(July 12, 2022) Richard Winter brings a timely challenge…
History records both good and bad times that humanity lives through! And we don’t need anyone to tell us that were living in difficult days today… we know! Indeed, bad times these days offer us a perspective of worse times to come!
This was true in the times of Jesus too! And one day He gave His disciples ‘a scripture memory test’ about Noah’s times, linking it to the end of time and His return from heaven.
Most people know the story of Noah and the ark Jesus referred to. Indeed everyone should take note of His Matthew 24:37-38 warning, ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so will it 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 that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood took them all away.’
Noah – an ‘ordinary’ person
Although he’s described as an ordinary man of his times, scripture records that he…
- Was a family man (Genesis 6:10).
- Found favour in the Lord’s sight (v8).
- Was righteous, blameless among his people (v9).
- Walked with God (v9).
- Obeyed God (v22).
Literally, Noah was a person who was ‘God’s man.’
God’s men (and women), although ordinary, are those who are different! It’s what they believe that sets them apart, and the society in which Noah lived people knew he was different.
Christians must be different
We too should be known as ordinary people who are different, people who are loving, caring and kind.
Many today are asking when will the end of the world come. Despite false prophecies, no one knows, only God the Father (Matthew 24:36).But Jesus’ revelations in Matthew 24 tell of end-time signs. Simply put, we are 2000 years closer, and God’s instruction is to know the times and live appropriately!
Evil in our world is on the increase –
- Marketed, manufactured, and then exported, even to my own nation, USA.
- America does its own share of manufacturing evil!
- Hollywood and TV fill minds with violence.
- Immorality is the byword for movies, TV shows and magazines sales.
- Sensual sex, even suspect supernatural sells, causing destruction.
Many today accept God’s word (Holy Bible) as containing some truth. Christians need to know and accept God’s word as the truth that sets us free! (John 8:32). Jesus said His word was truth (John 8:45), even as God’s word is truth (John 17:17).
The world in which we live has been desensitised to the subtle attacks of the devil. When we see him as a roaring lion we recognise his antics… but in most cases he comes as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). God wants us to know Satan’s manifestations and address them.
If you know the Bible to be truth, can you see end-time signs? If so, are you concerned to live for God as He wants us to? Reaching out to the entire world, not just locally, accepting not only Matthew 28:18-20’s great commission but whatever other commissions He challenges us with?
As it was in Noah’s day…
All seemed so normal: Eating, drinking, and marrying. Signs of good times, normal occupations, and the cycle of life was simply moving on until…
Noah, a righteous man listened to God about building a boat. What’s a boat? And what’s rain? On the plains of the ancient east there was no need for something called an ark, especially this big ‘boat’ Noah started work on.
And Noah’s friends didn’t understand him. But he knew God and that He was in charge!
Some years ago we heard cries of ‘What’s covid?’ As it was Noah’s days, don’t expect people today to understand it all or to act responsibility, to accept that although He didn’t ‘send’ covid, God’s still in charge of taking care of us!
Noah needed – and exercised – faith and resolve in moving ahead with God’s direction… even though the rains were yet to be seen. We – the church – need to know our God, listen to Him, and exercise our faith!
God gave Noah instructions, and it took him a great deal of time to build that ark. God gave the church instructions and from Acts 2, it grew as it reached out to fulfill the great commission. Today with covid, other restrictions and hamperings, it may seem to be taking a long time for the church to fully regain its status and move ahead into good growth once again.
But we can take hope! 2 Peter 3:9 confirms that ‘The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’
Yes, God watches over His word to perform it, fulfill it. People in Noah’s day forgot that we are more than a physical being. Eating, drinking, and marrying deal are physical aspects of human beings. But we have a spirit and a soul… the life force that God gave us.
The soul also needs nourishment to cause it to thrive, even as feeding the body assists it grow and thrive. If we feed the soul, it will thrive in the spiritual realm! Conversely, if we starve the body we die and if we starve the soul we die spiritually.
God wants us to recognise He has a plan for us as well as He had for Noah. When God spoke to Noah, no doubt he was perplexed – but he obeyed God and in doing so was called righteous. God wants us all to be in that same boat, the ark of righteousness!
Righteous men and women are more than good men and women… they are obedient servants of God!
Noah’s came before the eventual destruction. They’re all in the greatest manual – the Bible! Once God used to speak to His creation by prophets and angels, but now it’s by His Son Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-4).
God spoke to Noah when there was no rain and hence no flood, yet Noah commenced his ark building in faith and obedience. His friends and neighbours came over often to look and laugh: ‘Well Noah, now we know you’re crazy. Have you looked around lately… there’s no water here, no clouds with rain.’
I believe we, the church of Jesus in our locale, can discern biblical warning signs, knowing that it’s not yet as bad as it will get but – evil always seeks to overwhelm truth – and unless we are obedient we can even become blind to the signs of the times!
Our instructions in 2022 are practical principles on being obedient to God!
1) We must…
- Plan ahead while it isn’t ‘raining.’
- Ignore critics.
- Get on with God’s job for each of us!
Criticism and misunderstanding come with the territory! Jesus was misunderstood and criticised. Preaching the truth by word and deed will cause opposition. Later on Noah’s critics wanted to get onboard the ark… but they were too late!
As it was in Noah’s day, finally deciding to accept Jesus will come too late for many! Critics will laugh and scorn but remember you are just the messenger. The message is from God, and He is management; We are just staff doing what the boss wants.
2) Be ready: Even if 60+ years old
Age to God is not a barrier!
- Abraham fathered a son at 100.
- Moses led people into the Promised Land at 80.
- Noah built an ark at 60.
- John received his revelation at nearly 100.
Age is no hindrance with God as He looks over His word to perform it. Jesus has told us to go… into all the world because God wants everyone to get into ‘the ark of salvation,’ forgiving every sin when He’s asked.
God is a promise-keeping God… be ready to receive an invitation to encountering the impossible!
Recently I reread God’s Smuggler: Brother Andrew. A simple Dutchman he believed God and operated in faith.
- Without money, he attended a Scottish Bible college for two years (God paid all: ‘faith installments’).
- God gave him a dream to reach young communists, so he planned to attend a congress in Poland.
- God allowed him to witness that in Communist countries’ churches there were no Bibles.
- God called him to write a small account of his trip… and it was published.
- God arranged a car, then a ministry of taking Bibles behind the then Iron Curtain.
- That ministry is still here today, called Open Doors.
Nothing is impossible with God… all things are possible with Him (Mark 10:27, Romans 8:31, Job 42:2, Jeremiah 32:27)! Pray for the impossible and commit by faith. At every age of our life we can say yes to God. Obedience always precedes blessing, but many have heard God’s invitation and said I’m too young or I’m too old. You age is never a problem with God, all He is looking for is people who will be obedient.
Professionals built the Titanic… which, sadly, sank. That ark built by amateur boat builder Noah didn’t. In faith he followed God’s instructions… can you? God has a blueprint for an ark to carry you over the floods of life and readily share gospel blessing with others.
3) Build your future on God’s ground
In Noah’s day there were two terrible floods –
(i) Rising water.
God gave Noah specific instructions on building an ark of safety… material, number of floors, length, width, position… and to be built right where he lived (Genesis 6:14-16)! What blueprints has God got for you to give you a ‘building job’ – right where you’re at?
When floods come into the lives of your friends and neighbours, they will want to know ‘God’s lifesaving plans and how to get into His salvation ark.’
God was looking for righteous person but found only one – Noah. We must recognise that the days in which we live are evil and judgment is just around the corner, that we are to get on board with the tasks that God has for us. People will not understand, but they need Jesus, the ark, just as we do.
Today, God is looking for people who are righteous and will be obedient like Noah was!
Noah did everything just as God commanded him and the metaphor for 2022 is simple: Safety for Noah and his family was the ark he built. Safety for us… and others… is in Jesus Christ!
God’s plan is –
a) Accept Jesus
b) Believe His words
c) Confess to others what you have received.
May your very serious prayer – your church’s – be fivefold…
- Father God, we are your people and desire to be obedient to you.
- Reveal to us your church the plans you have for us.
- Touch our hearts to make them soft before you.
- Fill our lives with dreams and blueprints of life ahead.
- Give us daily the Holy Spirit’s help.
Incidentally, ‘Noah’ meaning ‘rest’ – probably derived from a Hebrew root meaning ‘to comfort.’
Dr Richard Winter pastors The Connection Church, Huntington Beach, California. Contact: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com