Summary: This message sees that faith is not passive but very active!
This is a picture of a floating prison ship - The HMP Weare, is moored off Dorset’s Portland Harbour (400 prisoners). Has anyone herad of a gigantic floating zoo? That’s what Noah’s Ark was. Many people think the story of Noah is just a story, a myth, a legend. But more and more people are coming to realize that the bible is true and that the story is a true one. Is this the remains of the ark? I’m not sure. Most ancient civilizations e.g. Chinese, Near Eastern have ancient stories about a great flood; other people claim that the way fossils formed rapidly is because of a flood. There is one person’s idea of what it might have looked like. It was certainly big enough. Then there are the arguments about whether the flood was a universal flood i.e. was the whole surface of the earth covered or just the then “known world”? The writer to the Hebrews was interested in how Noah is an example of faith that’s where we are going this morning.
So far talked about what faith is from the writer to the Hebrews point of view. It is focus on God, believing God and living for him and eternity. That pleases God and enables us to walk with God. Noah demonstrates this “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Noah demonstrated what faith is all about – he believed that what God said he would do and built an ark. Even though it was something no-one had ever know before. He shows us that real faith is not passive but active. It does something…
1. Faith obeys
Lot’s of people think that faith is just thinking something is true. But it is more than that. Faith is thinking something is true enough to do something about it. Noah believed God would flood the eaerth so he built a boat. He did something about it. We believe God exists – so what do we do about it? We worship. We believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins – so we put our trust in him to forgive us and save us and follow him. We believe that God’s work should go forward so we give, we serve. We believe that people need the Lord so we witness. We believe that God wants us to live a holy life so we seek to avoid sin.
Faith leads us to obey God. Even if that may make us look foolish. Imagine building a boat on the park at the end of the road. Someone goes past & asks what are you making. You tell them a boat – imagine the questions: all this was from the sea? A gigantic floating zoo? Why? God told you he’s going to flood the earth and the only way to survive is to build this boat? Do I want to join you? You are not serious? It took Noah a lifetime to build the boat. It wasn’t easy. It isn’t easy obeying God. But when you really believe something you don’t have a choice. People might think that you are a bit strange – religious (now maybe you are!). They might think we are nuts giving one tenth to the church. They might think we are mad because we don’t cheat or lie. They may think we are repressed because we believe that we should keep sex for when we are married. That being “gay” is not what God wants for us. Faith obeys – it doesn’t mean it is easy – but when God has spoken what can you do?
The path that God calls us to walk is not an easy one. Not everyone is going to applaud when you do the will of God. Not even Christians sometimes. Sometimes it would be easier to disobey – but when you know God has spoken, when yo’re focus is on God and trust in him – obedience follows. What are the things that you know you should be doing? Are you doing them? Are you getting a hard time for doing them. Take heart from Noah, obedience may not be easy but it is much better than the alternative.
2. Faith witnesses
The bible tells us that he was a preacher of righteousness. 1 Pet. 3:20 tells us how God waited patiently for people to repent as Noah witnessed to them. When our attention and focus is on God witness will follow, because we have a perspective that tells us that the most important thing is that people come to know Jesus. Noah’s faith demonstrates this too:
- Faith asks questions of others - Those people had 100 years to see Noah build that ark. Those people must have asked themselves “Is he right? What if he’s right? What do you think of old, mad, Noah?” When we have faith our faith will make them think and question themselves. People have said “I don’t know how you’ve coped recently…” – I tell them that the faith we have helps. But it does more than help us it asks questions of others.