< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Hebrews Chapters 11 Part 3

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hebrews Chapters 11 Part 3

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

The earth had become so wicked that God decided to destroy all, but Noah’s family. Jesus pinpointed the root of wickedness in Noah’s day as an indifference to God. Matthew 24:38-39 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

Nothing was really wrong with any of the activities Jesus described, except God was left out of all of them. Many things in our world today aren’t criminal – as much as godless.

We need to ask ourselves: are we leaving God out of our decisions? Our activities? Our business? Our home? Our marriage? God needs to not only be present in our life – He needs to have first place in it.

Genesis 6:5 says “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become.” And Genesis 6:12 says, “God saw how corrupt the earth had become.”

Anne Graham Lotz wrote about this passage: God saw people gossiping. He saw the shady business deals going on, the preoccupation with perverted pleasure, the abuse of innocent children, the glory given to the obnoxious; the lies. God saw it all. And it broke His heart.

Genesis 6:6 says, “The Lord grieved that He had made man on the earth.” Grieve is a love word. You don’t grieve over someone unless you love them. The God who created the heavens and earth as an environment for man, the crowning glory of His creation, the God who created Adam and Eve because He wanted them to know Him and have fellowship with Him, was hurt by the indifference of Noah’s world.

I think He’s hurt by the indifference in our world too. What do you think He thought when we took prayer out of school? When we take the commandments off the walls of public buildings? His name out of the Pledge of Allegiance?

God is watching the world with patience. The Bible says Christ hasn’t come back yet, final judgment hasn’t come, because He doesn’t want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But, don’t mistake His patience for tolerance. There is a limit to His patience and we have been warned – just like the people in Noah’s day were warned through Noah.

God’s warning comes to us in the Bible, by our conscience or in the advice or rebuke from a Christian friend. It may be a challenge to us in a sermon or a Sunday school lesson or a Christian radio program. His warnings are there. He gave the people in Noah’s day 120 years. That’s how long it took Noah to build the ark. Noah’s neighbors thought he was nuts! Building a huge boat in the middle of dry land, talking about a big flood, when no one had even heard of rain before! Until the flood it had never rained on earth!

But, Noah listened to God. He believed Him and he was obedient. And his name is in the honor role of faith in Hebrews 11 because of it. In an age when men forgot and disregarded God – God, for Noah, was the supreme reality in the world. Noah was the one lonely man who stood for God in a day when all men were abandoning Him.

We all have the same choice that Noah did. We can live as if the message of God is of no importance – or we can live as if it’s the most important thing in the world!

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