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1Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
And let’s skip up to verse 29 before we pray
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3O, my what a wonderful, wonderful Word we have from our Father. Now tet us pray, Dear Gracious Father we are so thankful for your word because with it you created the worlds and with it you gave us new birth. Help us to understand what the Message is all about, and why you felt it so important to come down yourself in this hour to finish your great plan that you purpose in yourself before the foundations of the world. Grant to us that the very mind that was in Christ would be in us for we ask it in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.
I am exited about the Message this morning because we have been studying for seven weeks now “the Image of the Invisible God” and this will be number 10 in our mini series on “The Image of the Invisible God”. Now, the purpose for this mini series has been to get us to focus on the characteristics of God because after all your character is made up of the sum total of your characteristics. The actual dictionary definition of characteristic is “a feature that helps to distinguish a person”, whereas the word character is “The combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another”.
Therefore as brother Branham preached several messages called, “God is indentified by his characteristics”, and therefore, the sum total of all the characteristics that make God, God he poured into Christ Jesus who was the very character of God expressed to the world.
In fact in the Message God identifying Himself by His Characteristics 64-0320 P:35 Brother Branham said, “The old Urim Thummim's gone, but the Word's still the thing that identifies the characteristic of God, the promise of the hour that we're living. There is God's characteristics, identified by the promise of the hour that we're living in. That makes God the same as He was in sundry times.”
And from his sermon entitled Identification 64-0216 P:23 brother Branham said, The Character of God was Christ. He was the Reflection. He was God made visible: notice, God made visible. In the beginning was God. He wasn't even God then. No, a God's an object of worship. Only thing He was, was the eternal, and in Him was attributes. And those attributes were thoughts. And those thoughts was expressed to words, and word was made manifest. What is it? It's all God becoming tangible. And you are part of God. And Jesus come to redeem those that was put on the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundation of the world. It was in God's thoughts. And that's what He come to redeem. And them, as soon as it strikes to them, they see it, because the life is in there. But if the life isn't in there, then what can they do? See? They don't see it. They'll never see it. See? And the whole thing is, Jesus said, "At that day you'll know I'm in the Father, the Father in Me, I in you, and you in Me." The whole thing is God becoming material, like a husband and wife becoming one together: God and His church becoming one.
8Therefore if we are to understand the character of Christ in which we are ordained to be conformed to His image, and remember, his image is not the outward appearance, but the characteristics that made up his character and that is what makes up his image. Therefore, being conformed to his image is being conformed to his character.
Now we read from Romans 8 for our text and we saw how that when we are born again we must die to self in order to be born of God’s Spirit. In fact brother Branham said in his sermon, You must be born again 61-1231M P:54 “Yes, to be born again you must go through a process of death; everything does. You take a grain of corn; if that corn ever expects to live again, it's got to die first. If a grain of wheat ever expects to live again, it's totally impossible for... That corn, that wheat, that flower, that tree, that grass, that vegetable, everything that expects to live again must die first. Then how you going to escape it? You got to die first. You got to die. Die how? To yourself, die to everything, so that you can be born again. You've got to do that. If you don't die, you can never live again.”
Now, that is what Paul meant by to live for self can never please God. God don’t want to inhabit your life and share it with a gossip? He don’t want to share the same house as a person always looking for fault in everyone? You’ve got to die, and let him live your life for you. He wants you to have his own character in you living His life through your body.
Now, to better get a grip on our character and where it is and where our Father has ordained for it to end up, let me read from Romans 8 again except this time, I will read it from the New Bible called The Message. But I want you to read along with me from your Bibles, to see how just changing the word flesh which is somewhat obtuse to self, creates a very personal understanding of this Scripture here and keys us into how the very character of Christ is to be developed in us.
THE MESSAGE 5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them, living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwell, even though you still experience all the limitations of sin, you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s! 12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us, an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
13And that is the key to our being conformed to the very image of Christ if for the very character of Christ to be developed in us. And this is not just my own thinking here, this is what our vindicated prophet told us.
Identification 63-0123 P:51 We've got to take the entire full Gospel. We must, And now, being that we have identified ourselves as full Gospel people, let's mold our character. We're invited to be molded in His Image, that we might reflect His Presence. "And the works that I do, shall you do also. The Life that I live, so shall you." We're invited by God to take Him as an Example, and let our character be molded like His. What a thing. My. Then when we let His character be in us, then we have become sons by having the mind of Christ: mind, which is His character. Your mind makes your character. "Let the mind," Paul said, "of Christ, this mind that was in Christ be in you." Let that mind of Christ be in you. It molds the character of a son of God.
Identification 63-0123 P:19 Now, Jesus gave us the Example of what we ought to be looking at, when He reflected His Life to us through the Word, what we should see. When we look into God's mirror, we should see our self identified with Him. That is a perfect Example. Now, but we find out that as we go along through life, that our character molds the image that we are. Each one knows that. You... As you live, so is... Your character molds you to what you are. Now, you have seen people that you just love to be around. Yet they might not exactly be in your bracket of society. And again, they might be of a different race: the colored, or the brown, or the yellow. But there's just something about that character, that you just love to be in their presence. Because each person is a little dynamo of their own, and you put out an atmosphere. And then you see people that were noble people, but yet you were always glad to get away from them. It's just they create such an atmosphere around where you are. Nothing against them, they're nice people, but you just don't like that atmosphere they--they are--they're in. And their character creates whatever they are, makes them what they are.
17Now, notice he said our character molds us to the image of what we are. So how can you expect to be conformed to the image of the first born son, if you do not have his character? And how do you expect to have his character if his characteristics are not projecting through your vessel? And we have spent 10 sermons so far on the image of the invisible God showing you the different characteristics that identify who God is, His Image. And those characteristics are like His genes or DNA on display. Our DNA, our genes make up the characteristics that define who and what we are. And they are programmed into us at birth. Then why would we think that the characteristics of God-Life are not in us at the new birth? All we have to do is to develop that picture until it is complete.
So how do we do that? Paul tells us in verse 17. He said, if Christ is alive in us then we will live his very same life, and do what he does, and say what he says. and if we do what he did, and go through what he went through, then we will also receive the Glory that he received from God. Let me read it again. 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Now, the Apostle Paul makes this very plain also in 2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: but then notice what Paul says next…12 If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
So it is very apparent that when Christ is living in us, we will reflect to the world the attributes and characteristics of Christ and in so doing, we will suffer because Jesus told us that if they denied him they will deny us.
The Apostle Paul told us in Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I am living; yet it is not I that is living, but Christ is living in me: and the life which I now live in this self, this flesh of mine, I am living by the faith, the revelation of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
So it is very apparent by all these Scriptures we are reading this morning that God’s plan was to send his son into the world to conquer death, hell and the grave, and to conquer the human flesh for us, since it is his very life, that same life that lived itself out in the son of God, has come back upon us in the new birth to live itself out in you and me. Then if it is the very same life, it will do the very same things, and speak the very same words, and live the very same life. And in doing so that life in you will also be a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, and it will be despised and rejected of men as that life was as it lived itself out in the first born son of God.
Jesus told us in John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. But don’t forget the promise of Glory is greater than the suffering we must go through. And that is your key to your sanity in going through the trials of your faith.
Now, this coming to a full display of the character of Christ in our lives is what the scripture calls the perfection. The word perfection actually means to be finished off, fully mature, complete.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Verse “13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, (and faith is a Revelation, and this speaks of only one Faith One Lord, one revelation of that one Lord) and of the knowledge of the Son of God, (Now, how are you going to have mature walk with God as your Father if you do not even believe he is a father? And if you do not understand the relationship between God and his first born son, how are you going to understand what it means to be a son yourself?) Notice, it’s to take us unto a perfect man, unto the measure, (the metron, the portion) of the stature (that’s the character) of the fullness (or fulfillment) of Christ: Then when we have dome to the character of Christ which brings fulfillment to Christ, it is because God doesn’t want a bunch of babies, he wants mature sons who can be heirs of His kingdom. Notice, 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Now, let’s see what the Doctrine of Christ is all about. John tells us that if you don’t have the doctrine of Christ you don’t have God, and Paul then says you can’t stop there with just having mental conception of it, he says we must enter into it to go on to perfection.
We are talking about going on to perfection, to our full character in Christ. He said laying aside the principles of the doctrine of Christ let us go onto Perfection. Now, noticed he did not say laying aside the doctrine of Christ for without the doctrine of Christ you can’t even have God.
Now, we also know that the word “hath” used here was translated form the Greek word “echo” which means to reflect or repeat over again and again. So therefore we can read it as “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, echoes not God”. He can’t reflect God, and he can’t even say what he said in the way He said it. He can not say what God said, again and again. And what does God say? He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath (he echoes) both the Father and the Son.
And to echo the son means you echo life, for that is what the Apostle John told us in 1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. He that echoes the Son echoes life; and he that echoes not the Son of God echoes not life.
Now, we read f that in order for us to go on to perfection we must get beyond the principles of the doctrine of Christ. Now, that is not saying we must leave those principles as though they no longer are necessary, but that rather he is telling us that we must not stop there, but we must continue into the doctrine of Christ in order to go on to perfection, because those principles are only the first part. That is what the word principle means, the first part. And too many people just stop short once they begin to see “the doctrine of Christ”, that there is one God and He had a son, and they just stop right there. But what we have seen in our studies is that getting to the principles is not what it is all about. Just knowing there is one God and He had a Son is not what God intended for us at all. He never intended for us to stop there. The devil knows there is one God who has a Son and the devil trembles.
But what the doctrine of Christ is to do is to bring forth perfection in sons of God. That is what the doctrine of Christ is to do, and Paul says in order for it to produce perfection in the believer we must not stop at the principles of the doctrine but we must continue into the doctrine of Christ until we come to perfection.
Brother Branham told us that we have the perfect revealed truth. And he read from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians which said, Questions and answers COD 64-0823E P:27 I Corinthians 13 says this: "When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away with." So all these little things of jumping up-and-down like a kid, trying to talk in tongues, and all these other things, when that which is perfect... And we do have today, by God's help, the perfect interpretation of the Word with Divine vindication. Then that which is in part is done away with. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child; but when I become a man, I put away childish things."
And from Questions and Answers COD 64-0823E P:82 302. Please explain I Corinthians 13:8-12. Now that the perfect Word is restored to the church are these verses fulfilled? Now, I think I just went through that, didn't I? "And when that which is perfect has come, that which is in part shall be done away with." Paul said, "Though I speak with tongue of men and angels, and I do all these things here... But when that which is perfect is come..." Now, is there anything perfect but God? No, sir. Is God the perfect? In the beginning was the [Congregation replies, "Word."--Ed.] and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word's still God. See? All right. When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part is done away with.
Now, look, we have by God’s Grace a perfect word by the presence of a Perfect God, which is to bring perfection into the Elect at this hour. That is why we are not to stop at the principles of the doctrine of Christ, but we are to come fully into an understanding of the relationship between the Father and His Son that we might understand our own relationship with the Father even as Jesus understood His own relationship with the Father. That is where our perfection comes, in knowing even as we are known. And that is 1 John 3:2, Beloved now, we are sons, but it doesn’t look like what we ought to be, but when He shall appear we shall at that time appear with him in glory, in “doxa” in the same values, with the same opinions and with the same judgments. Therefore knowing who we are, because we can see Him as He really is.
Now, in looking at the characteristics of God on display in his offspring throughout the old testament, we see in the patriarchs. Abraham represented Faith. He is called the father of our faith. Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
And brother Branham said, What Holy Ghost was given for 59-1217 P:20 Notice now what taken place. God pouring Himself into them... Now, the church has got to a place, from Luther, Wesley... And the revival's on with the Pentecost. And now into this age that we're coming now by the same Holy Spirit, just more of It... Now, when them Lutherans back there got saved, they got a portion of the Holy Spirit. When the Methodists got sanctified, that was a work of the Holy Spirit. See? It was a part of the Holy Spirit. "They without us are not made perfect," says the Scriptures. See? Now, God... As the Light has begin to shine in the last days, He's expecting us, a great thing from us, because where there's much given, there's much required. So He's going to require much more of us than He did of the Lutherans or the Methodists, because we walk in a greater Light, with a greater power, with a greater witness than they had. Now, we have a greater witness of the resurrection. We have things more firmer, more sure than they had.
And so we see in the saints of old certain attributes or characteristics that were in God but we have come to the perfect word in this age, and they without us can not come to perfection. They need the other characteristics of God, they need all the characteristics of God to be made perfect or complete.
Brother Branham said from this sermon The Masterpiece 64-0705 Paragraph 41 Abraham portrayed Christ, of course; so did Isaac in love: Abraham did in faith. Isaac did in love. Jacob did by his grace, because "Jacob" means "deceiver"; and that's what he was. But God's grace was with him. But when it come to Joseph, there's nothing against him, just one little scratch (for the foundation must also be a masterpiece), when he told his father, the prophet, "Say to Pharaoh that your people are cattle raisers and not shepherds, because a shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptian." But when the old prophet got before Pharaoh, he said, "Your servants are herdsmen." So it scratched it. See? That's why it still makes it the masterpiece.
Now, we know that Abraham represented Faith, and Isaac represented Love, and Jacob represented Grace, and now we see Joseph who represents perfection, because Joseph’s life was perfect except for one small blemish. And so we see how that Joseph in his perfection represented Christ. 92 Notice, how that he was portrayed in Joseph, the top of the foundation, the most perfect of all of them. We find that Joseph was born to his family; and he was by the legal woman actually, which was Jacob's wife. And notice also, that when he was born, his father loved him; and his brothers hated him without a cause. Why did they hate him? Because he was the Word. See the very foundation? See how the head of the foundation come. Now look at the head of the body comes. Now, watch the Head of the Bride come. He was the Word. And they hated him because he was a seer. He foresaw things and told them; they happened. No matter how long it lingered, it happened just the same. And by being spiritual he was excommunicated from his brethren. They ought to have loved him. But they hated him because he was a prophet and he was spiritual. And they hated him.
Now, I want you to notice how he goes back and forth between Christ and Joseph here because both were the Word, but Jesus was the fullness of the Word. But let me also say that every prophet of God was the Word of God made flesh to his generation. And it was not the man that the people hated but the Word of God that was manifesting from that prophet that the people hated. Just like Samuel. And they rejected Samuel from being ruler over them. But God told Samuel, it is not you they are rejecting but Me they are rejecting. And God was The Rejected King. The people did not want God to rule them, they wanted some man they elected to rule them, and so is it today.
And we see how that the life of William Branham was a perfect reflection of the Life of Samuel, for it was the same Spirit of Christ that operated in Samuel in the same way that it operated in William Branham. And the church world rejected him because they wanted their denominations to rule over them.
In THE MASTERPIECE brother Branham brings out the similiarities between Christ and Joseph. 93 Notice, he was sold for almost thirty pieces of silver, (so was Jesus) thrown into a ditch, (actually it was a well, and Jesus was thrown into the garden tomb) and supposedly to be dead, but was took up from the ditch. (And Jesus was raised up from the tomb) And in his time of temptation in the prison, the butler and the baker... We know that the butler was saved and the baker was lost. And in Christ's prison house on the cross, one was saved and the other one was lost, two thieves, two wrong doers.
94 And we notice he was taken from his prison to the right hand of Pharaoh, that no man could speak to Pharaoh, only through Joseph. And when Joseph left that throne of Pharaoh, the trumpet sounded throughout Egypt, the blast went forth and said, "Bow the knee, everybody; Joseph is coming forth." Notice all the types of Christ we see in Joseph, even marrying a gentile bride and all.
95 So will it be with Jesus. How He was loved of the Father and hated of them denominational brethren without a cause. He was sold for thirty pieces of silver (as it was), and put into the ditch supposedly to be dead. On the cross, one lost and the other one saved, and was lifted up from the cross, and sets at the right hand of God in the Majesty, the great Spirit, which had been reflected in Him. And no man can speak to God, only through Jesus Christ. Think of it. And when He leaves that throne, starts forth, the trumpet will sound and every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess. Remember, he was the son of prosperity. Everything that he did prospered, whether it was prison or wherever it was, it come out right. And hasn't He promised for His children that He'd make everything work together for the good, whether it was sickness, prison house, death, sorrows, whatever it was, that it would work for the good to them that loved Him. He promised it, and it must be so. It's got to be there. It's figurative spoke to us in Him. He was that perfect Image of God.
97 Now, we see here also that when He comes again... Remember, Joseph by revelation saved the world by his great prophecy. The world would've died if it hadn't have been for Joseph. And the world would’ve been dead if it hadn't have been for Jesus: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish." God is reserving Life.
98 On and on we could go. Because He was simply the match of David. He was a match of Moses. He was the match of Elijah. He was the match of Joseph. Everything that was portrayed or foretold by in the Old Testament, matched right into that. What is it? Showing a perfect Redeemer that we could put our old, dirty clothes into the laundry and go claim it again. It’s been washed in the Blood of the Lamb. We can claim what’s our own. And everything that He died for, we can claim it.
That is why we can go on unto perfection! Because Jesus Christ made a way, and Paul said to go there we must come up through the principles of the doctrine of Christ, but then not stay there, but keep moving into the doctrine of Christ until perfection comes.
In his sermon Hebrews Chapter 6 57-0908E P:32 Brother Branham told us that perfection comes by Christ, he said, “Now He's beginning to talk about... What is it? "Let's go on to perfection..." Now, he said, "Not carnal, laying the foundation here of doctrines and baptism and reformations and so forth. Let's not do that. Let's go on to perfection." The subject is perfection, and perfection comes by Christ. And how did we get in Christ? By joining the church? By one Spirit we're all baptized into one Body, not by one tongue talked in, one hand shook in, one water baptized in, but by one Spirit we are baptized into one Body. You get it? That's the perfection. And when you come into that, you are in Christ, and the world is dead to you. And you walk with the Lamb each day, and your steps are ordained of God, what to do. Oh, the trials and testings that we go through. You say, "Do you have testings?" Yes, sir.
There is no doubt that we all have testings, for every son that cometh to God must first be tried and tested, and so was Joseph tried and tested. But he went into perfection because that was Christ in Joseph. And Christ in you is your hope of Glory, and the glory is the doxa which is the very mind of God in the believer. And that is your perfection, by one spirit being baptized into one body, and then having the mind that was in Christ in you. What more could you ask for?
The trial of our Faith is supposed to produce in us Praise Honor and Glory, that is what the Apostle Peter said it would do. In 1 Peter 1: 7 he said, That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
And remember, Paul told us in Romans 8 and in his letter to timothy that we must suffer with him if we are to reign with him. And that is exactly what happened in the life of Joseph. His character was perfected through his suffering.
Joseph was a son of Jacob, God’s prophet whose name was changed to Israel. But there was something about this son, that was different from his other brothers. Now, just because he was different from his brothers did not make him any better, because those 12 sons of Israel will be there at the new Jerusalem, as the 12 elders of Israel. So if they who sold their brother in slavery can make it then there is hope for the rest of us. And since they made it, let’s not say Joseph was a better son, but in this case we are looking at his example to see what trail we must go down. What his suffering produced in him.
Now, we are told that Joseph was only 17 years old when he recognized his son ship and began to take on a new role in the family. Because of his close relationship with his father, and due to this relationship, his brothers separated themselves from him. But Joseph by now had recognized his calling. And once he began to recognize his calling, and stepped into that role to help his father in the business because he could be trusted more than his brothers, and because he was a better steward than they had shown themselves to be, his father promoted him to do more for him in the family business and placed him in a leadership role which did not set to well with his brothers who were much older than he was. It was then in the doing or shall we say, as his role became more and more revealed to him God began to display a supernatural presence or communication with him, and his brothers recognized that he had something in his life that they did not have. And so they became jealous of what he was doing.
Genesis 37: 4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. 5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
Verse 13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. 14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. Now, look, I don’t know what you see in this but this tells me their father did not exactly have confidence in these other sons to keep the flock in good health. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. Now, look he was only doing what any obedient son would do, and yet they hated him for it. 19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
59Now, Joseph could not help that God gave him those dreams, but they hated him without a cause. He was an obedient son, and for this God rewarded him with his calling, and revealed to him what his role would be and because of petty jealousy the other brothers hated him. And so we find them saying in verse 20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams. 21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
Now, we all know the rest of the story and all the suffering but what I am trying to point out is this, that the call is first, then obedience to the call, then God makes more clear in a supernatural way His approval with the obedience and when that happens jealousy strikes the brethren and then the real trials and tests come because you know your calling, you know your role, but your brothers don’t accept your role, and yet you were given that role because of your obedience to your father.
And the point I want to get to this morning is this. After all those years of imprisonment, I think about 14, and all those years separated from His Father whom he dearly loved, which I believe was about twenty. Let’s look at the character that was developed into this son of God, and see why He was called perfection by Brother Branham. Let’s turn in our Bibles in closing and look at all the built up anguish and bitterness those years could have brought to this man of God, but he looked at the end instead of looking at the trials.
Genesis 45: 1-2 Joseph couldn’t hold himself in any longer, keeping up a front before all his attendants. He cried out, “Leave! Clear out—everyone leave!” So there was no one with Joseph when he identified himself to his brothers. But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn’t help but hear him. The news was soon reported to Pharaoh’s palace.
3 Joseph spoke to his brothers: “I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t say a word. They were speechless—they couldn’t believe what they were hearing and seeing.
4-8 “Come closer to me,” Joseph said to his brothers. They came closer. “I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives. There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years—neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance. So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt.
9-11 “Hurry back to my father. Tell him, ‘Your son Joseph says: I’m master of all of Egypt. Come as fast as you can and join me here. I’ll give you a place to live in Goshen where you’ll be close to me—you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and anything else you can think of. I’ll take care of you there completely. There are still five more years of famine ahead; I’ll make sure all your needs are taken care of, you and everyone connected with you—you won’t want for a thing.’
12-13 “Look at me. You can see for yourselves, and my brother Benjamin can see for himself, that it’s me, my own mouth, telling you all this. Tell my father all about the high position I hold in Egypt, tell him everything you’ve seen here, but don’t take all day—hurry up and get my father down here.”
14-15 Then Joseph threw himself on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He then kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Only then were his brothers able to talk with him.
Now, let me read one last quote before we close. From his sermon, 63-0714M Why Cry Speak Brother Branham said, 161Faith sees what God wants done. Oh, I hope this goes in. Faith doesn't look at the present time. Faith doesn't see this here. Faith looks to see what God wants, and it works accordingly. That's what faith does. It sees what God wants, and what God wants done, and faith operates through that. 162 Faith is a long-range vision. It don't lower its sights. It holds to the target. Amen! Any good shooter knows that. See? That, it's long range. It's a telescope. It's a binocular, that you don't look around here. You don't use binoculars to look to see what time it is; see, you don't use that. But you use binoculars to look a way off.163 And faith does that. Faith picks up God's binoculars, both of them, both sides, the New and Old Testament, and sees every promise that He made. And faith sees it out yonder, and faith chooses that regardless of what the present tense says here. He looks at the end. He don't drop his sights down to look this a way. He looks out yonder. He keeps the crosshair dead center on the Word. That's what faith does. That's the faith that's in a man that does those things.
And Joseph didn’t keep tabs on all the wrongs that his brothers had done against him, he looked at the bigger picture, and when he did Christ took over in him, and He became the savior to the whole human race because he saved them from having died in those seven years of famine.
So Joseph had Faith like Abraham to see the end from the beginning, and Joseph had grace like Jacob to be able to go through all he did and still love his brothers, and Joseph had Love like Isaac because the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
65THE MESSAGE Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. 8-10 Love never dies.