November 29, 2020
Pastor John Hering
This is what happened when mankind began to multiply on the face of the earth. When daughters were born to people, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they took as wives for themselves any of them they chose. 3 The Lord said, “My Spirit will not struggle with man forever, because he is only flesh. His days will be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days. After that, the sons of God went to the daughters of men, who bore children for them. Those became the powerful, famous men of ancient times.
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that all the thoughts and plans they formed in their hearts were only evil every day. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with sorrow. 7 The Lord said, “I will wipe out mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, along with the animals, the creeping things, and the birds of the sky, because I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
9 This is the account about the development of Noah’s family. Noah was a righteous man, a man of integrity in that generation. Noah walked with God. 10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 In the sight of God the earth was morally corrupt, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked at the earth and saw that it was corrupt, for all flesh was corrupt in all their ways on the earth.
13 So God said to Noah, “I have decreed the end of all flesh, because the earth is filled with violence because of them. Now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.
14 “Make an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark. Seal it inside and outside with pitch. 15 This is how you are to make it: The length of the ark is to be 450 feet, its width 75 feet, and its height 45 feet. 16 Make a roof for the ark, and leave an eighteen-inch opening just under the roof. Place a door on the side of the ark. Make it with lower, second, and third decks.
17 “I myself am about to bring a flood of waters on the earth, in order to destroy all flesh under the sky that has the breath of life. Everything that is on the earth will die, 18 but I will establish my covenant with you. You shall come into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You shall bring a pair (male and female) of every kind of living flesh into the ark with you to keep them alive. 20 Include the birds according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, every creeping thing on the ground according to their kinds. Two of every sort shall come to you, so you can keep them alive. 21 Take with you every type of food that is eaten, and store it for yourself, so it can be used as food for you and for them.”
22 So that is what Noah did. He did everything that God commanded him, just as he had been told.
After 120 years the ark was built. The animals were inside. Now he waited with emotions. Glad the project was completed. Sad for the people who did not repent. Anxiously he waited to see what would happen next. He waited. We just finished the end of the Church Year and thought about Last Judgment, Saints Triumphant, and Christ the King. Our plan of salvation is complete. Now we wait. But, our waiting recognizes God’s wrath and punishment for unbelief and God’s love and mercy to all those who believe in Jesus. That means we wait with hope for the day of Christ’s reign to be fully revealed and his eternal kingdom floods this earth. Advent means we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas and prepare to meet Jesus Christ at his second coming. Just like Noah waited for the flood of judgment and mercy, so we wait for Christ final return to rain condemnation on unbelievers and his mercy on believers. That’s why this account from Genesis 6 is so fitting. God’s Word takes us to safe place right in the middle of our broken world to give us real hope. Come with me to
Enter God’s Advent Ark
Avoid the Fatal Flood from God
In the beginning God created people to live in harmony with him forever in Paradise. But, by Noah’s day the people of the world only wanted to satisfy their sinful cravings. God’s patience with sinful people is a miracle of grace. However, throughout the Bible when people replace the One True God with their own man-made gods, then the patience of God wears thin. “3 The Lord said, “My Spirit will not struggle with man forever, because he is only flesh.” Since the fall into sin people have always followed their moral instincts that are infected with sin. The Holy Spirit inspired Moses recorded this said description: “5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that all the thoughts and plans they formed in their hearts were only evil every day. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with sorrow.” What was the condition of humanity? They sought satisfaction from evil. Their evil gave witness to their unbelief. Their unbelief condemned them to eternal separation from the hearts of a grieving God. Rather than allow wickedness to multiply and put his plan of salvation at risk, “7 The Lord said, “I will wipe out mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, along with the animals, the creeping things, and the birds of the sky, because I regret that I have made them.”
While God was implementing his plan to execute his judgment with a fatal flood there was another part to God’s plan that we dare not overlook. “8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” This sentence about favor and grace is a ray of light in the darkness. Noah trusted in the Lord God, and his faith would receive what God had to offer—salvation from God’s judgment through a fatal flood. God gave him the plans to build the ark. Noah and his family built the ark. And God would save his family in the Ark that was floating above the destroying flood waters below.
Think with me a bit. Let’s sit next to Noah in that Ark. There was only one thing worse than hearing the pitter patter of rain turning into waves crashing against the Ark, and then the first time they felt the Ark tip afloat in the muddy water. There was only one thing worse than hearing the pounding of the people outside screaming from terror pounding at your heart. There was only one thing worse than hearing the thud of floating debris from floating houses that once kept children safe. There was only one thing worse: drowning outside the Ark in the Fatal Flood From God and face the Judge who condemns unbelievers to hell. We know those outside the Ark went to hell, because the resurrected Lord Jesus went first to preach to the “spirits in prison who died during the days of Noah” (1 Pet 3:19-20).
To whom did this happen? “6 This is what happened when mankind began to multiply on the face of the earth. When daughters were born to people, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they took as wives for themselves any of them they chose.” This happened to people who were supposed to hold on to God’s promise of a Savior from the devil. But, they became influenced by, then interested in, and then attached to those who would rather run wild under the influence of their sinful flesh by letting it out of the cage of God’s law and abandoned their faith in God. “13 So God said to Noah, “I have decreed the end of all flesh, because the earth is filled with violence because of them. Now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” People who were supposed to be children of God made their own natural, sinful choices to live independent from God. People who were supposed to be children of God were more stimulated by the animal instincts of their flesh, then the saving instructions of God’s Word.
I really don’t have to work very hard to compare then and now, do I? Do you really craze the lifestyles of the rich and famous? Do you really believe the lie that if you strive to live a Christian life that you’re giving up all the fun? What fun? Drunkenness, orgies, selfish ambitions with hang-overs, ruined marriages and a business that might collapse under the weight of a Covid-19 virus? Is a life of building wealth, houses or relationships with people really worth anything if it isn’t anchored in a relationship with God? Do you wonder if God is saying in heaven right now, “My Spirit will not struggle with man forever, because he is only flesh.” We all recognize that our world is ripe once again to experience the judgment of a Fatal Flood from God. We all deserve by nature to experience God’s judgment. Except for one thing. We have entered into God’s Advent Ark. Through faith in God’s promise of deliverance in Christ Jesus we believe that we will avoid the judgment of a Fatal Flood from God and
Enjoy a Wonderful Journey with God
Jesus made a comparison between Noah and his ark and end times in Matthew 24: “38 In fact, in the days before the flood people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the very day that Noah entered the ark. 39 And they did not realize what was coming until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man returns” (Matt 24:38,39). How was it then? They were all partying until the flood came and took all the wicked unbelievers away. “Unfair!” someone might cry! No, actually they were given a time of grace to stop and repent. If there’s a tornado coming down your path and you fail to flee and seek shelter, can you really blame God? “3 The Lord said, “My Spirit will not struggle with man forever, because he is only flesh. His days will be 120 years.” After their time of grace of ended, they were all destroyed—and deservingly so. Some have estimated that the world’s population at the time of The Flood was about 3 billion people. Does this mean that Noah’s efforts, his prayers for God’s patience and mercy on them, were all for nothing except saving a boat full of zoo animals?
No! Listen carefully how Moses records this account for us. “9 This is the account about the development of Noah’s family.” Let me share with you some comments from Prof. Jeske in the Bible’s Bible Series on Genesis:
“God doesn’t call it ‘The Disaster of the flood’…. Moses’ emphasis is not on the nightmare of judgment, the global catastrophe which destroyed a world population…. Instead Moses emphasizes the deliverance God accomplished through Noah…. As Moses described it, this is not the story of the flood. This is Noah’s story—including his faith, his obedience, his deliverance, his sin, and the solemn covenant God made with him.”
This account speaks of Noah’s journey and his relationship with God!
Yes, The Flood is about destroying wicked people. But, it is also the account of God saving mankind using Noah and his family. The most amazing part of The Flood is not that God destroyed so many people, but that God was merciful to 8 people! God loves all those who love him and keep his commandments (a fruit of faith in the promised Messiah). Noah was one of those people who enjoyed a blessed journey with God. God spared Noah and his family and through them God would save the world when The Deliverer would be born. “18 but I will establish my covenant with you. You shall come into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You shall bring a pair (male and female) of every kind of living flesh into the ark with you to keep them alive.” Just think of the comparisons!
- God told Noah to use some wood and build an Ark to save his family. God told his Son to use some wood and be hung on it to save everyone!
- When Noah built his Ark he was ridiculed but he refused to be distracted and completed the project God told him to build. Jesus Christ was ridiculed and mocked but he was determined to obey his Father and because of it, completed the project of saving the world.
- Noah gave his life in service to God to build the Ark and care for the animal. Jesus Christ gave his life as the perfect payment for the sins of all people.
- Noah built an Ark. Jesus Christ built God’s eternal kingdom and fulfilled God’s covenant of grace.
- Noah’s Ark was built out of the mercy of God. It was God’s mercy that gave one more soul 120 years to repent and enter into Noah’s Ark. It is God’s mercy that holds off Judgment Day for one more soul to enter into God’s Advent Ark.
Today is the 1st Sunday in Advent. It is the Sunday to have hope. Our hope is in God’s mercy that used water as a tool in Noah’s day to both destroy evil and save Noah in his Ark. The church is also called the Ark of God. That’s because today God’s mercy uses God uses the Gospel in Word and Sacrament—the preaching of the Word, the waters of Holy Baptism and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper both to destroy evil and save us for heaven. That’s why I call it God’s Advent Ark. It is God’s place of hope, safety and salvation. Dear Christian friends, rest secure in the Advent Ark for Judgment Day is coming and God will rescue you from sin, death and the power of the devil. Stay in God’s Advent Ark and you will be prepared.
Noah was prepared. The Bible tells us why: “8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord….” Noah was not the father of God’s grace, but he was the son of God’s grace. Through faith Noah received what God has to offer—namely his mercy and salvation. Noah recognized that he was weak and had to lean on God’s promises of deliverance and showed it. “Noah was a righteous man, a man of integrity in that generation. Noah walked with God.” Noah was prepared. Are you? Like Noah you are declared righteous by faith in Christ Jesus. Let your actions match your faith. Like Noah be different in this world of wickedness. Like Noah, enjoy a wonderful journey with God. Rest secure in the Advent Ark of God—namely the Church.
Our church has a magazine called, “Forward in Christ.” It has many wonderful articles that encourage us in our Christian walk of faith. This article was from the December issue last year and gives a great example of what it means to rest secure in God’s Advent Ark:
“Germany has some of the most beautiful Cathedrals … but Christianity has become all but nonexistent here today. The more I talk to my colleagues and other acquaintances who are fast becoming my friends, the more [it is] sad and difficult knowing that these people I care about … are all unbelievers. Since the first day, this has been both a struggle and a huge opportunity … They are surrounded by so many Germans who claim to be part of the church but are obviously not living Christian lives … I still have to laugh at how all of my friends think I’m such a novelty – always stating what I believe and then, with God’s help, actually following it up with actions … [Sometimes I want to] run back to my Christian world. But after prayer and thoughtful consideration, I know that God wants me to be here … I trust that he will use me and make me a blessing to many people” (pp. 30,31).
After 120 years the Ark was built, the animals were in their place and Noah was waiting. Likewise our plan of salvation is all complete. And we wait. But, while we wait let’s be eager to pray, “Lord God, have mercy on us all. Help me to share your mercy and love with many more people so they can rest secure. There they will rest from fear, peace and hope as they avoid the judgment flood of punishment and enjoy the journey of being secure in God’s Advent Ark—the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.