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Author:Rev. Steven Swets
 send email...
 www.urcpastor.blogspot.com
 
Congregation:Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church
 Abbotsford, BC
 www.abbotsfordurc.org
 
Title:Noah: Preserved Among Wickedness
Text:Genesis 6:5-12 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Life in Christ
 
Preached:2015
Added:2015-05-21
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

10:00am

Led by: Rev. S. Swets

Organist/Pianist:

                                    Pre-service singing # 320 & # 452      

Silent Prayer

Call to Worship
*Invocation: Minister –
Congregation, from where does our

                                help come?

    Congregation – Our help is in the name of the Lord

the maker of the heavens and the earth.

*Greeting
*Song
# 14

The Law
Song # 98:1-4

Prayer of Confession 
Assurance of Pardon

*Song # 314

Prayer for Illumination
Scripture Reading:  Genesis 6:1-12

Scripture Text: Genesis 6:5-12

Noah: Preserved Among Wickedness  

  1. God’s Judgment against Sin (v.5-7, 11-12)
  2. An Exception to the Judgment (v. 8-10)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

*Song # 98:5-8

Offering

*Song # 301:1, 4

*Benediction- followed by a three-fold Amen

*Please stand if you are able.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Steven Swets, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Scripture Reading: Genesis 6:1-12

Scripture Text: Genesis 6:5-12

Beloved Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ,

            In Genesis 4:23-24 the wicked Lamech recites a poem he wrote about his murderous actions. Read those verses. Who would say such a thing? There are man modern day Lamech’s. Over the last number of months videos have periodically been released by the Islamic state showing some form of depravity or another. The media always makes a big deal about it, since it is on video, even though there are much worse things happening in other places in the world. Nevertheless, the murderous jihadis rejoice in destruction and death of the infidel. Their hearts are filled with hatred and wickedness.

            Before the flood, it was even worse. However, both before and after the flood, the human heart has not changed, it has not improved, it is still totally depraved, and yet God has promised to preserve this world until the return of Jesus Christ. What we hope to see this morning is that even in light of such wickedness, the Lord our God has always preserved a church for himself. This church has been founded on Jesus Christ and preserved by the amazing grace of God. Our theme this morning is The Lord preserves His church amdist a wicked world in the days of Noah.

  1. God’s Judgement Against Sin (v. 5-7, 11-12)
  2. An Exception to Judgement (v. 8-10)

I. God’s Judgement Against Sin

            Last week we saw that the growth of wickedness on the face of the earth was not merely the fact that more and more people were dwelling on earth. It was that the line of Seth had intermarried with the line of Cain and therefore, the church itself became corrupted. Once the church makes an alliance with the world, it is done on the world’s terms. The church loses its voice. 

            Now, our text this morning continues to show the development of sin. Read verse 5. In verse 5 we notice that God sees, in verse 6 He is sorry and then in verse 7 he speaks. As the Lord looks down from heaven, he sees the wickedness of man. Our text says that it was great. This means that it was intense, it seemed worse than normal wickedness. The progress of wickedness, as we saw last week, was quick. Noah is only the tenth generation since Adam. Enoch is Noah’s great grandfather, Methuselah is his grandfather, and Lamech was his father. Things seemed to progress slowly. After all, Noah was 500 before he had Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Yet, wickedness was not developing slowly but quickly.

            Though this is a narrative, meaning it is telling a historical story, verse 5 is an often quoted passage to defend the doctrine of total depravity. Notice there what it says about the heart of man. “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Notice even the language. “Every” refers to the fact that there are no exceptions. It does not say some or many or often his heart has evil thoughts, but rather every thought is wicked. There are not any exceptions in this description of the heart of fallen humanity. The word in verse 5 intent shows that it is not merely that action of man that is sinful, but even the motivation before an action takes place. The verse ends with “only evil continually”. This just reinforces what was said. A similar sentence is used after the flood in Gen. 8:21. Man, in his depravity is totally depraved and therefore, any judgment that might come upon him is deserved. God saw what was going on in the Earth.

            When he saw it, verse 6 says he was sorry. Here we have something called an anthropomorphism. That is using human terms or features to describe God. In verse 6 the author attributes emotions to God. The old KJV uses the phrase “repent”, so that God repented that He made the earth. We know that God has decreed all that comes to phass. There is nothing, for instance that surprises God. Read Numbers 23:19, and yet, so that we can understand God’s righteous judgement, He permits himself to be described in human terms. It is as if God was sorry that what the people had earned, namely a watery grave, was coming to them. We know that in actual fact this is not true, but it does say something about the character of God to, as the end of vs. 6 says, “be grieved in his heart.” This is similar to how we must feel when we see the death of the wicked. It grieves us, because when the enemies of God perish, there is no second chance...it is final. On the other hand, we know that all things happen according to God purpose and therefore we say, “blessed by the name of the Lord.” So, God saw the wickedness, he was sorry he made man, and now in verse 7 he pronounces judgement.

            In verse 7 we see the Lord speak (in actuality it is decree). God spoke back in verse 3 when He saw the wickedness in the earth and now He speaks again. What He says is that He is going to destroy man from the face of the earth. This makes sense. After all, man is the one who has been immoral. It is through the intermarriage of the line of Seth and the line of Cain that ramped up the wickedness in the world. But, notice that God also is going to destroy the animals. Why would God destroy the animals?

            God made animals to be in service to humans. It is as if the animals are associated with humans and therefore must be destroyed. John Calvin uses the word picture of a house. He says that the earth is like a wealthy house. Since man has done wickedness on the face of the earth, the earth is punished. This is like tearing down a house which a horrific murderer lived in to rid the neighbourhood of that memory. So God will destroy nearly all that He had created. Things have really changed from the day that He saw all that He has made and said it was good, to what is taking place in Genesis 6.

            This goes so far even to the point where it says at the end of verse 7 that God was sorry that He had made them. Once again, we see a term which God permits the scriptures to use, though in actuality God is never sorry...for there is no shadow of turning with Him. However, He is so highly exalted above us our limited mind cannot understand the majesty of our God, we see this anthropomorphism.  

            What is God going to do? Verse 7 mentions, “destroy man.” This means literally to wipe out. That is a Hebrew verb which originally  refers to wiping a dish clean and then turning it over. God is going to wipe the earth clean from the pollution of corrupt man.

            In verses 11-12, God merely confirms what He said and noticed in verses 5-7.  Now mention is made in verse 11 of the sin of violence. Violence is wickedness before the Lord. Cain killed Abel, the wicked Lamech killed men and he writes a song about it. A clear picture of barbarity and godlessness in a society is the presence of violence. Often associated with substance abuse or drunk and disorderly conduct, violence is the lowest of unchecked passion. The earth was full of it in the days of Noah. Corruption (which refers to an utter lack of integrity) and violence were the order of the day.

            Verse 12 makes it clear that man was at fault. All flesh had corrupted their way on earth. No one is going to be left with any excuse, when the flood waters come no one can say that God is being unfair. The world is in wicked rebellion against God. God is going to punish the world through judgement on account of their sin.

In a couple chapters later God will judge sin at the tower of Babel when he sees the people’s wickedness and confuses their language (Gen. 11), we see God’s judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah for their sodomy and wickedness in Gen. 19; we see God’s judgement when he destroys a whole generation of grumbling Israelites in the wilderness before they enter the promised land (Num. 14); we see God’s judgement in the exile when the Northern kingdom is take to Assyria in 722 and the Southern Kingdom to Babylon in 586BC.  Finally, we see God’s judgement upon sin most gloriously at Calvary of which Jesus said (Matt. 26:28), “this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”  All of these judgment in light of sin are pre-cursors to the final judgment, which Jesus relates to the days of the flood in Matt. 24:39. When God judgment against man’s sin is poured out, there is only one sanctuary of refuge and that is in the loving embrace of the redeemer and His wonderful love for us. Flee there, brothers and sisters, while there is yet time. It is not a question of whether or not God will judge, it is where will we be found when that judgment arrives, living in debauchery with the world or save in the ark with Noah and the church!

  1. An Exception to Judgement

Read verse 8. That is the hope that we were waiting for. The world was full of wickedness, God determined to wipe out man from the face of the earth. “But...But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” To find grace in someone’s eyes is a Hebrew phrase meaning you are the recipient of the object of that clause. In that clause it is grace. Same thing as finding favor in one’s eyes. 

      What did Noah find? He found grace. This is the first time in the Bible that word “grace” is used. Is that beautiful? Right in the middle of a judgement upon the world for their wickedness, we find grace. He find grace in God’s eyes. After all, that is who it matters. Noah did not find grace in his neighbor’s eyes. As we will see in the coming weeks, all he found was scorn and ridicule. But, to find grace in the eyes of the Lord, that was what was important.  

      In verse 9, we have the actual beginning of the narrative of Noah. The book of Genesis is divided into 12 sections each beginning with the Hebrew word “toledoth”, which is translated here “geneology of...” Each section of Genesis ends with a picture of sinfulness and each one ends with a glimmer of hope. This is what we see in verse 7 and 8 of chapter 6. The toledoth of Noah will end with His drunkenness in chapter 9 and the continued line of promise.  

      The picture we have here in verse 9 is a picture of Noah’s character. We notice three aspects of His character. Our text first says he is just. This means that he was righteous. This is the first time in the Bible this is used. This meant that he had a godly character. Contrary to those who were contemporaries of Moses, He did not intermarry, He was not given over to violence, and though He was a sinner, He was a just man. Note, there is no long descriptions of His righteousness, maybe to show the electing love of God, but the text does say He was just. He walked in the law of the Lord.  

      The next term is “perfect in his generations.” Once again, this shows that Moses did not desecrate himself or His marriage by going the way of the world and giving into the daughters of men, no matter how beautiful they might have been, as we saw in verse 2. To be perfect in the Bible is also translated as blameless. It means that He was a man of integrity. It does not mean that he was sinless. Job calls himself perfect or blameless in Job 12:4. Job 1:1 describes job as blameless (or perfect) and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. Later on, this term is used in reference to sacrifices to the Lord. The animal had to be blameless, that is without blemish. When applied to man, it is a reference to his character. Noah, as the blameless one is contrasted with all of those around Him. Noah found favor in God’s eyes, and God calls him blameless. Read Hebrews 11:7. Noah’s righteousness was due to that greater righteousness that was to come. Noah, as will see, is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. One who pleased God, and through whom He would build His church. Yet, there is on that is greater than Noah.

      The third phrase describing Noah’s character is the fact that He walked with God. This is the same phrase that described his great grandfather Enoch who was taken from the earth. Those two are the only two in the scriptures of whom this phrase is attributed. Other patriarchs are said to have walked before the Lord, but only two walk with God. God walked with Adam in the garden in Gen. 3:8, and Noah walked with God, as Noah would be the next Adam, so to speak, a righteous sinner, through whom God would build His church. To walk with God shows the continuing piety of that one whom God favors. “O for a closer walk with God.”

      Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, but it is yet to be seen if they will imitate their father’s piety before the Lord.

      The world of Noah’s day is ripe for judgement, and yet the Lord preserves His church as He said He would do. Noah will be a picture of that One that is yet to come who will be Lamb, without moral blemish, who by His active obedience to the law of God and atoning sacrifice of Himself, would be the One through whom we find our salvation. The difference is, is that unlike Christ, who gave up His life, we are included with Noah, who, through the waters of baptism and accompanied with faith have had all of our sins washed away. Noah believed God and He was saved, we believe God and we are saved. When Noah gets off of the ark, the first thing he does is makes an altar to the Lord to offer a sacrifice. May we be those who are so moved by the fact that we are saved through judgement, that our lives become the altar of a living sacrifice devoted to the Lord. Though God is angry with sin, there is one through whom we have hope...it is not Noah, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Steven Swets, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2015, Rev. Steven Swets

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