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The Measure of a Man

Our mess His Masterpiece  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:02
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Good morning! We are in our series Our mess His Masterpiece and we are in Genesis talking about the life of Joseph.
This morning we are going to be talking about the measure of man… we using that term in a generic sense… we could say what is the measure man or a women…
What do we mean by the “measure of a man?” What we talking about is the character of man… what a person made of… when the rubber hits the road… How does that person respond.
Martin Luther King jr said.. that .
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr
The measure of a man speaks to his Character...
Josephs story is full of these dramatic twists and turns.. We are introduced to Joseph as this optimistic 17 year old… Who enjoys the favor and great privileges given to him by his father Jacob..
Jacob’s favoritism is symbolized in His gift of the coat of many colors which becomes this icon of contention and jealousy.. It is the hatred of his brother that triggers a new course of events in the life of Joseph.
Joseph’s journey is going to take him from the Pit in Shechem up to the Penthouse of Potiphar estate and then to the Prison-house of Egypt and then to the Palace of Pharaoh.... there are lots of loses in Joseph’s life.
…He loses the protection and favor of his father… He loses the respect and love of His family....He loses his position in Potiphar’s house
Through it all.. there are two things that remain in TACT…the first is..
1. God’s Hand of blessing is on Joseph.. Goda hand was with Potiphar in the pit and also in the palace.
2. The second is his conduct and Character…
We don’t see Joseph at any point bitter towards his brothers.. we don’t hear him complaining.. his conduct is in check because of something deeper and trust is his characwr.. EM.Bounds makes this distinction.
Conduct is what we do; character is what we are. Conduct is the outward life. Character is the life unseen, hidden within, yet evidenced by that which is seen. Conduct is external, seen from without; character is internal—operating within.
E.M Bounds said that..
In the economy of grace, conduct is the offspring of character. Character is the state of the heart, conduct its outward expression. Character is the root of the tree, conduct, the fruit it bears.
T/s This morning we are going to be dealing with this crucial moment in the life of Joseph where his Character is going to be tested.
T/s How do we become men and Woman of Character and integrity? We learn from Joseph.

1. Men of Character have Healthy Boundaries in place.

When we living in Maine we owned our home and we decided to fence in our backyard…And So we built three sides of the fence and thought that we could just join our fence onto our neighbors fence. Like you see in every other backyard in America...
What we didn’t realize is that my neighbor had built his fence a a couple of feet into his own property
So, when we built our new fence we unknowingly crossed the boundary line onto his property…now some might overlook this but this was a huge problem for our neighbors…
So, what we ended up having to do is to build another fence parallel to his with a two feet between our properties… the Lesson learned....Knowing boundary lines are important..
What are boundaries? I believe That Dr. Henry Cloud defines it the best...
in His book on, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life..
Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom."
Why do we need boundaries?
Henry Cloud tells us that Boundaries Help us keep the good in and the bad out. They help us take responsibility for the the choices that we make
We are going to learn from Joseph that the boundaries He sets up in advance are going to keepthe good things in and the bad things out… His boundaries set up His moral and his ethic... Which is basically the way he responds to life..
The bible tells us that After some time had past.... Joseph is faced with a moral challenge… lets read our text
Genesis 39:6–7 ESV
6 So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.”
The Genesis 39 begins with Joseph being blessing and being promoted to the highest rank in Potiphar’s house.. Joseph became the Overseer of all of the households practical and business needs.. This was a huge responsibility… He had won Potiphar’s absolute trust… the only thing that Joseph didn’t have a hand in was preparing Potiphar’s meals..
Potiphar whose name means “Worshiper of the Sun.Recognized that hand of God of Israel (Yahweh) was upon Joseph and everything he touched prospered… We are told that the house of Potiphar was blessed because the hand of the Lord was upon Joseph.....
When we set up boundaries - we set up a president…a standard…when we do that there is going to be a high probability that they are going to be tested…
It’s interesting that we often describe character as being tested
When you set up Boundary lines are going to be tested - Have you noticed that when ever you fast or set up a diet… all of sudden there is this abundance of food… People bringing donuts into the office… You get invited to a buffet… Everyone has a birthday...
Joseph challenge begins in a somewhat surprising place —
His temptation beings the good Genetics he inherited from his mother Rachael…
The scripture says “Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.” Some would say in build and appearance.
Wenham one of the great commentators on the Book of Genesis… says,
“ Amid Joseph’s many blessings, he suffers from one endowment too many, stunning beauty.” Wenham(WBC)
There is much to like about Joseph
Joseph was easy on the eyes…six pack and strikingly handsome. Not only was Joseph outwardly attractive he was gifted leader and manager of household affairs…There was a lot to like about Joseph..
Again nothing that Joseph had done.. simply His good looks became a set up for a Sexual siege…
The story of the temptation is prototype of all fatal fatal attractions.. It begins through the glances of Pharaoh’s wife...
At some point Potiphar’s Wife developed this attraction towards Joseph.... she set her sights on Joseph... and after some time made her desires known… … She said to Joseph, “lie with me.” Sleep with me..
When we set up boundaries… We have the advantage of an early warning system… When something goes over the boundary line… we can call it out..at least recognize it as being unhealthy.....
Potiphar’s Wife had disregarded Boundaries..
She made inappropriate Advances. It started with this direct communication.. no doubt of her intentions…We are not given all the details we have to read in between the lines… She was forward… and was looking to sleep with Joseph… It is an indecent proposal… But, she was coming up against that boundary line… So she decided to change her tactics...
in ves 10
Genesis 39:10 ESV
And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.
She soften her approach and made these interactions look innocent..…
Every day she started inviting him to just sit beside her, to come close, to keep her company. Apparently her idea was, “If I cannot storm him, I can get close to him.” I can make him fall for me… It’s going to take some time..
Now this is good advice.. Joseph would not listen to her… good advice for other woman… but men bad advice for the woman you are married too… It’ the opposite in marriage… good listening is probably the best skill you can have…
We need to remember that the story is not about the Wondering Eyes of PW… The story is about the Character of Joseph when faced with temptation… What kind of man is Joseph… What is the measure of Joseph? Who was Joseph when nobody is looking? It is not in the light that character is tested!
The famous Preacher D.L. Moody said.. “Character is what you are in the Dark”
The Story of Joseph is this mirror that throws it’s reflection back us… As we read the life of Joseph.. We need to put ourselves in the story...
How did Joseph enforce his boundaries?

a. Joseph Refused advances of PW...

Genesis 39:8–10 ESV
8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” 10 And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.
Joseph deliberately and wisely sought to avoid the woman’s daily advances by keeping out of her way
Joseph could have caved in and justified his actions.
One commentator explained that Sexual promiscuity was a daily part of all slaveholding households.
By caving into PW wishes, he could enhance his career. This is a time-honored political strategy. What is so wrong with a little “strategic adultery” if it furthers the cause? And face it, old Potiphar was gone all the time and was not meeting his wife’s needs.
Joseph Could have justified his actions… But Rather He had set up appropriate boundaries… And so he refuses her advances.
How did Joseph enforce his boundaries?
a. Joseph Refused advances of PW...

b. Joseph Reasoned with Potiphar’s Wife.

The word "Behold" is an attention getter... or listen up....
Joseph points her to the obvious blessings that they are enjoying in their household... Why would we would we want to jeopardize God's blessing...
Joseph had been the recipient of extreme favor from Potiphar --- where he did not withhold anything from him... And...what an insult it would be for him to even entertaining the thought of entering into sexual relationship with his wife..
How did Joseph enforce his boundaries?
a. Joseph Refused
b. Joseph Reasoned

c. Joseph Respected Others

Joseph wanted to protect Potiphar and his family… He was being a responsible steward of what he was entrusted with...
Joseph honored God
Joseph realizes that sinning against his master—in effect stabbing him in the back—would also be plunging a dagger into the heart of God. He realizes that sin, even sin against other humans, is directed toward God.
Joseph is not looking inside to suppress his desire for her. He’s looking outside to enhance his desire for God. What does he say? What is his ultimate argument against doing this? He says, “This is a sin against God.”
This is what David says..
Psalm 51:4 ESV
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
The ultimate way in which he’s resisting temptation, the ultimate way he gets self-control, is not through willpower; it’s actually through “heartpower.”
Most people think self-control works like this. You look in your heart, and you have all these desires, and you say, “Okay. Self-control is … Do you see these desires that are going to get me into trouble? I suppress them; push them down. The will in charge of the heart. Self-control.” That’s not what happens here.
T/s How do we become men and Woman of Character and integrity? We learn from Joseph.
1. Men of Character have Heathy Boundaries in place

2. Men of Character know when it’s time to Retreat.

It has been said that there has never been a generation as sexually charged as ours..“Sexual addiction is rapidly becoming recognized as a major social problem with similarities more well-known to alcohol and drug addiction or compulsive gambling
Statistics tell us that is growing problem in our country that is driven by technology and proliferated by our mobile and hand held devices.. It been said that all technology has made pornography as addictive as crack cocaine.
A reported 40 million American adults regularly log onto pornographic Web sites… and here the thing this is not a worldly issues this is something that is in the church... one survey of men attending a Promise-Keeper rally found that 53% of them had viewed pornography in the week prior to the survey...
What is needed is that we don’t ignor the issue but we talk about the issue… the best way to deal with darkness ia to expose it...
The story of Joseph is a needed message today.. it’s about blessing.. is about going through difficulties and not turning to sex other things to bring comfort and to numb the pain… …
Sex is in it proper context of marriage is a blessing..… but when Sexual lives are not managed they become a weapon damages our character, destroy relationships, and ultimately steal one’s maximum happiness..
…we learn from Joseph how to deal with temptation... Joseph is going to face a situation…that would be easy for even the most godly person to cave in.... Billy Graham said that at 75 % of men would have failed....let’s read what happen to Joseph on this one particular day,
Genesis 39:11–13 ESV
11 But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, 12 she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. 13 And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house,
One day Joseph goes to work and no other “employees” are around at the office on that particular day... And this time Potiphar wife grabs him... by his shirt...and presents an opportunity - sleep with me…
Here is an opportunity to cave in....it's a quite day in the office... perfect circumstances to not get caught out…
How does Joseph overcome this temptation… …...
He has an Exist strategy in place.
Have you noticed what happens on planes when we are given the flight attendant gives the safety instructions… Most of us tune out....Maybe we have heard it one too many times… How important are exit signs are 60 000 feet anyway… what the point… last time we flew into Sacramento.. we were coming in for the approach and the landing gear was down.. instead of landing the piolet pulled the throttle and we took off at about 45 degree angle.. there several minute before we found out that there was another plane on the runway…
Those instuctions all of a sudden mean something I am emergency.,
Those people that landed on the Hudson river…a few years ago with Col Sulley at the controls… those people --- needed to know where there life jackets were ---- and the needed to know how to inflate those life jackets..
a. Joseph predicted that this might happen.
When Potiphar wife came to him that day… It was the perfect senero… nobody was around and nobody would ever have know.. But Joseph, was mentally and spiritually prepared… Joseph set up boundaries around his life so when the time came... he knew exactly how he would respond.. ..
The fact that the bible mentions that on the Day that PW unleashes her sexual advance… that nobody was arround… implies that on a “normal day” Joseph had a plan to deal with PW advances..
One of the biggest mistakes is to think that we are above being tempted…
b. Joseph was prepared he had an exit strategy— to run...
When PW reaches for his shirt…and holds onto him Joseph breaks free escapes here grip his shirt falls lose int her hand..
We are told that Joseph escapes and leaves a compromising situation… Joseph leaves his garment behind but his character in tact..
Notice that Joseph knew when it was time to REFUSE… He knew when it was time to REASON and He knew when it was time to RUN.
When you think about Josephs Garments have given him quite a few problems.. The garment of Jacobs favor landed him in the pit...
And again this Garment in PW possesion is going to land him in Prison.
T/s How do we become men and Woman of Character and integrity? We lean from Joseph that..
1. Men of Character have Heathy Boundaries in place
2. Men of Character know when it’s time to Retreat.

3. Men of Character Preserve their Integrity.

Someone suggested the top ten lies told in America:
10) When you at a restraunt ...Your table will be ready in a minute.
9) One size fits all.
8) This will hurt me more than it hurts you.
7) I’m sorry I’m late; I got stuck in traffic.
6) The check is in the mail.
5) This offer is limited to the first 50 callers.
4) It’s not the money; it’s the principle of the thing.
3) I need just five minutes of your time.
2) I’ll start my diet tomorrow.
1) I’m from the IRS and I’m here to help you. Our culture doesn’t place much value on integrity, but Scripture does.
Presevering our ingrety is about doing the right thing even though it might cost you something… sometimes doing the right thing might cost you financially… it may even cost you a relationship.. I need Joseph’s case it cost him his position.. as the oversee of potiphars house…
So Joseph’s has these boundaries.. he refuses..he reasons.... He then runs… but in The process he drops his garment
Genesis 39:13–18 ESV
13 And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, 14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” 16 Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, 17 and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. 18 But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.”
The story of Joseph is one of Blessing…God was going to form a nation through the line of Jacob and they are going to be a blessing to the world… .
Joseph knew the risks t that there could be suffering that were ahead..
Joseph was prepared to suffer the consequences.
Rape and adultery in the ancient Near East carried harsh penalties—usually execution for the guilty parties. And yet, Joseph also recognized that if he angered her by his continual refusal, she could seek revenge by trumping up charges against him.. So when he ran he knew what was at stake..
Joseph was prepared to suffer the consequences.
There were life lessons that Joseph was able to draw upon.. He had already experienced being thrown into a pit and suffering consequences for his dream… He had already felt the sting and pain of rejection… He knew what was like to be left for dead and sold into slavery… He knew that even though those were very dark and difficult days God hand was with him..
The scripture reminds us that the righteous have struggles, trials and difficulties… but the Lord delivers them from them all..
Proverbs 24:16 ESV
16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
Psalm 34:19 ESV
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
The Joseph story similarly tells us that the Lord was with Joseph not only in his prosperity but also in his adversity, in his suffering. The Lord carried him at all times, no matter what his circumstances.
At the micro level it’s about Joseph but at the macro level.. On a national level, Joseph’s slavery in Potiphar’s house foreshadows Israel’s Egyptian bondage, an apparent setback to the people’s fortunes that ultimately leads to the fulfillment of the patriarchal promises.
Through this story, the Lord assured Israel that he would always be with them. He would carry them not only up to the mountaintops but also through the dark valleys.
I can’t help thinking that years later Moses would have drawn wisdom and strength from life of Joseph being willing to suffer with his people than enjoy the privileges of Pharaoh’s house....
--- Joseph was prepared to be wrongly accused
What is astounding is how quickly PW turned on Joseph.. From desiring to despising Joseph.
Joseph is Thrown under the bus...Potiphar’s wife seized the opportunity to punish Joseph for rejecting her advances.
Her first accusation plays on Egyptian xenophobia and distrust of foreigners: “Look! [My husband] brought a Hebrew man to us to mock us!” (Gen 39:14). With these words, Potiphar’s wife divided the household—the Egyptians on her side and Joseph, the Hebrew, and Potiphar on the other. Potiphar’s wife likely feared that her husband would believe Joseph’s word over hers. By involving the rest of the household, she could force his hand
Next She accused him of attempted rape, presenting the robe as evidence (Gen 39:13–15). It is interesting that instead of saying that Joseph left the garment “in her hand” (v 12), she says he left it “beside her,” insinuating that he had “disrobed quite voluntarily as a preliminary to rape”
After PW failed seduction she feels rejection and so she take Josephs garments home and waits for her husband to come home and tells Potiphar that Joseph tried to rape her...
--- prepared to be disregarded by Potiphar..
This must have been the hardest challenge for Joseph… Joseph had received extreme and unusual favor from Potiphar.. He had developed a track record of being trustworthy… Now, in one moment all that is going to be gone....
When Potiphar heard these things -- he was furious...
Angered by the report, Potiphar threw Joseph into prison (Gen 39:19–20).
This is a somewhat unexpected punishment, because convicted rapists were executed when both parties were free citizens (Deut 22:23–27). A slave assaulting his master’s wife would certainly expect no better fate.
Yet this punishment indicates that Potiphar did not entirely believe his wife. Imprisonment was not the typical response to rape or attempted rape in ancient Egypt.
Potiphar would have been justified in executing Joseph on the basis of his wife’s accusations.The narrative fails to indicate with whom Potiphar was angry.
His anger may have been kindled against his wife for stirring up the household and costing him Joseph as his overseer. Uncertain of the truth of the accusation, yet unable to overlook it, Potiphar’s hands were tied.
There was incredible Price that Joseph paid for integrity …
Few situations could be worse than an Egyptian prison in 1500 b.c. —especially the lot of a prisoner. Psalm 105 describes Joseph’s incarceration:
Psalm 105:17–19 ESV
he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.
It cost Joseph a term in prison, but it saved his character and his future usefulness for the Lord.
Never once, whether in prosperity or adversity, had Joseph doubted God. This is amazing!
Conclusion:
What we take out of the temptation of Joseph.. is character and integrity.. but there are rewards of Character…when we walk by faith and trusting God in the things that we go through there are great promises.
…… look at verse 21
Genesis 39:21 ESV
21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
All of these things happened to Joseph....
BUT ... the Lord showed him steadfast love.
Ultimately,God desires to reverse your fortunes,, God desire to heal deliver and set you free.. from what ever it is that keeps you from his steadfast love.
Dwight L. Moody is the famous quotation: “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man
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