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God's Economy II - Joseph

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God’s Economy II – Joseph – nv31509am

OS: 1 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 - We can confidently walk by faith in the midst of any circumstance knowing that God is working out His plan for our good.

I.      Series

A.   Economy  = The management or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or method.

                 1.     “Economy” comes from a Greek term found in the NT 9 times.

B.    2 God’s Economy = God’s management, arrangement, order and plan for humanity from before creation into eternity.

C.   Ephesians 1:7-12

                 1.     Vs. 10 - This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head. GNT

                 2.     Vs. 10 - as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. ESV

                  3.     a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth. MESSAGE

TS] What does God’s economy (administration, plan, working) look like in the lives of His people?

II.   Joseph

A.   You would think that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would have the most space in the book of Genesis – Instead Joseph takes over at chapter 37 and dominates the stage for the remainder of the book.

B.    Being a victim of circumstances does not alter God’s plan for our lives.

III.           Story of Joseph.

A.   Abraham had a son named Isaac, and Isaac had a son named Jacob, and Jacob was called Israel because from him came the twelve sons who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel.

B.    Joseph lived his life for everybody else. He lived at the mercy of everyone else, totally out of control. (Genesis 37-50)

                 1.     Coat of many colors - 37 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

                 2.     Dreams of greatness (17 yrs old) - 37 5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.

C.   Sold into slavery by his brothers. 37 25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

                 1.     Bought by Potiphar and eventually placed in charge of his household. 37 36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt t o Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.

                 2.     Sent to prison by Potiphar.  39 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”

D.   Placed in charge of prison. 39 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

                 1.     Interpreted the dreams of the cup bearer and baker for Pharaoh.

                 2.     Interpreted the dream of Pharaoh. 41 16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

E.     (30 yrs old) Pharaoh places Joseph in charge of the entire country, and when the famine hits everyone had to come to Egypt for grain.

                 1.     When his brothers came (39 yrs old) he played with them a few trips and then reveals himself to them and listen to his words.

                 2.     3,4 Genesis 45:4—9 (key – attitude of Joseph after 20 years of wrong – living on God’s economy – God is in control, I am His, and that is all that matters.)

TS]  5 Life is best lived on God’s economy as expressed in the life of Joseph. Lessons learned:

I.      8When you live within the economy of God… life’s circumstances will not keep you down.

A.   Consider the difference between Jacob and Joseph. “I will go down to the grave in mourning” – “this isn’t right, but I will press on and do the best I can with what I have”

B.    Circumstances of life vary from extreme to extreme.

                  1.     An old preacher in North Dakota - The people were always amazed, for no matter what the circumstances, the preacher could always find something to give thanks for. As he made his rounds one cold December morning, he was late in getting to worship because of excessive snow drifts. As he began the service with prayer, the parishioners were eager to see what the old preacher could come up with to be thankful for on this dismal and frigid morning. "Gracious Lord," his prayer began, "we thank you that all days are not like today.”

                 2.     When it comes to life’s circumstances and what goes on each day, how do you respond with gratitude, grit, or grouch? 

                  3.     There’s a story about a child psychologist who wanted to observe how different children respond to negative circumstances. They got a room and filled it with horse manure. Putting the pessimistic child in there, they observed how he responded. Predictably, he whined and cried, and despaired that he was in a room full of smelly manure. They put the other child in there, and the little guy started tearing around the room, digging in the manure with an excitement that baffled the on-lookers. After a few moments of watching this, they asked him why he was so excited. He replied, “With all this manure in the room, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”

                  4.     The circumstances of life often speak to us like Lucy one day spoke to Charlie Brown. Lucy said to Charlie Brown "Sometimes, I feel we are not communicating: You, Charlie Brown, are afoul ball in the line drive of life. You’re often in the shadow of your own goal post you’re a miscue. You ‘re 3 putts on the 18th green. You are a 7-10 split in the 10th frame. You have dropped a rod and reel in the lake of life. You’re a missed free throw. You’re a shacked 9-iron, a called 3rd strike, a bug on the windshield of life! Do you understand? Have I made myself clear?" But the Christian who is living as a disciple considers that which he is con­fidently assured of-that he will be like Christ one day and that as he lov ingly surrenders to God, he can be blessed by becoming more like Christ today. Then he replies like Paul in verse 31, "God is for me!"

C.   Like: Ostrich sticking its head in the sand. Crawl under a rock and hide.

D.   Circumstances are like a MATTRESS! If you are "under the circumstances", it is like being under a mattress...you suffocate! Being on top of the circumstances is like being on top of a mattress...you find rest!

II.   6 When you live within the economy of God you will have an unchanging set of principles to live by.

A.   When Joseph was propositioned by Potipher’s wife he reveals the same principles that he always had and that were never altered by the circumstances.

B.    Life get confusing and confusion often breeds bad choices.

C.   n 1988, author Robert Fulghum had a book published entitled, “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten”. The idea behind the little book was that since the basics of human social behavior are taught us as young children, such as kindness, fairness, cleaning up after yourself, sharing and so on, they are principles that should be obvious to us and remain with us the rest of our lives.

III.           7 When you live within the economy of God you will live beyond the traps of past regret and bitterness.

A.   Those who were trying to mistreat Joseph were actually putting him in a position to be blessed beyond their imagination, though not beyond his dreams.

B.    Rom. 8:29

C.     One fine day in 1941, Violet Bailey and her fiancé Samuel Booth were strolling through the English countryside, deeply in love and engaged to be married. A diamond engagement ring sparkled on Violet's finger—her most treasured possession. Their romantic bliss suddenly ended. One of them said something that hurt the other. An argument ensued, then escalated. At its worst point, Violet became so angry she pulled the diamond engagement ring from her finger, drew back her arm, and hurled the treasured possession with all her might into the field. The ring sailed through the air, fell to the ground, and nestled under the grass in such a way that it was impossible to see. Violet and Samuel kissed and made up. Then they walked and walked through that field hunting for the lost ring. They never found it. They were married two months later. They had a child and eventually a grandson. Part of their family lore was the story of the lost engagement ring. Violet and Samuel grew old together, and in 1993 Samuel died. Fifteen years passed, but the ring was not forgotten. One day Violet's grandson got an idea. Perhaps he could find his grandmother's ring with a metal detector. He bought one and went to the field where Violet had hurled her treasured possession 67 years earlier. He turned on his metal detector and began to crisscross the field, waving the detector over the grass. After two hours of searching, he found what he was looking for. Later, filled with joy and pride, he placed the diamond ring into the hand of his astonished grandmother Violet. The treasured possession had come home.

D.     When Shannon Ethridge was just 16 years old, an act of forgiveness and love changed her life forever. While driving to her high school one day, Ethridge ran over Marjorie Jarstfar, a woman who was riding her bicycle along a country road. Marjorie died as a result, and Ethridge, who was found completely at fault by authorities, was consumed by intense guilt. She contemplated suicide several times, but she never took her life because of the healing response of one man: Gary, Jarstfar's husband. Gary forgave the 16-year-old and asked the attorney to drop all charges against her, saving her from a probable guilty verdict. Instead, he simply asked that Ethridge continue on in the godly footsteps that his wife had taken. "You can't let this ruin your life," Gary told her more than 20 years ago. "God wants to strengthen you through this. In fact, I am passing Marjorie's legacy on to you." Gary's act of forgiveness showed Ethridge the amazing love of God. Today, Ethridge is the bestselling author of Every Girl's Battle and Every Woman's Battle, and her recent book, Completely His: Loving Jesus Without Limits, helps women overcome guilt-ridden, wounded lives.

E. When former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann achieved the pinnacle of individual success for every National Football League player—entrance into the Hall of Fame—he expressed some feelings that had been on his mind for a long time. In his book Keep It Simple, Swann's quarterback, football-great Terry Bradshaw said Swann blamed him for not being voted in sooner. According to Bradshaw, Swann's words on that day of celebration were: "Bradshaw did not seem like he wanted to throw the ball in my direction. He has four Super Bowl rings. . .but could he read secondaries? I doubt it. What made Bradshaw decide not to throw more passes at the end of my career, I have no idea, no idea." Bradshaw commented: And I kept thinking how sad it was that he chose what should have been one of the greatest days of his life to create this controversy. Why let the past spoil such a wonderful day? Instead of using that opportunity to release some anger, he should have enjoyed all the honors due him. He should have been thrilled.

F.    Bitterness and Regret are a battle we all have to deal with because life is filled with days gone wrong, mistakes, and mishaps.

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