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COME INTO THE ARK!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, February 1, 2004


"And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark…" (Genesis 7:1).


Dr. M. R. DeHaan gave this remarkable and reliable description of Noah's Ark:

Do you know what color was used to paint the outside of the Ark? It was pitch black. There is no mention of any decorations or symbols or even a name on this strange [vessel]. It was just a great big black box, without tapered prow or rounded stern. It was not built to sail but merely to float, so it had no sail, oars, or other means of propulsion. From the description [in the Bible] we gather that both ends were square and it had only one door in the side, while no window could be seen from the ground. To see the window one must rise over 45 feet above the ground, and there on the roof of the Ark was a small window only 18 inches square with a covering over it. The Ark was built on dry ground, many miles from the sea. It must have presented a strange sight to the onlookers. Here was a huge box…pitch black from stem to stern…and not only was the outside black, but the inside was equally black…This view of the Ark (and it is the Scriptural view) is, I am sure, quite different than most people have imagined it to be. I remember seeing the pictures in our Bible storybooks, which portrayed the Ark as a sleek liner with rounded bottom and graceful prow and three rows of windows for each floor. I recall one picture which had the door in the rear of the ship like a military landing boat. However, the Bible presents no such picture. The Ark, we have mentioned before, looked like a huge, black coffin. In fact, the word "ark" is also translated "coffin" in Genesis 50:26. The Ark was a symbol of the death our Lord Jesus was to die, that those within might live (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., The Days of Noah, Zondervan, 1963, pages 172-173).

The Ark is a type of Jesus Christ, as well as a type of the regenerated local church. The Ark is the type, and Christ and the church are the antitypes, since Christ and the church are as inseparable as a husband and wife (Ephesians 5:25-32).

"This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church" (Ephesians 5:32).

And there are many Scriptures that show the local church, the regenerated body of Christ, to be an antitype of the Ark. As Noah built the Ark, so Christ builds the church. Christ went and preached through Noah before the Flood, "When once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing" (I Peter 3:20). Then, of this dispensation, Christ said,

"Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

That's the antitype. The type is Noah, building the Ark - as Christ builds the church.

"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…"
    (Hebrews 11:7).

As Noah moved with fear and "prepared an ark to the saving of his house…" - so Christ builds His "church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

I. First, the Ark shows the regenerated local church.

"And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark" (Genesis 7:1).

Just as there was a real ark for Noah and his family to enter, so there is a real church for you to enter and attend.

"And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat" (Genesis 8:4).

Noah's ark rested on a certain mountain, a definite place, and a definite time. There is a definite local church, and a real place where it exists. Most of the New Testament epistles were written to local churches, such as "the church of God which is at Corinth" (I Corinthians 1:2); "the church of the Thessalonians" (I Thessalonians 1:1), etc. The New Testament knows nothing of Christians who did not belong to a local church and attend it regularly. In the days of the Apostles, Christians had their whole lives centered in their local churches.

The local church is not a building. The old-time Baptists and Protestants called their church buildings "meeting houses." They didn't want to call them "churches," because they knew that the church is the people, not a building. When you come into the church, you come into fellowship with the people of God, in a local church.

It is sad to see many evangelicals floating around with no church home. They will often tell you that they belong to "the church" - a mystical concept they inherited from the Roman Catholics. But they cannot tell you where that "church" is located. Many of them hardly go to church at all.

They could learn a thing or two from the old-time Baptists, who were local church to the core. And I agree with them! Put me down as a local church Baptist! I'm landmark on the local church - because that's what the New Testament teaches!

It's a sad shame that so many are preaching a "churchless" Christianity. No wonder 88% of the young people in these churches leave by the time they are 18. They will tell you that they are Christians - but they quit the church! That is one of the biggest lies the Devil has ever promoted!

If Noah and his family hadn't gotten into the Ark, they would have drowned in the Flood! If you don't get into the regenerated church, through conversion, you will go to Hell! You have to come to Christ, be converted, and be in your church home every time the door is open! That's a Christian! That's a real Bible Christian!

II. Second, the Ark shows the importance of close Christian fellowship.

"And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark" (Genesis 7:1).

Outside the Ark, the

"fountains of the great deep [were] broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights" (Genesis 7:11-12).

But inside the Ark there was warm fellowship between Noah

"…and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them"
    (Genesis 7:13).

You may say what you like about this sermon. You may say that I am wrong to compare the Ark to the regenerated local church. But I am not wrong! The word "church" is a translation of the Greek word "ekklesia." It means "the called out ones." Noah and his family were "the called out ones" of his generation.

"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…"
    (Hebrews 11:7).

These eight people got into the Ark, and were called out of the world.

"God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved…" (I Peter 3:20).

They got out of the world, and they got into the Ark, and they got saved by faith in Christ! The people in that Ark made up the only "church" on this earth - in the days of Noah.

And that's what young people need today. You need to get into the fellowship of the local church. The world has gone mad. People take drugs, commit sexual immorality, steal, lie, cheat, get drunk. You find that you can't trust people. You feel lonely most of the time. Jesus said,

"As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matthew 24:37).

Sin, debauchery, and confusion reigned in the days before the Flood. And it's like that again today. I believe that this is a sign that we are living in the last days. Jesus said that there would be "pestilences" (Matthew 24:7). Last year we had SARS. This year they are afraid that the "chicken flu" in Southeast Asia may cause a pandemic - and kill thousands of people. I read that in the Daily News today. These are "pestilences" that, I believe, show we are living in the last days.

"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).

I believe that the immorality and looseness of this generation is a sign that we are now entering the final period of history - and judgment will come, as it fell on the people in Noah's day.

In the darkness and apostasy of the days before the Flood, Noah drew his sons and their wives into the Ark they had built. Then the Flood came,

"and took them all away" (Matthew 24:39).

Only eight people remained alive.

But what fellowship they must have had in the Ark! What joy and Christian love they must have experienced!

We are now entering the darkest period in history. Americans and Europeans stopped having enough children for our civilization to continue more than a few decades. The Muslim radicals are producing large families, while we play video games, watch TV, and go to Las Vegas. Sooner than we realize, Muslim hordes will invade our lands. Who will stop them? Most of our people will be old and feeble. Our nation, and all of Western civilization, will fall. And they will come in and overthrow our way of life completely. This is not a prediction. It is happening right now. It is time for you to come into the Ark. It is time for you to get saved and come into this local church - and do it now - just as Noah and his family did before the Flood. That's the reason we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!"

You will find joy and lasting friendships in this local church. You will discover new friends here that you can count on to keep you from being lonely. You will hear the gospel preached and you will be converted here. Your whole life will be transformed by coming into this local church - and by coming to Jesus Christ for the salvation of your eternal soul.

This is the midnight hour for Christianity in America and the West. This is the time for young people like you to drop out of our jaded, sinful way of life - and get into this Baptist church - and do it now! You will never regret it! "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ for full salvation."

Come home, come home, Ye who are weary, come home.
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling, O sinner, come home.
    ("Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling" by Will H. Thompson, 1847-1909).

I've wandered far away from God, Now I'm coming home.
The paths of sin too long I've trod, Lord, I'm coming home.
Coming home, coming home, Never more to roam;
Open wide thine arms of love, Lord, I'm coming home.
    ("Lord, I'm Coming Home" by William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921).

Come on home to church! Come on home to Jesus! There's no joy or happiness out there in the world. Be in church every time the door is open, and come all the way in - to Jesus, and He will save you, and give you a whole new set of real friends in this local church! Do it! Do it! Do it!

III. Third, the Ark shows that the time is short.

"And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark" (Genesis 7:1).

You must decide to set other things aside and come home to church, and to Christ, now! Time ran out for the people in Noah's day. They laughed at the prophet Noah. They thought he had gone crazy. They didn't believe that judgment was about to fall on them. They kept right on fooling around. Like the kids in your college, many were playing games instead of studying and preparing themselves for life. They acted like they had forever to study, and work, and prepare for eternity. They didn't realize how short the time was for them. They failed the most important course of all - the course of life. They flunked out of life - and they were swept away in mountains of water from the Flood.

Put your heart and soul into your college studies. Work at your studies with all your might. Make something out of your life. Put your heart and soul into this church as well. And seek Christ until you find Him!

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness"
    (Matthew 6:33).

Real Christians are workers. The lazy sluggards go on and take one class, and make a lowly C in that.

"How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come"
    (Proverbs 6:9-11).

If you want to be like the old Puritans you must throw yourself into study and work at it. A man who wants to be a Puritan and takes one class, and makes the low grade of C in that, is only fooling himself. He is a sluggard. If he doesn't wake up and push himself to study night and day in college, he is no Puritan at all. He is a lazy fellow.

Four young men who study in my home will graduate with high grades from junior college this year, two of them in four months, and the other two in the fall. But some of you are dawdling along, drinking soda pop, playing the guitar, and fiddling slowly in one measly class! Time is swiftly running out for you. In another year or so it will be too late for you to salvage your college career, and make something out of your life. Today, you must wake up, and spend your days studying. If you don't do it now, this year, you will be a failure in college. If I were your parent, I would be on your case night and day. I would be after you constantly, until you woke up, took a full load of classes, and spent your days studying. That's what I would do if you were my child. I would give you no rest until you became a serious, hard-working college student.

And the same is true in your spiritual life. Some who are making good grades are foolishly wasting precious time concerning the salvation of their souls. You are labouring only for "the meat that perishes." You have no more care for your soul than the lazy person has for his school work. You are as wrong as him, in your own way - no, you are worse than him. He is failing in his college work. But you are failing in eternal things.

Up, lazy person, pour your heart and soul into finding salvation through Christ. Do not rest until you are "in Christ," and know it! That is the way to eternal life!

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24).

"And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark" (Genesis 7:1).

Make the salvation of your soul your top priority - and do it now. Come to Christ and He will save you. Nothing is more important than your salvation!

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Hebrews 11:7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling" (by Will H. Thompson, 1847-1909).


THE OUTLINE OF

COME INTO THE ARK!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark…" (Genesis 7:1).

(Ephesians 5:32; I Peter 3:20; Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 11:7)

I.   The Ark shows the regenerated local church, Genesis 8:4;
I Corinthians 1:2; I Thessalonians 1:1.

II.  The Ark shows the importance of close Christian fellowship,
Genesis 7:11-13; Matthew 24:37, 7; Genesis 6:5;
Matthew 24:39.

III. The Ark shows that the time is short, Matthew 6:33;
Proverbs 6:9-11; Luke 13:24.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."