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MAN’S FAILURE TO OBEY THE NOAHIC COVENANT

(SERMON #56 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, June 29, 2008

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein” (Genesis 8:20-9:7).


Noah came out of the Ark into a new world. It is hard for us to realize what a revolutionary beginning it was. God laid down new rules to govern the world after the Flood. He made a new covenant with man. And the rules God put down in that Noahic Covenant are as binding today as they were in the time of Noah. Yet the Western world, and America in particular, are in deep rebellion against the regulations God gave to the human race after Noah left the Ark. I will list those regulations of the Noahic Covenant, and show how mankind is violating and breaking them in our culture today. And it is not a pretty picture, I can assure you. Our nation and the nations of the Western world are turning away from the commands God gave to Noah in an alarming way.

I. First, people in our day pay little attention to the Atonement.

God’s covenant with Noah was based on blood atonement.

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done” (Genesis 8:20-21).

The whole “Noahic Covenant” was based on those sacrifices. And there can be no question that those sacrifices pointed forward to the Atonement of Christ on the Cross. The Apostle Paul referred to Noah’s offerings when he said,

“Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2).

Dr. McGee said that Ephesians 5:2

…is a clear-cut reference to the cross…The cross was the… altar where the Lamb of God was offered [in fulfillment of] the burnt sacrifice. That sacrifice takes away the sin of the world. It identifies Christ with every sacrifice that was offered in the Old Testament by God’s command. They all pointed to Him (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, volume V, p. 261).

It is only through the substitutionary, vicarious death of Christ on the Cross that anyone can be saved. That is why the offerings made by Noah are placed first in this covenant. There can be no covenant with God apart from the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

Today there is very little preaching on Christ’s crucifixion. Preachers in our culture do not make the crucifixion of Christ the central point of their sermons. And I believe this to be one of the great errors of the churches in the age in which we live. They teach the Bible. They teach morality. They teach how to succeed in the various tasks of life. But there are few whole sermons on the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. And I think one of the main reasons for this is the fact that,

“The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness”
      (I Corinthians 1:18).

Those who are religious but lost, perishing church members, have no delight in “The preaching of the cross.” That’s the reason Christ said to the church at Laodicea, “I stand at the door, and knock” (Revelation 3:20). This verse pictures Christ shut out of the church at Laodicea. Dr. McGee said,

My friend, we are living in the Laodicean period today…The church has failed to tell me that I am a sinner. The church has failed to deal with me as a lost individual. The church has failed to offer me salvation in Jesus Christ alone. The church has failed to tell me of the horrible consequences of sin, the certainty of hell, and the fact that Jesus Christ alone can save (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., ibid., p. 924).

Noah put the sacrifices first. Then God gave the terms of the covenant.

The churches, especially in America, have turned to various forms of “decisionism.” They make a “decision for Christ” the climax of their preaching – at best. They fail to preach the total depravity of man, thinking that all a person has to do is raise his hand in a meeting, or come forward. That’s about the best you will find in our churches today. Things are quickly sliding downward, becoming even worse, however. In the more “progressive” churches a lost person today isn’t even asked to raise his hand or “come forward.” Many of these progressive churches only ask the lost person to fill out a card and drop it in the plate. And many others require even less than that.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee described the weakness of “decisionism” well when he said, “Many folks have made salvation a simple mathematical equation: If you say yes to this, yes to that…you are a Christian…It just means a nodding assent, a passing acquaintance with Jesus. It does not mean that you are born again” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, volume V, p. 608).

Dr. Peter Masters, current pastor of Spurgeon’s Tabernacle in London, says,

The new-evangelical, whose definition of “conversion” is broad enough to include the vaguest and most minimal assent to the fact that Jesus Christ is God [now proclaims these “minimal assents” to be conversion itself]. [For instance] new-evangelicals now say repeatedly that Catholics may be converted without any grasp of the atonement or of repentance and faith, and without an [old] evangelical experience of the new birth (Peter Masters, D.D., The Sword and the Trowel, 1995, no. 4, pp. 14-15).

Thus, the “decisionist” methods of our modern churches tend not to confront the lost sinner with his total depravity and, as a result, downplay or don’t insist on the vicarious, substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross as the sinner’s only hope of salvation. The death of Christ, to these “progressive” preachers is only briefly mentioned, if at all, because it is no longer central in their “preaching.” How different this is from the Apostle Paul, who boldly declared,

“I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

Noah’s covenant was based on blood sacrifice. Modern “decisionists” think they have a covenant with God by “going forward,” saying the words of a “sinner’s prayer,” agreeing mentally with a few basic facts of the Gospel, or making a “Lordship commitment.” All of these “decisionist” methods fail to bring the lost person to realize the depth of his sin, and the tremendous need for Christ’s substitutionary death in his place on the Cross. So we no longer have, in most of our churches, people who stand where Noah stood – on the “burnt offerings” that satisfied the justice of God by pointing forward to the crucified Christ. How many people do you know who, when they give a “testimony” of their so-called conversion, actually glory in the fact that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay the full penalty for their sin? How many do you know that speak at some length in their “testimonies” of the Blood of Christ atoning for their sins? Such testimonies were very common before the rise of “decisionism” in the second half of the nineteenth century, but you hardly ever hear such testimonies today. Noah placed a great emphasis on those burnt offerings which pointed to Christ’s sacrifice. Modern evangelicals seldom if ever do. So, I am saying, they are not putting the emphasis where it belongs – on the atonement of Christ. Failing to start where Noah did, they find it virtually impossible to fulfill the other points in the Noahic Covenant that follow, because they are not born again.

II. Second, people in our day, thus, reject God’s command
to be fruitful and multiply.

At least most of them do so. But God made this part of the covenant very clear when He said in Genesis 9:1,

“Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1).

This command is repeated in verse seven,

“Be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein” (Genesis 9:7).

In our day, in the Western world, we have disregarded this command in the Noahic Covenant – the command to procreate, to have children. The importance of the family has been largely disregarded, with tragic results.

Over 50 million American children have been exterminated since the Supreme Court made abortion “legal” in 1973. This horrible abortion holocaust has also occurred in Europe. As a direct result, millions of people from the Third World, including millions of Muslims, have come to fill the vacuum created by the slaughter of our children.

In the very near future our culture will be dominated by people from another background, often with a different religion. When America (and Europe) cease to have a white majority in the next few years, several things will happen. Those who replace us will say, “Why should we pay the bills for those old white people?” We are in for a rude awakening, my friend! No Medicare. No Medi-Cal. No Social Security check. As a result of our self-centered “death wish,” Americans and Europeans face a very dangerous and uncertain old age. You simply cannot abort millions and millions of children and expect the new alien majority to support you and pay your bills when you are too old to work! Our disregard of God’s commandment to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1; 9:7) will ultimately mean the death of Western civilization as we know it. We are breaking this command to be “fruitful and multiply” in the Noahic Covenant, and we will pay a heavy price for doing so.

“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate… and few men left” (Isaiah 24:5-6).

III. Third, many people in our day reject God’s command
to have reverence for all life.

“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man”
      (Genesis 9:3-5).

For the first time animals were to be used for food. Before the Flood men were vegetarians. They were given “every green herb for meat” (Genesis 1:30). Even after the Fall, man was told, “Thou shalt eat the herb of the field” (Genesis 3:18). We shouldn’t make too much of this. Remember that it was a world of vegetarians that was destroyed by the Flood! But now after the Flood, for the first time, man was told

“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you”
      (Genesis 9:3).

But God showed the sanctity of all life by commanding that they must not eat the blood of animals (Genesis 9:4). Dr. Morris said,

Thus the blood of animals, representing their life, was sacred and not to be eaten…the simple matter of reverence to the life principle, as a specially created entity of God (Genesis 1:21), is not merely to satisfy man’s appetite (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, 1986 edition, page 224).

Dr. McGee said,

The blood should be drained out. The blood speaks of life; draining it indicates that the animal should be killed in a merciful way, rather than prolonging its suffering, and that it must be really dead…Man is responsible for the animal world. Man’s treatment of the animal world is a brutal story. Man has attempted to exterminate many of the animals. Man would have slaughtered all the whales around the Hawaiian Islands for the money they could get unless the government had intervened. At one time the buffalo were in great herds in the West, but they were killed by man. Today we must have places of refuge to protect animals and bird life. It is well that we do that. The animals of Africa are being exterminated. Man is a mighty brutal creature (McGee, ibid., volume. I, pp. 46-47).

Some of the neo-conservatives will call you a “tree hugger” or an “animal rights” person if you take the Biblical position. But true conservatism ought to reflect the view of President Theodore Roosevelt, a great champion of the conservation of our natural resources, and builder of national parks and animal refuges. I happen to agree with Teddy Roosevelt rather than the neo-cons! Former Vice-President Al Gore is largely right on this subject – but it is tragic that he doesn’t have a similar view on the sanctity of human life, that he does not support the right to life of a human child in the womb.

IV. Fourth, many people today reject God’s command
concerning capital punishment.

That command is made very clear here in the Noahic Covenant.

“Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6).

These rules God gave in the Noahic Covenant are continued in the New Testament. Dr. Morris said,

The eating of meat (I Timothy 4:3, 4), the abstinence from blood (Acts 15:19, 20), and the authority of the governmental “sword” (Romans 13:4; Acts 25:11) are reaffirmed in the New Testament, by way of emphasizing to the early Christians that these were not merely a part of the Jewish law, but were integral components in God’s original [Noahic] covenant with all men. Christ, in fact, seemed almost to echo God’s words to Noah when He said: “All who live by the sword shall perish with the sword,” Matthew 26:52 (Morris, ibid., p. 225).

“Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6).

Again, Dr. Morris said,

The modern “liberal” objections to capital punishment are insufficient to warrant setting aside this decree of God. The prohibition in the Ten Commandments against killing plainly applies only to murder, not to judicial executions (Morris, ibid.).

It may not make logical sense to the modern mind to have reverence for life, and yet execute murderers. But God’s laws are above human logic. His thoughts are higher than man’s thoughts on this subject. End of discussion.

So we see that these commands God gave in the Noahic Covenant apply to all mankind today, as much as they did in Noah’s time. But our culture is rejecting these commands of God. What will be the result? Well, the result will be the same as it was then. In that day, man failed to obey the Noahic Covenant, and built the Tower of Babel. When man disobeys God, he tries to build his own system. The whole system that man builds today will end in failure, just as the Tower of Babel failed. And that is exactly the way the Antichrist’s world empire will fail at the end of history. When we reject God’s commands and put man, and man’s ideas, in place of what God says, we can expect failure every time. But I will speak more on the Tower of Babel when we come to the eleventh chapter of Genesis.

My question to you tonight is this: Are you trusting your own heart? If you are, you are going to pay for it, just as man did before the Flood, and afterwards at the Tower of Babel. The Bible says,

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26).

The time has come for you to stop trusting your own heart, and trust Jesus Christ, the only true and living Saviour. That is the way to be saved from this wicked world.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Prayer Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“In Times Like These” (by Ruth Caye Jones, 1944).


THE OUTLINE OF

MAN’S FAILURE TO OBEY THE NOAHIC COVENANT

(SERMON #56 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

Text: Genesis 8:20-9:7.

I.   First, people in our day pay little attention to the Atonement,
Genesis 8:20-21; Ephesians 5:2; I Corinthians 1:18;
Revelation 3:20; I Corinthians 2:2.

II.  Second, people in our day, thus, reject God’s command to be fruitful
and multiply, Genesis 9:1, 7; Isaiah 24:5-6.

III. Third, many people in our day reject God’s command to have reverence
for all life, Genesis 9:3-5; 1:30; 3:18.

IV. Fourth, many people today reject God’s command concerning capital
punishment, Genesis 9:6; Proverbs 28:26; 3:5.