Genesis 8-9 Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

The Fall (Again)

Genesis 8:20-9:28

-Happy Reformation Day! 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenburg church

-Written in response to Johann Tetzel’s selling of indulgences. What’s an indulgence you may ask? RCC doctrine of purgatory stated that your soul had to go through a purifying before you could get to heaven. Tetzel’s quip was “every time the copper rings a soul from purgatory springs.”

-Luther wanted to debate with Tetzel this whole idea, and in response penned his 95 theses the first of which says “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, `Repent’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

-The reality is that all of us will sin, the question becomes what’s your response when you sin?

-EFCA SOF: “Human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.”

READ/PRAY

  1. God’s Covenant with Noah (8:20-9:19)

-Last week we breezed through the flood’s coming, then God closing up the windows of heaven and floodwaters of the deep. Noah, his family, and the animals are preserved through the de-creation of the world, then last week we saw the ark come to “rest” in the mountains of Ararat. 

-One thing I haven’t talked about is other flood stories from the ancient near east.

-Point back to SOMETHING happening

-Other stories stop the flood because the gods are hungry and need an offering

-Verse back in Gen. 4 we didn’t really talk about. 26: “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.” What were Adam and Eve doing before that? The Hebrew word “call” can also be translated “proclaim.” 

Gen. 4 is contrasting the seed of the woman (Seth) with the seed of the serpent (Cain) and culminates in this verse.

-Seed of the serpent sounds SO much more impressive than the woman. shepherds, iron workers, musicians, and how is the woman’s line described? They proclaimed, shared, worshipped Yahweh. Which does God want? 

-Slight tangent (but only slight!) why do we as Christians so often look to the same measurement the world uses to make our judgments about people? 

-Think of some of the well known families in our world: Carnegies, the Royal family, Bushs, Kennedys. They all look incredibly impressive! Prestige, fame, accolades.

-Let me list some names none of you would know who have influenced me: Bubars, Kynes, Carlsons. None of them have worldly recognition, but their influence in the kingdom of God matters greatly.

  1. Offering (8:20-22)

-Just as the people “began to call on the name of the Lord” in Gen. 4, we see Noah demonstrating himself to be the seed of the women, because what’s his first act as he steps off the ark: building an altar.

-This (again) sets the stage/direction for what will be coming with God’s covenant people throughout the rest of the Torah

-First instance of an “altar” created to sacrifice to God

-Then we see why Noah had to take 7 pairs of the clean animals: to sacrifice

-This is an instance where we see some ideas taking root that aren’t fully fleshed out until later in the Torah – all 5 books written by Moses to Israel, so when these sacrifices are listed as “burnt offerings.” It would bring to mind Lev. 1, the commands for burnt offerings

-These offerings were meant to signify complete surrender to God

-Then the flip side of that, the description of God smelling the pleasing aroma signifies God’s acceptance of the offering 

-correct vs incorrect worship (Cain and Abel)

-Then we see a glimpse of God speaking to himself (in his heart). Making a promise.

-Even though man is the one that was corrupt, the ground bore the penalty

-Shows us why Paul will say in Rom. 8 that the creation was subjected and eagerly waits for Christ’s return, because it bears the penalty of our sin

-“Intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

-Getting to the doctrine of original sin. Some theologians/scholars have debated throughout history that humans are created as inherently good, and it’s society/family that corrupts them. This is getting to the question: are people inherently good or inherently bad? The way you answer that will radically alter the way you approach other people. Don’t have time to dig into that further right now, we’ll be doing a sermon series next Spring looking at the idea of treating other humans as humans, with an understanding of common grace, sin all those things!

-Second part of the promise is that other creatures will no longer bear the penalty for the sin of humans.

-Third is that the passing of times & seasons will continue on until Christ returns.

-Part of being human is acknowledging the passing of time. It’s a modern trend to work 24/7, to stay up well past the sunset, to refuse to age. A recent book I read on being human said “Attitudes of time, and the passage of time, are deeply characteristic of distinctively religious behaviour. People of faith do things with the calendar…how religious communities spend their time is a serious and central theme. Time is not undifferentiated; its passing is marked in ways that are thought to be significant.” (Williams, Being Human, 77)

-Advent is coming up, historically meant to serve as a reminder that we are a waiting people. The church calendar was assembled to remind us of our finitude, and our need of a Savior. It is characteristically un-Christian to refuse to acknowledge the changing of times/seasons. 

-We instinctively know this! We joke about the aches and pains as you get older. I’ve shared multiple times how I’m doing the best I can to add more years onto my life, happens 1 year at a time.

-I wiped out on my scooter over the summer, and I had a distinctive thought as I was falling “I can catch myself.” And suddenly the ground was there a whole lot quicker than it used to be. That was HARD for me to admit! That’s STILL hard for me to admit! I realize I’m not that old, but even for me it’s been difficult to stomach that I can’t do everything I used to do. 

-But that’s good! In our youth we feel invincible. Each passing season means we should represent Christ better.

  • Blessing and Covenant (9:1-19)

-Notice the same language to what God said back in Gen. 1. After Adam is created, God blesses him.

-Just as the flood was a de-creation, so now is meant to be a re-creation.

-Look who’s included in this blessing: “And his sons.” Meant to be a whole family

-The command is different than it was in the first creation.

-Compare this to Gen. 1:28. No subdue, no have dominion over. Instead there’s a different kind of relationship introduced between humans and animals 

-There’s still a sense of authority “into your hands” but a different relationship

-Combined with that is that animals are now food. Not explicit that Adam & Eve were vegetarian, but not it is that animals AND plants are for food. With a caveat:

4

-Is this saying when I eat my medium rare steak (as God intended it to be) that I’m sinning? If you couldn’t tell by my previous encouragement to not eat steak burned to a crisp, that’s not the intent.

-What it communicates is if you don’t have blood in you, something is wrong. 

-Various cultures throughout history have used drinking blood as a means of worship, a way to appease their gods or “steal” the power of whatever/whomever they’re consuming. So instead of viewing blood through that lens, God commands His people to drain the blood, as if it’s an offering to Him, reminder that all we are and have are gifts from a good creator 

-Fulfilment of that in Acts 10 where the blanket is lowered from heaven for Peter

-Continuing with the theme of blood, comes one of the roles of government. 

-At the root, murder is wrong because it’s killing someone who is created in the very image of God. Not going to get into capital punishment discussion today because that’s a bigger discussion than I have time for, but it is interesting to note that one of the roles of God gives governments is to bring justice to bear. 

-That’s where the whole book of Leviticus laying out the “law of the land” is meant to ensure the penalty does not go beyond the crime. All I’ll say, for now! Ultimately, we are not meant to take others’ lives! That comes because of sin

7

-You is plural, back to Noah and his family. Repeating the earlier refrain, the cultural mandate: be fruitful and multiply.

-Haven’t shared this before, but it does not mean inability to have children is bad/wrong, instead it’s saying generally, marriage leads to procreation. Nor does it mean that if you are unmarried you are somehow lacking in your growth as a believer. Jesus wasn’t married, Jesus was not “fruitful.” But he lacked nothing!

8

-God establishes his covenant. Generally the term tied with covenantal language throughout the OT is “cut a covenant” Generally blood is spilled, animals are cut. But there’s 3 important things about this covenant.

-Universal (y’all, every living creature, every beast)

-Permanent (never again, never again)

-Generosity (not earned or deserved!)

-Brought up the “cut a covenant” because look at vs. 11: cut off. We’re back to 2 ways to live: either cut a covenant with God, or be cut off from life!

-Because of God’s generous mercy, never again will a flood destroy the earth. And what evidence does God give?

-Rainbow! Just as God remember Noah back at the beginning of Gen. 8, each time he (and us) see a rainbow it’s a reminder of God’s covenant with us. 

-Some debate about whether this is the first covenant, or if God had also made a covenant with Adam and just didn’t explicitly use that word. I lean toward God having a covenant with Adam – same list of expectations, sign (them being in God’s image), consequences for breaking. Now notice – what consequences will there be for Noah? Nothing. Isn’t that crazy? God will uphold both ends of the deal.

-Everything looks good, covenant is made, flood won’t ever come again, but it’s not Eden. Sin is still affecting the heart of every human.

-Sin isn’t something “out there” that we must separate ourselves from. In our Christian culture today we have a tendency to become separatistic. Even in our parenting there’s a tendency to try isolate and preserve our precious little kids. That desire is good! We are called to help them, but don’t forget that your precious little one still has a sinful nature that we have to shepherd them through

-This is part of the function of these early chapters in Genesis – to show the enticing nature of sin. If it was desirable we wouldn’t do it! So even if we were to be in a perfect garden, we’d still choose sin. This is the reality, even for Noah who was righteous and blameless.

-This section ends describing Noah’s family: Shem, Ham, Japheth.

-Also includes a description of Ham’s descendants as Canaan, Moses is writing this, setting the stage for the curse of the Canaanites here and in Deut. People would have understood who the Canaanites were!

-Dr. Tony Evans: “Noah’s 3 sons “nicknames” Japheth (light), Shem (dusk/brown), Ham (burnt, dark)”

  • The Second Fall (9:20-29)
    • Noah’s Sin (20-24)

-After the flood, Noah becomes a man of the soil (just like his father Adam)

-Remember what happened in Gen. 3. Our first parents were tasked with cultivating a garden/orchard, and eating the fruit of their work caused their sin making them aware of their nakedness

-Then Noah, righteous and blameless Noah, following in his parent’s footsteps cultivates a vineyard, eats the fruit of his work that causes him to sin, leading to him exposing his nakedness in his drunken stupor 

-Matthews, NAC, “There were new relationships, new assurances, and a new order to things in the world; but there remained the same old human heart”

-One of the things for us from this text is the need for moderation in our lives. I’m increasingly becoming convinced that a life of moderation is one of the primary ways we can demonstrate our Christian lives to the world.

-Addiction, obsession, cut-throat is the way our world conditions us. What would it look like for a group of people to not be obsessed about anything but God?

-in our work obsessed culture, what would it do to have someone who works incredibly hard, is trustworthy and easy to work with, but isn’t consumed by his work or finding complete fulfillment in their work?

-What about in our food obsessed culture? We need to remember there are seasons of feasting and seasons of fasting, but in the normal course of life what would people think of someone who just refused to overeat? 

-What about the other side of that with our health obsessed culture? Exercise is a good thing, but obsessing over exercising is a bad thing!

-None of these are bad things!

-Noah obsesses over his wine, becomes drunk, and Ham sees his father exposed

-Connecting back to Gen 1 here, “naked and unashamed” isn’t ever going to happen again. Noah being naked is shame inducing, and Ham refusing to help is sinning against his father.

-Shem and Japheth refuse to sin against Noah, and cover him up. Then Noah speaks for the first time in the Bible:

  • Implication of the Sin (25-28)

-First thing he does is curse Canaan. Not Ham. Isn’t that weird?

-One thing we need to be aware of is distorting the text. “The curse of Ham” was used as biblical proof during the 17th and into the 20th Century for reasons that blacks were inferior to whites. We can’t just pick up the text and plop it down today and assume every situation is a 1 for 1 correlation. That’s an embarrassing indictment of American biblical interpretation.

-Not to mention, if you look carefully at the text, who’s cursed? Canaan! Only 1 of Ham’s 4 sons, so just a careful reading of the text itself should have been enough to stop that whole interpretation in its tracks.

-The purpose of this text is to begin the explanation of the antagonism between Canaan (seed of the serpent) vs. Shem (seed of the woman) But realize that at their root/core is the same family lineage.

-Then Shem and Japheth are blessed by Noah. These 3 are the fathers of all the nations of the world. We’ll see next week the way the various nations spread out from these 3.

-What do we learn from this?

-Live a life fully surrendered to God – this involves, as Martin Luther, living a life of repentance.

-Religion: “I messed up. Dad’s gonna kill me.” Gospel: “I messed up. I need to call Dad.”

-Every time you see a rainbow, give thanks to God that the full flood of his wrath fell on His Son at the cross instead of us

-Moderation is a key virtue to those who are in Christ

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