Whose Hands Are You Binding?

I had a chance to visit the Lincoln and Tunnell Church of Christ on January 29th, 2013 in Santa Maria, CA.  The sermon is titled, “Whose Hands Are You Binding?” by Mel Martin.  Here is a Google map of the church that meets in Santa Maria, California.

I. IT WAS SILLY TO THINK THAT YOU CAN BIND SAMSON

A. In Judges 15, when Samson went to Etam, an almost vertical rock cliff in Judah not far from Zorah, Samson’s home, the Philistines invaded Judah encamping at Lehi above Etam, and demanded the surrender of their arch-enemy.

1.  The men of Judah were willing to hand Samson over to the Philistines, and accordingly, they went down to the cliff Etam, bound Samson and brought him up to where the Philistines were encamped (Judges 15: 9-13).

2.  When Samson came to Lehi the Philistines shouted as they met him, whereupon the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him so that he broke loose from the two new ropes with which the three thousand men of Judah had bound him, and seizing a fresh jawbone of an ass, he smote with it one thousand men of the Philistines, boasting as he did so in pun-like poetry seen only in the Hebrew (One commentator has translated it, “With the bone of an ass, I ass-ailed my ass-ailants” — Jdg 15:16).

B.  In Judges 16, when Samson went to the valley of Sorek, he fell in love with another Philistine woman, named Delilah, through whose schemes he lost his spiritual power.

1.  The Philistine lords bribed her with a very large sum to deliver him into their hands.  Three times Samson deceived her as to the secret of his strength.

2.  Characteristic of many downfalls, Samson, with his evasive answers, toys with temptation several times before he actually falls.

3.  Judges 16:7 (KJV) “And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with several green withes that were never dried, then I shall be weak, and be as another man.”

4.  Judges 16:11 (KJV) “And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then I shall be weak, and be as another man.”

5.  Judges 16:13 (KJV) “And Delilah said unto Samson,  Hitherto thou has mocked me, and told me lies:  tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound.  And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.”

6.  Judges 16:17 (KJV) “That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb:  if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

II.  CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW SILLY IT IS TO THINK THAT YOU CAN BIND JESUS?

A.  In Mark 15:1, we read of how the enemies of Jesus bound Him In preparation for sending him to Pilate:  “Immediately,  in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus,  led him away and delivered Him to Pilate.”

B. As we read this, it is easy for our hearts to be filled with sadness, and even with a touch of “righteous indignation” for those who bound Jesus in such a way.  And yet, there are some who are guilty of binding the hands of Jesus in a “figurative” way!  Consider some of the ways we can be guilty today of “Binding The Hands of Jesus.”

III.  SOME BIND THE HANDS OF JESUS BY REFUSING TO OBEY THE GOSPEL.

A.  IN HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US, JESUS STRETCHED OUT HIS HANDS AND DIED FOR OUR SINS.

1.  Even today, through His gospel, He pleads with us all to take advantage of His vicarious suffering.

2.  He does not want us to suffer for the guilt of our own sins.

3.  In truth, then, His “tender invitation” of Mt 11:28-30 is still being offered today.

B.  BUT WHEN ONE REFUSES TO OBEY THE GOSPEL…

1.  The hands of Jesus are bound!

2.  There is no way such a person can then receive the benefits of Jesus death!

3.  For him or her, the death of Jesus was in vain!

C.  IS THIS TRUE OF YOU?

1.  It is if you have not accepted the gospel by obeying the commands of Jesus – cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38.

2. And if it is, then you will one day have to face the righteous indignation of Jesus Himself! – cf. 2 Th 1:7-9.

IV.  SOME BIND BY REFUSING TO BE TRANSFORMED.

A.  CHRIST’S WILL IS THAT WE BE TRANSFORMED.

1.  This transformation involves a renewal of the mind – Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:20-24.

2.  This renewal occurs as we read, study, and meditate upon the Word of God – 1 Pet 1:23-2:2; Phillipians 4:8.

B.  BUT MANY CHRISTIANS NEGLECT THE INSTRUMENT BY WHICH WE CAN BE RENEWED!

1.  We do not “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” – James 1:21b.

2.  Allowing other things to take precedence in our lives, we so “bind the hands of Jesus” that we do not change!

C.  ARE WE GUILTY OF THIS?

1.  We are, if we neglect to study the Bible on our own!

2.  We are, if we fail to take advantage of opportunities to study with others!

3.  Neglect the transforming power of the Word of God, and we are just as guilty of “binding the hands of Jesus” as were those who delivered Him to Pilate!

IV.  SOME BIND BY REFUSING TO PRAY.

A.  JESUS BECAME OUR “HIGH PRIEST.”

1.  He became man for this very purpose – Heb. 2:17-18.

2.  He has made it possible for us to boldly approach God’s throne of grace in prayer – Heb. 4:14-16.

3.  As our high priest…

a.  He is able to save those who come to God through Him – Heb. 7:25a.

b.  He “ever lives” to make intercession for us – Heb 7:25b.

B.  WHEN WE DO NOT PRAY AS WE SHOULD…

1.  Jesus cannot be our high priest, our intercessor!

2.  Figuratively speaking we have taken the “praying hands” of Jesus and “bound” them behind His back!

C.  ARE WE DOING THIS?

1.  If so, what a travesty this is!

2.  For here is Jesus…

a.  Who “lives” to intercede for us.

b. But Who can’t, because we prevent Him from doing so by our failure to pray!

VI.  SOME BIND BY REFUSING TO DO OUR PART IN THE CHURCH.

A.  THE CHURCH IS DESCRIBED AS THE “BODY OF CHRIST” – Eph 1:22-23.

1.  As His body, we are individually members of one another – 1 Cor 12:27.

2.  As members of one another, we are to care for one another – Eph 4:15-16.

3.  It is through such “mutual edification” that Christ provides much of His help for the members of His body!

B.  BUT WHEN WE FAIL TO DO OUR SHARE, AGAIN JESUS IS “BOUND”!

1.   Just as our physical head can do little if our bodily members fail to follow its leading, so it is with Jesus and His church!

2.  Jesus could do so much more for His members, if only more of the members did THEIR part!

C.  HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED IT THIS WAY?

1.  That by failing to do our part, we “handicap” the body of Christ?

2.  That because of our neglect, or apathy, or lukewarmness…

a.  Either the whole body of Christ suffers…

b.  Or others are forced to do “double duty” in order to make up the difference?

VII.  SOME BIND BY REFUSING TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH THE LOST.

A.  JESUS HAS MADE HIS DISCIPLES TO BE HIS “HANDS” IN TAKING THE GOSPEL TO THE LOST…

1.  Consider Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15-16; 1 Pet 2:9.

2.  In every case of conversion recorded in Acts, Jesus used a disciple to tell the good news.

3.  Jesus works the same way today!

B.  BUT TO THE DEGREE THAT WE KEEP THE “GOOD NEWS” TO OURSELVES. . .

1.  We have “bound the hands” of Jesus once again!

2.  We hinder Jesus from telling others of His wonderful grace!

C.  ARE WE “BINDING THE HANDS OF JESUS” IN THIS WAY?

1.  Every day, countless souls die with no hope of eternal life.

2.  This need not be, if more would make the sharing of the gospel the primary concern in their lives!

3.  Sadly, in too many cases the primary concern of Christians is the pursuit of pleasure and the acquisition of worldly treasures!

VIII.  CONCLUSION

A. Yes, one does not have to literally “bind the hands of Jesus” to be guilty of the same sort of offense that we read about in Mark 15:1; there are many other ways as well!

B.  Why not today, resolve to “loose the hands of Jesus” so that IN us and THROUGH us He may accomplish His full desire?  Which is…

1.  To SAVE us!

2.  To TRANSFORM us!

3.  To USE us!

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