Summary: PENTECOST 17 (A) - Joseph forgives his brothers. Joseph shows his brothers God's grace because Joseph knows God's plan.

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September 19, 2010 -

Pentecost 17 -

GENESIS 50:15-21

INTRO: God’s forgiveness is divine. God’s forgiveness is also expressed through human beings. The Lord gives believers the keys of his kingdom to unlock or lock the door of heaven for those who repent or do not repent. How sad when one does not repent. He or she locks themselves out of God’s eternal blessings in heaven. What a joy to forgive. "So watch yourselves. ‘If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, `I repent,' forgive him’" (LUKE 17:3,4). We may not be so willing to forgive someone seven times in one day. Our Father forgives us 7 X 70 or even 7 X 700 times in one day. This is the depth of God’s love for us.


I. Joseph shows God’s grace. II. Joseph knows God’s plan.


A. Joseph and his brothers were in conflict with each other. Their father favored Joseph: jealousy, hatred.

1. This Joseph is the one who wore the coat of many colors. The brothers disliked his attitude.

2. Rather than kill Joseph he was sold into slavery. Joseph rose to second in command in Egypt.

3. Verse 15. Their father died. The brothers were scared. Their guilty fear overwhelmed them.

B. Verse 16. The brothers hope their dead father might influence Joseph to forgive them.

1. Verse 17. From the grave their father asked for forgiveness for the evil of their sins.

2. Their pleadings and their message caused Joseph to weep. God forgave them. Divine grace.

C. Verse 19. Joseph is not in the place of God. Joseph does not take away God’s forgiving grace.

D. All mankind desperately needs God’s forgiveness. But many today tend to ask, “Why? Why do we need forgiveness?” Forgiveness rightly implies something wrong has been done. Believers recognize the evil that lurks in our hearts is sin. The meanness that our lives display is sin. The wicked words that flow so easily from our lips are sinful. We cannot escape sin and its effects on this side of heaven. The world denies sin. Many change that word sin into disease. In God’s eyes sin is still sin. "Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one" (PSALM 53:3). Yes, unpleasant as it may be – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We need forgiveness.

E. Sin in our lives is devastating. Sin causes conflict among family members. Sin eats away at the brotherly love in Christian congregations. Worst of all, sin gives us a clouded view of God. We do not always clearly see that perfect plan God works out for us in our lives. Sin blinds our thinking and words and actions. There is a dividing wall of hostility between each of us and others. At times we view others with suspicion, distrust, fear, and anger. We might even shake our fist at God in a sinful moment of misunderstanding and ignorance. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear" (ISAIAH 59:2). Our sins need God’s forgiving grace.

F. Joseph treated his brothers with compassion, not revenge. Joseph saw no good reason to try to get even with his brothers. They repented. God’s divine mercy treats us with an even more perfect love than that shown by Joseph. God’s forgiveness also always includes forgetting. This is probably the hardest thing to do in our lives forgive AND forget. This is exactly the way that our gracious God forgives us again and again and again. Our Lord removes our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west. "You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (MICAH 7:19). God’s forgiveness displays divine mercy. Our sins are forgiven. Our sins are forgotten. Our sins are removed forever. Our God does listen. God freely gives us his grace.

A BROTHER FORGIVES. Joseph shows his brothers God’s grace. It is undeserved, divine, merciful.


A. Verse 18. Joseph’s brothers are ready to give up their freedom. They offer to be slaves.

1. Verse 19. Joseph was not in the place of God. At that time Pharaoh was worshipped as god.

2. There is to be no fear in forgiveness. God does not keep a record of wrongs, nor does Joseph.

B. Verse 20. The brothers had treated Joseph badly. They thought to kill him. They sold him as a slave.

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