Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 years ago

The Baptism of Noah and His Family (Genesis 7:1-8:19)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Genesis seven and I'm going to be reading through Chapter Eight, Verse Nineteen, so this is a quite a bit more than usual. Let us pray and ask that God would help us to have attentive hearts that would be filled by His grace. Please give your attention. This is God's word. Then Jehovah said to Noah, go into the Ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens, also male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth, for in seven days I will send rain on the earth, forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground. And Noah did all that Jehovah had commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the flood waters came upon the earth, and Noah and his sons and his wife and his son's wives with him, went into the Ark to escape the waters of the flood of clean animals and of animals that are not clean, and of birds and of everything that creeps on the ground. Two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the Earth. And the six hundredth year of Noah's life and the second month, on the seventeen day of the month, on that day, all the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened and rain fell upon the earth. Forty days and forty nights, on the very same day, Noah and his sons, Shem and ham and JFF, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the Ark. They and every beast according to its kind, and all the live stock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth according to its kind, and every bird according to its kind, every winged creature. They went into the ark with Noah. Two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life, and those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him, and the and Jehovah shut him in. The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the Ark and it rose eye above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth and the ARC floated on the face of the waters.

And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep, and all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, live stock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth and all mankind, everything on the dry land and whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left and those who were with him in the Ark. And the waters prevailed on the Earth one hundred and fifty days. But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the live stock that were with him in the Ark, and God made a wind blow over the earth and the waters subsided, the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained and the waters receded from the Earth continually. At the end of a hundred and fifty days, the waters had abated and in the seventh month, on the seventeen day of the month, the Ark came to rest on the mountains of error at and the waters continued to abate until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. At the end of forty days, Noah opened the are the window of the Ark that he had made, and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him to see if the waters had so side subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot and she returned to him in the Ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the Ark with him. He waited another seven days and again he sent forth the dove out of the Ark and the dove came back to him in the evening and behold in her mouth was a freshly plucked alive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove and she did not return to him any more. In the sixth in the six hundred and first year, in the first month and the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth and Noah removed the covering of the Ark and looked and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, go out from the Ark, you and your wife and your son's and your son's wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh, birds and animals and every creeping thing that...

...creeps on the earth, that they may swarm on the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth. So Noah went out and his son's and his wife and his son's wife's with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the Ark Ay. God bless his word to us. The first thing that I want to say about this passage is we need to be careful how we read it, and that is, if we read it like we're merely looking for a list of events, a series of facts to describe exactly what happened, you're going to find yourself asking a lot of questions like why does he keep saying winged creature or creeping thing over and over again? Or why all of these dates or or why does he keep why does? Why does he? Why do we keep hearing about Noah and his wife and his sons and their wives? It's said several times over from why the repetition? Well, if we if we ask that kind of question, if that's all we're looking for from the SCRI picture, is just a list of events, then we're going to find ourselves a little bothered by repetition and by details and by the pictures that are created. But if we hear the word as God gives it to us, is this amazing story of God's judgment and salvation, then these details end have the have the effect of heightening the story, of making it have gives us this impression of Noah, for example, as a hero. These dates do that kind of thing. On such and such a date, on such a such a time, this person did this thing. That kind of specificity about dates is something that's typically given to kings and Queens, and here Noah is is hit. The story of Noah and the ARC is told with this kind of frame. And so what we have here is the story, as I say, this account of Noah enduring and passing through the floodwaters of Judgment Unto Salvation. But it's not just a story about Noah, or even ultimately a story about Noah. As with all of scripture, it's about God first and foremost. Throughout this entire account of the flood we see God's great sovereignty. Noah doesn't make an arc because he sees the clouds forming. He makes an arc because God tells him judgment is going to come. Likewise, Noah doesn't leave the ARC because the drought ground has dried and he figure as well it must be over now. He leaves the Arc because God has instructed him to leave the ARC. I'm you see God's sovereignty in the way that I'm in the beginning of this and the way that he judges the earth...

...for these things, the way that he opens up the heavens themselves and the waters fall down. The waters from the deep are brought forth by him his this is not an accident, a natural disaster. It is a divine disaster. Saw Gone God's sovereignty over at all is seen throughout. It's no accident. It didn't just happened that Noah survived this. Yes, he had a boat, but it was a got, a boat of God's own instruction. God described the boat at told he told him how to make it. And just because you have a boat on the water doesn't mean you're going to be okay either. There's a lot of you who won't ride in boats for that very reason. Noah, Noah survived this flood because God preserved him, not only by instructing him to build an arc, not only in giving him the instructions for the arc, telling him specifically when to enter it when to leave it, but enduring him and his family throughout. Have you ever been on the waves in a storm? Have you ever seen the ocean when it's rocking and rolling and moving and twisting and churning? Can you imagine what it would be like to be riding on the waves, above the mountains, above all the world and not only having the waters bursting up from the bottom but crashing down from the top. Everywhere you see is water, and even after it stops raining and the sky appears again, water, water, water. There's no waiting, there's no going far enough and hoping to hit dry land. There is no dry land. God is preserving Noah through all of this. Now I want to make an extreme pivot and ask you a question. What is baptism? What is baptism? Think about baptism today because of two things. One, I'm connor and Kelsey Batty are being baptized and many of you you are have likewise been baptized. But we also think about baptism because the scripture explicitly points us to the flood to teach us about baptism. The Apostle Peter does this in first Peter Chapter Three. Will come to that in a minute. And what we'll see is that all of these descriptions, this great account that the Holy Spirit gives us of God persevering Noah in the judgment. One of the things it does it points us to our own baptisms. It teaches us about our baptisms. It instructs US and helps us to understand them...

...in a way that should strengthen our faith and will, by God's grace, do exactly that. So let's think a little bit about baptism and think about how exactly it connects to this account of Noah and the flood. Now, if you never heard about baptism before, you saw it for the first time. Maybe you'll see it for the first time today. My guess is that you would assume three things. One, you would assume that it's religious. It's happening in a church service and there's a minister and those kinds of things. You would probably assume that it's symbolic, given the the liturgy that's going on around and given the water I'm you would probably assume that it has something to do with cleansing. With all these things, you would be right, but you'd also be fairly limited in what you could say about baptism. You wouldn't be able to say a whole lot about what it exactly means. What is symbolized there. With the idea of cleansing, you're sort of taking a guess, a stab at what it might mean but no real certainty there. Water can illustrate and symbolize all kinds of things. So in order to understand the symbolic value of baptism, you have to learn not just from the things that go on in it itself, but you have to learn from somewhere else what is meant. You need some kind of explanation, and that's true of any symbol, isn't it? They're explained, they're filled out somewhere else. Well, that happens in God's word. Sometimes you'll hear me say about the Lord's supper or about baptism that they are signs and seals of the Covenant of Grace. What does that mean? It means that they are pointing to something else, they're attached to something else. If you imagine, for example, a seal on a document, that seal. If you see a seal on a document, you understand exactly what it means. But apart from the document, it doesn't really communicate very much. If you see a piece of wax, for example, just laying on the ground, it's just a piece of wax, right. Even if somebody said that's a seal, that's a sign, you would say of what I can see that. I can see that it was a seal on something, but it has to be attached. This, by the way, is why it's okay for the word of God to be preached by itself without being a connected with a seal, the seal and sign signs and seals of the sacrament, but it's not okay to administer the sacraments without the preaching of the word of God, because otherwise they just be a piece of wax, so to speak, a seal lying on the ground that has to be connected. That seal confirms and validates it contents. It's...

...a way that the author of the document says these things are true. It's an extra level of pledging and confirming and in that, when they are attached in that way, they can stand in for the document themselves. This is why a Peter Says Baptism saves you. I'm not because baptism removes dirt from your body, and not even because baptism in itself is automatic somehow, but in there he's using language that it's standing in for that thing. Another example would be the way psalm twenty three says the Lord sets a table for us. Well, we automatically assume that means a feast, right, food and maybe silverware and things like that. It's the table that thing stands in for the whole that's what Peter says in First Peter Three. He says baptism saves you in the sense that it's standing in as that sign and as that seal for our salvation that comes to US through Christ. But if you detach it, then it doesn't do anything, it doesn't mean anything. So what is baptism? What does it sign and signify? What does it seal? What does the Bible say? Well, the Bible has a lot to say about baptism. A thorough study of it would include lots of different things. Adams being created in the garden, levitical Washings, the crossing of the Red Sea, a prophetic announcements about the coming of the spirit, Jesus's own baptism. You would also have to include his crucifixion and Resurrection, Pentecost and the examples of baptism that we see in the New Testament. But one of the things in this great list of things that you would have to include in the thing we're going to focus on today is the flood. You have to include in the flood because of First Peter, three, twenty through twenty one. There we read that in the days of Noah, eight persons were brought safely through the water, these eight persons being noah his sons. Is what the son's wives and Noah's wife. In the days of Noah, eight persons were brought safely through the water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus. Chris Fist Peter points us to the flood and he says here this flood was purposed by the Holy Spirit of God to teach us something about our baptisms. And what we'll see when we look at the flood is that baptism symbolizes God's judgment and his salvation.

Baptism pictures God's judgment and his salvation, and baptism is a promise of God's such judgment and his salvation. It's a picture and a promise, a sign and a seal. The symbol, this seal, this sign, will affect you in different ways, depending on who you are and how you stand in relationship to that Covenant Document, to the Bible and God's message of salvation. there. To the one who believes in Christ, baptism is a picture and promise that you will pass through the waters of judgment and enter into the newness of life. But to the one who has refused rescue, who has refused to listen, as the people did in the days of Noah, it is a picture of salvation lost and of Judgment Guaranteed. So let's think about this a little more deeply now, about this corresponding line that the spirit draws for us between baptism and its connection to the death and resurrection of Christ and to the salvation of Noah and his family through the flood of judgment. What can we learn by looking at the flood, judgment and salvation? First, judgment. Baptism corresponds to the flood as a symbol of Judgment. Perhaps you haven't thought about baptism very often in that way, but it's true. That's what the flood is about, isn't it? It's about God's judging sin, about God looking out on the world, as we considered last time, in seeing it as corrupt, corrupt, corrupt, as filled with violence, Adam's sin in the garden spread, infecting all of the world and inherit an inheritance sin which is brought the world not to the glorious state that it was supposed to be, but to corruption everywhere. The flood was not just a big reign, it was God's judgment. As I said earlier, Noah and his family didn't survive a natural disaster. They survived a divine disaster. They didn't survive just a flood, but a judgment for sin. Baptism corresponds to this. No and his family were brought safely through the waters because of Noah's righteousness. He was different from the rest of commandkind and his family benefited from that. He was godly where the other there's were not. He was righteous in his generation. Compared with all the others, this one, this noah, was different. Now we know, of course, that this is because of God's grace. Like all righteousness after the fall, Noah's righteousness was given to him by faith, through the grace of God, by virtue of the promised seed. But as such it was true righteousness. Noah's righteousness was capable of...

...justifying Noah because it was a righteousness that was from God and it made him worthy of salvation. And, as it was the righteousness of God, it was the kind of righteousness that produced more righteousness. That's what God does. He makes things godly and they produce more godliness. This account of Noah's great faith and trust in the promises of God is a is a and as an account of his trusting particularly in God's promise of judgment and salvation. So we see as in the flood waters of Judgment and God safely bringing through him baptism corresponding to this, we know not only in its connection. We know that baptism teaches us about God's judgment of sin, not only from the story of Noah, but also from other connections, like the pictures of its cleansing sin or its connection to circumcision and the Old Testament. Circumcision, like baptism, pointed to salvation through judgment. It told the people of God that the flesh had to be cut away if they were to be holy. It was performed also on males, as a constant reminder that this salvation through judgment would come through the promised seed. Paul connects the Old Testament sacrament of circumcision. This sacrament that taught about judgment or salvation through judgment. He connects it with baptism and Colossians to eleven through twelve, where he says that, having been buried in Baptism with Christ, we were circumcised in him. He says this in him also, you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you also were raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God. What I'm trying to say is I do when I'm trying to give as yet another proof. Not only do we have God's judgment of the world in Noah to show us that baptism is corresponds and symbolizes judgment for sin, but we also have circumcision. Paul connects baptism and circumcision, another sign that also symbolize the cutting off, the putting off and even the death of Jesus Christ himself, a death that happened in judgment for sins. And so the point is this. Our so our baptisms are not just a picture of salvation, but salvation from something, through something namely judgment for sins. What saved Noah from his sins and you from your sins is the same thing, namely the promises of God to bring us judgment or...

...to bring us through judgment in the safety of our Savior. This is the hope that we cling to, and we have to cling to, because Peter goes on to say in his second lay a letter that in the same way that the earth was once judged for sin by water, one day be judged for sin by fire. Judgment, Peter says, is coming just as it did for Noah, or rather in an even worse way than it did for Noah and his generation. Judgment, Peter says, is coming for our sins. Our baptisms teach us that only in Christ will we be saved from those sins. We must be brought through judgment, our sins must be taken care of, and they are taken care of through Christ on the Cross. so that's how Noah points US and teaches us about our baptisms. He teaches us about the judgment that must come for sin, but he also teaches us of the salvation that comes. The fact that Jot God would judge the world for sin I'm should be motivation enough for us to cling to Jesus. But the God, in his never ending depths of grace, not only tells us what we are saved from, but what we are also saved to. He not only tells us what we are saved from, but also what we are saved to. So just as our baptisms picture the judgment we escaped, like Noah escaped this judgment, they also picture the salvation that we gain. And that's why we read both halves of this story, not only God's bringing judgment on the world for sin, but the salvation that comes on the other side of that. Again, consider the flood as you imagine, as you might imagine the horrors of being pulled under the wrathful waves of God. Consider also what it would feel like to step out of the Ark after all that, onto the dry ground of what is essentially a new earth. When the flood is finished, Noah enters in many ways a new world. It's the same physical world, but there's a lot of things in the scriptures that points us that this is a new epoch. This is a new age, a new beginning that is in many ways parallel to the way things first began not exactly the same. Will consider this more next week, because sin is still in the world. So God's main work here is is along the lines of preservation rather than consummation. But nevertheless we see that as Noah steps out of that Ark, he enters not the old world but a new one. Consider, for...

...example, how the latter half of this story sounds a lot like genesis one and two. Perhaps you noticed it. I'm perhaps you. For example, I'll give you just one, and there are many, many ways. But the order of events that happen there correspond and lay over exactly the seven days at the beginning of creation, except for the first and fourth day, because the heavenly bodies are still there. But those aside, if you sort of if you take the seven days and you drop the first and you drop the fourth, all the others lay over exactly right. So, for example, and this is true even of what we might call precreation, we read, before all of this happens, before Noah exits the arc, that there was a wind going over the waters, this wind that were their Ruok. Is exactly the same same word that is used at the beginning of the Bible when it says the spirit the Ruok of God was hovering over the waters. It's the same word in both instances. What we have then, is the spirit of God, the Wind of God, being present there at the beginning of new creation. We read also of the sky appearing as it's separated from the waters on the second day. We read of the dry ground being separated from the waters, as the tops of the mountains begin to appear, as happens on the third day, skipping the fourth and going to the fifth, we read of the sky being filled with the birds, as on the fifth day. Then we read of the creatures and the livestock and the animals and the things that move along the ground, plus the appearance of mankind stepping out, coming in crowning this new creation on the sixth day. And soon after that will come the commands to be fruitful and multiply and even an implicit command to have dominion over the Earth. If the language there in Genesis Chapter Eight sounded familiar, it's because it is familiar, because God is using the same sequence of events, the same language that we heard in genesis one and two to show us that something new has happened out of all of this judgment and salvation has come. Baptism, which corresponds to this, is the same. WHEN WE RISE IN JESUS CHRIST, we rise from judgment to something, to resurrection. Listen to Romans three. Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ, Jesus, were baptized into his death? That's the judgment part. We were buried, therefore, with him, by baptism into death, that crucifixion, in order that, just as Christ was raised...

...from the dead by the glory of the father, we too might walk in the newness of life. You see what salvation leads to. It's not just to an empty state or a blank slate or a or a sort of abstractly new beginning, but salvation leads to the newness of life, a new order. Now, if this was true of the flood, consider how much greater this is true of who we are in Jesus Christ. The judgment was greater, and it is an eternal judgment for all of our sins, not just a temporary judgment on the earth. And it's a salvation that's greater. We don't simply walk out onto the earth that is now dried and new life is beginning. We walk as those that belong to this Kingdom of God, citizens of Heaven, even the new heavens and the new earth. When we come, we rest not on the old mountains but on Mount Zion, the new Jerusalem. We enter into a newness of life that is characterized throughout the scriptures as eternal life, blessed life, complete life, full life. So let me speak directly to you now. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is therefore the pivotal moment on which the whole world turns, a thousand times more than the flood with Noah. It speaks of judgment and salvation, complete and final judgment, complete and final endeaverlasting salvation. This first judgment and first salvation point to the greater such judgment and salvation that comes in Christ. And so you stand in the same position as the people did in the days of Noah. Will you ignore this as they did, or will you believe? Will you hear the promises of God that salvation comes through him, or will you be swept away in the waters and fires of God's judgment? You must believe. There is no other way. There was no alternate, third path for the people, and as day, there is no getting around it or finding your own way or building your own boat. Salvation only came through this chosen one of God. You had to be on the boat. And the same is true, and even more so, we might say, to an even greater degree, in Jesus Christ, Jesus and in him alone, do we have salvation from judgment. Do we have salvation through judgment? You must believe, you must put your faith in him, and when you do, the promises that we've been reading in scripture, not only to Noah but in Paul...

...and in Peter, the promises are true that when we are those who believe and put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are those who die in Him, going through judgment and will be resurrected, and even are, in a sense, already resurrected, to walk in the newness of life. Today you are going to hear the professions of faith, professions of faith of those who do believe, of those who have heard the word of God and have not turned away from him but, by His grace, have turned towards salvation through judgment and, Unto Salvation in Christ. As we consider baptism and later on, the Lord's supper, you might think of them like a wedding ring. Baptism confirms a promise. Like a wedding ring confirms a promise. It signifies and seals this thing that it represents, but it only does so for those to whom the promise belongs. I mentioned finding a seal on the ground. Will Imagine finding a wedding ring on the ground. If you find a wedding ring on the ground and you put it on, you don't become married. You don't become married simply by having this thing applied to you. You have to have a real connection, it has to be based on something that is true and real. And when this is true of the Lord's supper and of Baptism, how do you put on the wedding ring? How does the promise actually become for you? By believing, by trusting in faith, through the grace of God, that Jesus Christ died for you, that his offer of salvation is genuinely meant for you and that no matter how awful your sins are, no matter how corrupt you are, no matter how many regrets you have, that you can have salvation through the judgment of Jesus Christ. This is what happens in baptism, not by mere power of symbolism, but by the act of God and according to his will, and this is why we are called to look to our baptisms and, as you see the baptisms that happen today, perhaps if you partake of the Lord's supper with us, you think of them in this way and we can even improve on them, not improve on what God has given, but benefit more greatly from them. Again, thinking about a wedding ring, and I'll close with this, if God has given us a wedding ring, if he has given us a sacrament to strengthen the bond of our marriage with him by way of confirming our promises with him, let's not be holier than God by putting our wedding rings in the drawer and saying I don't need that. Instead, let's put them on, embrace...

...them by faith and say thank you, Lord, thank you not only for giving me your promises, but giving me symbols of your promises, signs which point to these things, these realities, seals which confirm them in our hearts. Kelsey and Connor, as you are baptized, you can be thankful to God and where your baptisms with pride and thankfulness and joy, and the same as to all of you who are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the father and the spirit of God. Let us all give thanks to God, who gives us salvation through judgment. Let us pray.

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