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The Need

Date: 4 December 2022

Speaker: Ps Daniel Tan

Sermon Text: Genesis 5:28–6:9



4Dec22 Herald 1
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TRANSCRIPT

Introduction

Blessed Sunday. As was mentioned by our Worship Leader last week, we are in the season of Advent. The season where we anticipate the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Let’s begin this morning by asking the question - Is the world getting better or worse?


According to an article by the BBC on 11 Jan 2019, the world is getting better and they list 7 factors why. I’m not sure if the authors might revise it somewhat now that we have had the Covid-pandemic for 2 years.


They have listed 7 criteria. Now let’s put on the biblical lenses and review just the top 2 criteria - Life expectancy and child mortality.


The question is - Is the world really getting better? In the sense that has death been eradicated? It looks like it’s just been delayed, but death still happens to every adult and child.


As believers we know why death cannot be eradicated right? Because God says, the wages of sin is death. It may be postponed, but it will still come.


Now, on the other hand, there are others who say that the world is getting worst.

On 22 Nov 2022, the Straits Times Life ran an article on the ‘Dark Side of Tourism’. It’s about how tourists are flocking to the attractions that are about death and disaster.


It’s about a tourist going to visit Ground Zero in New York. To see the WWII concentration camp in Poland.


One marketing professor says, “part of the appeal of dark tourism is its ability to help people process what is happening as the world gets darker and gloomier …. People are trying to understand dark things such as death, dying and violence as a way to prepare themselves.’


Is the world getting darker and gloomier?


Again if we put on biblical lenses, I think we will say with the teacher of Ecclesiastes, 1:9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.


Mankind is basically the same. The world even is basically the same. There is nothing new under the sun.


At our core, Mankind’s problem, the Bible tells us is sin. Our disobedience towards God. And thus, mankind’s needs are still the same. We need the solution to our sin.


The Reality - Man is wicked absolutely

Let’s look at a picture of cute babies. Do we see any evil in them? I’m sure we do not. They look so loveable, they look so innocent.


If parents of such infants tell you, my baby is born with a clean slate, she will never be capable in the future of lying, of hating, of stealing, of disobedience.

I think we would politely smile and say in our hearts, oh, you are going to be so mistaken. Just have a second kid and you will see how jealous your 2 year old toddler will be.


The author of Genesis, Moses, paints for us the universal condition of man after the fall. There is a reason Moses says, why your 2 year old toddler will jealously bites his cute infant baby sister.


It’s because of our internal DNA. A DNA that is tainted by sin at its core.


In the perfect sinless environment of the garden of Eden, Moses records in Genesis 3 that man disobeyed God’s revealed will. They ate what they were not supposed to (v6).


Then in Genesis 4, we see the first murder – Cain killed Abel.


After the murder, the first lie. God asked Cain, where is Abel and Cain said – I do not know, am I my brother’s keeper?


Then we see the first disobedience towards God’s idea of marriage.


In Gen 4:23 Lamech speaks to his 2 wives, when God had already said in Gen 2:24, therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh.


And Lamech is recorded as the first to execute murderous vengeance. Lamech killed a man for wounding him, a young man for striking him (4:23).


By the time we get to Genesis 6, the whole society is permeating with wickedness. Why because it is just our nature.


Lamech was supposed to only have one wife, but he took 2. By Genesis 6, there were other types of forbidden marriages.


6:2 says the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive, and they took as their wives any they chose.


Now there are many theories about who the sons of God or the daughters of man are. Do look up the ESV study bible for the different interpretations.


But regardless, it speaks of marriages that were outside of God’s approval.


Moses contrasts that for us with the verb ‘saw’. On one hand, the sons of God saw and they chose. Yet on the other hand, v5 says, the Lord saw instead the wickedness of man was great.


And these are still happening today right? We see and we chose, and we want to do what is right in our eyes.


But God who is all knowing, sees what we do and knows that it’s blatant disobedience towards him.


Now today, we do get the proposition that we are mostly good but only sometimes we do bad things. And when we fail, when we err, it’s just because we are human.


Scripture informs, don’t kid ourselves, we are not mostly good. Instead, the wickedness in us is ‘great’, ‘every’ intention of our thoughts of our hearts are evil ‘continually’.


Not just our external actions, but also our internal self is naturally evil and it is pervasive and persistent.


We don’t have to teach our children how to commit all the sins that are found from Gen 3 to 6. No, we see it manifested in them to different degrees naturally.


Parenting however, is to teach them what is not natural – to be loving, to be kind, to be patient, to be forgiving. All that goes against our sinful self-centeredness.


Thus, as we bring our children to be baptised, in the first question, we acknowledge our sinful DNA - Q1: Do you acknowledge that, although our children are conceived and born in sin and therefore are subject to condemnation, they are holy in Christ, and as members of His Church, ought to be baptised?


Is the context of Gen 6 any different from us today?


Like in Gen 6, the world’s population is increasing. In 2022, it is at 8 billion and projected to increase to 11 billion by the end of this century.


There were marriages that did not fit God’s blueprint in Gen 6 and so are some marriages today. And not only are some marriages unbiblical, even those that are biblical are being terminated not within God’s guidelines but Man’s.


We have seen murder, lying and fatal vengeance in the first 6 chapters of Genesis. Has that changed in the last 1000 years?


Honestly it hasn’t right? And our newspapers have helped remind us daily, how man continues to be evil.


So, Scripture pronounces the truth of our human depravity:

Rom 3:10 “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

The sin problem in Genesis 6 has not changed. Thus, the need for the solution to our sin is still valid.


The Consequence - God deals with man justly

Do you think that there is ever an action that is inconsequential? Meaning that the equation, ‘every act has a consequence’ does not hold?


I don’t think there is. There are always consequences to every action. It’s just either good or bad consequences.


In Gen 3, the consequence of Adam & Eve’s disobedience is that they were banished from the Garden of Eden.


And their legacy Scripture says in Romans 5:12 is that sin came into the world through Adam and death through sin and so death spread to all men because all have sinned.


Death is thus the consequence of mankind’s act of disobedience towards God.

And the thing is, that is a just penalty because our God is a holy God.


This sense of justice also resonates with us isn’t it. This is because we are made in God’s image. We do seek redress when injustices are found.


The issue however is that for us, because we are tainted with sin, it has distorted our sense of justice.


But God has no sin and so His justice, His sense of right and wrong is perfect.


To help us to understand the consequence of sinful man in the presence of a holy God, Scripture records the following:


In Exodus 33:17-23, Moses asked God, show me your glory. And God replied to him, it is not possible for you to see my glory for if you do, you will die. No sinful man can stand and face a holy God and live.


So God hid Moses in the cleft of a rock and Moses could only see God’s back.

Isaiah 6, Isaiah is transported to be at the throne of God and when he realizes he is in the presence of a holy God, his exclamation is not wow, this is awesome!


It is instead Isa 6:5 “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”


Thus, during the days of Noah, God declared, Gen 6:6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”


Now God never makes mistakes, so it is his grief that is highlighted by Moses. God is grieved over the sinner that man has become.


As god-fearing parents we sort of get to experience this when we have to discipline our disobedient children.


It grieves us to have to discipline them for lying, for cheating, for harming someone else. We don’t do it with joy, we do it instead with much sorrow.


May I refer us back to Q1 of the infant baptism question. We are acknowledging that because our children are conceived and born in sin, therefore they and us, we all are subject to condemnation.


Q1: Do you acknowledge that, although our children are conceived and born in sin and therefore are subject to condemnation, they are holy in Christ, and as members of His Church, ought to be baptised?


Condemnation is the consequence of our action of disobedience towards God.

The flood was the consequence of God’s discipline. In Genesis 1:6 God formed the dry land out of the expanse of waters. In Gen 7, basically God did a factory reset. He let the dry land disappear beneath the waters.


We already mentioned that we are in the Advent season. It’s about the coming of Jesus Christ.


Do note that there are 2 Advent seasons. The first at the first coming of Jesus and the next, which we are all in today, at the 2nd coming of Jesus.


The Apostle Peter connects the flood with the 2nd Advent of Jesus:

2 Peter 3:5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished (this is Noah’s flood). 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

God judged mankind by the flood in Noah’s days and at His 2nd coming, it will be by fire.


So, the flood shows us that God is able and willing to dish out the consequences of His judgement and so let’s not think He will not do it a second time.


We have just finished going through the Gospel of Luke. What did Jesus say about Noah’s flood?


Lk 17:26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

Jesus warns that His 2nd coming will be sudden and it would be in the midst of society just going about their normal activities.


According to Creation Ministries, based on dates given in the bible, they work out that the Flood happened in 2304 BC. So that puts us just over 4300 years from the flood.


Today, have we learnt the lesson of the flood?


That there will be terrible consequences for rejecting God. And that the consequences can happen so suddenly that we will be unprepared.


The Grace - Yet God tempers it with mercy

V8 begins with a wonderful word. What I would like to refer to as a ‘Gospel But’.

As God felt so grieved at man’s sin and was going to destroy everything that in Genesis 1, He proclaimed as good.

And then we read, but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

The word ‘favor’ is also translated as ‘grace’. Noah found grace in God’s eyes. We know it is not because he was sinless. The fact that Noah died after 950 years meant sin was part of his DNA.


So it must be grace, it must be underserved, it was definitely unmerited.

V9 goes on to say that Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.


Since this cannot be work righteousness, it means that he was right in God’s eyes because Noah had a relationship with God.


The New Testament leaves us in no doubt that it is God’s grace that allowed Noah to be favoured. For it is Noah’s faith that God was pleased with.


Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.


And the practical outwork of that faith is seen in him believing God for events yet unseen and with reverent fear, obeying God’s command to build the ark.


And not only did he build the ark much to the bemusement of his neighbours, Apostle Peter said that Noah was a herald, a preacher of righteousness.


2 Peter 2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Noah, I’m sure preached about the coming judgement of the Lord and sought repentance towards God for all his neighbours.


What grace and mercy God showed by choosing Noah and through him to the rest of mankind too. The ark took a long time to build and so God was patient, merciful and gracious.


The ‘Gospel But’ is further brought alive for us in the ark that God meticulously instructed Noah to build. He gave instructions as to who should be in the ark and it was God himself who closed the door of the ark.


And so Apostle Peter helps us to see that Noah’s Ark points us to the salvation that is found in Jesus.


1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, …. when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

As God saved Noah through the Ark, God has now sent Jesus to save mankind.

Just as the Ark had to pass through the waters of judgement, so too now, believers signify our passing through the waters of judgement, when in obedience, we are baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.


Baptism does not save, only Jesus does. Baptism is thus an outward sign of the grace that has been received inwardly. Baptism signifies that we have put our faith in the redemption that Jesus has paid for at Calvary.


And so in the infant baptism question, we have confidence to bring them for baptism only because of God’s grace given in Christ Jesus.


Q1: Do you acknowledge that, although our children are conceived and born in sin and therefore are subject to condemnation, they are holy in Christ, and as members of His Church, ought to be baptised?


Mankind’s greatest need hasn’t change. It is the need for salvation. Why because the consequence of sin is condemnation.


And so, Advent season is a reminder that God has graciously provided the solution to our need.


Conclusion

Noah was God’s answer to the prayer of Lamech.


Gen 5:28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”

The curse of the ground was the result of the consequence of the fall. And Noah’s name also means rest. Lamech was praying that God will give them rest from the toil inflected by sin’s curse.


Because we have the full revelation of God, we know from Matthew that Noah points to Jesus who is the ultimate giver of eternal rest.

Jesus says to all of us today,


Mt 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The Need is salvation from sin’s condemnation. The solution is not striving, instead it is the picture of Noah resting in the ark. And this points to Jesus who invites, come put our faith in Him for there we will find rest for our souls.


Reflection Questions
  • Has the essence of mankind changed since the days of Noah? Can mankind solve our own problems?

  • 2 Peter 2:5 says Noah was a ‘herald of righteousness’, what implications does it have on us, who like Noah have put our faith in Jesus who is our ‘Ark’.

  • We now live between the first and the second Advent of our Lord Jesus. What life-decision is God calling you to make today?

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