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NOAH FOUND GRACE!
(SERMON #19 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)
A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., Pastor Emeritus and given by Jack Ngann, Pastor at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles Lord’s Day Afternoon, September 4, 2022
“And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation” (Genesis 7:1; p. 14 Scofield).
Noah was not saved because he was good. He was saved because God said, “For thee have I seen righteous” (Genesis 7:1). God viewed him as a righteous man. Why? The answer is simple. It is given in Genesis, chapter six, verse eight. Please turn there in your Bible.
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8; p. 13).
Noah found grace in God’s sight. And God said, “Thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation” (Genesis 7:1).
This speaks of imputed righteousness. Hebrews 11:7 tells us plainly that Noah was saved by faith:
“By faith Noah…prepared an ark to the saving of his house”
(Hebrews 11:7; p. 1301).
I must repeat, Noah was not saved because he was good, although he was a good man in many ways. But he was not a perfect man, as the Bible plainly tells us when he drank wine after the Great Flood (ref. Genesis 9:20-21). We can forgive Noah. He had been through a terrifying ordeal, and perhaps he tried to drown his trembling fears and nightmares concerning the Flood in a draft of wine. Or perhaps it was only a mistake, and he did not know what effect wine would have on him since there was no such fermentation before the canopy of water around the earth came down in the Flood.
In either case, the Bible does not picture Noah as a perfect man. But he was, as the Puritans said, “Justified though sinning.” He was not perfect, but He was justified in the sight of God through faith in the preincarnate Christ. Noah had faith in Christ, which was given to him by the grace of God (cf. Genesis 6:8). When Noah exercised faith in Christ, God imputed, or counted, the righteousness of Christ to his record. In the New Testament the Bible says something quite wonderful on this subject. Please turn to Romans, chapter four, verse five. Please listen to these verses carefully.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted [imputed] for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Romans 4:5-6; p. 1196).
When God said to Noah, “Thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation” (Genesis 7:1), He was saying that He did not see Noah’s sins, because the righteousness of Christ had been put on his record by faith. That is the very watchword of the Reformation – “Sola Fide” – salvation by faith in Christ alone! Noah was not saved by being good. He was saved by faith in the preincarnate Christ!
Now consider the ark itself. As I have said, the ark was not a boat. It was not built to sail. It was simply a long black box with tapered ends. It was entirely covered with black pitch. Dr. McGee gave these comments on the ark:
The impression that most people have of the ark is the impression they were given by the little Sunday School pictures which made it look like a houseboat. It was, to me, a very ridiculous sort of a travesty. It was a caricature of the Ark instead of a picture of it like it actually was.
To begin with, the instructions for the building of the Ark reveal that it was quite sizable. “The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits.” If a cubit is eighteen inches, that ought to give you some conception of how long this ark was.
The question arises as to how they could make it substantial in that day. My friend, we are not dealing with cavemen. We are dealing with a very intelligent man. You see, the intelligence that the race has today came right through Noah, and he happened to be a very intelligent man.
Noah is not making an oceangoing ship to withstand fifty-foot waves. All he is building is a place for life, animal life and man, to stay over quite a period of time – not to go through a storm, but just to wait out the flood. For that reason, the ark might lack a great deal that you would find on an oceangoing ship, and that would give it a great deal more room (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1983, volume I, p. 39).
Whitcomb and Morris pointed out that the Babylonians had a cubit of 19.8 inches and the Egyptians had a cubit of 20.65 inches. Whitcomb and Morris tell us that the Hebrews had a cubit of 20.4 inches (John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1993, p. 10). That would make the ark five hundred and one feet long. The Queen Mary, which is moored near Los Angeles, down in Long Beach, is 1018 feet long, about twice the length of the ark. But much of the space on the Queen Mary is taken up by engines and other machinery. There were no mechanical devices on the ark. It was hollow throughout, which means that the actual space for men and animals on the ark probably was comparable, or perhaps even greater, than the Queen Mary – which is a very large vessel.
Dr. Whitcomb and Dr. Morris were correct in saying that the enormous size of the ark points to a world-wide Flood:
Not only would an ark of such gigantic proportions have been unnecessary for a local flood, but there would have been no need for an ark at all! The whole procedure of constructing such a vessel, involving over a century of planning and toiling, simply to escape a local flood, can hardly be described as anything but utterly foolish and unnecessary. How much more sensible it would have been for God merely to have warned Noah of the coming destruction, so that he could move to an area that would not have been affected by the Flood, even as Lot was taken out of Sodom before the fire fell from heaven. Not only so, but also the great numbers of animals of all kinds, and certainly the birds, could easily have moved out also, without having to be stored and tended for a year in the Ark! The entire story borders on the ridiculous if the Flood was confined to some section of the Near East (John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1993, p. 11).
There are several things about the Ark that should be of great interest to us today. I want us to think about three of them.
I. First, the ark says to us that you must be in Christ to be saved.
Our opening text tells us that
“The Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark” (Genesis 7:1; p. 14).
Now look at Genesis seven, verse sixteen:
“And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in”
(Genesis 7:16; p. 15).
Notice also verse seven:
“And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood” (Genesis 7:7; p. 14).
Noah and his family did what God told them to do (Genesis 7:1). They went in to the ark. And you must come in to Christ. The Bible says,
“He that believeth on him [Jesus] is not condemned…”
(John 3:18; p. 1118).
The word translated “on” is “eis.” According to Dr. Zodhiates, it means “the primary idea of motion into a place or thing.” You must come into Jesus by faith – up in Heaven, at the right hand of God. Just as Noah came into the ark, you must come into Christ. “He that believeth [into] him is not condemned…” (John 3:18). Many times the Bible speaks of those who are “in Christ.” Here are two well-known verses:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1; p. 1201).
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…”
(II Corinthians 5:17; p. 1233).
Paul speaks of those who “were in Christ” (Romans 16:7).
Are you in Christ? You must come in to Him by faith, just as Noah came in to the Ark. Jesus said,
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved”
(John 10:9; p. 1129).
I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but one of the most difficult things in the ministry is to get people to grasp this seemingly simple concept: Come to Christ. Come into Christ!
Let me put it this way. Supposing you had lived in Noah’s time and had heard him preach that a great Flood was coming. And you heard him say that you had to get in the ark to be saved. “Yes,” you say, “it’s true. Judgment is coming. Yes, it’s true, only the ark can save me. I believe that.” Would you have been saved from the Flood? Of course not! You would actually have to get up and come into the ark to be saved – not just believe that it could save you – but get into it! And that’s what I am asking you to do! Don’t sit there and believe that Christ can save you! Come into Christ by faith! Jesus said:
“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37; p. 1123).
Yes, the ark says that you must come into Christ.
II. Second, the ark says that you must come into the church,
the body of Christ.
I realize that many people will disagree with me. Many today discount or downplay the local church. But they are wrong. The ark is not only a type of Christ. It is also a type, or picture of a local New Testament church.
Now, how do you come into the church? In I Corinthians, chapter twelve, verse twenty-seven, we read,
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church…”
(I Corinthians 12:27-28; p. 1223).
We will stop there. I just want to establish the fact that the term “body of Christ” refers to the church, the local body of believers in Jesus. Now listen to verse thirteen:
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…”
(I Corinthians 12:13; p. 1223).
You are baptized into the local church by the Holy Spirit. That’s how you become a real, living member of the church!
Now, it is not your business to worry about how that happens. It is your business to come to Jesus. When you come to Jesus, the Holy Spirit automatically baptizes you into the church!
Please turn to Genesis, chapter seven, verse sixteen. When Noah came into the ark, the Bible says, “The Lord shut him in” (Genesis 7:16). That speaks of the Holy Spirit of God shutting you into the church by baptizing you spiritually into the body! Yes, the ark speaks of union with Christ and union with the local church. If you are not “shut in” with Christ and with the local church by the Lord, you will perish in the judgment. If you are “shut in” you are secure. This speaks of the eternal security of those who are converted. Those who listen to Christ will never perish!
III. Thirdly, the ark says that you must enter in at the narrow gate.
How did Noah enter the ark? Turn to Genesis, chapter six, verse sixteen:
“…the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof…”
(Genesis 6:16; p. 14).
Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” (John 10:9). Noah came through the door into the ark. You must come through Christ into salvation. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait [narrow] gate” (Matthew 7:13).
Again, Christ said:
“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; p. 1095).
That is exactly what happened in Noah’s time. Look at Genesis, chapter seven, verse four. God said:
“For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth…” (Genesis 7:4; p. 14).
Notice also verse ten:
“And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth” (Genesis 7:10; p. 14).
Noah went into the ark. God shut him in. The door was closed. Seven days went by and nothing happened. Then the judgment began. No one else got in the ark! It was too late!
I can almost hear the people shouting, “Let us in! Let us in!” But it was too late!
“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).
Come to Jesus Christ now – before it is everlastingly too late!