Genesis 6:11-8:22 (22 Jun 2014)
Thus far, we’ve covered 5 chapters from the book of Genesis.
God willing, today we shall cover Gen chapters 6 to 8.
These 3 chapters essentially provide us with the history of Noah.
A lot of children’s books portray this story with a picture of “a smiling Noah counting animals as they enter the ark”.
Let me say at the on-set that “Noah & the ark” is not a children’s story per se.
I have a picture here that gives a different portrayal of “Noah & the Ark”.
It is painted by a French artist called Gustave Dore.
You can come & see this later, but let me tell you that there are no smiles on any of the faces in this picture.
There is a vast sea of water with one protruding rock.
And on that rock are 3 terrified children.
Their drowning parents try desperately to push the 4th child onto that rock.
And at the edge of the rock is a hungry tiger.
There are floating bodies all around.
And hungry vultures circle overhead.
That’s the flood.
It’s not something that you would smile at.
God promised in Gen 9:11 that He will never again destroy the earth with a flood.
But nonetheless, let us be reminded there will a final judgement day.
Heb 9:27 tells us that all of us will appear before God for judgement after death.
And that day will be even more terrifying than the flood.
Rev 20:15 tells us that “..anyone’s name not found in the book of life…will be thrown into the lake of fire”.
So may this story of “Noah & the ark” make us “wise unto salvation”.
Some of you have heard this story many times in Sunday school.
Yet, there are others in our midst who may be hearing it for the first time.
Regardless of your situation, I want you to take home 3 key lessons concerning “Noah & the ark” this morning.
1) Man is totally depraved & sinful
2) There is a limit to God’s patience
3) God’s mercy is contingent upon a life laid down.
1) Man is totally depraved & sinful
The first lesson of the flood is the doctrine of sin.
The bible showed us the effects of Adam’s sin by the behaviour of his descendants.
In Gen 4, Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy.
In the same chapter, Lamech killed a young man & was proud of it.
And he further committed polygamy and boasted about it.
All these show us that the human heart in its natural condition is very sinful.
But I want to tell you that our hearts are not only sinful, our hearts are evil!
This is how God described man’s condition in Gen 6:5 –
“… every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
And this condition of our heart was not eradicated by the flood.
For even after the flood in Gen 8:21, God says that “… the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth…”
That is why the Psalmist says in Psa 51 that we were “…brought forth in iniquity & in sin we are conceived.”
Now, some of you may say – “but that’s the old testament, that’s how the people lived – they are evil”.
But we live in the new testament.
We are modern; we are civilised; we are not that bad are we?
Well, listen to what Jesus said in the new testament concerning man’s heart – Mark 7:21-22.
“…out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness”.
“All these evil things come from within & defile a man” – Mark 7:23.
Now, some people acknowledge that there are such thoughts in their hearts.
But they think that as long as these thoughts are not manifested in action, they are probably ok.
And that’s what human religions teach us isn’t it?
Don’t do bad things, you’ll get to heaven.
But listen to what the Creator of heaven has to say concerning God’s required standard of purity.
Mat 5:28 that “..whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
In other words, the sins conjured in your mind are no less sins in the eyes of God.
So, if you have spiteful thoughts about another person, you would also have committed murder in your heart.
And anything that takes your attention much more than God would be considered an idol.
And you would have broken the 1st commandment.
So, is there anyone who can really say that they are without sin?
The bible says in Rom 3:23, “…all have sin & fallen short of the glory of God”.
Dear friends, it is important that we understand our natural state is no different than those who lived in Noah’s time.
And just as God judged them, He will likewise judge us.
But because “Noah found grace in the eyes of God” – v8, he was spared the judgement.
And unless we find grace in the eyes of God, we will face judgement.
So that’s the first lesson of the flood – “Man is totally depraved & sinful”.
And if we stay in that state, we will be cast into the lake of fire.
I certainly hope all of us will be spared that judgement.
And that brings us to our second lesson that I want you to take home today.
2) There is a limit to God’s patience.
The bible tells us that God is “longsuffering…, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
But there is a limit to God’s patience.
Because God hates sin & He will deal with it.
And for the people in Noah’s time, there was a period of grace before judgement came.
But once that period of grace was over, the flood came upon them immediately.
In Gen chapter 6, we were told that God gave a total of 4 warnings before the flood.
The first warning is found in verse 3 –
“.. the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
In other words, God granted a period of 120 years of grace before He took action against man’s sin.
And at that time, it was not yet clear what action God would take.
The second warning was found in verse 7:
“I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, …..”
Now the consequence becomes clearer – God would destroy His creation.
And then God conveyed the 3rd warning – this time through Noah in verse 13.
“..I am determined to make an end of all flesh, …. I will destroy them with the earth”
Then finally, God tells Noah in verse 17 exactly how the destruction will take place.
“… I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh …. Everything that is on the earth shall die.”
And right after these 4 warnings, the flood came in Gen 7.
There was no more opportunity to repent.
There are 2 things I want you to notice here:
a) First, there is a progressive nature to the warnings given by God.
God gave the people in Noah’s days 4 warnings about impending judgement.
Now, what were the people doing when these warnings were sounded?
Jesus tells us that they were living life as usual – Matt 24:38
“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating & drinking, marrying & giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark.”
In other words, they ignored all the warnings of God concerning the need to repent.
They were not the least bothered about their spiritual life.
Everything centred on their physical life – eating & drinking & getting married.
The scary thing is what Jesus added in Matt 24:37:
“… as the days of Noah were, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man.”
In other words, the gospel will be preached all over the world.
It is without any doubt that they will be a judgement day.
We are already seeing signs that the end-times are coming.
There are increasing earth quakes, decadence, wars & droughts.
But just as the people did in the days of Noah, people in this modern world will be living life as usual.
They will be eating & drinking & getting married.
Living the good life & making merry.
And then suddenly, the judgement day comes.
Listen carefully to what the Apostle Peter said in 2 Pet 3:10.
“…the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. And the earth and the works in it will be burned up.”
Friends, the day of the Lord will happen when you are least expecting it.
Are you living your life as usual?
Is the scripture speaking to you as one of those who ignored the spiritual reality in spite of all the warnings?
The people in Noah’s days never expected it to flood because there was no rain.
But the moment it started to rain, the door of the ark was already closed.
God is patient; but there is a limit to His patience.
b) Secondly, God revealed His secrets to the man He had chosen
Supposing you were sitting in a restaurant.
And you heard the person in the next table telling his friend “let me tell you a secret”.
I can imagine that your body will gradually lean in the direction where the secret is conveyed.
What if I tell you that God does reveal His secrets?
Will you be interested to hear that?
Well, He revealed His secret to Noah concerning how he will destroy the world.
Psa 25:14 tells us that “The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.”
Do you know that God made a covenant with Noah to save him?
And God revealed to him exactly how he and his household will be preserved.
And God promised that He will preserve them for as long as he obeyed God’s instruction.
In the same way, God has revealed to His people in this day and age as to what would happen at the final judgement.
And Psa 25 tells us that “…He will show them His covenant.”
Do you know what God’s covenant is?
If I were to define it in its simplest form – it is His Promise to save His people.
And that covenant is sealed with the blood of Jesus.
And the bible tells us that the days of grace will continue until God has called all His people into His Kingdom.
God is patient and longsuffering.
But there is a limit to His patience.
The days of grace will end suddenly.
Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.
Repent & seek God before His patience runs out on you.
3) The 3rd lesson that I want you to take home today is that “God ‘s mercy is contingent upon a life laid down”
Eze 18:4 tells us that “….the soul that sins shall die”.
And this is exactly what happened in the great flood.
No sinner could stand before a holy God.
All died in the flood.
Yet, Gen 6:8 says “… Noah found grace in the eyes of God.”
Was there a contradiction?
Was there unfair treatment for Noah?
Why was Noah allowed to live?
Gen 8:30 tells us that Noah built an altar to God and offered burnt offerings.
Noah was accepted by God through faith on the basis of a life laid down.
Now, this is a consistent theme that you will read in the bible.
After Adam & Eve sinned, God clothed them with animals’ skins.
In other words, an animal had to be killed in order for them to be covered.
And throughout the old testament, this picture of grace fulfilled by “a life laid down” became clearer & clearer.
For example, in Lev 1:3, we were told that the burnt offering must be a male without blemish.
In other words, it was symbolic that the ultimate sacrifice for sin would be “a man without blemish or sin”.
And it was revealed in even greater clarity in Isa 53:5.
“..He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed”.
All these point to a sinless Man who will come and bear the sins of those whom God will save.
And undeniably, in Matt 1:21 it says “…you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
This is the announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ – the lamb who would take away our sins.
Therefore, the burnt offering that Noah offered was only a fore shadow of that ultimate sacrifice that was to come.
And the Apostle Paul emphatically says in 1 Tim 2:5 that “…Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners….” .
There is therefore no ambiguity that Jesus is the one whom we must believe in to be saved!
Friends, this is the secret of God’s covenant.
The prophets of the old testament had a hazy view of what it meant.
But they simply obeyed God’s commands & looked in faith towards Jesus who would come.
And Jesus came and gave His life as a ransom for many.
Today, we have the privilege of understanding the entire picture of salvation.
God’s mercy towards His people is demonstrated & accomplished in the life laid down by Jesus.
So, in a sense, “Noah & the ark” is a children’s story.
It is the gospel in such simplicity that even a child can understand it.
Ask a child what he learnt if you tell him/her the story of “Noah & the ark” faithfully.
They’ll be quick to tell you that God is angry at sinners.
They will understand that God is patient but there is a limit to His patience.
And in simplicity of heart, they will rush to God because they dare not trust any other way of peace.
And such childlike faith is similarly required from us.
We have to repent & believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.
Noah found grace in the eyes of God.
My friends, have you found grace in the eyes of God?
Have you believed in the ultimate offering of Jesus Christ to appease the wrath of God?
While the door of your heart is still open, I urge you to confess your sins to Jesus.
Cry out to Him and ask Him to forgive you for how faithless you have been.
Surrender your life to Him that He may transform you with the renewing of your mind – Rom 12:1.
Do not delay because you will not know when He may close the door of your heart.
The door to Noah’s ark will not open once it was closed.
The door to your heart may never open again once the days of grace are over.
Today is the day of salvation.
Believe in the Lord Jesus as the one who can take away your sins.
Put your faith in Jesus who alone can represent you before a holy God.
Do not harden your heart if you hear the voice of God.
Dear Christians, be encouraged that your salvation is not an after-thought by God.
It was planned in eternity that God wanted you in His fold.
And in the fullness of time, God sent His Son to die for your sins.
And He opened your spiritual eyes to these great truths according to His wisdom in timing.
If He had laid His eyes upon you from eternity…..
If He even gave His son for your sake…..
Would He forsake you in your current circumstances?
Rom 8:35 tells us that “Nothing shall separate you from the love of God in Jesus Christ”.
So in view of this, what should be your rightful response to such a great God?
Praise, adoration & worship!
Rom 12:1 “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing & acceptable to God – your reasonable worship…”
“..be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove what is that good & pleasing and perfect will of God…”
Let us praise God with hymn _____.