Good morning to all my brothers and sisters in Christ and to any visitors we may have here today.
This is the first time I’m preaching since we’ve lost the masks and I must say it’s great to see everyone’s faces and also to see so many people back at church at the same time.
Maurice asked me to preach on Noah so today we’ll be looking at what was happening at the time of Noah and what lessons we can learn from that, and then lessons from the life of Noah and how we can apply those lessons in our own lives.
Before we start let’s open in prayer.
Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for your word, that it’s living and as relevant to us now as it was when it was first written. Open our hearts and minds to what you want to show and teach us today and give us the strength to make the changes in our lives that you want us too.
Before we even start opening the scriptures and talking about Noah I need to talk about a word so that you know where I am coming from. And having said that I have no intention of bashing people today or how they feel but it’s very important to understand why we possibly think the way we do about the bible and how it’s interpreted. And that word interpret is very important. Today I am good to be looking at Noah through a Jewish hermeneutic. Hermeneutics literally means ‘how we interpret the bible’. Having said that we need to know that every one of us reads the bible with a different hermeneutic. So when I say I’m looking through a Jewish hermeneutic I mean I see the new testament as an extension of the old. Looking at the new testament through the eyes of the Jewish people who wrote the old testament.
There is a saying that goes like this. The new is in the old concealed and the old is in the new revealed.
You’ll understand as we go along why this is important.
Let’s all open our bibles at Genesis chapter 6 READ entire chapter.
We won’t be reading the actual account of the flood as we’ve all heard or read this before but I would encourage you all to continue reading in your own time.
Before the second world war there were about 550 000 congregational Jews living in Germany and by the time the war started these numbers had dwindled to about 220 000 people due to emigration. So around 300 000 Jews left Germany before the war even started. By the end of the war about 160 000 had been killed. During this entire period there were systems set up in order to get as many Jews out of Germany because many, but not all Jews saw the writing on the wall.
The story of Noah is ultimately a rescue story about a righteous man, who, with his family was saved from the judgement of God. There is also a very close tie with the rescue story of Lot and his family. You’ll see for yourselves when you read that they are both about the rescue of righteous people that were saved and preserved directly by God while the rest of those around then were judged by God.
So what can we learn from the time Noah lived with his family?
- Genesis 6 vs 1-4 refer to a time before the flood where fallen angels decided to come down to earth and have relations with human women, the children from this joining were called the Nephilim. The bible explains that these creatures were genetically corrupt which was Satan's desire to alter Gods plan for how he wanted people to multiply and fill the earth. The Nephilim were incapable of repentance the way a human was so you can imagine why Satan wanted to corrupt God’s whole cycle. The more mankind was genetically corrupted the less people were capable of repentance. There are some scholars that say all mankind was genetically corrupt and that Noah’s family were literally the last of the ‘pure’ people but I don’t think that is the case. Noah was preaching repentance while he was building the ark right up until the day the ark door was closed. I’m going to refer back now to what I said earlier about a Jewish hermeneutic. Those from the old testament read and understood the scriptures exactly the way they were written. However, those that don’t look at the scriptures from a Jewish interpretation have big issues accepting what the bible says about the Nephilim and their origin. Noah is mentioned in 2 Peter 2 vs 5 as a ‘preacher of righteousness’. Mathew 24 vs 37-39 says the following:
37For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
I’ve asked the guys to put up an image showing the generations from Adam to Noah. You’ll see that Methuselah had literally just died before the flood came and that it had only been 10 generations from the time of Adam to the time of Noah.
What can we learn from this time of Noah and keep for ourselves.
- At the time of Noah everyone was involved in their own lives with no thought of God at all. Noah preached righteousness for 75 years while he was building but not one person repented. The heart of man is dead towards God.
- The world was completely corrupt with the thoughts of men being evil continually.
- The earth was filled with violence.
- There were these Nephilim creatures, which according to scripture will be back again at the time when Jesus comes back.
If we look at the world we live in today we can see we are very close to the same situation Noah was in just before the flood. Very few people have any interest in a relationship with God but only in living their own lives. From a moral point of view the world as it is now is in a downward spiral. It’s almost got to the point where what was classified as good, is now bad and vice versa. We’ve also seen how our world has become more and more violent.
If we even consider the greater church today. It is also corrupt. More and more churches are simply following after the rules the world is putting in place rather than using the word of God, the bible as a yard-stick for Christians to live by. The emphasis is on keeping the peace rather than living righteous lives the way the bible shows us too.
It will be interesting to see how the Nephilim side of things works out as the time of Jesus’ return approaches even closer. There are many theories floating out there about using cloning technology and bio-engineering which will cause the resurgence of these Nephilim.
Now what can we learn about the man Noah?
- Noah loved God. His life displayed his love for God in how he behaved.
- Noah was righteous in God’s eyes. Of all the men in the entire world God chose him because he was both pure of heart and pure of blood.
- He was the spiritual leader of his home. Not only was he righteous but he led his wife and extended family in righteousness as well.
- Noah was obedient. Despite how ridiculous the task may have seemed to be. He still listened to what God told him to do and then did what he was told to do.
- Noah persevered. It took him 75 years to build the ark but he didn’t give up.
- Noah endured the mockery of those around him. When you read various commentaries there is general agreement that it didn’t rain before the flood as it does now. So the people living at the time of Noah must have been merciless in their mockery as the idea of a flood was just so far-fetched.
- Noah had a love for his fellow man. Although he didn’t agree with the lifestyles of those around him. He wanted to see them repent and be saved. He preached for the full 75 years in the hope that some may be saved.
- Noah was normal human being who made mistakes. He became drunk after everything he went though and saw how faithful God had been.
And so how do we translate these characteristics of Noah into our own lives?
- Do our lives reflect the love for God we claim to have? The emphasis in the world around us is very much to keep our thoughts of God to ourselves and also that our behaviour must conform to the pattern the world dictates. If you think of how the Covid pandemic was handled and how people were forced to behave, despite the fact that all the facts didn’t always line up. Love of God means a desire to share His salvation with others.
- Are we living righteous lives? We sometimes forget that God is omnipresent. He sees everything we do and we can’t hide from Him. Are we actively pursuing the types of lives He wants us to live? In many ways we are being beaten down by the world around us and the temptation to become apathetic is very strong. Especially if we are comfortable in this life financially. For those that are struggling with finances. health, or work it can mean either a closer clinging to Christ or maybe even a total rejection because life is tough. We are being observed by people all the time who are wanting us to fail. If we don’t live the lives that reflect Jesus truly then we are being hypocrites and the world will not be drawn to Jesus.
- Are the men in the church the spiritual leaders of their homes? It is clear from Genesis 6 that Noah was a huge spiritual influence in the life of his family. The fact that his son’s wives were also included in the group of 8 means that he truly did lead his family in righteousness. I know that for myself I find this a constant thorn in my flesh. It’s very difficult for me to come home and be that righteous man in both behaviour and to encourage my wife and family to pursue God for themselves. I don’t about the other men here but just going to work can feel like you’re going through a meat grinder and when I get home at the end of the day I often feel like there’s not much more to give out. But I do want to encourage all the husbands and fathers here to keep at it. Grow the desire within you to be close to God and then draw your families close to God as well. We as men have been called to be the teachers and leaders in our homes whether we feel it comes naturally to us or not.
- Are we being obedient to God and His word? Have we taken the time with God to hear what He wants us to do for Him, and then follow through and do what He has told us? Nowadays time seems even more compressed so there’s a constant temptation to spend less time with God and to focus more on other things. But we can’t know God and we can’t hear from God if we aren’t spending time with Him in reading the word and prayer.
- Are we persevering like Noah did? 1 Corinthians 16 vs 13 says this: ‘Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong’. There are many people leaving churches today simply because they don’t want to continue persevering. The sheer act of being a true believer in Jesus day in and day out is not easy and to keep on persevering is difficult. In order to persevere you need to surround yourselves with brothers and sisters in Jesus. We need each other. To persevere alone is so much harder than to persevere with like minded believers. Seek Christians out and spend more time with them than with the world if you can. This will help you to stand when things get tough.
- Are we prepared to be mocked for having a relationship with Jesus? Noah was mocked and laughed at for longer than many of us may be alive. The bible makes it clear that when we share with others that there is a judgement coming on the world and that Jesus is coming back for His people, that we will be mocked. In fact there are many so-called bible teachers who openly mock those who believe in a literal return of Jesus. Be prepared to live a life for Jesus and for people to mock you because you do.
- Do we have love and compassion for our fellow man? Noah kept preaching for those 75 years because he didn’t want to see people destroyed. He wanted others to join him on the ark. We need to examine our hearts and also pray that God gives us His compassion for the lost. He wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of Him. We must guard against being so insular that we become a holy-huddle and therefore have no time for the lost. I believe that one on one relationships and sharing Jesus with individuals is still the best way to make disciples.
- When we look at Noah we may well feel intimidated but we know he was a normal man and made mistakes. Even after he got drunk he picked himself up and them continued to faithfully follow God for the rest of His life. We are no different. We are going to drop our cross but the onus is on us to keep picking it up and moving forward. When we sin Satan will use guilt to condemn us and to make us feel like we should give up. But for us there is not condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and called according to His purpose.
Finally I want to talk about what we learn from God himself though this story of Noah.
- God is holy: He hates sin. Imagine God getting to the point where He wants to destroy everything He had created because the world was riddled with sin. Yes God is a God of love or He would never have sent Jesus to die for us, but He is holy and He is coming back to judge the world.
- God is faithful: He will save those who are seeking after and are loyal to Him. He will bring us through whatever we are going through to the other side. Noah still had to be obedient, build the ark, and go through the all the trials he did before he got through the other side. God is not in the habit of taking us out of trials, but taking us though them.
- God wants to save families: As much as there is rejoicing in Heaven when one person is saved, God loves saving entire families. We think of the years and years of prayer from family members that result in that brother, sister, mother or father eventually having Jesus as their Saviour. Keep praying for your loved ones who are not saved, God wants to see them saved even more than you do.
In closing I want to encourage all of you to take to heart all these lessons from Noah. Like Noah we have the hope that we are going to be rescued/raptured before His judgement comes on this world. And like Noah let’s be righteous, live lives that reflect Jesus to others. Men, be the spiritual heads of your homes. Let’s persevere in the faith, be obedient to what God wants us to do in this life, keep praying for those who are not saved in our families and finally, have compassion on the lost and share the faith we have in Jesus so that they may be rescued from God’s judgement to come.
Heavenly Father. You’ve put this story of Noah in your word to encourage us and to show us who you are. To show that you are holy and hate sin, but also that you are patient and merciful and that you want to see all men saved. Give us the courage Lord to share our faith with others and to lives worthy of the salvation You have given us.