Noah and our Salvation Experience

Introduction

This morning, we are going to examine some early Biblical history. We are going to touch very briefly on some of the final elements of the record of creation, then go to the time of Noah, and talk about what Satan was up to in between. From there, we are going to apply the story of Noah to our past and present lives. We will touch on several different concepts from scripture today and try to always give the scripture references to back them up. This was a bit rushed, so I may not have all the references I had planned, but if you have questions, see me after the service and we will try to cover anything that gets light treatment a bit more deeply if needed.

Creation

Preliminary to the discussion of Noah's flood, we are going to go back in history a bit. In Genesis 1, we have a Biblical description of the creation of many things. For example, in verse 21 the creation of the sea creatures and birds is recorded.

Genesis 1:21

1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

In verse 24 there is a description of the creation of the land creatures.

Genesis 1:24

1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

In verse 27 there is a description of the creation of man.

Genesis 1:27

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

The him in this verse refers to Adam, and the them refers to the remainder of the created flora and fauna created in the earlier verses.

There were various commands given to each. In several places, after the particular subjects are created, the command is given to be fruitful and multiply. This can be seen in the verses after the creation of the fowls, sea creatures, and man, for example. In each case, the injunction is given that they only reproduce after their own kind. Man had the additional command to replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth. At the end of the complete creation, the Bible records God's thoughts on his work.

Genesis 1:31

1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

The creation, commands to be fruitful and multiply after their own kind, and satisfaction with His work are the key thoughts I want to bring out of this section of scripture. When God was done, He was pleased with what He had created. God doesn't create junk is a phrase that has become bumper sticker material today, but it is true. He made a beautiful harmonious place, suitable for habitation by man and suitable for Him to come and converse with man in the cool of the day.

The Fall of Man

We are going to move forward in time now. We don't know how far. Woman has been created as an help meet (or suitable) for Adam. They have had fellowship with God for a time. Eventually, however, they didn't live up to God's few recorded injunctions. By eating the fruit in the midst of the garden, sin entered humanity and a curse was put on man and on the earth. There is one part of the curse that I specifically want to mention in leading into the rest of today's message.

Genesis 3:15

3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Verses 14 and 15 form the first prophecy recorded in the Bible. In this second part, there is a promise given by God that the seed of woman would have His heel bruised by Satan and would in turn bruise Satan's head. This was a prophetic message about Christ coming through woman, of Christ's suffering at the end of His life and dying on the cross and his triumph over Satan in the end. This prophecy is fulfilled in some aspects - Christ has come through Mary and suffered and died on the cross. It is being fulfilled, and will be fully fulfilled at the end of this age as recorded in Daniel and in Revelation in terms of complete victory over Satan.

No one on Earth knows what Satan thought he could accomplish - if anything - by using the serpent to entice Eve in the first place. He had already been thrown out of Heaven when he rebelled against God at some time in the past as recorded in Isaiah 14. He knew he couldn't win - he was fighting a rear guard action. My personal opinion based on my understanding of Scripture was that he was mad at having his kingdom taken away from him and destroyed and wanted to mess up God's new plans. Sort of a - see this creation of yours isn't perfect either - type of thing. There was also a hatred against anything God did, which is carrying through in the persecution of the church today. But that is pure speculation as to his thoughts.

At any rate, when God spoke this prophecy, I believe that Satan fully understood the prophetical implications of the words used. He knew at that point - if not before - what God was planning. He knew that God's word was law, and, like before, he wanted to subvert that law at any cost and in any way he could.

Satan's Work Before Noah's Flood

Satan's first attempt to destroy God's plan occurs during the Dispensation of Conscience which lasted from the time Adam was banished from the garden until Noah's flood. Satan's reasoning was straightforward. If he could destroy and subvert the purity of man's blood line, then there would be no vessel left for God to use in providing a redeemer for mankind.

In Genesis 6, it is recorded that the sons of God married with the daughters of men in an attempt to corrupt the bloodline from Adam and Eve. In the Old Testament, the term ``sons of God'' is a reference to angels; for example, in the first part of the book of Job 1:6, 2:1, it is recorded that the sons of God including Satan came to present themselves before God. In the reference here in Genesis, angels are also being described. Here it refers to some of the angels which fell when Lucifer was cast down. The offspring are recorded as being giants - not normal men and women as would be the case if the Bible meant that men and women were marrying since men and women - as with the animals, reproduce after their own kind.

Genesis 6:2-4

6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

Satan attempted this again after the flood and this is one of the reasons that God commanded the Israelites to utterly destroy many of the inhabitants of Canaan when they left Egypt and went to the promised land. The Anakims, Ammonites, Zamzummims, and residents of the valley of Rephaim among others are all described as being giants. These were not merely 7 foot tall people, which we might consider giants today. The bed of Og, the king of Bashan is described in Deuteronomy 3:11 as being 18 1/2 feet long and 8 ft., 4 in. wide. Goliath was about 13 feet tall in 1 Samuel 17:4 and wore 200 pounds of armor. Javelins are described as being 10 to 25 pounds apiece (2 Samuel 21:19).

Since God had promised not to destroy the entire earth yet again, He used the Israelites to eliminate the results of Satan's work on earth the second time around and locked the offending angels up in chains - see 2 Peter 2:4-5 and Jude 6-7.

Noah's Flood

So how successful was Satan in his first attempt to destroy mankind? At the time of the flood, wickedness reigned on the earth. We aren't talking about just a few people. Some estimate that using the current rate of reproduction, there could have been 150 to 500 million people around at that point in time. Others put the estimate higher. God waited and gave mankind a chance to choose who they would serve - just as He does today. But it was clear that not only was Satan being successful in introducing impurities into the blood line from Adam and Eve, the morality of the world was in absolute shambles.

Genesis 6:5

6:5 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.

God's disgust with the situation was very real. The joy in his heart, recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, was gone. It had been hurt by the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and was gone by Genesis chapter 6:6. Just a few chapters have passed, but this covers 1,656 years of history. The Bible records the state of the heart of God as follows.

Genesis 6:6-7

6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

God's attitude was very clear. He was grieved at the core of His heart. He repented of making man on earth in the first place. In order to keep the blood line intact, it was necessary to select the last remaining family which was still perfect, and save it, destroying everything else.

Of all mankind, Noah was found to be perfect among his contemporaries. As the Young translation puts it - taking verse 9 and 8 out of order

Genesis 6:8-9

6:9 These are births of Noah: Noah is a righteous man; perfect he hath been among his generations; with God hath Noah walked habitually.

6:8 And Noah found grace in the eyes of Jehovah.

Many have questioned why the children weren't saved or why Noah couldn't convert anyone else in the days as he built the ark and save others. The fact is, the bloodlines were polluted, and this was God's way of cleansing the earth. I believe that by that point, there was nothing anyone else could have done to be saved other than Noah. God wanted another clean start. Fortunately, for humanity, Noah was both pure, and willing - which was just as important.

What if Noah had been dispirited about all that was going on around him and just said - it doesn't matter. The world is too wicked for me to make a difference. I don't have the strength to do what you ask of me (he was 600 years old then, after all.) It isn't worth it - just take me too. What will the neighbors think - they're a lot bigger than I am after all. So many things that we say today when God asks something of us may have floated through his mind as well. Satan certainly would have been trying to place those types of seeds of doubt in his mind. But through it all, he did what God asked of him.

We aren't going to deal specifically with the building of the ark to save Noah and his immediate family, and the fowl of the air and beasts of the field. I only want to make two pertinent points. God was very specific in His plans for how the ark was to be made, and exactly what clean and unclean animals were to occupy it. Seven pairs of clean animals and one pair of unclean animals of each kind occupied the ark. God selected exactly which ones were to go and got them miraculously to the ark and into the ark without killing each other in the process. Animals tend to be a lot more obedient to God than mankind.

After God had shut Noah, his family, the animals and the birds in the ark, the flood came and utterly destroyed everything else. Of all the things which lived on the face of the earth, only the items in the ark lived and were saved.

Noah's Flood as Type of Salvation

To borrow one of Dave's lines, that was the prelude to the sermon. There are actually probably several sermons which can be preached on Noah's flood outside of the flood itself. I threw out a few items above which would probably fill a complete sermon alone in discussing all of the scripture involved. But for this message, I have chosen to do a comparison of the life and times of Noah, the flood, and God's hand in saving him, and relate it to our life before and after the salvation experience.

Our Lives Before Salvation

So, what are we like before we accept Christ? This will vary with each person. In general, before we are saved, our lives have many aspects which are displeasing to God. There is our basic sin nature. Regardless of how good we have lived our lives, this is what needs Christ's blood bought sacrifice in the first place. We are born with it (being born of man and woman) and can't do anything about it. When the Bible records in Romans

Romans 3:23

3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

that is what it is talking about. Everyone has this sin nature passed down through the seed of man which stands between God and us. Before the so called age of accountability when we learn of sin and understand the ramifications of it, we believe we are covered by God's grace. After that, we are on our own and must get right with God again through salvation in Jesus Christ.

In addition, there are all of these sins which we have done in our lives. They are strictly our creation. God has nothing to do with sin in general or our sins in particular. They are all our own. Some of them, we would just as soon forget about. Some of them - like habits - are things we cherish and love, just as if they were our own child.

Just as God wanted His creation to be fruitful and multiply in Genesis 1, there are habits and sins in ourselves that in our sinful state we want to be fruitful and multiply. Satan wants this also. Left unchecked, this is exactly what happens.

One lie leads to another - maybe a bigger one. One reckless night on the town leads to another. One errant relationship leads to another. One time of breaking a traffic law leads to disregard of others. One swear word leads to another until you take God's name in vain or swear at everything that goes wrong and don't even think about it anymore. One bit of greed or lust leads to another. One kernel of dislike to a friend or relative grows to active dislike and then to hatred. Relationships break down - friends pass away - and so it goes. Every sin has a tendency to grow and to become bigger. Left unchecked, they will consume everything around them.

The sinful desires are never satisfied - they always want more sin to be done. Make no mistake - all sin may not bring pleasure, and different sins may bring pleasure to different people, but if sin wasn't fun, we would be living in a holy world today. We would have stopped sinning as a world long ago if it wasn't fun (or at least didn't start out being fun.)

Hebrews 11:25

11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

puts it directly. The duration of the season may vary with the sin being committed, whether you get caught in sin and the season is cut short, or you don't get caught or don't care that others know about your sin and it goes on for the duration of your life, it is still just a season in eternity. And when the season is over, you are just left with the dregs.

Although a slightly graphic example, for any smokers out there, the pleasures of smoking when you are in your teens and putting one over on your parents or looking cool with your friends is nothing compared to the pain of trying to stop when you are in your sixties and seventies and don't even have enough lung capacity left to make it half way up the block and back or from the parking lot into a store and back out. I didn't know my dad when he was a teenager and started smoking, but I saw the end result and it wasn't pretty, I can assure you.

Salvation

Hopefully, at some point in time you hear the salvation message - you are a sinner, sinners are going to be judged according to their knowledge of right and wrong if they never heard of Christ (Romans 3) and the truth if they have heard the gospel, and those found wanting are going to hell. For those who have heard the gospel, Christ's blood, shed on the cross, is the only sacrifice acceptable to God for sin, and if you reject that sacrifice and refuse to accept Christ as your savior, you are going to die an eternal death rather than have an eternal life with God.

You may hear the salvation message several times in your life, but eventually, with luck, it will sink in and change your heart. You will act on the words and make a decision to follow Christ. Like God looking at the world in the time of Noah, you look into your own heart and acknowledge that the wickedness in your heart is great. Hopefully, you aren't at the point where you would have to honestly admit that the thoughts of your heart are only evil continually as were the hearts of Noah's contemporaries, but I am sure that is true for some in the world.

I have only been coming here about 2 years, and I don't know the life histories of very many of you at all - in fact, I know very little of any of your pasts. I don't know what you did before you were saved or what that salvation experience was like for you. Maybe some were at that point where they thought of nothing but evil before they were saved, hopefully most were not. But I do know that God doesn't have a gray scale indicator on His sin meter. He doesn't check to see what percent black you are and then say - we're having a special today - anyone with less than 21% on the sin meter gets in free. Sin is sin - it is pure black and evil. It must be dealt with.

What to Get Rid Of

Following our initial conversion must come repentance. The basic sin inheritance from Adam is taken care of by Christ's sacrifice, as is the covering for your sin up to that point in time. I don't mean that there aren't temptations to sin which still plague us or that our leaning toward sin is vanquished. I simply mean that as long as we accept Christ's sacrifice for our sin, the sin nature passed down from Adam to all of his descendants which we can do nothing about is washed in Christ's blood and God won't remember it against us. Satan will still drag it around trying to interest us in it over and over again. Hopefully, the deeper we get into God and the longer we walk hand in hand with the Master, the less hold Satan and the sinful desires will have.

We must ruthlessly eliminate all remnants of the sin we lived in and created in our life before coming to Christ. That is what repentance is all about. Our heart must become just like God's heart as recorded in Genesis 6:6 which I'll read again:

Genesis 6:6

6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

We need to be just as absolutely destructive with our sin nature as God was with the evil on the face of the earth - reading once again from verse 7.

Genesis 6:7

6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Remember, this was God's creation which He was speaking about. Just as the specifics of our sinful past are our creation. At one point in our sinful past, we took just as great a delight in at least some of our sin as God did in the record of Genesis 1. We might not have been actually commanding our sinful nature to be fruitful and multiply, and depending on our upbringing we might not actually be saying that the way we were living was good, but by our acts, this is what our life without God was bringing about. Our sins were growing, and at some level we believed it was good even if we wouldn't have admitted it.

Yet God said I will destroy every thing that I have created that is evil because it repenteth me that I made them. Almost all references to repenting by God have to do with mankind in some way. He is either saying he will repent of the evil that He had proposed to do if they shape up, or he will repent of the good he was going to do if they fail.

Repentance is the same thing required of believers in God. Are we this ruthless with it? Do we take our sins out and wipe them off the face of the earth? Or do we leave them lurking around in dark corners waiting to come out and grow into giants once again to torment us. This is something that each person must answer and decide for themselves. Don't do it alone. Ask God to light up the dark corners of your soul and point out anything that is still hiding out unobserved.

Romans 6:6-7; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9-10; Matthew 16:24

6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

That which supports the sin must also be eliminated. There were only seven pair of clean and one pair of unclean animals and seven pair of fowl which were saved. There was nothing wrong with the rest of the animals, but they were destroyed along with the wicked mankind in the deluge. God must tell you what to give up and what to keep. Other than things that are strictly laid out in the Bible as being wrong, God must prompt your heart as to what is kept and what is left behind.

1 Corinthians 6:12

6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

We must become good dividers of the truth, saving that which is expedient and discarding that which is not. In many cases, we have cherished these things for months, years, or decades. It isn't easy to give up what God says to give up, but it must be done.

What to Save

Not only do we need to be ruthless in dealing with our former life of sin, we also need to let the Holy Spirit pick what goes into our ark of salvation. There may be good qualities in our lives at conversion which God can use a lot of and some qualities which God can use some of. God must be the picker of the clean and unclean animal equivalents in our life. He should be the one to choose the things from the past which are saved to be of use as we work in God's kingdom. The rest must be destroyed both in our hearts and in fact.

Genesis 8:20-22

8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

It is not enough to just retain the good things God points out. Like Noah when the ark landed, we need to make sacrifices to God of that which He elects to allow us to keep. Some of all clean animals and fowls were selected by Noah and offered as a burnt offering to God. When God smelled the sacrifice, He made the promise to not curse the ground again because of man, and also promised not to smite all of the living things again. This was to carry forward for as long as the earth remained. His heart is moved by what His creation does.

The things that we do for God are a sweet sacrifice to Him. We were created to converse with God and fellowship with Him. We need to get back to that.

Conclusion

If you are like me, you might wish that the salvation experience was as easy as when God shut the door on the ark. At that point, it started to rain, and after a very short time everything outside the ark was dead. Everything inside the ark was saved. It would be nice if all of our sin nature died at salvation just as thoroughly as the giants occupying the land did in Noah's day, and that all of our good qualities were just as safe as Noah's family and the animals in the ark.

If we let God have control of our life, and let Him lead the fight against the principalities and powers of this world, it can be. If we try to fight alone, we will be no better than the giants who treaded water until their legs gave out and drowned. Let us all see the true requirements of repentance and putting to death and grieving over the evil that each of us has created, and determine to live the rest of our lives as God wants us to live.

We must search out our salvation with watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance, replacing the evil in our past with a growing body of holiness which cannot be defeated by the wiles of Satan. In the days of Noah, God was looking for a pure blood line for the Messiah to come along with a just and righteous man to work through. Today, God is looking for a pure heart. I'll close with

2 Timothy 2:22; Matthew 5:8

2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.