Jesus and Genesis
Topic: Midweek Sermons
Tonight what I want to do, tonight and next week, I want to reinforce this perspective on origins and taking seriously and literally the biblical account of the flood and of the Genesis record in particular. There is an aspect or there is a perspective toward Genesis that I want to bring out to you that is going to influence the way we understand all of these questions of history and of origin. It's just very very critical and it's so essential to right and proper thinking. Obviously in a room like this in a place where we minister and all of that with the ministry just on the other side of the river that many of you are employed by or have affinity with, I realize that in some ways I sing to the choir to many of you but it is very important for us to ground our thinking properly about the way that we should think about all of these things, and Andrew did a brilliant job of pointing us in this direction, but I want it to be clear in your mind the sequence of thought, the way that we think about all of these things so that we have a firm worldview that is unshakable and is grounded on the highest authority of them all.
As Christians, whatever we think about anything, whatever topic that we consider, we always start with this question: what did the Lord say? What does the Lord say? What does the Lord Jesus Christ say about this either in his own teaching or through the word that he authenticated and authorized in the Old and the New Testament? You see, this is the fundamental starting point for all Christian thinking. We trust Jesus Christ not only for the forgiveness of our sins; well, we do that for sure and we rest in his finished work on the cross as being at that perfect atonement that can reconcile us fully, completely and instantly to God. We trust him for that but we trust him for more than that as well. It's not limited to that. We trust Jesus Christ to tell us the truth about the world around us. We trust Christ to give us the right and accurate perspective on the way that things really are. Jesus Christ is our final authority about the world around us, about the history of the world, about the future of the world, about the condition of our souls, everything that is essential to understanding life and viewing the world rightly. He is our final authority and as we've taught in the past, our belief in the authority of Scripture is grounded in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ authenticated the Old Testament with his testimony, he authorized and prepared the way for the preparation of the New Testament when he commissioned the apostles to their work. So everything is grounded in the authority of Christ. He is our final authority for conflicting truth claims and we look to him and we rely exclusively and finally on him to have the proper perspective and to know what the truth is. We are undaunted by the accusations of science against things because science is not our final authority. We are not intimidated by the fact that we don't know everything individually. Collectively we realize there are gaps in our knowledge, not every one of us, in fact only one of us in this room has the ability to speak with authority on matters of geology and those sorts of things. We realize that we don't have direct personal knowledge or the experience or the study to be able to speak with authority from our own perspective and understanding. We know something better. We know Christ and we know that he always tells us the truth from a perspective of full divine omniscience, and so we can rely on him for things that we don't know directly for ourselves.
So what I want to do this evening is I want to take a look at what I've titled "Jesus and Genesis." Jesus and Genesis if you want a title for the message tonight, and I want us to see the book of Genesis through the eyes of Jesus. We want to see it through the perspective of who Christ is and what he said. We're going to do this in four basic points here this evening that we'll go through rather quickly.
First of all, I want to just remind you by way of laying the groundwork and laying a foundation for what we have to say here, we want to just remind ourselves, first of all, first point tonight, of the authority of Jesus Christ. The authority of Jesus Christ, and I make no apologies for going back to such a fundamental basic point. You know, the repetition of these things is essential for our protection as a church. The repetition is essential for the protection of your soul, that we never stray from these things so far that we think that we have outgrown them or that we tire of them or that we no longer have need of these things. The Apostle Peter said, "As long as I am with you in the flesh, I will stir you up." It may have been Jude, 2 Peter, Jude 1 of the 2, "I will stir you up by way of reminder of the things that I taught you while I was with you."
Fundamental to Christianity is the authority of Jesus Christ. This is absolute, fundamental, bedrock essentials for us to always keep clear in our thinking. Jesus said in John 13:13,
13 "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am."
You see, when we talk about Christ, yes, we love him, we embrace him as our Savior from sin, as the one who sacrificed himself that we might be reconciled to God and the wrath of God turned away from our guilty souls, but we remember that this Jesus Christ is God in human flesh and he is Lord over all. He has divine omniscience. He knows everything and he never lies, and so when he speaks, he tells us the truth and we believe him implicitly and we build our life and we build our worldview exclusively on what Christ says. We do not question him. If someone contradicts Christ, we always 100% of the time believe Christ and not the human critic.
Turn in your Bibles to Ephesians 1 as we just look at a couple of passages to remind us of this fundamental point. We are building an approach to thought, a proper way to think from primary principles and to work them through all the way to the end, and to do that in the context of what we believe about the testimony from the book of Genesis written some 3,500 years ago at the human hand of Moses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The authority of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1, beginning in verse 18 where the Apostle Paul is praying and he says,
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
What is the nature of this place, of this position that Christ holds in the heavenly places? What is the nature of his role in the universe? What can we say about the Lord Jesus Christ? Verse 21, he is,
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
There you have a definitive clear statement about the nature of Christ and of his authority. He stands alone in authority. He stands above all earthly rule, above all earthly authority, above all earthly knowledge, above all power, above all dominion. Seen and unseen, Christ is supreme over all. He is Lord over all and as Christians, our submission – oh, this is so very important – our submission to Christ is not only his Lordship over things of morality and the way that we should live, our submission to Christ is in the realm of thought and thinking; in the realm of what we consider to be true; in the realm in which we know the way things really are. We rely on what Jesus Christ tells us, what he has said in his word because he is Lord over all. He is Lord over thought and so our responsibility as Christians is to think to the greatest extent possible like Christ thinks; to believe what Christ taught; to follow him not only in obedience of life action, but as Scripture says, to love him with all of our minds which means that we bring our minds into harmony with what Christ said, with what he taught, and we let that be the mind which animates us. Scripture says we have the mind of Christ, it has been revealed in his word and we want to bring every thought captive into obedience to him. We are obedient not only in our actions but we are obedient to him in our thinking because he is Lord over all.
Turn to a parallel passage, if you would, a couple of books to the right in your New Testament to the book of Colossians, Colossians 1:15, speaking of Christ says that,
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation [in other words, He holds the preeminent rank in all of creation; He is first in all of creation]. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
He is preeminent. He is Lord. He is Teacher. He is Master. And though I belabor the point this evening, I do so without apology. That means that he is Lord over the way that we think and, therefore, our responsibility as Christians is to study God's word so that we understand the way that our Lord Jesus Christ thinks and then to agree with him in everything that he says; to not stand apart from him, to have areas of our thought and worldview that is separate from him, distinct and independent of him, or God forbid, to have elements of our thought and elements of our worldview that are in conflict and in opposition to him. A distinct and critical part of your sanctification and growth in Christ is to have a mind that is like his and to have a mind that is in submission to what he said and taught.
Now something very important here. I think everything's important that I'm going to say tonight or I wouldn't have put it in my notes. We understand something very basic and very important. Let me put it this way: the Lordship of Jesus Christ is the starting presupposition of all the rest of our thought. That is the cornerstone for us. That is the primary principle. That is the principle upon which we base everything else. That is our starting presupposition is that Jesus Christ is Lord and we have no fear of being wrong in that presupposition. We're not afraid that we might be mistaken there because Christ objectively really and truly is Lord, and as we base our life and our thinking on that preeminent basic principle, we know that we have built on a foundation that cannot be shaken. We know that. We're not afraid of being wrong.
Now, as we go through life, as we deal with the secular world, as we deal with secular philosophies, as some of you go to school and face contradicting philosophies to that, we understand something and we freely acknowledge something very important. We realize, we understand, we acknowledge that the Lordship of Jesus Christ is not the world's starting presupposition. They start from something else. They start from whether they've consciously thought of this or not, they start from a presupposition of the reliability of their own reason or the preeminence of science or the fact that there is no absolute truth at all and so why are we even fussing over such a thing. Whatever their starting presupposition is, we realize that it's not ours. We realize that they start from a different point in thought and that they would not recognize that as a valid place upon which to base all of your thinking. We understand that. We freely acknowledge it. We embrace that difference, and what we do in that great conflict of philosophies is we assert our presupposition over against theirs. "I understand you reject the Lordship of Christ," we would say to the critic, to the false philosophies of men, "We understand that you disagree with that, but we assert it all the same." There is no common ground in our presuppositions here. We believe, we base upon the presupposition of the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and rather than apologize for that or seek common ground with a philosophy that has no common ground with that, we call them to repent of their rejection of the Lordship of Christ, we call them out of the world and say, "Come over here to this correct presupposition for your thought otherwise you're going to be hopelessly and miserably lost."
So our starting point is the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is our presupposition. It is well grounded, it is revealed in Scripture, and let's say this as well, and that assertion is certified by the testimony of the Holy Spirit himself whose ministry it is to glorify the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit bears witness when that presupposition is asserted that, "Yes, that is true." So this isn't the assertion of a man, this is the assertion of Christ, borne witness to by his own Holy Spirit to be the right and true way to think, revealed in Scripture and affirmed by the Spirit who inspired the scriptures. So that's the starting point, the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, that's the big broad principle. Let's narrow it down a little bit. Let's take that one step further and ask this question: where does Christ's authority lead us as we consider truth claims, as we consider considerations of the origin of the world, for example. Well, the authority of Christ leads us to a second consideration here, it leads us to the authority of the Old Testament. The authority of the Old Testament. Now I'll state this ever so briefly: Jesus Christ who is Lord, who is the ultimate authority, Jesus Christ knew the Old Testament and he declared the Old Testament to be true and authoritative and he stated it generally and he stated it specifically.
Look at the book of Matthew, the Gospel of Matthew 5, beginning in verse 17 as we glance back at the Sermon on the Mount which we finished teaching a few months ago; we cast a glance back here to familiar ground that we've covered in the past. Jesus Christ speaking on his own authority looks back to the Old Testament and says this, Matthew 5:17,
17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished."
The law has an enduring authority that can never be violated. Jesus says that is true to the smallest letter, the smallest stroke. If we were speaking about it in English terms, we would say every I is dotted and every T is crossed, to that level of specificity the law of God is authoritative, the law and prophets are true, they are to be believed, and everything that they said will be fulfilled without exception. That's Christ's view of the Old Testament. That's high. That's lofty.
In Luke 24:44, you don't need to turn there, he said in a more general statement,
44 … all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be [what?] fulfilled.
It all has to be fulfilled because it is all the word of God, it is given by inspiration of God, it is inerrant, it is infallible, it must be fulfilled because it is all true and God will accomplish everything that he wrote in the Old Testament.
So with that very brief overview, we see that Jesus Christ asserted the authority of the Old Testament broadly and he stated it in detail, every stroke, every letter would be fulfilled. Christ, in other words, viewed the Old Testament as completely authoritative and as completely trustworthy and that everything that it said was true, everything that it affirmed was true, everything that it predicted would be fulfilled without exception.
So let's back up and take a breath. Let's catch our breath because we're talking about some pretty broad principles here of great eternal significance and consequence. Jesus Christ is the ultimate authority. There is no higher authority than him. There is no Supreme Court above Christ. He is the Supreme Court, so to speak, the Supreme Court not of the United States but of the universe. The highest authority in the universe is Christ. We believe that. We submit to that. We affirm that. As we come and we consider this Old Testament that we hold in our hands, we say, as it were, we say, "Oh, Christ, what should I believe about the Old Testament? You are my Teacher and you are my Lord. You are the authority over my thought life because of your position, because of your trustworthiness. I know that you are God in human flesh and that you cannot lie. It is impossible for God to lie and so, O Christ, I come to you and I say what should I believe about the Old Testament?" And Christ in his word has told us, "It will all be fulfilled. It is all to be believed." Christ says, "I did not come to abolish it but to fulfill it. All will be accomplished. Take it on my authority, you can trust the Old Testament."
In John 10:35, he said,
35 … the Scripture cannot be broken.
They cannot tell us a lie. They cannot mislead us. We have that on the authority of Christ and so in our ultimate authority in the Lord Jesus Christ, he looks at the Old Testament and he tells us to believe it; to accept it; to follow it either in its precepts or to follow the Old Testament as it points to the fulfillment of certain things in himself and in his earthly ministry as it is revealed in the New Testament. Old Testament, true, authoritative, to be believed. Okay? So the authority of Christ establishes for us in general the authority of the Old Testament.
Now do you see what we're doing? Well, let me give you point 3 and it will be more clear. Point 3 is Jesus and Genesis. Jesus and Genesis and I want you to follow the way that we are thinking here this evening. You start with the first principle, the authority of Christ and you ask a more general question, "What about the authority of the Old Testament?" You see it affirmed. Then you get more specific. You go from the broadest and you start to work your way down to more specific details. "Okay, I believe the authority of Christ, I believe now the authority of the Old Testament, but let me get more specific, what about the authority of Genesis," you say to yourself as you work your way through, as you work from broad principles down to greater detail. "What about Genesis? Does our Lord have anything to say to us about the authority of Genesis and the trustworthiness and the reliability of the first book in the Bible?" Well, if you've never looked at this before, it might surprise you to realize how much of the book of Genesis itself Jesus quoted during the course of his teaching ministry. This is very very powerful as we go from the broad authority of Christ to the Old Testament and now we apply this and look for this in Genesis. Here's what you would expect if what we've been saying so far is true. If Christ is truly authoritative and if he truly affirmed the authority of the Old Testament, then you would expect something in his teaching ministry. You would expect that at any time that he refers to – let's put it this way – if Christ ever quoted from the book of Genesis, you would expect him to do so in a positive way that reinforced the truthfulness of what he said because he has made the general statement that everything in the law and the prophets must be fulfilled. So if our principles are correct, if our presuppositions are right and we're following them through, if the general is true then we would expect the specifics to bear that out.
I'll show you what I mean by that. As you read through the four New Testament Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, when you look at the four Gospels, you will find that in the teaching of Jesus at various different times in his teaching ministry, you can find an almost comprehensive review of the history of Genesis in the teaching of Jesus. Now we're going to go through this really quickly and we're going to bounce around the four Gospels but there is a method to our madness here. What we're going to do over the next 10 or 15 minutes is while we are bouncing from Gospel to Gospel in a way that seems haphazard, what we're actually doing is we're doing a chronological review of Genesis chapters 1 through 50 in what we are looking at. So that's what we're going to do and we're going to see how Jesus touched on every critical point of the book of Genesis and affirmed it at every point.
So, first of all, Jesus and Genesis, now we're going to go through this really quickly and so try to stay with me if you can. First of all, we see that Jesus affirmed the Genesis account of creation that is found in the first two chapters of Genesis. Go to the Gospel of Mark 10. Mark 10, beginning in verse 6.
6 "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, 8 and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh."
Jesus looks back, points to the creation account in the first two chapters of Genesis and says, "This is what happened," and he builds theology for his day and for all future days based on the factual historical accuracy and reality of what was recorded in Genesis 1 and 2. Jesus affirmed the creation in Genesis 1 and 2. You can only get to the scientific objections to creation, you can only get to worldly scientific theories of evolution or theistic evolution or things like that, you can only get to those by stepping over Jesus and ignoring what he says, and for the biblical Christian submitted to the Lordship of Christ in his mind as well as in his conduct, that is unthinkable. You can't go there. You say, "But science blah blah blah." To which I say, "But Jesus blah blah blah. Jesus spoke and affirmed this and he is my Lord. He is my Teacher." I don't care how many PhD's argue against the presupposition because the presupposition of the authority of Christ is correct and that which contradicts his word is false by definition.
Now, Jesus affirmed the history of Adam's son Abel which we read about in Genesis 4. Look at the Gospel of Luke 11. You remember that Cain killed his brother Abel in Genesis 4, so the chaos of murder and sin in society had an early root and we should not think that our day is so much different from what has always been. Jesus said in Luke 11:49,
49 For this reason also the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, [here it is] 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah,
The blood of Abel, Genesis 4:8, Jesus quotes that, alludes to that, refers to that as a factual historical occurrence in time and space which lays the ground for the judgment on the generation that stood before him. Beloved, he could not use an allegory, he could not use a false story to proclaim a true judgment against the real people that were in front of him. It doesn't work that way. He charged real blood against real people, meaning that he affirmed the teaching of Genesis 4 about the murder of Abel.
You go on and one of the things, you can turn to the book of Matthew 24 as I say this, one of the things that I deeply love about Christ and about the New Testament in light of our modern skeptical age, the anti-supernatural bias of the philosophy of our day, one of the things that I deeply love about the New Testament in light of the critics of Scripture, is the unapologetic way that Jesus Christ affirms the historicity of the things that our modern age most vociferously mocks, criticizes and rejects. We've seen it on Sunday mornings as Christ affirmed the story of Jonah being swallowed by the fish. Nonsense to the world, Christ without apology affirms the historical accuracy of what the Old Testament affirms and I love that and it gives me courage as I preach. It should give you courage in your Christian life to not be intimidated by the spirit of the age but to take your cues in thinking from the Lord Jesus, and if the Lord Jesus who is Lord over all gladly affirms the historicity of these things, then we run to align ourselves with him and we are unashamed of the Gospel, we are unashamed of Christ, we are unashamed of everything that Christ affirmed in his teaching ministry. We embrace it all, and all the more that the world mocks it, all the more that we cling more closely to Christ and say, "I believe Christ more than I believe the spirit of the age. I believe Christ more than I believe my contemporaries because they are not Lord over all. They are not omniscient. They are not immortal in the sense that their earthly lives are going to end. Why would I believe a man who contradicts Christ, who contradicts Scripture, when his breath is in his nostrils and he soon will pass away, and given a few years, the fact that he even walked on this earth will be forgotten by all? Why would I yield my thinking to him? Why would I be afraid of him? Why would I court his favor when I can give my mind over to believing and, as it were, courting the favor of Christ himself?" It's not today's scientists that I'm going to stand before and give an account of my life, nor will you. It won't be the scientist that you stand before in judgment who will have the authority to say or not to say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master." That guy ain't gonna be nowhere to be found. The one opinion about which we care is the opinion of Christ and we will follow this through and you'll see how very important it is when we conclude our message in about three or four hours at the rate I'm going. So settle in. Get comfortable.
Matthew 24. There is a point in that little digression, that long digression. What a miserable transcript this is going to be to read later on trying to sort out where is he going? Page after page of seeming circularity.
What I love, I said, is that Christ affirms the things that the spirit of our age most mocks and contradicts and when you continue on in Genesis to Genesis 6, 7, 8 and 9, what you find is this, you find Jesus Christ affirming the account of Noah and the worldwide flood. I love this.
Matthew 24:37, Jesus says,
37 "... the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be."
Jesus is speaking about his future coming. He grounds its reality, he grounds what it will be like in the day of his second coming on what the nature of the world was like in the days of Noah, in the days of the flood, in the days of the ark. Beloved, don't miss it: the reality of his future coming he premises on the reality of the past described and recorded for us in full historical accuracy in Genesis 6 through 9. That's powerful. For the Christian submitted to the Lordship of Christ, that is conclusive. The flood happened because it is recorded in Genesis. That would be authority enough for us because Genesis is God's word, but we have that affirmed by the authority and the testimony of our Lord himself.
Go still further, Jesus affirmed the history of Abraham which begins at the end of chapter 11 in Genesis. Look at the Gospel of John 8:56, Jesus speaking to hostile Jews says,
56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." 57 So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" 58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am."
Abraham was born, Jesus refers to Abraham as a literal historical figure and even premises, in a manner of speaking, asserts his deity, asserts his essence in relationship to his preexistence to Abraham. Abraham was real and the deity of Christ is real.
Jesus affirmed the story of Sodom and Gomorrah found in Genesis 18 and 19. You can see this in Matthew 11. We'll look at Luke 17 for the sake of time. Luke 17 beginning in verse 28, having spoken here also of the days of Noah in verse 26, so we see it repeated in a parallel passage what we were referring to earlier. Verse 28,
28 It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
Jesus looks at that singular day of judgment and says that is what really happened and, again, premises his future coming based on that past event. Verse 30,
30 It will be just the same [just the same as it happened in the day of Sodom, on that day yet to come for us even now] on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Jesus affirmed the rest of Genesis, Genesis 22 through 50, in a very broad way. Look at Luke 13:28.
28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob [the three primary patriarchs of Israel recorded in Genesis, Jesus refers to them in a global comprehensive way] and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out.
Jesus says, "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in the kingdom of God." So saying that, stating it in the indicative, the future indicative, they will be there, he affirms their reality, and where do we know about their reality? We know it from the testimony of Genesis in those broad chapters from when Abraham, going back to chapter 11, all the way through chapter 50.
Now, beloved, that's a brief survey and here's what I want you to see about what we just covered ever so quickly: the cumulative weight of these many references from Genesis is conclusive for understanding the perspective that Jesus had toward the book of Genesis from creation through Jacob just in this brief survey that we've seen. You see, in every instance he affirms it without qualification, without embarrassment, without diminishment.
A critic today might be able – let's think about these half-dozen, six however many references it was, six, seven, eight references across a broad cross-section of the book of Genesis, let's think about those as big boulders, okay? Big rocks. Today's critic might be able to step around one or two of these boulders in his effort to discredit the book of Genesis and evade the force of Jesus' teaching on its historicity, but when you take them in combination, when you take them all together, these individual boulders turn into an avalanche that fall upon the critic. It is an avalanche that buries his unbelief, that demolishes his effort to undermine Genesis while still somehow holding to the authority of Christ. You cannot have it both ways. If you want to reject Genesis, you must understand that you are rejecting Christ at the same time because they go together. Jesus has put all of his teaching authority, all of his deity, all of his assertions of truth and put the full weight of his authority behind the teaching of all of Genesis in his ministry. So you cannot go one step toward denying Genesis before you are immediately met with the authority of Christ saying, "What do you think you're doing?" because Jesus constantly treats Genesis as straightforward record of fact.
Now remember the whole context of what we were talking about was our prior two weeks of Andrew's teaching on the flood and its evidences, looking at it from a geological perspective, looking at the world we see and interpreting the evidence in light of the biblical account of the flood. What we're seeing tonight is that there is an even broader way of thinking about it and what I mean by that is this: you cannot isolate the biblical teaching of the flood from the book of Genesis. You can't cut and paste. It doesn't work that way. Here's the critical thing for tonight, let me say it one more time: you cannot isolate the flood from the rest of Genesis and these things are linked together, what I'm about to say, you cannot isolate Genesis from the authority of Christ.
So as you deal with different scientific theories, different biblical theories, beloved, have the wisdom, have the discernment, have the perspective to realize that you cannot let today's critic put blinders on so that you're only looking at the very narrow thing that they want you to see. Take off the blinders and see the full perspective. What is the full context of the flood? Well, it's the book of Genesis, the Pentateuch, the Old Testament, all of the Bible. Then you ask the determinative question for yourself as a believer, you say, "What does Christ say? Christ says Genesis is true. Christ says the flood is true. I'll believe Christ over all else." So from the primary principle of the authority of Christ, we derive the necessary corollary of the authority of Genesis and we follow that and we see the authority of the account of the flood and we realize that there is this great harmony of testimony, the harmony of the testimony of Scripture in harmony with the things that we saw from the geologic record over the prior two weeks and we step back in the midst of an unbelieving world and we say, "Praise God. God has saved me. God has given me a new mind contrary to the world. I have the real truth premised not on my opinion, not on what I think, but based on something outside of me, something that is true if I had never existed, the authority of Christ giving testimony to the authority of his word in general and in details, including about the flood." And our minds are anchored in truth.
Now before we leave for tonight, let's deal with two possible objections very very quickly. Ha! I say very very quickly then I realize I've got 40% of my notes left. That's all right.
Two possible objections. Is it possible that Jesus was mistaken? Was he limited in knowledge? Was he unaware of what he did not know? The force of this testimony, people have tried to evade it in that way. No, that's not possible. Such an assertion, such a postulate is not consistent with the deity of Christ or his own claim of authority. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, he said,
35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away."
"There is an enduring, abiding authority to what I say. They will never be truly contradicted. The authority of what I say," Christ said, "stands forever." It's not possible that he was mistaken and do you know what else along that same vein? Such a thought would have been unthinkable to his disciples, those who were closest to him. The Apostle John in his Gospel said that Jesus himself knew what was in man, an assertion of his omniscience, John 2:25. After the resurrection, Peter said to Christ, he said, "Lord, you know all things." Those who knew him best even on a human level recognized divine omniscience in him in a way perfectly consistent with what Christ said about himself, that his words would not pass away.
Do you know what else? The resurrection of Christ validates everything that he said. This is supernatural. The resurrection of Christ is the imprimatur on the truthfulness of everything that he taught, a supernatural vindication of the man, Christ Jesus, and everything that that man taught vindicated by his resurrection. Christ made no mistakes. There were no errors in his thought. Out upon the suggestion.
Secondly, sometimes people will say this, we will state it in a question form: did Jesus accommodate his teaching to his audience? Did he accommodate what he taught to conform to the prevailing beliefs of his audience in his day? The idea is this, oversimplifying it, Jesus, or let me state it as a question: did Jesus pretend to agree with his audience because they believed Genesis even though Jesus himself knew better? So he didn't want to come in and overturn the apple-cart and just overwhelm them with too much information, so he accommodated their mistaken belief about the historical accuracy of Genesis in order to somehow accomplish a greater purpose, to bring them along slowly, you might say. The idea that Christ did this to avoid unsettling his hearers, that maybe over the process of time he could gradually bring them from their mistaken beliefs to the truth, could that explain this? Could that explain the avalanche that's falling down on unbelief of all of these references in Genesis? Could that be possible? No. No, that can't possibly be true. Jesus Christ claimed authority for everything that he said. "My words will not pass away. My words will not be found to be untrue." I used a double negative there, I've got to make sure it came out right. "My words will not be found untrue."
Besides, beloved, read the Gospels. Read how Jesus interacted with the Pharisees, for example. In Matthew 23 alone, he calls them fools, blind guides, hypocrites and serpents. Are those the words of a man who is trying to accommodate himself to the unbelief of his audience to the mistaken means of their thinking? No. No. No, Christ was the preeminent man of courage and came from heaven and directly contradicted mistaken false traditions when he found them. He didn't confirm people in their unbelief by tricking them and saying to them things that he knew wasn't true. What kind of Christ is that? Where do you get that picture of Jesus out of the Gospels?
Besides, look at Mark 8 and this will be the last text that we go to. Mark 8. Christ never hesitated to confront unbelief. You remember when Peter took Jesus aside and started to rebuke him after Jesus said he was going to be crucified, killed and rise again on the third day? Peter took him aside, Mark 8:32, "began to rebuke Him." I don't know what was going through Peter's mind right then. "I've got an idea, I'll correct the Lord in what he says." Yeah, that's your first pope? I would look someplace else. For tonight, it's enough for us to see Jesus' willingness to directly confront the mistaken assumptions and words of his audience. In verse 33,
33 ... turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
He had no problems rebuking and confronting unbelief when it occurred to him, when it was manifested in his presence.
So, you see, the problem here with the critic's view of Genesis and the way that they try to evade the force of Jesus in Genesis, the problem is not that Jesus was mistaken, the problem is not that Jesus was deceptive in his teaching, the error and the deception are with entirely the critics of Scripture and that brings us to a point of moral choice. This consideration of Jesus and Genesis, then, leaves us, leaves you, leaves the world with a moral choice to make in response to him. Jesus insisted on it.
Look at verse 34 of Mark 8,
34 ... He summoned the crowd with His disciples [so this is a mixed group, believing, unbelieving, representative of all the world] and said to them, "If anyone [therefore this applies across all time, across all cultures, across male, across female, across old, young, intelligent, less educated, it crosses every conceivable social and geographic line, every chronological barrier, everyone is brought under the sound of this demand from Christ] wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? [Look at it here,] 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."
The authority of Christ. The authority of the Old Testament. The authority of Genesis. And Christ says, "If you are ashamed of my words, I'll be ashamed of you in the judgment." You don't want to be there, do you? Do you believe Christ and his word? Beloved, if so, I tell you on the authority of Scripture your hope is well-founded, your belief is true no matter how many waves of PhD's come against you. If you question Christ, if you question his word, I call you to repent of your sin against him, to repent of that unbelief and to bring your heart, soul and mind, to bring all of your being into submission to the Lordship of Christ, to trust him alone for your salvation, and that mind that he has given to you, to hand it over to be used in the service of this great Lord. And beloved, the consequences of your response to that demand of Christ will echo throughout all of eternity for better or for the worse of your soul.
Let's pray together.
Dear Lord, we acknowledge your authority. We acknowledge gladly your Lordship and we bow before it. As a church collectively, corporately speaking, we affirm our complete confidence in thee. We believe every word that fell from your lips and we prefer being associated with you in the midst of the derision of the world as opposed to having the friendship of the world and marking ourselves as those who are hostile to you. Yes, Lord, we side with thee. We believe thee. We trust in you completely, fully, and we know that our hope is not in vain. May it be thus for everyone under the sound of my voice either now or in future distribution of this message. Father, we ask for a great work of your Holy Spirit upon the hearts of unbelieving men to change their minds, to bring them to Christ that their prior blasphemies would be set aside, would be repented of, and that the minds of many would be given over to the praise, honor and worship of our great Christ who loved us and gave himself up for us. We pray these things in the name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
More in Genesis and the Flood
September 4, 2018The Apostles and Genesis
August 21, 2018The Flood: The Big Picture of its Mechanism and the Resulting Evidences
August 14, 2018Fossils and Rock Layers: The Flood, not Millions of Years and Evolution