Oh what it is to be a rightness man in a wicked generation.
In the time of Noah, the Lord regretted having ever made man because of the increasing corruption (Genesis 6:1-7). Violence and immorality of every kind had filled the earth and this displeased God greatly.
However Noah found favour with the Lord, for Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. The Lord explained to Noah that because of the wickedness of man, He would flood the earth to destroy the wicked. He then gave detailed instructions to Noah of how to build the ark in order for Noah, his family and some animals to be saved.
We see during chapters 6 and 7, the Bible records four times that Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him (Genesis 6:22, 7:5, 9, 16). In Hebrews 11, we see why Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
Hebrews 11:7 ‘By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Noah was a man of faith and he trusted God and had a holy fear of Him. By faith and in holy fear, Noah acted out of total obedience to God’s Word. Let me explain further.
Firstly, Noah listened to the Lord’s instruction. He immediately obeyed.
Secondly, despite not ever having seen rain, by faith he trusted God who gave him the instruction and built the ark to God’s specific instructions. He could have leaned on his own understanding and thought there was no point of following through due to the lack of rain, but he knew God meant what He said and would flood the earth. God promised Noah salvation through the ark, but Noah had to cooperate with God’s will and fulfil his part. His obedience was paramount to the safety of his family.
Thirdly, Noah’s life was consumed by this purpose. It cost him decades of his time and hard labour to produce the ark. This was a long-term and costly commitment.
Moreover, 2 Peter 2:5 records that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. How do you think preaching righteousness would go down in a time of complete rebellion and violence? Obviously not too well. Even through Noah’s preaching of righteousness, no-one entered the ark other than he, his family and the animals. Perhaps he may have felt frustrated at times that no-one else would be saved. Despite all of his feelings and most assuredly, difficult days that he encountered, by faith, he pressed on for the prize as he knew that the Day of Judgement and the Day of Salvation was coming.
Lastly, Noah eventually completed his mission, having done everything that God had instructed him to do, and God did all that He said He would do. Noah endured to the end in obedience to God’s instructions and reaped the reward. He and his family were saved.
HEARING AND DOING - THE OUTWORKING OF FAITH
We know today that our salvation is in Christ and the fruit that we are in Christ, is total obedience. The Lord gave a teaching on this very matter. Who better to hear it from than Jesus. Luke 6:43-49 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
There it is. ‘Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them….’
Hearing and then doing … just like Noah and just like the man in the illustration above. Hearing and doing go together and those who hear and do will be saved. Hearing and not doing will leave a man in total ruin. Imagine if Noah did not obey God? What would have happened on the day of the flood? We know that God ultimately saved Noah, but Noah's obedience was paramount and co-operation in this case, led to life.
If we are in Christ, the outworking of our faith will result in us walking in the works (in obedience) He has given us. Grace is not a licence for disobedience. We are saved by grace, but obedience will surely follow.
Ephesians 2:8-10 ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Created for what? That we should walk in what? Yes, we are created in Christ FOR good works and we should walk in them, just like Noah, Moses, Abraham, the twelve disciples, Apostle Paul and all the other godly men and women.
FRIENDSHIP WITH THE LORD IS FOR THOSE WHO FEAR HIM
Who wants to be a friend of the Lord? Well, friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear Him. So, to be like Noah, a God-fearing man, we must be those who tremble at His Word. He will be humble and contrite.
Isaiah 66:2 ‘All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Moses was a righteous man like Noah and the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33:11). Friendship with the Lord is for those who fear Him.
Psalm 25:14 ‘The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.’
God entered into a covenant with Moses and Noah, and He has entered into a covenant with us through His Son, Jesus, who acted in total obedience to God – even unto death (Philippians 2:8). Because we are in Christ today, we are to be obedient to God by total obedience to Christ. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” John 14:15. We obey Him because we love Him. We are friends of Jesus because we fear Him (John 15:15).
Fear of the Lord will produce immediate obedience. No delay!
No matter what we feel or think, even if it makes no sense, we must press on for the prize despite the cost and seeming lack of success at times. We must do this until it is finished. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), and in this wicked generation, the righteous man needs plenty of both.
Many professing Christians today will spew out all kinds of labels about a preacher who preaches the truth about obedience because we are in a time of rebellion in the church of Christ. But God has made it so clear - you will only miss it because you want to miss it. You will muddy the waters, blur the lines and add a thousand shades of grey to avoid facing the obvious truth. You know water because it’s wet. You know salt because it’s salty. You know heat because it’s hot. You know light because it shines in darkness. You know a stable house because of its strong foundation. You know a healthy tree because of its good fruit. You know a true Christian because of their obedience and good works.
There is no muddy water here. Trust me. Better still, trust His Word.
In Matthew 25:35-40, the Lord says that on Judgement Day, He will examine your works to see if you are truly His.
So how do you know if you fear the Lord? Wisdom and total obedience to His will and not yours.
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Many will offer their works, but the Lord will accept only the works that He has prepared for them. I pray for God-fearing men and women to arise in this wicked and perverse generation.
When we are consumed with Christ (our safety) just as faithfully as Noah was consumed with the ark (his safety), the good works will spring forth - works of life! We will prosper in all our ways when we seek the Lord first and He must become our all. Many will strive and do works in their own strength, with Christ far from the centre of their life, and even though they give a holy confession, He is far from their heart (Matthew 15:8). I say again, and very clearly, Christ, not our works, is the focus of our life but the works He has prepared for us will spring forth. This is certain. If you are a Christian who is back-slidden or lukewarm, today is the day to get serious about the Lord. This is a call to repentance for you if you are not right with God. You should know if you’re right with God by the way you live – if you truly examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith or not.
If you are a man, especially if you call yourself a godly man, you must stand and give an account for you and your household. We need men like Joshua in this generation, when he declared, 'And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve.... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” Joshua 24:15. Men of God must stand and obey the Lord and lead their family to victory. Families are in danger because men refuse to listen and obey.
Obedience brings true peace, joy and contentment because we have been designed to obey God. We can never be in true peace and joy when we’re disobedient to God. This is another way that we can discern whether we’re in true obedience to God.
May the Lord complete in us the good work He has begun. Thanks be to Jesus Christ.
- Judah Ayling