The notes this week have been prepared by Stuart.
‘I cannot do it,’ Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.’ (Genesis 41:16)
- God can do the impossible
- It’s not me
This was Israel’s story throughout the Old Testament. For example, the birth of Isaac, Joseph’s rise, crossing the Red Sea, manna from heaven, water from rocks, crossing the Jordon, Jericho and beyond. Time and time again, to keep the people grounded, the prophets and leaders emphasised it was the Lord’s doing.
It’s the same message with the Gospel. I was an alien, an enemy of God, lost and worthy of nothing but rejection and oblivion. But he saw me, loved me, came to me, took my place, bore my sin, suffered my punishment and died my death. He washed my sins away, gave me life and peace, brought be in to the family of God and gave me an eternal hope. He has taken a nothing and a nobody and made me a child of God, a joint heir with Christ. And I had no part to play in this (Ephesians 2:1-9)
But now that we are saved the next verse of Ephesians 2 says
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
In other words, God now uses us as his instruments to work and to serve for his glory and he has endowed us with spiritual gifts and his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) to empower us to do this.
Now here’s the challenge; although God is working in and through us what people see is us, they thank us, they praise us and the service we have done, which runs the risk that we lose perspective. Look at the examples of Moses, Hezekiah and Diotrephes
- Moses flare up with the people when they complained about no water and the emphasis was on him (Numbers 20)
- Hezekiah showed off his wealth to the Babylonians which resulted in God’s judgement through Isaiah (2 Kings 20)
- Diotrephes wanted the pre-eminence (3 John)
When Paul defends his apostleship to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 10-12) he had many things to boast about as he describes his hardships and blessings but he sums up his attitude as this:
“But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18)
To the Philippians he wrote:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)