The One

In completely surrendering to the Lord we my achieve our greatest potential.

Pastor Linn
Oct 8, 2017    36m
Pastor Linn Winters discusses how you cannot give God 99% of your life and keep 1% (that one thing you enjoy) for yourself. It will hold you back. That by surrendering to the Lord your "one" you may be able to achieve your greatest potential. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Pastor Linn: 00:04 -video playing-

Pastor Linn: 01:08 Hey, Cornerstone. How are you doing?

Pastor Linn: 01:15 Man, super glad that you're here today, and I just, I just want to welcome our San Tan campus, our Scottsdale campus, everybody that's over in the venue, our 5:00 PM service. Just glad you're part of the conversation today. I don't know how to begin without at least taking a moment and addressing what's been going on in our nation, most specifically Las Vegas. Our hearts are sick in a moment like this, and I think the hardest part is to try to figure out why a guy like Stephen Paddock did what he did. You know, if, if we knew there was a mental disease or something going on that way, or if he'd had a religious or a political affiliation that made some sort of sense out of his behavior, and yet, we're left in a moment where none of that is answered. If you think about it, it's, it's a poignant reinforcement to the conversation that we've been having. When somebody does what they think is right in their own eyes. I don't know, I still don't know what motivated him to do what he did, but here's my best guess. Somewhere, he would say to you, there's a reason. There's a logic to the madness, and if you understood how I've been treated unfairly, if you had known my family of origin, if you had gone through the pain that I've gone through, then you would understand why I did what I did that was right in my own eyes. It just reminds you and I that no one has the right to determine what's right except God, and that any time we decide to start deciding what's right for us, it puts us, everyone of us, in a bad place. The hope that you and I have today is that we serve a god who is able to take the worst that we do, the worst of human behavior, and somehow turn that into blessing. To take families who maybe have run from God all their lives and suddenly draw near to them, and for them to know his presence and maybe to turn and say, "Man, if the world's this dark, I need God." And to do 180 in their life. Uh, for people who had all but abandoned faith to now come to faith , I don't know. I just know that you and I serve a god who's capable of taking men's worst, women's worst and making it his best. The other thing that I think we ought to say out loud is I am just so proud of first responders. People who when the machine gun was going off, ran toward the bullets, and guys, what an amazing gift those people are to you and me. Right? We live in a time when that group of people's gotten a little beat up recently, and I just think it's a moment to stop and give a little bit honor where honor is due, and I don't know if you know this, or not, we have an EMT crew here at the church, so we've got people who, literally, volunteer their time to keep you and me safe. No one pays them. They volunteer their time to keep you and me safe. Some of them you see because they've got the little wires in their ears, and you can tell, and we do that on purpose. We want people to go, "Oh, okay, they've got security around here." And then, we've actually got some like secret ones that sit in the crowd and just look normal, if that's possible for, you know, a first responder. But anyways, look normal and then you know, they're available. Here's what I want us to do real quick. Ah, if you are a police officer, a fireman, if you're a doctor or a nurse, and I don't care if you're retired, but if you have ever served us in that way, or if you serve on our EMT crew and you're not undercover right now, would you just stand? Thank you, thank you for serving us.

Pastor Linn: 05:44 Can we just all stand together real quick. Let's pray for Las Vegas and for what's going on there. And I'm going to ask you to do something that feels a little funky and weird, but guys, when, when, when stuff is dark, you come together. So, I'm just going to... Would we join hands? Would we say, "Look, we're, we're, we're in this together. Darkness doesn't win without our fight."

Pastor Linn: 06:08 Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus., God, we have no idea. We have no idea what was going through a man's mind that he would justify in his heart to cause that much harm, that much darkness. God, it just reminds us about how deeply our world needs to know you. God, I pray for the people of Las Vegas right now, and in the midst of their pain and woundedness, would your presence be so powerful, so needed in their lives, that they would know that you were standing behind beside them. And God, I'm just asking for, for lives that may have been distant from you, from people who may have spent every moment running from you, that this moment would be a moment of turning to you, of finding you for the first time in their lives. Would you take what is so dark and redeem it through your power? God, we lay this at your feet because we can't do what you do, and this we pray in Jesus' name, Amen. Grab a seat.

Pastor Linn: 07:26 Hey, uh, we're in the third week of a series that we've been talking about, "Right In Their Own Eyes", and it starts in a book called Judges in the Bible. It's a period of time in Israel where they start off really well, and they spend nearly 300 years going down, going down, going down, going down, and after every single one of their poor decisions, after every time that they move into darkness, Scripture just says about those people, uh, they did what was right in their own eyes. They, they could justify a every dark thing that they did. They could give an excuse for why they behave like they behave, because their reference point was simply the culture and the people who are around them. And so, the first week we talked about this idea that said, there is something intuitive in all of us that wants to be accepted. We want to be popular, we want to be successful, and that longing draws us to look at the culture, to look at people around us, even people who don't know our God. And we simply ask the question, why would you want to be like everybody else? Because if you glance pass their Facebook posts, you suddenly realize people are really screwed up. Their lives are a mess, so why would you and I want to be just like everybody else? Then last week, we, uh, had the conversation that says, you realize where you put your eyes, what you will allow yourself to focus on will ultimately determine your direction. And so, if you look at what everybody else does, if you watch how they navigate their marriages, how they raise their kids, what they invest their lives in acquiring, then you will inevitably be like everybody else. And the challenge was to say, "Hey, what if I put my eyes on the cross? What if I simply said, "Look, that's going to be the standard. That's going to be the thing that I focus on, so that I moved to be like Jesus. And we, literally, had thousands of people who got up out of their seats last week, walked up onto the stage, went to a cross laid a ribbon over the Cross to say, "My focus, my focus from here on is Jesus, and not everybody else." Here's the conversation today. What if a Christian says, look, I'm going to follow Jesus. I'm going to put my focus there. I'm gonna, I'm gonna be completely obedient, except for one thing." In other words, I'm gonna, I'm gonna live 99 percent of my Christian life exactly like Jesus would have it for me to live, but there's this one thing that I'm pretty hesitant to surrender. There's one thing that as I follow Jesus, I'm gonna, I'm gonna keep that along for the ride. Look, look, it probably isn't a big deal, because most of my life, I mean every other part of my life, I would follow Christ. So, it's probably not that bad if I simply bring one thing with me." We do that because that one thing, the thing that's hardest to surrender, it feels like freedom. It feels like the area in which God may not come through, and I've got to be sure that my life really is fulfilling. So, we say, "Okay, I'll follow you in everything Jesus, but the one thing." Here's what we're going to discover today. There's huge danger for the Christian who follows Jesus with all of their life and, yet, drags their one thing along, because, you ready? That Christian is doing what seems right in their own eyes as they followed Jesus.

Pastor Linn: 11:24 Grab your bibles. Go with me to an interesting passage. It's actually the story of one of the Judges who lived during this period of time. It's Judges, Chapter 16. If you're not familiar, go to the front of your Bible, and start working to the right Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges. Judges, Chapter 16. We're going to start in Verse 4. Let me set this passage up for us a little bit. Uh, the story is the story of a guy named Samson, who I'm sure that many of you have heard about. Samson's parents have been unable to have a child, and so they have wept and prayed, and they've said, "God, please, please, just grant us the favor of having one child. To which eventually, God says, "Okay, I'm gonna do this for you, but here's what you need to know. This child that I'm going to give you is going to be a child of promise from, from this child's very birth, from Sampson's very birth, the spirit of God is going to rest on him, and he's going to be imbued with superhuman strength." The idea is that as he lives his life that others will marvel at how strong he is, and here's my guess, I don't know this for sure, but here's my guess. My guess is that Samson probably physically looks a little bit like me. Let me tell you why. If he were big and huge and just massively cut, then people would look at Samson and go, "Well, it's his own physical strength. My guess is that he has a rather normal masculine physique like mine, like yours, because God wants to show his power, and what better way to show his power than to take somebody who's average physically and, yet, unbelievably powerful in strength. And, everybody would know God must be with him, and God would receive the glory, and the idea was that then the rest of the children of Israel would turn back to God and say, "Man, if that's what happens when God is in your life, then count me in." Based on the example of Samson. His parents are commanded to have him take a Nazarite vow. Now, here's what a Nazarite vow is. When you took a Nazarite vow, it was usually for 30 or 60 days. It was because you were saying, "Hey, there's something really important that I'm praying about and asking God for, and so I'll take a Nazarite vow for an extended period of time, while I'm praying about this." And the requirements were, you were not to drink any wine, you were not to touch anything that was dead, and you were to continue to grow. You couldn't cut your hair while you had Nazarite vow, and so, what would happen is 60, 90 days in, people would see your hair getting unkempt, and they would go, "Oh, that person is spending time seeking the Lord. That's what's going on." In Samson's case, his parents were told he used to take a nazarite vow that will continue his whole life, and so from the time he was born, he is not allowed to drink any wine, to touch anything that's dead, or cut his hair. Scripture tells us that as long as he kept his hair uncut, his strength continued.

Pastor Linn: 14:51 Samson's got a flaw. He's got, you ready? He's got one thing that he struggles to overcome in his life. Matter of fact, when you chronicle the life of Samson, he is going to be that God follower who says, "Look, I'm going to do everything God asked me to do. I'm just bringing this one thing with me." Samson's one struggle is women, and so he said, "Oh, no, no, no, I'm going to follow God in every other part of my life, it's just this women thing, because here's the deal. I don't want to marry a church girl, right? That'd be boring. I want to marry one of those sexy, wild biker chicks. That's my, you know, that's what I'm going to do." And it's the one struggle that Samson has in his life. Samson is a border guard. That's how he begins his career. So, he's watching the border of Israel between Israel and the Philistines, the longtime enemies of Israel. And at night, when he's off duty, he sneaks down into the cities of the Philistines and parties with the women, and there's where we get into the story.

Pastor Linn: 16:16 Some time later, it's Chapter 16, Verse 4, some time later, he, talking about Samson, fell in love with a woman, in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. How many of you named your daughters Delilah? Okay, good. Alright. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and they said, "See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him, so that we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you 1100 shekels of silver, somewhere around 90 to 100,000 dollars. So, Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me the great secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up in subdued." And Samson answered her, "If anyone ties me with seven fresh postings that have not been dried, I will become as weak as any other man." Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had been dried, and she tied them, uh, tied him with them and with men hidden in the room. So, get this, he's, he's in the room, she's gotten him drunk, she ties him up with these seven bowstrings, and the Philistines are hiding in the room, ready to pounce. Um, but he snapped. Oh, and she said, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you." But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps, when it comes too close to the flame. So, the secret of his strength was not discovered, and then Delilah said to Samson, "You have made a fool of me. You lied to me. Come down and tell me how you can be tied." Now, think about this, thinking about this for a moment, if you are a normal thinking person and someone says to you, "Hey, tell me what your greatest weakness is." And, you know, Samson, in this moment, doesn't tell her the truth. He tells her something else, but then she obviously conspires to have you ambushed. Okay? I'm thinking at that moment you would be saying, "Probably not wife material." You know, it just, it just seems like that would be a natural place that you would go. Here's the interesting thing in the story of Samson, are you ready for this? She says, "Oh, if you love me, you'll tell me." And so, he ends up telling her, "Okay, okay, look, it's not bowstrings, it's new rope. If you tie me up with a new rope." So, she gets him drunk. She has all the Philistines come back. They hide, she ties him up, she calls out, "Samson, the philistines are upon you." He breaks the ropes, kills the Philistines. He's not done yet. She comes back and says, "What is it, Samson, dear? You're not telling me." He says, "Okay, okay, okay, here's the deal. If you tie my hair and you put it in a loom, uh, then, uh, I'll be just as weak as any other man." And so, she gets him drunk again, and she ties his hair up into a loom. The philistines come charging in. Delilah screams, "Oh, the Philistines are upon you." And he jumps up and he kills all the Philistines.

Pastor Linn: 19:19 And right about now, the women in the room are going, "Okay, that's just the stupidest story. Are you telling me that a man could become so physically inflamed with a woman that he would act like an idiot over, and over, and over again. Who believes that?" And right now, the men are going... Women, you get the men are reasonably simple beings, right? If you want to make a man satisfied, all he needs is food, sex, and an occasional pat on the head. Oh, good boy. Good boy. And we're done, right? We're good. And if you ever went to a man and said, "Look, you've got to give everything on that list up, except for one." We would starve to death. I'm just telling you. But, here's, here's what we got to get in the moment. Sure, this would be the one for a lot of guys, or some version of it, but for some guys, this wouldn't be the one they, they, they, they'd say, "Look, no, no, I'm ready to follow God, but my one, the one thing that's going to be the hardest for me to surrender, the one thing that's going to be hardest for me to ever quite give, the thing that would be most tempted to follow Jesus and bring along with me as something else." And, ladies, here's what I know. You've got a one. You've got some area of your life and, I don't know, you may actually be living in this moment with it surrendered, but what you know in your heart and what God knows is this. That is the hardest thing for you. As you attempt to follow Christ. It's the thing that you go, "Boy, that is, that is so difficult to follow Jesus and leave that behind." And whether that's gossip, or whether that's pride, or whether that's material, I don't know what that is, but here's what I know. Every one of us in the room has at least one that we would say, "Look , left to my own, I would follow Jesus and keep the one, and even though in this moment I may be living in a moment where the one is surrendered, that's the one that's most likely to sneak back in my life and ruin me." Because, because, because, are ready for this? Samson is not the only one with one. You and I have our one.

Pastor Linn: 22:20 Back to the passage, Verse 15. She said to him, "How can you say to me that I love you, when you won't confide in me? This is the third time you've made a fool of me and haven't told me the secret of your great strength, and with such nagging." Men, underline that. No, I'm just saying. With such nagging, she prodded him day after day, until he was sick to death of it. Finally he says to her, "Okay, look, it's my hair. If I ever had my hair shaved off, I'd be just like every other man. That's, that's where my strength resides. It's the promise I've kept before God since my birth. So, she gets him drunk again, and she shaves off his hair. She calls the Philistines into the room. In Verse 20. Then she called Samson, "The Philistines are upon you." And he awoke from his sleep, and he thought, "I'll go out just as before. I'll shake myself free." But, he did not know that the Lord had left him. The one, the one finally caught up. Then, the Philistines seized him. They gouged out his eyes, and they took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they sent him to grinding in the prison, pushing a mill like a donkey. And you just wonder, you wonder as they brought the hot pokers to gouge out Samson's eyes, if the last thing he saw was Delilah counting the silver. And you wonder, you wonder if he thought to himself, "Boy, I didn't see this coming." Because, because, because when you and I do what's right in our own eyes, when we decide, "Hey, I'm going to follow Jesus, plus one." Bring the one. It's always dangerous.

Pastor Linn: 24:29 Three lessons, three things that you and I should learn from the story of Samson. Here we go. We are better without the one thing. We are better. And see, Samson, Samson couldn't buy this. Samson goes, "No, no, no, no, here's the deal. I can follow Jesus, and it is better for me to bring the one. Because the one looks like freedom, the one looks like fulfillment, and I'm just telling you, I can manage my one." And, you and I are better without our one.

Pastor Linn: 25:16 My mother-in-law, my mother-in-law had a one. It was smoking. When she was a young girl, she grew up in a time when culture was such that the cool kids were the kids who smoked. And my mother-in-law had some real resentment towards her parents, and so it was a great way to just say, "Stick it. I'm gonna, I'm gonna do this, and you can't stop me." It was a statement of independence, and it was a statement of rebellion, and so she grew up her entire life smoking. It became a struggle in her marriage. Her husband had a desire to go into ministry, and so it became a place of contention. How can the pastor's wife... They always fought over the amount of money that was spent, let alone the fact that it was just a horrible idea. She eventually ended up with breast cancer. They had to remove both of her breasts. She had to go through radiation and chemo and lost all of her hair. Anybody want to guess what she did while taking radiation treatments? Smoked. Because it was her one, and she was going to manage her one. And everybody pleaded with her. We said, "Look, look, look, I mean, you've already seen where you're one gets you, right? You're better off. You're better off without your one. Leave, leave your one already." She wouldn't. She lived at my house for five or six years, and she'd go out on the back porch and smoke. One day, she said, "Hey, I'm taking a trip. I'm going to go visit some relatives, and what she didn't tell us was that the cancer had come back. This time it was in her brain, and she lost bodily function. She lost her balance and would fall. She died on that trip. She died never seeing her grandson get married. She died never seeing her great-grandson born. If I could have one more conversation with my mother-in-law, I would have said, "Get rid of your one. You're better without your one."

Pastor Linn: 27:51 Guys, it's true for all of us. As much as you and I are prone to be like Samson and say, "No, no, no, I'm going to follow God and one thing. In the, in the list of all the other things, one thing is no big thing." You're better without your one.

Pastor Linn: 28:12 Second lesson that Samson teaches us, when you and I get rid of the one, it brings freedom. It brings freedom, which is so counter-intuitive, because here's the deal. You understand, right? Because we all have this same nudge in our hearts. Samson is saying, "Look, look, look, I get it, and I can follow God in everything else, but I'm just thinking if I can't marry the type of woman that I want to marry, I'm just afraid I'm going to miss out on something. I'm afraid that my life is going to somehow be less, and I won't have the freedom to pick the type of woman I want to pick. And so, I'm gonna keep my one." You realize Samson's one takes him to his eyes being gouged out and shackled in chains, and so does your one. Did you notice in the passage when they went to Delilah, they said to Delilah, "Hey, Delilah, figure out how we can lure him into revealing his secret." Guys, you know what lure is, right? A lure is something that looks absolutely tantalizing on the outside and has a hook that takes us to death on the inside. And, I get it. I get how fish can buy in and go, "Oh, wow, that's a great looking little minnow." You are smarter than fish, right? And, how hard is it for us to simply stop and go, "Oh, no, no, no, no, I get it. I get that my one looks really good. And, I get it. I get there's a part of me that says, "If I could just indulge in my one, it would be wonderful." But, you and I are smart enough, right? To realize there's a hook in our one that leads to death. That leads to disappointment. That leads you and me to less. Let me ask you this question, if you keep your one, how does that turn out for you? If, if you keep your bitterness, and you go, "Linn, but you don't understand. You don't, you don't understand my family of origin, and you don't understand the unfairness that's happened in my life. I've got every right to be bitter." No, no, no, no, I get it, but if that's your one, how many people that would have been great in your life walk away because they can't deal with your bitterness? How many relationships do you destroy in your anger? How diminished is your life because you retained your one? If you marry that guy? No, I get it, I get it. I get that he's the only guy who's come around and shown any interest in the last six months. I get that he loves you. I get it, but, but, but if he is absolutely dead set on controlling God, how long is it going to be before he starts controlling you? And what does that look like for your home life, and what does it look like for the family your children are raised in, if you see the one? Guys, I'm just telling you, you and I are so much better if instead of saying, "Oh, this is, it just looks so good." That if we run the course out and just go, "What does it look like?" Because Samson's one ended up being the thing that enslaved him. The very thing that he thought was freedom is the very thing that imprisoned him. And you and I can run out the story of our one, and you are freer without your one.

Pastor Linn: 32:28 Final lesson. Without the one, you and I are free to discover God's purpose for our lives. Think about this for a second. What was Samson intended to do? What was it that Samsung was going to accomplish? Here's the answer, you and I don't know for sure. He actually ends up dying, enslaved to the Philistines, and leaves you and me in the story. Why did God give him such great strength? What was it that he was supposed to do with his life that would have been so remarkable, and instead, his life is a life of disappointment? And, you and I don't know, because he kept his one. And, I know some of you in the room are going, "Oh, but, Linn, you don't see. There's where it's different. I mean, this guy was filled with the spirit of God. He has this incredible ability of strength that other people didn't have, but it's no big deal, because I'm not like him."

Pastor Linn: 33:22 Let me read you a passage. It's first Corinthians, Chapter 6, Verse 19. Here's what it says, "Don't you know that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God. You're not your own." You know what that passage is saying? The very same spirit of God that lived in Samson lives in you, that the very thing that empowered him and made him unique and gave him strength, that same spirit of God lives in you. So, what is it that God intended for you to do that you'll never know if you keep your one, which brings us to a simple question. What will you and I do with our one? That area of our life that's the hardest to surrender, that area of our life that we may have surrendered, but we know it's always looming in the background. It is the part of our life that is most likely to come back and bite our life. What will you do with your one?

Pastor Linn: 34:43 Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, the easiest thing for us to do as Christians is that which is right to us, to live a life of almost complete surrender and yet reserved for ourselves the one. The one area of our life that we least understand your hand, the one area of our life that's the most alluring to us, and we just think to ourselves, "Hey, if I give God 99 percent of my life, then one shouldn't matter. And yet, we learned a lesson today of a man who was called to greatness and missed, because he held onto his one. Oh, God, give us the wisdom. Give us the courage to simply surrender our one. To say, "God, I'm just telling you honestly, this is the hardest thing for me to give up, this is the most painful thing for me to bring into obedience and conformity to you. It's my one, and yet, I'm done with my one. God, this we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286