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THE FAITH OF NOAH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, January 6, 2013

“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; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).


Now tonight I am going to speak for a few minutes on the faith of Noah. Noah was one of the most important men in history. Without Noah there would be no human race today. Every human being would have drowned in the Great Flood if Noah had not preserved his family in the ark.

We honor Charles Martel (688-741) for saving Europe from the invasion of Muslims. We honor Winston Churchill (1874-1965) for saving Western civilization from Hitler. We honor Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) for saving America from being divided into two small nations. We honor Dr. Martin Luther King (1929-1968) for saving our nation from the racial strife of the 1960s. We honor President Reagan (1911-2004), Margaret Thatcher (1925-), and Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) for saving the Western world from Communism. Most of these leaders were not Christians, but they did great things for our world. But, as great as these leaders were, what they did pales into comparative insignificance when compared to what Noah did. For, you see, Noah saved the human race from extinction in the Great Flood!

Noah is not a cartoon figure in a Sunday School book for children. If I had my way they would stop printing all those books! Noah was a real man, and a great hero, who saved the human race from total destruction. And every Christian should have great respect for him and pay him the highest honor for what he did.

On the final day of his crusade in New York City, Billy Graham preached on the days of Noah, from Matthew 24:36-39, which Dr. Chan read a few minutes ago in this service. It was Mr. Graham’s very last “crusade” sermon, which he gave to 90,000 people in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in New York City. In that sermon Mr. Graham said, “When the situation in the world becomes like it was in Noah’s day, you can look up and know that Jesus is coming soon” (Billy Graham, Living in God’s Love, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2005, p. 110). While I do not agree with Billy Graham on some things, I think he was exactly right when he compared our world today to the time in which Noah lived.

But my sermon tonight will not focus on the days of Noah. Tonight I will speak on “The Faith of Noah.” I am relying a great deal on the last chapter of Dr. M. R. DeHaan’s book, The Days of Noah (Zondervan Publishing House, 1979 edition, pp. 178-184). Hebrews 11:7 says,

“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; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

This text gives us the story of Noah in one verse. The text begins and ends with the same two words, “by faith.” The verse can be divided into seven points, all of them revealing things about Noah’s faith.

I. First, the basis of Noah’s faith.

The text opens with these words, “By faith Noah, being warned of God...” God warned Noah that the Flood was coming. There had never been such a flood before. It seemed impossible that such a world-wide catastrophe could occur. But, by faith, Noah believed what God said. Dr. DeHaan said, “True faith asks for no additional evidences. It does not ask for signs or voices or...visions or dreams, scientific proof or archaeological discoveries or geological evidences. True saving faith is accepting the Word of God just because God says it” (ibid., p. 179). The Bible says,

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

“The substance” means the conviction or assurance of a future reality. Faith is “the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is not based on what we can see or feel, but on the God-given assurance “of things not seen.” The basis of faith is trust in God. Faith is “the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). God had given Noah faith to believe what He said about the coming Flood. Faith is not based on empirical evidence, but on trust in God.

II. Second, the nature of Noah’s faith.

Our text says, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet...” “Of things not seen as yet.” That refers to the Flood that would cover the earth. You see, no rain had ever yet fallen from the sky. In the second chapter of Genesis we are told that it had never rained yet. Up to the time of Noah moisture came up from the earth as a heavy mist. In the second chapter of Genesis we read,

“The Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth...But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:5, 6).

Rain had never been seen before, but Noah believed God when he was warned “of things not seen as yet.” That is what faith is – believing what we cannot explain, but believing it because God says it. Faith rests on our trust in God.

God says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). But someone says, “I can’t see Jesus. I can’t feel Him. How can I believe on Him?” You want empirical evidence. You want to see Jesus and feel Him. But no one can be saved that way. You must believe on Jesus by faith. Just as Noah believed “things not seen as yet,” so you must believe on Jesus, whom you have not yet seen. The Bible says,

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

III. Third, the motive of Noah’s faith.

The text says, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear...” Noah was afraid. When God told him about the Great Flood, it scared Noah. So he “moved with fear.” Dr. DeHaan said, “All men fear death whether they admit it or not. I have heard men boast and brag, blaspheme and curse, and laugh at God and religion; and I have seen these same [men] whine and cringe like beaten puppies when facing eternity. Any man in his right mind must know some fear of the future and the wrath of God. Yes, Noah was moved with fear before the wrath of God, and it drove him to seek salvation” (ibid., p. 180).

The Bible says that there is a Hell awaiting lost sinners. The Bible says,

“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Admit that you do fear the wrath of God, and flee to Jesus for salvation. Dr. DeHaan said, “It is questionable if any man was ever saved without a certain amount of the element of fear” (ibid.).

IV. Fourth, the exercise of Noah’s faith.

Our text says, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark...” Noah’s faith produced action. It is not enough to mentally believe a warning of danger. You must act upon it. Do you believe the Bible? Do you believe that God is going to punish sinners unless they repent and trust Jesus? You may believe all that and still be lost, unless you personally trust Jesus Christ by an act of faith. People often say, “You don’t need to do anything to be saved.” But the very opposite is true. You don’t need to do anything to be lost! Jesus said, “He that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3:18). You are already condemned and lost. When the jailor asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul did not say, “Don’t do anything.” No! The Apostle said to him, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Have you trusted Christ by faith? Have you come to the Saviour for salvation?

V. Fifth, the scope of Noah’s faith.

Our text says, “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...” Noah was not satisfied to be saved alone. He was also very concerned about the salvation of his family. He wanted his family to be saved, so he made room for them in the ark. He “prepared an ark to the saving of his house.” Dr. DeHaan said, “This is one of the surest evidences of [a real conversion]. When a person is truly saved, he becomes concerned about others, beginning at home...How often I have observed that immediately after a person accepted Christ he became [concerned] about a father, mother, boy, or girl – ‘Now I will not rest until I have brought mom and dad also,’ exclaimed one person as he got up from his knees after receiving Christ. Test yourself by this rule, and it will reveal the reality and depth of your spiritual life...Yes, Noah ‘prepared an ark to the saving of his house’” (ibid., pp. 181, 182).

VI. Sixth, the testimony of Noah’s faith.

The text says, “By faith Noah...prepared an ark...by the which he condemned the world.” The building of the ark was for Noah’s salvation. But it was also a testimony to the unbelieving world. The Bible calls “Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness” (II Peter 2:5). Day after day Noah preached on the coming judgment of the Great Flood. Day after day Noah pleaded with people to repent and be saved. Noah’s preaching, and the ark itself, were a testimony to the lost people of that day. It is true that none of them but Noah’s family were converted by his preaching. But God is far less interested in how many people are saved through our testimony than He is with our faithfulness in witnessing to a sinful, lost world. As the colleges and universities open again, I hope that many of you will go soul-winning on your own, and bring in names and phone numbers to be phoned. Also, work every week to bring lost relatives and friends to church to hear the Gospel preached.

VII. Seventh, the reward of Noah’s faith.

One other feature of Noah’s faith remains. We have seen the basis, the nature, the motive, the exercise, the scope, and the testimony of his faith. Now we come to the last one – the reward of faith. The text says,

“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; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

Noah was not a sinless man. He had been a lost sinner like everyone else. But the righteousness of Christ was imputed to him because he believed God concerning the ark. Remember that the ark was a type of Christ. Noah believed what God said about Christ. Noah went into the ark, just as you must come in to Christ. Noah risked his soul and his life on the ability of the ark to save him. And you must risk your soul and your life on Christ to be saved. You must come to Christ, as Noah came into the ark. You must believe on Christ, as Noah believed on, and relied on, the ark.

And you must come to Christ while the door is still open. The ark had only one door. After that door was shut, all hope was gone! The people could not take another ship to safety, because there was no other ship! Dr. DeHaan said, “I am sure that after the rain began to fall, and the lightning flashed, and the thunder rolled, and the waters rose, there were [many] who wanted to [get on another] ship – any ship – but there was only one, and there would not be another [one]. They had missed the boat. They had [waited] one day too long...[As the Flood came pouring down] what panic,...fright and terror must have gripped the people! What wailing and crying and beating against the door of the ark! What a wild, crashing stampede for the ship they had despised! [But there was no use] – the door was shut! They had missed the boat!” (ibid, pp. 183, 184). IT WAS TOO LATE!

Jesus said, “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39). Every sign indicates that we are now living in that time today, “as the days of Noe were.” While others are concerned only with the material things of life, I ask you to repent and come to Jesus before it is too late for you to be saved – everlastingly too late! Mr. Lee, please lead us in prayer.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 24:37-42.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Faith is the Victory” (by John H. Yates, 1837-1900).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE FAITH OF NOAH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“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; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

I.    First, the basis of Noah’s faith, Hebrews 11:7a; 1; Ephesians 2:8.

II.   Second, the nature of Noah’s faith, Hebrews 11:7b; Genesis 2:5, 6;
Acts 16:31; Hebrews 11:6.

III.  Third, the motive of Noah’s faith, Hebrews 11:7c; 9:27.

IV.  Fourth, the exercise of Noah’s faith, Hebrews 11:7d; John 3:18;
Acts 16:31.

V.   Fifth, the scope of Noah’s faith, Hebrews 11:7e.

VI.  Sixth, the testimony of Noah’s faith, Hebrews 11:7f; II Peter 2:5.

VII. Seventh, the reward of Noah’s faith, Hebrews 11:7g;
Matthew 24:37-39.