Faith Heroes -“Super to us is faithful to God”
$11,682.96 and counting. You people amaze me. And now all this stuff? You people amaze me again. I don’t know if you are searching for a church, but this church gets it. James tells us, “You can’t say that you love God if you do not love people.” We are to be passionate about God and compassionate towards people. People giving money and buying food for someone you do not know is nothing short of miraculous in my book! Speaking of the miraculous – define miraculous for me. A miracle is “an event that appears to be contrary to the laws of nature (Jesus walking on water/a heavy ax head floating to the surface) and is regarded as an act of God.” A miracle is an event or action that is amazing, extraordinary or unexpected![i] Google Blake Haxton and you’ll get oodles of stories concerning this young man. Truth is Blake should have died. Actually, he did die, but came back to life. Blake is nothing short of a miracle. Have you ever heard of a High School kid named Jason McElwain? Back in 2008 this autistic teenager living near Rochester, New York did the unexpected. (Boy with Autism Video Clip)
I love stories like that. 6 (three’s) in less than five minutes. Who would have thought? May I remind you that a miracle is an event that’s amazing, extraordinary or unexpected. The Bible defines a miracle as “a wondrous work.”[ii] The one pulling off that “wondrous work” is God, Jesus or someone being empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. I want you to see one of the all time classic Bible miracles. Turn to Hebrews 11:7. Do you need a Bible today? Just raise your hand right now and a Bible will miraculously appear before your eyes! Today we dive into Faith Hero #3: Noah! What God does through this boat building man is nothing short of a miracle. This event is amazing, extraordinary and totally unexpected. I can hear the conversation now. “Noah!” “Yes, LORD. I want you to build a boat! REALLY, now, today, in the desert?” What enabled Noah to build this boat? Hebrews 11:7 gives us a glimpse.
Faith enabled Noah to build the ark. And what’s faith? “Taking God at his word.” The story of Noah starts with his birth in Genesis 5:28 and ends with his death in Genesis 9:29. Hold Hebrews 11 but turn now to Genesis 6:9. Noah was righteous. We can be right with God because we have taken God at his word when it comes to our salvation – that is Jesus. Noah is “right with God because he took God at his word!”[iii] He built the boat. Motivated by “holy fear” or reverence – he built this humongous vessel where no water would ever touch it. Makes no sense but sometimes God doesn’t make sense. He simply wants us to trust him. Noah was also blameless among the people. That is compared to those around him – he was blameless they were wicked. For us blameless refers to not letting willful sin plague your life. The truth is you are not free. You can’t stop. Do not really want to stop. You are addicted, consumed, head over heels engulfed with some particular sin. Not Noah! He wasn’t perfect - he simple walked with God. That’s the last description of Noah in verse 9. Moses tells us in Genesis that four people specifically walked with God: Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Isaac. Honestly, what does it mean to walk with God? Find verse 10. Go back to Genesis 5:32. (Read) Put 500 years right by verse 10. Now go to Genesis 7:6. What happens between these two verses takes about 100 years. How again did Noah walk with God? Sometimes to get an answer you need to compare one verse with another. Find Genesis 6:11. (11-13) Drop to verse 5 in Genesis 6. (5-8)
Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. There is a repeated phrase in the Old Testament – they did right in the eyes of the Lord OR they did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Guess which one would apply to Noah? He did right in the eyes of the Lord. What does it mean to walk with God? Have you ever seen an older couple walking hand in hand in the park? What’s every woman say when she sees this. Awwww! This type of walking shouts friendship, companionship and relationship. That’s what Noah had with God. You walk with God when you first believe he exists! But it doesn’t stop there. You also become “convicted of God’s moral character.”[iv] He’s good. We’ve been created in his image which means we have the potential for doing good. Since God does exist – I should do what he says. I should trust that he’ll keep his promises and reward those who earnestly seek him. And when God issues a warning – I’d better take him up on it. Here’s Noah’s warning. Find Genesis 6:13-22. (Pictures at verse 15) Here is a replica of the biblical Ark, built by Dutch Creationist Johan Huibers as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible. The ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. That's two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house. That’s why Noah’s listed in Hebrews 11. That’s why we’re describing him as a faith hero! Every part of his body had to say – this is crazy. The sky is hot. The ground is dry. Boats have no business being built in the desert. But God said it – so I’m going to do it. Maybe you’re thinking what I’m thinking. “Greg, if God spoke to me out loud with an audible voice. I’d listen to!” Don’t be too sure. The Bible tells us the God spoke to Noah at the beginning of this project and doesn’t speak to him again for nearly 100 years. No where does the Bible say God gave Noah a monthly pep talk. “Keep up the work Noah. You’re doing great. Ignore those making fun of you! Just 60 more years. Just 30 more years. Just 5 more years!” Don’t you think after awhile Noah started wondering – “Did I hear God right or not?” BUT to his credit he kept going until he built what would have to be considered one incredible boat. How do you keep going every day? Like Noah – you walk by faith!
I’m not sure what God’s warnings do in your life! At one time God said of mankind – “It is good, very good.” Now he is saying, “We are not good, not good at all.” When we are left to ourselves to choose how we want to live – we become woefully selfish. When we leave God out life literally becomes a trivial pursuit. Selfishness ruled in Noah’s day and it rules in our day too. The result of selfishness is seen in failed relationships – namely with God and with people. You may think I’m out of my mind, but God flooding the earth does not surprise me. What surprises me is that he chooses not to toast US too.
A father, Cameron Brown, is being tried in California in the murder of his 4 year old daughter. He allegedly threw her off a cliff because he did not want to make child support payments.[v] Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence.
A Mom in Brazil took her two year old son to the doctor because he was always complaining of pain. They did x-rays and discovered 42 needles inside his body. Police arrested his step-father and he admitted jabbing the needles into his son’s body as part of a religious ritual.[vi]
Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence.
The earth hundreds of years ago was corrupt. The earth today is also corrupt. To resolve the problem THEN God sent a flood. To resolve the problem TODAY God sent his SON!
I little girl is visiting her relatives. She’s sitting in a chair and sees her uncle walk into the room. She says hi and then asks her uncle an interesting question. “Uncle Ron how come you don’t believe in God?” And he responds. “Some of the stories in the Bible are too far fetched for me. That guy Jonah getting swallowed by a fish and then Noah. How am I supposed to believe in a global flood, a big boat and a bunch of animals?” She says, “Well, when I get to heaven I’ll ask Noah how it all happened? And he says, “Maybe Noah’s not in heaven. Maybe Noah’s in hell. She thinks about it for a moment and then says, “In that case, you can ask him.”
Truthfully, I think that’s so funny, but in reality there’s nothing funny about hell. Help me here! If a person doesn’t believe that Noah existed will that send them to hell? NO! May I be perfectly transparent with you. The story of Noah is just bazaar, and that’s because it’s one big amazing miracle. Noah did his part. He built a boat in faith. God did his part. He sent Noah the animals and he shut the ark door. A miracle is “an event that appears to be contrary to the laws of nature – an act of God. Animals arriving two by two? That’s an act of God! There’s no rudder on the ark. That’s an act of God - God directed the ark where it needed to go! A miracle is amazing and extraordinary and this story is amazing and extraordinary AND CALL ME CRAZY, but I believe it did happen. Why am I convinced? Jesus believed in Noah. Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 24:36. (36-42) The next “our parables found in Matthew 25, Mark 13 & Luke 21 all say the same thing, BE READY!”[vii] Noah preached for decades that a flood was coming. He had the perfect visual illustration. But people would not believe him. There were no visible signs that an earthquake would strike Haiti but it did. You are not going to get an email from Jesus saying he’s coming back in a week or a day.
Have you ever heard of the book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Here’s another: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Noah:
Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark
For safety's sake, travel in pairs / Stay fit. When you're old, God may ask you to do something big / Don't listen to critics; just do the job that needs to be done / Keep perspective - the ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals / Don't miss the boat. When it comes to Jesus don’t miss the boat!
[i] Encarta Dictionary: Miracle, English (North America)
[ii] www.e-sword.com/Psalm 106:22/Miracle/Strong’s Bible Dictionary
[iii] EBC, Volume 12, Hebrews, 116
[iv] EBC, Volume 12, Hebrews, 115
[vii] Mark Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 547