Good morning friends. This morning we will continue our study "Let Faith Arise. We could continue this message week after week, as our faith in Christ is that important. It is everything. Praise Jesus.
Last week, we spoke out a few scriptures together and I feel we should again this week Praise God!!
Psalms 27:14 LET THE WEAK SAY, I AM STRONG.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. .
Psalms 71:16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Last week I mentioned a person in the Bible where I could find nothing he did wrong. We know he could not have been perfect, because only Christ has been completely, 100% perfect. Anyone that was with us last week, or someone new want to take a guess?
For those that said Joseph, you are correct In fact, we read about him in Hebrews 11:22,
Hebrews 11:22 KJV By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
We saw where the Bible said Rahab being a harlot, but she had faith. It talks about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they all had their problems, but they had faith. When it talks about Joseph, it says nothing to show where he did wrong.
Joseph's life is recorded from Genesis 37 to Genesis 50, the end of the Book of Genesis. And Joseph is the chief character in that portion of Scripture. Please turn to Genesis 37. Let's learn some things about the faith of this man. Joseph’s faith that's mentioned in Hebrews 11 and the persistence that he had to continually meet his adversaries and still did nothing that displeased God. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a story told of us like this?
If you have an adversary in life, you have difficulty in life. It might be a tough neighbor to get along with, or a brother-in-law or a child or a mother or a father, whatever the case is in your life and you're just having a tough time dealing with them. You may respond negatively toward them at some point. I've done that, and I am sure you have too. But when it comes to the story of Joseph, there is no negative response to anything that happened to him.
Let's begin in Genesis 37:1-4 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. (2) These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. (3) Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. (4) And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
Now, let me stop there, because this is the setup verse that teaches us all about the life of this man, Joseph. His father Jacob loved him more than he loved the other brothers.
Now, that can be a problem in a house, can't it? It's always a problem when you have a favorite child or you show favoritism to any child. And every one of us who has ever been a child (and I would guess that's just about everybody in this room other than Ashton, maybe some of you listening on Skype or that may read this at a later time. Any one of us who has ever been a child and had a sibling, always thought that our brother or sister was being better treated than we were. Isn't that true? I mean, that's human nature.
In this case, Joseph clearly was being better treated than the others because his father loved him more than he loved the others. And that brought adversity to Joseph's life. Joseph didn't ask for that. It came anyway.
So, when you think about the adversity that comes into his life, it comes as a result of verse 3. Joseph was the son of Jacob's old age. He made him this coat of many colors. He was showing favoritism to him. And as a result, his brothers hated him for it. We see something about that hatred down in verse 19. Genesis 37:19-20 KJV And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. (20) Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
Here is a young man, 17 years of age who’s family wants to kill him. What do you learn about the faith of Joseph when you look at the situation into which he had in his life? Well, I look at him being hated by his brothers. I look at him being sold into slavery by his brothers. And then I look at his faith, and I learn a lesson about faith.
Here's the lesson I learn: Faith that's persistent faith that stands up in the face of adversity, that kind of faith is never shaken by the adversities of life.
If you have faith in the character of God. That God will never leave you in the middle of your adversity, that He will not cause you to walk through the valley of the shadow of death alone, that He will walk with you hand in hand. These are promises that God has given us. If, like Joseph, you believe that God will never leave you, even when you're in the pit, then your faith, your persistent faith, will be able to stand up against your adversity. There is no adversity in life that is stronger than faith, if faith is strong.
There are plenty of families today just full of strife, dysfunction, and difficulties. How can we use Joseph's example? How can we take this part of the Bible and use it in today’s world?
We look at our own family and say, Wow, my family is worse than that one. The first thing we don't do is, I don't think we see our family as kind of a TV show. I could go on and on with stuff that TV does. Let’s say we are in the family that is filled with strife, my responsibility is to be light in darkness. We're to be salt and light in the world and often that means in our own family. So if you live in a family that is filled with strife, you may be the only peacemaker that family has. You may be the only little light shining in that family. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus. Again and again and again He told us that we were to be that kind of beacon to people who needed us, and who needs that kind of a beacon more than a family that's filled with strife?
We've seen that he had this difficulty with his brothers. We've seen that he was sold into slavery. Let’s skip to chapter 39. Here, Joseph will be tempted by his master’s wife. Genesis 39:10-12 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. (11) And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. (12) And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
So now he's been in a pit. He's been in a wagon train going to Egypt among the Ishmaelites. He gets to Egypt, and now he finds himself in prison. This has to be adversity in a person's life. Hated by your own family, sold into slavery by your own family, and now thrown into prison.
And in none of these instances do you see anything but consistent faith on the part if Joseph. So if you want to handle the adversities of life, be like Joseph. Persistent faith is never shaken by the adversities of life. When I think of Joseph and the life that he led and the adversities that came to his life, I learn a lot about how to deal with adversity. And, you know, one of the greatest adversities you'll ever deal with (now you've got to smile when I tell you this, but it's true), one of the greatest adversities you will ever encounter in your life is prosperity. These are good times, good things happening to you. By the way, this is one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament.
When bad things are happening to us, at least we have people come along to our side and say, "Oh, I'm so sorry." We have people say, "I'm going to pray for you." We have people asking about us all the time. But when prosperity comes to us, they come to our side too, but they ask for us, not about us. They want something from us. Maybe not always, but you know what I am saying. Amen?
Look at the life of Joseph here. In Genesis 39 Joseph encounters prosperity. Verse 2 of Genesis 39 says, "The LORD was with Joseph [now he's already in Egypt], and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. "So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put in his hand [under his authority].
"So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field."
Now, I've had jobs as a dairy farmer, disc jockey on my own, and for a radio station. I have driven tractor-trailer and so on, but I don't ever remember in my life people saying to me, "You know, we want to hang onto you, because ever since you've been around we've been making more money than we were before. Ever since you've been around, God has been blessing our business. We want to hang onto you. We don't care what kind of a worker you are. Just hang around, because it's evident wherever you go, the blessing of God goes." That has never been the case in my life.
But for Joseph, it was different. For Joseph, this man brought God's blessing wherever he went. The house of his father was blessed. Joseph was in that house. When Joseph was sold into slavery and went to Egypt, the blessing of God followed him as a slave in Egypt.
Now he's purchased by Potiphar, this Egyptian official. And everything that happens in Potiphar's house happens for good because Joseph is there.
Now, I said one of the most difficult adversities that will ever come to your life is the adversity of prosperity. A persistent faith, however, is never spoiled by success or by prosperity.
Joseph was taken from the pit and given a life of ease in the house of Potiphar. And yet he continued to live a life of faith. Even before Potiphar, he lived a life of faith. He's now in a foreign country that worships foreign gods and he's still living the life of faith.
And I think what you and I need to learn from Joseph's life is this; that persistent faith is not only not shaken by the adversities that come to our life; persistent faith is not spoiled by the successes that come to our lives as well.
I worry more about success than I do about failure, and here's the reason why. Turn to Deuteronomy 8. But I want to read just several verses.
Deuteronomy 8:11-13 KJV (11) Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: (12) Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; (13) And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Verse (17) And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. (18) But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. (19) And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
What was the concern of Moses for the people of Israel when they got into the Promised Land? It wasn't the Canaanites; it wasn't the Hittites and the Perizzites and all the Hivites. It wasn't the trouble they were going to have. It was the prosperity they were going to have. Where they would build houses and have lands and sheep and cattle and vineyards and they would have golden grain in the fields. When they would have what Britain and Canada and America and a lot of countries have today. That's when Moses was concerned that they would be destroyed and their faith would be destroyed.
Whether you're facing tough times today or things are going pretty well for you, you can't allow either of those extremes to shake your faith, because at the end of the day, the bottom line is this: Both what you consider good and what you consider bad need to be given to God in praise. Isn’t it strange how we cry out to Him when things are going terrible in our lives, yet when things are great, we go about doing as we will?
Matthew 5:45 Jesus speaking. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. He brings to us those things that we consider adversities, and He brings to us those things we consider prosperities. And if we forget our relationship before Him, if we forget who He is and who we are, then our faith is going to be destroyed. And my concern today is that we maintain persistent faith whether it's in adversity or prosperity.
"Oh but brother Jim, we shouldn’t try to be successful?" I think we should always try to seek success, but I think the issue here is not whether we want to be successful or not but whether we want to be successful in the way God defines success. So we have to make sure that the success we seek is God's idea of success and to give Him praise for that success. Did anyone get anything out of this today?
I also would like to thank any mothers that may hear this message or read it sometime later. Women are very important to God. In Genesis God gave Adam Eve as a help mate. She started the seed that would at a later date bring Mary into the picture to give birth to God’s only begotten Son. The Savior of the world. Because of moms, you and I came into this world. I would ask that each and every one of you give thanks to your mom. If she is still living, I would highly recommend that you at least call her. Maybe there is a problem that has separated you, I urge you to call and say you’re sorry, even if it isn’t your fault. Maybe it is your daughter or son. Again, call and let them know that you love them. For those who are missing a mom, I’m sorry for your loss, but this is a time to be thankful for the great memories that you have. Or maybe even a wife who has passed away. In all seriousness, take this time today to speak to her and tell her you love her, or make amends. Amen?