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#332 SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON #5 GENESIS 6-9
THE LIGHT OF FAITH IN A DARK WORLD
The central theme of the sixth chapter of Genesis focuses on the contrast between the life of Noah and a world sunk deep in sin. At the time in which Noah lived, the world served as a dark background with which to contrast a life of faith, righteousness, and a walk with God.
GEN 6:5-6 says, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." As we read those verses, notice the source or the fountain of sin which grieved the Lord. Lets focus on "...every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
First, we must understand the distinction between godliness and ungodliness. It is crystallized in one word: attitude. The distinction is found in attitude, that which motivates our actions. The words "...every imagination of the thoughts of his heart..." tells us what grieved the Lord.
What was the great contrast between Noah and the world? It was in their attitudes. Noah had an attitude of submission, while the world was absolutely rebellious against the things of the Lord. Noah had an attitude of contrition; he was just. He was perfect, and he walked with God. Do you see how the attitudes are the center of the contrasts between the two?
Much is said about salvation, about who is saved and who is not; and there are many different formulas for arriving at salvation. However, if you want evidence of your salvation, examine your heart to see if you have been reconciled with God; examine your attitude.
"It repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." What grieved the Lord in His heart? It was the horrible, stubborn, rebellious attitude that ruled the world. We are never able to understand the sinfulness of sin until we learn to see by faith how grievous sin is unto the Lord. It grieved Him at His heart. The Lord is a tender, loving, merciful God; and this bitterness, hatred, and violent attitude grieved our loving Father. In verse 11, we read, "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." It grieved God.
On the other side of this principle, we must also learn to see how pleasing it is unto the Lord when we have a heart that is tender in His fear. Some pastors preach sins and miseries to such an extent that one would think there is nothing a person can ever do to please the Lord. That is absolutely wrong. The Lord was pleased with Enochs walk of life. Noahs walk of life also pleased the Lord. Abraham was called the friend of God. Attitude is the factor that makes the difference. The whole law of God is a law of love, and it all rests in attitude. Think about that for a moment. The first table of the law is to love God above all else with all of your heart, your soul, and your mind. Where does love have its fountain? It comes from the heart, soul, and mind. The heart is the womb of the mind, the attitude.
In HEB 11:5 we read, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." It is possible to please God. How? It is with a right attitude. The heart and mind form the womb of every action in ones life. Our actions are conceived in our minds and hearts.
It was this same obedience of faith in Enochs life that pleased God in Noahs walk of life. GEN 6:9 says, "These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." That is what God saw in Noah, and it is why Noah was separated from all the rest of the world. Do you see the contrast between Noah and the generation in which he lived? Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation. He was a great contrast to the bitterness, hatred, and violence in the world at that time. Noah walked with God.
Now I have a question for you. What is sin? We hear a lot about sin, but what is it?
We find the answer in 1JO 3:4, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Sin is every act against the first and the second table of the law. The first table of the law is to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul; the second table of the law is to love your neighbor as yourself. Sin is any violation of that law.
Is sin more than an act? If you have not committed the act of adultery, can you have sinned in this area? Yes, you can be guilty of heart sins; they are in the attitudes that spring forth from your heart. The violation of the law of love can be committed without ever committing an overt act. Sin is much more than just the act of transgressing the law by action.
Sin is unbelief; it is an attitude which springs from the heart. Unbelief is a definite sin that comes from the heart. Unbelief is an attitude problem. See this in MAT 15:18-19, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies."
Notice that Jesus is not talking about the act, but the evil thoughts which comes from the heart; the heart is the womb of every evil thought. Why? The bad attitude and corruption of the heart makes it evil; that is where sin begins. Read those verses again. What is the first sin He identifies? It is our attitude, "evil thoughts," which is the mother of all the other sins Christ mentioned! Murder is the fruit of a wrong attitude.
What is another one of the fruits of sin or unbelief? It is rebellion against God, and the authority of His Word. Sin is self-willed. Isnt that an attitude problem? The crux of all sin is a wrong attitude in the heart.
God says, "Thou shalt," and sin and unbelief say, "I dont," or "I wont." God says, "Thou shalt not," and sin, rebellion, and unbelief say, "Ill do as I please."
1-SA 2:3 says, "Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." What is the scale upon which our actions are weighed? These actions are weighed on the scale of heart attitudes: "Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth..." Do you see the attitudes? Do not forget that God is a God of knowledge; He understands every motive of your heart and whatever prompts you to do and say the things you do. Your actions are the fruit of what is born in the heart.
Lets turn to ROM 7:15-16 to see how the Apostle Paul recognizes that the Lord is weighing his actions on the scale of his attitudes. We offend in many things and ways, but the Lord looks at the attitude we have when we do those things. ROM 7:15-16 says, "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good."
Paul recognized that the law was good, but it grieved him that he had offended the law. Now there is forgiveness. The Lord is weighing our actions on the scale of the attitudes that prompted such actions. If they are done because one is weak in the flesh, and not able to perfectly do that which pleases God, it grieves us because we have offended such a loving God. However, actions can be weighed on the scale of attitudes and be found wanting, because bitterness, revenge, and hate were the attitudes of the heart. Hearts filled with violence grieve the Lord. Isnt that cause to make us analyze the attitudes and motives that bring about our actions. Read those verses again and ponder the principles they teach.
God says, "Thou shalt not," and sin and unbelief says, "Ill do as I please." The apostle is speaking about delighting in doing what is pleasing unto the Lord. He said, "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man," ROM 7:21-22.
You and I cannot please Him with works that are perfect, but our attitude will make a difference. Remorse over having done things we knew we should not have done is the key. Can we go to a person we have hurt and confess and ask forgiveness?
One time I called a person at one oclock who was to have come for a job interview at ten oclock. I asked if she had forgotten her interview, and she replied that she had. So I discussed it with her, asking if she wanted an interview at two oclock. Her answer was that she had changed her mind and wasnt interested in the job. Just on an impulse, I asked her sharply if changing her mind had a bearing on forgetting her appointment. She answered, "It might have."
The conversation ended abruptly, but after I hung up the phone, my heart melted, and my conscience was pricked. Was I sharp? Did I offend her? Even though she offended by being inconsiderate, that did not give me license to offend? I considered the words, "...but what I hate, that do I." I had to lay this before the Lord to ask Him to take away all offense if I had offended. The Lord looks at the hearts motive and desires. Is our attitude right? Sometimes we act foolishly in a weak moment.
Faith is diametrically opposed to sin and unbelief. Faith is as far from sin and unbelief as east is from west. What is faith? Faith without works is dead, but works without faith are also dead. Faith is more than an act of obedience. When Abraham offered Isaac his son on the altar, we are asked, "Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" JAM 2:22. Those acts of obedience whereby faith is made perfect are also motivated by an attitude which springs from the heart. JAM 3:13 says, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom." Do you see the place of attitude in that verse? Meekness is an attitude. Wisdom is the fear of the Lord, a holy reverence for His law of love. Godly fear, i.e., a holy reverence for the will of God, is an attitude of reverent respect.
What is one of the fruits of faith? It is submission to the authority of Gods Word and His will; this is an exact opposite of sin. Submission is the fruit of faith; it results in a total dissolving of my will in the will of God.
Look at 1PE 1:22 to see the acts and fruits of faith. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." The work of sanctification is to cut off wrong attitudes and replace them with submission and subjection to the will of God. That involves a complete reversal of attitude. What is "unfeigned love"? It is not a put-on love; it is not hypocritical. It comes from the heart. It is true, wholehearted, unpretentious, and undesigning.
How do we obey the truth? The spirit or mental disposition of an upright love is the work of sanctification. It is seen in our attitudes, which stem from our hearts. Every act or reaction is the fruit of what is in our hearts. We must "...love one another with a pure heart fervently." The heart is the womb of every attitude and action.
Faith is serving God from a motive of love with the heart, soul, and mind. The law of love is to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds; it is an attitude of unconditional surrender to the will of God. It also loves ones neighbor as oneself.
Faith in God is coming to an end of self in a spirit of dependency. That is why there is a great gulf between those of the household of faith, and the wicked. LUK 16:26 says, "And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence." The separation is as far as the east is from the west.
Perhaps you have never heard the expression, "As far apart as north from south." That is not the same is it? If you go north far enough to pass the North Pole, then you will travel south. Continue around the earth many times in either direction, and every time you pass a pole you will change directions. North and south meet at the poles. However, if you travel east you can go around and around the earth many times, and you will be still going east. East and west never meet, and that is why the illustration is beautiful that we find in PSA 103:11-12, "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."
Lets return to Noah. What does the character of Noah tell us? It tells us three things which please God. He was "just...perfect...and Noah walked with God."
First, what does it mean that Noah was a "just" man? Does it mean he was without sin? No! It means Noah was a man who was upright in his heart. He was faithful to Gods revealed will. It is written in HEB 10:38, "Now the just shall live by faith [the obedience of faith]: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." To be just before God means to have a heart in total surrender to His will and to walk in the obedience of faith. If we draw back from observing to do His will, He will have no pleasure in us.
Noah did not draw back from following God, nor did he strive against the Spirit of God as did the men of his generation. See what God said of that generation in GEN 6:3. "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man..." Every person has a conscience wherein the Spirit tells him what is right and true. When we strive against that, our conscience becomes hardened and seared as if with a hot iron. 1TI 4:1-2 tells us, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron." God will not always strive with man; He will give them over to a reprobate mind. Noah did not strive with God.
The Spirit strives against the flesh by bringing His truth and His will before the mind, bringing it into our conscience. The Spirit says, "come let us reason together." In ISA 1:16-18, God condescends to plead with our conscience saying, "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." The Lord does not desert a tender conscience, one that is tender for His will. Noah did not strive against the will of God.
In GAL 5:14-17 we read, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [Do we strive against that command? Does bitterness and hatred push us to get even? If we strive against the Spirit, we quench the Spirit.] But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [Striving with the Spirit comes from an evil heart, a wrong attitude.] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." We may want to strike at a brother, but the Holy Spirit strives with our conscience. We know we should not do such a thing, and if we overrule our conscience and the Spirit, we will quench the Spirit.
See how we are admonished to change our attitude toward our neighbour that we do not grieve the Spirit in EPH 4:23-30: "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that, which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Dont we need to carefully plan how we need to adjust our attitude?
The meritorious grounds of our justification is the blood of Christ. We make no claim that we are going to merit justification by our works, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast," EPH 2:8-9. Yet there is a blessed harmony between Gods revealed will and His sovereign will in our salvation. We see the blessed harmony between the grace of God, which is His divine influence upon our hearts to will and do according to His good pleasure, and humble obedience as we work out our own salvation by the obedience of faith, Cf., PHI 2:12-13. EPH 2:10 explains how this is, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
As we see in ROM 5:9, Christs meritorious death is our only basis for justification before the bar of Gods justice. "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." The blood of Christ appeased the wrath of the Father. There is a distinction between the blood and the obedience of Christ. His blood saves us from Gods wrath; His wrath was appeased by Christ giving His lifes blood as an act of obedience to His Fathers will. Jesus said, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father," JOH 10:17-18.
Such humble obedience of Christ so pleased the Father that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, Cf. PHI 2:8-11. As we are conformed to the blessed image of Christ, we receive an attitude adjustment, or a new heart that desires to please God. How do we please God? It is with a right attitude revealed in humble obedience.
The obedience of faith is a blessed harmony between humble obedience and God's enabling grace as we see from JAM 2:21-22, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" We are justified before the law of God by the blood of Christ. What is the distinction between that statement and Abraham being justified by works? When you go into the original language, the distinction is found in the word "by." When we talk of being justified by His blood, the word "by" in the original Greek means on the basis of, as the foundation for. However, the word "by" in "Abraham our father justified by works" means as an instrument whereby it was conveyed. The blood of Christ purchased justification, but it is by the works of faith that it becomes ones own.
Works were also the instrument whereby Noahs faith was made perfect as we see in HEB 11:7. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."
Noah was "moved with fear," i.e., circumspect, or cautious to observe to religiously do Gods will,to reverence Gods will, as it is in the original Greek. Then Noah obeyed and prepared an ark "to the saving of his house." His faith was made perfect by putting into action what God commanded him to do. Was Noah saved by his works? Yes!
Noahs obedience of faith was not only "to the saving of his house," but it also condemned the world. How was that? They heard the message of Gods threatened destruction by every blow of the hammer. Each one told the people around him the same message Noah received, but they didnt believe it. They made no preparations. Their attitude caused their condemnation.
Noah became the heir of righteousness which is by faith because he religiously reverenced and observed to do Gods will. The expression, "He was moved by fear," did not imply a slavish fear, as though he were terrified by the thought of the flood; the consequences of the flood were not his primary concern. He had a holy reverence for the will of God, and he obeyed, to the saving of his house.
What was the second characteristic of Noah that pleased God? He was "perfect." This word "perfect" comes from the Hebrew word "tamiym" which means, "integrity, truth, without blemish, upright, undefiled, perfect." Where we read, "Noah was perfect in his generation," it means he was undefiled in his generation; he was not defiled by all the sins of the world.
You and I have that responsibility even if we stand all alone in the world as Noah did. Even though we might be the only ones in the entire world to obey the will of God, we do it while they mock and jeer. Noah kept his integrity; he did not become a part of the defilement of his generation. He was undefiled, perfect. He was a total contrast to the world. He remained a man of love while all about him was hatred and violence. Through his actions and attitudes, his walk with God made him a preacher of righteousness.
That "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations" teaches us the calling to every saint is to be just and remain undefiled in his own generation. It is against human nature to respond with love when all come against us with violence, bitterness, and hatred. Now dont become defiled with their wrong attitude! We are to heap coals of love upon their heads while they persecute us. Our Lord tells us in His Word, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good," ROM 12:19-21. That is to remain undefiled. If we allow their vengeance and violence to make us respond in kind, we become defiled.
JAM 1:27 says, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." The call of every saint of God is to keep himself unspotted in times of violence.
The closer to home the violence comes against you, the harder it is to respond with love. Consider the example of someone you do not know, who lives a very different life, condemning you for your beliefs. It is easy to pray for them. However, when it is someone from your own house, your own family that comes against you violently, it is difficult to respond with love. We are not to become spotted and defiled by this present world. In MAT 10:34-36 Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a mans foes shall be they of his own household." Now can we respond with love? Noah, an example for our edification, remained undefiled.
The account we have of Noah and his family remaining undefiled by his present generation teaches the same lesson we find in EXO 23:2. "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment." Just because the majority agrees on something does not make it right. We must not agree with someone just because we want to be popular. We are to agree with them only if it is just and honest.
Our lovely Saviour came to redeem us from all iniquity that we might again serve our heavenly Father according to His will. GAL 1:4 says, "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." Jesus gave Himself to deliver us from sin.
What was the third characteristic of Noah that pleased God? "He walked with God." Our Saviour told us in MAT 5:13-14, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour [if your walk of life doesnt correspond with your profession], wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid." Salt stops decay; it can be used to preserve a pelt or meat. If a spot of decay appears in a pelt, more salt is added and rubbed in vigorously. The more decay we see in the world, the more vigorously we must be the salt of the earth. How? We are the salt of the earth by being a deterrent against sin through faithful obedience to the Lord.
This doesnt require so much talking, but it does require an awful lot of walking. Why? Our walk of life is a stronger preacher than many words. This was how Noah was a preacher of righteousness. 2PE 2:5 says, "And [the Lord] spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." Noah walked with God. All the words we might speak are only tramped upon by our own walk if it does not correspond with our talk, our attitude, and show a spirit of love.
We are the salt of the earth when our walk of life becomes a deterrent to the world. It is when the world can see our walk with God that our heavenly Father is glorified. MAT 5:16 says, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." That does not mean we are to speak many words; we must clean up our act. Walk before men in such a manner that they will see Christ formed in us. God is so pleased when His people are walking before the world with the Spirit of Christ.
Our walk of life is a much more powerful preaching of Gods righteousness than any words we can speak. Read again 2PE 2:5. "And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." How was Noah a preacher of righteousness? It was by his obedience to the will of God, by doing what God commanded. Every board he cut and every stroke of the hammer was a preaching of righteousness and obedience, thereby condemning the worlds disobedience and violence.
The history of Noah is synonymous with the teachings of the apostle James in JAM 2:25-26. "Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?" How was this a preaching of righteousness? Rahab was a harlot; she was not the type to make a great profession. However, her profession is not discussed; her works were. By her works, she proved her attitude toward God, and obeyed.
She actually believed God would destroy that city and deliver it into the hands of His people. Her actions proved she believed. As a result, she was told to put the scarlet cord in the window so that when they came to destroy the city, her house would be spared. Again, her obedience saved her. If she had not put the scarlet cord in the window, she would not have been saved. You cannot separate obedience and faith. This is the principle taught in verse 26: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." If you look up the word "spirit" in the original, it means breath. Faith without works is as dead as a body without breath. That is the Word of God.
Do you and I have saving faith? What is it? It is the obedience of faith. When we put our faith into action with a reverent attitude toward God and do His will, that is the exercise of saving faith.
Just as Abraham and Rahab were justified by works, so it was through the obedience of faith that Noah was accounted righteous. Not only was Noah saved in the ark, he was accounted righteous. HEB 11:7 says, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house [by the obedience of faith]; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." He inherited righteousness by faith because he did the will of God.
Can we separate our walk of life from our salvation? Is it possible to separate them? Can you claim salvation if your walk of life does not correspond? See what Gods Word says in 2PE 1:11, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." What does that mean, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you"? How shall that entrance be ministered unto you? It will be ministered by doing the will of God under the first and second table of the law of love! See the context in which this is found, and see the evidence that salvation and our walk of life must correspond.
2PE 1:5-10 says, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness [observing the first table of the law to love God with heart, soul, and mind]; And to godliness brotherly kindness [It is impossible to have a godly spirit and have bitterness toward one human being.]; and to brotherly kindness charity [In the original, charity means living by the law of love]. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall."
Then verse 11 says, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Do you see the characteristics of love and the urgency of putting faith into action, doing the will of God? It is so important to understand these principles.
Many times, it is against all human reasoning to obey Gods will. It was true with Noah. He obeyed Gods will to build a ship on dry land; he had no way to move that ship to the ocean. That was against all human reasoning.
We see another illustration of obeying Gods will when it is against all human reasoning in LUK 5:4-5. "Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." Faith and a right attitude go into action after all human reasoning says something isnt possible, it wont work, or its against all logic, but because it was Gods will, it is obeyed with childlike simplicity. All things are possible with God, and if we believe this, we can obey against all logic as we read of Peter, " nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake."
Noahs obedience of faith corresponds with what we read in HEB 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Noah had evidence of a coming flood, but he didnt see it except by faith. As Noah labored at building the ark on dry land in humble obedience to Gods will, he was not walking by sight, he was walking by faith.
2CO 5:7 says, "(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)." The mark of genuineness in Noahs faith was that he was "moved with fear." It is important to understand what moved Noah; we need to know his motive to do Gods command. The word "fear" doesnt mean he was afraid with a slavish fear. No. He had a holy reverence or filial fear for the revealed will of God. Noah was cautious to religiously observe and do Gods will. That is faith in action. We need to follow Noahs example to move with reverence for Gods will, not with a slavish fear, not with a fear of the consequences of not obeying, but moving to do His will out of love with a motive of directing our hearts toward the Lord.
Faith not only believes the precious promises of God, but faith also believes that God rewards every man according to his works. See this in the Book of Psalms where David said, "Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work," PSA 62:12. In HEB 11:6 we read that faith must believe not only that God is, but that He rewards us according to our works. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
If our attitude through this life resembles that of the worlds attitude in Noahs time, it is an attitude that is grievous to the Lord. It pleases the Lord if we grieve when we fall short, then He rewards us according to our works because our attitude is similar to that of Paul in ROM 7:15, "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." In other words, every time I do something that I see is sinful and against the Word of God, it causes me grief. It defiles me. Then the Lord rewards according to my works, i.e., in the way of gospel obedience.
We see that Noahs faith was a living faith because he acted upon it; he "prepared an ark." He did more than talk about this job; he acted.
When faith is put into exercise, Gods will is expressed unto the world. It pleases God when we put our faith into action where the world can see us humbly doing the will of our Lord. However, we are not to do Gods will in the manner of the Pharisees. They acted so everyone would see how religious they were; they were seeking praises from other people. On the other side of this principle, we are not to do things in such a manner that shows the world we are bashful and ashamed of doing Gods will. The Lord is glorified when you and I are able and willing to obey even to the crucifying of our flesh before the eyes of the world.
PSA 31:19 says, "Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!" When we are able to trust in the Lord and are able to stand the mocking and scorn for His names sake, the Lord is pleased.
Did Noahs children benefit by his obedience of faith? Yes, very much! See what we read in GEN 8:18, "And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons wives with him." They went into the ark with Noah, and they came out with him because of the walk of life of their father, Noah. The children benefited.
What command do we have pertaining to our children? In EPH 6:4 we read, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." What does "nurture and admonition" mean? In the original Greek, it means discipline or chastening. The Lord is telling us that the attitudes of our children need discipline. That does not mean we backhand the child when he or she does the wrong thing. No. It means that we step in and train their thinking. Self-discipline is the first and most important lesson we must teach them. We lovingly explain to the child the sinfulness of such a bad attitude. We must pray with our children that the Lord will give them the right attitudes because we are dealing with an attitude problem. Teaching children self-discipline is bringing them up in the nurture of the Lord. The little child must be trained to discipline his own attitude; he must know that a bad attitude is a horrible, grievous sin before God.
Children must know it is not just Mom and Dad that are grieved. Parents must admonish their children so they know that they are sinning against God. That is how parents, by faith, train their children so they know the distinction between an attitude that is defiled with sin and an attitude of loving God with all their heart, soul, and mind. That training must begin when the child is very young. That is how parents, by their walk of life, bring their children into the ark. The ark is a type of Christ, but that is a topic for later.
God is so glorified by those who trust in Him before the sons of men because "By faith Noah...prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world." We can save our house by bringing our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
The conduct of every saint who walks by faith and the walk of obedience of Gods people to His will is a condemnation to the world. Their lives are a witness against sin, "...for whatsoever is not of faith is sin," ROM 14:23. This is why the walk of life of every saint condemns the world; it charges their conscience with their sin. They see themselves walking in sin.
But there is a reward for the righteous as we see with Noah, the preacher of righteousness. HEB 11:7 explains that, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear [holy reverence], prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." Amen.
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