Remaining True to God in a Sinful World

Betrayed, Bound, and Blessed: Understanding God's Providence  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:56
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A contrast with Judah and Tamar in Gen 38.

Sin and the Character of God (6-9)

The Bible goes to great lengths to show us the physical appearance of Joseph. He was “handsome in form and appearance” (NASB). Joseph was “well-built and handsome” (CSB).
Joseph’s greatest blessing became a source of temptation for Potiphar’s wife. She sought to destroy his witness.
God has given us significant blessings. There are those who want to destroy your witness. They will appeal to your weaknesses. Or they will will appeal to your circumstances. Or—as in the case of Joseph—they will appeal to your blessings. God had blessed Joseph with good looks. This was the very crux of the temptation for Joseph. A good-looking man was tempted because of his looks. A wealthy person will be tempted due to their wealth. A patient person will have their patience tested.
Think about the strength of this temptation of Joseph. He has been sold into slavery. He has lived in a foreign land. He would not have known the Egyptian language when he was taken there. He—by this time—is about 34 years old. He has no wife.
But how is that we should fight temptation? How should we fight against those things that seek to destroy us? *We must appeal to the character of God.*
Joseph did not “bind satan.” Joseph did not inflict some form of punishment upon his own body. Joseph appealed to the character of God.
Genesis 39:9 NASB95
“There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”
Joseph recognized that the blessings he had were blessings that had come from God. He was the greatest in Potiphar’s house. Nothing was withheld from him. But Joseph said “How could I do this great evil against God?”
Even though Potiphar was the immediate cause behind Joseph’s success, Joseph knew that God was the ultimate cause. Joseph knew that Potiphar’s actions bowed to God’s will.

Our sin is always against God

Psalm 51:4 NASB95
Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.
The prodigal son cried out:
Luke 15:21 NASB95
“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
Had Joseph given in to the temptation of Potiphar’s wife, it would not have ultimately been Potiphar that he sinned against. It would not have been Potiphar’s wife. His sin was a sin a against God. A sin against the holy character of God.
When we commit sin, we are not sinning ultimately against humanity. We are not sinning primarily against another human being. We are shaking our fist in the face of God and saying He is unworthy of our loyalty.

Sin and the Way of the World (10-18)

What drove Potiphar’s wife to this act?
The handsomeness of Joseph
Her own loneliness
Primarily, she had put herself in the place of God. She wanted what she wanted and no one was going to keep it from her.
Is that not how the world approaches what’s right and wrong today?
“I have my rights. I deserve what I want.” Or the greatest theological treatise of the day: “God wants me to be happy.”
For Potiphar’s wife, there was no higher goal than self-protection. For her, right and wrong was determined by self-advancement. What would advance her interests.
But—for God—right and wrong is determined by His nature. His character.
‟Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.” —William Penn.
We live in a world where sinfulness is determined by culture. What’s popular. Sin is no longer an affront to God. It is a “controlling tactic” of the religious. It is a disease. It is a character flaw. Each of these fail to see that sin is ultimately an attack upon the character of God.
Marriage is not determined by culture. It is determined by God.
The value of life is not determined by a woman’s right to choose. It is determined by the Giver of Life.
Sometimes doing the right thing brings the wrong consequences. We often suffer for doing what’s right.

Sin, Suffering, and the Kindness of God (19-23)

We might be prone to think that Joseph’s faithfulness to God would have brought immediate blessing. We tend to approach our own lives that way. We resist temptation. We fight against it. We say “no”. Then we expect the heavens to open, angels to descend, and play a serenade of trumpets in our honor. We have overcome.
But it doesn’t happen that way. Often, our faithfulness goes unnoticed. Or sometimes people accuse us of wrongdoing when we simply wanted to be honorable and faithful to God.
God does not always remove us from the land of temptation. But he gives more grace as we face temptation. A verse we often misinterpret:
1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB95
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
Conclusion: The Effects of Sin
Why was Joseph so virulent against sin creeping into his life?
Joseph knew that Sin would enslave him. He would rather be in imprisoned by Potiphar than imprisoned by sin. Sin is always addictive.
If you flirt with sin, you will date sin. If you date sin, you will be wed to sin.
Sin will take you further than you want to go. Keep you longer than you want to stay. And cost you more than you want to pay.
Joseph knew that Sin would disqualify him from God’s blessings. His two earlier dreams were about God’s blessing of him. Joseph did not want to miss those blessings.
Joseph knew that Sin would make him lose awareness of the presence of God in his life.
“He that hath slight thoughts of sin never had great thoughts of God.” ― John Owen
Invitation : Joseph and the Gospel.
The Bible ways that Jesus was tempted in all ways even as we are. And yet Jesus remained faithful.
We have not been faithful. We need His faithfulness to cover us.
It is God’s kindness that leads you to repentance:
Romans 2:4 NASB95
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Maybe you have sin in your life today. God is leading you to repentance as an act of His grace. Would you resist His grace?
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