"Three Tests for Joseph" Rejoice in the Lord with Pastor Jeff Redlin

♪ ♪ Everyone is looking for answers Answers to both the common and the complicated matters of life Thankfully the real answers to all of life’s questions are found in the person of Jesus Christ The Bible is the key that unlocks these answers, providing real solutions for this life and the life to come As you join us today you’ll discover real answers to life’s most pressing questions, and you, along with us can rejoice in the Lord ♪ ♪ If y then I suppose these are words that often times strike and terror into your heart when you hear them and especially when you’re not prepared for it It’ll go something like this The bell has rung and you are seated in class and then the teacher says okay students, take out a sheet of paper, a pen, and a pencil, and as soon as they say that it’s like ah, it is going to be quiz or test time and then you are called upon to be able to recall something that you are supposed to be in possession of And you know, a test really is not to, you know, reveal necessarily to the teacher but it reveals I suppose as much to you as it does anyone, do I have command of this information? Sometimes you learn wow, I have better ownership of something that I didn’t really know I had Sometimes it is I don’t own the material as well as I thought I did In tests I suppose certainly are a part of an academic life but tests are also part of any person’s spiritual life God in His wisdom allows us strategically through the course of different ages and stages of life to be confronted with tests And we continue today in the life of Joseph and before we move past where we actually found Joseph last week Last week Joseph faced the test of temptation and quite frankly I was prepared to just move on to the test of the prison, the test of some suffering He had the test of seduction but before we moved on to the test of suffering, there are three tests that I kept coming back to and I thought we can’t move past these until we see something that Joseph had to have and God simply understood Joseph, you can’t go forward until you have mastered something of great importance that I want you to get right now So today we’re going to look at three tests and they are the test of separation, the test of service, and the test of success All three of these tests are those that Joseph had to face to reveal I suppose to Joseph that, okay, Lord, you have put the test in front of me I don’t know for sure if I understood, if I possess this knowledge or not, but I’m going to come through these tests saying I have passed those tests and I am prepared for the next ones that You’ve prepared Remember, all of God’s tests are sequential Have you ever looked at something regarding a course outline and you look at what’s going to be demanded of you through the course of a semester or the course of a year, and have you ever looked at the course outline, you pull out the syllabus and you’re looking at material and you’re saying there ain’t no way, okay It’s English and you’re just looking at it and you’re saying this is not going to happen Have you ever gotten to the conclusion and said wow, I can’t believe it really happened? And God in His wisdom I suspect doesn’t reveal all of the course outline because we may just say I’m going to drop the class But God says no, no, no, no, don’t drop it Trust Me When the time comes if you’ll live with Me, walk with Me, listen to Me, you will be well prepared when life, so to speak, says take out a piece of paper So let’s look today at the three tests that are facing the person that we are studying over the course of these weeks Look at the three tests And by the way, from a human perspective, just humanly speaking, you know, we’re thinking about these tests that Joseph’s going to face From a human perspective no one would be able to see that Joseph is the loved and favored son of his father From a human perspective he’s just a slave No one could see the honor that had been placed upon him

No one could see the future glory that he was being prepared for and that was, by the way, being prepared for him Remember God is always up to something good in your life, always Even through the wicked choices of others, God can make beauty from ashes when we trust that He is in fact always up to something good Remember in Genesis chapter 37, verse 23, the Bible says, “And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brothers, they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was upon him.” The brothers could take away his father’s coat but they’re never going to take away the Father’s care You may be stripped of that which you thought was your glory but please know that no human, while they can strip you of something that you found important, even some picture of your glory, no person has the ability to strip you of your Father’s care and Joseph was as much under the Father’s care as he was when he wore a father’s coat of many colors Let’s begin by looking first at the test of separation Take your Bible and look at the first phrase from Genesis chapter 39, verse 1, Genesis 39, look at the first few words of verse 1 Here the Bible records for us this, it says “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt.” Joseph is brought down to Egypt Joseph is placed in Egypt and you remember that all throughout Scripture Egypt is always a picture and it’s a picture of the world So he clearly realized that he had been placed somewhere that he does not call home but he would be living in Egypt without allowing Egypt to live in him And let me say that again because we’re going to strum that chord and come back to that theme He’s going to be living in Egypt but Egypt never truly lives in Joseph Joseph would become in very real terms, he’s going to become like the thermostat of all those around him as opposed to becoming the thermometer Joseph is going to set the temperature for his world of influence And he is, by the way, going to influence the world So often we would have anticipated that a guy sold by his brothers into slavery in the house of a powerful man is just going to kind of read the temperature Okay, so what’s culture kind of at right now? What’s the expectations of the house? What are all the other servants doing? What can I get away with? So you’d kind of expect that Joseph just gets the feel for what’s the temperature and it becomes that, you know, that thermometer that just kind of adjusts himself to whatever the temperature is, but Joseph is the continual thermostat I am going to set the temperature I am not going to adjust myself to it I’m not sure, by the way, that most of us, myself included, could understand the radical change that Joseph is now facing He’s thrust into Egypt but Egypt is never truly thrust into him He’ll be living in Egypt, immersed in Egypt without truly becoming for lack of a better term Egyptianized Later in our study we’re going to see that Joseph does adopt many of the cultural vestiges of Egypt And let me say that again This is for all of us and this is very important for all of us If you’re in this room today, if you are watching today and you are, you’re 70 beyond If you are in this room and you are 30 and below If you are in that middle section and who knows where we are, okay, if you are in one of these areas sometimes we tend to default to one point or the other of well, the culture is Does Joseph begin to adopt some cultural things that he finds in Egypt? It’s interesting Sometimes we’re a little nervous when we start to talk about adopting cultural things in a land that is the picture of the world, but it’s interesting, Joseph actually does begin to take on some cultural things in Egypt He’s going to learn their language He has to speak the language of the people He’s actually going to take on some of the cultural customs We’d call these non-moral matters Joseph is not compromising

his distinctives as a follower of Jehovah He is adopting in ways that would increase his influence to the culture in which God had placed him He didn’t begin compromising his morals because he was in a place that lacked morality Joseph wasn’t compromising his distinctives as a follower of Jehovah He’s only saying what can I do to have the greatest amount of influence and what can I adopt that has no moral implications? He’s simply honoring God and he’s honoring his culture where he can You know, for a long time I never grew a beard I went on a trip to Israel and it was kind of one of those no shave trips So I didn’t shave and I came back and, you know, I trimmed it up but Julie said why don’t you just keep it for a little while So I kept my beard I walked into church, it was on a Saturday, and the choir was rehearsing for some special things And I walked in, I’m just kind of standing there just enjoying and there was a lady up there and she’s looking at me like, got this scowl on her face She didn’t recognize me, okay She thought who is the bearded bad man in the back of the auditorium? I mean she’s about to call 911 because there’s somebody that she doesn’t recognize And then I did discover everyone it seemed like in my church had an opinion, everyone Now I had intended just to keep the beard for a couple weeks and then I’m going to shave it off I kept it a little bit longer because everyone had an opinion, okay So people come by after service and they’d shake my hand and say oh, pastor, a good message When are you going to shave that thing? I said well, you know, all in God’s good time, okay I just left it on for a while and here’s why I left it on Because I’m evil, okay No, no, no, no Not because I’m evil but because I said this is a non-moral matter Is it okay to have an opinion about a non-moral matter, yes or no? Yes, but let me ask it this way If a beard would help culturally; I don’t know that we’re at that place in our culture quite honestly, but if a beard would help culturally, would it be wise for someone to have greater influence by growing a beard if it’ll help them culturally, yes or no? I suppose there may be people who’ve said hey, culturally I wouldn’t prefer this but it’s going to increase my influence, and I don’t know that a beard is that thing Now I’m not talking about moral matters I’m talking about non-moral issues And do you know, what I find interesting about Joseph is Joseph began to actually take on some things that he could take on in Egypt Not because these are, not because he’s being Egyptianized but because Joseph is seeking to maximize his potential for influence In like fashion, you and I are to have the greatest amount of influence possible and we must do so by seeking where the culture can actually be allowed to be the culture while not offending Scripture Wherever our culture offends Scripture, Scripture wins This is where we, I said hey, how many of you are, I don’t know, in an older bracket Sometimes we don’t like the changes of the culture even where it’s non-moral Sometimes when we’re in that younger bracket we want to adopt aspects of the culture that do contain morality Both of those have to come together and a person over here has to say okay, no, no, no, I can’t go with the culture there because that has some moral aspects contained to it, connected with it Over here, oh, wow, I don’t like it, I don’t prefer it but that’s not a moral matter and I’m actually going to try to stay removed from it It’s okay to have a preference on either side of this but we do have to understand where the Bible does not speak to this I have to say how can I have the greatest amount of influence Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure He’s about to leave and He knows you guys are going to remain here in the world For a Christian to not rightly understand the purpose for which God has left us here means often times we start to surround ourselves in this cocoon-like environment

I can’t go out and do anything I have to, I have to kind of hunker down and get in the bunker and not do anything That is not what Jesus is preparing His disciples for Jesus is preparing His disciples to literally storm the gates of hell and influence their culture for a cause greater than themselves Not just embrace the culture; influence Okay, so what do you mean by that? Well in John chapter 17, in fact take your Bible and turn to John chapter 17 Look down at verse 1 The Bible says “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said.” This is His prayer “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son may also glorify thee.” Now for sake of time, skip down to verse 14, verse 14 “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Okay, so again, let’s pause and let’s just think for a moment What is Jesus saying? He’s saying hey, Father, please glorify Your Son And now He has a prayer for those that He is leaving here and He says I’ve given them Thy word I have given them the truth These men that will literally turn the world upside down, I’ve given them Your word, and He says okay, they’re not of the world, just like I am not of this world Jesus is actually going to the place that is the real world Do you know, this is just like a foggy image of something that is only to be a test, so to speak, for the real world, a preparation ground for the real world? He says they’re not of this world Look at verse 15 “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them,” where, “into the world And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through thy truth.” Okay, do you see how Joseph becomes like wow, what a great example of the prayer that Jesus just prayed? Where is Joseph? He’s in Egypt What’s Egypt the picture of? The world Is Joseph of Egypt? Absolutely not But do you know what Joseph begins to do? Okay, if I’m going to be the thermostat so to speak, if I’m going to set the temperature, how can I do that most effectively? And he doesn’t do it by retreating He doesn’t do it by just hiding from everybody and everything He doesn’t do it by, well, we just, we can’t do anything, we have to just No, he says I am going to stay faithful to my God in Egypt that is not my home and he’s literally going to turn the world upside down This is the guy that Pharaoh, it’s going to be said of Joseph, oh, he’s father to Pharaoh Who gets that? A guy that understands I am, this world is not my home, this Egypt is not my home, I’m just a passing through His treasures, they were laid up somewhere beyond the blue but until God sent him there he understands God, you have something for me to do here I don’t want Egypt to dwell in me but I do understand You have work for me to do while I dwell in Egypt In Genesis chapter 39, verse 2, the Bible just says very plainly “And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” Where was the Lord with Joseph? In Egypt, in the house of an Egyptian Now I’m going to make some assumptions here and I’m saying up front this is an assumption I’m assuming that Potiphar was not a God-fearing man I’m assuming that Potiphar does not have a desire for his children to walk in the ways of Almighty God I’m making those assumptions but I think they’re safe assumptions I know Potiphar’s wife is not a God-fearing woman Okay, so with that said, in this house Joseph says I’m a God-fearing man I’m living in Egypt and I’m not, like Lord, this is what you have for me right now Until the day that you take me out of Egypt, make me a person of influence in Egypt, separated from the world while in the world In this environment Joseph is fulfilling the purpose

for which he was created He’s seeking to rightly reflect His God, to bring glory to God in Egypt We’ve spent so much time often instructing young believers as to what Christians don’t do We need that instruction, however, I would also say we have neglected to teach them this is what believers do, and so how can I do life as a follower of Jesus Christ and do so in such a way that impacts the world for Him While we’re preaching and teaching, while we’re doing the work that God’s called us to do, we should be doing so not in an isolated bubble but in the world What are we supposed to do? All of us are to seek positions of influence that will point the world to Christ and we can’t do that by retreating behind the walls of the church house Go out and be distinctly Christian as an engineer, an accountant, a doctor, a lawyer, a musician, an actor, a politician, a soldier, a husband, a wife, or whatever And by God’s grace may there be many in this house that go out as pastors, as evangelists, as youth pastors, as missionaries, as Christian school teachers that have the reality of Christ and preach and teach the power of the gospel to a world that is desperately in need And while you are preaching and teaching, don’t teach people to separate out of the world Jesus never taught that God has left us here in this world with a mission to reach this world for Christ And while you’re seeking to be an influence in the world, Christians should separate from the evil of this world, from those practices that should never be named among us That is so clear all throughout Scripture He said what fellowship hath light with darkness, what communion hath Christ with Belial? He says in Ephesians chapter 5, verse 3 and 4, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not once be named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather the giving of thanks.” And then in Ephesians 5, 7 and 8, he’s says, “Be not ye therefore partakers with them For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye the light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” Do you see what he’s saying? He’s saying okay, get out into the world but don’t you be the world Get out into dark places because you’re the light that they need Listen, don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid about actually going out into dark places but don’t you become that darkness Go out into dark places with the light of Jesus Christ showing people the way Serve God in the church, yes, but serve God as the church wherever you go Joseph passed what we might call the test of separation Do you remember what Jesus prayed in His high priestly prayer? Jesus prays “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Sanctify We’ve used this a hundred times I don’t mean for it to become laborious or repetitive but sanctify is not a complicated word Sanctify You and I are positionally sanctified The word just means set apart for something special, and you know, you and I are to be practically sanctified That means because I have the position in Christ of being set apart, I am to be practically sanctified That means my life should be a life of distinction, not marred by the junk, the worldliness of the world Sanctify It’s set apart for something The one I always recall in my mind, like some of you have, some of you ladies in here, you have towels sitting right next to a sink in a bathroom and nobody’s supposed to use those towels, okay You’ll come out of there and you’ll say alright, who used the towels? Well mom, it was right next; don’t use those towels Why not? Because they’re sanctified, okay You say well, what are they? They’re set apart for something special There’s all kinds of things that we set apart Like no, no, no, don’t use that Okay, how many of you husbands, how many of you’ve ever had a pair of jeans on and you’re working in the yard and you wife says what are you doing wearing those jeans? I’m working in the yard Those are your good jeans, okay You say no, these are jeans She says you do not work in the yard in those jeans Why not? Because they’re sanctified,

okay Do you know what she’s saying? Those are set apart You’re only supposed to wear those for special things, and to us it’s like just put on their jeans, you know Do you know what God says about you? Something so much more important than towels or pants He’s saying you are the light of the world You’re set apart for something special Don’t mar that with everyday Egyptian-type use Know your purpose Know your calling Know that you are set apart You know, the last two I’m going to mention and not spend the time that we have on the first, but these last two tests Joseph also had to pass before he goes on to the test of suffering, the test of the prison Notice the next test He passes the test of separation He is set apart He is in Egypt but Egypt is not in him The next thing that we see is the test of service Look down at verse 3, Genesis 39, verse 3 The Bible says, “And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” “In his hand,” that little phrase, “in his hand” tells us that Joseph immediately went to work and I don’t believe that he began as the overseer over the entire house We’ll see the evidence of that in just a few minutes but he did begin immediately serving in whatever position he was given Okay, so whatever was in his hand it seems to prosper That’s so consistent Scripturally The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” Colossians 3:23, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” 2 Chronicles 31:21, speaking of Hezekiah, “And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” It’s good for each of us to evaluate in our own test of service that we’re taking right now how we’re doing with whatever it is that God has placed into our hands So often we’re looking at the next opportunity instead of the immediate opportunity that God has right in front of us Joseph would have a pretty steep learning curve and we’ve already mentioned that He’s going to have to understand a new culture, a new language He’s going to have to develop skills that he didn’t have to know or understand before He is doing so, all of this, as a purchased possession He’s nothing more than a slave of another man Clearly Joseph is taking this test very seriously, the test of service So how does he pass this test? First of all, he doesn’t allow other to become his standard of success Did you catch that? Joseph does not measure his success based on the success or the practices of another He doesn’t allow them to be like, oh, if I could only be like them We’re confronted all the time with images, with people, with other’s definition of success Listen, if you could only achieve this, if you could only get to this level, if you could only finally have this then you would be Joseph doesn’t do that He doesn’t allow others to become the standard He didn’t measure his potential for success by the low expectations that others had for themselves He continually exceeded them and I believe he did so because he understood that whatever he was given, wherever he was placed, he would give nothing less than his very best This would allow him to never have to, by the way, ask for favors Did you catch that? Joseph’s going to conduct himself consistently with his very best every time so he doesn’t have to go to Potiphar and say hey Potiphar, can I ask a favor? I’d really like to come out of the fields into the He doesn’t have to ask for favors Do you know what he has? Because of the way he conducts himself he is granted favor rather than always have to ask for favors He is passing this test of service What else does he do? He understood that there are no unimportant jobs Nothing is unimportant If this is in front of me, if God’s given this to me to do, this is not unimportant I’m going to take it and I’m going to do it to the very best of my ability In Luke chapter 16, beginning in verse 10, “He that if faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Do you know what he’s saying? He’s saying hey, listen, if you can demonstrate faithfulness in the little things, the things that nobody may observe, you may demonstrate yourself to be faithful in that which many people can observe Well, he didn’t allow others to become

his standard of success He knew there were no unimportant jobs He knew who he was serving Joseph was first and foremost a servant of the Most High God This is what made his service as a slave to Potiphar acceptable Joseph’s first Master was a good Master so whether Potiphar was good or not, it mattered little Joseph did serve Potiphar well but that’s because he knew who he was truly serving Okay, how many of you have ever been, don’t raise your hand, but how many of you’ve ever been in a situation where you had a hard boss, unkind? They just didn’t conduct themselves in ways that you felt was equitable, right, even wise Can you still give your best to that kind of human master? Well, the answer is absolutely You say well, why can I do that because they’re not good, they don’t treat me well, they don’t give me the respect I deserve Why can I serve that person well? Because you understand who it is that you’re really serving In Colossians the Bible says it this way Colossians 3:22, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh.” That is earthly masters “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleaser; but with singleness of heart, fearing God.” Why? “Knowing that it is of the Lord ye shall receive the reward.” And then he concludes it with this, “for ye serve the Lord Christ.” I love the bookends of this passage “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh.” Why? Because “ye serve the Lord Christ.” Why can you actually obey a hard taskmaster? Well, because I serve the Lord Christ The Bible says it very directly in 1 Peter chapter 2, verse 18, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” Froward means unkind, harsh, unjust, difficult The Bible says if you serve the Lord Christ, you can pass the test of service Let me just mention I guess it’s the least important of the three tests that he took but boy, was it a good test for Joseph and for any of us to pass and that is the test of success The Bible says in Genesis 39:2, “The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man.” Joseph is actually on the front side, the early side of incredible success There’s still much success that lies before him but God would have him pass this test of success and another of suffering before he would get to the highest position of success Most likely Joseph is, you know, 17 or 18 years old when Potiphar purchases him as a slave and at 17 or 18 he didn’t march right into the house, grab the keys to Potiphar’s kingdom and begin to rule Instead, his test of success most likely began with service in Potiphar’s fields We read in Scripture that Potiphar brought him into the house The Bible says in verse 2, “and he was in the house of the master.” This was after he was a purchased slave And then it says in verse 4 that he becomes this assistant to Potiphar “And Joseph found grace in his sight, and served him.” And then he becomes a household manager, “and made him overseer over his house.” And then he has full control over Potiphar’s possessions, verse 6, he left all that he had in Joseph’s hands; he knew not ought that he had, save the bread which he did eat.” What Joseph does is he starts taking different incremental steps of success Martin Lloyd Jones said this He said the worst thing that can happen to a man is that he should succeed before he is ready Joseph was not ready for the throne room of Egypt and as he passed a test in the field, working by the sweat of his brow in the field with other servants, when he passed that test, huh, that guy’s a hard worker I’m going to bring him into the house and see if he can do a little bit more, and he comes in and he’s faithful with those things, those few things in the house I’m going to make him my personal assistant Joseph, you’re going to assist me and he was faithful in assisting Potiphar And now Potiphar says Joseph, you’ve demonstrated yourself faithful in the field You did so in the house, you did so as my assistant Joseph, ah, here’s the keys, here’s the keys Joseph Everything that I have is yours You run the house Let me tell you, there’s another that’s going to toss him not just keys but he’s going to toss him a ring and say Joseph, here’s the ring And by the way,

let him wear this chain Joseph’s going to be the guy that rules the world from Pharaoh’s throne and you know why? I think because he passed early tests of success When you and I are faithful in that which is least, God may well open doors and show you an opportunity to show faithfulness in that which is great ♪ ♪ (announcer) We’re glad you joined us for Rejoice in the Lord as we’ve discovered answers to life’s questions from God’s Word Messages are also available on iTunes when you search, “RejoiceTV” or find us on YouTube by searching, “Rejoice in the Lord” Your financial support is vital to keep Rejoice on the air Your tax deductible gift enables this viewer supported ministry to spread the gospel around the world Encouraging Christians and reaching people for Jesus this is Rejoice in the Lord