It has been said that every New Year Eve, New Year’s Eve at 9:29 p.m. 30 seconds you begin and you start the movie Avengers. End Game and at exactly 12 midnight, you will, you will see Iron Man snapping his fingers exactly at 12 midnight. So it has been practiced by many people in social media. I’ve seen pictures and videos. I don’t know, you might want to try that. The reason why I said that is because End Game, if you’re familiar with the cinematic universe, it was I believe was the climax of that cinematic universe. And in that movie the climax is that part when Iron Man snapped his fingers so that Thanos and all his cohorts will be gone. And as you know when he snapped his finger, that is a call back to what happened before when he said that he was Iron Man, and when he snapped his fingers it has come full circle and he said I am Iron Man.
Now in Genesis chapter 45, we’re also at the climax of the story this time of Joseph. And before he dreamed about his brothers and his dream was about his brothers bowing down to him. Now in Genesis chapter 45, we have also come full circle, this time his brothers are in the mercy of the hands of Joseph. That is what we will read in chapter 45 so turn your Bibles to Genesis chapter 45 and we will read verses 1-8. Genesis chapter 45. Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
So Joseph has given his brothers tests in the previous chapters and that is in order uh for Joseph to see if there is an acknowledgment of their guilt and that’s exactly what we’ve read in the previous chapter. Joseph saw repentance and because of this in this chapter, it tells us that Joseph could not control himself anymore, that he had to ask everyone else to go out except his brothers and reveal himself to them. And when Joseph said I am Joseph, is my father still alive? The response of the brothers were they were horrified, they were dismayed, they were just thinking of how guilty they were for what they have done to Joseph. But now, the 17-year-old boy whom they sold now a grown man after many years, leading an entire country, now has power over them, now has the authority to do what he wants, now has the authority to punish them for their crimes. Of course you would be dismayed as well just like the brothers. And yet the words that came out of Joseph’s mouth was: “come near to me, please.”
Instead of justice, Joseph showed mercy. Joseph, in fact wanted to comfort his brothers. Imagine, Joseph was the one who wanted to comfort his brothers! And what he said should in fact comfort them. In verses 6 to 8, Joseph said now do not be distressed… he’s comforting them. Do not be angry with yourselves because you sold me here. For God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest and God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on Earth and to keep alive for you many survivors so it was not you who sent me here, but God. I mean if you hear that, if you heard that from Joseph and you’re feeling the guilt, the weight of your guilt, and yet Joseph was saying don’t worry, don’t worry; in fact it was God who sent me here. Imagine! Now, it’s Joseph, the one who was trapped in the pit, Joseph who was put into prison. Now Joseph, the comforter. That’s what happened here in this chapter. He’s saying it was not you who sent me here but God. Joseph was saying that while you indeed sinned against me, yes, we have to acknowledge that you sinned.. you sold me here, and because of your sin, in fact I became the governor of this country, Egypt. But it was in fact God who was the active governor of the universe, who sent me here. What a great theological truth coming from Joseph! As early in the books of Genesis, we find this hard truth for everyone, right. When we speak of God’s control and man’s responsibility as early in the time, as in the time of Joseph. He’s giving us this great theological truth that there is in fact no contradiction. You may call it a paradox, yes, but it is compatible. You sinned, again, it was God who sent me here. A truth that informs his brothers and also us that God knows all things, that God is actively governing all things, despite the current existence of sin, of the curse and its effects. So if Joseph was comforting the brothers and in fact his brothers was were comforted, isn’t this also supposed to comfort all of us.
You’ve heard many times how Charles Spurgeon speaks of the sovereignty of God as a pillow that would comfort him. This should be comforting for all of us. Yes, we may have remaining sins and these sins may affect us, may affect our situations, our decisions in life and yet if we look at the work of God, we can be comforted by the fact that ultimately, God is sovereign. And His providential hand is at work in our lives.
Our message of this afternoon is that the world is indeed full of sin. In fact we.. this world has been plunged into the curse. The World Is Full Of Sin but you have discomfort, But God Actively Governs All Things. There needs to be an understanding theologically of this great truth that sovereignty and providence are in fact the common theme in the Book of Genesis. Most importantly in the life of Joseph. You have heard the the the sovereignty and the providence of God in many sermons in Genesis before and you will hear it again if we go to Genesis chapter 50. If we go to verse 20, because it is a common theme in this book especially in the life of Joseph. Now, when we speak of sovereignty, we’re talking about God’s attribute, okay. What He is.. He is sovereign and how does this sovereignty seem? It is through the act of providence, okay. We need to distinguish both those two words. In fact it sounds the same, but sovereignty is who He is, what He is, that’s His attribute. The providence is His work, the providence is His act because He is sovereign, okay. Now we can see in this chapter, this paradox, that Sin Primarily Is Our Responsibility. That is my first point. And yet at the same time we see second point is God’s Sovereignty. So our responsibility and then God’s sovereignty.
We will consider our first point Our Responsibility. Remember what the brothers of Joseph did to him. Because of their envy, because of their jealousy, they wanted to kill Joseph. Remember that chapter. In fact, Reuben did not want to kill him, rather Reuben, the older brother suggested that the brothers just throw him into the pit. It’s as if hindi kasalanan din yung suggestion niya.
Kasalanan pa din yun! And so the brothers stripped Joseph of his robe and threw him into the pit. By the way, has no water, that pit has no food, and while Joseph was in fact pleading, Joseph was pleading to them, he has no food, he has no water. Remember what the brothers were doing? They were sitting down and eating. And then Judah suggested to just sell Joseph to Egypt. And then they went home and they lied to their father say saying that Joseph died. That was the sin of the brothers, remember. And now Joseph in chapter 45 recognised this, acknowledged this by saying in verse five do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. He recognized their sin, he acknowledged his brother’s sin. That it was them who sold Joseph. The reason why Joseph was there, because his brothers sold him. It was their sin of envy, it was their sin of jealousy that led Joseph to Egypt. The brothers were still responsible for the sin that they had committed and Joseph was in fact acknowledging this rightfully so. And you have to look at the verse; in fact Joseph was so careful with his words, he was so careful. According to Joseph, it was the brothers who sold him and God was the one who sent him. Notice the difference. The brothers sold Joseph. God sent Joseph, right. Which tells us that the ones who had the motive of selling, the motive to sell Joseph, the motive, the motive to in fact kill Joseph were the brothers. They were responsible for their sin. Remember God does not sin, because He is holy, holy, holy. God does not even tempt us to sin. It’s clear in James chapter 1: 13- 15 it says let no one say… so see, we’re commanded by scripture to not say.. “let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James rightfully tells us here that sin comes from not the desire of God, but your own desire. And that desire becomes when it’s conceived, when it conceives gives birth to sin. It’s coming from the sinner! It came from the brothers. They really wanted to sell Joseph. They really wanted to kill Joseph. It wasn’t God who, it wasn’t God who told the brothers go ahead and kill him so that he would… go ahead and sell him so that he can be in Egypt. Oh no! God did not say that to the brothers. God did not tempt the brothers to do that because God does not have any sinful desires. Rather, it was the enemy Satan and his rulers and authorities who tempted them and it was the brothers who had that inner desire. In fact what Satan did was to just fan the flames. This the desire to kill was already in the hearts of the brothers and Satan was just go ahead. That’s what happens, that’s what happened. Again, it was the brothers’ sin and they were responsible for what they have done and Joseph acknowledged their sin despite his knowledge of God’s sovereignty, despite of him having confidence in what God has done. It was God who sent him and yet he still acknowledged that it was their sin. And we have many examples in the scripture of…. the Bible itself acknowledging the sins of men. Eve, 1 Timothy 2: 13 Eve was the trans… Adam was not the transgressor. Eve was the transgressor.
Eve was the one deceived. Romans chapter 5, the sin of one man, right; death entered the world because of the sin of one man, Adam. So see, the Bible acknowledges Eve sinned, Adam sinned, right. So you can’t blame God. The brothers cannot blame God. It is only the brothers. They can only blame themselves. It’s the same for us. It is only us who can be blamed for our own sin. Eve blamed Satan in the garden. Adam blamed God in the garden. Then that’s the usual response whenever we sin. In fact whenever we are caught, there’s no one else to blame but us. All men sinned and all our sins are against the most high God. Sin does not come from God. What comes from God is the remedy to sin. God sends the remedy in the form of a man who in fact is God the Son and His name is Jesus Christ and He lived a life without sin. But He’s not just a mere example for us to follow. He lived a sinless life to be the substitute of those who cannot live a sinless life. And then He died on the cross. He received the just punishment for sin to be the substitute of those deserving to be punished: you and I. And because death is but a result of sin, Christ rose from the dead so that those who believe in Him will also rise from the dead. And everyone then is called by the scriptures to repent of their sins and come to faith in that remedy. That is the remedy. He is the remedy to sin. If you are not, if you have.. if you do not have the desire to come to this remedy, I say do not be distressed.. come near to Him. Please, come near to Christ. He alone is your remedy. Sin and temptation does not come from God, it comes from your inner desire. And Satan does not help you; no, he helps you fan the flames. And the world doesn’t help you as well. The world will tell you that the worldly things are better. You can be saved. If you are not in Christ, you can be saved. Pwede kang maligtas sa iyong mga kasalanan. Pinadala ng Panginoon ang sagot, ang solusyon sa prublema ng kasalanan at iyon ay wala nang iba kundi si Kristo na namatay sa krus. Tumalikod ka sa iyong kasalanan at maniwala ka at manampalataya ka sa Kanya.
If you are in Christ, it doesn’t mean that you will immediately be perfect. Remember that you will still have remaining sins, and these sins continue to affect us. At times, we wouldn’t be able to avoid the consequences of our sins.
And that these sins need to be mortified. In fact, you are called to to mortify your sins. And just as Joseph acknowledged the specific sin of his brothers, same with us brethren: repentance requires confession, confession requires particularising your sin. You can’t just say I’m sorry because I sin. What are you sorry for? What are you repenting of? When something’s wrong with your body, probably headache, stomachache, well you go to the doctor and tell the doctor what you’re feeling. You don’t just tell the doctor I’m sick. How would the physician help you and properly diagnose if you can’t specify what’s wrong with you? Same is true for us. Unless you know, and unless you can acknowledge what sin, that is this you won’t be able to mortify it. And be assured that we have a greater physician in Jesus Christ who is able to remedy our problem of sin. So I challenge you brethren: acknowledge just as Joseph acknowledged and saw their sin, acknowledge and confess your particular sin. Now the beauty of being in Christ is that once you name your sin, you are assured that that sin has been judged on the cross. Acknowledge And Confess Your Particular Sin And Find It Judged Punished On The Cross Of Christ. So brother and sister, what sin is that? It.. in Christ, it’s already killed on the cross, whatever sin that is. Because Christ already defeated sin on the cross. The Holy Spirit now strengthens us to continuously kill our sin. The problem is this: at times, we protect our sins by not even naming it. Hindi ko sinasabi na pangalanan niyo ng cute na pangalan nung kasalanan niyo. Ano yung kasalanan? Identify it. That’s what I mean when I say name your sin. I mean when we ask for forgiven, again we say… sometimes we say I’m sorry I sinned instead of I’m sorry I lied about this. And that is a sin.
Brethren, be responsible, be accountable. You cannot mortify what you cannot particularise. There are also times when we in fact recognise our sins but we blame others for being the reason for our sins. Actually, mas madalas yun, na-identify natin, ah, mali ako..pero kaya ako nagkamali, magaling tayo ma-assist, magaling tayo magpasa. Yes, I sinned. I’m sorry, but I got angry because you did this. Because you were like this to me. Umikot ‘no. So we do acknowledge our sins. We say our sorry, but there’s still blame-shifting. Yes, situations, yes, people may indeed move us to commit a sin. Yes, kunwari. Ang isang wife ay unsubmissive and then the husband would retaliate and sin, would respond in a sinful way, right. And so sasabihin ni husband ‘dahil ginawa mo ito, kaya ako naging ganito.’ Yes, people may move us to commit a sin, or situations in life, financial problem or whatever, may kumbaga, nagsi-sin tayo of worry and yet, ib-blame natin sa situation situation, right. At the end of the day as a Christian, you had a choice whether to sin or not to sin. And at times you choose to sin. So you can’t always blame it to others. In fact the reason why there are such situations, the reason why you are in for example in a relationship.. the reason why there are people, that kind of people in your life that would truly lead you to temptations and they move you to commit a sin, the reason why there are people, situations, friends, spouse that would move us to be tempted to sin, is for us to be.. I mean for us to in fact “catch our own sin” and name it and kill it. You can’t blame your spouse always. You can’t blame your friend, you can’t blame your situation and say the reason why I have an anger problem because of you, because of this.
And yet the reason why it exists, they exist is for you to catch your own sin. What is that sin and kill it!
Thomas Watson in his writing, the doctrine of repentance.. he said and I quote “A wicked man acknowledges he is a sinner in general. He confesses sin by wholesale. A wicked man says Lord I have sinned, but does not know what the sin is. At least he does not remember. Whereas a true convert acknowledges his particular sins.” So brethren, do you have sins unconfessed? Can you name them? Let me assure you brothers and sisters in Christ, those sins that you can name are the same sins that Christ bore on the cross. Let me assure you of that fact. And let that truth motivate you to name your further sins and desire for their mortification. You name your sin with the intention of killing it. On the cross, Christ the sinless names, the sinners with the intention of saving them. In fact He names us when He intercedes for us continuously. He prays to the Father for us and in that prayer, He utters your name. He voluntarily went to calvary knowing those who are His, knowing who he will save. Let that comforting truth all the more push you to be serious, to be naming, catching your sins and mortify them. Understanding and knowing that such sins have already be killed on the cross.
You have that great assurance, brethren.
And for my last point, we look at God’s Sovereignty. And so in Joseph’s words, we understand God’s work of providence, was sent to Egypt it says for life to be preserved. For there are yet five more years of famine to come. That’s the reason why God has sent Joseph to Egypt so that life will be preserved. The life of Joseph and his Jacob rather, and his family and the rest of the future Israelites will be preserved. That’s the intention of God. Definitely, the brothers did not sell Joseph to Egypt so that life will be preserved. Hindi yan yung intensyon nung mga kapatid niya..tara, ibenta natin ito para ma-preserve yung buhay natin. Hindi yun yung intention ng mga kapatid. Intention nila to kill, intensyon ng Diyos to save. There’s a difference. In their minds, they want to murder Joseph. But it is true and we can indeed say that they sold Joseph to Egypt but it wasn’t them who ultimately sent Joseph there. Because it’s clear in our passage in verse eight it says it wasn’t you who sent… you sold me but it wasn’t you who sent me here. And Joseph utters I believe it two amazing words. He says: “But not.. You did this, you wanted this, but not.” Those two words are words of intervention. Those are words of supernatural intervention. Something’s happening, but God. Something sinful is happening,, but God. The sons of Jacob wanted to kill Joseph.. but God. The sons of Jacob hid their sin for many years… but God. Jacob mourned for the loss of his son, Joseph and was about to die of old age… but God. Men will run, men will govern this world through sin… but God. We were dead in our trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world… but God. And you follow the prince of the power of the air and you once lived in the passion of your flesh… but God. We were all strangers in God’s covenants. We had no hope, we had no God in this world… but God.
To those who continue enjoying the life of flesh, to those who continue their life of deadness in sin, to those who want to continue their life apart from God, there is no “but God.” That’s why you’re called to repent of your sins and come to faith in Jesus Christ so such spiritual intervention, there will be a spiritual intervention in your life for you to respond. But if you respond yes, definitely there had been a “but God” in your life. In fact, if there’s a fitting title for the entire Bible story, it should be “but God” That despite the existence of sin in this world… but God. And we see the ultimate manifestation of that “but God” in the person and work of Christ. Man sinned against God, so we see the supernatural intervention of God by sending God to become flesh to die and rise again and save sinners from God. This is the ultimate plan of God. Despite of the sin and the curse that exists in this world, the work of the Lord happened.. but God.
In Peter’s sermon in Acts chapter 2: 23- 24, Peter said this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. We see Peter here saying the evil that happened on the cross, it was evil for Christ was murdered.
Peter was saying He was killed, He was crucified. That is an evil thing to do, murder… but God used that same evil, that evil which did not come from God, and that same evil, we see God’s goodness in saving people. The Jews and the Roman soldiers desired to kill Jesus Christ. Satan desired to kill Jesus Christ and in that same event, God desired to save His people. God brings the good out..
God brings the good out of evil. This is true sa work ng Panginoon. Evil was done to Joseph, and yet God brought the good out of what was evil. They intended to murder Joseph but God intended Joseph’s imprisonment, Joseph’s selling into Egypt for the good of people.
You see, we are responsible for our sins and yet God is the active governor of the universe. God actively governs His creation. What’s evil, He in fact can bring the good out of it. Yes, evil is still evil but God is sovereign that He can use evil to bring out the good. That is true in the entire narrative of the Bible. It is also true in our own lives. Romans 8:28 that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose all again, all things here when Paul says all things it means good. it means best things, it means bad things, it means worst of the worst things. All things work together for good. The providence of God no matter how bad it looks from a human perspective. And we can say it’s so bad and I’ve said this before.. think of something, think of the worst thing that would happen and it is death. And even death as the worst thing can turn into something good if you are in Christ because your death becomes your entrance into glory. And that is the worst thing.. death. So the providence of God, no matter how bad it looks from a perspective of a human being, it is always good for those in Christ. It was evil, evil for his brothers to sell Joseph, and yet his stay in the pit, his, his years in prison made him what? a more patient, a more God-dependent man. His years in what? governing his brothers and then governing the house of Potiphar made him a better governor of Egypt. It was for Joseph’s good. But it was also, listen.. for the the good of his brothers. Imagine they wanted to kill him, and yet doing so, in fact will save their lives. That’s how amazing God is. Because of Joseph, they had something to eat. We see God’s desire for them to be saved despite the situations they were in, because God so desires the good of His people. And in fact, that desire does not change. Imagine, God sent Joseph so that Jacob and his family will go to Egypt. His desire is for them to be saved. Many years after.. what God will do? He will send the people of Jacob outside of Egypt. And the desire is the same for them to be saved. They were sent out from Egypt.
Remember the story of Moses, the Exodus. But ultimately, we’re not to look at the story of one book, we are to look at the entire biblical narrative. And we see the ultimate plan of God. God’s real motivation is this— that God sends Joseph, sent Joseph to the pit. God sent Joseph to prison. God sent Joseph to Egypt so you will be redeemed from your sins. Imagine! He was in the pit, so you can be saved. He sent Joseph to Egypt to preserve the line of Judah who will bring about Christ into the world and redeem you from sin. That’s what I meant.
Brethren, that is the providence of God. Yun yung pagiging soberano ng Diyos. Whatever evil happens to us, God uses that to bring the good.
Maganda yung sinabi ni John Calvin and I quote. He said: There is nothing more calculated to increase our faith. Sabi niya, kung gusto mo na mas lalo pang ma-deepen at mag-increase ang iyong pananampalataya sa Diyos, and this is what he said —“There is nothing more calculated to increase our faith than the knowledge of the providence of God. Because without it, we would be harassed with doubts and fears. Being uncertain whether or not the world was governed by chance.” And the good news is that this world is not governed by chance. This world is governed by an active governor who is God.
And so the challenge for us then brethren is in fact not just understand and know the providence of God, but have confidence. Have Confidence In God’s Providence. This is a good challenge for us brethren. Especially as we end this year. Before we enter 2024, we should look back and reflect on everything that has happened to us in the past year. Did we lose our job? A relationship? Do we lose someone we love? Did we have marital or parental issues? Did we go through suffering and afflictions? Did God discipline us? Now think of these things and think of the desire of God that these things were allowed by God to sanctify you, to make you more dependent on Christ. And the challenge as we enter this coming year, is to have have confidence that God’s providence is for your good. Look back and reflect what happened to you. And now and you say no.. everything that has happened was in fact for my good. Yun yung challenge ko sa ‘yo. Hindi kita china-challenge na teka, tignan ko, isipin ko muna kung it’s for my good, no? The word of God already tells you it is good. And the challenge is to meditate and see the work of God and how it was good because it is good. I’m not saying nung nagkasala ka, that’s good. No. Evil is still evil, sin is still sin but God uses circumstances, situations in life even your sin for you to end up, for you to realise the work of God and that the work of God is in fact good for you and for His people.
Let me share to you, I’m not sure if you know James Montgomery Boice. He was a pastor, theologian pastor and of course he already passed away. When he was pastoring a church, he was diagnosed with a liver cancer. And because of the terminal nature of the disease, he had to address the church for the last time. He had to tell the church what’s going on. And so he said and I quote. In front of the church, behind the pulpit he said: “ If I were to reflect on what’s going on theologically, there are two things I would stress: one, is the sovereignty of God. God is in charge. When things like this happen in our lives, they are not accidental but what I have been impressed mostly is something in addition to that it is possible isn’t it to conceive of God as sovereign and yet indifferent. God is in charge but He doesn’t care. But it’s not that God is not only the one who is in charge. God is also good. Everything he does is good.” And then when he said those words, the congregation was I mean as expected were teary eyed. They were crying. And then James Boice wanted to comfort them and he ended with these words and I quote: “I tell you, this is for my good and it is for your good because God is sovereign and He is good.” Coming from someone who is about to die, and yet confident in the providence of God, that such sickness, yes, it is but a result of sin and evil in this world, sickness that is.. and yet, it is happening for His own good. By the way, He says and for the good of the church. Do we have such confidence? In fact the question is: do we profess and believe that God is sovereign? If yes, are you by faith ready to say the what happened to you in the past or even in the future what will happen to you or what’s happening to you now? Even if it is something really really bad and you’re going through it. Are you by faith confident to say that because God is good, then this is for the good for my good. See our understanding of God’s sovereignty should help us be more confident and say that all things bad or good is ultimately for our good remember that sin will continue to affect us in this Earthly life but God who is sovereign over all brings good out of evil. May the word of God enrich our knowledge of Him and may it stir us to live in light of these truths.
Let us pray. Our great God and gracious Father, thank You Lord for Your word today. Thank You Lord for the assurance that You are good and because you are good Lord, while there’s evil in this world, we are comforted by the fact that You are the sovereign Ruler, the active Governor of this Earth and You are indeed in control of things. But all things whether bad or good is for our good. Lord, give us the hearts to be more confident in Your providence. And whenever we lose such confidence, may we always look to the cross and be assured of it. For the cross is our surety that indeed providence is for the good of those who love God. So Lord, we thank You. May this be in our hearts and our minds especially as we enter this New Year. May we have a better and newer perspective of Your work. We praise You in Jesus’ Name, amen.