#124 – FORGIVENESS IS VITAL IF WE ARE TO GIVE THE BREAD AWAY (11/6/20)
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‘Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.’ (Genesis 45:3-8)
The brothers were terrified because they knew that they deserved condemnation for the way that they had treated Joseph. 13 years of Joseph’s life had been spent in slavery and hardship because of their treachery. I think that many people would have thought that revenge would have been justified.
However, Joseph has eyes of faith to see that God was working behind their actions. He could say, “it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you…It was not you who sent me ahead of you, but God.”
He is in a position to exert justice for their crimes, which would have been justified, but he doesn’t even do this! Joseph is forgiving and magnanimous.
Forgiveness can be a real fight, but it’s something that Jesus commands from us and, therefore, He will give us the power to do it.
Forgiveness for the Christian is about treating others as we have been treated. He gave His only Son in order that we may be forgiven and justified. We don’t have to earn it. He gives to us freely and over-flowingly in Jesus.
Joseph was able to keep serving God and people because he didn’t become embittered. Judas, probably, started out with good intentions, but he ended up betraying our Lord and, ultimately, hating himself. Anyone who wants to remain a servant of Jesus must forgive. We must forgive those whom we are trying to help but misunderstand or reject us. We must also refuse to accuse God of wrong when our lives are tough in His service.
Forgiveness is to be a daily practice. We are offended on most days. We have a past that assaults us with memories of how we’ve been sinned against. Let’s give it to Jesus. Let’s lay these things at His feet.
Forgiveness is vital if we are to give the ‘bread’ away. We offer Jesus to people out of the overflow of our own forgiveness and enjoyment of Him.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – GOD'S DREAMS GIVE THE 'BREAD' AWAY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News
Particularly, talk about our upcoming online Alpha Course.
What is the most memorable meal you've ever had and what made it so special?
Introduction - please share in your group
Please read Genesis 42:1-2 and 45:7-9
God has given Pharaoh dreams that mean that after seven years of plenty, there will be seven years of famine. God has given this dream so people can be saved from famine. God has also given a dream to Joseph of his becoming a ruler in Egypt. Why? So that he can save people from the famine that is coming. Joseph’s dreams led to him giving literal grain (for bread) away.
Please read John 6:30-35
The dreams that the Father gives to us are centred on His mission of salvation through Jesus. Every Christian has access to a never-ending store of salvation for people and themselves - Jesus.
There are three responses:
i) Align your dreams - Do our 'dreams' (vision for life) include sharing Jesus with people?
ii) Enjoy and be satisfied with the true bread – Are we coming to Jesus each day?
iii) Eat the bread of life for the first time - Maybe you have not truly received Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
You may want to share your thoughts on these in your small groups.
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?
2. What will you do in response?
3. How can we pray for you?
4. Do you plan to invite anyone to our Alpha Course beginning Monday 15th June 7:30pm?
5. Let's pray for our upcoming Alpha course and that we would make the invitation. For more details go to: https://www.communitychurchputney.com/alpha
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