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Judgment Is Coming…but God - Genesis 6-8

Taught on | Topic: Judgment | Keywords: judge, judgment, salvation, tribulation, the flood, the ark

The two worst days of the human race are days of destruction. A near total annihilation happened in the distant past and will happen again in the future. Both are directly the result of God’s judgment. Just as certain as the sun will shine tomorrow, judgment is coming eventually—but God has a better alternative. As we examine His past judgment on the earth, we will be able to better understand His future judgment and how we can find purpose in His plans for His world.

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4/29/2018
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Judgment Is Coming…but God
Genesis 6-8
Skip Heitzig
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The two worst days of the human race are days of destruction. A near total annihilation happened in the distant past and will happen again in the future. Both are directly the result of God’s judgment. Just as certain as the sun will shine tomorrow, judgment is coming eventually—but God has a better alternative. As we examine His past judgment on the earth, we will be able to better understand His future judgment and how we can find purpose in His plans for His world.
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...but God

...but God

All of us experience times of desperation, but as James Montgomery Boice said, "If you understand those two words, 'But God,' they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely." In this series, Skip Heitzig explores the "but God" moments of David, Jonah, Moses, and other biblical figures, encouraging us to let the Lord turn our personal periods into pivot points.

Outline

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  1. God Is Patient but He Judges (Genesis 6:1-3, 5-7)

  2. God Judges but He Differentiates (Genesis 6:8, 11-14)

  3. God Differentiates but He Doesn’t Exempt (Genesis 7:1, 20-23)

  4. God Doesn’t Exempt but He Does Remember (Genesis 8:1)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: April 29, 2018
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Judgment is Coming…but God"
Text: Genesis 6-8

Path

The two worst days of the human race are days of destruction. A near total annihilation happened in the distant past and will happen again in the future. Both are directly the result of God's judgment. Just as certain as the sun will shine tomorrow, judgment is coming eventually—but God has a better alternative. Pastor Skip examines God's past judgment on the earth, helping us to better understand His future judgment and how we can find purpose in His plans for His world.

  1. God Is Patient but He Judges (Genesis 6:1-3, 5-7)
  2. God Judges but He Differentiates (Genesis 6:8, 11-14)
  3. God Differentiates but He Doesn't Exempt (Genesis 7:1, 20-23)
  4. God Doesn't Exempt but He Does Remember (Genesis 8:1)
Points

God Is Patient but He Judges
  • Part of human cognition is evaluation—to make judgments and assess things— from the food we eat to the people we meet.
  • There is also a judgment for life, a final evaluation by a perfect and impartial judge. God is the ultimate evaluator. Abraham called God "Judge of all the earth" (see Genesis 18).
  • If God did not judge, then He isn't just. If He isn't just, then He is not perfect. And if He's not perfect, then He is not God.
  • God is patient, but He judges. He may be slow to anger, but the Holy "Spirit will not strive with man forever" (v. 3). God lets sin accumulate until His wrath must eclipse His mercy.
  • The Bible underscores the certainty of judgment for everyone (see Hebrews 9:27).
  • Jesus is both Savior and Judge and the only one qualified to be both.
  • Similarities between Noah's time and the end times are found in these increases:
    • Population (see v. 1): Current population is 7.6 billion
    • Sexual depravity (see vv. 2-3): Causes the breakdown of the family
    • Wickedness (see v. 5): Our culture calls evil good and good evil
    • Violence (see v. 11): Murder is epidemic—school shootings, concert halls, churches
  • What should we do during the time of God's patience? Repent. Refusal to repent invites judgment (see Romans 2).
God Judges but He Differentiates
  • "But Noah found grace" (v. 8) in God's eyes. Aren't you glad for the word but? God was angry and grieved by the widespread evil, but He wasn't mad at everyone. The "eyes of the Lord" (v. 8) indicates that God looks deeper and notices hearts.
  • God saves people, but not everyone. He doesn't judge indiscriminately, but individually based on each personal choice to follow Jesus. The apostle Peter used the flood as an example of God's differentiation (see 2 Peter 2:5).
  • God sent judgment upon the earth, but first he lifted up Noah off the earth. The word harpazo means to catch up, to take by force or to snatch away. The same word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The ark may be a picture of the rapture.
God Differentiates but He Doesn't Exempt
  • Though Noah was not judged directly, he experienced God's judgment indirectly. He felt the pain of lost friends and neighbors and the destruction of creation.
  • God's judgment on unbelievers should affect believers by causing discomfort.
  • God is not willing that any should perish (see 2 Peter 3:9). We shouldn't be either.
  • Theologian Leon Morris said God's wrath is not "an uncontrollable outburst of passion,…" but rather"…the reverse side of a holy love, a flame which sears but purifies.... It is always exercised with a certain tenderness, for even when He is angry with man's sin God loves man and is concerned for his well-being in the fullest sense."¹
God Doesn't Exempt but He Does Remember
  • "Then God remembered Noah" (v.1). This is a but God moment. God had not forgotten Noah, but now He turned His attention to him. God remembered Noah because He still had a plan for his life—to multiply and fill the earth, and bring His Messiah.
  • What seemed like an end for this family and the world was a new beginning. The flood is not primarily about death, but life; it's not only about judgment, but establishment. From Genesis 8 onward, the Bible is about what God did after the flood: He gave us a second chance.
  • Satan tries to cause discord, but God brings deliverance (see Genesis 3:15).
  • God remembers you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life (see Jeremiah 29:11).
  • Judgment is coming again to the world, but God sent Jesus to take our judgment on the cross.
Practice

Connect Up: Judgment flows from God's holiness and righteousness. Because He is holy and righteous, He cannot overlook sin forever. Sin must be punished. Are God's love and holiness contradictory? Consider: A person can have two or more qualities at once, for example, a woman can be a daughter, mother, and friend. She takes on different attributes for each role.

Connect In: The Bible speaks of a future judgment for all people, including Christians. However, the Bible also points to differing judgments:
  • The judgment seat of Christ: Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10
  • The judgment of re-gathered Israel: Daniel 12:1
  • The judgment of the nations: Joel 3:1-2
  • The judgment of fallen angels: Jude 6
  • The judgment of the unbelieving: Revelation 20:12-15
How are these judgments similar? How are they different?

Connect Out: Do you think the future, final judgment (not specific conclusions about an individual) can be an effective witnessing tool? If so, how? What are some of the drawbacks and advantages of using judgment as the basis for witnessing to unbelievers?


¹Leon Morris, Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965, 159.

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. We evaluate—judge—everything from food and restaurant service to people
      1. Athletes, singers, and dancers are judged in competition
      2. Law enforcement officers and courtrooms judge driving and crimes
    2. There is a final evaluation for life by a perfect and impartial judge: God
    3. Abraham called God the "Judge of all the earth" (Genesis 18:25)
  1. God Is PatientbutHe Judges (Genesis 6:1-3, 5-7)
    1. God's judgment is based on His justice; God judges because He is just
      1. If God does not judge, then He is not just; if He is not just, then He is not perfect; and if He's not perfect, then He is not God
      2. God alone is qualified to judge (see Romans 3:23-26)
      3. He alone has all the facts (see Revelation 20:12)
    2. God is slow to anger (see Psalm 103:8), but "[His] Spirit shall not strive with man forever" (v. 3)
      1. How patient is God?
        1. Adam ate the forbidden fruit, but did not die for 930 years (see Genesis 5:5)
        2. Canaanites were given 800 years for their iniquity to be full (see Genesis 15:16)
        3. Noah was a "preacher of righteousness" (2 Peter 2:5) for 120 years while he built the ark
      2. God seems to let sin accumulate until His wrath must eclipse His mercy
    1. Bible speaks of certainty of judgment for everyone (see Hebrews 9:27)
    2. Jesus is both Savior and Judge
      1. He is the only one qualified to be both
      2. Jesus linked the flood to a future, final judgment (see Matthew 24:37-39)
    3. The days of Noah correlate to current times
      1. Increase in population (see v. 1)
      2. Increase in sexual depravity; breakdown of the traditional family (see vv. 2-4)
      3. Increase in wickedness (see v. 5)
      4. Increase in violence (see v. 11)
    4. During the time of God's patience, what are we supposed to do?
      1. Repent
      2. A refusal to repent attracts judgment (see Romans 2:3-6)
  1. God JudgesbutHe Differentiates (Genesis 6:8, 11-14)
    1. "But Noah found grace" (v. 8)
      1. Grace means favor
      2. Noah was a pleasure to the Lord; everyone else was not
    2. "In the eyes of the Lord" (v. 8) indicates God sees deeper and knows more
      1. No creature hidden from His sight (see Hebrews 4:13)
      2. The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord (see Proverbs 5:21)
      3. God looks at the heart (see 1 Samuel 16:7)
    3. God sent judgment while He saved Noah
      1. God judges individually
      2. Peter pointed out God's differentiation with Noah (see 2 Peter 2:5)
      3. God lifted Noah off the earth
        1. Could the ark foreshadow the rapture?
        2. The same word, harpazó, is used, meaning to be taken up or to be snatched away (see 1 Thessalonians 4:17)
  2. God DifferentiatesbutHe Doesn't Exempt (Genesis 7:1, 20-23)
    1. Noah was not directly affected by the judgment, but he was indirectly affected
      1. In the ark for thirteen months, very isolated
      2. All friends and neighbors drowned
    2. God's judgment of unbelievers should affect believers
      1. We should feel discomfort and be grieved
      2. We shouldn't be willing to let anyone perish (see 2 Peter 3:9)
  3. God Doesn't ExemptbutHe Does Remember (Genesis 8:1)
    1. But God remembered Noah
      1. God had not forgotten Noah
      2. Now He fully turned His attention to Noah
    2. Noah's story is not primarily about death or judgment, but life and establishment
    3. From Genesis 8 on, the entire Bible is about life after the flood
  4. Closing
    1. God had a plan for Noah: fill the earth, start over, a second chance
    2. God has a plan for you
      1. His plan includes hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11)
      2. He will complete His plan (see Philippians 1:6)
    3. Judgment is coming again in the future
      1. But God sent Jesus to take the judgment in your place
      2. Jesus said believers are not judged (see John 5:24)
      3. Belief in Jesus Christ is your "ark," your salvation
Figures referenced: Horace Gray, Robert Ingersoll, Dr. Henry Morris, Leon Morris, Joseph Parker, Babe Ruth, Dr. John Whitcomb

Cross references: Genesis 3:15; 5:5; 15:16; 18:25; 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 103:8; Proverbs 5:21; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 24:37-39; John 5:24; Romans 2:3-6; 3:23-26; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Hebrews 4:13; 9:27; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:9; Revelation 20:12

Greek/Hebrew words: harpazó

Transcript

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[MUSIC PLAYING]

Would you turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, Chapter 6-- first book, sixth chapter this time. We're going back even further. Genesis, Chapter 6.

In that great, theologically edifying movie Nacho Libre, the main character, Ignacio, works at an orphanage and struggles balancing that with his love for wrestling. And he's got a buddy in this movie who always says, I believe in science. And at one point, Ignacio says, you know, I'm concerned about your salvation. You haven't been baptized. And the other guy says, how come you always judging me because I believe in science?

It's a classic moment, but that's what people say a lot-- why are you always judging me? And the truth of the matter is, we all evaluate life. We evaluate everything in life. Part of human cognition is to make judgments, to make assessments about things-- all things. When you go shopping, you evaluate that food. Is that fresh? Is that ripe? When you go to a restaurant, you make a judgment-- was it good? Did it take too long to get waited on? You can even go onto Yelp and give it one star or five stars. You are making a judgment.

When you meet someone, you do the same. When you date someone, you judge them. Right? You should. You should be asking questions like, is this the right personality for me? Do I want to go on a second date? Is this somebody that I can trust?

According to the Journal of Neuroscience, our brains immediately determine how trustworthy a face is before it is fully perceived, which proves the fact that we make very fast judgments about people. The article went on to say that there are certain features that individuals deem as trustworthy features. And we immediately make an evaluation.

In any competition, there are judgments to be made. Athletes are judged. They even call them "judges" who watch and evaluate them. Singers are judged. Dancers are judged. When I turned 16, I went to the California DMV to get a driver's license. Somebody sat next to me who judged my performance-- gave me a license. My mom had second thoughts about his ability to discern anything. But I've discovered, since I got my driver's license, I'm still being judged.

There are police officers who have pulled me over and have told me, you're not doing this very well. You need to slow down, or you need to use your signal. You've all had that experience. You are being judged. Every day in courtrooms, people are judged. They have committed a crime or it is suspected they have, and the judge will pass a verdict of an acquittal or a sentencing, it could be a light or a medium or even a severe sentence.

But then, and more to the point, then, there is a judgment in life itself. A judgment about our lives-- for our lives. A final evaluation by a perfect and impartial judge. God is the ultimate evaluator. Abraham, in Genesis 18, called him "the judge of all the earth". He is the judge of all the earth. He is the supreme, ultimate judge.

Years ago, Horace Gray, who is a justice for the US Supreme Court, a criminal stood before him, the judge knew he was guilty but that he was getting off on a technicality. So the judge said this to him, I know that you are guilty and you know it. And I want you to remember that one day you will stand before a better and wiser judge that there you will be dealt with according to justice and not according to law.

God's judgment is based on God's justice. God judges because God is just. If God does not judge, then he is not just. If he is not just, then he is not perfect. If he is not perfect, then he is not God. God judges because God is just.

That's the whole premise of Paul. In the book of Romans, chapter 3, he outlines the fact that God's attribute of justice is what qualifies God to judge the world. Why? Because God, alone, knows the facts of every case. He has all the facts. He sees it all. He knows every deed, every whisper, every motivation. He collects all the evidence.

At the great white throne judgment, in Revelation 20, we are told "and the dead were raised and the dead were judged by what was written in the books." That's a way of saying God has the information at his disposal. He and his omniscience-- the books-- has all that is needed to adjudicate that particular case.

One time an umpire struck out Babe Ruth-- or called a strike out on Babe Ruth. And when that happened, the crowd that day booed the umpire. And so Babe Ruth took advantage of it, turned back to the ump after he was struck out, and he said, how could you call that a strike? There are 40,000 people here who are of the opinion that the last pitch was a ball. And the umpire smiled and said, that may be true. But my opinion is the only one that counts.

[LAUGHTER]

That's true about God, isn't it? God's opinion is the only opinion that counts. It's the only opinion that ultimately we need to worry about, not anybody else's but God's. Well, Genesis chapter 6 and 7 and 8 bring us face to face with a judgment of God that happened in the past. We call it the flood-- the flood of Noah. It was judgment day for the earth in the past. And according to Peter, that is a model of another judgment that is coming also upon the earth in the future. Same effect, different mediums-- one with water one with fire.

But what it does for us in the series "but God" is gives us some attributes of God's justice, in particular, God's judgment. And I'm going to give them to you in statement form. God is patient, but he judges.

Chapter 6 of Genesis, verse 1, says "Now it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the Lord said, 'My Spirit shall not always strive with man forever, for he is indeed flash; yet his days shall be 120 years.'" Verse 4 talks about the result of that in terms of this odd race that comes.

Verse 5-- "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and he was grieved in his heart. And so the Lord said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.'"

Look at verse 3, that is the principle. "The Lord said, 'My Spirit shall not always strive with man forever.'" That is, God is patient, but he judges. God is forbearing but not forever. God will put up with you, but if you don't turn to Him, he'll put you down-- another way of saying that.

Now when it says, his Spirit will not always strive with man, God says that, it implies that the Holy Spirit does indeed strive with us. He is patient with us. David said in Psalm 103, "God is slow to anger." I'm so glad it says that. God is slow to anger. Another word the Old Testament uses about 13 times, he is a long-suffering, long-tempered, he lets the fuse go and burn a long time. He is slow to anger. He is abounding in mercy.

You say, well, how patient is God? Let me give you a few examples. In the original Creation, God said to the first being he created-- the first human, man, Adam. He said, don't eat this fruit of this tree. In the day that you eat this fruit, you will surely-- what?

Die.

Die. He didn't die for 930 years. That's slow to anger. Yeah, he was separated spiritually immediately, but he didn't physically die till he was 930 years old. Then there were the Canaanites. The Canaanites who lived in the land of what today is Israel. God said, they're wicked, I'm going to judge them. But he waited 400 years. And then, God said, I'm going to give you their land. But he said, when I drive them out, it's going to be awhile.

And he says, because the iniquity of the Amorites-- that's the chief Canaanite tribe-- is not completely full-- interesting phrase. Their iniquity is not completely full-- the cup isn't full. Well, when was it full? Another 400 years. So God was patient with them 800 years-- that's slow to anger.

When it comes to the flood, God says I've seen the earth. I'm going to destroy the earth. But he first sent a preacher of righteousness-- that's what Peter calls Noah, a preacher of righteousness-- and spoke to them while he was building this boat for 120 years. That is slow to anger. So the principle is this, God seems to let sin add up and accumulate until the time when God's wrath must eclipse God's mercy. God is slow to anger. God has a long fuse. He lets it burn before he acts, but-- but he acts, eventually he acts.

Once in England, there was an atheist, kind of famous guy named Robert Ingersoll who loved to travel around and mouth off about God, and how he didn't exist, and you're stupid to believe in him. So he was sort of famous for the stunt of saying, if there is a God, let him strike me dead in five minutes. And he put his pocket watch on the podium, and people would watch this. And then after five minutes, he would slap his hand on the podium and say, see? There is no God.

Well, somebody told this to Joseph Parker, who was one of the great preachers of London at the time. And Joseph Parker heard it, and he laughed and said, did the gentleman presume to exhaust the patience of eternal God in five minutes? God is slow to anger. He's not going to wipe you out in five minutes. He'll let the fuse burn a long time. He will strive but not forever. There's a limit. There's a window. And when that window is done, and his patience runs out.

But the Bible speaks of the certainty of judgment for everyone-- for everyone. And most people don't know that until they die, and now they're confronted with it. Hebrews 9:7, "For it is appointed to every man to die once, but after this, the judgment."

I had a man come to me last week and he said, let me ask you a question. Is it OK to pray for your dead relatives? I said, no, it's not. He goes, well, I do it all the time. I said, well, OK, well, you asked me. You can do what you want, but I'm just telling you-- from a biblical perspective-- there's nothing in the Bible that warrants you praying for your dead relatives. And so he goes, well, you know, you ought to speak on that.

I said, well, I've spoken on that before, but in case you missed it, I'm speaking about it today. It's appointed to every man to die once, and then after this, the judgment. You get a lot of chances up to that time, that's the grace and patience of God. But after you die, you face the judgment.

I've always liked that story in the Wild West about the young boy who was trapped by a stage coach, he got caught on it somehow, and the stage coach ran away with this little boy strapped to it. And a young man saw this. And so he got on his horse and chased down the stage coach and saved the boy. They didn't see each other for years. The young man grew up to be a judge; the young boy grew up to be a criminal.

And one day, the criminal appeared in that judge's courtroom. Well now, that boy grown up, the criminal, noticed the judge and recognized him and said, that's the guy that saved me. So the criminal made an appeal to the judge based upon what the judge had done for him so many years before, as if to say, you did it once, do it again. The judge, before he put the gavel down and said, you're guilty, which he did, he said, son, on that day, I was your Savior. Today, I am your judge.

Jesus Christ is both Savior and judge because he is the only one qualified. He was sent by God the Father to come to this earth to take the punishment for our sin on himself and provide a solution. And if people don't receive that or turn away from that, those who refused to be cleansed by it will be judged for their sin.

Now, there are certain things I can't resist, and this is one of them. Jesus made a very interesting remark about Noah and the time of judgment at the flood that linked that judgment of the flood with a future judgment of the world. Listen to what he said, Matthew 24, "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." Now that immediately piques our interest.

He's saying, what's going to happen in the future is a lot like what happened in the past. As it was in the days of Noah, so also it will be in the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying, giving in marriage until the day Noah entered the ark and did not know until the flood came it took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Among other things, this authenticates the Old Testament story of Noah and the ark. Because Jesus speaks of Noah as a historical person and mentions the event of the flood as an historical event. So I'll just say, if you have problems with Noah, you've got big problems with Jesus Christ. But his point is that people before the final judgment will have the same attitude they had before the flood. They were unconcerned. They were unsuspecting until, bam, it was too late.

But there's some interesting corollaries. The days of Noah, and the days of now. Let me show them to you. First of all, there was an increase in population before the flood. Verse 1 of chapter 6, "It came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them."

Now, according to Genesis 5, and we don't have a lot of time to talk about the canopy effect, and the theories of longevity, and all the stuff that we've done before, but according to the geological records of chapter 5, people had longer lifespans, which would set up for a massive increase of population.

According to doctors John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, scientists, they took the geological tables from Genesis and calculating longevity and average number of kids per family, they figured that at the end of 18 generations, there could have easily been 774 million people. That's a conservative estimate. And that a conservative estimate of the earth's population at the time of the flood could be easily one billion people, if not in excess of that. They say it could have far exceeded it.

Now, why is that significant? Because let's just say that's true. If that is true, this earth hasn't seen a billion people since the time of Noah until our year 1804. In 1804, that was the first time a billion people were on planet Earth. It didn't take much longer to get 2 billion-- 1927, there were two billion; in 1960, three billion; today, 7.6 billion. And the big concern, social scientists especially are having this and scientists, what are we going to do with this exponential increase, this multiplying on the face of the earth?

Second, I want you to notice, there was an increase in sexual depravity. Verse 2 says, the Sons of God, [HEBREW], in Hebrew, saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful. And they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. "And the Lord said, my Spirit will not strive with man forever for he is indeed flesh, yet his days shall be 120 years." Verse 4 describes the effect of that. And I'm not going to, again, get into the details of the Nephilim and this odd race of people, we just don't have the margin of time.

But let me just sum it up by saying, simply, there was a breakdown of the family. In fact, I'll say it this way, there was a breakdown of the traditional family that God had given early in Genesis chapter 2 and 3. The family was now replaced by a sexual freedom that led to a sexual perversion. I think we see a corollary.

In our culture, especially, 70% of television programming-- 70% of television shows-- show sexual conduct. It's almost as if we are obsessed with sexuality, we've just got to stick it in there somewhere-- 70 percent. 2% to 3% is about sexuality between people who just met. And only 1/2 the couples portrayed are in any kind of established relationship.

Third thing I'd like you to notice, there was an increase in wickedness. Verse 5, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth." Now watch what he does here. He takes us into the very thoughts of humanity at the time. "And that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Every single thought was only evil continually.

The Berkeley version renders it, "Human wickedness was growing out of bounds on the earth." Only evil continually-- very descriptive phrase.

In the world of criminal prosecution, a person can have a track record of committing crimes over and over and over again. When that happens, even if it happens a couple times, the litigator tries to prosecute the criminal as a habitual offender. Because a habitual offender means, according to the law, that they get more jail time because crime has become, according to them, a way of life. It's now a way of life. It's a life choice.

God looks at the earth and says, they're habitual offenders, every single thought of the intents of their heart is evil continually. So an increase in population, increase in sexual depravity, increase in wickedness, and also there was an increase in violence. Verse 11, the earth was also corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

What's the first violent crime committed? What was the first murder?

[CROWD MUMBLES]

Cain kills Abel. A few chapters later, a guy named Lamech kills someone based upon the fact that Cain killed someone. That was his role model. But by now, wickedness and violence has become epidemic. It filled the earth God noticed. It filled the earth. As if to say, once people turn from God, they will turn on one another.

Now, I don't have to go very deeply or very far back, but it seems like every other week, there is some violent expression in our culture-- school shootings, shootings like the Las Vegas incident, concert halls abroad and at home, vans plowing into hordes of people, violence is on the rise.

Now, God is patient, but he judges. God waits, but there's a time when it's done. So question is, what does God expect of humanity while we wait for him to judge? During that time of patience, what are we to do with it? What are we to do with God's patience? Here's the short answer, change it up-- "repent" is the Bible word. That doesn't mean you put sackcloth and ashes necessarily on yourself. It means you change directions, you go a different direction. Because a refusal to repent is what attracts God's judgment. It attracts it.

Paul, in Romans 2, said, "Do you despise the riches of his goodness, his forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and impenitent heart, you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." So God is patient, but he judges.

The second attribute of God's justice is that God judges, but he differentiates. He makes the difference. In chapter 6, verse 7, "The Lord said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.'" But watch this, verse 8, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."

Woo, glad I read that. There are some negative words like "but", words of contrast and when they're there it's like [SIGHS] right? These little connective words "but". So it's like you're reading and it's, God is really mad at everyone, but Noah-- [SIGHS] found grace. The word means favor in the eyes of God. The Living Bible says Noah was a pleasure to the Lord.

And because it is preceded by but-- but Noah was a pleasure to the Lord-- that suggests that everyone else was not a pleasure to the Lord. So God makes a difference. God differentiates.

Now there's a phrase I don't want you just to pass over. But Noah found grace in what? The eyes of the Lord. Now that's a biblical phrase you're going to read, and I just want you to know quickly what it is. We call that an anthropomorphism, which is a fancy way of saying when we write about God, we describe him in human language. God doesn't have a lens or a cornea or a vitreous humor, he didn't have an eyeball. It's a way of saying God sees deeper because he knows more. He knows all of the facts.

He notices people's hearts, right? Didn't Samuel say, "For God does not see as man sees. For man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." God sees it all.

I was reading about eagles. And the article said that the eye of an eagle has eight times more visual cells per cubic centimeter than human beings, which enables an eagle-- at 600 feet above the earth-- to spot an object the size of a dime in six inches of grass. Those are good eyes. And it can see a three-inch fish jump in a lake five miles away. Those are good eyes. What must the eyes of the Lord be like?

They're like this, Hebrews 4, "There is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him of whom we must give an account." Solomon said, "The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all of his paths." So God sees it all. And because he sees it all, he differentiates.

Notice this, verse 11, "The earth was also corrupt before God, the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, 'The end of all flesh has come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.'"

Now mark the contrast, God is sending judgment while he is saving Noah-- both of those things simultaneously. So God doesn't judge indiscriminately, God judges individually. It's not like, I'm just tired of you all, I'm going to just wipe you all out. Unless you're like Noah, he found favor, pleasure, grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Now Peter, in the New Testament, uses this as an example for the example, I'm saying, that he makes a difference in judgment. Peter brings this up, and he goes, listen, God judged at one time in the past with the flood, but he made a difference.

This is what he says. This is Second Peter, chapter 5. "He did not spare the ancient world but saved Noah, one of eight people." And then he says, in verse 9, a couple verses after. "Then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment." So when God judges, he knows the difference because he knows the human heart, and he knows the responses.

Now, this is something else I can't resist, something just to notice, a perhaps. Before God sends judgment upon the earth, he lifts Noah off the earth. Simultaneously to the judgment going on the earth, they-- one of 8, Noah and his family-- are lifted up from the earth. Could it be that the ark is sort of a shadow-- a foreshadow, a type of something else? Is there anyone else in the Bible that is promised to be lifted off the earth before a time of judgment? Yeah, believers at that last judgment, that tribulation period.

First Thessalonians, chapter 4, "We who are alive and remain will by no means precede those who have fallen asleep." Those who've died before us. "For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the air to meet the Lord in the clouds." Or in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. "So shall we ever be with the Lord."

The word is [NON-ENGLISH], caught up. It's where we get our word "rapture" from. It means literally to be taken up by force, to be pulled, to be snatched away. So the Bible promises that like Noah, God will pluck up a selected group of people from humanity and take them instantly to heaven at some point. So God judges, but he differentiates.

Let me take it to a third aspect of God's justice. God differentiates, but he doesn't exempt. So here's God's patient, but he's going to judge. God judges, but he makes a difference. God makes a difference, differentiates, but he doesn't exempt. What do I mean by that?

Well, notice in chapter 7 verse 1, "The Lord said to Noah, 'Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.'" Verse 20, "The waters prevailed 15 cubits upward, the mountains were covered, and all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing the creeps"-- all the creeps were there.

[LAUGHTER]

"And every man"-- some of them were creepy-- "and in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. So he destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground, both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days."

Noah was not directly affected by this judgment. He was saved. But he was indirectly affected. Do you think Noah was the whole time just like having a party up there on that boat? I mean, just think of the toll this judgment took upon Noah. First of all, he's in an ark. He's with eight people, but a lot of animals with a lot of stink. Right, for 13 months, he can't go out and take a walk. So he is very isolated, very put away, sequestered.

And let's think of the emotion. Everyone you've known, all your neighbors, friends, if he had any, were all in a watery grave. And think of the stench of that death on those waters. So he was not directly affected, m he certainly was indirectly. So God differentiates, but he's not exempt from feeling the brunt of that judgment-- albeit in a much better way.

And here's the point I want to make. God's judgment of unbelievers should never make any of us happy. It is not a cause of rejoicing. It should affect believers. It should cause us discomfort. To fully realized what may happen to a person without Christ should cause us discomfort .

Second Peter 3, "God is not willing that any should perish." One of the famous verses in the New Testament. God doesn't want anybody to perish. Because God is not willing that any should perish, we shouldn't be willing that any should perish. We should never gloat and go, they're going to get theirs. It should grieve us. We should be indirectly affected by their judgment.

Leon Morris, a theologian, said, "God's wrath is not an uncontrollable outburst of passion. It is the reverse of a holy love, a flame which sears but purifies, always exercised with a certain tenderness. For even when he is angry with man's sin, God loves man and is concerned for his well-being in the fullest sense." That moved me when I read that. God isn't judging with a smile on his face but, as it were, with tears in his eyes.

So God is patient, but he judges. God judges, but he differentiates. God differentiates, but he doesn't exempt. And the fourth characteristic or aspect of this is God doesn't exempt, but he does remember.

Chapter 8 verse 1, "But God remembered Noah." Now, my translation, the New King James, that's where I'm reading from says, "Then God remembered Noah." The old King James says, "And God remembered Noah." But the New Living Translation, the NIV, the New American Standard Bible, the ESV, and a host of others have it right when they translate it "But God". It's a contrast.

He's now pivoting in chapter 8. "But God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth and the waters subsided." To say that God remembered Noah doesn't imply that God ever forgot Noah. It's not like God's up there going, oh, oh, right. Noah is down there. It's simply a way of saying God turned his attention fully on to Noah. God was concerned and kept his mind on Noah.

Now let's step back from this for a moment. Let's see the big picture. If you look at this picture that we have in front of us, an earth in a deluge of water being destroyed, we look at that and go, it's over. Right? Curtains-- lights out, curtains closed, it's over. It's the end. It seems like the end. But for this family, and for the rest of the world, it's a new beginning. It's just the beginning.

This story, though it is about judgment, is not primarily about death. It's primarily about life. But God remembered Noah. It's not primarily about judgment. It's primarily about establishment of a new order. Because though in Genesis 1 through 8, you have Creation, fall, flood; from Genesis chapter 8 to Revelation chapter 22, it's about life after the flood. It's what happens after this. It's the new beginning, and the story of that.

So God is not saying to the world, forget you, as much as he's saying to Abraham, I remember you. God remembers him. God remembered Noah because God has a plan for Noah. And what is that plan? Fill the earth, multiply, start over, this is a redo. This is a do-over, a second chance, a new opportunity.

Now I'm going to assume for a moment that you all are familiar with the early part of Genesis. And after the fall, God makes a promise to Satan and says, "There's going to be born one day," Genesis chapter 3, "somebody who's going to be born into this world who's going to crush your head"-- crush your kingdom, a prediction of Jesus Christ. And ever since that moment, Satan tried to figure out every conceivable plan to avoid that crushing of his head, his dominion.

And one of the ways he did it is here-- getting the world so corrupted, because Satan of all creatures knew the attributes of God and knew that God would be absolutely just. And if that sin reached a certain limit, God would have to judge the world. So he corrupted the world so badly that it was inevitable that God would judge. He is patient, but he judges. So that when the flood hit the earth, I'm sure all the demons in hell-- I'm just supposing this-- were like raising their hands going yes! Yes, it's over. It's done. It's gone-- game over.

But God remembered Noah. There's this little box bouncing up on that water with a lot of animals and a few people in it. That's the future? That's the hope? Uh-huh. I just want you to take this to heart, because God remembers you. God knows the plans he has for you-- a future, a hope. They might seem very narrow chances. Like really? The whole future of the world is in that little box, bobbing up and down? Wee. Uh-huh.

When Israel was in captivity, by Babylon, years later, they sinned, God booted them out of the land. They're in captivity. They are prisoners. They're slaves. They all thought we're done. We're never going back. We have no future in the land of Israel. It's hopeless. Until God sent a prophet named Jeremiah who told them, "Thus says the Lord. I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, not of evil, to bring you a future and a hope."

God said in Philippians through Paul, "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it till the day of Christ." So this flood, as bad as it is, is a redo, a reset, a do-over, a second chance, another opportunity. Life-- not just death, life; not just judgment, salvation.

Judgment is coming again to this world. Peter said, "What happened in the past is going to happen again in the future guaranteed." He describes it in the last chapter of Second Peter. He said the medium is going to be different, but the results will essentially be the same. But the message of the New Testament is but God sent his Son to take all of the judgment-- that you deserve-- on himself. So that if you just believe in him, trust in him, you'll escape the judgment that is coming. Good deal.

Jesus put it this way, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and is not judged or is condemned." He crosses over from death into life. Man, you can escape that flood. You have an ark provided by believing in Jesus Christ. That is your ark. You can say no to that ark. You can say no to Jesus Christ. And then, if so, it is appointed to every man once to die and after this, the judgement.

You will face the judgment of God or you let Jesus face it for you and you trust in him. Great deal.

Father, we want to take that deal, many of us, most of us, have taken it. I pray for those who have not yet done that, that Jesus would be their ark in this sea of confusion and pain that is the life of so many in this fallen, sinful world. How thankful we are that God stepped out of eternity into time as a human to live, to teach, to walk among us. A very short ministry but a very powerful conclusion in his atoning death on the cross and bodily resurrection.

And how thankful we are that we were born, that we share in your plan for the future. We have a hope. Thank you, Lord, for remembering us. Thank you for the but God moments that we can look back on. And this is sort of the ultimate one-- judgment is coming, but God sent his Son to take it for us. In Jesus' name, amen.

We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know, email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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4/1/2018
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Jesus Died...but God
Skip Heitzig
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4/15/2018
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Haters Hate…but God
1 Samuel 23:14-18
Skip Heitzig
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I want to help you today to view the circumstances of your life correctly; I’d like to clear up your spiritual vision. This week and next, we will examine the lives of two well-known characters in Scripture who were attacked by people close to them, but God changed the outcome. Their evil hatred couldn’t stop the great plans that a good God had set in motion. Today, a five-verse pericope gives rich principles that clear up our vision.
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4/22/2018
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Evil Happens…but God
Genesis 50:15-21
Skip Heitzig
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The story of Joseph is one of the Bible’s most compelling tales. And the most gripping feature is the difference between Joseph’s outlook and that of his eleven brothers. After all the intrigue, the ups and downs of Joseph’s life and career, and the years of deception and selfishness by Joseph’s brothers, the finale comes after their father, Jacob, dies. This is one of the Bible’s best but God moments,as forgiveness eclipses failure. Let’s consider Joseph’s brothers as they approach him one last time.
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5/6/2018
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We’ve Failed...but God
Nehemiah 9
Skip Heitzig
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Most all of us know that we are not what we should be or could be. Sin has scarred our lives. We are aware of personal failures. The really good news is that we may fail but God forgives. The whole reason for the atoning death of Christ was to provide clemency for transgressions and mercy for our offenses. Nehemiah knew the history of his people, and after gathering them back in the land after the captivity, he prays on their behalf. We learn four vital lessons in this prayer about the human condition and the divine solution.
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5/27/2018
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You Can Run…but God
Jonah 1-2
Skip Heitzig
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I’ll bet you played hide-and-seek as a kid (or as a parent with your kids). After a while, you get really creative in finding places to hide. But can you imagine actually trying to hide from God? This is the story of a prophet of God who found out that you can run but you can’t hide. As Jonah runs from the call of God, God pursues him. In this scene we discover three principles every one of us should remember.
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There are 5 additional messages in this series.