Here are the six main points from my sermon yesterday. The sermon was on 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. (Heb 11:7)
Our Faith Must Be Founded on God’s Word
Noah believed God’s Word. Faith is always rooted in God’s Word. It cannot be rooted in what we think God said or what God spoke to us in our hearts. It must be rooted in his word and only his Word. Only God’s Word can bind men’s consciences. We must be careful not to add to or take away from that Word. There is a constant temptation to add to God’s Word. We begin to put our faith in the rules of man instead God’s Word.
Our Faith Must Look to the Unseen
It is not faith if is not driven towards the unseen. Faith does not demand to see. Noah day after day worked on the ark despite never having seen a cataclysmic flood. Day in and day out our lives must be shaped by unseen realities. This will not take us out of the world. We will not go into a monastery or hide in the hills. But we will view the world through the glasses of eternity.
The world wants to dazzle us with the seen. Remember the lust of the eyes is one of the signs of worldliness. Not us we will say. We are not dazzled by the world. But we deceive ourselves when we say that. The temptation to love power, pleasure, and money does not escape us. We like nice things. We like people to like us. We like power, whether at the work place, in our homes, or online. We are not immune to the world’s pull. Just because you don’t want a million dollars doesn’t mean you don’t love money. Just because you have no desire to be on TV or be a star does not mean you don’t love fame. Just
Jesus tells us to store up treasure in heaven. He also says, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul. Make sure your life is molded by the unseen realities given to us in God’s Word.
Our Faith Must be Fueled by the Fear of God
There are all sorts of things that can fuel obedience, guilt, fear of man, and fear of consequences are some common ones. These are not always bad things, but they are not enough. Fear of God means that we have an internal drive that does not want to displease God.
What prevents a man from sinning when no one watching and there are no immediate consequences? What makes a man obey when there is no immediate payoff? Anyone can obey when there is a quick payoff. Many of us will serve others when people are watching. We will refuse to sin when there is an immediate consequence. But often there isn’t. Often it appears that we can get away with sinning with little consequence. When that moment arrives, what is going to keep us from sinning?
Our Faith must lead to obedience
Noah did what God asked him to do. Noah obeyed. Faith leads to obedience. Faith is not an emotion. We must get this through our heads. We are a culture that is driven by emotion. We determine right and wrong by how we feel. Faith is not a sort of feeling that all is well. Faith is a firm belief in God’s Word that leads to concrete action. If everything in God’s Word is true how should your life look?
Noah’s was a long term obedience. Noah did whatever it took for as long as it took to obey the Lord. Noah finished. Noah carried through by faith. We are called to day by day faith. Fathers, we are called to the 15-20 year work of raising our children. Many of us are called to decades of being faithful to the same man or woman. We are all called to regular worship week after week until death. Noah’s obedience was not short lived.
Our Faith Opposes the World
What does this passage mean when it says that by faith Noah condemned the world? Some commentators think this means that Noah preached against the world by faith. That is possible. Noah is called a preacher of righteousness in II Peter. But that does not seem to be the main point of this passage. Hebrews 11 is focused on action.
Noah condemns the world because Noah lives by faith not by sight. The world lives by sight. You can imagine day after day the villagers walking by eating, drinking, living life to its fullest while Noah and his family slaved away on an ark. Noah refused to be dazzled by the pleasures of the world. Instead God’s Word shaped his life.
A faith that opposes the world will be mocked. The world will find our way of life absurd, nonsense to them as no doubt they felt Noah building the ark was.
- Having a lot of children. Day after day the world tells us that we can’t afford children. It is foolish to keep having kids. We are wasting the earth’s resources. Women your bodies will pay the price. Men do you really want to be parenting until you are sixty. But the Word says children are a blessing and the way we build the kingdom.
- Another example is forgiveness of others. Our culture holds a grudge. They refuse to forgive. They are easily offended and driven to hate each other. But the Christian life is one of forgiveness. We are called to return good for evil. The world does not understand this. In fact, the world will consider us weak if we do this. But we walk by faith.
Our Faith Gains the Inheritance
The reward for our faith is as sure as the Word of God. We talked about this when we looked at verse 6. God does not disappoint. Ever. In this life things can be hard and painful. We suffer to follow our Lord. We suffer to be conformed to Christ. We pass on the pleasures of this world. But that is because our inheritance is greater. We look to the end and those wonderful words, “Well done.” There is a crown for us.