Summary: Global Warping 1) Are you part of the problem? 2) Will you survive God's solution?
Many scientists continue to be concerned about global warming. The National Geographic website proclaims: “…the face of the Earth as we know it—coasts, forests, farms, and snowcapped mountains—hangs in the balance.” That sounds serious, and I suppose I should be moved but I’m not. Especially when the same website goes on to cite this as one of the current consequences of global warming: “Some butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants have moved farther north to cooler areas.” (Gasp!) Take cover. We’re being invaded!
Oh relax. I realize that while we in Alberta may not suffer dramatically if the earth’s temperature rises by a few degrees, many other people will. Droughts may become more frequent in Africa for example, and hurricanes bashing into Florida more powerful. But having said that there is a problem more serious than runaway C02 emissions. Sin is polluting this world more quickly than exhaust spewing out of all the dump trucks on the road right now. Global warming may be a serious threat to our future but global warping is a present and real danger. Are you part of the problem? Will you survive God’s solution? These are serious questions that deserve our attention. Let’s find the answers as we turn to our sermon text from Genesis 6.
The world has undergone global warping before. At the time of Noah, thousands of years ago, God looked at the earth and saw “…how great [mankind’s] wickedness…had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). How had it come to this? When God finished creating the world only hundreds of years before Noah he proclaimed that the earth and everything in it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). But in Noah’s day God concluded that it was beyond repair and this grieved him (Genesis 6:6). It’s how a gardener would feel after he poured his time and effort into producing award-winning tomatoes only to have them rot on the vine.
The origin of the disease, sin, can of course be traced back to Adam and Eve’s Satan/snake-induced snacking. But God immediately intervened and separated the now-sinful couple from Satan’s continued dominance the way you sort through a box of mandarin oranges to separate the healthy from the rotten lest in time you end up with a box of awful fruit. But this distinction started to blur in Noah’s day when the believers started to choose marriage partners based solely on sex appeal, not whether or not their spouse would help them in their walk with God. You see not everyone, especially not the descendants of the world’s first murderer Cain, cared very much about God.
Youth group members, Sunday School children, and anyone else who plans on getting married, I wouldn’t be much of a shepherd if I let this opportunity go by without pleading with you to look at what happened to most of the believers in Noah’s day. They lost their faith and fell under God’s judgment because they did not put the spiritual ahead of the physical. No, we’re not usually first attracted to someone because “they really know their Bible.” We’re drawn to people we think are cute, handsome, hot! But that beauty will fade. So you’ll want to find someone who is kind and generous, but more than that. You’ll want to find someone who shares your faith in Jesus because only someone like that will understand what’s really important in life: strengthening your connection to Jesus and thereby strengthening your claim on heaven. If those you date aren’t interested in joining you here and studying the Bible, they most likely won’t change that attitude after you get married. Just look at what happened to the believers in Noah’s time. They didn’t change their unbelieving spouses but were themselves changed and died in the flood. Many were Noah’s own brothers and sisters (Genesis 5:30)!
Yes, we who call ourselves Christian become part of the global warping problem when we forget how Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). We’re to be different and not do what everyone else does even if that makes us “weird” in the world’s eyes. Sure, your friends may think that sex before marriage is OK but God says it’s not. Your friends may be good at guilting their parents into buying them the latest clothes and gadgets but you believers are to be content with what you have. Sure, you could save up your own money to buy these things but why do you want to do that? So you can fit in? Is that a good reason? Tell me, which of the believers mentioned in the Bible “fit in” with the world around them?
Noah definitely didn’t fit in. Our text says, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God” (Genesis 6:9b). When the rest of the world could only think about strutting about to show off how rich, how hip, and how awesome they were, Noah humbly walked with God. The most obvious way that Noah showed his faith was building the ark just like God told him to. You’ve seen the cutesy pictures of the ark in children’s books giving you the impression that Noah could have slapped that boat together in a weekend or two. Not so. The ark was huge. It was about as tall as a four-story building and a football field and a half long. It wasn’t until 1884 that a ship of that size was built again!