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Gospel centred sermons, based on the lectionary often in advance.

Jul 27, 2011

Focus Reading: Genesis 45:1–15

In today’s Sermon I want to talk about the way that God can even use disaster, or things going wrong to bring about good things. God Can turn tragedy into triumph, despair into hope and destruction into salvation.

We especially see this in the story of Joseph. As one commentary says: - “in & through all the events of Joseph's life God was at work to save the people.” (Texts A 444) This is also true of the Bible in general and even of our lives - I believe God works in & through all of our lives even the disasters, mistakes and setbacks.

In this story of Joseph, God uses the strangest circumstances to save the people. There is no strong sense of deserving - the brothers definitely  & even Joseph himself do nothing to bring about salvation - it is God who does all this by Grace.

We must live with faith for occasionally terrible tragedy can be turned by God into much greater good.  Jesus did nothing wrong - died in shame - BUT God raised him to new life. We worship a God who turns even the greatest tragedy - death into freedom and life - In all of life's tragedy we must trust and hope in God- the same God who brings light out of darkness, hope out of despair, and life out of death.

Questions for thought or discussion.

What difficult things have you faced in life? Has hs (or hasn't) God carried you through? Can you think of something hard in your life or the life of someone else which has turned been transformed into something wonderful? What happened?



Andrew Gillies
eight and a half years ago

Genesis 45:1-15
In today’s Sermon I want to talk about the way that God can even use disaster, or things going wrong to bring about good things. God Can turn tragedy into triumph, despair into hope and destruction into salvation.
We especially see this in the story of Joseph. As one commentary says: - “in & through all the events of Joseph's life God was at work to save the people.” (Texts A 444) This is Also true of the Bible in general and even of our lives - I believe God works in & through all of our lives even the disasters, mistakes and setbacks.
In this story of Joseph, God uses the strangest circumstances to save the people. There is no strong sense of deserving - the brothers definitely & even Joseph himself do nothing to bring about salvation - it is God who does all this by Grace- Joseph like Moses is the good one but all of Israel's children are chosen.

[There is a parallel here with the Rom 11:1-2 a, Rom 11:29-32 reading - Paul is making the point that neither the Jews who were chosen nor the Gentile Christians who were not part of the promise have been obedient; all are now saved by God's mercy.]

We know this story of Joseph very well -
Brothers - jealous, offended, perhaps ambitious as Jacob was, hot headed,- If anything good was going to happen it would be because they had arranged it. It was unfair that their father should favour Joseph.... We may say: “Surely God could not bring blessing through the brothers’ actions!!” God acts in spite of things and even sometimes through things which seem rotten. [Granny Smith] [No assignments - Longer with Student Life- helped me think about formal ministry]
"God sent me ahead of you to save lives." v.5 (GW) "7 God sent me ahead of you to make sure that you would have descendants on the earth and to save your lives in an amazing way." (GW)
We must never feel that we have done something so bad that God cannot bring something good from it.
[Jews & Gentiles alike put Jesus on the Cross - perhaps the most horrible crime of all - but from it God brought forgiveness, hope & salvation.]
God can bring goodness out of rottenness, us doing bad stuff.

But God can also bring goodness out of disaster that we have no control over.
Joseph -
Thrown into a pit; sold into slavery; wrongly accused of rape; thrown in jail; How could good come of this? But through these dreadful events God saved Jacob & his whole family & ultimately the whole people of Israel. At times things must have seemed utterly bewildering - no reason or rhyme. We too face things which are bewildering and terrible -
[No job after university, NCYC - met Murray & Wendi...] [most successful prayer group - no minister]
Sometimes we may not see the good which comes from terrible things. [Rachel Scott.] Sometimes the good seems to be outweighed by the tragedy [September the 11th or the recent bombings....]

But we must live with faith for occasionally terrible tragedy can be turned by God into much greater good. Jesus did nothing wrong - died in shame - BUT God raised him to new life. We worship a God who turns even the greatest tragedy - death into freedom and life - In all of life's tragedy we must trust and hope in God- the same God who brings light out of darkness, hope out of despair, and life out of death.