The below are notes of a message I presented a few days ago. While it is not normal to post such notes I know that many are hurting and wondering why. Perhaps some encouragement will come from my lesson.
It’s Not About You!
Springs of Refreshing Fellowship Church
1932 Gwynn Oak Ave
Woodlawn, MD 21207
Elder William James Carter, The 1st
25 Oct 2012
© The Christian Perspective
It’s Not About You!
Many Christians today are enduring considerable troubles. Some are being lied to and lied upon. Others are being otherwise mistreated. One song writer said that she had been lied on and cheated, talked about and mistreated. Another declared “troubles in my way, I have to cry sometime. So much trouble, I have to cry some time. I lay awake at night but that’s alright because I know that Jesus will fix it after while.”
But there has been trouble for the people of God long before the advent of modern Christian music. Let’s consider Joseph for a moment. He was a son favoured by his father Jacob. With that Jacob (Israel) made him a coat of many colours. This along with the dreams of Jacob caused considerable jealousy and anger in his brothers. The anger was such that the brothers plotted to kill Joseph.
One brother decided not to kill him but pretend that he was killed. The plot thickened as Joseph was sold into slavery. But the slavery was not to be the end of Joseph. He soon found favour with the Pharaoh and was made head of the entire house. But then there was more trouble as the Pharaoh’s wife sought to ensnare Joseph. But because he would not give in Joseph was lied on and sent to prison.
But once again he was given favour and placed in charge of the jail. Again all had to answer to him but again he was lied to. Again promises were broken and he ended up spending more time in prison than he should have. All the while he was growing in favour and eventually was called in to interpret the dream of the Pharaoh. God was not finished with Joseph because favour was once again restored upon him so that not only was he in charge of the Pharaoh’s house but he was made to be second in command of the entire land answering to no one but the Pharaoh.
The whole time Joseph was going through the trouble being away from his father God was working in and through him to bring about a desired end. God allowed Joseph to be sold and imprisoned because of the promise that God made to Abraham. If Joseph had not been in prison at the time of Pharaoh’s dream then he would not have been in place to interpret which is the reason he was promoted to second in command. This was done as a fulfillment of the dreams of Joseph showing that he would rule over his brothers and rule over his brothers he did.
Even so it was not the whole purpose of God for Joseph to rule over his brothers rather God was looking through the annals of time for when His Son would be manifested to the saving of a people. This is where Genesis 50:20 comes into play:
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
This is one of the most misapplied text in Scripture. This text has nothing to do with God working solely for Joseph rather it is evident that God’s intent was to save “much people alive.” The fact of the matter is that Joseph did not go through all that he went through so that God could reward him rather God allowed the trouble so that He could save much people alive. God’s purpose was to maintain His promise to Abraham and had little to do with Joseph. In fact if Joseph had not been there God would have used someone else. The trouble was not about Joseph.
How do we know that the trouble was not about Joseph? It is because of God’s promise not only to Abraham but those promises reiterated to Isaac and Jacob. Even more chapter forty six of Genesis provides a genealogy of the tribes of Israel. Among those tribes is the Tribe of Judah. It is through the Tribe of Judah that God would save many people alive through His Son Jesus. It was through Joseph that God saved a nation which included the Tribe of Judah. Joseph’s trouble was not about him rather it was about saving a people.
Looking back at Genesis 50:20 the word “thought” means: to think, plan, esteem, calculate, invent, make a judgment, imagine, count. Joseph, speaking to his brothers reminded them that they planned to do him harm. He brought to their attention that the plans they had for him could have cost them their lives especially considering his position. But it was not in the will of God to have them killed rather it was God’s plan to save them alive for a greater plan.
Evil plans were not a matter that only Joseph had to endure. Matthew chapter nine shows that Jesus was onboard a ship traveling to the other side of Capernaum. Upon his arrival a paralyzed man was brought to Him which resulted in Jesus forgiving the man of his sins. But some of the scribes saw this action as blasphemous and Jesus knowing what was going on in their hearts confronted them and then healed the man.
The scribes intended no good for Jesus but the end result of their intended trap was well know by Jesus. Jesus knew that the healing of man would bring glory to God so that others might live. And others did live to glorify God because of the healing. But the evil intent discussed in this chapter serves only as a type of the suffering that Jesus would go through that He could save many people alive.
Such was the entire life of Jesus. He was sent to earth not to glorify Himself but so that the Father would be glorified. There is no more evidence of this than during Christ’s travailing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. As a side note that Gethsemane was really an olive grove. Olive oil is often used to represent the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew what he was about to endure. He had already been ridiculed, lied on and lied about. Some had already tried to stone Him. Yet Jesus had done nothing worthy of any wrong doing. He was suffering because He stood for righteousness but that the suffering was not about Him rather about the One that sent Him. Christ had to die to save many alive.
In order to better understand a brief examination of the life of Jesus must be examined. Certain items are a must when suffering for godly reasons. This is a partial list of items necessary to know when suffering is to save many alive:
ü Must be a Christian-Born Again: John 3:7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
ü Suffering must be relative to righteous living: II Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
ü Suffering must not be self-inflicted: I Peter 2:19 “ For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”
ü Desire to please God: I Thessalonians 4:1 “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”
ü Rejoice in suffering for Christ: I Peter 4:12-19 “12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.