Living with Integrity – Message 3
February 6, 202
I. Introduction: Continuing Living with Integrity, a survey of the life of Joseph.
• Psalm 105:16-19.
- Today’s message is, Authenticity. (Authentic means, “genuine, real, true, actual.”)
In this message, we are focusing on possessing genuine faith, being a true follower of God.
- 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)—Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine.
- We will examine the authenticity Joseph’s faith in difficult circumstances, which displayed his consistent relationship with God—his spiritual integrity.
- After refusing the seductive advances of his master Potiphar’s wife, Joseph, at age 28, after serving faithfully, successfully, for 11 years, is imprisoned!
II. Evidence of authenticity: (Genesis 39:21-40:23)
A. #1 - Recognize God’s help in hardship. (Genesis 39:21-40:4. C/R: Isaiah 43:2; Romans 5:3-4; 8:28; James 1:2-4)
- Genesis 39:21 (NLT)—21But the Lord was with Joseph [4x in ch.39] in the prison and showed him his faithful love. [Hebrew chesed, love and favor connected to divine covenant promises] And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.
- Even in imprisonment, we see God’s grace; His favor is apparent:
Genesis 39:22-23 (NLT)—22Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 23The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him [4th mention] and caused everything he did to succeed.
- Joseph was imprisoned instead of being executed for rape, which Potiphar was empowered to do as chief of executioners. (Only Egypt, in Near East, incarcerated.)
- God’s aid in Joseph’s efforts (which Joseph was aware of) observed by the warden
When we belong to God, He is committed to express His promised love to us—always, in every circumstance and situation, including times of difficulty, hardship, even suffering.
APP.: In your difficulty, can detect God’s love and assistance? You will if you know Him!
Romans 8:28 (NLT)—And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.
APP.: God has a good plan for our lives and a purpose for our pain; do you believe that?
Genesis 40:1-4 (NLT)— 1 Some time later, Pharaoh’s (Egyptian, “great house,” title for the king) chief cup-bearer and chief baker offended their royal master. 2Pharaoh became angry with these two officials, 3and he put them in the prison where Joseph was, in the palace of the captain of the guard. 4They remained in prison for quite some time, and the captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, who looked after them.
The chief baker prepared food for Pharaoh, the chief cup-bearer served his wine and other drinks, guarding the cup carefully and tasting to ensure the drink was safe.
Due to the responsibilities of their positions—protecting the king’s food and drink from poison—these two palace officials had to be trustworthy and loyal.
It is uncertain why these men were imprisoned: were they suspected of a conspiracy against the Pharaoh or did they just serve him a bad meal?
Another evidence of authenticity…
B. #2 - Remain aware of others. (Genesis 40:5-7. C/R: Romans 12:15-16; 1 Corinthians 10:24; 2 Corinthians 1:4-6; Ephesians 4:32)
- Genesis 40:5-7 (NLT)— 5While they were in prison, Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker each had a dream one night, and each dream had its own meaning. 6When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset. 7“Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them.
- Joseph was wrongfully imprisoned because of a false accusation by a rejected woman.
- He lost his position, his reputation and his freedom, limited though it was.
- We would understand if he sat in the corner sulking, immersed in angry self-pity.
- Yet, he didn’t become consumed with his own sorrow; he continued to serve faithfully in prison and remained sensitive enough to notice sadness on the faces of these prisoners.
- When things don’t go well in our lives—in our relationships, our jobs, our health, we tend to turn inward, become self-absorbed, and not notice anything or anyone around us.
- By faith, we can avoid becoming self-centered, to keep looking for opportunities to offer encouragement and assistance to others in need; we can be like Joseph (and like Jesus).
- In fact, when our faith is real—and the Spirit resides within—our suffering will make us more sensitive to pain in other’s lives and willing to comfort others as God comforts us.
- 2 Corinthians1:4 (NLT)—He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
- When you focus on others, it lightens your load, lessens your own sorrow, relieves your grief and makes your difficult situation more bearable.
- APP.: When disappointed or suffering, do you turn inward or continue to focus outward?
A related evidence of authenticity…
C. #3 - Respond to people’s needs. (Genesis 40:8-15. C/R: Galatians 6:2-3,9-10; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:4; 1 John 3:18)
- Genesis 40:8 (NLT)— 8And they replied, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.”
“Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” Joseph replied. “Go ahead and tell me your dreams.” [Joseph declared that God is the source of correct interpretation, not him.]
- Again, it’s surprising that Joseph would notice the faces of other prisoners, but even more startling that he would offer help. (APP.: Would you have offered?)
- Genesis 40:9-13 (NLT)—9So the chief cup-bearer told Joseph his dream first. “In my dream,” he said, “I saw a grapevine in front of me. 10The vine had three branches that began to bud and blossom, and soon it produced clusters of ripe grapes. 11I was holding Pharaoh’s wine cup in my hand [former occupation], so I took a cluster of grapes and squeezed the juice into the cup. Then I placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.”
12“This is what the dream means,” Joseph said. “The three branches represent three days. 13Within three days Pharaoh will lift you up [Heb. lit., lift up your head] and restore you to your position as his chief cup-bearer.”
- Hebrew phrase, lift up your head, is an idiom for showing favor or pardoning someone.
- Joseph had his own problems, why would he care about helping anyone else with theirs?
- Bad circumstances didn’t rob Joseph of his faith or his understanding that he was called to serve and honor God by helping others—and so are we!
- Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)—For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
- APP.: Do we use personal problems as an excuse to stop serving others practically?
- Joseph gave credit to God when he might have gained some advantage by claiming he possessed the power to interpret dreams.
- Joseph obviously sought God for this royal cupbearer, and he received a clear response.
- Apparently, God had not answered Joseph about his own situation, at least not clearly, or Joseph didn’t like God’s response, evidenced by what he said next.
- Genesis 40:14-15 (NLT)—14And please remember me and do me a favor when things go well for you. Mention me to Pharaoh, so he might let me out of this place. [Relying on man instead of God.] 15For I was kidnapped from my homeland, the land of the Hebrews, and now I’m here in prison, but I did nothing to deserve it.” [Feeling sorry for himself?]
- Joseph showed his humanity, his frustration, with his painful circumstances.
- “How could Joseph, knew God’s presence and assistance personally, who heard directly from God; how could he rely on an unbeliever to obtain his freedom?”
- APP.: Do you know God is with you? Has He helped you? Then why seek the world’s solution to your problems?
- An authentic relationship with God does not guarantee a lack of troubles in this world; in fact, they are promised, but so is God’s nearness, comfort, and commitment to use our struggles to strengthen our faith!
An additional evidence of authenticity…
D. #4 – Resolve to speak truth. (Genesis 40:16-23. C/R: Proverbs 16:3; John 8:32; Ephesians 4:15,25)
- Genesis 40:16-19 (NLT)—16When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given the first dream such a positive interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I had a dream, too. In my dream there were three baskets of white pastries stacked on my head. 17The top basket contained all kinds of pastries for Pharaoh, but the birds came and ate them from the basket on my head.”
18“This is what the dream means,” Joseph told him. “The three baskets also represent three days. 19Three days from now Pharaoh will lift you up [Heb. lift up your head from off you] and impale your body on a pole. Then birds will come and peck away at your flesh.” [Egypt linked preservation of body after death to wellbeing in afterlife.]
- Joseph spoke God’s truth to this baker; he didn’t compromise, soften it or explain it away.
- Authentic faith requires us represent God accurately to our culture, to communicate God’s truthful opinion in our community—even when the message may not be well-received.
- APP.: Is our loyalty to God’s Word, His standards or to our acceptance and popularity?
- Genesis 40:20-22 (NLT)—20Pharaoh’s birthday came three days later, and he prepared a banquet for all his officials and staff. He summoned his chief cup-bearer and chief baker to join the other officials. 21He then restored the chief cup-bearer to his former position, so he could again hand Pharaoh his cup. 22But Pharaoh impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had predicted when he interpreted his dream. [Did Joseph benefit?] Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer, however, forgot all about Joseph, never giving him another thought.
- Joseph learned a painful lesson: Don’t look to people for deliverance, lean on God, rely on Him alone, trust Him, even when He doesn’t give you what you want—at least not yet!
Memory verse: Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)—For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.