- Sermon Notes
1. The world can leave a sour taste in your mouth. That sour taste can quickly turn into a bitter heart.
2. But Jesus promises freedom even when life brings bitter trials and the ability to bear good fruit along the way!
John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (NIV)
3. Let’s discover what God did in Joseph’s life to make this a reality.
READ – Genesis 41:50-52
1. After Joseph turned 17, his life fell apart. He went from favorite son to slave, then slave to prisoner; 13 long years of suffering in Egypt!
2. Then, in Genesis 41, life dramatically changed for Joseph. One night Pharaoh had a dream and no one could interpret it. Word got to Pharaoh regarding Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams and he was immediately prepared for the ruler’s presence.
3. God gave Joseph the ability to interpret both of Pharaoh’s dreams, they were in fact, one and the same; 7 years of abundance would be followed by 7 years of famine.
4. After interpreting the dreams, Joseph proposed an administrative solution; store 20% of the grain harvested during each of the 7 good years to use as food during the 7 years of famine.
5. Pharaoh was so pleased with the recommendation that he elevated Joseph to a newly created post; from prisoner to second only to Pharaoh over all in Egypt!
6. He was finally free from prison; but was he free?
Trans - The names that Joseph gave to his two sons born before the year of the famine reveals the answer and why it was so!
I. Let God Make You Forget (51)
ILLUS – Top 5 things people forget when packing for a vacation
A. There’s a wrong way to forget
1. Joseph’s wife gave him two sons.
a. The first one Joseph named Manasseh
b. The second one Joseph named Ephraim
2. The meaning of the name Manasseh is significant for it means, “making to forget.”
3. What was Joseph forgetting? Joseph said, “God has made me forget”…
a. “All my trouble”
b. “All my father’s household”
4. What did Joseph mean by this statement?
5. Did God cause Joseph to “write off” his family?
a. Was his new motto, “Forget you guys!” After all, he didn’t return to Canaan after his promotion!
b. Did he divorce himself physically and emotionally from all attachment to his family?
ILLUS – A friend’s motto for dealing with wounds from others…
APPL – The problem with this approach is that you’re never really free! Oh sure, you think you’ve written that person off, but bitterness is still written on your heart and it will corrupt all you do!
Trans - So how did God make Joseph forget?
B. There’s a right way to forget
1. God gave Joseph a divine perspective. For proof just look at Joseph’s words to his brothers 20 years after they sold him into slavery in Egypt…
Genesis 45:5, 7, “And now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.”
a. Key: Joseph stayed close to God.
b. During those years of suffering, Joseph was touched by the fact that God is on the throne
c. God had not forgotten Joseph nor had He forgotten His promises!
d. He was convinced that nothing came his way without passing through God’s sovereign hands!
APPL – We live in a fallen world. Spiritual warfare is real. But God knows, sees, and hears the cries of His people…
John 10:27-30, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
2. When you have God’s perspective then you have God’s heart. Joseph had compassion for his family. After Jacob, his father, passed away he didn’t seek revenge but promised to provide and bless.
Genesis 50:19-20, “’Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 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.”
APPL – Joseph’s words are a picture of God’s love…
1 Corinthians 13:4-5, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (NIV)
3. By the way, Joseph gave his sons Hebrew not Egyptian names! If Joseph had written his family off, his boys would have been called Tut and Ramses!
4. Also, by calling his son Manasseh, Joseph was forced to remember the reason why he gave him the name.
a. Whenever his name was said, Joseph remembered his past but from God’s perspective!
b. Each time his name was said, Joseph remembered his family but with God’s heart!
5. Note: Joseph was free before he ever received an apology from his brothers!
ILLUS – Stephen, the first Christian martyr’s example…
Acts 7:59-60, “And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!’ And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord do not hold this sin against them!’ And having said this, he fell asleep.”
APPL – Forgiveness is a choice. In fact, I believe many don’t feel forgiven by God because they struggle with forgiving others.
ILLUS - Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. But she acted as if she had never even heard of the incident. "Don't you remember it?" her friend asked. "No," came Barton's reply, "I distinctly remember forgetting that."
6. We must conclude that God healed Joseph’s heart to such a degree that he was able to live in the present without being ruled by the pain of his past!
a. He wasn’t trapped by the pain of betrayal
b. He wasn’t ruled by the pain of separation
c. God had healed his heart!
d. Now God could use Joseph for greater things.
Transition – Strained relationship? Bitter trials? God wants to heal your heart. He wants to give you a Manasseh!
II. Forgiveness Brings Fruitfulness (52)
A. God desires good fruit from us
1. Ephraim means “double fruitfulness” which speaks of abundant blessing.
2. Joseph recognized that God made him fruitful because only God helps us bear good fruit!
a. He was fruitful in his father’s house
b. He was fruitful in Potiphar’s house
c. He was fruitful in prison
d. He was fruitful in Pharaoh’s palace
3. Now, each tree is known by its fruit
a. Sour grapes
b. Grapes of wrath
c. Good fruit!
Luke 6:43-44, “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit; nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.”
4. Jesus told us the key to bearing good fruit
John 15:5, 8, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
APPL – Can a person truly abide in the Lord while carrying a grudge?
5. What does good fruit look like?
Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
B. Be fruitful even in places of affliction
1. Joseph was fruitful… in the land of his “affliction”.
a. Not in a land “flowing with milk and honey”
b. Egypt, a place of bondage and affliction
2. The word affliction means, “A state of hardship and trouble, misery, poverty, suffering.” It encompasses physical, spiritual, and emotional affliction.
3. Yet in this place Joseph was fruitful! Why? Because Joseph didn’t wait for things to get better; he started to be fruitful right in the midst of the affliction he suffered.
4. But how is it possible to bear good fruit in a place of affliction? It all depends on where you drink…
Psalm 63:1-5, “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.”
APPL – Are you in a place of affliction? What are you going to do? I say, let God heal your heart and bear good fruit by abiding in the Lord!
ILLUS – The example of Pastor Rich and Jordi
We need a Manasseh before we can have an Ephraim! Christ has set us free to give us both!
Galatians 5:1, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
Genesis 41:50-52 NASB
50 Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore to him.51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, "For,"he said, "God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household."52 He named the second Ephraim, "For,"he said, "God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction."