Summary: God’s judgment is fair and just-Without it the world would not be a good one
Here’s a question for you: How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the ark? The answer, of course, is "None." It was Noah, not Moses, who brought the animals on the ark. Most of you knew that because "Noah and the ark" is probably one of the best known stories in the entire Bible. From songs like "Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord" and "Rise and Shine," to Bill Cosby’s memorable monologue on Noah, to Noah’s Ark Theme Parks at places like Wisconsin Dells, to modern expeditions to find Noah’s ark in the mountains of Turkey, the story of Noah gets lots of at-tention. Because this epic account is so well- known, it is kind of hard to know what to say about Noah and the ark in a sermon. As I was preparing, however, this question came to mind. When Jesus and the New Test-ament apostles read about Noah, what did they see as the important themes? What did they think were the main points of the story? That’s a good question to ask whenever we are studying the Old Testament, so I grabbed a Bible concordance, looked up Noah, and found there are three times when a New Testament writer mentions him. Jesus, Peter and the writer of Hebrews all talk about Noah. So what we are going to do today is look at three lessons from Noah which are highlighted for us in the New Testament and see how they apply to our lives.
Before we get started, I want to give a brief overview of the story for anyone who may not be familiar with it or who maybe has forgotten some of the important details. Noah was a man who lived long ago. We don’t know exactly when, but it was a time of great wickedness and evil upon the earth. Because of that, God decides to destroy the entire human race, except for a man named Noah and his family. The Lord had Noah build a huge boat, an ark, and then had him gather a pair of every kind of animal and bird and bring them into this ark. Then it started to rain, and it rained and rained for forty days. This great deluge that the Lord had sent resulted in a flood that destroyed every living creature on earth, except for Noah, his family, and all the animals and birds which were in the ark. Then, after six months, the waters finally receded and Noah, his family, and all the animals and birds left the ark and went out to repopulate the earth.
Let me just say that I believe this story is not a fairy tale. This event really happened just as the Bible describes. Some Biblical scholars claim Genesis is describing a local flood in Palestine, but I think it is much more extensive than that. It is inter-esting that different religions in various parts of the globe all have stories of a great flood. Some scientists believe certain geological evidence can best be explained by a catas-trophic flood. Some folks claim that the remains of Noah’s ark can be found on a mountain in Turkey. I don’t know about that, but I do believe this is a true story. Let’s pray that God would use His Word to speak to each of us through it today.
So, what are the lessons we learn from Noah? #1) People tend to ignore the reality of judgment. This is true in almost every age. The first reference to Noah in the New Testament is when Jesus is speaking in Matthew 24:37-39 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Sin is a reality both in our day and in Noah’s. The moral decay in our society is obvious. Sexual immorality has become so common that many folks no longer think it is a big deal. Honesty, simply telling the truth, is becoming a lost virtue. Many young people seem to be unable to distinguish between right and wrong. Violent gangs plague not just big cities, but even small towns in northern Minnesota. Thirty years ago a student might put a tack on a teacher’s chair, but now there are students who attack their teachers with knives or guns. But certainly 1998 is no worse than Noah’s day. Genesis 6:5,11 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. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. A big reason for this type of epidemic of immorality is that people ignore the reality of God’s judgment. They were breaking every one of God’s commands, but did not even consider the possibility that the Lord would punish them for their diso-bedience. They were like a man today who continually drives 15 mph over the speed limit, but would be absolutely shocked if the police ever stopped him for speeding. Jesus said that people in Noah’s day kept living life and ignoring God, and His point is, they will continue to be that way. Even as the culmination of history approaches, when Jesus Christ will return to earth, people will still go on living in rebellion against God, giving no thought to the consequences of their sin.