Summary: Strong faith in God enables us to perform the most radical act of obedience. This message on Noah considers the relationship between faith and obedience.
Someone wrote in a newsletter:
¡§I recently went with my wife to her 20 year high school reunion. In the front of the memory book, were these words:
A CRACK was a wise remark made to a teacher
The only AIDS we knew about were Band, Kool and First
BAD was not good
A QUEER was simply an odd person
A SMOKE was a cigarette
POT was in the bathroom
SWINGERS were either cool or sat on their porch
We got HIGH on music, good times and good friends
COKE came in a red and white can
A SNORT was something you did when you had a head cold
SPACE CADETS were future astronauts working for NASA¡¨
I wonder if Noah used to sit around with his family at home and consider how much things had gone downhill in his lifetime. After all, there was a lot of change from Gen 2 to Gen 6.
-Noah was a standout. When I think of Noah, I think of one word. It's not faith -- but it's a result of faith:
6:22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
7:5 Noah did all that the Lord commanded
7:10 the animals came and entered the ark, just as God had commanded Noah.
Noah was obedient.
Most of us don't have a problem knowing what to do -- we struggle with our volition, our willingness to do what know we should. In other words, we wrestle with being obedient.
-(Ro 1:5) "Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith." We're going to see in Noah that strong faith in God enables us to perform the most radical acts of obedience.
Strong faith in God will enable me to obey...
I. When It Isn't Reasonable
Ill - UPI - Allstate Insurance Co. recently surveyed Californians in earthquake prone regions. 64% of respondents say they believe a massive earthquake will hit in 3-5 years; but only 1 in 4 has earthquake insurance. (Jerry Bridges) "A belief is something you hold; a conviction is something that holds you."
One feature of faith is that it has to be unseen. We don't have faith in the things we can see. We have faith because of what we see, but faith involves the assurance of things not seen. Paul said "we walk by faith, not by sight." That's not reasonable. That's not using your reasoning powers alone and deciding which direction you'll step because of what you see.
Heb 11:7 Noah was "warned about things not yet seen." Think about it. Nothing like the flood had ever happened before. It may be that rain still had never even happened before. Gen 2:6 says a mist used to rise up and water the earth. No one had ever seen a sea-going vessel like the ark.
The ark defied human reasoning for another reason: It was big! and a big waste of time.
-(get an idea of the size of the ark) Look up. The ark was about 45' high. Our ceiling is fairly close to that. Then, look across the front of the auditorium. That's about how wide the ark was (75¡¦). Then, here's the tough part. The ark was 450' long. That's 1ƒ¢ football fields long! The ark had over 100,000 square feet of floor space - the same cubic footage as 500 railroad boxcars!
-Now, that's a lot of wood! That's a lot of time - maybe as long as 100 years for a crew of 4 men; a lot of cutting, fitting, coating, lifting. A lot of building permits and inspections! And where's the water for this thing?
Which obedience is "unreasonable": because it's something where we can't see the results, or it just plain sounds like too much work? We aren't building an ark. How's this fit us?
-How about financial giving? We often don't see the results of it serving ourselves. It's a lot of work for some. The world says that's not rational
-What about loving your enemies? Bless those who curse you! Pray for those who persecute you! We can't see how that's going to help us in any way. Why do it? That's not reasonable!
-What about Baptism. There's nothing spectacular about it! It doesn't change anything about our appearance. We can't prove by our senses that it means anything. The world will say it's not reasonable. But God says it's part of becoming His.
-Die to yourself, Jesus said. That's not reasonable! The way to life is to die to yourself? That doesn't sound like life.
Still, those are all matters of obedience. How can we do it? Just like Noah and his 3 sons could build a floating stadium! - "By faith, Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family." (Heb 11)