Leon Fontaine - Build An Ark
Today, I want to entitle this message, "Build An Ark". Build An Ark. You know, when you go to the Word of God, there's some very interesting verses here in the new covenant about Noah. And the first one in 1 Peter 3:20 says that many people refused to obey God long ago in the time of Noah, when God was waiting patiently while Noah was building the boat. Only a few people, eight in all were saved by water. And that water is like baptism that now saves you, not the washing of dirt from the body, but the promise made to God from a good clear conscience. And this is because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead or through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now, Jesus has gone into heaven and is at God's right side, the place of honour ruling over angels, authorities, powers. This is exciting. Noah built an ark to the saving of his family.
Now, you and I need to build an ark. There was a movie we watched as a family few years ago about this guy that was supposed to build an ark. And it was just a really funny comedy in a modern day Noah. But there's a very strong and clear teaching when you go into the new covenant. Both there and it was in Hebrews 11:7 where it says it was by faith that Noah heard God's warnings about things he could not yet see. He obeyed God and built a large boat, an ark to save his family. By his faith, Noah showed that the world was wrong. And he became one of those who are made right with God. An heir of righteousness that was to come through faith. Did you know that so many believers and followers of Christ think the world is right. They think whatever the world thinks is right. Whatever the world thinks about Christianity is right. Whatever the world thinks about miracles and Jesus and being born again. They're totally influenced by that and have this lukewarm look at serving God.
That's not going to work for your future. Your future is going to have storms. Your future is going to have times of unrest in different areas. And so you're going to see unrest politically. It happens all the time. You're going to see unrest financially. Yes, you'll see unrest in areas like, what's going on in our universities? What are our, what are our professors' teaching our young adult? What's going on in our schools? You know, what is the government trying to get into our schools? There's always going to be something that is pushing against your family, your marriage. The Bible says it. Jesus says repeatedly don't be worried if the world hates you. Now, that's not talking about everybody. That's talking about, you know, just a group of people who are just sold out to their self-centeredness, selfishness. Which is really evil because the enemy can get a hold of people and leaders like that.
So what is the ark we're supposed to build? You know, every time there's a problem. Do I grab my family and moved countries? Do I, what's the ark? I need a big reserve of money. Now, moving is not an issue. There are lots of people in countries around the world who just sense to get out of the country. And I think it was a God thing. But often it's not. It's just running from a problem that you could stay and solve. What's the ark? What is the ark? Noah built an ark. And the Bible says that God waited patiently. Did you know that according to the new covenant, you and I are to follow Jesus. Now, the Old Testament and the old covenant had been done away with and Jesus fulfilled it. When something new comes along, it does away with the old. And so the old covenant leaders and the old covenant things and the old... when you read the Old Testament, that's to show you the stuff that isn't no longer operating in your life. That old covenant. But people who knew their covenant with God did great exploits. They did amazing things.
Look at people like David and Joshua and Moses and Esther and Ruth. And so that's some of it. But in the New Testament, we have a new covenant. I'm not going to be around, ah, longer than my kids. You know, a lot of people with fear have some kind of end time doctrine. That we're all going to go out together. Great! That happens. I'm on the boat with my kids and we'll all go to be with Jesus. But in normal life, we don't want to outlive our kids. We want to be able to build something that they can use to live strong, solid, powerful lives. And the only thing you've got Christian is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the truth of God's Word. If you do not make it your passion to let them know who Jesus is. They need to know Jesus. They need to know God. They need to know the Scriptures. They need to know who they are. If you do not make that one of your life's goals every moment, every day. Then when you go especially by the end of your life.
I have met with so many parents, who at the end of their lives they look at their kids and their grandkids and they have all these regrets. I meet with parents once the kids they become teenagers and they're no longer, you can tell them what to do anymore. And it's a whole different thing as they rise up and grow up and become responsible for their own lives. And so many people look back with regrets. I hear it all the time. And so I want to speak right now to everybody listening. You need to know who you are in Christ and you need to get to know Jesus. Knowing Jesus and knowing God is far more powerful than building some kind of wooden ark, or having a great big bank account, or being in the only safe country. You thinking your mind is the one to go to. This building of an ark is talking about the doctrines and the Word of God coming together and you and I following Jesus. And then it becomes really important.
The church is crucial. I love the church. I'm not talking about religion. I want to know God. I want to know Jesus. When we come together, we don't want to control people, manipulate people. We don't want to make people feel guilty. We don't want to try to change people. We love to teach them the Word. So that Holy Spirit can change them as they grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Now, one of the things I want to mention today that is just so absent from Christian families is understanding righteousness. That strong, amazing, incredible faith isn't because you know and have memorized all the promises. And that you confess them more than somebody else.
Now, I love confessing the promises and I probably do it more than most. But I'm not doing this to earn these promises. And righteousness is a crucial word because we are righteous because of Jesus. And this is something that we all need to teach our children. In fact, most of us as an adult, we need to continue to confess who we are in Christ. I know that many of you who have kind of touched on confession. You know, you're confessing health and healing. You're confessing prosperity. And those are great things to do. But where the enemy shuts us down is when we do not understand that we are righteous.
Now, righteousness is not something that grows. I'm getting better and better and better and better and better. And more righteous and more righteous and more righteous. And so my faith is getting stronger. No. Righteousness is an impartation. You literally were declared righteous by God when He saw that Jesus had taken your sin and paid for the curse, paid for your suffering, and it was enough. He rose from the dead for your justification. Another words removing all your past sins, removing all your sins in your entire life future and past. Because when He did it, all of your sins were in the future. Jesus died once. And so because of that, it teaches us that there is no longer any condemnation. So many people are working on their faith, working on their faith, working on their faith. And I'm beginning to see many other cases that they're working on their emotional confidence.
The only way to grow and to walk in amazing confidence and faith and in the miraculous power of God is to understand your righteousness. When you gave your life to Jesus Christ, your spirit man went, "Wham"! And you are righteous before God. You can't get more righteous, okay? You are. Jesus is in you. You've got a new nature. The nature of God is in you. And God, Himself is your righteousness. So when God is in you, you are righteous. Now, you can grow in the knowledge of that righteousness. You could grow in acting out like that righteous person. But as far as who you are, your nature. You are righteous. This is the most amazing, incredible, stunning gift that when you get born again. And I'm just tired of watching maybe second generation Christians. Especially who are raised in the peace and the blessing to a certain extent of the first generation that found God, and they just take it for granted. They don't really understand righteousness.
And so I really want to challenge you today. That you begin to have an awakening as to what righteousness is, and that it means what Jesus did on the cross. Okay, what He did on the cross is to take all of your sin past, future. And He paid for it and He did not rise again. I just want to go through about a hundred Scriptures. But I've only got a few minutes. That Jesus rose again from the dead, when God saw that He had paid for it all. He had, He had literally rose again because now we were justified. We were made righteous. I like different plays on words to help people remember. Righteousness, it means right standing with God. Justified means just as if I'd never sin. Did you know that there is no past for you when you become born again? If you bring it up with God, all He's going to look at you and say is I can do anything and I have removed your past, forgotten your past. You're a new creation. You are righteous. You are my son. Until we begin to immerse ourselves in this beautiful, wonderful, amazing teaching.
You know, in Ephesians 4:23, it says, "Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind, having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude". And then, it says, put on the new nature. The regenerate self, created in God's image in true righteousness and holiness. All right. Where is this new nature? It's in you. And it's in your spirit where you are. This is the real you. When this earth suit dies and all you young, young, young people might attend my funeral. Don't be worried about me because I'll be in heaven. And we've got to understand that this body is not me. That me, I'm inside here. It's like a glove that fits over a hand. When you take the glove off, that hand is still there. When you take this body off of me, there's not a change in me whatsoever. And there's never a loss of consciousness as far as I go. If my body goes unconscious, or when I breathe my last, I simply moved through this curtain in a second. And I am in heaven, smelling and laughing and talking and enjoying heaven smells, the friends. The people who've gone before me. All, it's nothing to be worried about.
So here it says that we need to constantly renew our minds. Why? Because you will tend to go to the limitations of your physical body. But there is such a powerful force of energy in your spirit. Joy is in your spirit. Peace is in your spirit. The healing power of God for anything you need is in your spirit. The power of God to settle you and to protect you through any storm, to restore anything the enemy takes from you, etcetera, is already within you. And so when we understand that, you know, the Bible says that we enter, you know, that we are to boldly come into the presence of God. Let me give you a beautiful look at what's being said here. To boldly come into the presence of God makes it sound as though we're never in the presence of God until we're praying, or we're never in the presence of God until we have some kind of amazing moment where we come into His presence. No. What it's saying here is that as born again believers, that the presence of God, the nature of God is within you. You need in your mind, in your body, renew it. And recognize everywhere you go, you are in the presence of God. Everywhere you go, you are literally in the throne room. Meaning, there's not a place you have to go find.
So many, the guys who've preached years ago when I was young. They would make certain terms that that really warped my teaching. Like getting into the presence of God. And so I always thought there was some crazy place that God would come down and visit you like the Old Testament. And ah, like a prayer closet. It wasn't a crazy place. But a prayer closet, or out in nature. These guys would talk about meeting with God. And now, I believed we were always in His presence. But these terms created a works mentality. One guy told me that if I want to see signs and wonders in my life, I would need to literally spend four, five hours a day in a dark closet, with no sounds. No, nothing could touch my five senses. And that there, I would learn to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. I would learn to hear God's voice.
Well, you know what, I don't know how good that guy's marriage, or if he's even married anymore, or if his kids even like him anymore. Because I don't know too many dads, fathers, people in careers who can grab five hours and lock himself in a closet, hoping God will show up, hoping God will speak to them, hoping that they'll be some kind of an amazing move of God in the darkness between me and God. See, I don't see it that way. Now, I do have times with God. I love getting up in the dark of the nights, or early in the morning. It happens a lot in my life and just finding the quiet time to focus on God, and to commune with Him, and to enjoy Him. Just like Jesus took Himself aside, in the mornings, in the evenings, and just spent time with the Father fellowshipping with Him. And so no, I love that. But I expect everywhere I go, the mercy of God, the presence of God, the power of God. And as you begin to recognize that this righteousness never leaves you. That everywhere you go, you are in right standing with God as your very nature. The nature of God is inside of you. And then it says in verse 24 of Ephesians 4, put on the new nature. Okay?
Now, this new nature you've already got. It's in your spirit now. If you want to put that new nature on, it just means renew your mind and recognize the power you've got. That sin no longer has dominion over you. You now walk in love. And so as you begin to see this and get to know God, get to know Jesus through prayer and His Word, and you begin to find out who you are. This faith that we are to walk in. It just explodes. It does something on the inside of you and I. Rather than just to focus on faith itself, I'm challenging you to focus on the finished work of Jesus. And the fact that you are righteous when you gave your life to Him. And something took place deep on the inside of you. And in your spirit, you have the nature of God.
Now, the nature of the enemy, which is the nature of fear, the nature of selfishness, the nature... You know, everything negative comes from him. But instead, did you know that joy is there. You don't have to try to find joy. Joy is a state. And that even through grieving, even in going through hard times. That this state never leaves you. That you can't get below this line of deep, deep, deep despair that the world knows because this hope that we have, this understanding, this nature of God that is in us. It just knows we're going to win. It just knows I never really lose. There is just something. And when you begin to understand this, you're not going to go hunting for joy. You're not going to try to manufacture joy. But as you stay in God's Word, and you are constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind. Then it says put on this new nature. Where? In your mind, your body.
Romans 12 talks about that, and that you are created in God's image. Oh, man. The church just needs to wake up to this one fact of righteousness. And everywhere you see the word righteousness in the Pauline epistles. It is a done deal. It's interesting. As you, I don't want to spend a lot of time on this. But when you read the Bible, and you see what the disciples knew. They didn't know much for a while. Jesus asked all twelve, "Who do men say that I am? And, you know, well, you know some say this. Well, who do you say that I am"? And only one out of the twelve, Peter even knew who Jesus was. We think every disciple was like God. They knew everything. No, they did not. In fact, if you read Paul's letters in chronological order in the book of Acts and you add that in there. And you see that as Jesus is showing Paul this revelation of what took place when He died.
You see, the historical Jesus is written about in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And this is by people who saw Him in a physical body and watched His miracles, what He said with a physical voice, what He did with His own hands, His own feet. He walked on water. He raised the dead. But when He died, the Old Testament is filled with these literally hidden gems that have been locked away that we begin to see. And out of all these chapters and all these major prophets, minor prophets, through the books of the Bible. We begin to see this literally prophetic words about Jesus and Him coming and what is going to happen when Jesus is here. So the apostle Paul, I mean, he literally got, Jesus began to speak to him and revealed to him all this Old Testament teaching and pull it all together and show him the new covenant.
And one of the things that astounded those Jewish men was you no longer had to do something to be righteous. And that the old covenant, like guys like Abraham. It was kind of put into his account because he believed God with sense knowledge faith. Even the disciples in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John had a sense knowledge faith. They wanted to see something. The Jews said, "Well, show us a sign, show us a miracle". And much Thomas was just the way most of them operated when he said, "I don't believe till I touch the holes in His hand. I don't believe till I put my hand on His side and see that where the spear took the life from Him. When I see that, I'll believe". And Jesus said something here that is literally talking about this new covenant. He said, "You know, great. Blessed are you for believing it". But he said, "Blessed are those who don't see but believe". He's talking about something powerful.
I want to challenge you today. If you're going to build an ark with your family, listen man, stand up and be a man. Believe in something. Everyone's got believing in something. They believe in their own ability, their money. They believe in their government. They believe everything's got, whatever it is people believe in. I believe in God's Word. I believe that it's true from beginning to end. That the Holy Spirit anointed forty men of God over 1600 years and wrote something so stunning. Nobody could weave this together like it's done here. Stand up and believe and get involved in church because Jesus, He said, "Follow me". Okay, so each of us individually. He's got a career, a life that is so dynamic and amazing. And then He also said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell will not stop it".
You can't, you can't just be the church. Well, I'm a part of the universal church wherever I go. Good for you. You are. Enjoy that. But you are to build His church with Him. If we're going to be with Jesus, He is building His church. How did the twelve apostles do it? By starting local churches. I'm challenging you, give, volunteer, bring people out to church. Because this church is going to be what helps them to build an ark for the saving of their family, a Godly culture for their home, a Godly culture for their marriage. Something that their kids grow up and go, "I love Jesus. I love His church". And not religion. There's a big difference there. But I want to follow Him because that's where the best possible life according to Jesus in John 10 is.
Let's build an ark. Let's do what? Let's raise our families in the church of Jesus Christ with the knowledge of His Word. The washing of water by the Word. Let's make sure that they know who they are in Christ. That their identity is secure in that. Because if you don't, you're going to have a lot of regrets one day. Get up and serve Jesus as a man. Get up and serve Jesus as a mama, grandpa. It's never too late. And as we as adults, get up and raise up a great church full of amazing teaching and volunteering. And all of us doing our part in reaching out into the highways and byways. And who are you inviting to church? Come on! Bring them out. Something miraculous will take place as God's Word is heard. That's when faith rises.
You'll say, "Well, they'll never believe". Of course, they won't. They need to hear the preaching of the Word. That gives them faith to get saved. Bring him up to church. Share your testimony everywhere you go. Speak up. If you don't know the Jesus I'm talking about, I want to challenge you to do something. So Leon, how do I know this Jesus? It starts by accepting His gift. This gift. He took your sin already. He took all of your punishment already. All of your inferiority complex, your guilt, your judgment. The stuff that harasses your head. Jesus took it, paid for it. And all you have to do is say, Jesus, I accept the gift. Just say, Jesus, I accept You. Come into my heart. I want to be in God's family. I want to follow You. I accept. I accept.
Now, that choice allows Him to come in. And I'm telling you, you need to continue to find out who you are. What is this gift all about? And live a lot, not a religious life. We all know religious people. None of us want to be like them. We want to be like Jesus. So full of power, love, friendship. And that's why we are Christians. Let us know you made that decision. Keep watching. Make sure that you get out and become a part of getting together with other people growing in this way as well.