Summary: THE BEGINNINGS OF HOPE, part 3 – We have been given favor with God. The lives of Enoch and Noah show us our certain hope to escape sin’s sentence of death. ---Listen online and find PDF of my sermon notes at www.praiseag.org
• Genesis 5-8 (selected verses)
5:1 This is the written account of Adam’s line.
When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man." 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. . .
The generations of fathers and sons passed one by one. Amidst the growing family of humanity we come to Enoch. Let’s read together about him:
. . . 5:21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. . .
As man increased in number upon the earth so too did the sinfulness of man. But like Enoch there was another man who walked with God. Let’s continue to read together:
. . . 6:5 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.
I found myself wondering, “What would it take for me to visit with the president of the United States?” I’ve seen President Bush surrounded by all sorts of different people. How could I get to spend some time with him—even for just ten minutes?
I may never have the chance to meet the president, but I have the privilege to walk daily with God. The Almighty Creator of the universe is ready and willing to take me by the hand and spend, not just 10 minutes, but everyday walking with me. I have favor with God.
We continue today with our series from the book of Genesis—“The Beginnings of Hope.” It is my prayer that 2008 will be a year filled with hope; like Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you” (Eph 1:18 NIV). If you have heard the first two messages in this series then hopefully you’ve caught onto the reality that our hope in God is not like the world’s hope. When we talk about knowing the hope that God has given us we are not talking about wishful thinking or a dream. Hope is not a 50/50 proposition—maybe, maybe not. God given hope is an absolute.
I. What is favor with God?
1. We have all kinds of ideas about what favor is.
a) We think of favor as a kind act, something someone does out of goodwill—favor is an errand, an offer of help or good deed. Does God show us favor by doing a random act of kindness?
b) Favor can also be an approving or friendly attitude toward someone, to give preferential treatment. Does favor with God mean that God thinks good thoughts about us or that God simply likes us?
c) A favor can be a small token of loyalty or a small gift given to guests at a party. Has God given us a trinket to remind us of His friendship?
d) Favor with God is so much more than any of these small and sometimes seemingly insignificant ways we may grant a favor to other people.
2. Favor with God is the overflow of God’s grace.
a) God’s favor is His amazing grace—an expression of kindness for each of us.
• Ephesians 2:6-8 NIV
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Talk about kindness! God has raised us up with Christ—we who were dead in our sins are now alive in Christ. But that’s not all! We are seated with Christ! We are not excluded from being with God but in His kindness He has welcomed us into His presence!