Faith is Lifetime Obedience
Hebrews 11:7, Genesis 6:5-13, 22 (Pastor Heo)
Heb 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.
Genesis 6:5-13, 22
5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth-men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air-for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD .
9 This is the account of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 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. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.
22 [your name] Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
Put your name in the place of Noah and read again.
“Faith is being sure of what we hope for…” – the power to see what is unseen. God, heaven, eternity, salvation – all are unseen. But by faith, we can see them and enjoy them. By faith, we can see the future as present. By faith, we can make the future as a matter of the present – so we can give thanks under any circumstances and rejoice under any circumstances (by faith).
Last Sunday, we saw Enoch’s faith – a demonstration. He walked with God over 300 years (how? we don’t know exactly). But he walked toward the same destination, in the same direction, at the same pace. Then, God took him to heaven and he was on earth no more.
Today: Noah walked with God.
Through this, we can know that the life of faith is not a life of flying up to heaven with wings – but rather a life of continuous walking, step-by-step, in love with, in step with the One who is leading us.
Today: Noah’s demonstration of faith.
Noah: Genesis 6-9 – Noah is well-known for the flood. He is the 10th generation from Adam and the great grandson of Enoch.
We know Adam had at least three sons: Cain, Abel, Seth. Noah is from the line of Seth.
Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, Japheth. Later, David and Jesus from the line of Shem.
Noah lived 950 years. He was one of those who lived the longest years on this earth. His grandfather Methusela lived 969 years (the longest according to the record of the Bible).
According to this account, at that time, the earth was flooded with violence and corruption. God was sorry and grieving that he made anything. He was going to show his judgment and destroy everything with a great flood. Only Noah, his family, and the representatives of each animal species would be saved.
But it took Noah 120 years to finish this ark. Meaning? God gave the people 120 years LONG last chance to repent and turn from their wicked ways. But no one repented.
This is a great turning point in human history.
- Adam was the first father of all human beings.
- Noah was second first father of all human beings.
- We are children of Adam, and we are children of Noah.
Before the flood, the living conditions were ideal for living creations. So they had longer lives. But afterward, the ecology, environment, etc were changed. Before the flood, we were in a “womb” of earth – the earth was covered with an expanse of water (kept safe from the UV rays of the sun)- but at the flood, all that water came to earth. And afterward, human lifespan reduced rapidly.
Abram was twelfth generation from Adam and lived less.
David lived only 70 years (500 years later).
Psalm 90:10 says, “The length of our days on earth is 70 years.” (If you are healthy – you may live 80 years).
Let’s look at Noah’s faith:
- Heart (moved with fear and sorrow and reverence to God),
- mind (focused on God),
- willpower (acted on what God said to him).
We can see 4 characteristics of faith and learn a lesson for our own lives.
Heb 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.”
#1 Noah took God at his word
He believed the message God sent – even though it might have seemed foolish at that time. Yet, he believed and staked everything (also his reputation) on it.
Noah, after receiving that command, he laid aside his normal activities and focused on what God said to him to do. His life was a continuous concentration of effort toward God’s will. And so he was saved from the flood.
Also today, God’s word comes to us through many ways: our conscience, directly from the Bible, the message at church, the advice or rebuke of godly people around us, the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So, we must be sensitive and awakened to the Word and Will and moving of God through the Holy Spirit. How? By believing his Word. How can we trust Jesus? By trusting his Word.
“Have faith in God, also in me.” – Jesus
Romans “Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.”
We can take God at his word. God is speaking to us through his word.
#2 Noah was not deterred / hindered from mockery / scorn / rebuke of others
Imagine the context at that time. At that time, there had NEVER been a flood like this. They had never seen an ark like that, especially not in the middle of the land.
It looked like a huge 3-story coffin / box. They were very FAR from the sea. The sun was shining every day. Noah’s neighbors might ask him: Hey, Noah, what are you doing? What are you making? Noah: A ship. B: What? Why? Noah: God said. There will be heavy rain. All will be covered and destroyed. If you want to live, you must come in with me! B: Are you crazy? You’re out of your mind! (Movie: Evan Almighty is good representation of this)
Obedience = not ONE time obedience but a lifetime of obedience – full-time commitment to the will of God even in the face of scorn and ridicule of others.
Also, think of the church at Jesus’ time: 2000 years ago.
- A: I’ve decided to become Christian.
- B: They are outlawed! In prison! Thrown to the lions, burned, persecuted, crucified!
- A: Yes, I know.
- B: Are you crazy?
Jesus was also misunderstood as a crazy man. Many people said of him, “He is raving mad! Demon possessed!”
Paul also was misunderstood as a crazy man. He preached the gospel at his trial and some shouted at him, “Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane!”
Also, we are followers of Christ. He is misunderstood as a crazy man to save us. How about you? Have you ever been misunderstood as a crazy person in this life? As a Christian?
This is one of the hardest challenges of Christianity – that we must sometimes be prepared to look like a fool in the eyes of those who don’t believe.
Noah was called “strange” by his neighbors who didn’t know God.
Noah obeyed this command to build a boat in the middle of the land even though it seemed strange. This obedience makes him “different”.
Like this, if you obey God and other people call you “strange” do not be surprised. Our obedience makes their disobedience stand out.
When God asks us to do something, he gives us the necessary strength and power to do it.
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing; but to those of us who are being saved, it is the wisdom and power of God. For they didn’t know him.”
“The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.” (Is it possible that God is foolish?)
“The weakness of God is stronger than the strength of man.” (Is it possible that God is weak?)
Yet, so often, the wisdom of God appears to be foolishness to the people of this world.
#3 Noah’s faith was a judgment on others
Heb 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.”
Actually, Noah did not condemn the world. But his faith was a condemnation on others and a judgment on others. That is why in one sense it is DANGEROUS to be Christian.
In a sense, in this world, to be Christian is a dangerous thing. By being a Christian, your faith is pointing out others’ sin.
It is not that we are self-righteous, not that we say, “I told you so”, not that we go about finding fault with them.
Actually, Noah DID NOT judge others, he didn’t condemn them. But his faith, his trust in God became judgment and condemnation on their unbelief.
Ex: We Christians should be blessing in this world. But if they do not receive the gospel we preach, as Christians, our presence itself is a judgment on them.
If they receive the word we preach, they become blessed through us, and we a blessing to them.
But if they reject it, we become a condemnation to them.
1 John: “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already…”
Man hates the Light – because Man loves the Darkness.
Light comes – and simply by coming, the Darkness is condemned. The Darkness hates the Light because its evil deeds will be exposed.
Jesus says, “You are the Light of the World.” (I’m the Light of the World) “So let your light shine before men so that they may see and praise your Father in heaven.”
Christians’ presence is a big challenge: We are either a blessing or a condemnation to others.
#4 Noah was righteous through faith
Genesis 6:9 “This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.”
He was NOT actually blameless (he made a big mistake after coming off the ark). He is the first person in the Bible who is called “righteous.” This doesn’t mean he was sinless, but that he wholeheartedly served God.
Gen 6:8 “But Noah found favor / grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
Noah was declared righteous by the GRACE of God through faith in God.
Romans: “There is no one righteous, not even one.”
Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
But justification by faith has power – it makes us take action to do the will of God. If we are really declared righteous by faith, this non-condemnation leads us to live a righteous life.
Noah: When all others broke the commandments, Noah kept them. When they were deaf to God’s word, Noah heard and obeyed. When they laughed at God, Noah respected, honored, worshiped God.
The first thing he did off the ark: worship God.
Our story: Jesus uses Noah’s experience as a warning to us.
Matt 24 “Heaven and earth will pass away but my Word will remain forever.” (This is just like the flood of Noah) “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the day of the Coming of the Son of Man. They were eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They never knew what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.”
In the warning of Christ, he mentions eating, drinking, and marrying – very negatively. Are these sins? Bad or good? They are good! We must eat! We must drink! Marriage is good! So, why did he mention these things so negatively? Because we must remember, they can never be our final purpose / mission / why we should exist in this world.
They ate, drank, married – as a final purpose in their lives – without trusting God.
Anything we do WITHOUT God in our lives – is a terrible thing. But anything we do WITH God is a holy, acceptable thing.
1 Cor 10:31 “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (this is the conclusion – this is our final purpose / mission / why we exist in this world).
God bless you with this final sentence (memorize it).
Whether you eat or drink, marry or not marry, do it all for the glory of God.