Pastor James Park’s sermon from Shiloh's Lord’s Day Service on November 3, 2019
Faith that is active
Out of all the covenants in the Bible, the one that really shows God’s plan of salvation, which includes the promise of land and descendants, is the Covenant of the Torch. With Abraham, God ratified the Covenant of the Torch. It is called the Covenant of the Torch because a fiery torch passed through the “animal pieces” (Gen 15:17). In the Covenant of the Torch it states that in the 4th generation, “they will return” (Gen 15:16). Thus the Covenant of the Torch is the covenant that shows our lives of faith as we go into the Kingdom of Heaven. In regards to the 4th generation, first there is Abraham, then Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph is the 4th generation that fulfills the Covenant of the Torch, but this Covenant of the Torch needs to be fulfilled still in the end time for the land we need to go into is the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we have to become the offspring of Abraham and become God’s people and go into the Kingdom of Heaven. This is why this covenant is relevant for us in the end time. We have to be the “spiritual” 4th generation and Joseph who fulfills the Covenant of the Torch. We are the generation that has the baton in our hands and we need to sprint towards the end and finish the task that God has given to us. The Word of God works through those who believe God’s Word (1 Thes 2:13). Therefore, faith without works is dead faith (James 2:17). This teaches us that our faith must have “action” which becomes one and that becomes “living faith.” Thus, we have to become the “Josephs, with the faith of the living one.” God is alive from eternity to eternity. When we have this living faith, or a faith that is active and alive, then God will use us as workers in the end time.
By faith, Joseph forgave
Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen 41:51-52). Manasseh means “forget,” and Ephraim means “fruitful.” Here, God is teaching us a principle. In order to be “fruitful,” we have to forget. So, how can we forgive and forget? First, it is by God’s grace. Faith is a gift given to us by the grace of God. Therefore, even forgiveness is the sovereign work of God’s grace (Eph 2:8). Joseph confessed and said, “God has caused me to “forget” (Gen 41:51). God in His sovereignty caused Joseph to forget all of the sufferings and forgive his brothers. Job who suffered for 30 years lost his children, possessions, and even his friends and wife betrayed him; however, after praying for his friends and forgiving them, God restored his fortune (Job 42:10). The Apostle Paul said, “We must forget what is behind us and look toward the goal that God has set before us” (Phil 3:13-15). Thus, in order for God to do a new thing in our lives, we must let go of the past (Isa 43:18-19). We need to forgive people who have hurt us in the past and forget.
Secondly, we can forget when we realize God’s providence. Paul states that “all things work toward the good will of God” (Rom 8:28). This means that God even uses the bad things in our lives for His good purpose. For example, when Joseph’s brothers sold him out of jealousy and envy, God used that to fulfill His good will and purpose. Joseph was able to realize God’s providence and he was able to give thanksgiving. Joseph was able to realize God’s providence in his life. Likewise, when we encounter things in our lives that are not good, God will flip it and use it for His glory. Adam fell and death came to mankind; however, God defeated death by “dying.” Thus, death by death. There is a principle here and that is, God is able to take a painful thing in your life and use it to minister to people who have gone through the same thing.
By faith, Joseph gave his last words concerning his “bones”
By faith, Joseph gave orders concerning his bones (Heb 11:22). Even up to his dying moment, Joseph believed in the covenant and commanded to his descendants to take his bones when they made the exodus out of Egypt and carry them and bury them in the land of Canaan. This is the kind of faith that we need to have--to believe until the very end. Inside the bones was the covenant meaning; when we truly believe in God, His word is active and alive and penetrates even into the bone (Heb 4:12). Thus, inside the bones contain the covenant and promise. Joseph and the people had become one, a community of faith and he wanted to go into Canaan with the people. Likewise, today, we need to become one by the covenant. The bones of Joseph represent “Emmanuel” meaning “God with us.” We need to hold onto the spiritual bones of Joseph which contains the faith of the “living one.” Joseph’s bones testified of his faith.
Conclusion: We need to be the ones who carry the bones with dedication and sacrifice. Those who carried the bones of Joseph in the wilderness did so for a total of 56 years. They had no fame or glory but quietly stayed in the background. This is the kind of sacrifice and dedication that is needed to fulfill the Covenant of the Torch. When Joseph’s bones were buried in Canaan, that’s when the fulfillment of the Covenant of the Torch was accomplished at that time. Today, we need to have a living faith like Joseph. Joseph’s faith was like branches that “ran over” the wall bearing much fruit in front of God. Joseph had a faith that overcame his tribulations and a living faith that was always by the stream. Likewise, we need to have the faith of Abraham rooted in our lives and be one with the Word (John 15:7).