Sermon – Escaping the Cycle – A Thanksgiving Service (Genesis 5:1 – 5:32) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Escaping the Cycle - A Thanksgiving Service

Tom Sweatman, Genesis 5:1 - 5:32, 17 October 2021

For our thanksgiving service today, Tom preaches from Genesis 5:1-32. What can this genealogical record tell us about our relationship with God?

** There was a brief disruption to the audio recording during the service.

Genesis 5:1 - 5:32

5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.

When Seth had lived 105 years, he fathered Enosh. Seth lived after he fathered Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Seth were 912 years, and he died.

When Enosh had lived 90 years, he fathered Kenan. 10 Enosh lived after he fathered Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Thus all the days of Enosh were 905 years, and he died.

12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he fathered Mahalalel. 13 Kenan lived after he fathered Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Thus all the days of Kenan were 910 years, and he died.

15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared. 16 Mahalalel lived after he fathered Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Thus all the days of Mahalalel were 895 years, and he died.

18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. 19 Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he fathered Lamech. 26 Methuselah lived after he fathered Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.

28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” 30 Lamech lived after he fathered Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Thus all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

We're gonna turn and read in the bible now, so if you'd like to You can just follow it on the screen.

If you've got a bible or a phone, you want to get it up on the phone, please do that. And it's Genesis chapter 5. And then Tommy is going to come up and preach from this passage. Genesis 5, we will start at verse 1. This is the written account of Adam's family line.

When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created the male, and female, and blessed them. And he named them mankind when they were created. When Adam had lived a hundred and 30 years, he had a son in his own likeness. In his own image and he named him Seth.

After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years and then he died. When Seth had lived a hundred and 5 years, he became the father of Enos, After he became the father of Enoch, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seft lived a total of 912 years and then he died. When Enoch had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kean.

After she became the father of Kean, Enoch lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 905 years, and then he died. When Kean had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalarell, After he became the father of Mahalal, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Keithan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died. When Mahalalal had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared, After he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters.

Altogether, Mahalel lived a total of 895 years and then he died. When Jared had lived a hundred and 62 years, He became the father of Enoch. After he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years, and had other sons and daughters, altogether, Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of methuselah. After he became the father of methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.

Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God. Then he was no more because God took him away. When methuselah had lived a hundred and 87 years, he became the father of lamech. After he became the father of lamech, Malthusola lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters altogether, Malthusola lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.

When Lamek had lived a hundred and 82 years, he had a son. He named him noah and said, he will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed. After Noah was born, Lamelek, Lamek, sorry, lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Lamek lived a total of 777 years. And then he died.

After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of shem, Ham and Japheth. Lovely. Please have a seat, and do turn back in your booklet to that to that curious reading from the beginning of the bible, Genesis chapter 5, and we'll have a go at working out what that means together in the course of the next few minutes. And let me extend my welcome to those joining us at home as well. It's great to have you.

Hope you've been able to tune in and enjoy all of the service so far. Particularly, if you are from 1 of the families who otherwise would have been here, but for whatever reason couldn't make it, it's good to good to have you tuning in. Let me just say a word of prayer and ask for the Lord's help as we come to come to his word. Father, we do thank you for passages of the bible like this, and although to modern ears, they may seem strange. And there might be elements which seem unrealistic odd to us.

And when we tune in with a modern ear and look with a modern eye, It's hard to perhaps make sense of it all immediately, and yet we thank you that because this is your word, because you, the living God, have both authored it and preserved it for all generations that it speaks powerfully, importantly, to us this morning, and we pray that you would help us not only to understand what this ancient list of names means for the babies. We've just given thanks for for their parents but for all of us here as well. And we ask it in the name of Jesus. Our men. Well, in our family, we we use this app called called back then.

Perhaps you've heard of it. It's it's basically a photo upload thing, but unlike Facebook, in the sense that all of the photos don't go into the wider world to be accessed by whoever. It's just an app for well, as it says there, your child's photo journal for sharing with with family. And it's great. We really like it.

We use it a lot. It's a good way to kind of share experiences with family members who can't who can't be with you all the time and sharing all the things that you are that you are doing. But like all of these photo apps, It can also be a little bit sad. It can be a bit sad because it reminds you that the days are just whizzing by And so, we sometimes sit there on the sofa and we do that sad parent thing. You know, when you look back over old photos, And even though we haven't even been parents for that long, we still do the whole almost theory, you know, where is the time gone?

You know, look how they've change? Haven't they grown? You know? And it just reminds you to to look back over those photos that time that time is whizzing by. And the app is strange like that because it allows you to see a whole life that has been lived out before you.

And so, I can go right back to pictures of Caleb when he was born in the hospital, right the way back down. See those very first photos, and with 1 long scroll, I can be right up at what he was doing yesterday. And if I scroll hard enough and fast enough, that will take just 10 seconds. 10 seconds to cover all of that life that has been lived in the last few years. And when it comes to Imogene's page, it's even shorter.

It's about 1 second or 2 seconds to go right from the beginning. To write to the end. And that's partly what the app does. It sort of it presses a whole life down into just a string of photos, which as I say is quite nice because it enables you to revisit them, but also mingled with sadness. Because you know that those days those days are gone, and time is always is always rushing by.

And I reckon that this passage from the bible is is meant to leave a similar kind of impression upon us. It's a little bit like scrolling through thousands of years of history very quickly, covering whole life spans in hardly any time at all. So if you look at sentence 6 for instance, there's 912 years of history done in 2 seconds. You just read it, takes 2 seconds to read, 912 years of history gone. There's no first day at school talked about.

We don't know what their first trip to McDonald's was like as a family. We don't know, you know, where they went to on their first holiday, no pictures from their holiday, just 3 things in 2 seconds was born, had a family, and died. 912 years, that is a that's a rich, and very, very long life pressed down into just 1 scroll of the thumb. Was born, had a family died. And of course, in some ways, that is the point of it because Moses who probably wrote this book of Genesis, isn't wanting to give a full this is your life description.

He's not wanting us to know everything they did from day 1 to the last day, it's just like it's it's like a family tree. He's just giving us family information. But still when you read through it, the impression of this chapter is that something still isn't quite right here. Something still feels a bit wrong in this list of names. And if we had started reading from the beginning of the bible, from Genesis 1, Genesis 2, we would sense not only something a bit sad, but we would sense that there is something a bit wrong with this list of names.

It would leave a uncomfortable impression upon us. In Genesis chapter 2, we read this about creation, that the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils, the breath of life, and the man became a living being. And after he had done that, the Lord put Adam and Eve into the Garden of Eden, and in the Garden of Eden was a tree of life. And God said to them, you are free to eat from as much as you like an actuary. You can satisfy yourselves on the tree of life.

So God had made them to be living beings in a living world eating from a living tree and knowing the living God. It's all about life. It's all about life. But then 8 times in Genesis 5, and he died, and he died. And he died.

Someone describes this chapter like listening to a funeral bell. That as you read it, you hear the bell ringing back and forth, ding and he died, ding and he died. Ding, and he died. It's like listening to the funeral bells. And see, maybe your first thought when you read this was Sorry, how long did they live?

How many years did they live? Actually, for the first readers, the real shock was not that they lived a long time, but that they died at all. The impression is that something is very wrong here. There is this funeral bell that has started ringing on and on into the world out and out through history. If you look back at chapter 5 in sentence number 1, there's a very interesting line right at the end of the first sentence.

And it says, and God named them mankind. God named them mankind. We very recently bought some bought 3 fish from pets at home. It's our first family pet. And in theory, they're for the kids to enjoy.

But in reality, I did buy them for myself. And when we got them home, naming them was something that we did. They didn't name themselves, and they didn't tell us what they would like to be called. They didn't say to us, look, you can only bring us home on the condition that you give us these names and refer to us by those names from now on. That's not their role in the relationship.

It was our job to name them. We gave them the that these little fish would be known by. And there's an authority thing there, isn't there? They don't name us, we name them. To name something is to exercise authority over it.

I don't want you to call me that anymore. I don't want that name. I'm rejecting that name. I won't be known as that anymore. It would be quite a statement, wouldn't it?

It would say something about authority We're not accepting that, and it would say something about relationship. We don't want you to name us like that anymore. We don't want to be known like that again. Well, that is what happened in Genesis chapter 3. Adam and Eve said no to the name.

We do not want to be named by you anymore God. They lost confidence in God's goodness, They listened to the voice of evil, and they opened the door to sin, just a crack, they just opened the door and threw that crack in the door, rushing through came death. Not only to them. But to all who followed. If it sounds very morbid on a day like this, I don't mean it to really.

But that's the reality of the bible story. And that is 1 reason why these ages are so big. It is a bit weird, isn't it? It's 1 of the reasons why people think they lived so long because what you see in Genesis is like a growing shadow or the roots of a weed which gets longer and longer the more it's left. And so at the beginning, you've got life forever But then death comes, and what happens from then on is that the root grows deeper and the shadow grows wider.

And as you move away from Eden, human life gets shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter until it arrives at where we are now. As if the bible is saying to us, look how the curse is taking hold. Look how the shadow is growing the further from Eden we go. The door had been opened. And as much as we would like to, unfortunately, we cannot treat this just as a history lesson.

So in another part of the bible, it says this. When Adam sinned, that's the door opening moment. When Adam sinned door open, sin entered the world through the door, Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone for everyone's sinned. And that everyone really is everyone. It means them and it means me, and it means you, and however unpopular it might be to modern ears, that means the children that we've just given thanks for as well.

Like all of us, they have been born into a Genesis 5 world where every single person will say no to the name of God. I will not have your name God. I will not listen to your authority I will not enjoy your company. My word on my life is final. I choose my name.

Not you. Death spread to everyone says the bible. Why? For everyone sinned. And yet, did you notice near the end of this chapter, right at the beginning of the bible, there is a moment where that ringing funeral bell comes to a shuddering stop.

Have a look at sentence number 21 to 24. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of methuselah, After he became the father of methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters, altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years, Enoch walked faithfully with God, and then he was no more because God took him away. It goes on to say, by faith, Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death. This is from another part of the bible. He could not be found because God had taken him away.

For before he was taken, he was commended as 1 who pleased God. Now, experts reckon that in all of history, They have lived a hundred and 7000000000 people, a hundred and 7000000000 people, And of that number, which it's impossible to really think of, only 2 of them, that we know of, have not experienced death, 2 of a hundred and 7000000001 was a prophet called Elijah, You can read his story in the Old Testament, and 1, was this man tucked away at the start of the bible called Enoch. And if that tells us anything, it's that it doesn't happen very often, and that it's not the ordinary pattern for for you and me born into this world, but the reason it's here is to show us something bigger. The reason the funeral bell comes to a shuddering halt is because the author wants us to let us know something. 1 writer says that Enoch is the standing pledge of death's defeat.

He is the standing pledge of death's defeat. In other words, he preaches to us from the pages that death has come but that death will not win. He tells us that death is here for now, but there is a time coming when death will be no more, it will not have the last word in life. You may know these words, they're quite famous, They're from the New Testament other end of the bible. This is John chapter 11.

This is Jesus speaking at a funeral. And he says, I am the resurrection of the and the life. The 1 who believes in me will live even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die, do you believe this? And here's the thing, although Jesus and Enoch lived many, many, many thousands of years apart, In some ways, they were very similar, both of them walked with God, both of them trusted God, Both of them lived for God's glory.

The banner over both of their lives was he walked with God. And yet, there are at least 2 massive differences. Enoch did not experience death But on the first good Friday, the bell rang for Jesus. He was not taken away, he died. And not because of anything wrong that he had done.

He wasn't like Adam and Eve in that sense, different from them, perfect in every way. The bell told for him because of what we had done. That's the good news about Good Friday. That on the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ took the penalty and the shame for our sins. The curse that Adam let into the world fell on him instead of us because he loves us.

Jesus tasted death in the place of each 1 of us. But there's another big difference. Enoch escaped death for himself. Jesus crushed it for the world. 1 historian describes Easter Sunday, like a bomb going off in history.

There was something that happened on that very first Easter morning which sent shock waves in every direction back through history on into the future, into every civilization, then and now, something happened on that first Easter morning. And the bible tells us that that was the day when Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. And when he stepped out of the tomb, the funeral bell stopped ringing, and the curse was broken. The surprise of Genesis 5 is this man Enoch, but the message of Genesis 5 is that we would look beyond him and that we would repent, which means to turn that we would turn from our own sins, and that we would trust in this 1 who has beaten death for us all. At the start, I mentioned this app back then, and records all those photos.

It gives you a photo journal of a life? Well, if you could see a Christian life on back then, it would be an endless scroll. It would go on and on and on and on forever, you would never arrive at the top because of Jesus. And that's why as we have done already, we really praise God for all of these children. Every 1 of them that we've seen today in this church, all 88 of them packed into Sunday school, they they are fearfully and wonderfully and beautifully made by the living God.

They have been entrusted to families and to parents and to churches, and we love them We love them. This is a day of great celebration. And although life is full of difficulties, we know that ahead of them or we trust that ahead of them there is so much for them to enjoy in this life. Experiences for them to have and families for them to love and memories for them to make and photos of their own to upload, 1 day, and yet we pray Most of all, we want them and we pray for them to be like Enoch and to walk with God. And then to beat death to escape the pattern of Genesis 5 by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ If Enoch is the standing pledge of death's defeat, he shows us that Jesus was the 1 who's worth trusting.

He is the 1 who can bring us out of the Genesis 5 pattern and bring us into new life. Now, in a moment, we're gonna pray something like that again. But it might be that you're here and you haven't yet fully made up your mind on on these things yet. And I wonder if I can just put this this question to you. Apparently, sparrows and other birds, I guess, would often or still do make their nests inside bell towers.

So they will actually move in there, build a nest, raise their young, and perhaps even sleep next to this bell. Now presumably, when they first move in, the noise is a bit unpleasant for them. The gonging of the funeral bell in their ears. But over time, they must manage to get used to it and even sleep through it. We can be a bit like that, can't we?

The bell rings on, and he died. And he died, and he died. And from time to time, like in these COVID days, or like perhaps on Friday with that tragic murder of the MP in Leon C. In in in in in sometimes we wake up, don't we? And we think, gosh, that's an unpleasant noise.

But largely, we've learned how to sleep through it. And yet the question is, In the end, what do we want to be written in our family tree? When our genealogy is written, What do we want it to say? And Tom was born, and he lived, and he had a family and he had all kinds of experiences, and then he died. Or that you were born and that you lived and that you walked faithfully with your God.

And that you never died because Jesus had become for you both resurrection and life. When your photo journal is all finished, where's it gonna stop? Couple of big scrolls, or is it gonna go on and on and on and on forever? Because of Christ. Anybody in this church would love to talk with you about that.

And we're hoping very soon to run a straightforward course exploring Christianity over 3 evenings, and you'd be very welcome come. Just come and see myself fulfill. We'd love to put you in touch with that. But that's the question, this old, curious passage is asking us. When our family tree is written, where's where's the photo journal going to end?

Let's bow our heads and pray together. Heavenly father, we thank you that although the shadow of sin and death still remains in this world, that Enoch in this passage of the bible is the standing pledge of death defeat. We thank you that there is a way out of this Genesis 5 rhythm. That it is possible for people like us to never die because we have found a new life in Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life. Father, we pray for all the children that we've given thanks for today.

And we pray that they would really be like Enoch, that they would use their lives to walk with their God. And that they themselves would beat death 1 day because they have come to know and to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Help us all to consider where we stand with these things, to respond to you our great God. And we ask it all in Jesus name. Ah, man.

Preached by Tom Sweatman
Tom Sweatman photo

Tom is an Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone and lives in Kingston with his wife Laura and their two children.

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