This is a sermon rewind – a take-away from this past Sunday’s sermon. This week, we started a new sermon series from the life of Joseph entitled, “Redeeming a Dysfunctional Family.”
Joseph’s story begins with Abraham – if you’ve spent any time in church – you may have heard the song, “Father Abraham.” He is more than just a little important in world history – as he is credited with being the fore-father of 3 of the major world religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
God called Abraham out of obscurity, sent him to what is called the Promised Land – called Palestine in our day. He then promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky – as the sand on the seashore.
Abraham fathered two sons – Ismael and Isaac. Through Ishmael, Abraham is credited with starting the Arab race. Through Isaac, Abraham is the father of the Israelites & spiritually of every Christian.
Abraham was a great man of faith – but his family was far from perfect. Not willing to wait on God to fulfill his promise of a family, Abraham fathered a child with a woman who was not his wife – with his wife’s permission. (talk about dysfunction…) Such foolishness usually leads to tension – ultimately resulting in Abraham having to send his son Ishmael away.
Abraham’s son, Isaac, also showed favoritism. Isaac and his wife Rebekah had twin sons – Esau and Jacob. Esau was a bit of a manly man, and received Isaac’s favor as a result. Rebekah had her own favorite in Jacob. This favoritism again resulted in significant family conflict – leading to Jacob fleeing for his life.
In Genesis 37, you can see that favoritism rears its ugly head once again. Jacob follows the examples of his father and grandfather by showing favoritism to his son, Joseph. This trend towards favoritism is generational – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all showed favoritism to a particular child.
We too have generational sins – we tend to copy the sins of our parents and perpetuate them in our own lives. What we have to do is break free from generational sin.
By generational sin I mean the type of sin that is perpetuated from parents to children and so on – it could be something as pernicious as alcoholism or materialism or pride.
In this way generational sin is a bit of a family tradition. We all bring traditions into a marriage – into a new family. Traditions are ways in which we believe something that should be done – something that is usually important such as holidays.
Think about your Christmas traditions – do you open one present on Christmas Eve, and then wait for the morning to open the rest? Do you have certain foods that are non-negotiables for your Christmas dinner? In other words, are there things you do or say or eat or read that if you don’t do them, it’s just not Christmas!
Then you get married and realize that your spouse has never correctly celebrated Christmas!
When you join a couple together – each person brings baggage with them – some good and some bad. Sin – generational sin – is one of those things each of you may bring into the relationship. We must break free from Generational Sin.
Abraham favored Isaac over Ishmael – even if he never said so – as evidenced in sending Ismael away. Isaac had his favorite in Esau – meaning that Jacob knew what it was like not to be the one favored by his dad. And yet, Jacob still played favorites among his 12 sons.
It’s incredible how even the objects of sin can perpetuate that sin.
But as Christians we have hope. In Romans 8:2, we are told “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” We are set free from sin through Jesus Christ!
Generational sin has no hold on us – rather than being something we are chained to – it becomes a freedom to embrace. How do we do this?
First, pray for God to help you see sin as he sees your sin. Even then the temptation is there – it is far too easy to believe a lie.
I struggle with the lie that food brings happiness. It provides momentary delight but permanent damage. There are times I believe the lie that to eat this and be happy. It’s a lie that I must confront – and a sin that I must see as God sees because I have zero desire for my boys to have the same struggle that I do.
To break free from generational sin, we must:
Step 1: ask God to help you see sin as he sees your sin.
Step 2: understand that it has no hold on you – you are free from that sin.
Step 3: live in that freedom! This is the Nike of theology – just do it.
If you don’t, there is a real chance you will perpetuate sin – you will pass down your sin to your kids as an inheritance – as surely as you will any money.