East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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November 2, 2014
"God's Patience, God's Grief"
Genesis 4:25 - 6:8

Intro:Genesis; God created a perfect world where humans were in right relationship with Him, each other, nature. "Where did it all go wrong?" Snake deceived Adam and Eve, and sin entered our world, hearts. Sin ruins relationships among humans, between humans and nature, between humans and God. Last week, met ultimate example of humans in sin: Lamech! Even as he shouted, "It doesn't get any better than this!" we saw how sin empties life of lasting satisfaction. As we continue our study of where it all went wrong, we'll encounter one of the most mysterious passages of the whole Bible!

Mystery #1: Is Genesis 5 an Exact Chronology? (Read Genesis 5:3-5.) Some have tried to use this genealogy to calculate time world began. (In the mid-1600s, Archbishop James Ussher calculated that world was created the night before Oct. 23, 4004 BC.) Rather, Genesis 5 is a stylized genealogy; authors would skip generations to make a point. Both Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 record 10 generations, with the 10th generation mentioning 3 sons. (Stylized genealogy also happens in Matthew 1.) Not inaccurate; just not recording history the same way we do. Sorry; unable to figure out the time of world's beginning. But this is not the biggest mystery in this passage!

Mystery #2: What's With the Extra Long Lives? (Genesis 5:6-20.) Many shocked by Genesis 5's claim that people lived for several hundred years. Can this possibly be true? Sounds like a fairy tale. But we can't forget God created humans to live forever. Sin may have slowly reduced humanity's longevity. Also, there may have been environmental factors. People's lifespan radically decreased after the flood! (See Genesis 11:10ff.) Main point of Genesis 5 is not the long life of Adam's descendants, it's that they do experience death! (Repeated point of Genesis 5!) It is likely humans before the flood lived a long time, but this is not the biggest mystery in this passage!

Mystery #3: What's With Enoch's Disappearance? Did I say Adam's descendants experienced death? True, with one exception! (Read Genesis 5:21-24.) Author breaks the genealogy's pattern to highlight that something exceptional happened to Enoch: "He walked with God, then he was no more, because God took him away." Apparently, Enoch's relationship with God was so close that one day, when he was out walking with God (like Adam and Eve were created to do!), God told Enoch, "Why don't you just come home with Me?" Enoch stepped from this world straight into heaven, without tasting death! Awesome? Yes! Mysterious? Yes! But this is not the biggest mystery in this passage!

Mystery #4: Who are the Sons of God and the Nephilim? (Read Genesis 6:1-4.) Different theories of who was intermarrying with daughters of men: "Sons of God" are angels, pagan kings, or men of Seth's line. Many Bible scholars uncomfortable with idea that angels were intermarrying with human women, but Jude 6-7 seems to confirm this. Apparently, this is how some of the angels fell! And apparently, the children of these fallen angels and human women were Nephilim; powerful giants. Sounds crazy to us, partly because there's not a lot of details. What we do know is that this was an exceptionally sinful activity, which resulted in God beginning the countdown for judgment! (Read Genesis 6:3.) Strange? Yes! But this is not the greatest mystery in this passage!

Mystery #5: How Can God Feel Pain? (Read Genesis 6:5-7.) Hundreds of years recorded in Genesis 5! God is patiently watching humans, calling them back to Himself, but watching them go from bad to worse. (Read Genesis 6:5;) a comprehensive diagnosis of the absolute depravity of all humanity. God's judgment, the flood, was not an impulse decision. He patiently waited until human sinfulness was so great that He could not overlook the violence, immorality, injustice any longer. His holiness demands that sin be punished! But it is truly a mystery how our actions cause God pain. Understand, He is the Unchanging, Infinite, Transcendent One, separate from His creation! Yet this passage clearly teaches us that human sin causes God pain! (Read Genesis 6:6.) Unspeakably holy mystery, but it is still not the greatest mystery in this passage!

Application: The Greatest Mystery of All: Why does God Show Grace to Sinners? (Read Genesis 6:8.) God shows favor to Noah. Favor = undeserved grace. Must be careful here: Studying God's Word is not a matter for idle curiosity. "Oh! God shows grace to sinners! I know that! But I want to find out more about the other weird things going on before the Flood!" There are many mysteries in this passage, but the biggest mystery of all is why God shows sinners grace. If studying the Bible fills our brains with facts but doesn't change our hearts' attitudes towards God, we're in danger of damnation!

God's grace towards sinners is a holy mystery. Noah was just as deserving as judgment as anyone else on earth. But God showed Him grace. We've seen that God's grace towards Noah isn't the only grace God shows in these chapters:

In the middle of generation after generation of people facing the inevitable certainty of death, God surprised Enoch with a walk straight to heaven.

For hundreds of years, God kept wrestling with sin-hardened human hears, even though it caused Him pain.

Out of a sinful world deserving His righteous judgment, God selects Noah and his family, and says, "I'll save them." That's what God continues to do, even to this day.

Even though human sin caused Him the ultimate in pain: the death of His Son on the cross, God keeps showing grace to sinners like you and me. Even though we deserve hell, God calls us to take a walk with Him to heaven.

Why does God show grace to undeserving sinners? Don't know; won't know. It's the greatest mystery of all. But it is the hope we cling to!

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