Well, today we want to return to our series in the book of Genesis and we're going to pick up today in Genesis chapter 6 and talk about the decline of the human race. But you know, since it's been a couple of weeks since we've been in Genesis, I thought a little bit of review would be helpful just to make sure we're all caught up.
So let's go back and see what we've already learned. In Genesis chapter 4, we learn that Cain's jealousy against his brother Abel boiled over and he brutally murdered Abel. And as a result, God cursed Cain and exiled him. Then we learn that Cain went off and established his own branch of human society. And we also learn that Adam and Eve had another son named Seth who established his own branch of human society. And in Genesis chapters 4 and 5, the Bible told us about the fact that each of these two branches of human society were characterized by certain things.
That Cain's line was characterized by godlessness and violence and disobedience to God while Seth's line was characterized by godliness and righteous behavior and obedience to God. Now that's where we've been and as we come to Genesis chapter 6 today, we're going to see that something has gone drastically wrong in this world. So here we go, Genesis chapter 6 verse 5. Now here in Genesis chapter 6, the Bible tells us that the entire population of the earth had grown corrupt. Not just Cain's ungodly line, but somehow, someway, Seth's godly line had even been dragged down into this situation.
And you say, well, how could that happen? Well, the Bible answers that question actually. Back up in the beginning of the chapter, the Bible tells us how things got this bad. Verse 1, it says, When men began to increase in number on the earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful. So they, the sons of God, married any of them, the daughters of men, they chose. And the Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God went into the daughters of men and had children by them, these, the Nephilim, were the heroes of old, men of renown. So this is the Bible's explanation of how things got so bad on the earth.
You say, but Lon, I heard the words you read. What do they mean? I don't even understand what this is talking about.
What's really going on here? Well, there are actually two explanations as to exactly what the beginning of Genesis 6 is talking about. Let me tell you the two explanations. Explanation number one goes like this, that the sons of God here in Genesis 6 are fallen angels. They're demons. We know that the Bible tells us that originally Satan was an angel who rebelled against God, and there were other angels, the Bible tells us, who followed him in his foul revolt, as John Milton called it. We hear this in 2 Peter chapter 2 verse 4, which talks about the angels who sinned. In Jude 6 we hear about the angels who did not keep their first estate but left their proper place. And so some commentators say that the sons of God here in Genesis 6 are these evil angels, these demons, that the daughters of men are human women, and that these two groups had sexual relations and produced a mutant race of human beings called the Nephilim. The King James translates this giants, and that these Nephilim so corrupted the entire planet that by Genesis chapter 6 Noah and his family were the only God-fearing people left on earth.
And God decided that the only way He could dispose of these mutants and the only way that He could purify human society was to wipe them off the face of the earth entirely and for good, which is what He did with the flood. All right, that's explanation number one. You say, well, Lon, is that the right explanation?
Well, I don't believe so. And there are many reasons why I don't believe that's correct, but the key reason is what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 22 verse 30. Jesus said in the resurrection, that is in heaven, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage.
Instead, they will be like the what? The angels in heaven. In other words, Jesus says here that angels are sexless beings. They don't marry because they don't procreate. There are no daddy angels, there are no mommy angels, and there are no angelettes.
You understand what I'm saying? Jesus tells us angels do not have sexual relations with other angels or with anybody else. And therefore, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, we find that this theory of demon half-breeds simply doesn't hold biblical water. You say, well, then what in the world is going on here? Well, remember, I told you there's a second explanation, one that stretches the imagination a lot less than that first one.
And here's what it is. Remember we said the early human race had two distinct branches, two distinct lines. It had Seth's godly line, who represent the sons of God here in Genesis 6, and it had Cain's ungodly line, which represents the daughters of men.
For a long time, these two branches maintained their separateness and maintained their individual character, but over time, they began to intermingle. Over time, they began to intermarry, and as a result, the moral excellence of Seth's line of people was slowly but surely eroded away by Cain's people. Until eventually, what we have is no longer a godly line of people and an ungodly line of people. What we eventually end up with is a few godly individuals like Noah and his family and a whole world full of ungodly people, these Nephilim. We don't really know what that word means.
It comes from a Hebrew root, naphau, which means to fall upon people, to attack people. And so our best guess is that these people were bandidos, that they were desperados, that they were violent, cruel, corrupt people who took over the human race. But the point is by the time we reach Genesis chapter 6, the only people on earth who are still walking with God are Noah and his immediate family.
This is explanation number two, and I'm personally convinced that this is the correct interpretation of Genesis chapter 6. So let's summarize. You all still awake? Yeah?
You all still there? Okay, let's summarize. Assuming that I have correctly exegeted Genesis chapter 6 for you, and I believe I have, then the lesson we see here is that whether you're a singer, whether you're an actor, whether you're a politician, whether you're a student, whether you're a business person, whether you're a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker, it doesn't matter. What we see here is that when godliness mingles with ungodliness, when godliness marries ungodliness, when godliness gets involved on an intimate level with ungodliness in any way that it should not, the result is almost always the same, namely godliness loses. Ungodliness wins out just like it did here in Genesis chapter 6. Now, that's as far as we're going to go in the passage because it's time now to ask our most important question.
And this is a historic question because it's the first one of 2012. And I need to be really honest with you. I'm not lying to you. The other two services this morning were absolutely phenomenal in screaming this out.
Were they not back there, guys? Okay. I mean, you guys, I'm not manipulating you. I'm just telling you the truth. You guys are going to have to reach deep if you're going to win this morning. But I have confidence in you. I believe in you. All right. Are you ready?
Out there in the Internet, too. All right. Put me back on my heels now. Here we go.
One, two, three. What do you think, Steve? I think you guys won. What do you think? Yeah, amazing. We're going to start metering this in the back.
That was amazing. All right. You say, all right, Lon, so amazing or not, what's the point? I mean, I hear what you're saying about this. But tomorrow morning, I don't see what this has to do with me.
Well, let's see if we can figure that out. You know, I've been doing pastoral counseling in my office for 30 years now. And part of the reason for that is because I've been a pastor for 30 years.
And I wonder if you ever thought, what's the number one reason that people come in to see a pastor about with their heart absolutely breaking? You say, well, maybe it's drugs or alcohol or gambling or sex or pornography or money problems. Nope, nope, nope. None of the above.
In fact, none of them are even close. Without a doubt, it's relationships, especially romantic relationships, marriage, divorce, separation, engagement problems, problems with husbands, problems with wives, problems with boyfriends and girlfriends and fiancés. And I've come to realize that romantic relationships and marriage have more raw impact on the average person's life than any other human issue. And this is especially true when it comes to the spiritual side of our lives. Hey, marry the right person and that person will encourage you spiritually. They will challenge you spiritually. They will spur you on to new heights spiritually.
And they will motivate you to love God and obey God and serve God all the days of your life. You marry the wrong person and they will turn your good walk with Christ into a disaster zone, a nuclear fallout zone. When I think of this, I think of Ahab, king of the northern kingdom of Israel. And he was married to a woman. Many of you know this woman's name, and she was a bad Oreo. I'm telling you. Do you know what her name was? Jezebel.
That's exactly right. And look what the Bible says. King Ahab didn't start off all that bad. But look how he ended. 1 Kings 21, 25, there was never a man like Ahab, the Bible says, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. Watch now, urged on by his wife Jezebel. I'm going to say it again.
More good walks with Christ have been wrecked by a bad marriage partner than by all other reasons combined. You say, well, Lon, dude, man, you have definitely crossed the line from preaching to meddling. I mean, oh my gosh, are you stepping on people's toes here? Yeah. You say, you sure you know what you're doing up there, Lon? I know what I'm doing.
And friends, I got to tell you what, I feel like Clubber Lang talking to Rocky. I got more for you. I got more for you. I got some more for you.
I do. I'm not done yet. Listen, for the wrong person to devastate our spiritual life, friends, we don't even have to marry them. It can be an ungodly boyfriend, an ungodly girlfriend, an ungodly fiancé, an ungodly business partner or neighbor or best friend. Anyone that we allow to assert spiritual influence in our life can do this. I think of Samson, Judges 13 to 16. I mean, this guy was a genuine chosen man of God. For goodness sake, an angel announced his birth, huh? He was a deliverer of Israel.
He was a mighty man of God. You know, he served God with his life until he developed a love for Philistine women. And his mom and dad came to him, Judges 14, verse 3.
And here's what they said to him, his mother and father. They said, is there no acceptable woman among all our relatives and our people that you must go and take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines? They said to him, hey, Samson, you mean there's not one girl in all of Israel that's attractive to you? A girl who knows the Lord? A girl who loves the Lord? A girl who serves the Lord?
That you got to go marry some pagan woman who doesn't even have a clue who God is? Well, you all saw the movie with Victor Mature. You know how this ends? You say, Lon, I read the book.
Okay, fair enough. Then you know how this ends. Old Delilah seduced Samson away from his good walk with God.
And he ended up with his eyes gouged out, strapped to a wheel, and grinding corn like a farm animal. And then I think of King Solomon. You know, a lot of people ask me, I get asked this often, do you think you're related to King Solomon? Well, I don't know.
Ancestry.com doesn't go back that far. I don't know, but you know what I say to him? I say, I don't know if I'm related to him or not, but the one thing I know is that I don't want to end the way he ended. Solomon started off great. God was blessed in his life. He was wise. He was the king of the biggest kingdom in the Near East at the time. He had all these riches and everything, but boy, he sure ended badly.
And look why. 1 Kings 11 one, King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women. These women were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, you must not intermarry with them because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods. Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. And as Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was no longer fully devoted to the Lord his God as the heart of David his father had been. So he built altars for his foreign wives to offer sacrifices to their gods.
And by the way, I need to tell you, many of those sacrifices were child sacrifices. And the Lord became angry with Solomon. Now, there is a sentence you do not want on your resume.
You don't want that sentence there. And the Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord and the Lord raised up enemies against Solomon. Friends, this is still happening to people today. They start out strong for the Lord, but then they get involved with people they got no business getting involved with and they end up in my office.
You say, Lon, well, wait a minute. Are you saying that God can't put the shattered lives of people that come into your office back together again and give them a new life and give them hope? No, I'm not saying that at all. God does that all the time.
Friends, what I'm saying is that these shattered lives never had to happen in the first place. And what I'm saying is they wouldn't have happened in the first place if only these people would have listened to God to begin with. You say, well, listen to God when He said what?
Oh, so glad you asked. Deuteronomy 7, verse 3. Do not intermarry with the peoples of the land whom the Lord is driving out before you. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons for they will turn your sons' and daughters' hearts away from following Me to serve other gods. And remember what I said?
You don't even have to marry them. Listen to what Joshua said. Joshua 23, 12. He said, but if you ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations and intermarry with them and look at this, even closely associate with them, they will become snares and traps for you.
You say, but yeah, Lon. But this is all Old Testament stuff. You know, Jesus in the New Testament gives us a different approach to unbelieving people.
Oh, not so kimosabe. No, no. No, that's not true. 2 Corinthians, pssst, New Testament. New Testament. 2 Corinthians, chapter 6, verse 14. It says, do not be yoked together with unbelievers. The King James translates this. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
The Revised Standard Version translates it. Do not be mismated with unbelievers. The Greek word here means to mismatch two animals as they try to pull the same plow. To inappropriately yoke two different animals to the same plow. In other words, on the same plow, it just doesn't work to match a horse with an ox, to match an elephant with a mule, to match a donkey with a water buffalo. And in the same way spiritually God is telling us, it just doesn't work to match a believer with an unbeliever in any major endeavor of life.
A business venture, an investment scheme, an intimate friendship, and most of all, romance and marriage. And this is why Genesis 24, we'll talk more about it when we get there. This is why in Genesis 24, Abraham sent his servant on a trip of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles back to his relatives to get a wife, a godly wife. A wife who knew the Lord and loved the Lord for his son Isaac, a woman named Rebekah, instead of letting Isaac marry the pagan women in Canaan where he was living because Abraham understood this.
He got it. Now, by way of balance, let me say that I'm not saying, nor is the Bible saying, that as followers of Christ we shouldn't have acquaintanceships with non-believers. To the contrary, we should always be trying to build bridges with non-believers so that we can earn the right to share Jesus with them. However, what the Bible is saying, listen, is that we should never allow those non-believers to become so influential in our lives that they begin to affect our behavior, that they begin to affect our value system instead of the other way around. That's the balance. So, the so what here is threefold.
Ready? Number one, if you're a Christian parent, the so what is that we need to teach these truths and these principles to our children early and often in life. We need to pray for them that they'll have the wisdom to obey these principles and obey God. We need to watch carefully the friends they choose and the people they hang out with, and we need to pray even when they're little children for their future marriage partners that they will be godly men and women, spiritual men and women who will encourage our children in their walk with God instead of taking them away from God. So what number two is as followers of Christ in general, we need to be very discerning, very careful, very cautious who we allow to have spiritual influence in our life, who we allow to speak spiritually into our lives.
You know the old adage, garbage in, garbage out. Well, if we let people speak garbage into our life, unbelief and doubt and disobedience to God, friends, what we're going to get out of our life is garbage, unbelief, doubt and disobedience to God. We need to be very careful that we pick as our closest friends and that we allow into our life to give us advice only those people who are godly men and women and are going to give us godly biblical advice. And finally, so what number three is if you're here today and you're a single adult follower of Jesus, you've never been married or you just don't happen to be married right now. Either way, friends, so what for us is we need to be aware.
We need to see the foolishness of Samson and the foolishness of King Solomon and the wisdom of Abraham. We need to understand what God tells us and listen to what God tells us about choosing a mate that the first and foremost issue is where that person stands in their walk with Christ. And if that's not right, everything else won't matter if that's not right.
You can't fix the rest of it and not have that right. And let me just say to this last group, those of us who are single, I got three suggestions for you as we close. You go, why are you picking on us? Well, now, don't get so defensive.
I'm not picking on anybody. I've just got a couple of suggestions for you. I mean, the other people are hitched up already. I can't do much to help them right now, but you listen.
All right, here are my three suggestions. Number one, our first suggestion is we need to be honest about the purpose of dating. The purpose of one-on-one dating is not just to meet people and have fun. The purpose of one-on-one dating is romance and love and ultimately marriage. So as a follower of Christ, if God says someone is disqualified as a marriage partner for you from the get-go because they're an unbeliever, then should you ever date them to begin with? Folks, that's not a real question. It's a rhetorical question.
The answer is no, of course not. You say, well, on our, what about missionary dating? You know, where you date someone because you want to expose them to the gospel and to Jesus in the hopes that they'll come to Christ.
What do you think about that? Folks, what is the purpose of dating? The purpose of dating is not evangelism. The purpose of dating is romance and love and marriage. Listen, girls, if you want to evangelize some unsaved hunk, give him a CD. But don't date him until he becomes a saved hunk. All right?
You got me? All right. Now, you say, yeah, yeah, yeah, but Lon, you know, look, I just want to hang out and have fun with him or her. I can control this relationship and make sure it doesn't get out of hand.
Oh, really? Well, that brings me to my second suggestion, which is that we need to be honest about the emotional dynamics of love. Friends, love is not only blind.
It is deaf, dumb, mute, lame, and stupid. It is. And what I mean is once a person crosses over that invisible line where emotion gets involved, you know, where we mentioned this other person's name or you see them and your heart rate quickens and you tingle all over and your eyes brighten up. Once we cross that line, my friends, logic and common sense and godly advice just goes right out the window. You say, well, that wouldn't happen to me. Oh, yes, it will.
Oh, yes, it will. We need to be brutally honest about this because many a well-meaning Christian has been swept away by this emotional dynamic, ignoring the pleas, ignoring the advice of godly parents and godly friends and pastors saying, don't do this with this person. Don't marry this person.
And then they turn around one day and they feel like Samson. Listen, the best way to make sure that you never get swept as a single person into a disastrous marriage with an unbeliever is to only date people whose spiritual lives are strong and solid from the beginning. And then if you fall in love with them while you're dating them, no problem. Make the perimeter out there with the first date. You can defend that perimeter. Once you let the perimeter get inside your emotions, you are sunk.
I'm telling you, you can't defend that perimeter. Suggestion number three is we need to be honest as a single person about other people's spiritual commitments. How many times have I met someone and they've said, well, you know, he said he was a Christian when we were dating.
She said that she went to church when we were dating. This what you want? What's wrong with you? You're not looking for somebody like that. You're looking for somebody who is sold out on fire, head over heels in love with Jesus Christ.
You're looking for somebody who has a vibrant, solid walk with Christ. I mean, you're dealing with your future here and your children's future here and your grandchildren's future here. Be picky. You say, well, Lon, you say, well, Lon, if I get that picky, I'll never get married. No, don't you believe that there is a sovereign, all powerful God sitting up in the heavens, friends. And if you're supposed to get married, God will make sure that person and you meet right on schedule, right on time. If you'll just wait on God.
And remember, while you're waiting, it is better to be single than to be married to a jerk. You say, dude, you have definitely stepped all over toes today. Yeah, well, I remember what my good friend John MacArthur once said. He said, if when the word of God is preached, your toes get stepped on, it's because they're in the wrong place to start with. Let me close with a story about Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
True story. Great preacher of the London Tabernacle. He tells a story about how this young lady came into his office and said, Reverend Spurgeon, she said, I go to your church here. And she said, I'm about to marry a man who doesn't know the Lord. She said, but I'm going to pull him up spiritually.
She said, Reverend Spurgeon, I'm just curious what you think of my plan. He got up, walked around the desk to where she was. He said, ma'am, please let me assist you while you climb up onto my desk. And she said, what? He said, I want you to climb up on my desk. And so she did. And then he said, I want you to reach out your hand.
You've got to remember, Spurgeon was a big, big hunk of a man. He said, reach out your hand. So she reached her hand out. And he, standing on the floor, reached his hand up and he said, now grab my hand. So they did. He said, now pull me up. And after she tried for a moment, he unceremoniously yanked her off his desk and onto the floor.
And he said to her, and I quote, there's your answer, my dear. We as Christians don't pull the world up. It pulls us down.
Hey, that's what Cain's people did to Seth's people. And folks, don't you let anybody do that to you. You guard your spiritual life. You guard your heart. You guard who gets access to you spiritually and who you associate closely with. And friends, if any of us need to go and cut back on some relationships as a result of what the word of God has said today, my prayer is that you'll have the courage to obey God and go do it. Let's pray.
Lord Jesus, you know, this is practical stuff. We all struggle with this. Who do we let close to us? We don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. We don't want to offend anyone. And yet, on the other hand, we know that garbage in equals garbage out. And we have to be careful.
So, Lord, we all struggle with this, not just in romance. I want to pray that you would really speak in a powerful way to our lives today. This is not about being intolerant. This is not about being judgmental. This is about obeying God. You were the one who gave these principles out, Lord.
Not McLean Bible Church. Help us to obey you, knowing that you will always reward us when we do. And, Lord, as I already said, if some of us here have relationships that we need to leave here and go cut back on, give us the courage and the biblical obedience to go do it. Lord, change our lives because we sat under the teaching of your word today. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. And what do God's people say? Amen. . . . . .
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