"Saved For What?"   (September 2004)

   In the Old Testament we see a lot of "types and shadows".  What do I mean by "types and shadows"?  The dictionary defines a type as- A figure, representation, or symbol of something to come, such as an event in the Old Testament that foreshadows another in the New Testament.  One of the definitions for shadow is- a faint indication; foreshadow; an imperfect imitation or copy.  When God gave Moses the instructions on how to build the tabernacle, He told him to build it exactly as he was instructed because it was a "shadow" (a copy) of what was in heaven. (Hebrews 8:5)  So a type and shadow is something that represents something else that is to come.   

   When we look at the life of Joseph we see that he was a "type and shadow" of Christ.  Look back at his life with me for a moment and see how it was an indication of what Christ's life would be like.  Joseph was loved by his father - Jesus was loved by His Father.  Joseph was hated by his brothers - Jesus was hated by His brethren.  Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver - Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of sliver.  Joseph was brought up out of the pit - Jesus was brought up out of the grave.  Joseph was delivered into the hands of the Egyptians - Jesus was delivered into the hands of the Romans.  Joseph saved his people - Jesus saved all mankind.  And on and on we could go.  While Joseph typically is a shadow of Christ, I want to look at him as a different typology- as one who is representative of the church (Christians).

  Let's look at a comparison of Joseph and Christians.  Joseph was deeply loved by his father.  Father God in heaven deeply loves us.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Joseph was thrown into a pit and left to die.  We were born into sin- sin will throw you down into a "pit" and leave you to die.  But God had other plans for Joseph- it was not God's will for him to die there.  It's not God's will for you to die in the pit of sin- He has other plans for you as well.  Like Joseph was brought out of the pit to fulfill God's plan, we too can be brought out of the pit of sin into the wonderful plan that God has for our lives.  "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." (Psalms 40:2) 

   Why was Joseph saved from the pit?  His brothers hated him; they were so angry and jealous with him that they wanted him dead.  It was their intention to kill him- not throw him into a pit and sell him later into slavery.  The only thing that stopped them was their brother Rueben convinced them not to.  "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.  And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.  And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again." (Genesis 37:20-22)  So, Joseph was saved from death.  Why?  Why didn't they go ahead with their plans?  Why was Rueben able to convince them not to?  The bottom line is because God had a divine plan and purpose for Joseph's life and intervened in the matter.  God had chosen him to be a deliver to his people when the time of famine came.  So, Joseph wasn't saved just because God felt sorry for him; he wasn't saved just so he could continue life as usual; he wasn't saved just so he could grow up to be a young man, get married, and have children.  No, Joseph was saved in order to fulfill God's purpose for his life.

   This is where I want to talk about Joseph being a type and shadow of the church.  You were saved for a reason.  Why didn't you die in that pit of sin?  Why didn't satan kill you in the past?  Why did you have a chance to hear the gospel and give your heart to the Lord?  Why weren't you destroyed and on your way to hell instead of receiving deliverance from the "wages of sin"?  Why was your life spared?  For the same reason that Joseph was- first, because God loves you, and secondly, He has a divine purpose for your life.  You were saved for a reason, and that reason wasn't altogether so you could just live a happy and prosperous life. "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11- NIV) His plans for you go deeper than this natural realm we live in; His plans are eternally centered.  Remember when Jesus said, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"? (Matthew 3:2; 4:17) The kingdom of heaven represents God's will.  Jesus was saying that God's will is present among you in bodily form.  "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." (John 6:38) The plans that God has for you are "kingdom plans".  Namely, to do His will.  "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)  God saved you so that you could help fulfill His will on earth.  If His plan for you is to help fulfill His will, then you need to find out, "What is His will?"

   "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)  The primary will of God is that no one perish.  This is why He sent His Son Jesus into the world to die on the cross.  That through Him we might receive the gift of eternal life.  "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) 

   So, what does God's will that none perish have to do with me?  I'm saved- so I'm not going to perish.  Look back with me a moment at Joseph.  Why was Joseph saved from the pit?  Because God had a plan for his life.  What was that plan?  "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance." (Genesis 45:5,7- NIV)  God's plan for Joseph was to save lives.  As a type and shadow of the church, this tells us what God's plan for us (His church- which is made up of individuals) is- to save lives! 

   Please don't misunderstand, we don't literally "save" lives.  Jesus shed His blood to do that.  Salvation comes only through Jesus the only Savior.  When I say we are to save lives, I mean we are to, "save with fear, pulling them out of the fire." (Jude 1:23), by pointing them to Jesus the Savior of our souls. 

   God saved us from our sins and the death penalty that was attached to it because of His great love and mercy for us, but with that salvation comes a calling; comes the revealing of God's plan for your life; comes the call to fulfill your destiny.  Individually, the Lord has certain calls to particular areas of ministry for each of us, but collectively, we all have the same calling- save souls- reach the lost for Jesus Christ.  "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen. therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God." (Isaiah 43:10a,12b)  "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)  "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:9)  "And he (Jesus) sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick." (Luke 9:2) After Jesus' resurrection, before He ascended into heaven, He left some last instructions with His disciples. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:15,16)  "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:18-20)

   These instructions haven't changed, we are His disciples too if we follow Christ.  This means He intends for us to fulfill this commission just like He intended the earlier disciples to do.  God's will for His church hasn't changed.  He still sends us out into the world to compel the lost to come to Christ. "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." (Luke 14:23)

   If you are saved, are you fulfilling your calling?  Are you witnessing to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ?  Are you "warning the wicked man of his wicked ways"? (Ezekiel 3:18)  Are you lifting Jesus up as the Savior before those who are "lost in trespasses and sin"? (Ephesians 2:1)  "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32)  Are you fulfilling the commission that Jesus left with His church to fulfill? 

   If Joseph had not fulfilled the purpose of God in his life, what would have happened to those people who faced starvation?  This is another area in Joseph's life that is a type of the church.  Joseph gave bread to those who were hungry.  Because the people received this bread (sustenance to their bodies) they did not die from starvation, but lived.  We are called to "deal our bread to those who are hungry" (Isaiah 58:7a)- spiritually hungry.  Men are dying from "starvation" all around us.  Their souls are starving and we have what they need to live. "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:35)  "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." (John 6:27)  Jesus is the Bread of Life that satisfies the hunger in the soul.  This world needs to know that.  Who is going to tell them?  Are the going to hear it from each other?  We who have been saved are to be telling them.  We who have experienced this wonderful gift of salvation and eternal life; we who have made peace with God through the blood of Jesus Christ; we who know what it's like to have our sins forgiven and feel the love of God shed abroad in our hearts; we are the ones who are to tell them.  We are the ones who are to give something to eat to their hungry souls.  We are the ones who are to share the good news that Christ died to take away their sins and give them everlasting life.  "But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?" (Romans 10:14- New Living Translation) 

  Church, we have been silent for too long.  We have not been doing that which the Lord has commanded us to do.  We have not taken His commission seriously.  We have become at ease in Zion while the lost are on their way to eternal torment.  It is our job, and responsibility, to tell them, to warn them, to persuade them to turn to Christ before it's too late.  If we don't do it, who will?  If we don't do it, what will we hear the Father say to us on that day when we stand before Him?  As you look throughout the whole Bible you will see that everyone who walked with the Lord, who had a personal relationship with Him, who accepted Him as Savior, served the Lord by fulfilling His plan in their life.  None of them just sat back and did nothing; they did what He commanded them to do in order to see the will of God accomplished on earth.  They all took it seriously.  Are we?  

   On the subject of being serious and not doing what we have been commissioned to do, the Lord reminded me of the time when David went out to face Goliath the giant.  Everyday for forty days Goliath would come out and make accusations against Israel.  "As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it.  When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear." (1 Samuel 17:23,24) Did you notice what the Israelites did when Goliath stood before them making his threats?  "They ran in great fear."  Why was this giant so powerful against the Israeli army?  Because when the opportunity to do something about him arose, the Israeli army ran from him in fear.  Let me prophesy a moment.  We have giants in the land today- giants named:  homosexuality, abortion, Muslims, satanist, organizations that want to remove God from our society, false religions and cults, and so on.  The reason we are having such a battle with them today, the reason why they are gaining power and coming out (like Goliath) against the church (God's people) is because for too long the church has ran in fear.  We have been in hiding afraid to move against it, afraid to stand up for what is right, afraid because they look more powerful than we do.  This has happened because the church has not been fulfilling her commission- reach the lost.  Just think how many less homosexuals, lesbians, Muslims, satanist, there would be if we had been out there winning them to Christ.  It has been said that the only thing that has to be done in order for evil men to triumph is for good men to do nothing.  Sadly, we haven't been doing very much to keep evil from triumphing.

   The only way that we can combat this is by being like David- "David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him." (verse 32)  "David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him."  "David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel." (verses 45,46)  David didn't run in fear.  David didn't consider the size of the giant, he considered the size of his God.  You can't look at the size of the opposition that is coming against the church, you have to look at the all-powerful God that we serve.  I realize that evil is always going to be present until the Lord returns and establishes His kingdom here on earth.  "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:13)  So there are those who will not turn and come to Christ.  But if we will get serious about fulfilling God's plan for His church, if we will take His command and commission to heart and begin to fulfill it, through we won't be able to win everyone to Christ, we can take a lot more with us to heaven than we would have. 

   Now it's time to bring this message down to a personal level.  You have been saved for a reason.  God has a purpose for your life- it's to fulfill the Great Commission... are you doing it?