As It Was In the Days of Noah Sermon Illustrations

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As It Was In the Days of Noah


As It Was In the Days of Noah

 

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History moves on in its revelation of the heart of man and of the character of God. From Adam and Eve, the ones who had it all and weren’t satisfied, to Cain, who only had to come to God on His terms, but refused, we come now to the next of God’s living legends, and we are, at last, encouraged. His name is Noah. Isn’t it strange? Adam lived in paradise and chose to disobey. Noah, on the other hand, lived in a spiritual desert and chose to walk with God. Adam had no peer pressure at all. Noah had perhaps as much ridicule and rejection from those around him as any man who ever lived. Noah lived in one horrible world. Noah lived in the house that sin built. Let’s lay the groundwork by looking at that world. We will begin reading in Genesis 6:5:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth and it grieved Him in His heart. And the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast and the creeping things and the fowl of the air for it repenteth Me that I made them." But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah:

Now here is a threefold representation of what God saw when He looked at Noah.

1- Noah was a just man.

2- Noah was perfect in his generation.

3- Noah walked with God. (The passage continues:)

Noah begat three sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth. The earth was corrupt before God and filled with violence. God looked on the earth and beheld it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted His way upon the earth. And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has become before Me for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Noah, make an ark."

What a picture. Noah lived in a rotten world. In verse 11, God said the state of mankind as a whole was corrupt before Him and filled with violence. No one left their doors unlocked. Women weren't safe on the streets alone. Theft, murder, and rape were on the front page of every newspaper in Noah's day. It was every man for himself and no man was safe. Why was mankind so corrupt? We read in verse 5 it is because men were corrupt. Individuals designed by God for holiness were filled with wickedness. Why were men wicked? We read the reason for their wickedness in the second part of verse 5, every imagination of the thoughts of every heart was only evil continually. There is the root of it. God always looks on the heart and every single heart was rotten. Every one. Every heart was rotten all the time because men were wicked. Mankind was corrupt because men were wicked and they were wicked not because of what they did, but they did what they did because they were wicked. Their wickedness came from evil hearts. Man's problem has always been the same. Man is sick from heart disease as sin infects the human heart. It is important that we understand the magnitude of the conditions on planet earth at that time. I think for three reasons it is important that we understand what life was like in Noah's day.

1- It better explains the character of God. When we understand what it was like in Noah's day, we can better understand what God means when He says He is a God of mercy. If you understand what it was really like, you can understand better what it means that God is a God of patience. He waited and waited and waited. Then you can understand better why God says He must be a God of judgment. Studying Noah explains the character of God more perfectly.

2- It explains the character of Noah more perfectly. His courage is very important. To say that Noah was a man of courage means very little unless you understand what He was faced with in the way of peer pressure. To say that Noah was a man of faith means much more if we understand the faithlessness of his surroundings.

3- It explains also the age in which we live. We need to understand Noah so that we can understand ourselves. We need to understand the circumstances in Noah's day so that we can understand the times we live in. In Luke 17:26-30, Jesus paints a stark portrait of what life will be like on planet earth at the end of the age before He comes.

And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, also as it was in the day of Lot.

Lot, then, is the second illustration. Now in three passages of scripture God merges these two illustrations. God says if you want to see what the end times are like, look at Lot and look at Noah. If you put the two together and look at the circumstances surrounding those two societies, you will have a perfect picture of life just prior to the rapture of the church. It says, for example:

The people ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

So here in this passage in Luke, Jesus is painting a portrait of life in the last days. This is what it tells us:

1- Jesus puts a stamp of divine authenticity on the story of Noah and the flood. If the flood did not happen just as the Bible records it, Jesus had to be either a liar or a fool. In either case, He could not have been God. Don't let anyone ever tell you that the miracles of the Old Testament are allegories or fables. Jesus Christ, the living son of God, refers to Noah and the flood as absolute fact and divinely important.

2- Jesus reveals more fully the decadence of the last days and the inevitability of judgment. Read carefully the stories surrounding Noah and Lot and you will begin to grasp the hold that Satan is supposed to have on planet earth and on the lives of men and women just prior to the return of Christ. It is awesome. You will understand as well that judgment is inevitable.

3 - Jesus gives those who live in the last days a better picture of what to expect. I think we live in those days. I think we need a road map of morality to know where the world is going and where we stand. Jesus gives it to us in Luke 17.

4 - Jesus gives those who live in the last days and those who study prophecy a better look at Noah and Lot. You can turn the table around. If you look at Noah you better understand the times we live in. If you understand the times we live in, you better understand the days of Noah. What Jesus is saying is that there are two sides to a mirror that reflect each other. There are many years separating the two periods of time, but man is the same and God is the same and the circumstances are the same. Gods paints these two pictures and holds them back to back. This lesson will put together these two pictures and consolidate a list of moral elements that the end times will reflect. There are at least twelve symptoms and/or similarities between Noah's days, Lot's days, and the last days.

1 - The world at large will either scoff at or ignore God’s return. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” The men of Noah's day were not on a campaign to defy God. They simply had turned Him out of their consciousness. They had written Him out of their playbook. They had replaced Him with a humanistic philosophy. They said every man was the captain of his own fate. They weren't anti-God, they just ignored Him. It was the same thing in Lot's day and it is exactly the same way today. There are pockets in the world that still acknowledge God, and there are areas in the world that are in violent conflict with the very name of Jesus. As the scripture foretold, in the last days, these nations will rise up and defy God. But the vast majority of the "free world" is not free. They have chosen the path of secular humanism. They fashion God with their own hands and they don't like or need their own blasphemous creation of deity so they place it and Him on a shelf to gather dust. These people live life as if the real Jehovah God does not exist. They deny there is a hell and thus reserve themselves a place therein. It is no longer that God is dead, it is simply that God is not important. As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the son of man.

2- There will be a pre-occupation with immorality and perversion. 2 Timothy 3 states that men will be without natural affection. Romans 1:24-28 states describes man like this:

God gives them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts to dishonor their own bodies between themselves. Women changing the natural use into that which is against nature, (that is becoming lesbians.) Likewise, the men leaving the natural use of the woman, the men will burn in their lust for one another, men with men working that which is unseemly, (that is becoming homosexuals.) The men will receive within themselves the reward for which they are doing. Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things that are neither proper or decent.

If you read of the morality (or lack thereof) in Lot's generation in Genesis 19, it will turn your stomach. It is moral degradation at its lowest point. God says as Christ's coming nears, morality fades into immorality and immorality fades into amorality. Prostitution, pornography, and perversion become common and become acceptable. These activities were the lifestyle in Sodom. The acceptance of homosexual relationships as an alternate lifestyle is a signal of judgment coming on the earth. As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the son of man returns.

3- The home will decay into relative insignificance. There will be no respect for morality, no respect for the permanence of marriage, no respect for the holiness of the home, no respect for parents. Divorce will destroy the foundation of the home. Live-in lovers will ignore the institution of marriage altogether. Sound familiar? As it was in the days of Noah, as it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be in the days before the son of man returns.

4- There will be apostasy and heresy within the church at large.

2 Peter 2:1 There shall be false teachers among you who shall bring in damnable heresies even denying the Lord that bought them. Many shall follow their pernicious ways.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first.

Look at Lot's family. They were so attracted to the world of perversion and ungodliness that they understood not the cry for deliverance. So intermarried and intertwined with the world they were that like a fool listening to headphones, they were listening to God in one ear and listening to Satan in the other. They were so confused that they tuned out God to avoid the confusion. They didn't even recognize God when He came to deliver them. What about Lot's wife? She had become so enamored with and such a part of the world, her new god, that she couldn't take her eyes off of it long enough for God to deliver her. As it was in the days of Noah.

5- Violence and bloodshed become a way of life. If you read Genesis 6:1-13 you will find out how safe Noah's community was. Then, read Genesis 19 and you will find out that Lot's neighborhood went one step farther. Then read Romans 1:17-32 and you will see what society is like today. The picture focuses in on a society where no man is safe to walk the streets. No doubt, Noah's family lived in Crimesville itself. The scripture says that the world was submerged in violence. In Genesis 19 we get the further account of the sick society in which Lot lived. No man or woman could walk the streets without fear of being molested. Violence and bloodshed were an accepted way of life. The answer was that people should buy stronger locks, put burglar alarms in their homes, buy mace to walk the street, hire more policemen and build bigger jails. Without Jesus Christ, men will be simply turned loose to murder, steal or rape again. Sound familiar? As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the son of man.

6- Man will hold contempt for authority. Let's look at Jude verses 7 & 8

Even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, in like manner gave themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh, these are set forth as an example of suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise these filthy dreamers first defile the flesh, then despise authority, and then speak evil of and even revile the supernatural powers of heaven.

Lot's land again is our example. First, multiple perversion existed. His world was characterized by homosexuality. We read the next step of a nation that accepts this kind of perversion is absolute rejection of all authority and government. (Every man doing that which is right in his own eyes.) We read in Romans 1:30 and in 2 Timothy 3 that children in this period of time will become increasingly disobedient to parents and all forms of authority. As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be.

7- Business as usual will indicate that mankind is oblivious to the coming judgment. Matthew 28 and Luke 17 again tell us that just as in the days of Noah, they ate, they drank, they married. They were completely oblivious to the judgment. Right up to the very moment of time that Noah walked into the ark and God shut the door, the people were oblivious. It was the same in Lot’s day. The Living Bible paraphrases it this way:

They went about their daily business, eating, drinking, buying and selling, farming and building until the very morning that Lot left Sodom. Then, fire and brimstone rained down from heaven to destroy them all. "Yes, it will be business as usual" Jesus said, "right up to the hour of My return."

Do you think the world is alarmed about the impending judgment? Not on your life. The signs that say to the Christian, "Be ready, He is coming soon," simply say to the unbeliever, "Work harder, work faster, make more, spend more." The world is riding a roller coaster of greed and pleasure and does not know that the track is broken. They will be screaming with delight as they round the last curve only to be hurled off into an eternal canyon of despair forever. It will be business as usual right up to the day of judgment. As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Lord comes again.

8- God will preserve a remnant of faithful believers. The number may be small relative to the number of men on earth, but God always has a remnant. When the judgment of the flood came, God had only one man. He had His Noah and that was all He needed: one faithful man. When judgment came on Sodom, God had Lot. Was He carnal? Yes. Weak? Yes. But He had been justified by faith and God delivered him. In the final hours of history, God will have His remnant and if you are a Christian, you are part of it. Christians are few in number worldwide, but God is not in the numbers game. Always, He has amazed the many by empowering the few. As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the son of man.

9- God will call the remnant to a task. God had a job for Noah to do before the flood came. God told Noah to do six things:

1) He was to listen carefully to the Word of God. At a time like this, you pay attention. You get your instructions carefully. Can you imagine the scene if Noah had his mind on a football game and God said, "Now listen Noah, I want you to build the ark 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high." "Uh, huh, yeah Lord, 30 cubits wide and 50 cubits high," Noah replies. "Now I want you to make it out of gopher wood," God continues. "Yeah, Lord, balsa wood would be good," Noah responds. As God continues to give instructions Noah is only half-listening. So Noah gets outside to start building the ark; He gets his hammer and his saw, and says, “Now what was I supposed to do?” Can you imagine how important it was that Noah paid close attention to the exact Word of God. Judgment was coming. There was no time to play games. Noah had to listen carefully and submerge himself in what God said. He had to write down what God said and memorize it.

2) Noah had to do was to preach the truth. Jude said that Noah preached the truth to a hard-hearted world. Though nobody listened, his goal was to expose them to the truth. Their response was up to them. You may say, "I haven't had much response." You've had more than Noah.

3) He was to prepare his household. Ham, Shem and Japheth were his three boys. He had three boys tagging along watching Daddy build a boat in the middle of his yard, miles from the nearest water in the middle of a drought. All of the other kids must have been hanging around making comments on how crazy their Dad was. I can just hear them now, "Boy, your Dad is some sailor. Ham, there is a new psychiatrist in town. Why don't you ask him to come help your dad on that boat." But Noah's responsibility was to prepare his household so that when the time came that the flood would come, he could say, "Come on boys, let's get on." They all got on. Some of us need to pay close attention.

4) Stay ready. He didn't know the hour. He didn't know the day that the flood would come. But he did know that the flood was coming. He also knew that as the ark got closer and closer to completion he had become more and more ready. So do we.

5) He had to work diligently. God could have said, "Noah, go sit over there on a hammock, get your favorite drink to sip on and when you wake up you are going to have the neatest boat you have ever seen." God didn't do that. God can do that, but God does the supernatural in natural ways in order bless the believer while glorifying Himself.

6) Noah was to continue his walk with God. At any point that he lost fellowship with God, he lost the battle. Never before has the church of Jesus Christ had an opportunity greater than what we face today. Like Noah, we alone know of the coming judgment. We have an ark, His name is Jesus. Our calling is to bring men and women to the place of safety as the clouds gather for the storm. Many will scorn, many will laugh, many will be too busy. Noah had no takers, we will have a few. The urgency of the hour means that everything secondary must be set aside. We must be ready and get everyone possible to join us. As it was in the days of Noah, so must it be in the days before the coming of the son of man. Back now to the similarities:

10- God will grant extra grace to the faithful and to their families. How powerful the life of one godly man is where his family is concerned. Noah was faithful and his whole family was delivered. Lot was justified by faith and his whole family was called. The jailer was saved and his household as well. The spiritual mantle of responsibility for our families rests on us. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God saw something in Noah's life and his whole family was delivered before it was over.

11- Judgment will come. God's Word is faithful. God's righteousness will remain intact. Oh how patient God is, but when His patience runs its course, when all who will come have come into the ark, God will shut the door for the last time. When the last Lot has been delivered from the Sodom of our generation, God's judgment will come. It must come or else God is a liar and Jesus died in vain. God won't change His mind about the future. He can't do so. He cannot do that and still be God. Judgment must come. He has the right. It is His creation. The illustration that has been used is that of a painter who creates works of art. He loves it. But imagine a customer looking at one of his paintings and deciding he doesn't like it, so he rips it up. The customer doesn't have the right to do that. But, suppose the painter steps back and thinks that the painting doesn't meet the intentions he had for it; that it does not fulfill the purpose for which he created it. The painter takes it and rips it up. That is okay. Why? Because the painter is the creator and he has that right. Not only does he have the right, he has the responsibility. Otherwise he is unfaithful to his word and his work.

12- The saints will be delivered from the wrath of God. Not a drop of rain fell until Noah was behind closed doors. Not one drop. Though fire fell upon Sodom, until Lot was outside there was not a spark. First God snatched up His own and delivered them, then judgment came. I believe that through scripture God always lifts out His beloved just before the fire falls. I believe the church is going to be snatched up very soon. Raptured. Taken out of this very mess we are in and then the Great Tribulation will come. As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be.

So much for one horrible world. That is the way it was when Noah lived. That is the essence of the condition of the world we live in. But, let's stop one minute in closing take the next step. Let's look at God. First we will look at how He feels about what He sees, then at how He responds to how He feels.

God has a heart. God is subject to all the emotions that accompany personality. Remember, God's emotions or feelings are not man's emotions lifted into the context of deity, or we will see our friends and their emotions and compare God to that. No, the feelings that accompany human personality are derivatives of the feelings of God, not the other way around. We live and breathe and have our being through Him. So when you want to see real love you have to see the love of God. We see it in believers, but we as we do, we see God’s emotions passed through the filter of our imperfect lives. So, if you want to see perfect emotion, you need to look at the life of Jesus Christ. Through him the emotions of God are seen in a perfect man who never sinned.

Now we know from the scripture that God is capable of, and expresses Himself with at least seven emotional responses. We need to come to understand this so that we will have a clear picture of the way God's heart beats.

1- God has the capacity to possess and express the emotion that accompanies love. Love is an act of the will. But there is an emotion that accompanies love. When the people saw Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus, they said, "Oh how He loved him." The emotion accompanied love. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world, He gave.” He couldn't help Himself. It was a response to His nature.

2- God is capable of hate. Proverbs 6:16 - Seven things God hateth. All of these are reflections of Satan. God hates Satan and everything He does. God hates what Satan has done to this world. God hates what Satan has done to your life and to my life. God is capable of hate.

3- God is capable of pity. Psalm 103:13 - Like a father pities his children, so the Lord has pity on those who fear Him.

4- God is capable of anger. 1 Kings 11:9 - And the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel who had appeared to him twice.

5- God is capable of joy. Psalm 147:11 - The Lord finds joy in those who fear Him. The angels in heaven have joy. They rejoice over one sinner who repents. The day you came to Jesus Christ as Savior, believe it nor not, the eyes of God lit up. A smile went across the face of God and the heart of God leaped for joy because another had been born into the family of God. God is not some cold, dispassionate soul who sits in heaven without feeling. He is a God of emotion. He is rejoicing at every sinner who repents.

6- God is god of jealousy. The right kind of jealousy. Exodus 20:5 - Our God is a jealous god, a consuming fire. This is the kind of jealousy that is healthy, protective love.

7- God is a god of grief. That is where we are at today. God was a god of grief when Jesus was at the tomb of Lazarus; when Jesus wept over Jerusalem and said, "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I wanted to gather you in, but you said no." God was a god of grief when the widow woman came out of the city with her dead child and Jesus felt compassion on her. Jesus gave her son back to her alive. Jesus knew grief. It was said of God in Genesis 6:6 - He looked at the world and He was grieved. The literal meaning was God's heart broke in two.

God is not seated in the heavens today bored and unconcerned about mankind. He is not indifferent. God is not wringing His hands in glee that at last He is able to send judgment on the earth. He is not elated. Genesis 6:6 tells us how God feels right now. It is important to know that God feels and how God feels. His heart beats with emotions. The scripture says He is grieved. It means Jehovah God is sitting in the heavens weeping over the lost and vile condition of His creation just as Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Do you believe that? Or do you have God so boxed in doctrinal cages that you cannot see the reality of His personality? God is crying today because mankind is saying "No," to Him. We are told in Ephesians to grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. There is a sensitivity about the spirit of God that is wounded when we disobey. God's grief is an expression of His divine love; the love of a father who, knowing the potential of his rebellious child, is moved with grief as again and again and again, He sees his child reject righteousness and give in to sin.

Some of you are parents. You can understand. The father pleads. The father reaches out and longs for and weeps for his wayward son. Patiently, he waits as did the father of the prodigal son. All he longs for is to see in the distance the shadow of his boy coming home. He runs to meet him at break-neck speed. He then kills the fatted calf and welcomes him home. That is the heart of God. The scripture teaches that even if there were ninety-nine who were safe, He would leave them after making provisions for their safety, and go after only one who says, "I'm coming home." The master shepherd waits for and looks for that one. How many parents have waited up night after night for their child to come home. What do they feel inside? A little anger, yes. But, oh, there is grief. A heart melted by disappointment. Listen, parent, God understands a father's grief. God understands a mother's grief. He says, I have nourished and brought up My own children, but they have rebelled against Me. (Isa 1:2) If you are a grieving parent, lay your head on the shoulder of your grieving Heavenly Father. He has been there. He understands. In fact, He is there today. Now multiply the grief over one rebellious child millions times ten-millions and you will have just a fraction of the grief God felt when He looked on Noah's generation and when He looked down on Lot's generation. The phrase God saw literally means that God sent a team from His eyes to inspect the circumstances to find out the heart of man. His heart broke in two.

Can you imagine how God feels today? Since Adam, since Cain, since Noah, since Lot, He has paid the ransom to set His children free. He bought our freedom. It cost Him all He had, His only Son. The only One who never broke His heart, died for all who had ever had. Now, we like Adam have it all. Paradise of the heart is ours for the asking. Paradise in eternity is ours; it is coming. No wonder His expectations for a world that has tasted the cup of redemption is greater by far than His expectations of Noah's day. But, today, He looks on this same sin-scarred world that He looked on before the flood and what does He see?

God sees scoffers, immorality, decadence, apostasy, violence, contempt and business as usual. Don't forget the heart of God. It is broken. If God is grieved to tears over the sinfulness of the world, and you and I have the mind of Christ, how can we go on living as though it were business as usual? As though God's standards have changed? The church of Jesus Christ ought to be on its knees before God, not joining in the pursuits of the world, but setting apart the whole of our lives before a holy God. God had a plan for Noah. God has a plan for the church today. He wants us to build the ark. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord because Noah walked with God. He wants us to walk with God.

You and I ought to be laying aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us. We ought to be seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness at any cost. We ought to be men and women with only one goal in life, one purpose in life; and that is to walk with God. As it was in the days of Noah, so it is today. We live in Noah’s world. It is corrupt, it is degenerating rapidly, and the God-ordained principles that hold it all together are being torn asunder one by one. We, as believers, cannot simply live with a “business as usual” mentality. These are the last days. Jesus is coming soon. We have an ark to build. Our task is not to sit around in little groups condemning society or its ills. God said it would be like this. It is not a call to complain, but a call to battle.

So let’s not be discouraged. These are, in fact, wonderful times to be alive. We have the privilege of being the Noahs of our day. We have the plans for the ark, etched in the eternal scrolls of God’s word. We have the enabling power of His Spirit to comfort us, to guide us, and to lead us. We have the examples of Noah’s world and Lot’s world to remind us. We have it all. And all we have to do is fall down before our precious God and make ourselves totally available, just as Noah did. There is no time to waste. For as it was in the days of Noah, so even it is today. God needed a Noah, then. He desperately needs Noahs now. Dear God, may we become the Noahs you need.

 


AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH

As it was in the days of Noah

So it is today,

Men buying and selling,

Casually going life's wicked way.

Men scoff at God in derision

Or pretend He isn't there,

Never a time to worship,

Never a need for prayer.

Immorality, violence, and wickedness

Have become the norm of the hour,

And within the church, many stand

Devoid of personal power.

As it was in the days of Noah

At His return as well,

Men will scorn the Judgment,

And laugh at the thought of hell.

But as in the days of Noah

The flood of Judgment must fall,

Praise God the ark of Jesus,

Has room enough for all.

So God is looking for Noahs

God is looking for men,

Who trusting His Word remain faithful,

Until He comes again.

As it was in the days of Noah

So even today it is true,

God is looking for Noahs,

And God is looking at you.



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