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Abounding Grace (Vol 05) - God's Grace to Noah

Sunday English Service - 26 JUL 20

Transcript

Let's go to the Word of God this morning. As you know, we've been teaching on the subject of grace for the last few weeks. We have titled this series as “Abounding Grace”. The title comes from Romans 5:20 where the apostle Paul makes this great statement, where sin abounded, grace does much more abound, he says. It means that sin has this nature of abounding wherever it goes. That means, where sin goes, it creates a big impact. It spreads everywhere, ruins everything, destroys everything, brings everything under its power and tears it all up. It has a destructive tendency. That's what sin does. And it does its work in people's lives. But wherever sin abounds, when God's grace is allowed to enter there, God's grace abounds much more. That means whatever sin has done by way of damaging everything, grace is able to put it back together, repair, and remedy everything. But doesn't stop there. Grace is able to take it to a higher level, make everything beautiful and wonderful. That's what Paul is saying, basically. And that is seen throughout the scriptures.

I'm teaching this because I believe this will help us to understand our Christian life, life that we're living right now. For every believer, it’ll be a great help. And for unbelievers, who are hearing the gospel for the first time, they will understand also how their life can be changed by the grace of God. Because we all need change. We all desire change for the better. And so in this teaching, you will learn how, by the grace of God, your life can be changed.

Now, I said I teach this because Christians can understand Christian life. In what way? See, we have all lived under sin. We know the power of sin. And we know what sin has done. We have experienced it firsthand. We've been ruined, destroyed, we lost so much. Our life has been torn up and destroyed in so many ways. And we have experienced that. But now we are in Christ. Since the time that we came back in Christ, now God is putting everything back together. By the grace of God, sin’s damages are now being repaired. Now, everything is put back together and made more beautiful and wonderful than ever. We're experiencing grace. We will experience it throughout our lives. Throughout our lives, we'll see the work of God's grace in our life, in every area of our life. As we studied this, you will understand this. That's why you need to get a good revelation of what this grace is all about.

In order to study this, we went all the way to the book of Genesis and started from there, because in Genesis, we have the creation of the world and the creation of man. And then soon after that, we have sin entering in. And as soon as sin enters, then we see the manifestation of grace again and again and again. So the first few chapters of Genesis are very important.

The first few chapters meaning that first to eleventh chapter of Genesis, which is called primeval history or ancient history is very important. There are five passages in those eleven chapters that reveal the abounding grace wonderfully. That is the passage where it talks about the sin of Adam and Eve. Then the passage that talks about the sin of Cain murdering his brother. Third passage is Genesis 6 where it talks about sin literally ruining the whole world and whole mankind, so that everything needed to be destroyed by the flood later on. And then fourthly, the flood of Noah and Noah finding grace in the eyes of God in the middle of that great judgment and what happens to him. And fifthly, the Tower of Babel. And there, we see the abounding grace of God. So these five instances, I told you, we're going to look at it. And we've already looked at three and we're going to look at four today.

We need to go back to what we did last week and explain a little more about that because these two are connected. The third and the fourth are connected. Because what we shared last week is the cause for the flood. The flood didn't happen just because God got mad and everything didn't go well and just God destroyed. No, it's not like that. Something terrible happened. I told you last week.

And we have it in the words of God Himself as He looked at humanity at that time, the pre-flood humanity. Look at His words, and 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. That sentence is very powerful. That every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Three words every and only and continually. It's talking about how man's thoughts are full of evil. But look at how it says every thought is full of evil. It was only consisting of evil and it was continually full of evil. Very powerful statement.

Another thing I pointed out to you is that every intent of the thoughts…that is from a Hebrew word that has to do with a potter taking clay and making a pot, giving form and shape to a pot. Taking a clay, he gives a form, right? Like that we do it in our mind. We give form to thoughts. In that formative stage itself, evil enters into man’s thoughts. As the thoughts are formed itself, in that formative stage itself, evil enters.

So every thought was only evil and continually evil. You cannot say it any better than that. That's the condition of the society at that time. And the Lord was very sorry, the next verse says, that He made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And didn’t stop with that. Verse 7 says, so the Lord said, “I'll destroy man.” It’s talking about how God is going to destroy man and beast and everything; everything He has created: man, beast, birds, everything because God was sorry that He ever made them.

But then in verse 8, it says, but Noah have found grace in the eyes of the Lord. That's what we're going to study about today. How in the middle of all this mess, this man found grace in the eyes of God and what God's grace did for him and what it’ll do for us. That's what we're interested in.

But we need to pay a little attention to the cause because a lot of people look at flood and they always say, “How can God do something like that? How can God destroy the whole world, entire humanity, so many people just kill them by the flood?” What I want to point out to you that there is something terrible happened. It's not just an ordinary that God got upset and wiped out everything. No, it doesn't happen like that. Something very extraordinary, there was no other way to do it. This is actually a great work by God to save humanity. That's the way I will put it. And you will understand after I explain it to you.

I went through the whole sermon last week. I'm not going to go through the whole thing but let me take a few minutes to explain what it is. It says, Now it came to pass, verse 1, when men began to multiply in the face of death, 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 of them they chose. This is one of the most difficult passages to interpret, they say. I know why it is so but I think we can understand this if you paid some attention to it.

The thing is when it says the sons of God saw the daughters of men, and saw that they were beautiful, and they took wives for themselves, something sinister seems to have happened there. And people have many different ways of interpreting. And some say, well, there was this lineage of Cain, which was an evil lineage. And there was a lineage of Seth. See, Abel died so then Seth was born and he's the godly lineage. People from these two lineages started to get mixed, and therefore, things turned out bad. Well, it's not something that's so ordinary. It’s something extraordinary, very evil has happened here. So that interpretation won't do.

There are others who think that the angels of God, because the sons of God is a term, in the Old Testament particularly, it refers to the angels of God. Last week I showed you several references. So they say the angels of God came and married the daughters of men. This is something terrible. Something happened. Something evil took place. That cannot happen because angels don’t marry. And if they marry, they cannot bear children. So that is something that is out of question.

The other way to look at it is, the oldest way that this passage has been interpreted even by the Jewish scholars as well as the scholars of these days. The oldest interpretation is this, that the sons of God really means the angels of God and that is right. But here it refers to the evil angels of God, that is the fallen angels of God, the evil spirits. These are the spirits that in 1 Peter and 2 Peter, the two epistles Peter talks about them as being bound in prison waiting for the judge of God because of something they did in the pre-flood days. It refers to that. And Jude 6 also talks about it. I read all those verses.

These evil spirits got into men and possessed them and ruled over them and began to cause them to lust after the daughters of men. And then these evil-possessed men entered into marriage with the daughters of men and then they produced children. Those children were of a different kind. What kind where they? Verse 4 talks about how they were mighty men and how they were renowned men.

The mighty men is not like what you think. It’s not like they were bodybuilders or something like that. Mighty men means violent men. That's what it's talking about. They were violent men and they were famous. How can you be violent and famous? Because that society valued violence. And if you're into violence, the more violent you are, the more famous you are. That's how the society became. Because these people were born out of that relationship, were demon-possessed men, consumed by lust came and married the daughters of men and through them, bore these children. Their very nature was different.

Now, we talked about it in great detail last week. God was so sick with this whole thing so that He has to immediately take action and reduce the lifespan of human beings terribly. They lived almost till thousand years in those days. Reduced it to about 120. We see that there. And then God decided to destroy everything that He had made. That's a big decision. So something very bad has happened here. Something terrible has happened here so that the entire humanity is lost literally, possessed by the devil, taken over by the devil. Humanity was demonized. There was a demonization of the human race. Their culture, their way of living was completely demonized. Marriage was demonized, violence became idolized.

Another thing is, look at the way he talks about it in verse 4. These were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward when sons of God came into the daughters of men, that they bore children to them. The way it says the sons of God came into the daughters of men, that's a very raw way of saying it. It means that it's no nice marriage relationship. It's just some sexual attraction and encounter that produce this whole race of people motivated only by sexual attraction and such things. It was a society filled with violence and society filled with sex. That's the way it went.

God looked at it, and God wanted to destroy the whole thing because if it goes like this, entire humanity will be lost. But God didn't want to lose the humanity. God has planned a salvation for humanity because He said when man sinned, Adam sinned, “I'll make enmity between your seed and her seed.” He’s talking about the Savior. Genesis 3:15, the Messiah to come, He is promised already and He’s got to fulfill his promise. And He cannot fulfill the promise if the humanity went like that and if everybody became like that and all humanity is lost. As of now, just about everybody's lost. There's only one man, Noah, that’s left out of this whole human race that can stand with God and make that promise come true. So God had to take a quick action.

Like I’ve said so many times. It's like the doctor decides to cut off a leg or a finger or something to save the person. The person is more important than the leg or a finger. So in order to save humanity and bring about salvation for entire human race, which will be billions and billions later on, God had to take this action. There was no other option available. It’s a lost cause. Only Noah is left. So God had to do it.

And God did it. That is how the flood of Noah's time happened. The thing is, even after Noah's flood, the human race began to develop and once again, they became evil only. But God worked it out so well, that He chose a man named Abraham and through him, made a whole nation. That family made a whole nation and increased them in number and separated from the rest of the world, from all the other peoples of the world as a holy people to Himself. Gave them different laws, the 10 commandments. Totally different from anything they had in the world. So that they lived a different kind of life, consecrated to God. So that if something like this happens again, all humanity is not lost. He has preserved a nation for Himself. That's one of the purposes of the law that was given and the rituals and ceremonies that was given to the Jewish people of that time; to purposely keep them separated from the rest of the world. Even their eating habits were so different, that they can't eat everything everybody ate. So that God can preserve this nation and through this nation bring Jesus, the Savior. And through Savior, bring salvation to the entire whole world, which He has done now.

What happened in the pre-flood days cannot happen again anymore. Today, it cannot happen. Today, the same scenario is impossible because today, out of every tongue tribe, and nation I believe there are people that trust in Jesus, that have given their life to Christ. There are people that are worshipers of the true living God all over the world. They are the salt and the light of this world that makes the world a better place than ever before. It's not like the pre-flood days now.

That kind of thing cannot happen anymore. That's how it has changed. Tremendous change has happened. God has so wonderfully worked it out by choosing one man Abraham, bringing a nation, through the nation a Savior, and through that Savior, salvation to all people of all kinds. It has been worked out.

That same thing cannot happen anymore. God had already promised him. Right after the flood also He promised that He will never destroy the world again like this. And there is no need to do that like that, to destroy in that way. He is going to one day bring a new heaven and new earth so that the old He’s going to get rid of and the new He’s going to bring about. But that is different. The same kind of scenario that happened pre-flood days will not happen now.

But at the same time, you should not think that just because I said that scenario is not possible right now in this present age, you should not think that story is not relevant for us. Turn with me to Matthew's Gospel chapter 24. Let me read to you verse 37 to 39. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

So Jesus said that just before the coming of the Son of Man, it'll be just like that. Just like it was in the days of Noah. Just like the pre-flood days, they'll be busy marrying and giving in marriage, they'll be busy eating and drinking, they'll be busy going about their ways, and living their sinful lives and have no understanding at all of what is happening until like the flood came and took everybody away. They're going to live so carelessly, He says. So, it has great relevance. The passage has a great relevance for us even today.

Even though today, the church is there as the salt of the earth and light of this world and therefore, that exact same thing cannot happen. But side by side, two things exist today. One is the church, the salt and the light. And the other is the world which lives on a totally different level. And in the world, you see the same tendencies as we had in the pre-flood days of Noah. Same thing.

That is why today, we have such importance given to violence and sex in this world, in movies, in television, and all these things. These two things are emphasized and put forth so much, made a big deal out of so much. And people say, “Well, that's art and it has to do with art and culture.” Well, I'm all for art and culture and all that but we don't need this. We don’t need sex and violence. That’s not art and culture. That is something that is evil that is brought into this to ruin this, you see. And it is given such importance. It finds a very important place in the society today.

People go into theaters today or sit at home and turn the television on with their popcorns and Coca Cola and munching on these things, watch these things just like it's nothing. When some of them are not even bothered about this. This is something to be enjoyed, they think. Something to be watched and enjoyed. It's fun. That's the way people think about it. Even those who don't feel very comfortable with these things go in there. And when these things come on, they may not feel comfortable but they endure through it. Even though they don’t enjoy it, they endure through it because they think, “Well that's there, that’s part of it. What to do? We just endure through it.”

There you have the pre-flood days all over again. These things are rearing its head. The devil is at work, infiltrating society, infiltrating culture with these two things, making a big deal about them. These are the two things that are most important in that kind of culture today. It is really shameful and it is really destructive. It is a destructive influence in the society but it's happening. Nobody can deny that it's not happening. So today we have salt and light, the church, the good influence on the one side and then you have the pre-flood days type of thing happening. So this whole story about the pre-flood days and what happened to humanity in those days is very relevant for us today because we see the same things happening in part of the society today.

Let's get back to Genesis 6:8 says, Noah have found grace in the eyes of the Lord. We want to talk about this Noah and how he found grace in the eyes of the Lord and how he escaped the judgment, how he was saved through it. Because that is the revelation of grace that we need to look at. The story is not so much about the flood or even the judgment. The story is about the kind of person that God saves from judgment and how God saves.

When you look at that, you'll find that Hebrews11 comments on Noah like this, it says, By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of this household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. The first time the idea of righteousness which is according to faith is introduced is through Noah.

What is righteousness according to faith? It is a righteousness that God gives us a gift to man. Righteousness is the ability to stand before God without guilt, condemnation, or inferiority. It is an ability that God gives to a man to come and stand before Him, to have a relationship with Him. And God grants this relationship with Him to Noah. By grace, he is given that gift. God just opens the door and allows this man to come in and have a relationship with Him. Not because this man is perfect, not because this man doesn't have any sin and he’s so totally perfect that he can be called now righteous. That is not the way the Bible teaches righteousness. Bible teaches righteousness as a gift of God, first of all.

God picks up a man, a sinner, and gives him His righteousness because he doesn't have righteousness by which he can come and approach God. He's an unworthy sinner. Therefore, God gives him righteousness. And with that righteousness, now he can relate to God. And this relationship with God which he now comes into will change his life forever. That's exactly what happens to Noah. God gives him the righteous standing. Therefore, he comes and relates to God and has a relationship with God. That changes him literally so that four times in chapter 6 and chapter 7, we have that statement that Noah did all that God commanded him, as if he is a perfect obedient person. His obedience is highlighted like that. Noah did all that God commanded him chapter 6:22, 7:5, 7:9, and 7:16. Four times it says again and again that Noah did all that God commanded him.

How? God, by granting him the righteousness status and allowing him into a relationship with Himself, changes his behavior. That's how he does. That's the way God does it. I remember back in the days when I went to college, there was a professor that if we went late sometimes, when we go on stand at the entrance of the class, wanting his permission to get in, he says, “Come in, Mr. Chelladurai.” When I heard that, I decided I'm going to make every effort to go to his class in time because I didn't want to be standing there and be respected so much when I'm the one that is late and doing things that I would not be doing. The way he treated me brought a change in me.

As a pastor, I found this very useful a truth. I've found that there's no use calling people sinners all the time. They’re believers. Sometimes preachers think that if we tell the believers that they're sinners, they're lacking, they're no good, then only they'll become better. So with a good intention, we hammer them every Sunday saying, “Oh, you're not good. Your prayer will not even reach the roof. How will you go when Jesus comes? Will you go to heaven at all?” This kind of preaching.

Just imagine if you had a child. Try it with your child first. You had a son. Take him and tell him he is useless, no good, so unworthy, and so useless. Keep telling him. Indoctrinate him every day like that. Just see what he’ll turn out to be. He’ll turn out to be a useless person. I hope you don't do that. He will turn out to be a useless person. Even if he had all the abilities and intelligence to come up in life, your words will literally kill all initiative in his heart. You got to be very careful. Even a kid that is not interested in study, is not interested in the things that you would like him to be interested in, you need to motivate him by good words. That's how God does it.

God looks at Gideon, an inferiority complex-filled guy, hiding and threshing his wheat. Considers his family as one of the poorest in their tribe. Small and poor. That's the view he has of his own family. God comes and calls him mighty man of valor. He looked around to see if God is talking to someone else. Found that God was talking to him. Mighty man of valor. God took this guy, who had so much inferiority complex, and turned him into a mighty man of valor simply by calling him mighty man of valor. God is one who calls those things that be not as though they were. So that's how God is introducing the subject of righteousness that comes by faith.

Noah is described as the man who saved is by faith. He’s the first man in the Bible that is described as righteous. Read that in chapter 6:9. It says, This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Just man mean in other words, a righteous man. That's what it means. Perfect in his generations.

So, here is the story of man, an ordinary man just like any other man, a sinner. God took and showed him some favor, brought him to Himself and established a relationship with him. By that relationship, changed his life completely. That's what Christianity is all about. God takes a sinner, shows him favor, opens the door to him to come to Himself, allows him to have a relationship with Him, and by the relationship turns his life around so that the man completely is turned around and changed. That's the story we read here about Noah. That's the way that God deals with man.

When you go to chapter 8, now the flood has come and Noah and his family are in the ark. They've been there for months, shut in, and God seems to have never spoken to them during those months that he is shut in. But Noah continued inside the ark and lived in the ark. The Ark finally went and hit ground in Mount Ararat. They were standing there for a few months. They’re waiting for the water to recede. Just imagine what it would been like, the whole humanity destroyed, everything is destroyed.

And then chapter 8:1 says, God remembered Noah. Genesis 8:1, God remembered Noah. Whenever the Bible says God remembered somebody, it’s a very significant sentence because when God remembered Abraham, He saved Lot. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed. And it says God remembered Abraham. And so He made arrangements for Lot to leave before the city was burned. God remembered Rachel, it says. Remember Jacob's wife, Rachel, they couldn't have a child and she was very distressed about it. And the Bible says God remembered Rachel and then she had a child. So when God remembers somebody, He’s going to do something.

When the Bible says God remembered somebody, it means that He has said something to that person and He's going to keep His previous commitment to that person, a promise to that person. That's what it means. So God remember Noah. That means God told Noah to build the ark. Hundred years it took him to build the ark, hundred years he preached to the people, warning them. Just imagine, in that hard-headed society filled with violence and sex, and he preached to them. And people say that just the fact that he preached hundred years and continued to make this ark before them and lived there and was not killed is a big thing.

It is the grace of God that kept him alive all these hundred years. He showed some faithfulness to God. He continued. He persisted all those years. With his family, he was working on that ark, preaching to the people, telling people about God. And nobody responding. Can you imagine preaching 100 years and not one soul got saved? I would be terribly discouraged. I'd be discouraged if I was preaching for one month and nobody got saved because we expect tangible results all the time. Noah preached and believed that God was doing something. Even though he saw no result, nobody responded, nobody believed, nobody turned out Noah still kept preaching, kept building the ark, kept getting ready. Amazing.

Finally, water receded and they all come out. When they all come out, chapter 8:15 onwards, when you read it says, And God spoke to Noah saying, “Go out to the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds, cattle, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they are bound on the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth. And then again, verse 19 repeats every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, whatever creeps on the earth, the repetition that you see here to the Hebrews meant something. It is a kind of slow motion play for the Hebrews. When repetition like this happen in written material, it means that they're slowing down so that people can see, notice something. What are they supposed to see here? They're supposed to see here that God has kept His promise, that God has been good to them, that they're going to start a new life in this new world with the help of God. That's why they're slowing down, repeating these things. For them to take notice.

And after that, Noah builds an ark. Verse 20, Then Noah built an ark to the Lord and took every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. So, here something wonderful is happening, a joyful worship is happening. It's a worship that indicated joy in worship, surrender. It also indicated atonement for sins because the earth was so filled with sin, and Noah is now making atonement. So he brings offerings, puts them before God cuts them up and burns them until they are burnt into ashes. The burnt offering meant that he was giving himself totally to God, dedicating himself totally to God. He keeps nothing for himself. Everything, all of himself, is given to God. That's what it meant.

And it also meant it’s a celebration because God has brought about salvation. That him and his family have saved. Everyone is dead. All humanity is gone. But God has shown him favor, grace. Him and his family are saved and therefore, he’s celebrating. He was saying in fact, “All my life is yours. I belong to you. Here I am, Lord.” That's what it meant.

And then God responds to what he did. Look at verse 21, The Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I'll never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth: nor will I again, destroy every living thing as I have done. So God is now beginning to respond. And in His response, you see three things. One, you see grace. Two, you see blessings. Three, you see a covenant. And here you see the grace of God. He says, “I'll never again curse the earth.” And then He says, I'll never again destroy the earth with a flood. Two things He promises: never again curse, never again destroy the whole earth, every living thing, as I have done here. On the same level it will not happen.

As I've explained after this, and quickly the story moves on, and then God chooses Abraham. Through Abraham makes a nation so that now entire humanity being lost in sin is not so much possible. And then through that nation brings the Savior and through that Savior, now today the gospel has gone everywhere and there are people from every tongue, tribe, and nation just about worshipping this true and living God. So God has made arrangements for that.

Then He says, “While the remains,” verse 22, “seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night shall not cease.” So this guarantees life and all provisions coming normally. The earth will grow because there will be seedtime and harvest. If you plant, you will reap. You will not be hungry, you'll be eating. They'll be cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night. So everything goes back to normal. God says, “Even in this fallen world, even though sin has ruined and destroyed everything, I'm putting everything back together.” Noah has obtained grace from the Lord and grace means that he is allowed to start a new life. New Life now he can go forth. He can worship, he can begin a new life, he can give thanks to God, make a new beginning, and expect God to meet his every need. Expect the earth to grow and produce. God is showing grace.

Secondly, there is blessing. You find that in Genesis chapter 9. So God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” That sounds just like the first chapter of Genesis and what God said to Adam, right? “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” God has not changed. He's got the same purpose, fill the earth. But then He adds a lot of things that were not there in the first and second chapters of Genesis. God did not tell these things to Adam. And what are they?

Verse 2 says, the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They're given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. Verse 2 literally means subduing and dominate, that everything will be under his power and dominion. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I've given you all things, even as green herbs. Now, meat can be eaten. Animal meat can be eaten. But you shall not eat flesh with its life that is its blood. Special instruction, not to eat blood. When you eat animal don't eat with blood.

Why? Because respect for animal life, respect for life itself is taught. He starts with animal life. God is the giver of life. Therefore, don't eat animal meat with the blood, He says. And then He says, “Surely for your life blood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast, I will require it and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother, I will require the life of man.” Important verse here. From the hand of every man's brother, I will require life of man. He moves from respecting animal life to respecting human life.

There is a verse in Exodus that says even if animal kills a man, that animal is going to be killed. That's how human life is respected. God says, “I will require it.” From the hand of every man's brother, I will require the life of man. Why? Whoever sheds man's blood, by man, his blood also shall be shed; for in the image of God, He made man. Listen to this. I want to comment on verse 5 and 6 here. Look at how God helps Noah to put together a new society based on some wonderful laws of God. Respect for human life is so important, He says. Why? Because we are all made in the image and likeness of God. And therefore, we are all brothers and sisters. That's why he says in verse 5, from the hand of every man's brother, I will require the life of man. 

When Cain killed his brother, it was a brother killing a brother, right? But any man killing any man in this world is a brother killing a brother. That's what He means here. Because every man is made in the image and likeness of God. And therefore, we are all brothers. Just imagine that. If we had that kind of an outlook in this world, that all men, all women are our brothers and sisters, then each of us will become protectors of each other. There won't be murderers, there won't be beating each other and being violent against one another. All of these things will not be there if we get this one thing right. We're all made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, we respect another human being. Therefore, we do not murder. We do not inflict any kind of pain and suffering on human beings in any way because we’re all made in the image and likeness of God. They’re our brothers and sisters. That's what He's teaching here.

And He says, “Whenever somebody sheds man's blood, by man, his blood also maybe shed.” That society, remember just before the flood, it was so violent. Death was common. Murder was common. They’re all violent people. And now God is laying down special rules mainly with regard to this violence. No violence in that society, He says, because if you shed a man’s blood, your blood will be shed. That will be the punishment. A society must have it to deter people from violence. He’s establishing that. He's not establishing that because God loves to kill people so He likes to take murderers and just murder. No, no, no, it's not like that. It's keeping in mind the society and the flourishing of the society, God orders this. He said, “If you shed a man’s blood, your blood will be shed.” Otherwise you cannot have a very healthy society. They’ll be in a society where there is this influence of sin and Satan working overtime, trying to influence and trying to rule. This is so important. So He establishes that.

But remember Cain’s case. Remember when Cain murdered his brother, God comes in there and tells him, “Your land will not yield any fruit hereafter for you because your land is cursed. And you will be like a vagabond. You'll be running from one place to another.” And immediately, Cain appeals to God saying, “This is punishment that I cannot bear. How will I survive? My land does not grow anything for me. How will I eat? And if I go around like a vagabond here and there, somebody will murder me.” And God gives some relief to that murderer who murdered his brother. God says, “I'm going to put a mark on you so that everybody will know that whoever kills Cain will be avenged sevenfold.” So that no one will touch him. God puts a protective mark on him so that nobody will touch him.

In one story, you see the mercy of God protecting a murderer. And in another story, in chapter 9 here, you see God telling Noah, “If a man sheds somebody's blood, then his blood will be shed.” That'll be the punishment. That shows something. What it shows is in chapter 9 when God tells Noah this, He’s talking about society and the principles on which society must be established. When He talks about Cain in chapter 4, it really expresses God's mercy and grace that God has towards people even towards a murderer. That God is willing to forgive. God is willing to reach out to that person. God is willing to show His mercy and loving kindness to that person. Even such a hard person, Cain, never accepted his fault, never came and repented to God about his problem, never ever accepted the fact that he was in the wrong but still, God shows utmost mercy to him. That shows something of the heart of God. But in chapter 9, He's very clear about what the society must have as a law in order to protect a society from becoming violent.

And then He says, “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.” Now He says, “You multiply,” after putting a stop to murder and after telling them that violence is not acceptable, because it is brother against brother. After teaching all that He says, “Now, you be fruitful and multiply.”

And then you have the covenant. That God makes a covenant. The covenant is universal because God makes a covenant not with just men, but with bees, birds, everything. Covenant with all flesh, He calls it. With all creation, He makes a covenant. So, it's a universal covenant. And then it's a unilateral covenant. Unilateral means one-sided. God does it, whether we accept it, we believe it, receive it or not, doesn't matter. God says, “I'm going to do it.” A unilateral covenant, and then it is also an unconditional covenant. That means He's going to keep what He has said. No matter what I do, He’s going to keep His word. No matter how we accept it or don't accept it, how we behave or don't behave, He’s going to do what He has said. It's an unconditional covenant.

Then He announces a covenant mark. He announces a covenant sign. And from verse 12, we read this. And God said, “This is a sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you. For perpetual generations, I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember my covenant which is between Me and you, and every living creature of all flesh. The water shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. This covenant sign is going to be there. And it's going to be a reminder that God will never again bring a flood to destroy everything.

The rainbow shall be in the cloud and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” The word Rainbow is repeated again and again, I believe because Moses probably enjoyed it very much, because the covenant promises that God will never destroy everything that He has created again. And this is just a one-time thing that just happened because there was no other option left at that time. But God is going to make sure that this never happens again.

Today, we live under that mercy of God, that grace of God. Today, we are covered by the grace of God. So today, we need to understand that we are living by God's grace. On the one hand, something like what happened in the flood is never going to take place because today, the salt and light of the earth, the church, is here on this earth. That itself makes this earth more livable, more tolerable on the one hand, even though on the other side there is the world, with all of its days of Noah kind of living that's going on.

Today what happened at that time will never happen again. That means the grace of God is now available for everybody. The grace of God is sustaining everybody, even the sinners, even the people that don't know God, even those that are so bent against God, who are enemies of God sometimes. Even those that hate God are living under the sheer mercy and kindness of God. They are to remember God when they eat their food. They are to remember God when they drink their water. They are to remember God when they breathe oxygen, and they need to remember God for every blessing they enjoy. Because without God's grace, none of this will be available to them.

God has made all these things: day and night, winter and summer, seedtime and harvest, all of these available to us today, so that we may flourish even in this fallen world. It's a blessing that is commonly given to everybody. That's God. Whether you love Him or not, He loves you. That's the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether you know Him or not, He knows you. He knows your need. He's already supplying your need. You are breathing and living because of God's grace. Every person must realize that. The grace of God has kept the doors open for us. God said, “I will never destroy the world again, like it was destroyed during the flood. Never again it'll happen. Never again curse the earth,” so that we may eat, we may live, we may be blessed, so that we may have our needs met.

God is so interested in every human being, my friend. And it has kept the door open for us to walk into the presence of God. God says, “Well, I have provided all these things for you. It is My grace that is sustaining you. And I'm keeping the door open so that you can come back to Me.” The intention is that you need not be destroyed. You need not be destroyed by sin. It's not that God is going to come to destroy anybody. It's sin will destroy. The devil will destroy. Sin, when it gets into people's life, will destroy.

I hope you realize that now. Sin will destroy us on a thought level. Sin will destroy us in all aspects of our life: in our thoughts, in our intentions of the heart, in our behavior, in our family life, in our work, in our relationship with others. In every way, sin will come and destroy. Sin is such an evil force and it is bent on destroying people. It is crouching at the door, Bible talks about it like that, like an animal to try and get in and destroy people. Some are already destroyed. Some of us have already experienced the destructive power of sin in our lives. Some people are thinking God has done it. Well, God doesn't have to do anything. Sin is doing the job.

God is waiting for us to turn away from sin to Him, to open our hearts to Him and ask Him to come in and say, “Lord, I need you. I need your grace. I need your mercy. Save me. Deliver me from sin. Deliver me from its power. Give me a new life. Reorder my life, oh God just like You give a new world to Noah. Just like he found grace in Your eyes that You saved him from that judgment and gave him a new life so that he lived in a new world and formed a new life. I pray that You will give me a new life, make me a new creation, a new person. Give me a new beginning, oh God. Let me start all over again. Let your grace repair and remedy all that has been damaged and make it even more beautiful and wonderful than it ever was, oh God. May the grace of God be more than enough for me. May the grace of God change everything that needs to be changed in my life. May Your grace flow into my life, oh God and help me.”

Pray this prayer. And if you pray this prayer, I tell you, the grace of God will flow into your life like never before. Just open your mouth and say this prayer that I just said to you and opening the door. God is already standing there knocking. If you open the door, God's grace will flow into your life. Sin’s power will be broken. Every curse will be broken. The joy of the Lord will fill your heart. The blessings of God will flow in your life. You'll become a new person. And you'll have a new life. Let's pray.

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