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God Keeps His Promises | Learning From Noah

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 22, 2024 3:00 am

God Keeps His Promises | Learning From Noah

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 22, 2024 3:00 am

To borrow from Mark Twain, “Bad news can travel halfway around the world, while good news is still putting on its shoes.” When an influential believer falls into sin, it seems like we hear about it at the speed of light. But how do we reach out to someone who’s helped us, when they’re the ones who need help? Pastor Greg Laurie answers that question today on A NEW BEGINNING. We’re considering a story about Noah in the Book of Genesis. This godly man sinned. But we can learn from this biblical account.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Sign up at Believers aren't perfect, but we know the Lord forgives. Coming up today, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us help others. What do we do when we see someone who is godly falling into sin? Should we take a perverse delight in it?

Should we make sure we tell as many people as possible about it? Well, that's not what the Bible says. It says the opposite.

Be humble about this, because that could have happened to you. And our objective is never to destroy. Our objective is always to restore. To borrow from Mark Twain, bad news can travel halfway around the world, while good news is still putting on its shoes. When an influential believer falls into sin, it seems like we hear about it at the speed of light.

But how do we reach out to someone who's helped us when they're the ones who need help? Pastor Greg Laurie answers that question today on A New Beginning. We're considering a story about Noah in the book of Genesis. This godly man sinned, but we can learn from this biblical account. We talked a little bit about Noah last time and how evil things were and how Noah managed to work for God.

He worked for God. He said, I want you to effectively build a giant boat. Now, there was no body of water nearby.

It had never rained before. And Noah's building a giant boat, effectively like a big box that was unsinkable. In one of the greatest practical acts of faith in all of history, Noah cut down that first gopher wood tree to build this art.

I mean, this man, you know, really, without any support to speak of, followed the will of God. And he sat on this boat for all of this time, and he waited on the Lord. And then when they finally reached dry land, Noah built an altar to the Lord.

I mean, hey, if you'd been cooped up in a boat for that long, wouldn't you want to just run around for a while? Noah said, no, I'm going to bring a sacrifice to God. I'm going to remember that God did all of this for us. And I think it's so important to remember the Lord. There's so many ways that we can do it. You know, one way is just to say grace over a meal.

I like that, don't you? When you take a portion of your income, the tithe, an offering, and say, we're going to give faithfully to the Lord, that's a way to remember the Lord. When you get up in the morning and you start the day with Scripture and prayer, that's a way to remember the Lord. When you set Sunday aside and say, this is the Lord's day.

There might be things we can do, but we're going to go worship the Lord in church. Okay, so this is great. Everything's going great in this story.

I love it. It's almost like a fairy tale. You know, the arc is on dry land, and now God puts a rainbow in the sky.

And he makes a covenant with all of mankind. And if it's a movie, you can see the credits are starting to roll. The camera's pulling back. There's the arc in the background. There's the rainbow. There's Noah, tears slowly falling down his face.

The music is swelling. The animals are all standing around. It's awesome. But it's not a fairy tale. It's a Bible story. And Bible stories are true. And they're historical. And now we read of some things that Noah did that kind of shock us.

But actually, they shouldn't shock us at all. We see Noah messing up big time in Genesis chapter nine. Let's read about it. Verse 20. After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. One day he drank some wine that he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. Then Shem and Japheth took a robe and held it over their shoulders and backed into the tent to cover their father.

As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked. When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, the youngest son, had done. Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham. May Canaan be cursed. May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives. Then Noah said, May the Lord God of Shem be blessed, and may Canaan be his servant. May God expand the territory of Japheth. And now may Japheth share the prosperity of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant. Noah lived another 350 years after the great flood.

He lived 950 years, and then he died. Wow. Okay. What?

Why did this happen? Because the Bible is an honest book. And if one of our heroes messes up, we're going to read about it, and we're going to learn from it.

Just like we learn from their positive example, we'll learn from their negative example of things to not do. First point I would bring up, though, the fall of Noah shows that anyone can fall into sin. Anyone can fall into sin.

No one is above or beyond temptation. It's ironic because when Noah is introduced to us in Genesis 6, 9, it says he was a righteous man, blameless, among the people of his time, and he walked with God. Then, of course, we're told he was a preacher of righteousness. There are a few characters in the Bible with credentials like this. He's a genuine hero of the faith, slipping.

But let me say something that might surprise you, but I want you to think about this. You might be surprised to know that sometimes those who have known the Lord longer can be more vulnerable to slipping than the person who is younger in the faith. Sometimes those who have known the Lord longer can be more vulnerable to slipping, falling, than those who are young in the faith. Take a small child. A small child knows they need their parent. They call out to their mommy or their daddy for everything. They can't even feed themselves yet. They're dependent upon their parent. But as they get older, they become more independent. When they become teenagers, they don't even want to see you anymore, right?

But that's the whole point, isn't it? We're raising them to stand on their own two feet and think for themselves. And as we grow in our faith, initially we're so dependent on God. But after a few years have gone by, now a decade has passed, now two decades, now three decades, now three decades, you've acquired a little bit of Bible knowledge, haven't you?

You've worn out a few Bibles. You know a few things. In fact, you think you probably know more than you actually know. Now you're a sermon connoisseur.

You know, I like this one guy's messaging, but I don't like the other and I disagree with him. So you're an expert on everything. And here's the problem. You start lowering your guard a little bit and you think, I know all these things and I've grown so much. Okay, that's great, but wait. Be on guard because you might find yourself falling into some kind of sin. Pride goes before a fall. That's what the Bible says. Simon Peter made the mistake of boasting in the presence of the other disciples, though all deny you, I will never deny you. Jesus said, before the rooster has crowed twice, you will deny me thrice, basically. And that's exactly what happened.

Consider this. Noah's not the only one who messed up later in life. Moses did too. Here's Moses, the great lawgiver. Moses, who delivered the Israelites on the bondage of Pharaoh and went to the wilderness with them. He comes to the very brink of the promised land and he's unable to enter in because he sinned against God. And the Lord did not let him enter into the land. David too, the great king of Israel, sinned later in life when he should have been leading his troops into battle. He was idle.

He's in his 50s. He's kicking back and he's thinking he's above it all and he falls into sin. And David's own son, Solomon, also fell into gross sin in his later years. Solomon was blessed with supernatural wisdom that was so great. People came from around the world to sit at his feet and learn.

But then Solomon went on a sinful binge, sampling everything this world has to offer. So think of these great men of God who messed up later in life. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment.

Whenever you send us an email, letter, or post a comment on social media, we read every word. Pastor Greg, thank you for being persistent in your teaching, which helped bring me back to the Lord. I have been a prodigal son, but now I've been saved today and now I'm saved forever. I really enjoy reading the New Believers Bible. It's helping me understand my new faith as a Christian.

It's also preparing me to know how to read the Bible. Thank you, Pastor Greg, very much. If you've had your life changed because of Harvest Ministries, would you let Pastor Greg know? Call him at 1-866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well, we're considering Noah's failure in Genesis chapter 9. Pastor Greg is presenting his message, God Keeps His Promises. Noah had done the big work already. He's built the ark, he's landed the ark, he's accomplished the purpose.

Now he's thinking, I don't know, I've worked awfully hard. I think I'll just plant a vineyard and enjoy the fruit of my labor. And you know what happens here in this story. This also brings up the destructive power of alcohol. Look at verse 21. He became drunk and lay naked. Do I have to tell you it's a sin to get drunk?

This comes as a revelation to some people. The Bible tells us to not be drunk with wine. And I know about the destructive power of alcohol. The first 17 years of my life I lived in an alcoholic home. My mom didn't just drink. She was a raging alcoholic, screaming and yelling every night, throwing things, passing out, sometimes not coming home at all. And my mother, who was a beautiful woman at the age of 70, looked like she was 90 or beyond, because the effects of her drinking had taken its toll on her, including a head-on collision that she had while driving drunk one night. It was so sad what drinking did to her life. And I saw the ruined relationships and all the rest of it. And I've seen to this day how alcohol destroys people, and even Christians, and sometimes even people in leadership. So this is something we need to be so careful of. Think of how many lives have been destroyed through it.

I love how quiet it gets when I address this subject. But Noah's life stands as a warning to every person who follows Jesus, because nothing is recorded about him after his fall. It's like the next 300 years of his life are a blank. You don't want that to happen. It's good to run a race well, but it's also very important to finish a race. If you're holding the first place position in a race of 10 laps for the first nine laps, and you collapse and fall in the 10th lap, it's all for nothing. And so here is a man at the end of his life messing up.

Thank God there's still restoration even when we fail. But we want to be so careful, because look at what his son Ham does. He sees his father in this compromised state. And by the way, the Bible suggests he deliberately put himself in that state. Not just that he was drunk, but scholars tell us the Hebrew word for uncovered indicates a deliberate act, not a mere unconscious effort of drunkenness. So he was intentionally living in a bad way here, and he should have never done this. But okay, he had done it, all right? So his son Ham sees him and thinks, oh, I'm going to tell everyone how badly my father messed up.

And what a shame that was. The other brothers did not react that way. What do we do when we see someone who is godly falling into sin? Should we take a perverse delight in it?

Should we make sure we tell as many people as possible about it? By the way, some people behave, you would think the Bible says if a brother or a sister is overtaken in sin, you who are spiritual should kick them when they're down and tell as many people as possible. Well, that's not what the Bible says.

It says the opposite. If a brother or a sister is overtaken in sin, we're told in Scripture you who are spiritual should seek to restore them in a spirit of weakness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. In other words, be humble about this because it could be you.

That could have happened to you. And our objective is never to destroy. Our objective is always to restore. I know it's hard. Because when you confront someone who's in sin, well, let's go back to drinking again, since you love that subject so much. And so they're drinking, and you're seeing it's ruining their life.

You're seeing they're making horrible decisions. Man, you've got to stop doing that. What are you doing?

Why are you living that way? Hey, man, don't judge my journey, they say. Or they say something more like, judge my journey. Okay. I'll tell you what, you've got to change your course.

I love you. I'm saying this because I care about you. See, my objective is to help them, to get them back on their feet again. Because I'm told in James 5 19, if anyone should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this, whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. All right, let's wrap this up and review what we've seen together. If you're taking notes, number one, God keeps His promises.

No matter what you're going through right now, God's going to be faithful to you. I love that story when Jesus said to His disciples, let's cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Then they hit a horrible storm. They despaired of life, but they made it to the other side. He didn't say, let's go to the middle of the Sea of Galilee and I'll drown in a big storm.

Had He said that, I would have never boarded that boat. He said, let's get over to the other side. He doesn't promise smooth sailing, but He does promise a safe arrival.

And the same is true for us. You're going to get to the other side. You're going to make it. God who has begun to work will complete it onto the day of Jesus Christ. It may not be smooth sailing, but you will ultimately have a safe arrival. Remember, God never forgets about you. Even if things are hard for you right now, circumstantially, maybe you feel as though you've not heard from the Lord, just hang in there and hold on and don't forget about Him. Thirdly, you should never lower your guard or rest on your laurels spiritually.

Don't think you're above it all. Don't think you could not fall into sin because you could, I could, any of us could. Number four, if someone has fallen into sin, our goal should always be to restore them, not destroy them, but help them get back on their feet again. So Noah was effectively a last days believer. He was waiting for the judgment of God to come through a flood. We too are last days believers. Jesus said, as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be when the Son of Man comes back again.

And what did He tell us? After that, He said, so two men will be working in the field, one will be taken, the other left. Two will be in a bed, one will be taken, and the other left. Then He concludes, so stay awake. You don't know when your master will show up.

So let me ask you this in closing. If Christ were to come back today or tonight, would you be one of the ones who would be caught up to meet Him in the air or would you be one of the ones who would be left behind? You don't want to be because then a great tribulation period is coming.

It's going to be a horrible time. You want to be ready for the Lord's return. Or maybe I'm talking to somebody right now who like Noah, you've fallen.

You're like that lady in that commercial, I've fallen and I can't get up. He needs someone to help you. And God will help you. He'll pull you up and He'll forgive you, not condemn you. He died for your sin and He loves you.

Even when you fail, even when you fall short, He'll give you a second chance, but you must call out to Him. And as we close our message today, I want to extend an invitation for any of you to believe in Jesus Christ, to be forgiven of your sin and know with certainty that you'll go to heaven when you die. And know with certainty that you'll be ready for the Lord's return. And if you've fallen, to be restored and get back up on your feet spiritually. If you need to make a commitment to Christ or recommitment to Him, why don't you do it right here, right now. Let's all pray. Father, thank You for Your word to us and I pray that You will speak to every heart here, everyone watching and listening wherever they are. They're loved by You with an everlasting love. And You want to bring them into relationship with Yourself.

Help them to respond now. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Our friend Jim Wallace is with us today. J. Warner Wallace is an author, a cold case detective, and he's written a brand new book that we're making available called The Truth in True Crime. And Jim, in your book you credit Oliver Wendell Holmes with saying, Learn from the mistakes of others, you can't live long enough to make them all yourself. Which I think is a great line. You say wisdom comes from life experiences and failures, but they don't have to be your own. And each of the homicide investigations that you explore in this book is an opportunity to learn from the colossal mistakes that led to the tragedies that you investigated.

Is that right? Yeah, absolutely. I mean if you think about the nature of wisdom, and this is where it all starts, this is a book really kind of a wisdom book. But what is the nature of wisdom? A lot of it is more than knowledge. Although if you look online and you read the definitions of knowledge and the definition of wisdom, they often sound like they're the same thing. But if that's the case, why do you need the word wisdom?

There must be an objectively grounded moral truth. In other words, could you say there's a wise way to commit a robbery? Well, you could I suppose if you mean there's an effective way to success. But would it be wise to commit a robbery?

Well, no. It turns out if you don't have an objective standard for morality, you could never really behave in a truly objectively wise way. You would always be kind of acting in whatever you think is wise. So those four aspects of wisdom I think are important for us to consider. Do I have knowledge?

Do I have experience applying that knowledge? Am I okay with making age-appropriate mistakes? Don't sweat the fact you make mistakes. Just don't make the same kinds of mistakes when you're an old man like me that you should have made when you were in your 20s. Now you don't say you're an old man because I'm older than you. Just say a man like me. Yes, a mature, a mature seasoned, a seasoned gentleman like ourselves.

I think you're a young man still, Jim. But the point is you have to ground this in something that's objectively moral. That means that as Christians who believe that there is a God who exists and that our, what we believe is morally virtuous, happens to simply be a reflection of his moral holy nature, that gives us an advantage when it comes to wisdom because we can ground it in an objectively virtuous perspective. So if you wanted to be wise, you'd be wise to read your scripture.

Yeah, that's right. You know, Solomon was known as the wisest man in the world. People would come from around the world to sit at his feet and glean from his wisdom. But then he went on what we could describe as a complete backslide. He sampled everything that this culture has to offer and wrote about it in the book of Ecclesiastes. And after all those mistakes he made and all that time he threw away, he came to this conclusion.

Here's the sum of the matter. Fear God and keep his commandments. In other words, in other words, he comes back to the things he always knew were true. So if you want this recipe for better wisdom from Jim Wallace in his new book, The Truth in True Crime, we're going to send a copy to you for your gift of any size. Whatever you can send will be greatly appreciated to help us continue to bring the Word of God to people that need to hear it, especially in the times in which we're living. So this book will be sent your way for your gift of any size, The Truth in True Crime.

Yeah, that's right. And thank you so much for your investment. It's an investment in changing lives. And this book is a great resource to help you share good information with others. We'll send you The Truth in True Crime to thank you for your partnership with us right now. So call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7. Again, call 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to And then if you'd like to make a change today in your relationship with God, Pastor Greg has some additional thoughts to share. Maybe as you've been listening to this message, you've thought, I wish I could come into this relationship with God.

I just don't know how. Let me tell you how you can come into a relationship with God right here, right now. First of all, you need to recognize you need God. You need to admit you're a sinner. I know some people choke on that word, but the Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But then you need to recognize that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for your sin. The Bible says while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And then you need to believe in Jesus. Jesus put it this way, for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son, and whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. You might ask, how does one believe in Jesus?

To believe means to put your faith and trust in Christ and Christ alone, and to receive him into your life as your own friend, Savior, and Lord. The Bible says for as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God. Would you like to receive Christ? And by that, I mean, would you like to ask Jesus to enter into your life and be your Savior, your friend, your Lord? If so, you can just pray this prayer after me. It's a simple prayer. You can pray it out loud if you would like, or you can pray it in the quietness of your heart. But if you want Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sin, if you want to go to heaven when you die, or maybe you want to make a recommitment to the Lord, just pray this prayer after me now. Pray these words pray these words if you would. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. I turn now from my sin, and I ask you to come into my life and forgive me of all of my sin.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for hearing this prayer, and thank you for answering this prayer. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. Hey, if you just prayed that prayer, I want to congratulate you and say welcome to the family of God.

Yeah, yeah, that's right. And listen, we want to help you as you live for the Lord. Let us send you a copy of Pastor Greg's New Believer's Bible. It's in an easy-to-understand translation with hundreds of helps that will guide you into building a strong foundation for your faith. We'll send it free of charge if you prayed with Pastor Greg today. Just ask for the New Believer's Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California, 92514. Or go online to and click Know God. Hey everybody, I want to encourage you to check out the new Harvest Plus app. It's on Roku, Apple TV, and Google Play, among others, and you can stream incredible content on all major platforms for free. You're going to find live events, our evangelistic films like A Rush of Hope, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon, Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon, and our newest film, Fame, plus our TV programs, our podcast, Harvest at Home, and a lot more.

Stream it all on any device for free using the new Harvest Plus app. Well, next time Pastor Greg brings a powerful step-by-step study on how to follow the Lord's plans for a more successful and rewarding prayer life. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. The preceding podcast was made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn how to become a Harvest Partner, sign up for daily devotions, and find resources to help you grow in your faith at
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