Sermons

Summary: Following the "Survivor" theme, the story of Joseph presents principles to help us survive our aimless days.

"Survivor Gear For Aimless Days"

Genesis 45:3-8,15

There is a popular television show that has been dominating the ratings this past Fall & Winter, the show is called "Survivor". The show stars sixteen "ordinary" people who are stranded in a remote part of Australia. They are divided into two teams and pitted against one another in various challenges. Each week of the show, one of the teams has to vote someone off the team. And the last person to "survive" wins a million dollars.

It’s so much like our generation to create a televison show where we actually find it entertaining to observe the worst elements of our human nature: greed, deceit, unfaithfulness, gossip, suffering, mean-spiritedness and humiliation. It all kind of makes you long for some of the classic survival stories like Swiss Family Robinson where people actually help each other rise above their selfish needs as they band together to beat the odds.

But that’s not the case on "Survivor". The operating principle here is: Your friend is only your friend until he gets a better offer. The principle here is- - "I will use you as a part of my strategy to win." It’s survival of the fittest, or survival of the shrewdest. And they call this "Reality TV." It’s REALITY, the shameful reality of our culture.

Why is "Survivor" so successful? I think it is a picture of real life. It is a display of people struggling with each other in everyday society who are willing to destroy one another for advantage and money. It’s kind of like Gladiators in a Roman Colosseum - - and we like to watch.

Isn’t it interesting, that the whole drama centers around relationships. They get along, they form a friendship, an alliance. They don’t get along, they break a friendship, they break an alliance. They conspire, they gossip, they form false conclusions about one another, they fight, they shout, they pout. Sounds like a real family doesn’t it? Sounds like an office or a business where some people work. Sounds like sin to me.

There is something far more important than the ability to survive the Australian outback or the ability to win a million dollars. What is more important is the ability to be a spiritual survivor in this world. There are people in this room this morning who are struggling to be survivors of bad marriages, there are people trying to survive the death of a loved one, or trying to survive an illness that was never planned or deserved, but it just happened. There are parents here with teenagers who have broken their hearts, there are some here with sins, or weaknesses or addictions in their lives that are making them less than the man or woman God designed for them to be. And some of us here are just trying to make it through another week. Raising children, working a job, maybe finding out that the golden years of retirement aren’t so golden. Your tired, a little disenchanted about where life has taken you, maybe you are feeling a little confused, or maybe you are lonely, and you just haven’t experienced the joy and satisfaction which you thought you deserved at this point in life.

I am here to tell you {this morning} that God wants you to be a survivor, but more than a survivor, He wants you to be an over-comer, He wants you to be victorious and to thrive as a man or woman led by God. Now that does not mean that God is going to make everything perfect and easy in your life. But I believe what God is after is - - - that you submit your will to His will in your life, and that you trust Him.

The man Joseph, in the book of Genesis, knew what it felt like to face aimless, despairing days in his life. At age 17 Joseph was the second youngest in a family with twelve boys. Joseph had become his father Jacob’s favorite son, and his daddy lavished his favoritism on him in front of the other boys. There was probably a little swagger in Joseph’s step, a little sarcasm in his attitude toward his older brothers. He made himself quite an irritant to his brothers. In fact, daddy Jacob put Joseph into the position of a supervisor over his older brothers in several situations which enraged the older brothers. Finally, they had about all that they could take from Joseph, and the older brothers seized Joseph, and secretly sold him to a caravan of traders who were traveling toward Egypt. And they thought to themselves: "Good riddance to this trouble-making brat." They lied and told their father Jacob- - that Joseph was killed by a wild beast. This broke Jacob’s heart, but that didn’t matter to these brothers. Sin & hate had so gripped them- - that all they wanted to do was to be rid of this irritating brother Joseph.

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