Peninsula Community Church
By Faith: Doing the Impossible
October 2, 2016
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.
Today, we will continue our journey through the hall of fame of faith. So far, we have seen that the one common denominator throughout this chapter is faith. Each person included in this chapter had an undeniable level of faith that was focused on a unshakable trust in God. Their faith positioned them to be able to trust God regardless of the circumstances of their life or the influences around them. Today’s story is no different.
In the passage before us we find that Noah had faith. It was Noah’s faith that moved him and provided him the basis of his commitment to accomplish the tasks he was given. We find that Noah was warned about the events that were to come and in reverent fear Noah responded to God’s call. Through faith he set out to do the impossible against incredible odds and massive resistance.
As we look at the story of Noah, we find it is a story of contrasts. The world around Noah had turned against God and was going about their daily lives but they made one major mistake. They had left God out of the equation. To understand the contrasts between Noah and the world we must go back in time to Genesis 6 to see what the Bible has to say about the condition of the world at that time. Listen to the words Moses penned about the condition of that generation. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth (Genesis 6:5, 11-12). The world in Noah’s day was a sad commentary of man being left to his own devices. They were living life without God. They were going through the motions without a moral compass to guide them.
In this passage we see that the Lord did not just base his judgment of the people on their actions but He saw their heart and He saw that their hearts were continually evil. As we look at this passage we are reminded that God judges the heart of man. He does not just judge the outward expression of man as much as He looks to see the motivation of one’s heart. It is noteworthy that mankind was not just evil but they were continually evil. The communication here is that they made it a habit to do evil and they were so caught up their evil ways that they knew no other way to exist.
The sad part of this story is that because of the sinfulness of the day God’s heart broke. The Scripture tells us that the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:6-7).
It is hard to believe that God would be so upset with His creation that He would seek to destroy them and yet that is just what the Bible tells us. He was so upset that He actually regretted that He had created mankind. It is hard to beige that this is the same creation that He created in Genesis 1-3 and He called it good. But now His heart was broken. The actions of man had grieved the heart of God. The broken heart of God was not a reaction from a heart of evil on God’s part but one of love because what they were doing was not His plan. It was not His desire. But yet it was the reality of the day and He needed to do something to save mankind.
You see we can also grieve the heart of God when we refuse to obey God’s will. But we must understand that the attitude exhibited by those in Noah’s day was more than just bad decisions. They had become darkened in their minds and their heart. Their entire motivation was evil and they were focused on wrong doing. They had no desire to serve God or obey His commands. That is the sadness of this story.
In Matthew 24:36-39 we find these words from the Lord Himself in addressing when the Son of Man which is Christ would return to earth to take His children home. The attitude of the world was not much different. But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. The story of Noah has become the measuring stick of the future promise of Christ’s return. It is my belief that we are living in just such a time today. People have turned from God and are trusting in their themselves and not God.
As we move back to the Genesis account we find that while the world was falling apart. God was looking for a man that would be different. In Genesis we see that Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord… Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. He was spiritually impressive. As we read this text we find that Noah’s life exemplified the life that God could use for His kingdom. What Noah did not know is that he was about to be chosen for a task that by many, including Noah himself, would think was impossible. We will look at that in a moment but for now let us look at what qualified Noah for the task he was about to be called to. In the text, we find three distinct qualities that placed Noah in a position to be used for the mission God was calling Him to. These distinct qualities set Noah apart.
First, Noah was righteous man. His life exhibited the righteousness of God. It is noteworthy that he lived righteously even though the world around him did not do so. While the world’s heart was filled with sin and continuous evil, Noah chose to live differently. He chose to live righteously. His heart was pure and he sought to honor God the best he could. In Hebrews 11 we find that he was a man of righteousness in the here and now but he also was given the promise of an eternal righteousness that was yet to come.
The second quality associated with Noah’s life is that he lived a blameless life. This did not mean that Noah was a perfect man. But he lived in a way that few could find any fault in his life. It is my guess that Noah made mistakes and had issues but the thing that set him apart is that he was willing to deal with his issues in a way that no one could accuse him of sin or wrong.
The third quality possessed by Noah is that he walked with God. If you remember our study from last week we find that Enoch was a model for Noah’s life. It is interesting to note that while Enoch was taken, Noah was left on earth to be used by God to bring about God’s purposes and God’s will for the world. God had a different plan for each of these Godly men. It is for that reason that we must never come to the place where we become jealous about how God uses us. I wonder how many times Noah wished God would do to him what He did to Enoch and just take him. But Noah needed to follow through with the plans that had been given to him. He was chosen for a specific mission.
Because of the qualities exhibited by Noah he was able to stand against the norms of the day. Because of these qualities God was going to use Noah to preach repentance to the world in which he lived. You see even in the judgment that was to come God’s grace was evident. He sent Noah to preach a message of hope. You see it was never God’s desire to destroy the world. His intent was to see the world repent and change their ways but as we read the entire story of Noah’s life we find that man did not repent. In fact, they rejected the call of Noah to repent. They in fact rejected God. So once again we can not blame God for the destruction of the world. It was a choice they made to reject God’s calling.
In this story God called Noah to do something that seemed impossible. God called Noah to Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. God wanted Noah to build an ark to preserve the life of God’s creation. That was no small undertaking. There are three things that seemed to make this an impossible task. First of all he was to build a boat that would measure 450 feet in length, 45 feet high and 75 feet wide by hand. Plus it would take anywhere from 75 years to 120 years to build and stock the ark with food. Can you imagine if you were called to build such a thing by hand or do something that was based solely on the call of God. There is no doubt that the people of the land mocked and ridiculed him big time.
Secondly this seems to be an impossible task because there had been no significant rain on the earth since the earth had been created. From the time of creation to this moment in time the earth was covered with a canopy that provided a tropical environment where the condensation and dew was enough to water the land.
A third problem is that no one believed in Noah’s mission or his message. They did not believe that God was going to destroy the earth. Why would He? They were having too much fun. They would never believe Noah’s call to repentance. Noah had an impossible task but he would stand up for God as he was a man who was full of faith and he knew that God would be with him and would guide him. Why? By faith Noah built the ark. He did the impossible for God.
Noah did it and so can we. So how does this apply to us today? God is calling us to stand strong when the world around us is falling apart. The world is a mess but God is still in control. As with Noah we are called to preach a message of hope but we must understand that we are not responsible for what people do with the message we share. We continue to share and preach a message of hope regardless of how people respond. We do this by faith and by our trust in God who is able to do above and beyond what we think or ask Him to do.
And finally, we never know what we will be called to do that seems impossible. It might be a health issue. It might be life without a loved one. It could be a major change in our life. Whatever the issues, we have the promise that God will be with us and that He will keep us no matter what happens. Are you ready? Let’s do it.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom