Sermon: Obediently Abnormal (Genesis 6:5-10)

Obediently Abnormal

Genesis 6

How do you know when a person is out of his mind? Well, what if a man behaves like nobody else behaves? What if he says he hears things nobody else hears? What if he fears what nobody else fears? What if he devotes all his energy to a cause nobody else believes in? Would you say he’s crazy? At the very least, you’d think he’s weird, wouldn’t you? Suppose this crazy person goes to work on a strange project. He claims that the world is about to be wiped out and that he’s building the only place where anyone will be able to survive when the disaster comes. How does he know all this? He says he heard a voice telling him so. There’s no sign at all of the disaster he expects, but he keeps working on his project year after year, simply because of that voice he heard. Would you take him seriously? Wouldn’t you instead laugh at him, or, at best, feel sorry for him? The man would have to be crazy!

But what if the “crazy” man is an old fellow named Noah? What if the project he’s working on is an enormous ark? What if the disaster he’s speaking about is a worldwide flood? What if the voice that told him to build the ark was the voice of God? What if the reason his behavior is so different from others is that the whole world has gone crazy with evil and that he, unlike so many, has a relationship with God?

Noah’s neighbors didn’t take him seriously. When the ark was built, the only people who boarded it were Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their son’s wives–eight people in all. Nobody else wanted to be aboard that ark. There was no water anywhere nearby. There was no weather pattern that indicated that a flood was about to cover the earth. So people ignored Noah and thought he was a religious fanatic or an outright lunatic.

Genesis 6:5-10 (ESV) 

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. [6] And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. [7] So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” [8] But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

[9] These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. [10] And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

1)  Noah Stood Strong When Evil Was the Norm

Noah was not really crazy, but he must have seemed crazy to the people around him. When the whole world is wicked, goodness looks odd. When almost everybody ignores God, then someone who pays attention to God’s Word seems crazy. Noah lived in a world where insanely sinful behavior had become so common that it seemed normal. From the time of Adam to the time of Noah, the size of earth’s population shot upward, but the moral character of the people plummeted downward.

When Charles Spurgeon first began to preach in England he was ridiculed.  Spurgeon was taunted by a jeering mob.  They made fun of him saying things like, “Your success will be short lived.”  These well educated people made sayings up to try to intimidate Spurgeon.  They said that his success among the rabble may be going up like a rocket, but it would soon fall like a stick.  Spurgeon stood alone.  Though not alone entirely, God was at his side.  The reason Spurgeon was so popular was the fact that what he had to say was what God had to say.  Spurgeon was preaching to the common folks in England.  He was a spokesman that blasted the message that God was interested in Common people.  He stood alone.  Today, we remember Spurgeon, but can’t quite remember any of those who stood against him and the Word of God.  This preacher stood bold and proclaimed a message of Grace.  Unconditional grace was his claim.  A grace that is free to change hearts of men. 

God’s Word is never shaken.  Athanasious stood alone, Luther stood alone, Knox stood alone, William Tyndale stood alone, John Huss stood alone, John Calvin stood alone.  They proclaimed boldly the Word of God.

The prophet Jeremiah stood alone.  Nobody wanted to hear his message.

Noah stood alone-

Noah stood alone in a generation of evil.  As people around him taunted and laughed, he stood strong.  When the normal person was evil Noah remained obediently abnormal.

Noah would triumph because like the other great men in Scripture, He believed what God said.

Hebrews 11:7

•7        By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Many times we find ourselves in the middle of a godless crowd.  We may be the only Christian influence at that time.  What is our reaction to peer pressure?  Do we stand or cower in fear?  Noah stood.  He preached to the crowds that came and watched with amazement as he built an ark miles from any body of water.  Noah preached with his mouth and with his faith.  He had a faith that was evident to all.  Every plank that was set in place was a testimony to Noah’s faith.  Noah proclaimed the message God gave him. 

Noah was the last descendant of the godly line of Seth.  When Noah was born, Methuselah was still living.  Lamech, Noah’s father was a godly man, who no doubt taught him all about the promises of Yahweh.  Noah grew up in an environment of faith.  He was taught the meaning of Methuselah’s name (when I am gone it will come).  The year Methuselah died the flood came.  Noah was able to stand in that evil generation.  How did he do it?  How did he stand?

•2)       Can I Stand Strong When Evil Seems Normal? (Genesis 6:8-10)

[8] But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. [9] These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. [10] And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

This is a great feat to be righteous and blameless.  How did Noah get to be that way?  Did he work diligently at being righteous?  Did he wake up every morning and decide to be blameless?

I thought that the Bible says that no one is righteous?

Romans 3:9-12 (ESV) 

    What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin,  [10] as it is written:

 

    “None is righteous, no, not one;

        [11] no one understands;

        no one seeks for God.

    [12] All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

        no one does good,

        not even one.”

The Bible plainly says Noah was righteous.

Well, before you read verse 9, go back and read verse 8.  What does verse 8 say?

Genesis 6:8

  • 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Noah found Grace.  That Hebrew word for favor is the very same word for grace.  In fact the KJV translates it as grace.  Noah found grace from God.

God gave Noah unconditional grace.  It was the grace of God that gave Noah the ability to live godly in an evil world.   What a contrast between Noah’s family and the rest of the world! The world was under God’s wrath, but Noah was under God’s grace. The world was evil, but Noah was righteous. The world was wicked, but Noah was blameless. The world was godless, but Noah walked with God. The sons of other once-godly families married and mingled with the ungodly, but Noah, his sons and their wives remained faithful to the Lord.   Noah didn’t do all of this because he was naturally so good. He had a sinful nature like everyone else. The Bible says that when God looked at humanity before the flood, he saw “that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (6:5). And even after the flood, when Noah and his offspring were the only humans left, God said that of humanity that “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (8:21). Noah had a fallen nature that tended toward sin. On his own Noah would have been as sinful as anyone else.   But Noah wasn’t on his own. Noah had God. The Bible says that Noah found favor, or grace, in the eyes of the Lord. It was God’s amazing grace that accepted Noah and made him different. Noah lived by faith in God’s grace. This enabled him, in spite of his sinful nature, to be right with God and righteous in his conduct. This made him “blameless,” a man who served God with integrity and dealt with his own faults honestly and promptly. Noah wasn’t perfect, but he was blameless in the sense that sin did not dominate him or keep the upper hand over him. Nobody could deny the power of holiness in him. By himself Noah was as weak and wicked as anyone, but “Noah walked with God.” Noah may have seemed crazy for being so out of step with other people, but he was in step with God, and that was all that really mattered.   That’s all that really matters for you and me as well. On our own, we’re as bad as anyone else. Even the most devoted follower of Jesus Christ has to admit, as the apostle Paul did,

Romans 7:18 (ESV) 

    For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 

Church Reformer Martin Luther said, “Without the Holy Spirit and without grace man can do nothing but sin and so goes on endlessly from sin to sin.” But, said Luther, “this knowledge of our sin is the beginning of our salvation,” in that “we completely despair of ourselves and give to God alone the glory for our righteousness in Christ.”

3)  Can I Stand On God’s Word in an Evil World?

The closer you walk with God, the more you will seem like a misfit to people who don’t know God. But that’s okay. The Bible says,

(Exodus 23:2)

2  “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.

(Psalm 1:1-2 )

1  Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

I wonder what Noah and the Lord spoke about as he walked with God?

For the next 120 years God counted down to the Day of Judgment, and for those 120 years Noah and his family worked on the ark. They must have seemed ridiculous. There they were building an enormous ship in a place that was nowhere near any lake or ocean. When Noah explained that he was preparing for worldwide disaster and said that the ark was the only way to be saved, nobody took him seriously. There was no scientific reason to expect a worldwide flood. There was no evidence that judgment was coming. Year after year went by, but nothing changed.

The Bible however, calls Noah “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5).

Noah was not a popular preacher. He got no positive response outside his own family. He didn’t change his message to make it more attractive to the multitudes that didn’t care what he said. He preached the truth decade after decade, even when nobody took his words to heart.

Nobody thought the flood would come.  Everyone thought they were alright the way they were.  Everyone thought Noah was crazy.

Nobody thinks Jesus is coming.  Everyone thinks they are alright the way they are.  Everyone thinks evangelistic Christians are crazy. 

2 Peter 3:3-9 (ESV) 

    knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.  [4] They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”  [5] For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,  [6] and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.  [7] But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

    [8] 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.  [9] 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. 

The reason Jesus has not come yet is because God does not wish any of His children to perish.  It is not because He has forgotten.

Just as Noah remained faithful to God and proclaimed the coming judgment, we also must remain faithful to God in these evil times.  Be radical for God.  Be abnormal.  Be different.  Take a stand on God’s Word. 

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) 

    I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  [2] Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

 

 

 

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