For the last three weeks we have been in a mini-series on the VBS lessons. Today we are going to jump back into our Summer series on Genesis. That series title is “All Starts Here”, but before we begin with our next lesson in Genesis, I have a short video I would like to play for the introduction.
Act of Kindness inspires thousands
That video recently went viral. People are desperately looking for stories of people being good to one another. It is a good story, and it has good conclusion as well. I heard on the radio this week that Phil the homeless man in this video, did get the job.
When I was watching the video, the line that really hit me was “His act of kindness has inspired thousands”. The police officer took just a few minutes to clean up Phil, and as a result Phil is beginning a new life, and thousands have been inspired to other acts of kindness as well. Remember that, we will come back to it at the end of the message.
Today we are in Genesis chapter 6. This is another familiar story, Noah and the ark. We learned it from Sunday School. There are Noah’s Ark Coloring sheets, and Flannel Graphs. It is a very interesting event. I have to believe that many of us have heard several sermons on Noah’s Ark. You may know that there is a full scale replica of the ark in Kentucky at the Ark encounter.
Here is an info graphic slide showing a layout of the ARK. You can see of the pens for the animals. I read that there was enough room for over 125,000 sheep sized animals on the ark. It would weigh about 125,00 tons. All of this is very interesting, and I do encourage you to look into all of the different facts about the ark, and take some time studying the great flood. It is very interesting, and can really help to solidify your views of the Genesis account. But sometimes I think that we need to be sure we don’t get sidetracked with the zoo, and forget why and how we got to this point in the first place. Or that we are in need of a rescue in the first place.
In my bible when I open to Genesis chapter 6, it is on page 5. Just a few pages ago, God saw that it was good, God’s word said that over and over again. God would created something, out of nothing, and God saw that it was good.
The world was created good.
By chapter three, the epitomes in God’s creation the ones made in God’s likeness decided that they wanted to define good and evil for themselves, rather than have God define it for them, and as a result they have to leave the presence of God. Then one of their children kills his own brother. Again, after the sin, Cain is sent away from his homeland and is sent to wander. Genesis chapter 4 and 5, records two distinct family lines. One of the family of Cain and one of the families of Seth. The human race continues heading further into sin and wickedness and by the time we get to chapter 6 we read.
The world descended into sin.
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Every inclination was only evil, all the time. The human race has taken a very bad turn. The human race has turned very far from God.
And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
God saw that people, created in his image could be good. They could have fellowship with him, they could walk with Him seek after Him, pray, worship Him, bring Him sacrifices. But instead of living a good life in fellowship people are turning away. Their thoughts are not God’s thoughts. Their intentions are evil, continually. So it grieves the Lord. God knows that man could have a much better life, than one of hatred and violence, and greed and sexual immorality. Life for the human could be better, but sadly they turn from God.
When we read that the Lord regretted that He made man, we have to look at that phrase with reference to all the Bible talks about God. Some people like to think that somehow God thought, OOPS I made a mistake, I wish I never created man. That is not the case. The Bible uses human terms and human emotions to describe God, yet God still knows all things. God still knows that man would turn from Him. God never makes a mistake, he can’t he is God all his ways are perfect. So when we read that God regretted making man, it is used in the sense that we can as humans relate. In order to describe God, the indescribable the Bible temporary assigns emotions or moods that we can be familiar with to God so that we can understand him better. It is called an anthropomorphism
So what the text does say is that God was grieved. It made him sad that man was turning away from the goodness that he could have. It grieved the Lord because, His creation is good, to be with God and enjoy Him is good. God is the best thing in the universe to be with God is to be with the best thing in the universe to walk away from that is sad. When man walks away from that goodness, that joy, that beauty and turns to wickedness and destruction it grieves God because they are not fulfilling the purpose he has for them.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Wanting everyone to come to him. Desiring that people walk with Him. For God so loved the world. But sadly at this point the human race is not interested in that.
The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”
This is dark. This is sad. Think about this for a second. If the world that God made, grieved the heart of God, how sad does that have to be?
How horrible and how terrible must sin be if it grieves God? God who is all good, all light, all knowing, all just, all holy and righteous. Is Grieved. God who is full of Grace and mercy, is grieved at mankind. How sad must that be? I suspect that the magnitude of that situation is so great that we cannot even wrap our minds around that idea.
God who once walked with man in the garden of Eden is now grieving. His creation has turned from him very far from Him.
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.
What was once full of animals and birds and fish and living creatures and plants, was now full of violence.
God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.
What was good, what was in His image was now corrupt.
So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.
Sin causes de-creation
And God begins the de-creation of the world. Sin has gotten so bad, that it undoes almost all that God created. Sin is so damaging that it takes what is good, what is for food, and a good place to dwell and it destroys it. The animals once filled creation. Mow violence fills creation. Man and woman together were supposed be together and be fruitful and multiply and now boundaries have been crossed, and only a small family will be saved.
This is not good pleasant to hear. This news so dark that we don’t want to even think about it. So instead, we go to the zoo. We look at the big boat and all the animals, and perhaps it takes our minds off how horrible sin is, and how corrupt man had become.
So we focus on the next few verses.
This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.
And we study it, we build replicas, we make flannel graphs, and coloring sheets. However, I am not convinced that the construction of the Ark is the point of the passage.
It is only two verses. I t is cool, and I love it, It is still a great Sunday School lesson, however I am just not so sure it is the point of the passage.
Sometimes-we get so caught up in the miracles, that we forget to see the worker of the miracles. We fail to see God in this.We look to Noah’s faith, and His ability to build the ark , and we forget to look at God.
But look at this, even though God is grieved, his grace is still there, even though God regrets that the human race is choosing to go their own way and away from God, He is still merciful, even though man has chosen wickedness, and violence and sexual immorality, instead of goodness and love, God is still who He is.
The hope of God.
Look at these next few verses.
I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.
and there it is. The hope of God, The grace of God, The promise of God.
Think about this-Noah has not even built the ark yet. Noah doesn’t yet see the rainbow. Noah only sees the rain clouds gathering on the horizon. All that is in view for Noah is the sin the darkness the grieving, But God says---- But I will establish my covenant with YOU, and YOU will enter the ark.
I want you to see something here. We know from Gen 6:9 that Noah is a rightous man and walks with the Lord.
This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.
Noah was a righteous man, and He walked with God. This can seem to us like it is Noah’s righteousness that saved him. Noah is righteous because Hew walks with God. He cannot have righteousness apart form God. Apart from God Noah is still a condemned man like the rest of creation. The floodwaters will come over the earth, Noah will perish like the rest of the race unless God does something. Unless God steps in and rescues Noah. Unless God commands Noah to build an Ark. Unless God provides NOAH the instructions, in his word, unless God provides Noah the means to build an Ark, unless God sends Noah into the ark. Notice the subject of the sentences.
The Faith of Noah
But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.
But I that is the Lord will establish my covenant.
The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.
The Lord is the one who said to Noah
Then again in 7:16
The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
Then the Lord Shut Him in, God rescued Noah.
Hebrews 11.7 says
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
When God spoke to Noah, there was no rain, no clouds. Just the word of God. That it would happen, but Noah by faith listened to the Lord. Noah had faith in that what God said is true and Noah was rescued because God who cannot lie, whose word is true who is unchanging, delivered him just as he promised.
God washed the sin and wickedness of the world away through the cleansing waters of the flood. God saved Noah, by Noah’s faith in what God said. Then God started over, and made a new creation.This parallels the Gospel story.
We are asked by faith to trust in the Lord Jesus-who will cleanse us from our sin and our unrighteousness. Who will wash our sin away and take away our anger, our lust our jealousy and our greed- And as we turn to Jesus Christ, we become a new creation
We are a new creation
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
ANd 1 Cor 6:11
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
We are new creations, we are born again, we are resurrected to a new life. This is great news.
It is great news and the last thing we want is to get so caught up with being a new creation, that we talk about that, and miss the glory of the one who saved us. We get up in the details of the ark and how the animals fit into it, that miss that God with a grieving heart reached down in His mercy and by His grace saved Noah. Noah’s faith is good, and it is important, but it is God’s grace and mercy that washed away the sin and wickedness.
I started the message with a viral video. The video went viral because people are looking for good news. Their is so much bad news in the world that they are desperate for stories of good. They are hungry to see the police officer cleaning up the homeless man so he could get a job and start new life. It is a great story. But when I was watching the video, the line that really hit me was “His act of kindness has inspired thousands” I get that. I get how that works, it is a good act, it should inspire thousands. It is a good story, it should be spread, but sometimes I think people are turning to these good stories, to avoid the the one who is responsible for the good in the world.
Sin, death, and separation from God make people uncomfortable. They are not popular topics. Stories of butterflies and dragonflies, are easier to hear, they make us feel good. Or so we think.
Church, there is one person who has cleaned up thousands, no make that millions of us. The Lord Jesus Christ has cleansed us of our sins. The police officer did a good thing but it is nothing compared to what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. Jesus Christ Washes away all our sin, through the cross. Jesus Christ makes us a new creation. Jesus Christ conquered sin and death, so that we can enter into the glorious presence of the one who created all things. There is no other thing in all of the universe, no other joy, nothing that compares to Almighty God, no other love that compares to the love God our Father has for His children. Our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, brings us into fellowship with Him who created the animals and butterflies and dragonflies. This is the good news. This is what is comforting this is the story that people need to hear. That story right there ought to inspire millions of us to love one another, and to unbelievable acts of kindness in the name and for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters this is what Jesus does for us. We are homeless and wandering. The call of the Gospel is this- that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose three days later. He washes away our sin, and makes a new creation, and all glory for that transformation is God’s People need to hear that news the are desperate for it. It is the greatest viral news of all.
We are going to close with another video, Let’s watch this, before communion.