[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A sermon on Genesis 6:1-8

by Matthew

I preached this sermon this morning at a small, non-denominational church.

Genesis 6

1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

3 And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

5 ¶ And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

The first part of the book of Genesis is a story of terminal decline. God created the world perfect. Yet its guardians, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and so the world fell under a curse. We read of the killing of Abel by Cain and the aggression of Lamech.

At this stage, things had reached boiling point. There was more evil in the world than could conceivably be tolerated. Notice that God has allowed things to go on in this state for a while. He had given man the power of self-determination.

Some people ask why God allows evil things to happen. That is a good question and the Bible does not give a direct answer. Yet it is clear that if we are to be able to make free choices, we must be able to that which is wrong as well as that which is right. God had allowed the men before the flood to continue in wickedness, but now they had gone on to far.

Yet God had not left man without a witness. God said “My spirit shall not always strive with man”. Though God allowed men to make their choices, His Spirit wrestled with them, urging them against evil. These people were acting against the movings of their consciences. But they were also resisting the Holy Spirit, just like the Pharisees did.

Convicting the world is one of the chief ministries of the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity. Our Lord told us that the Spirit convicts the world of sin. He enlightens people as to their sin and urges them to turn to God.

It may be that the Holy Spirit is at work in convicting you, of causing you to see the reality of your sin and your need for the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross. I would say to you to follow Him and turn to Christ.

Maybe the reason you are here today is that you are under the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. Maybe you know deep down that there is something wrong with your life. You realise that there is more to life than working, shopping and holidays. While other people take no interest in God, you are desperate to come to know Him. I tell you, if you seek God, you will find Him. It says in the book of Hebrews that God is the rewarder of him that dilligently seeks after Him. Other people use the name of Jesus as a curse word, yet you see something so lovely in the name of Christ. Jesus can give you eternal life if you receive it from Him.

We are told that the ‘sons of God’ took wives of whom they chose. Scholars have disagreed on who the sons of God were. The earliest Christians believed that they were angels who committed the terrible act of interbreeding with humans, producing giant offspring. I agree with that view.

Many commentators were uneasy with this interpretation and suggested that the sons of God were believers who married unbelievers. The problem with that interpretation is that men are never called the sons of God in the Old Testament, while angels are. And it does not explain why giants were produced through this union.

Mankind had reached the heights of wickedness and it had come to the point where mankind was committing sexual immorality of the most horrible kind.

We must not forget that there is an unseen world of angels out there. Some are good and serve our creator while others are wicked and evil.

It was through a fallen angel, Satan, that evil entered the world and he still dominates it. The New Testament speaks about rulers and authorities in heavenly places. This is why the world is in such a mess.

Often when disasters happen, like the cyclone in Burma, there is a tendency to blame God. Unbelievers will ask why such things should happen. Christians on the other hand tend to either put it down to some mysterious divine plan or else to think of some reason why the disaster must be a judgment of God. Seldom do people acknowledge that there is an unseen dimension, inhabited by spiritual beings that wield great power in this world. I would suggest that we should explain disasters like the Burmaese cyclone in terms of the working of evil angels rather than God’s plans. Jesus never attributed sickness to God. He always treated it as the work of the devil.

These evil angels have tremendous power, far more than George Bush or any human ruler. Yet they will be defeated. The sons of God who sinned before the flood were defeated. It would seem they are the same angels that Peter and Jude saw were cast into hell and bound with everlasting chains. Through His death and resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ humiliated every power and authority opposed to God.

When Jesus Christ returns He is going to end the misrule of Satan and his angels. We shall see a new kingdom of peace and righteousness.

Returning to our passage, we see a peculiar statement, that “the Lord repented that he had made man.”

Sometimes people have some very wrong ideas about God. Sometimes people have this idea that God is totally removed from His creation. That God is without any passion or emotion. This idea is foreign to the Bible.

God is an emotional being. He cares about His creation. He feels its pain. He is sorrowful when people hurt each other. God is sorrowful when men and women reject Him. God felt so sorrowful at the wickedness of men and women that He regretted creating man at all.

If you are rejecting God now, God is sorrowful. He desires you to seek Him and to find life. If you do not know God, I would urge you to seek Him.

However, if you continue to reject God there is judgment. The people of the world had the opportunity to find mercy and grace, but they rejected it. The Holy Spirit had striven with them to lead them to repentance, but they had rejected His convicting work. And thus they were liable for the consequences of their rebellion. They had their chance and had blown it. They wanted independence and they had it. But they had to face some consequences.

So God sent a flood to destroy them utterly.

God promised never to send another flood. Yet He will send fire upon the earth in the last days. As Paul tells us, when Christ returns He will take vengeance on those who have rejected God with flaming fire.

When I was a child I saw a man on the streets of Nottingham with a big bushy beard. He was wearing a sandwich board. You don't see people wearing sandwich boards these days, but this man did. His sandwich board said "Armageddon is near!" and he was shouting about the coming of Christ. My father asked me what I thought about this man. I replied that he looked very strange, but what he was saying was true. Yes, Armageddon is near. Christ is coming back and he will bring fire to cleanse this world. Maybe we need more Christians to wear sandwich boards and shouht about Armageddon. That is a message that people need to hear.

We rightly think of Jesus as the prince of peace. He is the one who will ultimately bring peace to the earth. Yet He compared His return to the flood of Noah’ s day. There will be a kingdom of peace on earth, but first there will be judgment on a sinful world. Just as the flood took the sinners in the days of Noah, so shall the coming of the Son of Man bring destruction on those who reject Christ now.

We do not know when Jesus Christ is coming back, but He is going to return. If you have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, I want to warn you that His coming is going to bring destruction to the world you know. If you continue to reject Christ, you are in danger of being among those who perish on that day. As it was in the days of Noah, sop shall it be when the Son of Man comes.

If you are a believer, then you can rejoice that the coming of Christ will bring you to glory. You are going to be with Him forever. And if you have served your Saviour faithfully, you will be among those who rule that new and perfect kingdom of peace and righteousness.

At the end of this rather depressing passage, we read that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” This one man out of the all the people on earth had been found faithful.

In every age there are those who have found grace and acceptance with God, even in the most awful circumstances. God always has His remnant.

Today we are living in a world full of sin and wickedness. Just as the days of Noah, there is far too much murder and sexual immorality.

Yet God is still at work transforming lives. God is presently gathering a people for Himself who are called to be holy and separate from this world. A people who can live lives transformed according to the pattern in Christ. They have found peace with God through the reconciliation in Christ Jesus.

You can be among that people, if you would only turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and believe on Him. He came to this world to save sinners through suffering and rising again. He can give you eternal life if you only receive it from Him by faith.


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