Friday, February 28, 2014

Sermon Ideas for Genesis 7

- Did All -  In Genesis 6:22 and 7:5, the Scripture tells us that Noah did EVERYTHING or ALL that the Lord had commanded him.

Here's the problem: Everything and All sounds like a lot. Couldn't Noah have just done Some and Most, and be okay? I mean, he still would have been clear beyond everyone else in his obedience level! Some and Most would have been good enough, right?

Maybe.

God is merciful, after all. It's possible that He would have accepted Noah on the basis of Some and Most.

But does God ever do Some and Most?

Never! God is all in, all the time. He never wavers in His goodness, never falters in His love, and never takes a break from reaching out to us.

God is committed, and He deserves commitment.

Noah trusted that God would do what He said He was going to do. If God said He was going to flood the earth, that was what was going to happen. If God said that the way for Noah to be saved was to build an ark of such and such dimensions, that was the way to do it. If God said to take this many of each kind of animal, those kinds of animals would come to him.

All Noah had to do was do what God told him and he would be saved. Not only would he be saved but his whole family would be saved, the animals would be saved, and his big boat project would be a wild success.

If we are to be saved, if we want God to help save our loved ones, if we want Him to bless the things we're working on in life, do we dare answer His Everything and All with only Some and Most?

Commit yourself to following Noah's example of complete obedience to the One who is fully committed to you.


- The Cycle of Submission and Reward - As we read in Genesis 6 and 7, God saved Noah from the Flood because he was living righteously. No one had anything against him that they could blame him for and he walked faithfully with God (Genesis 6:9). He had submitted his life to God's Lordship over his life, both internally and with his dealings with others, and was rewarded for it. He was saved from the Flood.

In the same way, if we live under the Lordship of Christ and submit our lives to Him, we will be saved. God will count us as righteous in our generation, just as He did Noah in his.

But after Noah was found to be righteous, God continued to give him instructions, and Noah continued to submit. When God told him to build the ark to the exact measurements God prescribed and to take the animals with him, the Scripture says that Noah did all that the Lord commanded him to do (7:5).

So it is in the Christian life. God will give us instructions, reward us, and then give us more instructions. We are never finished submitting our life to God, and God is never finished rewarding us for our faithful service. It's a continual cycle of service and reward.

But remember that the reward may be far richer than mere riches. Noah's reward was salvation and the knowledge that He had found favor with God. Though tragic to see such destruction and death that the Flood brought, think of how spiritually assured he must have felt to receive such a mission and such a salvation as his. Do you feel that same kind of spiritual assurance? Do you feel in your spirit that God has saved you and counts you as righteous?

Have you submitted your life to Christ's Lordship? How has He rewarded you in the past? How is He continuing to bless your life now both spiritually and perhaps materially? What new instructions for service is He giving you today?


- "You and Your Whole Family" - In Genesis 7:1, God tells Noah to take his whole family with him into the ark. This includes his wife, his three sons, and his sons' wives. All of them are to be saved in the ark. Why?

"Because I have found YOU righteous in this generation," God explains. 

Now, that "you" is not plural. God isn't saying that He's found Noah and his whole family to be righteous. He's saying that He's found Noah to be righteous. That's it.

The truth is that we don't know the spiritual state of Noah's wife or his sons or his sons' wives. Were they like Noah, or were they like the rest of people in Noah's day whose "first inclination of their heart was only evil all the time"?

Let me ask you this: What's the spiritual state of your family? Are they all Christians?

No doubt that Noah had a profound impact on his wife and his sons. As a righteous man, he probably would have done his best to find a righteous woman to marry. He would have done his best to raise righteous children and help them choose righteous women as well.

In the same way, you can have great influence over your family. Your faith and leadership can help guide them closer and closer to Christ.

If your family members aren't Christian yet, Noah's family may not have been following God at this point either. Maybe God saved them from the Flood because He knew the influence that Noah would continue to have on them. Maybe God hoped and knew that they would one day follow Him as their father did.

If some of your family members aren't yet following Christ, continue to have that same hope. Keep being righteous in your generation and let your faith continue to influence them, just as Noah's did in his family.


- Then the Lord Shut Him In - This is the sentence we read in Genesis 7:16. The verse before it says that the animals "came to Noah and entered the ark".

Noah didn't have to go out and find the animals; they came to him! And he didn't even have to shut the door of the ark; God did it!

Can you imagine if Noah had needed to go out and find all those animals? Could he have done it if God hadn't helped him? How long would it have taken to track down those animals, and which ones would he have forgotten to include in his list?

Could he have shut the door of the ark if he had tried? Being such a large vessel, and needing such a large opening for the taller or wider of the animals, he might not have been able to lift the door after constructing it on the ground.

So what did Noah do? He did his part by building the ark, and then he let God do His part. Noah didn't try to do more than he could do. He didn't try to force the animals in or strain his muscles lifting something he simply couldn't lift. He did what he could and let God do the rest.

Are there areas in your life where need to stop trying to do more than you can, and let God do the rest?

If we are obedient to Him, just as Noah was, He will show Himself to be God by taking over what we can't accomplish ourselves. A major part of spiritual growth is learning to cooperate with God without trying to take His role on ourselves. There are things that only God can do for us and in us, and sometimes we make more progress when we become more passive in the partnership and let Him be more active.

Cooperate; don't co-opt.


- High Above the Earth - In the last paragraph of Genesis 7, destruction comes. A world that has never seen rain (Genesis 2:5) is Flooded. All people, all animals, all trees, all mountains are drowned beneath the violent waves.

But not Noah and his family. For them, the Flood has the opposite effect. Instead of destroying and bringing them down to the depths of the ocean, it raises them up. "As the waters increased, they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water" (Genesis 7:17-18).

To me, this is a poignant picture of what God does for all of us in the difficulties of life if we allow Him to. As believers in a faithful and redeeming God, we don't have to let the troubles of life overwhelm and bury us. We don't have to let failures or temptations drag us down. With God's help, we can rise above our situations and trials. He can lift us up "high above the earth" in our spirits as we take the high ground over the mundane and temporary things of this passing-away world.

What has you down today?

How is God calling you to rise above it? How can you, with God's help, turn that situation to your good?

With Noah, let us say, "Let trouble come, and watch us float on top of it".

  

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