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Holiness: The Life of Joseph

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Last Sunday, July 9, 2017, Deen Salami brought the message, continuing in the series about Holiness.

He brought us a positive example, looking at the life of Joseph.

But first we looked at three components of holiness:

Distinction

In 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Paul wants Timothy to be distinctive, different from the false teachers.

Determination

This involves determination, "those who cleanse themselves."  You can't be distinctive without choosing to cleanse yourself.

Discernment

We get on the same page with God and can see what God is doing.  Paul talked about a thorn in the flesh and realized it was to keep him humble.  It takes discernment to know what God is up to.

What does holiness look like when we come up against obstructions?  We'll look at the life of Joseph, Genesis 37-50.

We started with the big picture, where Joseph is in a place of understanding, Genesis 45:4-8.

Looking at Joseph's background, we see rivalry and dysfunction in Genesis 37.  His character was already contrasted with his family, but it was more of a passive distinctiveness, so far.

We don't have to be a victim of our circumstances.

In Genesis 39, Joseph did good work in Potiphar's house.  God grants favor, but we still have work to do.

His father Jacob displayed resignation.  But Joseph had determination, actively engaged in being distinctive.

Samson was worn down by women; Joseph was not.  Joseph maintained his integrity - and it cost him.

A pattern for Joseph:  Even in prison, he's determined to be distinctive.

He was trustworthy and God had His hand on him - even in prison.

Egypt and all he went through gave him a platform in which to shine.

God uses our circumstances to give us a platform in which to shine.

The question is not "Why me?" but "What should I learn from these circumstances?"

Even after he interprets the dreams, Joseph has to wait 2 years. 

Once again, Joseph is put in charge.  After the long wait, God moves.

Our job is to be prepared so God can use us when He wants.

All these circumstances - 13 years - were his proving ground.

Becoming second in command wasn't his great triumph.

His great triumph was when he discerned what his life was all about.  (Back to Genesis 45:4-8)

The discernment took many years.  He was determined.  His determination made him distinctive.

Our circumstances don't define us; they show who we are.

A life of holiness is a life in preparation to be used by God.

Determine to be distinctive.

 

Samson: A Tragic Holiness

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On Sunday, July 2, 2017, John Maulella continued our sermon series on Holiness by talking about the story of Samson in Judges 13 to 17.

God wants to break chains.  Samson gives us examples of living in holiness and not living in holiness.

The refrain in Judges is "everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

1)  The Pick  Judges 13

Holiness, or set-apart-ness, begins with being chosen.

Numbers 6:1-21 tells about the Nazarite vow.  They were to let their hair grow, drink no wine, and touch nothing dead.

Ephesians 1:3-4 -- Don't fight God picking you.

2)  The Power  Judges 14

Holiness sets us up to be used powerfully by God.

There was a major conflict between Samson's appetites and his identity.

God used Samson's flaws, mistakes and sins for His own purposes.

God will use anything to pry his people away from idols.

The Spirit of the Lord comes on Samson - in this way, he is a prototype of the church.  He had power to do what he couldn't normally do.

Distinguish between the Holy Spirit's gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  It's possible to have one without the other.  What if we were a church who said:  We want both!

3)  The Pitfall  Judges 16

Pitfalls to holiness rob us of our strength.

Samson didn't see the danger - he'd never lost.

Be careful where you lay your head!  He got tired. 

"But he did not know that the Lord had left him."  He was blind before anyone touched his eyes.  He was bound before anyone put him in chains.

Note of hope:  His hair began to grow again.  Even if you've failed, the story isn't finished.

God's promise was that he would be a Nazarite until the day of his death.

Judges 16:28 - At the end of his life, Samson finally gets it.  He realizes his strength came from God.

How do we live picked and powerful lives and avoid pitfalls?

1)  Watch your eyes.

Every problem Samson had began with something he saw.  For discerning true value, our eyes are worthless.

2)  Cultivate an appetite for God.

Fight appetites with a greater one.  We catch appetites from other people.  Catch an appetite for God from others.

3)  Kill the beetles!

Japanese beetles love to eat roses.  What are the beetles in your life?  They may take really small bites.  Samson got worn down.  Romans 6 - Put to death sin in our lives.  Disrupt the rhythm of sin in your life.

4)  Let your hair grow!

Do you have a physical sign of your apartness?  What's a reminder that you are different?

Why study Samson?

We're a church full of Samsons. 

We're gifted and we're called by God.  Our sign of God's gift is our new building.  But some of us use our gifts for ourselves.

Samson points us to a better Samson.

The leaders of Israel ultimately failed, except Jesus.  Samson is mentioned in Hebrews 11 for his faith - "whose weakness was turned to strength."  He was never more powerful than at the end.

Our weakness leaves room for God.

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