Alone in Faith

Hebrews 11:7 Genesis 6:8-22

Have you ever felt as if you had a sign that said “kick me” or a giant bullseye painted on your back? It felt like you against the world, no one was on your side, just you and God hanging in there by the skin of your teeth. Elijah complained of that after his Mount Carmel experience; yet God reminded him of the other 7999 who had not “bowed the knee to Baal”. The Bible doesn’t speak of Noah complaining but it does indicate that out of the entire population of the world at that time, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Noah had lived for 480 years in a world that was becoming increasingly corrupt. What he experienced was worse than anything we’ve ever seen; it was so bad, God deemed it necessary to bring judgment on all mankind with the exception of Noah and his family. The reason I believe it was more corrupt than our present culture is that Jesus promised his disciples,

“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matt. 24:37-39

It was in that period of great wickedness, when “every intention of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually (Gen. 6:5), that Noah lived a life for nearly 500 years that was pleasing to God. During nearly all the time of Noah’s life until the flood, both his father and grandfather were alive also as were 4 other prior generations. And then God drew a line in the sand, 120 years in the future, and said he would bring universal judgment on evil by means of a flood.

Wonderful <sarcasm>; now Noah not only had to stay the course, the stakes just got incredibly high. Had he chosen, Noah could have stayed under the radar with his godly witness; he only had to go as public with it as he chose. That is, until God told him to build an ark; not a lifeboat, something you could build inside out of sight, but an ark. 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, 45 feet high. That’s a lot of lumber to cut down, saw out, transport, and craft into a sea-going vessel. And God gave him 120 years to get the job done.

A. Noah

By faith – Noah acted by faith, moving in obedience based on what God had told him about things impossible for him to see or foresee. See Genesis 6:13, 17-18; also verse 7. The “But…” is key – he had both warning and promise, God’s guarantee that he would come out the other side safely.

He feared God Gen. 6:8-9

found grace in God’s eyes

was righteous, blameless

fears God and turns away from evil Job 1:8

in modern Gk. εὐλάβεια has become the term for piety. …It is thus natural that Jews should be called εὐλαβεῖς when their piety consists in watchful vigilance against transgressing the Law. TDNT

walked with God

summed up in Heb. 11:7 as “reverent fear” or “godly fear”

He built an ark

out of obedience Gen. 6:22; 7:5

for the good of his household – “constructed an ark for the saving of his household” Heb. 11:7b; see also Gen. 6:18

the sole means ordained by God for Noah’s salvation 1 Pet. 3:20

He condemned the world

was alone in his faith – Noah against the world

heeded God’s warning

preacher of righteousness 2 Peter 2:5

communicated to those around him by both word and deed how to live in a God-fearing way

a “fragrance of death” 2 Cor. 2:14-17

He became an heir of righteousness

justifying righteousness through faith in Christ

demonstrated his faith by getting into the ark

inheritance – the reward of exercised faith

This family, God in sovereign grace and mercy would preserve and deliver, principally to continue the conveyance of the promised seed, which was to be produced from Adam, Luke iii. 38 ; and was not, in the immutable counsel of God, liable to an intercision [being cut off]; which it would have been, if God had destroyed all mankind, and created a new race of them upon the earth; and in the next place, for the continuation and propagation of a church to be brought unto God by virtue of that promise. John Owen

B. Us

We have been warned

It is expressly declared that “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness.” Acts 17:31. The numerous designations of the day of the coming of Christ, and of his judgement of men, were pointed out in the preceding chapter. Among those peculiar to the judgement are “the day of judgement,” (2 Pet. 2:9); “the great day,” (Jude 6); “the great day of their wrath,” (Rev. 6:17); “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God,” (Rom. 2:5); and “the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” Rom 2:16. Boice, Abstract of Theology

We should fear God

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.” Psalm 111:10

reverent awe and worshipful response of faith

living by the stipulations of the covenant in grateful response to God’s redemptive grace

We should also fear the consequences of his displeasure; remember Job, fearing God & turning away from evil

We must enter the ark

All roads could lead to heaven, if God had so ordained.

Good works outweighing bad could get us to heaven, if God graded on a curve.

Good intentions could pave the road to heaven instead of hell, if that would glorify God.

Instead, God determined the ark of our salvation would be His Son Jesus. He is the only Way by which men can come to the Father (John 14:6). He is the one Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5). Life is in Him and no other (John 1:4) and it is through Him that we have access by the Spirit to the Father (Eph. 2:18).

If we entrust ourselves body and soul to any other person, idea, or principle, we face certain condemnation and eternity in the fires of hell. Only through faith in Jesus Christ, the living, risen, and exalted Son of God can we be certain of salvation from God’s wrath poured out on sinners who reject his terms.

We will condemn our world

by our words

Thus he might be said to condemn the world who admonishes them by pronouncing the sentence of God upon the wicked world in case they did not repent. Thomas Manton

If we are convinced that Christ will judge the world and our only safety is in him, if we truly understand what awaits unrepentant sinners, we will warn them. We will be sure they know what God’s Word says, that God is commanding men everywhere to repent and turn from their sins to him in faith.

by our deeds

A man is said to condemn another when he by his own actions and obedience declares what they should do, which they not doing are left inexcusable, and liable to the greater blame. Thomas Manton

Honoring the Lord’s Day, showing kindness to others, being honest in our dealings, giving more than a day’s work for a day’s pay without complaining, living as model citizens and doing our civic duties cheerfully – all of these show those around us how to live in a way pleasing to God. When they observe right behavior and wilfully refuse to do the same, they are increasing their guilt before a holy God.

We will inherit righteousness

When we live the life of faith, we have God’s promise that there is a crown of righteousness awaiting us (2 Tim. 4:8). This is not our righteousness that we have stored up in heaven to put on when we arrive; it is the righteousness of Christ which is credited to us in exchange for our sins that were laid on him (2 Cor. 5:21).

It is a perfect righteousness, one that is ours by faith and not merit, graciously granted to us by God himself. Just as our adoption into God’s family is irrevocable, so is our inheritance; it is as certain as the very Word of God himself. May we live in such a way that others will give up all they have in order to gain the same inheritance.

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