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Jack Graham - Unsinkable

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    Jack Graham - Unsinkable
TOPICS: Epic Adventures, Noah

Ninety five million people watched History channel's presentation mini series produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey called The Bible, and I enjoyed the series and watched it, and thought it was very well done. It brought to life these incredible stories. I like the movie but I love the Book! I like the Book better, okay. And so what we're going to do this summer is to bring the Book alive with these great stories of faith. Again, people want to know, what does the Bible says? What does the Bible teach? What is the Bible all about? There was a recent survey done in fact, people were asked who did not go to church, they were unchurched or dechurched, out of church, and they were asked: If you were to go to church, why would you do that? What would your interest be?

And the answer overwhelmingly, nearly 90 percent was to find out more about the Bible. People want to know what is Bible teaching us? What is the Bible telling us? And God uses in the Scripture stories, great stories, real life, real time stories to tell us who God is and how we can know and believe and love and follow Him. These are not tales or legend, fiction, folklore; these are real people, real stories and these stories are true because the Bible is trustworthy. God preserved, God protected, God produced these stories perfectly and gave us these adventures of faith so that we could grow in our own faith. But of all these stories in the Bible, remember that there's really one story. And it's the story of salvation. The Bible is a book about redemption, about how God reveals Himself, showing us His love and His grace and His mercy, so that we can know Him, be forgiven of our sins, be rescued from judgment and have eternal life.

So all the stories are subplots, they're subsets to The Story and The Story is the story of Jesus. Jesus is the Hero of the Bible. And so with that in mind take your Bibles and turn to Genesis chapter 6. and verses 5 and following: "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". You might write in the column of your Bible there "total depravity". The minds of men and women was only evil continually. Pornographic minds, wicked hearts. That is the depth, there was excessive violence on the earth and extreme vileness all around. Verse 6: "And the Lord was sorry 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'", Period.

But thank God for verse, "But Noah found favor". Just put beside that word favor "grace", because verse 8 in chapter 6 of Genesis is the first time grace in introduced in the Bible. "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord". He was found by God, this man Noah and discovered grace, experienced grace in the midst of all this terrible depravity and darkness that was all around him, and he became an unsinkable, unshakeable hero of the faith! So how did it happen? Well, we need to talk about the outset, this terrible wickedness of humanity, and this is how it applies to you and me, Noah is a picture of a Last Days believer. Although he was an early believer, he's also a Last Days Believer and here's why.

In Matthew chapter 24, just hold your place there in Genesis and go all the over to the New Testament in Matthew chapter 24. The disciples said to Jesus, "How will we know when you're coming again? Give us a sign of your coming again". And Jesus began teaching them, commenting on Matthew 24, verse 37: "For as were the days of Noah". What were the days of Noah like? Extreme vileness, excessive violence, darkness, depravity, men's minds on evil continually. That's what it was like in the days of Noah. "So will it be in the coming of the Son of Man". Men began to act like animals. We didn't come from the animals, but the more we turn from God, the more we act like animals, and that is what is happening in Genesis. That's what's happening now! We're in these final days! We're in these Last Days! For in the Last Days before the flood what were they doing? They were eating and drinking, partying, marrying, giving in marriage.

In other words it was a time of indulgence. This is not talking about normal marriage and eating and drinking. That's normal, but everything was excessive. Everything was out of control. Serial marriages and immorality until the day that Noah entered the ark and they were unaware. There was indifference and there was ignorance regarding the flood that soon came and swept them all away. And just as there was indulgence and immorality and indifference and ignorance in the day of Moses Jesus said, "In the Last Days it's going to be like that again". So Noah is a portrait of a Last Day believer. A graced man living in a godless world.

Now there's a very mysterious portion of this story that we shouldn't just pass over, seen at the top of chapter 6 regarding the sons of God that married the daughters of men. Let's just look at it because it will make the point that we're making. When man began to multiply on the face, this is verse one of Genesis 6: "When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. And then the Lord said, 'My Spirit shall not abide in man forever'", or the King James says 'my Spirit will not wrestle with man forever', "for he is flesh: and his days shall be 120 years".

Notice the decline of the lifespan as sin now is setting in and the decay of sin is even affecting human lifespan. "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. And these were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown". Giants in the land! Well, what is this? Is this some bazaar strange story? There's a lot of interesting, intriguing explanations as to who this is, these sons of God who are intermarrying with the daughters of men. One idea is that these are demon spirits who intermarry or marry the daughters of men, or demonized men who marry the daughters of men. It's all rather creepy to me, that explanation. It's like kind of a horror story. And to me that's just absolutely bazaar.

One reason I believe that's bazaar is because Jesus said angels don't marry, nor are they given in marriage. And demons are fallen angel spirits. So, you know, I think it preposterous to suggest anything but the bare facts of what is here, and it's really, you should interpret Scripture with the clear facts in front of you. These were the sons of God which should be the godly line, men living godly lives who are marrying the daughters of the ungodly line. And so if I could put it bluntly to you, these godly men who were supposed to be godly who were in the godly line of Noah, of Adam and his family, the progenitors to Noah and his family, while they should be living godly lives and following God, they're now chasing women who are ungodly women. Men who were supposed to be godly men are chasing girls gone wild. That's what this is talking about! And they were intermarrying, outside the will of God and the purposes of God and it was just another expression of the depth of man's sin just spiraling downward. Evil thoughts, evil imagination! "The contents of their hearts on evil continually".

Notice that sin always comes from the heart. It's an inside job. Comes from within. And the Bible says, Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it". And because of the sin of these wicked people, God's heart was what? Grieved by sin. God takes no pleasure in bringing judgment. God takes no pleasure, in fact, that's given to us directly in Ezekiel 33 and verse 11. God says, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked". The New Testament says, 2 Peter 3:9, "God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance". So God is patient and mankind had a long time to get this right, but over and over they fell into sin, and finally God's patience was done, and He said, "I'm done... I'm finished". Genesis 6:3, "My Spirit will not always strive and struggle with men". And God who is holy and perfectly righteous must judge sin. You say, "Why would God judge sin"? Because God is pure and God is a God of justice. God hates sin; He loves the sinner.

You say, "How's that possible"? God can do that. So because God hates sin, it violates His glory and rejects His grace. God made a decision to destroy His creation. And that's verse 7. It's a dangerous thing to say no and no and no and no and no to God. Because finally God's patience is finished. So because of the wickedness of man judgment is coming. So much for the Vacation Bible School of Noah and the little fluffy furry animals and the unicorns and the rainbows. It's a tough story about terrible times. But we see something great, thank God. Noah, verse 8 again, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord". Against the terrible dark backdrop of man's sin and the destruction that was on the way, this one man experienced God's amazing grace! Why did God give grace to Noah?

Now listen up. Why did God give grace to Noah? Not because he was better than others, not because he was good, he was just like the rest of men. How do we know that? Romans 3:23, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God". The sinful consequences and judgment of sin was flowing through Noah's veins as well. Noah was just another guy who's about to live and die in his sin. But God chose to show him grace. Undeserved, unmerited, favor-that's what grace is. Salvation is this: Man has sinned, but God is gracious. Man has sinned, but God is gracious. God wasn't looking down and saying, "Okay, let me find just one good guy that I can get to go on". No, God chose Noah out of His own love and affection. And this same God, grace means God chooses to love you. God chooses to forgive you, God chooses to save you. And He says, "I will change you and I will cleanse you and I will renew your life and restore your soul. I will offer you My hand. And if you'll put your hand in My hand we can walk together". That's grace.

So God chose Noah and his wife and family. He said build a boat, get your wife and your three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth on board. You know what Noah's wife is named? Joan of Arc is her name. Sorry, it's just a bad joke. We don't know what her name is. Get your wife, get your three boys. And so by faith Noah began to build this boat because God commanded it. Because now he's working see. First, he's receiving God's grace and believing and trusting in God. God saves him and said now here's, "Now I'm going to save you. I want you to build a boat. It's going to be a big boat". Now this must have taken a tremendous amount of faith because to this point many Bible scholars believe and even scientists look at the early stages of the earth and there may have been a kind of canopy, a greenhouse affect over the original creation of God, and it's possible, some say probable that it had never rained up to this point.

Well we don't know, but it a fact that he's building this boat in the desert in the Middle East. And so people are walking by and saying, "Hey, Noah, what are you doing"? "Building a boat". "What's a boat"? "Well, rain's coming". "What's rain"? "I don't know, but it's going to be bad". Because God said the rain is going to destroy everything. "There's going to be a flood and everybody's going to die except the people who get in this boat, get in the boat, get in this boat". And Peter, the Apostle would later say that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He was a boat building but he was a lay-preacher as well. I have a great affection for lay preachers and preachers, these are men often who have a full time job doing something but they preach at churches on weekend.

And so Noah was like that; he was preaching. And all the time he was preaching they were laughing at him, mocking, some hating him and some cursing him generation after generation because this went on for 120 years. Bang, bang, bang... build that boat, on the weekend preaching, saying, "Repent, come to the Lord. Come back to God. Flood's coming, judgment's coming". And can you imagine Mrs. Noah at the grocery store? She's got her basket ready to go through and some other ladies in the line, and they're going, "Over there, that's that crazy Noah's wife. Joan of Arc"! And nobody wanted to play with Noah's kids. You see, he paid a price. And, oh yes, he preached for 120 years without a convert, except his own family. This is not a movement at this point, alright! This is just Noah and his family! But he was faithful.

So it's a good thing to just stop right here, press pause for a moment and say, God has called you to do something. It may be large, it may be small, it may be people mock you for it and your faith and your witness. And you've been witnessing to someone for maybe years and they're not paying any attention. To the contrary, maybe that family member thinks you're a freak, a fool, a fanatic. Just stay faithful to God like Noah. I mean, some of the preachers that have churches that don't grow, missionaries out there who are preaching the word of God and it doesn't seem like anything happens and they're discouraged. If you're a missionary watching online, you're out there being faithful to God, you just keep trusting God. You keep ringing that hammer, you keep being a preacher of righteousness and share Jesus. And let God figure out the results.

That's what Noah did. No wonder he's now considered a hero of the faith. And in Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 7 we're told... That's God's hall of fame, we're told in Hebrews 11 and verse 7 that "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. (You see his own life was a condemnation, a rebuke to the sinful world around him.) By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes through faith". There's one final thing you have to hear about this story. It's about the boat, because the boat is more than a boat.

Now we're told in verse 14 about the size and the substance of the boat. It was a big boat: 300 cubits long (That's 450 feet approximately, depending on how you measure a cubit); 50 cubits wide (or 75 feet), 30 cubits high (That's 45 feet). So it was more like an ocean liner. It was really a box. God said put a roof on it. That's a good thing, cause it's about to rain. Put a roof on it, put a side door, so people can go in the side door. So it was a massive, some estimate that it weighed as much as 13000 tons. It really looked like a giant coffin. It was made with gopher wood, which is a very strong and sturdy wood, but we're told that it was pitched on the inside and out. Verse 14: "Make yourself an ark of gopher wood, and make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch". Circle that word "pitch" there. Kaphar in the Hebrew language. K-A-P-H-A-R. It's translated the rest of the time in the Old Testament as "atonement".

So you could read this, it was atoned on the outside and the inside. Atonement is God's blood redemption for our salvation. And so the ark, you see, is a picture of our salvation, our security that is in Christ alone! A lot of people get all fixated on the ark, and there's interest, you know, you've seen configurations of the boat and models of the boat and the ark, and designs, and would it hold this many animals, and so forth. And, of course, you know, there's the question of how many animals would it hold. Well, remember, not every animal went into the ark. It was the parent species. I mean there weren't like 97 different kinds of dogs that went into the ark.

You know, "Oh, let's bring the Labradoodles in, let's make sure they get in". No, there was, you know, there was dogs and there was cats. And so, you know, some estimation, People like Kenneth Hamm suggests that there were around 17000 animals in the ark. Plenty of room in the ark. But the point is, let's don't get all focused on the boat, let's focus on what the boat means. And what the ark means is that Christ is our ark of safety. In fact, Peter tells us that Jesus is the ark of salvation. And when we are in Christ, it's like being in the ark. And Noah was safe in that ark. And you know why? Verse 18. Look at verse 18. God said: "I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark", see that? Come into the ark.

And there's on way into the safety and security of our God, and that is through the door of eternal life, Jesus Christ who is the way and the truth and the life. One door, one way. And so Noah is still saying, "Come with God. Come into the ark. You need to be saved. It's beginning to rain! People, look around you! It's beginning to rain"! Judgment is on the way! Don't laugh about judgment. Don't laugh about hell! Don't try to convince yourself that this doesn't exist. That's what happened to the generation of Noah! They mocked, they laughed. They didn't know until the storm came and took them all away, and they were gone forever. God loves you and wants to grace you and rescue you if you'll just walk up the gang plank of faith, through the door of Jesus unto salvation and security and safety in Christ forever. That is the most epic adventure of all!
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