Summary: This is a short gospel message preached at a baptisimal service, using the account of Noah as symbol of baptism.
There are many misconceptions about God, many people just thinking that He is just an old man on a cloud. People can see Him as a person to cry out to only when desperate, to use as a swear word when angry or upset, and as somebody to blame when things go wrong. Many have a much clearer picture of God. They see Him as somebody full of love, grace, and mercy. But so often many people forget that He is also a God who is fearful and a God who requires Holiness. I want to look at what He is really like, as He describes Himself, in His word.
The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
6:The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
7:So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth - men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air - for I am grieved that I have made them."
8:But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.
Genesis 1 informs us that we are made in Gods image. We were made perfect. Yet a few hundred years later we had become selfish and evil. The truth is that we are no different than the people of Noah’s day. We are just as evil today as the people were then. What we often don’t realise is just how much it grieves Gods heart. God was so angry with their sin that He decided to destroy the entire inhabitants of the Earth. Don’t have any misconceptions about God. He is the same God today as He was then. He is a God who is Holy, powerful, and a God whom we should live in fear of.
Noah however gains favour with the lord and is told to build an ark. This is no easy task. The dimensions that the Lord assigns are quite extraordinary to leave in the hands of one man. The boat would have been over half the length of an Atlantic Cruise Liner. Even though there was no sign that the flood was coming, Noah still takes on this massive task, out of faith and obedience, and completes it. By faith he enters the ark upon the Lords command. When the rain came down and the flood waters came only he and his companions were saved. All other creatures, both man and beast were killed by the raging flood waters.
This account of Noah has served as a lesson in many different ways for Gods people. It speaks of both His punishment and His grace. In the new testament we find that this account is also a way of better understanding what Jesus came to do. Jesus Himself refers to the life of Noah and the story of the flood. One of the things that it represents, we find in the book of 1 Peter, is baptism.
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,
19:through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison
20:who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,
21:and this water symbolises baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22:who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand - with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
Peter states that that the account of Noah is a symbol or a type of baptism, and so what does this story tell us about the importance and meaning of baptism? When we read this chapter in 1 Peter, it almost seems that he is saying that baptism saves us just as the waters saved Noah. I want to look carefully and see what did actually save Noah, what the waters represent and the cleansing process that took place. I want look at these and relate them to baptism.
What saved Noah?
When we read the passage from Peter you could be excused for thinking that he is saying that the waters, that killed the ungodly in Noah’s day, saved him. However when we study the events of Noah, it is not the waters that save him but the ark. In fact in Hebrews we read that it was Noah’s faith in God that caused him to build the ark that would save him.