We know John Bunyan as the author of the well-known book The Pilgrim’s Progress. John Bunyan was a Baptist preacher, uh he was warned not to preach to a certain village but he hold on to the promise of God that God will be with him even though the uh the policemen in that time will arrest him. And so there was a time when John Bunyan um used to disguise himself in order to pass unnoticed. And so he was able to preach the gospel to a certain village and true enough, a policeman arrested him. But of course John Bunyan um was not afraid because he held on to God’s promise that the Lord was with him. And so he was arrested and he was put into prison by the way for 12 years. Now in our passage this afternoon there was also this man who was put into prison and his name was Joseph and he also have this um assurance. We read, we can read this in this chapter alone, this truth that the Lord also was with Joseph. Turn with me to Genesis chapter 39 and we will read the entire chapter.
Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favour in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.” As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
The grass withers, the flower fades but the word of our God will stand forever.
Firstly, remember that Joseph was hated by his brothers. In fact his brothers wanted to kill him and then he was put into a pit but chose to sell him instead to people whom they don’t know, the Ishmaelites. And then now he’s in the house of someone with a high position named, his name is Potiphar, a captain. Now it seems like he’s, I mean Joseph is in a good condition compared to being with his brothers. But then you see the wife of Potiphar who was attracted to the handsome Joseph. The wife tempted Joseph to lie with him. And because Joseph as you see stood firm, he was a faithful man of God, he was then falsely accused of raping the wife. So now from being in the pit, now he was put into prison. But when he was in prison, he was again put in charge of some of the prisoners. But still, although in charge, he was still a prisoner. It’s still worse there in prison. In fact, when we read this in our scripture reading, Psalm 105 describes for us what it was like when he was a slave when he was a prisoner. Psalm 105 Verse 18 it tells us his feet were hurt with fetters, Joseph’s neck was put in a collar of iron. Yes he was in charge of the others, nonetheless, a prisoner, he was still a prisoner.
So tragedy after a tragedy, that was the life of Joseph. And the author of Genesis, Moses wanted us to see that despite the ups and downs in the life of Joseph here in this chapter, the author obviously wanted us to see that there is comfort during these times or trials. He repeatedly mentions in this chapter the assurance that Joseph had. Verse 2. The Lord was with Joseph. Verse 3 his master saw that the Lord was with him. Verse 21 when he was in prison the Lord was with Joseph. Verse 23 the Lord was with him. Now isn’t that true also of us? That wherever you go, whatever you do, whatever circumstance you are in in your life just like Joseph, whether you’re in prison or in charge or an overseer, God is with us. That if you are a believer of Jesus Christ, you have that assurance with God is with us.
That is our message this afternoon whatever our situation is, we can be assured that in Christ, God Is With Us. That’s what happened to Joseph. God was with him when he was, this is my first point, when he was Tempted To Sin. And God was with him as well this is my second point when he was Blessed In Life.
Let us consider the first point Tempted To Sin. This chapter tells us that Joseph was handsome. And the wife of Potiphar was attracted to him. The wife tempted him by saying lie with me. Potiphar, the husband wasn’t there in the house. The woman was the one who’s already coming to him, presenting herself to him. It’s not the other way around by the way, right. Ganun ang mga temptations. Yung temptations ang lumalapit sa atin maliban na lang kung ikaw yung lumalapit sa temptations. Ganun yung nangyari kay Joseph, the temptation was coming to him. The woman, yung babae mismo yung lumalapit sa kanya. Pinipresenta niya ang kanyang sarili, “lie with me” And even after Joseph refused, Potiphar’s wife still, what.. continued with her temptations. In fact sabi sa verse 10 tells us it was day after day.. imagine. Day after day? Pupunta ka lang dun, magttrabaho ka lang naman. And then there is this temptation every single day. And every single day you would refuse, right. He would say no. Until there was this time when they were they were just alone in the house. No one was there that the opportunistic wife used the garment that was left by Joseph kasi tinempt uli siya, lie with me..and then Joseph fled this time and may naiwan na garment. Ginamit yun ni Potiphar’s wife to accuse Joseph of rape. She lied about it and then told her husband Potiphar that Joseph came into me to lie with me.
Familiar tactics, familiar strategy by the wife of Potiphar. Something we’ve seen in Genesis chapter 3. Something we’ve seen in passages of scripture where you see there Satan.. familiar tactics: lying, accusing, blaming, making up stories, daily temptations, non-stop, same tactic. Not only that, we can see as well that temptations heighten when you’re alone, right. Nakita ni Potiphar’s wife what a great opportunity this person is alone. Let me tell this person same tactic by none other than Satan himself, by the enemy. When we’re alone, mas heightened ang mga temptations. When we’re idle, when we are alone. No one else was there. That was the perfect opportunity. Satan also uses such opportunity. And also in the story it shows us the again, nitong tactic ni Potiphar’s wife by lying. She lied. In fact, he accused Joseph of something that he didn’t do. And also, hindi lang yun, she blamed, nakita natin yung pag-blame pa ni Potiphar’s wife. She didn’t blame Joseph. In fact verse 17, she blamed her husband. The Hebrew servant whom you have brought among us, right. Epekto ng kasalanan. That’s also what the enemy Satan does to God’s people.. accuses us, tempts us, lies to us, again, same strategy.
And the story in this chapter teaches us what to do when we are faced with such temptations. Ano’ng ginawa ni Joseph? He refused. Day after day, day one he refused, day two refused, day three refused. We don’t know kung gaano katagal ito. Well it seems like matagal. Day after day. But everyday, he says no. In fact he said, Joseph said something like this, uh, nakita naman natin sa verses, ‘no. He argued na napakabait ng asawa mo! Your husband has been so good to me, and he has entrusted me with everything, right. When he was being tempted by the wife, napakabait pa nga ng asawa mo sa akin, binigay niya sa akin lahat. In fact he also said he’s not greater in this house than I am. What does that mean in fact he’s saying he has given me equal authority. He’s not greater than I am. Equal authority namin sa bahay na ito. Joseph didn’t own the household and yet the same authority was given to him, right, an overseer…yun ang meron si Joseph. Now Joseph could have said: he has given me all of these things, dapat ganito ang sinabi ni Jospeh. Pwede niya ring sabihin ito eh. Why would I sin against your husband who has trust me with everything? I mean he could have said that. But instead Joseph said in verse 9, how then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?
Joseph knew firstly the gravity of sin. He treats it as great wickedness by saying that. And secondly, that ultimately, if he commits that sin, it is sin against the holy God. See how Joseph responded with the temptations. He knew what sin was like. He knew the gravity of sin that it was against the holy God. Not only that. Ano pa ang response ni Jospeh na, meron tayong matututunan dito eh. Joseph fled. As in lumayas siya. Joseph fled out of the house! His response to the situation showed us the powerful presence of God in his life. That’s what it shows us. Papaano niya masasabi ang mga ganung bagay? Papaano niya magagawa yung mga ganung bagay. You say no everyday and then you flee from the house if not for the presence of God. You see, not even Joseph who himself was a sinner can flee from such temptations apart from the work of God in his life. Kung wala ang presensiya ng Panginoon, tingin ba natin, kaya ni Joseph makaalis? Tingin natin kaya ba ni Joseph sumagot at sabihin, bakit ako magkakasala sa Panginoon? This is the same promise that God has with Abraham even to Isaac, to Jacob and even to Israel ,that His presence will strengthen them. Sinabi ng Panginoon yan sa mga Israelites. Isaiah chapter 41 verse 10. Sabi Niya sa Israel: fear not for I am with you. Ang presensiya ko ay nasa inyo. Be not dismayed for I am your God. Ang implication ng presensiya ng Panginoon sa Kanyang bayan, what? I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
See, God’s presence in His people enables His people to flee from temptations. Dun galing yung kalakasan. Because God was with Joseph. And that can all that can also happen to all of us, us who are in Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ you may not even know na yung mga dumadating na temptation ay temptation because you will welcome them with joy. You don’t even know. But because of the presence of God you know. In fact you’re aware of the tactics of the enemy and you have been you are straightened by God to leave, to flee, say no, to use the word of God against such temptations. You have the sword of the spirit that you can draw from the sheath, the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. You have the armour of God if you are in Christ. Kung wala ka kay Kristo, wala kang suot na armour. Ni wala ngang paglalaban na nangyayari kung wala ka kay Kristo. You won’t even notice. It’s probably a usual thing. Normal lamang. Nasira na ang conscience, seared na ang conscience na pag may pumasok na temptation, walang hesitance; welcome… In fact, yung tao na mismo yung lumalapit sa temptations. Knowing na maraming crocodiles dun sa sa Ilog, siya na mismo yung lalapit. Kahit alam niyang dangerous yun, lalapit sya dun, ieenjoy pa niya yun. Kung wala tayo kay Kristo, hindi natin mararamdaman. Marahil ine-enjoy mo ang kasalanan. Walang hatred sa sin. Pero kung ikaw na kay Kristo, maiintindihan mo ang galit ng Panginoon sa kasalanan. Because that’s what we see on the cross. God’s hatred towards sin on the cross. It was Christ who received voluntarily the wrath of God. It was poured on Him! That’s why those who are in Christ will never ever be condemned, are not guilty anymore because they have been redeemed by Christ in His death and in His resurrection.
So if you are not in Him, you believe that provision of salvation, believe now, repent of your sins and trust God’s provision in Jesus Christ. But if you are in Christ, you are called to be wise, to be watchful, to know the tactics of the enemy and you are called to flee from temptations.
The New Testament repeatedly calls us to flee ilang beses. Hebrews, Colossians, Corinthians, flee! flee! flee! Not stay there, manage it, stay there for a time, reason with it. Flee! Lumayas ka! Get out of the house! That kind of fleeing. You are called to flee from temptations and as you flee, you’re not fleeing to somewhere, to something else. You’re fleeing to Christ, to your hope, to the one who has defeated sin and death. Flee from temptations to Christ!
That is a challenge this afternoon. You Must Be Aware Of The Tactics Of The Enemy, Be Wise, Be Watchful And Flee From His Temptations. Understand that temptations will continue day after day, hour after hour. It will come. In fact even after you pray today, in fact while you are praying, temptations will come. Temptation to be angry, temptation to lust after one person, from temptation to hate another person, the command is to flee, flee from it and run to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who saved you! Who has enabled you to become more than a conqueror in Him… meaning you can flee. Because He has given you strength by His death. Flee from temptations and as you flee from temptations, flee to Christ.
But the problem here is that there are times when we say, we truly hate our sins but we love the temptations. We have to stay there, we have to play fire it’s as if kaya ko naman ito. I can handle. May pride pa tayo at times. I can enjoy it it we prayed but are you at times I can enjoy it. Hindi yun ang calling ng kristyano sa New Testament. You’re called to flee. we’re not called to manage our temptations, you’re not called to reason out with your temptations, you’re not even called to face it head on. Tara! Lapit, lapit ka, malakas ako, I’m given strength by God. Hindi ganun yung strength. It is a strength for you to flee. That’s the enabling grace of God for you to flee. Umalis ka diyan. We are called to be wise, to be watchful, and flee. Now of course there will be times when you really have to flee. May certain times na tempted ka nung time na iyon. Flee! Alis! Are you alone in a place with someone, opposite sex who is not your spouse? And no one can see you? Flee! It’s actually, umalis ka talaga doon sa room, kung saan man iyan. Or are you in a relationship and you guys are alone in a room. Alis! Fleeing from temptation means flee from that place. Umalis ka dun sa lugar na iyon. I’m sure naisip mo na, teka medyo delikado ito, kaming dalawa lang pero kaya ko naman ito. No. The Bible says: kaya mo iyan, sige, stay ka lang diyan. Hindi ganun ang sinasabi as atin. Umalis ka diyan. That’s one of the most unwise things to say, we’re both Christians, we can do it. Fleeing from temptations mean flee from such place. But see again it’s not just sexual sins. In general free from all temptations. Do you get tempted to say sinful things to someone, to your spouse, to your brother, to your sister, to your parents. Flee from such temptations. Kung gusto mo nang sabihin, alam mong nakakabastos itong sasabihin mo, alis!
Are you at times tempted to be angry at someone, to be envious, to covet. Flee from such temptations. Are there temptations to be prideful, also free from such. But let me clarify this: fleeing from temptations are not really just reactive as if totoo naman, when it happens unless you flee. But also it is also true that it is a cultivation. It is a cultivation in our lives. Paul said in second Timothy Chapter 2 Verse 22 if you can go there in your Bibles. Hindi lang reactive ang fleeing. Kundi ito’y palagi mong gagawin in fact. Second Timothy chapter 2 verse 22 it says: So flee youthful passions, I mean cultivation as you flee. It says… and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. It means that you continuously flee as you pursue. As you pursue righteousness, you are fleeing from temptations. Temptations will come pero as you pursue righteousness, mas dwelt sa iyo ang salita ng Diyos. If you’re pursuing God’s word seriously, if you’re continuously fleeing to Christ, you are also freeing from temptations and sin. Again yes, you will be tempted, but the word of God continues to renew your mind. That when you are tempted, you have enough armour against the fiery darts of the enemy.
So brethren, flee to Christ. Flee to the cross for strength, flee to the One who has defeated sin, flee in prayer and ask for help from the One who provides. Remember that by the grace of God you are enabled to flee from temptations because Satan was defeated on that cross. Because Christ died and rose again, He defeated Satan. Therefore, no temptation will overcome you. Because Christ died on the cross, there’s a door, you can always flee. If you’re not in Christ, walang pinto. For a Christian when tempted at the moment, there is always an escape where you can flee. We need to be reminded of also how God looks at every sin. That it is according to Joseph, great wickedness and against our holy God. Yun ang rason natin para umalis tayo katulad ng ginawa ni Joseph. Are you struggling with temptations? Are you playing with fire? Flee brethren from temptations and flee to Christ. The presence of God was evident as you can see in the life of Joseph through the strength he was given, at times of temptations. But also, it is evident as Joseph succeeded wherever he went.
That is my last point Blessed In Life. So we can see that again, Joseph was made in charge of his brothers. In the previous chapter, parang naging overseer ng kaniyang mga kapatid, right. Because of how righteous he was and then fast forward after he was sold, he was again made in charge, made an Overseer in the household of Potiphar, right. In fact, in charge of all and because of this Potiphar was blessed materially. But then as we know he was falsely accused, he was now put into prison and yet we can still see the hand of God in the life of Joseph as he was put in the prison where the king’s prisoners were confined. It was a different prison kung saan yung mga prisoner lamang ng mga hari ang andun. So nakita pa rin natin yung hand ng Diyos sa buhay ni Joseph kasi later on, meron siyang, magkakaroon siya ng direct contact with the king. Because he was in that specific prison, right.
Again, see God was really with Joseph. Because he could have been punished to death. If you were accused of rape, let alone with the wife of the captain of the guard. You’ll be put to death! But see when the wife told Potiphar what happened, verse 19 sabi doon, that the anger of Potiphar was kindled. Hindi sinasabi sa atin kung kanino nagalit si Potiphar but it’s as if, si Potiphar hindi talaga nagalit kay Joseph. Kasi hindi siya pinapatay. Inilagay pa siya doon sa prison kung saan yung mga prisoners ng hari yung nandoon. In fact if you go to the next chapter, there’s a chapter 40 verse 4, pupuntahan pa rin siya ni Potiphar sa prison. It seems like Potiphar didn’t really get angry at Joseph. So you see there Joseph was favoured. Joseph was blessed. God was truly with him. He didn’t just become an Overseer in the household of Potiphar but even in prison. Overseer pa rin siya in charge of the other prisoners. He again was appointed to be in charge of all things wherever he went. And God blessed those who were with him. God bless Joseph and whatever he did to the point that people noticed that he was truly with the Lord. Yun yung mga testimony sa kaniya heh. He was with the Lord.
Pero ito ang katanungan. Here is the question: when Joseph succeeded many times in his life, appointed to be in charge of things, is this the real blessing and evidence of the presence of God in his life? Ang tunay na blessing ba ay yung fact na lagi siyang nagsu-suucceed despite the challenges in his life? Ang tunay na blessing ba, ang tunay na ebidensiya na ang Diyos ay nasa kanya. Na siya ay nasa presensiya ng Panginooon ay yung fact na siya ay ina-appoint bilang Overseer. Hindi lang sa household kundi sa prison pa. Yun ba talaga ang totoong blessing dito? Yun ba talaga ang ebidensiya na ang Diyos, na siya si Joseph ay nasa presensiya ng Panginoon? Punta tayo sa Psalm 105. Basahin natin, Psalm 105 verses 16 to 19. Eto yung scripture reading natin a while ago Psalm 105 16 to 19. When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread, so this is talking about Egypt, Joseph he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. In other words, the Lord tested, the Lord tried. The Lord refined him. Same word used when one is refining a gold, same word for purifying for purification. God tested him. God purified him. God tried him. That’s what it’s saying. Means that in the eyes of Joseph during that time it was a bad thing that he was in prison. He was sold and then he was in prison, that was a bad thing. But in the eyes of God, that was refinement. That was purification, that was sanctification. In the eyes of God, that was Joseph’s transformation and Joseph indeed was transformed. How did you know? Ah, he was able to sleep. This means that the trials that Joseph had gone through including the circumstances involving Potiphar’s wife, his brothers, the pit, the prison, all these God has permitted for Joseph’s refinement, for Joseph’s purification, for Joseph’s sanctification, for Joseph to be more.. this is…dito papasok yung tunay na blessing dito kapatid. For Joseph to be more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
And what a blessing that is! Better than being appointed as an overseer of the household of the captain of the guard. Better than being appointed as the overseer of other prisoners. What a blessing that is to be chosen by God before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Jesus Christ, Ephesians chapter one. God tests, God tries, God refines, God purifies those who are His. Again, what a blessing that is! In fact that is the greatest blessing, that is the greatest privilege that all believers have to be refined and be like the Son. It’s not Joseph’s appointment of an Overseer in the household, although that was a blessing, but the real blessing was the fact that he is being sanctified by the Lord. What was the goal of that sanctification? To be holy and blameless like God the Son, Jesus Christ. And Joseph was indeed yielding to that refinement. Joseph was indeed submitting to that sanctification by saying no to Potiphar’s wife.
Brethren, the real blessing is God’s continuous transformation of our character into the likeness of Christ. The real blessing of God’s presence in us is His sanctifying works in us, better than any material thing. So ang challenge ko sa lahat, all of you: if you are in Christ, then God has His sanctifying work in you. The challenge is trust that! Trust In His Sanctifying Work In Times Of Trials. Trust that He is at work, trust that His presence means that He will not just deliver us from trials that may happen or that may not happen. But if that does not happen, the assurance is that God is with us during those trials. And God refines us, purifies us.
Sometimes we want these trials to be gone. Lord, remove them from me. Whatever that is, Panginoon, naghihirap ako dito sa pinagdadaanan ko. Panginoon, tanggalin Mo ito sa akin. Yun ang usual prayer natin. Yun kasi yung… ayaw natin ng na u-uncomfortable tayo. Whatever that is, kung ano’ng pinagdadaanan natin, ang immediate prayer natin, tanggalin Mo siya, remove it. Well in fact, is what God is using for your refinement. And if we understand it that way, would you pray God remove this from you?
Let us be reminded again of Paul. Paul who struggled having the thorn in the flesh, in his flesh. Second Corinthians chapter 12 verses eight to nine when Paul asked God to remove this thorn in the flesh that had been bothering him, that he was really struggling with this ministry. Whatever that thorn in the flesh was, you know what God..alam niyo kung ano’ng sagot ng Panginoon sa kanya? No! Paul pleaded to God and God said no! Sagot ng Panginoon sa kanya: My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness. Are you also experiencing such trials in life? Yung power ng Panginoon is made perfect in such weakness. How? In His sanctifying work in you during that weakness, at times of trials. Are you experiencing such trials in your life? God permitted this to happen in your life because His very purpose is for you to be blameless and holy like His Son Jesus Christ and what a blessing that is!
I want to go back to the story of John Bunyan. He was put into prison for 12 years. And during, when he was in prison, he was writing poems, ang tawag dun ay mga prison meditations ni John Bunyan. There is that one part of that and I will read it. He wrote this while he was in prison. He said: “In times of affliction, we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God.” I mean, he learned firsthand, he experienced the presence of God. In fact, yung sinabi niya hindi lang yung presensiya ng Panginoon heh. I mean, would you say “love of God?” Masasabi mo ba iyon? Na na-experience nya mismo sa loob n g kulungan for twelve years. Hindi lang yung presensiya, kundi yung pagmamahal ng Panginoon. How many of us are struggling because of our trials in our lives And yet we’re wondering why isn’t God removing this? Well, praise God for the trials. Rejoice sabi ni James. Praise God for such trials brethren. Because these trials are here to test you, to refine you. And so trust the sanctifying work of God in times of trials and remember that as you are sanctified by the Lord, that sanctified life is the evidence, true evidence of God’s presence in your life. This is how we know brethren that the Lord is always with us. May the 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 for this blessing of being reminded of Your presence in our lives. And we can see such evidences Lord as we yield to Your sanctifying work will enable us to always trust Your work in our lives. Enable us to understand Your purpose in our lives. And may we receive such trials in a way that we would yield to it so we would submit to Your purpose, that we would mortify our sins, flee from temptations. So Lord that we flee always to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Lord, enable us, to strengthen us. Lord, thank You for Your ministry to us. I pray Lord that as we are ministered today by Your Word, Lord, it is our prayer that Lord allow us to also equip one another by the same ministry that we have received today. Lord, may You alone be glorified in our lives and in the life of this church in Christ’s name, amen.