Grace Bible Church
Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 093012
The Doctrine of Forgiveness.
Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 093012
The Doctrine of Forgiveness.
Forgiveness as it is revealed by means of the fruit of the Spirit, Part 3. GAL 5:22-23. When it comes to the issue of the filling of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit one of the manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit is the importance of understanding the subject of forgiveness. Some believers have asked what the subject of forgiveness has to do with the filling of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit, and the answer is that it has everything to do with both subjects.
A great illustrations of forgiveness is found in a story that most of you are familiar with by now, the story of Joseph. Joseph was thrown into the pit by his brothers because his brothers were jealous of him! Joseph was a victim of great injustice but it became a part of God’s perfect plan for his life! He was thrown into a pit. He was sold as a slave.
The world is filled with acts of injustice and only the grace of God and understanding our subject of forgiveness can get you through. Joseph had a change of circumstances but not a change of God’s grace support.
Let me give you a quick summary of what happened to Joseph.
1. Joseph was thrown into the pit by his brothers that was a part of God’s plan for his life, which he failed to recognize, GEN 37:1-24.
2. Then Joseph was sold to a caravan, which just so happened to be coming by, and the caravan took Joseph to Egypt, God’s geographical will for Joseph,
GEN 37:25-36, Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt. And Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt. Now Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his garments. And he returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?” So they took Joseph’s tunic, and slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the tunic in the blood; and they sent the varicolored tunic and brought it to their father and said, “We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son’s tunic or not.” Then he examined it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!” So Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard.
He had a change of environment and circumstances but it did not hinder his spiritual growth.
3. Joseph then became a servant to Potiphar, who was an officer of Pharaoh, and Joseph learned that God can provide prosperity in any situation, GEN 39:2-6.
GEN 39:2-6, And the Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. And it came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he owned, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.
Joseph was totally prosperous while a slave. That’s because God can bless you in one geographical area as much as in another geographical area.
4. Joseph was then tempted many times by his Potiphar’s wife to have sex with her, and he passed the test magnificently, GEN 39:7-10.
GEN 39:7-10, And it came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil, and sin against God?” And it came about as she spoke to Joseph day after day, that he did not listen to her to lie beside her, or be with her.
5. Mrs. Potiphar reacted against the rejection by Joseph and falsely accused Joseph of trying to seduce her, and this was a total act of injustice, GEN 39:11-18.
GEN 39:11-18, Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. And she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and had fled outside, she called to the men of her household, and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed. And it came about when he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, that he left his garment beside me and fled, and went outside.” So she left his garment beside her until his master came home. Then she spoke to him with these words, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me; and it happened as I raised my voice and screamed, that he left his garment beside me and fled outside”
6. Potiphar believed his wife and threw Joseph into the dungeon for his second “pit” experience, GEN 39:19-20.
GEN 39:19-20, Now it came about when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your slave did to me,” that his anger burned. So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail.
7. Potiphar abuses his authority and gives Joseph double duties as a slave to two aristocrats in the Egyptian prison.
GEN 40:1-4, Then it came about after these things the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. So he put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, in the jail, the same place where Joseph was imprisoned. And the captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them, and he took care of them; and they were in confinement for some time.
The normal Egyptian policy was to give each aristocrat his own slave. And if you are ever going to grow up spiritually, you must learn how to handle being mistreated by others!
8. Joseph fails again by relying on man rather than the Lord and the two men both forget to help Joseph in his prison experience.
GEN 40:14-15, “Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”
All of this is the background to our subject of one of the greatest illustrations of forgiveness in the Bible.
In GEN 45:1, Joseph’s brothers, unknowingly, are begging Joseph for some help and food for the famine! And after putting his brothers through certain tests, Joseph discovered that their attitude toward each other had changed. He saw that the brothers finally had love for each other and love for their father. Notice Joseph’s attitude.
GEN 45:1-5, Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, “Have everyone go out from me.” So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, “have everyone go out from me.” So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it.
Notice his humility and his gentleness after being so mistreated! This is truly an act of graciously forgiving each other.
He brings their fears and worries right to the surface by stating what they lived in fear of, the fact that they sold him into slavery! Notice, no bitterness! No resentment, no anger, no spite, just unconditional love and total forgiveness!
This is why Joseph has been promoted by God!
So in GEN 45:6, Joseph goes on to say, “For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.” And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh and Lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”
Notice his humility! Don’t blame yourself, God has turned the curse into a blessing!
GEN 45:9-15, “Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘thus says your son Joseph,” God has made me Lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. And you shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, lest you and your household and all that you have be impoverished. And behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you. Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.” Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept; and Benjamin wept on his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.
Let’s go forward to GEN 47:11, and notice what true and gracious forgiveness will do.
GEN 47:11-12, So Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered. And Joseph provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to their little ones.
When God blesses and God promotes, the disasters, tragedies, and heartaches of life are all blotted out. So great is the blessing from God that the bad times are completely forgotten. So, in GEN 50:15, Joseph’s father Jacob has died!
GEN 50:15, When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “what if Joseph should bear a grudge against us and pay us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!”
In all of these years of seeing how God has blessed Joseph through grace and through B.D., they still have not learned a thing! Joseph’s brothers have learned absolutely nothing from the principles which are found in the life of Joseph. The brothers are believers, but they are losers! Furthermore, they are in self-induced misery, they are actually making their own unhappiness! They had one of the greatest illustrations of forgiveness before them but they still did not learn! So they actually think that Joseph will do to them what they have done to him!
Joseph’s brothers assume that Jacob’s death will remove Joseph’s restraint and tolerance of them and that he will seek revenge. The brothers judged Joseph by assigning to him their own flaws, their own sins, and their own weaknesses.
You see they are losers and that’s exactly what they would do…And they are thinking that Joseph is like them!
They would not have forgiven anyone for doing to them as they had done to Joseph.
Remember what our Lord said in MAT 7:12, “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them,”
Believers who are losers always assign to others their own flaws, sins, and failures! They are the ones who bear grudges! They are the ones who seek revenge! They are the ones who would pay back others who treated them wrongly. So they actually think that Joseph will do to them what they have done to him! They assume that Jacob’s death will remove Joseph’s restraint and tolerance of them and that he will seek revenge.
GEN 50:16-17, So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “your father charged before he died, saying, Now, this is a lie! ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.” And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father. “And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.”
Notice that Joseph wept! Why did he weep? Well, first of all they attacked his motives and maligned his character and they still have not learned that Joseph is a man with character and integrity! They had so little understanding of God’s matchless grace.
GEN 50:18-19, Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place?”
And there it is! He was in God’s place or the place God had for him in life! Joseph, long ago, had put the matter in the Lord’s hands!
GEN 50:20-21, “And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” so he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Notice his grace orientation, “do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” so he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Notice in vs 21, Joseph has no intention of ever seeking revenge. He is a visible hero, a spiritual champion! He is functioning under doctrinal orientation plus grace orientation! So, Joseph forgave them long ago!
Joseph did not feel threatened by his brothers or by the injustices of the past. Joseph did not, in any way, take vengeance upon his brothers. Joseph did not feel threatened by his brothers or by the injustices of the past. He was not in any way handicapped because he had a difficult childhood and a disastrous youth. Environment is not the issue; the issue is God’s timing. He deferred any punishment that might come to them to the wisdom of the sovereignty of God. Joseph operated in the character and nature of God defined for us in PSA 78:28!
PSA 78:38, “But he, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them;”
Joseph also knew the principle of PSA 130:3-4, “If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou may be respected.”
Joseph knew the principle of PRO 16:6, By grace and truth iniquity (faults, evils) is forgiven. Joseph also knew the principle behind.
DAN 9:9, To God belongs mercy and forgiveness
To have forgiveness toward others we’ve got to know God! It is through occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ that we develop a capacity to forgive.
PSA 119:165, “Great peace have they that love the Torah i.e. doctrine, nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.”
Usually when people are offended, they harbor resentment and will not forgive! This was not true about Joseph! And being offended reveals your lack of love toward God’s word! In fact, believers are commanded to forgive one another as a part of the Royal Family honor code.
EPH 4:32, Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.
That command is for the believer who has attained spiritual self-esteem, spiritual autonomy spiritual maturity. This describes the winner. He is tender-hearted and forgives others on the basis of the fact that God has forgiven him.
Forgiving others also allows God to handle the situation rather than self.
ROM 12:19, Beloved, do not take your own revenge, but defer to the wrath of God. For it stands written [DEU 32:35], “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
COL 3:13, Bearing one another and forgiving each other. Whoever has a complaint against anyone else, just as the Lord forgave you, so also you should forgive others.
Even though these brothers enjoy prosperity under the influence of Joseph. They are still miserable people. They are believers but they are losers. They are in heaven today, but their life on earth was one of being total failures in the execution of God’s plan and God’s will and God’s purpose for their lives.
They think its time for revenge. So, in verses 22-26 of Gen 50, we have the blessings which go to the spiritual champion and the believer in God’s timing.
GEN 50:22, Now Joseph stayed in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived one hundred and ten years.
Remember he was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh and from age 30-110 he lived in a state of magnificent prosperity. 80 years of fantastic prosperity.
GEN 50:23, And Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s sons; also the sons of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees.
In other words, he saw his children. His grandchildren, his great grandchildren.
GEN 50:24-26, And Joseph said to his brothers [literally, the children of Israel], “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you, and bring you up from this land to the land which he promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.” So Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
Once again we see the wonderful principle of dying grace to Joseph and to all spiritual champions and invisible heroes. This is not a coffin as we would think of it, but a beautiful magnificent coffin which was designed for the greatest man of his age. Actually we know that this was an unburied coffin that Joseph gave specific orders concerning it in HEB 11:22. The coffin of Joseph remained above ground and became part of the Bible for the next 400 years for the Jews. For in 400 years they would be in slavery and in each generation they would come to this unburied coffin with the bones of Joseph inside.
The father would bring the children in every generation and tell the story of Joseph and of God’s perfect plan and perfect timing and the fact that God would take care of you in slavery. So here is man whose life had an impact up until this very day.
1. In GEN 50:15-26, Joseph’s brothers had not changed, nor learned a thing from all that happened to Joseph.
Joseph was the greatest illustration of God’s timing they could ever have, yet they never learned a thing from the doctrine right before their eyes.
2. When believers look at life from the human viewpoint, they impugn the motives of others. They think Joseph will bear a grudge against them and seek revenge.
3. They judged Joseph by assigning to him their own flaws, sins, motivations, and weaknesses. Instead of looking into the mirror of the word of God, they are looking into the mirror of their own lives.
4. We often reveal our own flaws and weaknesses by the way we judge other people. For we impute to others our motivation, our areas of weakness. Weak people measure others by their own sins and failures. Consequently, they never see nobility or grace in others.
5. The believer with a personal sense of destiny never reacts in bitterness nor seeks revenge. A personal sense of destiny means that you live your life as unto the Lord.
6. God has overlooked nothing for you. He has a perfect time for everything for you.
GEN 39:19-21, Now it came about when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your slave did to me,” that his anger burned. So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.
Joseph is still in synchronization with God’s plan, yet he is put into the pit (prison) a second time. He is still in the right place at the right time. God’s timing requires that Joseph spend more time in a second pit. Joseph has been wronged unfairly, yet this tome he doesn’t complain or cry about it.
The principle; if you fail a test, you will only have to go through it again. Remember Joseph failed the first test of the pit. The first pit was a part of God’s timing for Joseph, which he failed to recognize. This is why we read in GEN 42:21 that Joseph had distress of soul and pleaded with his brothers. So he was also filled with stress in the soul. All he had to do was use the faith-rest drill and claim the plan of God rationale, but he didn’t. So, Joseph is still in synchronization with God’s plan, yet he is put into the pit (prison) a second time. He is still in the right place at the right time.
God’s timing requires that Joseph spend more time in a second pit. So Joseph finds himself in his 2nd pit. However, this is all a part of God’s promotion for Joseph’s life. Joseph has been a victim of a terrible injustice but even though he is a victim, he continues to remain in fellowship with the Lord. He is still in the right place at the right time. The pit represents a place of total helplessness, and therefore a place of grace. So there is nothing Joseph can do about this situation. He has been wronged. He is a victim of injustice. But he is now ready to pass the test of the pit. The Lord was with Joseph when he was in prison, maligned and mistreated. He doesn’t know what the results would be. He doesn’t know that he will be the prime minister in a matter of years. All he knows is that he did what is right and he suffered wrong for it.
Joseph will be a better man for it because of this accusation against him. Remember 1PE 2:20, For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. There is nothing spiritual or supernatural about the first experience. You’ve done wrong, you suffer for it, patiently, you endure it. But there is something amazingly supernatural about doing what is right and suffering for it with patience endurance, that’s the exception, the unusual case.
There are three categories of mistreatment I want to focus in on.
1. Undeserved treatment from family. Parents mistreat children just like children mistreat parents.
2. Unexpected restrictions from circumstances.
3. Untrue accusations from people.
You haven’t lived very long on this earth before people begin to say the wrong thing about you. The tragedy is those words are heard by people who don’t know any better and they believe that. So the untrue statements that are said about you become as impossible to correct as catching feathers shaking out of a pillow on a windy day.
Joseph has experienced all three of these categories. Unfair treatment by his family, his brothers hated him sold him into slavery. Unexpected restrictions from circumstances, along came a Caravan on its’ way to Egypt, they bought him took him to a slave block and he was sold as a slave. No longer as a favorite son, he is now restricted in his circumstances as slave. He can’t get out of it! He is a slave in a land where he doesn’t even know the language. And then the untrue accusations by Potiphar’s wife.
We can see God in the good things. We can see God even in the questionable. But in something this unfair, where is God? GEN 39:21, But the Lord was with Joseph. That’s where he was. He never left! He was with Joseph. Furthermore in GEN 39:21, the Lord extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.
At this time, Joseph saw the hand of God in his prison experience, it was marvelous so he was freed up to be used by God in the lives of a couple of men. While in that prison, God became real to him.
PSA 119:71, It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Thy statutes.
Under the timing of God, the man is even promoted while he is a prisoner.
GEN 39:23, The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.
For the second time we see the greatness of Joseph and his greatness is based upon the fact that he is in the right place at the right time. And the Lord is causing him to prosper…And in each crisis Joseph is being trained in a different aspect of leadership. Joseph will get married to a fantastic woman who is a ruler in Egypt. In fact, she is a magnificent woman and she will make him happy for 80 or 90 years. He is waiting for her. He doesn’t have to run around looking for a fill-in.
So, Joseph prospers even though he is in jail. God is preparing him to be the greatest man in his era. The continued integrity of Joseph and his use of problem solving devices under the principle of suffering for blessing prepares him for his great future. Again, if God doesn’t promote you, you are not promoted. God’s timing in the circumstances of life must precede God’s promotion. You have to be on God’s timing before you can ever be promoted. And God promotes one step at a time. And some of those steps take you to the pit. How you handle the pit determines your capacity for promotion.
You will never find your destiny when you are in a state of reaction (which comes from any mental attitude sin). Enforced and genuine humility free the believer from arrogance, provides objectivity in all circumstances, and teachability. Remember that greatness is achieved under authority. No one succeeds in life until he has been a servant, and been under unfair authority. Greatness cannot exist unless you have been a servant.
MAT 10:44, “Whoever wishes to be first among you must first be the slave of all.”
MAT 10:44, “Whoever wishes to be first among you must first be the slave of all.”
So the mental attitude of bitterness and the verbal expression of complaining is blasphemy against the timing of God.
God only promotes those who take the form of a slave by becoming a servant to Bible doctrine, and by using the problem solving devices they learn to attain spiritual maturity.
MAT 19:30, “But many who are first among you will be last, and the last will be first.”
It is your personal destiny under the PPOG for the Church-age to be great. But greatness comes through being a slave, a servant to Bible doctrine. God trains us in humble circumstances, not in instant success. And God’s destiny is never instant success for anyone.