Sermon #2025 — Miscellaneous Sermons


            Title:               The Second Time

            Text:                Acts 7:13 ― “And at the second time

                                                            Joseph was made known to his brethren.


            Reading:       Genesis 42:1-8; 45:1-15

            Subject:                     The Way Christ Reveals Himself

To Some of His Elect

            Date:              Sunday Morning ― November 23, 2003

            Tape #           AA-88



Several weeks ago, after returning from the College Grove Conference, Shelby received a letter from a man I met there. He and I spoke very briefly after the service on Monday night. Let me read his letter to you.


“Dear Mrs. Fortner,


I have sent this email to you in the hopes you will pass it on to Mr. Fortner. I hope this email finds you and yours resting securely in the shadow of our Savior's unending grace and mercy, which He freely bestows on all that are of His flock.

I had the privilege of hearing Mr. Fortner preach at College Grove Grace Church recently and the opportunity to speak with him for a few minutes. I am always blessed and moved within my soul, when he brings to life, what God, by His Spirit, has laid on his heart. I however, have a question, which if time permits, your husband will answer.


Let me say unequivocally, I am beyond a doubt, convinced that I had absolutely nothing to do with my coming to Christ. God chose me in eternity past to be an heir of His kingdom and moved in my life so at the appointed time I would accept the gift that is so freely given. Now having said all that, could you explain to me what “state” I was in, when back in 1984 I verbally “accepted Christ.” I know my viewpoint of the gospel has changed radically since becoming aware and learning of election and being chosen. Was I fooling myself for all those years thinking I was saved when I had accepted Christ on my own terms? Was I perhaps not truly saved? I need an answer and scripture references because I have many friends who need to know the truth. Are they also laboring under the misconception of thinking they are saved? When in reality what they need is for someone to bring the truth of being chosen and elected to them in a loving manner?


It breaks my heart to think they are sitting under a pastor who is not rightly dividing the Word, and they may never hear if someone does not go and tell them. Do we not have an obligation to them? Can so many be lost, thinking they are saved? Have so many sheep in wolves clothing slipped in amongst the brethren? Does not scripture say it is impossible to deceive the elect?


Thank you for all that you do for the gospel of Christ and for remaining faithful for these many years. May God see fit to use you for many more years and to keep you in good health so you can do so.


In His Grip Eternally,


Everett L. Tracey”


As soon as I received this letter from Shelby, I wrote to Bro. Tracey, giving him a brief answer to his questions, promising a fuller, more complete answer as soon as possible. The more I thought about how to answer him the more convinced I became that there are many who need to consider his questions and learn the answer. So I am going to answer this letter in my message to you today.


Open your Bible to Acts the 7th chapter — Acts chapter 7. I cannot tell you how many times people have said to me, “When I learned the gospel of the grace of God (Divine Sovereignty, Election, Predestination, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace), it was as if I had just been saved.” Whenever someone makes such a statement to me, I respond by saying, “If you are saved, that’s when it began. You were not saved until you learned the gospel.”


It does not matter when God saved you. And you do not need to know when God saved you. But you do need to know this: God saves his elect by the gospel, not by a false gospel. No one first gets saved and then learns the gospel. Sinners are saved when they are taught of God by the gospel. Let’s see if I can make good on that from the Book of God. — Have you got your Bible opened to Acts 7? — Read the first part of verse 13. — Acts 7:13.


Joseph in Egypt


(Acts 7:13) “And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren...”


You know the story of Joseph and his brothers. Because of their envy and malice Joseph’s brothers sold him into bondage. Joseph was despised and rejected by his own kinsmen. But God was with him. And, in due time, the Lord exalted Joseph to the throne of Egypt. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, made Joseph his prime minister, entrusting everything to his care. All the riches of Egypt were in Joseph’s hands. All power was given to Joseph.


In all of this, Joseph was a great type of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Joseph was brought by the hand of God’s providence, through the malice of wicked men, to be ruler in Egypt, to save the lives of God’s chosen people, so the Lord Jesus Christ has, by his crucifixion at the hands of wicked men, been exalted to the right hand of The Majesty on High to give eternal life to as many as God the Father has given him. Christ is King over all things to give eternal life to God’s elect (John 17:2).


As Joseph was a type of Christ, so also his dealings with his brothers were typical, in many ways, of our Lord’s gracious dealings with his people in saving mercy. In our text, Stephen tells us, “And the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren.” This did not happen, you will remember, the first time Joseph’s brothers came before him. Joseph knew them then, but they did not recognize Joseph. He hid himself from them. He filled their sacks with corn, gave them provision for their journey, and sent them home with great care. But the first time his brothers came before him in Egypt, Joseph did not make himself known to them.


This is a clear picture of the way the Lord Jesus Christ frequently deals with chosen sinners. This is the way our Savior has dealt with some of you. Many of God’s saints did not find Christ the first time they sought him. It is not true of all, but for many of us, seeking the Lord and obtaining mercy for our souls was a painful and difficult struggle. The path to mercy is often a rough road. Perhaps there are some here today like Joseph’s brothers. In some way or other, you have sought Christ. But you have not found him. I urge you to seek him again, in the way he has prescribed. It may be that at the second time the Lord Jesus will make himself known to you.


Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” — Salvation really is that simple and that profound. To believe on Christ is simply to trust him. It is to trust his great sin-atoning sacrifice. It is to trust him who stood in the place of sinners before the holy Lord God and died under the wrath of God as the sinners’ Substitute. Christ died, bearing the sins of his people in his own body on the cursed tree, satisfying the righteousness and justice of almighty God so that we might never die.


We tend to think that anyone who has heard the gospel message often readily understands it. But that is not the case. There are some of you here today who are yet in darkness. The light shines upon you. But you are blind. You have heard with the hearing of the ear for many years. But you have never yet heard the gospel. God has not yet spoken peace to your heart. Perhaps you have come here today seeking Christ. Maybe you have been seeking him for some time. It may be that others look upon you as a model of real faith. But in your heart you know that, though you seek him, you have not found him. May this be the hour when the Lord Jesus will make himself known to you. May God now be pleased to reveal his Son in you by the power of his Spirit.


Proposition: I know this ― All who seek Christ with all their hearts shall find him. But I know this also ― You will not likely find him as soon as you begin to seek him (Jeremiah 29:10-13).


(Jeremiah 29:10-13) “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”


Divisions: I want to show you four things about Joseph and his brothers, which will help us to understand the way Christ reveals himself to his own elect.


1.    Though Joseph’s brothers did not know him, he knew them.

2.    There were reasons why Joseph did not make himself known to his brothers the first time they came to him.

3.    The only hope these men had of life was Joseph, so they came to him a second time.

4.    When Joseph’s brothers came to him the second time, Joseph made himself known to them.


Joseph Knew


First, let me remind you that though Joseph’s brothers did not know him, he knew them (Genesis 42:8).


(Genesis 42:8) “And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.”


Joseph knew his brothers, though they were totally ignorant of him. He knew who they were. He knew all that they had done. He knew the dreadful condition they were in. He knew what they needed. And he knew how to best supply their needs. They looked only to the present. He looked to the future. They only knew that the man before whom they stood had their lives in his hands. But he knew what he had in his heart for them.


Joseph loved his brothers, though they had no love for him.

·      He supplied their needs.

·      He devised a plan by which he would bring them all to himself.

·      The plan involved great pain; but it was the best thing possible for his brothers.


There is an unmistakable parallel between Joseph and Christ in this regard. — Though we knew him not, our Lord Jesus Christ knew us. Though we loved him not, he loved us. And because of his great love for us, the Son of God devised a great plan by which he would secure our everlasting good. He redeemed us with his own precious blood. And he rules the world according to his wise and gracious plan of redemption on our behalf.

·      All the days of our lives, he protected us.

·      Throughout the days of our rebellion against him, he provided for us (Hosea 2:8).

·      Our great Joseph graciously and wisely arranged all the affairs of providence to bring us to himself.


Joseph’s Reasons


Second, we should understand that there were reasons why Joseph did not make himself known to his brothers the first time they came to him.


In his wise, adorable providence, our Lord uses all things to bring his elect to himself in saving faith, even false religion. But salvation does not come until Christ is revealed in a sinner’s heart by the gospel. The question is often asked, “When is a person saved?” I know that in a sense all of God’s elect were saved in eternity, in the purpose of God (Romans 8:29-30). And we were saved at Calvary, when Christ obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12). But, experimentally, a sinner is saved when...


·      It pleases God to save him (Galatians 1:15).


(Galatians 1:15) “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,”


·      He hears and believes the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:21).


(1 Corinthians 1:21) “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”


(Romans 1:16-17) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”


(Romans 10:14-17) “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”


(1 Peter 1:18-25) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”


·      He is taught of God, called, born again by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).


(1 Corinthians 1:21-24) “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”


·      He turns to the Lord with his whole heart (Jeremiah 24:7).


(Jeremiah 24:7) “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”


·      Christ is revealed in his heart by the Spirit of God through the gospel (Galatians 1:16; Colossians 1:27).


(Galatians 1:15-16) “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:”


(Colossians 1:27) “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”


Many of you, in fact, most of you have had some experience in false religion. God has graciously brought you out of free-willism, fundamentalism, decisionism, and easy-believism. You once hoped for salvation and acceptance with God on the basis of something you had done, felt, or experienced. Your hope was your decision, your experience, or your works. You honestly sought the Lord. You knew something of your need of him. And you walked in the light God had given you at that time.


Like Joseph’s brothers, you did the only thing you knew to do. But just as those men did not know Joseph, you did not know Christ until he revealed himself to you in his true character. I stress this point because it is needful for you to see false, free-will, works religion for what it is, and renounce it.


            Illustrations:             The Apostle Paul

                                                                                                Bobbie Estes

Celeste Peterson

                                                Mark Henson

                                                                                                Merle Hart

                                                                                                Henry Mahan


Those men who went down into Egypt did not know their brother, Joseph, in his exalted position. But “at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren.”


Why did Joseph not reveal himself to his brothers the first time they came to him? Why does Christ not reveal himself to every sinner the first time he comes to him seeking mercy? Why is it that some of you do not yet have Christ revealed in your hearts, though you pray to him, though you read his Word, though you believe the doctrine of the gospel? Listen carefully.


Joseph did not reveal himself to his brothers because they were ignorant of him. They did not know who he was. — As long as a sinner remains ignorant of Christ, he cannot have saving faith in Christ. You cannot trust an unknown Savior, anymore than the Athenians could worship an unknown God (Acts 17:22-23; Romans 10:9-17).


(Acts 17:22-23) “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”


(Romans 10:9-17) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”


Knowledge is essential to saving faith! Knowledge is not faith. And you can have knowledge without faith. But you cannot have faith without knowledge. You must know Christ! How can you trust him whom you do not know?

  • You must know his Person ― The God-man.
  • You must know his performance ― Redemption.
  • You must know his position ― Sovereign Lord.
  • You must know his power ― He is able to save (Hebrews 7:25; John 17:4).


Joseph’s brothers did not know him the first time they came to him because they really did not want to know him. — They were not interested in Joseph. They were only interested in corn. They did not want to die. They came to Joseph, not because they wanted him, but because they wanted what he alone could give them. That is just the reason why many of you have not yet found Christ. You are only interested in what Christ has, what Christ can give, and what Christ can do.


Most people, though they may not be in agreement with the preachers of our day, have the religion of our day. Theirs is a religion based upon health, wealth, and happiness.

·      You want peace, but not the Prince.

·      You want forgiveness, but not the Forgiver.

·      You want mercy, but not the Master.

·      You want salvation, but not the Savior.

·      You want the sacrifice that will bring you to God in grace, but not the Sovereign to rule over you for God’s glory.

·      You want cleansing, but not Christ.


My friend, Christ will never be revealed in you until you are made to cry from your heart


“Thou, O Christ, art all I want,

More than all in Thee I find.”


It is true, I want and enjoy all the blessings of salvation; but I love Christ himself. ― I trust Christ himself. ― I want Christ himself. ― I enjoy Christ himself.


Illustration: The relationship Christ and his people is, in many ways, like the relationship of a husband and his wife. It is a relationship built not upon what they can do for each other, but upon their love for one another.


“Gracious Lord, incline Thine ear,

My request vouchsafe to hear;

Hear my never ceasing cry -

‘Give me Christ, or else I die!’


Wealth and honor I disdain,

Earthly comforts all are vain:

These can never satisfy,

‘Give me Christ, or else I die.’”


Joseph did not reveal himself to his brothers the first time they came because they came without any real conviction of their sin and confession of their guilt. — Before Joseph would reveal himself to his brothers, he was determined to make them know, feel, and confess their guilt (Genesis 42:21-24).


(Genesis 42:21-24) “And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. 22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required. 23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. 24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.”


Christ will not reveal himself to a sinner until the sinner is made to know, feel, and confess his guilt and sin. Conviction and repentance are necessary before there can be any comforting knowledge and assurance of God’s saving grace in Christ (Psalm 32:1-5; 1 John 1:9).


(Psalm 32:1-5) “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. 3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. 5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”


(1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


Joseph did not make himself known to his brothers the first time they came to him because they did not all come to him. — You will remember that they left Benjamin at home. And Joseph would not reveal himself to them until they brought Benjamin to him. And there are many who seek Christ, but never find him, because they are not willing to bring their Benjamins to him. They do not seek him with their whole heart. You will never obtain mercy until you bring your darling Benjamin to the throne of King Jesus, and give him up (Luke 14:25-33).


(Luke 14:25-33) “And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”


Joseph did not reveal himself to his brothers the first time they came because he would have them to know that they were entirely at his disposal. — It was entirely up to Joseph whether these men lived or died. Their lives were in his hands. And he wanted them to know it. They must be brought to acknowledge his lordship. Before the Lord Jesus Christ reveals himself to any sinner’s heart in saving grace, he first requires that person to acknowledge his sovereign lordship. Mercy’s Gate is his gate!

·      He opens it to whom he will.

·      He opens it when he will.

·      He opens it only to those who seek him earnestly.


Unbelief goes away with no answer from God. Unbelief can be spurned. But faith cannot be silenced. Faith will not let go. Faith will not quit. Faith will not cease to cry after Christ. Faith is always importunate, imploring, because it arises from necessity (Luke 11:5-10).


(Luke 11:5-10) “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”


David, the man after God’s own heart, had to cry unto the Lord continually (Psalm 22:2).


(Psalm 22:1-2) “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.”


Jeremiah, God’s faithful prophet, had to wait before the Lord in prayer without an answer (Lamentations 3:8).


(Lamentations 3:8) “Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.”


Our blessed Savior himself cried three times, “O my Father!


Faith must have Christ, and will not be satisfied without him! ― “To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” ― “Whom have I in heaven but thee; and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.


Only Hope


Third, the only hope these men had of life was Joseph, so they went to him the second time. We read the account in Genesis 42-45. The corn Joseph had given to his brothers had run out. Only when they were brought to the point of utter starvation did they return to Joseph. They came to him only when they had to have him. Finally, in desperation for their lives, they went to Joseph the second time. — “And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren.”


I want, by the Spirit of God, to persuade you to go to Christ (1 Corinthians 5:11). O Spirit of God, come, and make my words to be the very words of God to the hearts of these who hear me. Graciously compel those who hear my voice to come to Christ.


You must go to Christ, or you must forever perish without him (Genesis 42:1-2).


(Genesis 42:1-2) “Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? 2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.”


There is only one Door of salvation; and that Door is Christ. Though that Door remains shut hard before you, you are a fool if you do not knock until it opens. Unless the Door is opened to you, you will perish! Do you want Christ? Then knock until he opens to you!


“I’ll go to Jesus, though my sin

Hath like a mountain rose;

I know His courts I’ll enter in,

Whatever may oppose.


Perhaps He will admit my plea,

Perhaps will hear my prayer;

But if I perish, I will pray

And perish only there!


I can but perish if I go;

I am resolved to try;

For if I stay away, I know

I must forever die!


But if I die with mercy sought,

When I the King have tried,

This were to die (Delightful thought!)

As sinner never died!”


Go to Christ in hope, because there are many who, having come to him, have found life everlasting. ― “Who can tell if God will turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” (Jonah 3:9).


I implore you, by the mercy of God, come to Christ. He is able, willing, and anxious to save all who come to God by him. Yes, I said, “The Lord Jesus Christ is anxious to save every sinner who comes to him.” — He delighteth in mercy!Joseph wanted his brothers badly. He wanted them more than they wanted him. He was anxious to reveal himself to them. He was far more anxious to make himself known to them than they were to know him. Even so, Christ Jesus wants his people badly. His heart longs to be gracious and merciful to his elect. He longs to reveal himself to those sinners he has purchased with his blood. And at the appointed time he will. His heart of mercy and grace will burst itself open upon those who seek him!


Josepep Revealed


Fourth, when Joseph’s brothers came to him the second time, he made himself known to them. When he could no longer restrain himself, “Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph.” Read the story of Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 45) carefully, and you will find in it a prophetic picture of what happens when a sinner comes to Christ.


If the Spirit of God is now at work in your heart, showing you that everything needed for your salvation has been done by Christ, if he enables you now to trust Christ, you are saved by the grace of God, saved now, and saved forever! — “He that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life!” And I suspect that your experience will be very much like that of Joseph’s brothers, when he revealed himself to them.


When Christ makes himself known to you, you will tremble in his presence (Genesis 45:3).


Illustrations: John (Revelation 1)

 Isaiah (Isaiah 6).


(Genesis 45:3) “And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.”


Then the Lord will bid you draw near to him (Genesis 45:4).


(Genesis 45:4) “And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.”


Illustration: Thomas (John 20:26-28).


(John 20:26-28) “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”


Next, the Lord Jesus Christ, like Joseph, will fall on your neck and smother you with kisses (Genesis 45:14-15; Luke 15:20).


(Genesis 45:14-15) “And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.”


(Luke 15:20) “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”


Those kisses meant

·      “Welcome!”

·      “All is forgiven!”

·      “We are reconciled!”

·      “I love you dearly! ― Always have and always will!” ― A kiss is a symbol of much love, deeply felt.


And Christ will, little by little, explain to you the mind, will, and purpose of God, for the comfort of your heart (Genesis 45:5, 7; 50:19-20).


(Genesis 45:5) “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”


(Genesis 45:7) “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”


(Genesis 50:19-20) “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”


Joseph seemed not to be able to tell his brothers often enough that everything was alright, that they were forgiven, that God’s will was accomplished, and that he had been glorified. Is that not just like our Redeemer?


Application: “Seek the Lord while he may be found, Call ye upon him while he is near.”

  • Those who seek Christ feel their need of him.
  • Those who seek Christ believe him.
  • Those who seek Christ seek him earnestly.
  • Those who seek Christ seek him continually.
  • Those who seek Christ shall find him.


Illustration: The farmer who lost his wallet in the barn.


Illustration: D.L. Moody’s Tormenting Error ― Farwell Hall, The night of The Great Chicago Fire ― As the fire bell rang, Moody said to the congregation, “What shall I do with Jesus? Take that question home with you. Think it over. Next Sunday come back and give me your answer.” But, for many, next Sunday never came!


Do not wait until next Sunday. Do not wait until tonight. Seek the Lord now, with all your heart. Seek him, and you will find him. Bring your Benjamin to Christ now. Do not delay. — “Behold, today is the day of salvation!


Today the Savior calls,

Sinner, for refuge fly:

The storm of God’s strict justice falls,

Eternal death is nigh!










Don Fortner



Listen to sermons at