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					Gareth Simpson                                            i     

                                       SERMON OUTLINE

Series:               In the beginning... (Part 11)
Title:                Security and Glory
Text:                 Genesis 11:1-9
Date:                 1 August 2010 am
Venue:                Lambert Road Baptist Church (
Preacher:             Gareth Simpson (Blog:

1.    What can we learn about ourselves?
     1.1         We will naturally try to live a life of independence and self-sufficiency.
     1.2         We have a desire for security
     1.3         We desire glory for ourselves
     1.4         When we are united we can achieve great things, for good or for bad.
2.    What can we learn about the LORD?
     2.1         He desires obedience – Genesis 1:28; 9:1,7
     2.2         He is not far off
     2.3         He is sovereign
     2.4         He desires that we find our security in Him, not in a city
     2.5         He desires that we live for His glory
3.    How should we live?
     3.1         Know God’s revealed will
     3.2         Choose obedience to God’s revealed will as a way of life
     3.3         Worship our Creator – He is nor far off
     3.4         Dedicate your life to living for His glory
     3.5         Find your security in the LORD


Security and Glory (Genesis 11:1-9)
Gareth Simpson                                             1        

•    Intro
•    In the earlier chapters of Genesis, the LORD clearly told Adam and Noah to “Be
     fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28; 9:1,7).
•    In other words, the LORD told them to get married, have children, spread out, and
     inhabit the whole earth.
•    Yet what do we see the descendents of Noah doing?
•    Read v.2
•    Instead of ‘filling the earth’, they decided to all settle in one place.
•    What did they do there?
•    Read v.3-4
•    They decided to build a city for security, and a tower to celebrate their greatness.
•    Their decision making centred on their own security and glory.
•    Notice the words that they used, “lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole
     earth” (v.4).
•    The fact that their Creator had told them to “fill the earth” was irrelevant.
•    Because of the disobedience of the people, the LORD dispersed them by causing
     them to speak different languages, i.e. they couldn’t understand one another.
•    Linguists say that there are “twenty or so language families in the world today”1,
     which they cannot explain with evolutionary theory.
•    The only explanation for these twenty or so language families is this story in God’s
•    The LORD caused these languages to be birthed, probably in Peleg’s day (Gen.
     10:25), about 100 years after the Flood”.2
•    What can we learn about the history of the world from this story, relatively soon after
     the global flood of Noah’s day?
•    How should we study a passage like this?
•    This morning I am going to be asking three questions that you can use for any
     passage of Scripture to help you to understand and apply God’s Word.

•    Human nature hasn’t changed since Noah’s time, and what we see in Noah’s
     descendents, will also be true of us.


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Gareth Simpson                                        2     

•     In the chapters leading up to Genesis 11 we see that the LORD had very clearly
      revealed His will for the people: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”
•     They deliberately went against what the LORD had told them to do.

1.1     We will naturally try to live a life of independence and self-sufficiency
•     The LORD intended for man to have dominion over the world, under His rule.
•     What did the people do?
•     They decided that they wanted to be fruitful and multiply, but that they didn’t want to
      fill the earth.
•     They wanted to build a secure city – safety in numbers!
•     They felt that they knew better than the LORD.
•     “The [construction of the Tower of Babel was] all about human independence and
      self-sufficiency apart from God. The builders believe[d] that they [had] no need of
      God. Their technology and social unity [gave] them confidence in their own ability,
      and they [had] high aspirations, constructing a tower with its top in the heavens”3
•     Doesn’t this remind you of our society today?
•     We are masters of our own destiny.
•     We are taught to say, “I did it my way”.
•     Parents are more concerned about their child’s self-confidence than their eternal
•     Grandparents teach their children, “Just look out for number one”.
•     Even as Christians, where we clearly know and understand God’s will, what He calls
      sin, and what pleases Him, we find it so easy to live self-centred, not Christ-centred
•     Actions speak louder than words, and the way that we live our lives says a lot about
      our heart condition – whether we are truly dependent on the LORD or not.
•     So many people compromise on what God’s Word says. For example, we are told:
            o That each one of us must be actively involved in sharing the good news of
                salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Are you?
            o That we should treat our neighbours as we would like to be treated. Do you?
            o That we should not hold too tightly onto the things of the world.
            o That there should not be a hint of sexual immorality in our lives.
            o That we should tithe a tenth of our income to the LORD.

            ESV Study Bible, note on Genesis 11:2-4

Security and Glory (Genesis 11:1-9)
Gareth Simpson                                          3       

•     Are you living in humble dependence on the LORD, in accordance with His revealed
•     Or have you decided that you know better than the LORD?
•     The story of Noah’s descendents building this tower is a reminder that it is too easy
      to carry the name Christian, but our actions say “my will, not Thy will, be done.”
•     To be a church-goer, and not a Christ-follower.
•     We need to repent and come under Christ the King, with the Bible as our manual for

1.2     We have a desire for security
•     The people who settled in the plain in the land of Shinar built themselves a city and
•     They had a desire for security, and they wanted to trust ‘safety in numbers’, not the
•     As South Africans we understand the desire for security that these people felt.
            o “Total reported crimes in SA in 2009: 2.15 Million
            o Total murders: 18 148
            o Total thefts/robberies: 180 624 ...
            o Total hijackings: 16 352.”4
•     I get depressed when I see/hear these numbers!
•     Our human nature is to look to human solutions for crime prevention.
•     Yes, we must be responsible, and look after our families.
•     But seeking security in this life, to the exclusion of God, is sinful.
•     The LORD should be at the centre of all that we do!
•     Are we looking primarily to the LORD to deliver our country, to renew our city and to
      keep us safe?
•     The LORD wanted Noah’s descendents to “fill the earth”, with Him being their
      Shelter and Fortress.
•     But they wanted to build their own fortress and live their own way.
•     There is a danger that we become so busy with our armed response contracts,
      electric fences, alarm systems, pepper sprays, retirement and insurance policies, etc
      that we forget about the LORD.
•     That we don’t depend on the LORD at all, and leave Him outside the security fence.

            D:\Lambert Road\Leadership\Durban info\NBA presentation\Project Durban.ppt

Security and Glory (Genesis 11:1-9)
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•     We need to call on the LORD, asking Him to turn our country around, to turn our
      leaders to Himself, to give wisdom to our leaders, and primarily that He would be our
      Shelter, Refuge and Fortress in the difficult days that we live in.
•     We need to move out of our fortresses and share the good news of Jesus.
•     Notice that the people said, “let us build for ourselves a city and a tower” (v.4).
•     They were building the city, contrary to God’s will, for themselves – not for Him.
•     Yet we are taught in the Scriptures, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who
      build it labour in vain” (Psalm 127:1), and “whatever you do, do all to the glory of
      God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
•     Are you building your world, with the LORD just occupying the Wendy House in the
      back yard of your life?
•     Rather follow the example of the Psalmist who prayed, “I will say to the LORD, ‘My
      refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.” (Psalm 91:2).

1.3     We desire glory for ourselves
•     Did you notice what the people said as they started settling in the plain?
•     “[L]et us make a name for ourselves” (v.4).
•     They wanted to build “a tower with its top in the heavens” (v.4), thereby attempting to
      compete with God.
•     They didn’t want to sing “How great is our God”, but rather “How great we are”.
•     There is something about human nature that we want to be successful, great,
      admired and recognised.
•     We want to leave a legacy, having people remember us as being significant.
•     Be it on the sports field as a team or as individuals, in academics, in business, as a
      leader, or as a nation, people want to be thought of as being great.
•     People long to have the fame and popularity of celebrities, and when they achieve it
      they despise all of the attention that they get.
•     The LORD doesn’t call us to pursue greatness for ourselves.
•     When we belong to the LORD He usually calls us servants, not leaders.
•     What is the essence of worship?
•     It is to say, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake
      of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Psalm 115:1).
•     It is to live our lives for the glory and praise of our Creator, not ourselves!
•     We can very easily say as Christians that our purpose is to live for the glory of God.

Security and Glory (Genesis 11:1-9)
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•     But are we?
•     Is the honour of His name, and the worship of His Majesty, central and primary in
      your life?
•     Are you like the church in Ephesus who abandoned their first love of Jesus Christ,
      which ultimately led to that church dying?
•     We need to pray daily,
            o “Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee;
            o take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.
            o Take my love; my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store;
            o take my self, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.”

1.4     When we are united we can achieve great things, for good or for bad
•     Read v.5-6
•     The LORD “came down” to ‘see’ what His creatures were doing.
•     He knew very well before He descended.
•     But the words “came down” are a reminder that He is “high and lifted up” (Isaiah
•     He must ‘stoop’ to visit us.
•     What did the LORD find?
•     A people united in disobedience, independence from Him and self-promotion.
•     The LORD’s words, “this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that
      they propose to do will now be impossible for them” (v.6) don’t mean that they had
      become gods, or that they could rival Him, but rather, as Matthew Henry put it, “If
      they continue[d], much of the earth [would] be left uninhabited; the power of their
      prince [would] soon be exorbitant; wickedness and profaneness [would] be
      insufferably rampant, ... and, which is worst of all, there [would] be an overbalance to
      the church, and these children of men, if thus incorporated, [would] swallow up the
      little remnant of God's children.”5
•     “They forgot their place.”6
•     They forgot that they were meant to have dominion on earth under God, not apart
      from God.

            Matthew Henry
            Matthew Henry’s note

Security and Glory (Genesis 11:1-9)
Gareth Simpson                                       6   

•     This is a reminder to us that unity is powerful, but that it can be used for, or against,
      the LORD.
•     “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
•     My primary task as a pastor-teacher is to build up the local church to unity in truth
      and service.
•     “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and
      teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of
      Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of
      God.” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
•     This is a reminder for all of us to serve Jesus Christ as the great treasure of our
      lives, to love the local church, and to put away childish resentments, bitterness, and
      irritations – unity in diversity – unity for God’s glory.
•     We have learnt a few things about ourselves by looking at this passage.


2.1     He desires obedience
•     He told the people to “fill the earth”, and He doesn’t change His requirements and
      plans to fit in with our likes and dislikes.

2.2     He is not far off
•     Read v.5
•     He is immanent
•     He sees all that we do.
•     There is no escaping His scrutiny of what we do and our motives.

2.3     He is sovereign
•     He is in control.
•     Read v.7-9
•     His purposes will be achieved – whether we are obedient or disobedient.
•     The LORD’s purpose was that mankind would “fill the earth”, and independent,
      proud people wouldn’t stop him.
•     Noah’s descendents realised the power of unity, but they underestimated God’s
      power, and in one simple act He sent the people away from that city that they were
      trying to build, to “fill the earth” as He had ordained.
•     “[Verse 9] links the name of the city, Babel (Hb. babel), with the verb balal, which
      means “to confuse, to mix, to mingle.” But babel is also the name used in the OT for

Security and Glory (Genesis 11:1-9)
Gareth Simpson                                            7  

      the city of Babylon. As a city, Babylon symbolizes humanity's ambition to dethrone
      God and make the earth its own.”7
•     God is on the throne, and no ‘One-world order’ will dethrone Him, or thwart His
•     We must remember that the LORD is on the throne, and that His purposes will be

2.4     He desires that we find our security in Him, not in a city
•     The people thought that they would be safe if they stuck together and built a city.
•     But they forgot that ultimately “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the
      righteous man runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
•     Is your security in Christ, or is it in some insurance policy?
•     Ultimately our greatest security is eternal security through faith in Jesus Christ.
•     “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present
      nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all
      creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
      (Romans 8:38-9).

2.5     He desires that we live for His glory
•     This time that we have on earth is not about making a name for ourselves.
•     So many people give their lives to getting degrees, crowns, medals, or trophies.
•     But very few people will remember who won the Currie Cup in 1987, or the long
      jump in the 1980 Olympics, or who won the Nobel prize for literature/medicine in
•     “Only one life
      ‘Twill soon be past
      Only what’s done
      For Christ will last.”8


3.1     Know God’s revealed will
•     As believers we must know God’s revealed will (e.g. for Noah’s descendents, “fill the

            ESV Study Bible, note on Genesis 11:9
            Piper, John. Don’t waste your life. Crossway 2007:12

Security and Glory (Genesis 11:1-9)
Gareth Simpson                                    8      

•     Does this mean asking for signs, dreams or confirmations?
•     Primarily it means reading and understanding God’s Word.
•     Do you spend quality time in God’s Word each day, such that you can tell for
      yourself that from year to year you are growing in your knowledge of the Word?
•     This is imperative, and we are never too old to stop growing.
•     The Word is like a great ocean that is shallow enough for spiritual toddlers to wade
      in the shallow breakers, but deep enough for mature Christians to scuba dive to
      search the treasures of the deep for their entire lives, and never exhaust the
      wonders of God’s Word.

3.2     Choose obedience to God’s revealed will as a way of life
•     Knowing God’s Word and doing what it says doesn’t happen automatically.
•     We need to daily choose obedience.
•     We must consciously choose God’s way, and not our way.

3.3     Worship our Creator – He is nor far off
•     “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
•     Everything we have comes from the LORD.
•     He desires that we be good stewards of all that He has given us, under His ultimate
•     We are not masters of our own destiny.
•     As Christians we are in the hands of our Heavenly Father.
•     All praise and glory must go to Him.

3.4     Dedicate your life to living for His glory
•     “[W]hatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
•     Whether you find yourself in the kitchen, office, lecture hall, church, shopping centre,
      garden, workshop, factory or hospital, how can you live for God’s glory there?

3.5     Find your security in the LORD
•     “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ (Psalm

Security and Glory (Genesis 11:1-9)