Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 6:00pm
Bible Reference: 
Genesis 6:1-8

GENESIS 6:5-10


1.  Wickedness Was Great

        The early part of the Book of Genesis tells us that mankind pursued evil until it filled the earth.  Not only were their actions evil, but their intentions and their motivations were evil as well.  Even if they did something right, they did it for the wrong reasons. 

        And not only were their actions wrong, not only were the motives wrong, but their every thought was evil.  The bible tells us to take our thoughts captive, to capture our imaginations, to focus our mind on the good things of God.  The people in Noah’s day were not coming close. 

The story is told of a farmer in a Midwestern state who had a strong disdain for "religious" things. As he plowed his field on Sunday morning, he would shake his fist at the church people who passed by on their way to worship. October came and the farmer had his finest crop ever--the best in the entire county. When the harvest was complete, he placed an advertisement in the local paper which belittled the Christians for their faith in God. Near the end of his diatribe he wrote, "Faith in God must not mean much if someone like me can prosper." The response from the Christians in the community was quiet and polite. In the next edition of the town paper, a small ad appeared. It read simply, "God doesn't always settle His accounts in October." 

        So Genesis tells us the evil permeated every layer of society.  Between their actions, their motives and their thoughts, evilness abounded throughout the world. 

2.  God Was Sorry

        God hates evil.  His holiness is repulsed by wrong.  He cannot accept, tolerate or abide sin in any form or fashion. 

        God is love and because God is love and loves His creation, He hates anything that damages those He cares deeply about.  What father would stand by and allow his child to crawl into a pit of rattlesnakes, step in front of an on coming train or play to close to the water when they can’t swim.

        Our problem is we don’t see the damage that sin causes the way God does.  We don’t see what the lie does to us.  We only care about it when we get caught.  We don’t see what lust does to us.  How it changes us, how it corrupts us.  We don’t see what arrogance, jealousy, and covetousness does to us.  We don’t see the change to our hearts. 

And when we don’t see the damage, we lower the standard.  We say to ourselves, “It’s not a big sin.  It’s not hurting anybody”.  They talk today about victimless crimes.  That is an oxymoron.  If there is a crime, there is a victim.  It may be the perpetrator of the crime, but there is still a victim. 

        But God never lowers the standard.  His standards don’t evolve.  They don’t become enlightened.  They don’t need to become more sophisticated.  They are eternal, they are absolute, and they are perfect. 

3.  Noah Found Grace
        A Sunday School teacher had just concluded her lesson and wanted to make sure she had made her point. She said to her young class, "Can anyone tell me what you must do before you can obtain forgiveness of sin?" There was a short pause and then, from the back of the room, a small boy spoke up. "Sin," he said.

        I want everyone to understand Noah did not find grace because he was perfect.  If he had been perfect, he would not have needed grace.  Noah found grace, God’s favor, unmerited love because of his faith in the reality of the trustworthiness of God.

        And because Noah believed God and found grace, he stood out.  One man stood apart from this decadent society.  One star shone bright.  God always has His special man.  Men like:

        Abraham            Luther                      R. G. Lee
        Moses               Calvin                       W. A. Criswell
        Elijah                 John Knox                 Vance Havner
        David                Jonathon Edwards       Billy Graham
        Daniel               Billy Sunday               Adrian Rogers

        Noah could have chosen to give in to the tremendous pressure to fit in with the wickedness of his generation.  But Noah had chosen to live for God, to walk in fellowship with the Creator and to surrender his heart to the Master and trust in His redemptive plan.

        With the world crumbling around him, Noah towered above his time.  Noah stood for God.  He stood strong.  He stood tall.  He stood by the grace of God. 

        Now again I want to reiterate that Noah didn’t find grace because he was perfect.  He found grace because he believed God.  When you really get down to the bottom line, Noah didn’t find grace, grace found Noah. 

        One writer put it this way:

        Ponder the achievement of God.  He doesn’t condone our sin, nor does he compromise his standard.  He doesn’t ignore rebellion, nor does he relax his demands.  Rather than dismiss our sin, he assumes our sin and incredibly sentences himself.  God’s holiness is honored.  Our sin is punished.  And we are redeemed.      God does what we cannot do so we can be what we dare not dream: perfect before God.

Noah believed the promise God made to Adam and Eve that through a godly line, one day a Savior would be born. 

When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day's pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award--yet receives such a gift anyway--that is a good picture of God's unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.  God offered him grace, forgiveness, redemption and Noah believed God and received His free gift.

        Let me finish tonight by showing you three results of grace. 


1.  Purification
In a dream, Martin Luther found himself being attacked by Satan. The devil unrolled a long scroll containing a list of Luther's sins, and held it before him. On reaching the end of the scroll Luther asked the devil, "Is that all?" "No," came the reply, and a second scroll was thrust in front of him. Then, after a second came a third. But now the devil had no more. "You've forgotten something," Luther exclaimed triumphantly. "Quickly write on each of them, 'The blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, cleanses us from all sins.'"

2.  Preservation
Another result of grace is preservation.  Once our sins are removed, they don’t come back.  Once our sins are forgiven they remain forgiven 

In the 14th century, Robert Bruce of Scotland was leading his men in a battle to gain independence from England. Near the end of the conflict, the English wanted to capture Bruce to keep him from the Scottish crown. So they put his own bloodhounds on his trail. When the bloodhounds got close, Bruce could hear their baying. His attendant said, "We are done for. They are on your trail, and they will reveal your hiding place." Bruce replied, "It's all right." Then he headed for a stream that flowed through the forest. He plunged in and waded upstream a short distance. When he came out on the other bank, he was in the depths of the forest. Within minutes, the hounds, tracing their master's steps, came to the bank. They went no farther. The English soldiers urged them on, but the trail was broken. The stream had carried the scent away. A short time later, the crown of Scotland rested on the head of Robert Bruce.
        The memory of our sins, prodded on by Satan, can be like those baying dogs--but a stream flows, red with the blood of God's own Son. By grace through faith we are safe. No sin-hound can touch us. The trail is broken by the precious blood of Christ.

3.  Restoration
The final result of grace is restoration.  Max Lucado tells a heart wrenching story.  Let me read it to you. 

Longing to leave her poor Brazilian neighborhood, Christina wanted to see the world. Discontent with a home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away, breaking her mother's heart. Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria hurriedly packed to go find her. On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janiero. Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for street walkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place she left her picture--taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note. It wasn't too long before both the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. 

It was a few weeks later that young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times over she had longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in too many ways, too far away. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina's eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation. "Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn't matter. Please come home." She did.