The Gospel for the City in Genesis 42-45

The Refining of the covenant family (42:1-45:28)

The covenant family has suffered brokenness due to their own sinful choices born out of jealousy, rivalry, and succumbing to pagan morality. If dependent alone on Jacob and his eleven sons, the covenant promise of blessing to the nations through the seed of Abraham would fail. Nevertheless, though in exile, Joseph fulfills the responsibility of Abraham’s descendants as he brings blessing to Egypt.

Reconciliation and restoration come to this broken family from an unlikely person. The one who has been betrayed and most deeply offended and hurt is the one whom the Lord uses to bring about restoration to a broken family. Joseph models the grace of one who submits to God’s sovereignty and who experiences God’s grace in the midst of his hardship.

Joseph as a model of grace in the midst of betrayal anticipates Jesus whose experience of betrayal would lead to His death on the cross and who through His suffering brings about the reconciliation and restoration of those who have rejected Him and betrayed Him.

Here in the City of Philadelphia, we are asking God to use the unlikely to bring about His purposes of reconciliation and restoration in this city. In some sense, my brother Steve and I are a lot like both Joseph and his brothers. In being like his brothers, we know what it is to betray our upbringing, to reject the grace offered to us, and to cause brokenness in the lives of others. Yet, like Joseph, we know what grace is all about. We’ve experienced God’s sovereign and gracious hand in preserving us through our arrogant rebellion and forming us by the gospel through the challenges of a life-time of ministry with all of its joys and its sorrows.

We want, like Joseph, to live out the grace of the gospel which enables us to be a part of God’s plan of reconciling and restoring the brokenness of the nations of the world.

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On September 10, 1970 I came to understand the great love of God for me, a sinner and a rebel. That evening I received God’s forgiveness and a new life through Jesus Christ, who died in my place and rose again to offer forgiveness and new life. I have been senior pastor for over 30 years planting two churches in Buckingham, PA and Queens, NY and serving two other churches in Brooklyn, NY and Roslyn, PA. I am currently the lead pastor at Grace Church of Philly.

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