God Remembered NoahSermon passage: (Genesis 8:1-22) Spoken on: October 14, 2012
More sermons from this speaker 更多该讲员的讲道: Pastor Amos Lau For more of this sermon series 更多关于此讲道系列: Noah
Sermon on Genesis 8
There is more than 1 flood account. The Genesis flood and the Epic of Gilgemesh?
Gilgamesh is about man, the hero and his deeds. The Genesis flood is about our great God who acts to save. The perspective is totally different.
We often look at Genesis with the perspective that its a record of faithful heroes doing impressive things for God. E.g Sunday school version- “every person in the world was wicked, sinful, evil. God scan the earth and he found one righteous Man, who ended up doing great feats for God. So let us learn from him.” But seeing it this way misses the main point of the story and the book:
The flood is God's judgement against wickedness of men but it was not his final word. Out of the judgement of death, God’s grace appears (grace that gave life).
It has a theme of “Judgement-grace-life” which is the recurring theme of the Bible that accumulates at the cross of Jesus.
This theme points us to the fact that we are hopeless sinners in need of a great God who acts to SAVE.
Chapter 6:5-8,, shows us that Noah did not walked with God then found favor. He (like the men of his day) was wicked, but God FOUND him, so that NOW he can walked with God. God is the initiator.
The Gospels shows us exactly that: Jesus paid so dearly on the cross for us so that we find favor with God then walked with him.
Gen 8: The passage doesn’t tell us what went through Noah’s mind, but we can feel for him. For the past 150 days, he was a passenger along with family members in an ark that was a very large box, with no sail, no rudder for navigation, it was covered and he couldn't see the outside, but he would have heard three things: heavy rain, crashing water and the cries of the people drowning. Sound of death and destruction.
The worst part: God told him to build, to go, but now is silent. Did Noah think that he was forgotten? Did he doubt God?
Look at 7:24 to 8:1. "The water prevailed on the earth 150 days, but God remembered Noah and he send wind over the earth" The world was destroyed, Noah is alive because God remembered him. Noah was not an afterthought? God had made him a promise that he and his family would be safe. Noah has been in God’s mind all along.
Noah did not have to do anything to get God to remember him. He was really just the passenger in the ark. God remembers Noah not because of what Noah did, God remember Noah because God said he will. (See Chpt 7)
A question: What do we have to do to get God to remember us? Do we do something to get his attention??? No! God does not work in response to our attempts. He respond according to his own character and purposes in Christ Jesus. God remembers us because of Jesus!
Through the lens of the Gospel, We don't begin by trusting in Jesus to be right with God and then with the best of our efforts try to "stay in" God's good books.
We know this in our minds, but we act as though we do not believe it. There is a tension between who we are ( that we need to do something so that God response/love/remembers us.) and who we need to be in Christ: (which is to rest in the finished work of Jesus.)
E.g have you ever dealt with the sense of never being good enough for God? “I said the prayer, but did I say it well enough?” “I repented, but was it sincere enough?” Perhaps if I become a Sunday school teacher, a choir member, or a church leader etc etc. Or I should put in my best effort and keep all 613 rules. Or ‘This (bad situation) happened to me because I have not been praying regularly, not been reading the bible every day. That is why I am in this situation.”
Does God remember us based on how much effort we put in? NO. God remembers because he is a great and good God who keeps his promises in Jesus Christ!
Noah was stuck in a boat, without a rudder of a sail, the boat was effectively a coffin. He couldn’t save his own life! He had to cease control of life and hand it over to God. The flood destroyed life. Yet in the midst of destruction, God worked through it to give him life. It's nothing Noah had done! It is nothing we have done or will do.
God remembers on him, God remembers us.
And the best place for us to see that is at the cross. We cannot save ourselves and we need to rest on a great and awesome God in the person of Jesus Christ to come save us. We have to die to our need to control life, we give control to Jesus, fully trust in his character, his faithfulness to his promises.
So our problem isn't that God forget us but we forgetting God.
The rain stopped, the earth became quiet. Next God sends wind. Same wind that was hovering over the waters at the beginning of creation (1:2) Soon the flood receded. Finally, it touches the mountains. God who is sovereign caused this to happen, because God remembers his covenant promises to Noah.
Imagine being stuck in an enclosed area, with smelly animals, a smelly family. A year without hot meals, or hot bath or a nice bed. Anyone would be desperate to get off the boat. Noah anxiously wants to know the situation out there.
So from verses 6-12, he send out the raven, then the dove, to recce. They flew and came back with nothing. Noah waited another 7 days before sending the dove out, and it finally came back with a fresh olive branch. And he waited again to release the dove, and this time, it didn't come back. After over a year in the ark (verse 14) the ground was dried.
God had told Noah that rain would last for forty days and forty nights, but he hadn’t told him how long it would last. God was silent. What was Noah doing with the birds? He was acting in hope and being patient.
Verses 15-16. He was anxious to leave the ark, but still waits till God tells him to go. See how God directs Noah? "Build an ark. Go into the Ark. Now go from it." The timing, the initiative was God's. God's word leads him to do the right action at the right time. Noah doesn’t speak in this story, but time and again, him obeys God’s word!
What will you do, if God remains silent to your prayers, questions and struggle? Some might lose faith by giving up, leaving church, or simply just stop doing anything at all. What would you do?
I think we need to do what Noah did. He continued being faithful by staying put in the Ark and waiting for God’s direction. This show us that God is faithful in spite of what we think. So we need to wait, keep at being faithful and not give up. So when he speaks, we listen and we obey!!!
Noah got out and saw a land that was devastated but breaming with opportunities. If it were you, what will be the first thing on your "to-do list”? Build shelter? Search for clean water? Find a suitable place to grow crops? Cook a hot meal? The first thing he decides to do will be significant. What would you have done?
He did this: Verse 20-22. He chose to honor God in worship. He built an altar to God and sacrifice burnt offerings on it.
The purpose of the altar: thanksgiving: Seeing devastation around him, understood that penalty of sin is death, and being in the Ark he experienced the grace of God that kept him alive.
The purpose of burnt offerings: make amends for the sin. He is a sinner that was part of the old world that caused God grief and heartache. SO he came to make amends. Blood is payment for sin.
He understood that “God’s judgement was death for everyone, if not for God’s grace on me a sinner, I should have died too.”
When there is repentance and thanksgiving, there’s worship. So worship became his highest priority!
He is experiencing a Romans 5:20 moment “Where sin increase, grace abounded more” or God’s grace is always bigger than our sins.
Let’s unpack this: Sin and wickedness leads to a judgement of flood. It leads to death. But God works through death to bring grace on Noah and that leads to life. Noah experienced Salvation by grace alone!
The flood points us to where God’s judgement and mercy meet! It also points us to the Gospel and the cross.
As Christians, our hope is in God who comes down from heaven and to man to identify with us but we tend to forget, take for granted how helpless we are without Christ and what he as done for us on the cross.
Eph 5:2 says “Christ loved you and gave Himself up for you, as an offering and a sacrifice to God”
Jesus comes to us! God accepted his Son’s sacrifice of himself. More than what Noah’s burnt offerings could ever do. Became a curse for us: took the pain, the shame, the cup of God’s wrath, stood in our place, bore our punishment, suffered for our sin, died in our place. Becoming the ultimate 'once-and-for-all' sacrifice for us, doing what we could never do for ourselves. He has DONE it all. Jesus fulfilled all of God’s conditional standards for us, so that our relationship to God could be wholly unconditional.
So what should we do about it? We should get on our knees and thank God for Jesus! Shouldn’t we? What we can't do, Jesus has done, its finished! Do you understand the implications of that?!
The Gospel is NOT a Gospel of DO! We don’t Do Christian things so that God remembers or love us more. (E.g. DO more= love more, do less= love less). In the end, what we do will never be enough.
The Gospel IS a Gospel of DONE! We are a people that rests on the DONE work of Christ! Knowing that we do not need to impress God for him to remember us. That gives us freedom to seek him, know him, love him and DO things for his glory!
Big difference, one brings guilt, the other brings worship.
Verse 20. A picture of true worship (repentance, and thanksgiving). The ordeal of the flood left Noah with the death of self. Which means- ‘I don’t control my life, you do, you saved and sustain me!’ It is in this death of self that Noah comes alive to the saving work of God.
His attitude wasn’t “I am the most righteous so God chose me.” But “I am a sinner who deserved to die, BUT for the grace of God” in repentance, and thanksgiving he sacrifices- he worships God. The result: God is pleased.
"What would genuine repentance and worship of God/Jesus look like to you?"
Daily devotions? Praying prayers? Reading Scripture everyday? While these are good things, we should be doing them, it’s more than that, or we totally miss the point. It’s about our heart’s attitudes. Key to that is our sense of remembering God’s grace upon our lives that causes a daily repentance of sin and thankfulness for the cross of Jesus. Repentance: ‘I'm sorry for the thing I've made it, when it's all about You Jesus, forgive me' and Thankfulness: 'thank you for carrying me through, if not for grace where would I be.’
This is so important because "Unless you know the impossibility of trying to save ourselves and start depending on what Jesus had done for you, we will never truly repent or worship Jesus."
So as long as we remain sinners, we remain in desperate need and reminder of repentance and grace! Not to get God to remember us (he already does), not to double confirm our salvation (it’s already assured), but to remind ourselves because “every inclination of our heart is evil from childhood.” Verse 21.
So when was the last time you were truly thankful for Jesus or the last time you gazed upon the holiness of God and repented of your sin? Because whenever that was, was the time you truly worship God because Repentance and thankfulness drives worship! It's a very sobering thought.
While we no longer offer up animals like Noah did, but we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices- holy acceptable and pleasing before God. The key to that is embracing a lifestyle of daily repentance of sin and thankfulness for the cross. There are many here, myself included that desperately need to do just that.
Verses 21-22 gives us an assurance that when God makes his promises, he will keep it (he will continue to show mercy and grace to desperate sinners like us) so that growth, maturity and worship happens. Let us cultivate a heart that truly worships Jesus and grow in holiness and maturity.
The flood is where God’s judgement and God’s grace meet. God moved through judgement of flood and acted in grace to save and give Noah life. God remembers and acts. The flood shows us the working of "Judgement-Grace-Life"; the recurring theme of the Bible that accumulates at that cross of Jesus.
We have no solution except place our faith and trust in what Jesus had done on the cross- the place where God’s judgement and God’s grace meets so that we can come unconditionally and have life to the full! So let us praise him, thank him, and rejoice in him for he is faithful and good. Most importantly, let’s remember him daily.