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! Introduction:
A middle-aged business executive approached the front entrance of the office building in which he worked.
A young woman came up at the same moment, so he stepped back and held the door open for her to pass on through.
She looked at him and said with annoyance, “Don’t hold the door for me just because I’m a lady.”
To her surprise, he looked right back and replied, “I’m not.
I’m holding it open because I’m a gentleman.”
Likewise, we as Christians must always act toward others on the basis of what we are in Christ Jesus, and not on the basis of what others may or may not be.
* *
Along those lines, we can’t allow what others think about us or even our circumstances to allow us not to be committed to the Lord and His work.
We are in life as Christians for the Long Hall.
God prospers the work of one who is committed for the long haul.
We read in Genesis 39 we read that “the Lord was with Joseph” and “gave him success in everything he did” (vv.
2–3, 5).
In these verses, although the circumstances have changed, the story nevertheless remains the same.
If we sow a thought, we reap an act;
If we sow an act, we reap a habit;
If we sow a habit, we reap character;
If we sow character, we reap a destiny.
Joseph definitely was a man of character and we can learn a lot from this mans life.
\\ !! A.           The Character Before Career (Genesis 39:20-23).
!!! 1.            “So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail…”  (v.20).
!!!! a)            Potiphar imprisoned Joseph.
(1)           When we read these verses in terms of God’s blessing and Joseph’s success, we think naturally of the fact that Joseph rose to a position of authority in the prison.
(2)           In this, his course was parallel to his earlier rise from being a menial slave to being a personal attendant and manager for Potiphar.
(3)           However, I believe this is where Joseph grew in his integrity.
(a)           Parents, would you agree with me that it is far more important to develop integrity, morality, and godliness in our kids than merely to equip them for outstanding careers?
(b)           We have a Bible Ministry School to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
To help them find their calling from God and come alongside to see that calling come to pass.
(c)           But, I think what is even more important than that is to develop integrity, morality, and godliness in students than simply equip them service.
(4)           It is along these lines that we are to note Joseph’s achievement.
What was important was the way in which his character grew during his imprisonment.
(5)           In similar circumstances another man might have become quite harsh, bitter, or withdrawn.
Not Joseph!
Joseph continued to develop those good traits that already characterized him.
!!!! b)            Being put in situations we do not like.
(1)           *Mark 6:45-52** – *   
(2)           *Daniel 3:13-25** – *
(3)           John Bunyan wrote his most famous work, /Pilgrim’s Progress,/ while jailed in Bedford, England, for preaching the gospel.
(a)           Yet for several centuries that book was second in sales only to the Bible.
Bunyan’s cell window faced a high stone wall that surrounded the prison, making it impossible to see into or out of his cell.
(b)           On many days, however, he would preach loudly enough for his voice to be heard on the outside of the wall, where hundreds of listeners, believers and unbelievers, eagerly awaited his proclamation of God’s Word, which was unconfined by stone walls or iron bars.
(4)           *Acts 12:24** –* 
(5)           1 Peter 3:18-19
\\ !!!! c)            Faithfulness to God under all circumstances (Genesis 39).
!!!!! (1)           I notice two things particularly.
!!!!!! (a)           *(1)* is Joseph continued to think about God and to adjust his entire life around the reality of God’s character.
!!!!!! (b)           *(2)* is “The greatest single characteristic of Joseph was his faithfulness to God under all circumstances, and it is through this that God worked to exalt him so highly.
!!!!!! (c)           In Egypt Joseph might have been tempted to do things he never would have done in his homeland.
(i)             He was far from home with little chance of ever seeing his father or other family members again.
(ii)            He had been deprived of family pleasures.
(iii)           If he had been like many professing Christians today, he might have said, ‘I am far from home and nobody is ever going to see what I do.
(iv)          I will take my pleasure where I can, and I will do whatever it takes to advance my position.’
Joseph never said that.
(v)           He knew that he was God’s child and that his responsibility was to live for and be faithful to God, regardless of what should come into his life.
!!!!! (2)           “Joseph never complained - “Joseph never compromised and as a result, Joseph never lost his power before God.
God was always the chief and determining reality in Joseph’s life.
!!!!!! (a)           *Think about this:* Throughout his life God continued to reveal the future to him through dreams, and God continued to guide him no less when he was in Potiphar’s prison than when he was beside the Pharaoh’s  throne.
!!!!!! (b)           None of us would ever willingly choose to go to prison, and I am sure that Joseph did not relish his imprisonment either.
!!!!!! (c)           Prison strengthened character in Joseph, and he was to show that character when he was later exalted to the first place beside the pharaoh’s throne.
!!!!! (3)           *Note*: I want to show you in the next chapter, Joseph’s character was growing *(Gen.40:6-7)*:
!!!!!! (a)           These words tell us that Joseph continued to be strengthened in his interest in and concern for other people, when he could have been sulking and exclusively concerned about himself.
!!!!!! (b)           Character before Carrier!
!!!! d)            The Lord was with Joseph (v.21).
(1)           The fact that the Lord was with Joseph is mentioned four times *(Genesis 39:2-3, 21, 23)*.
This was all Joseph needed: to know that the Lord was with him.
*When Stephen was giving his defense in Acts 7, speaking about Joseph he said* "And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt.
But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house."
(Acts 7:9-10, NKJV)
*This reminds me of Psalm 1:3 that says about the man who delights in the law of the Lord *"He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper."
(Psalm 1:3, NKJV)
*When Jacob had his dream in Genesis 28, the Lord Himself said to Jacob *"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”" (Genesis 28:15, NKJV)
*Speaking about Samuel the prophet when he was a boy, 1 Samuel 3 says *"So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground."
(1 Samuel 3:19, NKJV)
\\ (2)           This is all any believer needs.
We just need the Lord: to know that the Lord is with us—with us through all circumstances, no matter how severe.
!!!!!! (a)           It might be cancer, an illness
!!!!!! (b)           death of a loved one, loss of a job, no food, etc
*When things like this happen we tend to think that God is against us, remember what Paul said* "What then shall we say to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31, NKJV)
(3)           There are two suggestions in the fact that the Lord is with us.
(a)           There is devotion, a precious consciousness of the Lord’s presence.
/To be with/ each other is what both the Lord and the true believer want.
*John says in 1 John chapter 1* "Again I say, we are telling you about what we ourselves have actually seen and heard, so that you may share the fellowship and the joys we have with the Father and with Jesus Christ his son.”
(1 John 1:3, The Living Bible)
(b)           There is also the truth of God’s care and of His looking after us.
The believer, no matter his circumstances, can rest assured of God’s presence.
*Peter mentions this by saying that we are to* "cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
(1 Peter 5:7, NKJV)
*And Paul says* "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you."
!!!! e)            God was preparing Joseph.
(1)           Joseph faced some tough times through these trying and terrible experiences.
God was preparing Joseph to rule Egypt.
God had to make sure that Joseph was successful.
(2)           Then and only then would the Egyptians allow the chosen family of Jacob to migrate and settle in Goshen.
God could thereby fulfill His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
(3)           Every tough experience enriched Joseph’s character.
He was taught some trait that strengthened him for future decisions.
(a)           He was to carry the nation through seven terrible years of famine.
Thus he needed the administrative ability to challenge and mobilize the people to put enough food in storage to carry them through the years of famine.
(b)           He would confront obstinate and hard opposition from some during the years of plenty, especially the greedy and covetous of the land.
(c)           And he would see the hunger and suffering of many in the years of nothing.
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