INTRO: Not long ago I had a conversation with one of our precious young men in which we were discussing Joseph. Our discussion centered on the fact that Joseph kept his balance and his poise through years of difficulty and trial. And he seemed, at the end of it all, to have no ill feelings toward anyone. He was a good man with a family he apparently enjoyed. He worked hard at whatever task was laid before him. When he was in a difficult, unpleasant situation, he did not complain or whine. He never sought revenge for the wrongs he suffered at the hands of others. He just kept moving along with his life ... and prospered! What was his secret? How was he able to do this?
I. WERE THERE...
A. Any struggles?
1. Ps 105:17,18 - there was probably some physical pain
2. Gen 40:14,14 - Gen 41:1,9 - there were no doubt disappointments
B. Any thoughts of home?
1. the entire event of the brothers interviews with Joseph suggest to me that Joseph never forgot home and family
2. Gen 43:26-30 - I have no doubt that Joseph did have such thoughts
C. But Joseph seemed always to rise above his circumstances in a nobly
II. WHAT MIGHT BE SOME ELEMENTS OF HIS BEING ABLE TO DO SO?
A. He never lost sight of God
1. in Potiphars house, in jail, before Pharaoh he refers openly to God
2. Gen 39:9 - 40:9 - 41:15,16
3. more than anything else, Joseph openly acknowledged and lived His relationship with God
4. it is so easy to lose sight of God in the busyness of life
5. when we do, we begin to put emphasis in wrong places - solve problems with human wisdom - neglect our souls - jeopardize relationships
6. Mt 6:33 - we know the verse ... but do we follow the directions?
B. He was confident of/in God
1. Gen 41:51,52 - he is seeing God as his Helper through his life
2. this confidence did not mean he had all of the answers in advance!
3. it simply means he trusted God for the outcomes - he did not run before God as did Abraham and Sarah, for example (taking matters into their hands)
4. how difficult it is to simply trust God ... to let go of my own solutions
5. 2 Tim 1:12 - our question may be, Is he truly able....?
6. because Joseph was not worried about outcomes, he was able to focus his attention on each days challenges
C. He sought to do his best in each circumstance
1. I recognize that scripture indicates that the Lord was with Joseph
2. however, Joseph had to commit to his part in each day ...serving, working, planning
3. I wonder how many of, in an undesirable position, still do our very best?
4. when things are not ideal, is their foot dragging, complaining do we do?
5. Col 3:22-24 must apply here
6. in short, doing ones best in ones situation is the Christian way!!!
D. He was able to forgive
1. the inability to forgive will impact your life in very negative ways
2. you carry with you the heaviness of resentment, etc. - such burdens will affect your outlook, your effectiveness, your successes
3. not a day will pass that you will not need to forgive someone! do you?
4. Gen 50:20,21 - could I have been this gracious? Im not so sure
5. forgiving puts the past in the past where it belongs ... so I can concentrate all of my efforts on the present ... and be positive about it
6. I submit to you that this may be where so many people, Christian people, fail in their quest for true happiness and contentment!
E. He never forgot who he was
1. Gen 51:24,25 - he was always a child of the covenant!
2. this fact kept Joseph always on track in his life
3. a change in his circumstances did not change this fact
4. Gal 2:20 - ...the life which I now live... - not this event, or that event which I now live ... the life which I now live
5. 1 Cor 10:31 - this is how we keep our balance, our poise in every circumstance - it was most assuredly Josephs secret
6. as soon, though, as we forget who we are, our lives are going to become a jumbled mess
CLOSE: Was Joseph a better man than you or me? No, not really. He just committed to a way of life and lived his commitment. So, too, can you and I!
Cecil A. Hutson
13 November 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)