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Godly Living in a Godless Culture | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 4, 2024 3:00 am

Godly Living in a Godless Culture | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 4, 2024 3:00 am

How was Noah able to live in the world without being OF the world, and how can we do the same as we clearly see the days of Noah becoming parallel to ours? Pastor Jonathan Laurie gives us guidance. 

Notes:

We were made in the image of God.

We were created on purpose, and we were created for a purpose!

1 Corinthians 10:31

Psalm 119:105

Hebrews 11: Hall of Faith.

Hebrews 11:7

True faith will always lead to faithfulness!

James 2:26

Matthew 24:36–39

Read: Genesis 6:9–14

Read: Genesis 6:17–22

Read: Genesis 7:1, 5

Read: Genesis 7:11–14

Read: Genesis 7:17–24

Read: Genesis 8:1

Read: Genesis 8:15–20

Read: Genesis 9:1

1. Counter Cultural Living.

Genesis 6:9

2. Obedience and Joy.

Genesis 6:22

“Noah’s venture to build his vessel upon dry land while awaiting the impending floodwaters is exemplary of a person trusting in what cannot be seen or proven.” —Ken Matthews

Genesis 9:1

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. We've been freed from our old nature, our old identity, and we have come alive again in Your name, Jesus. There is power there. And so we are thankful to get to gather together at all of our campuses and worship You, to sing to You, and now, Lord, to hear from You. We pray that You would speak to us through Your word, that You would minister to us, that You would convict, You would convince, You would move us closer towards Yourself. Jesus, we need You even to do that. Oh, Lord, we're desperate for You. We're desperate for Your presence.

We're desperate for You to intervene in the different areas of our lives. Lord, we just are thankful to be called by Your name. We're thankful that we have the opportunity to be here and to hear from You.

What a blessing. So we pray that You would speak to us through Your word, that You would minister to us, and You would challenge us, Lord. And by the power of Your Holy Spirit, You would move us closer to Yourself.

We ask all of this in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. Welcome to church, everybody. You can have a seat.

Yeah. Good to see you all. Special welcome to our friends joining us from our Riverside campus, as well as over on the island of Maui. And everybody joining us online. Good to be with you all. Let's welcome all of our campuses right now.

We are one church, multiple locations, as you've heard us say before. And so we're excited to get to go through this series with you. It all starts here. It all starts here.

That's the name of the series that we're going through in the book of Genesis. It all starts here. Hey, before we jump in, I just want to let you know a couple of quick things. Number one, tonight at all of our campuses here in California at 5 p.m., and then over on the island of Maui at 6 p.m., we are going to be having a good old-fashioned prayer meeting.

That's right. It's going to be a great time to get together and pray and ask the Lord to intervene in different areas in our church, asking Him for His blessing, asking Him for just His help in every area from our country to our church to our family. And so please plan on joining us for that. It's going to be a great time. My parents are going to be here. They're helping host it. Our worship team is going to be here.

And I tell you what, it's fun. We know how to do a really great prayer meeting. I don't know if you have some image in your head of like some really slow and boring and there's like lots of candles and the lights are really dim. It's like we all kind of have this image we conjure up when we think of a prayer meeting.

Right. Well, listen, this is very special. And we do so it's so much fun what we do. Honestly, I had maybe it's that's my image of what a prayer meeting was before I started coming to ours. And honestly, they are a blast.

They're such a blessing. And the spirit of the Lord is here and really a noticeable way because you know what? We don't have the luxury sometimes that our services in the morning to just breathe, to just allow moments to sit for a little bit.

And you know what? At our prayer meetings, we have the luxury of time. And so it's a really special opportunity for all of our campuses to get together and all of our locations and come and pray together. So please plan on joining us.

That's five o'clock tonight here at Orange County, five in Riverside and then six over on the island of Maui. And we'll also be webcasting if you want to join us online for that as well. Well, as I said, this is our series that all starts here in the book of Genesis. And we've gone through this really since the beginning of the new year.

And so it's been a lot of fun. We're looking forward to going all the way up to Palm Sunday with this series. And we're going to take a little break from Genesis. Then we'll jump in after, excuse me, starting not next week, but the week after. That's when we're going to start our new series as we start going through the Sermon on the Mount. As we look at that, as we lead up to Easter and then after Easter, we'll jump back into Genesis. I just confused everybody here, so I apologize for that.

If you're in a small group, you know what's going on. And so my message title today is Godly Living and a Godless Culture, Godly Living and a Godless Culture. You know, it's been said that if you can believe the first verse in the Bible, the rest of it should be pretty easy.

The rest of it should be no problem. What's the first verse in the Bible? We all know it. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And so when you read about things like the creation, the ark, the flood, the parting of the Red Sea, the walls of Jericho coming down, all of the different famines and pestilences that the Lord sent to free the Hebrew people out of Egyptian captivity, Jonah being swallowed by a giant fish living in it for three days, being vomited out on the shores of Nineveh, the miracles of Jesus, the prophecies and the teachings should all be pretty much a cakewalk, as long as you can believe that first verse. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

It all starts there. It all begins with that first verse, with this first book in the Bible, the book of Genesis, the story of God, the story of mankind, the story of sin, redemption, the greatest love story that has ever been told is in these pages. The Bible teaches us that we were created on purpose. We were created on purpose.

We weren't an accident. The schools and society and the media, they're not going to tell you that anymore. You're not even going to hear about what the Bible has to say. It's going to be presented as fact that evolution is no longer a theory. It is pretty much the reality that the Big Bang is not a theory. It is fact. This is how we got here. And to believe anything else is counter-cultural.

It's going against the grain. Well, the Bible teaches us that we were created on purpose. The Bible teaches us that we are not the result of some sort of cosmic cocktail of bacteria and billions of years of time, and an explosion happened, and boom, here we are, and we're all descendants from, you know, one single cell of amoebas and so forth.

No, the Bible doesn't teach that. The Bible teaches us that there is an intelligent designer, and his name is Elohim. His name is Yahweh, and he created us in his image. And the Bible doesn't just teach us that we were created on purpose. The Bible also teaches us that we were created for a purpose.

And I think I love that part as much as I love the first part. We were created for a purpose. This life does have meaning. There is a reason that God created us for. We know about this because theologians have put these things together. And in the Westminster Catechism, it actually teaches that we exist for this purpose.

OK, listen up. We exist to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Now, there's a lot of other things that we do in this life, things that we exist for, things that we're supposed to do, how we're supposed to conduct ourselves, but it all is based on that. We exist to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. And I have found that the more you glorify God, the more you bring him glory, the more you seek to align your life to bless the Lord by keeping his commandments, as you read through the Bible, the more you enjoy him. The more you glorify God, the more you enjoy him forever.

And so whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we do it all for the glory of God. The book of Genesis and the Bible as a whole is a redemption story. As you look at the stories, as you look at the books, each story has a theme. Each book has a theme. Each testament has a theme. And the Bible as a whole has a theme. And the theme is this, it's redemption. It's redemption.

It's about a fallen mankind being redeemed by a loving and gracious God. But the Bible is also an instruction manual and a flashlight in a dark world. Psalm 119, 105 says, Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path. Now, if you're old school, you might have sang, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Where's all the Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant fans at? Only the baby boomers laughed.

Just kidding. I sing that song. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light. It was a great song.

Great lyrics because it's based on scripture. And so that is pitiful applause. That's all right. Well, that was a pitiful rendition of it. So that was deserving.

I'd say it's appropriate. And so together in our time today, we're going to be looking at the very first character in the Bible that really is talked about in depth aside after Adam and Eve. And that is the character of Noah. Noah and the Ark. It's a familiar story.

All of us know about it and are familiar with it. And we're going to be looking at a couple of passages. The first one we'll be looking at is Matthew chapter 24. If you want to turn in your Bibles there, Matthew chapter 24. And also the book of Genesis chapter 6. And we'll be kind of jumping around in the book of Genesis, so feel free to follow along. If you have the New Living Translation, that's the translation I'll be in today. If you're on your phone, you can switch the translation over.

It's pretty handy. Noah is obviously one of the most famous and well-known characters in the Bible. He's one of the most well-known stories that's told in culture today. People know the story of Noah. It's one of the wildest, most dramatic stories, first of all.

All of mankind being extinguished ultimately with a flood. All of the animals coming onto Ark, it's pretty wild. And so you've heard of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, of course. You've heard of the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. Well, in Hebrews chapter 11, as Christians, we refer to that chapter as the Hall of Faith. Kind of a hall of fame for some of the greatest Christians, some of the greatest believers, and how they're able to do amazing things by their faith in God. Men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Samson, Rahab, Sarah, and last, Noah, who we'll be looking at together today.

All of them, again, are described as men and women of faith who accomplish great things by their faith in God. And so in Hebrews chapter 11, just to kind of set the pace for us, we read this. By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear. And he prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

And so we see right there a quick little summary of Noah's life. His faith drove him to action, which brought him deliverance. Faith, then action, and then his deliverance. Noah's faith in God drove him to faithfulness, to faithfulness. And I believe that faithfulness really is faith in action, which delivered him and his family from destruction. True faith will always lead to faithfulness. There's a lot of people out there that like to say that, hey, well, I'm a John 3.16 Christian. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Hey, that's right. But the Bible's got a lot more to say than just having faith. Because what kind of faith do we need to have? Well, it's a faith that leads to action. It's a faith that leads to evidence. It's a faith that leads to faithfulness. James gets at that in his letter to the believers in Jerusalem when he said in James chapter 2, just as the body is dead without breath, so is faith dead without good works.

Let me say that again. Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. Noah was a faithful believer in God. He lived in a godless time and he lived a godly life.

And so a couple of things I want to do with you today. First, I want to look at the story of Noah. I want to read the details of this story, the ark, the sequence of events and so forth.

And then second, I want to do a little application. I want to look at how we also can be men and women of faithfulness like Noah. And so to help set the context for our passage, I want to look at the words of our Lord Jesus and what he has to say about Noah himself.

There's no better commentary on the Bible than the Bible itself. You should always interpret scripture through the lens of scripture. And so we're going to look at Jesus' words in Matthew chapter 24 together. Towards the end of Jesus' ministry, he went with the disciples to the Mount of Olives, which was on a hill opposite of Jerusalem.

There's a clear view of the city and the gates with the people coming and going. Jesus often retreated to the Mount of Olives by himself to go and pray and spend time with his Father in heaven. And in this case, you also would take the disciples with him and go and teach them and minister to them and talk with them. Well, at this point in Jesus' ministry, the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, when would he return? When would he return? You see, Jesus spoke about his second coming, his return, and so the disciples were wondering, what's that going to be all about?

What's that like? What are the signs of your coming that will be at the end of the age? Jesus' response is recorded in Matthew 24 to 25, Luke chapter 21, and Mark 13. We know it today as the Olivet Discourse, the Olivet Discourse. And basically, this is where Jesus talks about the end times. He talks about the prophecies about his return, what things are going to take place, and so forth.

Many of those things are being fulfilled this very day. But he talks about Noah, and he compares the days of Noah to the days when he will return. And so let's read together now in Matthew chapter 24, starting in verse 36. Again, I'm reading from the New Living Translation. Jesus said this. However, no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.

Only the Father knows. And when the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in the days of Noah. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat.

People didn't realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it is going to be when the Son of Man returns. When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah's day.

Let's stop there. It will be like it was in the days of Noah. What were the days of Noah? Well, Genesis 6 does tell us, we'll see, but I'll summarize it for you. We see in the days of Noah that there was widespread corruption and violence.

Violence on a level that is unparalleled with even the things that we are seeing today. You know, I feel like the more I scroll on social media, I don't know if I got on some weird algorithm or something, but it's like I'm scrolling on social media. It's like, oh, my gosh, I think that person just died.

That is horrible. And I scroll and it's like, why do I keep getting these videos? I don't know. Maybe I need to delete my Instagram account.

Probably a good idea. But as I scroll through, it's like just this stuff is becoming more and more aware, apparent, presenting itself in more obvious ways. And we're seeing and hearing about violent acts today that are horrific, that are devastating. Children with parents and siblings and in schools, just horrible, horrible things. But in the days of Noah, it was even worse than that.

Violence on a completely different level. There was also immorality, injustice, and destructive behavior. There was moral degradation.

There was a complete departure from the standard that God had laid out for his people. There was evil thinking. There was evil plans and actions that prevailed. The strong would pray on the weak. There would be no thought of what was right or wrong in God's eyes.

People were doing just was right in their own eyes. Sex was absolutely worshiped and every type of perversion would be promoted. And so Noah, he was surrounded by immorality.

He was surrounded by compromise. He was surrounded by sexual depravity and wickedness on a level so high that it literally stunk to high heaven. And it got God's attention so horribly that he ultimately said, I regret making mankind. I regret this decision. What was I thinking here?

That's pretty bad. And so now to our main point. How was Noah able to live in a world that was so depraved and yet be known as a man of righteousness? Be known as a man that was so worth saving that God literally saved him and his household and preserved him.

How was he able to do that? Well, we're going to read that together in Genesis 6, starting in verse 9. And we'll read the story of Noah now. How was Noah able to live in the world but not be of the world? And how can we do the same as we clearly see the days of Noah becoming quite parallel to our own? So again, Genesis 6, starting in verse 9.

Let's read together. This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time. And he walked in close fellowship with God.

You might want to highlight that verse. Noah was the father of three sons, Shem, Hem, and Japheth. Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. So God said to Noah, I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence.

Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth. Build a large boat from cypress wood or gopher wood, if you're reading the New King James Version, and waterproof it with tar, inside and out, and then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Skip down to verse 17. Look, the Lord says, I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die, but I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring a pair of every kind of animal, a male and a female, into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of every kind of bird and every kind of animal and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.

And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals. So Noah did everything exactly as God commanded him. Skip down to verse 1 of chapter 7. When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth I can see that you alone are righteous.

Are righteous. And then skip down to verse 5. So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him.

We see that again. Now skip down to verse 11. When Noah was 600 years old, on the 17th day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. The rain continued to fall for 40 days and 40 nights. That very day Noah had gone into the boat with his wife and sons, Shem, Hem, and Japheth, and their wives. With them in the boat were pairs of every kind of animal, domestic and wild, large and small, along with birds of every kind.

Verse 17, Genesis 7. For 40 days the flood waters grew deeper, covering in the ground and lifting the boat high above the earth. As the waters rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely on the surface. Finally the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth, rising more than 22 feet above the highest peaks. All the living things on the earth died. Birds, domestic animals, wild animals, small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the people. Everything that breathed and lived on the dry land died. God wiped out every living thing on the earth.

People, livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and the birds of the sky. All were destroyed. The only people who survived were Noah and those with him in the boat, and the flood waters covered the earth for 150 days. Now skip over to Genesis 8, verse 1. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat, and he sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the flood waters began to recede. Skip down to verse 15. Then God said to Noah, Leave the boat, all of you, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.

Release all the animals, the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground, so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth. So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair, and then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. And skip to Genesis 9, verse 1, and we'll end with this. And then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth.

Let's pray. Lord, as we read this amazing passage and did a quick summary, there's so much to it, but Lord, just in our short time that we have together, we ask you that you would reveal your will for us through this story as we see this character of Noah and what a righteous man he was, obedient, faithful, trusting. Lord, our heart is to be like Noah, is to be like him and to serve you and to be obedient and to do things exactly the way you say that we should. That's our heart, Lord. Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak if we're honest. So, Father, we ask you for a fresh outpouring of your Holy Spirit upon our time together. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Amen. Point number one, for those of you taking notes, countercultural living. That's what I would describe Noah's life like.

It was countercultural living. Verse nine of Genesis six, it says, Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on the earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. That gives us a great outline for how to have a good, righteous walk with God, how to live a countercultural lifestyle, how to live a godly life in a godless time, to be righteous, to be blameless, and to walk in close fellowship with God. First, let's look at that word righteous for just a moment. That Hebrew word righteous is the Hebrew word sadik, and sadik is used here to describe Noah for the very first time. We see the word sadik used throughout the Bible, but it's used first, for the very first time, to describe Noah and his obedience to God's standard. Regardless of what the world was doing, Noah lived out his faith in God. Next, we see that Noah is described as blameless. This doesn't mean that he was perfect, that he was without blemish like Jesus was.

No, it means that in comparison to the world, Noah was doing really well. He was doing really good. He was blameless. It means that he was not only not guilty before God, but he was the same person with God as he was with his family, with the community that was around him. He was a man of integrity and character. 2 Peter 4 also gives us this context. It says that Noah was a preacher.

He made bold proclamations about God and preaching to basically anyone who would listen. That word preacher, we also get our word herald, herald. Do we have any heralds in the house today? You're named herald. Maybe you're related to a herald.

It's not a name you hear very much anymore. But the word herald communicates more than just a preacher, more than just a person like me who stands on a stage and says things. No, he was a herald. He was a person who was ascribed both political and religious significance. Oftentimes in connotations of like a kingdom and a king and a queen, a king would have multiple heralds who would go out and make loud proclamations on their behalf.

And so to be a herald meant to actually be held in high regard, to be respected. And so Noah was a preacher of righteousness. Noah was a herald of righteousness. Noah was an ambassador of righteousness. People saw Noah and they saw that he was a man that was like God. He was the man that represented God and he did it well. Noah was a representative of God in a fallen society and he was unashamed.

He was unashamed. You know, I think as Christians a lot of times today we want to be sensitive sometimes about the things that we believe, whether it's about marriage or about life or about whatever, you know, how we should raise our children, how we should go to church. And we want to be sensitive. Oh, we want to be careful. You know what? They know what you believe sometimes better than you do, right?

You know, sometimes there'll be a conversation in the coffee room and, you know, a hot political topic comes into discussion and you choose to maybe remain silent because, oh, gee, you know that you're just going to be a party pooper, whatever it might be. And the person, you know, in the room says, well, aren't you a Christian? Doesn't the Bible say X, Y, Z? And you're like, oh, yeah, actually the Bible does say that.

And so they're doing your job for you. Society knows what you believe. Don't be afraid to say it publicly. Don't be afraid to live it out. Don't be afraid to be public and vocal about what you believe and what the Bible has to say.

The world already knows it and the world needs to hear it now more than ever. Recently I needed some work done at my house. And I won't say what I needed done because I don't want to shame these people. But I was going through Yelp and looking for a good tradesman to come and do this project at my house. And I was going through, I found someone that had a fish on their business card, right? Oh, you know what a fish is?

It's called the ichthus. It was the first century sign, somebody, you know, kind of a secret society type deal where they would draw a partial curve in the sand. And if the person was a Christian, they would complete it and draw the fish. That's what that line is.

Some of you didn't know that. And so that's what that fish means. It means they're a Christian.

And so, very cool, some Christian symbolism there. So I reach out to this company and sure enough they recognize my name as I give them my appointment and so they show up to my house. And I'm thinking I'm going to get, you know, hooked up, these guys are going to take care of me. The entire time, I think it was probably a $50 charge, they tried to upcharge me on everything, replacing this entire system.

They bid me a $16,000 bid to go do this project. I said, okay, great, thanks so much. I'm going to get a second opinion. So I called some random dude, you know, off of Yelp or I think I got a referral actually. The guy didn't claim to be a Christian or anything.

I didn't know him from Adam. And he shows up and he goes, yeah, you know, your unit is starting to go, but you know what, I can replace, you know, I can fix this. 50 bucks, I'll get the thing going for you. Great, there you go. See, so the heathen did a better job and was more honest than the Christian in quotes was. And so what's my point here? Sometimes people take the Lord's name and use it to further advance their own businesses.

They use it to advance their own purposes without even considering that by doing that, they are putting themselves in the position as a herald, as a representative of God. Seriously, someone asking for your services may base their entire perception of God and Christianity solely on how you conduct yourself and how professional you are. So that being said, if you put a fish on your business card, hey, that's great, but just know that when you are doing that, you need to go above and beyond. You need to be the best plumber. You need to be the best contractor. You need to be the best mechanic.

You need to be honest. Go the extra mile. Take care of people and look for opportunities to share your faith. If you do it with the right motive and you're not doing it to earn business, man, you better believe God's going to bless you. God's going to meet your needs.

He's going to do all kinds of stuff to take care of you, and it is awesome. So it's not something to take lightly. It's not something to take lightly, and I would say that if you are doing it for the wrong motive, I would say that it is actually taking the Lord's name in vain.

It's taking the Lord's name in vain. So think and pray very carefully about that seemingly small decision because with it, you are publicly representing Jesus who died on the cross for us. And so I feel like I made all the guys who have a fish on their business card or said that their Christians feel really bad. Let me just say there's a lot of really great Christian businessmen and businessmen, women, some of the best that I know out there that are very public about their faith, and I am very thankful for them. But just something to keep in mind. Don't put the fish on your card if you're just trying to attract business. Wrong motive, right?

OK, moving on. Noah was a preacher of righteousness, and he was held in high esteem. And so how did he do this? Yes, he was righteous.

Yes, he was blameless, but how? How did he get to be those things? We see again in verse 1, he walked in close fellowship with God. He walked in close fellowship with God. This should really be the goal for every believer, that we would walk in close fellowship with God. You know, when you walk with God and you walk closely with him, you are going to find that you will keep the main thing the main thing, right? And that is to know God and enjoy him forever and to share your faith and to help change the world through the gospel.

That is going to be the main thing. That's going to be the goal for every believer. When you walk in close fellowship with God, his will, his motive, his desires, his perspective on things are going to become your will, your desires, your motives, and you're going to find that's the best thing you can do with this life. And so Noah walked in close fellowship with God. A couple weeks back we talked about Adam and Eve, and the Bible talks about how they walked with God in the cool of the day in the garden.

Now I can't think of a cooler experience than that. Walking with God in his creation, untainted, not screwed up by sin, and they were completely without sin. They walked with God naked, you know, without any covering. And symbolically, you know, that's showing that they had no shame.

They had nothing to hide. And I just think that's just a beautiful picture for what our walk with God should look like. We should have no shame.

We should have nothing hidden. Well, Lord, I want to talk to you today about this area, and I know in the back of my mind, you know, this secret sin that I'm dealing with, and I kind of just want to keep that compartmentalized for right now, and I really just want you to answer this prayer request for my kids' health or for my marriage, but I want to hold on to this other. I know.

To walk with God means that you walk openly. You're an open book. Lord, this is what's going on in my life, and before I even talk to you about my request, I just need to confess to you I'm an idiot.

I know that. I've messed up. This is what my prayer life is like with God. I confess to you. I confess to you that this is wrong, Lord. My desires, my burdens, my fears, I give them to you.

Help me to have your perspective. I want you, God. That's what it means to walk in close fellowship with God like Adam and Eve did. They walked with him naked in the garden, shameless with nothing hidden, and so that's what Noah did. He walked in close fellowship with the Lord. He was the Lord of his life, and that brings us to point number two, obedience and joy.

Obedience and joy, and that is how we will find ourselves living a godly life in a godless culture. Look at Genesis 6 22 and 7 5. It says that Noah did everything exactly as God commanded him, and then again in verse 5, Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him. I love that it says it two times there, just really emphasizing he did exactly as God commanded him, everything that the Lord said. And then in verse 1 of chapter 9, we see the result of that. God blessed Noah and his sons and told them be fruitful and multiply.

So again, two times it mentions Noah was obedient to the Lord. He did exactly as God commanded to him, and what I love is just the idea that that could be on my tombstone one day, right? Jonathan did everything as the Lord commanded him.

I wish, right? But what a great goal to have, to put that on our tombstone, that Jennifer did everything that God had commanded her to. That you did everything that God commanded you to, exactly the way he told you to do it. What a great thing to be said about you someday. Noah did exactly as God commanded him. Commentator Ken Matthews said this. He said, Noah's venture to build this vessel upon dry land while wading the impending floodwaters is exemplary of a person trusting in what cannot be seen or proven.

Let me say that one more time. Noah's venture to build his vessel, this boat, upon dry land while wading for floodwaters is exemplary of a person trusting in what cannot be seen or proven. Now, I don't know if you've realized this yet, but what I have read and commentators have pointed out is that it is very likely that rain had never fallen at this point in history.

Rain had never fallen from the sky at this point. They believe that there was some sort of water canopy above the earth, and as a result, it enabled people to live for such long lifetimes. We read about in Genesis people living as long as, I think, like 987 years.

Was that Methuselah? Noah himself lived around 950 years. So insanely long lifetimes.

Why? Well, scientists speculate because it was because of this water canopy, and that water canopy created the right humidity, kind of a greenhouse effect that also blocked harmful rays from the sun, radiation, and so forth. And so we see that he was able to live for a very long time because of this. But the point is that water existed above the earth, and it hadn't fallen yet. It hadn't dropped down to the earth. So we don't know exactly what the earth was like.

It didn't have as much water, that's for sure. And so Noah was doing all of this in faith. There was never any talk of a flood or impending doom or rain falling from the sky. What is this stuff falling from the sky?

What is this water dropping down? So this idea that rain was going to fall and the floods were going to encompass the earth and that Noah needed a boat to preserve his family probably seemed crazy, not to mention that all the animals were going to come to the ark. That's probably the wildest part of them all. Oh, by the way, all the animals are going to come to you two by two. You think you'd have to go out and search them and hunt them down and track them.

No, they come to you just showing up in a perfect little line waiting to get on some kind of ride. It's a wild picture. Another wild thing is that from the time God told Noah to start building the ark to the time when the flood waters actually came, around 100 years. 100 years. So you can imagine Noah starting this project.

Okay, well, I'll get started right away. And it took a while, obviously, but you just assume, okay, 10 years after that first warning, no flood. 50 years after that warning, no flood. 80 years, no flood. 99 years. Is this ever going to happen?

100 years and it finally happened. You know, it could be that you're waiting on God in a similar way. God gave you a word. God gave you some scripture that confirms that your prayer request that you have been asking him for is going to be answered. And you're in a place like Noah and you're just waiting for God to keep his promise. You're waiting for God to deliver on what he said. It could be that you have an unbelieving spouse or a prodigal child or a coworker that you've been working on for a number of years and just week by week, you just pepper him with the gospel and you invite him to church and you invite him to Easter and Christmas Eve and, oh, no, they just keep you at arm's length.

But you know that the Lord is working in their life and you're just waiting for him to answer that prayer. You know, the Bible tells us that God is not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance, but that he is waiting because he is being patient for our sake. He has not returned. He has not come back because he is being patient for our sake. I'm thankful the Lord didn't come back 20 years ago. I mean, I would have been 14.

That would have been pretty wild, but I'm thankful he didn't come back, you know, when I was 21, being a complete idiot, living for myself, completely selfless. I'm thankful that he is tarried. And I know that there's many here today who maybe haven't put their faith in Christ. And listen, God is being patient for your sake. He's being patient for you and for the sake of our families and our children. It could be that it's your health and you've been asking the Lord to help you with your health and deliver you from this disease or this burden that you're going through.

It could be someone you love. Listen, I don't know what God's timeline is for those prayer requests. I wish I knew, but I want to tell you, while you are waiting, while you are fasting, while you are being patient, you can still have joy. You can still have joy. God is with you. God is near to you and he will keep his promises. Eugene Peterson, a Bible commentator and a guy who helped write the message translation of the Bible, he said this, Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship. It is a consequence. It is not what we have to acquire in order to experience life in Christ.

It is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience. You see, we see at the end of our text today that after all of Noah's obedience, all of the building, the life of integrity, the shipbuilding, the time on the boat, do you know how long he was on the boat for? Everybody thinks 40 days. It was closer to 370 days, actually, as you add up all the time and you look at, oh, 40 days, and then another 40 days, and then 100 days, and then seven days for the birds, you know, and all that. It's 370 days.

360 to 370 is the number that's thrown out there. It's crazy. Imagine being that long with your family. I can barely stand 37 minutes on a road trip. 370 days with your wife and your sons and their wives.

I don't even have in-laws yet with my kids, and I already know it's going to not be a great time. No, just kidding. I'm not speaking that into existence.

No. And then with all the animals, that's crazy. So he endured all of that. Noah endured all of those things. He lived the life of integrity.

He built all the stuff. He spent the time on the boat, and what do we see as a result of all of his faithfulness, all of his obedience, his life of integrity? We see it again in chapter 9, verse 1. And then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth. God blessed him, and not just Noah. He blessed his wife. He blessed his children, his descendants.

And that's a promise to us as well. If we will live a life marked by integrity, marked by a life of walking closely with God, we will reap the benefits. God is not mocked whatsoever a man sow he shall also reap.

Whether you sow to the flesh or you sow to the Spirit, you are going to reap the consequences. If you sow to the Spirit and you follow God and you walk closely in your relationship with him, listen, you're going to be blessed. Your wife's going to be blessed. Your husband's going to be blessed. Your career is going to be blessed. Your children are going to be blessed.

Why? Because God keeps his promises, first and foremost, and also the principles we see, truthfulness, hard work, determination, working out so that you can have an opportunity to share your faith. These are all things that are going to bless you tremendously.

I can guarantee you. Do you want to have a life that blesses you and your family? Do you want to have a life that is marked by reputation and integrity and character? Listen, the way to all of these things, again, is by walking in close fellowship with God. Noah had faith in God, and that resulted in faithful living. And our faith in God is the foundation for every area of our lives. Every area of our lives should be marked, should be built on the foundation of walking close with God.

Our work, our families, our friends, our education, our relationship with our neighbors, every area we invite God to be a part of, it will be blessed just like Noah's. Amen? It's true. It's true. Now, you may have come here today thinking that you've got life pretty figured out. You've got some things that you're stoked about, like life's going pretty good. You've got a good job. You work hard. You take care of yourself. You have nice things.

You live in a great area. And you're stoked. Yeah, you've got some vices. You've got some things in your life that, you know, you're aware of that maybe aren't the best.

Usually it's materialism, money, sex, pride, ego, status, those kinds of things. I just want to ask you, how's that going for you? How's that going for you so far? Now, it could be that, like most of us, when you accomplish something and you get the thing you work towards, whether it's a raise at work or a nice new car or a home for your family or you're able to send your kids off to a prestigious school, whatever it might be, you feel pretty good about yourself. And then you get that first bill in the mail and you don't feel so good anymore. That newness, that novelty has worn off.

Or maybe you're just able to buy the car outright. You've done so well. Hey, that's great. Does it still have that new car smell, that new car thrill after a week or two?

Usually not. You've usually moved on to the next thing, the next thing, the next thing. Oh, that's going to be the thing that delivers the ultimate. Listen, I want to tell you, there's nothing in this world that is going to deliver. And I will tell you that the Bible had it right all along. You were created to know God.

Everything else is vanity and vapor and dust and the wind in comparison. But God loves you. And no matter what sin you've committed, no matter what vice you may be controlled by, no matter how far you've ventured off without Him, He loves you and He wants a relationship with you. And this is the thing you were created for.

The Bible tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. So it could be you've experienced the blessings of God. You've got a life that's marked by hard work and you've been blessed as a result of that. You've got a life where you know what?

You've stayed true to your spouse and you've been married for 20 years. And you know what? You've enjoyed that and you're thankful and you've got grandkids now. That's wonderful. Listen, we know that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. And we know that if you follow the principles of God, the principles of the Bible, even without God, you're still going to be blessed in a sense. But I want to ask you today, why have you neglected the giver of those gifts? You've received His blessings.

You've seen it to be true. Why would you reject the God who put them into place? Why would you reject the God who loves you and has a plan for your life and wants to bless you even more?

Because having a relationship with God is the fulfillment of all of those things that He's given to you. And so today I want to extend an invitation to anybody here, anybody who might be listening, to put their faith in God, to invite Him to come and be their personal Lord and Savior, to make you a new creation and so that you can walk out of this room a different person than when you first walked in. So, Lord, we thank You for Your love for us.

We thank You, Lord, for the principle and the character study that we see of this man, Noah. Lord, that's our heart. That's who we want to be.

That's who we want to act like. Lord, we know that we're not perfect. We know that we fall short, and we see that Noah falls short in the next couple of chapters.

We see things that he did that he failed in. But, Lord, You are faithful even when we are faithless. You're there to pick us up. You're there to forgive us. You're there to show grace. And, Lord, we need grace so much each and every day of our lives. And so help us to live these lives marked by integrity and character and nearness to You.

And while our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying here together, there may be some, as I mentioned, who haven't yet put their faith in Christ. And I want to tell you, you can do that today. You can walk out of here a new creation. You can walk out of here knowing that when you die that you'll go to heaven.

And not just that, Jesus said, I came to give life and life more abundantly, not just the hope of eternity, but the hope of a fulfilled life here on earth. Maybe your life isn't so great, and it's kind of screwed up, and you're reaping the consequences of your sin. Listen, call out to God. He will deliver you. He will forgive you. He will take that burden of guilt and shame, and He will give you His yoke. Take My yoke upon you, Jesus said, for My burden is easy and My yoke is light.

He can do that for you. If you'd like to receive Him as your Lord and Savior, all you have to do is call out to Him. Call upon the name of the Lord, and you shall be saved. Confess with your mouth, Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. I would invite you to pray this prayer with me, and it's a prayer of repentance. It's a prayer of calling out to God and asking Him to be your God and your Savior. And so if you'd like to do that, just pray this out loud after me, wherever you are.

Over on the island of Maui, here in California, watching online, just pray this prayer now. Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that Jesus is the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. And so I turn from my sin now, and I turn to You from this moment forward.

Would You fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me to walk like Noah walked, close with You, in synchronization with You. Help me, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Amen. God bless you that prayed that prayer just now. Amazing.

Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-10 13:22:28 / 2024-02-10 13:43:07 / 21

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