2Fearing God is always reflected in obedience to Him, and He always rewards obedience.
3REVERENCE & RESPECT is the principle
RIGHTEOUSNESS is the promise
4Genesis 6:6-8 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Using Noah as an example, let’s explore what it means to “fear the Lord”. As we examine his life, we will see how his fear of God made it possible for him to obey God. This in turn motivated him to build an altar and worship. His “discovery of grace” allowed him to see how he could be delivered from the coming destruction. God caused Noah to “prosper” and become the heir of righteousness. It is this same process which allows us to be “made righteous” today. Romans 10:3,4; I Corinthians 1:30
Just as you cannot base a relationship on cold facts alone, the same is true of developing a relationship with God. There are so many elements that are inter-connected, and it is easy to turn it into a ritual. It is so easy to get the cart ahead of the horse. There are steps to developing your relationship with God, but at no time should they take the place of your relationship with God.
Noah began building a strange-looking boat with one small window. As he built it, he proclaimed to all who would listen that God told him a flood was coming to destroy civilization. Couple this strange scenario with the fact that in the history of the world it had never rained, and a person has the plot for a very interesting story. The true story of Noah and the ark has leaped from the Bible to capture the imagination of young and old alike in every generation for nearly forty centuries.
When God told Noah it was going to rain, he believed it. When God told Noah to build an ark, he responded by beginning to build. But when Noah relayed this message to the people of his day, they did not believe it. Still, their refusal to believe the message did nothing to deter him from his determination to build an ark. He whom Peter called “a preacher of righteousness” (II Peter 2:5) kept hammering and heralding.
Man’s wickedness caused God to resort to a destructive flood, and it was Noah’s godly fear and righteousness that caused God to warn him and to give him and others an opportunity to escape. Although Noah escaped the judgment of the Flood, he was able to save only his own family.
The Bible records only 769 words spoken by God to Noah during his 950-year life. The Bible records 392 words that God spoke to him before the Flood and 377 words that He spoke to Noah after the Flood. We who feel a need to receive reassurance from God regularly should learn a lesson from Noah. God told him to build the ark; and as far as we know, He did not speak to him again until after the flood when He told Noah to leave the ark. It is no wonder the Bible speaks of Noah as an heir of righteousness.
Slide 6 - “A man of faith provides for no alternative to the command of God.”
What a great challenge Noah provided for us today by his exemplary life of faith and fear (godly respect)! May we always fear the Lord, for it is the “beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).
Noah’s civilization was more wicked than we can imagine. We believe our world is wicked today, but the Bible says of Noah’s day that “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). It also adds that “the earth . . . was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:12). The four words “every,” “only,” “all,” and “continually” define the degree to which the people had degenerated.
We can be thankful that there is still a moral thread that runs through the fabric of North America. We face numerous challenges in our contemporary culture, but many of our schools and communities still retain a respect for God and moral values. In Noah’s day, however, he and his family were the only ones who feared God.
God Warned Noah about what was about to happen. God has always had people of righteousness to whom He could relate and through whom He could communicate with mankind. In every dispensation God has had someone to whom He could talk and convey His messages so that they in turn would relay His words to the people. Noah was God’s man in what many often refer to as the second dispensation, or the dispensation of conscience.
7“Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).
The Bible also describes Noah as “a just man,” “perfect,” and that he “walked with God.” It is commendable that Noah maintained his integrity in spite of being surrounded by sin. This proves that we can live for God in a wicked world—at home, at work, at school, or wherever we may be exposed to iniquity.
Noah warned those around him. The Bible does not tell us how Noah evangelized his world, but it does call him “a preacher of righteousness.” How discouraging it must have been to have preached for over a century and still not have any converts except seven family members. Although this seems like a failure in the field of evangelism, he did save his family. Unfortunately, not all Christians today have achieved even that measure of success.
Whether the people got into the ark was not the only deciding factor relative to their salvation. The people were lost because they would not repent of their wickedness, not merely because they failed to get into the ark. If they had been righteous, they would have gotten into the ark, but since they were wicked, they did not even consider it. Apparently, Noah did not preach, “Get into the ark,” for the people needed to repent of their wickedness and obtain righteousness. Then they would have gone into the ark. Noah, sensing that need, preached righteousness.
8“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).
Jesus warned that the time preceding His second coming would be similar to the days before the Flood. He said that there would be a time of eating, drinking, marrying, and divorce, and there would be a lack of knowledge (“and knew not until the flood came”).
The lack of knowledge Christ predicted will not be a lack of education, for another of the prophecies of the last days indicates that “knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). Still, while there will be an increase of education in the last days there also will be an ignorance of the things of God.
9“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy . . . traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (II Timothy 3:1-4).
Many things today reflect the time of moral decadence of which both Jesus and Paul warned. Rather than contrast the times we live in, we are going to talk about the motivating factor behind Moses’ actions.
Obedience is based on godly fear -
10Seven verses in Proverbs begin with the words “The fear of the Lord.”
111. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).
2. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13).
3. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).
4. “The fear of the Lord prolongeth days” (Proverbs 10:27).
5. “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:27).
6. “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom” (Proverbs 15:33).
7. “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life” (Proverbs 19:23).
Scofield defines “fear of the Lord” as “a phrase of the Old Testament piety, meaning reverential trust, with hatred of evil.” It is not “a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, pain, etc.,” which is the usual definition of fear, but it is reverence and respect.
The Scriptures state that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom, and before a person can believe God he must revere God. To revere is “to regard with deep respect.” To regard is “to observe or look at with a firm, steady gaze.” Before any person believes God, he must behold God. Looking always precedes loving.
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13). No one can truly respect God and love evil, for evil and God are incompatible. Consequently, respect for God and respect for evil are incompatible.
The fear of the Lord prolongs a person’s days (Proverbs 10:27), for he becomes the benefactor of many blessings that may include health (Proverbs 3:8), protection (Proverbs 3:33), and prosperity (Proverbs 3:9-10). These are benefits that naturally encourage longevity.
To fear the Lord is to tap into the fountain of abundant life. Springing forth from God are all kinds of blessings that enhance life. Anyone wanting to really enjoy life must seriously consider serving the Lord.
To have the fountain of life is to enjoy a continual source of life. It is an artesian fountain of joy, peace, and righteousness.
Slide 12 “Reverence for God leads a person to the school of wisdom.”
“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom” (Proverbs 15:33). Revering the Lord enrolls a person in the school of wisdom where instruction comes in many ways. To fear the Lord is not only to “register,” however, but also to “graduate” eventually.
“The fear of the Lord tendeth to life” (Proverbs 19:23), for the Lord is life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Fearing the Lord causes a person to seek out and receive the abundant life afforded only by Jesus Christ. The life that Jesus Christ gives ultimately leads a person to eternal life.
B. Godly Fear Precedes Hearing and Obeying
When God told Noah, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood” (Genesis 6:14), he made it. There is no indication that he questioned or argued with God. Further, he did not say, “I will pitch it without, but why within?” Noah obeyed God explicitly and completely.
The ark was to be Noah’s way to escape judgment, and the pitch on the inside as well as the outside made the vehicle safe and ensured his salvation. Today the plan of salvation as given in Acts 2:38 is our way to escape the judgment that is coming upon the world.
We have been careful to demonstrate Christianity outwardly, which is important, but we must not neglect the inward aspects of true Christianity. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their emphasis on the exterior to the neglect of the interior. We must not neglect either.
As respect without response is not truly respect, so reverence without obedience is not truly reverence. Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (John 14:23).
Hearing is only a function of the ear, a mere auditory stimulus, but obedience is a response of the heart. People must not hear the gospel only with their ears; they also must hear the gospel with their heart and respond obediently to it.
Once there lived in a remote area a poor family that had never owned or even seen a mirror. One day the husband found a broken piece of a mirror. Not knowing what it was, he said, “Well, I have found a picture of my dear old dad.” Not wanting anyone to bother his newly found treasure, he hid it between the mattresses of their crude iron-frame bed. Frequently he would slip into the bedroom when he thought no one was watching, pull the “picture” out, and admire it.
His wife, observing his strange behavior, saw him one day as he pulled the piece of mirror out and looked at it. Waiting until he was absent from the house, she hurried to the bedroom to see what was interesting him there. When she pulled the mirror out and looked at it, she said, “So that’s the old hussy that he has been looking at.”
Both husband and wife were seeing themselves, but neither recognized their image. How true this is of the mirror of the Word! But if we are honest, we can all see our image and do something about it.
Slide 13 “Noah recognized that his first act in his new world should be the building of an altar.”
C. Godly Fear Motivated Noah to Build an Altar
The first thing Noah did when he left the ark was to build an altar and offer to God an offering. This act underscored the importance that Noah placed on his relationship with God.
A trip to the altar is a good way to begin a new life in a new world. Whether we are beginning a new job, a marriage, the rearing of children, or just a new day, we need to “build an altar.” “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
The altar represented a place where Noah met with God and God met with Noah. A meeting place with God is vital to our victory. As Noah could not have made it in the new world without an experience at the altar, neither can we expect to live for God in this world without a regular and consistent “altar” experience.
III. BECOMING HEIRS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
A. Noah Found Grace
In the Old Testament the word grace comes from the Hebrew word chen meaning “graciousness, kindness, favor,” having the meaning of “bending or stooping in kindness to an inferior.” Figuratively, God stooped to warn Noah of pending doom, giving him a way of escape from the judgment that He was soon to bring upon the world.
God was not obligated to warn Noah, nor was Noah worthy to receive a warning despite his righteousness. If Noah had merited that kind of treatment, it would not have been grace. It would have been merely the payment of a debt.
Whatever we receive from God, it is because of His grace. There is no way that we can earn or deserve any recognition from God.
The knowledge of this should do away with self-righteousness, but it does not. Unfortunately, it is easy for a person to lapse into legalism and feel that he deserves what he receives from God because of his righteous lifestyle. Nevertheless, we have no righteousness except that which God gives us by Jesus Christ.
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).
Noah’s walk with God not only attracted the attention of God but it also saved him. By being righteous, he was separated from the evil masses that aroused the wrath of God. By being righteous, he received a remedy for wrath. By being righteous, he saved his house. (See Hebrews 11:7; I Peter 3:20.)
B. Noah Was Prosperous in God
“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. . . . And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein” (Genesis 9:1, 7).
It was God’s will for Noah and his family to prosper in their new world. God had cleansed the world with the Flood making it a more livable habitat. It was only fitting that Noah and his family enjoy a fresh, new start in their pristine world.
As Noah prospered and was fruitful in the newly purged world, it is God’s will that we enjoy a fruitful life with a spiritual prosperity that is commensurate with Christ’s teachings. It is not a violation of Christian principles to be successful. It is God’s promise and will that we prosper spiritually as we recognize and obey the principles of the Scriptures.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (III John 2).
The word prosper in III John 2 is translated from two Greek words meaning “to help on the road.” Combine this with the meaning of the Greek word from which comforter is translated, “one called alongside to help,” and a person has an encouraging scenario. When we give our life to the Lord, He comes not only to live within but also to walk alongside to assist us on the road of life.
C. Noah Became the Heir of Righteousness
Hebrews 11:7 from the Amplified Bible offers an interesting insight to Noah’s righteous relationship with God: “[Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family. By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed judgment and sentence on the world’s unbelief and became an heir and possessor of righteousness, (that relation of being right into which God puts the person who has faith).”
Righteousness is not just being right, correct, or accurate. Righteousness is a relationship with God in which we are believing and He is imputing. The righteousness that God imputes, or credits to our spiritual account, is His righteousness, not our righteousness. Yet it makes us right, or just.
When Noah believed God, it was accounted to him, as it was to Abraham, for righteousness. Thus Noah became the heir of righteousness.
D. God Has Heirs of Righteousness Today
“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).
Obedience to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ establishes a relationship wherein the believer is counted righteous with God. It is not an attribute of the believer, but of God. It is His righteousness with which He clothes us.
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:3-4).
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (I Corinthians 1:30).
The story of Noah and the ark, though difficult for some modern theologians to believe, provides not only an interesting story of what really happened, but also a narrative teaching the rewards of proper respect for God. Noah, who lived in a wicked society, feared God; and if we really want to have eternal life, we will fear the Lord.
The Book of Proverbs reveals in seven different verses what the fear of God really is and what it will accomplish in our lives. It was his fear of the Lord that caused Noah to hear and obey God by building an ark and an altar to Him. Fearing God is always reflected in obedience to Him, and God always rewards obedience.
To be righteous is to be in right standing or relation to God. It is not a matter of achieving our own state of righteousness, for our righteousness is as filthy rags to God. Rather, it is being endowed with the righteousness of God on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to Him. The righteousness of God is awarded to us not on the basis of our goodness or state of deserving it, but by the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
As Noah was an heir of righteousness in his day, so are we heirs of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ. By God’s grace He has allowed us to partake of the righteousness of Jesus Christ through the endowment of His Holy Spirit in our lives.
Psalm 34 is a beautiful psalm of praise by David –
Verse 9 – Fear the Lord, for there is no want to those that fear Him. HOW?
How do you develop the fear of the Lord?
Psalm 34:11-14 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speakingdeceit.
Proverbs 18:20,21 – the power of the tongue
Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.
II Thessalonians 3:6, 11-15
I Timothy 6:3-5
Proverbs 1:7; 9:10