Hebrews 11 | Vintage Faith | 11:22 | Pastor Duane Smets
This is an exegetical sermon of Hebrews 11:22. It covers the story of Joseph, his life as a God-centered visionary, and his death. Special attention is given to Jesus in how he is the focus of God’s own God-centered vision for history. This sermon was originally preached on October 23rd, 2011 at The Resolved Church in San Diego, CA.
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The Resolved Church
Pastor Duane Smets
October 23rd, 2011
Faith & The Example of Joseph
Pastor Duane Smets | Hebrews 11:22
I. Having A God-Shaped Identity
II. Having A God-Given Vision
III. Having A God-Centered History
IV. Having A God-Entrusted Mission
Well, rather than being a good public speaker and giving you some sort of attention getting hook or story I’m just going to jump right in and get to work with our text today. Just one verse today, Hebrews 11:22. If you’re a new Christian or new to this church or the Bible, the book of Hebrews is actually one of the easier books to find. It’s toward the end of your Bible just before James and right after Titus and Philemon. Or if you’ve got a smartphone you don’t even have to worry about it. Just go and navigate to it on there.
So here we go, Hebrews 11:22 (read text and pray).
Okay, we’ll I’m gonna kinda of tell you my plan right up front. We’ve got this amazing chapter of the Bible with all these amazing men and women of God who are marked for their faith in the promise of God, which it defines at the beginning as “the conviction of things not seen.”
Some of the dudes in the chapter get one verse some get a few more with more details as we’ve been discovering in this series we’re going through. Ours for today is just one simple verse, which could be easy to pass over but it’s got some phenomenal stuff in it. There’s sort of four parts to this verse, so I want to look at each part and then we’ll see how it really does relate to Jesus and the gospel. The four things we’ll look at it is, “Having a God Shaped Identity, Having A God-Given Vision, Having A God-Centered History, Having A God-Entrusted Mission.” Let’s start with the first one, “Having A God-Shaped Identity.”
I. Having A God-Shaped Identity
This first point I’m picking up mainly just from Joseph’s name. As we’ve been working through this chapter we’ve been discovering that these are not just random people pulled out of a hat. Each one of the people in this chapter are well known characters in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the sort of first half of the Bible, multiple chapters are often given to telling the stories of each one of these people. So there’s an assumption from the writer of Hebrews here, when it was originally written, that the people who were first reading it would have known some things about these people.
So for example, today if I say the names “Obama” “George Bush” “John F. Kennedy” George Washington” certain things are going to come to mind when you hear their names right? They might be good, might be bad, but you’re going to know some things about them. Obama is the current president. George Bush went to war with Iraq. JFK got shot. George Washington was the first president.
Same thing with these guys here in Hebrews 11. In fact if you’ve been a Christian for awhile or grew up in the church you probably know some stuff about these guys, some things come to mind when you hear their name.
Now when it comes to our guy for today, Joseph…there’s a lot that’s said about him. He basically gets the last thirteen chapters of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. That’s a big chunk. And a lot happens. And it’s riveting…there’s a murder plot, a sex scandal, an imprisonment, a rise to power and tear jerking family reunion. Not boring Bible stuff at all! And Joseph’s story is a great one indeed.
But here when we come to Hebrews we just get this one little verse which really doesn’t mention any of it. Instead it just throws out his name. There’s a little allusion to the events of his life that we’ll talk about in our next point but for the most part there’s really nothing here. Which leaves me with the question why?
With a lot of the other people in this chapter details about their life and their story are talked about, even people who were given a lot less space and time in Genesis. So what’s up with that? Here’s what I think is going on. I could be wrong but I’ll just throw this out there. I think the lack of any details of Joseph’s story here is intentional because what we’re meant to pick up on is the significance of Joseph’s whole life and identity all together.
Here’s what I mean. In Joseph’s story there are a number of sequential events which are all inter-connected and effect one another. He’s the youngest, so his dad kinda favors him and gives him this jazzy expensive coat. He is kind of weird because he starts having these crazy dreams about the future saying all his brothers will one day bow down to him.
Because of that his brothers get jealous and decide to murder him, they throw him into a pit and are about to put an animal in there to eat him when they change their minds and instead decide to sell him into slavery in Egypt and just tell their dad Joseph’s dead.
While in Egypt Joseph works hard God grants him favor and he gets a job in the house of one of the top officials of the land named Potiphar. When he’s working there, one day Potiphar’s wife traps him in the bedroom and says, “Lie with me” and literally rips his clothes off. But Joseph won’t do it and runs away naked. It’s like something you’d see on HBO. Well you can guess what happened next. Potiphar’s wife says Joseph tried to rape her and Joseph gets thrown in prison.
But guess what happens? While he’s in prison, the Pharaoh, the ruler and king of all of Egypt starts having bad dreams and no one can figure out what they mean. Someone tells the Pharaoh about Joseph who has continued using his gift with dreams thing where he can see and understand the future. So Joseph goes and interprets the Pharaoh’s dream, which is basically saying famine is coming and you better start storing up food. Pharaoh listens and sure enough it comes true, so he makes Joseph his right hand man, second in power and wealth only to the king.
Well, guess what happens? Because there is famine, no one anywhere in the land has food except Egypt, thanks to Joseph’s dream. And this includes Joseph’s family, his dad, mom and brothers. They don’t have any food in the famine. So what do they do, Joseph’s family goes to Egypt to buy food. And guess who they’re bowing down to begging for food? Joseph. Just like in his very first dream.
When they realize it’s him, they’re scared for their lives because they tried to kill him. And even though Joseph could have, he doesn’t. Instead he exercises mercy and forgives them and embraces them. Scripture says he literally collapsed on their necks weeping. Rather than dishing out judgement he gives them a bunch of land and food and they and all their families comes to live in Egypt. And that brings us to the final scene of Joseph’s life which is mentioned in our passage for today in Hebrews 11.
So I wanted to tell you in quick form the story of Joseph’s life so you would know something about him. But I also wanted to tell the story so you might pick up on something. What you might have noticed is there is not one part of the story that stands alone. It’s all interconnected. Every event causes the next event and then births a new event.
Here’s the point. Joseph’s life, from beginning to end, is meant here in Hebrews, I think, to be taken as one whole event. From the very beginning of Joseph’s story, when you first read about him in Genesis, right away we’re told of his dream that his brothers will bow down to him. And Joseph’s story concludes with all of his brothers and family under his rule in Egypt.
Now, what do you think is up with that? I think there’s a verse in Genesis which gives us a good clue. So turn to Genesis chapter 50. The last chapter in the first book of the Bible. It’s in the middle of the scene where Joseph is reuniting with his family and they’re afraid for their lives. Genesis 50:20 “As for you (speaking to his brothers) you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.”
I’ll leave questions about theodicy and God’s control and use of evil and suffering for another day. But what I want us to notice is how key this verse is in the memory and understanding of who Joseph is. This is a huge verse on so many levels. For our purpose think about this. How did Joseph see himself? When Joseph thought about himself and who he was, his job, his career, his family, his money…all the events of his life…how did he see himself?
It’s clear isn’t it! From Genesis 50:20 we can see that the chief way Joseph viewed himself was as an instrument of God. Who he was, his identity, his role on earth was solely informed by God’s purpose and plan for his life. You meant it for evil, God meant it for good. I think this is perhaps the chief thing Joseph gets remembered for in biblical history.
So for us today. Do you see yourself and your life as created and determined by God for his purposes? What defines you and your identity? Your job in what you do for work? You husband or wife or kids? Your money or possessions? Your fashion sense or hobbies or music? What makes you you?
For Joseph, he stands for us as an example of a person who saw that the core of their identity, the thing that mattered most, was seeing himself in light of who God was and what God wanted to do through him.
For some of you, the things that you look at which define you need to change. The things that you care so much about and look to for some sense of security and uniqueness need to change. Our culture even seems to encourage us to look for identity in all the wrong places. On Facebook you’re, encouraged…no, actually pressured by Facebook to list all your unique hobbies, interests, music, books and movies as if those were the things which really make you you.
You and I need a bigger and fuller understanding of who we are. You are person, ultimately put here on earth, by God, to glorify and serve him and his purposes. You need a God-shaped identity.
So let me ask you. Have you been looking to something else other God for your sense of identity and security? When you think of who you are do you think of how God uniquely made you, gifted you and has called you? Or do you look to silly peripheral things that don’t really matter a whole lot in the big scheme of things? Or maybe for you, just in me saying that is a huge wake up call and you’re like, “oh man…I totally do that.” If so God is calling you to look to him and see yourself through his eyes.
Well, let’s move on to our next point “Having A God-Given Vision” and see how that works itself out in us.
II. Having A God-Given Vision
This is the next part of our verse in Hebrews. It’s where it says, “at the end of his life.” “Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of…” So follow me here. I envision an old man by this point. He’s either bald with no hair or has long flowing white hair and a beard like all the Bible pictures you see.
The verse before ours has Jacob, his dad at the end of his life and now we’ve got Joseph at the end of his life. It’s an intriguing thing to me. Sometimes I wonder about it. The older I get the more I find myself forgetting things. I’m only 33 but in talking to my friends who are same age they tell me they forget stuff too.
I just had my birthday a couple months ago and somehow someone found out about in the weeks leading up to it and they asked me how old I was going to be and I had to just sit there and stop and think and trying and remember how old I was. I remembered the year I was born and started to do the math, which frustrated me so I just stopped and yelled out to Amy, “how old am I?”
So I wonder what it’s like to be an old man, looking back over all of your life? When I imagine Joseph here, he’s an old man. It’s natural, he’s forgot a lot of things. Maybe I’m just speculating here but I imagine when you’re old and you’re looking back over your life you tend to realize the stuff that really matters. That doesn’t sound too far fetched does it?
Now here’s striking thing. Let me show you something that blew me away. It’s probably one of the most exciting things about this verse. What does it say here in Hebrews 11:22 Joseph talked about at the end of his life? What did he make mention of? The Exodus! That’s this famous Israelite event. And here’s the kicker. If you know about the Exodus, when did it happen? Before or after Joseph? After!
I’ve read this a million times and never noticed it. You just kind of naturally think he’s looking backward and talking about something that had already happened. But he’s not. Joseph here is doing what he had been doing his entire life. He’s looking forward! He actually prophesying here! It’s amazing. He makes mention of and talks about the Exodus here before it had even happened!
We’ll talk a little bit more about the significance of the Exodus story in our next point but for right now just think about this for a minute with me. One of the constants which we see in Joseph’s life throughout his story is his consistent commitment to use his God-given gift having and interpreting dreams about the future in order to live out his God-given role on the earth. Down to the very last moments of his life, he’s still exercising and using his gift and playing his part because he had a firm grasp on what God’s vision for his life was.
Here’s what I’m getting at. Some of you are just sort of floundering through life and you don’t have a vision or trajectory for where you are or where you are going and you need to figure that out. This plays out in a number of different ways. Here’s a few.
One, in your career. We grow up being told, “You can be whatever you want to be when you grow up.” That’s actually not true. You can’t be whatever you want. The Sea World Shamu message, “Just believe” is wrong. We ask kids or college students, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” That’s actually the wrong question. The more important question is, “What has God called you to do and to be?” That’s one way this thing plays out.
Here’s another. In your family. Some of you just start having kids and that’s great. I’ve been hammering that drum the last couple weeks…get married, make babies. People ask Amy and I how many kids we want to have and our answer is, “as many as we can.” And then we can’t anymore we’ll start adopting.
So having kids is good. But some of you have kids and you have no vision for your family. What your goals are as a dad and a mom. What you want to instill and how your going to instill it. What you want your family to be like in 10, 20 years. You need to get a family mission statement and have a vision for you family.
The background of my computer screen has our family mission statement on it. I’ll read it for you.
Family Mission Statement
My wife & children would see God as the most important treasure of our home.
We love God, live under his rule, and worship him in all we say and do.
My family would be kind & tender-hearted, loving one another as Jesus has loved us.
We believe in the gospel and live out of it with the Holy Spirit’s help.
My wife & children would see that I enjoy them and put them first before others.
We believe our home is the first church Daddy loves and pastors.
My family would witness me loving Jesus & his Word as an example for them to follow.
We believe the Bible is God’s Word & has revealed what we need for life & godliness.
I’ll do one more. Having a God-given vision for your career, for your family and then for ministry. It’s not just the pastor and the church staff who are called into the ministry. That’s everyone who is a Christian. 1 Peter 2:9 says if you’re a Christian then you are a priest or a minister, “a royal priesthood” who has been “called” by God. So everyone of you are called into the ministry and according to Ephesians 4 Jesus has given everyone of you spiritual gifts he means for you to use for his kingdom and glory.
Some of you have no idea what your gifts and calling is and you need to figure that out. Some of you know what they are but you’re not using them. Some of you know what they are and you’re using them but you’re using them for your own glory and not God’s.
I’ll put it another way. God means for you to get involved, to get out of the seat on Sunday and actually do something. He doesn’t want you just to be a consumer he wants you to be a contributer. There are a ton of ministries and things going on here you can get involved in. Or if you’re excited about some new thing we’re not doing that we could do, then let’s figure out how to do it together as a church. So often we have people who come to us wanting our church to support this ministry or that ministry that’s going on out there, outside of our church by some other agency. But we’re not really into that. We don’t want to outsource ministry. We be the church Jesus has called us to be, using our gifts underneath the covering of leadership he sets up and calls us to.
We have such an amazing wealth of resources here in this room. The gifts, talents, passions, ideas…If we work together, there’s little we can’t accomplish. So figure out what you’re passionate about and how you’re gifted and start using it for God’s glory in and through his church.
Career, family, ministry…Get God’s vision for your life and go do it. You’ll be a lot happier serving God and his people than yourself. I promise.
I’ll say one more thing on this point. Having vision is a future thing. In fact faith in general in large part is a future oriented thing, especially in Hebrews 11. Perhaps you’ve heard this story about Walt Disney. After Disneyland was finished the leaders of the company were marveling at how phenomenal it all turned out. One of them then commented, “Isn’t it too bad Walt Disney didn’t live to see it.” To that the director, Mike Vance replied, “He did see it, that’s why it’s here.” He had a picture of it in his head before any of it was ever built.
Having a God-Given Vision is looking ahead and seeing what God might accomplish through you in this world and going after it. Maybe some of you have heard of reverse-engineering. The Christian version is where you imagine where God wants you to be in say 10 years and what he wants you to do and then you work backwards and think of the stuff you need to accomplish to get there.
Some of you need to look into the future and start dreaming and experimenting with what God may have you to do in his world. What is amazing about Joseph is he got ahold of that. He figured out what his place was and then with a firm grasp held to it. He had a God-Given vision, not just in his dreams about the future, but he had a God given vision for his life…to serve God and use his gifts to care for God’s people.
Well, let’s move on and talk about Joseph’s last dream and vision, the Exodus and how it shows the importance of “Having A God-Centered History.”
III. Having A God-Centered History
So Joseph is at the end of his life and he prophesies about the Exodus. Now, the word “exodus” here in Hebrews is another hot-button word. You say “exodus” that’s like saying “holocaust.” Everyone knows what that is and it was a big deal. There are certain events which leave a deep mark on a people’s history and identity. Like Pearl Harbor or 9/11. The Exodus is like that.
If you’ve ever seen the old Charlton Heston movie, “The Ten Commandments” or the Dreamworks film “The Prince of Egypt” or if you we’re ever in a church for more than just one Sunday or ever read the Bible you know what the Exodus is. It’s one of the most well known things about the Bible and it referred to in the Bible a ton. It’s one of the biggest events in all of the Bible and a whole book of the Bible is named after it, “The Book of Exodus.”
The Exodus is when God’s people exited out of Egypt. Basically after Joseph dies, over 400 years go by and in that time lots of Pharaoh kings come and go and after awhile no one really remembers Joseph and Joseph’s family stops getting special treatment and instead they actually end up becoming slaves. They cry out to God and God decides to deliver them and he does all these crazy miracles, basically going to war for them against Egypt and they finally get to go the land God originally promised to their great, great, great, great grandfather Abraham.
Now, I’m not going to go through the details of the Exodus, I just want us to understand how big of an event it was on the plane of history. On scholar writes this, “The Exodus from Egypt is the focal point of ancient Israelite religion. Virtually every kind of religious literature in the Hebrew Bible – prose narrative, liturgical poetry, didactic prose, and prophecy – celebrates the Exodus as a foundational event.” It’s amazing.
In Deuteronomy 6, we’re told that when a son asks why there are commandments in the Bible, the dad is supposed to answer by explaining the Exodus. Listen to Deuteronomy 6:20-21, “When your sons asks you in time to come, What is the meaning of the statutes and the rules the LORD our God has commanded you? Then you shall say to your son, We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.” So we teach our kids about the Exodus. My oldest daughter knows it as the story about the blood on the door.
We’ll come back to each of these points at the end when we talk about the gospel. But I will say this here. I don’t think that the Exodus event was just a central and significant event for the ancient people of Israel but was central and significant for all of human history.
You see, what we pick up on in our Hebrews passage is Joseph looked forward to the Exodus and looked at it as a key event that was going to take place.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s pull it back and bring it a little closer to home. When it comes to history you pretty much have three options. One, it’s uncontrollable and sort of chaotically spinning out of control with no rhyme or reason to it. Or two, it simply and wholly determinable by human decisions and actions, whether they be survival of the fittest or whatever. Or three, history is ultimately and wholly guided and determined by God, the ruler over ALL.
We don’t have time to do a big extensive Bible study on it today. So I’ll just give you a couple references to show you that the Bible opts for the third.
Daniel 4:17; 5:34-35 “The Most High rules the kingdom of men and give it to whom he pleases..his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are are accounted as nothing and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand and or say to him, ‘what have you done.’”
Acts 17:28 “(God) made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”
What I’m trying to pick up and focus us on from the Bible is the it’s theme and conviction that God rules over all of history and every event and especially every major central event is about him. You see too often I think we buy into one of the other views..that history is not necessarily going anywhere or is meaningless, that there’s no grand story or metanarrative. But the view of the Bible is it is.
And here’s the real thing. I think for most of us, most often our view of history is about this small…just our own lives. We don’t really see much bigger than ourselves and what’s right in front of us. What we need is a God-Centered History. We need to see that history really is “his story.”
That’s what undergirds the first two points we looked at today. You can’t have a God-Shaped Identity or a God-Given Vision if you don’t see history as being guided, determined and purposed for him and his glory. You’ll end up with a “you-centered” history and it’s really not about you…it’s about him.
J.B. Philips was a Bible translator, commentator and Anglican pastor before he died. He wrote a book back in 1961 titled, “Your God Is Too Small” I’ve told you guys about before. I think for some of you today, your God is just too small and you need to get a bigger God. What we see here from Joseph is he had a God who ruled over and planned history. He spent his life learning that and proving that. He had a God-Centered History.
Do you look at yourself as being placed here, on earth, by God, not for you, but to play some small part in a much bigger story that is going on? If you don’t, you need to get a more God-centered view of history and your life.
Well, let’s take a quick look at our final point this morning, “Having A God-Entrusted Mission.”
IV. Having A God-Entrusted Mission
With this last point, we pick up the last words of our verse, “he gave directions concerning his bones.” This is the skull and cross bones part of our text. It’s punk rock Goonies status. His bones. Fitting for Halloween.
In all seriousness, it’s kind of an odd thing at first glance right? This thing about his bones. What’s even weirder is you can follow his bones around in Genesis, Exodus and Joshua. In Genesis he dies and tells them his concern about his bones. Exodus 13 recalls that he made them “solemnly swear” to do it this thing with the bones. In Joshua 24 we learn that later, literally almost 500 years later his bones finally get buried in his homeland in plot of land bought in Shechem.
So here’s the question… Why do you care so much about your bones sicko? Doesn’t it sound kind of morbid? Wierd? There’s two things going on here.
One’s a leadership thing, the other is a love thing. Remember Joseph had vision right? He was a great leader. Here, what you have him doing is giving instructions to those who will lead after them. And what was Joseph’s vision for the future about? Fulfilling God’s promise to made to Abraham to be experiencing God’s blessing in the land he would give ‘em.
So really, what Joseph is doing is trying to ensure that the plan comes to past by making a personal request with his that his family leave Egypt one day and follow through with God’s calling. In a very real way here, Joseph is passing on the faith to his children. He leaves his bones as a final reminder to listen to, obey and follow the will and plan of God.
Here’s the other thing, the love thing. Think about Joseph and his stature and wealth at this point in his life. He’s been Pharaoh’s right hand man of the richest county in the world at the time. He’s been in Egypt since he was 17. He probably doesn’t even remember what Canaan looked like. His homeland is a faint, faint memory. He’s got luxury, riches, and power beyond anything most of us could ever conceive. But he doesn’t care about any of that. All he cares about is loving, serving, obeying and following God.
Both John Owen and John Calvin are good on this. I’ll quote ‘em both.
John Owen says, “This holy man lived and died in faith, being enabled to prefer the promises of God above all earthly enjoyments.”
John Calvin says, “Wealth, luxuries and honor made not the holy man forget the promise…whatever was elevated in this world…(he) esteemed it as (having) nothing precious in it.”
This is huge. Joseph had all the wealth and the power. He probably could have worked a way to become Pharaoh himself or set one of his sons up to be it. But he didn’t. He realized all of that was worthless and he cared more about the mission God had given to his family. Joseph didn’t care about his own kingdom, he cared about the kingdom of God.
So where are you at with mission? Do you have people you are working at passing the faith onto? Who’s kingdom do you care about? Do you look to money and luxury and esteem for security and happiness? Really. What’s the thing you’re really working for in life? To play? For more toys and nicer things? To try and make a better life for yourself? Are you on mission for God or yourself? Do you see yourself as a missionary for God in all of your relationships…looking to spread his kingdom? Or are you trying to build your own kingdom?
Joseph here is at the end of his life and he basically, like the wise Solomon of old says, here is the end of all matter, “fear God and keep his commandments (Eccl 12:13).” Follow through with loving and serving God, that’s all that matters.
Well, I want to conclude with the gospel because here’s the thing. You can try and mimic Joseph or any of these characters in Hebrews 11. That’s the big danger with this chapter and the trap that many follow into with it. There’s a big tendency to look at each of these characters as good moral examples for us to follow and imitate in living a better life.
You see, even in our outline today…you can try and get a “God-Shaped Identity”, a “God-Given Vision”, “A God-Centered History”, and “A God-Entrusted Mission” and you really won’t be able to apart from Jesus. I kind of intentionally left him out in this sermon up to this point.
You see you could take everything I’ve said so far and it could sound good. We’re talking about God and identity and vision and mission and it just sounds all good. But there’s no Jesus. What will happen is you will try and seek these things and two things will happen. One, they’ll end up being centered on you. And two, you won’t be able to really find them or accomplish them, you’ll fail. The reason is because all of those things are only found in Jesus.
Here’s what I mean..
We have no identity apart from Christ. To be a Christian is to bear his name…to be all about him. The truth about my identity is I am a person created by God to serve him and his purposes here on the earth…but I haven’t done that. Instead I’ve served myself and my own purposes. I am a sinner.
Jesus comes, the true and better Joseph, who doesn’t just serve a purpose in one part and place in the story in the Bible to save and forgive just his relatives but he comes to fulfill every story, bring it all together and save many sinners throughout all time and adopt us into his family. Here’s how he does it, he says he came, “not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:45).” When Jesus forgives and saves, our identity as children of God gets reinstated and then we have a truly God-shaped identity.
When it comes to having a God-Given vision. Here’s what we’ll be tempted to do. If you can get on board with the idea of having you’re vision come from God, here’s what we’ll be tempted to think about…the great things we can accomplish for God. And really what we’re excited about is we will do and not what he has already done.
Jesus comes, the true and better Joseph, who didn’t just see parts of the future before it happened but as God sees every single day before it happens, including as Psalm 139 says, every word of our tongue before we speak it. And before the world was even created he looked forward and saw a day he had determined would be the day he would come and give up his life on a cross. Through the vision of the cross our life and gifts get real meaning, purpose and focus because then we take part in something that counts for eternity.
On having a God-centered history…we may, if we’re honest enough, be able to swallow this big idea that God rules over all events that ever happen. But we’ll naturally probably think of it in as though God does that completely detached, like he’s on another planet with a remote control.
Jesus comes, the true and better Joseph, who didn’t just see the Exodus but saw something even greater, so he exited his glory in heaven above and instead of leaving a place of torture and captivity he ran toward it and took on sin itself in his own body so that many might be freed from their bondage and slavery to it once and for all. Having a God-centered history makes our of our lives about one event, the one where we get redeemed.
Mission? We can try to live our lives on mission for God but we will try but lose passion and get frustrated that we can’t make it happen no matter how much we try and so we’ll slip into caring for the things we can control and end up being on mission for ourselves building our own kingdom.
Jesus comes, the true and better Joseph, who didn’t just give some instructions and then die to help those who would come after him. Jesus rose from the dead and ever lives to empower us and direct us, fulfilling his promise to be with us always because as he said, apart from him we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). Through Jesus we can actually accomplish the God-entrusted mission. You see…
Our identity. In the gospel, God knows the worst of us yet he forgives us and accepts us on the basis of Christ.
Our vision. In the gospel, God gives us a greater vision than we could ever come up with on our own, a vision to use all of our time, talents and treasure so that he might be made known.
Our history. In the gospel, history becomes centered on the focal climactical point of Jesus’ cross and we make it our resolve to know nothing except Christ and him crucified.
Our mission. In the gospel, Jesus gives us his Spirit so we might truly become missionaries for him in his world.
The Gospel is the good news that Jesus died on the cross and rose again for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures and was raised on the third day. The gospel is everything. Let’s pray and turn towards its provision.