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Full Obedience - Genesis Part 12

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2022 7:00 am

Full Obedience - Genesis Part 12

So What? / Lon Solomon

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January 23, 2022 7:00 am

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You know, without a doubt, one of the best known Bible stories in all the world is the story of Noah and the Ark.

Virtually every child in America knows this story. Virtually every toy store in America has a Noah's Ark somewhere. And almost anytime it rains for more than a few days at a time, you'll always hear somebody say, Well, you know, if it doesn't stop raining soon, we're going to have to build an ark. Now we're in a study of the book of Genesis, and today we come to the part of that book where God begins to tell us about Noah and the ark and the flood. In fact, God spends several chapters telling us about the flood and Noah and the ark, which means obviously that God must think the flood and the associated events with it are pretty important in all of human history.

And indeed they are. Folks, the flood forever altered the climate of this planet. It forever altered the geographical distribution of people on this planet. It forever altered the existence of a number of species on this planet. And really, it literally altered all of human society on this planet.

However, there is a problem. And the problem is that for most Americans, Noah is no more than a mythical figure. The flood is a scientific joke, and the ark is just a nice children's toy. I suppose if you're a non-believer in Jesus, this is an okay position for you to hold. But friends, for those of us who say that we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, this is a totally unacceptable position for us to hold.

And let me tell you why. It's because the Bible makes it clear that the Lord Jesus Christ believed that the Bible's account of Noah and the flood was historically true. And he believed that it was scientifically accurate exactly the way the Bible presents it. Listen, Matthew chapter 24, Jesus said, For just as it was in the days of, say it who? Noah.

So shall it be in the days of the second coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the what? The flood. People were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the very day that Noah entered the what?

The ark. And they knew nothing about what was to happen until the flood came and took them all away. This is how it will be, Jesus said, at the coming of the Son of Man. The point that I want us all to see is that every claim that the book of Genesis makes regarding the events of the flood, Jesus believed. Jesus believed that Noah was a real person. Jesus believed that there was a real flood. Jesus believed that Noah entered a real ark. Jesus believed that the flood really came and that it really took everyone away. Now friends, if Jesus was wrong about this, if either he didn't know that it was all a fable or if he knew it and yet misrepresented it as truth to us anyway, either way, it means that Jesus is not the sinless Son of God. It means his death on the cross did not pay for our sins.

And it means that those of us who believe in him do not have eternal life and we are not going to heaven. The bottom line is that there is an awful lot riding on whether the events of Noah's flood really are absolutely true. Now, I believe they are absolutely true and that's how I'm going to teach it to you. So, with that little bit of introduction, here we go. We're ready to look at the Bible as it begins to narrate to us the story, the true story of Noah and the flood.

Now, just a little bit of review. Remember what we learned last week? We learned that the godly line of Seth began intermarrying with the ungodly line of Cain and the result was that all of human society descended into ungodliness, violence, crime and brutality. The only exception by the time we get to Genesis 6 was a man named Noah. Genesis 6 verse 9, Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God. Verse 8, And Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord, not because he was lucky or not because he was a teacher's pet, but because Noah had decided to make God number one in his life.

So, here we go now. We've got Noah identified and now it's time to see what God said to him. Verse 11 chapter 6, Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and full of violence, for the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them, and so I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. Now, if you turn back to Genesis 5 verse 32, we learn that Noah was 500 years old when God told him about the coming flood. And then if we turn forward to Genesis chapter 7 verse 6, we learn that Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters actually came upon the earth.

So, a hundred years before it happened, God told Noah what was coming. Hey, how cool would that be? To know what's happening a hundred years from now, just think what you could do with that information. Friends, with that information you could become rich. With that information you could control the markets. With that information you could amass enormous power. You could acquire amazing influence. Just think, if you knew the world was going to be destroyed in a hundred years, you could go out and buy every piece of real estate your heart desired, take a hundred and one year balloon payment. Just think what you could do if you knew the future.

That was funny, I thought. Well, anyway, Noah didn't do that. He knew the future but he didn't use it for personal benefit. To the contrary, he used it to try to benefit other people, to preach repentance and faith to them, to try and save them from destruction, to beg them to turn to God before it was too late. Look, 1 Peter 3 verse 20 says, as God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built, 2 Peter chapter 2 verse 5, during those hundred years Noah was a preacher of righteousness. Noah went out every day trying to reach people and tell them what was coming and beg them to turn to God so they could be delivered. Hey, you know what, if you're a righteous man or woman before you know the future, if you're a godly man or woman before you know the future, you remain a righteous and godly man or woman after you know the future. Well, after telling him the flood was coming, now God tells him about this ark.

Watch. Verse 14, so make for yourself an ark of gopher wood, God says, make rooms in it, coat it with pitch inside and out and this is how you're to build it. It's to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it, make an opening for light by finishing the ark up to 18 inches from the top, put a door in the side and make three decks inside. Four, God says, I'm going to bring flood waters on the earth. Going forward to Genesis 7, God says, I'm going to send rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights. By the way, Noah had never seen rain.

We'll talk more about that in a second. And everything on earth will perish. But I will establish, God says, my covenant with you, Noah, and you will enter the ark, you and your sons and your wife and your son's wives, eight people, and you are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive. Two of every kind of bird and of every kind of domesticated animal and of every kind of wild animal, they will come to you that you may keep them alive.

And you are to take every kind of food you need and store it away for you and for these animals. Okay, so let's stop for a moment now and let's talk about the ark, shall we? You know, until the 19th century, the ark was the largest man-made structure ever to float on water. And really, the ark was a barge. It was not a ship because it had no means of propulsion like a ship does. It had no steering mechanism like a ship does. The ark was made for one purpose and one purpose only, and that was to float. You say, all right, Lon, I hear what you're saying. But I'm just curious, in all of archaeology, in all of history, in all of whatever, do we have any indication at all, any proof at all that this boat actually really existed?

Well, we do. A few years ago, we discovered from ancient Babylon an inscription called the Gilgamesh Epic. It's written about 2000 B.C., and it's the story of a great flood, hello, that destroyed all life on earth, hello, except for the life of one man in his family named Gilgamesh, hello.

And the way he escaped was by getting into a big floating wood box that rode on the top of the water, hello, hello. Folks, this pagan epic has absolutely nothing to do with the Bible, and although it's skewed in many of its details, nonetheless, here we have in the Gilgamesh Epic an independent historical witness that there was a great universal flood that destroyed everybody but one man and one woman who were saved in a big floating wood box precisely the way the Bible says. And this isn't the only flood legend we have found. In a number of ancient cultures, we have found flood legends, skewed as they are, but still testifying to the biblical account of Noah's ark and the flood.

Very interesting, ah. Now let's go back to the ark for a minute. Hydronomist Dr. Henry Morris has calculated that this gigantic box called the ark, that the dimensions that the Lord laid out in the Bible would have made it literally unsinkable. And what's more, he calculated that the volume of this barge was enormous, 1.4 million cubic feet to be exact. To put that in modern terms, that is the volume of 522 railroad boxcars. Now, there are 17,600 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in the world today, and Dr. John Whitcomb has calculated that they all, two of them, two of each one, could be accommodated comfortably in 150 boxcars, which means Noah had a lot of room for him and his family and all the food. Friends, the ark was astronomical in size. No wonder it took Noah 100 years to build it. You said, well, Lon, all right, I hear what you're saying, but I got a couple of objections here. I got a couple of what abouts.

Okay, ask them. Well, my first one is, Lon, what about the fact that so many theologians and scientists say that the flood was a local event, that it was confined to Mesopotamia only? Well, friends, we're going to talk more about this over the next two weeks, but let's just notice right here in Genesis 6 that a gigantic boat like the ark would have been completely unnecessary to save Noah from a local flood. In fact, no boat at all would have been necessary to save him from a local flood. All God would have had to do is appear to him and say, hey, Noah, get out of Dodge. We're going to have a local flood here.

Run to the hills, son. The reason that God told Noah to build this enormous ark was because what he was about to send on the earth was not some local catastrophe, but a worldwide cataclysmic event. And you say, all right, well, then what about the fact that all these animals, you know, that were supposed to be on the ark? I mean, how in the world did Noah go out and capture two of every animal on the face of the earth?

Well, he didn't. The Bible never says he did. What the Bible says, chapter 6, verse 20, God said, They will come to you, Noah, that you may keep them alive. The Bible says that God did something in the hearts of all these animals.

I don't know what he did. And so as a result, one male and one female all showed up docilely and reported for duty to the ark. And all Noah had to do was just politely usher them on board.

You say, well, then I got one last what about. And that is, Lon, what about the on board behavior of all these animals? I mean, how in the world did Noah control all these animals on the ark? I mean, how did he keep the wolves from eating the sheep and the snakes from eating the mice and the lions from eating him?

How did he do this? Well, I don't know. The Bible doesn't say. One possibility is that God sent a spirit of hibernation on all these animals for the year that they were on the ark. I mean, it would have kept their activity down. It would have kept their need for food down. It would have kept them eating one another down. Right? You say, Lon, come on, you don't think that's reaching for it? Friends, if God can make bears hibernate, why can't he make everything else hibernate?

I mean, that's a possibility. I don't know. All I know is it worked. So let's summarize. You all still with me?

Everybody OK? OK, let's summarize. Here we have God's instructions to Noah to build this ark. And what I want you to see as we close out the passage is Noah's response. Verse 22, Genesis 6. The Bible says, And Noah did everything just as God had commanded him. And just in case we missed the point, in the next chapter, chapter 7, God says it again. And Noah did what's the next word? All.

All the Lord had commanded him. Now, that's as far as we're going to go in our passage, because we're going to stop now. We're going to ask our most important question.

So all of you guys at Loudoun and at Bethesda and in the edge, all of you guys out of Prince William and on the Internet, everybody here at Tysons. Are we ready? OK. All right. Come on now. Deep breath. Here we go.

One, two, three. That's pretty good. You say, all right, Lon. So what? I mean, everybody knows the story of Noah and the ark. I mean, what difference does this make to me tomorrow morning when I go out and get on the beltway? There are no arcs on the beltway. What difference does any of this make to me?

Well, I'm going to help you with that right now. You know, without a doubt, the Bible regards Noah as one of the greatest men of God ever to live. For example, Isaiah mentions him in Ezekiel Chapter 14. The Bible says that Noah is what was one of the three most righteous men ever to live, along with Daniel and Job in the New Testament. Peter mentions him twice. We've already seen that in the gospels, the Lord Jesus Christ mentions him. And when we look at Hebrews Chapter 11, the Cooperstown of the Bible, the spiritual hall of fame, we find old Noah there. Biggest life. Hebrews 11, verse 7, By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear, built an ark.

So here's our question for today. What made Noah such a spiritual giant in the eyes of Almighty God? Well, friends, the answer is right here in Hebrews Chapter 11. Hebrews 11 extols Noah for his full obedience to God. It says here that Noah hadn't even seen some of the things God was talking about, but it didn't matter. He obeyed God fully anyway.

You say, what do you mean by that? Well, remember, first of all, I said to you earlier, Noah had never even seen rain. Genesis Chapter 2, verse 6 says that before the flood, a mist used to come up from the ground and water the whole surface of the earth. God said, hey, Noah, I'm going to have it rain for 40 days and 40 nights. Noah said, what's that? He didn't know what rain was.

You know what? Didn't matter. Built the ark anyway. Second, remember, Noah had no empirical proof that this flood was coming. I mean, when he was 500 years old, 100 years before it happened, everything looked great. Everything looked fine. Everything looked calm. You know, I'm sure he looked around and said there's no indication of a flood anywhere.

Didn't matter. Noah built an ark. And finally, while Noah was building the ark, don't you think he was an object of amazing ridicule and mockery? I mean, the ark, you can't hide this thing in the garage. You understand what I'm saying? This thing's out there in the open and Noah's up there every day beating planks and whatever beams in. Don't you think people came from all around?

This was a tourist attraction. People came by and yelled, hey, Noah, what are you doing, you nut? The world is ending.

The world is ending. Hey, Noah, when you finish that one, will you build one for me? You don't think people came by like that?

Of course they did. And yet in spite of that, what did Noah do? Noah built an ark.

Why? Because it's what God told him to do. That's why the great distinguishing characteristic of Noah's life was that he obeyed God. He did what God told him to do fully, deeply, completely, and without questioning. Noah knew how to do more than just walk with God. Noah knew how to obey God.

Now, let's bring all of this forward and talk about us today. The Bible says, Hebrews chapter 13 verse 8, that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In other words, God doesn't change.

Folks, what impressed the Lord in Noah's day about Noah is the same thing that impresses the Lord in our day about us, namely obedience. Full obedience. Listen, Jesus said, why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not, what's the word? Do what I say. Jesus said, John 13, 17, if you know these things, happy are you if you, what?

Do them. James says, be what? Doers of the word, not hearers only. And finally, in Matthew 7, the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, the wise man or woman is the person who hears these words of mine and what?

Does them. I mean, I could keep going, but I think the point is clear. God finds his greatest pleasure, listen now, in people who are serious about obeying him and the only kind of obedience that is real obedience in the mind of God is full obedience. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is 1 Samuel chapter 15. It's a story of King Saul and a mission that God sent him on.

Here was the mission, verse 2. God said, I will punish the Amalekites for how they waylaid the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. Now, he said to Saul, go attack the Amalekites and utterly destroy them all.

Men, women, children, cattle, sheep, donkeys. You see, when the Israelites came out of Egypt at the Exodus and they were marching across the Sinai, Deuteronomy 25, 18, the Amalekites attacked all the stragglers at the rear, those who were faint and weary, the elderly, the disabled, the weak. They, the Amalekites, had no fear of God. This made God mad.

Exodus 17, 14, then the Lord said to Moses, write this in a book as a memorial and tell it, recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of the Amalekites from under the heavens. You know, many times you'll hear people say, the God of the Old Testament is different than the God of the New Testament. The God of the Old Testament was a mean God. He was a vindictive God. He was a capricious God. He was a cruel God. That is theological baloney.

Don't you listen to any of that nonsense. And they'll point to this passage and say, he told Saul to go kill children, to go kill women, to go kill animals. Yeah, but friends, there was a reason. It wasn't because God was being capricious and cruel. No, no, this was an act of righteous judgment that God had said he was going to carry out and that now he was prepared to carry out against a people who had earned it.

Don't kid yourself. All right, so Saul went and defeated the Amalekites. Verse 9, but Saul spared the king. Now wait a minute. Did God tell him to spare the king? Huh?

Hello? No, of course he didn't. And Saul spared the best of the animals. Did God tell him to spare the animals?

No. So he was coming back with the king and the animals and Samuel the prophet shows up. Verse 13, and Saul says to Samuel, blessed are you of the Lord, Samuel. I have carried out the Lord's command.

I have obeyed God. Samuel said, really? He said, well, what then is this bleeding of sheep that I hear and this lowing of oxen in my ear? Now do you understand what he's saying? He's saying, Samuel is, if you really obeyed the Lord fully, there would be no sheep left alive to bleat. There would be no oxen left alive to low.

Okay, you got that, yes? Okay, this is hysterical. Okay, and Saul says, oh, that he says, I spare the best of the sheep. Here comes to sacrifice to the Lord our God. And Samuel says to him, really?

He says, well, let me tell you something, pal. Does the Lord delight as much in sacrifices as he does in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than to sacrifice. Friends, to obey is better than to go to church. To obey is better than to put money in the offering plate. To obey is better than to sing in the choir or be baptized or teach Sunday school.

To obey is better than anything. Behold, behold, Samuel says, you didn't really obey God. You only partially obeyed God. And because you have rejected command of the Lord, Saul said, I didn't reject it.

Samuel said, if you didn't carry it out 100%, yes, you did. Because you've rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you from being king. Now, folks, we still have the same problem today that Saul had way back then. The problem of the giving God incomplete, partial obedience. You say, I don't know, what do you mean?

What do I mean? We read the word of God. We ask God to speak to us. We pray. We ask God to show us what to do.

And then when he does, if it's hard, if it's humbling, if it's embarrassing, if it presses us out of our comfort zone, if it makes no sense to us, or if we just don't flat want to do it, what do we do? Well, we reinterpret what God told us. We readjust what God told us. We procrastinate what God told us or sometimes we just ignore what God told us.

Friends, look here. This is not how you please God. This is not how you get favor in the eyes of God. This is not the way Noah lived and this is not the way God wants you and me to live.

The bottom line is when God asks you and me to do something, he wants us to do it exactly the way he tells us to do it. It doesn't matter if we understand. It doesn't matter if we can figure it out. It doesn't matter if it's embarrassing.

It doesn't matter if it's humiliating. It doesn't matter. God wants it done the way he said he wants it done. So, let's conclude today with a question.

Here's my question for you. What, as a follower of Christ, has God been asking you to do? Has he been asking you to go seek somebody's forgiveness and humble yourself in front of them even though it may be embarrassing or humiliating? Or has he been asking you to forgive somebody else and frankly, you don't want to do it? Hey, has God been asking you to speak to somebody about their need for Christ?

But you know if you do, you're going to pay a price for doing it. Hey, has God asked you to stop dating some person that you know you've had no business dating or to stop sleeping with your boyfriend or your girlfriend or your fiancé because you know it's displeasing to God? Has God asked you to confess and to end that adulterous relationship you've got going or to come clean and get help with that pornography habit or to stop watching that stuff late at night on Cinemax and HBO and Showtime? Is God asking you to give to the work of the Lord at a certain level?

And you've been arguing and saying, but I don't want to give that much money to the work of the Lord. Has God been asking you to get serious about beating that drinking problem, that gambling problem, that smoking problem, that drug problem that's dishonoring Christ in your life? Or has he been asking you to surrender your life to full-time service in the ministry? Or has he been asking you to set aside time for family devotions and for your own quiet time? What's God been asking you, huh? Listen, I know it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to do this, but friends, the power of the Holy Spirit will never be activated in our lives till we make up our mind first that we are going to fully obey God.

That's when the Holy Spirit's power gets activated. Now you say, well, Lon, nobody can obey God perfectly all the time. Well, you're right.

That's true. Friends, God's not looking for people who are perfect in their obedience to Him. God is looking for people who are passionate about their obedience to Him. People who walk out of their house every day like Noah, deadly serious about obeying God no matter how big or how small the issue may be.

They may not get it 100% right, but by golly they go out of their house and they're trying to get it 100% right every day. Remember what we said. The only obedience that God considers real obedience is full obedience. Let's pray together. Lord Jesus, this message reminds me of something You said to Your disciples.

You said to them once, this is a hard saying and who can hear it? And today's message is a hard message. But Lord, please help us remember that we don't conform the Word of God to our behavior.

No, no. Hopefully we conform our behavior to the Word of God. And some of us here have been giving You partial obedience and some of us here have been giving You no obedience in things that You've been asking us to do. Well, what we've learned today is that this is not the way to please You. This is not the way to bring the favor of God on our lives.

And this is not what got Noah into Hebrews chapter 11. And so, Lord, I want to pray that You would confront us strongly as people who say they're followers of Christ and that You would press the Word of God home to us today and that You would give us the courage, if we needed, to go out and turn no obedience or partial obedience, both of which in Your mind are the same thing, into full obedience. Help us not be like Saul but like Noah. Lord, we will need courage to do that and we will need Your help.

So give it to us. Give us that passion that we can look at You and say, Lord, we have done everything to the best of our ability, just the way You asked us. Lord, change our lives because we were here today and we were impacted by the eternal Word of God. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. And God's people said, Amen. In the name of Jesus.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 21:27:49 / 2023-06-11 21:39:41 / 12

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