10/04/2007

Living the Dream (2) - Dave Smith

Here is part 2 of Dave Smith's teaching on Living the Dream from the Life of Joseph, given at Life in the Spirit. Part 1 is here.

Before I start, I just want to highlight that fact that my former pastor, Peter Cockrell, under whom I trained at Lansdowne has now started a new blog - Already not yet.

Anyway - here is the message.


Acts 7v9-10.

In the previous session we saw how Joseph passed the faithfulness test. Today, we will be looking at the test of promotion.

We can sometimes be more comfortable with adversity than with blessing. We get used to the failure mentality of being always in the dungeon. Yet the Lord wants to take us and exalt us to a place of influence. The decline is beginning to bottom out; the real trend for the church is up because the true church is growing - out from obscurity to a place of prominence.

We see the amazing exaltation in Joseph from dungeon to throne. This is also a picture of Christ – and of us Eph 2v6 – seated with Christ. He says if we humble ourselves, he will exalt us.

So the principle is humbling today, exalting tomorrow. While the place of His pleasure is to be holy and happy, regardless of circumstances – we are not to be under a cloud all the time. His anger is for a moment, weeping endures for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. There is a time when God says “it’s enough.” And that time came for Joseph. And it will come for us. Not necessarily open exaltation, but encouragement relief, being set free. All of us want that.


I) Acts 7v9 – But God was with Him

Enjoy God’s presence. This is the theme of the whole conference. Ps 37v4 whatever the season of your life put Him and His presence first. Determine that we will trust and delight in Him whatever. When we stop and come to the end of ourselves, the presence of God comes. It’s about allowing Him to do it His way, laying down our agenda and ideas – for Him to come through. Paul and Silas in the dungeon. – at the midnight hour, did not despair but turned to God.


II) Acts 7v10 - Expect God’s deliverance

“…and rescued him from all his troubles.” There are incredible promises for those who wait on Him. We can feel like we are in a long tunnel – but the light is somewhere.

We must wait for His timing but not be passive in waiting. Not impatience, but actively exercise faith, with tenacity, “I’m not going to let go.” Through faith and patience we inherit the promise. Joseph must have kept an eye on the dream, otherwise how could he have kept sane? For we must pray like this – eg, for healing: “God has said. We believe we know God has said.” So like terrier dog, we do not let go. We are not rude but we come boldly.

Waiting is one of the hardest things, and Joseph had some waits! Gen 40 – cupbearer forgot. Gen 41 – full two years. Then, when the waiting was over, it suddenly came (Gen 41v14). When God wants to promote, it can be suddenly.


III) Exercise God’s gifts

God wants to something through us. God gave Joseph gifts and a man’s gift is going make a way for him (Acts 7v10). Not lifted up by doing nothing! As we exercise our gifts the blessing of God will come.

Realise that God hasn’t called you to be someone else, but He has called you to be you. When He made you he said, “I’m not going to do that again!” God is into originals not copies. We can learn from each other, but the way God will use you is unique. So use Your God-appointed gifts with boldness, faith and humility. He got out through the gift God had given him.

Wisdom. The wisdom was the interpretation of dreams. The first exercise of his gift didn’t bless him – it got him into trouble. The problem wasn’t the gift but his administration of it. But this lesson wasn’t lost. He is now a man of compassion – he sees their faces and asks, “Why are you so downcast?” He meets the needs of others when hurting the most.

Confidence. Gen 40v8 – Joseph had not lost faith. He acknowledges God as the source and faithfully uses the gift. In Gen 41v15-16 he shows both boldness and humility (“It is not in me, God will give Pharaoh an answer.”) He isn’t saying he is nobody, but that the power is not in me. We rightly run from soulish arrogance, but we should also run from self-degradation, which is an expression of unbelief. Peter and John said, “What I have I give unto you.” Recognise and know that you have different gifts, and when you use them the anointing will come; and know what you cannot do.

To church leaders – the way to break through is not to be holding on to everything in the church, otherwise you will burn out. At start you have to do things, but if you have someone else with you (they don’t have to be full time) then share the load. To build strong churches, we need all the gifts in operation. Churches will become fulfilled and unbelievers want to come.

God gave Joseph the gift of wisdom. Wisdom will promote you (Proverb 4v7-9). But He also gave gifts of organisation management and administration (which operated in Potiphar’s house and prison). God prepared him through these things.

We need all these gifts in the building of church (not just the 1 Cor 12 gifts). If each one is faithful to God there will be an elevation that comes to the body.


IV) Embrace God’s favour

Joseph was put in charge of Egypt (Gen 41v40-45). For us, this is not self-promotion but for church to be centre-stage in the land again. We need to be able to handle influence and affluence. Paul was content in need and in plenty.

Can God trust us? Not only financial prosperity, but a biblical balanced prosperity? Can we become distributors of God’s resources? We’ll always have more vision than provision. But if provision doesn’t catch up, we will never fulfil the vision.

Why do we need these? They are never an end in themselves, but God wants to change the nation and the nations and for us to become a light to them. God wanted to raise up Joseph because famine was on the way. “To save Egypt and Israel…” Not for us but for the lost.

We are to preach the gospel no matter what. There is a spiritual famine in the land. WE are Josephs, but we are not to stay in the dungeon forever. The Lord wants the church to open the storehouses and reach a starving nation. Not just to minister to the saints. True growth will lead to conversions. The true sign of a healthy church is where many are on the journey in.

Joseph opened the storehouse (Gen 41v56-57). And, by the end, Joseph knew that all had been God’s purpose in plan in order that he might save many (Gen 50v19-20).

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