Saturday, April 02, 2011

Chapter One: Can You Identify With This Man?

        “Local news sources today bring you continuous coverage on a local man, Noah. On the scene here’s our reporter, Rash D. Confusion, giving you an unbiased look at a most unusual citizen.”

Arguments against Noah’s strong convictions:
            Scientists tell us your idea is unscientific.
            Politicians say you need to compromise for the good of all.
            Commentators agree change is needed, but your ideas are unproven.
            Women find fault with your logic and your language.
            Several governmental agencies will file charges against you, should any animals be harmed.

Reasons why Noah should be believed:
            He says God commanded him to preach this message.
            He says morality has hit a new low which mortality rates seemingly confirm.

        “Well, folks, anyone with an open mind can see this man Noah is unpopular. We watch with strong suspicions about his sanity as he continues with his sons to construct a large wooden boat on a nearby hill. Meanwhile he holds meetings once a week, which draw small crowds. Everyone within miles around has probably made the trip to see this hair-brained monstrosity. Most scoff aloud, but some show him more open-mindedness than he shows to us. Stay tuned for other local news, right after these provocative commercials.”

Flash ahead to the year 2008.
        Hello, this is Verily B. Verified, reporting here:
“Most little kids hear the story about Noah in Sunday School. We’re entertained with the march of the animals, two by two, and the flood. We miss out on the authenticity of this historical event. We miss the deep spiritual meaning. We ignore some specific blessings.”

Can you identify with Noah?
          Take a quick honesty test here:
          Ever put yourself out to help someone?
          Advise someone? Warn someone?
          Ever been ignored? Slandered? Ridiculed?
          Ever felt discouraged? Depressed? Even suicidal?
          Ever heard from God, but didn’t think God heard from you?

Was Noah a successful man?
        He was stubborn, a man of strong, unshakable convictions. But was he successful?
        He heard from God. He preached about sin and righteousness and judgment for 100 years. Total converts = 7, all of whom were his own family. Not one other person heeded his call. Read that fact again: not one other person believed him and took the action he advised.
        Not only did he speak out, he got busy, worked hard with a practical project which was a visible sermon. Major trouble is coming! Get ready to get on board! Own up to the truth of your sinful lifestyle and get ready for a major change in your beliefs and your actions!

        Hold on, someone interrupts. How do we know this even happened? The Old Testament was written by the Jews so many years ago. Well, Jesus believed it.
        The truth about God’s judgment on sin has been proclaimed and the visible proofs of sin are everywhere to be seen.
        With Noah we’re talking about major evil sins. Probably hideous sexual encounters had spread disease. Everything was polluted, the land, the waters, the animals, the people. But there was widespread refusal to accept the truth of cause and effect.
        Bad was very bad, and even “moderate” sin would prove to be fatal, on that judgment day. “Let’s wait and see,” was a choice of death instead of life. People who played around with skepticism, who laughed off the warnings would soon be as dead as those men and women who were confidently angry and comfortable in their terrible sins.
        But it was God, Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth who they disbelieved and disobeyed.
        Was Noah a success? For over 100 years he preached and prepared. For over a year he lived on the ark with his wife, their 3 sons, their wives. Afterwards God spoke to them and established a covenant with Noah. Later one of his sons sinned and brought a curse on himself. One out of three sons did not follow the way of righteousness.

Read Genesis chapters 5 through 9, Isaiah 54:9, Ezekiel 14:14-20.

Read what Jesus said, Matthew 24:37-38, Luke 3:36, Luke 17:26-27. Other New Testament references to Noah: Hebrews 11:7, 1 Peter 3:20, 2 Peter 2:5.

Put yourself in Noah’s predicament back in those days:
        Would you speak out an unpopular message to obey God? Build a never-before-seen boat, take in the animals and your little family? Trust God for a totally new chapter of life after the flood?

Put the lessons of Noah into your own situation in these days:
          Shut up, or speak out?
          Is sin really bad, or just a matter of personal beliefs that we’re each entitled to?
          Get busy with practical preparations for end-times or sit back, wait and see?
          Trust that God is who the Bible says: almighty, creator, judge of all mankind, rewarder of those who repent and trust and obey Him?
          Refuse discouragement; keep on keeping on.

        Time is running out.  Don’t miss this opportunity to take another look at Noah. Learn the lessons God has for you.

“Change” is In.
While “change” is in, so are these words:
          Life-style choice
          Freedom to be yourself
And this well-used misquotation: “Judge not, lest you be judged.” Most people have heard these six words attributed to Jesus, and believe that Jesus tells us to be more open and uncritical of each other. Live and let live. Follow your own dream. Do it your way. Be yourself.

Read in context: Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37.
Consider John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
John 8:16, “And yet if I do judge, my judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me.”
John 12:48, “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.”
John 3:19, “And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
Luke 17:3, “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents forgive him.”

Why believe this?
        Say: Satan, devil, evil spirits and you’ll be ridiculed. No one blames this adversary for who he is and what he does. The Old Testament book of Job tells the truth. Satan roams the earth and knows what’s going on. He tempts people to sin, and they are all too willing to try it out. Sin seems harmless and fun!
        Take a look at Revelation 20. Evil is real and there are eternal consequences. Why would God send His son Jesus to die for our sins if sin and punishment weren’t real? Men have invented other belief systems to avoid the truth of sin, judgment, forgiveness, and God’s amazing love!
Dying happens. Get ready!
by Elaine Hardt ©2008