Summary: the church is built as an open door to the lost, not an ark to preserve the saints
Intro: the other day Roger Lashley had a revelation from God. God spoke to him with these words, My church is not an ark. He relayed this to me, so I went to the book of Genesis and studied Noah and the ark. I tried to look at the difference between the ark and community. Here are four thoughts on community not being an ark, but an opportunity.
Community, Not an Ark, But an Opportunity
Background: what a terrible time this was on the earth. Everyone was evil, to the point God was about to destroy the world, but Noah was righteous, so God spared him and his family from the flood. The world is evil just like in Noah’s time, but God’s plan is to build the church, not another Ark, so today we must see God’s plan for the church.
I. The Ark Speaks of Noah’s Righteousness, the church speaks of the Righteousness of Christ—7:1
· We must be careful not to give the message of the Ark that we are righteous, and you are evil. We must not develop a superiority attitude toward the world. One problem with religion, it many times becomes insulated. We are good on the inside, the world is bad on the outside.
Ill) years ago I read about a letter a Pharisee wrote. It stated that there may be 10 righteous people in the world, and he was sure that he and his son were two of them. It went on to say, but if there are only five righteous in the world, my son and I would be two of them. If there were only two righteous in the world, it would be him and his son. And if there was but on righteous man in the world, it would be him.
· In Revelation, only Jesus could open the book. This is the message of the church, not our righteousness, which is like a filthy rag, but his righteousness.
· Promoting our righteousness to the world is hypocrisy. When we point people to our righteousness and not the righteousness of Christ, our faults and failures bring rejection of Christ.
Ill) the reason the world puts the failure of ministries on the front page is because it tries to highlight the hypocrisy of religion. But if we promote Christ in us the hope of glory, our message will be strong because of the cross of Jesus Christ.
II. The Ark speaks of one family being saved, the church speaks God’s will is that none should perish
As you read the account of the flood, one family is spared God’s wrath, one family inside, the world destroyed on the outside. The church is not an Ark, we are not called to be satisfied that our family is in. One problem that many churches face is apathy toward the lost.
It is almost like we are in, so what’s the problem.
Ill) years ago someone said to me, the more people you have, the more problems you have to deal with. It is almost like saying, if we can stay small, if it is just us 4 and no more, we can be comfortable.
An older deacon at my first church that was a small church in a rural community said, Marry us, bury us, preach to us, and visit us in the hospital and you can keep this job for as long as you want. But God’s will for the church isn’t to turn the Pastors into spiritual maintenance men, the church is always to be expanding, and abounding in the work of the Lord.
III. The Ark Speaks of Being Shut in with God, the Church speaks of an Open Door-7:16.
Noah’s family was shut in with God. If there is any problem with modern day churches, it is the shut in with God mentality. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, the life, He is the open door. But many churches have become exclusive instead of inclusive.
Dress can make a church exclusive—if churches set a dress code that the poor cannot obtain, it has become exclusive.
Doctrine can make a church exclusive—if the churches main goal is to secure their doctrine over reaching souls, it has become exclusive.
Race can make a church exclusive—if churches send out the message, you worship with those of your culture, we worship with those of our culture, it has become exclusive.
I have one great complaint with the Pentecostal, Charismatic, Full Gospel, Holiness churches as a whole. Many of them are satisfied to have zero outreach, and zero impact on their communities, but broadcast they are the only ones with the power, or they are the only holy ones in town. If the Lord isn’t adding to your church, it isn’t one of His.