Skip Heitzig - Fact-Checking Your Lifestyle
Great to be with you. I'm joined here with some of my friends, Matt and Antonio, Antonio, and Tamara, and Tom. And you know, this is fun. Because there's five of us up here. And it reminds me, I go back. It's sort of like where you're going all the way back to the Lakes Apartments, when we started our Bible study back in the early days. We had just moved here. And I believe the first night, we had two or three people, I think three people. It was myself, my wife, and a friend. And then the next week, we had about this many people. I know are being joined online with many, many more people. And I'm glad for that. But it's sort of fun to get back to basics, and to do just a few of us to all of you. So we want to welcome you.
This past weekend was very encouraging. We had our Mother's Day services out in the parking lot Saturday night, and two Sunday morning. You know, it's just great to actually see people you hadn't seen in a long time, even if it was through their window, or they rolled the window down and waved. But there's just this palpable sense of we want to get back together. And I can't reiterate that.
I had a conversation in the last couple days with the governor's office, stating that over and over and over again. We have a lot of people who want to get back together. Yes, we want to do it safely. But yes, we want to do it. And in my mind, I don't know what they're going to say. But they're going to be opening this up slowly. But I'm hoping that by the end of this month, we're going to be able to meet again, even if it means meeting outside. Maybe it's just too much drama to meet inside the building right now. But we want to definitely get together in some capacity.
And there's encouragement when we practice the one others in the Bible. You can't practice the one anothers unless you're with one another. So we need to do that in some capacity. We are in our Bible study, though, in the book of Hebrews, Chapter 11. So if you're at home or on the platform, turn in your Bibles to Hebrews Chapter 11. We're doing a study called Fact Check. And I love the whole idea of fact check. Because it's something that is a recent phenomenon. You can't say things today and get away with it, unless it's true. And you've got enough people out there with a phone who can Google you right away, to make sure you're not lying.
And so you fact check. And in our life of faith with the Lord, it's essential that we stop, with all the messaging the world is giving us, to see if that's accurate or not, usually, it's not, and to fact check that with truth that we find in the word of God. Well we come to a story tonight found in one verse of Hebrews 11, in the 7th verse. As I was reading this week, my mind went back to the scene in a movie called Jaws. You guys see that movie? You know, I refused to see that movie when it first came out, because of where I lived? I lived four blocks from the ocean. I wouldn't see it. Because I knew that people wouldn't go in the water. A lot of my friends wouldn't do it. So I just refused to see the movie.
But there's, when I did see it, there's one thing in the movie, when Brody, I think Brody is like the chief of police. He's on the boat, and he sees that big shark, that big monster, come by. And he says to the captain, you're going to need a bigger boat. And usually, that's come to become a catch phrase for, something goes wrong. You're going to need a bigger boat. But in the case of Noah, whatever he thought were the instructions from the Lord to save he and his family, it was more than that. He was going to save the inhabited world, all the animals included. He was going to need a bigger boat.
You have to admit it, it takes enormous faith to build a boat, to build a box the size of an aircraft carrier, inland in Iraq, where there is no body of water for anything that size. Noah through the building of this ark preached the coming judgment of God upon the Earth. Most people in that day and age, though, believe the fake news. The fake news is, you can live any way you want to live. Doesn't matter. As long as everybody's doing it, just go with the flow. Noah was one of just a very small people, a minority report, who said that's fake news. Fact check, we have to walk with God. Fact check, we have to be pleasing in God sight. Fact check, we have to go his way. So that's sort of it, summed up in a nutshell.
Tonight, we're going to look at that, fact checking your lifestyle. Your lifestyle, how, the manner of living. You can't, you and I can't live any way we want to live. Doesn't matter if everybody's doing it. Most people are willing to blend into the background of culture and not stick out. It's easier to do that, go with the flow. But you know what? Any dead fish can float downstream. It takes real faith and stamina and guts to say that's wrong. I'm going to go a different way.
Here's the biblical mandate. We know it all so well, from the book of Romans. Do not be conformed to this world. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind. I believe Noah really encapsulates that in his lifestyle. There was a French philosopher who said, those who walk on the well trodden path always throw stones at those who are walking a new road. The road that Noah walked was the road of obedience. And that's because he had insight into the future. He had foresight and insight, because of a revelation that God gave him, of something that was coming down the pike, that would wipe out the whole world.
I was reading an article about eagles, not that I read articles about eagles necessarily, a lot. But this one article said that eagles have the ability to see so well because they have eight times the amount of visual cells per cubic centimeter, eight times, than a human being. So what that translates into, an eagle, at 600 feet, can spot an object the size of a dime in six inches of grass. Because of that construction of the eye, an eagle can spot a three inch long fish jumping in a lake five miles away. Don't you wish you could see that well? You know, the older I get, I always remember the days when I could see better than I do. But I could never see that good. None of us could. But an eagle can.
Now faith gives you a certain amount of foresight, A. Certain amount of insight, an ability to see what people can't see. So we look at that in verse 7. By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. So far, we've looked at a couple other examples in the book of Hebrews Chapter 11. We've looked at Abel. We've looked at Enoch. And now we look at Noah. He is the third example in this list. Abel is the example of worshipping faith. Enoch is the example of walking by faith. And now Noah is the example of working faith, or faith that works. James said, faith without works is dead. So whatever you believe should be translated into your behavior. Belief will correspond to behavior, if it's genuine faith.
Now we're looking at verse 7. And I just want you to think about this, as we're delving into it and unpacking this verse. We're looking at one verse, one verse, to sum up the entire story of Noah. So think of it. The author of Hebrews is summing up, in a single verse, Genesis Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, and Chapter 9 by this one verse. 41 words, he tells the entire story of Noah, all those four chapters.
Now, because he does that, there is an assumption that is made. He is assuming that the audience to whom he is writing has a working knowledge of the story. Because he's summing it up. He wouldn't just tell a story of some obscure name and no reference at all. He's assuming that they already know the story. And that's because he's writing to the Hebrews. So because they're Hebrews, this is their history. They all knew the story of all the people he mentions.
The list here in Hebrews 11 would be considered a cryptic list. It's not an exhaustive, detailed list. It's just, we'll talk about Abel in a couple verses, and then Enoch in a couple verses, and then one verse of Noah, assuming that the audience knows all these stories. And of course, they did. They were Jewish people who knew their history. And he's working off of that.
Noah is the man who put feet to his faith. He walked in faith. His faith produced action. Now faith is the only way to reach God. Not religion, not ceremony, not ritual, not effort. But there was a Judaism that had been sort of accepted by the time that the author writes this in the New Testament, that it was a corrupted, perverted form of Judaism. And that perverted form of Judaism had come to believe that you to be pleasing to God by your own effort, by your own works, by your own rituals, by circumcision, by ceremony, et cetera.
What point the author is making is that God never allowed that. God always and only accepted people by faith, not just in the New Testament, but Old Testament as well. It was always salvation by grace through faith. And he quotes, back in Chapter 1 the book of Habakkuk, or Habakkuk, depending on what part of the country you're from, Chapter 2 Verse 4, the just shall live by faith. Or my righteous one shall live by faith, back in Chapter 10 Verse 38.
So that's an Old Testament thing. And so he's saying, this idea of faith isn't new, although a lot of them were thinking, boy, this just trusting in Jesus for my salvation, this is new doctrine. He's saying no, no, no. It's all the way back to Abel and Enoch and Noah. That's the example he is using to show them, and to undergird the idea, that salvation by faith was always God's plan.
Now this perversion of coming to God by works is something Paul said was part of his own personal experience. He gives his testimony in the book of Philippians. And he says, I was circumcised on the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin. I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As touching the law a Pharisees. Concerning righteousness which comes from the law, I was blameless or perfect.
But then I made a discovery. All these things that I thought were gain were actually rubbish. And I pushed them aside, that I might gain Christ, and be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but the righteousness which comes by faith in Jesus Christ. That's Paul's experience. He is saying, what the writer of Hebrews is saying, they may be one and the same. They may be different. I talked about that a few weeks ago.
But he's saying that God always and ever and only allowed people to approach him not by works, not by religion, not by ceremony, not by circumcision, but only by faith. So he's giving these examples. That's part of the fact check. So we're given one verse to sum up four chapters. So what we need to do is go back to Chapter 6 of the book of Genesis to kind of fill in the details, so that we really understand. I'm going to read Verse 7 again. Then we're going to go back. By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir to the righteousness which is according to faith.
Now go back to Genesis 6. And let's sort of dig into the story, and get the details. And I'll kind of give you a working outline. First of all, Noah witnessed a deterioration. His culture, you're going to see, is very similar to our culture. And why am I bringing this up? Because Jesus made a promise. As it was in the days of Noah, shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. He was referring to his second coming. So he's saying, here's the tip off. When the world gets as bad as it was in the days of Noah, before God judged the world, that's how it's going to be in the very end.
So the days of Noah, the coming of the Son of Man. Noah experienced and witnessed a deterioration. Noah lived at one of the worst times in human history. Let me rephrase that and say probably the worst time in human history, except for the time of the end. Because God destroyed the entire population base of planet Earth. It was that bad.
So back in Genesis Chapter 6 Verse 1. It came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the Earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful, and took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the Lord said, my spirit shall not strive with man forever. For he is indeed flesh. Yet his day shall be 120 years. There were giants on the Earth in those days, and also afterword, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men. And they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Then the Lord saw that the wicked man was great in the Earth, and that every intent of the thought of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the Earth, and he was grieved in his heart. So the Lord said, I will utterly destroy a man whom I have created from the face of the Earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air. For I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
The chapter begins by talking about an increase in population. It says men began to multiply on the face of the Earth. Now without going into too much detail, let me just assume that you have a working knowledge of some of the earlier chapters of Genesis. So you know that people at that time were living enormous lifespans. 800 years old, 700 years old, 600, 900. Methuselah, 969. You can have a lot of kids if you live that long. There can be a lot of multiplication if the lifespan is that high. And it was during that time. And I've written a book on Genesis that explains how that worked, and how it is possible, and filled in all those details.
So there was a massive increase in population. There's a great book called The Genesis flood by Dr. John Whitcomb and Henry Morris. And these are two scientists who apply their science to the text of Genesis. They took the geological tables found in the book of Genesis, and calculated the longevity and average number of kids per family, probably. And they came up with a figure that at the end of 18 generations, there would be 774 million people. At the end of 18 generations, 774 million people, and that a conservative estimate of the Earth's population at the time of the flood, or by the time of the flood, could easily have been 1 billion people. 1 billion people, and could have even far exceeded that.
Now just think about that for a moment. Because at the time of Jesus Christ, millennia later, the Earth's population, we figure, is about 250 million. So it had gone down from a billion. That's because God destroyed everybody. It took till the time of Christ to get 250 million people. It took till 1804 to get 1 billion people again back. So if there were a billion people at the time of the flood, I don't know. But if there were, it took to the year 1804 to have that happen again.
Now today, there are 7.8 billion people on this dirt clod in the sky called the Earth. It's estimated that by 2150, there will be far more than 11 people. We are multiplying on the face of the Earth. Now I'm bringing this up because this makes Noah's walk with God all that more noteworthy. If there were a billion people, there were only eight out of all the people on Earth who walked with God. And really, I think they got in because they were related to Noah. Noah walked with God. He found favor in God. So talk about a minority report. Everybody is going one direction. Noah said, not going to do it. So there was an increase in population.
Second thing to note here on our text is there was an increase in sexual depravity. It says, in the next couple of verses, the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful, and took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. Now this is actually one of the most asked questions I've ever gotten by people. Who are the sons of God? Who are the daughters of men? And who are these giants, the Hebrew word nephilim? Who are they?
Well there's a few different views. View number one, they're fallen angels who married human women. Fallen angels, demonic angels, who married human women. That's the interpretation. Because in the Old Testament, the term signs of God is usually most always a reference to angels. In fact, probably without exception. In the book of Job, the sons of God appeared before the Lord. And Satan was among them, and had to give an account of God in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.
Also, in second Peter Chapter 2 and in the book of Jude, Verses 6 and 7, it identifies angels with this incident in committing some grave sin. So that's one interpretation. Now the response to that interpretation, and I don't want to get bogged down in the weeds here. But that response to that is, angels don't reproduce. Jesus said in the Resurrection, people will neither Mary nor be given in marriage, but will be like the angels.
So because angels are non-corporeal beings, you like that term, non-corporeal? Means they don't have a body, because they're spirit beings. Non-corporeal beings don't mate with corporeal beings and have offspring. So that's one thought. The other problem with that is that the idea of nephilim, these giants, they appear. The same word is used of the giants in the land of Canaan, when the 12 spies go out to look at the land of Canaan and bring back a report, they saw giants in the land, nephilim in a numbers Chapter 13 and Chapter 14. And so if they were destroyed by the flood, what are they doing, the Giants doing here at that time? So that's one idea. They were demonic beings, fallen angels, marrying human woman.
Interpretation number two, these are our godly descendents of Seth, marrying ungodly women from the lineage of Cain. So godly Sethites marrying ungodly Cainites. Now the response to that, against that interpretation is that sons of God in the Old Testament. This, that would be, then, an exception to the term sons of God in the Old Testament, which is used almost exclusively to refer to angelic beings. So you see the problem we have?
There's is a third interpretation. These are rulers who married women, dynastic rulers, human rulers, who married women. They may have been controlled by demons, controlled by fallen angels. But they are just simply human rulers, who marry women. Because in ancient literature, the term sons of God is often given to rulers of kingdoms. So the idea, then, in this interpretation is these are simply kings wanting to build up their harems. And so that the sons of God went to the daughters of men.
The problem is, the term nephilim. These are big people. They are called giants. But it also says they are men of renown. And so this interpretation favors, they're just simply talking about powerful, giant-like in their stature militarily, powerful military leaders.
So I've given you three interpretations. I haven't told you which one I believe. I'm just going to let that, you can argue among yourselves. I do lean to an interpretation. I won't tell you what it is. And here's why. I want to get to the meat of this without distracting from it. Whatever it was, it was bad. Whatever it was, it was immoral. Whatever it was, it was sexual. Whatever it was, a was against God's original design.
Simply put, at the time of Noah, there was a breakdown of the traditional family, replaced by a wholesale sexual freedom. Now does that sound familiar? Does that sound contemporary? One of the chief sociologist at Harvard University said our society is absolutely preoccupied with sex. Imagine walking with God in that culture. People are proliferating on the face of the Earth. People are doing their own thing, with their own sexual expression. And whatever it was, this is the result.
But Noah did, and he did it successfully. So there is an increase in population. There's an increase in sexual depravity. Third, there was an increase in wickedness. Verse 5, the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. See how the language is put? This seems to be chronic, not episode. This is something that just is always prevalent, and always increasing. And the Holy Spirit, in Verse 5, is letting us see what was going on in the minds of people living at the time of Noah, their thinking, their thoughts, their motivations. The Hebrew word for wickedness is the Hebrew word Ra. And it is often translated wickedness or evil.
So the idea is, their badness was really, really bad. So they were going from bad to worse. Continually, constantly, without break, going from bad to worse. One translation, the Berkeley version, says human wickedness was growing out of bounds on the Earth.
Now, fast forward to the book of Romans, when Paul talks about the judgment of God. And he was referring, I believe, to this time, when he talked about the depravity of culture. He said they became feudal in their thoughts. And their foolish heart was darkened. They did not wish to retain God in their knowledge. God gave them over to a debased mind, or a reprobate mind. Where they're down a path. There's no turning back. They have thrown the dice. There is no redeeming them. There's no listening to God, as you'll see. And so God had to judge them. They had reached that point, where God judges.
And then the fourth thing to notice about what he was witnessing is, there was an increase in violence, an increase in violence. In Chapter 6, in Verse 9, it says, this is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God, and Noah begot three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japeth. The Earth was also corrupt before God, and the Earth was filled with violence. Filled. Imagine, a billion people, conservatively, filled with violence. It had reached the brim. It had reached the breaking point. God now must act.
The Earth was filled with violence so God looked upon the Earth and indeed it was corrupt for all flesh had corrupted their way on the Earth Violence that began with Cain now an epidemic. Cain killed Abel. Chapter 5, Lamech killed a young man, using Cain as an example. Now, murder has become an epidemic.
You see, once people turn from God, they turn on one another. Because they have no allegiance vertically. So fair game horizontally. Once you turn from God, you turn on one another.
I'll make a quick comparison to our own culture. Violence has been on the rise in our world, certainly in our country, in the past two decades. Now, it was anticipated at the beginning of the coronavirus, that maybe violence would go down because of the coronavirus. Because people are social distancing. Last time I checked, criminals don't really care about the laws of social distancing. So they're sort of doing what they want. And they've discovered that violent crime has actually increased. One doctor said, I used to treat one to two gunshot wounds per week. I now treat five to six gunshot wounds per night.
So like the days of Noah, all of these things were proliferating. Verse 6, though, of Chapter 6 of Genesis, the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the Earth. And he was grieved in his heart. Now let me just quickly explain that is an anthropomorphic statement. It's an anthropomorphism. It's God expressing himself so humans can understand it. God never does things differently, or go oh, shucks. I shouldn't have done it that way. I'm really sorry. Let me take a different tact. God does not repent. He is not a man, that he should repent. This is simply a human way of stating it, so we get the emotion That. God was grieved by what he saw and the choices that man had made.
So the Lord said, Verse 7, I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the Earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
And then he gives a brief genealogy of Noah in the next verse. So except for Noah, there were no God seekers on the Earth. They went from bad, Cain, to worse, where God as destroy everybody. It says Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This is the very first time in scripture the word grace appears. And it appears with Noah. God is going to show grace by lifting him off the Earth in a box. And he's going to save Noah in that box, and his family. And by saving Noah, he's going to save the world.
By the way, the only other from the time the word ark is used, the word in Hebrew for ark is literally box, because it was a rudderless ship. So it really wasn't like a ship like we know it. It was a big box. And when Moses' mother, Jochebed made a little basket or ark for Noah and put him down the Nile River. So like that, God used an ark to save Noah, to save Moses. And then God to use Moses to save the children of Israel.
Like that, God saved Noah, so that God could use Noah to save the Earth and restart the population. An ark. A box.
So he found grace in the eyes of the Lord. The Living Bible says, but Noah was a pleasure to the Lord. Think of your life being a pleasure to the Lord. God looks at you and goes, oh! You are, you know. You are a treasure to him. You are so valuable to God that he wouldn't spare his only son. But he gave them up for us all. That's how much God treasures you. I hope that you are not only a treasure to God. I hope you live a life, that you become a pleasure to God. Like Noah, where he look at you and goes oh, I'm so pleased. A diamond in the rough. A diamond in a black coal dust of disobedience of the human race.
Here's what it shows us. One single person can stand alone, and one person can make a difference. One of my favorite stories about the Roman Colosseum is from around the year 400 AD. The Roman Coliseum had been packed for decades, for, actually, a couple of centuries, where people would be watching humans fighting beasts, humans fighting humans, killing humans, killing beasts, beasts killing humans, all for entertainment value in the Roman Coliseum. One day, a Syrian monk came to the Colosseum, saw what was going on, jumped his seat, ran down the aisle, jumped out onto the floor of the Colosseum, and waved his arms, they little Christian monk from Syria, waved his arms, and said, in the name of Christ, forebear! In the name of Christ, forebear! In other words, stop this senseless violence.
An order was given from the legions of Rome to thrust him through with a sword and kill him. They killed him on the floor of the Colosseum. His blood drained into the sand. But something happened. The games went on that day. But as the months went by, because of that one man and that one incident, it's so jarred the population of Rome that the games at the Coliseum dwindled in numbers of people who went. They didn't become as popular. And eventually, after several months, they were stopped altogether, because of one man, saying in the name of Christ, forebear. One person can make a difference.
So the fake news is one person's actions don't matter. Who cares if I live this way? Everybody's living that way. It matters. The real news, the faith check is, one person's life matters. It can spur on a whole example for people who are watching. And it can change a culture, like it did with Telemachus, the Syrian monk.
So Noah witnessed a deterioration. Let me take you to a second thought. Noah walked in submission. Back to our text in Hebrews 11, it's best if you just have a place setting it both at this point. In verse 17, he said, by faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark. When Noah received a Warning from God that judgment was coming, all Noah had was God's word. All Noah had was God's promise. This is what I'm going to do. I'm going to destroy the Earth.
At first, got didn't even tell him how. He just said, I'm going to do it. Because if he would have said it's going to rain, Noah would have said what's rain? It hadn't rained yet. I'll explain that a moment. He just said I'm going to destroy the Earth. And so build an ark. And then he went on to explain how he was going to do it. So all he had was God's word. The question is, would he obey it? What would you do with that word?
Well it says by faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved, that's his motivation, with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household. God told him to do something, because something was going to happen that had never, ever happened in the history of the world. Our world was going to be destroyed. Verse 7, the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the Earth, both man and beast, creeping thing, birds of the air, for I am sorry that I made them. Down in Verse 13, God said to Noah, the end of all flesh has come before me. For the Earth is filled with violence through them. And behold, I will destroy them with the Earth.
Verse 17, and behold, I myself am bringing flood waters on the Earth to destroy from under heaven all flesh which is in the breath of life. Everything that is on the Earth shall die. Verse 22, thus Noah did, thus Noah did according to all that God commanded him. So he did. God said, I'm going to bring flood waters on the Earth. Noah, it's going to rain.
Now it had never rained before, I mentioned. Up till this point, the Bible tells us the Earth was, there were no polar caps. There were no extreme temperatures. There was a mild universal temperature on the surface of the Earth. The Bible says the Earth was watered with a mist that came out of the ground. So there was this temperate temperature around the globe. And so that's how it was watered. It had never had the cataclysm of rain before. And so this was new. This was all brand new.
And what God says is, I'm going to bring water down from heaven. And he brought it from the Earth in heaven. And I'm going to drown every single person on planet Earth, except eight who are in this little box. This, then, is the most remarkable event of judgment ever, up to this point, certainly in the Old Testament. God is enacting his right of capital punishment on the creation that he made.
Now the flood was the second major catastrophic event in history, or second greatest cataclysmic event in history, the first being creation. So creation gave us the first Earth. We don't know that, because we're post flood. The flood gave us the Earth as it is today. So those two events, creation and the flood, inform us as to the Earth in its in its in its present. place. And that's the world that we know and experience, the post-diluvian world, after the flood.
Now back in Genesis Chapter 6, in Verse 14, God says make for yourself an ark. In Hebrews 11, he says, he prepared an ark. Back in Verse 22 of Chapter 6, last verse, thus Noah did according to all that God commanded. him. So he did.
Now please, please grasp. This is a demonstrate, an incredible demonstration of faith. Cutting down the first tree was a demonstration of faith. Think of all the trees to make this huge ark. Now it says he was moved with godly fear back in Hebrews Chapter 11 Verse 7 he. Was moved with godly fear. What that means is, he had reverence for God. That's the fear of God. A holy reverence for a loving God, a holy reverence about humble submission to a loving God. He was moved with godly fear. In other words, God's revelation was enough to prompt his demonstration.
God's revelation of the future was enough to prompt Noah's demonstration of faith. God said it. He did it. He honored God's word. God did not have to give him a second warning. He didn't have to give him a sign from heaven. I think God speaking to you is like a sign in and of itself. So God gave him information. He's going to destroy. He said he's going to destroy by water. So he did everything God told him to do. Didn't have to reinforce it. Didn't have to give him a sign.
There was a time when the IRS sent a man a letter. And the envelope said, second notice on. the front of the envelope. Second notice, IRS. Opened it up. It says, you owe back tax. If you don't pay by this time, you know, we're going to come and get you. Well he went to the IRS office. And he said, man, you know, I didn't even know I had to pay this, I never remember seeing the first notice. Otherwise, I would've paid it. And the IRS said, well, we ran out of first notices. And besides that, we've discovered that second notices are far more effective than first notices.
Well God didn't have to give him a second notice. God just said, I'm going to destroy the Earth and. He prepared an ark. and God gives him, in this chapter, blueprints for the ark. Its dimensions are given. That's important, because Noah didn't know how to make ark that size, a boat that size, a box that size. He didn't know marine architecture. He had no expertise in displacement of water.
The ark was 450 feet long. So that's 1 and 1/2 football fields long. It was 75 feet wide. That's seven parking spaces wide, roughly. And it was 45 feet high, which is between three and four stories high. It was the biggest vessel ever built until the 19th century. Now there have been far bigger built since then. But it was the biggest vessel ever built till the 19th century. Just the sheer magnitude of this project must have been overwhelming. It took Noah, the Bible says, 120 years to build it.
It had three decks, 15 feet high, with rooms, and over 100,000 square feet of deck space, 1.4 million cubic feet of storage space, the equivalent of 522 dander railroad boxcars, capable of holding 125,000 sheep. Now sheep were used as the animal, because it's sort of a medium sized animal. There's so much smaller and so much larger. But 125,000 animals plus Noah and his family, could safely, easily be aboard the ship and float, this box.
So he witnessed a deterioration. He walked in submission. Third, he warned of devastation. I want you to go back to Hebrews 11 Verse 7. And I want you to notice the way the author writes this. By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household. Here it is. By which he condemned the world, by which he condemned the world. How did he do that? By what means did Noah condemn the world?
By two means. First of all, just by building the boat. Just by building the ark. As I said, it was a demonstration of faith to cut down the first tree. So he cuts down a tree. That's a lot of work, just to cut down one tree. Because he's cutting down a tree. And his neighbor goes, what are you doing? I'm building a boat. A what? A boat. A pretty big boat. Why?
So just building that thing for 120 years showed his faith in God's promise. And just building that was a testimony to the people of his generation. And in Genesis 6:9, again, it says, Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. And Noah walked with God.
Just his lifestyle, just his obedience to God. And in Verse 18 of Chapter 6 God, says, I'm going to establish my covenant with you. Noah's righteous life, cutting down those trees, putting nails, or putting wood pieces together, putting pitch on it to glue it together and hold it together, all of that, as an act of obedience, rebuked their lifestyles. His righteous lifestyle was a rebuke to their wicked lifestyle. Black looks always blacker when you put something white next to it.
The young men of Athens, one of them said to Socrates, I never like being with you. Because whenever I am with you, you show who I am. You know, it's hard to be next to somebody who's perfect. Noah was not perfect. I mean he's sinned. I'll mention that in just a moment. But he wasn't perfect. But he did walk with God. And compared to the generation in which he lived, he was blameless.
So he obeyed God's word. He's working on a 15,000 ton ship in the middle of the desert, because God said do it. And just by building that boat and living a righteous lifestyle, I believe God said this, I'm going to do it, was a rebuke to them. So just building the boat, number one.
Number two, by preaching. What do you mean by preaching? Well, 2 Peter Chapter 2 Verse 5 says, God did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly. So people must have asked Noah, what are you doing? I'm building an ark. Why? Because God said so. Who's God? The God who created heaven and Earth, the God of Adam and his wife, and the God of Seth, and the God of Abel, and the God of Enoch. You know that Noah would have been the subject of conversation by everybody, certainly around that area of the world. They were talking about him. It was 120 year building project.
And you know that they heard Noah preach. And they saw the ark going up. And they probably laughed and scoffed at him. But imagine the look on their faces the first time a raindrop fell. It never happened before. They'd never seen rain. All of a sudden, what's that? And then another, and then another, and then another. And then so much water. And don't you know, when that ark started just lifting up a little bit off the Earth, the panic that set in. All of the lifestyle in building the boat, all of the preaching of the coming judgment, now being brought to bear.
Back to that minority report thing. It is possible for the entire world at large to be wrong. The majority is not right. In fact, the majority is seldom right. Third to the last verse in the book of 1 John, Chapter 5, it says, we know that we're of God, little children. Listen to this part. And the whole world lies in the sway of the wicked one. The whole world lies in the sway of the wicked one.
Now think of Noah and his generation. Eight people, really one, who was walking with God, brought his family in with him, against the whole world that God destroyed. The whole world lies in the sway of the wicked one.
So by building a boat and by preaching, he became this testimony of warning of devastation. Now remember, the preaching started before Noah. The preaching started with Enoch, who had a son named Methuselah, whose name means when he is dead, it shall be sent. It was, his name was a prophecy of the coming flood. Because the year Methuselah died, after his 969th year, the year he died is the exact year, if you do the chronology, the timetable, that the flood came. When he is dead, it shall be sent.
So that's when the preaching began. And then it really continued in the building and the preaching of Noah. So he witnessed a deterioration. He walked in submission. He warned of devastation. I'll give you a quick fourth point here. He won a reputation. Now all that's in one verse. Back in Verse 7, by faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became the heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Now that's really the thrust of what this author is all about in this chapter, giving examples of people who are heirs of the righteousness of faith. Back to Noah. Back to Genesis Chapter 6 Verse 8. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Chapter 7 of Genesis, Verse 1, God said, come the ark, you and all your household, because I have found you righteous before me in this generation.
The world found Noah ridiculous. God found Noah righteous. You're a nut? You're saved. Come aboard the ark. Why was he righteous? Because he received grace. Why was he righteous? Simply because he believed. He believed that God was going to judge the world before God judged the world. He believed rain would destroy the world before rain ever happened. He built a boat to prove his faith. Faith without works is dead. He wasn't saved by building the ark. He was saved by faith. He was heir air of the righteousness of faith. But that faith produced works, an obedient lifestyle.
Was Noah perfect? Heck no. Time you get to Chapter 9, you see that he wasn't perfect. He sinned. He was caught naked and drunk. So he didn't end up all that well. I don't know if that was PTSD, or maybe it's PTFD, post-traumatic flood syndrome. He had it. But obviously, he wasn't perfect. But he was. Righteous because like all the others, it was a declared righteousness, not an earned righteousness.
I want to close on this note. God destroyed the Earth in a flood. There's evidence of that. Us where there are woolly mammoths up at the North and South pole, mastodons with tropical vegetation found frozen in their bellies. How did they get there? There's only one explanation for that, and for the different strata that we find around the Earth, seashells on mountaintops, and a number of things that I've gone into detail about before. God destroyed the entire Earth with water.
God is going to do it again. Judgment is coming to the Earth, where God will destroy the creation he made. He will trash planet Earth. I know the environmentalists are all afraid that we're doing that. God will do it. And then God will destroy the Earth by fire. It says in 2 Peter, he'll destroy it all by fire.
So there is coming to the Earth another cataclysm, a Holocaust of destruction. And there's only one ark that will save you from that. And that is the ark, that is the enclosure, that is the box of faith, believing in the one who took the punishment for your sin and my sin upon himself, and will freely give you grace, and find you righteous, if you place your faith in him. Same deal he gave to Noah. Same deal. Salvation by grace through faith is as old as Abel and Enoch and Noah.
And it's been best expressed in Jesus Christ, freely giving us salvation, as we just trust that what he did for us is enough for all of us to escape the future judgment and be with him in heaven. If you think that going with the crowd is your best bet, you need to fact check that thinking. You are dead wrong. Any dead fish can float downstream. If you find yourself floating with the crowd, you need to stop and give your life to Christ. I'm encouraging you to be counter cultural. Be a rebel. Do what hardly anyone is doing, and that is, have a genuine, authentic, from your heart commitment to Jesus Christ. Turn in repentance to him.
I'm telling you what Noah taught the Earth for 120 years. And nobody listened. He didn't have one convert. He only had his family. Nobody turned. Will you turn? Will you give your life to Jesus Christ, and let him take the punishment that we do deserve, because of what we have done? I hope you will. I hope you'll say yes to it. If you want to do that, and I encourage you to do it right now, I want to lead you in a prayer. You know, there's just a few of us up here. And I know that there's thousands of people who are watching this. And it could be that God has been getting your attention lately. And maybe he's gotten a hold of your heart through this message or through a number of circumstances that have led up to this moment.
And now you have to take a final step. It's a step of faith. It's where you cooperate with his work on your behalf. You say yes to him. It's that simple. You just say, "I want that. Yes, Lord. I believe". It's that simple. It's just a connection with God by agreeing that Jesus is enough for your sin. You're going to let him take it on your behalf. You're going to commit your life to Him. If you want to do that, I want you just to pray with me, right where you're at. Just talk to God, so simply. Say something like this to him. And I'm going to encourage you to say it out loud. If you're in your car, say it out loud. If you're watching on your phone, say this out loud, just so it's unmistakable. Say:
Lord, I'm a sinner. I admit it. Forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe he died on a cross for me. I believe he rose from the dead for me. I turn from my sin. I turn in faith to Jesus as Savior and as Lord. I want to follow you. I want to work with you. I want to be a pleasure to you. Change me. Bring life change to me. I can't do it. I've tried. I give you me. Save me. In Jesus' name, Amen.