Gen 6:8-9 Noah 12/10/2017 ßà
#1. Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the LORD (Gen 6:8, Rom 11:6, 3:10, Gen 3:15, Rev 13:3)
#2. The Character of Noah (Gen 6:9, Eph 2:3,8, Psalm 18:30-32)
#3. The Faith of Noah (Heb 11:7, Rom 10:17, 2Cor 5:7, Heb 11:1, Jam 2:17,26, Luke 5:20, Acts 16:31, Rom 14:23, 1John 3:4, Rom 8:17)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Genesis, Gen 6:8 (2X). In this sermon we are going to look at the figure of Noah. Therefore this sermon is titled, “Noah”. This is installment number 5 in the series on Genesis. Of course when we hear the name Noah, we think about the flood of Noah’s days. And when we listen to modern day geologists, we hear them say that there never was a worldwide flood. They cannot find any evidence of it. This is music to the ears of those who want to believe in the theory of evolution, rather than creation. Those who embrace evolution have done it deliberately, for evolution does away with the origin of sin in the Garden of Eden, and evolution does away with the guilt of sin, and with the penalty for sin in Hell, and with the God who punishes sin. And evolution does away with the first eleven chapters of Genesis, claiming these chapters are nothing else than mythology, since all religions have a mythological beginning. The next phase of their claims is that the Bible was written by man, and thus man should be the judge over what we should believe and what we may discard, such as the first eleven chapters of Genesis. But think about this now: If the Bible is a collection of writings written by men, then the God of the Bible is an invention of men, and so are Heaven and Hell, and all the rest. If the Bible was written by men then God really does not exist. If the Bible was written by men, then atheists are more consistent in what they believe than those who believe in a god but believe that the Bible was written by men. Their god came out of the imagination of those who wrote the Bible. And so, you see that there are many consequences flowing out of the theorem that the Bible was written by man, and that the flood of Noah’s days was only a local flood. In this church we believe that the Bible was dictated by God to man, which the Bible affirms it to be so. Therefore the flood of Noah’s days was a worldwide flood, for the Bible says so. And Noah was a real person, who lived to tell us the story of this worldwide flood. And we believe what God told us of Noah and his family and the flood. Noah was a very special child, for his father Lamech prophesied of him in Gen 5:29, saying, “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed”. Lamech referred to the curse on Adam in Gen 3:17, where God says, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake”. And how was Noah going to comfort the human race? We see the beginning of this process of comforting the human race in Gen 6:8, where we read:
Ge 6:8-9 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
What information has God recorded for us here?
#1. Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the LORD (Gen 6:8, Rom 11:6, 3:10, Gen 3:15, Rev 13:3)
What is the meaning of these words? Did God pick out Noah and pour His grace upon him since he was a just man and perfect in his generations? Did God pour His grace upon Noah because Noah was the only good man left in the world? You can see that this would be altogether inconsistent with the words recorded in Gen 6:8. Grace is unmerited favor. And unmerited favor cannot be merited by good behavior or by any good works done by man. Grace cannot be earned or deserved, for that is not grace. God says in Rom 11:6, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work”. Grace may not be mixed with works, for that is not grace. And so, the words of Gen 6:8 do not imply that God searched out the human race and found Noah as the only good man left. Quite the opposite! Noah found out that he had received grace in the eyes of the Lord. Grace is a free gift from God unto salvation. Noah was not a saved human being from the day of his birth, for God says in Rom 3:10, “There is NONE righteous, No Not One”, and that included baby Noah. We do not know when Noah was converted, but Noah started out like any other human being, as an enemy of God. Then, at a certain point in his life, Noah found that he has received salvation from God, and that salvation is entirely by grace. Is it not deplorable that modern day churches have redefined their concept of grace and that they have altogether changed it into a gospel of works? But we are living in the time near the end of the world, and the Lord Jesus warned us that these things would come to pass near the end of time. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”. Is it not beautiful to see that this precious word “grace” is seen for the first time here in the Bible? O, the concept of grace was demonstrated much earlier. God showed His grace when He spoke in Gen 3:15 to Satan, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel”. That was grace in all its fulness when God promised that Christ would come as the Seed of the woman, and He will fight for us against Satan. And He will bruise Satan’s head, which is demonstrated in Rev 13:3, where Antichrist is appearing on the world scene symbolically as the beast with seven heads and ten horns, “and one of his heads was as it were wounded to death”. Again we see God’s irresistible grace demonstrated when God clothed Adam and Eve with coats of animal skin. Again we see God’s irresistible grace on display when we see that Abel was a child of God. Again we see God’s irresistible grace at work in the descendants of Seth when we read in Gen 5:26, “Then began men to call upon the Name of the Lord”. But here in Gen 6:8 is the first time that God’s grace is mentioned specifically, to show us that God’s grace is given as a free gift to Noah. And simultaneously with this free gift of salvation by grace, God also gave Noah faith, so that he would believe God and start the work on building the ark. God changed the character of Noah so that He did not only give him faith, but also gave him a fervent desire to do things that are pleasing to God. In the same way God gave us salvation and faith and a desire to do things that are pleasing in His sight.
Gen 6:9, Thesee are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
The beginning words of this verse indicate that here starts a new section of Genesis. When we read, “These are the generations of Noah” we see that the words that follow describe not a look back from where Noah came, but a look forward to the descendants of Noah. This is the case every time we see the words “These are the generations of”. And this formula appears twelve times in the Prophecy of Genesis. God gave us here a clue that a new division opens up with these words. Quite interestingly, God made divisions in Genesis to teach us the sinfulness of man, and to teach us God’s secret providence in the affairs of man. This is how we can recognize many divisions in Genesis. Each new division begins with the words, “These are the generations of”. And the previous division closes with a picture that portrays the effects and the results of sin. Is it not true that the sins of Man are the occasions where God finds opportunity to state one or more principles of doctrine? I have listed these divisions and their references in the sermon outline, so you can always regenerate these twelve divisions if you so desire. The first division begins with the words in Gen 2:4, “These are the generations of”, and it closes with the record of Abel’s murder and Lamech’s glorying over having killed a young man. The second division starts with Gen 5:1 and it closes with God looking down on the wickedness of all mankind on the earth. The third division starts with Gen 6:9 and it closes with the scene of Noah’s drunkenness and the curse pronounced on a part of his descendants. The fourth division starts with Gen 10:1 and it closes with the overthrow of the Tower of Babel by God. The fifth division starts with Gen 11:10 and it closes with the declining ages and deaths of the descendants of Shem. The sixth division starts with Gen 11:27 and it closes with the death of Terah, which was the result of vacillating and indecision on the way to the land of Canaan. The seventh division starts with Gen 12:1 and it closes in Gen 25:11 with the death and burial of Abraham. The eighth division starts with Gen 25:12 and it closes with the death of Ishmael, which was tragic because Ishmael was never saved. The ninth division starts with Gen 25:19 and closes with the death of Isaac in Gen 35:29. The tenth division starts with Gen 36:1 and it closes in Gen 36:8 with the departure of Esau from the Promised Land, which he had sold for a bowl of lentil soup from Jacob. The eleventh division starts with Gen 36:9 with a list of the descendants of Esau and it closes in Gen 36:43 with the words, “He is Esau the father of the Edomites”. The twelfth division starts in Gen 37:2 with the life of Joseph and it closes with the death of Joseph in Gen 50:26.
Let us now return to Gen 6:9 and see what else this verse is teaching us about Noah.
#2. The Character of Noah (Gen 6:9, Eph 2:3,8, Psalm 18:30-32)
Gen 6:9, Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
There are three things that this verse describes in the character of Noah. The first quality of Noah was that he was “just”. What does that mean? The Hebrew word for “just” is the same word as “righteous”. Noah was a righteous man. He was not born that way. Noah was born as an enemy of God, “for we ALL were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph 2:3). We ALL came into the world as rebels against God, and Noah was no exception. This applies to OT people as well as to NT people. But when God the Holy Spirit regenerates a soul, that soul becomes “Born again”, or a better translation is “Born from above”, and the sinner is declared to be a saint. At that moment his soul received the righteousness of Christ, for God Himself has come to live in that soul. This soul cannot become more righteous than that. And so, when the Bible declares that Noah was a just man, or a righteous man, it simply means that Noah has received from God the soul cleansing event of having been “Born from above”. Today there is even in conservative churches a concerted effort to state that “a man is justified by faith”. And so they argue that we first must have faith before we can be called “just” in the eyes of God. But keep in mind that we must harmonize all those verses stating that “a man is justified by faith” with the familiar key verse Eph 2:8, which says,
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
In other words, that faith is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God given to the one who has been saved by grace. We must never lose sight of the fact that it is by God’s grace, and not by any other condition. Once we impose the condition that we first must have faith, then grace is no more grace. And so, we see that Noah was a saved man, just like any other OT or NT saint.
The second quality of Noah was that “Noah was perfect in his generations”. What does that mean? Literally “Noah was perfect in his family”. Actually the word “perfect” came from the Hebrew word “tamim”, which has been more often translated as “without blemish”. We know that a man cannot be perfect in this life. We always live in a body that is inclined to sin, and thus we cannot live a sinless life. But a man can be without blemish in this life, for when God looks at any one of His saints God sees no sin. All the sins of His saints have already been taken care of by Christ on the cross. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of the Psalms, Psalm 18:30 (2X). To understand this Hebrew word “tamim” we should compare Gen 6:9 with Psalm 18:30-32 where this word is used two times. This Psalm is a triumphal hymn, to be sung by the church, which is risen and victorious in Christ, her Head. We read in Psalm 18:30-32,
Ps 18:32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
In both verses 30 and 32 the word “perfect” is the same word “tamim”. Verse 30 speaks of the way of God. The way of God refers to His dealings with man, and its perfection refers to the justness or the righteousness of Christ’s dealings with mankind. Then the same word is being used in verse 32, where the gifts of God are given to a spiritual warrior. God gives him strength and makes his way perfect, which means that God makes him finish his work in righteousness. And so, if God made Noah perfect in his family, then Noah finished his work in the midst of his family in righteousness. What work was that? Noah was a preacher of righteousness. We can be sure that Noah warned his family that the wrath of God was about to be poured upon all mankind. It is in this sense that we should understand that “Noah was perfect in his generations”. We must take Noah as our example, and we too must warn our family that Judgment Day is near. And we should be able to tell them why we think that Judgment Day is near, for we must know our Bibles when we tell them that.
The third quality of Noah was that ”Noah walked with God”. This was a quality that Noah shared with Enoch. Perhaps you remember that Enoch walked with God. These were the only two people of whom the Bible says that they walked with God. We may walk in the ways of God, we may walk in the Law of God, we may walk in the fear of God, we may walk before the Lord, we may walk in the Name of the Lord, we may walk in the commandments and ordinances of God, we may walk worthy of God, we may walk in the Light, but when God finished writing the Bible we no longer walk with God. This was a very special privilege of many OT saints, for many of them received direct messages from God, since God had not yet finished writing the whole Bible. So, the question that comes up frequently is this: How did the OT saints receive the light of Divine revelation? Primarily they learned it from their fathers, who learned it from their fathers, and so on. For example, when God made the promise of a Redeemer in Gen 3:15, this promise was repeated word by word to all the descendants of Adam. And when Noah was born, Lamech remembered the curse that God pronounced on Adam, and he makes reference to “the ground which the Lord God had cursed”. When God made the promise in Gen 6:3 that “man’s days shall be a hundred an twenty years”, this promise was repeated to all of Noah’s descendants. And thus, when Isaac was 120 years old he thought he was dying and he asked Esau to prepare him a meal of venison and that he will give Esau his final blessing. Secondly, they learned from the animal sacrifices that sin needed to be atoned for with blood. We see that, for example, when Noah came out of the Ark “he built an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings on the altar”. Thirdly, God set a mark upon Cain for everyone to see. This was a solemn warning for all mankind. This mark was seen for hundreds of years, for we must remember that man lived very long lives in those days. Fourthly, there was the preaching of Enoch who warned everyone that God would judge the world. And the words of Enoch made a great impression when the supernatural translation of Enoch was made known. Fifthly, there was the preaching of Noah that God would judge the world. And there was that strange thing that Noah built, called an Ark, which was a reminder of the judgment to come. Sixthly, there was the ministry of God the Holy Spirit, clearly seen for example, in the Prophecy of Job. The scroll of Job was written hundreds of years before God dictated to Moses the first five scrolls of the Bible. But already at the time of Job we see that Job and his 4 friends had an excellent concept of who God is. The only thing they misunderstood was the reason why suffering is in the world. But you cannot blame them for that. Even the majority of mankind today does not really understand this question. And so, we see that the people before the flood had the Word of God. But they did not have it in a Book like we have, but they memorized and cherished the statements that God had given throughout time. We could wish that our generation would memorize and cherish the principles of salvation that God has given in the Bible. Today’s generation rather lives without God, or without the Bible. And if they do turn to spiritual things they turn to strange gods, like the Moslem religion, or Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Sjintoism, or the Charismatic religion, or the Mormon religion, or the church of Scientology, and so on, and so on. Man is incurably religious, but without the guiding light of God the Holy Spirit man is always attracted to sinful idols, rather than to the true God of the Bible who rules the universe. Everyone considers it to be his inalienable right to search for his own god, because the basic problem is that there is no fear of God before their eyes. There is NONE that seeketh after the true God of the Bible (Rom 3:11), unless God the Holy Spirit gives us faith and guides us in that direction. Let us then now look at the faith of Noah.
#3. The Faith of Noah (Heb 11:7, Rom 10:17, 2Cor 5:7, Heb 11:1, Jam 2:17,26, Luke 5:20, Acts 16:31, Rom 14:23, 1John 3:4, Rom 8:17)
We find many more things about Noah in the NT. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Hebrews, Heb 11:7 (2X). You find Hebrews way in the back of your Bibles, close to the Epistles of James, Peter, and John. The Epistle to the Hebrews is given this location, right after the last of the Epistles of Paul, for it seemed as if Paul wrote this Epistle also, but no one was sure. This eleventh chapter of Hebrews is called the chapter of the heroes of faith, for it gives us a long list of OT saints. Even those of whom we were not sure regarding their salvation, like Samson, when they are listed here in Heb 11 we now are sure that they have been saved. We read in Heb 11:7,
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
This is a remarkable verse, full of information, but condensed into a single verse. There are seven things that are told us here about Noah’s faith. The first thing we learn of Noah’s faith is that he paid close attention to God’s Word. Noah, was “warned of God”, and Noah remembered each word God spoke. The faith that is acceptable to God is that which does not rest on feelings or fancy, but on the plain words that God spoke. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom 10:17). And remember that this is a faith that does not come out of our own good heart, for we do not have such a good heart. True faith is a gift from God. The second thing that we see in Noah’s faith is that his faith laid hold of “things not seen as yet”. Things which belong in the realm of unseen things are grasped only through faith, for “faith is the evidence of things not seen”. God says in 2Cor 5:7 that we must walk by faith, not by sight. And thus we should never strive to strengthen our faith by finding artifacts; we should never strive to find the remains of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat, for we walk by faith, not by sight. When Noah worked on building the Ark for 120 years the world looked upon him as a religious fanatic, who was putting himself to a great deal of needless trouble. But for all the years that they ridiculed Noah, his faith stood strong because he had the testimony of God. And so, we see here the principle of faith demonstrated: “Faith is the eye of the spirit of a man”. Faith visualizes the unseen. Faith gives substance to the invisible. And thus through this example of the faith of Noah we can understand the words of Heb 11:1, where God says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. That is the faith that God gives us. The third thing that we see in Noah’s faith is that Noah was “moved with fear”. Faith does not only believe the precious promises of God, but it also believes that God must punish sin. He, who does not believe that God will punish sin, will not believe that God will pardon our sin through the wrath of God on Jesus Christ. He, who does not believe that God will cast unbelievers into Hell, will not be sure if God will take believers into heaven. If we doubt God’s Word in one place, we shall have small confidence in it at another place. For the faith which accepts one word of God, and rejects another, is evidently not faith in God, but faith in our own judgment, faith in our own taste. The fourth thing that we see in Noah’s faith is that “he prepared an Ark”. Noah had works to show that his faith was real. God says in Jam 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”, and God says in Jam 2:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also”. What does this mean? It means, if any man claims to be saved because he has faith, if his faith is alone, meaning if his faith does not have good works to show, then his faith is dead, which means that he is still unsaved. He has not received faith from God. When we read scan all the heroes of faith in Heb 11 we find that they all had a faith that was evidenced by works. Noah had faith. What was the evidence of it? “He prepared an Ark”. It was no small undertaking. Consider how much it has cost Noah to build the Ark. It was not only a very laborious task, but it must have been a very expensive one also. And so, this is also the hallmark of the works that are an outflow of our faith. Faith expresses itself in that which costs us something. And so, the question I have for each one of us is this: What is it costing us to express our faith? A faith that does not result in something which is costly is not worth much. The fifth thing that we see in Noah’s faith is that “Noah prepared an Ark to the saving of his house”. What does this mean? While it is true that there is no such thing as a salvation by proxy, meaning that a child is not saved on the coattails of its parents, yet the Bible provides many examples of God’s blessings on the children of believing parents. For example, because Rahab believed the report of the spies, her entire household was saved from destruction. In the NT there was the man sick of the palsy who was brought to Jesus by others. Then we read in Luke 5:20, “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee”. Because of the nobleman’s faith, his servant was healed. And because the Syrophenician woman demonstrated her faith, her daughter was made whole. And so, when we read that “Noah prepared an Ark to the saving of his house”, we need to ask if this was not written for our learning. Did not God have a word of encouragement here for believing parents? Do we remember the words spoken to the jailer at Philippi in Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house”. It is true that God saves individuals, but most of the time God finds those individuals in households where these individuals are lifted up in prayer before God. We need to remember that when we lift up our children in prayer before God. The sixth thing that we see in Noah is the witness of Noah’s faith “by which he condemned the world”. How did Noah condemn the world? We first need to ask two questions: What is faith? And: What is sin? In Rom 14:23 we read, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. And thus, faith is the opposite of sin. What is sin? In 1John 3:4 we read, “Sin is the transgression of the Law”, or more accurately, “Sin is lawlessness”. And thus, sin is rebellion against God’s government, or against God’s authority. Sin is more than an act, sin is an attitude. Sin is the exercise of self-will, or self-independency. God says, “Thou shalt not”, but I say, “I will do it” God says, “Thou shalt”, but I say, “I will not do it”. But faith is in every respect the opposite of sin. Faith is also more than an act, faith is an attitude. Faith is submission to God’s authority, and a compliance to His revealed will. Faith in God is a coming to the end of myself. Faith is the spirit of entire dependency on God. There is a great gulf separating between those who are members of the army of Christ, and those who are members of the army of the Devil. We walk by faith, they walk by sight. We live for God’s glory, they live for self-gratification. We live for eternity, they live for the here and now. Because of all this, every Christian walking by faith is necessarily condemning the world. Our conduct is a silent rebuke upon the course of life followed by the ungodly. Our life is a witness against their sin. On top of that, our preaching is a witness against their sin. This is how the witness of Noah’s faith “by which he condemned the world” was evident in Noah’s life. The seventh thing that we see in Heb 11:7 is that Noah “became heir of the righteousness which is by faith”. We have here the reward of Noah’s faith. Yes, even though faith is a gift from God, we also can see that our faith brings a present reward, a present blessing, which we can enjoy. Faith wins a smile of God’s approval; it fills the heart with peace, it oils the machinery of life, and it makes all things possible. The Bible also speaks not only of the reward in this life, but also of the great reward in the life hereafter. For example, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never received any more than “a sojourn in the land of promise”. The children of God are called “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:17), but the entering into our inheritance is still in the future. We do not really enter it now, although our faith already appropriates it, and even now we are already reveling in the joy we are going to have in the life hereafter. The Son Himself has been “appointed heir of all things” (Heb 1:2), but it is not until He enters into the NH&NE that we shall also enjoy them with Him. Meanwhile, we are with Noah, “Heirs of the righteousness which is by faith”. However, we should be careful to understand very well the concept of the reward of the righteousness which is by faith in the life hereafter.
Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Luke, Luke 18:28 (2X). When we search the Bible we do not find anywhere “the reward of faith”. In fact we do not find any verse where the word “reward” and the word “faith” appear in the same verse. And why not? Let me state it as simply as possible. The faith we receive from God is a gift that God bestows upon all who have become saved, including babies. Of course, babies receive a different size of faith than PhD’s in Chem Engineering. And so, we realize that God gives each one of us faith by measure. We only receive so much as we can bear. But the reason God gives us faith is so that we can know that we have become saved. How else can we know that God has done a marvelous miracle in our soul and made us “Born from above”? But we know that our faith is a gift from God, for we read in Eph 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God”. Therefore, since faith is a gift, in no way can we make it become the cause for rewards. In fact, when we search the Bible for occasions where God is giving people rewards, we always find that God is giving rewards for good works done, or for evil works done. God is never giving rewards for faith, which we received as a gift anyway. When we search the Bible we also see that God never rewards evil works in this life, but always in the life hereafter. We may think that God punished the Canaanites for their idolatry when we read that the children of Israel are commanded to kill and to destroy all the Canaanites in the land of Canaan. But that was not the reason why the Canaanites had to be destroyed. There was a great deal more wickedness and idolatry going on in the lands of Moab and Ammon, but God did not send His armies there to destroy them. God determined that it was time for the Canaanites to appear before the judgment throne of God, and that is why God sent Moses and Joshua and the armies of Israel to destroy them. In like manner, when we search the Bible we see that God never rewards good works in the life hereafter, but always in this life. Let me show this in the example that the Lord Jesus put forward in Luke 18:28-30, where we read,
So you see, our rewards come in this present time. Our gift in the world to come is life everlasting, which is the gift that all receive who have become saved. Moreover God says in Rom 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” When God gives us all things in the life hereafter there is nothing left for rewards for good works done in this life. AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.