Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered January 26, 2008 by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Jesus Our Ark

Hebrews 11:6,7

(RealAudio Version available)

A little quiz would be in order, I think. Let me ask you a question. What was the first creature that flew out the window of the ark? A raven. You're right. How many of each clean animal did Moses bring into the ark? None at all, because it was Noah, not Moses. Hebrews 11, verse 7. "By faith, Noah was warned about things not yet seen. And he built an ark," to do what? "To save his," what? "His family." Did he have any kids at that point? When he first started building the ark he didn't have any children. Not for the first 22 years. So he did this in faith. Imagine Noah and his wife building the ark. We think of all those young strapping sons, but they weren't even in existence when the ark was started.

The Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company in New York City keeps a track of all the maritime accidents in the world, and they have a record on Noah's ark. I'd like to read it to you. It says; built in 2448 B.C., gopher wood, pitched within and without, length 300 cubits, width 50 cubits, height 30 cubits, 3 decks, a cattle carrier. Owner, Noah and sons. Last reported, stranded on Mount Ararat.

You know, as Seventh-day Adventist Christians, we believe the story of Noah. Very few Christians believe the story of Noah. In fact, we believe the whole Bible, as Seventh-day Adventists. We take it as it is. It's all inspired, the inspired word of God, and this includes the story of Noah and the flood. And I believe that the story of Noah and the story of Jesus are very similar. There are many similarities. I'd like to list several.

Number 1. Both arks, the ark of Noah, and Jesus, the ark of safety, arrived just before worldwide destruction. The first, by water, the second, by fire. Genesis 6, verse 5. "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness was in the earth and the very inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." Sin reaches a high water mark just before Noah's flood, and just before the second coming of Jesus. Same thing. The antediluvians needed saving from the approaching flood. The post-diluvians, that's us, we need saving from the approaching fire, which will destroy the entire world here in the last days. And Jesus predicted that in the last days iniquity would abound. Matthew, chapter 24. And both Noah's ark and Jesus arrived in the sin filled last days to rescue a doomed planet. And I want to tell you that Jesus Himself compares His day to Noah's day, in Matthew 24, verse 36 to 39.

Number 2. Both arks, Noah's and Jesus Himself, were of divine/human origin. The architect of the ark was God. But its workmanship was human. It took Noah and his 3 sons 120 years to construct the ark. It was a great effort by Noah's construction company. Noah and Sons, ark builders. Noah was very successful. He floated his company when the whole rest of the world was in liquidation. And God was his partner. And God stipulated that each dimension and each detail of the ark, and exactly what it would be there in Genesis, you can read it, in Genesis 6, versus 14, 15, 16. He said make the ark out of Cyprus wood, and pitch it within and pitch it without, and verse 15, here's how you're going to build it. The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. And make a roof, and make 3 decks. And all the instructions were there. The ark was of Divine and human origin. And that's also true of Jesus, isn't it? Jesus is the God/man. The Son of God, and the Son of Mary. Luke 1:32. John 6, verse 62.

Point number 3. Both the ark, both of these arks, existed to salvage God’s created life from certain death. The purpose of each is the preservation of life. And I will tell you that if Jesus doesn't come soon to this old world, we’re all going to be dead. We're going to be destroyed. You recognize that last day storms are coming. They’re more violent than they ever have been, and our megacities are all built, and they sit on a path of super hurricanes. They sit in the path of super earthquakes that are coming. And we haven't seen anything yet. We are consuming our fossil fuels at an alarming rate. Ice is melting, seas are rising. Something is going on. And God will come, and God will destroy those who destroy the earth. Matthew, chapter 11, verse 18. Matthew 24, verse 12. Except those days should be shortened, how many people would be saved? No flesh. The times were bad in Noah's day, and the times are again bad today. And Noah built the ark to keep them alive. The ark was planned a long time before the first storm clouds ever came. Before there was ever a raindrop, the ark was planned. And God also planned for the salvation of this world. Long before sin ever reared its ugly head, God had a master plan to save all human life. That plan was before the creation of this world. In fact, it says in Revelation 13, verse 8, the Lamb was slain, when? From the foundation of the world. For all who would be willing, a complete salvation would be offered. And that's true of the ark.

Number 4. Both arks were surrounded by scoffers. Think about that. Can you visualize crowds coming to see Noah's folly? Can you visualize what they would say? How many people got on board, other than Noah and his family? Nobody. All they did was jeer and mock the godly Noah. And again that's going to be repeated. In Second Peter 3, verse 3 and 4, look at what's going to happen in the last days. It says in verse 3, "In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires." Verse 4, "They will say where is the coming He promised?" And they said the same thing in… Where is the rain? There’s no rain. What do you mean, thunder, lightening, clouds? What do you mean a flood? They scoffed.

Point number 5. Both the ark of Noah and Jesus were saviors. First Peter, chapter 3 and verse 20, back here a couple pages. Only 8 people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. Only 8. The ark saved from worldwide destruction by flood. Jesus saves from worldwide destruction by fire. Similarly, in the last days, how many will be saved? Only a few. Just a remnant. Same thing. Interesting. Matthew 7, verse 13. You can enter into God's kingdom only through the narrow gate, the Bible says. The highway to hell, according to the New Living Translation, is broad. Its gate is wide. For the many who choose the easy way, verse 14, but the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it. Only an ignoramus would ignore a Savior. But they ignored the ark. And again in the last days, only a remnant are going to… most people will ignore Jesus. What a shame. Jesus is your ark of Safety. You need to get in.

Number 6. Both Noah's ark, and Jesus’ salvation are ample. Now, a lot of people would disagree with that. You realize that. People would say, the ark could never, ever have contained all the animals. Science has classified over 1 million different species of animals. And when you consider that they took 2 unclean and 7 of all the clean ones, you have a total of about 3 million animals that needed to fit into that ark. And if you figure a cubit is 18 inches, that's the distance between the elbow and the fingertips, there were about 1 million, 3 hundred and 96 cubic feet of storage space in the ark. About the equivalent of 5 hundred and 22 railroad stock cars. About 3 animals per cubic foot. And you say, “Well that isn't going to work.”

I want you to think about Noah a little bit. How old did Noah live to be? 9 hundred and 50 years. He lived 20 more years than Adam. Noah was of the same stock as Adam was, and I think Noah may have been about the same height as Adam. Maybe 12 feet high. Twice as big. So his cubit would have been much more than my cubit. Would you agree with that? The ark would have been much greater in size in comparison. And let's just believe, and not scoff. I think there's plenty of room to hold all the animals in the ark, and I'll tell you why. You consider that the vast majority of these 3 million animals were worms and bugs. I wish they would've left a lot of them out. Noah actually would have only needed to house 35 thousand animals. That's all. Now do some multiplication on that. And most of those are small animals, like mice, and different things. Also, I believe that each animal was a youngster. There were no big old 13 thousand pound elephants in there. Babies would need a lot less produce and would produce a lot less… other things. A just weaned lion would be tame and easy to handle. You see how that works? And many of them, I think, perhaps, hibernated. God could arrange that. And so, all he needed was 40 percent of the space that's in the ark for animals. The rest of it was for food, and what have you. Plenty of space. Let's just believe and stop scoffing.

All mankind was invited to come in and the ark provided deliverance for everybody who could possibly come. Both unclean and clean animals were saved, and Jesus died for the Gentiles and the Jews. Same thing, isn't it? He died for everybody. The ark was there to save everybody. And Jesus says, "Whosoever will may come in," John 3, verse 16, "and be saved." There was spare room for many, many more people, but they didn't come. And will there be spare room in heaven for your friends that didn't make it? Are you doing the best you can to share Jesus with them?

Number 7. Both the ark and Jesus were decay proof. Now think about this a minute. The ark was made of gopher wood, which is cypress wood, like cedar. Today, we chemically pressure-treat wood to resist rot. Lumber is soaked in a toxic stew of chemical preservatives that are strong enough to require warning labels on those pieces of lumber, for those who handle it, and the three primary ingredients that keep the bugs from eating it are copper, chromium, and arsenic. No wonder the bugs don't eat it. However, gopher wood is naturally decay resistant, and this points me to Jesus, because Jesus’ body did not decay in the tomb. Lazarus’ body did. Lazarus was in the tomb 4 days, Jesus was in the tomb 3 days. Jesus did not decay. Psalm 16, verse 10, "You will not let Your Holy One see decay." Jesus’ body did not rot in the tomb as predicted by David. And gopher wood was the wood of choice, in ancient times, from which to make a coffin, because you don't want your coffin to rot. The ark was even in the shape of a coffin, as if to point to the coming death of Jesus Christ.

Number 8. Both the ark and Jesus were cut off. Think about that. They were cut off to provide salvation. Each one of the trees that was selected for Noah's ark had to be cut off. And I am told in the Bible, that Noah and his little family gained life through the death of those trees. And today we gain salvation through the death of Jesus Christ on the old rugged cross, on that tree. Jesus had to die for our salvation to be secured. Isaiah 53, verse 8. Jesus "was cut off from the land of the living." Daniel 9:26. Jesus was cut off. Both Noah and Jesus were carpenters. Salvation by carpenters.

Number 9. Don't miss this point. Both the ark and Jesus’ salvation used a covering to save. The ark was covered with what? What was the ark covered with? Pitch. And you say, “How could that be?” Pitch comes from deteriorating dinosaurs, doesn't it? Sunoco gasoline has a picture of a dinosaur up there. How could you get pitch? It was tree pitch. That's what all the mariners used. Tree pitch. And both the inside, and the outside, were pitched. Now the usual word for pitch is a zetteth. Z-E-T-T-E-T-H. And I looked up Strongs Numbers, and the word for pitch that is used here in Genesis, referring to Noah's ark, is H, 37, 22 which means ‘atonement’, or covering. Think about that. In fact, the word is called ‘cupher’. Interesting word. It almost sounds like ‘cover’. The Hebrew word means ‘forgiveness’. It means ‘mercy’. It means ‘atonement’. It means ‘grace’. I'm going to be preaching here in this pulpit next Sabbath about God's great grace. I hope you'll be here. The ark made it because of the pitch. They were saved by the covering. And in the last days, the only way to be saved is to be covered with something. What we going to be covered with in the last days? The blood of Jesus Christ. I want Jesus to cover me on the outside, and I want Jesus’ blood covering me on the inside. He needs to be... we need to be totally immersed in Jesus. I believe that pitch in the pre-flood days came from the trees. And the saving covering was secured from a tree. And without that covering that big ark would not have gone up the first inch in the floodwaters. It would have just been inundated. It would have drowned in the flood itself. Without that covering the ark would not have floated. And all that stood between them and certain death was the pitch. The covering. That's all.

And Jesus hung on the big heavy wooden cross made from a tree. From Calvary came the covering that saves us. We are saved by the blood of Jesus. And all that stands between us and certain death is that covering. And without that covering, we’re lost. Are you covered? Are you? Isaiah, chapter 61, verse 10, says, "He hath clothed me with garments of salvation, and hath covered me with the robe of righteousness." Leviticus 17:11. “The blood makes atonement."

Number 10. Both arks represented the only way to be saved. I want you to know that. There was no other way to be saved in those days. I don't think they had submarines. I don't think they had any big ships. They didn’t have a space shuttle where people could have rode it out, somehow, up there. That's the only way to be saved, was the ark in those days. And today, Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved. It's not Muhammad, it's not Confucius, there's no other name to be saved, other than the name of Jesus Christ. There's no other covering that would work, other than pitch, and there's no other covering that will work other than the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to be saved. How many doors did the ark have? One. How many doors are there to salvation? Jesus said, “I am a door.” Is that what He said? "I am the Door." There's only one Door. And that's Jesus. John, chapter 10, verse 7. Eventually the door of salvation will be shut. And some day you will witness the close of probation. It'll be over. It's going to be shut. Matthew 25, verse 10. It'll be too late to enter.

Number 11. Both had to be gotten into, and that involves a personal choice. You had to get on that ramp, and you had to walk up that ramp, and enter the ark. And you must get into Jesus. You have to do it. You can't be saved by camping. Nobody's going to be saved by camping his pup tent beside the ark. The antediluvian could not be saved by purchasing ark front property. Would that save you? He must walk up the ramp and enter the ark. And I want to be in Christ. Romans, chapter 8, verse 1. "If you are in Christ, you are separated from the evil." If you were in the ark, you were separated from the waters. If you're in Christ, you're separated from evil. It can never… it is never safe to go with the majority. The majority in that day were lost. Only the remnant who acted on their faith were saved. And you may say, “Well, the church is run by human beings.” There's a lot of faulty things going on in the church, and you can see them. But I want you to keep in mind that the church is where you need to be. The church is the ark of safety. It's run by human beings, that's true, and we’re faulty, were human. And let me remind you, amateur volunteers who had never built a boat in their life built the ark. And it made it. And remember, it was professionals that built the Titanic. Think about that. Don't criticize these human people that teach in the Sabbath school classes, and that preach here, and everything. Don’t let fallible human beings keep you out of God's ark. You get in, and you stay in.

Number 12. Both the ark and Jesus have the same destination. What is the destination? The earth made new. Noah's ark, the earth made new, right? Brand-new. Entirely different. Second Peter, Chapter 3, verse 13. "But in keeping with His promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." There's not going to be any more destruction when we get to heaven. Are you in the ark of safety? John, chapter 5, verse 24. "Whosoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life." He has crossed over from death to life. All they had to do to be saved was to get on board. They had to enter the ark, didn't they? And they didn't even have to shut the door. Who shut the door for them? God shut the door. God pitched the door somehow. Genesis 7 and verse 16. "The Lord shut them in." So they were prisoners, right? No, they could always jump out the window. There was an 18 inch, one cubit high opening all the way around the top of the ark. But as long as they stayed on board, God was responsible for their safety. As long as you stay on board, God is responsible to carry you all the way to heaven. You can leave anytime you want, but if you stick with it, if you don't jump ship, you'll be saved. And no amount of good works could save you. I imagine there were many lifeguards that died in those waters in Noah's day. Professional swimmers. No amount of works are going to save you. The only way to be saved is to get in the ark. To accept Jesus as your Savior. There's just one thing. Don't miss the boat.

There's an interesting text in Genesis. "The Lord God said unto Noah, come thou and all thy house into the ark." This is the very first time in the Bible, it ever uses the Hebrew word ‘come’. It's used approximately 500 times in the Bible, but this is the very first time. And why does God say ‘come’ into the ark. Because God was in the ark. Otherwise He would say go to the ark. You need to come. And I will tell you the thing that made that ark safe, the thing that made that ark sinkproof, was God's presence in it. Would you agree? When Jesus is in a boat, that boat becomes unsinkable. Remember? Noah’s ark did not sink in that big flood because God was in the ark. And God is in the church today. And in that worldwide deluge, there were many times when the giant waves and whirlpools threatened that boat, but it did not sink, because God was in it. And when you invite Jesus into your life, you become sinkproof. When you invite Jesus Christ into your home, your home becomes sinkproof. You're unsinkable. Only if Jesus is there. You might face the waves of bankruptcy, but you won't sink if Jesus is with you. If Jesus lives in your heart, you won't sink. You might face some dreaded sickness, you might feel seasick, you might feel overwhelmed in the flood, but if Jesus is on board in your life, you won't sink.

How many passengers in the ark were lost? There were no casualties. Not one. None were lost. So what is the obvious conclusion here? Get in the ark. The Ark is Jesus Christ today. We don't have Noah's ark. I think they have a full-size model up in Northern Kentucky. There are several around the world. But get in the ark. Today the Ark is Jesus Christ. You need to get in. And it may take perseverance on your part. But even the snails made it before the door was shut. Join the other passengers that are on their way to heaven. To the new earth. Jesus is our Ark. You find the boat where Jesus is the Skipper and get on that boat. And He will guarantee your safety. Just don't jump ship, and Jesus will carry you home.

Let's sing our closing hymn. Jesus Savior Pilot Me. Number 551.

Hymn of Praise:  #1 Praise to the Lord
Scripture: Hebrews 11:6,7
Hymn of Response: #551, Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me



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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 1/30/08