Sunday, 2nd May 10.30 am Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN God moves in a mysterious ways

Verse 1:

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform

He plants his footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm

Verse 2:

Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never failing skill

He treasures up his bright designs

And works his sovereign will

Verse 3:

Take courage now you fearful saints

The clouds you so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head

Chorus:

And I will trust

The hands that made the starry heavens

And I will trust

The wounds of Calvary

And I will trust

And I will not be afraid

For all his ways are love

Verse 4:

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense

But trust him for his grace

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face

Verse 5:

His purposes will ripen fast

Unfolding every hour

The bud may have a bitter taste

But sweet will be the flower

Music by Graham Kendrick. Words by William Cowper

(1731-1800) and Graham Kendrick © 2017

PRAYER

READING GENESIS 40

Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.

After they had been in custody for some time, 5 each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.

6 When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. 7 So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”

8 “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”

Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”

9 So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, 10 and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.”

12 “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15 I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”

16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. 17 In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.”

18 “This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. 19 Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.”

20 Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— 22 but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.

23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

SERMON JOSEPH IN JAIL

Vv 1-3. The chief cupbearer and the chief baker were two very important officials in Pharaoh’s cabinet. The chief cupbearer usually became a trusted advisor and friend to the king, because the king trusted him with his life. You see, it was the chief cupbearer’s job to make sure there was no poison in the king’s food or drink, so he would taste it first before he gave it to the king, risking his own life for the king each time he sat down to eat. As a result, the king and his chief cupbearer became close friends. And the chief baker provided most of the king’s food, so he too was an important, trusted official.

Well, it just so happens that they end up in the same prison as Joseph. Do you think so? Do you think it “just happened”? No! GOD put them there, because GOD had a plan for Joseph that involved Pharaoh. Now watch as God works His plan.

Dreams come in pairs (Joseph… here… & Pharaoh…)

Vv 4-8. Look at verse 8.

Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”

Joseph still believed that God-given dreams were important. Joseph still believed that God gives dreams and that God will work to fulfill those dreams no matter what happens in life.

Joseph never stopped believing God even in prison, and that’s what you must do in your “prison” experiences as well. When life seems uncertain…

BE CERTAIN THAT GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.

Believe that God has a plan and He is working that plan for your good and His glory. Remember that God has not forgotten the dream he gave you and He is working to fulfill that dream in ways you can’t even imagine.

Don’t give up your faith in God. Otherwise, you can become a bitter, angry person of no use to anyone. Look at Joseph in prison. He is serving his fellow prisoners (vs.4), and he is concerned about them when they are sad (vs.7). His compassion comes from his confidence in God, and your faith will do the same for you.

Henri Dunant was a wealthy 19th century Swiss banker. He was sent to Paris by the Swiss government to work on a business deal with Napoleon. He arrived only to be informed that Napoleon was off fighting a war against the Austrians in Solferino, Italy. So Henri Dunant got back into his carriage and set his horses galloping down to the battlefront. He got there just in time to hear the bugles blast and see the thundering charge of Napoleon’s troops.

Dunant had never before witnessed the ghastly carnage of war. He watched in horror as cannonballs tore through human flesh, and acres of land became heaped with maimed and dying men. Henry Dunant was so devastated that he remained at the front for weeks helping doctors tend to the wounded in churches and nearby farmhouses.

After his return to Switzerland, Dunant continued to be haunted by the images of war he had seen in Italy. He could not keep his mind on banking, becoming so distracted that he lost his wealth.

Yet even with his career derailed and his plans askew, he had a sense of God’s sovereignty in all that had occurred. Of this time, he later wrote: “I was aware of an intuition, vague and yet profound, that [this was] God’s Will; it seemed to me that I had [something] to accomplish…as a sacred duty and that it was destined to have fruits of infinite consequence for mankind.”

And indeed it was. Out of his depression and failure—after following the wrong road to Italy—Henri Dunant founded the Red Cross, which has saved millions and millions of lives and given aid to countless victims of war and disaster over the years. For establishing this organization, he received the first Nobel Peace Prize.

When you believe that God is in control, your faith compels you to do amazing things even in the face of great trial. Otherwise, you just give up in despair.

Love those God wants you to love; and in His strength, keep on doing what God wants you to do until the day you see God fulfill the dreams He has given you beyond your wildest imagination.

When life seems uncertain, be certain that God is still in control. More than that, in the uncertainties of life…

BE CERTAIN THAT GOD STILL CARES.

That’s what happened to Joseph. People he helped forgot him, but God never did. He says to Pharaoh’s officials, “Tell me your dream.”

vv 9-15. Joseph interprets the chief cupbearer’s dream – which was very favourable – asking only one thing in return – “mention me to Pharaoh.”

vv 16-19 The interpretation of the baker’s dream was not so good. I’m sure that’s not what he wanted to hear, but things happened just as Joseph said.

vv 20-22. God did exactly what He told them he would do: both of their heads were lifted up. The chief cupbearer’s head was lifted up in a figurative sense: he was elevated to his former position. And the chief baker’s head was lifted up in the literal sense: it was put in a hangman’s noose.

God always keeps His Word even when others don’t.

23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

The chief cupbearer did not keep his word. Joseph had asked him, “show me kindness” (vs.14). Literally, be loyal to me, but the chief cupbearer forgot all about Joseph.

And that kind of thing happens to you and me all the time. People make promises and forget them. Oh, it’s usually not out of any malicious intent. It’s just that when you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. People forget; but dear friends, you can be certain that God never does.

So when you face an uncertain future, be certain that God is in control and that He cares for you; He will not forget you.

God is pro nobis – God is for us.

Romans 8:31-32. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

When life is uncertain, don’t ever forget it: God is pro nobis. God is for us. He demonstrated that very clearly when He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross for our sins. All you have to do is trust Him with your life; and then, keep on believing when life becomes uncertain.

PRAYER

Hymn Great is Thy faithfulness

1 Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

there is no shadow of turning with thee;

thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not,

as thou hast been thou for ever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness!

Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

all I have needed thy hand hath provided –

great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

2 Summer and winter, and spring-time and harvest,

sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

join with all nature in manifold witness

to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Chorus

3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Chorus

Thomas O Chisholm (1866-1960)

Benediction

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