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BUT NOAH FOUND GRACE – PART II

(SERMON #83 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 22, 2014

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”
(Genesis 6:8).


Genesis 4:26 has been misunderstood by Christian scholars ever since the Church Fathers got it wrong. You can see that there is a confusion over how it has been translated by reading the center margin of the KJV. The verse says, “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” But the alternate translation in the KJV margin reads, “Then men began to call themselves by the name of the Lord.” The ancient rabbis got it right. They said it meant, “Then men began to call their idols by the name of the Lord.” The early Christian writer Jerome (347-420) said this was the interpretation of the ancient rabbis, and we have many references to this in their writings.

This means that the patriarchs in Genesis five, with the exception of Enoch, led the Sethite civilization deeper and deeper into apostasy. Then, in the first few verses of Genesis six, we see how many people became completely demon possessed and others became influenced by demons.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Because they were dominated by Satan, God destroyed mankind. So bad did it become that at last there was only one family that escaped from Satan – Noah and his family.

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).

Now this is where the history of Noah should become very interesting to us today. Jesus said,

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37). The days of Noah were a time when the world was dominated by Satan and the demonic. This was the result of the increasing apostasy that began during the lifetime of Seth, when the patriarchs and their people began to move into a time of idolatry, as the ancient rabbis pointed out (click here to read “Apostasy in the Days of Noah – Part I,” which gives the sources of this view).

The people of Noah’s time were given over to materialism, and were blind to the warnings of judgment, because they were controlled and blinded by Satan!

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).

We will look at this more closely in the light of Jesus’ statement, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

I. First, Noah lived in a time of apostate religion.

That is where this section of Scripture becomes so important to us today. In Genesis 6:11 the Bible says,

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11).

That sounds a lot like our society. It has gotten so bad that Patrick J. Buchanan wrote a book about it called, The Death of the West (St. Martin’s Press, 2002). Although I don’t always agree with him, the title alone tells the story – the death of the West!

A few years earlier, the evangelical theologian Dr. Carl F. H. Henry wrote a book titled, Twilight of a Great Civilization: the Drift toward Neo-Paganism (Crossway Books, 1988). Both of them say that the Christian foundation has been eaten away – and no longer exists as a powerful force in our nation. Dr. Robert Jeffress has written a chilling book about the end of America called, Twilight’s Last Gleaming (Worthy Publishing, 2011). He's the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. Every preacher should read it.

How did this happen? How did America and the Western world drift into the paganism we live in today? The same way it happened in the time of the patriarchs, before Noah and the Great Flood. Somebody important, probably Seth himself, introduced idolatry. From then on false religion ate away the foundation of society, and the forces of Satan took over!

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

I am convinced that the worst attack against Christianity in the past two hundred years came from Charles Grandison Finney (1792-1875). Finney attacked Protestant theology from the moment he claimed to have been saved. He arrogantly boasted that his own theology was the one true way, and that all the Reformers and all the great evangelists and preachers before him were wrong. He blasted all the earlier Protestant theologians, and said what they wrote was only “theological fiction” (Autobiography, p. 57). He rejected salvation by grace, and insisted that anyone, at any time, could be saved by his own choice, by a “decision for Christ.” Iain H. Murray said,

Finney himself was deeply conscious of the radical contrast between his own preaching and the orthodoxy of his day. By 1835 he was ready to tell his hearers that he was presenting what was virtually a new theology of conversion: [Finney said] ‘The truth is that very little of the Gospel has come out upon the world for these hundreds of years, without being clogged and obscured by false theology’ (Iain H. Murray, Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858), The Banner of Truth Trust, 1995, p. 246).

That is an incredibly arrogant position. In his pride, Finney placed his views above those of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield and all the leaders of the First Great Awakening! What arrogant pride the man had! Dr. Michael S. Horton said,

He is not only an enemy of evangelical Protestantism, but of historic Christianity (Michael S. Horton, Ph.D., “The Legacy of Charles Finney,” from Modern Reformation Magazine, computer net posting, April 1, 1996).

Finney was actually a Pelagian heretic, who taught that lost men and women could be saved by human effort. Thus, he was the author of modern “Decisionism” (click here to read a definition of “Decisionism”).

“Decisionism” in its various forms has eaten the heart out of all branches of Protestantism, as well as the Baptists and Pentecostals. It is found in virtually all evangelistic preaching, including the “Lordship Salvation” of Paul Washer and John MacArthur, as well as the “altar calls” of Billy Graham and all others like him.

Thus Finney was the primary “Judas goat” that Satan used to lead Christianity in the Western world to the destruction we see today, in what Dr. Carl F. H. Henry called, Twilight of a Great Civilization: the Drift Toward Neo-Paganism (ibid.). Click here to read our book, Today’s Apostasy: How Decisionism is Destroying Our Churches.

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

II. Second, Noah was saved by grace, not by a “decision” of his own.

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).

Ah, “but”! “But” is often a good word in the Bible. “But Noah found grace.” Everything was going wrong. The world was in a spiritual mess. There wasn’t any hope. Comparing it to our day, you could say, if there were colleges, they were all teaching evolution. If there were seminaries, they were all teaching liberalism. If there were newspapers, they were all editing out the truth. Oh, yes! Benghazi! The IRS scandal! Attorney General Eric Holder's obstruction of justice. Oh, yes - Obama's imperial presidency! If there were preachers, they were saying, “God is dead,” or they were giving out poison candy like Joel Osteen. If you had friends, they would talk about you behind your back. If you got married your spouse would walk out on you. If you had children they would treat you like dirt, send you an e-mail, but never come to see you. Everything was wrong! JUST LIKE NOW! The Bible says,

“The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and…every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

What a mess! It was all a mess!

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).

Notice, it says, “Noah found grace.” Grace was given to Noah. Saving grace wasn’t showered over everybody on earth. Some preachers say God sheds saving grace on the whole world. Then why doesn’t everybody in the world get saved? I don’t understand it completely – but I know God’s grace does transform some people. Yet other people go right on in wrong thinking and wrong living. They can say, “Praise the Lord!” But there’s no life in them, no moral power, nothing to bring them out of the herd and make them different – nothing within them to make them real Christians!

I tell you – Noah was different. There wasn’t anybody else like him on this earth! Why? Because God knew his name, and God called him by grace! That’s why! “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Later, God said to Moses, “Thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name” (Exodus 33:17). God didn’t throw grace around like “pixie dust” when Moses was out there in the wilderness! No! God knew that man by name. And God gave that man grace! And that’s exactly what happened to Noah as well!

Don’t get the idea that Noah received God’s grace because he was good. Noah was not a perfect man at all. He did not “earn” the grace of God! That’s not why he received God’s grace. Before the world was created God chose Noah. God did not choose him because he was better. We don’t know why God chose him. It’s a mystery, bound up in the mind of a sovereign God. God chose Noah by free and sovereign grace. Noah was good because God chose him. If God had not chosen him, he would have been as lost as the rest.

A great old hymn says it all,

For nothing good have I
   Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I'll wash my garments white
   In the blood of Calvary's Lamb.
Jesus paid it all,
   All to Him I owe,
Sin had left a crimson stain,
   He washed it white as snow.
(“Jesus Paid It All” by Elvina M. Hall, 1820-1889).

And John Newton said,

“Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
   That saved a wretch like me.”

Yes! It is “amazing grace”! When you look at your life and find that you are a real Christian after all – it’s pretty amazing! I sometimes think about that. I think about all those kids I went to high school with. And I think of all those young people I went to church with in Huntington Park. They had way better families than I had. They had way better homes, way better clothes, way better cars, way better everything! And yet here I am preaching to you this evening!

I feel so sorry when I think of them. They “slipped through the cracks.” Their lives are over. Mine has just begun! I can’t explain it. I don’t know why God chose me! But He did. And here I am! I am a wretch saved by the sovereign grace of God!

And I can tell you that I have nothing to brag about – not one thing! I’m not saved because I made a decision! Are you kidding? I made over fifty “decisions” and a hundred “rededications” and I was still lost! I don’t know how I ever got saved. But I know I didn’t have anything to do with it! I felt sinful and rotten. God made me feel that way. Then Jesus came, and He saved me! He washed me clean with His Blood. I didn’t have anything to do with it. I WAS SAVED BY GRACE!!! “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9).

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).

How come? What was there in Noah’s character that made him find grace? Nothing! Nothing at all! His father was Lamech. Lamech had many other sons and daughters (Genesis 5:30). But all of them drowned in the Great Flood. Yes, all of Noah’s brothers and sisters drowned in that Flood! Why was Noah the only one in his family that was saved? Simple, he received grace and they didn’t! “But Noah found grace…” That’s the answer! Noah was saved by grace, and the rest were not saved by grace! Noah was one that God chose to save, and they were not ones He chose to save! It’s pretty amazing! That’s the reason Newton said,

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
   That saved a wretch like me.

Listen to Genesis 5:30.

“And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:30).

Lamech was Noah’s father. He had many sons and daughters. They all drowned in the Flood. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). Some of you have brothers and sisters who are lost. You are saved – but they are lost. Why is that? God’s grace. God’s grace saved you, but His grace did not save them. Why? That’s a mystery – the mystery of election. You were one of God’s elect – and they were not. “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!”

III. Third, Noah’s heart was changed by God’s grace.

The grace of God made him afraid! The Bible says that Noah “moved with fear” (Hebrews 11:7). That’s the first thing grace does in your life if you are one of the elect. He puts fear in your heart if you are one of the elect. The Bible says, “When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8). Luther spoke of sinners being “terrified” by the Law of God. I think he was right! The Bible says,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

Modern commentators usually water that down and say it is “awe” instead of fear. But it’s good that the Bible sheds light on the commentaries when it says,

“My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments” (Psalm 119:120).

The old Puritans and Lutheran Pietists would say with John Newton,

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
   And grace my fears relieved.

Conviction and fear are what is absent in modern decisionism. In fact, without conviction of sin and fear of God you will automatically become a “decisionist.” Man by nature is a “decisionist.” Without the fear of God and conviction of sin you will naturally turn to “decisionism.” Cain was a decisionist. The people in Noah's day were decisionists. Nadam and Abihu were burned in the fire of God for their "decisionism." Judas was a decisionist! All of them went to Hell. We hear people say, “How do I come to Jesus? How do I come to Him?” We tell them they don’t need to know how. They go away looking puzzled and confused. And the next time we see them they say the very same thing – “How do I come to Him?” And that will go on and on and on – unless the Spirit of God strikes fear in their hearts, and brings them under conviction of sin.

It will be just an endless round of learning and failing – learning and failing – learning and failing – unless the Spirit of God terrifies you and convicts you of sin. Only when you are deeply convicted of the sin of your heart – only when you fear God – only then will you truly want Christ. When you really want Him it’s easy to come to Him by God’s grace. But, no matter what you say, until you fear God, and are deeply troubled by your sin – you will not really want Jesus. You will only say you want Him. You can go on for years, running like a rat on a wheel, running around and around, in its cage, unless God shakes and awakens you to fear Him and hate your sin.

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).

No wonder it was so easy for Noah to come into the ark. He was terrified of the Flood! And you will come to Christ very easily when you are disgusted with the sin in your heart and terrified of the coming judgment – but not before! You will not see the importance of Jesus on the Cross for you, paying for your sin, unless you are disgusted with the sin of your heart and life! Oh, may you trust Jesus now! Jesus is ready to save you! Jesus wants to save you! Stop doubting! Stop trying to “figure out” how to come to Him! Throw yourself on Jesus and He will immediately wash your sins away with His Blood! May you say to Jesus,

I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
   Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary.
(“I Am Coming, Lord” by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).

Jesus is ready to wash you clean right now!

   

If you want to talk about this with us, go to the back of the auditorium now. Dr. Cagan will take you to another room where we can talk. Dr. Chan, please pray that someone will trust Jesus tonight. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Genesis 6:1-8.


THE OUTLINE OF

BUT NOAH FOUND GRACE – PART II

(SERMON #83 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”
(Genesis 6:8).

(Genesis 4:26; 6:5; Matthew 24:37-39)

I.   First, Noah lived in a time of apostate religion,
Genesis 6:11; Matthew 24:37.

II.  Second, Noah was saved by grace, not by a “decision”
of his own, Genesis 6:5; Exodus 33:17; Ephesians 2:9;
Genesis 5:30.

III. Third, Noah’s heart was changed by God’s grace,
Hebrews 11:7; John 16:8; Proverbs 1:7; Psalm 119:120.