Tags: Christ in Genesis, Christ the Ransom, commentary on Genesis, communication barriers, Genesis 40, interpretation of dreams, interpreters, Job 33, Sunday School lessons on Genesis
In Genesis’s account of the adventures of Joseph, we see yet another Biblical “first.” In Genesis Chapter 40, Joseph, the “dream expert” (Genesis 37:19) is in prison. The Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker happen to be imprisoned with him. They have some very odd dreams, and Joseph, realizing that God can help him, agrees to interpret their dreams. Thereby he becomes the first “interpreter” in the Bible.
An interpreter is a person who translates messages between people among whom there is some barrier to communication.
And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
Of all the ways that Joseph reminds us of a type of Christ, here is one of the most poignant. For we, like the baker and the butler, were at one time separated from our King, and trapped in a prison of sin. We dreamed of ways to make peace with God. But our sinful condition kept Him from coming into forgiving fellowship with us. Then came a Man who could speak to both parties: King and prisoner; God and man. His name was similar to “Joseph,” but we know Him as Jesus. He was the only One Who could truly interpret our dreams of escaping prison. He brought the Good News from His King to us, and took our responsive message of repentance, and our cries for rescue, back to the King.
The word “interpreter” shows up again in the book of Job. Elihu is attempting to explain to Job the way God sometimes deals with those whose sins are bringing them into an eternal spiritual prison.
Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
What a beautiful picture of Christ the Interpreter! Among all the angels of Heaven, One greater than an angel comes forward, One Who is unlike all the rest (“one among a thousand”). By His grace He imputes righteousness to lost sinners bound for the pit, offering Himself as their ransom.
Tags: darkened heart, Ephesians 5, giving thanks, Romans 1, thankfulness, thanks, thanks to God, thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day devotions, Thanksgiving devotions
The two best times for a Christian to be thankful are day time and night time. Or, to put it another way, every time and all the time. One of the quickest ways to lose sight of God’s glory and to fall prey to a darkened heart is to stop giving thanks to God.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Just about the only thing easier than figuring out when to give thanks to God, is figuring out for what to give God thanks. God is perfection personified. He always does what is right, and what He does is always good.
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Give thanks to God at all times for all things.
Tags: eternal security, everlasting security, Ezekiel 3, free will, Jesus Christ, John 1, John 3, objections to eternal security, once saved always saved
Objection: Ezekiel 3:20 teaches that you can lose your salvation because you have free will.
Answer to Objection: Ezekiel 3:20 is not teaching that a saved person can lose his salvation. “Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
Please read the whole chapter – Ezekiel 3 – in context. It is teaching that people under a covenant with God must continue obeying, or else God will take their earthly life – especially after He has sent a “watchman” (a preacher) to warn them. It is also teaching that preachers must preach to disobedient people as though they were lost, even if these lost people claim to be righteous.
Objection: What about free will?
Answer to Objection: The question of “free will” was also brought up in my post on Objection 1. However, you need to remember that our wills are in bondage to our natures. And “free will” is not a reason for believing you can lose “your” salvation, unless you believe you were saved by your own free will. Let me show you that you were not saved by your own free will:
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:12-13, emphasis added
If you are truly saved, you were saved by God, not by your own will. Then, at the moment of salvation, you received a new nature, and a new will connected to that nature. Your old will could not love God or obey God. Only your new will can. That’s why Jesus says that Christians are people who have been “born again.” Babies are not born by their own will. And they can not “walk away” from having been born. They may get sick. They may die. They may fail to grow. They may deny that they were ever born to begin with. But they can never, ever be unborn.
Tags: Acts 16, Acts 18, Acts 2, Acts 8, Acts 9, Ephesians 2, Ethiopian eunuch, Luke 3, Mark 1, Matthew 28, Matthew 3, Philip, Romans 10, Romans 6
I. Why does God want me to be baptized after I am saved?
It is the first act of service in obedience to the Lord. Anyone can be baptized – it takes no special talents or effort.
Jesus set the example by submitting to baptism before He began His public ministry.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 3:13-17, emphasis added
And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Mark 1:9-11, emphasis added
Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Luke 3:21-22, emphasis added
Jesus was baptized in obedience to God’s plan. The single most important thing about baptism sounds like two things, but it is really two-things-in-one: submission and obedience.
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
These are all examples in the Book of Acts of people who were baptized after being saved.
II. What is my being baptized supposed to show to others?
Physical baptism is a picture of spiritual truth.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Baptism pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It is also a public testimony of identification with Christ.
III. What is the requirement for being baptized?
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Baptism does not save anyone. The requirement for being baptized is the requirement of first being saved. The requirement for being baptized is believing in your heart that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, and confession that He is Lord and Savior. In the Bible Christians are baptized after being saved.
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
IV. What is Biblical baptism?
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water. So did Jesus.
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Baptism is a picture of death, burial, and resurrection. No one is buried by having dirt sprinkled on them.
Baptism does not save (Ephesians 2:8-9), but it is essential for service and spiritual growth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Baptism is right up there with teaching, maybe before, in importance.
A. Why should babies not be baptized?
They are not saved.
B. Why is sprinkling with water not Biblical baptism?
It’s not a picture of death, burial, and resurrection.
C. Where should the baptism take place?
In public (in front of witnesses), as part of a Christian church service.
VI. Memory Verses
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
Next time: Discipleship Lesson Four – The Bible
Tags: Cross of Christ, eternal security, eternal security of the believer, everlasting life, functions of the Holy Spirit, John 14, Jonah 2, once saved always saved, perseverance of the saints, power of Jesus
Objection: You can lose your salvation because God gave us free will, and if a Christian decides to walk away from God and live in sin, he will surely die in his sin.
Answer To Objection: The question is really not: “Can I lose MY salvation?” because it’s not really “mine.” Salvation is of the Lord. (Jonah 2:9) The question is, “Can Jesus lose those people that HE has saved and has promised to keep?”
One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to seal believers unto the day of redemption. Jesus paid for the sins of Christians once and for all on the Cross. Many people would sometimes like to think that Jesus did “most” of the work of salvation on the Cross, but we have to “be good,” too, in order to add to what He did, and to help Him keep us saved. The reason this belief makes me so sad is that it is a type of “works” salvation, and the Bible teaches that we are saved and kept saved by God’s grace through faith alone, and our works have no merit before God when it comes to salvation.
The Bible teaches that Jesus cannot lose those whom He has saved. If you believe that He can, then let me ask you this. Do you believe that saved people have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within them while they are saved? If you believe that, then what happens if they “lose” salvation and go to hell? Does the Holy Spirit go to hell with them? Surely you do not believe that. So, under your theory, what does the Holy Spirit do when a saved person “loses his salvation?” Does He leave that person? If you say yes, then you are calling Jesus a liar.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I emphasized “abide with you for ever,” because that is how long the Holy Spirit abides with a person who has been saved. Not “until they sin.” Not “until they live in sin.” Not “until they walk away from God.” FOR EVER.
Tags: abounding, abounding hope, certain hope, God of Hope, Hebrews 6, Holy Ghost, hope, hope in Jesus, Romans 15, steadfast hope
Christians can experience great power through the in-dwelling presence of the Holy Ghost. He can empower us in ministry, in prayer, in understanding the Bible, in preaching the Truth, and in forgiving and loving one another.
One area, though, which is often overlooked, is the power of the Holy Ghost in helping us to have hope. Biblical hope is not the “hope” of the world. The world’s hope is a well-wishing uncertainty: “I forgot my umbrella; I sure hope it doesn’t rain today.” The Bible’s hope is a looking-forward with longing to that which is sure to come:
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
Hebrews 6:18-19, emphasis added
In fact, the Holy Ghost calls our God “the God of hope.”
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
To “abound” means to “overflow” or “to exceed that which can be measured.” There should be an attitude of both certainty and expectation among Christians: certainty that our Lord is our steadfast hope, and expectation that He can go beyond anything we have known or seen before.
Tags: Adam's disobedience, alliteration, Christ and Adam, Christ's obedience, commentary on Romans, reign of Christ, Romans 5, sacrifice of Christ, Sunday School lessons on Romans, the Law of God
God wants us to understand the significance of Adam’s one sin and Christ’s one sacrifice. Count how many times you see the Word “one” in Romans Chapter 5: Verses 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. I believe there are eleven “ones.”
Now count how many times you see the Word “reign?” Verses 14, 17, 21, for a total of five “reigns.” The Holy Spirit is emphasizing and comparing Adam’s kingdom and Christ’s kingdom.
Now look for the Words “much more:” Verses 9, 10, 15, 17, 20, for a total of six. The blessings that were gained by Christ’s obedience are “much more” – or much greater – than those lost by Adam’s disobedience.
That is the key difference in what Christ did so that He was victorious, and what Adam did so that he was defeated: Obedience. Adam was DISobedient unto death, so we have to die. Christ was OBEDIENT unto death, so we can live.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Romans 5:20, emphasis added
This expression – “the law entered” – reminds me of the stage directions found in the manuscript of a play. (Falstaff enters, stage right.) The Law entered, like an actor, so that the Law could put on a show. It showed us how holy God is and how helpless we were to keep His commands in our fallen state. The Law is not “bad.” It is our schoolmaster – to bring us to Christ.
Tags: Acts 26, common expressions, common expressions from the Bible, death rate, euphemisms, Jesus Christ, Judges 3, kick the bucket, ox goads
This is one of the expressions we use when someone has died. It originated with the buckets that people would place under the wooden frames used to hang animals when their throats were cut. The animals’ feet would kick the “bucket.”
And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Acts 26:14, emphasis added
Did you “kick against the pricks” before you were saved? Was there a time when you were under conviction by the Holy Ghost, and yet you resisted coming to Christ?
Unless Jesus comes back first, we are all going to “kick the bucket” one day. When you look at the statistics, hopefully you won’t be surprised at the death rate these days: It is “one per person.” One time I met a man who told me he did not want to come to church because, “Me and God have a problem.” That was only true in a sense. What he really needed to understand is that he might have had a problem with God, but that God does not really have a “problem” with anyone. God is not a man – He’s not a human being like you or me – who sometimes gets into petty squabbles with other human beings. God loves you and wants to save you. Before you kick the bucket, make the decision to stop kicking against the Holy Spirit and trust Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Tags: 2 Timothy 2, Christ in Genesis, commentary on Genesis, Genesis 39, Genesis 40, Genesis 41, Genesis 42, Jesus and Joseph, John 2, John 6, Luke 24, Proverbs 22, Psalm 146, sufficiency of Christ, Sunday School lessons on Genesis
What was so special about Joseph?
And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
Genesis 39:2, emphasis added
It’s not just that the Lord was all Joseph wanted. It’s not even that the Lord was all Joseph needed. The Lord was all Joseph had. We would all be better off if we realized the same truth. Joseph was a success and hero, but the real cause of it was that he trusted the Lord and wanted to honor the Lord.
It may have looked from a worldly point of view like Joseph was blessed to have Egypt, but from a Heavenly point of view Egypt was blessed to have Joseph. Remember the promise of God’s covenant. He would bless those that blessed Israel.
And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
Joseph believed the covenant promise. To an Egyptian culture with 2000 gods that seemed to be fixated with death in its worship, Joseph must have seemed like a breath of fresh air as he emphasized life.
Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
Joseph was diligent and hardworking, so God allowed him to work for the top men in Egypt. There is a principle for today in this lesson: If I am a lazy worker, I will probably wind up working for a bad boss. Both Jacob and Joseph had inherited their blessings from rich fathers, but God worked it out so they had to work hard and depend on Him.
And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.
It appears that God made Joseph physically attractive, and, while this is often an advantage in life, it was a cause of trouble for Joseph. Potiphar’s wife lusted after him. Joseph glorified God by rejecting her advances.
There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
Joseph could envision the consequences of sin, but the only thing that kept him from falling into sin was that he knew Who sin was against.
And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
Genesis 39:12, emphasis added
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
II Timothy 2:22, emphasis added
This was the second time in Joseph’s life he had lost his coat, but he was clothed in Christ.
And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward. And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in the ward of his lord’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
Joseph focused on others – and gave the glory to God.
Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.
Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.
Should we be surprised the butler forgot Joseph?
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
When Pharaoh had his dreams, then the butler remembered Joseph.
Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.
Joseph dressed up for his appointment with Pharaoh. It is important to take care about our appearance, because that is how we are often judged by others.
Joseph lost his coat for the third time. He had been given a coat by his earthly father, and now his Heavenly Father gives him a coat through Pharaoh.
And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
Joseph was given an Egyptian name.
And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
Joseph’s Egyptian name spoke of the abundance of life and the Sustainer of life. It pointed to the type of person who enjoys life and lives it with a purpose – who brings life to others. Joseph got a gentile wife, which is a kind of picture of Christ marrying a gentile bride after His rejection by the Jews.
Here is another similarity between Joseph and Jesus:
And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.
Genesis 41:55, emphasis added
And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
John 2:3-5, emphasis added
When your provision runs out, look to Jesus, and whatever HE says: DO IT.
And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
Joseph provided bread to the nations; Jesus Christ provided the Bread of Life.
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
Jacob’s family had multiplied – often in immorality. Now God showed that He was still in control. It’s great to have a big family – except in a famine!
But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
This incident almost fulfilled the prophecy of Joseph’s dream, but one brother was missing. That fact may explain much of Joseph’s thinking in how he dealt with his brothers from that point forward. He knew that all the brothers – and Jacob – needed to bow before him. He also knew that the brothers needed to repent because, for all he knew, they could still hate him.
And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
Genesis 42:7, emphasis added
The incident reminds us of the two disciples who encountered the resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus.
And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
Even before Joseph’s brothers recognized him, they started to feel conviction.
And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required. And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.