2014 Sermon Series
- January 25, 2015
Lives that God Uses to Influence Eras.
Genesis 50 is the conclusion to chapters 47-49. It’s a chapter of two funerals for two men of faith. A life lived with simple integrity most influences the lives of those who follow. Jacob and Joseph left a legacy of faith for their family in three simple ways:
Joseph shows the deep love of compassion as he commemorates his father Jacob. His mourning is emotion with substance. The deepest mourning often is when we lose the one we respected most in the faith. Joseph weeps not with regret but as a faithful man endeared to the faith of his father.
Using his authority in Egypt, Joseph provides a glorious funeral for Jacob’s body. The Egyptian pagan culture already believed that a person’s best life was to come after death. Israel’s family used the Egyptian customs of burial to mirror their father’s faith and demonstrate Jehovah. Indeed, Jacob’s best journey was yet to come! His funeral ceremony was a celebration of faith and future. It preached a message because true compassion must always include the truth of God.
The ultimate expression of divine compassion is displayed in Gospel influence. The Egyptians mourned Jacob because he had deeply influenced them. Mourning was shared by the faithful and the unfaithful. At the same time, the funeral procession ended in the Promised Land, where God had commanded the patriarchs to be buried, separated from the pagan culture.
Joseph showed a simple resolve to obey, first by forgiving his brothers. Forgiveness shows both love and obedience. Joseph forgave freely because he understood the sovereignty of God and saw the bigger picture. He forgave lavishly, promising to care for his brothers’ children and doing so for decades. He spoke kindly to them as mature hearts do. Believers must be able to simply forgive, then move on to do the will of God. There is plenty to do without being weighed down by bitterness.
Jacob and Joseph were obedient to God’s will in the simple matter of where they were to be buried. It would have been easy to stay in Egypt and be distracted by its convenience and benevolence. But they remembered the land to which God had promised to return them.
Compassion and obedience, demonstrated over a long time, yield a legacy of hope. One pastor regularly asks his congregation this question: If you had life to do over, what two things would you change? He usually gets these two answers: reflecting often on God’s faithfulness, and investing eternally in what will outlast me. The end of both Jacob and Joseph’s lives showed they joyfully pursued this.
The word “coffin” in Genesis 50:26 is not used anywhere else in the Bible. In Hebrew, it literally means “hope chest.” The family of Israel would surely need that hope through 400 years of slavery to come. A faithful person dies in hope and leaves a legacy of hope. Because of sin, death estranges us from loved ones who’ve died in the Lord, but we will see them again. And if they could, they would tell us that the weight of glory is so much more than the light affliction we experience here (2 Corinthians 4:17). The glory of Heaven will not be seeing loved ones again but seeing the Light of the Universe!
Love, faith, and hope should be demonstrated among and outside God’s people. As we live in the presence of God now and wait for Christ’s coming, how should we live? The last verse of the first book in the New Testament answers for us: we have an obligation to share the Gospel message (Matthew 28:18-20). Hold on to God’s Word and live in love, in light of our imminent hope.
- If you went to be with the Lord today, how would these three questions be answered at your funeral: Did you know how to love? Did you know how to obey? Did you leave hope and encouragement?
- Would your funeral be attended by only saints, or would unsaved friends mourn you too? Let us live to love and influence the lost for eternal purposes, so the Gospel can be preached in speech and action when a person of faith dies.
- Do you need to forgive anyone? Will you trust God’s sovereignty enough to take this simple step of obedience, so you can continue doing His will?
- What things did God convict you to do or be when you were first saved? Have you continued obeying the simple instructions of His Word?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore:
- John 17 – The influence of a person of faith within and outside of the family of faith.
- Romans 12:15 – Shared mourning.
- 1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:11-13 – Embrace the simple things of God’s Word.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – Hope to encourage each other with.
- Hebrews 11:8-22 – The patriarchs’ hope looked ahead to God’s fulfillment of His promises.
- 1 Corinthians 13:13, 1 Thessalonians 1:3 – The divine trilogy of faith, hope, and love.
A Hymn to Encourage: “The Solid Rock”
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness hides His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.