LET ME TELL YOU A STORY. There was a young man who came to the Lord at the age of nine. He would say at this point his life truly began.
Fast-forward 8yrs in seeking God’s will for his life he pursues a career in medicine. While excelling in his studies at Kansas University (Go Jayhawks!!!) he also played some football and became the STAR QUARTERBACK on the team.
He and his wife raised 5 children up to love and serve the Lord. Along with becoming a medical doctor in his spare time he taught himself Greek, became an ordained minister.
He was heavily involved in his church, and always charitable in his giving (His also helped him with that as well). Things were going well for him and his family. You say, “good for him, IS THERE A POINT TO ALL THIS?” We’re getting there J
I would like to say that he is now comfortably retired. After all he had earned it. However, this man has been tried and tested like few men I have ever known. His chief financial manager (a fellow “believer”) swindled him out of everything he had earned during his 51 years as a medical doctor.
LET’S LOOK AT ANOTHER MAN. He was the favorite among all of his siblings. Always getting the special treatment. This caused such jealousy and even hatred that they seriously contemplated killing him. Have you ever been there?
Well anyway they sold him as a slave to some perfect strangers to do with him what they pleased. He is our brother after all they said (37:27). HOW COMPASSIONATE OF THEM.
Then as he faithfully served his new master he was recognized for his work and placed before all the other servants. Things are going good now God is blessing! I love my job.
Then he gets sexually harassed by the boss’s wife MULTIPLE TIMES, but after he does the right in fleeing this temptation SHE HATES HIM FOR IT. So, she accuses him of attempting to rape her.
Then he is thrown in prison. Things have gone from bad to good to worse. A lot of good DOING RIGHT did for you huh. Oh, by the way for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet we are talking about Joseph.
He continues to be faithful to his responsibilities and is even exalted to a TRUSTY POSITION to oversee all the prisoners. Two of the most notable ones were the BUTLER (cupbearer) and the BAKER. He interprets both of their dreams (good news for at least one of them), but then is soon forgotten.
Years later Joseph is still faithful in the PRISON MINISTRY. He is remembered and then recognized for his God given ability.
Now he is on top of the world, and his brothers are coming to him that he might give them the food they need to live. Now it is time. “Thank you God.” “You have given me an OPPORTUNITY to repay my Potiphar, his wife, and my brothers, and for all the kindness they showed to me.”
LET’S LOOK AT ONE MORE MAN. He was as if he could do nothing wrong. He never got in trouble and not once could his brothers or sisters remember him being put over his father’s knee (that means he didn’t get a whooping). “SPOILED ROTTEN” they would say. He was also looked down upon many in His own community for His allusions of grandeur.
As a man He was brought to trail and falsely accused. Then as the punishment was carried out for these accusations He was severely beaten, wiped, mocked, and spit upon.
How is this fair? He had done nothing wrong. Where is the justice?
Prop.: We must learn to be FREE of ANYTHING that would HINDER our relationship with Christ.
Hindrances – Fearfulness, Bitterness, Ungratefulness,
I want you to learn 3 things form the lives of these 3 men that set them FREE
I.BE FAITHFUL – Full of Faith
A.The First man is my GRANDFATHER. I have seen in his life the love of God like no other man. He continues to trust in the Lord believing that, “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Rm. 8:28.
B.JOSEPH continued to faithfully serve God without any promise of reward. In spite of his seemingly hopeless circumstances he trusted God completely. 39:2,3, 23
C.CHRIST willingly followed the plan of His Father. “Not my will but thine be done”
Application: Do you really believe that God sovereign in all things? How strong is your faith? Are you ready to have it put to the test?
Well if you are faithful and live a godly life then you shouldn’t have to worry about persecution right?
2Tim. 3:12 – Paul said…
John 15:18-20 – Christ said Himself…
DON’T BE SURPRISED!!! If you are LIVING A GODLY LIFE it is coming, but you must Remain faithful!!!
STAY FAITHFUL TEENS!!!
Not only must you be faithful you must…
II.BE FORGIVING – Mt. 18:22 – 7x’s or 70x7
A.MY GRANDFATHER had often counseled people to “trust in God”, “give thanks in all things”, “love your enemies” etc…, but THIS MAN HAD ROBBED HIM OF EVERYTHING!!!
Can you IMAGINE how YOU would FEEL in his shoes? How could he possibly FORGIVE this thief?
By the Grace of God he has forgiven him,
B.JOSEPH – How does he respond? Yes, he TESTS THEM, but then he SAVES THEM. All he had to do to PAY THEM BACK was NOTHING. He could have said, “fend for yourselves.”
Gen. 50:19, 20 – “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for [AM] I IN THE PLACE OF GOD?
C.CHRIST – He taught us to, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” - Mt. 5:44
This who I am speaking of is Christ our Lord. He endured all of these things. He never spoke a word in his own defense. His only response to this hateful mob was, “Father FORGIVE them for they know not what they do.”
“the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,”
“Great PEACE have they that LOVE my law and NOTHING shall offend thee.” Ps. 119:165
Application: WHO in this world owes you a GREATER DEBT than YOU OWN TO CHRIST? Eph. 4:32
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
Mt. 18:23-35 PARABLE OF THE DEBTOR
You know the story but let me just remind you of verse 35
“So likewise shall my heavenly father do to you, if your hearts forgive not EVERY ONE his brother their trespasses.”
“In ALL THINGS give thanks” 1Thes. 5:18;
“Giving thanks ALWAYS for ALL THINGS” Eph. 5:20
Does that mean trials?
“Count it all joy…” James 1:2
What is the alternative? BITTERNESS towards God or others
You might say, “What is there to be thankful about?!?!?!"
A.MY GRANDFATHER – His story is not yet complete. He has NOT 1 home, but 5 homes. He is able now to travel and spend time with the ones he invested his life in. With joy they bring him in and surround him in love. WHAT A REWARD. For being faithful, being forgiving, and being thankful. Who knows what else God has for him? He has children and grandchildren, son in laws and daughter in laws that love the Lord.
B.JOSEPH – “But as for you, YE THOUGHT EVIL AGAINST ME; [but] GOD MEANT IT UNTO GOOD, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.”
C. CHRIST – THEY MEANT IT FOR EVIL but YOU FATHER meant it for GOOD.
“who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross,” Hb. 12:2
HOW CAN I BE FAITHFUL IN THIS SITUATION?
Everyone is picking on me. I try to do good but I am never recognized for it. It doesn’t pay to do right.
I DON’T WANT TO FORGIVE!
They hurt me so deeply.
WHAT IS THERE TO BE THANKFUL FOR?
My life is just one headache after another. Nothing good ever happens to me.
You have CAGED YOURSELF in and you are LIVING in a PRISON OF YOUR OWN MAKING!!!
“My grace is sufficient for thee…” 2Cor. 12:9
“There hath no temptation (trial or test) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted (tried or tested) above that ye are able; but will with the temptation (trial or test) also MAKE A WAY TO ESCAPE, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1Cor. 10:13
TEENS, YOU must learn to be FREE of ANYTHING that would HINDER YOUR relationship with Christ.
CAST ALL YOUR CARES ON HIM FOR HE CARETH FOR YOU!!!
OH the REWARD of FAITHFULNESS
The FREEDOM of FORGIVENESS
The JOY of THANKFULNESS
LOOK UNTO HIM!! Look in His Face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the LIGHT of His GLORY and GRACE.
Please bow your heads and close your eyes.
Before you can be faithful to Christ you must first have accepted Him as your savior. Have you done that? Is there anyone here tonight who is not sure if you were to die today where you would spend the rest of eternity? If you would like to get that settled tonight please raise your hand at this time. No one is looking.
Now believers, how many of you find it too hard to stay faithful to Christ (in your DEVOTIONS, in your TESTIMONY)? You are putting your faith and trust in other things to bring you satisfaction or security.
How many of you have someone in mind right now that you have not forgiven, and with a raise of hand would say that I would like to get that settled tonight?
How many of you struggle to see that silver lining? You feel that life is cruel and unfair. Your focus is on all the wrong things. Would you like to tonight by raise of hand say, “God help me to see the work of your hands all around me.” “Open my eyes to your grace, your mercy, your love for me.”
PRAY: God you have redeemed us. You have set us FREE. Teach us to live in the joy of that FREEDOM. Restore unto us the JOY of our salvation. Amen.