NOAH: HERO OF A SAVING GRACE
Gary Fine – July 8, 2018
One of the most famous stories in the Bible is the story of Noah. A movie about Noah came out about 5 years ago. Written by Darren Aronfsky, an atheist, it was true to the Bible in only one aspect. They spelled his name correctly. Noah is said to be the Bible’s greatest financial genius. He “ floated stock while everyone else was in liquidation.”
The real story is found in Genesis 6: 5-22. The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on earth, and it grieved his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry I made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For, behold, I will bring flood waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breadth of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall
die. But I will establish a covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them. Noah did this; he did all God commanded him.
This is an incredible story, not just of animals or the flood, but of how Noah could have maintained such an amazing faith. Hebrews 11:7 says, By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear, constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
How would you describe Noah’s great saving faith? Interestingly, in Hebrews 11: 7, it never says Noah had faith or believed. But his faith is revealed by his actions. Notice what it does say about Noah’s faith in the Genesis account:
- Genesis 6:9 & 7:1 Noah was a righteous He was blameless. Righteous means he was a just man; he was lawful, he was without blemish, he was obedient, and walked with God. He had a Godly lifestyle.
- Genesis 6:22 & 7:5 – He did all God commanded him to do.
Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8) Noah’s faith in God resulted in his salvation from the judgement of God. This is the same kind of faith mentioned Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace we are saved through faith.
The characteristic of faith that saved Noah is the same kind of faith that saves us. Noah did not have the same information we have this side of the cross. But the Holy Spirit utilizes Noah’s faith as a lesson for us to reveal to us what faith must be. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews focuses on the activity of faith. We cannot describe our saving faith in any other way; it is faith consumed in the activity of God’s commands.
Hebrews 11:7 – By faith, Noah, when warned about those things not yet seen, in reverent fear built an ark to save his family. By faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. For 120 years, “by faith” Noah was consumed with obeying God’s prophesy and command for his salvation. Every day he lived according to what God spoke about his salvation.
Saving faith is not a single act of asking Jesus into your heart and that all else that happens is something added on to that. In other words, saving faith is more than a single act of receiving Jesus. Saving faith receives Jesus in order to go on trusting Him. ‘Once saved always saved’ can be misleading. We must live everyday obediently. The heroes in Hebrews, chapter 11, were people who were still living by faith when they died. Heroic faith stays the course. Hebrews 10:39 says, But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Look at what is at stake! “Shrink back = destruction.” “Press on” means to preserve the soul. Authentic saving faith presses on – day by day.
Faith that saves us from destruction and preserves the soul is future oriented. It is looking forward to God’s promises. It is an ever growing faith – not an add-on.
Now faith is the confidence of things hoped for, and the assurance of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1.
There are four (4) Non-Watered Down Truths about a Life of Faith:
- First, there is always a promised work of God.
- God speaks and promises that in the future He will do something. This is the object of faith – trusting God! What He says He will do, He will do.
- Faith is always based on God’s word. Noah was warned by God a flood was coming. He was told to save his family. Noah listened to God’s word and believed. That’s what faith is. It comes from hearing – hearing the word of God.
- Things Not Seen. Noah had no prior knowledge of a flood. He had never seen rain fall from a cloud in the sky. Genesis 2:5-6 says that instead of rain, streams or mist came up from the ground and watered the earth. The area where Noah lived is believed to have been in Mesopotamia which was located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. No oceans or lakes were nearby. Noah had God’s word about these things, and he had to totally trust Him about an event he had never seen or experienced.
- A life of faith is built on God’s word. God tells us there will be a second coming. We have no visual reference to this except His word. And we know without a doubt, this will definitely occur. He says salvation only comes through Christ. We believe this to be true because God/ Jesus have assured us there is no other way. How are you living in light of His return?
- Today’ Warning: 2 Thessalonians 1: 6-9 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our LORD Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the LORD and from the glory of His might.
- Secondly, in the life of faith there is always an inner response of faith. The scriptures say, In reverence, he prepared an ark. Noah was moved with Godly fear. Noah acted out of fear of God’s judgement. He did not want to displease God. He revered, or respected, or feared God’s word. He recognized God would act as He spoke. The same verbiage is used in Hebrews 5:7 describing Jesus praying in the garden with Godly fear saying, “Not my will, but thine be done.”
Here is my point: God spoke, Noah believed and there was an inner response of faith, humility and trembling with joy before God’s words were spoken. Without the inner life of faith, the outer acts are mere acts of performance. In Matthew 23: 27. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, calling them whitewashed tombs who looked good on the outside but on the inside they were like the bones of the dead and everything unclean. The outer response is the fruit of the inner experience. Genuine saving faith, by its very nature, results in radical change. From hearing God speak to his inner being, Noah was told to build a boat and he did.
If you are saved, God is speaking to you. We feel His word within us so we pray and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Forty-seven years ago, when I was 16, I was told by God to serve Him. I didn’t know exactly what that meant at the time, and initially I resisted it. However, eventually, I knew that was what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know where it would lead, or how I would serve. In time, He ultimately brought me here.
- Thirdly, the life of faith involved an external response. Saving faith changes the inner man and changes the way you live. Noah had a major change in his life!!! He built an ark.
There are four (4) External Responses to a Saving Faith.
- Convinced – “Prepared” Noah was looking at the flood as a reality. He was convinced he needed to build a boat to survive.
- Comprehensive – “All” Noah was “ all in.” He followed God’s specific instructions as to how to build the ark. He did it God’s way. He could have built a smaller boat. It would have taken a lot less time and work. But to serve God we are not to take short-cuts. There were no shortcuts to the price of our salvation. God expects the same from us.
Once a man who had built homes for 40 years for a wealthy man told him he would build one last house before he retired. They man gave him a $200,000 budget. The builder decided to make some money on the side to have a bigger profit. He used inferior materials
and cut corners to pocket what he “saved”. At the completion of the home, he went to the wealthy man to tell him he had finished. When he did, the man handed the keys to the home to the builder saying, “This one is yours.”
- Commitment Noah spent 120 years building the ark. He had no prior experience as a builder, he had no easy supplies, he even had to chop down the gopher trees and carry them to the site. People around him ridiculed him. They thought he was a fool to prepare for a flood – whatever that was. It would have been nice to have had come assurance. “But faith is the assurance of things hoped for.” Like Caleb, he was determined to finish strong. He didn’t quit or back down. He was the type of man referred to in Matthew 24:13. “He who stands firm till the end will be saved.”
- Communicate 2 Peter 2:5 says Noah was a preacher of righteousness and tried to warn the ungodly people around him to accept what he believed and what God had spoken. This is so important now as it was then. Don’t miss the act of God’s love. The end is coming; things are being prepared for judgement. As John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Your non-watered down external response to saving grace is to tell others the redemptive plan of God’s salvation.
- Fourthly, the life of faith has a measure of rewards. Noah prepared the ark to save his household and became the heir of righteousness. This he received years later when he died. Romans 8:17 says, As believers we are heirs with Christ to the cross, but our inheritance will be in heaven with God.
But a saving faith has rewards now. We can be declared righteous. We may be imputed as “Not Guilty.” We are imparted. We desire to have right conduct.
Just as the ark was the ONLY means of salvation from God’s judgement, so the LORD Jesus Christ is the ONLY way that God has provided for salvation from his coming judgement. Those who were in the ark were saved. Those who were out were lost. In Noah’s day it wasn’t a matter of being a good swimmer. It’s not a matter of being good enough. It’s about our saving faith in God.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21