Spreading The Love
Pastor Adam Mallett, Jr.
Adapted from sermon by
Pastor Gary DarDar, Jr.
Noah’s family has exited the boat and is rebuilding, but it is not long before we begin to see the true depth of the depravity of sin. God demolished the earth, removing much of the darkness of sin from the world. Yet, sin is so very deeply, permanently rooted in the heart of man. Noah quickly reveals this to be true, as we see in this week’s scripture, and we must deal with what that means for us. There is very real, practical truth in this passage of scripture that each of us need apply to our own daily lives. In a time when Noah ought to have been spreading the godliness that he demonstrated before the flood, we find him spreading the very same sinfulness that the flood sought to destroy. There are a few things I would like to highlight from this sermon and the text from which it draws. Remember that this is us! Noah is not some ancient figure with whom we have no relation. He is our ancestor, and he is created with the same flesh and soul and spirit that we are.
Noah had a vineyard, which was especially useful in ancient times. In modern culture, with all its grocery stores and restaurants, vineyards don’t have the same significance that they did during Noah’s time. In an environment where clean water may not have always been available, Crisco couldn’t be bought from the store for frying up your food, and antiseptics were not bought from the local CVS or Walgreen’s, a vineyard provided many necessary things for everyday life. A vineyard was a very useful thing, yet it has the potential for allowing sinfulness. Obviously, of all the things that a vineyard might be useful for, alcohol can lead to poor decisions and ungodly behavior. Noah found this out the hard way, as we see in these chapters of Genesis. Noah got drunk and lay exposed in his tent. What was so useful for so many good things was enjoyed outside of the parameters of God’s design. This led to sin.
How many things in our life are just the same as Noah’s vineyard? I love a good buffet, but how easy is it to over-indulge? God has a plan and a purpose for everything! Whether it is food and drink, a career, wealth, an education, a ministry, or anything else, there are guidelines in place that God desires for us to follow as we experience and enjoy the things of this life. We cannot allow ourselves to be like Noah! We must be aware of those parameters! We must learn the boundaries and guidelines, not that we might skirt them, but that we might understand where to stand in order to be centered in God’s will!
Some might say that these guidelines are limiting, keeping us from living a life of freedom. God’s Word makes it abundantly clear that true freedom is found within these guidelines set by God! A professional bowler knows to avoid the gutters. A professional bowler does his best to get a strike every time! If the bumpers are up, does it make any difference to a good bowler? Do the bumpers limit his ability to play the game by blocking things off from his access? No! Of course the bumpers don’t limit him, for he is committed to the game, committed to playing well, which means avoiding those areas that the bumpers block off. In the same way, God’s guidelines and boundaries keep us from what is not good for us. God’s guidelines and boundaries are only blocking us off from that which leads to sin and death. However, as Noah demonstrated, we have been given free will to choose for ourselves how we will live. God does not force us to live in accordance with His will, but He expects us to. We can ignore His directives and stray into death, or we can trust His guiding hand, living within the confines of His holy parameters.
Another thing that Noah demonstrated was that we are powerless on our own to fulfill the will of God. We must allow ourselves to be enabled by God! For us, as New Testament people, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, making us able. God’s Spirit is the Great Enabler! Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves just like Noah. We will find ourselves exposed and embarrassed, broken and hurting. Our Adversary is powerful! He has no power over God, nor over those who are filled with the Spirit, but that does not mean that sin has no grip. If we allow sin to get a grip on us, we will stumble and fall. Without Christ, a human has no power at all over sin. We must abide in Christ, or we will feel the full weight of sin on us daily.
When Noah awoke, he felt ashamed. He felt guilt for his sinfulness. For us, guilt is actually a gift of the Holy Spirit. Guilt is the way the Holy Spirit lets us know that we are putting distance between us and God. While I never want to have to feel guilt for my sinfulness, I am grateful for guilt. Guilt is often the most powerful force in driving a sinning Christian back into the presence of God! Yet, how often do we feel guilt, ask for forgiveness, then immediately sin again? We are so quick to fall back into sin! We are so quick to stumble over our imperfection! Sometimes a flood is what it takes to remove our strongholds. Sometimes we must experience a tearing down, further brokenness, in order to be restored. What needs to be flooded out of your life in order for you to release the strongholds in your life? What needs to be broken down in order for you to more clearly see God’s guidelines and directives in your life?
We are so much like Noah. We are sinful. But we are also made in the image of God! We are also capable of being blameless in God’s sight! Not by our own power or merit, but by the blood of Christ. Seek forgiveness today for your sinfulness, and, from there, move forward to God’s desires for your life. Let the Spirit guide you, within the parameters of God’s design, into the very presence of God.