Have you read the letter of Jude lately? It’s a short letter with a bold message, and it’s for all believers everywhere. Jude brings attention to a danger to the faith, and he doesn’t beat around the bush when he writes about it. His passionate appeal is as relevant for us today as it was for first and second generation believers. Are you willing to receive his timeless call to contend for the faith?
How to Escape the Coming Judgement
God gave Noah a ridiculous command to build a massive ship nowhere near water and prepare to load thousands of animals on board. But as foolish as this command sounded, Noah obeyed everything God told him to do. Because of his faith in God and his obedience, Noah and his family were saved from the judgement that soon came and destroyed the earth. God’s judgement is coming again, and no one will be able to stand against it on their own. But God has already provided a Way of escape. Do you know how to find it?
I think every little child loves to hear bedtime stories. They love to hear fairy tales. They love to hear the stories that begin with “once upon a time” and “a land far, far away” because it takes them to a place that they’re picturing in their mind, some place they’ve never been. It dawned on me though, that it’s not just the little kids who like to be taken to those places. It’s also us adults.
You just look around and you see the different ways that adults like to escape. Romance novels sell by the hundreds of millions every year because it takes mostly women who buy those away from the routine of daily life. It takes them to places they really want to go. Movies that take you to that perfect relationship that you wish you had, and you walk out of the movie, perhaps, quietly thinking, “Boy, I wish my wife was like that. I wish my husband was like that.”
And the reason that people long for those types of things is because the places, the people, the events that we see and read about and hear about in those kinds of stories, they don’t exist in the real world. It is made up. But we wish they did exist. That’s why they’re so attractive to us. We long for that kind of world because we know that the real world we live in every day is far, far different from that. We recognize it when we look around at the piles of dirty dishes and dirty laundry and maybe dirty diapers if you’re in that stage. And we’re running late for this and running late for that and running behind on bills and all of these things that accumulate, and it’s just the day to day life. I was talking to someone a couple of weeks ago who described his life as a boring, endless routine. It hit me again. There it is, just this endless, non-stop pace of life.
Well, the world we’re going to read about in Genesis 6 today and the world that you and I live in, we must understand is the way it is because it is the product of the fall that happened in Genesis 3. So all of this we’re going to read about today and all of the issues in your life, in my life, that we deal with, there’s a reason for it all. We’re beginning to see now as we move through Genesis the unfolding—or, the fallout—of what occurred back in Genesis 3, the result of which is that the whole world is corrupted by sin, including your life and including mine. As we continue through the Bible we’ll continue to see this downward slide into sin. I have three points for you today, and I hope that you’ll really take these in and allow these three things from God’s Word to help set a template for you as you go through life every day, as you consider things that come your way, as you evaluate life, make decisions. Here’s an important one: as you consider God’s goodness in your life or His apparent lack of goodness in your life. Perhaps you can come back to these three things and make a sound judgment on those things.
Number one: I want us to see the vastness of man’s sin. You could put other words in there, “the magnitude of man’s sin.” Look at Genesis chapter 6, verse 5. It says this. This is among the most heartbreaking verses in the Bible to me: “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.” Verse 6: “And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart.”
Remember how we discussed a few weeks ago that the holiness of God requires, it demands, that sin must be dealt with? Sin must be punished, it cannot go unjudged. And so many people wrongly think that God is mean, that He’s angry, that He’s unkind, that He’s unloving when they read something like we’re about to get into today, in Genesis 6 and 7. They think that God enjoys punishing people, because maybe they just crack open the Bible and they read this at random out of context and they walk away thinking, “Wow, this God, He loves punishing people.” I would tell you, nothing could be farther from the truth, and I can prove that to you in about 15 seconds. For those of you who are parents, let me ask you a simple question: Do you enjoy disciplining your children? Or does it grieve your heart? You don’t even have to answer that.
I can remember so many times, Sandy and I would sit alone in the kitchen and we’d quietly be having a conversation with each other, praying together, saying, “God, give us wisdom on how to handle this. How do we wisely discipline Caroline and Nick in this situation?” And after doing what we needed to do, I would often be wiping tears from my face. It grieves the heart of any parent when they have to discipline their child, but they know it must be done in order to bring correction and wisdom into their life.
As God is looking out over His creation, this creation that He brought about, out of the love and kindness that He is, He sees corruption. He sees evil everywhere He looks, and what a horrible sight that must have been to Him. It’s hard enough for us as parents to look at our children and sometimes see what they’ve gotten themselves into. We look at them and our heart breaks. Can you imagine God looking at His creation, and this is the summary that He concludes with: “All of My creation is evil. It’s corrupt everywhere I look. All of the imagination and thoughts of their hearts are only evil continually.” Do you hear the overstatement in that verse? He doesn’t need to state it that strongly. I don’t know what you call that in English. Grammar is not my big thing, but Sharon could tell us. It’s like an over-overstatement. Okay, we get it. God’s underlining it, He’s highlighting it, He’s putting it in all caps. He’s saying they’re not just corrupt, they’re beyond corrupt.
Sometimes you and I look around at our world, and we might feel exactly the same way. It seems like wickedness is multiplying. It seems like godliness is now a joke. It seems like you and I as Christians have become the brunt of everybody’s anger and hatred, but listen, no matter how bad the world looks, God will always have His people.
Remember when we looked at Esther, things couldn’t have possibly looked worse for God’s people, but out of the badness, one little unknown guy rises. One little girl rises. And God says, “Just you wait and see what I’m going to do.” The real question is, and we see this again in the text today, are you one of those people? Am I one of those people? It’s one thing to sit around as Christians and bemoan the state of the world around us, but are we one of God’s people in the world? That’s a very general statement that we can easily brush off, but let me ask you, are you one of God’s people in the office? At the factory? In your home? Are we willing to stand for God in a corrupt world? I’ve told you before, so many Christians say, “Oh, I’m willing to die for Him,” but they’re not even willing to live for Him. The real question is where are we in this corrupt world? Because here’s something startling that we see after this statement that God makes: Verse 8, even in this world filled with corruption, overrun by evil, look at this magnificent statement: “But Noah found favor”—or grace—”in the eyes of the Lord.” Folks, that statement ought to linger with us like a perfume. As God sees all the things in the world that grieve His heart, I wonder, can His eyes pause on us? Would He ever be able to make that statement about you, about me? If God were writing the Bible about 2019 in Greenville, South Carolina, and we unknowingly were characters in that Bible story, would our name appear in this verse?
Noah didn’t know the Bible was being written about him. He had no clue; he was just living his life. He wasn’t getting up every day saying, “I better put on the polish today because I’m going to be in the Bible.” He had no clue. He was just a normal guy living his normal life. We mustn’t forget that. God is looking for these people. He’s looking to find these people in the midst of a corrupt world. I told you about 2 Chronicles 16:9. It’s a great cross reference for you here: “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” Man, that just lights my fire. I can’t get over that. It’s like we’re holding God back. He’s up there saying, “If someone would just fully commit themselves to Me, you have no idea the power I could unleash through their life.”
Verse 9 goes on to tell us that Noah was a righteous man. It says, “he was blameless in his generation.” And here we see this phrase again: “Noah walked with God.” I want to clear this word “blameless” up very quickly, because the English language has evolved over time. It has changed dramatically over time. The word “dude” is not found anywhere in the 1611 Bible. That wasn’t a word then. This word “blameless,” we hear that today and we think of “perfect,” we think of “sinless.” Noah wasn’t sinless; that’s not what this means. It means he was a man of integrity. It means he was a righteous man. The Bible calls us to be righteous, and that’s what it’s saying. You can flip over for an example to chapter 7, verse 1. God says there about Noah, He told him to go into the ark with his family. He says, “because I have seen that you are a righteous man before Me in this generation.”
The other thing to see here is, it says, “Noah walked with God.” Remember, a couple weeks ago, we saw that back in Genesis chapter 5, verses 22 and 24. It told us, “Enoch walked with God.” Remember that? And we paused on that for a moment, we highlighted that, and we’re going to see other people who walked with God as we go through the Bible. They stand out from the rest. It points out here, Noah wasn’t one of the people just walking with the crowd. He walked with God. In a time when the entire world was overrun with wickedness, Noah was walking with God.
But here’s the sad part. The sin in the world had reached such epic, epic proportions, that God had to bring judgment. Now time has passed here. As I told you before, we get an abbreviated snapshot of history in the Bible. About 1,600 years have passed from Adam to Noah. That’s how much history has passed in our look through the Bible so far. You put that in perspective of the time from now when we’re living back to when the Declaration of Independence was signed. We think that’s a long time. Roughly 1,600 years now have gone by; a lot of generations have come and gone. Remember last time we saw so and so lived 900 and something years and all that, all that time has gone by, and this corruption has built and built and built. God has been calling, Noah’s been preaching repentance for people to come, and now we see the second point. Not only do we see the vastness of man’s sin, but secondly, we see the vastness of God’s judgment. Verse 7: “So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” What a statement.
I have to tell you, God’s judgment is not an easy thing to talk about. I’d rather be up here talking about puppy dogs and fields of flowers. Well, I don’t know about that, but you know, nice things. Cotton candy and puffy clouds and all those things. Wouldn’t that be so much more wonderful? Here we are. We have to deal with the judgment of God. I understand why some pastors choose to avoid this, but they’re wrong. It’s so much easier not to talk about it. Folks, in case you don’t know, there are pastors, well-known pastors, who have a massive audience, who could preach the Gospel to them, but they have said publicly, “Well, I don’t like to talk about negative things. We don’t talk about sin and hell, because we prefer to focus on positive things.” If you don’t believe that, I can send you the link to the video, and you can watch it for yourself. People flock to that kind of thing. “Well, finally we found a church where we can be comfortable, and we don’t have to listen to all that hell and damnation stuff.” I get it that other pastors go too far in the other direction, and they never talk about grace, and they never talk about love, and they beat their sheep up every week. I get that. Any pastor who never preaches about sin and judgment and hell is not preaching the Gospel. You cannot preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ without telling people why they need the Gospel, and the reason they need the Gospel is because we are all sinners who have offended God, and we are on our way to hell without Him. If you you haven’t heard it anywhere else, you heard it here today.
But there’s even a danger for us when it comes to this topic of God’s judgment, and that is that Christians are really good at looking out of our stained glass windows and asking God to judge all the sinners out there, forgetting all the while about the sin in here. We want justice to be served on others, especially if they have wronged us. But when justice is getting ready to fall on us for our sin, we conveniently find all kinds of ways to wiggle our way out of that and to rationalize our sin, because we somehow think that other people’s sin is worse than our sin. If you don’t think that you think that, be honest. When you hear a story on the news about a mass murderer, a rapist, a child molester, a terrorist, honestly, do you not look at that story and go, “What a filthy, rotten, sick person that is.” You do, don’t you? “Well, I’d like to get a hold of that person. They ought to lock him up for life.” You think those things, don’t you? And what you’re doing is you’re putting yourself up here, and you’re putting him down there. And I understand, there are some horrible crimes, horrible things that take place. I get that, but folks, listen, we better be careful because if you’ve hated your brother in your heart, you’re a murderer. I better move on. I’m getting some weird looks. I love y’all. Don’t pick up stones yet.
You know, we pray sometimes, “God, judge the sin in the world. Please do something about the sin in the world,” and we don’t realize that we’re included in that group. Listen, we better not miss this in Genesis 6. We better not miss this. There weren’t just sinners outside the ark. There were sinners inside the ark. When Noah and his family walked into the ark, sin walked into the ark with them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the reason Noah and his family were allowed into the ark was because they were sinless. They weren’t. The reason they were on the ark was because they believed God’s warning that judgment was coming. They accepted His invitation for rescue and salvation, and they went into the ark when judgment came. In other words, they were walking with God. They were trusting what He said by faith. Hebrews 11:7 tells us, “By faith Noah, when he was warned about the things not yet seen, in godly fear built an ark to save his family.” He was saved by faith the same way we are. He was saved by faith looking forward to salvation. We are saved by faith, looking back to the salvation that Christ brought.
Noah and his family would not have survived at all if they had decided to try to go by their own plan, and neither will you, folks. Neither will you. When the flood of God’s judgment comes for sin, none of our boats will float. All our ships will be sunk. None of our own efforts will save us. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us this very clearly. It says, “It is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” That means when we’re in heaven, you can’t look at me and go, “Man, I worked way harder to get here than you did.” The only way to find rescue, folks, is if we are in the ark.
The only way to be saved from judgment is, number one, we’ve got to realize judgment is coming. Number two, we’ve got to accept God’s invitation for rescue and salvation. Number three, we’ve got to enter into the ark of salvation that He’s provided, because I tell you what, folks, God’s judgment against sin is so fearsome. It is so terrifying. It is so complete that there is no one who can escape it on their own. When God deals with sin, He doesn’t do it halfway, because God views sin far more seriously than you and I do. God sees our sin like a deadly viper. He sees our sin like a cancer. It cannot be played with. If we only saw our sin that way, if I only saw my sin that way, I would run from it in terror rather than playing footsie with it, rather than toying with it, rather than inviting it in. God doesn’t treat sin casually like we so often do. Here in verses 6 and 7, we see the vastness. We see the magnitude of God’s judgment against the sins of mankind. It’s complete judgment. It is total judgment against sin. He doesn’t halfway judge sin.
Some people will try to tell you—I heard it just a few months ago on the car radio—they will try to tell you that this was just a local flood. It’s nonsense. I don’t know where it was, I was in the car, some pastor I’d never heard. He says, “Now it doesn’t necessarily mean that all the mountain tops were covered.” I said, “What?” Did you ever watch John McEnroe play tennis back in the 80s or whatever? I sometimes go into my McEnroe impersonation, “You cannot be serious!” I was doing that to the car radio. Listen, young folks, you’ll get in high school, you’ll get in college, university, you’ll have some slick professor who’s so suave and so cool, all the kids love him, and he’s going to do his best to try to convince you in some fancy ways that everything you’ve learned about the Bible is wrong. “Your parents are dummies. They’re old fashioned idiots. Let me tell you the truth. Blah, blah, blah.” He’s going to go on and try to convince you that the flood didn’t happen or it was just a local flood. Let me tell you something, folks: the geological evidence for a worldwide flood is overwhelming, and it is everywhere. If your professor says to you, “Show me evidence for a worldwide flood,” you take him on a hike. You’ve got evidence everywhere. What you need to say to him is, “No sir. No, ma’am. You show me evidence that it was only a local flood.” He’s got none.
It’s everywhere, on every continent in the world. You can find sealife fossilized at the top of mountains on every continent in the world. Seashells, fish, clams, oysters, on and on and on, thousands of feet above sea level, hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean. Whale fossils were found more than 5,000 feet in the Andes Mountains. In 2010, 75 whale fossils, most of them completely intact, were found in the Atacama Desert in Chile. This was 2010. They were building a highway through part of it, and they had to completely stop—you can go online and see videos of this—75 whale fossils were found in a desert. I watched an evolutionist try to give this bumbling explanation of how 75 whales ended up in the desert in Chile. Here’s one little fact he left out: he didn’t tell his listeners the elevation of the desert. It is 7,900 feet above sea level. Oops. Marine fossils have been found in the Grand Canyon walls 7,000-8,000 feet above sea level. And yes, in case you’re wondering, on Mount Everest 29,000 feet above sea level.
I remember when I was a teenager, we were traveling the world, and we went up this little incline railway thing, way up to the top of some mountain and did a tour. And part of the tour was going into this massive cave, and it was all lit up. We were walking through and the tour guide was doing his thing, and I remember at one point just glancing up at a wall, and the wall was covered with seashells and seahorses embedded into the cave walls, and I stood there as a kid looking at this going, “I cannot believe this.” I remember tracing my finger over one of the seashells in the wall. There we were on top of a mountain.
Well, I could go on for days about that, folks. Let me just tell you something: you’ve got to work really, really, really hard to ignore this evidence. You’ve got to want to not believe this. God spells it out very clearly here in His Word. Just look, Genesis 6:7: “So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth.'” Chapter 7, verse 4: God said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” Verse 19 of chapter 7: “…all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.” Verse 20: “The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits”—that’s 22 feet. Verse 21: “Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm under the earth, and all mankind.” Verse 22: “Everything on dry land that had breath in its nostrils died.” Verse 23: “Every living thing on the face of the earth was blotted out,” and so on and so on. How clear is that? Do you think God’s trying to drive home a point here? I’ll tell you, these verses, we read them and they’re hard enough to absorb as they are, but verses like this read by themselves out of context, you will not find any meaning or any justice or hope in verses like this. You will walk away hating God.
I had one guy look at me one time and say, “Oh, oh, you talking about the God who killed everybody on the planet? Oh, that one? Yeah, He really loves people.” It’s not until we realize the horrors of sin, and just what our sin has done to God, and how completely sin must be dealt with, it’s not until then that we’ll ever be able to truly understand why this had to be done. Yet, even in this judgment, we once again see that God still longs to save all who will come to Him, and that brings me to the final point.
In this we see, number three, the vastness of God’s grace. It seems almost absurd to follow what we’ve just talked about by talking about God’s grace, but we would do well to remember that all mankind are sinners who do not deserve anything from God but punishment and death.
Listen, God did not have to provide an ark, but He did. And anyone who wanted could have repented of their sin, could have entered that ark and been saved, but they chose not to. The reason we need to know about the vastness of our sin and the vastness of God’s judgment against sin is because until we grasp the vastness of our sin and the vastness of God’s judgment against sin—which is coming again—we will never be able to fully appreciate the vastness of God’s grace.
We had better grasp the vastness of God’s grace, because judgment is coming again. Judgment is going to fall once again, and unless we understand how horrific our sin is and we run into the safety of the ark that God has provided, we will face God’s judgment, and we will be lost for all eternity. But God keeps saying it doesn’t have to be that way because God has kept the promise that He made back in Genesis 3:15 that we looked at, that a Savior will come, and even though none of us deserved it, His grace has provided an ark for us, and that ark is named Jesus Christ. Just as Noah was only saved by being in the ark, so we will only be saved by being in Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:12 says, “Whoever has the Son has life.” S-o-n. Just as if that wasn’t clear enough, it says, “Whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” John 3:36 tells us this: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” If you try to escape God’s judgment by your own methods, through your own ways, you will drown in your sin and you will be lost forever. The only way is to run to the ark, is to run to Jesus Christ and find rescue, find salvation, and find eternal life.
I close by saying this: as Noah was building the ark, as I said, all those years he was preaching, pleading with people to believe God’s Word, to escape the coming judgment, to find salvation, but none of them listened. They were mocking, “Hey, old man, you realize there’s no water around here, right? That’s a pretty big boat you’re building there, buddy.” And people do the same to the Gospel today. They laugh at it, they mock at it. They think we’re fools. But the tables are going to turn. Can you imagine the people beating on the outside of the ark as the rains began to fall? As the floodwaters began to rise and reach their neck, can you imagine them beating on the ark and screaming, “We believe you now! We believe you now!” But the Bible says in chapter 7, God shut the door of the ark. I missed that for years. God shut the door. And once it shut, it shut.
Don’t trifle with God’s grace. Don’t play with His longsuffering and patience and goodness. The day is coming when the door will shut. Your chance will be over. It will be gone forever. Come into the ark while you still have time. God is giving you this day, this moment, another opportunity to come in while the door is still open. So I ask you, are you in the ark, or are you out? Where are you?
I love chapter 8 verse 1. It says, “But God remembered Noah.” What a wonderful thing to say at the end of such a horrific story. If you’re in the ark, your name can be right there in that verse. God will remember you. Are you in, or are you out? It’s one or the other. If you don’t know Jesus today, I pray you’ll speak to someone during these closing songs or after the service if we can talk with you and help you find your way into that ark to find salvation and eternal life through Christ