Matt Hagee - Build an Ark for Your Family
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Church, today I am so thankful that while Noah had to build his ark, Jesus Christ is the ark of my salvation. Genesis 7:1, God said to Noah: he said, "Come into the ark, you and your entire household". Now if you want to know whether or not Noah was willing to do what God says, the fact that he got on the boat demonstrates that he was a man of faith. I mean, Noah, how are you going to steer? "I don't know: there's no rudder". "Where are you going to go"? "I don't know: we've never been on a cruise before". If you don't think Noah was a man of faith, think about his wife. How many of you have ever gotten in a fight while you're driving somewhere with your spouse, and there is a voice giving you directions, and you're arguing about the directions that you're supposed to not be following? Kendal can put a destination in on the map, and I'm like, "That's not how you get there".
Here, Noah's wife gets on a boat with her husband, who has never sailed a boat, and doesn't have a wheel to turn a boat, doesn't have a rudder to steer a boat, and there's only one door. She's ooh woman of faith. Noah's sons got on the boat with them, because they believed like dad believed. It saved his whole household. And fathers and mothers, if there's anything that I want to encourage you to do today, it is make sure that you are doing all within your power to reach your household for Jesus Christ, because, "As it was in the days of Noah". People say, "Well Noah had it easy. I mean he was raising his kids when everything was different". No, not really. Jesus said, "As it was in the days of Noah".
The same temptations, the same pressures, the same things that Noah faced in his generation are the same things that we're facing in ours. Men's heart's in Noah's generation were turned toward wickedness continually. And God said, I'm not going to stride with them forever. How do we compare to Noah's generation? Consider what God sees when he looks down on this earth today. He looks at a generation that has a form of Godliness but denies the power thereof. He looks at a generation that knows what the Bible says. We just don't want to behave like we believe it. He looks at a generation that puts a premium on comfort and runs from the inconvenience of commitment. He looks at a generation that is serving none but ourselves rather than seeking God. We've exchanged the truth for a lie. It's the generation that Paul described in 2 Timothy 3 when he said, "Know this: in the last days, perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, blasphemists, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving".
And that's just the top ten. When he gets done with the list, he says, "From such people, turn away". Just as God saw Noah's generation, he sees our generation. But we still have to win our household. You might not win the world, but make sure you win your son and your daughter. You might not fill a stadium and preach to thousands, but make sure those that you eat dinner with every night know what you believe, because Noah saved his household. When it comes to family, you need to know there's only one thing that makes the difference, and that's faith. A lot of people want to compare one household to the other, and they look at the wrong things. They look across the street, and they say, "Well those people have money". Money doesn't make the difference. They look at a family, and they say, "Well they value education: they've all got degrees".
Let me tell you something: education does not guarantee intelligence. The one thing that makes a difference in family is faith. Faith makes the difference. If you value finances, you may hold your family together with the golden handcuffs of privilege. But sooner or later, your finances will fail. If you value education, sooner or later, you're going to come to a question that no form of education can answer, and education will fail. If you value your culture, you're going to draw lines that give you a reason to stay with someone and leave another, and culture will fail. But whenever you value faith, you're among the wealthiest people on the face of the earth. When it comes to family, faith makes the difference. Noah had faith in his life before he had anything else.
The Bible says that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Why? Because when an entire generation of people were living as they wanted to, were choosing to be wicked, Noah said, I still believe. When the rest of the world had thumbed their nose at God, Noah still behaved as if God was sitting on the throne. He said, I believe what my grandfather, Methuselah, told me: that God created the heavens and the earth. I believed what he shared with me about Adam, how he was formed in the dust of the ground, and how God breathed life into his nostrils. I believe that we are created and that God is still on the throne: and that we should obey him. And if we disobey him, there are consequences. Noah had faith. And because he had faith, God saw him in a wicked generation, and God gave him grace. What is it in your life that gives God the opportunity to pour his grace out upon you? It's not your works. It's not your education. It's not your resources. It's not your influence. It is your faith! "Without faith, it is impossible to please God".
I don't care what accolades you achieve. I don't care what awards you receive. I don't care who thinks you're important. If you don't have faith, God is not content with you. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord because Noah was faithful. He said, I still believe. When others mocked him for building an ark, he said, I still believe. When they scorned him because of his faithfulness to continue to pound Hammer and the nails in the planks, when they made jokes about him as he walked down the street, when they whispered about him in the corner of their public rooms, he said, I still believe. Noah believed when others did not. Will you? Where is your faith today? Jesus said, "Have faith in God". Say that with me. "Have faith in God".
Some people say, "Well that's hard to do". No, it's not. You have faith in something. Right now, whether you know it or not, you have faith in the engineers that designed this building. Because if you didn't, you wouldn't be sitting here. Everyone has a measure of faith. And whenever it comes to the one place you can put your faith and not be disappointed, the only thing that you can put your faith in that will never fail is God Almighty. Your faith in finances will fail. Your faith in natural strength will fail. Your faith in other men will allow you to recognize that sooner or later, other men will fail you. But your faith in God will never fail. So how do you respond in a generation like Noah's generation? In a generation where going to church is not the norm? Father, how do you respond when you go to work, and your coworker says, "Why do you pray"? Do you run from your faith or do you press into it?
Noah behaved like he believed. The more they mocked him, the harder he worked. The more they scorned him, the faster he built. Whenever the world, the flesh, and the devil do what they can to discourage you, don't hide in your faith: press into your faith. And let God arise and his enemies be scattered. Why? Because your children are watching you. How would your children respond if you walked into the a room, and somebody said, "Is that your wife"? And you went, "Yeah"? They would immediately interpret that as you don't value her. How do they interpret your conviction for Christ? What do they see you do for him on a regular basis that makes them believe that you actually stand up for the truth of his word?
Mother, what do you do when your neighbors want you to compromise your convictions: when they want your Sunday relationship to be a one-day-a-week thing, and your worldly relationships to be a six-day-a-week thing? "Have faith in God". The Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Noah had faith and he put work in with his faith. He'd never seen a flood. There was no evidence that the water was going to come like God said. But the substance of his faith was the fact that he built an ark. We've never seen a rapture. But Jesus said that the day is coming like a thief in the night, when the trump of God shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise, and we who are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
We don't have evidence of it: we've just got the word. And we put our substance into that practice. Why? How? When? By reading, by praying, by praising. Just as Noah built an ark, with every prayer that you pray, you're building an ark of salvation for your family. With ever time that you open up the Word of God and it becomes a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path, you're getting guidance and direction that takes you in the path that God wants to lead you in. Don't run from your faith when the world pressures you. Run into your faith because it is the ark of your salvation.
You see Noah didn't just have faith: Noah put action with his faith that made his sons recognize dad behaves like dad believes. Noah isn't celebrated in scripture because of his naval genius. They don't say, "And Noah was a great boat builder". Everywhere you look and you find Noah's name, what you find mentioned with his name is the fact that he saved his household. Genesis 7:1, it says, "You, Noah, and your entire household, come into the ark". Verse 13, just a few verses later, it says, "On that very day, Noah and Noah's sons, Noah's wife, and their three wives with them, entered the ark". Hebrews 11:7, "Noah, being divinely warned of God, prepared an ark saving his household". 2 Peter 2:5, it says, "God did not spare the ancient world, but he saved Noah, a preacher of righteousness", say that with me, "A preacher of righteousness, one of eight".
If Noah was one of eight, who were the other seven? Ham, Shem, Japheth, their wives, and Noah's wife. Where did Noah preach? What was his church? What was his sermon? What did he say? The truth is he never stood behind a pulpit. He never filled an auditorium. But each and every day, with the actions of his life, he preached a message to his children and he saved his household. Father, what message are you preaching to your children today? They're watching you much more than they're listening to me. How are you behaving that causes them to believe in the God that you serve? The greatest sermon that you'll ever preach is to those who eat dinner with you every night. Noah was a faithful man. For 500 years, his children watched him faithfully serve God. For 100 years, they walked right next to him as they built the ark. They may not have understood what they were doing. But because they trusted dad, they did what dad did.
Your children might not understand why you come to church. They might not understand why you praise. They might not understand why you give. But if they trust you, they'll do what you do. How many of you grew up in a house where eventually you asked so many questions, you just got told, "Because I said so"? And while your children are young and while their curious, and while they may not understand everything, what you show them is what they'll implement in their life. Noah set a right example. He was so consistent in it that his children never questioned what he was doing. Father, are you consistent or are you consistently changing? Are you the one who is like a beacon in a dark world shining a light, showing your children the way? Or are you constantly going your own way?
The kind of example you set for your children will determine whether or not they get on the ark of salvation. How do you know that Noah's wife was in support of it? Because his sons worked alongside of him. His sons got on the boat with him. How do you know that Noah's wife was in support of him? Because when the rest of the world was against him, for 100 years, he just kept going. You don't move forward when everyone is against you unless somebody's cheering you on. When Noah came home, hot, tired, and sweaty, his wife didn't go, "O-o-o-h, working on the boat again"? "You're late for dinner. Don't put your saw dust feet on my floor. No, no, no, no. Outside. You stink. Boys, your dad thinks there's a flood. He's crazy". If she would have been that kind of a wife, if she would have been that kind of a mother, maybe Noah's sons didn't get on the boat. Maybe they said, "No, dad, that's your crazy trip. We're just going to stay right here if you don't mind". But because mom and dad were together whenever the time came for the family to get on the ark, everybody got on board.
When you are working in faith and agreement with your spouse, your children will follow you. What kind of sermon are you preaching? How are you conducting your business, your life so that your children will know where the ark of salvation is? Do they see you stand up for Jesus or run from it? Do they recognize that when you walk into the Lord's house, it's a special place, and a special time, and a special day? Or do they hear you talk more about how you're looking forward to lunch and your nap than you are service? What do your children see? Do they see your enthusiasm for the things of the world, and they say, "Well that's where it's really at"? Or do they watch you enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise?
Do they recognize that when you come into the sanctuary where God has promised, "Where two or three of you are gathered, I'll be in your midst," when they recognize that this is the place where your burdens are lifted, and your yokes are destroyed, and your chains are broken, and your sin is forgiven, and your body is healed, and the windows of heaven are opened, and you receive provision: do your children see you magnify the Lord and exalt his name, and say to themselves, "This is where life is really worth living, this is the place where God has dwelt. This is how I want to live my life"? Child of God, don't let Sunday go by without you taking the time to show your children and your grandchildren what a mighty God we serve!
Children, do you follow the example that your parents have set? Ham, Shem, and Japheth did exactly what Noah did. They got married. If Noah and his wife didn't have a good marriage, you think those three boys would have signed up? I mean 500 years is a long time to be living with somebody. But when it came time for them, they said, "We want what they have". And they found a wife. The Bible says, "He who finds a wife, finds a good thing". Men, this is a time for you to look at your wife, and go, "You're a good thing". There are a lot of children in this generation, who have great parents. They've done everything that they possibly could. They've faithfully shown them what is right and what is wrong. They've loved them. They've provided for them. But you have to recognize something: it's your responsibility, child, to obey your parents.
You say, "Well you're not the boss of me". You're right: I'm not. Here's what God said about it: he said, "Children, obey your parents: for this is right". Now, I don't want to overcomplicate things, but when God says, "It's right," it means you should do it. And the thing that follows that verse is this simple statement: this is the first commandment with a promise. And that promise is that it will be well with you and you will have a long life. Now, again, I don't want to overcomplicate things. But if obedience to your parents ensures a long and prosperous life, how many of you find that benefit to be worth the effort? Obey your parents. Because we all have work to do, this is what the Bible says, "Faith without works is", what? "Dead". Noah heard the warning. Noah believed what God said. And then Noah did exactly what we must do. He got up and he went to work building the boat.
Some of God's kids simply hear what God says, and they do the exact opposite. They stand in their living room and they go, "Oh Jesus, thank you. You've warned us about the flood. Now just manifest the ark in my front yard". God says, "Build an ark". And you say, "Just bring it to me, Jesus". God is not a socialist. If you want it, he says work for it. His promise does not entitle you to the blessing. You have to put your effort into what you believe in. Noah was not a perfect man but Noah was a faithful man. Are you? Because when the flood comes, you're going to need an ark of salvation. When the flood comes, you're going to need the promise of his word. When the flood comes, you're going to need a way of escape. Your flood may appear when you walk into a doctor's office, and he says, "Here's your diagnosis".
That's when you can run into the refuge of healing strength that comes from God Almighty, and say that by his stripes, I'm healed. Your flood may come when you walk into your office, and the boss says, "Your department is closing down: you've just lost your job". That's when you can say, "Father, he was not my provider, but you are my provider. And you've promised that you'll meet my every need according to your riches in glory: that you'd open the windows of heaven and pour out upon me blessings that I cannot contain". So while I don't understand what's happening on this earth, I recognize that my God sits on the throne, and everything is going to be all right. Because whenever we fail, he does not. When we can't, he can. When we don't know, he does. When we're out of answers, he is the answer. "Have faith in God," because all things are possible to them that believe.
Child of God, there is a flood coming on the earth. All you have to do is look at the headlines of the most recent newspapers, and you will see the storm clouds forming. You cannot start building your ark when the rain comes. You've got to build it today. You've got to have faith today. That's why Jesus said, "Today is the day of salvation". And you may be in this place, and you say, "Well I'm not believing. I'm not walk faithfully". I assure you: the only reason God brought you here is to give you one more chance to get on that ark before the door closes. "Have faith in God". Your yesterday may not read like you want it to. But your tomorrow can be better than you ever imagined, if today you'll heed the warning and receive the gift of his salvation.
Can we stand in the presence of the Lord? We're going to worship the Lord with this chorus. And those of you in this room, who want Jesus as your Savior, I want you just to start walking this way, because today you can get on an ark of salvation. Begin walking this way. Ready? Three, two, one: come here. Sing. "Oh, how I love Jesus. Oh, how I love Jesus. Oh, how I love Jesus, because he first loved me". I want everyone to raise their hands and say this prayer with me today:
Lord Jesus Christ, today I receive you as my ark. You are my salvation. And today, I run into your open arms. And I thank you for forgiving me, for setting me free, for giving me hope, and a future. From this day forward, I'll live for you, I'll believe in you, and I'll behave like I believe. Thank you, Jesus, for setting me free, in Jesus' name. Amen.