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Self-Control Newsletter 315 January 2005 PM

It is very important for Gods elect to practice self-control. Our Father has a plan, and He will utilize His elect to accomplish the work necessary to bring that plan about. If you dont exercise self-control, God cant utilize you. For example, you may know a great deal about Gods Word; however, it isnt your job to impress young Christians with how much you know about the Word. It is your job to go to that young Christians level and bring them up. Sometimes that requires self-control. Lets begin our study in the Book of II Peter. II Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Jesus had told Peter three times, Feed My sheep (John 21:17). Now Peter is telling us to stay away from the ways of this world, if we intend to feed the sheep. II Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; If you are going to teach Gods Word, you must first gain knowledge of His Word. II Peter 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; The word temperance in this verse is translated from the Greek word egkrateia (eng-krat-I-ah). It means self-control. When you exercise self-control and the other qualities listed in these verses, you are able to discern the condition of someone you are trying to help. And with Gods help, the divine nature in verse four, you are able to get the job done for Father. II Peter 1:7-8 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. V8 For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. God expects His servants to bear fruit. That is what is important to Him. Turn with me to the Book of Genesis. God was giving 17-year old Joseph visions that he would reign over his older brothers. Needless to say, his older brothers werent too happy with his visions. In fact, they hated him. The point I wish to make is that when God gives you a task, you might not be the most popular person on the block. You might endure some hardship, but you can cut it. God will make sure of it. Josephs brothers sold him into bondage, and he ended up a slave to one of Pharaohs officers in Egypt. With Gods blessings Joseph rose to the point he was second only to Pharaoh. Lets pick it up with Josephs brothers coming to Egypt the second time to buy corn. Joseph recognizes them, but they dont know he is their brother. Will Joseph be able to exercise self-control? Genesis 43:18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought unto Josephs house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; and he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses. Joseph sent his brothers home the first time with corn and, unknown at the time to them, the money they had brought to pay for the corn. They fear Joseph thinks they stole the money, and Joseph is a very powerful man. Genesis 43:19-20 And they came near to the steward of Josephs house, and they communed with him at the door of the house. v20 O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food: They are explaining their intent was to buy and not steal. Genesis 43:21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every mans money was in the mouth of his sack; our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand. Indeed, they hadnt stolen anything. It was Joseph who had their money returned to them in secrecy.

Genesis 43:22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks. They didnt know how the first money got back in their sacks, but they are making it clear they brought the first money and additional money to buy food. Genesis 43:23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon unto them Joseph made his brothers leave Simeon in prison in Egypt while they took food home the first time. Simeons release was conditional on them bringing Benjamin with them, when they returned to buy food the second time. Genesis 43:24-25 And the man brought the men into Josephs house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender. V25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there. This would raise some eye brows. It was an abomination for Egyptians to eat with Hebrews (Gen. 43:32). Genesis 43:26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. The dream that God showed Joseph was coming to pass. The older brothers were paying obeisance to Joseph. God is in control. He is using Joseph to save Israel. Genesis 43:27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said. Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive? Joseph is inquiring of his own fathers welfare, but they dont realize Joseph is their brother at this point. Genesis 43:28-29 And they answered. Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance. V29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mothers son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. I want you to feel the emotion in this. Benjamin is Josephs full blood brother born of his own mother Rachels womb. Joseph is about to lose it; however, self-control will allow him to continue to accomplish Gods plan. Genesis 43:30-31 And Joseph made haste: for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep: and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. V31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread. Joseph had to get away for a moment to regain his self-control. God has a plan, and Joseph must regain his composure in order to carry out that plan. God is helping Joseph. If God hadnt caused Joseph to be sold into captivity into Egypt, Jacob and the twelve patriarchs of Israel would have starved to death in the famine. Your Father knows what you need. He also knows what you need to do for Him to accomplish His plan. Sometimes that requires self-control. Skip with me to Chapter 44. Genesis 44:1-2 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the mens sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every mans money in his sacks mouth. V2 And put my cup, in the sacks mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. Joseph is going to test his brothers to see if they will give up their brother Benjamin as they had sold him.

Genesis 44:3-4 And soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses. V4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good? The older brothers, nor Benjamin, knowing anything about the silver cup. Again, Joseph is setting the older brothers up to see whether they will give up their younger brother to save their own necks. They wont. they know that their father Jacob would die of a broken heart, if they returned home without Benjamin as they had done with Joseph. Judah will offer himself as a servant to Joseph in place of Benjamin, after the cup is discovered. Skip with me to Chapter 45:4. Listen to the Word of God. Genesis 45:4-5 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. V5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. God gave Joseph knowledge and self-control whereby the Egyptians and Israel were saved from the famine. I want you to put yourself in Josephs place so that you can realize how important self-control becomes in your life. Joseph had to maintain that self-control becomes in your life. Joseph had to maintain that self-control to complete Gods work just as you must practice self-control to be useful to God, especially when planting seeds. Remember effective teachers go to the young Christians level and bring them up. Lets look to one of the best teachers. I Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

Paul was a scholar of the Old Testament, and spoke many languages. If would have been very easy for Paul to impress most anyone with his knowledge. He didnt try. He knew more would be drawn to salvation, if he would get down to the level of the people.

I Corinthians 9:20-21 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; v21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

The Jews in verse 20 are Judah. Where ever the people were at, or what they believed, Paul was willing to go there in order to bring more to Christ. This is a great teacher. This is a teacher that practices self-control.

I Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Paul knew that this is what it is all about. Bringing people into the fold. You do that by exercising selfcontrol. How much you know isnt important. Reaching people with truth is important.

I Corinthians 9:23-24 And this I do for the gospels sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. V24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So, run, that ye may obtain. Paul is comparing running a race with saving souls. When you teach, do what it takes to win souls. I Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

You may translate is temperate as has self-control. Those who win a race in the Olympics receive a gold medal. It is corruptible. Those who win souls by bringing them to Christ, receive an incorruptible prize; it is called eternal life. Realize what is important, when you are planting seeds. Utilize self-control to reach others. In His Service, Arnold Murray