Sermon #11 Series: Pictures of Grace in Genesis
Title: God’s Covenant With Noah - A Picture Of Grace
Text: Genesis 9:11
Reading: Genesis 8:20 - 9:17
Subject: The covenant of grace
Date: Tuesday Evening - July 30, 1991
Noah’s first act, when he came out of the ark, was to build, not a house for himself, but an altar “unto the Lord” on which he offered blood sacrifices as burnt offerings to God. These were received by God as a sweet-smelling savor. Having received these offerings, God declared that he would never again curse the ground for man’s sake and that as long as the earth remained, its seasons would not cease.
NOTE: Do not allow the infidels of our day influence your thinking. Scientists, environmentalists and politicians may fret and worry themselves about “global warming” and the disappearance of seasons. But God has declared that “while the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease!”
Then we are told, “God blessed Noah and his sons” (9:1). This is the first time we read of God blessing anyone since the fall of our father Adam. The basis of the blessing was the sacrifice God had received. That blood sacrifice was symbolical. It was a picture of Christ, the Lamb of God, for whose sake and through whose merits the blessings of grace flow to sinners upon the earth.
This is a new beginning. Judgment is over. Old things have passed away. All things are now new. And everything now rests upon a covenant that God made, a covenant of grace, based upon shed blood. Man had forfeited the blessing of God. He had forfeited his position as lord of creation. But grace restores him. Grace reinstates him. God made a covenant with Noah and, it its scope, that covenant reached even to the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea (9:2). And this covenant was made to last forever.
Everything about Noah’s salvation by the ark is representative of our salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole story is full of spiritual suggestions.
1. The ark is a picture of Christ and our redemption by him.
2. The salvation of Noah and his family by water is a picture of our salvation by the washing of regeneration.
· Though we are in the world, we are dead to it.
· As Noah came out of the ark, out of the flood of God’s wrath, so we have come up out of the watery grave to walk in the newness of life by the power of our resurrected Redeemer.
3. As Noah came out of the ark to walk abroad in the earth, so the believer in Christ walks in freedom.
4. Noah’s sacrifices to God picture the believer’s employment in this world - The worship and praise of God our Savior.
5. When the Lord commanded Noah to be fruitful and fill the earth with his fruit, he setforth the fruitfulness of faith.
· Believer’s bear fruit unto God (Gal. 5:22-23).
· We should each seek to be spiritual parents to immortal souls, travailing in birth until Christ be formed in them.
6. Noah’s dominion over the beasts of the earth symbolizes the believer’s dominion over the lusts of his own nature.
· We are priests to offer up sacrifices to God by Christ.
· And we are kings to rule our own spirits by the Spirit of Christ.
7. And Noah’s security, standing before God upon the ground of God’s own covenant, is a picture of every believer’s security before God upon the basis of God’s covenant.
It is this covenant that I want to talk to you about tonight. The title of my message is God’s Covenant With Noah - A Picture Of Grace. You have my text before you in Genesis 9:11, God said to Noah - “I will establish my covenant with you!”
Before ever the earth was made, before time began, in old eternity, God made a covenant with his Son for the salvation of his elect. We call it the covenant of grace, or the everlasting covenant. It is a solemn compact between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, which guarantees and secures the salvation of God’s elect.
1. This covenant was ordered in all things and made sure from eternity (Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Tim. 1:9).
2. This covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ at Calvary (Heb. 13:20).
3. This covenant is established and sealed to God’s elect by the Holy Spirit in regeneration through faith (Eph. 1:13-14).
It was this blessed covenant of grace that comforted, sustained and gave satisfaction to David on his deathbed (2 Sam. 23:5).
The covenant that God made with Noah was a covenant of pure grace and was representative of the covenant of grace which he made for us with Christ before the world began.
As I read these 8th and 9th chapters of Genesis, six questions come to my mind.
1. Who made this covenant?
2. With whom was the covenant established?
3. What was the basis of the covenant?
4. Why was the covenant made?
5. What is included in the covenant?
6. What is the meaning of the rainbow, the token of the covenant?
I. WHO MADE THIS COVENANT?
The source of this covenant was God alone. This was a covenant which God made with Noah, not a covenant that Noah made with God (Read vv. 11, 12, and 15). This was God’s covenant with Noah. Man had no part in making it, or in keeping it. And man could not break it. So it is with that everlasting covenant of grace that God has made for us.
A. It is a covenant of pure grace (Rom. 9:11-18).
B. It is a covenant of unconditional, unqualified promise - “I will” - “You shall” (Gal. 4:22-31).
You and I do not stand before God under a covenant that demands anything of us. We live under a covenant of promise. Its’ favors are unconditional. Its’ mercies are unlimited. All its’ blessings are made sure to all the seed by the oath and promise of God.
C. It is a covenant that has been faithfully kept to this day (8:22).
D. Nothing in the covenant depends, in any degree, upon man - God says, “I will remember my covenant” - “When I see the blood!”
Spurgeon said, “My looking to Jesus brings me joy and peace, but it is God’s looking to Jesus which secures my salvation and that of all his elect; for it is impossible for God to look at Christ, our bleeding Surety, and then be angry with us for sins already punished in him.”
No one in this covenant wears a garment made of linen and wool, works and grace!
E. This is an everlasting covenant.
Time does not change God’s purpose! “The Lord hath made with me and everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure!” Grace is never in jeopardy. Salvation is never in danger. God’s elect cannot, by any means, be lost (Isa. 54:9-10). This is a covenant made by God and kept by God.
II. WITH WHOM WAS THE COVENANT ESTABLISHED? (v. 11).
The covenant touched everything in God’s creation. The benefits of the covenant were given to all Noah’s posterity. But the covenant was made with only one man - Noah!
Even so, the covenant of grace was made with one Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. But that one Person was Surety for many (Heb. 7:22).
· God made his covenant for us with Christ.
· Christ met all the stipulations of the covenant for us.
· We have received all the blessings of the covenant in Christ and for his sake (Eph. 1:3; 2 Tim. 1:9).
III. WHAT WAS THE BASIS, OR FOUNDATION, OF THIS COVENANT?
This covenant was God’s response to Noah’s sacrifice (Gen. 8:20-22). The covenant which God made with Noah was God’s answer to the “sweet savor” that ascended to him from the altar. All the blessings of the covenant flowed to Noah, because of the sacrifice.
And all the blessings of the covenant of grace flow to us and to all of God’s elect through “the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Heb. 13:20), the blood of Christ, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).
NOTE: God could not and would not bless and save even the people whom he loved with an everlasting love apart from the satisfaction of his justice by the blood of Christ.
IV. WHY WAS THIS COVENANT MADE?
We would not pry into the secrets of Almighty God. And I certainly do not pretend to know all that moved God in the covenant he made with Noah, or in the covenant he made with Christ for us. But I do know as much as he has revealed.
God made his covenant to be...
A. A wondrous display of his amazing grace (Gen. 8:21; Eph. 1:6, 12, 14).
B. A perpetual declaration of his glorious sovereignty (Gen. 8:22; Rom. 9:11-18).
C. A solid ground of comfort to his elect (Rom. 8:28-32).
V. WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE COVENANT?
· The elements of the world (8;22).
· The creatures of the world (9:3, 9, 10).
· The governments of the world (9:6).
“All things are of God” (2 Cor. 5:18). “All things are yours” (1 Cor. 3:21). (Hos. 2:18; Rom. 8:28).
Everything in this world is so absolutely governed by God that nothing happens, nothing is done, nothing moves, nothing lives, nothing dies except that which God has purposed for the fulfilling of his covenant in his elect.
VI. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE RAINBOW, THE TOKEN OF THE COVENANT? (12-16).
We see the rainbow upon the earth. But when John was caught up to heaven, he saw the rainbow encircling God’s throne (Rev. 4:3), and he saw Christ, our Mediator, ruling all things for the fulfilment of God’s covenant, crowned with a rainbow on his head (Rev. 10:1).
The Lord is ever mindful of his covenant. He does not need a token to remind him of it. But we do. So he gave us the rainbow. It was the symbol to Noah of God’s covenant with him. And it is a symbol to us to remind us of God’s covenant with us in Christ.
A. When may we expect to see the rainbow, the token of the covenant?
Three things are required...
1. There must be a cloud (v. 14).
· That dark cloud that hung over the earth when Christ died. There we see God’s covenant!
· The clouds that arise in our lives - “When I bring a cloud.”
We read the lines and promises of God’s covenant best when we read them drawn out for us upon the dark and cloudy sky of adversity. You will never see the rainbow until a cloud appears. But, A. W. Pink wrote, “How blessed to know that the cloud that comes over our sky is of His bringing! And if so, how sure that some way He will reveal His glory in it!”
1. There must be rain.
The cloud itself does not give the rainbow. You will never see a rainbow without the crystal drops of water to reflect the light of the sun.
Trials must and will befall,
But with humble faith to see
Grace inscribed upon them all,
This is happiness to me!
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind the frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
2. And you cannot see the rainbow unless the sun shines.
It is only as Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shines in our hearts by the Spirit of grace that we are able to see God’s covenant and grace toward us in him.
Shine, O Sun of Righteousness
Through all the clouds of time and sense;
Display the rainbow of your grace
And rest my soul in covenant peace.
B. What do we see in the rainbow, the token of the covenant?
1. In the rainbow, we see transcendent beauty and glory. That’s in the covenant!
2. In the rainbow, we see justice and vengeance satisfied.
There is the bow. But it has neither string nor arrow. God has hung up his bow. The warfare is over. That’s in the covenant!
3. In the rainbow, we see streamers of joy, a banner of delight, flung across the heavens! That’s what the covenant of grace is! (Jer. 31:3; 31-34; 32:37-41).