Monday, October 26, 2020

Promise Keeper | The Story Of Joseph

 

This message was preached by Shoma Peter via zoom  Word of Grace Church, on Oct 25th 2020. For the audio please click here..


God always keeps His promises

 God showed two dreams to Joseph. It was a promise from God that he would reign in life but instead, he ended up in prison. We will see today how God takes him from prison to palace and keeps His promise.

 1.   God was with Joseph in every season

 When we are in a difficult situation, we have a tendency to think that God has left us and he doesn’t care for us. Joseph was shown a dream but nothing seemed to go like the way it was shown to him. In fact, it was just the opposite. He was thrown in a pit by his own loved ones, made a slave and then ended up in a prison.

 Genesis 39:21-23 NIV

21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

 When God has great plans for us, the devil tries to ruin it in all possible ways. But God can bring beauty out of ashes. He can use the destruction which the devil brings in our life and bring a testimony out of it (Romans 8:28).

 

He used Reuben to stop him from being killed. Even in Potiphar’s house the Lord was with him and made him prosperous. God never left him. In the palace everyone including Pharaoh loved his advice so much that Pharaoh made Joseph second in charge after him. God was always with him.

 2.   Joseph glorified God in everything.

 Joseph faced lot of difficulties in life but he glorified God in everything. Even in tough situations, He knew the goodness of God and exalted Him.

Genesis 40:8 NIV

“We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”

Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”

 Genesis 41:51-52 NIV

51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh[e] and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim[f] and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

 

He didn’t stop loving and trusting God just because things were tough for him. He gave glory to God always - while interpreting dreams and also while naming his children. Whether he was in the prison or palace Joseph glorified God.

 Colossians 3:17 NIV

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

 Whether we are sad or happy thank God and glorify God in everything and not for everything.

 3.   Joseph served others even in the prison.

 Genesis 40:6-8 NIV

6 When Joseph saw them the next morning, he noticed that they both looked upset. 7 “Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them. 8 And they replied, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can tell us what they mean.”

“Interpreting dreams is God’s business,” Joseph replied. “Go ahead and tell me your dreams.”

 He kept serving and helping others and was concerned for others even when he was in a sad state.

 Hebrew 13:16 NLT

And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

We should always help others. This pleases God. Never give up in doing good. Always look out for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4).

 Even when we don’t see our promise coming true, 

Always remember God is with you. Keep glorifying God in all things you do and keep serving others and in time God will fulfil His promise.


    Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

Forgotten By Man, Favoured By God | The Story of Joseph

 


This message was preached by Lasya D via zoom  Word of Grace Church, on Oct 25th 2020. For the audio please click here..

Forgotten by man, favoured by God – the story of Joseph from prison to palace

The Bible is a rich theological treatise, it is the most eloquent piece of literature, it is the inspired word of God, it is a spiritual book that changes lives – it has certainly changed mine. But primarily, it is a true story of a loving God who was separated from those he created and set into motion a plan for the redemption of all mankind. And we see this grand plan of redemption knit into every single fibre of this book.

He chose a man Abraham to bless so that he could be a blessing – he became a friend and a father and then chose a nation to redeem and call it his own until his ultimate plan of redemption in the form of His son Jesus could be revealed. And in today’s story of Joseph, we’ll see the same God advancing his purposes of redemption.

Summary of the passage: We pick up the story when Joseph is falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and unjustly punished and put in prison. But even in the prison, God is with him and continues to show him favour. He rises in the ranks and is made in charge of the whole prison. He then listens to the dreams of 2 prisoners – the cupbearer and the baker and interprets them correctly. He asks for the cupbearer to put in a good word for him in the palace, but the cupbearer forgets. But God gives pharaoh a dream and joseph is called in to interpret it. Joseph not only interprets the dreams correctly but gives wisdom on what to do with it. He finds favour in pharaoh’s eyes as well and is put in charge of the whole kingdom of Egypt. But we see a bigger purpose in this that during the years of famine, but for the position of Joseph, the nation of Israel would have been wiped out.

I want to examine this passage under 3 distinct points: favour, dreams and promotion

1.      The favour of God

Gen 39:21- 23: Gen 41: 38-40 “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?”

The favour of God flows from the fellowship with God. We cannot circumvent it.

It is the same favour that God gave Abraham – a blessing to be a blessing. Favour has to overflow in the form of blessing to others.

"The less I spent on myself and the more I gave to others, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become." ~ Hudson Taylor

Did you know that the evidence of God’s blessing on your life is how you bless others? This may not be monetary – but do people entrust you with things without having to check on you, do you lift up the spirit of those who are despondent with your presence and your gifting? Do you make light the burdens of those around you? (example of my director)

2.      The dreams of God

Gen 40 : 6- 8 “When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. 7 So he asked Pharaoh's officers who were with him in custody in his master's house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” 8 They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me”

Gen 41: 15-16 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favourable answer.

They knew it was a spiritual dream but they did not know how to receive it because they did not know how to interpret it. This is not a dream in the sense of hopes and dreams – it is important to realise God will fulfil his promises and we cannot hold him accountable to the expectations we have of our own life. We need to realise as it says in 1 Corinthians 6:19 -20 “You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body”. Joseph did not ask for the dreams he got from God – he was immature in handling them, but was not power hungry and seeking out significance.

Just as a side note here – Joseph shared it with his brothers and his father – but remember when he shared it with his brothers and his father the Bible says in Gen 37:11 “And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.” It’s the primary difference between a father and a brother. Be careful who you share your dreams with. A father will bear it in mind because parents have the duty to raise a child in the way they must go and this allows them to know where they must go.

With respect to this whole subject of dreams – they are like tongues, in that without an interpretation we don’t know what to think about them. 1 cor 14:13-14 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. He goes on to say in verse 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.

Joseph treats the interpretation of dreams with reverence and we see the same thing in Daniel and these were the two prominent people in the OT who could interpret dreams

SO what will you do the next time you have a dream. I mostly write it down and forget about it. Or worse google the spiritual meaning of it. But can I encourage you and say, google is not a spiritual tool, prayer is. Pray that you might have the interpretation of dreams, search it out.

3.      The promotion of God

But you’d think after this generous blessing that the cupbearer will remember what Joseph has done.

Do you ever forget important things? And how many would say that it was something that did not personally affect you?

It is our nature to forget because we have a limited and selfish mind. That is why Jesus commands us in 1 Corinthians 11:25 “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me

Gen 41: 9- 13: Then the chief cupbearer remembers Joseph.

 Remember that promotion is from the Lord. Favour is different from promotion. Joseph had favour in the prison and everything under it, but to move from the prison to the palace, you need a promotion. You can maintain favour through faithfulness.

 But promotion comes from the Lord. I’ve heard it being said that your gift makes a place for you before kings. But can I just say, that it is God who gives sleepless nights to kings and dreams that trouble them so that your gifts are needed by him?

If your gift was sufficient to promote you, then the most powerful people in the world would be most gifted. But we see that’s not the case. All Promotion comes from the Lord. And it matters how you handle it.

This is a kingdom Principle –Matthew 23:11-12  “The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Joseph came in the posture of a servant, to serve Potiphar, to serve the keeper of the prison and to serve the Pharaoh. We cannot come before people arrogantly because they need your gift. Remember that God is the one who makes space for our gift and he is the one who exalts us in due time.

If you are looking for promotion, serve the vision of the leaders above you. Serve them with humility and they will take note that God is with you. You may have a different point of view – Joseph had a very unique perspective but he used it to serve the vision of the king – to bring increase to his kingdom and not to create a separate kingdom of his own. God honours humility with exaltation Phil 2:9-11 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

How is Joseph a foreshadow of Jesus:

Jesus came down just like Joseph from His Father’s house in the form of a lowly servant.

 He was distinguished because God was with him in Matthew 7:29 “the crowds were astonished at His teaching because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” And that authority comes from God.

Both were favoured by God and by men. Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”

Both of them were falsely accused and unjustly punished. He was then sent to the lowest places only to be raised again in 3 days. Acts 2:24 “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him”

Just as Joseph had made a way for Israel to be redeemed from the effects of the famine and death, Jesus became the way for salvation from sin for all those who believe.

Both of them were raised up in glory.

Gen 41: 42-43 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. 43 And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. In this, the signet ring represents the Authority of Pharaoh, the Garments represent his purity and the gold represents his royalty. And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah which theologians say either translate as the one to whom mysteries are revealed, or get this… the living one.

Revelation1 12-18 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Jesus is the redemption plan of the Father dreamed up in the heart of God before the foundations of the world, so that in Him we might have perfect union with God again.  


    Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Promise, The Prison, The Palace





This message was preached by Colin D via zoom  
Word of Grace Church, on Oct  18th 2020. For the audio please click here.. For the worship please Click here


Romans 8: 28 – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.”

It is an amazing truth! How is God working for our good during bad things? How does He work disappointment and distress for our good and for His glory? Let’s look at it in the life of Joseph.

Jacob leaves Canaan with nothing, but he returns with a lot of things. Jacob is a transformed man and God changed his name to Israel. The hostility between the brothers also ends.

Genesis  37

These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.

We see that Joseph is born into a dysfunctional family. His father loved and favoured one child over the rest. The difference in his treatment of Joseph is obvious and so the brothers did not like him. Then we see the prophetic in his life.

Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

Then he had another dream

Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

This is his initial life. In Genesis 37:18-36

How can we see Jesus in here? Joseph was a shepherd loved by his father just like Jesus. Jesus was also hated by his brothers. Joseph spoke his future sovereignty, his robe was stripped out, was sold into slavery, etc and we see many parallels to the life of Jesus.

Sometimes it is our family and the people closest to us who will misunderstand us. Why did these bad things happen to joseph? Was God with him? Even in the midst of the difficult situations we are going through, we know he is working out everything for our God.

Joseph is faithful and remains faithful in the coming chapters as well.

Genesis 39: 1-2

Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master.

Even in the darkest of situations, God did not let go of Joseph. The plans he has are to prosper you and not to harm you. Joseph was faithful to his father, and was faithful to Potiphar. He entrusted more to Joseph as he saw his faithfulness and that God was with him.

From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field.

Joseph’s presence in that house brought favour to the entire house as well as the fields. When we are faithful with what God gives us, he will bring blessing for our sake to the companies and colleges and institutions we work at.

Joseph was tempted in this situation with Potiphar’s wife. What is his response?

Verse 8-9 “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”

Joseph must have been very disappointed in life. But his disappointment did not lead him to disobey God. We can be many disappointments in life, but the test is – will we be obedient to God even in our disappointment.

Then a second time Joseph loses his cloak and it put him once again into a pit – verse 19-20 “19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. 20 And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison.” Now he is not just a slave but a slave prisoner.

Psalm 105:  17-18 “he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.18 His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron;”

If there was a time for disappointment, this would have been it. But God is with him even in there as it says in verse 21“But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

No matter what you are going through, God is with you. Be faithful in what He has called you to do? Joseph became a servant, became a blessing, he resisted the temptation, was falsely accused, attempted no defence, was cast into prison even though he was innocent – there are a few things that mirror the life of Jesus as well.

God gave Joseph success in whatever he did.

2 notable prisoners – the baker and cupbearer were also in the same prison. Both of them had dreams and Joseph takes note of the faces of the people. Both of them share their dreams and he interprets them with the help of God and then he says “Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house.” But when the cupbearer was released “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” For another 2 years, Joseph was in the prison. But God is sovereignly at work in all the details of our life.

God raises us, Joseph, later on and the Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge. In Gen 41:42 “Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck.” This is the third time we see that Joseph received

Joseph was numbered with the transgressors – Jesus was crucified on the cross with the criminals. Joseph pronounced judgement on one of the prisoners and blessing on the other – Jesus did the same on the cross. Joseph was stuck in the prison for another 2 years and Jesus also was sent to the grave before God raised him up.

We can be disappointed and dejected in life, but what is important is how we behave. When we are forgotten will we continue to remember God, knowing he has our lives in His hands. God’s purposes are greater than we can imagine. God used Joseph’s life to protect and preserve the lives of His people.

Let’s be people who don’t take offence and misunderstand people. Let’s pray.

  

    Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Jacob before the encounter


 This message was preached by Manesh P at Word of Grace via zoom on the 11th of Oct 2020. For the audio please click here

“The Jacob before the encounter”

 

Scripture for the message

Birth of Jacob & Esau         -     Genesis 25:19 - 28

Esau sells his birthright     -      Genesis 25:29 -34

Jacob deceives Isaac          -      Genesis 27:1- 29

Esau plans to kill Jacob      -      Genesis 27:41-42

Jacob is sent to Laban        -      Genesis 27:43 – 28:5

Jacob’s encounter               -      Genesis 28:10 - 22

 

Jacob the younger son of Isaac and Rebekah deceives His father to get the blessings of His older brother Esau. When Esau comes to know about this, he plans to kill Jacob after Isaac dies. But Rebekah gets to know about Esau’s plan and sends Jacob to her brother Laban in Paddan Aram. On the way to Paddan Aram, while Jacob is sleeping, he has an encounter with God in a dream and God blesses him. Jacob later names this place Bethel which means house of God.

Who was Jacob before he had an encounter with God at Bethel?

1.      Jacob was the chosen one.

 

Genesis 25:23 NIV

The Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,

and two peoples from within you will be separated;

one people will be stronger than the other,

and the older will serve the younger.”

 

God said to Rebekah that Esau the first-born son will serve the younger son Jacob before she bore them.

 

Romans 9:10-13 NIV

10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

 

Before Jacob was born, God chose Jacob over Esau even though both children were conceived at the same time and both were answers to Isaac’s prayer.

 

It is written in Malachi 1:2-3 that God loved Jacob and He hated Esau. Does that mean God didn’t love Esau? Once a Women said to Charles Spurgeon “I cannot understand why God should say that He hated Esau.” Spurgeon replied “That is not my difficulty. My trouble is to understand how God could love Jacob.”

 

In Luke 14:26, Jesus said “If anyone comes to me and doesn’t hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - Yes, even their own life - such a person cannot be my disciple. Does that mean we should not love our father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters? No. What Jesus meant is that we should prefer Jesus more than any other relationship. Jesus should be our first love. Similarly, when it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” It means God preferred Jacob over Esau in His election.

 

So, God chose Jacob before he did anything good or bad. The election was not based on his works. Similarly, we are saved by grace and not by works.

 

Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

 

God gave us the undeserved unmerited new life in Christ. This is Grace.

 

When we become Christians, we know we have got the salvation which we didn’t deserve. But as years pass, we think we have grown spiritually, and we have blessings because we deserve it. This is a dangerous state of pride. We never deserved and we will never deserve any blessings.

 

Even in our worldly matters, we cannot say we deserve to get anything. We cannot say we deserved to be promoted, we deserved the job, we deserved that money etc. All we ever deserve is hell. Every good thing in our life are a free undeserved unmerited gift from God.

 

So, we should always be thankful and grateful for salvation and the good things in our life.

 

2.      Jacob had flaws.

 

Why did Spurgeon say it is difficult to understand how God could love Jacob? Jacob had many flaws. The name Jacob means ‘Heel – catcher’. It also means ‘Supplant’ – One who uproots someone to take his place.

 

(a)    Jacob tricked his brother (Genesis 25:29 -33).

(b)   Jacob deceived his father (Genesis 27:18- 29).

 

Deception is Satan’s work. Satan is called the deceiver of the world (Revelation 12:9).

God detests deceitful (Psalms 5:6).

 

(c)    Jacob lied to his father.

 

Genesis 25:18-20,24 NIV

18 He went to his father and said, “My father.” “Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?” 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.

24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “I am,” he replied.

 

Jacob lied to his father multiple times and even took Lord’s name to lie.

 

Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). When we lie, we co-operate with the kingdom of darkness. God detests lying lips (Proverbs 12:22).

The world says it is okay to lie as long as it is white and does not harm anyone. There is nothing called a white lie in the bible. A lie is a lie and the source of all lie is Satan. When we believe that weakness is okay, we give that weakness permission to stay.

 

(d)   Jacob was impatient.

 

Jacob should have trusted in God for the fulfilment of a promise. Instead, he was impatient and took matters into his hand. He used trickery and deception to get birthright and his father’s blessings. When things don’t happen as promised by God, we should submit our worries to God and be still before God and wait patiently for Him (Psalms 37:7). God’s timing is always perfect.

 Even though Jacob had so many flaws, God blessed him. When he rested after all the plotting, deception and worrying, he heard from God. When he was sleeping in Bethel on the way to Paddan Aram, God visits him in a dream and blesses him. This is Grace.

 Genesis 28:13-15 NIV

13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

 

Jacob is changed after this encounter. In the encounter, there is a death. When we became born-again, we had an encounter with God and our old man died.

 

Like Jacob, we have received God’s Grace. God clothed us with His son’s righteousness. We can see this picture when Jacob deceives his father Isaac (Genesis 27:1- 29).  Jacob is clothed with Esau’s garment. We are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus. Isaac gives Esau’s blessings to Jacob. God gives His son’s blessings to us. The difference is Isaac didn’t want to give Jacob the blessings. God wants to give us His son’s blessings. Also, Esau didn’t want to share his blessings with Jacob. Jesus wants to give us His blessings.

 But does Grace give us the license to sin? NO

 Romans 6:1-2 NIV

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

 

After the Bethel encounter, Jacob is taken to the institute of Laban where he is tested and trained. The way Jacob deceived his father, Laban deceives Jacob and make Jacob marry Leah instead of his love Rachel. Jacob endures deception and waits and works patiently for 14 years to get Rachel (Genesis 29). Jacob handles deception and learns patience here.

Similarly, we should undergo training in righteousness. We became as holy as Jesus in the spirit when we became born-again. But our mind is still not renewed. It must be reprogrammed.

Grace not only saves us but trains us to live a godly life.

 Titus 2:11-12 NIV

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

 We must pursue holiness (Hebrew 12:14).

 How can we pursue holiness?

 

(i)     Know the Love - When we love God, we will obey His commandments (John 14:15). We love God when we know and experience God’s love.

 

(ii)    Know the truth - When we know the truth, the truth will set us free (John 8:31-32) and the truth is God’s word (, John 17:17).

 

Through God’s word: -

# Know the truth about our identity – Know that we are a new creation. Know that we don’t have sin nature. Does a lion eat grass?

# Know what is right and wrong – the world will say Homosexuality is okay, lying is okay, lusting is okay. Let bible be our reference for our right and wrong.

 

(iii)  Acknowledge the truth – If you are not able to overcome any weakness, acknowledge the truth to God. Pour out your heart to Him (Psalms 62:8). Seek God’s help to overcome areas of weakness.

 

3.      Jacob valued birthright.

 Although the way Jacob got the birthright was not correct, he valued birthright. For Jews, Birthright not only gives the double portion of the inheritance, but makes him the spiritual head of the family. It has spiritual significance.

 But Esau despised birthright (Genesis 25:34).

 God was not pleased with this. Esau is called ungodly because he sold his birthright for one meal (Hebrews 12:16).

 We have also received many birthrights. Not because we were born in an earthly family but because we were born-again in God’s family.

 We have following birthrights.

(a)    A New Image.

(b)   Authority.

(c)    Blessings (Co-heirs with Jesus).

(d)   Co-worker with God in expansion of His kingdom through sharing of Gospel.

(e)    Spiritual gifts.

We should value these birthrights. These are gifts from God. How would we feel if our spouse throws our gifts in a dustbin in front of you?

2 Timothy 1:6-7 NIV

6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

 We should fan into flames the gifts God has given us. Do not let fear stop you from using the gifts God has given us to bless others. Don’t be like the servant who hid his talent in the ground because of fear (Matthew 25:14-30).

 To conclude, be thankful and grateful for your salvation. Seek God’s help to overcome areas of weakness. Value the word of God, the prophetic words spoken over you (1Thessalonians 5:20), the dreams God gives you and the spiritual gifts God has given you.