Chaos and Baptism

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Today we’re going to look at this from 2 angles.
We’re going to consider the fact that God is a just judge.
And then we’re going to consider the fact that in the midst of God’s judgement, he is always preserving a remnant.
That’s our two points.

God is a just judge

We’ve been endeavoring to answer the question,
“What is the text trying to do?”
And we’ve been looking at Genesis through the lens of
“Why did the Israelites coming out of captivity need to know this story?”
It is first of all important to note that at this point in the story we are getting wayyy more biographical information about Noah than anyone in human history.
And we are actually a good chunk of the way through human history at this point.
Thousands of years.
So obviously this story will be one of great importance.
What is the text shouting out to us?
Even though mankind has free will,
God does not let evil run unrestrained forever.
We also see that God is incredibly patient.
Genesis 7:1 HCSB
1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before Me in this generation.
It’s just Noah.
God has been patient and merciful already by not wiping out the wicked.
Another example of God being patient, merciful, and just can be found in
Genesis 15:13–16 LEB
13 And he said to Abram, “You must surely know that your descendants shall be as aliens in a land not their own. And they shall serve them and they shall oppress them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation that they serve I will judge. Then afterward they shall go out with great possessions. 15 And as for you, you shall go to your ancestors in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And the fourth generation shall return here, for the guilt of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
It’s worth mentioning that this concept of God wiping out almost everyone on earth with a flood is one that is challenged in our day and age.
The flood narrative is often held up as an example of God being a genocidal God.
This is a misunderstanding of justice from our western viewpoint. (Where we have strayed from biblical justice).
God cannot commit genocide. We do not use the same categories for God that we would use for a human being. We do not hold God to the standard that we would hold any other God of our own creation to.
2 paintings
Scripture tells us that it is God who causes nations to rise and fall.
A commonality that we see between nations that fall in history is their commitment to systemic violence, and often human sacrifice.
We don’t get a snapshot view of the world before the flood, but based off what we know from other cultures that God has allowed to be wiped out, we can infer some things.
Amorites - Child sacrifice
Israel - Child sacrifice “Something that never entered my mind.”
Sodom - Violent sexual crimes and murder
Rome - Human sacrifice for entertainment
Aztec - Human sacrifice
We can almost assuredly bet that the people of Noah’s time had begun sacrificing living human beings to demons.
God holds us to HIS standard.
If you are interested in advancing the cause of justice in this world, consider long and hard by what standard you are advancing justice.
Is it your standard or God’s?
And this is another interesting feature of the flood narrative.
By God’s standard, Noah was also deserving of being drowned in the flood waters.
But it is precisely BECAUSE of God’s mercy and grace that now even one person is being saved.
And His salvation is not based on him being a good guy.
It’s based on his faith in God.
Everyone in history is deserving of the wrath of God,
and God has made a way for them to be saved.
Faith, is the way that humans all across time can be saved from their sin by receiving the grace of God.
And this is an astonishing point in the story where
And now it’s just one guy.
So why the flood?
A theology of water:
‌Water is connected with order.
‌OR Disorder.
‌God has ordered his creation and put the chaos waters at bay.
‌All creation has an order to it.
‌In the garden, we see everything that God made living in obedience to him.
Birds fly
‌Fish swim
‌Bears do bear things
‌The sun shines
Mankind rules and cares for the creation.
After the fall mankinds relationship to God changes.
‌The nonhuman creation keeps obeying.
‌But the human creation has turned to chaos.
The actions of mankind on earth were slowly chipping away at the dam.
“To rebel against God is to embrace death because you are turning away from the giver of life Himself.” - Tim Mackie

YAHWEH is the God of the Remnant

In the midst of God’s judgement, there is always a remnant.
What’s a remnant?
A surviving trace.
A small group remaining.
As we survey the entirety of the story, we see that the heart of God is interested in drawing sinners to himself so that they can be washed clean of their sin and be new people.
That’s what God is doing in history.
He is calling a remnant out of every nation and tribe on earth.
Sometimes this remnant is strong, as whole cultures submit themselves to God’s will for a time,
And sometimes it’s very very weak, like in the time of Noah, where the remnant is just 8 people.

Marks of the Remnant

If you’re a Christian than you’re a part of this remnant crowd.
And so I want to talk about what are the marks of a remnant.
We will see all of these in the experience of Noah.


Remnant people are faithful people.
Why should we care about the fact that God saves a remnant?
The book of romans talks about this in chapter 9 vs 27 as it quotes Isaiah
Romans 9:27 HCSB
27 But Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of Israel’s sons is like the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved;
This section of Romans is making the astonishing claim that true sons of Abraham are people who have placed their faith in God.
Reminder from last week. It’s not the size of your faith that matters. It’s the object of your weak, battered, limping along faith that matters.
Your faith is weak.
But if you’ve placed your faith in Christ than you have placed your faith in the only person in the universe who has breathed stars out of his mouth.
… who transcends time who walked with Adam in the garden and walked with 12 bumbling disciples like you and me too.
… who has killed death.
… Who has rose from the dead.
… sits on the throne at the right hand of God in heaven ruling His creation with a rod and a staff.
You have placed your faith in the strongman.
But you are weak.
Being a part of the remnant is almost a guarantee that you will be hurting.
A helpful reminder for those living in the remnant is the reality that what God is doing is so much bigger than what we can comprehend.
There was a prophet named Elijah who in complete terror and a moment of particularly weak faith
1 Kings 19:3–12 HCSB
3 Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beer-sheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, 4 but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.” 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, “Get up and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 Then the angel of the Lord returned for a second time and touched him. He said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8 So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 He entered a cave there and spent the night. Then the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts, but the Israelites have abandoned Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.” 11 Then He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.” At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper.
May this encourage you that if you belong to God, his desire is not to scare you into being a more faithful son or daughter.
God is not threatening you.
C.S. Lewis captures this perfectly in the chronicles of narnia when the children...
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”
Here in this story of Elijah we see a Christian who is borderline suicidal crying out to God in pain, and what do we see?
A whisper from a Father to a Son.
1 Kings 19:13–18 HCSB
13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts,” he replied, “but the Israelites have abandoned Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they’re looking for me to take my life.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Go and return by the way you came to the Wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, you are to anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16 You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17 Then Jehu will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. 18 But I will leave 7,000 in Israel —every knee that has not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
Now these events seem confusing out of context, but listen to the meaning.
God is talking about future events that will happen, showing that he is sovereign over time and history,
and he is reminding Elijah that he isn’t alone.
There are thousands like Him.
One of the strongest schemes that the devil employs is to isolate you to the point that you can’t see what God is doing and you feel alone.
2 ways that we combat this is by staying in community with other Christians, and always striving to get a big view of how God is working in our world.
Did you know that in China right now, there are aprx 100 million Christians?
That’s 1/3 of the US population.
And in China, faith is authentic because it’s dangerous.
Faith is cheap and easy here.
At this point it is safe to say there are more Christians in China than there are in America.
Do you know about the phenomenon over the last couple decades of Muslim men and women having dreams and visions of Jesus, and then converting to Christianity?
If you are struggling in your faith,
read some biographies of Christians from the last century.
Subscribe to the email newsletters of missionaries in different cultures than you.
Read some news that is focused on highlighting Christian activity in the world.
We do live in a dark world, but God is drawing a remnant from all over that world.
He is subverting the darkness.
But at the end of the day, we also have to trust that God’s ways are higher than our ways and we can’t always see how the end result works.
Think about Noah.
He witnessed the wholesale destruction of an entire planet’s worth of living beings.
That’s enough to get you depressed.
His faith is what preserved Him.
It would have helped if an angel showed up and was like
“listen brother, I know the whole ark thing is confusing, but it’s a picture of how Jesus is going to be a better ark that saves all of God’s people from destruction one day and also this flood is basically you and your entire family being baptised.”
He didn’t have that.
But He did have faith that God would keep his promises to HIM.


Another mark of the remnant is that it is a people of repentance and praise.
These go hand in hand because repentance always brings us to praise.
Repentance is drawing near to the throne of grace and bringing our sorrows and sins to God,
And when we are restored afresh in our relationship with God we can’t NOT praise Him.
We see this so often in David’s Psalms, where at the beginning of a psalm he will be brokenhearted over his sin and seeking God’s face, and then by the he is just exuding God’s praise.
Something special that we note in this flood story is that Noah doesn’t just take 2 of every animal.
He actually takes 7 of every animal and bird that was fit for sacrificing to God, SO THAT he could thank and praise God with sacrifices when he got off the ark.
Repentance and praise are defining characteristics of people who have been changed by God.
It is the natural result of spending time with God.
Spending time with God illuminates Him and us.
When we are illuminated we are compelled to repent of the ways that we have run from him,
and when He is illuminated we are compelled to praise Him for His glory.
Noah does both of these things.


Another mark of the remnant is being in covenant with God.
We’ll talk a lot more about this next week, but when Noah steps off the ark, we see God establish a covenant with Him, and it’s a repeat of the covenant given to Adam and Eve.
We hear “covenant”, and probably think agreement. Where two people are agreeing to treat each other a certain way.
God’s covenants with people in history are a lot more like the relationship between a father and a son than the agreement you sign when you buy a house.
Covenants always start with God.
God’s covenants don’t read “Because you’ve been such a good person, I am going to protect you now.”
They read more like,
“I AM YHWH, I rescued you from your oppressor, I am going to bless you, and you will obey me.”
Jeremiah 31:31–34 NIV
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
If you are Christ’s,
Then God has made a covenant with you.
He has stormed into the dungeon you were chained up in,
liberated you from your sin and the devil,
washed you off,
given you a kings robe,
and given you His spirit so that now when He says,
“Obey me”
You can because He loves you and you love him.
If you are not Christ’s,
if you have not placed your faith in Him,
you need to know that He has already done everything necessary for you to be His.
No work required.
Faith required.
Faith that He will keep His promises.
Faith like Noah’s that says
“Even though the storm is raging outside, I will rest in you, God.”
We find ourselves at a time in history where an ark has been provided to all people.
An ark that save us not just from water, but from sin and death itself.
That ark is Christ.
We find ourselves in a unique time in history however.
A different time than Noah.
Noah’s generation was entirely faithless.
No one loved God.
No one wanted to get on that ark.
We are in a different time.
God is drawing men, women and children form every tribe, nation, and tongue.
He is drawing them two by two into a new ark.
The ark of Christ, where they are hidden until death is no more.
Did you know that is where you go when you die, if you are in Christ?
You go to be with Christ.
To be hidden in him.
To find rest and safety until the glorious day when we are raised with him to life.
My prayer is that we, are children, our grand children, and our neighbors would all get be hidden in this ark until the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19–20 LEB
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the age.”
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