You know, we have been studying the Ten Commandments together the past several weeks in our sermon series entitled The Tenderhearted Commandments. In some of my private study, I have been reflecting upon a different story. At least I thought it was different. It's the story of the Flood and Noah s Ark. I love that story. I like critters and you've got all these animals come in. It's a great story. I thought they were two separate stories, this week some things began to dawn on me. There are some real similarities between the Noah's Ark and the Ark of the Covenant. These similarities will serve to lead us to today's Communion Table.
Turn with me to Genesis, chapter 6. Here we find God is just tired of this world. The corruption of this world has gotten to Him, and He has a plan. Genesis 6:11-13. Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 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." Is there a difference today? I think we are coming to the same point in God's patience once again. Romans 3:23 tells it like it is. It says, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Well, there you go. Here we find an unfortunate similarity.
Now look at Genesis 6:14. Here's the plan: "So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out." And the following verses give descriptions, dimensions, further details on how this was to be done. Verse seventeen says, "I am going to bring flood waters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens. Every creature that has the breath of life in it, everything on earth will perish. But, I'm so glad there is a "but" here. If there wasn't a "but" here we wouldn't be here. But I will establish My covenant with you and you will enter the ark--you and your sons and your wife and your son's wives with you. Here, God tells Noah that he will be saved along with his family. A covenant will be made. "This is what you will do. These are your instructions to do these things because of the covenant because you will be saved." And this ark was not just for Noah and his family, it was for anyone that desired salvation. Noah worked on this project for a hundred and twenty years. Yet if someone had gotten on board through faith before the door was shut, they would have been just as saved as Noah. Did you ever think of that? If they had just walked on, had not hammered a single nail into that cypress wood, they would have been just as saved as Noah.
It reminds me of the thief on the cross. He had no opportunity to do good works after his conversion, but he's saved. Now, I'm sure Noah hired people to help him build the ark. But were they saved? They were doing good works. They were doing what God had asked them to do, or at least asked Noah to do. But it was for an ulterior motive: for whatever they could gain. This is what their good works was about. They did the work God commanded but did not have the faith to enter. Someone once said, "Don't be one of Noah's carpenters."
But Genesis 6:22 tells what Noah did. I love this verse. Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Noah didn't start by saying, "Well, God, the ark would look a little better if we did this. It would have a better shape to it, maybe." Or, "Do we need it quite this big?" "Do we really need to bring the opossums on board?" No! He did it just like God asked him to.
Another ark has been made. The Ark of the Covenant. Within it's gold box lie the tables of stone bearing God's instructions for us. A covenant was made. "You're saved and this is what you will do, being part of Me. These are the things you will do because you are saved. If you love Me, keep My Commandments." Just as God asked Noah to build an ark, He asks us to be keepers of His Commandments. Did God need Noah to build an ark? NO! God could have easily saved Noah and his family and all the animals including the opossums with a simple thought. Just, "Okay, you're in a different dimension right now while the flood lasts then I'll bring you all back when it's nice." God didn't need the ark, did He. Noah's following God's instructions was a testimony that he had faith in God. It was an evangelistic endeavor. It is what attracted the people to the scene to hear God's warning. Does God need our commandment keeping? NO! We are saved by grace through faith. It is our desire to keep God's commandments that indicates that we have that faith that it takes to be saved. It is our desire to stand for God in a Godless world that attracts people to want to hear more, to again hear God's warning for these last days.
Here is another question. Would Noah have been saved without his works? Tricky. He could have just said that he had faith that God would save him, and done nothing. But his disobedience would have shown that his faith was lacking. "Faith without works is dead!" (James 2:26) Dead faith will not save us. If I claim the gift of salvation but refuse to obey God, am I saved? No works means dead faith. Faith means action.
Works without faith is also just as dead! Many do good works, maybe trying to appease God, trying to look good to the fellow pew-sitter. "Ah, yes, I'm here." Will that save you? No. not if it is without faith.
Our best works are like "Filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6) And I'm sure that there was plenty of filth in the bottom of Noah's ark. But our filthy works and Noah's filthy ark show that we have the faith to believe in all that God tells us. Not just that we are saved, but that we must show it through our lives.
Hebrew 11:7 says, 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.
Noah's Ark was not enough to save Noah. Patriarchs and Prophets by EG White says that Angels which excel in strength were sent to keep the ark intact and afloat. This thing was going up against God's wrath. Do you think anything can survive that? No! Satan himself was in fear for his life during the flood Noah's ark was not enough to save him. But Noah's faith did.
The Law in the ark of the covenant will not save us, but faith in the Law Giver will. That Law Giver was also the Life Giver. Jesus gave his blood to cover us, to protect us in this flood of sin in which we find ourselves. The blood from a lamb that was sprinkled on the ark was replaced by the blood from THE Lamb.
Our following the will of God should only be a result of our faith in the blood of Jesus. Only that has the power to save us.
In the market place of Rotterdam, Holland, stood for many years an old corner house known as "The House of a Thousand Terrors." In the sixteen century, King Philip II of Spain ruled Holland. The city of Rotterdam revolted against his tyrannical rule. King Philip said, "I'm not going to put up with that." And he sent the Duke of Alba with a vast army to go and re-conquer Rotterdam Holland. Rotterdam put up quite a fight, but eventually capitulated to the siege, and when the victors walked in, they were not pleased with Rotterdam. They went door to door killing men, women and children in their homes. It was a vast slaughter. I one home, a family was huddled in a corner with some of their friends and relatives. They could hear the bloodshed coming down the street, the soldiers coming and killing their neighbors. Later the house was called "The House of a Thousand Terrors" because a thousand terrors gripped their hearts.
But one young man stepped out of his fear for a moment with an inspired idea. He behind the house and grabbed the goat and pulled it into the living room and there by the front door of the house he slaughtered that goat. Then he took a broom and swept the goat's blood under the door onto the front steps.
The soldiers came and pounded on the door, tried to beat it down - no answer. On soldier said, "Look! There's blood under the door. The work has already been done here." The people of that house escaped with their lives. From the sacrifice of blood. During the sixteenth Century, the Dutch people rose in revolt against the cruel King Philip II of Spain. Philip sent a great army under the Duke of Alva to suppress the rebellion. Rotterdam held out for a time but finally capitulated.
From house to house the victors went, searching out citizens and then killing them in their houses. A group of men, women, and children were hiding in a corner house when they heard soldiers approaching. A thousand terrors gripped their hearts. Then a young man had an idea. He took a goat in the house, killed it, and with a broom swept the blood under the doorway out into the street.
The soldiers reached the house and began to batter down the door. Noticing the blood coming out from under the door, one soldier said: "Look! There's blood under the door. The work has already been done here. Come away, the work is already done here." And the people inside the house escaped with their lives from the sacrifice of blood.
and that's the only way we can escape this world is with the sacrifice of the blood of the Lamb. Today, we express our faith in the blood of the Lamb through our communion service. There is nothing here that will save us. It is symbolic that we are saved through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.
But Jesus, before He instituted this fine work, asked us to do something special. Don't come to this table as you are. "Come humbly, wash one another's feet as I have washed yours." And that foot-washing represents re-baptism, a renewed walk with our Jesus. So, at this time, before we partake of our communion supper, let's divide up and wash one another's feet.
If you wish to participate, and you are welcome to do so, the families can participate together upstairs in the junior room or in the room beside the stair-well which leads into the nursery. Women who would like to participate together may go to the fireside room through the hall-way to the right. For the men, there are rooms to the left in that hallway..* , one is upstairs in the Junior room. The other is beside the stairwell in the Nursery. Men can participate down the hall to the left and Women may go to the Fireside room which is the hallway to the right.
Hymn of Praise: #187, Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners Scripture: Romans 3:21-24 Hymn of Response: #343, I Will Sin of My Redeemer
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last updated 9/15/2002 by Bob Beckett.