Sunday Gathering – Genesis – The new creation – Chris Simpson
February 25, 2024

Sunday Gathering – Genesis – The new creation – Chris Simpson

Passage: Genesis 8:1-22


Chris's sermon provided a comprehensive exploration of the narrative of Noah and the flood while also addressing broader themes and applications for contemporary Christian life. Here's a more detailed breakdown:

  1. Interpreting Genesis 1-11: Chris acknowledged the challenges some may face in understanding and accepting the stories in Genesis 1-11, which contain unusual and sometimes perplexing narratives. He presented three common perspectives:
    • Literal Interpretation: Some believe these stories to be historically accurate in every detail.
    • Symbolic Interpretation: Others view them as based on real events but conveyed through symbolic or allegorical storytelling.
    • Disinterested Perspective: Some may see these chapters as irrelevant or dismiss them altogether.
  2. Reasons for Reading Genesis 1-11: Chris outlined three compelling reasons for engaging with these early chapters of Genesis:
    • Authenticity: Despite their strangeness, Genesis 1-11 represents the genuine word of God and provides essential insights into His character and purposes.
    • Foundation: These chapters lay the groundwork for understanding the broader biblical narrative and fundamental theological concepts.
    • Revelation of Jesus: Just as Jesus revealed how the Old Testament Scriptures pointed to Him, Genesis 1-11 offers glimpses into the person and work of Christ.
  3. The Significance of Sacrifice: Chris emphasized the importance of sacrifice in Noah's story, highlighting how Noah's act of offering sacrifices demonstrated obedience and prioritized God above all else. He drew parallels between Noah's sacrifices and the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, illustrating how Christ's sacrifice fulfills and surpasses the need for animal sacrifices.
  4. God's Promise and Human Nature: Reflecting on God's promise never to curse the ground again despite humanity's inclination toward evil, Chris underscored the enduring grace and patience of God. He acknowledged the ongoing struggle with sin but emphasized God's unwavering love and commitment to His creation.
  5. Personal Reflection and Application: Chris encouraged personal reflection on the implications of God's grace and the need for obedience. He challenged listeners to consider their response to God's voice and to prioritize faithfulness and endurance in their Christian journey. By pointing to Jesus as the ultimate example and source of strength, Chris urged the congregation to fix their eyes on Him and persevere in the race of faith.

In summary, Chris's sermon provided a comprehensive exploration of the Noah narrative, weaving together themes of interpretation, obedience, sacrifice, and endurance in the Christian walk. Through practical insights and biblical exegesis, he sought to inspire and challenge his audience to deepen their understanding of Scripture and grow in their relationship with God.

Bible Passages Used:

  1. Genesis 8:1-22
  2. Matthew 24:37-39
  3. Hebrews 12:1-2



Amen good morning everybody. We're continuing again today with the story of Noah and the great
flood. We started in chapter 6 that was I think when Jonathan was speaking continued last week with
Nick and you've got me on it today and actually next Sunday as well. Let's have a next slide please.
I want to confront an issue head on which is kind of how do we read these chapters
and I'm going to spend a little bit of time in this. You might wonder why I put up Genesis chapters
one to eleven there and that's because Genesis chapters one to eleven is kind of a block and
it deals I guess with with sort of prehistory. It's difficult to place in time and in truth it
contains some of the more unusual stories of the Bible. So people are struggling with it
you know that's perhaps understandable and once you get onto chapter 12 you're with Abraham
and it's slightly on more familiar territory and I put up there where are you with Genesis and
kind of three options and one is that you just think it's all a fairly stale.
Two you think it's historical it's literally true in all detail and three you believe it's
based on real events but it's told in stories and you wonder whether you're meant to take it all
literally. So let's talk about that a little bit and in truth if you're kind of with number one
you're probably not listening today but if you are then I up my plea to you would be
you know keep an open mind listen you never know there may be more truth and beauty in here
than you had thought. Next talking about two and three let's admit that there are sincere
Christians who are in two or three in both categories and also they're probably shades between
two and three it's not as clear as one block or the other is it but the fact that actually
they're sincere believing Christians in in both two and three I think she encourages not to be
judgmental so if you're firmly into don't be judgmental with people who are more than three
and if you're firmly in three don't be judgmental of those who are in two and the reality is we
probably you know are not finally going to know the answer to this debate this side of eternity
you know we may well get into eternity and find that things that we thought that were stories
of metaphors were actually historical truth or the other way around and that we're not going to
awesome that this side of eternity but for all that I think there are a couple of dangers
I think we need to watch out for and the first one is that too much of the kind of skeptical spirit
of this age of a kind of western secular cynical culture gets into the way that we read our Bible
you know the first temptation recorded in the Bible had nothing to do with sex or money or
even power it was a temptation to doubt God's word and the second said to ease did God really say
so there's a temptation to doubt God's word but I think there's also a real danger that we can't
confused about our role in relation to the Bible you know we're a bit like the man in the dock
in the court we start shouting out that he doesn't like the judge or the jury you think mate you
haven't understood this they are here to judge you not you to judge them and it's a bit like that
you know if we've got this kind of pick and choose that we sort of read the Bible think well I like
this bit I don't like that bit I agree with this bit I don't agree with that bit I believe this bit
I don't believe that bit we're kind of judging God's word and that's a deep confusion about our
role in relation to God's word we sit under God's word and allow it to search us it's not the other
way around next slide please time for a bit of CS Lewis I think
what God wants for us in church is an attitude which may indeed be critical in the sense of
rejecting what is false or unhelpful but which is wholly uncritical in the sense that it does not
appraise does not waste time in thinking about what it rejects but lays itself open in uncommon
thing humble receptivity to any nourishment that is going and I love that last line in particular
you know about laying ourselves open to any nourishment that is going and I think that's what we need
in church laying ourselves open God if there's any nourishment going today
may I get it that's what prayer should be next slide
give me three reasons to read Genesis 1 to 11 so so here goes I think my first reason is it it's
because it's the real deal let me give you an example to to kind of explain that a bit more
imagine that you've you kind of grown up in Sheffield and you've lived here all your life
and but you've developed a kind of liking for curry and and you've got that based on supermarket
ready meals but you really you know you're fond of the thing that comes from the city of Brisbane
over there and and you like that but then one day you for circumstances you move to India and
you're living in India and you're not living in some kind of western compound you living with
local people and you're eating local food what that food strike you probably it would strike you
as very strange and foreign maybe a bit dangerous a bit unusual but if you were sensible you would
think about but that is what real Indian food is like the thing I had here the things raised ready
meal and that was a kind of pale version of it for western parts this is me encountering the
real thing and perhaps if you lived there for a number of years then you came back to the UK
and you had you know the chicken tikka masala formaldi you might think this is a bit bland
and it's not it's not the real thing and I think it's the same you know we actually need our
pilots to be educated to appreciate the real thing of god really speaking to us through his
words so yes janice is one of the it's full of stuff that strikes us as strange and foreign and
odd but it is god's word it's called that all scripture is god breathe you know this is the real
deal and we should come to appreciate it and the second reason I would give is that
janice's contains many of the building blocks that help us understand the rest of the Bible
and they did the world in which we live and it contains stories and truths and ideas that are
incredibly helpful to the rest of the Bible and I say you know they're foundational in a life
it says to the life of faith and the way that we look at the universe and thirdly I would say
and this much of value we we read janice's one to eleven in order to find out more about Jesus
and you may recall the story that after his resurrection two friends are setting off on that
walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus a journey that may have been about eight or nine miles
and Jesus joins them incognito on that journey and one of the things that Jesus did was he took
them on a Bible study and it said starting with Moses and the first five books of the of the old
Testament were known as the books of Moses and the prophets he explained to them all the things
in there that were talking about him so janice's tells us about Jesus
next slide so this is an illustration of what I thought about kind of in a sense foundational
truths that we get from the book of janice's let's let's read this the Bible teaches us that this
world was made good but went bad at sin janice's one to three she has a very foundational concept
it helps us understand so much however god does not take this lying down and one day there will be
a new beginning this is the rest of the Bible is all about that it's the fact that god does not
walk away from this broken world god persists with this world he stays with it and he will work
it all out to a better ending even than the beginning was so all of that we get in janice's
anyway that was me just setting the scene let's have an up-to-do today's reading
but god remembered noah and all the wild animals and the livestock with him in the boat
and he sent a wind to blow across the air and the floodwaters began to recede
the underground waters stopped flowing and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped
so the floodwaters gradually receded from the air and after 150 days exactly five months from
the time the flood had begun the boat came to rest on the mountains of ararat and two and a half
month later as the waters continued to go down other mountain peaks became visible
after another 40 days noah opened the window he had made in the boat and released a raven
and the bird flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up
but he also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground
so it returned to the boat and noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside
after waiting for another seven days noah released the dove again and this time
the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak and then noah
knew that the floodwaters were almost gone he waited another seven days and then he released
the dove again and this time it did not come back now noah was a hundred six hundred and one
years old and on the first day of the new year ten and a half months after the flood had begun
the floodwaters had almost dried up from the air and noah lifted back the covering of the boat
and saw that the surface of the ground was drying two more months went by
and at last the air was dry then god said to noah now leave the boat all of you
you and your wife and your sons and their wives and release all the animals the birds the livestock
and the small animals that scurry along the ground so that they can be fruitful and multiply
throughout all the air so noah his wife and his sons and their wives left the boat
and all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat pair by pair
then noah built an altar to the lord and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings
the animals and birds that had been approved for the purpose and the lord was pleased with the
aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself I will never again curse the ground because of the human
race even though everything they think or imagine is bent towards evil from childhood
I will never again destroy all living things and as long as the earth remains
there will be planting and harvest cold and heat summer and winter day and night
thank you um next slide
but god remembered noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat
sent a wind to blow across the earth and people who study these things have noticed that
the account of the flood is written very precisely and intricately and it's a story of two half
and the first half of the story is story about the flood coming and increasing and the second
half is about the flood increasing and ending and most of the lines in the first half have a twin
in the second half so they kind of pair you could almost think it would be like a hinge with two
half and the turning point when you move from part one to part two is this line
but god remembered noah but god remembered noah and the writer is clearly making a point here
this is not an accident this is the key thing god is up to something and that is why things are
about to change for the better god is for something here
wonder it's not said in the thick but i wonder whether noah at any point felt that god had forgotten
him um it's quite interesting either that when god tells noah what to do to build the art
he doesn't give him any idea of how long it's going to last or what will happen next
and um i don't know if you remember jane the first uh kind of episode of covid a story that was
was often in the news was about uh the cruise ship diamond princess and uh you know they they got
got covid on the cruise ship and for about a month this cruise ship was um had a moored off
yukahama in japan while people decided you know what they should do and i don't know we see the
people on the boat were very anxious that the authorities weren't kind of giving them sufficient
attention that was that's about a month in a luxury cruise ship um from the start of the flood to
getting out of the arc is about 13 months and i assume that the arc was no luxury cruise ship
so in a sense you know no might not have been human if he hadn't wondered god how long is this
going to go on for um and i did a bit of looking at this because the line and how long will
or do i have to put up with all this is one that occurs frequently in the bible i did a quick look
and i found 10 occasions most of them in the Psalms but also in uh some of the prophets and
and one in revelation too so actually the prayer oh god how long do i have to put up with them is
a good prayer and one of these is actually prayed by a figure called the angel of the lord
so you know it's a prayer that's okay to pray and we should be praying oh god you know when are
you going to act when are you going to act in my life in the life that people are around me
in the lives of our nation the plea to god because god remembering is the crucial thing
not only forgotten but he wants to hear us calling out his name
then god said to Noah leave the boat all of you your wife and your sons and and and release the
animals and we're not told how god spoke to Noah only that that he did so um but it didn't you know
god's word to know it does not come as a boat from the blue it doesn't come in a vacuum
there's a context in all that happens after all the things you know the the rain has stopped
the wind blowing um that the ark has grounded the water has receded you've done the things with the
birds all of it is pointing to this is over now um but Noah kind of waits for god's
word but god's word when it comes is not a boat from the blue it's a confirmation of what
other circumstances are pointing to right then Noah is the same having come out of the art
built an altar to the Lord and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and the birds that
have been approved for that purpose this is an exercise in putting first things first
you know um the first thing will be recorded after the god of the art is this offering of
a sacrifice to god it is putting god first i'm sure that Noah would have been very conscious that
all had led to the flood with disobedience to god and he is determined to be obedient
god in those circumstances and david posten tell the student get true story about his
great grandfather and great grandmother who had a small shock in wake field with a couple of
rooms behind but the shock was and the rooms were cramped for their family and and business was
not wonderful and then one day his grandfather had got an opportunity to go to bigger premises
on a new housing estate and he said those would be fantastic because there's more room for the
family in the rooms that were attached and business will be better and his wife had said to him well
yeah but how far is it to the chapel he goes off the find out and he comes back and he says to his
wife um there's no chapel and his wife said henry we stay here and that's about choosing to put god
first choosing to prioritize god and and you get the sense that that's what Noah is doing here
um no it's also that sacrifice is important to Noah the sacrifice of animals is central here
and you might be thinking well that's uh you know that's all right so kind of back then and that's
all right for kind of primitive people or you know Jews at that time but um it's not relevant
to us as Christians and actually you would be dead wrong but let me let me explain that with
with an example um over a number of years we had a series of local issues with our kitchen
and I think they call them kickboards a lot of boards underneath the units kept falling down
and we would keep fixing them back up again and also there was a gap open between some of the
linoleum tiles and and we kind of keep pushing them back together again and the gap and this
went on for ages and ages and ages but um actually we haven't we haven't had to do anything like that
for months now why not well because eventually we got somebody in who did a proper job
he fixed it all and so we don't have to repeat it because a proper job has been done that's why
Christians don't have to offer sacrifice because somebody has done a proper job it's not that
sacrifice isn't important it's central to Christianity but somebody has done a proper job and so we
don't have to do it again by the way if you think i'm just making that up as a life story or a
illustration it's all in Hebrews eight and nine so next slide and the lord was pleased with the
aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself is that very kind of down to earth thing isn't it it's
but what's really clear is this is describing a person and not a thing
um i remember i um i said became a christian it quite early as i in as i was growing up
and um i had a kind of encounter with god and i had i really had no idea what had happened to me
and i you know it was much much later before i really understood what the experience meant
but but even at that time i was thinking about what had just happened to me i was thinking
oh gosh god stopped being something and he became someone that's what it felt like
it became real and so it is very important to us that we understand that god is more like a
someone than a something he's a real person and god likes sacrifice and is pleased with sacrifice
again quoting Hebrews um for the joy set before him Jesus endured across
and next
next slide i will never again curse the ground because of the human race
even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood
um so god has promised never to curse the ground and and that's i think probably christians maybe
we don't get why that might be surprising because we we're kind of super familiar with all the
stuff that we in a sense the surprise behind it doesn't get us there's there's a poem it's
actually in scarce but you can get an english translation on google and it's called Ginnai
was god by Charles Murray and it's a slightly tongue in cheek uh oil but it's very short and
Ginnai was god means if i was god and it's not if i was god i would do this and it ends up
if i was god before they could even launch a second arc and send a whole flood
wipe the board clean and start all over again and the fact is that you know i don't think we
never get the surprise that god doesn't do that why when when when humanity is really very broken
when the universe but when our planet is very broken this god not either walk away from it or
set bright you know throw that one in the bin and start all over again the grace that god
persists with us um is remarkable even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward
evil from shall be that really cuts to the quick doesn't it um it's not that that version
number of versions use the phrase even though everything they think or imagine actually
i'm told but that's not quite what the original said it says something like for everything they
think or imagine or because everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil so it's not so much
even though it's more god saying is is this god saying if i if i'm going to act in judgment here
there'll be no end to it you know um i think john carbon said god would have to if god would
be moving in just we'd have to send a flood every day because you know the problem of sin
is still there incidentally this tells us something about um the flood story is a story of
uncreation and recreation you know during the flood the world kind of goes back to what it
been before before the first creation is uncreated and then it's created again
but there's still unfinished business because you see and it wasn't just knowing the animals
that came out of the ark sin came out of the ark too came out carried in the hearts of Noah
and the other human beings the infection of sin is still present in this new world it's not sorted
we'll be later but it's not so next slide if you knew the truth about me you might not like me
what do you think of that um i think actually you know there's a kind of inescapable truth about
that um i think all of us and certainly i include by itself of this you know the stuff that we've
done or not done or said or not said that it was wildly known other people would have a lower
opinion of us that's the reality that is the reality or maybe you've been on the other side
of that you thought you met somebody you got a very you know you think they're great and they
go it's one of the opinion of them and then something about their you know their personality or
something they don't come to that you think well i'm not sure so so you know the there's a truth
about this statement but but let's think about what let's think about why i put that up there
let's go back to the to the previous slide if you don't mind i think if we can go about right
you see the only person whose opinion really matters already knows all about you
you know there can be no dirty washing there are no skeletons in the cupboard
that god does not already know about and so the god who loves you that his love for you
is never going to be obscured by a cloud or something crops up that he didn't know about before
and as god thinking as well as you he already knew it all in fact he probably knows a good
deal more about you as him than you yourself know he already knows the worst about us
and still he loves us and his love will continue from everlasting to everlasting
let's uh let's go forward again and again great
um i'm going to finish with two pictures and um
the first picture it she's both of it's the day's day
one of the key lessons of the whole story of the flood is that if god is speaking to us
we need to act on that the day if you hear his voice do not harden your heart so that says in
Hebrews you know if god is speaking to us we need to act on that because if we don't and if the
simple habit of not acting on what god says to us develops us one day it will be too late
so act now while there's still time and get your microphone
so this is from matthew 24 verses 37 to 39 when the son of man returns it will be like it was
in noah's day in those days before the flood the people were enjoying banquets and parties
and weddings right up to the time noah entered his boat people didn't realize what was going to
happen until the flood came and swept them all away and that is the way it will be when the son
of man comes
did you just apply that in a very direct and specific way and and then my last picture
don't you recognize that do you see it but it's the London Marathon in fact it was you kind of
knew the area as Buckingham Palace is in the background and there's a large crowd of onlookers
probably shouting out encouragement to the runners who are running the race
and and you might think well so what's that got to do with noah actually got a lot to do with noah
because again the writer to the Hebrews says and he's talking about noah and the other old
estimate heroes of faith he says therefore since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses
let us run with endurance the race set for out for us so we we we think of noah and others that
we've known maybe much more recently in our own lives and experience who have gone before us
are standing in the crowd encouraging us on
but for all that the runners do not encourage the crowd witnesses are not unless they're going to
risk a bad fall standing at the crowd they're looking forward and that illustrates I think
both the blessing that is noah but also the limitations he know it is a kind of safer
you know that the people the eight people on that boat and the animal they owed their lives to noah
but for noah is obedient they ain't going to be there but when noah comes out the arc he still
has to sacrifice for his own sins and you'll hear next week he's still capable of royally messing up
so we don't look at noah we look at Jesus we look at Jesus but the whole story of the flood
and the whole story of noah is like an appetizer or a prequel it's there to wet our appetite for
one greater than noah and
Hebrews 12 1 to 2 says therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses
to the life of faith let us strip off every weight that slows us down especially the sin
that so easily trips us up and let us run with endurance the race God has set before us
and we do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus
let's let's pray Father we thank you for your word and Lord we pray that if you are speaking
to us this morning Lord we pray that we would hear that we would receive your word with joy
and we would act on it Lord have a messiness in Jesus name amen.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *