Adrian Rogers - The Gospel According to Joseph
Be finding in your Bibles, God's Holy Word, Genesis chapter 45. We receive a lot of mail. Some mail is more unusual than other mail. Here's a letter I want you to listen to:
Dear Pastor Rogers, I had to write to let you know what effect your ministry has had on my life. Many times, I sat and watched your program and thought what you said was stupid. How you expressed Christ was a joke. I laughed at your God by ignoring Him. He really wasn't there. I was a Satanist, as well as a part of a Nazi party movement. As bad as it seems, Christians were nothing more than lower life forms to myself and my friends. I didn't need your God. I sold my soul to the devil. I signed a pact with my own blood and, after doing so, I read the small print. If I tried to get out of the group, I could be killed. I remembered your prayer line and your church. I called the number. Someone prayed with me and I received Christ. I got a Bible and read and re-read it. God saved me. Why would He do that because I was so evil and hurt Him so badly? I had been living together with my boyfriend. He saw the change in me, also. He got saved and we finally got married. We both love the Lord so much because we see the love of the Lord through your church. Jesus can save anyone. He saved me. Thanks for your prayer line and your church and your TV ministry. (And she signs her name.)
Now, folks, that's God's grace. That is amazing grace. But I want to say, praise the Lord. That's amazing grace. But that lady, saved by the grace of God, was saved just like a little child might be saved, an 11 year old girl who might come and give her heart to Jesus. And it will take just as much of the grace of God to save that 11 year old child as it did this lady and her husband, her now husband, who got saved. What have we said so many times? There're none so bad they cannot be saved, and none so good they need not be saved. And God wants us saved so much that He's given so many wonderful illustrations in the Word of God. And one of those illustrations is the life of Joseph.
Now, what we're studying today from the Book of Genesis, listen to me, it happened over 35 centuries ago, but it is just as fresh as fresh baked bread for breakfast. I want you to listen now to what God says about salvation, because in this chapter we're going to see a glorious and a wonderful illustration of salvation. God wants us saved so much that He gives us many, many illustrations, and the life of Joseph is a picture, a prophecy, a portrait of Jesus who is to come. What a confirmation, an affirmation of the inspiration of the Word of God when we see these word pictures and portraits tucked away in the Old Testament.
As we've already told you, Joseph's life could be put into four major categories: Joseph, the beloved son. He was his father's beloved son as Jesus is. And then, Joseph, the suffering servant. Joseph was sent to his brethren. He was scorned by his brethren. He was shamed by his brethren. He suffered at the hands of his brethren. They cast him in a pit as good as dead. Joseph, the exalted sovereign. Joseph is now taken from the pit, and from prison later on, and he is exalted. He becomes the prime minister of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth, and now he is the exalted sovereign, and Pharaoh says, "Wherever Joseph goes, you bow the knee to Joseph. Everything that I have is in Joseph's hand".
But now we're going to come again and see Joseph not only the beloved son, not only the suffering servant, not only the exalted sovereign, but Joseph, the seeking savior. We're going to find out how Joseph sought and brought, forgave, restored, and fellowshipped his brothers. And as we see that, we're going to see seven salvation similarities, and I want you to get all seven. Here is Joseph now and his brothers who have wronged him, who have sinned against him, indescribably wicked brothers are now standing before Joseph, the exalted sovereign.
Look, if you will, in Genesis 45 verse 1. Now, here are the brothers. They don't know that Joseph is Joseph. He's dressed like an Egyptian. He's speaking Egyptian the language. He's on the throne. He's not the little boy, 17 years old, that they'd thrown into a pit 25 years ago. The times have come and gone. The years had changed old Joseph. There's Joseph now on the throne. They can't recognize Joseph. They don't expect to see him where he is. But Joseph loves them and Joseph wants to restore them, forgive them, fellowship them, and commission them. Now, what a picture of our salvation. All right. There's seven salvation similarities and I'm going to call them principles.
The first is the principle of compassion, the principle of compassion and what is the principle of compassion? Here's the principle of compassion; God's love is greater than all our sin. Amen. Listen to these verses, Genesis 45 verses 1 through 3, "Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me,' And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren," underscore that, "And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren," listen to this; one of the greatest three words in all the Bible, "'I am Joseph.'"
Now, folks, you're going to have to let your imagination begin to work a little bit. Can you imagine those three words? They look at him and he says, "I am Joseph, doth my father yet live?' And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence". The word troubled here literally means terrified. Now, in order for us to be saved, God must reveal Himself to us. Romans 3 verses 11 and 12, "There is none that seeketh after God, no, not one". First John 4:19, "We love Him because He first loved us, and He reveals Himself to us". Now, Joseph had been giving his brothers a hard time. I mean, he acted roughly toward them. As a matter of fact, go back to Genesis 42 verse 7 through 9 and look at it, "And Joseph saw his brethren, and knew them, but made himself strange unto them," that is, he didn't reveal himself to them, "and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, 'Whence came ye?' And they said, 'From the land of Canaan to buy food.'"
Now, he says, "No, you're just spies. I know you're spies". And he's speaking roughly to them and he's jerking them around. Well, why did he do that? Because he didn't love them? N, because he did love them. In that same forty-second chapter, where we read in verse 7 where he spoke roughly to them, go on down to verse 24 and look at it, "And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again". Here he is, speaking roughly to his brothers and bringing them under conviction. Then he excuses himself and goes out and he weeps and he cries. And then he goes back and speaks roughly to them. Listen, friend, learn this about God. God, in love, causes us problems. All the way back to the book of Genesis, what did God say to Adam and Eve after they sinned?
Genesis 3 verse 17, "Cursed is the ground for your sake". Not for your punishment, but for your sake. The worst thing that could happen to hell-bound sinners would be to live a life of ease and no difficulty and no pain and no problems. What was it that brought these boys to Egypt to begin with? They had a hunger. There was a famine in the land of Canaan. Did you know if we never had any needs we wouldn't come to our Lord. Listen, God allows us to have heartaches and pains. If we only knew how much pain He has when He sees us have pain. There he was speaking roughly to them and so overcome with emotion that he has to leave the room and literally weep, literally weep. Are you having troubles? Are you having heartaches? Are you having difficulties? Are you having disappointment? Is there pain in your life? There is! That is the silken cord that He is using to draw you to Himself. He loves you. No matter what the appearances may seem, I'm telling you that God loves you and God's love is greater than all of our sin.
What a time it was when he said, "Look, I am Joseph". They didn't know this Gospel song, but I believe they could have sung, "Once I was blind, but now I see". Joseph is weeping now tears of joy because he's able to make himself known to his brothers. And there's joy in Heaven when one sinner comes home, is there not? All right, now, that's the first principle. You have it? It's the principle of compassion. Say to yourself, especially if you're not saved yet, "God loves me, God loves me". "God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". Romans 5:8. I can tell you without stutter, stammer, or apology God loves you. I don't care what you've done. There're some who think that God only loves some of the people of this world. God loves them all, red and yellow, black and white, they're precious in His sight.
The principle of compassion. Second principle: the principle of conviction, the principle of conviction. No one is truly saved apart from the conviction of sin. Now, notice what he is doing with these boys. He brings them to a point where they are in great conviction. Notice Genesis 45 verse 3, "And Joseph said unto his brethren, 'I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?' And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence". One translation gives it, "They were terrified". And well they might be. Another said, "They were afraid". Another translation that I read said, "They were stunned".
Well, why shouldn't they be? Joseph was the one that they had treated so dreadfully, so hatefully, so hellishly, so awfully. They had misused, abused, refused Joseph. And now here he is, the one with absolute authority, the one who could put them to death if he wished. And they're in his hands. And now they tremble at his presence. Do you know what's missing in the average church today? The fear of God, the fear of God. The Bible says in Proverbs 9 verse 10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". And I want to tell you that it is my conviction, and I believe the Bible teaching, that no one has ever been saved who has not first been convicted of his lost estate before God.
First Timothy 1:15, "Christ Jesus came to this world to save sinners". You've never been saved unless you've seen yourself as a hell-deserving sinner. Jesus gave a parable in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18 verses 11 through 14, about a man who stood and prayed with himself and said, "Lord, I thank You that I am not as other men are". But then He said, there was another man, a tax collector was there, "Who would not even so much as lift his eyes to Heaven, but fell upon his knees and smote himself about the breast and said, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner.'" And in the Greek language, he literally said, "God be merciful to me, the sinner". I mean, I am the one. I am a sinner. And Jesus said, concerning that man who failed to admit his own need because of his lostness, Jesus said, "That man went home not saved. He went home dignified. The other man went home justified".
Have you ever said, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner"? Have you ever seen yourself under the conviction of sin? Now, folks, you can admit that you're wrong and never really be convicted of sin. A court may convict me of crimes, conscious may convict me of wrongdoing, but only the Holy Spirit of God can truly convict of sin. So many people join churches like they join a country club and like their doing God a wild favor. They have never seen themselves as sinners in the sight of a righteous and a holy God. What is the principle, what is the principle, the salvation principle that we have here? It's the principle of conviction, conviction. You must be convicted of sin in order to be saved.
Now, here's the third principle: it's the principle of conversion. His compassion causes Him to love you, even if it seems He's treating you roughly. This is meant to bring you to conviction of sin. And then the principle of conversion. And what is the principle of conversion? In order to be saved, we must come to Him, yielding to His Lordship. Now, begin now in Genesis 45 verse 4 on through verse 8, "And Joseph said unto his brethren, 'Come near to me, I pray you.' And they came near. And he said, 'I am Joseph, your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land; and yet there are five years, in the which there shall be neither earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the Earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.'"
That is, God sent me to be a savior. "So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and He hath made me a father to Pharaoh". Pharaoh, young people, was the king, "And the lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt". Now, this is the principle of conversion. How are we saved? Well, you know Ephesians 2:8, 9 and 10, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them". Now, what does that verse tell us? First of all, the Bible tells us that it is by, are you listening, by grace.
Now, what is Joseph saying to his brothers? "Look, all of this is the grace of God. You sold me into slavery, as far as you're concerned, I was as good as dead. But God had a purpose. While we were sinners, God loved us. God loved you boys so much, even while you were doing all of this wickedness, God was working behind the scenes to make me a savior. It is sheer grace. God did it". And he is now emphasizing the grace of God. He is not minimizing their sin; he is emphasizing God's grace. Calvary was the greatest tragedy in man's dealings with God, but God's greatest triumph in God's dealings with man. When they misused and abused Joseph, that was wickedness, but over it all and behind it all was God, working it all together for His glory. Calvary, the greatest tragedy this world has ever known was God's greatest victory when Jesus, God the mighty maker died, for man, the creature's sin.
Now, listen to me. How, what is the principle of conversion? It is by grace through faith. Look at Genesis 45 verse 4. And he says, "Come to me". Now, at that moment, they've got a decision to make. Here he is, the exalted sovereign. Here he is, saying, "Look, it's all a part of God's plan. My suffering is for your benefit and your welfare. God meant it for good. God loves you. Now, come, come". Here they are. The Bible says in that verse, "And they came to him". They took that step of faith. It's almost as if Joseph said, "Come unto me," and they said, "Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me. O, Lamb of God, I come to Thee, I come". It is by grace through faith. And now, Joseph says, "All right. Now that you've come, I want you to know that I have a plan for you". It is unto good works.
Look in verses Genesis 45 verses 6 and 7 here when he says in this wonderful chapter, "And for these two years hath the famine been in the land: and there are five years, in which there shall neither earing nor harvest". Joseph was the only one who really knew the future. "And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. And so now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and hath made me," now watch this, "a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout the land of Egypt". "Brothers, you now are under new management. I am the lord of all of Egypt, and it is all made possible because of my exaltation".
Now, if you're not a Christian today, let me tell you about Jesus. Jesus is not now a baby in a manger, nor is Jesus a man nailed to a cross. He is the exalted King of kings and Lord of lords. And how do you come to Him? You come to Him because it is by grace. You come through faith. You come unto good works to bow the knee to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, here's the next principle, and this is principle number four of these seven salvation principles that you're going find tucked away here. It is the principle of confession, confession. First of all, His compassion. Secondly, our conviction. Thirdly, our conversion. And now our confession. Once we give our hearts to our Lord, then it's our job to confess Him openly and publicly. Begin now in Genesis 45 and let's read verses 9 to 13, here's what Joseph says to his brothers.
"Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, 'Thus saith thy son, Joseph: "God hath made me lord of all Egypt; come down unto me, tarry not; And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast. And there I will nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother, Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither".'"
Now what is the lesson here? Well, Joseph says, "Look, I have forgiven you and I have restored you. Now there're others that I want to bring to my glory, and I am commissioning you now and I am commanding you now that you are to confess me to them". You see, in verse 4, he says come, but now look in verse 9. In verse 9, he says go. May I tell you that all of the Gospel can be summed up in these two phrases, "Come unto me; Go ye into all the world". That's it. "Come," he says, "come to Me". They came. He said, "All right. Now, go and tell others". What right do we have to call ourselves children of God if we fail to obey Him? Our Lord has given us a great commission. We're to go into all the world and share the Lord Jesus Christ. Did you know you can't spell the word Gospel without beginning G-O?
A little boy had a toy car he got at Christmas. It wouldn't work. His dad said, "What's wrong with it"? He said, "I think the go is broke". I think that's what's wrong with the church. Listen, we're to go. We're to go. To say that all Christians are missionaries is just another way of saying all Christians are Christians. What were they to share? What was the message they were to share? Here's what the message was. Number one, we once rejected Him. Number two, God has raised Him up on high. Number three, He has a name that is above every name. Number four, the world is now at His feet. Number five, He is the fairest of ten thousand. Number six, He has forgiven all of our sins. Number seven, He wants us to be with Him and to share His glory. That's what they were to tell about Joseph, and that's what we're to tell about Jesus.
Now, here's the next salvation principle, and it's the principle of communion. And what is the principle of communion? You have been redeemed and you have been forgiven and you have been commissioned to fellowship with your King. Look in Genesis, verses 14 and 15 now of chapter 45, "And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept". Reminds you so much of the father and the prodigal son, doesn't it? "And Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover, he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them; and after that his brethren talked with him".
Can you imagine this scene? I mean, look, folks, use your imagination. This is not a fairy tale. Here's Joseph. He said, "I'm Joseph". They're terrified. He says, "Come on, come to me," and they come, and he forgives them. And he says, "Look, it's all by the grace of God. God meant it for your good. God sent me to be your deliverer. Come to me. Now, go tell others what you've seen, what you've heard, that I am risen, I am reigning, I am rich. Go tell the message". Then he says, "Come, come here Benjamin. Benjamin, I love you. Come here Judah. Judah, I love you, Judah". Judah says, "I love you Joseph". The Joseph he'd sold for silver. I love you, and he's hugging them. And then it says, "And he talked with them".
Can you imagine that? Would you like to have a tape recording of that? "And he talked with them". What did they talk about? Who knows, but I'll tell you one thing. God has saved you. Jesus loves you that He might hug you, weep with you, and talk with you. O, what a fellowship. You know, years ago, Jim Whitmire served on the Hymnal Committee, helping pick out songs for a new hymnal. And you know, there's been that classic argument. There's one hymn that people say, "Well, we don't want that in there. It's full of model and sentimentality". "I Come to the Garden Alone, when the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own". And they say, "Oh, that's just sentimentality".
No! That's one of the greatest songs in all the hymnal. "And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own". And He wants to hear you talk with Him. And He's interested in the little things, as well as the big things. The little things. You say, "Well, I don't want to bother God with the little things". Oh, tell me something you think is big to God. Your big things are just like that. No! He loves you and He wants fellowship with you. And why has He redeemed you? He wants more than servants. He wants you to know Him and love Him and fellowship with Him. There's the principle of communion.
Now, here's the next principle. And it's the principle of compensation. This is an amazing principle. What is the principle of compensation? God saves us entirely by grace, and then enriches us, supplies us for service. Notice now, Genesis 45 beginning in verse 16 and read through to verse 23, "And the fame of Joseph was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, 'Joseph's brethren are come:' and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, 'Say unto thy brethren, "This do ye;"'" watch this, "'laid,'" boys and girls, that means load your beasts, "'"and go and get unto the land of Canaan; And take your father and your households, and come unto me; and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land". Now thou art commanded, this do ye: take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come.'" now watch this, and, "'And regard not your stuff.'"
That's one of my favorite things in this whole thing. I read it in another translation and it, it says, "Your merchandise or your possessions," but I like the word stuff. Don't worry about your stuff. "For the good of all the land of Egypt is yours. And the children of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way". underscore that, "to all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment. And to his father he sent after this matter, manner: ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she-asses laden with the corn and bread and meat for his father by the way".
Now, he, he say, he sends them out. He never mentions their guilt at all. It's blotted out. He now calls them brothers. He introduces them to Pharaoh. He says, "King, I want you to meet my brothers". When I was reading this I thought of a verse and I jotted it down. Hebrews 2 verse 11, "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one, for the which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren". He's not ashamed to call me His brother, to present me before the throne, and say, "Holy Father, this is Adrian, my brother". Oh, glory to God. "This is Adrian, my brother". He's not ashamed to call us brothers. And the resources of the throne of the mightiest nation on the face of the earth is laid at their feet. And if they need anything, all they have to do is ask in the name of Joseph and it will be given to them. What does that say to those of us who are saved?
The Bible says in Romans chapter 10 and verse 12, "The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him". And he says, "Look, guys, I'm sending you out. I've commissioned you. Now, don't worry about your stuff". When are we going to learn that? Don't worry about your stuff. Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you". Colossians 2 verse 10, "And ye are complete in Him". Philippians 4:19, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus".
A preacher boy told me one time, he said, "I believe God's called me to preach". He said, "I need to go to school, but I don't have the money". I said, "Oh". I said, "Well, if I could find a very rich person who would underwrite you, would you go"? Boy, his eyes lit up. He said, "Would I"! I said, "Well, you have the One who owns the world, Almighty God". Listen, do you think God wants you to do something and God says, "I just can't afford it". No. Behind any command of God is the omnipotent power of God and the infinite resources of God to carry it out. There's the principle of compensation. He says, "You go and I'm with you. Whatever you need to get the job done, I will supply".
Now, here's the last and final thing. It's the principle of communication, the principle of communication. Begin now in Genesis chapter 45 and read verse 24 to verse 29, "And he sent his brethren away, and they departed; and he said unto them, 'See that ye fall not out by the way.'" That is, don't have an argument on the way. And he must have known those boys. "And they went up out of Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan unto Jacob, their father, And told him, saying, 'Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.'" Can you imagine old, old Jacob hearing this message? "And Jacob's heart fainted; for he believed them not".
Now, they're trying to communicate the message. He believed them not. "And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them; and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob, their father, revived: And Israel said, 'It is enough: Joseph my son is yet alive; and I will go and see him before I die.'" What is the principle of communication? How do we communicate? First of all, by our love. See to it that you don't fall out by the way. Don't get in some silly argument. John 13 verse 35, "By this shall all men know that you're My disciples if you have love one to another".
Listen, folks, the devil had rather start a church fuss than sell a barrel of whisky any day, did you know that? One of the greatest means that we have to convince the Jacobs of this world is by our love. And then, not only by our loves, but by our lips. They told him the words of Joseph. We are to take the message. If you want people to believe, you've got to give them something to believe by our love, by our lips, but, oh, here's the main thing, by our lives. Jacob didn't believe. It was too much to take in. But then he looked up there and he saw these wagons. Now these were paupers that went away. These were boys in famine. Good night. They've got all this wagonloads of stuff that Joseph had sent. And when he saw that, he said, "I know these boys didn't do that by themselves".
This is a true story. You see, listen. By our love, by our lips, and by our life. Do you know what's going to convince this world? When they see us united with wagonloads of God's grace. I mean, with wagonloads of God's grace. When they see something in us that they cannot explain, apart from the good hand of God upon us. I long for that. And I'll tell you, these are seven salvation principles, and let's go back to the first one again. God loves you. The same God that saved that woman that wrote that letter is the God who'll save you today. I don't care what you've done; you probably haven't been a Satanist. You probably haven't signed a pact with the devil in your own blood, but God'll save you. You may be just a child today, a boy or a girl, God'll save you. You may be a businessman, God'll save you. You may be a young married couple. You need Jesus in your family.
Let's bow our heads together in prayer. Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. Now, while heads are bowed and eyes are closed, if you want to be saved, pray a prayer like this:
Lord, I need You. My hungers and my difficulties are just the cords that You're using to bring me to You. I know that You love me. Lord, You have revealed Yourself to me. You've said, 'I'm Jesus. Come to me.' Lord, I come, I come. By faith I trust You to save me. And, Lord, help me never to be ashamed of You. Give me the courage to make it public. In Your name I pray. Amen.