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A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., Pastor Emeritus
and given by Jack Ngann, Pastor
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Afternoon, February 19, 2023

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:8-9; p. 13 Scofield).

Last Sunday (February 12, 2023) I preached a sermon from Genesis 6:1-5 titled “Portrait of a Doomed World.” We saw that the human race before the Flood was demonically controlled. We saw that mankind resisted the convincing and converting work of the Spirit of God. And we saw the fallen, totally depraved condition of man, so clearly described,

“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; p. 13).

Dr. M. R. DeHaan was a great Bible teacher who I heard in person forty-five years ago at the Church of the Open Door in downtown Los Angeles, when Dr. J. Vernon McGee was the pastor. I heard Dr. DeHaan preach every night for a week. I was deeply impressed by what he said and have never forgotten him. Later I read his book, The Days of Noah. It is clear and concise. If you can get a copy, by all means do so, perhaps on the Internet. Concerning the days of Noah, Dr. DeHaan said,

It seems that this deterioration of humanity had gone so far that immediate action was necessary…It seems there was only one family which was yet unaffected by Satan’s program, and this one family was that of Noah. After the dramatic description of the unspeakable corruption, filth, and degradation as a result of demon activity, we come to a significant “but.” After the statement, “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth…” (Genesis 6:7), the next verse reads, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). Noah seems to have been the only exception in the sordid record of satanic corruption (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., The Days of Noah, Zondervan Publishing House, 1963, p. 147).

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:8-9).

This passage of Scripture in Genesis, chapter six, shows three important truths that I want you to think about today.

I. First, the passage shows that few are saved.

No one was saved in the days before the Flood except Noah and his family. The “modern” mind recoils at the thought that so few were saved. And yet that is one of the great themes of Scripture. Throughout the Bible we discover that salvation is always found by a small minority. No one ever made that clearer than the Lord Jesus Christ when He said,

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”
     (Matthew 7:13-14; p. 1003).

Real Christians are always a small minority in a world that has gone wrong. But Jesus said,

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32; p. 1093).

As Jesus was travelling toward Jerusalem, someone said to him,

“Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:23-24; p. 1092).

Many “seek” to enter in to Christ, but only a few “strive” to do so. The Greek word is “agonizomai” – “to agonize.” Only a few go through the agony of real conversion. Those who “strive” enter. Those who merely “seek” remain lost. That was the way it was in Noah’s day, and that is the way it is today. None entered the ark, and none were saved except Noah and his family. Today it is no different,

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”
     (Matthew 7:13-14).

Dr. John R. Rice said,

Compare this with Luke 13:24. The terrible meaning is obvious. The road to Hell is wider than the road to Heaven. More people go to Hell than to Heaven. The gate and the way are Jesus (John 14:6). Any other way in the world by which people try to be saved without being born again by faith in Christ will lead to everlasting destruction. There is only one way of getting to Heaven. See John 10:1; Acts 4:12 (John R. Rice, D.D., The King of the Jews: A Verse-by-verse Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1980 edition, p. 121).

I cannot fully explain why most people fail to “strive to enter in” to Christ. I have been in the ministry since 1958, for a full 65 years, and I still don’t completely understand why this is so. But I know by long experience that it is true. As surely as it was true in the days of Noah, it is true today,

“Few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

II. Second, the passage shows that Noah was saved by grace.

Look at Genesis 6:8,

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8; p. 13).

And by the way, my friend, that is the only way any totally depraved descendant of Adam can be saved. You are either saved by grace, or you are lost – for all time and for all eternity. Dr. Charles C. Ryrie gave a good comment on the word “grace” in verse 8. He said,

Hebrew, Chen, from a root meaning “to bend or stoop,” thus condescending or unmerited favor of a superior person to an inferior one (Charles C. Ryrie, Ph.D., The Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Press, 1978 edition, note on Genesis 6:8).

The “superior person” is God. The “inferior one” is the lost sinner. “Grace” means that God gives “unmerited favor” to a lost sinner when he is converted. The clearest verse in the Bible on this subject is Ephesians 2:8-9,

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9; p. 1251).

No matter how people may try to twist Ephesians 2:8-9, those verses still say the same thing: salvation is the gift of God’s grace. Since it is a gift, no human effort enters into salvation. Salvation is thus monergistic, given by God through His grace, without any synergistic cooperation or help from totally depraved man.

“Decisionism” had no place in Noah’s salvation. Noah was saved by grace without making any sort of a decision. If you try to find Noah making a decision to be saved, you will fail, because it isn’t in the sixth chapter of Genesis! It simply isn’t there! This verse just leaps at us out of the darkness of man’s depravity and sin. These words jump out suddenly on the page of Scripture,

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

Amazing, isn’t it? It certainly is! That’s why a cruel and wicked old slave trader that Jesus saved wrote,

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
     (“Amazing Grace” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

John Newton said, in effect, “I am amazed by grace!” “Once I was lost, but now I am found.” “Once I was blind, but now I see Christ and the Gospel clearly – and the grace that did this is so far above my mental understanding, that it amazes me.” That’s what old John Newton meant. Grace is always amazing. It is always amazing when grace turns a lost sinner to Christ. That’s what happened to John Newton and that’s what happened to Noah, way back before the Great Flood. Both men were saved by the amazing grace of God in Christ. And, by the way, if you are ever converted, it will also be the result of God’s amazing grace! There is no other way to be saved!

The great English evangelist George Whitefield, in his famous sermon, “The Method of Grace,” made clear what must happen to you if you are to be saved by grace. He said,

1. You must be made to see, feel, weep over, and grieve over your actual transgressions against the law of God. (This he said was usually the first act of grace in a lost soul).

2. You must be convinced of your own corrupted nature, the total depravity of your soul…You must be made to see and feel your own original sin, the original corruption inbred in your heart, which renders you liable to be damned by God. (This he said was the deeper work of grace in a lost soul, leading a person to distrust himself, and be disgusted with his own sinful mind and heart).

3. You must not only be troubled by the sins in your own life, and the sins in your nature, but also for the sins in your best decisions, commitments, and so-called “Christian life.” (Whitefield said that God’s grace must convince you, that you cannot do anything that pleases or glorifies God, in your lost condition).

4. You must be convinced of the most damning sin in the world, the sin of unbelief in Christ. (Only the grace of God can convince you that you haven’t fully trusted Jesus Christ, and that this is the reason you are still lost).

5. You must get ahold of the righteousness of Christ. (You must be enabled by grace to take ahold of Christ, and be made righteous and clean by His cleansing Blood).

(Taken from “The Method of Grace” by the Reverend George Whitefield, 1714-1770).

That’s how God’s grace usually operates on a sinner’s heart, bringing him to full conversion in Christ Jesus. That is indeed the main thrust of what happened to Noah. Hebrews 11:7 tells us that Noah “moved with fear.” Those words crystallize what Whitefield said about real conversion into one phrase, “moved with fear.” Before real conversion, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). That’s why unconverted evangelicals and Baptists believe and behave as they do. They have never experienced real conversion.

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

III. Third, the passage shows that true salvation by grace

produces good works.

This is a critical point in this present time of “decisionism,” when people make some sort of decision or so-called “commitment” and soon after go back to their old sins. They may come to the altar and pray a “sinner’s prayer,” but they soon fall away and run back to the world and its pleasures. Why? Because, unlike Noah, they have not “found grace in the eyes of the Lord!” (Genesis 6:8). This happens because they were never saved by God’s grace in the first place! How do we know that? Because true salvation by grace always produces a change, always produces a new direction in one’s life, always – without exception. That’s why the Apostle James said,

“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20; p. 1308).

A man may say he has faith, but his life shows that it is only a dead faith. Faith that comes by God’s grace is alive. It changes the heart. It changes the whole direction of one’s life. Most all of the people we call “carnal Christians” today are really people who have never experienced the transforming power of the grace of God in a real conversion. That’s why they are so hard to get along with. That’s why they fall away from the local church so easily. That’s why they never do anything substantial for God. Jesus said,

“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:16-20; p. 1004).

A “good tree” refers to someone who has been saved by God’s grace in Christ. A “corrupt tree” is someone who has never experienced true conversion by the grace of God in Christ. You can only become a “good tree” by experiencing the new birth, which is a gift of God’s grace alone, received through faith in Christ alone.

Noah is a perfect example of a man who was saved by grace alone. His salvation produced good fruit, as it does in every one who is truly converted by the grace of God in Christ. The fruit of Noah’s real conversion is given to us in Genesis 6:9.

“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God”
     (Genesis 6:9; p. 13).

Noah was just and upright because he had found grace in the eyes of God. Noah walked with God because he had been saved by grace. There is no other adequate explanation.

Listen carefully to Ephesians 2:8-10. This passage of Scripture shows clearly that a real conversion through God’s grace “creates” a man who will live a life of good works.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10; p. 1251).

The man or woman who is saved by the grace of God in Christ is “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10). What could be clearer? Those who supposedly “backslide,” or leave their local church, simply have not been “created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” That means they have not experienced real conversion. That is virtually the universal problem in these cases.

So, Noah’s example is before you today. Fear not that so few believe in Christ. It has always been so. Strive, agonize, to enter into Christ by God’s grace, and then live out your salvation as “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10). It all begins when you, like Noah, find “grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).

May the Holy Spirit convince you of sin by His grace. May He draw you to Christ by His grace. May you be washed clean of your sin through His Blood by His grace. May you then live a new life of good works for Him in the local church by His grace. True salvation is wholly dependent on the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

Saved by grace alone! This is all my plea;
Jesus died for all mankind, And Jesus died for me.
     (“Grace! ‘Tis a Charming Sound,” by Philip Doddridge, 1702-1751;
     refrain by A. M. Toplady, 1740-1778).