Speaker(s): John Love
11:00 AM on 3/19/2023
P. Love –
Good morning. As I look out over this crowd, I cannot help but think how God has translated us all from the kingdom
of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son. Isn’t that amazing? It’s incredible. It’s incredible.
And on top of that, we’re saints.
You know, if you were in another denomination, to be a saint you would have to perform a
miracle. You would have to live an impeccable life. You would have to have all kinds of people
vouch for you that you were saintly. And you know for us, that’s never going to happen! And then
after careful consideration and a lot of time, you would be a saint.
Well, you and I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and we went from being sinners to saints in a
moment. How many of you heard P. Eugene and you wanted a sign? How many of you wanted
a sign [for the Easter play]? Some of you. As a reminder, Jesus said an evil and adulterous
generation seeketh after a sign! So, I’m kidding! I’m kidding! No sign seeking. Alright. Let’s pray
Would you turn in your Bible with me to Psalm 105. This morning, we will talk about how God
promotes. When we think about God promoting, we are not necessarily thinking about to a
better job or a better position. But when God promotes in his kingdom, he simply promotes his
people with blessing, with grace, with peace, with joy. And how God longs to do that in each one
of our lives.
Here in Psalm 105, this is a beautiful psalm. If you get a chance, you can read it. It speaks of all
of the wonderful works of God on the behalf of his people, the children of Israel. I’ll begin
reading in verse 16. It’s an interesting start to this portion, cause it says in God dealing with his
people and his wonderful works it says he called for a famine upon the land, vs. 16. Doesn’t that
sound strange that God would call or ordain a famine upon the land? vs. 16-21. That’s what God
did and that’s how God promoted Joseph when he was brought to Egypt.
I want you to think about how that process happened. I believe in my heart that if God were to
show us everything that were to take place in our lives before he brings his promotion into our
lives, we would say, here am I, Lord. Get someone else! I think it would be so frightful, so
overwhelming, so hard to believe, I’m not even sure we would move in that direction.
For Joseph, do you know what it was? It was 13 years of continuous storms, turbulence,
upheaval, disappointment until it was finally over and it came to a conclusion. Imagine if God
woke you up one morning and he said I want you to know – and he doesn’t do this by the way.
He never sends us an email saying major trials coming your way. Prepare yourself, you know.
What does he do? He doesn’t tell us. Imagine. Joseph, just think about just prior to his being
promoted as second in command of all of Egypt, because that would have happened in less
than an hour perhaps. Joseph went from, you know, a prison cell to the highest position in the
land of Egypt, from the dungeon to actually co-ruling with the most powerful man on the face of
the earth on that time. From the lowest place in Egypt to the highest office in the land.
How did God do it? He did it strangely, didn’t he? He always works that way. The Bible tells us in
Romans 11:33 that God’s judgments, the way that God deals with man, it says it’s unsearchable.
His ways unfathomable, past finding out. You and I will never be able to take God and put him in
a box because we finally figured him all out, because for lack of a better way of saying it, he’ll
blow our minds with the way he does things in our lives especially when it comes to how he
promotes his people.
Thomas Watson wrote a book and he said, “God works strangely. He brings order out of
confusion, harmony out of discord, and he frequently makes use of unjust men to do that which
is just.” We can see that throughout the history of God’s dealings with his people, with Israel and
his church. When I think of the day, the day that Joseph was promoted. If he’s in a prison cell,
what do you think his day starts out like? I don’t think that he was singing, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will be glad and rejoice in it.” I don’t think he was skipping along in his cell
anticipating this is going to be a glorious and wonderful day.
I can imagine Joseph saying, you know, God, you gave me these dreams a long time ago. And I
still can’t understand why after giving me those dreams that my brothers hated me to such an
extent that they plotted to kill me, but instead they threw me into a pit. Then, they decided to
send me as a slave into Egypt. Then when I got there, things finally relaxed in my life until
Potiphar’s wife came along. Then life got even more complicated accusing me of something that
I did not do. And then, thrown into prison and here I have been in prison. Even after I interpreted
the dreams of the baker and the butler, and one of them, both of them actually promised me I
would be delivered out of this prison cell. And yet, here I am still here.
I think the only way to describe what Joseph was about to happen in his life is that he was about
to be resurrected. And the last time I checked, in order to experience a resurrection, you got to
be dead. But God so often works in our lives when all hope is lost. And when what we believe
what he promised and said would happen is what? Impossible.
Like Abraham being promised that child. And God, imagine God keeps reminding Abraham.
Abraham, I got to tell you your children, your children will number more than the stars in the sky,
more than the sea on the shores. Can you imagine Abraham saying at one point, well, that’s
great Lord, but can you think we could start with one? Could we have one before we have the
multitude according to the stars or the sea along the seashore? How about just starting with
one? Because I’m getting a little along in years. I’m like a hundred.
God says, yes, I know you are. Your children will outnumber the – he keeps saying it. But God
waited until it was impossible for Abraham to have a child and then that promised child came. It
was like Joseph. Resurrected. When all hope lost, gone, removed, that’s when God summoned
him to the palace and that’s where the promotion in Joseph’s life began to take place.
I love that because again, the ways of God past finding out. We are not going to be able to
figure it all out. We’re not going to be able to completely and totally understand what God is
doing, but all he ever asks for is our trust in that process. He’s only looking for trust. I think all of
us we’ve had those moments in our lives when we have cried out to God and we said I don’t
understand it. I don’t see it happening. It looks like all is lost. But then, there’s just that little bit of
hope in our souls that says I’m going to keep trusting you, God. I don’t see the healing. I don’t
see the health. I don’t see the deliverance. I don’t see the relationship changing. I don’t see the
finances improving. I don’t see the car running. I don’t see the children coming back from the
field of the prodigal, but I believe you. I am hoping.
It’s like the psalmist says. Why are you disquieted within me? He’s speaking to his own soul.
Why are you so disquieted? Why are you so downcast? And then he said these wonderful
words: “I will hope in God and I will yet praise his name.” Sometimes, it may be wise for us to
write out a song of praise even before we have been delivered. It will be our way of expressing
our trust and faith in God saying I can’t see it at this moment. It’s not happening right now, but I
am believing you. And I am trusting you.
You think of this process of promotion and what was involved in it with Joseph. Only after years
of frustration and years of waiting and I think for us too we could almost identify with him. Just
maybe he’s settling into the fact that there isn’t going to be any change. There isn’t going to be
any fulfilling of the dreams that God gave me so many years ago. If those dreams were to come
to pass, certainly they would have happened.
But what’s the word from God for each one of us? That vision that I have given to you, that hope
that I have placed in your soul, though it tarry, wait for it. For it will surely come to pass. And
when it came to pass in Joseph’s life, it was like he was living in the express reality of Eph. 3:20
which says what? “Now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask
or think according to the power that is at work in our lives.” Wow!
What do we know about God and his process of promotion? We know this: before he promotes,
he tests. Doesn’t he? That’s what happened to Joseph. He tests. I’m thinking of this song. We
sing it all the time, but I’m wondering sometimes if we believe it. When we sing these words,
“Even when I don’t see you, you’re working. Even when I don’t feel you, you’re working. You
never stop. You never stop working.” Do we believe those words or do we just sing them during
our worship service?
Because there will be times when even though we don’t see him working, we’re going to know
he’s working. Even when we don’t feel him, we know he is working. Why? Because he never
stops. He never sleeps. He never slumbers. He never takes a nap. He doesn’t have a
sabbatical. He needs no rest. He’s always working.
And with Joseph, look at how it started. I find this fascinating. It started by God saying to
Joseph, listen. In my plan of promotion, it begins with you having to be purposely purified. That’s
what happened with Joseph. In other words, Joseph’s character had to be tested. And the Bible
tells us it was tested on a daily basis. By who? By Potiphar’s wife. There’s God using some
unsaved, some ungodly individual to develop the soul of his child.
Yeh, God will do that at our workplace too, won’t he? Ever have a boss that instead of obeying
him, you want to kill him? Ever have a boss that you just say I know I should be rightly
positioned but I’d rather poison him! We can become like that. Our only prayer is Lord, please
remove him! And sometimes he does but other times he doesn’t. But even when he doesn’t
remove that boss or that person that rubs us the wrong way – as P. Stevens used to teach us
which is called what? Operation sandpaper when you are delivered unto those that rub you the
wrong way. And God does that, doesn’t he?
But Joseph, he needed to be. Why? Because, hey, nobody would deny the fact that Joseph was
clearly a talented young man because even in the house of Potiphar, everything he touches
turns to gold. Potiphar sees that. Potiphar recognizes that. Potiphar says the best thing that has
ever happened to my home, my family is this guy. Since he’s come in here, there’s been
blessing after blessing after blessing.
But it takes more than talent in God’s kingdom, doesn’t it? He needed to be purposely purified.
Why? I mean why would God put Joseph through the purity test? Why would God put you and I
through the purity test? I think the answer is found in the words of Jesus, Matthew 5:8. Blessed are
the pure in heart; they will see God.” We sometimes wonder, God, why are you hung up on
purity? Why is purity so important to you? Why is that essential and necessary in the lives of
your children that you are in the process of cultivating?
Because God knows that when our hearts are pure, we will be able to see him more clearly.
Someone would say, God hates impurity. Yeh, but even beyond that, more than that, God wants
us to see him. If Joseph is going to be able to see through all of the difficulties and all of the
upheaval and all of the disappointment, he has got to see God.
I think sexual temptation is one of the biggest temptations that men face today. Pornography
plagues us as a society, as a culture, as a world. And again, what is it about that, that whole
idea that pornography? Because it’s bad. Because it’s filthy. No, because it keeps people from
seeing God. That’s why we would want it to be out of our lives, to be rid of it, to not even give it
a place. Why? Because it will hinder us from seeing the reality of who God is.
I think if any of us have a desire in our heart and I think all of us do to be used by God, I think
that God is going to bring the purity test into our lives, bring the character tests into our lives.
And he started that way with Joseph, purposely purifying him which led to the next thought.
Patiently preparing him. How long? Thirteen years.
I’m telling you if God woke me up this morning and said I have this trial – remember I said
earlier, he doesn’t send any emails. Doesn’t send any messages. He says I have this trial and
it’s going to be rather lengthly. Oh, okay Lord. What is it? A month? Two months? Thirteen
years. How many of us would be willing to embrace a trial that lasted 13 years? But it did for
Joseph. And that seems like a long time, doesn’t it?
I sat last night in the chapel room with the, up in New York with the Nicks players and the team
and a player from the other team came in. He’s a beautiful believer. I asked him, how long have
you been playing in this league? He said 16 years. I said 16 years? I think the average player is
three years. Sixteen years! That is incredible. He said, yeah, but it’s like a vapor. Boom! It’s
gone. And then at the end of the game I saw the same player who was in chapel, he went flying
through the air and dumped the ball like he was a 21-year old. I saw him afterwards and said, I
think you still got it. He goes, yeah, I kind of have a long reach. I said, yeah, well, when you’re 6
feet ten inches tall that happens!
But thirteen years. And remember, he started reigning in Egypt when he was 30 years old and
he lived until he was 110 years old. Eighty years! Listen. If God is going to use you in such a
profound way like he did with Joseph, there probably will be some time that takes place before
that to prepare us. Don’t be in a hurry. God’s not. And if he is in a hurry, he’ll just intensify and
accelerate the tests in your life. But that’s his business.
The bottom line is this: when God wants to do a great work in our lives, he will take all the time
that’s necessary to develop those internal traits in our lives that will be needed for the tasks that
lie ahead. Praise God there are so many tasks that lie ahead of all of us in this room this
morning. We have no idea. You could be elderly and think to yourself: I don’t know if there are
that many more tasks left for me. Listen. There are tasks left for all of us. There is work for God
to do in each one of our lives regardless of our age. Prepare yourself or better than that, let God
prepare you. Remember that hardships and afflictions come straight from the hand of an
infinitely loving heavenly Father and they are designed to deepen us and strengthen us and I
like this part, to give us an endurance that we need for the work that God has prepared for us. I
love that. Endurance.
We are hearing so much about revival these days and we are so grateful for it. I don’t know
about you, but I want revival to begin the moment that I accept Christ as my Savior and I want
that revival to continue unto the moment that God takes me out of this life into my heavenly
home. We want a perpetual revival, amen! We want a Word of God revival, amen! We don’t
want something to slip into our lives of an emotional nature and it carries us for a few weeks or
a few months. We need something that is going to carry us through for the rest of our lives. And
God says I got just the thing to do it. Oh, really Lord. What is it? Hardship. Difficulty. Trials.
Tests. Delivering you unto people that rub you the wrong way. I’ve got plenty of those people in
my kingdom to bring into your life. But the bottom line is this. There are no shortcuts to this
process. Amen. No short cuts to that process. But during the process, God promises to sustain
us and to make a way for us through those difficulties.
Martin Lloyd Jones once said this: “Faith says what he has begun to do, he can continue to do.
The beginning of the work was a miracle, so if he can initiate a miraculous work, he can keep it
going.” In other words, your faith in Christ was a miracle. When you believed on the Lord Jesus
Christ and you were saved, it’s a miracle. Some people didn’t receive it that way. Some people
didn’t see it that way.
I thought that when I got saved, I thought to myself this is a miracle. I went home and I
announced it to my family, and they said this is not a miracle; you have lost your mind! You’ve
become a religious fanatic. Some people don’t see it that way but we know what it is. We know
that we were once in darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. We know we once walked the
way of this world, but now we walk a completely different way. We once were dead in our
trespasses and sins, but we’ve been raised again from the dead by resurrection life in Christ.
That’s how God works.
You know, when you read Psalm 105, this verse really impressed upon my heart. vs. 17-18. Almost
every translation says the same thing. It wasn’t that Joseph was put in irons. It was God at work
putting iron into Joseph. You see, Joseph really is the original Iron Man! It’s not some marvel
comic character. It’s Joseph in the Bible. And the same thing happens in our lives. God is busy.
God is at work and what is he doing? He’s not putting you in irons. He’s putting iron in you, so
you can be the iron man, the iron woman, the iron teenager, the iron child. You can go to a
nursing home and you can be the iron elderly person. It put within him this iron tenacity, strength
of purpose, endurance, fortitude, and the framework of a noble character. All of that patiently
prepared by God.
And then this next thought. Now, after having been patiently prepared by God and purposely
purified, what happens yet? He’s properly positioned by God. He’s put in a place where God can
bring about this amazing promotion. That’s the providence of God working in our lives putting
Joseph at the right place at the right time. And it just so happens that the placing of Joseph’s
position happened to be a prison. But even in prison, God can do amazing things, amen! Even
when we’re confined, even when seemingly there are walls entrapping us in life, God is still at
work. God can bring down those walls anytime he wants to.
There are no walls that are greater than the God who promises to bring them down in our lives
which tells me God can use a jail. Now, I’m not suggesting that any of you do anything to go
there? Okay. Don’t leave church today and go out on the highway 120 miles an hour, have the
policeman pull you over and say wasn’t that wreckless? Why don’t you put me in jail? I need
God to use me. No, but God can use a jail. God can use a divorce. God can use a wheel chair.
God can use a career setback. God can use the loss of your reputation. God can use it all.
Imagine, what is Joseph? He is a foreign slave in an Egyptian jail and within minutes, God is
going to take him and he is going to share power with the most powerful man on the face of the
earth, Pharaoh. God would do that. How is that possible?
We don’t know because the ways of God are past finding out. All we know is if we keep walking by faith and we take the next step that faith tells us we should take, we keep living out of every word that proceeds out of the
mouth of God, and we keep drawing near to God and to his people in Hebrews 10:25, all we know is
that God is going to properly position us. Bring us to that place and through the difficulties and
through the hardships prepare us, strengthen us, put that iron within our souls which means and
tells me that your current position is not a problem to God and his plans for your life.
Sometimes, we look at our current position in life and we go you know what? I’m listening to
what P. Love is saying and it’s not adding up. It’s not making any sense, because I’ve been in
this position I’m in for a long time and I don’t think I’m ever going to be changed out of that
Your current position is not a problem to God and the plans that he has for your life.
What are his plans? His plans are to bless you, Jeremiah 29:11.
And the last thing this morning for Joseph that he was just promptly promoted by God just like
that. How is it possible? Well, when God decides to promote, it’s a done deal. You know, bakers
and butlers can’t stop it. Potiphar’s wife who I think appropriately must have been named
Predator. She can’t stop it. Pharaoh can’t stop it. The God of this world can’t stop it. Challenges,
difficulties, problems can’t stop it. People will try to get in our way but it’s never really about
people. It’s always about spiritual principles that God wants us to pay attention to. Nothing can
I love that the Bible says no one can stay his hand or frustrate his plan. Psalm 75:6-7 says that
promotion doesn’t come from the east or from the west or from the north or from the south, but
God brings one down and he raises another up. God does that. God’s in the business of
promoting his people. It might not be a change for you at the workplace. It might not be a
change for you in your present situation, but always remember. The real change that God knows
has to happen in our lives is happening inwardly, in our souls, where his biggest and best and
deepest and most eternal work is happening and taking place. God’s always looking to bring us to a better place. His plans are always designed to give us a blessed future and he can do it just
like he did with Joseph.
But again, how does it happen? It starts out with God purifying our hearts. Why? Because if we
are going to be spiritually successful in this process, we’ve got to be able to see God along the
way. And again, blessed are the pure in heart? Why? Does God say the pure in heart are better
than the others. They’re more faithful. They’re more successful. They’re more spiritually minded.
No, it’s just that they see God. The greatest motivation to keep yourself pure in this impure and
filthy world is to see God. And the more we see him and the more time we spend in his
presence, the more we are going to be like him. Purposely purified.
Patiently prepared. Oh, yeah. That’s the part that we may struggle with the most. How long O
Lord? How many times do you suppose that phrase, that question is asked in the Bible? How
long, O Lord? Usually we start out when we don’t understand what God is doing, usually the
question is, why, O Lord? But after some time, what do we say? How long, O Lord? And then we
might even say, where are you, O Lord? But he always comes through.
Purposely purified. Patiently prepared. Properly positioned and then promptly promoted by the
hand of God. He does that for his people. God knows how to promote everyone of us. And
again, the way the world interprets promotion is not the way God interprets promotion. The
world might say more money, more success, bigger house, better wardrobe, nicer car. All of that
is irrelevant to God. God’s plans are much greater and his ways much higher than man’s ways.
His thoughts much higher than man’s thoughts. And I’m so grateful for that because I know, you
know, and we all know that God is in the business of promoting his people. And when he does it,
all we can say to the rest of the world is, watch out! Watch out! Because something really good
is going to happen, and God promises it’s going to happen in your life. Amen. Amen. Let’s pray
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.
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