Faithlife Sermons

The Judgment

Genesis  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Big idea: God’s enduring love compels Him to provide a definitive decision to mankind, and to annihilate/destroy/wipe out/end the evil that prevents goodness.

Genocide in Myanmar

Title Slide
Recently journalists have been highlighting a military coup in Myanmar where the military took the president and many of her cabinet captive, and are currently preventing democratic government institutions from carrying on their work. There are strong opinions in the press about how this should be handled. Personally, I was drawn into the story when I read how the Myanmar government has been treating a particular people group called the Rohingya.
Myanmar likes to call them Bangalis, suggesting that they were all emigrants to Burma during the British colonization, but they self-identify as a group of people who have resided in that part of the world for over a thousand years. The Rohingya people are mostly Muslim, living in a country where over 90% of the people are Buddhist. Ever since Myanmar got its independence from Britain in 1948 the government has been putting pressure on the Rohingya by treating them as foreigners.
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Since the 60’s it has been illegal for Rohingya people to establish political or social groups. In 1982 the government revoked all their citizenship rights, restricted their freedom of movement, and deprived them of their rights to receive higher education. Rohingya couples are only allowed to have two children. All private Rohingya business were transferred to the control of the military government. Rohingya men have been forced to give up one day a week to work on government projects without pay, and one night a week to perform sentry duty. The government has taken their land and given it to Buddhist settlers. In 2017 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh told Human Rights Watch that Myanmar government forces had carried out armed attacks, and burned down their homes. In addition, they beheaded men, raped women and murdered children. More than a million Rohingya have fled to nearby countries as refugees. It is estimated that somewhere between 13,000 and 48,000 Rohingya people have been killed by the Myanmar government in the last few years.
Today, the Rohingya are the single largest “stateless” community in the world. Their “statelessness” or lack of citizenship increases their vulnerability because they are not entitled to any legal protection from the government.
I recognize that confronting you with these realities may have the negative consequence of hardening your hearts towards the inhumanity of others. What can we do about these atrocities? Pretty much nothing. Maybe one or two of us could go over to Bangladesh and assist in the refugee camps. Maybe a family could take in a Rohingya refugee family. Maybe. But more than likely, we won’t be able to do anything about it, and that lack of empathetic action has a tendency to harden our hearts towards the situation. We watch from a distance, we weep silently, and we move on with our lives.
So, why would I bring this up at all?
Because that’s exactly what we do when we read the story of the flood. It’s not only a world away but also a few thousand years ago. We read the story with a distant curiosity, but it likely never truly transforms our hearts or changes the way we do life.
I also bring the story of a modern genocide to your attention because there is likely a twinge of a question in many of our minds about a God who would see fit to eradicate an entire race of people. We have serous doubts about a government who would do such evil against the Rohingya, and if we’re honest with ourselves we have to grapple with those same feelings about God’s government which forcefully destroyed the houses, property and lives of countless humans in Noah’s day.
Today, we’re going to explore the subject of judgment from a historical perspective as we look at the story of the flood. And hopefully we’ll find some insights that can touch close to our own hearts.

The Unpardonable Sin

Before we turn to Genesis 6, we need to quickly cover a topic to set the stage for what we’re going to see in Noah’s day—the unpardonable sin.
Jesus made a statement in Matthew 12:31-32 where he said this:
Matthew 12:31–32 NLT
“So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.
In the context of this passage, Jesus had just healed a man and the pharisees accused him of being able to cast out demons because he was filled with a demon himself. After Jesus pointed out how illogical their suggestion was, he put their statement about him in the category of blasphemy, saying that “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”
It was blasphemous to claim that Jesus, God himself, is in league with Satan. Not only was it denigrating to Jesus to be linked with Satan, but it was a statement designed to destroy the character of God’s government. It was, in fact, Satan’s own argument against God in heaven. That God demanded worship from His subjects but didn’t deserve it. That God was a narcisist, autocratic and controlling. And then, Satan went on to do all the things he claimed were wrong about God, and much more.
Jesus was not in league with Satan. But Jesus didn’t hold that against the Pharisees. He promised them that blasphemy against Him could be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit could not be forgiven.
Why? Is the Holy Spirit different than Jesus somehow? Is the Holy Spirit less forgiving than Jesus?
Read John 15:26
John 15:26 ESV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
John 16:8–11 ESV
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
John 16:13 ESV
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
The work of the Spirit is to convict. It’s a heart work of Grace that brings us to a place of contrition and repentance.
But when you blaspheme the Holy Spirit that convicting voice grows faint.
Blasphemy is a rebellious statement or activity that either disrespects God’s character or puts yourself in the place of God, effectively silencing the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit.
Every time we silence the Holy Spirit in our lives and refuse to submit ourselves to His leading. Every time we take the reigns of our lives and kick the Holy Spirit out of our head. Every time we openly defy God’s path of righteousness to commit willful sin. We are looking the Holy Spirit in the eye and telling Him to go away. He, of course, does not. He keeps drawing us.
Look how God handled the Israelites in their rebellion:
Hosea 11:4 NLT
I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.
God is patient. He’s filled with chesed (חָסַד) — loyal love. That’s just who He is.
We, on the other hand, are not. If the tendency of our hearts is to brashly sin but then come back to Jesus with repentance and contrition. Then Jesus has something to work with. It’s when we stare into the perfect law of love and liberty, step right into the sin we know is wrong, and then refuse to confess or repent that we get into trouble. Not because God can’t forgive us, but because He can’t forgive us if we don’t ask.
The Holy Spirit is the one who draws us to repentance—to ask for forgiveness. And if we systematically shut Him out of our lives, then we stop being able to feel that tug of conviction. We stop being able to hear the call to turn back to God and surrender.
At some point, we cross the line where the voice of the Spirit is too quiet for us to hear. Its at that point that we are beyond help.
Romans says it like this
Romans 1:28–32 ESV
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
“God gave them up.” That’s the unpardonable sin. Not that God stopped loving, or stopped wooing, but that mankind stopped being capable of responding to God.
Keep a finger in this verse and look back at it as we consider the lives of the people living in Noah’s day.
There a day coming, sometime in the near future, when God will say,
Revelation 22:11 ESV
Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
This is a moment in time when all decisions have been made. Those who are humble and surrendered to Jesus he says, “be holy for eternity.” And those who have rejected him fully he says, “keep on doing evil.” Some call this the close of probation. No one repents after this. But this moment doesn’t happen until everyone has made their decision.

The Days of Noah

In Matthew 24 Jesus said that in the end of time things will be like they were in the days of Noah. According to Jesus’ account they were all “eating and drinking and marrying” and weren’t paying any attention until the flood came and swept them away. Did they really have no idea that judgment was coming? Were they completely unaware, or had they simply closed their minds and hearts to hearing the warning calls of God?
The Secret Rapture
If you’ve turned to Matthew 24:36-44, you’ll notice a little section right after the eating and drinking where Jesus tells about two men in the field, one taken and the other left, and two women at the grindstone, one is taken and the other is left. I don’t want to spend much time in Matthew 24, but I do want to dispel a notion about the secret rapture. Many point to this passage in Matthew 24:40-41 to predict that people will be going about their regular life, flying planes, driving cars, working at their desks, when suddenly, God’s people will just disappear. A whole series of books titled, “Left Behind” are based on this idea. It has elaborate descriptions of both the secret rapture, and the supposed seven years of tribulation that will happen to all those who are left behind. The problem with that theory is that Jesus had just said, “as in the days of Noah...” Which means, if we want to understand what happens in this judgment at Jesus’ second coming, we have to look back at the judgment at the time of Noah.
The ones who were taken at the time of the flood were taken away by the flood, and the ones who were left, were the 8 people in left in the ark. So, if anyone asks you whether you’d like to be taken or left behind in the rapture, please tell them “I’d like to be left behind, thank you.” At Jesus’ coming all the wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming, but the believers will be left behind to be transformed and then taken up into the air with Jesus. And that event will be anything but secret.
Enoch the Prophet
Turn to the story of Noah and the flood in Genesis 5-7 and see what’s happening in this passage. We’re going to especially look for the character of God in this story:
Who is He?
What does He do?
And why is killing all these people ok?
The story of the flood begins back in Genesis 5 with Enoch. You might remember from my last sermon that Enoch was a prophet. You can read about that in the book of Jude and in Hebrews 11. Enoch’s story was less about him being a really righteous guy than it was about a prophecy. Think about it like this:
Enoch lived in a time when all the people lived really long lives. There were wicked people and there were followers of God. The wicked people defied God and practiced all kinds of evil things, including murder, bigamy, theft, idolatry, and all sorts of unspeakable things. Besides those who were murdered, the rest of the population seemed to live on and on without any of the followers of God seeing any sort of “salvation” and none of the wicked people seemed to receive the judgment of God. At some point, the followers of God began to intermarry with the children of wicked people and they too started doubting the validity of the stories of Adam and Eve. There is no judgment, the people thought. There is no reward, they would say. And then came Enoch saying,
Jude 14–15 ESV
It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Did you notice the blasphemy language here, and the work of the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin? Enoch was warning the people before the flood that they were in the process of committing the unpardonable sin.
He preached in the valleys and in the cities. He told his neighbors and children. And his children shared the message too. And then, when he was 365 years old, God took Enoch to be with Him in heaven. Hebrews tells us that the people looked all around for him, but they couldn’t find Him. And they concluded that God had taken him to heaven.
By Enoch’s words he told of the judgment of God and by his life and ascension he testified to the reward for the faithful.
And so did his son Methuselah, and so did his grandson Lamech, and so did his great grandson, Noah.
Now, look at Genesis 6:4. It says here that the result of the intermarriage between the sons of God — that’s the believers in God—and the sons of men—those were the wicked children of cain—were giant warriors. Popular, powerful men of violence.
And then the very next verse says,
Genesis 6:5 ESV
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.
Verse 6 says that it grieved God’s heart.
Jump forward to verse eight:
Genesis 6:8 ESV
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Favor is another word for Grace.
God extended grace to Noah. He couldn’t have been gracious to anyone else because they had shut him out for hundreds of years. Most of the people alive at Noah’s day were old people. Noah’s grandfather and father, both preachers of righteousness, were alive until just before the flood occured. They were presumably helping him build and helping him teach the people about the coming judgment. The message of judgment had been clearly preached for 969 years. Noah’s message wasn’t a new thing to the people. Most had shut their ears to it long before Noah got a message from God to build an ark. God couldn’t extend his favor to people who refused Him so wholeheartedly. Instead, he gave grace to the one family who’s hearts were humble towards Him.
Now look at Genesis 6:11:
Genesis 6:11 ESV
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.
Violence and corruption were the consistent and perpetual pattern of society. They had so firmly and so long rejected the invitations of God through his preachers and through the Holy spirit that they could no longer discern between right and wrong. What was right in their own eyes was right, and what they thought was wrong was wrong. Wars were fought over different political opinions. Violence was used to forcibly take what a self-serving person thought should be theirs. Greed and avarice and the pursuit of excessive pleasure was the norm.
These people had chosen the path of self determination, rejected the warnings along the way, and were now facing down the barrel of destruction and they weren’t even paying attention. They were going about their lives, eating, partying, getting married, buying land, planting field, building houses—completely ignoring the judgment that was prophesied to come.
Did you notice how God saw what was going on? That’s not an insignificant point. God doesn’t just bring destruction willy nilly whenever He feels put off. He mounts an investigation. He goes searching for evidence. In this case, the conclusion was clear: the people were wicked through and through.
So, God had Noah build a boat.
And even though the people were thoroughly wicked, such was the love and patience of God that he gave Noah blueprints for a 120 year boat building project. Lots of time to convict and convince people of the coming judgment and the need to have faith in God’s promised salvation.
Noah and his father and his grandfather and his sons and siblings were no simpletons. They were strong and brilliant people. Yet, building the ark God had designed took a lot of planning and preparation, Timber had to be sourced, machines had to be invented and built, and every detail of the assembly had to be planned out with precision. This was a HUGE boat that had to hold together in harsh weather. Nothing could be skimped on. The wood at that time had been growing for close to 1,700 years, but with the consistent weather and the daily dewfall the already strong fibers and rings of the wood were so tightly wound together that they were extremely hard to cut. They were likely as hard as our steel is today, and much stronger and more flexible than any of our large ships today.
For 120 years the people watched the symbol of judgment and deliverance grow in front of them. They mocked, but Noah and his family kept building. They jeered, but Noah kept building. They sold lottery tickets, but Noah kept building. And all the while he would preach to locals and tell stories to visitors and have personal conversations with curiosity seekers. Some seemed to be swayed a little, but most completely refused to consider the notion of a flood.
Until one day, the birds swarmed overhead and the animals came marching up in pairs to enter the only door in the ark. When God said “go” to the animals, they obeyed. They knew to trust their maker. They knew that to choose their own path would be destruction.
The people saw the miracle of the animals. Stopped in amazement. And then dismissed it as a trick. They justified it with scientific theory and logic.
Genesis 7:1 ESV
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.
Noah and his family followed the animals into the ark. Anyone else could have gone in with them. They had had over 900 years of warnings. They had seen the ark being built for 120 years. They just saw the animals taking shelter. But no one got on board.
This was not by God’s choice. It was their own choice. They rejected the calls of God. They rejected the evidence of Enoch’s life. They rejected the preaching of Enoch’s children. They rejected the conviction of Noah. They rejected the miraculous evidence. And in so doing they shut their heart’s to the wooing of the Holy Spirit.
They had committed the unpardonable sin. There was no forgiveness for them. They could not be reached. God had tried everything possible. They had blasphemed the Holy Spirit, and their sins were on their own heads.
If they had turned from their wickedness, surely the Lord would have stayed the judgment just like he later did with Nineveh in Jonah’s day. But they didn’t turn. They didn’t repent.
Their probation—the time before the judgment was executed, was over.
Genesis 7:16 and 11-12 introduces the floodwaters:
Genesis 7:16 ESV
And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.
Genesis 7:11–12 ESV
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
I can’t imagine the horrors that came on the earth.
The book Patriarchs and Prophets describes the scenes like this:
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Patriarchs and Prophets Chapter 7—The Flood

upon the eighth day dark clouds overspread the heavens. There followed the muttering of thunder and the flash of lightning. Soon large drops of rain began to fall. The world had never witnessed anything like this, and the hearts of men were struck with fear. All were secretly inquiring, “Can it be that Noah was in the right, and that the world is doomed to destruction?” Darker and darker grew the heavens, and faster came the falling rain. The beasts were roaming about in the wildest terror, and their discordant cries seemed to moan out their own destiny and the fate of man. Then “the fountains of the great deep” were “broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Water appeared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke away from their boundaries, and overflowed the valleys. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, buried themselves deep in the ground.

The people first beheld the destruction of the works of their own hands. Their splendid buildings, and the beautiful gardens and groves where they had placed their idols, were destroyed by lightning from heaven, and the ruins were scattered far and wide. The altars on which human sacrifices had been offered were torn down, and the worshipers were made to tremble at the power of the living God, and to know that it was their corruption and idolatry which had called down their destruction.

We should look at this scene with horror. Houses and temples and idolatrous groves are shattered by rocks and lightening. People are crushed and drowned. It’s a horrible scene. It should make us cringe.
But this isn’t just some knee-jerk punishment from God. These were an ancient people with hundreds of years of rebellion under their belt. Their paths were so firmly planted that not even the hand of God closing the door to the ark made them flinch from their resolve.
Sure, when the waters started to rise and their posessions were destroyed, the people longed for the ark. But that wasn’t repentance, it was self-preservation. If they could have clung to the ark and outlasted the storm, they would have simply continued on in their rebellion. They were beyond hope.
And so God did the only loving thing left to do.
Men, if a violent criminal broke into your home and began to do violence to your wife and children, would you talk gently with him and invite him to repent? No. You’d knock him down with the bat or shoot him with your rifle. Jesus even says as much in Matthew 24:43:
Matthew 24:43 NLT
Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into.
Is God any less vigilant in taking care of His children against those who would do violence to them? No. He is our defense, our rock, our fortress, our strong tower. The righteous run to Him and are safe.
When God brings final justice and punishment like the flood or the judgment at the 2nd coming, it is after a long, patient pursuit is rejected so completely that there is no hope for reform. And it is at a critical juncture when to fail to act would be to condemn innocence and righteousness to destruction by evil forces. If God had not brought a flood, there would be no hope for any human. You and I would not exist today if there was no flood.
And when God declares that the wicked have made their final choice and destroys them with the brightness of His coming, he will be preventing the destruction of His children who have all been unanimously condemned to death.
It is clear that God brought the judgment of the flood and will bring the destruction on the wicked at the end of time. But the Bible acknowledges that these acts of judgment rea not the norm for God:
Isaiah 28:21 ESV
For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim; as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused; to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work!
Destruction is a foreign thing for a merciful, loyal, patient and loving God. It grieves His heart, but it must be done or else all will be lost.

The coming of the son of man

Jesus said that its going to be just like Noah’s day in the time before His second coming.
Some think that when Matthew 24:38 says that they were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage that these things are wrong to do at the end of time. But that’s not Jesus’ point. God gave us food and He Himself designed marriage. These things are not bad to do, and we should go on doing them until Jesus comes again. The problem comes when you take what God intended for our good and you make His gifts a replacement for Him.
God designed food to be pleasurable, but many eat to excess, drowning their sorrows with delicacies.
God designed marriage to be fulfilling, but many use marriage as an excuse for lust and abuse and control.
Mankind has taken the gifts of God and made them into idols that they worship. They pour their money into their vices and then they devote their life to them.
Even though the messages of warning and of grace are registered on websites and floating around in the airwaves and preached from pulpits and lecture halls and delivered in their mailboxes, the people ignore the warnings and continue idolizing their own ideas. Systematically they are shutting down the avenues the Holy Spirit has to reach their hearts. One day, soon, judgment will come and the majority of the world will be surprised. Not because they haven’t been warned, but because they have shut out the conviction of the Holy Spirit.


There is a judgment coming for us, just like there was for Noah. We’re much closer to the end of our “120 years” of ark building than to the beginning. Jesus is coming soon.
This would be a great time to transition into a three-angels messages sermon, but we’ll come back to that another time.
In this time in earth’s history, God is looking for only one thing: faith—a simple trust in God’s plan, and a total surrender to following after Him.
Enoch had it.
Noah had it.
Do you and I have that humble surrender?
For Noah, faith led him to believe in God’s plan for both judgment and redemption. It compelled him to have hope and build the ark, according to God’s plan, and to tell the world that there was a path to be saved from judgment. His faith upheld him in the face of ridicule and scorn. His faith in God was the motivator behind his faithful work for God.
Faith in the God who has a plan to save us is what we need today.
Luke 18:8 ESV
I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Do we have faith in the God of creation?
Do we trust in the God who promises to rid the universe of all evil?
Do we believe in the God who provides a way of salvation?
By faith we can look into the perfect law of liberty and be led to repentance, and obedience.
By faith we can see the righteousness of our God which is beyond anything we can produce, and we can know that His righteousness has been applied to our life record.
By faith we can step out in obedience to God’s command, and like Noah, we can join our voices to proclaim the everlasting Gospel to the ends of the earth so that all can have a choice before the Great judgment of our God takes place.
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
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