30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM
Clarksville church of Christ
March 5, 2000
Speaker: Richie Thetford
Good morning and welcome to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" I'm Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ, located at 407 W. Hwy 131 in Clarksville. I want to thank each and every one you for taking the time to listen this morning as we examine yet another truth of God's word. It is my hope and prayer that those of you that are listening today will honestly examine your heart to ensure that you are in fact doing only those things that are pleasing to our almighty God. As we discuss the topic of the hour, "Noah and the Flood", I want to encourage you to have your Bible readily available so that you can examine the scriptures to make sure that what I am presenting is in fact God's will for you. Remember, the Bible clearly states that we must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). It is my hope that each one of you this morning will have the kind of heart that the Bereans did back in the first century. It was said of them that "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). Also the apostle John warns us that we should "....not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). It is good to have you in our listening audience this morning and it is also good to know that we have some regular listeners out there who tune in each Sunday morning. It is my prayer that these efforts are beneficial to each one of you as you search for "What Is Truth?" I would like to invite you to please tell someone else about this radio program so that they can also be edified by the Word of God. Now let us examine the scriptures of the Word of God as we discuss the lesson of the hour, "Noah and the flood."
In the sixth, seventh and eighth chapters of Genesis we learn that the world was then destroyed by water. That is, the inhabitants of the world were drowned. Listen now to what the apostle Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:10-12: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?" When we inquire as to why the inhabitants of the world were destroyed by water as described by Genesis 6 through 8, we see that mankind had become exceedingly sinful. Man was made upright, in the very image of God. But man choose to rebel against God. Genesis 6:5 reads: "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." In other words, mankind was steeped in sin. God observed the corruption of the race and He was grieved in His heart. The creature who was made in God's image had become most perverse and ungodlike. The creature, capable of becoming most sublime and noble, had become God's greatest rebel.
It saddened God that he had made man. "And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground" (Genesis 6:7). God is good. He is eternal Goodness. Many have assumed that the goodness of God is so great that He would never destroy His creature. But, it must be remembered that God is also sever. Hear the apostle Paul, when he states by revelation, "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off." Divine justice demanded punishment. Man had become so wicked that Jehovah determined to destroy mankind.
But, it is stated that Noah found favor (grace) in the eyes of Jehovah. Noah was a righteous man and perfect in his generation. He walked with God. In 2 Peter 2:5, we learn that God "spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly." God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth." God then gave Noah specific instructions for the construction of the ark. It was to be made of gopher wood, pitched within and without; with lower, second and third stories. The length of the ark was three hundred cubits. It was fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Other specifications can be observed by reading Genesis chapter 6.
In Hebrews 11:7, we learn, "By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." Faith was produced in Noah's heart in the same manner that faith is produced in any man's heart today. Paul states, "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17)). God spoke, Noah heard and believed. So likewise, we too, must hear and believe. No, we are not to construct an ark; but, we must do whatever the Lord commands of us as stipulated in the New Testament that guides us today.
What did Noah believe? He believed that God would destroy the world; that the destruction would be effected by a flood of waters; and that his only salvation lay in his obedience to the command of God. You see, as we stated in our last two lessons, God had a law for Noah. "Build the ark according to my instructions." Noah accepted and obeyed the commandment of God. As noted already, "Noah prepared an ark." He did what Jehovah asked him to do.
Faith that does not obey is a dead faith. And a dead faith is worthless. Listen to James 2:26, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Giving mental or even verbal assent to a thing is of no practical worth unless it is reinforced by worthy action. It takes more that just saying, "I believe in God," it takes an obedient response to whatever the Lord tells us to do. Sometimes we hear preachers say, "Just believe in the Lord, and you will be saved." By that they mean that there is nothing required of you to do in obedience. Surely, faith is essential to one's salvation. But, faith alone, or by itself, will never save anyone. A dead (or inactive) faith will never save anyone.
Noah's faith would never have saved him and his house, had it been a passive thing which characterizes so many modern day church-goers. Noah possessed the type of faith that takes God at his word and lovingly and sincerely renders obedience to every command of God. God spoke and Noah moved. Remember, we noted Hebrews 11:7, where is it stated that Noah moved with godly fear. Noah was instructed to build an ark. Had he built something else, God would not have been pleased. Noah was instructed to build the ark out of gopher wood. If he had used pine or oak, he would not have been acting by faith. Since faith comes by hearing God's word, Noah could not substitute something else. Noah could have reasoned that the type of wood was unimportant and nonessential; perhaps there being a scarcity of gopher wood, a substitute could be used. But, my friends in this radio audience, God has NEVER, NEVER, accepted any substitutes to any of His commands.
Noah was not walking by human reason: he walked with God and he acted by faith. That made him well-pleasing to God.
His was an obedience of faith. Paul in Romans 1:5, speaks of the "obedience of faith," of the saints in Rome. We cannot
please God without Faith, but it must be an obedient faith; a faith that obeys God's commandments.
The faithful action of Noah served to condemn the world. When one gives heed to the will of God, he, by his very conduct, condemns those who refuse to give heed. Noah was a man of righteousness. He was right with God. By being right with God, he stood on God's side. The sinful generation in which Noah lived stood opposed to God. They stood in wickedness, in sin. Thus righteous Noah condemned sinful mankind. Read again Hebrews 11:7, to see the inspired writer affirming this very thing.
The ark is a true type of the salvation that is now offered to each one today. The means of salvation provided by God and Noah and the consequent damnation upon the rest of the world finds its true antitype in Christ Jesus and the gospel. Listen to the apostle Peter, as he speaks to us in the King James Version in 1 Peter 3:20 and 21: "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
How is baptism a true likeness of the flood? It was the flood that transported the family of Noah from a wicked environment into a cleansed and purified world. Likewise, scriptural baptism is a transportation from the Kingdom of Satan into the Kingdom of Christ. One who has been scripturally baptized, for the correct reason and in the correct manner, comes into Christ Jesus. Listen to the apostle Paul, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."Therein is the true likeness. The flood waters separated Noah from the then evil world. The evil around him was destroyed. Destroyed by water.
Why did God choose this manner to deal with sin? I cannot answer for nor explain the mind of God. All that we can do is to accept what God has said and done. Why did God choose Baptism as the place of forgiveness? Again, I cannot explain the mind of God. I only know what the Lord has said. He said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). And if you, my friend, have faith in Christ Jesus, you will move quickly to obey what He commands of you. You cannot become his child unless you are born into His family. And Jesus states that birth is to be of the spirit and of the water (John 3:5). Isn't it amazing how each scripture agrees 100% with every other scripture. That is, if we apply them correctly. This is exactly why the apostle Peter commanded those who cried out, "What shall we do?" in Acts 2:37, to "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Have you done that? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God? If so, why not become a child of God by obedience to the same commands given by Peter almost 2000 years ago. Repent of your past sins and then be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins. The Lord will then add you to His church, His body, the family of God. Then, worship and serve Him to the very best of your ability. Remember, Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people and the time to prepare is right now.
At this time I would like to ask you another question in regard to our lesson this morning of "Noah and the Flood." The question is: "What would you have done if you had been Noah?"Then I want to ask a series of questions as relating to what your relationship with God would have been if you were Noah. We begin with the reading of Hebrews 11:7 which states; "By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."
Here is question number one: "Would you have found grace in the eyes of the Lord?" Genesis 6, verse 8, reads, "But Noah found favor (grace) in the eyes of Jehovah." Noah stood above his environment. So what if everyone else is doing it. Verse 9, states, "Noah was a righteous man."The word "righteous" or "just" (in KJV) has to do with being rigid. Noah would not bend or weave, he stood firm. He had his convictions. At home, work, or play. Perhaps the people around him called him an old "Fuddy-duddy, old stiff-shirt." They probably said, "Old Noah, he just does not know how to have fun." The scripture says that "Noah walked with God." (Gen. 6:9). How is that possible? It was not in a fleshly relationship. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, we learn, "we walk by faith, not by sight." Since Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17), it follows that Noah walked as God instructed or told him to walk. Amos 3:3 states, "How can two walk together, except they be agreed." Thus, Noah agreed with God, he walked with Him. So often man thinks there must be some mystical, mysterious, better felt than told connection between himself and Jehovah. It is not enough for man to take God at His Word and by faith to do what He says. Yet, that is exactly what Noah did. My friends, are you walking with God? Do you listen to what the Lord tells you to do? Do you find favor in the eyes of the Lord?
Question number two is: "If you had been Noah: What would have been your reaction to the job to be done?" God asked a great thing of him. "A boat?" "How large?" 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, 30 cubits high? Now that is a really big boat! By comparison, that would be as long a football field, plus half again. Where did he plug in his skill saw? Or his Black and Decker Drill? "Shem, run down to 'Home Depot' and pick up a barrel of 16 penny nails." GOPHER WOOD? Lord, why gopher wood? There is no indication that Noah offered any excuses, or began to quibble with the Lord. He offered no objections. Suppose Noah already had a boat? Couldn't he just use that one? There might have been any number of excuses that Noah may have offered, but we hear of none. Suppose Noah would have begun to build, but then got tired and quit, not finishing the task. What I'm trying to get us to understand is, Noah's task was not an easy one and probably one of the toughest tasks to carry out of all those in the Bible. By comparison, compare Noah's one hundred year task of building an ark in order to be saved with Naaman's task of just having to dip 7 times in the Jordan River to be cleansed from his leprosy, or our task of having to be immersed in water (baptized) to be saved. No, friends, Noah's task was not an easy one! On the other hand we are asked to do some very difficult, demanding things by the Lord. Especially is this true when we sometimes seem to stand alone. With none to encourage us. With none to assist us. While all those around us offer only objections and discouragement. How often the acquaintances of Noah must have sneered at him, ridiculed him as a silly old man; made fun of him. But Noah went about doing what he knew needed to be done. And remember, it was almost a hundred years between the command to build and the coming of the flood. My friend, what is your reaction to the Lord's commandments. You are not required to build an ark. But, there are commands given for you to obey. Are you doing them?
Question number three: "If you had been Noah: Would you have been satisfied with the Lord's plan?" You see, people want to build their own ark, they have their own ideas as to how things should be done, and they want to make their own arrangements. Many people are just not content with the way the Lord lays things out. In Matthew 16:13, Jesus asked a question, "Whom do men say that I am." The answer, "Some say you are John, some say you are Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." Man always has his own ideas about God's ways. No doubt, if the present society would have been there, they would have figured out a better way of doing it. A more logical and reasonable solution according to human wisdom. But, what most men have never learned is: MAN CANNOT IMPROVE UPON THE LORD'S WAYS. God has given a remedy, a plan, for man's salvation: Christ said that "unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). He also said, "Except you repent, you shall die in your sins" (Luke 13:5). He further said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). But, man does not like the arrangement, the plan given by the Lord. Man says, faith only is a most wholesome doctrine. Man says, We are saved by grace alone. Man is just not content with the Lord's commands. God says that we are to "Sing and make melody with your heart to the Lord"(Eph 5:19; Col. 3:16). But, man comes along and inserts mechanical instruments of music in the worship. He is just not content with the Lords' ways. He must insert his own human wisdom. God has given the plan for the organization and the work of the church. But, man is not satisfied with that and comes up with all sorts of arrangements to do the Lord's will. God has given us the type or kind of worship that He approves of. But, man comes along and wants to dress it up; thus the emotional upheavals; the emotional outpourings; the emotional frenzy. All of this for the benefit of man; to please man, without so much as a thought as to whether or not it is approved by the Lord. Are you satisfied with the Lord's plans? Or, do you seek to insert your own ideas into God's arrangements. Paul states, "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17). My friend, if you have more than what the scriptures provide, then it is not a good work. Doing something will not suffice, unless it is doing what the Lord says. Noah could NOT just build a boat. Not just any boat would have floated. Why GOPHER WOOD? Boy, what a drag? Why not use what is at hand, whatever is convenient? In Revelation 22:18-19, we learn this valuable truth: "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." John says, "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9). We are limited to the teaching of Christ, what He authorizes. How can I know what the Lord wants me to do? I must listen to what He says through His inspired Word. Nothing more, nor nothing less. Am I satisfied with the Lord's plan? Yes I am, and I am trying to be obedient to it. Friends, are you trying to be obedient to it?
Question number four: "If you had been Noah: Would you have been satisfied just to save the ones the Lord said should be saved?" In 1 Peter 3:20, we learn that only 8 souls (or people) were saved. Is that all Lord? What about the rest? Noah might have said, What about my good friend who lives down the street. How about uncle Zek? or aunt Suzzie? Lord, what about them? Will they drown? How often do men today attempt to smooth over what the Lord says. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus states, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Jesus says, many shall be lost; few are to be saved. How many is many; how few is few? I do not know, but I know the Lord said only few will be saved. We need not try to soften what the Lord has said. But, someone says, that is harsh language. And I agree. But it is also truth. This is not to say that we should be pleased with the fact that the multitudes shall be lost. Surely, Noah took no consolation when he saw the masses who refused him, drowning in the flood. But, it was not Noah's decision that they be lost. It was their own decision. Did they not have the opportunity to hear and obey Noah's warnings. In Acts 10:34, we learn that "God is no respecter of persons." They could have responded to the commands of God just like Noah responded, but they chose not to do so. They rejected the love of God and suffered the consequences of their sins. And the same thing can be said of todays world. Those who reject the love of God and refuse to do the commandments of the Lord will suffer the consequences of their choices.
Jesus said, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). You see, it matters not what I may think or what I might say. The truth of the matter is that you and I shall stand before God one day and be judged by the Word of God. The question in which every one of us must know the answer to is: "What does God's word say?" My friend, if you do not respond to that Word and do it with all your heart, you shall be lost. I take no consolation in saying that. But it is the truth. The truth that each one of us will meet when we stand in judgment before our Creator. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). This is what Christ commanded and I cannot remove it, nor lessen the demands of it. And, if the whole world refuses it, it still stands as the absolute truth. And it will stand into eternity to judge us.
What is your attitude toward what God has told you to do? What is mine? Our attitude determines what we would have done had we been Noah. Would you build? or would you go your merry way and ignore what He said? Lord, don't bother me right now. What a sobering thought. To be faced with the decision of whether or nor to obey the commandments of the Lord. But then, we have the same choice as did Noah. It took faith on the part of Noah. And, it will take faith on our part. May we all strive to look at the teaching of God's Word and then act upon what God has instructed for us to do. If we really care about God, if we really care about going to heaven, then we WILL do the WILL OF THE LORD. Jesus said: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matt 7:21). Please think on these things friends and join us again next Sunday morning at 8:30 AM here on WAVE 1450 as we look at the Word of God to determine "What Is Truth?"
This is Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"