Saturday, October 4, 2008

7 C's of History - 3rd C: Catastrophe

Preached by David Kautt on Sunday, September 21, 2008 at Northwest Christian Church

Scripture passage: Genesis 6:5 – 8:

5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 6:11 – 22:

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. 16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them."
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him

The Seven ‘C’s’ of History…

So far in our look at these central events of human history their Biblical back ground, and their significance for our lives we have examined what we need to know from Genesis chapter one and two regarding ‘C’ number one: Creation. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." and, you and me, too! And, as created we are accountable to Him! He made us to please Him. He made us, and we shouldn’t try to return the favor! ‘Creation’, that’s ‘C’ number one.

Then there’s Corruption. ‘Corruption’, when we move from the final words of Genesis chapters one and two, into Genesis chapter three and beyond, we move from what God said and said was "Very Good", into sin and into its awful ‘wage’; its horrible ‘payoff’: DEATH and all that goes with it! Corruption, why is there sickness and suffering and disease and death in this world? Is it because it has ALWAYS been that way? That’s evolution’s answer! Evolution teaches that DEATH is a friend! Or, is the reason for sickness and suffering and death because man’s sin turned God’s good (very good) creative plan upside down? That’s the answer, the Divinely-supplied answer, found in this Book.

Creation, Corruption; what is ‘C’ number three? ‘C’ number three of History is what we are calling ‘Catastrophe’.

Before we look at this important aspect of our 7 ‘C’s’ of History outline (taken primarily from Genesis chapters six through nine) allow me to ask for a quick show of hands. How many of you have had the opportunity, over the last few days, to view any of the photographs or TV film footage of the damage caused in the Southeast Texas area by Hurricane Ike? It’s a horrible, and horrific scene, if I do say so myself. But listen, first thing, the first thing we need to know and remember about this third ‘C’ of history (‘Catastrophe’) is this: whether it be the storm of wind and rain, that effected our gulf coast region, the meteorologists called "Hurricane Ike", or the global flood, the world-covering flood or Noah’s day (as recorded in Genesis chapters six through nine); lets remember: what we’re talking about, what we’re looking at in those newspaper photographs and TV film footages (and what Geologists are digging up and discovering all over the face of the earth) is not the evidence of incredible displays by ‘Mother Nature’ at work! No! Rather, what we’ve seen and heard and yes, most of all read, is undeniable evidence of God’s power at work in His world!

The hymn-writer put it so well, when He penned the essence of Psalm 50, verse 12, in these immortal words, "This is my Father’s world… I rest me in the thought, of rocks and trees, of skies and seas, His hand the wonders wrought." "Mother Nature!" Fooey! That’s a pagan religious concept, beloved, do you know that?! Whether it be the localized storm of wind and waves and water we’re calling "Hurricane Ike", or more significantly – for the sake of this study – that world-encompassing, mountain-peak-covering flood of Noah’s day, look at it! Look at it please, through this window (the Bible) and you’ll see: these are not illustrations of the hand of ‘Mother Nature’, there is no such person! No! These powerful cataclysmic events are none other than the powerful hand of our God at work! What an awesome and mighty God we serve, Amen?! Amen!
Secondly, and I believe much, much more seriously and soberly, the flood – the world-wide deluge of Noah’s day – what was it?

Can’t you just imagine the skeptical, political cartoonists of Noah’s day? Mocking at Noah’s family building this huge boat! A barge-like ship that was 450 feet long, beloved, that’s a football field and a half long! It was large! 75 feet wide & 45 feet high! This was a huge boat; and, from what scientists and engineers have surmised, an incredibly well-designed one, also! Built not only to house a pair of animals – from each kind – you know, two: a male and female of the dog kind (of the canine family), and two, male and female, of the cat kind (of the feline family), and so on.
This incredibly well designed boat not only was built to house the animals and Noah and his family – and all they would need for more than a year of time that they would spend on that boat – but, it also was intricately fashioned so as to withstand all the upheaval that would go with a deluge of this might! 40 days and nights of rain pouring down, down from the windows of heaven; and other things spewing up, up, up when the fountains of the great deep were broken apart.

Imagine the skeptical, political cartoonists of Noah’s day, mocking Noah and his family, making fun of their huge work project, and scoffing at their humble, yet very fervent preaching about getting ready! "Ha! World-wide flood! Ha! What does old Noah thinks God’s gonna do, turn on heaven’s sprinkler system and forget about it? World-wide flood! Ha! It will never happen!"

Beloved, what was the globe-covering deluge of Noah’s day? A cartoonist’s depiction that never came to pass? No! Listen and listen well to this very sobering fact! It was the Justice and Judgement of God with respect to sin! "Be sure," the Bible says, "Be sure, your sins will find you out." They will! "Be not deceived," don’t let Satan fool you, like he did the people of Noah’s day, "God is not mocked!" The massive fossil record of our day – the unbelieving, skeptical geologists don’t recognize it, but beloved we ought to - what is that fossil record? It is the testimony of a grave-yard, a world-wide ‘grave-yard’ bearing witness to the wickedness of man and his rejection of God’s offer of an ark of safety, God’s provision; a way of escape from the judgment!

‘Catastrophe’, that’s what ‘C’ number three is. Then, notice also, with me, beloved, that ‘C’ number three of History – this one we’ve labeled ‘Catastrophe’, because it refers to the globe-covering flood of Noah’s day – what is it? What does it picture for us?

Genesis 6, verse 8 – I love this verse – set over against God’s just and righteous response to the pervasive wickedness of mankind in that day and time: "I will destroy man whom I have created…for I am sorry that I have made them…" Set over against the sad and painful message of verse seven, is the very next verse in the text: Genesis 6, verse 8, and notice what it says, notice it’s marvelous emphasis in contrast to verse seven’s emphasis on God’s judgment: "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord…"

My friends, I know it may be hard to see – at first, especially considering all the devastation that a world-wide judgment on sin and sinners would bring to pass – but listen, and look, Genesis 6, verses seven and eight; or, take one of my New Testament favorites: Romans 6, verse 23; and, what do you see? What do you hear? Do you see and hear only, "the wages of sin is death?" Is that all there is in this third ‘C’? No! Genesis 6, verse 8 – and the rest of Romans 6, verse 23 – "The wages of sin is death," yes! "But, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Our Ark of Salvation!

‘C’ number three (Catastrophe) it isn’t all gloom and doom! No! The mercy of God! The kindness and compassion of God, do you see it? You need to see it, beloved! Even with the gloom and doom for every one else, there was grace – God’s amazing grace for Noah, his wife, their three sons and their three sons’ wives – for eight people. Eight precious souls God rescued and delivered from those horrible flood waters through His divinely ordained mechanism an ark of safety! This book – way over in the New Testament – indicates that, ultimately, Jesus (God’s dearly Loved Son) is the ultimate Ark of Safety! Are you in Him? Are you?
‘C’ number three of History, what is it that God wants us to see though this real event, from Mankind’s history, the catastrophic world-wide flood of Noah’s day? He wants us to see the power of God, doesn’t He? Yes! He wants us to see the justice and judgement of God, doesn’t He? Yes! And He wants us to see the mercy of God, doesn’t He? Yes! He wants us, as we look again at these critical early chapters from the Book of Genesis, to see all these things, my friends. But, listen, He also wants us to see His faithfulness! God also wants us to make careful notice of the fact that our God keeps His promises! Genesis six, verse seven, what was God’s promise there? "I will destroy man and beast and bird and creeping thing." "I will." And did He do it? You bet he did! Those billions of dead things, buried in rock layers all over the earth, they weren’t put there over the course of millions and millions of years of gradual erosion and decay and deposition! No! They were laid down by water, a huge globe-covering amount of water, all at once. Why? Because God is faithful! But, you know something else, my friends? A world-wide catastrophe wasn’t the only thing God promised in Noah’s day! No! What else did He say He would do? Genesis 9, verses 8 through 17:

8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: 9 "and as for Me, behold, I will establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. 11 Thus I establish My covenant with you: never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." 12 And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 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." 17 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."

Beloved, when God sent that incredible global deluge upon those wicked people, what was He doing? He was keeping His promise, He was showing His faithfulness! Guess what? Every time you and I watch the storm clouds gather ,and see the lightning and hear the thunder and watch the rain, guess what? When that magnificent rainbow comes out afterwards what is it declaring you and me? Do you know? Beloved, it is declaring loud and clear – for all to see and hear – that our God still keeps His promises! That our God still is faithful!

Genesis chapters six through nine and their record of a world-wide flood and an ark that saved eight precious souls, and a pair of animals of each kind – I don’t know about you – but, when I read something like that, I’m tempted, my friends, to relegate it to the past, to that part of my bookshelf marked "History". And to wipe my hands and be done with it! But, listen! This Book won’t let you and me be done with it!

No! Rather, if you go over to the New Testament – to passages like Matthew 24 and Luke 12 and 1 Peter 3 and 2 Peter 3 – you know what you will find out? You will find out that this moving account from our ancestor’s History points forward to our future destiny. Beloved, just as in Noah’s day, there is COMING a day, when God will separate the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the tares and the fruitful branches from the unfruitful ones! And, on that day a cataclysm of even greater magnitude will come like a thief in the night to destroy the entirety of the created realm; no, not with water, but with consuming fire. And, those who are in the Ark of Safety will come through it unscathed, only to enjoy and posses God’s New Creation afterwards, and forever! But, such is not the case for those who scoff, and refuse to believe that anything like what happened in Noah’s Day would ever happen again! But, believe me, my loved ones, it will! It will!

2 Peter three, verse 9 – read it sometime, my friends. In essence it says that God’s slowness in keeping this promise – the one about the future catastrophe – is not an indication that He won’t keep His promise! No! Rather, it is a signal to all, to all who delay, that He is being patient, incredibly patient with you, in hopes that you will repent and get in the Ark!

Tick…tick…tick…tick. How much time is left on God’s clock? Anybody dare to venture a gues? Tick…tick…tick…tick. ‘C’ number three declares loud and clear: "Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now – today – is the day of salvation!"