Thought for the Week - 17th February 2019Pastor Gareth Watkins
1 Peter 3: 18 – 21
18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison—
20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.
21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 24: 36 – 39
36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day.
38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat.
39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
Genesis 7:1 – 5
1 When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous.
2 Take with you seven pairs—male and female—of each animal I have approved for eating and for sacrifice, and take one pair of each of the others.
3 Also take seven pairs of every kind of bird. There must be a male and a female in each pair to ensure that all life will survive on the earth after the flood.
4 Seven days from now I will make the rains pour down on the earth. And it will rain for forty days and forty nights, until I have wiped from the earth all the living things I have created.”
5 So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about sin. There were the two David’s, both saved from their sin. We’ve been saved from our sins. We’ve been justified and made right with God. It’s just as if we didn’t commit those sins. We’ve been regenerated into a new life. We are children of God, and we have a place in our Father’s house that He prepared for us before the beginning of time. We would have been lost in our sins, but because of Jesus Christ, He has changed us, saved us and given us a new life that we didn’t deserve.
In the verses above, we read about Noah. God, who is spotless, sinless and beyond time, brings this story to our attention. There’s a reason Noah is in the bible, it’s not an accident. It’s recorded in the first book of the bible. It’s recorded by Christ. It’s recorded by Peter. It’s not there by accident. This is a significant life and a significant event that happened through this life of Noah.
Noah’s ark is one type of ark. You could say that later in the bible we read of another, smaller ark, that of the Ark of the Covenant. Later again, there is another type of ark, Jesus Christ Himself. There is the ark of Noah, the Ark of the Covenant, and the ark that is Jesus Christ, who covers our days, the days before, and even back to the days of Noah.
In the days of Noah, Christ was there! He was there throughout all the days of the bible stories. We may have lots of questions and perhaps we don’t understand, but we read it in the bible. And sometimes we need to accept by faith that some things did happen, and that we can’t explain or understand everything that happened. It has happened though because God has written it in His word.
The stories of the Arks brought covenants, safety, and salvation to the people of their day.
Noah’s ark brought safety and shelter for Noah and his family from the raging floods and the greatest destruction the world has ever known. No matter what was happening outside the ark, they were safe. God protected this family because of the obedience of Noah. Noah endured the mocking, the shunning etc. Noah built that ark perfectly, according to a set of instructions that God had commanded. He obeyed God.
If we obey Jesus in the instructions that we are given, we to will be safe. We too will be saved from the destruction that would be outside where other people will be destroyed. We will be safe in the ark of Jesus Christ and saved unto eternity. What a safe place we are found in Jesus Christ!
In Peter we read that Jesus went back in time to preach to the souls of the lost in the days of Noah. Those people who accepted Jesus in those days, Noah’s family, were safe in the perfect ark that God had given specific instructions to make. Whatever happened in the turmoil outside, they were safe and exited onto dry land. They had to follow God to make it. They had to follow God to enter it. They had to follow God to leave it to enter to a new world that wasn’t there before.
Christ is like that. We have to get to a place where we see the salvation that stands before us. We have to go into it. We see the perfect life that God has got standing before us. We need to walk into that life that God has for us. We then have to trust Jesus Christ to take us through the waters, through our troubles, through the life that comes, unto this day of salvation. This is something precious and something to hang onto. We have a new life in God.
Noah’s great ark provided safety and shelter from all that came. It was perfect and faultless. And that is a picture of what Jesus Christ does for us in 2019.
Do you think God judges the sin of the ungodly today? Yes. There are ungodly people and there’s sin in the world. God has not lost control of the earth. He’s leaving man do what he will. The righteous will carry on in righteousness. The world will get worse and worse. God hasn’t lost control at all. In the middle of all this madness Jesus stands and says “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 16).
We have a choice. We can see the perfect world of God and walk into it, as Noah walked into his ark. Trust Him with the rest. He’ll shut the door and your new life will begin. And everyone else will be outside when the flood comes.
In Peter above we read that Jesus suffered for our sins once and for all time, so that He might bring us to God and be made alive in the spirit. There is a salvation and a life to come, because of Jesus Christ. He has made a way, a perfect plan for us, that we as sinners won’t get washed away or destroyed by the judgement of God, but will be alive in the spirit unto a new life that is coming to each one of us. And that new life starts now.
The things of this life will come and go. The sins and the madness will come and go. We need Christ to break into those places, and bring His ark to save those people. He went as the perfect son of God. He saved the unjust so that they might have life. Noah went through the same experience in his ark that saved his family. In 2019, we need a Noah’s ark experience for our friends and family today. Jesus Christ is a type of ark.
Noah went through the time of judgement that God had brought upon the earth. Yet in that judgement was a plan of salvation for people. For Noah, his family, and for all the other people. But they didn’t want to come in. Noah went around asking people to come into the ark, but they mocked him. It’s a bit like that today. People mock the church, they mock the Christians. They’re blasphemous. But all the while, God has His plan. Christ has died. The just has died for the unjust. All the while there is a plan that Jesus Christ will bring us to God.
The life we’re living is not just about there here and now. It is something that is now, and is going forward, unto that which is eternal. Peter can write about it because he knew it.
In 1 Peter 1: 3-4 we read:
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,
4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
Because of His mercy, we have an expectation and priceless inheritance that is kept in heaven for us!
We’ve been born again. It’s a past tense, present tense and future tense! I’ve been born again as a past tense. I am born again as a present tense. I am born again, ongoing into a future tense. I am born again as a perfect tense. It’s complete and final, and never to be done again. That is a wonder of being born again! That which should be dead is made alive by Jesus Christ and is kept safe by Jesus Christ, unto an eternity that I didn’t deserve.
Jesus paid the total penalty for man’s sin. By that death, we have a hope. We are heirs of this hope. When Jesus cried out on the cross “it is finished” (John 19:30) the salvation of God completed everything. Christ could say it is completed once and for all. Just for the unjust. A new life. A life of mercy and a life of eternity had begun. This salvation, this protection, this safety has been won for us because of Jesus Christ.
Christ has broken into our time and made a perfect structure, like an ark, for our salvation. He’s made a perfect way for us. We can be saved unto eternity. It’s a perfect plan of God. It’s without blemish.
Many people won’t accept the story of Noah and the ark. Many in Noah’s day didn’t want to believe. But, Noah built his ark. Our church is a type of ark, where we can come and be in the presence of God. That sin and destruction that would’ve been for us can be taken away from us so that we can have this new life and plan that God has prepared for us from the beginning of time. That plan includes an inheritance in heaven for each one of us. It’s kept pure and undefiled. It’s for eternity.
Charles Spurgeon wrote the following prayer:
Our God, we come to Thee by Jesus Christ who has
gone within the veil on our behalf and ever liveth to make
intercession for us. Our poor prayers could never reach
Thee were it not for Him, but His hands are full of sweet
perfume which makes our pleading sweet with Thee. His
blood is sprinkled on the Mercy Seat and now we know
that Thou dost always hear those who approach Thee
through that ever blessed name.
We don’t deserve access to God, but God has made a perfect provision where we can come, where we can be saved and where we can be justified. Where our sins can be cleansed, where we can be renewed, and where we can live that new life.
God has given us Jesus as a type of ark to save us and give us a new life that we don’t necessarily deserve.