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Noah and His Really Big Boat

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(9/14) To Walk With God (Genesis 5:28-6:22)

Itís been many weeks since I saw the movie Noah, and Iím still scratching my head and reading Genesis just trying to clear my brain. I really wanted to like the movie, but it was so irreverent using and abusing the Bible storyÖ so far-fetchedÖ that I canít even comprehend the directorís intention. I wanted Noah to be good, because we could use a reminder that God will judge the world; and that he did pass judgment on his creation thousands of years ago with a flood. So I guess its my fault for expecting Hollywood to get the story right, but despite the amazing special effects, the talented cast, and a full-scale replica of the ark, the only things they got right was Noahís name, that there was a catastrophic flood, and a really big boat. Later I read that Noahís director, Darren Aronofsky, told The New Yorker that his movie is "the least-biblical biblical film ever made."

However, like all the things that God can use for good, there are at least thousands of people around the world who are now talking about a Bible story they may not have been familiar withÖ maybe questioning the real storyÖ and maybe opening a door for us to enter into a conversation about Noah. You see, unlike the God portrayed in the movie, our God is not some mysterious "Creator" but was Noahís close friend and companion. Genesis reveals Noah as one who walked with God. And Noah understood the heart of God, the plan of God, and entered into a covenant with the Living God.

This morning if you could find your place in your Bible, in Genesis chapter 5, beginning in verse 28, Iím going to introduce you to a man named Noah and his really big boat. So weíre going to pick up at the end of Genesis 5 which is 1,656 years of a family genealogy. This genealogy is going to look at the family line from Adam, the first man, all the way up to Noah. So weíre going to pick up at the end of this chapter, because itís a really quick, panoramic view of human history. And what it really show is the effects of sin on life on the earth. Chapter 5 just shows us that since Adam, people get old and die. Youíre born, you sin, you have some kids, and die. Thatís it. Thatís the point. Itís far less meaningful or exciting than was hoped. But then Noah shows up and out of 1,600 years, we have one guy whoís really done something and is worth talking about.

Letís read together this morning from Genesis 5:28Ö "When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah and said, "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed." 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

6:1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days ó and also afterward ó when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

5 The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. NIV

TO WALK WITH GOD

The first people to walk with God were Adam and Eve in Genesis 1. They walked with God in the garden in the cool of the day. Enoch is going to walk with God. Noahís going to walk with God. Abrahamís going to walk with God. And this idea of walking with God continues through the rest of the Bible into the New Testament.

The question for us today is, "Do you walk with God?"

You see weíre all born into this world thatís sinful. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Weíre all going to die. Thereís no way around it. It doesnít matter how hard you try or how long you live, weíre all going to die. Thereís only one way to beat death and thatís to walk with God.

To walk with God is simply this, being a friend of God. Who do you go for a walk with? People you love, like your spouse, your friends, and your kids. Thatís who we go on walks with right? I love it when my kids take my hand and walk with me. I love that. And the picture here is that of God as our father. That weíre his kids. And to walk with God means you just take dadís hand and you walk with him. Wherever dad goes, thatís where youíre going. Whatever dadís doing, thatís what youíre doing.

The only way to deal with sin is to walk with God. The only way to overcome the penalty of sin, which is death, is to walk with God. Thatís the only hope we have is to walk with God. Do you walk with God? You gotta answer that. Not just believe in God, do you walk with God. Is this your lifestyle? Are you in relationship with God? Are you walking with God hand in hand?

1. THE HEART OF GOD

The result of sin is death and everybody dies. So God lets human history roll along for 1,656 years. Generation after generation, the Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time and verse 6 says, "The Lord was grieved."

You see, we only see peopleís actions with their hands. We only hear the words that proceed from their lips. We donít see the intentions of their heart. But God looks down and he looks at the heart. And God says, "I know their heart. Itís only evil all the time." Sinful, wicked, rebellious, obstinate, proud, and hard hearted.

And Godís response, and I want you to see this about God. God is grieved. Here God shares with us one of his most prevalent emotions, and that is of grief and sadness. Just like the Lord Jesus wept over Jerusalem, God wept over the condition of human life in that day. And what that means to us today, is that when we sin, God still experiences that same emotionÖ that when we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30). Godís not just up in Heaven with a clipboard taking score. God is a personal, loving God, who is personally, emotionally troubled by human wickedness.

And I want you to feel that. When you sin, you grieve God. God sheds tears over who we are and what we do. God cares about you more than you care about yourself. God cares about your life more than you care about your life. God pays closer attention to your life than you pay to your life. God is deeply and intimately involved in our life. He knows our heart, and heís grieved by our sin.

This is one of the most troubled statements from the heart of God in the whole Bible. God loved us. God made us. God blessed us. God looked at us, and God said, "I am grieved that you exist, and there is nothing but pain for me." Now remember, God is a father. We are his kids. And thatís exactly where God comes from relating to the human condition. God is grieved. God is saddened. God is heartbroken by his childrenís behavior.

Do you know that God actually knows your thoughts? He knows the inclinations of your heart. He knows what you think, what you want, what you say, and what you do.

Do you know that God is grieved? A lot of people think that God doesnít know. If they do something in secret, God doesnít see. If they say something under their breath, God doesnít hear. God knows all. God sees all. God is deeply, deeply, deeply grieved by the human sin problem.

2. THE PLAN OF GOD

So, hereís where weíre at. The camera moves in and for the first time in 1,600 years, and we have something significant to talk about and to focus on. The Lord saw how great manís wickedness on the earth had become. He looks down and says, "I let it go for 1,600 years, all we have is sin and wickedness, it is time to get involved."

Reading again in verse 7, God states his plan: "So the Lord said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth ó men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air ó for I am grieved that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.

Some people ask, "Couldnít he wait a little longer?" He waited 1,600 years. "Couldnít he give Ďem a second chance?" Read chapter 5Ö He gave generation after generation a chance. And in verse 3 the Lord said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years." In his mercy God gave a hundred and twenty more years for people to repent. The New Testament says, "God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built" (1 Peter 3:20). You know its kind of like today, we live in a day where God has promised judgment. Weíve been waiting 2,000 years, and just like in the days of Noah, Peter says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

So in verse 13, God reveals his plan to Noah "So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. 16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish."

How many of you have had God speak to you? Sometimes he speaks through Scriptures, circumstances, friends. God not often, but God speaks to me. I believe in a supernatural, miraculous God. I believe God can heal. God can speak. God can show up. God could send an angel. God is a miraculous, supernatural God, whoís free to do whatever he wants to do.

And if you walk with God, you hear from God. Thatís what Jesus says, "My sheep listen to my voice" (John 10:27). Godís not predictable in when and how he speaks. But he does. He spoke to Adam. He speaks to Noah. Heís going to speak to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.

So God comes to Noah. He says, "I love you. Iíll give you grace. Iíll change you. Iíll hold your hand. Iíll walk with you. And Iíll speak to you, so you know what youíre supposed to be doing. Heís very involved in the details. So Noah and his three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth build this really big boat. For a hundred and twenty years, theyíre building it according to the plan of God. Every day, for a hundred and twenty years, Noah gets up, puts on his tool belt, wakes up his boys, goes out and works on the boat in the middle of the desert.

Noah walked with God. He trusted God for the flood. He spent his days building the ark in faith that God will send a flood. In his spare time he was preaching the goodness of God, the repentance of sin, and inviting others to be saved by grace. Thatís what he does for a hundred and twenty years.

3. THE COVENANT OF GOD

Then again in verse 18, Lord says to Noah, "I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark ó you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them." 22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Here we are introduced to the theme of covenant. Covenant is going to be one of the dominant themes of the Bible. And here is the idea. God made us in his Creation. We sinned bringing upon ourselves a curse. Godís answer to our dilemma is covenant.

This is Godís language for his commitment, pledge, and devotion to his relationship with us. Covenant is God blessing his people. Covenant is grace. Covenant is God loving, redeeming, and embracing his people. Covenant is Godís way of overcoming the curse, returning to his original intention in creation to bless humanity. That we would belong to GodÖ live forever... have joyÖ eternally one with each other.

You see we have messed up Creation with sin. But God is restoring the purposes of his creation with a covenant. Itís an agreementÖ a commitment to the well-being of another. Thatís why we rely upon the new covenant in Christ. Thatís why we believe in marriage covenants. You see all our Christian relationships should be marked by covenant with our God who is a good God and who has pledged himself to us. Our part of the equation is that we walk with God.

And so who among us would say, ĎI will walk with Godí?" Who would profess God has been gracious to me. God has given me his righteousness. And therefore, like Noah, I will take the responsibility to share the good news of the Gospel whether others listen or not. I will be faithful to God, because God has been faithful to me. I will trust God, because he has proven himself trustworthy to me. I will walk with God, because he is the one who has taken my hand and led me each step of my life.

I would like to see more men and women in this church, in this community, with a heart like Noah. You know, Godís intention is to start with you, to see you saved by grace, and walking with him, because things change there. And I want you to feel that deep down in your soul. I want you to grab ahold of that.

I want so much for the people in this church to be confident. To not shrink back and let their sin of their past dominate their future, but to embrace the fact that they have been given the righteousness of Christ. And to walk forward in the new life that God has for them; whether anyone else understands or not. Whether or not anyone else embraces or supports your faith. Whether or not anybody else comes to faith and repents. And whether or not anybody else cheers you along. Because you know whom you serve. Youíre living for an audience of oneÖ you belong to the King... and he has taken you by the hand. And you are royaltyÖ you are about Kingdom business.

You seeÖ Noah got that. And not only was he spared, so was his wife, so was his children, and so were their spouses. "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." You see, so much is dependent upon you walking with God... to not only live under the blessing of the covenant, but also to live in the blessing that comes upon a covenant family.

But itís necessary, its unavoidable, its binding upon you yourself to walk with God. Will you embrace this? Will you get this into your heart this morning? Noah did everything just as God commanded him! See, itís not just enough to do some of the things that God says. You need to do everything. God in his Word, speaking to you, doesnít waste his breath. Everything is for our good, and everythingís important.

And I want to say this to you, friends, in closing. Genesis is not just about what happened. Genesis is about what happened and what always happens. Today is just like the days of Noah. Christian men who are supposed to be Christians are acting like non-Christian men chasing non-Christian women. Today, people are getting married, drinking, having kids and dying. Life is predictable. People live, and people die.

We know not how many days we have, but we know that today we have an opportunity to walk with God. We have an opportunity to be saved by grace. We have an opportunity to start over. We have an opportunity to be about Godís Kingdom business, and to live and not die. And we invite you to do that through the Lord Jesus. We beg you, like Noah screaming out of the ark, weíre just begging you to come to Christ.

But ultimately, you will need to decide for yourself, "Do I take the hand of God and walk with him, or do I play my odds, thinking that just as in the days of Noah, that the fire is not coming? Just as they thought the flood was not coming."

I have to leave this in your hands now but I want you to see the great hope we have. God is a good God and I invite you to him today. His nameís Jesus. Amen.

His name is Jesus. We are going to close with communion. Where we celebrate his life, his living and dying, his resurrection and his coming again. Apart from him, you cannot deal with sin. With him, his death will give you life. Letís take some time to quietly reflect and respond to Christ....

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