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THE POWER OF A FAITHFUL LIFE
Intro: A young man applied for a job as a farmhand. When the farmer asked for his qualifications, he said, “I can sleep when the wind blows. This puzzled the farmer. But he liked the young man, and hired him. A few days later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm.
They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace. The young man slept soundly. The farmer and his wife then inspected their property. They found that the farm tools had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements. The tractor had been moved into the garage. The barn was properly locked. Even the animals were calm. All was well. The farmer then understood the meaning of the young man's words, “I can sleep when the wind blows. Because the farmhand did his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it broke. So when the wind blew, he was not afraid. He could sleep in peace.
The story about the young farmhand illustrates a principle that we would do well to learn. There was nothing dramatic or sensational in the young farmhand's preparations. He just faithfully did what was needed each day. Consequently, peace was his, even in a storm. A short poem expresses this principle as it pertains to your life.
It isn't the things you do,
It's the things you leave undone,
Which gives you a bit of heartache,
At the setting of the sun.
When the sun sat each day on Joseph’s life, he could rest easy, because he has been faithful. When he was home with his father Jacob, he had been a faithful son. When he minded his father’s flocks, he had been a faithful worker. When he was sold to Potiphar, he proved to be a faithful servant. Because he had been faithful, the Lord blessed everything he did.
In this passage, we are allowed to see the faithfulness of Joseph very clearly. He remains faithful to His God, and to himself, in the face of some problems that would cause many others to fail.
Of course, there is a word here for our lives today. As we pass through this life many situations will arise that have the potential to throw us off course. The world, the flesh and the devil will all conspire to get us to quit on God. They will do everything in their power to cause us to drop out or to fall far short of our potential.
God wants us to be faithful. He wants us to stay the course and run the race for His glory until He calls us home. Joseph teaches us how to be faithful in spite of what we may face in this life. I want to preach on The Power Of A Faithful Life and show you the areas in which Joseph was faithful to the Lord. He expects no less from you and me! Let’s not disappoint Him.
I. v. 7-12 FAITHFUL IN SPITE
A. Ill. The Context Joseph was a good looking young man, v. 6. Not that I would know, but beauty must bring with it its own set of problems.
As Joseph ministered in Potiphar’s house, he caught the eye of Potiphar’s wife. She began to flirt with him, v. 7. After a short time, she became downright brazen in her approach, asking Joseph to “lie with her. He refused her advances, but she persisted, v. 10. Then, on a certain day, she was in the house alone and when Joseph came in she grabbed him by his outer garments and said “Lie with me, v. 11-12. Joseph left his garment in her hand and ran away. In this “trial by fire remained absolutely faithful to the Lord.
B. There are several features of this temptation that would have made it very attractive to any young man.
· It was a temptation to fulfill a natural and legitimate need The offer from Potiphars wife was for sex, pure and simple. God made us sexual creatures and many people believe they have the right to satisfy their sexual desires in any fashion they choose.
God has a different opinion. Any sexual expression that takes place outside the boundaries of the marriage relationship is either fornication or adultery. Either one is a sin against God, your spouse, your future spouse, or yourself, Ill. V. 9; 1 Cor. 6:18-20. Joseph’s response to Potiphar’s wife was a response we should all adopt when it comes to dealing with sexual sin, v. 12; 2 Tim. 2:22.
· Joseph was a long way from home in a strange land Some people might have adopted the motto: When in Rome, do as the Romans. A lot of people live like that. A salesman will do things on the road that he will not do at home. A young person will do things at a party they will not do at home. Joseph did not care where he was, he was determined to do the right thing.
He refused to violate the trust of his master, v. 9, and of his God, v. 9. His family would have never known. Potiphar might have never known. But, Joseph knew that God in Heaven would know. And, that knowledge was enough to keep him pure. Ill. Pro. 15:3; Heb. 4:13.
· Mrs. Potiphar was surely a beautiful woman Egyptian women were renowned in that day for their physical beauty. Surely she would have appealed to the male in Joseph. Nowhere in this text does it say that he was repulsed by her appearance. Nowhere does it suggest that she was an unattractive woman. Had he given into her advances, there can be little doubt that it would have been an enjoyable experience.
However, Joseph was interested in more than simply gratifying his flesh. He was determined to be faithful to God regardless of the personal cost. It was a decision he made long before he arrived in Egypt, and it was a decision he was determined to stand by.
Joseph had some conviction and he had drawn himself some boundaries. As I mentioned the other day, we need to do the same thing. Then, when times of temptation come our way, there is no choice in the matter; we have already decided what we will do!
· It came on the heels of a big promotion A lot of people would assume that they had arrived. After all, Joseph had the Midas touch. He had the favor of Potiphar. He was the king of the roost at the big house. He did as he pleased. Some people might have concluded, I can do no wrong. I might as well enjoy the fruits of my labors. But, not Joseph!
It would do us well to remember that we are never more vulnerable to temptation than when we have just enjoyed a great victory. When we have been part of a great victory, we seem to feel like we can do anything. In those moments, temptation and failure are more real than ever, 1 Cor. 10:12.
· It came at the perfect time and opportunity Potiphars wife caught Joseph when there was no physical reason why they should not and could not commit adultery. The only thing that stopped them was Josephs integrity. He stood his ground, determined to do what was right regardless of the cost.
We need to remember that our enemy is a master of setting things up. He will put us in just the right places at just the right times. He will make sin look so innocent and easy. He will make it seem that we are fool to refuse him. I would remind you that “all Satan’s apples have worms”. I would also remind you that the opportunities he gives you to sin will lead to disappoint, disillusionment, discouragement and possibly death, Pro. 13:15.
C. Let me make a statement or two about this matter of temptation.
1. Temptation is never from God - James 1:13
2. Temptation is always from within - James 1:14-15
3. There is always a way out of Temptation 1 Cor. 10:13 (How?)
a. Deal with it Immediately Nip it in the bud!
b. Deal with it Realistically - Get away from it at all costs.
c. Deal with it Ruthlessly Do whatever it takes to avoid it.
d. Deal with it Consistently - Learn to be consistent in your resistance.
e. Deal with it Confidently - We have the Lord’s great promise in 1 Cor. 10:13. God will make a way of escape, just be sure you look for it! (Ill. The word “escape means egress, or way out. It was used in ancient Greece to refer to a landing place for a ship. God will give us a way of the rough sea of temptation. Those temptations that we cannot escape, He will enable us to bear them. Gods promise to us is that while temptations will come our way, He will enable us to land safely on the other side.)
D. The main reason Joseph was able to remain faithful in the day of salvation was because he saw sin for what it really was. He did not see it as a few moments of pleasure. He did not see it as his right. He did not see it as even an option. Joseph saw sin as an affront to Almighty God, v. 9.
If you want to successfully navigate the troubled waters of temptation, then learn to see sin for what it really is. It is not a mistake it is wickedness. It is not an affair, it is adultery. It is not an alternate lifestyle, it is an abomination. It is not a slip of the tongue, it is blasphemy. It is not an abortion, it is murder! Sin is a shame in any life; that is especially true when it is in the life of a Christian!
Joseph was faithful in spite of temptations. I don’t know about you, but I want to finish well! I would like to be able to say what Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” 2 Tim. 4:7.
II. v. 13-19 FAITHFUL IN SPITE
A. Ill. The Context Someone once said that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Mrs. Potiphar has been scorned and she sets her trap. When Joseph runs out, I can see her as she rumples her hair, smudges her makeup and tears her cloths. She starts to scream and cry. The other servants come running to see what is going on. She tells them that Joseph tried to rape her. (Ill. I can also imagine them saying, Yeah, right!)
She holds on to the garment and when her husband arrives home, she springs the trap. In essence, she blames Potiphar for the problem, v. 17. She says, “If you hadn’t brought this slave home, none of this would have happened. Look what you have allowed to happen in our home.
Potiphar hears the accusations against Joseph and he becomes angry. I have always wondered who he was really mad at. Was he mad at Joseph because he believed her story? Was he mad at her because he knew the lust that was in her heart? Was he mad at himself because he didn’t have the courage to stand up against a domineering wife? Or, was he mad because he was thinking of all the money he was going to lose, v. 5?
Surely, Potiphar could see the inconsistencies in her story. For instance, why would Joseph have left the incriminating garment when he fled? Hadn’t Joseph proven himself to be a faithful servant who was above reproach year after year? If Potiphar believed his wife, he allowed his anger to get in the way of his making a clear decision.
At any rate, the story ends the same. Joseph winds up in prison. Psalm 105:17-19 tell us something about the pain Joseph endured when he was first thrown into that prison.
B. Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment. You have been a faithful servant to your master. You have successfully avoided committing adultery with his wife even though she has practically thrown herself at you every day. You have been falsely accused. What do you do?
Most of us would have launched a loud and long defense. We would have declared our innocence and we would have vowed to take our revenge when the opportunity presented itself.
Not Joseph! In fact, there is no record of him even opening his mouth. In this respect, Joseph is once again just like Jesus, Isa. 53:7. He took the trial that came his way and he endured it with grace and faithfulness.
C. I am not saying that we should never defend our name and reputation when it is slandered. What I am talking about is the fact that trials are going to come along in this life. There will be times when you will be attacked, misunderstood and misrepresented. When those times come, remember that God knows the truth, and, eventually, that truth will come out!
What I am saying is that you and I must learn to be faithful even during the trials of life. When everything goes against us and the full weight of life comes crashing down on top of us, we must ever remain faithful to the Lord Who loved us, bought us and saved us.
In other words, don’t get mad at someone and try to quit. Don’t let the hardships and valleys of life throw you off course. Don’t get upset when things do not go your way all the time. When people lie about you and talk about you, do not proven them right. Prove them wrong by remaining faithful to the Lord! Nothing silences the tongue of a critic any quicker than a faithful life. Just live so well that no will believe what the lying liars say about you anyway!
D. Trust God and stay the course, He is looking for faithful servants, 1 Cor. 2:4. He is looking for people who will be the same regardless of which way the wind is blowing. I don’t know about you, but I want to be found faithful! He’s been faithful to me and I want to be faithful to Him!
III. v. 20-23 FAITHFUL IN SPITE
A. There Joseph is back in the pit once again. This time he is not in a pit of earth, he is in a prison. Surely he felt like his star was on the rise, now, it looks like those dreams will never be fulfilled. Many people would have given us and quit had they found themselves in the same situation. Not Joseph!
He just did in the prison what he had done at Potipher’s house and what he had done at Jacob’s house. He remained faithful in spite of everything life threw at him.
He did his job there in that prison and he did it so well that soon he was running the place. The jailer trusted Joseph to do the right thing and he turned the day to day operation of the place over to him.
How was this possible? Verse 21 says, “The Lord was with Joseph.” That verse also says that God “shewed him mercy. Verse 23 tells us again that “the Lord was with him. It also says, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.
You see, Joseph was faithful to the Lord regardless of where he was; and regardless of where he was, the Lord was faithful to Joseph.
B. There are going to be times when the bottom will fall out of your life. That is the clear teaching of the Word of God, Job 14:1; 5:7; John 16:33.
When that happens there will be the temptation to give up and quit on God. The flesh will say, “What’s the use? I’ve been faithful still trouble came. I might as well give up. Satan will tell you that you should just quit on God. Even some of the people around you will tell you that serving the Lord has gotten you nowhere, but into trouble.
I want to tell that the world around you, your own flesh and the devil are all liars! They will do their best to get you to drop out of this thing. God wants us to remain faithful in spite of whatever we may face in this life. God knows what He is doing and He is working out a perfect, eternal plan, Rom. 8:28; Psa. 37:23. You can trust Him to do right by you, 2 Cor. 4:17. Rom. 8:18; Jer. 29:11.
C. God blessed Joseph and he used him in his prison because Joseph remained faithful. If you and I will stand by the Lord and be the people he saved us to be, we can count on Him using us as well. I have seen people in the valley us depression be used of the Lord. I have seen people held in the grip of terminal illness be used of the Lord. I have seen people who didn’t have a dime to their name and still God used them. If you will be faithful where He puts you, He will use you there for His glory!
The greatest thing that can ever be said about you and me, as far as our walk with the Lord is concerned, is that we were faithful. I want to be found faithful. How about you? I want to be faithful to my family. I want to be faithful to my wife. I want to be faithful to my call. I want to be faithful to my Lord. I want to be faithful to the church. I want to be faithful to the pulpit. I want to be faithful to the One Who has never been unfaithful to me!
Dear friends, just keep living for Jesus, even when it doesn’t seem to be paying off. Just keep praying when the answers aren’t coming. Keep going to church when it seems as dry as dust. Keep praising Him even if you have to do it through your tears. If you will stay faithful in the prisons of life, God will get glory from your life and He will bless you in ways you could never have imagined.
Conc: 2,000 years ago a woman named Mary bowed at the feet of Jesus. She broke a box of ointment that was worth a year’s pay and she poured it out on the head of the Lord Jesus. Some of the people there complained about what she was doing, but Jesus said, “Let her alone…she hath done what she could. In other words, Mary was faithful to the Lord and He recognized her faithfulness. He honored her because she honored Him by being in her place and doing all she could do.
If the Lord were to look at your life today, would He be able to say “They have done what they could”? Could He declare us to be faithful servants unto Him? Are you as faithful to the Lord as you could be? Or is there room for improvement?
Joseph was faithful. Jesus is faithful. I want to be found faithful too. How about you? If He has spoken to you on any level, you need to be faithful to Him and come if His is calling.