Sunday – June 4, 2017 Genesis 40:1-23 “How to Get Out of the Pits”


 

Word On Worship – Sunday – June 4, 2017 Download / Print

Genesis 40:8
We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”

The two years spent in Potiphar’s prison must have been the darkest days of Joseph’s life. These years are passed over by Moses in complete silence. We read in the book of Proverbs, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). If Joseph were ever in the dumps, it must have been now. Yet we are never told that Joseph suffered from the normal emotional reactions to his circumstances that are common to every man. Instead, we find in Genesis Chapter 40 a beautiful lesson in how to deal with despair and depression.

What enabled Joseph to endure his adverse circumstances was an absolute and unshakeable confidence in the fact that God was with him in his suffering. Twice in the previous chapter we have been told by Moses that God was with Joseph. In the first instance, we are not taken by surprise that God would be with Joseph on his way up in the organization of Potiphar (39:2-3) But we are told just as emphatically that God was with Joseph while he was in the pits (39:21-23). In Chapter 40 no one could have had the confidence Joseph did that God was able to interpret dreams through him, apart from an intimate walk with God in that dungeon. And no one could have convinced the butler of this unless there were evidence of it to be seen.

The tragedy of our day is that some Christians are teaching that if a Christian merely has enough faith, he will never need to suffer, for (they say) that the death of Christ provides deliverance from all adversity and affliction. While this doctrine may be considered as encouraging to the saint, it produces just the opposite result. Had Joseph believed that if he only had the faith he could have been instantly delivered from his troubles, his faith would have been devastated by the fact that his troubles did not go away. If freedom from pain and problems is solely dependent upon my faith, then when pain and problems come my way, there must be something wrong with my faith. Joseph would then have been questioning his own relationship with God, perhaps even the existence of God, at the very time when he should have been ministering to others and giving testimony to his faith. If our faith does not endure the storms of life, what good is it?

Fortunately, Joseph believed in a God who is not only all-wise and all-loving, but all-powerful. The God he served did place his servants in circumstances that were difficult and unpleasant, but He also gave a sufficient measure of His grace to endure it. The testimony of Joseph in these dark days is a reminder to every Christian that even the righteous will suffer and that such suffering is in the will of God to accomplish His purposes. No promise is more comforting to the suffering saint than this: “I will never leave you, nor will I ever desert you” (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5).

Sunday – August 16, 2015 Revelation 2 verses 9 to 11

Sunday – August 16, 2015 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – August 16, 2015 Revelation 2 verses 9 to 11 from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Word On Worship – Sunday – August 16, 2015 Download / Print

Revelation 2:10
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Secular society has a theology of suffering easily summed up in two words seen on bumper stickers all across the country. While I cannot quote the bumper sticker exactly, you will recognize it when I tell you it reads, “… happens.” Or as the  King James translation would read, “Dung Happens.” If we were to “exegete” this slogan, we would see the fruit of this theology provides the following affirmations (not truths). First, suffering equals dung. Suffering is not just worthless; it is repugnant and disgusting. It has no value. Second, suffering is random and senseless, similar to a drive-by shooting which comes upon innocent victims unexpectedly without reason or provocation. It just happens.

Sadly, many contemporary Christians’ theology of suffering believes suffering is unpredictable and unavoidable; we can do nothing to avoid it and certainly we cannot make something of it. We can only passively accept and endure, hoping it will end as soon as possible. One reason this has become so prevalent in the Church today is the wide-spread preaching of a distorted gospel in which Christ is presented as the key to earthly bliss and the solution to all our problems.  As a result, many think Christians do not suffer. Such pseudo-Christianity becomes evident when suffering does occur and the misinformed believers abandon their profession of faith.

Christians must categorically disagree with this theology of suffering. First, we know that while God does not “cause” all suffering, no suffering comes our way but that which God has purposed for our good and for His glory. God may not “cause all things” but He does “cause all things to work together for good, to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Therefore, the Christian dares not view suffering as a negative experience (“dung”) but as something positive. Suffering is neither random nor senseless; it is part of the divine plan. We also dare not look upon suffering as something we merely endure; for the Christian, suffering is an experience in which we may rejoice.

Only salvation through Christ can transform one’s values the way our Lord desired the saints in Smyrna to be transformed about suffering. Only when we see Christ as precious do we see the things of this world as valueless, indeed, even detrimental. That will include persecution and suffering just as much as comfort and riches. Have you found Him to be precious? Have you trusted in His shed blood as God’s provision for your sin? I earnestly urge you to do so, even now.

Sunday – March 3, 2013

March 3, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Abomination of Desolation from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Many are fascinated with what Jesus said about the last days. The Olivet Discourse has all the elements of a great action movie: the tension of the saint’s persecution by those who hold earthly power set against the working of the Holy Spirit and the Jesus’ coming to gather His own, complete with cosmic fireworks. A series of sermons on the Great Tribulation and the identity of the Antichrist will usually draw far more interest from people than the ethical demands of the Sermon on the Mount. And while some view our passage a litmus test on certain views of the end, I think Mark 13 was intended to turn down the flame on apocalyptic fever because the passage contains far more puzzles than answers.
Mark’s message is far more subtle than fill in the blank answers for our “end of time” charts. Mark’s message for the saints of every generation, from first to last, is: God’s way, God’s Messiah and God’s people will be vindicated is such a conclusive way that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Christ to the glory of God. We should not be ignorant of the last days, but God has made it clear that we are to learn to cope with the last days.
Join us this Sunday as we explore what Jesus has to say about “The Abomination of Desolation” in Mark chapter 13 verses 14 to 23. Join us at 8:45 AM to show God is worthy of our praise!


Word On Worship – March 3, 2013 Download / Print

Mark 13:21-23
And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him; for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect. “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.”

Mark wrote his gospel at a time when the world appeared to many to be falling apart, especially if you were a Jewish Christian. Tacitus, the Roman historian of the first century, documented three civil wars, the assassination of four emperors, numerous earthquakes and natural disasters all of which took place after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The warnings of Jesus in our passage provide a guide for the saints of every generation to make sense of what has happened and will happen in the course of human history.

Many are fascinated with what Jesus said about the last days. The Olivet Discourse has all the elements of a great action movie: the tension of the saint’s persecution by those who hold earthly power set against the working of the Holy Spirit and the coming of Jesus to gather His own, complete with cosmic fireworks. A series of sermons on the Great Tribulation and the identity of the Antichrist will usually draw far more interest from people than the ethical demands of the Sermon on the Mount. And while some view our passage as a litmus test on certain views of the end, I think Mark 13 was intended to turn down the flame on apocalyptic fever because the passage contains far more puzzles than answers.

Mark’s message is far more subtle than fill in the blank answers for our “end of time” charts. Mark’s message for the saints of every generation, from first to last, is: God’s way, God’s Messiah and God’s people will be vindicated in such a conclusive way that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Christ to the glory of God. We should not be ignorant of the last days, but God has made it clear that we are to learn to cope with the last days.

The question for us to answer is how shall we live in such difficult times, with the persecutions, suffering and trials as we wait for the blessed return of our Lord and Savior? The drama of the last days will play out according to God’s plan, scene by scene. The actors on the stage can estimate where they are in the play, but only the stage director knows exactly where they are. He has given the actors instructions on what they are to do and what they are to say as they see certain events and cues take place. The actors know how the play will end, but they still do not know when the curtain will fall.