Thursday, September 27, 2012

Having Faith Like Noah

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  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.”[Hebrews 11:6-7, NIV]

Noah’s building of the ark displayed faith as a response to God’s instructions.  God spoke and Noah’s obedience was remarkable, displaying one of the main characteristics of faith.  Even though rain had never fallen on the earth, Noah believed and trusted God.  He built the ark in the face of mockery and opposition.  The absurdity of building a huge ship far from the sea in preparation for a worldwide flood did not daunt Noah.  His trust in God informed and undergirded him. The coming deluge was not a laughing matter; it was certainty. So it is with the second coming of Christ.  So it is with the preaching of the Word of God.  The world may mock, the church may disbelieve, but the Christ will come and all will acknowledge that He is Lord and the messengers of God will be vindicated.  By his faith, Noah accomplished three things:

First, his faith brought salvation to his family.  God warned Noah about the coming judgment and he believed and obeyed God.  Noah was the talk of the whole region.  Every time someone asked Noah what he was building and why, Noah told them.  God used him to help others know of the impending judgment, even though they chose not to believe.  Noah’s wife and sons supported and believed in him.  His daughter-in-laws joined the family by choice and accepted Noah’s destiny.  Noah’s wife and children were blessed to have a godly husband and father who could teach them and guide them into the truth.  Surely there were times the family did not understand Noah, but they never disrespected him or mocked God’s call upon his life.  Blessed is the wife who has a Christian husband and who will support and follow him in service to God.  Blessed is the child who has a Christian father and who respects the faith of his father.  Noah’s children made a conscience decision to accept the faith of their father Noah; and therefore took wives who were willing to forsake the world and accept their father’s faith.  These young women married into Noah’s family despite the stigma of the family being a God-fearing family.  God saved Noah and his family, but everyone else was forever separated from God because they did not believe God’s warning about the coming judgment.

Men, if you will live a godly life like Noah, your family will be blessed.  Your wife deserves to have a godly man.  Your children need a godly father.  Your walk with God makes you a better husband and father.  Women, if you will live a godly life, your family will be blessed.  There is an epidemic of ungodliness among Christian women.  The feminist movement in America has done great harm in suggesting to women that they should not submit to their husband.  Women, submission is a beautiful thing and if you cannot submit to your husband, you will never submit to God.  Children, like Noah’s sons, if you will be a godly child, you and your family will be blessed.  In fact, honoring your parents assures you of a long life.

Second, God vindicated his faith.  The world mocked and ridiculed Noah’s faith and belief in God’s warning of judgment.  As the rain started falling, the most cynical heart surely gave pause for never before had water fallen from the sky!  Then, an unprecedented deluge began as water gushed upward from the ground and the water bubble around the earth ruptured and rain fell from the sky.  Suddenly water was streaming up out of the ground and drenching rain fell from the sky.  At that moment, the wicked unbelievers knew Noah was right.  He did not have to fight to defend God’s plan, he only had to be obedient.  God fights his own battles.  The Bible says, “Except God build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”  We can use that same phrase to get another point across; “Except God fight the battle, they struggle in vain that fight it.”  God does not need mere humans to fight His battle!  When the ungodly raise their hand against God’s anointed, they raise their hand against God!  God will vindicate the faith of His chosen vessels.  It is a dangerous thing to mock God’s man, for God vindicates the faith of his faithful servants.  You see, I do not have to fight against flesh; I simply have to be obedient to God and the vision He has given me.  You and I must build the ark God assigned to our hands, and if we are faithful in doing so, God will vindicate our faith.

Third, God counted Noah’s faith as righteousness.  Noah’s faith was a judgment on others.  It is not that the Christian is self-righteous, censorious, or a faultfinder.  It just so happens that the Christian, simply by living Christ, is passing judgment on other people.  One of the finest men who ever lived in Athens was Aristides, who was called “the just.”  Even so, the town voted to banish him.  One man who was asked why he voted to ban Aristides answered: “Because I am tired of hearing Aristides called the just.”  There is a danger in goodness, for in the light of goodness evil stands condemned.  Noah, by faith, became beneficiary of the righteousness.  Noah had faith in the promised Seed, the Savior whom God was someday going to send to earth.  The only way you can be counted righteous is by faith in the promised Seed, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.  Noah believed in Jesus even before He was born in Bethlehem.  Genesis 15:6 says, “Abraham believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

Prayer: Lord, I know that without faith, I cannot please you.  I know that without faith I will never be acceptable to you.  Without faith, I stand alone facing all the trials, temptations, sufferings, accidents, diseases, and even death – alone.  I know that without faith, you will not approve, bless, or reward me.  I know that you will not approve my sinful and carnal living, nor my doubting heart.  God, I know that you only honor righteous living and a believing heart.  Help me to truly live righteous and to truly believes enough diligently to seek you and to grow in faith.  Amen.

Friday, September 7, 2012

God Does Not Have Grandchildren

“And Saul approved of their killing him.  On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.  However, Saul began to destroy the church.  Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.  Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”  Acts 8:1-4, NIV

Eddie Rickenbacker was a famous military pilot who earned the nickname of “The American Ace” during the First World War.  He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States Government for his notable service.  By the time of World War II, he served as a confidential adviser to the Secretary of War concerning aircraft.  While on an inspection tour in the South Pacific in October 1942, his plane was forced down.  He and his crew spent 24 days floating on a raft in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean.  They almost died for lack of food and water, but miraculously a sea gull landed on their raft one day.  They captured the bird and ate it.  It gave them enough nourishment to last a little while longer, long enough in fact to be rescued.

            1.6 billion People in the world have never even heard the name “Jesus.”  The church of Jesus Christ has politely ignored these faceless people afloat in the sea of lost souls.  Six out of 10 people living in North Carolina have no connection with a church.  Of the people who do, 52% say that they have never had a born-again experience with Jesus Christ.  To the 220 million unchurched and the 94 million unsaved church members in America, I sadly say, “the sea gull of hope is not coming.”  Data shows that only 40 million Americans say they have been born again, of them only 10 million feel any responsibility to help share the gospel at all, and only 2 million have ever led another person to Christ.  I am left to conclude that for 314 million Americans and the 1.6 billion people worldwide, only 2 million of us are trying to get the gospel of Jesus to you.  Therefore, I must sadly say the sea gull is not coming - you have no hope.

           God does not have grandchildren!  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills!  He created the universe!  Everything that exists ultimately belongs to Him, but God does not have grandchildren.  You and I do not gain eternal life by our genealogy, only through our birth into God's family.  Salvation is a birthing process.  It is not genealogically inherited.  You are not saved because your parents are saved; like Nicodemus, you must be born again.  God must become our Father; He can never be our grandfather.

            I want to share with you an acrostic for the word "gospel."  If the lost are to be saved, Christians must “go openly sharing and preaching to everybody the love of God = gospel.”  Before I share this acrostic; notice our Scripture.  Verse 4 tells us "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went."  Now lest you think these were the apostles whom Jesus had spent three years training, let us move back up to verse one; notice that it states," and all except the apostles were scattered..."

            Here, the author makes it clear that, the Christians of the early church proclaimed the gospel wherever they were scattered.  The notion that only preachers, pastors, and evangelist are to share the gospel is unbiblical.  The fact is that the Bible clearly teaches that you are to be a witness for Christ - no if, ands, or buts.  If you are not sharing Jesus, you are being disobedient to the teaching of God's Word!

            So what do you do if you realize that you are not sharing the gospel?  Repent for your failure of being a soul-winner and of missed opportunity.  Does God really expect you and me to be a soul-winner?  Yes!

“Lord, help me to share the gospel of Jesus with the people I come in to contact with today.  Teach me to be brave and unafraid in sharing Jesus with others.  Lord, help me to be a soul-winner for you.  Amen.”