Genesis 40: Persevering Faith

Edit: He ya’ll, just want to draw your attention to an edit that needs to be made. In two places I wrote “baker” rather than “cup-bearer”. I made the edit already, so you wont read it, but you’ll hear it. AND because I’m trying to stay on my notes in the recording, I actually speak if wrongly. Facepalm!

Thank you to my friend, Chris Auger, who actually was the first to graciously point it out. To all the rest of you great folks…it is a test to see if you are paying attention! Not really. I just somehow did that. I noticed it when my family was watching the sermon, and I was thinking to myself: it had to be because “baker” is easier to type than “cup-bearer” and I somehow made that switch without even noticing.

Sorry about that, and I hope that error didn’t ruin your ability to process through the passage.

Grace and peace to you!

TRC and Friends,

Here is our sermon for March 15: Genesis 40: Persevering Faith

I’ll post the notes below.

First, don’t forget to make sure that our most vulnerable need us to help them avoid places that can expose them to the coronavirus, so reach out and check on them. I’ve contacted several myself, as have some of you, so please check on each other!

Second, as the economy takes a hit and our folks need help, forward them to me and we will begin working to take care of folks.

Third, don’t forget to give. Our work around the world and in our city will not decrease, but it will increase, and our giving will be important to keep the work going. You can send checks to PO Box 707, Rome, GA 30162 or you can give online right here > TRC Giving

Finally, when you gather as a family or as a RL group or a small group from another city or country, pray for the Lord to heal and stop the spread of the coronavirus, advance the gospel, the Lord to protect his people, preserve people as grace to everyone, and that he make us the aroma of Christ to our world.

Grace to you and Peace!

Genesis 40

Persevering Faith

TRC, I’m not going to give you a Coronavirus sermon. Not our style. And I think you know that. What I’m going to do is share with you from our next passage. Because it could not be more providential. 

In an age when various worldviews introduce faith “killing” questions and ideas or hardships introduce challenges that end up causing “Christians” to deconstruct their faith, or act in fear and panic, we need to be aware that hardship, hard questions and contrary ideas are not new to Jesus and his kingdom.

The fact is persevering faith is not rooted in apologetics or easy lives. 

Persevering faith is not rooted in easy answers when the world seems to be unraveling and life as we know it is suspended. 

Persevering faith is rooted in Jesus Christ. 

Saving faith is a gift that we must in turn exercise through obedience to God’s word. 

Deconstructing one’s faith is generally due to that faith being placed in something other than Jesus.

This is a danger in cultural Christianity. We can inadvertently sell comfort, peace, joy, healing, assurance, heaven, or spiritual wares of many kinds, etc. in the place of Jesus, and Jesus becomes the way to get those other things, and that is idolatry. 

Falling into panic and fear can be due to having our faith rooted in expected results that Jesus never promised and that creates many wrong expectations.  

So, when challenges upset our comfort or assurance we find ourselves with nothing to stand on. 

We want to let God’s word instruct us, and the Holy Spirit build up in us, a robust persevering faith. 

Perhaps you guys pause the video, and read Genesis 40 together right here. 

There are 3 sets of 2 dreams found in 37, 40, 41. These dreams link these chapters together to show us some narrative gold regarding the providential grace of God and our necessary response of faith that he will work all things for our good in order to bolster our confidence in God and cause us to bear up under any trial. 

Joseph’s 2 dreams: Show us Yhwh has a purpose for Joseph

The cupbearer and baker’s 2 dreams: Show us that Yhwh works through others, even non-believers to test us and provide opportunity to test our spiritual strength by persevering in trust and exercising the gifts he has given us in grace. 

Pharaoh’s 2 dreams: Show us that God can and will cause us to ascend to his purpose through all necessary means at his disposal. 

REMEMBER: Joseph has received a dream from Yhwh that he will one day rule over his family. 

Joseph’s circumstances don’t seem to support the dream God gave him. 

Joseph can respond in 3 ways that I can see:

  • Quit on God.
  • Become apathetic.
  • Act on what he knows to be true and exercise the gifts God has given him in the moment.

GT: Joseph in prison is a gospel tributary by showing us that it is only through persevering faith in Jesus that we are saved and then can live in obedience to his word when everything seems to be off the plan. 

If we follow Jesus, he will lead us to places that will challenge our faith…it is innate in the mission. V. 1-4

  • Yhwh put Joseph in prison
  • Psalms 105:16-19 (ESV) When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread, 17 he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; 19 until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.
    • Joseph is in prison and the dream from Yhwh had him as head of the family. 
    • Joseph seems to have been actually in chains as the prisoner / worker. 
      • This is not what he thought it would be right now. 

We must live by faith at every turn regardless of the circumstances and time that has elapsed. V. 5-19

  • This is where we see Joseph act on what he knows to be true and exercise the gifts he has in the moment. 
    • Joseph reaches out to those who appear to be in distress and is not consumed in self-pity. V. 7
    • Remember: Yhwh is in charge of this whole thing!
      • Yhwh has provided an opportunity for Joseph to tell of his greatness and serve some fellow prisoners by giving them dreams. 
      • This opportunity had implications for the future built into it (the cup-bearer, although he initially forgets Joseph, will remember him at just the right time…when Pharaoh is given dreams by Yhwh.)
    • Joseph has to act in faith by remembering what Yhwh had given him back in chapter 37. 

NOTE: Joseph had been in oppression by slavery for 11 years. 

      • Joseph was 17 when he was sold to traders by his brothers (37:2)
      • Joseph was 30 when he was called to Pharaoh’s service (41:46)
      • Two years had passed since the cupbearer was released (41:1)
      • So, Joseph was 28, and had been gone from his family for 11 years. 
      • Joseph had to act like it was true even though it was not happening at the moment, just like his great grandfather, Abraham when he had to act like and believe God would give him a son as he waited some 25 years.
        • Hebrews 11:8-10 (ESV) By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

Yhwh builds Joseph’s faith through working out the situation just like the interpretation he gave Joseph. 

  • Joseph responds to his fellow prisoner’s stories of dreams with the declaration that dreams belong to God, therefore, they could tell them to Joseph and he would inform them from God. 
    • Joseph is in essence telling them he knows God, and God has gifted him with dreams, so he can help them. 
    • It’s been 11 years, and he is living by faith. 
  • Joseph gives the interpretation, and it comes to pass just like God gave him. 
  • We know this had to build Joseph’s faith because he would be there 2 more years before he gets remembered by the cup-bearer because the Lord gives Pharaoh warning through 2 dreams, and Joseph will do for Pharaoh 2 years later just like he did for the cupbearer and the baker. 

How do we apply Genesis 40 today?

Don’t miss the GT gospel tributary! Faith and faith being worked out through obedience with Jesus as the object of the faith is the only proper response to Jesus for salvation and a life of supernatural faith. 

  • We come to Jesus alone by faith seeking nothing but Jesus. 
  • We don’t come to Jesus to get like the people in John 6 who came to Jesus because they got their fill of bread. 
    • We come to Jesus because he is the bread of life. Then, and only then, do we get all that comes with his kingdom. 

Don’t give up. 

  • Persevering faith is deeper and longer than a couple of weeks. It’s a lifelong pursuit of the promise of the kingdom of God whether we see it’s fullness or not. 

Exercise your trust in Jesus with what you know now. 

  • Make sure you know God’s word. 
  • Be intimately connected to the body of Christ so you can serve. 
  • Make disciples. 
  • Don’t look for Pauline miracles without first walking with Jesus first in basic obedience. 

The Antonine Plague (165–180 AD), also called the Plague of Galen, was a pandemic now believed to be smallpox that was introduced to the Roman Empire by soldiers returning from Syria. 

Five million people died as it ran its course. In the following century, the Plague of Cyprian (251–266 AD) spread from Africa throughout the known world. 

It was transmitted person-to-person by physical contact and by touching or using clothing and items infected by the sick. Half of all people who encountered the disease died.

During each pandemic, government officials and the wealthy fled the cities for the countryside to escape contact with those who were infected. The Christian community remained behind, transforming themselves into a great force of caretakers.

On Easter Sunday in 260 AD, Bishop Dionysius of Corinth praised the efforts of the Christians, many of whom had died while caring for others. He said:

Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves, and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains.

That smells like a living picture of the gospel. 

In our coming days, let’s live in persevering faith by sharing the good news, serving each other and our world, and joyfully trusting Jesus to conquer either in sickness or health. 

 

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