Living with Integrity – Message 2
January 23, 2022
I. Introduction: We continue our survey of Joseph’s life, Living with Integrity.
- Proverbs 6:20-7:27; James 1:12-15)
Today’s message is entitled, Temptation
(to test, examine, prove, the character of someone).
- Theme verse: James 1:14 (NLT)—Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.
- All of us experience temptations of various kinds that entice us to sin and draw us away from devotion to God, which damages our spiritual integrity.
- Background: In Genesis 37, Joseph’s brothers intended to kill him because of their resentment, but decided instead, to sell him to traders who took him to Egypt.
- We will learn from Joseph’s experience in Egypt how to resist temptation.
II. Resisting temptation… (Genesis 39)
A. #1 - Recognize susceptibility. (Genesis 39:2-7. C/R: Job 31:1; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 2:16-17)
- Genesis 39:1-2 (NLT)—1 When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. [Also, chief of the executioners, who punished criminals.]
2The Lord was with Joseph [4x in this chapter], so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. [Where he served for 11 years.]
- This terrible experience as a slave in Egypt matured Joseph personally and spiritually by forcing him to seek support and direction from God [Yahweh]. [We grow in hardship.]
- Genesis 39:3-4 (NLT)— 3Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. [Recognized divine enablement though he worshiped idols.] 4This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned.
- Joseph was experienced as a shepherd, but he was not assigned to care for animals or to work in the fields; with God’s help, he served in Potiphar’s home and did so successfully.
- Genesis 39:5 (NLT)—5From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished.
- Are you displeased with your job? Do you know that God is in charge of your placement and your performance? [ILL.: Clerking for attorney in Jackson, MS, during seminary.]
- Though serving as a slave against his will, Joseph was not difficult or sullen; he served diligently, faithfully, to the best of his ability in an unbelieving, idol-worshiper’s home.
- Paul instructed us at Colossians 3:22–24 to serve employers (masters) faithfully because of our faith; to work willingly as though working for the Lord, who would reward us.
- But not all went smoothly for Joseph—and it doesn’t for us either!
Genesis 39:6b-7 (NLT)— 6b Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, 7and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded.
- Joseph was in a vulnerable position—lonely, far from home, living in an extremely immoral, pagan, land, propositioned by a woman who had power over him.
- All of us experience temptation, but in different forms depending on where we are most susceptible, at our weakest point (which Satan knows); it often arrives when we relax after experiencing success, becoming proud, even after powerful spiritual experiences.
- 1 John 2:16 describe three types of temptation: a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions (also translated as lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life). (Eve; Genesis 3 and Jesus; Matthew 4; Luke 4)
- 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)—Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. [APP.: Are you alert?]
B. #2 – Remembering effect on others. (Genesis 39:8-9a. C/R: 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 John 4:7-8)
- Genesis 39:8-9a (NLT)—8But Joseph refused. [immediately and directly]“Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. 9aNo one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.”
- Joseph rejected this woman’s advance, remembering that her husband trusted him and rewarded him with a place of great responsibility; he would not betray Potiphar’s trust.
- When you are tempted to do wrong, remember who will be hurt by your unfaithfulness—a spouse who trusts you, children who depend on you, business partners who rely on you.
- Sin is always self-centered, even narcissistic; it disregards people who depend on you.
- EX.: Adultery occurs when you are consumed with yourself and your desires and unconcerned with people who love, respect, trust and depend on you.
- Realize that an immoral parent damages a child’s sense of self-worth because adultery is experienced by a child as abandonment, causing them to question their own worth.
- APP.: Are you motivated primarily by your own needs or the needs of others? [1 Corinthians 10:24]
C. #3 - Reflect on God’s expectations. (Genesis 39:9b. C/R: Psalm 119:9-11; Romans 6:11-16; Ephesians 5:10-12; 1 John 2:3-5)
- Genesis 39:9b (NLT)—“How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
- Joseph knew God personally; he understood that God had blessed him in Potiphar’s home.
- Joseph knew any sin he committed would be an offense against God, who cared for him.
- Though our sin may directly harm another person, it is ultimately against God who sets the universal standard of what is right and what is wrong.
- If we say we know and love God, yet are willing to defy and disobey Him, it means we have a weak, shallow, relationship with God or don’t truly know Him at all because we can’t deliberately offend or dishonor someone we truly love. [1 John 2:3-5]
- Some people say God endorses their sin saying, “I know that God wants me to be happy,” or, “He led me to this person who is my soul-mate, though she is married.”
- Not true, because God does not violate His own Word, His own standards!
- APP.: Does your love for God motivate you to obey Him?
D. #4 - Refuse to surrender. (Genesis 39:10-12. C/R: 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 10:13; 2 Timothy 2:22; James 4:4-10)
- Genesis 39:10 (NLT)—10She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible. [He avoided her.]
- The best way to refuse temptation is to avoid situations that you have difficulty resisting.
- If a certain person encourages you to sin, avoid him; if lust is your weakness, change what you watch on television and look at on-line, if gambling is your weakness, avoid casinos.
- A standard to determine whether you should remove yourself from an environment or an experience, is to ask yourself, “Would I do this if Jesus was with me?” (He is!)
- Sometimes pride (or Satan) causes us to think we’re strong enough to handle testing.
- Genesis 39:11-12 (NLT)—11One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. 12She came and grabbed him by his cloak [outer garment], demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.
- Joseph tried to refuse this woman. He told her why it was wrong. He attempted to avoid her, but she got to him anyway, so he ran!
- When you are tempted and don’t have an easy way out, don’t try to appear calm so you won’t embarrass yourself, don’t ask God to deliver you; Deliver yourself! Run!!!
- EX.: In the office, if a co-worker starts saying suggestive things or touching you in inappropriate ways, yell, “Help, this man is hitting on me!” Or, “This woman is trying to seduce me!” And run!! (1 Corinthians 6:18 and 2 Timothy 2:22 both tell you to Run!)
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)—The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.
E. #5 - Reflect on consequences. (Genesis 39:13-23. C/R: Isaiah 59:2; Galatians 5:19-21; 6:7-8; Hebrews 4:13)
- Genesis 39:13-23 (NLT)—13When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled, 14she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. [None of the servants were in the house at the time of the attempted seduction.] “Look!” she said. “My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! [Blamed husband!] He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. 15When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.” [Establishing her story with witnesses because she could be severely punished and divorced by her husband.]
16She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home. 17Then she told him her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said. [Accused her husband and expressed disdain for Joseph’s ethnicity.] 18“But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!”
19Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her. 20So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained. [Potiphar could have executed Joseph! God’s in control!]
- If you need any other reasons for resisting temptation, reflect on the disastrous outcome that could result from your sin. (You won’t get away with it!)
- You are free to make choices, but you are not free to control the consequences.
- You might lose the love and respect of family, friends, your job, and your self-respect as you offend God, damage your faith, bring shame on yourself and your family.
- Remember: Hebrews 4:13 (NLT)—Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.