Pastor Giardino had us turn to Acts 7:6-10. Steven speaking before the council to defend the false charges laid upon Steven and Phillip. After reading this tremendous overview account given by Steven, from Abraham until the the Lord’s house built by Solomon. Steven included the betrayal of Joseph. Steven was revealing their history of rebellion and stubbornness toward their God.
Pastor began with an introduction. A very vivid image was presented of an accident, NASCAR driver Maynard Troyer, was involved in 1971. Using this image of losing control and other historical accounts of major pile-ups and severe traffic jams as a means to explain the seriousness of our heart locking up (Not Forgiving), as Troyer’s engine did, causing a chain reaction and shutting the track down. Troyer’s car flipped 18 times yet between the roll cage and the five point harness Troyer only sustained minor injuries. The roll cage is like our salvation which cannot be lost and the engine is like our heart. In this particular accident only Troyer’s car was involved but what if when our heart locks up, causing a major chain of events, and we don’t restrain our flesh and get others involved? Pastor gave an account of another accident that when another car slammed into an out of control car, it burst into flames killing the driver.
Going back to the book of Genesis and referencing Joseph pastor mentioned; though Joseph was in Egypt, Egypt was not in Joseph. Joseph cleared all men out of his presence when he made himself known to his brethren. It was a private matter. Joseph didn’t want to openly air all the dirty laundry. In Chapter 45 Joseph could no longer restrain the desire to be restored to his brethren. Forgiveness needed to be released. Joseph recognized that what was happening was bigger than just about him.
When we begin to put together the chain of unforgiveness it is like adding link to link till we are bound by it and weighed down.The links through self absorption.
The world should see the fruit of forgiveness at work in us instead of the burden of resentments, grudges and discontent. Just as Joseph is a type of Jesus so are we in this world. (1Jn.4:17) This is bigger than just about you. Note how Joseph said to come near as he revealed himself to them. “Come near” (Gen.45:4) Forgiveness brings people together. Instead of being just into the gray matter of theology and thought, get some forgiveness in there.
In Acts 9:3-5 we read about Saul meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus. Three times in Acts we have this account and it is Jesus revealing himself as the Persecuted One, saying, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” So similar to the words of Joseph in Gen.45:4, “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.” (On these verse comparisons I could not help but remember the words written in Revelation 11:8, “Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”) Jesus wants to reveal himself to the unsaved. God’s work is to preserve much alive. (Gen.45:5 and Jn.3:16)