Sunday, January 3, 2016

Holding Fast In 2016 - Holding Fast Our Commitment

Temple Baptist Church - 1-3-2016

Genesis 39:1-9

A.  I am peaching a series on “Holding Fast In 2016.”  Tightening our grip because holding tightly to something becomes tiresome and, therefore, takes resolve.  Another year has come and gone.  A year that we cannot relive but we can certainly learn from it.
1.  Last year is finalized!  As Pilate said, “What I have written I have written!”  Psalms 90:9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.  (I wonder what tale will be told on me.)
2.  The Past And Remembrance – There should be a critiquing of the past year: taking an honest look at our personal lives and service for the Lord, recognizing both our failures and our victories.  George Santayana, a Spanish philosopher, said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
3.  The Past And Reflection – What could I have done that would have been better?  It is often said that hindsight is 20/20.  Well, this is not completely true but, as we look back, we can see the whole picture and such hindsight would have been invaluable in our decision making.
4.  The Past And Resolve – To not make the same mistakes; to do more than ever; and to put the past in a right perspective. 
Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
B.  We live in days of a lack of commitment. 
1.  Many of us “older folks” remember the days when a man’s word was his bond.  If he said that he would do something, he did it no matter the cost.  My dad taught me that, if I made a bad deal, then keep it in spite of the loss incurred. 
2.  In our day, we find very little commitment.  Just buy a home and see what all is required.  Just buy a home and see how many times you have to sign your name at the closing.  Banks and lending institutions use every means at their disposal to make sure that buyers are legally obligated to their financial commitments.
3.  We, as God’s children, need to have the commitment that our fathers had!  There are still things worth fighting for; there are still things worth dying for; there are also things worth living for.  These are things that need commitment on our part!
C.  The question may now be asked, “What has this got to do with Joseph and Potiphar’s wife?”  In our verses, we find the First Mention of the word “committed” or “commit” in any form.  In the First Mention of a word in your Bible, God sets forth the meaning of that particular word.  The First Mention Principle of Bible Interpretation is one of the most valued of all tools for “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
D.  True commitment is found in one’s integrity!  Joseph certainly had integrity.  I find two men of God in different but spiritually similar circumstances: Joseph and David.  Joseph was walking with God and Fled while David was walking out of the will of God and Fell!  The
The First Mention of the word “integrity” is also found in the Book of Beginnings: Genesis.  Abraham and Sarah whet Gerar and Abraham told a half-truth (which is a whole lie) to Abimelech concerning his relationship to Sarah.  Abimelech, speaking to God in Genesis 20:5, said, “Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.  (Integrity and innocence go hand-in-hand)
E.  I want us to look at Joseph’s commitment to both his master and his Lord.  If any man ever had a reason to be bitter about the unfairness of life, Joseph did!  Sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely imprisoned because of an ungodly woman’s false accusation, forgotten in prison while spending years there for something that he did not do!
1.  First, Joseph’s commitment to Potiphar is mentioned. 
Vs. 8-9aBehold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;  There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife” 
a.  I find this of interest as I would have mentioned sinning against God (as David did in Psalm 51) before mentioning sinning against a man.  Potiphar had placed all that he had in the hands of a young servant because of his confidence in Joseph’s integrity. 
b.  Our commitment to the Lord is a commitment to mankind!  We are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.”  We are the epistles written of God and read of men!
2 Corinthians 3:2-3  Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:  (3)  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.  (The world can only see Christ as He is manifested in our lives.  If we do not live for Christ, then the world can no longer taste the “savour” and our testimony will be trodden under the feet of men.  If we live for Christ, the world may never like who we are or come to know our Lord, but they will respect us.)
c.  Our commitment to mankind may only be seen through the eyes of those who observe us.  Let me explain.  If Joseph had chosen to sin with Potiphar’s wife, Potiphar may well have never known but the wife would have!  Probably some, if not all, of the servants would have known.  His influence with one person was worth his unjust punishment of imprisonment!  It is not recorded that Potiphar’s wife every was sorry for her wickedness and lies; it is not recorded that she ever can to know the Lord but she deserved the chance to do both.
d.  We must be committed to mankind in the coming year.
2.  Second, Joseph’s commitment to the Lord is mentioned.  Hebrews 10:23  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Genesis 39:9b  “and sin against God?”
a.  If any man in the Bible ever, humanly speaking, a reason to be angry with or to doubt God, Joseph had one.  He was apparently carried along in life by the whim of wicked men!  I find no sin in Joseph that caused his perilous journey as he is the most perfect type of our Lord Jesus Christ found in the Old Testament.   Not once did he question God because he was totally committed to the Lord.
b.  Not once did Joseph complain as he accepted his lot in life, knowing that the Lord was still in control.  Though life hit him hard, he continued to trust in the Lord.  I find no place where Joseph placed his personal faith in the coming of his Messiah but we find that faith evidenced in both his life and decision making.
Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  (6)  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  (Nowhere else in the Bible are these two verses any more evidenced in the life of a man than in Joseph.)
c.  Our commitment to the Lord this year should be renewed.  When giving the Marriage Vows, I always add these words: “to have and to hold...from this day forward...for better or for worse...for richer or for sickness as in love and to cherish...till death do us part.”   We should be committed for the duration of our time here on earth.  We should be completely committed no matter what befalls us in the process of time.  The Lord is worthy of our love, commitment, and eternal praise!

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