at eighty-five years old he can do more push-ups. Some people with me in Washington, on the platform, he did – I think I counted forty-four push-ups. In his suit in front of the audience at eighty-four years old or whatever he was then.
It’s not too late to turn around ever, but if you want to have God redeem time and restore your life, the sooner you do it the better it is. Imagine if Kenneth Copeland had been doing this exercise for thirty years. He would probably not have had the spinal fusion surgery that he had. There were many things that happened to his physical body that he has had to have medical intervention for that he probably wouldn’t have had to have if he had obeyed God. Come on, everybody says; Amen. So you could say, well, you know, so God wasn’t pushy about it. He didn’t come with an angel like with Samson. Well, He doesn’t have to. You’re a child of God, born again spirit-filled Christian. It’s not what I’m telling you. It’s what you’re willing to receive. And so even though he heard it from God, he was unwilling to receive it and act on it. So it cost him.
I have to tell you the story about Samson because I can’t read it to you. I really wish that I could read it to you. It was not unlawful for an Israelite to marry a Philistine. It was unlawful for an Israelite to marry a Canaanite, but not a Philistine. So Samson found himself a Philistine woman that he liked, so he asked his Dad and his Mom to arrange the marriage. So they have a marriage feast. In between the comings and goings of Samson to visit the girl that he is going to marry, a lion jumps out of the bush and he kills the lion with his bare hands. Anybody who knows the strength of a lion will know that takes quite some power. Bare hands, no knives, bare hands; just ripped that lion apart.
That carcass is lying there, there is a period of time that goes by. Bees come and make a hive inside the bone structure of the carcass. On one of his journeys home he comes across the now fully honeyfied comb and he – bees have no problem with him. And he’s got no problem with bees – he is Samson. He sticks his hand in the carcass, he pulls out the honeycomb and he starts walking back home to his parents eating and drinking this honey out of the comb. When he gets home he plonks the rest of it for his mom and dad and they enjoy the honey. Come the wedding day, there are thirty people that are gathered for this wedding feast, and it would seem that the thirty people were fairly well to do people because he gives them a riddle, and the wedding feast was seven days. He gives them a riddle. The riddle is about honey in the carcass. Okay, so they can’t figure out the riddle. They impose themselves on his wife to find out what is the riddle. The deal was if they found out the riddle, they needed to pay him or give him thirty fine garments of silk of the highest quality. So that is why I am led to believe these people were people of means. What he was doing, he was using his calling, he was using his purpose to take wealth from the Philistines and bring wealth to himself. Right? The Philistines they realise this is going to cost them because they can’t figure out the riddle. They impose themselves on his wife to find out. So, for the whole seven days that is now the consumption of their marriage, she is lying on his chest crying to him, “What’s the riddle? What’s the riddle, what’s the riddle?” Any man in a bedroom loses his senses.
Eventually, Samson tells his wife what the riddle is. She goes to all of the family and she tells them what the riddle is. So now if they came up with the answer to the riddle he has got to give them 30 pieces of silk garments which he doesn’t have. So he discovers – they come up with the riddle – he realises his wife betrayed him. So he goes out into the Philistines and he kills 30 Philistines wealthy, noblemen. He takes their garments and comes and gives them the 30 garments. But he is mad, he has got anger in him. This is not enough for him. He goes and he catches – this is the anointing upon him. Remember, this is his purpose, this is his calling. He goes and he catches 30 foxes. Anybody tell you, you catch one fox, one fox, jackal whatever you call it, okay. He catches not 30 but 300 foxes, 300. He catches them and he puts fire on their tails. He literally sets their tails on fire. So for you young people that think you had your tail put on fire by your parents, this is a whole new meaning of having your tail on fire. Takes the 300 foxes and he lets them loose into the cornfields of the Philistines and he burns their entire harvest.
Because now, you understand, the Philistines have enslaved, have oppressed the children of Israel. So when Samson is doing this batter for 30 garments, he is already flowing in a purpose and a lifestyle that God is using his anointing on him with his strength and with his capability to begin the judgement process of those who enslaved His people. He goes back to get his wife after some time, finds out that his wife is no longer his because they tell him, “Well because your wife betrayed you, we thought you didn’t want her anymore so we gave her to your best friend.” Samson, I mean he just decides that he is going to kill a 1000 of Philistines with the jawbone of a lion, you know, of a donkey. Then he goes on a bit of a rampage just killing and wiping out Philistines wherever he goes. I wonder how well that will go in today’s society? A man of God stands up in a pulpit somewhere and he says, “Those people who don’t repent, you will die in 30 days.” And people start dying everywhere. I don’t think it will go down too well. Anyway, it was that time, it was God’s purpose, it was God’s calling.
But you see, the process of Samson giving himself over to his anger eventually took him back to the Philistines. The Bible says he went and slept with a harlot, a prostitute. In the process of hanging out with the Philistines, where prostitution was okay but in the children of Israel, prostitution ended in stoning to death. You understand? There is a lot I can say about this but I am not going to talk about it today.
So he goes there, sleeps with a prostitute and in the process of hanging out with these people, he meets Delilah. Delilah is tasked by the Philistines to discover the source of his strength because when they tried to actually capture him, they closed the gates of the city, he was so strong – we are talking about gates. We are not talking about garden gates. We are talking about huge, 10 feet high wooden gates that guard a city. Right? He just rips them off their hinges and walks away with it. Try and keep me hidden, try and keep me in the city. The dude had some power.
So eventually, he tells her his secret. The Philistines capture him because they shaved his hair. Judges 16:21, 21But the Philistines laid hold of him, bored out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with [two] bronze fetters; and he ground at the mill in the prison (Judges 16:21-22 AMPC). Let me tell you, if you don’t teach children and you children, if you don’t allow God to manage your life, and you don’t allow God to tell you the way that you should live your life, eventually, it will cost you your future because you would lose your vision of what God called you to be. This will happen. You will lose your vision of what God called you to be. You will. This will happen.
It’s the contest of light and dark and if you choose to go hang around in darkness, because you can do things in darkness that light would expose and cause you to daily turn around, then darkness becomes the norm to you and now you can’t see because you are used to living in the dark. I’m being as quick about this as I possibly can this morning. Inevitably, what happens is that you end up in the Laban syndrome of your life where you just walk around in circles and circles and circles, following your next whim, following your next decision, following the next thing that takes your fancy in life, following the next pleasure, following the next amount of money that you can spend to satisfy yourself, just following the next thing. Always following the next thing.
That’s what happened to Samson. Instead of him following his purpose and doing what God called him to do, he only could walk around in circles doing the next thing because he was in darkness. But I’ve got good news for you. It doesn’t matter what age you are or where you find yourself in life, a repentant turnaround, the one that you’re receiving into your heart, not because I am telling you. You receive this into your heart, this will change your future. It will bring you to your purpose. Let me tell you, it will cost you your current life. But if your current life does not bring you to the purposes that God called you to be, what is the point of any other life? It’s just following the next step.
His hair began to grow again. And in Judges 26, 26And Samson said to the lad, because they brought him to parade him in front of all these noblemen. There were thousands of all the governors and all of the top guys and military men and all of the boys of the boys, of the boys, were all there in this big party the Philistines threw. They threw this party to parade Samson that there was no one in Israel that could actually dominate them and that they were going to still have servants of the Hebrews for years to come because the one man that came to deliver Israel or could deliver Israel, we’re going to parade him as a piece of meat; blind, following one step after the next step every day because we choose it for him, because we purpose it for him, because we managed to tap his strength and his purpose, therefore, he will just do the next thing every day we tell him to do.
You want to live your life like that? 26Allow me to feel the pillars upon which the house rests, that I may lean against them. 27Now the house was full of men and women; all the Philistine princes were there, and on the roof were about 3,000 men and women who looked on while Samson made sport. They made sport of Samson. 28Then Samson called to the Lord and said, O Lord God, [earnestly] remember me (Judges 16:26-28 AMPC).
I encourage you and I urge you today, this is not something I am asking you to do publicly. This is something I am asking you to do as Samson did. There was no one else that heard him. This is something between him and God and he said, [earnestly] remember me, today, I pray You, and strengthen me, I pray You, only this once, O God, and let me have one vengeance upon the Philistines for both my eyes (Judges 16:28 AMPC). In other words, he is saying, all the vision of all the purpose of all the calling that You’ve called me to, let it be restored in one moment. I am sure that when the angel of the Lord appeared to Mom and Dad that was barren and said, “Raise your child”, this is not what they had in mind. What do you have in mind for your children? Can you see your children doing this? If your children, you may say, “Ah, I’ve set my child up for life. My kids they are sorted, they are sorted. I’ve got money, taught them how to do this, how to be academically smart, how to be physically disciplined, how to do whatever. My kids are sorted.”
If they are not fully understanding that you have committed your life to God, then all they are learning from you is how to be disciplined and sorted, chasing day after day the thing that seems best to you and they have learned that from you. Which is why this requires a personal repentance and that’s why I am not asking you to do a public repentance. This is a personal thing between you and God if you’re going to let that happen.
If you could look forward 10 years and you could see by vision, the mess that your child’s life would be in and you had a chance to change it right now, would you do that? Ja? I’m glad you say you would. But maybe you say you would but true repentance means; I’ve got to make a real choice here. I’ve got to make some real changes here. This can’t just be a mental thing. This has got to be a thing where I change my purpose and my lifestyle. Children, this is where you change your purpose and your lifestyle. Otherwise, the devil, let me tell you, he will steal your future. He has no other objective in mind but to steal every living being that God brings into the earth, to steal them, to kill them and to destroy them. That’s what Jesus said that his only purpose is to come and kill you. And if he can get you and if he can get your children, then he’s got the next generation and potentially, a third-generation where he doesn’t have to do a thing if he just gets you. Huh?
28And strengthen me, I pray You, only this once. 29And Samson laid hold of the two middle pillars by which the house was borne up, one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30 And Samson cried, Let me die with the Philistines! (Judges 16:26-30 AMPC). I wonder if he had said let me live and let all these guys die, whether God would have honoured it? Possibly, but you see without sight he understood that his strength wasn’t really worth much, so for him, this was the best that he could end up with his life.
Anyway, just some of my meditations. 30And Samson cried, Let me die with the Philistines! And he bowed himself mightily, and the house fell upon the princes and upon all the people that were in it. So the dead whom he slew at his death were more than they whom he slew in his life (Judges 16:30 AMPC). Hallelujah.
I want to talk to you, will you give me five or seven minutes more? Because this is really important. I want to talk to you about a man, another man in the New Testament and this man was a very, very smart man, very smart. He was a man who was born a Hebrew, he lived as a Hebrew but he had Roman citizenship. Now I want you to understand what this means. This means that when Rome occupied Israel and all of the Hebrews, there were no Hebrews that were of any use to them, other than to serve them. So even if there was a Hebrew tax collector, they permitted him to be a tax collector, and so they were required a minimum amount of tax. If he overtaxed the children of Israel and he kept that for himself they weren’t bothered. They just wanted him to collect taxes. Right? But don’t be mistaken for this as a career choice. They were slaves tax collectors to the Roman’s.
There wasn’t a Hebrew that wasn’t a slave to the system. Maybe they weren’t actual slaves in cleaning their houses but they did what the Romans told them to do. The government was the Roman government and as such Hebrews had no rights. This man lived in a city called Tarsus and he was both a Hebrew, who had a great deal of influence with the Hebrews, a Pharisee but he was also a Roman citizen which means that through one mean or another, by favour, by saving a Roman’s life, by a prominent Roman’s live, by perhaps having so much money that he could corrupt and buy Roman citizenship. By some means he was able to become, there is no reference as to how he became a Roman citizen. But this is a very important point because he was both completely Hebrew and Roman citizen which means that he could never be enslaved. This privilege also came to his children.
The child that he bore he named him Saul but he also gave him a Roman name which was Paul. So to the Romans, he would be known as Paul but to the Hebrews, he would be called Saul. You didn’t know that, did you? He didn’t have his name changed because he had an encounter on Damascus. But because he was privileged to receive this freedom of being a Roman citizen because he was born to a Roman citizen, he was also in the privilege of having the status of a Hebrew but also being a free man growing up to choose whatever direction of life he may choose to live because that is what Romans did.
Tarsus was known as a centre of trade. It was the premier trade centre of the day. It also had the best universities in the known world. All the Greek philosophers, all the Greek universities that were in Greek and in Cyprus and all those places, Tarsus had the reputation of having the Harvard of the world. When Saul or Paul was thirteen he was given over to the education system. I want you to know that it was custom that as a Hebrew he would learn his dad’s trade and his dad’s trade was making tents primarily from goats. A little bit of information. I am sharing this with you because Paul or Saul had any, he could have chosen any direction that he wished but according to his father’s wishes, he went into a premier education system which would have been a Princeton, a Harvard, a Yale of the world. It happened to be a very personalised education system. The head of which was a man called Gamaliel. Saul comes into this education system to learn to be a lawyer. Gamaliel was the best interpreter of law. You get me?
This is not so much about a religious choice. This is about learning the law so that I can make a living as a lawyer. In this process of learning the law, he gets to the final stage of his education and the next stage is, you must go and apply your law in the court of law which is in Jerusalem. When he arrives in Jerusalem he is immediately accepted into the Sanhedrin, which is like the National Executive Committee of the ANC, because of all of his connections, all of his training. You’re all with me? While he is going about this he comes and he observes there are these Christians that talk about Messiah, that Jesus is the Messiah and that He died and He rose again and we serve Jesus. He looks at them and everything about his legal bearing and his knowledge of scripture says this is not possible and so he wants to make a career for himself and he says, “Give me permission to go after all of the Christians.”
The Sanhedrin writes a letter which is rarely given and they authorise him on an apostolic journey – a mission – to go and kill and destroy and wipe out all Christians. The sparking moment for him was when Stephen is giving a discourse about Jesus and he looks up into heaven and he talks about Jesus seeing him and he holds everyone’s coats while they stone him to death and he himself incited them to stone him to death. You understand? At this point in time, it is all about his career choice. Hello?
Now he has got a letter and now he recognises and he understands that there is a new hub of Christians who fled out of Jerusalem to avoid the persecution and this new hub of Christians that are thriving is in Damascus. He has got authorisation, an apostolic mission if you will, to go and wipe them out in Damascus. While he is on the road to Damascus, 3Now as he travelled on, Acts 9 verse 3, now as he travelled on, he came near to Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, 4And he fell to the ground. Then he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me [harassing, troubling, and molesting Me]? 5And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance] (Acts 9:3-5 AMPC). I will tell you this, this message that I am preaching to you today, this is a message that God inspired me to bring to you today and if you resist Jesus after this day it will not go well for you. Whoever else listens to this message on any other digital platform; it will not go well. It can’t go well because God’s got a life for you that is so superior to anything even any of us could ever encounter until this point. It’s better, it’s better.
Look what he said, 6Trembling and astonished he asked, Lord, what do You desire me to do? That is the biggest and most powerful question you could ever ask. What is it that You desire me to do? That’s your turnaround moment. That’s your turnaround moment when you ask from your heart; what is it that You desire me to do? That’s is when you can say this is a real question.
The Lord said to him, But arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. 7The men who were accompanying him were unable to speak [for terror], hearing the voice but seeing no one (Acts 9:6-7 AMPC). Do you recognise that Jesus could have told him what to do right then? But He first had to have messengers that would come to Saul or Paul and open his eyes that were blind and say things to him that would activate him that he could follow his calling for his life.
If you think that messengers don’t matter, it’s the way God chose to do it. He chose to do it – send human messengers to come and give you what you must do. Let me tell you; have you ever seen a child that normally tells the truth and then they get kind of caught? They’re told don’t eat the cookies out of the cookie jar and then they eat a cookie out of the cookie jar – not all the cookies, just one. Then the parent comes home and, “Did you eat a cookie?” Now they’re in a dilemma because they have always told the truth, but if I tell the truth now I’m going to get spanked or whatever. Then they say, “No, no, no, I didn’t eat the cookie.” Do you know that look on their face? It is like – it’s not from the heart. My mouth is saying things, but actually my heart is saying different. And as a parent, you can see actually they did eat the cookie. Right? Because you can see. Well, I’ll tell you that in the Christian world you can see somebody’s demeanour, you can see their lives. You can see if they’re willing to have an encounter, and yet, we have no judgement. I cannot judge by your outward appearance. It’s the reason I started with Pastor Sharon’s story from the beginning. When her sister said, “This girl, she is the ultimate blasphemer because she had no encounter.” But her lifestyle choices told a different story. Your lifestyle choices will tell the story of what’s in your heart. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.
I would love to tell you about my day yesterday, but I will say this briefly about my day yesterday. From the morning till the evening I had the fiercest mental attack on me that I have had in a long time. Fierce, I mean so fierce that the lies that the devil was telling me about me and the lies the devil were telling me about my future. I went to call my best friend; my wife. I went to call her and said I need to talk and I began to speak to her about the lies that the devil was telling me and I began to speak to her about the future that God had for me and then I would tell her about the lies the devil was trying to tell about me. And then I would tell her about the future that God had for me. Because you see, I had to expose the lies for what they were and I had to speak the truth for what it was. Because if I stayed in my mind, I may not have preached this message today.
I ask you today, I ask you, please, will you turn around? The Holy Spirit is asking you, please, will you turn around? Ask Him, ask Him what is it that He desires for you. Ask Him what it is that He wants you to do with your life. These moments can be quiet, they can be very deep. They can be loud if you like. They can be full of wailing if you want. They can be full of lots of words that you have to say to God if you want. But in your heart, you get back to what He has for your future. Hallelujah.
You know, there is a movement that is happening around the world right now, it’s a movement, and I am going to do my best to display it in front of you, although those of you sitting at the back you will probably not see it. But you see it in many and most sporting events. And they go down on one knee like this (Pastor John demonstrates) and they hold their hands up and they say: “Black lives matter.” I want to tell you when you go on your knee, you say, “My life matters before God.” And that’s the reason why you need to go and be on bended knee and say, “My life matters before God.” Hallelujah. My life matters. My life matters now. Hey, I am here to tell you yesterday doesn’t matter anymore. It really doesn’t matter anymore. Yesterday does not matter. What you did yesterday, and yesterday, and yesterday – you can be redeemed from yesterday’s but you must be true about what goes on in your heart.
In your heart, you must be true in your desire. I’m not saying that when you make this decision that everything is going to be perfect tomorrow because you are still living with habituation. But I promise you when you do this, God will help you with the strength to unhabituate you from the stuff that you got used to doing in the past. And like the last message I preached here, you know, even though Waldus lays hands on me and anoints me to do air conditioners and suddenly I can think like a technician, it doesn’t mean that I know what to do as a technician. But the power to think like a technician is at least in me. And at least now I have a desire to buy tools. You understand what I am saying? He gives me the desire to go and buy tools now, whereas before I didn’t even want to go near a Builders Warehouse. Now I find my car going into Builders Warehouse because he laid hands on me and suddenly I have got a new spirit. I still don’t know how to do a lot of things, but at least there is a desire in me.
This is your moment for you parents to repent, turn around from holding onto your children and say, “They’re my children and their achievements are my achievements.” They are not. You have no ownership of what happens to their lives. You are only a manager of their lives for a very short period of time. In fact, the one thing that God spoke to Abraham about – I know Pastor Sharon has said to you – the reason why God gave Isaac to Abraham is because you would raise your child up in the ways of God. I lay no claim to anything that my son, Brynn, does or doesn’t do in his life. I lay no claim to what Garth does or doesn’t do in his life. I claim his grandchildren, but I don’t claim him. I’m really joking. Praise the Lord.
Won’t you all stand with me, please? You might think Pastor John has been really tough today. If you think that, it is because God wanted it to be tough. If you found this palatable then I say thank God that you found it ok because you are already in a place where your heart is going there, and that is already turning around. Hallelujah. If I have stood on your toes, blame God. Amen. Let me just pray for you.
Father, as I prayed at the beginning of this message today, this sermon, I asked You to please touch our hearts and that is still my prayer, Lord, that this message will touch our hearts. I pray that it bypasses our heads and it goes straight to our hearts and from our hearts, we will turn around and we will follow You with everything that we have.
Father, I pray that Your Word surrounds your people that it is a shield to them and this word will stay strong in their hearts and that the enemy will not steal this word because of an argument, a fight, an incident on the road, a conversation around a coffee shop or a lunch. I pray this word will stay firm in their hearts and it will be grounded and rooted in the hearts of Your people. I pray that it will bring the fruit that it needs to bring. I pray also, Father, that the week ahead You will protect Your people, keep them healthy, keep them safe. And may their lives prosper because You bring them insights and ideas and special connections and things that happen that You orchestrate supernaturally. Thank You, Lord. Bless Your people in Jesus’ name. Amen. Thank you, bye.