Friday, June 20, 2014

The Gospel According to Joseph: The Prequel to Joseph

Wow, it has been quite a long time since I have had a chance to write. I apologize for being MIA for so long. It has been quite a busy past few months, and I have barely had enough time to get done what I have needed to get done for my family and church over the past few months, so I have just let writing fall to the wayside. I still do not have a lot of time to write presently, but I have also started a new sermon series at my church, (GCPC), and it should give me enough for a couple of posts per week.

The sermon series is called "The Gospel According to Joseph," and it is on the story of Joseph, Jacob, and Judah from Ge. 37-50. And, each week I write a short devotional that relates to the passage on which the sermon will focus and, of course, preach a sermon from that passage. So, I will put all that up here as the series progresses. I am actually already three weeks into the series, but I will probably post them a week at a time so as not to give my regular readers information overload.

The first weekly devotional for this series was a short summary of the story of Genesis leading up to the story of Joseph, Jacob, and Judah. The prequel provides important information for understanding this wonderful story. So, here it is. On Sunday I will post the first sermon entitled, "The Gospel and Sin."

In Ge. 3, we read about the fall of Adam and Eve that introduced sin into this world and to all of mankind that followed. Their fall created a huge problem for them and for the rest of humanity: how will we ever be able to get back into right relationship with God and have peace with Him? How will we be redeemed from our sin? But, God in His grace doesn't leave us without hope even for a moment. In Ge. 3:15, in the midst of His curse on the serpent, He promises a Redeemer who will crush satan and save His people. That Redeemer will come from Adam and Eve's "offspring" or "seed" (you can read about this covenant in more detail here). Then, the story of Genesis progresses, and the immediate offspring of Adam and Eve are certainly not the promised Redeemer, so we must continue to wait, trusting God's promise.

Then, in Ge. 12, God calls a man named Abraham, and God promises to make him into a great nation and bless "all the families of the earth" through him. And, as Abraham trusts God and follows Him, he gets more information about how God will fulfill this promise in the covenant God makes with him in Ge. 15:8-22; 17:1-14. There, we learn that the "offspring" or "seed" that will Redeem His people promised to Adam and Eve will come specifically through Abraham's line. God promises to make his descendants more than the stars in the sky or the sands on the seashore, and one of those descendants will be the Redeemer (you can read about this covenant in more detail here). And, Paul tells us later that it's through this promise that the Scriptures "preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham," and it is this very promise that Peter says Jesus fulfilled (Ac. 3:25-26; cf. Ga. 3:16). Jesus is the "offspring" or "seed" promised to Adam and Eve and Abraham! He would one day come from the line of Abraham to redeem the world through His life, death, and resurrection.

After God made His covenant with Abraham, the story of Genesis continues and we must continue to wait, trusting that God will fulfill His promise. Abraham sees the seeds of that fulfillment in the miraculous conception of his son Isaac, who will continue the line that would one day produce Jesus. Isaac has two sons--Esau and Jacob--and while Jacob is the younger, God chooses him to be the one through who the Redeemer would come. Jacob gets the covenant God made with Abraham and Isaac confirmed to him in Ge. 35. Yet, we still have to continue to wait, trusting that God will fulfill His promise of a Redeemer.

That brings us to the story of Ge. 37-50, which will be our summer series. In this story, we see that there is a crisis in the family line of Jesus. Jacob's family is a complete mess and there is a famine coming that threatens to wipe them out. Will this messy group of people actually produce the Redeemer who will save them from their sin? Will the line of Abraham continue or will the hope of the "offspring" or "seed" promised to him die with this family as they starve in the famine? We, of course, know that God does save them and Jesus does eventually come, but as we study this story, we'll see God's great providence working to accomplish His promise of the Redeemer and His gospel working in the lives of this messy family to make them faithful followers of Him who live by faith and not by sight (cf. 2 Co. 5:7).

By His Grace,

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