Adrian Rogers - Captain Noah and His Unsinkable Faith
Would you take God's Word and be finding Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 7? We're talking today about, "Captain Noah and His Unsinkable Faith". I cannot, I cannot overemphasize the importance of faith. We meet one another in the hallways and we say, "How are you feeling"? Perhaps we ought to be saying, "How are you faithing"? May I ask you that question today? How is your faith? What is the state of your faith? We're going to learn some wonderful things about faith in one short verse today. Hebrews chapter 11 and let's look in verses 7. Look at it, "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".
Now we're going to camp right there and tell you that I do believe and I hope you believe that the story of Noah and the ark is not myth. It is true history. As a matter of fact, historians tell us, archeologists and anthropologists tell us in all of the great groupings of the world in ancient history there is a flood story. Now of course, the Bible has it accurately and other histories have been corrupted and mismanaged. But they all root in a literal fact. Proof that the flood literally existed is that Jesus believed it. Jesus said in Matthew 24 verse 37, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be". If Jesus believed it, I have no difficulty believing in the flood, the time of Noah. And to this generation I want to say, we swagger at our technological advance but someone has pointed out that while amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic. That ought to tell us something.
Now, Noah may have been an amateur in ark building, but he was certainly technologically advanced spiritually as he trusted the Lord. There are some great, great ideas and truths about faith here in this chapter of Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 7 as we're talking about Champions of Faith. There are four things I want to lay on your heart about Noah's faith and I pray God that they will buoy your faith, keep your faith afloat. Help you to have an unsinkable faith in treacherous days because that's exactly what Noah had and it made him a champion of faith. Now, the first thing that I want you to notice is what I'm going to call the warning his faith believed. Look in Hebrews 11 verse 7, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet".
Now God warned Noah of the flood. But he'd never seen a flood. Do you know what? Noah had never even seen rain. Look if you will in Genesis chapter 2. Just put it in your margin or turn to it if you can quickly. Genesis chapter 2 verses 5 and 6. It tells of the time before the flood. And it says, "And every plant of the field before it was in the Earth and every herb of the field before it grew, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the Earth and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the Earth and watered the whole face of the ground".
Before the flood it was not raining. It did not rain. The idea of rain was foreign to Noah's mind, much less any kind of a flood. God watered the Earth by springs and by rivers and by evaporation and condensation and dew. And some Bible scholars believe that there was a great canopy over the Earth that maintained a constant temperature like a giant greenhouse. And so Noah is warned of God of something he has never ever seen before. It was a warning from the Word. He had the Word of God. Now again, I want to remind you a verse that we will mention many times in our study on faith here in Hebrews chapter 11. And it is Romans chapter 10 verse 17 which says, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God".
Now come up close and I want to tell you something. Without a word from God, you cannot have faith. Now, did that sink in? As a matter of fact, if you write notes write that down. Without a word from God on a matter, you have no basis for a biblical faith. Faith is not a leap in the dark. It is a step into God's light. You must hear from God. We'll say it many times in this study: you do not name it and claim it; you believe it and receive it because God has named it and you claim it. Now that's very important. You do not name it and claim it. You believe it and receive it because God has named it and you claim it. God does the naming. You do the claiming. That brings us back to Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 1 which describes faith, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen".
I want to remind you one more time that the word hope here does not mean maybe, perhaps, or I wish. But hope means bedrock assurance. The Bible calls hope in Hebrews 6:19, "An anchor of the soul". Now you don't put an anchor in the cloud bank. You think of it. Hope is an anchor of the soul. It is solid. And the word substance here, sub-stand, something beneath us that we can stand upon. Where do you get this assurance, this bedrock assurance called hope? From the Word of God. God speaks.
Now it's very interesting. You say, "Pastor, I cannot have faith like Noah had unless I have a word from God. How does God communicate that word to me"? I'm glad you asked that question. Well, let me try to clear it up. God communicates His Word two ways. First of all, there is what we call the written Word. That's the word logos. That's the 66 books of the Bible, the Word of God. Over and over again the Bible is called the Word of God. That means the total revelation of God. But there is another word that is translated word and it is rhema. R-H-E-M-A, rhema. And this rhema means an utterance. That is, it's not merely the written Word, and I don't deprecate the written Word. I don't fail to appreciate the written Word, but you're going to find out that a rhema is a word from the Word, a word that God communicates personally to your heart. A personal word from God. A rhema from God.
Let me give you a verse where that word is used and it is translated word. Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 17, "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the rhema of God". That's what Jesus did in Matthew 4 the first 11 verses, when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus took a word from the Word, used it as a sword and said in Matthew 4:4, "It is written, man should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God". Take that Satan. He used the Word as a sword. That's the sword of the Spirit, the rhema of God. Don't get the idea that some people are so superstitious about the Bible. Have you ever seen a B-grade movie when a vampire is coming and somebody gets a Bible and says, "Back, back, back"!
You know like leather and paper and black print. No, no, no, no. The truth of the Bible is where faith comes from. And when God takes the truth of the Bible and makes that truth to you, when you get a personal word from the Word that applies to you in a situation God is speaking to you. Then you're going to find faith engendered in your heart. Did you know that God speaks today? God has His written Word once and for all, settled. But then God speaks to your own personal heart. And when God speaks to your heart personally you have a rhema from God, that's when you find faith growing in your heart and in your life. Big, plain and straight, you have to hear from God in order to have faith.
Romans 10:14 asks a good question. Put it down and let me read it to you, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher"? That is, you have to hear in order to believe. But let me sharpen the focus a little bit more. This verse, Romans 10:14 says, "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard"? That's my translation. I'm reading from today Kings James. But that can be sharpened. The New American Standard says, "How shall they believe in Him whom they've not heard"?
Now listen, you say, "What's the difference, pastor"? Listen to this. One says, "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard". And, that's of course a possible translation. But it literally says, "How shall they believe in Him whom they've not heard"? You see, you hear God. In order to believe Him you don't just hear about Him, you hear Him. Now, I can preach Christ today, but if all you hear is Adrian then so what? You must hear God. Not that I'm God. But God takes His Word and God will speak to your heart. You have a rhema, a word from the Word. God is speaking to you. That's the reason the apostle Paul said in Second Timothy chapter 1 and verse 12, "I know Whom I have believed". He didn't say, "I know in Whom I have believed". I've believed Him! Faith is believing God. You must have faith that hears God.
Now, let me say this about this faith now that Noah had the faith that he received. It resulted in fear. Look at it in Hebrews 11 verse 7, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet," He had never seen it rain, "moved with fear, prepared an ark". Do you see that? He was moved with fear. Now some people say, "I don't believe in a religion based on fear". Bible religion is based on fear. Fear is the foundation of faith. Now, do you know what is wrong with this generation today? May I tell you in a sentence: there's no fear of God in this generation! I'm going to read an extended passage of Scripture from Romans chapter 3. I'm going to begin in verse 10 and I'm going to read through verse 18. And I want you to listen to this description that I'm going to read to you and I want you to compare it with society today in America.
Listen to it, "As it is written, 'There's none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known," and now verse 18, "There is no fear of God before their eyes". All of the above is a description of a generation that does not fear God. Now put this verse down, Jeremiah chapter 2 verse 19, "'Thine own wickedness shall correct thee and thy backsliding shall reprove thee.'"
Now God doesn't have to judge us, we judge ourselves. Listen, "'Thine own wickedness shall correct thee and thy backsliding shall reprove thee. Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God and that My fear is not in thee,' saith the Lord of Hosts". When Noah believed God, he feared God. Listen, fear and faith are inseparably linked together. Fear sees God's power, and God's holiness, and God's justice. Faith sees God's lovingkindness, God's grace, and God's mercy. Therefore the fear of God is not a cringing dread of God. It is love on its knees. I want to mention to you very quickly, because time is of an essence. I want to mention to you this morning nine things that the fear of God will do for you.
Nine things. I'm going to give you the Scriptures very quickly. And here's the lead Scripture, Proverbs 22 verse 4, "By humility and fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life". Now let me mention some of the riches, the honor, and the life that comes by fear. First of all, godly living. Proverbs 16:6, "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged, and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil". "By the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil". Therefore, godly living.
Number two, godly knowledge. Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But fools despise wisdom and instruction". Next, godly wisdom. Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". Next, godly contentment. Proverbs 15 verse 16, "Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith". Next, godly worship. Psalm 5:7, "But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple". This morning we ought to be worshipping God in His fear. Look, godly salvation comes through fear. Psalm 85 verse 9, "Surely His salvation is nigh unto them that fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land". And godly confidence is in the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 14 verse 26, "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence and His children shall have a peace, a place of refuge".
Godly insight comes from the fear of the Lord. Psalm 25 verse 14, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him and He will show them His covenant". Godly deliverance comes from the fear of the Lord. Psalm 33 verses 18 and 19, "Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine".
Now, in my study I found many more verses that dealt with the amenities and felicities and the blessings of fear. Noah was a man of faith because he feared the Lord. Listen to it again, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark". The mark of a society on its last legs is when there is no fear of God. Now, God gave Noah a word of warning. But now there is a second thing I want you to see. Not only the warning that his faith believed, but I want you to see the work that his faith achieved. Having heard from God, he got busy.
Now look again in Hebrews 11 and verse 7, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark". He went to work. Now the Bible teaches that, "Faith without works is dead". James 2 verse 20, "But wilt thou not know, oh vain man, that faith without works is dead"? God told Noah to build an ark and Noah obeyed. The word believe comes from an old English word "by live". What we really believe we live by. Now don't tell me that you have faith if you do not obey. And you have to obey even when you don't understand. Noah had not seen a flood, but he had a word. And he obeyed.
Warren Wiersbe, a great Bible teacher, said, "Faith is obeying God in spite of circumstances or consequences". Now if you work without faith that is presumption. If you have faith without work that is pretense. Faith and work is power. "Faith without works is dead". True faith is more than intellectual belief. It is belief with legs on it. It's not what you eat; it's what you digest that makes you strong. It's not what you gain; it's what you save that makes you rich. It's not what you read, but what you remember that makes you learned. It's not what you preach, but what you practice that makes you a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Noah was a man of faith and therefore he prepared an ark. And he prepared an ark to the saving of his family.
Some of you are going to lose your children because your faith is a mere intellectual faith, a mere doctrinal faith. It is not a practical living faith that is obeying God and your children see the difference. Two men in the Bible who are contrasted in my mind. One is Noah and the other is Lot. Lot is one of the most miserable creatures in the Bible and yet he was a saved man. You can read about Lot in Genesis chapter 19. Lot moved in to Sodom, the most vile, wicked city on the face of the Earth. And he pitched his tent toward Sodom, soon became ingratiated with the people of Sodom. Began to live in the fellowship of the Sodomites. Got a place in the political office there in Sodom. God told Lot and God warned Lot as God had warned Noah. God said, "I'm going to destroy this place, Lot. Get your children. Get your family. Get out of here"!
Just as God had warned Noah to get his family. The Bible says that Lot, this backslidden, miserable, so-called Christian, went and witnessed to his sons-inlaw and they laughed at him. They mocked him because they had seen the way that he lived. He got his wife. The angel said, "Get your wife and get out of here and flee". Lot's wife was so filled with her love for that wicked, vile, worldly city that she turned around and was destroyed; turned into a pillar of salt. He took his daughters up into the mountains and there Lot became drunk and had an incestuous relationship with his daughters. Can you imagine that? Lot had a saved soul, but he lost his family. I don't want to go to Heaven without all my children and my grandchildren.
Joyce and I make it a practice to pray, "Oh God, bless our children". We call them by name morning and night and say, "Oh God, bless them". One time I prayed and I said, some years ago, "God, if any of my children are not saved, they're all professing Christians, but if any of them are not saved, oh God, I want them saved". I had no reason to believe outwardly that any of them were not saved, but I didn't want them to have just second hand religion. I prayed that week. That Sunday when I preached, my darling daughter Gayle came down the aisle and said, "Papa, Daddy, I'm not sure I'm saved. I want to be saved".
Friend, I want all of my children in the ark. "Noah, moved with fear prepared an ark to the saving of his household". Now friend, listen to me, the religion that does not begin at home does not begin. Have you heard anybody say, "Well, my loved ones are the hardest ones to witness to". You're not telling on them, you're telling on you. You know why they are the hardest ones to witness to? Because they know you. They know you. Many of us need to go and say, "Would you forgive me for the life that I have lived in front of you". And don't even witness to them. Just say, "Will you forgive me? Just forgive me. I'm a Christian, but I have been a poor example". They'll be watching you for a while. They say, "Yeah, sure, I forgive you". Then later on you come back and say, "Would you forgive me for something else"?
Well, now what do you want me to forgive you for? "I haven't shared with you the most important thing on Earth to me. Would you forgive me for not sharing Jesus with you"? And just give you an open door to share the Lord Jesus Christ with your loved ones. Noah had faith and that faith was there for the saving of his household. Put this verse down. There was a man filled with demons. Jesus healed him and the man wanted to follow Jesus. But notice what Jesus said in Mark chapter 5 verse 19, "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, 'Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.'"
Now here's a third thing I want you to see. I want you to see the wickedness that his faith perceived. Look at this verse again, Hebrews 11:7, "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," now watch this, "by the which he condemned the world". He was a man that lived in a wicked society. Now don't tell me that you cannot have faith today because of the societal problems that we have today. Think of the ungodly world that Noah lived in. It was a day of secular philosophy. Genesis chapter 6 verses 5 and 6 tells us that, "The imaginations or the thoughts of man's heart were evil continually".
And the word imaginations there doesn't mean daydreams. It means philosophies. There was a secular philosophy. Like is on the campuses of today's schools and in the editorial pages of today's newspapers. The days of Noah were days of secular philosophy. The days of Noah were days of scientific progress. Now don't think they were plowing with sticks. How would you like to build a boat, a ship about the proportion of an ocean liner that could withstand the most ferocious storm the world has ever known? They were building great cities in this day. Genesis chapter 4 verse 17 says, "And Cain knew his wife and she conceived and bear Enoch and he built a city". Built a city. I mean, the people had houses.
Here's a man like Donald Trump, he built a city. We live in a day of scientific progress. I'm amazed at what we're doing today. Genetic engineering. The vileness of the internet. The internet is a great tool, but it's a dangerous thing. The pornographers are now talking about virtual reality on the internet and virtual adultery. What all that means is ominous. They were days of social plagues. Notice in Genesis chapter 6 verses 11 through 13, "The Earth was filled with violence. All flesh had corrupted its way upon the Earth". Think of the social plagues today. Think of the terrorism, think of the violence, think of the kidnappings, think of the skyjacking, think of the needless murders that stalk the streets and yet Noah was a man of faith. He believed God in all of that. Think of the violence today against the unborn.
Let me tell you something that ought to break your heart. Peter Singer has been installed as the first full-time professor of Bioethics at the University Center of Human Values of Princeton University. May I tell you that Princeton University was founded for the preaching of the Gospel of the Jesus Christ! Now here is Peter Singer. Let me tell you what Peter Singer, now this professor of Bioethics, said. "Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person". Not the same. To kill an afflicted baby is not the same as killing a person. He goes on to say, "The life of such a newborn baby is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee".
He says, and he's the world best known advocate of infanticide. He thinks that parents should be allowed twenty-eight days after the birth of a severely disabled baby to decide whether to kill it or not. He's the founder of the animal rights movement. Here's a new word for you, speciesism. Like racism, if you think that a human being is a superior to a dog or cat or an antelope or a chimpanzee, you're a speciesist. Well, you say, "That's some loony tune". Friend, that is a professor at Princeton. Days of social plagues. Days of sexual perversion. Genesis 6 verse 5, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the Earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually". Jesus linked the days of Noah with the days of Lot.
Luke 17 verses 26 through 30, "And as it was," these are the words of Jesus now, "And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot. They did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded, but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed". Jesus said, "When I come again the days of Noah and the days of Lot are going to be replicated".
For further information consult any newspaper or listen to any news cast. Are you listening? Do you know what Noah faced? Do you see the wickedness that Noah perceived and yet in all of this Noah lived and he preached? Now, people didn't listen to him; but he preached. You don't measure preaching success by numbers. Barnum Bailey got a crowd. I'm grateful for the people that are here today, but sometimes Jesus preached crowds away. And I want to remind every preacher, it's not your job to fill the auditorium. It's your job to fill the pulpit. Preach the Word of God. Noah preached and had somebody said, they would have said, "Well, Noah must not have been much of a preacher. Just had a handful of converts". But he preached the Word of God.
Can you imagine what the newspapers would have said about Noah? Can you imagine what the pundits and the others; this man building this ship. I will guarantee you if Noah had lived in our day they would have called him bigoted because he was said there was only one way to be saved from the flood. Number two, they would have called him fanatic because he believed in the flood. Can you imagine the political cartoons? They would have called Noah a calamity howler. I wonder sometimes what the measurement of preaching is.
I was preaching a revival crusade in a south Louisiana town, county seat town. It was pathetic. I preached my heart out. I fasted. I prayed. I wept. I searched my heart. I searched my Scriptures. I did everything I knew to do, but nothing was happening; like pouring water on a rock. And I, finally giving the invitation one night and holding up my hands and begging people to come to Christ; nothing happened. I said, "Pastor, you take the invitation. I just need to sit over here. You just go ahead". And I just took my Bible. During the invitation I went and sat down. I opened it. I said, "God I've got to have a word. God I don't know what's wrong. I've got to have a word God".
And I opened my Bible and just put my finger on a verse, randomly, but I believe led of the Spirit. And I got a rhema from the Logos. And God said in Ezekiel chapter 3 and verse 7, "The house of Israel will not hearken unto thee for they will not hearken unto Me". And I thought, "Oh God, thank You for showing me this". He said, "The house of Israel will not hearken unto thee for they'll not hearken unto Me". And God showed me in an instant, "Adrian, they haven't rejected you. They rejected Me. You're My servant. The only reason they won't hear you is they won't hear Me". I said, "Lord, that's such a good verse, give me another one".
And again, I put my finger down by random and I tell you I almost came unglued when I read what it was. It was Ezekiel 2 verse 5, "And whether they will hear or whether they will forbear, yet shall they know, there hath been a prophet among them". You think about it. God said, "Whether they hear or not. They will know there hath been a prophet among them". That's what it means when it says, "And Noah, when he preached, condemned them". One of these days they're going to have to give an account for that. Our generation also has been warned. Now here's the final thing I want you to see. I want you to see w.
Look at it again, Hebrews 11:7, "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 the heir of righteousness, of the righteousness which is by faith". What was his legacy? What was the wealth that his faith received? It was righteousness. He was made righteous in the sight of the Lord by faith. Remember Hebrews chapter 10 verse 38, "The just shall live by faith". We receive spiritual life when we receive Christ. How was Noah saved? Not by works, but by grace. Genesis chapter 6 and verse 8, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord". That's the first time grace is used in the Bible.
Think of all of the heartache and the pain and the difficulty Noah went through. Think of what it cost Noah to build that ark. I don't know where he got his resources. But I have an idea that he put everything into the ark. Maybe when Noah put that last nail in the ark that it was all he had. And he went into the ark a pauper. When he came out, he owned the Earth. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:5? "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth". When Noah went into the ark, he went in a minority. When he came out, he was the majority. Friend, we're on the winning side. But you have to see this by faith.
You see, the ark is also an illustration of salvation. It's a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. A gigantic object lesson Peter tells us in the New Testament. The ark is finished. Storm clouds begin to roil. The Earth trembles. Great fishers open, water belches out. Rain comes down. But just before that, God says, "Noah," Genesis 7:1, "Noah, come thou into the ark". God didn't say, "Noah, go into the ark". He said, "Come into the ark". That means God was in there. I say to you, "Go into the foyer". It means I'm in here, you go there. But if I say to the people in the foyer, "Come into the auditorium". That means come in here where we are. God said, "Noah come into the ark". And then the Bible says in Genesis 7:16, that God shut the door. There was a window on top, a door on the side. Noah was in charge of the window; God in charge of the door.
You see, I daily can look into the face of God, but I have been shut in to the Lord Jesus Christ. The ark was sealed on the inside and outside with a gooey substance called pitch. It's the same word translated atonement in the Old Testament. God put atonement on the outside and God put atonement on the inside. And not one drop of water could come through. Noah, come into the ark. It's a picture, dear friend, of what will happen when you come into Jesus. When you come into Jesus, God shuts the door. You're sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Not one drop of judgment can come to the child of God who is saved in Jesus. We have a wonderful salvation. We have a wonderful Savior.
Would you bow your heads in prayer? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. May I ask you a question? Are you in the ark? I didn't say, "Do you believe the ark". Are you in the ark? Are you safe in Christ? Do you know, absolutely know that you're saved. If you should die this moment you'd go straight to Heaven. May I guide you in this decision and help you to receive Christ? The door is open and God is saying to you, "Come, come thou into the ark". Would you pray this prayer?
Dear God, I need to be saved and I want to be saved. Jesus, You shed Your blood on the cross to pay for my sin. I believe it. I receive it. Come into my life. Take control of my life and begin now to make me the person You want me to be. And I will live for You Lord Jesus. Not in order to be saved, that's a gift. I will live for You because I am saved. Because You have saved me by Your grace. Begin now to make me the person You want me to be. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.