2014 Sermon Series
- December 21, 2014
Servant Leaders Value Spiritual Relationships at the Deepest Level.
Joseph’s life was defined by his desire to reconcile people to God – primarily his family. We ought to mirror Joseph as he mirrors our Creator. Though his rise to power brought lots of glamor to his story, his ultimate purpose should be ours too.
Joseph is an early Old Testament picture who stands in parallel to Jesus Christ. He is not a “type” for the coming Christ, because the New Testament does not name him as one, but his life has many parallels to Jesus’ life.
- Joseph was beloved by his father, rejected by others, and tempted.
- He was given a dream of glory yet to come.
- He sought out his brothers for reconciliation.
- He was a servant leader and in the end, exalted to glory.
Joseph confronted his brothers with their sin to him and deception of their father. After covering their sin for 23 years, Judah had begun to take ownership for his actions. Joseph used a creative strategy given to him by God. He patiently waited two years between his brothers’ trips to Egypt.
The first step to reconciliation is realizing we are broken in sin. Confrontation is necessary. Joseph revealed his brother’s sin with his gracious and patient lifestyle. He wasn’t out to prove himself right, but genuinely wanted them to walk with God like he and his father did.
If we love unsaved people, we will let them know that they are in sin. One of the easiest ways to do this is just to tell our own “before and after” testimony of when God saved us. They can see our changed lifestyle and realize their own state.
The three elements of reconciliation are:
- Recognize sin. As the old preachers said, “Before you can be found, you must be lost.”
- Take Responsibility for your sin.
- Repent of sin. This means to change your mind and turn from sin.
Confusing times can distract us from the ultimate reason God has put us in families. Joseph had many trials, but he stayed focused ultimately on his family so they would also be in the family of God. Don’t be lost in the emotion of the reunion in Genesis 45 – Joseph longed for his father because of the promise he held from God. He had not only his father’s favor, but the spiritual connection of both being followers of Yahweh.
Joseph loved his siblings. When his brothers came to Egypt, he was able to rise above being a victim. He had already forgiven them. He received them patiently, expecting nothing. His merciful, gracious, submissive response was a picture of God’s grace. Such forgiveness is inexplicable without God’s working!
Influencer Outside His Family
Though not his primary focus, Joseph influenced those outside his own family as he sought to see his brothers reconciled to God. He had so influenced Pharaoh and his servants that they were pleased to welcome more Hebrews, a race the Egyptians typically hated!
God changed Pharaoh’s heart and used him to accomplish a divine purpose. Unbelievers may sometimes participate in and watch God’s grace operate. It makes them wonder and perhaps ask questions of a believer they know.
This is why it’s so important to disciple people in the church. Growing maturity within will become growing light without.
- Do you long to see people reconciled to God? Do you live a gracious, patient, changed lifestyle before close unsaved friends? Do you love people enough to tell them about the consequences of sin?
- The reality is that many Christians come to know the Lord through their family. Do you pray for yours? Pray that your children, grandchildren, and generations to come would know Christ.
- Is your life exposed to the unsaved? Are you growing in your own spiritual maturity? People are watching you. Life faithfully, and you will have an influence.
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore:
- Acts 4:12 – Jesus is the only name that can save.
- 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 – We are ambassadors to reconcile people with God.
- Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 6:1-3 – Children are commanded to honor their parents.
- Galatians 6:10, John 13:34-35 – When we mirror love inside, it is seen outside.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 – Three practical aspects of love.
- Hebrews 11:22 – Joseph is honored for his faith.
Quotes to Ponder:
Making people face up to the deficiencies in their relationships and the shortcomings in their lives is never pleasant, but unless it is done by those who love enough to confront, everyone concerned suffers.