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

Human beings continue from Adam to Noah, but without a Savior.

The Significance of Genesis 5 Part II: the ‘Image of God’ from Adam to Noah (Genesis 5:3-32)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, March 12, 2022 and Sunday, March13, 2022

The late President Calvin Coolidge returned home from attending church early one Sunday afternoon. His wife had been unable to attend, but she was interested in what the minister spoke on in the service. Coolidge responded, “Sin.” She pressed him for a few words of explanation. And being a man of few words with his wife, he responded, “Well, I think he was against it.”[1]

We are in a sermon series about the significance of Genesis chapters 1-11. We are now on Genesis 5:3-32. We will not read all these verses, but I will focus on a few of them.

My theme today is:

Human beings continue from Adam to Noah, but without a Savior.

  1. First, let’s talk about the significance of the descendants of Adam.
    1. We have gone through Genesis 4 and in Genesis chapter 4 we see the descendants of Cain. We see that Cain’s descendants became very corrupt. Now, we are in Genesis 5 and the descendants of Adam continue to multiply. In this chapter, we see the descendants of Adam through the line of Seth.
    2. Let’s read the first few verses:
    3. Genesis 5:3-5: When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.
    4. What is interesting is it seems that we do not see the sin that we saw in the previous chapter. However, by Genesis 5:29 we see the naming of Noah. With the naming of Noah we see indications that they were longing for a Savior. We will come back to that.
    5. Within the genealogy of Adam’s descendants, we see other signs of the fallen world.
    6. The phrase “and he died” is used 8 times in Genesis 5.
    7. There is an emphasis that because of sin people are dying. Every one of them but Enoch died (Gen. 5:24). Enoch walked with God and so God took him.
    8. One of them, Methuselah lived 969 years (Gen. 5:25-26), but they all died, except for the aforementioned Enoch.
    9. Further, Methuselah would have died in the flood written about in Genesis 6. The man that lived the longest died as part of corrupt humanity.
    10. We also know that by Genesis 6 humanity was very depraved. I wonder if that was beginning by the time we get to Noah. Noah is named hoping that he will bring “relief from their work and the painful toil of their hands.” I would think so.
    11. The people are living in a world without a Savior. We have never lived in a world without a Savior. Some do not know about the Savior, but Jesus has come and saved us from our sins and we need to share that with other people.
    12. From Genesis 6-8 we have the flood. Between Genesis 9-11 the people spread out. Then we get to Genesis 12 with the first prophesy that through Abram the world will be blessed. How will the world be blessed? The world will be blessed because one of his descendants will be Jesus, our Savior. However, in our chapter, the people are multiplying in a depraved world without a Savior.
    13. We will come back to that in a minute. First, what about these life spans.
    14. These life spans may be unfathomable to us, but they should not be.
    15. Sin had only contaminated creation for several hundred, and then a few thousand years. Therefore, the world was not as contaminated. Our genetics were not as damaged by sin. There were not as many diseases. Further, prior to the flood it seems that the world was different.
    16. Similar claims of long life spans are found in the secular literature of several ancient cultures (including the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese).[2]
    17. Extrabiblical evidence to support the long life spans of the people in Genesis is found in the Sumerian King List. This list mentions a flood and gives the length of the reigns of kings before and after a flood. There are many striking parallels between the Sumerian King List and Genesis, such as a flood event, numerical parallels between the pre-Flood biblical patriarchs and the antediluvial kings, and a substantial decrease in life span of people following the flood.
    18. One author on this subject concludes, “It is highly unlikely that the biblical account was derived from the Sumerian in view of the differences of the two accounts, and the obvious superiority of the Genesis record both in numerical precision, realism, completion, and moral and spiritual qualities.” It is more likely that the Sumerian King List was composed using Genesis for numerical information. Obviously, the Book of Genesis would only be used if the person writing the list believed it to be a true historical account containing accurate information.[3]
    19. There are a variety of explanations for people living longer, a few I already mentioned. Another thought is that the world was different.
    20. The people were vegetarians before the flood and likely had a healthier diet (Gen 1:29; 9:3).
    21. It seems that the earth was different. Once there was a worldwide flood it seems as though God changed the way the world operated.
    22. So, considering we have extra-biblical evidence of longer life spans, and we have these life spans in Genesis, I think we take them at face value.
    23. Reading this genealogy, it does not read like a myth. It is not poetic in any way at all. That is another reason to take it at face value.
    24. Further, some of these names show up in Jesus’ ancestry, specifically, Luke 3:35-38. That would indicate tampering with this passage effects other parts of the Bible.
    25. Now, as I have stated, the world is fallen and the people are longing for a Savior. Let’s look at Noah.   
  2. In Noah, they long for a Savior.
    1. Genesis 5:28-32: When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died. After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
    2. Methuselah lives 187 years and fathers Lamech.
    3. Lamech will be Noah’s father.
    4. Names meant something back then and look at the pronouncement with naming Noah. They called him Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”
    5. They longed for a Savior.
    6. One source shares: Lamech’s comment on the name “Noah” (Hb. noakh), which strictly speaking means “rest” (Hb. nuakh), introduces the related concept of “comfort” (Hb. nakham). Lamech expects that Noah will bring both rest and comfort from the painful toil of working the soil.[4]
    7. Moody Bible Commentary: Just as Eve thought the Redeemer had come when her first child was born, so it appears that Noah’s father thought the same—that this child would bring rest from the problem of sin. Though the reason for this expectation concerning Noah is unstated (and hence not essential to the point of the narrative), the “messianic” hope at this point is still imminent.[5]
    8. It is as if they were expecting that Noah may be the Messiah, the Savior, the fulfillment of the Gen. 3:15 prophesy.
    9. We see in this chapter that the human race is multiplying, but they are multiplying in a depraved world. They have left paradise and they need a Savior.
  3. Applications
    1. In Luke 3:35-38 we see some of these names show up in Jesus’ genealogy. This shows there significance. We must believe them here or we cannot believe them in Luke 3:35-38.
    2. God is faithful, we see that the human race continues, and we also see the people longing for a Savior. They needed to be rescued (Gen 5:28-32). Do we recognize our need for a Savior?
    3. How would our life be without any thought or understanding of the need for a Savior?
    4. Do we worship the Lord that we know the Savior?
    5. Do we worship the Lord for revealing Himself to us?
    6. Are we telling others about the Savior?
    7. This was a day and age without a Savior, but in the naming of Noah it appears that they longed for a Savior. America needs the Savior.
    8. The most important application of this passage is to go and tell others about Jesus.

Imagine never knowing about Jesus. Imagine never knowing about our Savior.

More than 5,000 people groups are without an indigenous Christian church, according to recent data from Joshua Project. Nearly 2 billion people—more than a quarter of the world’s population—live in a group without a “self-sustaining gospel movement.” The ten largest unreached people groups are located in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Algeria.

Missiologists say cross-cultural missions are more effective than near-neighbor evangelism to share the gospel with people who have never heard it, but only about 4 percent of global missionaries are going to places where there are no existing churches.[6]

There are things that we can do. Firstly, there are many that do not know Jesus, share Jesus with others that you know. Don’t get discouraged about having to share the Gospel in a certain way, instead focus on spiritual conversations. Focus on having God space in your conversations. Secondly, there are many international students at YSU and many of them are from areas where they have not been reached with the Gospel. Locally, we have a Navigators missionary who would love to connect with us to help minister to the unreached people groups at YSU.

Prayer


[1] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 522.

[2] https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/genealogy/did-adam-and-noah-really-live-over-900-years/

[3] Ibid.

[4] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 61.

[5] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 55.

[6] Source: Staff, “Where the Gospel Hasn’t Gone,” CT Magazine (Jan/Feb, 2021), p. 20

The Significance of Genesis 5:1-2: Being Created in the Image of God

The Significance of Genesis 5:1-2: Being Created in the Image of God

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland OH on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6, 2022.

We have been talking about the importance of Genesis chapters 1-11. I do not believe that we are accidents. No, we are created and created in the image of God with intent. The following comes from the updated “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”:

Evolutionary biologists have faced great difficulty in trying to explain the origin of human language in evolutionary terms. A 2014 paper coauthored by leading evolutionary paleoanthropologists admits that we have “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved” and “the origins and evolution of our linguistic capacity remain as mysterious as ever” since “studies of nonhuman animals provide virtually no relevant parallels to human linguistic communication, and none to the underlying biological capacity.” (Hauser et al., MLE, 1) Under a biblical view, however, one would expect humans to have a distinct form of communication not seen among lower animals.

A biblical view also makes it reasonable to expect that stories concerning our ancient ancestors would persist in cultures around the world. These stories would have been preserved as oral traditions until systems of writing were developed.

The Sumerian civilization in southern Mesopotamia (c. 3500–2000 BC) is credited with developing the world’s first written language. The oldest written Sumerian records date to 3100 BC. (Britannica, s.v. “Languages of the World: Language Isolates”) The system of writing used was a pictographic type of cuneiform, which gradually changed to conventionalized linear drawings. These were pressed into soft clay tablets with the edge of a stylus, giving it a characteristic wedge-shaped appearance. Cuneiform was adopted for use in other languages, for example Akkadian and Babylonian. (Britannica, s.v. “cuneiform writing”) Archaeologists have uncovered thousands of cuneiform tablets in the Middle East. Many of these have been studied and translated by scholars around the world, enabling them to gain great insight into ANE beliefs about origins. Collins has described how three texts from ancient Mesopotamia demonstrate some parallels with Genesis 1–11. (Collins, DAERE, 137–160)

Chinese characters

There is written evidence for the first humans from a civilization far from Mesopotamia: ancient China. Modern Chinese can trace its roots to inscriptions that have been found on oracle bones dating back to the second millennium BC. (Thong, FOF, 46) Chinese has remained a pictograph-based language since that time, although the characters have changed over the centuries. The characters used today have been grouped into six categories. (Thong, FOF, 47) As described for example by Chan Kei Thong, two of these categories are pictographs and ideographs. (Thong, FOF, 51–52) Pictographs depict objects while ideographs convey abstract ideas and are composed of two or more pictographs. A study of ideographs reveals some of the stories that inspired the ancient people who developed them. Thong demonstrates how several ideographs show clear consistency with the Genesis account of Adam and Eve and their disobedience in the garden of Eden. The three examples listed below are formed using these pictographs: (mouth), (tree) and (female).

The symbol (shu), meaning “to restrain,” is represented by a mouth superimposed over a tree. This correlates to the first restraint placed on Adam, namely the prohibition from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Thong, FOF, 56–57)

The symbol (lan) meaning “to covet,” is represented by two trees on top with a female on the bottom. The use of two trees correlates with the two key trees in the garden of Eden: the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. The female correlates with Eve, the first human to covet something forbidden (fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). Thong notes: “The composition of this character is even more interesting when one recalls that in ancient China, women had no place in society. . . . Yet, the ancient Chinese chose to use the character for ‘woman’ rather than the one for ‘man’. . . . This shows that the ancient Chinese had some knowledge of the story of the first act of disobedience against God.” (Thong, FOF, 58)

Finally, the symbol , meaning “death,” shows that death is associated with two mouths eating from a tree. This correlates with Adam and Eve’s disobedience, for which they suffered the promised consequence of death. (Thong, FOF, 61)

The fact that these three characters have ancient forms demonstrates that they were formulated long before the first Christian missionaries visited China, generally considered to be Nestorians in AD 635. (Neill, HCM, 95) While Thong has acknowledged that Chinese calligraphy scholars do not necessarily agree with his interpretations, he argues that one of the artifacts from the San Xing Dui civilization discovered near Chengdu, Sichuan Province, a bronze tree dated to 1600 BC, supports his view that the ancient Chinese had some knowledge of the events from the garden of Eden. The tree includes fruit, knives protruding from the branches as if to guard the fruit, a feminine hand reaching to the tree, and a serpent. (Thong, private communication)[1]

God created us in His image. We are designed and created with purpose. We are not accidents and neither is our language ability.

Today, my theme:

In Genesis 5:1-2 we see the restatement of God creating male and female in His image.

My application: we are not accidents. We are image bearers.

Read with me Genesis 5:1-2:

This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.

  1. Paradise has been lost.
    1. Allow me to review last week’s message and put this passage in context. More than that, allow me to review Genesis thus far.
    2. Here we are in Genesis 5.
    3. In Genesis 1 God creates everything. We have the big picture of creation.
    4. In Genesis 2 we have the micro. We see creation specific to Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.
    5. In Genesis we see the devil, in the form of a serpent, enter the Garden of Eden and we see the people sin. Paradise has been corrupted.
    6. Everything was paradise. Everything was perfect and then sin.
    7. Sin enters and everything changes.
    8. God in His grace says that it is better than man and woman leave the Garden of Eden lest they live forever in a sinful state. After they leave the Garden of Eden they do not have access to the Tree of Life and they will die (Gen. 3:22).
    9. God set up a guard around the Garden of Eden to keep man out (Gen. 3:24).
    10. In Genesis 4 Cain and Abel are born and we have the first murder.
    11. Paradise has truly been lost.
    12. They were in paradise and now they are out of paradise and there is pride, jealousy, anger, murder, polygamy, among other sins. Yet, Adam and Eve would be alive for quite awhile and see the corruption.
    13. If I was a betting man I would argue that Adam and Eve wept over the corruption. I would bargain this was very difficult for them to see. I would bargain Adam and Eve longed for redemption.
    14. At the end of Genesis 4, in verses 25-26, Eve gives birth to Seth.
    15. This brings us to Genesis 5:1-2.
  2. Life continues
    1. In Genesis 5 we see that life continues.
    2. As we see that life continues we see that God is giving grace.
    3. As long as life continues there is potential for redemption.
    4. God had promised a redeemer (Genesis 3:15). God is faithful.
    5. So, in Genesis 5:1 we have an introduction to the book of generations.
    6. This is called a Toledot which means “family records.” We see it 11 times between Genesis 2:4 and 37:2.
    1. Allow me to share a few words about the geneology in this chapter, though we will share more next week.
    2. The purpose of the genealogy is showing death. They could not correct the problem of death.
    3. Only Enoch escapes death.
    4. Christians must respond to death by calling on the name of the Lord as the previous verse says.
    5. Notice verse 1: This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.
    6. This is the book of the generations of Adam.
    7. So, this the record of the descendants of Adam.
    8. Verse 1 is powerful.
    9. God created man. God made him in the likeness of God (See Genesis 1:26-27).
    10. Verse 2 continues: male and female He created them.
    11. It takes male and female to reflect the image of God (Gal 3:28).
    12. God blessed them.
    13. God named them man, that literally means “adam.”
  3. The likeness of God/image of God:
    1. Male and female were created in the image of God. This is repeated here.
    2. This is showing design and intent and I want to focus on that for the remainder of the message.
    3. There is great danger of a naturalistic worldview. There is grave danger of saying that we evolved from random chance.
    4. Do you realize that evolution across species is based on death?
    5. In Genesis chapters 1-2 we do not see humanity coming about by a process of death.
    6. Let me ask a question: are we getting better? Evolution says that we are getting better, we are evolving better, but we are clearly not getting better.
    7. A naturalistic evolutionary worldview leads to the idea that people are of no greater value than animals.
    8. Look at this quote from Peter Singer a professor of Bioethics at Princeton University:
    9. Therefore, Singer says, causing these animals pain—killing them for food, caging them while they produce eggs, shackling them and kidnapping them for exhibition in a zoo—subverts their preferences and is wrong.  The fact that animals are nonhuman makes no difference.  In fact, an intelligent adult ape has more conscious interests than a newborn human infant. Therefore, faced with the choice of rescuing from a fire either a severely retarded infant, who is unlikely to develop many preferences in the future, and an ape, we should rescue the ape.  To think otherwise is simple bigotry, an example of speciesism.[7]
    10. Another quote:
    11. “[Darwin’s] general theory, that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin’s time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe.”[8]
    12. It (Darwinism) is atheism and utterly inconsistent with the Scripture . . . [a] denial of design in nature is virtually the denial of God (Charles Hodge, 1874)
  4. Significance and applications:
    1. Let’s make some applications:
    2. In God’s grace the human race continues. We must trust in God’s grace.
    3. We must trust in God’s plan. God is faithful and His plan is still going forth. God is allowing humanity to continue.
    4. We had sinned against God and yet we continue.
    5. In Genesis 5:1 the Scripture says that they were created in the likeness of God. This corresponds with Eph 4:24; Col. 3:10 and Genesis 1:26-27. We are image bearers of God.
    6. We were created: this means that we are subject to the creator.
    7. We must submit to the creator (James 4:7).
    8. We are finite and dependent. We must depend on the creator.
    9. We are physical creatures and can expect to be in a physical realm for all eternity (Rev 21-22).
    10. Being physical means that we need work, sleep, exercise, food, hygiene, relaxation, laughter, diet, etc.
    11. We are a unity of material and immaterial parts. A physical body is essential to humanity, but we are more than our body.
    12. It is not correct to refer to the “inner you” as the “real” you.
    13. Our body is not evil. That comes from Greek philosophy.
    14. Being created in the image of God shows that we were created with intent.  
    15. We are not accidents.
    16. We are not the product of random evolutionary accidents.
    17. We have worth before God.
    18. Am I valuable for my performance?  What if I fail to live up to my own or society’s standards?  Am I then of no value? No, we have value being created in the image of God.
    19. Am I valuable because other people think I have worth?  Will rejection destroy my value? No, we have value being created in the image of God.
    20. Am I valuable because I decide to invent “self-esteem”? No, we have value being created in the image of God.
    21. Being created in the image of God sets us apart from animals. We have the ability to think metacognitively, to feel, and to choose. We have moral responsibility to God for our behavior. We have the potential to glorify God by choosing to live in fellowship with Him.
    22. It takes male and female to represent the image of God.
    23. We must not look down on male or female as both represent the image of God.
    24. We must not commit idolatry knowing that humans are visible representations of God.
    25. There is no room for bigotry, or prejudice. Everyone is unique and to be treated with respect[9]

Close:

C.S. Lewis writes:

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations ― these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit ― immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously ― no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.[10]

Since there are no ordinary people, I challenge you to write a letter to someone this week. It could be an email, or a card, or a written letter. But write a letter to someone telling them how much they mean to you. Write a letter to someone sharing your love and respect.

Prayer        


[1] McDowell, Josh; McDowell, Sean. Evidence That Demands a Verdict (pgs. 440- 441). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

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), 13.

[3] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 5:1.

[4] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 59.

v. verse

[5] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 13.

[6] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 54.

[7] Christian Century, July 3-10, 2002

[8] Michael Denton, Evolution, 1985, p.77

[9] Some of the content under point IV comes from Cedarville University; Christian Life and Thought notes around 2003.

[10] C.S. Lewis; C. S. Lewis. The Weight of Glory (pp. 26-27). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

Life After Paradise (Genesis 4)

The Significance of Genesis 4; Life After Paradise; The People Leave the Garden (selected verses from Genesis 4)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26, 2022

In 1991 two hikers in the Italian Alps stumbled upon a 5,300-year-old corpse that would later be dubbed “Ötzi the Iceman.” Preserved for more than five millennia in the ice and dry mountain air, Ötzi is the oldest intact corpse ever found. Forensic investigation revealed that Ötzi was most likely a shepherd. Ötzi was also a murder victim. He had been shot in the back with an arrow. As a Bronze Age shepherd who became a murder victim, we might think of Ötzi as the Abel of the Alps. In other words, the oldest human corpse was not found resting in a peaceful grave with attendant signs of reverence, but sprawled upon a bleak mountainside with an arrow in his back.

It’s a distressing commentary on the origins of human civilization. It seems that human civilization is incapable of advancing without shooting brothers in the back. From the lonely death of Ötzi in the Italian Alps to Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran, whose violent death in Tehran during the 2009 election protests was captured on a cell-phone camera and witnessed around the world, the number of Abels who lay slain by a Cain are incalculable. In a world that spills the blood of the innocent, it’s easy to despair. But the world Abel, Ötzi, and Neda were slain in, Jesus came to save.[1]

We have been focusing on how Genesis chapters 1-11 are foundational to our faith. We come to Genesis 4.

In Genesis 3 we have the devil slithering around as a serpent, talking, tempting, and distorting the Truth and Adam and Eve fall into sin. Then we come to Genesis 4 and we have a description of sin as an animal crouching at the door with a desire to overtake an individual, what an image.

In Genesis 3 we have the “why.” Why do these bad things happen, why sin? In Genesis 4 we have the “what.” What is happening that is sinful. Chapter 3 gives the cause and chapter 4 the effect.

In Genesis 4 we have this picture of sin wanting to overtake Cain, like a snake, a lion, a bear crouching, ready to pounce. When Cain gives into sin it does not stop with him. This is life outside of paradise.

We are not going to read this whole passage. Also, a few years ago I preached on Cain and Abel, so today I want to focus on a few verses. To start I want us to read a few passages of Scripture.

Let’s start with the New Testament:

1 Cor. 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Now, let’s look at a key passage in Genesis 4:6-7: The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Now, Genesis 4:8: Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

Lastly, Genesis 4:25-26: And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.

Now, we are ready to talk about Genesis 4 as foundational to our faith.

My theme is: The Significance of Genesis 4; Life After Paradise; The People Leave the Garden

  1. How did we get here?
    1. So, at the end of Genesis 3 God sent man and woman out of the Garden of Eden.
    2. In Genesis 4:1 Adam and Eve have children. They are named Cain and Abel.
    3. They both make sacrifices and God is pleased with Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s. There may be reasons for this, possibly because Abel gave of the first fruits.
    4. Cain is angry.
    5. God speaks to Cain, we read that verse earlier, but let’s read those verses again. Genesis 4:6-8: The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
    6. They have left paradise and now paradise has left them.
    7. They had sinned in Genesis 3 and the consequence of the sin is spiritual death and physical death. They needed a redeemer, but God has not yet provided the redeemer.
    8. They are out of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve lived a long time (Adam lived 930 years, Genesis 5:5) so we do not know how old Cain and Abel were at this time. One source makes the case that Cain is already married.[2]
    9. As I thought of this I was convicted to think about this from Adam and Eve’s perspective. Think with me. Allow yourself to go there. Have you ever gotten yourself in a pickle? Have you ever wished that there could be a do-over? Have you ever wondered how something was going to get taken care of after a BIG mess? Maybe something was irreparable?
    10. We all know what it is like when family relationships are divided. For many of us we wish that we could take the words back. We wish we could take back actions. We may wish we could make the phone call to repair things, or write the letter, or knock on their door.
    11. We know what it is like when things seem perfect, or almost perfect, and then we lose it. Maybe we did not realize how good we had it. Then we always wonder “what if…?”
    12. I wonder if after Cain killed Abel, Adam and Eve were thinking, “What if we did not eat of that tree?”
    13. I wonder if after Cain killed Abel, Adam and Eve were wondering where they went wrong.
    14. More than that, I wonder if after Cain killed Abel, they are so emotionally distraught. They did not know what to do.
    15. Murder is wrong.
    16. Murdering your own sibling is certainly not supposed to happen.
    17. This is the first sibling rivalry.
    18. This is the first jealousy recorded.
    19. This is the first anger recorded.
    20. This is the first murder recorded.
    21. BUT Adam and Eve’s emotions were not recorded.
    22. If Adam and Eve had a journal, what would it read?
    23. I imagine Eve running to Cain and letting out a blood curdling scream, “What have you done! What have you done! What have you done!” as she pounds her fists on his chest.
    24. Then, I imagine Eve going to Adam, but what would she say to him? Was it, “you should have intervened?” Or, did they grieve together.
    25. We don’t know what their thoughts were, but we do see a little bit in Genesis 4:25-26. We will come back to that.
    26. This is life after paradise. I wonder if Adam and Eve are realizing this is the new normal. Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5) so he saw a lot of suffering in his descendants.
  2. What about Cain’s descendants (Genesis 4:17-26)?
    1. What was life outside paradise like? We will not read the next several verses but allow me to summarize a few key insights.
    2. In verse 19 Lamech starts polygamy. In Genesis 2:24 Adam marries one wife, but now Lamech has two. Genesis 2:24 says that a man is united to his wife, not wives. They are fallen.
    3. In verse 21 we see musical instruments (The pipe).
    4. In verse 22: we see iron and bronze. This means significant advances.
    5. In verses 23-24 we have more murder.  Lamech wants protected like Cain.
    6. Notice that these are real records. These do not read like fictional myths or allegory. They are records.
    7. They may skip generations and not include everyone but they are records.
    8. Adam and Eve sinned and now they are in life after paradise. We now see the consequence of sin. When we disobey God there are consequences. We must obey God’s ways (Genesis 4:7).
      1. Jealousy (Genesis 4:4-5)
      2. Anger (Genesis 4:4-5)
      3. Murder (Genesis 4:8, 23)
      4. Revenge (Genesis 4:14)
      5. Polygamy (Genesis 4:19)
    9. Where did Cain get his wife? Genesis 5:3 says that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. He lived another 800 years and had other sons and daughters.
    10. Cain married his sister! Yes. Now, there is the belief that Adam and Eve were one specific family that God spotlights and so there were more people and Cain’s wife was from other people. But here is the problem with that.
    11. Remember the first Adam-second Adam sermon? In Adam all die, so that in Christ all can be made alive. Romans 5:12-21 is about that. Also 1 Cor 15:21-22: For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
    12. Look at Romans 5:18: Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
    13. Jesus paid the price of sin from the line of Adam. Plus, the New Testament seems to show that Adam’s sin trickles down to all humanity.
    14. God is faithful. He provided redemption.
    15. To be saved all humanity must go back to Adam and Eve.
    16. Now, how does that biologically work? Well, Adam and Eve would have been created perfectly. Their genetics were perfect so at this point that would not be a problem. But the longer human beings are in this sin-filled world their genetics got worse and the closer people are genetically related the more likely deformities would come.
    17. Did the law forbid marrying a relative? Yes, but the law came much later. By the time of the Law genetics would have been corrupted by sin and so God told them not to marry relatives (Leviticus 18-20).
    18. So, now, outside of paradise there is sin.
    19. Commenting on his performance in the gangster drama Black Mass, actor Johnny Deep said, “I found the evil in myself a long time ago, and I’ve accepted it. We’re old friends.”[3]
  3. God’s grace outside of paradise
    1. We see God’s grace in Genesis 4:7. We read that earlier.
    2. We see God’s grace in Genesis 4:15 when God protects Cain.
    3. We see God’s grace in Genesis 4:25-26. Let’s re-read that passage. Genesis 4:25-26: And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.
  4. God gave Adam and Eve another son (Genesis 4:25-26)
    1. The Lord provided more children.
    2. That is NOT to say that other children replace a child lost, NO WAY. Let me repeat, That is NOT to say that other children replace a child lost, NO WAY. However, Eve said it herself “for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”’
    3. We see God’s grace.
    4. I wonder if she was concerned that they populate the earth. God told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).
    5. I wonder if she was concerned that without more children there would not be a redeemer. Remember in Genesis 3:15 there was the first prophesy of a redeemer. With every child Eve may be wondering, “Is this going to be the redeemer?”
    6. Adam and Eve knew paradise.
    7. Adam and Eve probably wanted paradise back.
    8. They were the only two to live in paradise, to live without sin.
    9. I am sure they wanted redemption more than anyone.

Sin is destructive.  Does sin offend us?

Parishioners of a conservative, small-town church in rural Indiana were surprised one Sunday when a biker came to visit. He stuck out like a sore thumb—pony-tailed, tattooed, and wearing bikers’ colors. But the church came alongside him and showered him with love and acceptance. He kept coming back and eventually became a Christian.

But there was one lingering question: Why did the biker always wear long-sleeved shirts—even on the hottest days of summer? One day he finally confessed to the pastor that he had a tattoo of a naked woman on one forearm, and he didn’t want the other people in the church to see it.

A few weeks later, the biker walked up to the pastor and asked, “Want to see my new tattoo?” The pastor turned a little pale as the biker proudly rolled up his sleeve. “You know that naked woman tattoo I told you about awhile ago? I had the tattoo artist put clothes on her!”[4]

God provides a way out of sin. Let’s re-read 1 Corinthians 10:13.

1 Cor. 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Seek the Lord, seek paradise. Someday we will be in the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21-22).

Prayer


[1] Brian Zahnd, A Farewell to Mars (David C. Cook, 2014), pp. 60-61. https://www.preachingtoday.com/search/?query=Genesis%204&type=scripture&sourcename=illustrations

[2] https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/cain/cains-wife-who-was-she/

[3] The Talk, Celebrities, Chicago Tribune (9-5-15). https://www.preachingtoday.com/search/?query=Genesis%204&type=scripture&sourcename=illustrations

[4] Source: As told by Pastor Danny Janes, Lighthouse Community Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan. https://www.preachingtoday.com/search/?query=Genesis%204&type=scripture&new-gr-c-s-check-loaded=&gr-ext-installed=&sourcename=illustrations&filter=pttype%3AHumor

The Significance of Genesis 3 and the rest of the Bible

The Significance of Genesis 3 and the rest of the Bible (Genesis 3 and selected verses): The fall, the punishments, the first prophesy of the Messiah; the exile from the Garden of Eden; they move east…

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, February 12 and Sunday, February 13, 2022

Most of you know that I do not like snakes. I think it was 2007 when a friend of mine asked me to come down to Kentucky to work with him on a property he had. We were working outside and he told me, “One time in 10 years I saw I copper head snake.” So, I had been warned but it was only one time in ten years. We worked cutting down brush and burning it in a big fire. I was then cutting it with a lawn mower and I turned around to see a copper head slithering away. I do not like snakes. A few years before that my friend had a contractor come to look at something in that house. He had to go in the crawl space. He comes out and says, “The good news is that you do not have a leak down there. The bad news is you have a black snake.” He was crawling through the crawl space and saw a snake skin. He then looked up and saw a blacksnake coiled in the corner.

In Genesis 3 we see the devil take the form of a snake to tempt Adam and Eve. I will summarize parts of this story and I want to focus on the first prophecy of Jesus.

I am in a sermon series showing that Genesis chapters 1-11 are foundational to our faith. In Genesis 3 we see the beginning of sin and the plan for redemption.

My theme today is:

In Genesis 3 sin enters the world, but we also have the first prophesy that God will provide a Savior.

  1. First, let’s talk about sin.
    1. In Genesis 3:1-7 we see Adam and Eve tempted by the devil and they give in to temptation.
    2. The devil temps them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
    3. This passage is telling us what is wrong with the world, which is sin.
    4. Think of sin like death.
    5. Actually, isn’t it interesting that because of sin there is death and because of death there is decomposition.
    6. A few times we have noticed that a mouse has died in our house. How do we know that a mouse has died? We smell the mouse. You see, we notice a smell and we usually know that the mouse is dead in a wall and we just have to wait for the smell to go away. That smell tells us something is not right. What is wrong? Sin brought death into the world.
    7. In Genesis 3:8-14 Adam and Eve hide from God.
    8. They knew they were wrong. They knew they had disobeyed God.
    9. God talks to them and they blame each other.
    10. Adam says, “the woman ‘You’ gave me…” He blames God and Eve.
    11. In Genesis 3:14 God begins to give the consequences.
    12. Within the consequences we see grace.
    13. God gives grace and it is that He will provide a redeemer.
  2. The prophesied redemption.
    1. Read with me Genesis 3:15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
    2. I like what Dr Rydelnic shared: Some reject this as Messianic thinking why would God give grace in the midst of judgment, but that is common:
      1. God did that with Cain giving him a mark.
      2. Gen 6 judgment of earth with grace for Noah.
      3. Then Lot is rescued in the midst of judgment.
      4. Some think this is just a story showing why there is hostility with snakes… but this is a surprise in that the snake talked. The devil was possessing the snake.
      5. Seed: even in the next chapter the Word for seed means an individual.
      6. This is predicting the Messiah’s death.
      7. In defeating Satan, the Messiah will die.
    3. Hark the Herald Angels Sing: clearly Genesis 3:15 was in the mind of Charles Wesley when he wrote the 4th verse:
      1. Come, Desire of nations, come!
      2.  Fix in us Thy humble home:
      3. Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring seed,
      4. Bruise in us the serpent’s head;
      5. Adam’s likeness now efface,
      6. Stamp Thine image in its place:
      7. Final Adam from above,
      8. Reinstate us in Thy love.[1]
    4. This verse is known in Christendom as the protoevangelium, or “first good news,” because it is the first foretelling of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Using an emphatic Hebrew construction, God announced here that a male descendant—He—would someday deal the serpent (meaning Satan) a fatal blow. The NT writers understood Jesus Christ to have fulfilled this prophecy (Heb 2:14; 1Jn 3:8).[2]
    5. Verse 15 is Messianic. This is the first prophesy of the Messiah. Her offspring will give a death blow to the devil, bruise his head means death.
    6. Verse 15 does say that there will be enmity between her offspring and the devil, and the devil’s offspring (maybe demons). There is still that sin struggle. Often times I think that would mean all of us as her offspring; however, “offspring” is singular.
    7. Seed in the Bible just means offspring: Hagar and her seed Ishmael. This does not mean seed as in sperm just as offspring.
    8. Again, this passage uses her offspring saying “He” and that is masculine, singular, meaning One person, the man, Christ Jesus.
    9. Think about that. There will be One offspring, Jesus, that will deliver the death blow to satan.
    10. So, right here after the first sin God gives grace.
    11. But how important is this to the rest of the Bible?
    12. First, we can compare this narrative with the wording in Genesis 4 with Cain, then with Noah later on, and other Old Testament passages. We will not do that today. But if you want to see how they are similar contact me during the week.
  3. The fulfilled redemption
    1. I have been emphasizing how these narratives in Genesis are critical for our interpretation of the whole Bible. Think about it. If we were to throw this out of the Bible we lose:
      1. God’s grace in the midst of judgment.
      2. The first prophesy that God will provide a redeemer.
      3. Within that first prophesy we see that the method of our redemption will come through humanity. If we do not believe this passage we lose the foundation for how God will bring salvation.
    2. When do we see this fulfilled in the New Testament?
    3. When do we not see this fulfilled in the New Testament?
    4. Galatians 4:4: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
    5. Notice how that passage says “born of woman.” It seems that God is making sure we know that our Savior was born of a woman. He was a descendent of Adam and Eve.
    6. Luke 24:27: And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
    7. All of the Scriptures point to Jesus.
    8. One more passage that connects with this verse is Revelation 12:9: And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
    9. We needed a Savior and in the judgment against the very first sin, God pointed to our redemption.
  4. Applications:
    1. Salvation comes from the Lord. We must trust the Lord that He will provide a way of forgiveness.
    2. We can be encouraged that all the way back in Genesis God prophesied a way of redemption.
    3. We must be encouraged that God is faithful.
    4. We must have confidence in God’s Word.

So, once again we see how the Bible links together like a chain.

I read the following:

The distinctive mark of theology today is its dreadful ambiguity. The chaos of American theology today can be traced back to its roots in the rejection of biblical infallibility. Preaching is not the act of unfolding our personal convictions. It is the duty of informing men of all that God has spoken. To move off from the pages of Scripture is to enter into the wastelands of our own subjectivity. Scripture plays an important role in the salvation of men. The Bible is a divinely provided map of the spiritual order. It contains the directions and markings to guide a person into reconciliation with God.

—Clark Pinnock, Bibliotheca Sacra, October–December 1967[3]

Prayer


[1] Dr Rydelnic; Bible Study moment; 12.02.2021

NT New Testament

[2] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 11.

[3] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 49.

The Significance of the First Adam and the Second Adam; How is the Historical Adam Foundational to Our Faith (Selected scriptures from Genesis 2 and 3; Romans 5:17-20; 1 Cor. 15:20-22, 45-49)

The Significance of the First Adam and the Second Adam; How is the Historical Adam Foundational to Our Faith (Selected scriptures from Genesis 2 and 3; Romans 5:17-20; 1 Cor. 15:20-22, 45-49)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, February 5 and Sunday, February 6, 2022

In Christ and the Meaning of Life, German theologian Helmut Thielicke tells the story of a young [soldier] who reached out to pick a bouquet of lilacs and uncovered the half-decayed body of [another] soldier beneath the bush: “He drew back in horror, not because he had never seen a dead man before—he drew back because of the screaming contradiction between the dead man and the flowering bush.”

Thielicke notes that the soldier’s reaction would have been different if the man had come upon a dead and faded lilac bush instead: “A blooming lilac bush will one day become a withered lilac bush—this is really nothing more than the operation of the rhythm of life—but that a man should be lying there in a decayed condition, this was something that simply did not fit, and that’s why he winced at the sight of it.”

We can only understand the mystery of death if we see it through the lens of Adam’s rebellion against God. We are pilgrims who traverse an “empire of ruins” with death as our fellow traveler. Unable to rid ourselves of this cheerless companion, we attempt to rehabilitate it instead, treating death as if it were a neighbor and not a trespasser.

We clothe it in our best dress and apply make-up to its waxen features. Laid out before us in stiff repose, death looks as if it were merely asleep and if we do not look too carefully, we can almost convince ourselves that it has a beating heart within its breast and warm blood pulsing through its veins. We whisper to ourselves that it is not as alien as it first appeared. But this fool’s dream vanishes the minute we attempt to embrace death, finding that it repays our kiss with only sorrow and loss.

Death is not a natural stage in the cycle of human development. Death is a curse. The presence of death is an intrusion. It is “natural” only to the extent that nature itself suffers from the stroke that fell upon Adam as a consequence for his sin. Nature endures death but not willingly. It groans in protest, loathing the bondage to decay which death has brought upon it and yearning for “the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). Death is “the last enemy,” a tyrant who acts on sin’s behalf and whose sway over us was finally broken at the cross but will only be fully realized at the resurrection (Romans 5:211 Corinthians 15:26).

Death is our enemy but, like the law, it is also a schoolmaster that leads us to Christ. Death’s hard lesson exposes the true nature of sin. Indeed, the law and death are strange allies in this mysterious work. In the hands of God both act as a goad, puncturing our denial and prodding us to turn to Christ for relief from death’s sting.[1]

We are in a sermon series showing how Genesis chapters 1-11 are foundational to our faith. Last week we talked about the historical Adam and Eve. Today, I want to talk about how Adam’s sin points to Christ’s redemption. Today, I want to talk about how the New Testament shows how Adam was a type pointing towards Christ.

Theologically, a type is an OT person, object, or event that had a useful function in its own historical setting, but that also was designed by God to prefigure a greater, more spiritually potent situation or person. In this case, Adam was a “type” of Christ since he functions as the founder of the human race and his action had a profound influence upon it. Jesus, of course, is the superior “antitype” to Adam.[2]

Theme:

My theme is that Adam was a type and Jesus is the antitype. Adam’s sin led humanity into sin, but Jesus’ redemption makes salvation possible for all of humanity.

Let’s use three New Testament passages to show the importance of the historical Adam.

  1. Let’s first look at 1 Cor. 15:20-22:
    1. 1 Cor. 15:20-22: But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
    2. Notice how in that passage Paul is looking back to Adam. Paul is showing how Adam is a type.
    3. 1 Corinthians 15 is known as the great chapter on the resurrection.
    4. So, here in this section Paul is showing that Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection. This speaks of the first installment of harvest to eternal life, in which Christ’s resurrection will precipitate and guarantee that all of the saints who have died will be resurrected also.[3]
    5. For as one man came death— that would be Adam— as one man, Christ, comes the resurrection.
    6. As in Adam all die.
    7. We all die because of the sin of Adam.
    8. Yet, we all can be made alive through Jesus.
  2. Next, let’s look at 1 Cor. 15:45-49:
    1. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
    2. Adam became a living being, right? Paul quotes from Genesis 2:7 about Adam becoming a living being. Jesus gives us spiritual life. Paul is saying that Jesus gives us our spiritual resurrected bodies.
    3. The first man, Adam, from the dust. The second man, Jesus, is from Heaven.
    4. Notice all the comparisons and contrast.
    5. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust: they die right? Those in Adam die. But: As is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of Heaven- we live. We have resurrected bodies.
    6. Paul is comparing and contrasting the first Adam who brought death, versus Jesus being the second Adam bringing life.
    7. We will bear His image fit for Heaven.
    8. Notice that it is clear that Paul thought of Adam as a real man.
    9. More than that, Paul built theology around Adam. Adam was the prototype and Jesus the antitype.
    10. Adam was a type pointing to Jesus.
    11. I love this quote:
    12. Here’s the gospel: you’re more sinful than you ever dared believe; you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.[4]
  3. Last, example: Romans 5:17-19:
    1. I have preached on the Romans passage, so I only want to briefly look at it.
    2. This passage is extremely important for the theology of the first Adam and second Adam.
    3. The section on the first Adam and second Adam begins at verse 12, but we will begin at verse 17:
    4. Romans 5:17-19: For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
    5. In the broader text, there is a dash at the end of Romans 5:12 because it is not picked up again until verses 18-19.
    6. Notice how verse 17 is an explanation and then verse 18 an inference.
    7. Adam is a type.
    8. Again, Theologically, a type is an OT person, object, or event that had a useful function in its own historical setting, but that also was designed by God to prefigure a greater, more spiritually potent situation or person. In this case, Adam was a “type” of Christ since he functions as the founder of the human race and his action had a profound influence upon it. Jesus, of course, is the superior “antitype” to Adam.[5]
    9. I like how one source shares: In this passage Paul explores the contrasts between the condemning act of Adam and the redemptive act of Christ. They were different in their effectiveness (v. 15), their extent (v. 16), their efficacy (v. 17), their essence (vv. 18, 19), and their energy (vv. 20, 21).[6]
    10. Again, verse 19 is restating this. The disobedience of Adam versus the obedience of Christ. Humans were made sinners through Adam’s sin because he represented humanity. As stated before, we were all in his loins. But in Christ we can be made righteous.
  4. Application:
    1. Paul knew nothing of denying the real history of Adam.
    2. We must recognizing that cutting Adam out of our Bible has consequences on the reality of sin and forgiveness.
    3. Adam was a type and Jesus is the antitype.
    4. These texts (1 Cor. 15:21-22; 45-40 and Romans 5:17-19) show that Christ is the second Adam. This means that Adam was a type of one to come. We cannot, we must not, take the real Adam out of the Bible.
    5. We must worship Christ for doing what we could not do on our own. We all failed in Adam. We all sinned in Adam.
    6. To me, these are worship passages, do we worship Christ for the awesome salvation which He has freely provided?
    7. Do we try to earn our salvation? We cannot earn our salvation and that is why Jesus gave us the free gift of His righteousness.
    8. Adam sinned and we all sinned in Him, we needed Jesus to fix it.
    9. We must serve and worship Jesus who gives us His grace.

Close:

Most kingdoms do anything they can to protect their king. This is the unspoken premise of the game of chess, for example. When the king falls, the kingdom is lost. Therefore, the king must be protected at all costs. Another notable example comes from the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill desperately wanted to join the expeditionary forces and watch the invasion from the bridge of a battleship in the English Channel. U.S. General Dwight David Eisenhower was desperate to stop him, for fear that the Prime Minister might be killed in battle. When it became apparent that Churchill would not be dissuaded, Eisenhower appealed to a higher authority: King George VI. The king went and told Churchill that if it was the Prime Minister’s duty to witness the invasion, he could only conclude that it was also his own duty as king to join him on the battleship. At this point Churchill reluctantly agreed to back down, for he knew that he could never expose the King of England to such danger.

King Jesus did exactly the opposite. With royal courage he surrendered his body to be crucified. On the cross he offered a king’s ransom: his life for the life of his people. He would die for all the wrong things that we had ever done and would do, completely atoning for all our sins. The crown of thorns that was meant to make a mockery of his royal claims actually proclaimed his kingly dignity, even in death.[7]

Prayer


[1] Source: John Koessler, “Death: Our Enemy and Teacher,” on his blog A Stranger in the House of God (6-30-10)

OT Old Testament

[2] Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 1752.

[3] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 1 Co 15:20.

[4] —Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian and author of The Reason for God

Source: Tim Keller, in the sermon Treasure Versus Money, PreachingToday.com

OT Old Testament

[5] Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 1752.

[6] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 5:15–21.

[7] Source: From Philip Ryken’s sermon “Long Live the King!” PreachingToday.com