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LESSONS FROM THE
SCHOOL OF GRACE
Intro: Ill The Context. This is the moment of truth. Joseph has been working with his brothers. He has brought them to a place of conviction, compassion and confession. He has been testing them to see whether or not they have truly changed their ways. He sees that they have and he reveals himself to them.
This is a tense moment for the brothers of Joseph. Can you imagine the fear they felt as they stood before the brother they wronged and sold as a slave all those years ago? They know who he is and they know that he has the power to send them to prison, or even to their death, if he so chooses. What happens next is a great picture of grace.
The brothers of Joseph have entered the school of grace. They stand before Joseph deserving and expecting judgment, but they receive love and grace instead.
These events have some to teach us as will. I would like for us to examine the lessons of these verses as I try to preach on Lessons From The School Of Grace. I would like for you to see The Lesson Of Revelation; The Lesson Of Reconciliation; and The Lesson Of Responsibility.
I believe that the lord has word for our hearts and our lives, if we will just hear it today. So, let’s join Joseph and he brothers as they learn some Lessons From The School Of Grace.
I. v. 1-4 THE LESSON OF
· Joseph knew who his brothers were, but they did not know who he was, Gen. 42:8. In their eyes, Joseph is a mighty, mysterious ruler, who holds the power of life and death over them.
One moment they are standing before the Prime Minister of Egypt, the next moment they are looking into the eyes of the brother they sold as a slave twenty-two years earlier. It must have been a strange sensation for those brothers.
· Here is what I want you to see: Joseph could have kept them in the dark. He did not have to reveal his identity to them. He could have judged them and made them pay for what they had done. No one would have faulted Joseph if he had done just that. Instead of judgment and justice, Joseph chose to deal with his brother on the basis of grace alone. He chose to open their eyes and to deliver them from the sentence that hung over their heads. Instead of judging them as they deserved, Joseph says, “Come near to me, I pray you…”, v. 4. That is grace in action.
· In this choice, Joseph strongly resembles Jesus Christ. We have heard it so many times that we should know it by heart, but in our natural born condition, we are separated from God by a sea of sin, Isa. 59:2. We are dead to Him, His Word, His Gospel and anything else that has to do with God, Eph. 2:1. We are lost and separated from Him, living our lives as we please, with no hope in this life or the life to come, Eph. 2:2-3; 12. We are lost sinners and we deserve to be judged in our sins and sent away in to Hell for eternity, Rom. 6:23.
But, in His grace, Jesus has chosen to reveal Himself to some of us! He comes to where we are in our sins. He quickens our dead spirits, Eph. 2:1, 5. He shows us our condition and He reminds us of where we are headed, John 16:7-11. He literally opens our spiritual eyes and makes us aware of what we need. He points out our sins, Ill. V. 4, “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into slavery.” Then, He draws us to Himself. He says, “Come unto Me”, Matt. 11:28; John 6:45. That is grace!
It is love too! Listen what Joseph says, “I am Joseph your brother…” Joseph looks beyond the sins of the past. He sees them through the eyes of perfect love and forgiveness. Thank God, that is how the Lord sees us, Jer. 33:3. He loves us in spite of our sin and our fallen condition. He knows what we deserve, but He is determined to give us what we do not deserve. Thank God for the grace and the love of God!
· God would be still be just as holy, just as just, just a right, if He never came to us or called us to come to Him. But, praise His name, He has come to us! He has opened our eyes! He has called us to come to Him!
He knows what we deserve better than we understand it ourselves, but He does not deal with us on the basis of what we deserve; He deals with on the basis of what we do not deserve. He deals with us on the basis of grace, Eph. 2:8-9!
II. v. 5-8; 14-15 THE LESSON OF
· Joseph could have judged them for what they did to him. Instead, he forgave them and promised to bless them. As he listened to their confession of their past sins, Joseph realized that they had finally come to the place where they were genuinely sorry for what they had done to their brother all those years ago. He sees the changes and he refuses to make them suffer for a sin confessed. He knows that what they did was bad, but it was not so bad that it could not be forgiven by God or by him. Again, Joseph is a picture of the Lord and His grace.
· This is just what happened when you and I came to Jesus by faith. The very instant we received Jesus and His salvation, our sins were immediately forgiven. He washed away every sin, and every stain of every sin. When He saved us, He cleansed every sin away for all time and for all eternity.
If you are saved, your past has been blotted out! (Ill. Psalm. 103:12; Jer. 31:34; Col. 2:13-14; 1 John 1:7.) Praise the name of God all the sins of our past are forgiven forever!
· God has forgiven us, now we have a responsibility to forgive others to the same extent. Joseph is a good example for us today. He forgave a great wrong, and we are to do the same thing. Watch what Joseph did.
Ø His brothers had driven him away; he calls them to come near, v. 4.
Ø His brothers had left him without comfort or home. He encourages his brothers and comforts them, v. 5.
Ø His brothers had been willing to allow him to die of starvation and thirst in a pit. He gave them provisions for their trip home to Canaan, v. 21.
Ø His brothers sent him away on the back of a mangy camel. He sends them home on fine Egyptian carts, v. 21.
Ø His brothers had ripped the coat of many colors off his back. He gives them the expensive garments of Egypt, v. 22.
Ø His brothers sold him for silver. Joseph gives them silver for their trip, v. 22.
Ø That is grace and that is the essence of forgiveness.
· Have you ever been hurt by someone else? Have you ever been offended? Have there been times when people have done you wrong? What do you do when that happens in your life?
We have the example of Joseph. He forgave his brothers. We also have example of the Lord Jesus Christ. When He was hanging on the cross, about to die for sin, as the religious leaders and the crowds passed by mocking Him, He prayed for their forgiveness, Luke 23:34.
When we are wronged, and it will happen, we are to forgive to the same extent that we have been forgiven, Matt. 18:23-35; Eph. 4:23. In fact, we are to go the extra mile in our forgiveness of others, Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 17:1-5. That is not an easy requirement, but it is the will of God for our lives, and it is the only attitude that pleases God.
Instead of seeking revenge or holding a grudge, we need to follow Joseph’s example. We need to return “good for evil”. That is what the Bible tells us to do, Rom. 12:17-21; Matt. 5:44-48.
· How could Joseph forgive his brothers like he did? Joseph could forgive because he could see the hand of God in everything that happened to him, v. 5, 7, 9. Joseph had been hurt deeply by his brothers, but he knew that God was behind every disruption in his life. His brothers were guilty of mistreating him, but Joseph knew that even their sins were part of God’s plan for Joseph’s life.
If you and I are going to get past the hurts we experience, we must adopt the same attitude. If something takes place in your life or mine, it does so only because God gave it permission to occur. He is behind every single event that takes place, even the hurts we experience, Rom. 8:28 – Ill. “All”. If he has allowed it, then He will use it for my good and His glory in His time. My duty is to accept the things that come my way and trust Him to work out His will through it. If I can see Him hand in the hurts I experience, it will make them easier to bear.
Ill. If nothing else, we should at least praise God that it was us who got hurt and not us who hurt someone else!
III. v. 9-13 THE LESSON OF
· After their long overdue reunion, Joseph issues a command to his brothers. Joseph could have sent them away with nothing, because nothing is exactly what they deserved. Instead, he sent them away with good news for Jacob and with the promise of great blessings upon their return. They were to go and tell Jacob about Joseph’s “glory” and about all the things they had “seen” in Egypt. In other words, they were to share the testimony of their experiences in Egypt. They were also to convince Jacob to return with them to live a new life in Egypt.
· Jesus issues a similar command to all His children. Joseph told his brothers to go tell someone. We have been told to go tell everyone! What are we to tell them?
We are to tell them about Jesus and His glory. We are to tell them what we have experienced. We are to tell them that there is hope in the person of the Son of God. We are commanded to share the Gospel of grace with everyone we meet as we pass through this life, Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15.
· What a message we have! It is a message of a changed life. It is a message of a blessed eternity. It is a message of love, hope, and blessing. It is a message that everyone needs to hear, and it is a message that every redeemed soul can tell.
Our message is simple, John 3:16. Our message is powerful, Rom. 1:16. Our message clear, Acts 16:31. Our message is life changing, 2 Cor. 5:17. Our message must be told, 1 Cor. 9:16.
Conc: I thank God for the lessons learned in the school grace! I praise God for Revelation, Reconciliation and Responsibility. Has the Lord spoken to you today? Obey His voice!