The Faith of Noah, Part 2

(Due to Technical Difficulties There is No Audio of this Sermon)

A sports announcer interviewed a professional football player shortly before he was scheduled to play in the Super Bowl. When asked of his team’s chances in the game, the player replied,  “We believe that if we just do what the coach says, we will win.”They had faith in their coach, but the players also knew that winning depended on their doing what he told them to do. This was the faith of Noah. He had absolute confidence in God and believed that if he just did what He said he would be saved from the flood that was coming.

John MacArthur writes…. “Noah’s faith was stupendous. It was stupendous because of his absolute trust in God and because of his unhesitating and persistent obedience for 120 years in an undertaking that, from the human perspective, looked totally absurd and absolutely impossible.”

Return to our text in Hebrews 11:77 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Last week we investigated the components of Noah’s faith:

  • He was divinely warned: He understood the divine warning concerning the flood intellectually.
  • He was moved with godly fear: He was emotionally persuaded to respond to God’s instructions
  • Prepared an ark: He began immediately to obey God’s command, exactly as God instructed.

I.  The rest of the story: How did it turn out for Noah and his family? We recognize from the Genesis account that Noah’s faith and obedience over those 120 years paid enormous dividends. Noah lived 350 years more – over 1/3 of his entire life.  When the waters of the flood rose, the ark floated above the water, and was thus the only refuge on earth. Noah and his family were safe inside. After about a year and ten days, the waters dried up and Noah stepped out into a new world.

  • Gen 8:13-19 – And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. 14 And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried. 15 Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.

A.   Where is  Noah’s Ark? There are many who believe that the ark is still in existence. Expeditions have been undertaken to find it on Mt. Ararat in turkey, with some claiming to have actually seen it there.  I do not know if it is there or not.  But I do not need to see it to believe that it existed. My faith also includes accepting things that are unseen, and placing my absolute confidence in God’s word.

II.  What Did Noah’s Faith Accomplish? The Hebrew writer focuses on both the quality and conduct of Noah’s faith, as an example for us today. Noah certainly lived by faith; both before and after the flood. What did his life of faith accomplish?

A. Of course, we recognize that he saved the world from total annihilation. If Noah is not faithful, we are not here today.  But notice what Hebrews 11:7 tells us:

1.  He also saved his family. If you had been Noah, who would you most want in the ark with you? Most of us would say our family. It is an enormous priority to save your family from the wrath of the judgment to come.

a.  Living by faith and being righteous does not guarantee it. Lot was called a righteous man who was vexed by the sin around him, but he failed to save all his family. David failed; Samuel failed; Eli failed. We might not save our all of our family (even if we had 120 years to do it). But one thing is certain. If you do not live by faith, as Noah did, you have very little chance.

B. “By which he condemned the world” –It says Noah condemned the world.  We may not want to think of Noah as being the one who condemned the unrighteous world that perished. It was certainly God who brought the judgment and God who told us why He did it. In the final analysis, only God could so judge the world in respect of unrighteousness.   So how did Noah condemn the world?

1. the term “by which” in the verse points to the ark which Noah built. He condemned the world through the ark.  This was true in at least two ways:

a.  2 Peter 2:5 tells us that Noah was not just a boat builder, but also a preacher of righteousness while he was building. What do you think he preached about? (righteousness).   I cannot imagine that Noah preached devotional sermonettes on feel good topics.  I think he probably preached about the judgment to come. If not, that boat in his back yard didn’t make any sense.

  • Geneva’s Notes on the N.T. describes it this way:  “For one hundred and twenty years, he did not cease to warn the wicked both by word and deed, of the wrath of God hanging over their heads.” But Noah was  not speaking his own inventive speculations, as many today. He was speaking the words God gave him to speak. So God condemned the world through the words of Noah.

b.  However the clearest import of these words (that Noah condemned the world through the ark itself) would suggest that it was his actual obedience to God’s command that did the condemning.  Other scriptures present this scenario .   Matt 12:41-4241 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. Those who do what God commands stand out and cannot be ignored by those who refuse to obey.

  • Again the force of this condemnation is not the person of faith (Noah), but the word that produced their faith (God’s revelation). Even Jesus (in all His perfection) said to those of His day, John 12:4648 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
  • Because active, living faith exposes and condemns unrighteousness, the world seeks to silence it. John 3:19 –  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
  • The boat in Noah’s backyard was a standing rebuke of the wicked world he lived in. It could not be ignored. Do you have a boat in your yard, or is the world comfortable with what you both say and do?

C.   “became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” The statement that Noah was an heir of righteousness does not suggest that he actually inherited it from another. But rather it speaks to the right or prerogative of Noah to be declared as righteous by God. He became the rightful owner of righteousness.

1. Who can be declared righteous?  No one apart from the blood of Christ and God’s mercy.  Even Noah became righteous through his faith (trust) in God.

2. But again, this result is directly tied to Noah’s building of the ark. The righteousness that was credited to Noah by God came as a result of Noah’s faith. But the writer of Hebrews will not allow us to thinks of this transaction apart from His obedience in actually building the boat. This means that Noah did not become an heir (rightful owner) of righteousness at the first appearance of his faith in God’s word- but rather in the process of living by that faith for 120 years as he proceeded to actually build the ark. Faith apart from works is dead in itself. (James 2:17)

  • Do you believe in Noah’s God? There are many today who cannot relate to Noah’s faith, because they do not serve the same God as Noah. There is much to learn about God in the event of the flood. We will discuss this tonight.

Conclusion: Noah’s faith in God was truly stupendous.  In it he not only saved his family and condemned the wicked world he lived in, but he gained what he most needed. He gained the approval of God in the time of judgment.  Are you willing to begin to live by faith?  Will you obey God and condemn the world through the power of God’s word already spoken? Will you obey Him and become a rightful owner of the righteousness that God provides?