Welcome to our 80’s Kick off - Im’s stoked about today...
Big thanks to Sondra, Tiffany and Melinda and Pam getting this ready for the after party in fellowship hall… it going to be outrageous..
And for those of you who are visiting and didn’t get the memo.
This is not normally how we dress around here..
But we are a church that likes to have fun…
We are Celebrating a few things… we celebrating our Sunday School ministry as we launch fall program.. We also starting our Community Groups that will start next Sunday… if you would like to be part of a group please sign up today.
… Our New Series is on the life of Joseph entitled, “Our Mess his Masterpiece.”
Today we are going to be to be introducing the conflict that sets the stage for this Epic Story of the life Joseph…as we talk about ‘The Artist and His Canvas”
My Dad is an artist and so when I was growing up, I got to see how his paintings started and how they progressed from a blank canvas to a picture completed and framed on the wall.
Artists have this amazing ability to create something out of nothing……
Even before they have put one brush stroke of paint onto the canvas they already visualized their painting, they already know the range of colors they will use and kind shading and contrasts they are planning to use…
So even before their is one stroke on a blank Canvas ---There is the idea and intention is already in place.....
The famous artist Michaelangelo was asked to explain how he was able to produce such fine sculptures every time out of anything.
Michaelangelo responded that..
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.’
I saw the angel in the marble an carved until I set him free.
… The Artist knows his intention before he begins the work…
In this series we are going to be looking at the life of Joseph starting in Genesis 37:1..
The Story of Joseph has been called the most masterful narrative in Genesis, if not the entire Bible.
There are several reasons why Scholars see the story of Joseph as a masterpiece..
First is the amount of space given to the Story of Joseph - in the book of Genesis.
There are 50 chapters in the book of Genesis and 14 chapters are dedicated to the story of Joseph… and it takes up 25 % of the book of Genesis..
Second, is the Historical content..
The story of Joseph fits into the larger theme of the life of Jacob (or Israel).
The Story records the gestation of the nation of Israel as it chronicles the migration of Jacob’s embryonic clan to Egypt, where after 400 years … it comes to full term.
Under the leadership of Moses, Israel would walk out of Egypt a full and complete nation.
Third facet of the masterpiece.. is that Joesph’s life foreshadows the life of Christ.
Just like Joseph — Jesus Rejection by his own people led to his Exaltation...
Just as Joseph descent into suffering paved the way to save the nation of Israel .. So, Jesus’ death burial and resurrection.. providing a means of our Salvation and His exaltation.
Another Facet the life of Joseph.. is how applicable it for today… Tim Keller tells us that
If we are willing to come in, if we are willing to let the narrative draw us in and really get involved in the story and really understand the narrative, when we come out, we’ll look at your own life differently.
We’ll have a new perspective on our own life.
Our lives are part of His story and His masterpiece…where God had intention and purpose even before we were born.
Paul tells us.
Here is the challenge as on lookers… we don’t always see God working in the challenges of life..
The artist has completely different perspective from the onlooker…
Maybe you look at your life and you thing how could allow such things to happen and if God is in control of thing he must be incompetent..
People frequently say, “If God is really in charge of things, he must be incompetent.
Look at my life.
Look at all the things that are happening.
Look at all the disappointments.
Look at everything that has happened to me.
If God is in charge of things, he must be incompetent
In story of story of Joseph -God’s hidden hand arranges everything without show or explanation or violating the nature of things.
God is involved in all events and directs all things to their appointed end.
God will uses both the good and evil actions in Josephs family, of Pharaoh and his servants, and of passersby and uses their actions for good… The end of Josephs life…The dream is fulfilled… Josephs tells his bothers..
What we see in Joseph if that God is not just the God of the extraordinary but he is also a God of the ordinary..
T/ We can be certain that God is at work… but God uses the raw material of lives to create His masterpiece..
1. God uses the Conflicts of life.
Here is picture of Mount St. Helens before May of 1980, it’s this beautiful mountain, snow-capped.
There’s nothing that looks more permanent than a mountain.
There’s nothing that looks more stable than a mountain, but then you ought to take a look at the after picture, after May 18, 1980....
As permanent and as great as that mountain looked, inside there was brewing something that was about to blow the top off the mountain.
It’s the same thing with this family.
In this family of Jacob, large, prosperous, established, but there was something down deep inside that was going to blow top off… Some conflicts end up like MT St. Helen… but we need to remind ourselves that these kind of Events don’t happen over night… We see the beginnings of trouble in the opening of the story of Joseph.
The Story of Joseph begins with Joseph a teenager 17 years working along side his older brothers with the flock of his father Jacob.
These brothers are half brothers sons of Jacobs servant wives… we are told that something happened --- we don’t know what it was or any of the details, but .... what we do know is that Joseph was quick to bring the bad report to his father Jacob..
The word report is Hebrew word debba which is always used in the negative sense of an untrue report…
At best Josephs story is a half truth… but it has most-likely embellished truth...
So Joseph misrepresented in order to maligned his brothers.
Just like Mt St. Helen there is something much deeper that has been brewing here for along time… It is actually fueled by dysfunction from Jacobs side of the family that had influenced Joseph… Jacobs hard feelings towards his sons had actually poisoned the family system
There is no love lost between Joseph and brothers..
This bad Report — Caused a Rift in the relationship… but it is also the response of the Brothers that adds fuel to conflict..
One of the first things we should acknowledge is that there are two guilty parties in every conflict....
In this Case Joseph resents His half- brothers… an unhealthy attitude he inherited from His father Jacob… the Brothers… were Jealous and harbored hatred and ill will towards Joseph...
In Matt 18 we have whole section on how to handle Conflict resolution … Jesus said that if your brother sins against you… you need to confront the issue… most of us have our default setting on avoidance..
So Jesus taught us that when our brother sins against us we should seek our restoration…When we have been treated poorly in unjustly we should seek peace… Do our part in restoring a relationship...
What is the Hope here??
That we might gain a brother..!!
Why because in Conflict you are in danger of loosing a relationship...
Jesus does on to say don’t give up on the relationship too easily ,take a witness or two and try and rectify the situation… but if He still refuses… basically you should walk away...
Here is the reality… Conflict is part of life.. we have to learn how to manage it… deal with things in timely way… But it’s not always going to work out..
We need to remember that Conflict comes from our brokenness.. our fallenness..
We have have this sinful nature that is bent towards self.. …
Whether it is the Jealousy of the half brothers…or Joseph telling half truths… Both are motivated by self-interests..
The Beauty in the Art Work is that nothing is waisted with God… These make up the textures, contours, and shadings of our lives.. that God mixes into the fabric of the paint on his palette.
How does God Use Conflict?
God uses Conflict to knock off some of the rough edges off our Character… Each of us knows the kinds of conflicts that happen in our lives and families…
Some are huge conflicts like Mt St. Helen… irreparable damage…
Then then the is the kind of conflicts that happen in every family..
people get upset with each other…we get misunderstood... something is said that is hurtful…
All this has a purpose...
All this is Character building… It’s dealing with our selfishness...
We need to remember that the Best Masterpieces… have gone through an Editing process.. where excess is been cut away..
Another Quote from Michaelangelo.
“By sculpture I mean that which is fashioned by the effort of cutting away, that which is fashioned by the method of building up being like unto painting”
T/s So this conflict is just the tip of the ice-burg of this families dysfunction.. but...
We can be certain that God is at work… God uses the raw material of lives to create His masterpiece..
1. God uses Conflicts of life.
2. God's uses Dysfunction of Families
Several years ago Wall Street Journal had this article entitled "The Dysfunctional Family House.”
It was about the Ledbetter family who liked to spend time at home together as a family but just not in the same room.
So they designed and built a 3,600-square-foot house with special rooms for various activities.. they had one for sewing, library for reading, they had TV rooms… Then they had a room they called the escape room… that’s where "Any family member can go to get away from the rest of us.”
Now today we don’t need escape rooms we have devices…iPhones and iPads…video games…
Needing space is not the issue… it is when we don’t avoid conflict… When we sacrifices relationships for the sake of peace…
What was happening in Jacobs family?
We have to rewind the tape a bit to understand whats going on here….
We are given the hint in the text that the reason for Jacob favoring Joseph goes back in the family History… “Joseph loved Joseph more...because he was the son of His old age..”