Be encouraged, What you do does matter

Be encouraged, What you do does matter

Theme: We believe the lie: “What I’m doing doesn’t MATTER. I’m making no visible DIFFERENCE” (Isa 49:3-4; Heb. 6:10; 11:13, 27, 39).

Memorial Day

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church, Sunday, May 29, 2022

Today is Memorial Day:

Memorial Day was established after the Civil War. All these men served in the War Between the States. All these families sacrificed as the husband was gone, the father was gone. Families were torn apart. What was it like for the soldier?

For some, it has little meaning other than a day off and the Indianapolis 500. Yet, the origin of the day began with remembering the dead in the War of Northern Aggression-—the women of Pennsylvania who decorated Union graves in August of 1864, the women of Virginia who decorated Confederate graves in April of 1865, and the women of Columbus, MS who decorated the graves of both Union and Confederate dead-—prompting Horace Greeley’s editorial and the subsequent events which called for national observance of such memorials. This day reminds us of all our war dead, hence that freedom has a cost.

I am very grateful to all of our military men and women who sacrificed for our country. I am grateful to all the military who paid the highest price.

Tony Evans helps remind us of sacrifice:

During difficult days of war, regardless of one’s particular persuasion, everyone owes a mighty debt of gratitude to the men and women of the armed forces of the United States of America who serve, and who risk their lives for freedom. Many people not long ago were touched by the story of a football player named Pat Tillman who walked away from 3.9 million dollars offered to him to play in the NFL. He walked away from a lucrative career because he felt he had an obligation to serve. That choice cost him his life. Our service to God is one that will cost much, even our lives, but we should be willing to fulfill our obligation to serve Him.823[1]

I wonder if the soldiers who died for our country ever felt like what they were doing did not matter?

Do you ever feel like what you are doing does not matter?

Today, for just a few minutes I wish to impress on you that what you do DOES matter.

Isaiah 49:3-4:

And he said to me, “You are my servant,
    Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain;
    I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord,
    and my recompense with my God.”

Hebrews 6:10:

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

  1. What you do does matter to the most important ONE.
    1. Sometimes we forget the sacrifices of our military men and women. But God never forgets what you do.
    2. Sometimes we forget the sacrifices that others make on our behalf, but God does not forget.
    3. Look at the passage in Isaiah 49:3-4:
    4. God is speaking to Israel about the suffering Servant, who will be Jesus.
    5. The servant confesses his sense of failure due to Israel’s poor response (cf. v. 7; 53:1). The servant does not turn from God in cynical unbelief; he accepts emotional suffering and frustrating toil with confidence that God will reward him.[2]
    6. The servant of the Lord still trusts the Lord even though He feels like He is not making a difference.
    7. That was written 700 years before Jesus and then Jesus would fulfill this passage and obviously, His death and resurrection made a difference.
    8. The Hebrews 6:10 passage is emphasizing that God remembers what you do.
    9. This means that when you serve your children this will be remembered for all eternity.
    10. I have seen and heard the saddest of stories of the disrespect of children and grandchildren. I know that I for sure had my days being disrespectful to my parents, but I am really talking about neglect.
    11. Sometimes as we labor day after day we feel like our service is not making a difference.
    12. God remembers you.
    13. God remembers everything you have done and it matters.
    14. You may think those tireless nights don’t really matter, but they do. God remembers. God does not forget.
    15. Mothers care about their children, their grandchildren, their great grandchildren. No one cares like a mother. God remembers. God does not forget, what you do matters.
    16. Fathers also labor day after day for their children, what you do matters.
    17. Grandparents labor in prayer and in service to help their grandchildren. God remembers.
    18. Many of you labor serving the church, thank you, what you do does matter and God remembers.
    19. Maybe you are a caregiver, God remembers.
  2. God will not forget the good you do.
    1. Look with me at Hebrews 6:10: For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
    2. Isn’t that powerful?
    3. God will not forget the good you do.
    4. This passage says that it would be unjust for God to forget.
    5. So, if you are serving the Lord and the enemy is telling you it doesn’t matter remember James 4:4-8: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
    6. Submit to God, rebuke the devil.
    7. Certainly, sometimes it is our own nature telling us we are not making a difference. That is not true. What we do matters.
    8. Rain drops become puddles, puddles become streams, streams become rivers, rivers become oceans and that is the way the good things we do pile on to the good things that others do. That makes a difference.
    9. God remembers the good you do.
    10. For the parents and the grandparents:

Do you ever feel like what you do doesn’t matter? God remembers.

Remember the sleepless nights? God does.

Remember changing diapers? God does.

Remember midnight feedings? God does.

Remember doctor’s appointments? God does.

Remember working hard at home and at work to pay the bills for your children? God does.

Remember rocking him or her to sleep when you just wanted to go to sleep? God does.

Remember the good times and the hard times? God does.

Remember driving them to practice, orchestra, ballet, dance, work, school and still having a dozen other things to do? God does.

Remember crying over poor decisions your teenager was making? God does. He remembers what you do and it matters.

Remember anxiety, your worry, your prayers? God does.

Remember parent teacher conferences? God does.

Remember weighing the decisions about discipline? God does.

Remember buckling them into the car, making meals, washing clothes, choosing preschools? God does.

For some of you remember going through all of this over again for your grandchildren? God does. 

  • For the employees: when you have integrity God notices.
    • When you work hard showing up on time, doing the job the right way, God remembers. When you are passed for promotion, even though you deserve it, God notices. God does not forget the good we are doing.
    • When you give your best to God, your best at work, your best at home, your best in the community, God notices, He remembers.
    • There is a saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” That may or may not be true in this world, but it is NOT true in Heaven. God remembers the good that you do.

God remembers. What you do matters.

You are making more of a difference here than you know and God remembers what you are doing as well.

A man was out with his wife and they got caught in a terrible hailstorm. This was a massive hailstorm. The hail was as large as baseballs. Under the deluge coming against them, the man realized that if he didn’t do something, his wife would be severely hurt. He quickly draped himself over his wife, covering her with his own body so that instead of the storm hitting his wife, it hit him.

The hailstones seemed to get bigger as the man bent over his wife, protecting her. The large balls came down harder onto the man. They hurt him badly. After a couple of minutes, his ears started bleeding along with some spots on his head. The man tried to lead his wife to safety, but the stones were coming out faster and harder. The pounding stones took their toll. Weakened by the onslaught, the man finally collapsed over his wife, only able to shield her from the danger.

After the storm was over, the man was left with scars from where the balls had battered away at him. The remnants of sores, cuts, and abrasions would forever be reminders to him of the day he saved his wife.

This is a true story. On the local newscast, the man’s wife was asked how she felt about their experience. She said, “Every time I look at that scar, on his head, on his neck, and on his ear, I love him more. Every time I see the scar, I love him more, because he sacrificed himself, for me.”

When you and I get to heaven, Jesus will be the only person in eternity with scars. He will have holes in His hands, holes in His feet, and a hole in His side. He will be your eternal reminder that the only reason you are there is because He stood in between the wrath of God and judgment headed your way. He covered you with His love and allowed none of the hail to damage you. He was disfigured for you. This is the love of Christ.778[3]

Pray


[1] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 276.

[2] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1330.

[3] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 257–258.

The Significance of Genesis: Exiting the Ark (Genesis 8:15-19)

The Significance of Genesis: Exiting the Ark (Genesis 8:15-19)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, May 22, 2022

I enjoy watching shows about the possible end of the earth. I like to see the special effects and the ideas they come up with. Some like to talk about the earth ending through the sun going into a supernova. Others say eventually the oceans will dry up. Others talk about a huge asteroid hitting the earth. Likewise, I like to watch and read about what they say about the past. Regardless of what they say, I believe the Bible is accurate. John MacArthur writes: A new book has been written by a friend of mine, John Blanchard, an English preacher. And John wrote a book called Does God Believe in Atheists? And it’s a – it’s a very interesting book. It’s a big, thick book, fascinating. And John, in this book, notes that Roger Penrose, who helped to develop black-hole theories, estimated as 1 in 100 billion to the 123rd power the odds of a big bang producing by accident an orderly universe. It’s just absurd. One chance in 100 billion to the 123rd power that it could happen by a big bang accident.[1] Wow!

MacArthur continues: “Big bang theorists argue,” says Blanchard, “that the universe one second after its purported start had to expand at a rate rapid enough to keep in check the gravitational attraction of galaxies.” Stephen Hawking, the famous mathematician, has noted “that if the rate of expansion had been smaller by an infinitesimal amount, the universe would have collapsed on itself.”[2]

Further: And Blanchard has some interesting analogies about the likelihood of this happening. He said “the likelihood of the universe banging itself into existence in the order that it is currently in would be the odds of hitting a target an inch wide on the other side of the observable universe or expecting a pole vaulter’s pole to remain standing, poised on its tip for centuries following the vault. Earth’s size, earth’s distance from the sun and rotational speed had to be just right. We need the air above, not only for breathing, but to protect us from causing – cosmic rays and meteorites. We need light, but not too much ultraviolet. Heat, but not too much. And so on. And all of these are in perfect balance.”

And Blanchard goes on to ask the question, “What about the origin of life?” A chance of one out of” – whatever one comma, fifteen zeroes is. “Anything that is one comma, fifteen zeroes is considered by scientists a virtual impossibility. Fifteen zeroes makes it a virtual impossibility. DNA code discoverer, Francis Crick, calculated the possibility of a simple protein sequence of 200 amino acids, much simpler than a DNA molecule, originating spontaneously, his figure was ten commas, 260 zeroes. Not going to happen.[3]

Another quote by MacArthur: Three decades ago, Frank Salisbury of Utah State University described the odds this way. Imagine 100 million trillion planets, each with an ocean, with lots of DNA fragments that reproduce one million times per second with a mutation occurring each time. In four billion years, it would still take trillions of universes to produce a single gene if they got lucky. I mean it’s just staggering impossibilities.[4]

God is in control.

We see this continue as we continue the flood narrative.

Now, my theme today is:

Noah is obedient to the Lord, he does not exit the ark until the Lord tells him to.

  1. God is sovereign.
    1. An article by Marshall Segal reads: Where might we look to see the providence of God in the Bible? We could wrestle with how God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). We could travel the heights and depths of the world with the psalmist: “Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps” (Psalm 135:6). We could visit the rulers and governments on every continent: “He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away” (Job 12:23; see also Proverbs 21:1).
    2. We could watch the womb, that most wondrous and fragile of homes, where God weaves together every son and every daughter, forming each of their days before they are born (Psalm 139:13–16). We could contemplate how Christ “upholds the universe” — galaxies and goldfish, oceans and sunflowers, mountain ranges and mosquitoes — “by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3; see also Colossians 1:17). We could even study a simple blade of grass: “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate” (Psalm 104:14). All of this might leave us wondering what God does not do.
    3. As we have already seen, though, it is one thing to observe and acknowledge the providence of God, and quite another to embrace providence and cherish providence — to let it have its full emotional effect on our hearts. John Piper writes, “God has revealed his purposeful sovereignty over good and evil in order to humble human pride, intensify human worship, shatter human hopelessness, and put ballast in the battered boat of human faith, steel in the spine of human courage, gladness in the groans of affliction, and love in the heart that sees no way forward” (Providence, 13).[5]
    4. Now, the flood:
    5. Psalm 104:8: The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.
    6. People debate about the water on the earth and how this worked out. The verse I just read says exactly how it worked out. After the flood, the mountains rose.
    7. Some believe also the earth had a canopy of water above it and that collapsed during the flood. This created the oceans as we know them today.
    8. Now, let’s look at our text for today.
  2. Noah’s summons (8:15–19): God orders Noah, his family, and all the animals to leave the ark.

Verses 15-16 read, Genesis 8:15-16: Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.

God speaks again. He has not spoken that we know of since God told them to enter the ark (Gen 7:1-4).

Verses 17-18, Genesis 8:17-18, read: Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him.

  1. Moody: In this section, as in its thematic counterpart, “Entering the Ark” (7:1–9), Noah’s obedience is emphasized by virtue of what he does not do. He does not leave the ark, even though he has been in it for 320 days (313 days [7:11; 8:13 and assuming the usual biblical lunar year] plus the initial seven days of waiting [7:4, 10]). The ground was perfectly dry and ready for occupation (8:13–14), but not until 56 days later, on the 27th of the second month, did God command him, Go out of the ark (v. 15). This is truly a profound example of “waiting on the Lord”! The reason God has Noah and his family wait 56 more days until they set foot onto the new/renewed land underscores that humanity is truly being given a “second chance” to attain the original, prefall ideal.[6]
    1. God gives detail telling them to leave the ark. All of the animals leave too.
    2. Birds,
    3. Every creeping thing,
    4. God wants them all to be fruitful and multiply.
    5. Verse 18 shows Noah and his family being obedient.

Verse 19, Genesis 8:19, shows this happen: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.

  • Notice they went out by families. Literally this would be “according to their kind.”
    • They went out according to their “kind.”
  • Applications:
    • God is sovereign and Noah obeys.
      • God is sovereign. God is in control.
      • Do we doubt God’s power?
      • Do we question the flood, even though we trust Him to make the sun rise tomorrow morning?
      • Do we doubt the flood even though we trust His promises about Heaven?
      • Do we doubt the flood even though we pray to Him about other things?
      • Do we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? Do we believe that God still does miracles? Do we believe the rapture?
      • God has created things perfectly for life and that is because He knew what was needed and He set it up that way.
      • God is amazing and He is sovereign and He is in control.
      • Noah did not disembark until God told him to do so.
      • We must be obedient to the Lord as well.
      • We must be willing to wait on the Lord.
      • We must be willing to act when the Lord says to act.
      • Noah waited for maybe a whole year without hearing from the Lord, but he patiently waited on the Lord. It is thought that it may have been 320 days: [7:11; 8:13 and assuming the usual biblical lunar year] plus the initial seven days of waiting [7:4, 10]). The ground was perfectly dry and ready for occupation (8:13–14), but not until 56 days later, on the 27th of the second month, did God command him, Go out of the ark (v. 15).[7]
      • Can we trust the Lord?
      • God’s way is right, don’t take matters into your own hands. It would have been easy for Noah to say, “Okay, let’s disembark…” However, he waited until God told him to leave the ark. He waited.
      • Think of the ways we take matters into our own hands instead of obeying the Lord:
        • Co-habitating outside of the bond of marriage.
        • Having a sexual relationship outside of marriage: we say, “try on a shoe before you buy it!” However, marriage is not a commercial product.
        • Marrying an unbeliever, see 2 Cor. 6:14. Instead of obeying the Lord we take matters into our own hands.
        • Maybe you have an addiction but will not get help. You think no one knows about the pornography that you look at occasionally. God is calling you to get help.
        • Placing things in front of God… “I am too busy, I will read my Bible tomorrow.” (check out Psalm 4:4 and 119)
        • Placing things in front of the church, for example, we say our family will only miss church occasionally for sporting events.
        • Maybe the Lord has called you to be involved in ministry. I actually believe you are all called to support the church in ministry with your gifts.
        • Will we obey the Lord?

Close:

Do we recognize that God is in control? Do you know that there is no maverick molecule (as R.C. Sproul used to say)?

God is in control and if God is in control we can trust Him. We can trust that nothing comes across our path that He has not allowed.

Prayer


[1] https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-261/gods-miraculous-restoration-of-mankind

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-does-providence-make-you-feel

v. verse

[6] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 60.

v. verse

[7] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 60.

The Significance of Genesis: God’s Remembrance and Rescue of Noah (Genesis 8:1-14)

The Significance of Genesis: God’s Remembrance and Rescue of Noah (Genesis 8:1-14)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Pittsburgh Steelers were founded as a football team in 1933. For their first 40 or so years, they were horrible. Then in 1974, they won their first Super Bowl. They had to wait a long time to be a good team.

What is it like to wait on something? How many of you really appreciate waiting? Do you ever want something and want it now?

As I was preparing this message one of my daughters wanted to learn how to sew. Meagan began to teach her but then thought that she needed someone more experienced to teach her. Our daughter was very disappointed. She wanted to learn how to sew on that very day. We told her we will make sure she is taught to sew but now is not the time. She had to wait.

We are going to look at a passage in which Noah has been waiting for a long time. No, he has not been waiting for years, but he has been on the ark for at least 150 days. In total he will be on the ark for close to a year.

My theme is: God remembers and rescues Noah and his family.

  1. Noah’s security (8:1–5): “But God remembered Noah.” Verse 1 read: But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.
  1. But God remembered Noah.
    1. A few other sources help us with this: ESV Study Bible: God remembered Noah. This marks the turning point in the flood story. When the Bible says that God “remembers” someone or his covenant with someone, it indicates that he is about to take action for that person’s welfare (cf. 9:15; 19:29; 30:22; Ex. 2:24; 32:13; Ps. 25:6–7; 74:2). All life on the land having been destroyed, God now proceeds to renew everything, echoing what he did in Genesis 1. God made a wind blow over the earth. The Hebrew word for wind, ruakh, is also sometimes translated “Spirit” (e.g., 1:2; 6:3). While the context normally enables the reader to distinguish ruakh meaning “wind” from ruakh meaning “Spirit,” the present verse intentionally echoes 1:2.[1]
    2. CSB: Remembered does not suggest that God had ever forgotten about Noah; when used of God, “remember” suggests the initiation of a miraculous, saving act of God. Other instances of God “remembering” as the first step in providing divine help for his people include his intervention in the lives of Lot (19:29), Rachel (30:22), and the Israelites in Egypt (Ex 2:24). Using language that reflects God’s initial act of creating the universe (Gn 1:2), God caused (Hb) ruach—“Spirit” or wind—to pass over the waters of the earth. Immediately the water began to subside.[2]
    3. In v. 2 God puts into reverse the process started in 7:11. The waters both rose and abated during the period of 150 days. Mountains of Ararat indicates a range of mountains of which Mount Ararat (in modern Turkey) is the highest. The text does not name the specific mountain on which the ark came to rest.[3]
    4. Remember the end of Genesis 7. In the end every living thing that breathes oxygen had died. Only Noah and his family on the ark were left.
    5. Verse 1 says that God remembered Noah and
    6. All the beasts and all the livestock that were with Him in the ark.
    7. God was faithful to them.
    8. There are other passages about God remembering:
    9. Gen 19:29 (Abraham); Ex 2:24 (the Israelites and His covenants); 1 Sam 1:19 (Hannah); Ps 105:42 (His promises)[4]
    10. Then, verse 1 further says: God made a wind blow over the earth and the waters subsided.

Verses 2-4: The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 

  • The waters stopped coming. Remember the water had come out from underground as well as the sky (Gen 7:11).
    • The rain has now stopped. In Gen 7:24 it said the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.
    • The waters receded from the earth continually.
    • At the end of 150 days the waters had “abated,” or other translations read “decreased.”
    •  The seventh day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, notice it does say “mountains.” That is plural. It is one of the mountains in that range.
    • Verse 5 shares that the waters continue to “abate” or “decrease.” Then, the tops of the mountains are seen. Remember the waters had covered the mountains (Gen 7:20).
  • Noah’s search (8:6–12)
    • Noah is now going to search for life.

Verses 6-7: At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.

  • 40 days later.
    • Notice the process.
    • Noah opens the window.
    • Rabbis have suggested that Noah first sent out a raven, a ritually unclean bird, because it was expendable. The fact that it went back and forth from the ark means that it could find no suitable habitat.[5]
      • The unsuccessful attempt by the raven (8:6–7): It cannot find dry ground.
      • It went to and fro, in other words, it was coming and going.
      • The successful attempt by the dove (8:8–12): After one earlier attempt, the dove finds dry ground, returning with a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak.

Verses 8-12: Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. 10 He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11 And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12 Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.

  • Noah sends a dove to see if the waters were abated, that would mean the waters had receded.
    • Verse 9 gives a description. The water was over the whole earth, Noah takes out his hand and takes the dove back in.
    • Verse 10: He waited another seven days and again sends out the dove.
    • Verse 11: the dove came back to him with a freshly plucked olive leaf.
    • Noah knows that the waters had abated, that is receded.
    • This also shows that the waters did not only recede, but there was also life, plant life.
    • Then, verse 12: 7 days later he sends out the dove and she does not return.
  • Noah’s surveillance (8:13–14): Noah removes the ark’s covering and surveys the new world after the Flood!
    • Think about how neat this would be.

Verse 13: 13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. 

  • We see the time marker. This is the 601st year of Noah’s life, the first month, the first day of the month. Gen 7:6 says that Noah was 600 years old when they entered the ark and the flood waters came. Gen 7:11 says that Noah was 600 years old and in the second month, on the seventh day of the month the flood began.
    • The waters are now dried from the earth.
    • Noah removes the covering.
    • He sees the dry ground.
    • ESV Study Bible: The emerging of a new world prefigures the creation of the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1–4; see 2 Pet. 3:5–7).[6]

Verse 14: In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. 

So, now, the earth is dry. This is now 1 month later.

  1. Applications:
    1. This passage is all about God’s care for Noah. We must patiently wait, and trust God as Noah did.
    2. We can trust God, God continues to be faithful to His covenant with Noah.
    3. Noah obeyed, Noah waited, God was faithful.
    4. He also gave us marching orders to do as we wait:
    5. We must share the gospel (Matthew 28:18-19).
    6. We must not be anxious but pray (Phil 4:6-7).
    7. We must rejoice (Phil 4:4).
    8. We must be different (Gal 5:22-23).
    9. We must love Him and others (Matthew 22:37-39).
    10. We must trust God’s promises, His promises are in His Word.
    11. He promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20).
    12. He promised to come again (2 Peter 3:8-10).
    13. We must trust Romans 8:28: all things work together for good for those who loved God, for those who are called according to His purpose.

What is like to wait? The Steelers had 40 very horrible football seasons and then they had some good seasons. But then what happened? Their quarterback, Terry Bradshaw retired. Many of the other players retired and they struggled again. It took them another 21 years to get another hall of fame quarterback. They had some years of waiting. Now, they may be waiting again.

In this Scripture passage, Noah was patient and God was faithful. There would be more waiting in the Old Testament. Abraham had to wait on God, the Israelites in Egypt had to wait on God, and everyone had to wait until God sent the Messiah (Gal. 4:4-5). Now, we are waiting until Jesus comes back (2 Peter 3:8-9). We can be sure that God is faithful. In His time He will come again. Trust Him.

Prayer


[1] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 64.

Hb Hebrew

[2] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 19.

[3] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 64.

[4] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

[5] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 19.

[6] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 64.

Listen to Your Mother (Proverbs 1:8)

Sunday, May 8, 2022

What is in a name? A name can be powerful:

Set in A.D. 180, Gladiator tells the story of General Maximus Decimus Meridius (played by Russell Crowe), who was about to be given reigning authority in Rome by the aging emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Before this could take place, however, the emperor’s son, Commodus, killed his father in order to establish himself on the throne. He then ordered the murder of Maximus and his family. Maximus escaped, and the movie follows him as he is sold into slavery, becomes a nameless gladiator, and finally seeks justice against wicked Emperor Commodus.

The turning point comes late in the movie. After Maximus wins a great battle in the Coliseum, Emperor Commodus decides to meet this unknown gladiator face to face. The crowd watches as the emperor in full pomp strides with his soldiers onto the sands of the Coliseum.

The emperor asks the simple question: “What is your name?”

Maximus, streaked with blood and dirt from the battle, takes off his helmet and says: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, general of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

The crowd erupts with a deafening roar, while the emperor visibly shakes under the weight of the true identity of a man he thought was a mere slave. The emperor flees the Coliseum, only to face defeat and death later at the hands of Maximus.[1]

Okay, that clip does not come from a chick flick, but an action movie, but it does make my point. The name. At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow (Phil. 2:5-11). That is the most important thought on a name. But mothers have always had such an impact on a child’s life. Mothers have always had such an impact on an adult’s life.

My theme: Listen to your mother’s teaching.

Let’s read Proverbs 1:8:

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

  1. Let’s begin by talking about the influence of mothers.
    1. This passage was written in a day when women were not, or seemed to not, have the value of men in society. The society was certainly more male dominated; it was a patriarchy. And though I am for men stepping up in society, that is not to be at the expense of mothers and women.
    2. As I talk about mothers today, understand that I am not only meaning the biological mothers. God has used many maternal influences who were not the actual mothers.
    3. But in this passage, Proverbs 1:8, mothers are included right alongside the father. It seems as if they are really listed as equals. As we read through Proverbs we see the mother’s teaching expressed.
    4. Actually, if we turn to 1 Kings 2:19 we see the influence of the mother: When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down at his right hand.
    5. The mother was very involved in the life of ancient Israel. The mother had a throne and the mighty king Solomon bowed to her.
    6. That is wonderful.
    7. Just think about the influence of your mother, maybe your grandmother.
    8. From a very early age, I noticed my girls using the term, “Mamma.” They would call Meagan, “Mamma.” I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know how it started, but it was the cutest thing to hear Abigail say, “Mama.” It was not “Mommy,” “Mom,” or “Mother,” but “Mamma.”
    9. They also wanted their mother more than anything. When they were younger there were many times when I would pick up Abigail and carry her to bed and she would be saying, “I want “Momma” to carry me.”
    10. About eight years ago, Mercedes was almost two and a half and Abigail was just born and I was taking Mercedes with me to a fish store. Wouldn’t you know as we got out of Alliance, heading towards Canton, she began to cry wanting, “Mamma.”
    11. Mothers are more than important in God’s plan.
  2. Listen to your mother.
    1. This passage is about listening to your mother.
    2. Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and mother.
    3. But I think there is another important thought here.
    4. Teaching and instruction begin at home.
    5. John Piper writes: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” In other words if we ask, what’s the basis and beginning and integrating theme of the father’s instruction and the mother’s teaching—what is it that runs through all their daily modeling and counseling and explaining and correcting and disciplining that give unity and meaning to it all—the answer is “the fear of the Lord.”
    6. The family isn’t just a place where children learn to hold spoons and walk on two feet and say “please” and tie shoes and read and look both ways and cut grass and put on makeup and drive a car. The family is where all of this and more begins in God, is guided by God’s Word, and is shown to be for the glory of God. The fear of God—the reverencing of God, the standing in awe of God, the trusting of God—is what family’s are for.
    7. The family is God’s idea. The family is a school. And the unifying theme in the curriculum of this school is God.[2]
    8. As I think about this, I notice that many times it is the mother who teaches the fear of the Lord, it is the mother who encourages Bible reading and prayer.
    9. I believe there are so many things we learn from our mothers that we really may not even think of.
    10. I remember learning how to spell certain words from my mother.
    11. Interesting thing is that as we look at Proverbs, wisdom is personified as a woman.
    12. All too often, it is the mother who is there for the children, more even than the father.
    13. So, we are to listen to our mother’s instruction.
    14. I know for many of you your mother has passed away. I would say, listen to your mother’s teaching even when she is in heaven. Remember her sayings. Remember what she would say.
    15. I know that for many mother’s day is a sad day as it reminds you that your mother has passed away. I would encourage you to honor her by listening to her teaching.
  3. So, what’s in a name?
    1. What is in the name: “mom,” “mother,” “mamma”?
    2. I believe that is the most powerful name on earth.
    3. If we see who shapes societies more than any other person, I believe it is the mothers.

Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:5, I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Then in 3:14–15 Paul says, You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them [that is, your mother Eunice and through her from your grandmother Lois]; and that from childhood you have known the holy scriptures [because your mother taught them to you] which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Now that’s a remarkable testimony. Timothy’s father was a Greek (Acts 16:3). He probably didn’t know the Scriptures. So Paul celebrates the great heritage that Timothy has through his mother and his grandmother. They did what his father could not or would not do. They filled him with the Scriptures, and the Scriptures brought him eventually to faith in Christ, and faith in Christ brought him salvation.

Timothy will live forever and ever because his mother and his grandmother were faithful to Proverbs 1:8.

So, for all of us, respect our mothers, listen to our mothers, honor our mothers, the name “mother” is powerful.

Prayer


[1] Gladiator (Dreamworks, 2000), rated R, written by David Franzoni, directed by Ridley Scott; submitted by Bill White, Paramount,

[2] http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/do-not-forsake-your-mothers-teaching

The Significance of Genesis: Worldwide Flood of Judgment and God’s Grace (Genesis 7:11-24).

The Significance of Genesis: Worldwide Flood of Judgment and God’s Grace (Genesis 7:11-24).

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, April 24, 2022

My dad’s side of the family comes from Johnston, Pennsylvania.

In the 1880s, if you wanted a good life with a good job, you moved to Johnstown, PA. The Pennsylvania Main Line Canal came through town, so that brought jobs. So did the Pennsylvania Railroad. And the Cambria Iron Works. Families were moving in from Wales. From Germany. Not to mention there are beautiful mountains, covered with forest, all around town. And right through the town runs the Conemaugh River.

In fact, the area is so beautiful, the country’s richest people—Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon—would come out from Pittsburgh to hunt and fish at a private club up above town, where an old earth dam had been modified to make a fishing lake for them.

On May 30, 1889, a huge rainstorm came through and dropped six to 10 inches of rain. Despite that weather, the next day the town lined up along Main Street for the Memorial Day parade. The Methodist pastor, H. L. Chapman, said, “The morning was delightful, the city was in its gayest mood, with flags, banners and flowers everywhere … The streets were more crowded than we had ever seen before.”

And then the old dam miles above town collapsed, releasing almost four billion gallons of water. When that wall of water and debris hit Johnstown 57 minutes later, it was 60 feet high and traveling at 40 miles an hour. People tried to escape by running toward high ground. But over 2,000 of the 30,000 people in town died. Some bodies were found as far away as Cincinnati, and some were not discovered until 20 years later.

The Johnstown Flood remains one of the greatest tragedies in American history, behind only the Galveston Hurricane and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And in every one of those cases, life was fine. Until it wasn’t. In a moment, in a way that was unexpected and most people were not prepared for, something cataclysmic occurred, and people were swept away.[1]

Floods are scary. The force of water is amazing. Today, we talk about another flood.

We have been preaching through Genesis chapters 1-11. My point has been to show the significance of Genesis to the rest of the Bible.

My great idea is:

The Significance of Genesis: We see the worldwide flood of judgment and God’s grace saving Noah and his family (Genesis 7:11-24). We also see God intervene to prevent the escalating depravity of humanity.

  1. First, we see the flood begins (Genesis 7:11-12).
    1. Let’s put this in context before we read the Scripture.
    2. In verses 1-10, Genesis 7:1-10, we see the occupants of the ark: Noah, his wife, their sons and their wives, plus a pair of all animals and seven pairs of clean animals.
    3. They entered the ark because of the flood.
    4. Verse 10, Genesis 7:10, says that after seven days the flood of water came upon the earth.
    5. Verse 11 is a time marker and gives extra detail: read with me verse 11, Genesis 7:11, 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.
    6. Look how the flood happened: “all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.”
    7. Water came from underground and the sky.
    8. The Hebrew term תְּהוֹם‎ (téhom, “deep”) refers to the watery deep, the salty ocean—especially the primeval ocean that surrounds and underlies the earth (see Gen 1:2).[2]
    9. Water came from two different sources—one below and one above. Exactly what is meant by all the sources of the vast watery depths is unknown; the phrase appears to refer to a massive outflow of pressurized water from underground sources that burst out of the ground with devastating effect. No known phenomenon in nature today corresponds to this description.[3]
    10. A peculiar feature of the flood narrative is the number of detailed chronological notices (cf. 8:4–5, 13–14). By pinpointing the exact date of the flood within Noah’s life, the text underlines that it was a real event. all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened (7:11). Powerful imagery is used here to capture the intensity of the flood. From below and above, water poured out to cover the land. Rain fell continuously for forty days and forty nights (v. 12).[4]
    11. Verse 12, Genesis 7:12, And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
    12. Verse 12: the rain fell 40 days and 40 nights is stating what God had planned. See verse 4 and verse 17.
    13. In Genesis 7:13-16: the text once again shares the occupants of the ark: They include Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives, plus a pair of all animals, and seven pairs of clean animals.[5]
    14. Look at verse 16, Genesis 7:16, And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.
    15. Verse 16: they entered as God commanded and the Lord closed the door.
    16. Notice that: The LORD closed the door: The use of the personal name “Yahweh” (“Lord”) underscores God’s special relationship with Noah.[6]
    17. The author gave no details to explain how God performed the supernatural act of shutting Noah in. This divine act highlights the truth found elsewhere in the Bible: “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Jnh 2:9).[7]
  2. Verses 17-24: The ordeal outside the ark.
    1. The underground waters burst forth, and torrential rain falls from heaven for forty days, covering the highest mountains and drowning all human and animal life.[8]
    2. Read with me Genesis 7:17-24:

17 Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. 18 The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. 20 The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. 21 All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22 of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23 Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. 24 The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.

  • The water came upon the earth, again, 40 days and 40 nights. Constant rain and water from under the earth.
    • The water lifts the ark up.
    • The ark rose above the earth… That is picturesque language.
    • Verse 18 builds on this.
    • The water prevailed which usually has a meaning of being prevalent but also force.
    • “prevail” is used 4 times in the next several verses.
    • The water stayed on the earth 150 days. The Hebrew word translated as “prevail” in the NASB is גָּבַר
    • Gābhar be strong, mighty.
    • The Hebrew verb translated “prevailed over” suggests that the waters were stronger than the earth. The earth and everything in it were no match for the return of the chaotic deep.[9]
    • Verse 19: all the high mountains were covered everywhere.
    • 15 cubits above the mountains. A cubit was 18 inches: More than twenty feet is literally fifteen cubits, which is about 22½ feet.[10]
    • Through the use of expanded restatement the author brings the detailed account of the flood’s destruction to a climax.[11]
    • Verses 21-23 go to detail to show the results.
    • Verse 22: all whose nostrils had the spirit of life died. This seems to suggest that all that breathed oxygen died.
    • For dramatic effect a second expanded expression of the flood’s destructive effects immediately follows the one in the previous verse.[12]
    • Verse 23: again, great detail to show the result: all died, only Noah and those on the ark lived.
    • Verse 24: the water “prevailed” upon the earth 150 days.
    • Though the text does not explicitly say so, the total of 150 days seems to include the forty days of rain. The Hebrew word translated as surged [prevailed in the NASB and ESV] emphasizes the power of the waters.[13]
    • The flood brought a whole world to an end (2 Pet. 2:5; 3:6). It prefigures the final judgment, which ends the present heavens and earth and brings a new world (Rev. 21:1). God preserves those who belong to Christ, the final Noah.[14]
    • In the New Testament, the flood is referenced by Jesus: Matthew 24:38-39 is good: For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
    • The total elapse of time in the flood narrative can be viewed in different ways depending on how the given information is merged. From the information given in 7:11 and 8:14 it can be determined that Noah and his family were in the ark for twelve months and eleven days. The exact number of days would depend on how many days were counted in a month and whether any adjustments were being made between lunar and solar reckonings. The eleven days has been found interesting by some, since the lunar year of 354 days is eleven days shorter than the solar year.[15]

Let’s apply:

  1. God is faithful. God said that He would save Noah and his family and He did (see Gen 6:8, 18).
  2. God preserved a remnant; we must praise God for His faithfulness to His creation.
  3. God intervened to prevent the escalating depravity of the world. Think about that. Too often we judge God for the flood; however, if the whole world was like the Nazi’s, or Stalin, or ISIS, wouldn’t we want someone to make it stop? God intervened. The world was really bad and God put a stop to it.
  4. In saving Noah’s family God provided a future for humanity.
  5. In saving Noah’s family God provided a way of salvation for humanity in the future through Jesus.
  6. We must have faith that the Lord knows what is best. Noah trusted the Lord (Genesis 7:12-16).
    • Noah trusted the Lord to close the ark (Genesis 7:16).
      • Noah trusted the Lord to enter the ark (Genesis 7:13-16).
      • We must trust the Lord following His written instructions in His Word. We have more information from God than Noah did.
      • We must trust the Lord following the voice of the Holy Spirit.
      • We must trust the Lord honoring His ways.
      • We must trust the Lord with integrity.
      • We must trust the Lord with His call on our life. His call is revealed in His word, for example, purity, integrity, loving others, sharing the Gospel, commitment to the church, etc.
  7. God is just and He will not let sin go unpunished (Ex 34:7). We must praise Him for His forgiveness and recognize our sin is against Him.
  8. We see God’s grace with Noah.

Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast throughout the last week of August, 2005—destroying buildings, flooding cities, and leaving millions of people homeless. However, the storm’s most destructive consequence may have been the unleashing of human nature.

While New Orleans law officials and National Guardsmen concentrated on rescuing survivors, hundreds of looters took to the streets in the days following Katrina’s wrath. Initially the looters targeted supermarkets and drug stores, focusing on food, medicine, and diapers. However, these seemingly innocent motives soon turned to greed.

On historic Canal Street, dozens of looters ripped open the steel gates protecting clothing and jewelry stores. Many waded through the flooded streets with industrial-sized trashcans full of merchandise, which they floated on makeshift rafts. In Biloxi, Mississippi, people picked through casino slot machines for coins and ransacked other businesses.

Frighteningly, many of the looters made off with weapons. New Orleans’ homeland security chief, Terry Ebbert, said looters broke into stores all over town to steal guns, and the Times-Picayune newspaper reported that the gun section at a new Wal-Mart in the Lower Garden District was quickly cleaned out.

“The looting is out of control,” said French Quarter Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson. “We’re using exhausted, scarce police to control looting, when they should be used for search and rescue while we still have people on rooftops.”[16]

Have we improved? We are still sinners, and we need God’s grace.

Prayer


[1] David McCullough, The Johnstown Flood (Simon and Schuster, 1968), p. 22; David McCullough, “This 19th-Century Disaster Made a Historian of Me,” History.com (8-27-18)

[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 7:11.

[3] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 18.

[4] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 63.

[5] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ge 7:1–9.

[6] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 63.

[7] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 19.

[8] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ge 7:10–12.

[9] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 7:24.

[10] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 19.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid. 19.

 

[13] Ibid. 19.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Ge 7:11–8:5.

[16] Source: “Looters Run Wild in New Orleans,” Foxnews.com (8-31-05).

Because He Lives

Another time and another place, I was sitting through a Good Friday service and I thought, “What would my life be like without Christ?” Have you ever thought about that? I have heard some say they would be dead, and that may be true.

Without Jesus in my life, I would have no hope. I would not know about the future. Funerals would be more difficult because I would not know about eternal life, nor would I have any confidence in my eternal life. Funerals would always be a reminder of the reality of death (1 John 5:13).

Without Jesus in my life, I would have no moral grounding. Without Jesus, I would not be bound by the Biblical values of right and wrong. There is no telling what I would have been into (Galatians 5:22-23). Without Jesus in my life, I may have many idols to replace Him and these could be drugs, alcohol, adultery, pornography, etc.

Without Jesus in my life, I would not have the community of the church (Acts 2:42-47).

Without Jesus in my life, I would not have the wisdom and knowledge of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ (Psalm 119; Revelation 1:2, 9).

Without Jesus in my life, I would not have the Holy Spirit and I would be alone. The Holy Spirit helps one to understand and apply the Bible. The Holy Spirit works in the community of the Church. The Holy Spirit teaches and helps each believer.

Without Jesus in my life I would be lost in darkness with no hope for now or for eternity.

What would your life be like without Christ?

Think with me about how Jesus has impacted your life.

Are you saved? Are you set free from sin? Do you live for sin or for Jesus? Do you live in the Kingdom of Heaven or the fallen world?

What was your life like before you came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior?

What has your Christian life been like?

What is your future like as a Christian?

Let’s read John 20:1-10:

John 20:1-10:

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Listen to the words of Because He Lives:

Think about them:

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict’ry,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

I wish to talk about what the resurrection means.

  1. Because of sin, we have death (Genesis 2:17; 3:19).
    1. We were created to live forever. All of you, all of us, we were created to live eternally. What do you think it means to be created in the image of God? It is not appearance, at least I don’t think it is appearance. I believe it is that we have emotions and God has emotions (Isaiah 66:13), I believe it is that we are physical, and God is physical. I believe it is that we are spiritual, and God is spiritual (Genesis 2:7; John 4:24). In Genesis 2:7 we find that God breathed into man the breath of life. I believe at this point God made Adam spiritual being. We don’t see God doing this for the animals. This is only for humans. God created us to live forever and when we take from the tree of life (Genesis 2:9; 3:22-24; Revelation 22:1-2) we can live forever.
    2. But God told them they can eat from any tree they wish to, but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Or, they will die (Genesis 2:17).
    3. All throughout the book of Genesis, we find the emphasis that people die.
    4. But even in death, we were still created spiritually. We cannot just die like that.
    5. So, even in the Old Testament, we have this term Sheol. This is the same as our word for Hades. This is a consequence of sin (Genesis 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, etc.).
    6. How else are we to go to God? The Old Testament teaches that God is too pure to behold sin (Psalm 66:18: If I had cherished sin in my heart the Lord would not hear my prayer.). 
    7. Romans 3:23 teaches us that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard.
    8. The Bible even says that we have placed a separation between God and us for the fact that we have sinned (Isaiah 59:2). 
    9. In 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 the Bible says that those who do not know God will be punished. Yet, God loves us. God is just.

Just think about it this way, imagine this government leader guy, let’s call him Garcia.  Well, Garcia’s people are starving and food has been rationed.  One morning he learns that someone has been stealing from the food supply.  Garcia called the people together and told them of the missing food and then warned them that if the stealing did not stop and the thief was caught, he or she would be beaten until the point of death. The stealing did stop for a short time, but eventually the thief returned.  About a week later, Garcia’s lieutenant told Garcia that the thief had been caught the previous night. “Garcia,” he said. “The thief is your mother.” Garcia is in one of a dilemma.  He had said before with everyone as a witness, that the thief would be punished and that the punishment was death. He can’t go back on his word without going against his own authority. 

Well, you see, in the same way God says that He is unchanging and that He won’t change His mind (1 Sam. 15.29).  Well, He already declared that He will not let the guilty go unpunished (Ex. 34.7b) so, because we committed the crime, we must face the consequences.  You see, God can’t tell a lie, or He wouldn’t be God (Num. 23.19).  It’s kind of like signing a contract.  What would you think of someone who signed a contract agreeing to do something for you, but never kept his end of the deal?  Personally, I’d never trust him again. His Word is His contract, and He is bound by His own nature.  God can’t go back on His word without marring His character. We can see that Garcia is in a dilemma and it kind of looks like God’s in a similar dilemma.

Transition:  He can’t just forget the sin, so He must have come up with something to erase them completely.  This is where the “good” news comes in…

It is because of the cross and the resurrection that we can live eternally. Our sins are washed away.

Because of Jesus, and the resurrection, we have life (Romans 6:23 and 1 Cor. 15:55-57).

Look at two passages:

  • Look at Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    1. Look at 1 Cor. 15:55-57: 55 “O death, where is your victory?
          O death, where is your sting?”
    2. 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    3. We do not have to fear death anymore. We were created to live forever and under sin, we would have to fear death because death brought judgment. But now, under Christ, we no longer have to fear death. Jesus took our punishment. We were created to live forever either in heaven or in hell. Because Jesus lives, we will live eternally in paradise.
    4. Remember the hymn: Because He Lives?  
    5. We have life. Our life would be in vain if it were not for the resurrection. I mean, yea we can live our best life now, but that is it. It is because of the resurrection that it is sweet to hold a newborn baby. As the hymn says, “This child can face uncertain days because He lives.”
    6. It is because Jesus lives that we can have a relationship with Him.
    7. We can have a relationship with Jesus and many people do. How sweet to hold a newborn baby—knowing that baby can have a relationship with Jesus. The baby will have eternal life in Jesus. In Jesus the baby will not face life’s challenges alone.
    8. Dr. Tennent, the President of Asbury Theological Seminary said the following: “Buddhist travel to remains of Buddha, Muslims travel to Medina for remains of Muhammed but there is no place in the world you can travel to worship the remains of Christ!” (1 Cor 15). We cannot do that because Jesus arose.
    9. The resurrection separates Christianity from other religion. Our Savior lives, we will live again. Death no longer has a sting.
  • This is the case with you, you can have eternal life in Jesus. You can have a relationship with Jesus.
    1. Where are you at in your life right now?
    2. Have you trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior?
    3. Do you know that since He lives you will live eternally? Do you believe that?
    4. Do you know that your sins are washed away by Jesus?
    5. Do you know that you do not face life’s challenges alone?
    6. Is it the case for you that because Jesus lives you can face tomorrow?
    7. Think about this question: Does the resurrection give you hope?
  • I read a story about a professor who wanted to demonstrate the truth of what Jesus did on the cross. The professor asked an athlete, Steve, how many pushups he does every day. Steve said he does 300 pushups every day. The following Friday, the professor brought in some of the best donuts he could get. It was the last day of class, and he was going to have a party. But in order for a student to have a donut, Steve has to do 10 pushups. So, then the professor asked each student, “Do you want a donut?” If they said yes, then Steve has to do 10 pushups. If they said no, Steve still has to do 10 pushups, though the student in free will can refuse the donut. They had a large class. By the end of the class Steve was struggling and the class felt bad for him. That is an illustration of the cross. Jesus went to the cross so we can have fuller life in Him and eternal life in Him.[1]

The grave could not contain Jesus. The stone was rolled away and the stone was rolled away not to let Jesus out, but to let us in. The stone was rolled away so that we could see that He lives. 

Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior?

Do you know Jesus?


[1] https://www.thegatheringplacehome.com/easter-stories-we-can-all-understand-t3164.html

Palm Sunday message: Christ is our King and He is coming back (Mark 11:1-11)

prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, April 10, 2022

In 1943, 230 women were arrested as members of the French Resistance and sent to Birkenau. Only 49 survived, but this in itself is remarkable. These women were as diverse a group as could be imagined—Jews and Christians, aristocrats and working class, young and old. Yet they were united by their commitment to the French Resistance and to one another. In her book A Train in Winter, Caroline Moorhead reconstructs the story of these women through the journals and memoirs of survivors. The solidarity of these women sustained them through unspeakable horror and torture.

In contrast, many Holocaust survivors hoarded whatever meager resources they could save for themselves. And how could they be blamed? Survival became the only goal—no matter what the cost, even to others. Yet, in most of the cases with these French women in Birkenau, their solidarity toward each other trumped the selfishness that engulfed so many others. As Moorhead writes, “Knowing that the fate of each depended on the others … egotism seemed to vanish and that, stripped back to the bare edge of survival, each rose to behavior few would have believed themselves capable of.” Moorhead recounts that when unrelieved thirst threatened to engulf one of their members in utter madness, the women pooled together their own meager rations to get her a whole bucket of water.

This kind of love is very rare. Putting one’s own needs first is as natural as breathing, and just as unconscious. Yet the women of the French Resistance provide a contemporary model of what Christ has done for us. But there are two big differences: first Jesus willingly chose to stand in solidarity with us in our suffering. Second, he stood in solidarity with his enemies. He walked among humans including the very least of these, and chose to share the horror of human death. Even after the victory of his resurrection from death, this One still bore in his body the wounds of his earthly suffering. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. This is solidarity for life.[1]

Christ is the One who saves us, Christ sanctifies us, Christ is our King. He is worthy of all praise and worship. Let’s read Mark 11:1-11

Mark 11:1-11

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Theme:

Christ is our King and He is coming back.

Application:

Surrender, unadulterated surrender and worship is what we must do.

  1. Jesus enters Jerusalem, the people are ready for a King
    1. The people have been waiting for a king. They have been waiting for a king like David in the Old Testament. They have been waiting for a Savior.
    1. This is the beginning of what we now call Holy Week.
    1. Jesus is entering Jerusalem after a busy ministry schedule. He has a busy week ahead.
    1. They treat Jesus as a king right now, don’t they?
    1. Verse 8 begins to show this. They put their coats on the ground and many spread leafy palm branches.
    1. They shout “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
    1. (Verses 9-10)?
    1. Hosanna means “save us!”
    1. The people wanted a savior, they saw Jesus as that Savior. The people wanted a king, they saw Jesus as that king.
    1. They were so loud that if you read other Gospel accounts, such as Luke 19:39ff the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples. But Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out.”
    1. Jesus was hailed as a king then, but later in the week, he was crucified. Some will say the same crowd who worshipped Him will later cry out, “crucify Him.” Though, it is likely a different crowd.
    1. But on Palm Sunday they had the right idea. They welcomed Him as King. Jesus will come back as King. Jesus will come back as King and as the judge.
  2. Jesus will come again as King
    1. Jesus is our coming King.
    1. Jesus, welcomed as King on that Sunday, later crucified, ascended into Heaven some forty days after the resurrection. Following the ascension we read in Acts 1:11:
    1. Acts 1:11: and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
    1. Jesus is King and will return as King. Jesus will return in the clouds, and He will return in His time.
    1. Jesus will return in the clouds: Rev. 1:7: Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
    1. Often we wonder why He hasn’t returned yet. 2 Peter 3:8-10: But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
    1. Further the Bible teaches more about Christ’s return: Jesus Christ will be vindicated in the eyes of those who crucified Him (Rev. 1:7); the whole of creation will be liberated from the curse imposed upon it after the sin of Adam in the garden (Romans 8:20–21); the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord (Isa. 11:9); God’s righteous reign will be established upon the earth for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1–6); and, ultimately, the final destruction of Satan will be accomplished (Rev. 20:7–10). [2]
    1. One writes: Over the last four decades I have read a great many books about the Second Coming of Christ. Unfortunately, most were devoted to predicting when this cataclysmic event will occur (something the Bible explicitly tells us NOT to do), to debating the order of events connected to His return or to splitting the eschatological “hairs” that separate one group of evangelical believers from another. All of this speculation entirely misses the point of what the Bible says about the matter. The whole focus of the New Testament’s teaching about the return of Christ can be summarized in two simple propositions: first, because Christ is coming, we need to be ready—living lives that are pure, steadfast, prayerful, holy and reverent; and, second, because Christ is coming, we need to finish the task He has given us—the preaching of the gospel.[3]
    1. Jesus is the rightful King. They worshipped Him for this reason on Palm Sunday. He will return as the rightful King. Are you ready?

Close:

Theme:

Christ is our King and He is coming back.

Application:

Surrender, unadulterated surrender and worship is what we must do.

As we go through this week, take a few moments and pray about surrender. If Jesus came back right now, what is something that He would ask about, some thought or action? Repent and surrender. Or, what is something you haven’t done that you know He wants you to do? This week take some time and reflect on your spiritual life. Grab your Bible, a pen and paper and take some time and ask God to show you some things to work on. Read Psalm 42 and pray that you desire God like the Psalmist.

“During World War I, a British commander was preparing to lead his soldiers back to battle. They’d been on furlough, and it was a cold, rainy, muddy day. Their shoulders sagged because they knew what lay ahead of them: mud, blood, possible death. Nobody talked, nobody sang. It was a heavy time. “As they marched along, the commander looked into a bombed-out church. Back in the church he saw the figure of Christ on the cross. At that moment, something happened to the commander. He remembered the One who suffered, died, and rose again. There was victory, and there was triumph. “As the troops marched along, he shouted out, ‘Eyes right, march!’ Every eye turned to the right, and as the soldiers marched by, they saw Christ on the cross. Something happened to that company of men. Suddenly they saw triumph after suffering, and they took courage. With shoulders straightened, they began to smile as they went. You see, anything worthwhile in life will be a risk that demands courage.” [–Gordon Johnson, “Finding Significance in Obscurity,” Preaching Today, Tape 82.]

Keep your eyes on Jesus!

Pray


[1] Source: Adapted from Margaret Manning, “Solidarity,” A Slice of Infinity/RZIM (3-7-17); source: Caroline Weber, “Sisters Unto Death,” New York Times Book Review (11-13-11)

[2] https://www.cmalliance.org/about/beliefs/coming-king

[3] ibid.

The Significance of Genesis: Coming Judgment, but the Ark of Promise (Genesis 6:13-7:10)

The Significance of Genesis: Coming Judgment, but the Ark of Promise (Genesis 6:13-7:10)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, April 3, 2022

In this message, I thought I would start with a quiz. Shout out the answer without looking at your notes:

How long did it take Noah to build the ark? The Bible does not specifically say how long it took Noah to build the ark. When Noah is first mentioned in Genesis 5:32, he is 500 years old. When Noah enters the ark, he is 600 years old. The time it took to build the ark would depend on how much time passed between Genesis 6:14, when God commanded Noah to build the ark; and Genesis 7:1, when God commanded Noah to enter the ark. Some scholars teach that it took Noah 120 years to build the ark, based on Genesis 6:3. Others say that it took 100 years, based on Noah’s age in Genesis 5:32 and his age in Genesis 7:6.

How long was Noah on the ark? Noah entered the ark in the 600th year of his life, on the 17th day of the 2nd month (Genesis 7:11-13). Noah left the ark on the 27th day of the 2nd month of the following year (Genesis 8:14-15). Therefore, assuming a lunar calendar of 360 days, Noah was on the ark for approximately 370 days.

How many people were on Noah’s ark? According to Genesis chapters 6-8, Noah, his wife, Noah’s three sons (Shem, Ham, and Japheth), and their wives were on the ark. Therefore, there were eight people on the ark.

Who was Noah’s wife? The Bible nowhere specifically gives us the name or identity of Noah’s wife. There is a tradition that she was Naamah (Genesis 4:22). While possible, this is not explicitly taught in the Bible.[1]

We are continuing our trek through Genesis chapters 1-11. Today, we continue the flood narrative.

Today my theme is:

The Significance of Genesis: Coming Judgment, but the Ark of Promise (Genesis 6:13-7:10)

  1. First, we see coming judgment (Genesis 6:13, 17).
    1. God is bringing the flood of water.
    2. Last week we began this section. In last week’s message we talked about how the world was so depraved, yet Noah was righteous.
    3. Look at Genesis 6:13: And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
    4. The earth is filled with violence. God is making an end of all the flesh.
    5. God is going to flood the world. This is all about the coming judgment.
    6. In the next several verses God gives Noah detailed instructions on how to build the ark.
    7. Some would question about how the whole world would be flooded. Some think that there is not enough water.
    8. CSB: In this light some defenders of a global flood have suggested that pre-flood geography differed from today’s geography. Specifically, they suggest that Earth’s landscape was flatter in the pre-flood era, thus requiring less water to flood, and that the violent flood created many of today’s geographical and geological features. Others take a different approach, suggesting that pre- and post-flood geography is largely the same, that the flood did indeed require a greater quantity of water than is now present on Earth, and that by an unknown mechanism Earth’s quantity of water has greatly diminished after the flood.[2]
    9. Moody Bible Commentary: Though some claim that the flood was a localized event restricted to the ancient Near East, the text makes it clear that this was as a worldwide event. Three times in this passage the words all flesh (kol baśar, vv. 13, 17, 19) appear, the phrase occurring 33 times elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, each time referring to all living creatures, both human and animal (e.g., Jb 34:15; Jr 25:31; Ezk 21:5). The universal scope of the flood is further emphasized by the later reference to the water covering “all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens” (7:19, italics added) as well as God’s promise to “never again destroy every living thing” with a flood (8:21, italics added).[3]
    10. God is destroying all flesh…notice the specification: God is destroying all flesh in which is the “breath of life…”
    11. Everything that is on the earth shall perish.
    12. Look at verse 17, Genesis 6:17: For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.
    13. In verse 18 God is still speaking and this is important.
  2. We see the Ark of promise (Genesis 6:18-19; 7:1).
    1. Look at verses 18-19, Genesis 6:18-19: But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female.
    2. This is powerful.
    3. The world is a hot mess; the world is in a state of fallen depravity. God is going to judge the world, but here we see God’s GREAT grace. God is going to save a family.
    4. Many times we focus on the judgment, but not the saving act of God.
    5. God would have been just to judge the whole world and be done with it, but he saved Noah’s family.
    6. In saving Noah’s family He provided life for us and salvation for us.
    7. If Noah’s family was not saved there would be no more humanity and no Savior. In saving Noah’s family we have the possibility for the Savior through Noah’s descendants.
    8. God makes a covenant with Noah.
    9. This is the first occurrence of the word “covenant” (Heb. berith) in the Old Testament (v. 18). There were two basic kinds of covenants in the ancient Near East.299
      1. 1. The parity covenant was one that equals made. Examples: Abraham and Abimelech (21:22–32), Isaac and Abimelech (26:26–33), and Jacob and Laban (31:44–54).
      2. 2. The suzerainty covenant was one that a superior (king) made with an inferior (vassal). Examples: the Noahic Covenant (Gen. 6:16), the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18), the Mosaic Covenant (Exod. 19—Num. 10), et al.[4]
    10. Now look at Genesis 7:1: 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.
    11. Verse 1 has another important note. The Lord declares that Noah alone has been righteous before God during this time.
    12. This does not mean that Noah was sinless, no one has been sinless except for Jesus. This means that Noah’s patterns of behavior, his daily walk was following the Lord.
    13. Notice this also says, Noah alone has been righteous before the Lord during that time, or it could say more literally “generation.” It is specifying that day and age.
    14. So, we have coming judgment, but we also have the ark of promise.
    15. The ESV Study Bible shares: God promises in a covenant to save Noah, prefiguring the new covenant in Christ by which we receive eternal salvation (1 Cor. 11:25; Heb. 10:15–18).[5]
  3. Noah is referenced many times in the New Testament
    1. We will look at just a few.
    2. Let’s look at 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…
    3. Now, 2 Peter 3:5-6: 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, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.
  4. Applications:
    1. Do we recognize that God is the judge and not us?
    2. Do we surrender to Him (see Psalm 51:1-12; Rev. 4:8-11)?
    3. Or, do we try to judge God?
    4. God will provide salvation for Noah and his family. We must understand that in this God is providing a way for future salvation for all humanity.
    5. Through Noah’s descendants, God will provide the Savior.
    6. In saving Noah, God provided salvation for humanity.
    7. Do we obey as Noah did? In Genesis 6:22 and 7:5, Noah did as the Lord commanded him.
    8. When God calls us to do something will we obey?
    9. Do we desire to be righteous as Noah was (Genesis 7:1)?

Noah was righteous, Noah obeyed God.

It’s significant that in Scripture, wisdom is often associated with a path. Are you going in the right direction? Are you veering off the path? Do you know where you are on the map? What’s your compass? At the end of the day, wisdom is less about information than orienta­tion. All the geographic data points in the world are useless if we have no sense of north.

All of us wander in whichever nomadic direction our hearts choose, until we submit to the authority of God’s good compass. He alone illuminates the path of wisdom. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1), and thus wanders aimlessly through the desert. The wise man, by contrast, lives a radically God-centered life.

Tozer puts it this way:

As the sailor locates his position on the sea by “shooting” the sun, so we may get our moral bearings by looking at God. We must begin with God. We are right when and only when we stand in a right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long as we stand in any other position.[6]

Prayer


[1] https://www.gotquestions.org/Noahs-ark-questions.html

[2] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 16.

vv. verses

e.g. for example

[3] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 58.

299 299. G. Herbert Livingston, The Pentateuch in Its Cultural Environment, pp. 153–154.

[4] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 6:17.

[5] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 62.

[6] Brett McCracken, The Wisdom Pyramid, (Crossway, 2021), pp. 163

The Significance of Genesis: Noah was different from others; he walked with God (Gen. 6:9-12)

The Significance of Genesis: Noah was different from others; he walked with God.  

(Genesis 6:9-12)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, March 27, 2022

Have you ever been in a room totally dark? I am sure you have. Now suppose that one person had a candle. I have a candle, now I would like to ask someone to turn out the lights. Hold a candle and light it.

It is a little dark isn’t it? Suppose it was dark outside and only my candle was lit. It would be very dark. But my light would stand out. I would be different.

Are you standing out as a Christian?

Dr. Bill Brown was the president of Cedarville University. A while back I heard him tell a story about when he was working on his Ph.D. During this time his wife was working somewhere and the boss wanted her to do something unethical, which lacked integrity. The boss wanted her to change the numbers so the company received more money. During this time, he was not earning much money. His wife’s income was their income. So, she went to her boss and said, “I can’t do this.” He said, “You have to.” She thought about it at her desk and went back again and said, “I can’t do this.” He said, “You have to.” Again, she goes to her desk, calls her husband and he says, “We must obey God and not man.” She tells the boss, “I can’t do this, I must obey God.” He says, “When you are here, I am your God!” So, she said she couldn’t do it and she was fired. Later that day she went with her husband to deliver some manuscripts that he was working on for a professor. He was editing a Greek text working for a professor. The professor asked if she was off work. They explained the situation. He needed an assistant and hired her. She got a job typing what is now the NKJV Bible.

Why do I tell this story? I see in this story two themes that are important to today’s passage. One is the continual theme of Christians being different from the world. Incarnational. Christians must be light. Dr. Brown’s wife may not have made the boss happy; however, she had to be light in a dark world. The world may say, “Do what you have to do to get more money!” That is what her boss wanted her to do, changing the numbers, but Christ calls us to integrity. The world must see Christians with integrity and when they do, they will see us as light in a dark world. This is because we will be trustworthy.

The second theme from that story is reverence for God. The boss said, “When you are here, I am your god.” The passage we will look at will talk about reverence for God. So, let’s look at the passage.

My theme is:

Noah was different from others; he walked with God.  

  • In verses 9-10: we see the introduction to Noah. Verses 9-10 read: These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
  • We are in a sermon series focusing on the significance of Genesis chapters 1-11. Here we see the beginning of the narrative regarding the flood.
    1. Here we see details, details that show that these were real people in the midst of a real event.
    2. Noah was righteous… blameless… this does not mean that he was sinless. It does mean that the patterns of his life were walking with God, pursuing God.
    3. There is an order here: The order is one of increasing spiritual quality before God: “righteous” is to live by God’s righteous standards; “blameless” sets him apart by a comparison with those of his day; and that he “walked with God” puts him in a class with Enoch (5:24).[1]
    4. Noah fathered 3 sons.
    5. We will hear more about his sons later on.
    6. For now, what is important is that there is an emphasis on Noah being different.
    7. Noah stood out in a crooked, corrupt world.
    8. Noah was light in a dark world.
    9. Now, the emphasis here is not on “shining light,” or Noah’s witness, but it is on Noah being different.
  • In verses 11-12 we see the corruption of the world.

Verses 11-12 read: Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

  • This is a reiteration of how bad the people were.
    • “Corrupt…”
    • “In the sight of God”: This is anthropomorphic language. God does not literally see as we do. God knows all things and He is present everywhere. This is describing things as if God saw it as we do.
    • The earth was “filled with violence…”
    • New American Commentary: The justification for the calamity is the complete moral corruption of the human family and the defilement of the earth (cf. 6:6–7). The repetition of “corrupt,” occurring three times in vv. 11–12, underscores God’s appraisal of the human condition (6:5) and proves the legitimacy of the extreme penalty he will invoke. “Earth” also occurs three times in the passage, indicating that the fortunes of humanity and the earth are intertwined. This “corruption” is further defined by the term “violence” (ḥāmās, v. 11), which is used of severe treatment against another person (e.g., 16:5; Exod 23:1; Mic 6:12) and may involve physical harm (e.g., 49:5; Judg 9:24). Whereas God has blessed the human family with the power of procreation to fill the earth (1:28; 9:1), these culprits have “filled the earth” by procreating “violence” (cf. v. 13; Ezek 8:17; 28:16).
    • Further, Verse 12 intentionally recalls v. 5, where “the Lord saw” the intensity of human evil (“every,” “all”), and 1:31, where “the Lord saw” the “good” earth he had made. Here “God saw” that the “good” earth was now corrupt, and the corruption was all-inclusive (“all people”), excepting Noah. For this reason “only Noah was left” from the earth (7:23).20[2]
    • The earth was corrupt.
    • ESV Study Note: The ancient Near Eastern epics of Gilgamesh and Atrahasis also tell of a flood sent to punish human beings. In those stories, however, it is merely the disruptive noise of humanity that leads to their destruction. Genesis emphasizes that God destroys the people he has created because of their immoral behavior.[3]
    • God looks on the earth.
    • Certainly, God knows all and sees all and even knew it before it happened.
    • God is inspiring Moses to write in our language.
    • It was corrupt, stated again. “Corrupt” or “corrupted” is used three times in verses 11 and 12.
  • Applications:
    • We are to be different.
    • Noah was different.
    • Do you realize the world is still corrupt? We as Christians are to be different.
      • It ought to be our goal to walk with God as Noah did (Gen. 6:9).
      • It out to be our example to stand out in a perverse world as Noah did (Gen. 6:9-12).
      • Noah was different from the world (Gen. 6:9-12), may we also be different from the surrounding world.
      • May we live out Romans 12:1-2; may we not be conformed to the world but be transformed by renewing our mind.
      • May we recognize that friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).
      • We must standout as Noah did. We must be different.
      • We must allow the Holy Spirit to reign in our lives so that we have the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Have you ever been in a room totally dark?

Now, I have my candle and it is dark.

Now, think of it this way. If you are a Christian, you are the light. The Holy Spirit lights you up and if you allow the Holy Spirit to reign in your life you will be different. You will shine.

But what if everyone had a candle? This would lighten the surroundings much more. Then we can take our light out into the world. We are all light in a dark world but our light is dull and faded, even covered up. But as we are made holy, as we become like, Jesus we are light in the world. How are you doing? Are you light? Are you complaining and arguing without reason? Are you allowing God to work in you?

Mathew 5:14-16:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Pray


[1] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ge 6:9.

20 The NAB has accordingly “all mortals on earth.”

[2] K. A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:26, vol. 1A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 356–360.

[3] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 62.

The world is growing increasingly corrupt, yet Noah finds favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:1-8).

There is a well-known book titled, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Let me suggest another: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Noah:

  1. Don’t miss the boat.
  2. We are all in the same boat.
  3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
  4. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something big.
  5. Don’t listen to critics; just do the job that needs to be done.
  6. Build your future on high ground.
  7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
  8. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
  9. When you’re stressed, float a while.
  10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
  11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.[1]

My theme today is:

The world is growing increasingly corrupt, yet Noah finds favor in the eyes of the Lord.

  1. The perversion of the people (Genesis 6:1-7).
    1. Remember that Genesis 5:32 left off with Noah. Noah was 500 years old, and he fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
    2. Remember that in Genesis 5:28-29 it read: Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.
    3. In the previous section we talked about how important names were. In this genealogy Noah is one of the few people in which we have more detail about their name. It seems as if Lamech thought Noah was going to be a “type” of Messiah. Or, maybe God gave him that thought.
    4. The name Noah appears to be related to the Hebrew word נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”). There are several wordplays on the name “Noah” in the story of the flood.[2]

Verses 1-2 read: When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.

When men began to multiply on the face of the land…

We just studied a whole chapter about this. Also, the previous chapter of Genesis 4:17-24 ended with the descendants of Cain.

The people are living incredibly long.

We do not know the ages of the wives.

We do not know the ages of Cain’s descendants.

Each time it says that they had other sons and daughters.

Assuming they were healthy for a good bit of that time they could have had a lot of children!

We know that many of them were over 100 years old when they had children.

They were living a long time, they had a lot of time to think up sin.

The sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. This is one of the most hotly debated passages in the Bible.

“god” in this passage is Elohim and does not necessarily refer to the Lord. Here it is clear that it does NOT refer to the Lord.

Who are the “sons of god”?

Fallen angels? This would mean that fallen angels would be the “sons of god” and they married the women. In Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 the phrase “sons of god” was used for angels.

Royalty or despots who could take whatever he wanted. The royalty would sometimes be called “gods.”

“Sons of god” = the godly line of Seth and daughters of men = the ungodly line of Cain. This is the view that I favor.

Notice how it says that the “sons of god” saw that the “daughters of men” were beautiful and they took wives for themselves… this is parallel to Genesis 3:6 when Eve took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Basically, the sons of god are doing something that is not good.

I favor the view that this was the ungodly line of Cain, marrying the godly line of Seth. The sons of god are the godly line of Seth and they are marrying the “daughters of men.” This creates an unequally yoked marriage (2 Cor. 6:14) and corrupts the human race.

It is true that sometimes in the Psalms angels are called “gods” (see Psalm 8:5, but that is the general word Elohim a generic word for God). However, Jesus said that angels cannot marry or be given in marriage and so it is believed that they cannot pro-create (Matthew 22:30).

It seems that holding a view that this is about demons having sexual intercourse with human women mixes in ancient middle east myths as well as ancient Greek mythology.

Back to verse 2: they took, again, negative implication, wives for themselves whomever they chose. These were unequally yoked marriages.

They saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, or it could be literally “good.” Meaning they were good as wives.

Verse 3: Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

  • His days will be 120 years. It seems that this is showing that God will gradually reduce the life expectancy to 120 years. This seems to happen by the end of Deuteronomy with Moses’ death at 120 years old (Deut 34:7).

Verse 4: The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

  • Much has been said about this word “Nephilim” but it just means “fallen ones.” It does not mean giants. They were mighty, but just fallen and mighty, that does not mean some form of super-being.

Verse 5: 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.

  • The Lord is seeing… in reality he knows. When it says “the Lord saw” this is ascribing to God human attributes, which is to use anthropomorphic language.
    • Humans are wicked, every intent of thoughts of his heart… continually!
    • This is a sad verse. This is a very sad verse.
    • It says, “constantly wicked,” they are living hundreds of years and thinking up new ways to sin.

Verses 6-7: And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 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.”

  • This is anthropomorphic language again. God knew what man would do.
    • God does not have emotions like we have emotions.
    • There is a doctrine, the impassibility of God. “Impassible” means not able to experience passions. It is controversial because in scripture we see that God does have passions.
    • The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit and can be grieved (Eph 4:30). But here is what it (impassibility) means: God can never be the victim of emotions. Tears can sneak up on us, but not on God. God does not get knocked around by emotions. God is not at the beck and call of evil provoking Him to anger or grief.[3]
    • So, is this simply anthropomorphic language? I think so, but I do like John Piper’s thoughts, he writes:…I conclude, therefore, that Gen. 6:6 does not call God’s foreknowledge into question but shows the complexity of God’s emotional life that is far above our ability to question or comprehend. Even in our own experience, there are times when we look back on difficult decisions we made and feel both sorrow at making them and yet approve making them.[4]
    • I like what Piper shares, but I think it can also be anthropomorphic language.
    • Remember God is omnipresent, this means that He is present everywhere and outside of time. He knows all things. He knows the future. He could NOT regret like we do.
    • Verse 7 is about the flood. Again, God is sorry that He created humans. God is going to bring a judgment. I have a few thoughts about this:
    • Quit judging God! We are no different than Adam when he said “the woman You gave me” (Genesis 3:12). We have the sin problem and yet we blame God.
    • Secondly, it seems that things were really corrupt. Don’t fill in the gaps that you do not know. In other words, we do not have a clue how bad things were, and we start judging God.
    • Thirdly, I think there is grace here. God could’ve wiped out all of humanity, but He did not. Also, I believe the children went straight to Heaven. There may have been many victims that went straight to Heaven.
  • Noah found favor (Genesis 6:8).
    • Read with me Genesis 6:8: But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
    • This is key to the rest of this narrative. God noticed Noah.
    • Noah was not perfect, but it seems that his patterns of life were following God.
  • Some applications:
    • It seems that the godly line of Seth married the ungodly line of Cain causing unequally yoked marriages that resulted in a corrupt world (Genesis 6:1-2). May this be a reminder against being unequally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14).
      • As Christians, we must not be unequally yoked in marriage. This means we must not have Christians marrying non-Christians.
      • As Christians, we must not be unequally yoked in business. When we can avoid it we must not have non-Christians partnering in business with Christians. 
    • The Lord is grieved by our sin, may we pray that we are also grieved over our sin (Genesis 6:6; Eph 4:30).
    • In verse 5, Genesis 6:5, we see that the people were into evil continually. May we guard our heart, may we guard ourselves against getting into constant evil.
    • May we live out Gal 5:22-23.
    • This is a lesson on the depravity of men. This is a lesson on how bad we can get.
    • Don’t blame God. We have the sin problem, don’t be like Adam who blamed God and his wife when he sinned (Genesis 3:12).
    • May we find favor in the eyes of God (Genesis 3:8).

Prayer


[1] Source: Source unknown; submitted by Jon Mutchler, Ferndale, Washington

[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 5:27–29.

[3] John Piper, Look at the Book, November 25, 2021 on Eph 4:30; https://youtu.be/0c9nvAiqwIE

[4] Piper writes: Piper “Providence” page 348 on footnote