Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Have You Entered the Ark?

Leslie Basham: Do you remember singing cute, little kids' songs about the rain that fell for forty days on the ark? Well, that doesn't give the true picture. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Those huge reservoirs of water that were stored under the earth were unleashed, and they poured forth like this powerful volcano erupting from the earth.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, August 10, 2015. 

If you ever thought of Noah and the ark as a cute story about a gently floating zoo, Nancy began painting a more vivid picture last week. She'll pick up her series today and tomorrow. It's called "Noah and the Flood: The Gospel in the Old Testament."

Nancy: We come to that section in our study of Noah today in Genesis 7, when having experienced the wickedness of the world, having warned the ungodly, having waited patiently for centuries for men to repent, God finally sends His judgment, and an entire generation—save eight who were in the ark—is destroyed in the flood.

Genesis 7:11–12 says,

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, [120 years after God first gave this warning and word to him] in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

The flood itself—which, by the way, as you know, has been the subject of an enormous debate among scholars. We’ll talk later in this series about why it matters so much to some people to prove that there was not a flood. But I just take God’s Word at face value. It says there was, and there’s much reason and evidence scientifically and archaeologically to back that up.

But the flood was caused by huge reservoirs of water erupting from under the earth as well as a deluge of water falling upon the earth. I was sitting in my room studying the other day, studying on Noah, and it was raining here in Little Rock. It had been raining for a number of days, it seemed like, and I was feeling a little like Mrs. Noah. It just kept raining and raining.

But as I began to study this passage and what commentators have said about how the flood came about, I realized you could sit in rain for forty days and it would not be like what happened in the days of the flood.

In order to understand this, we have to go back to Genesis chapter 1. Verse 2 tells us that,

The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. . . . God said, “Let there be an expanse [firmament, some of your translations say] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse (Gen. 1:2, 6–7).

Now the expanse is the heavens; it’s the atmospheric conditions. The Scripture says in Genesis 1 that there was a store of water that was underneath the heavens, and there was a store of water that was above the heavens. Those are the waters both beneath the heavens and the ones above the heavens that came together at the time of the flood. The waters under the expanse—there was this massive reservoir of waters that was stored under the surface of the earth.

The Scripture is very precise here in telling how the flood came about. It says, “On that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth.” Those huge reservoirs of water that were stored under the earth were unleashed, and they poured forth like this powerful volcano erupting from the earth. One commentator says, “They came in volume and in violence defying description.”

This is not just like ordinary floodwaters rising because it rained a lot. This is a giant tidal wave that suddenly burst with violent force upon every human being on the planet. And all except the eight who were in the ark were totally caught off guard.

We know from what Jesus said in the book of Matthew that they had been going about their lives in a normal routine. They were having families. They were partying. They were having fun. They were sinning. They had no thought of God or their eternal destiny. And in the midst of that God sends these waters gushing up in torrential force from under the crust of the earth.

So we’ve seen the great, horrible perversion and sin that existed in those days, and in response to that God sends this cataclysm, these waters gushing up from under the earth. Then God causes the windows of the heaven to be open.

So in addition to this upheaval from underneath the earth’s surface, the people of the earth are watching and can see as they’re being caught up from these waters underneath the earth, and they see this downpour as that canopy above the earth is punctured; it’s pierced, and God looses all that stored-up water and just dumps it on the earth.

Now I don’t mean to sound over-dramatic, but I don’t think you can over-dramatize what happened in this flood. This is huge. It’s just like torrential downpours and volcanoes from underneath the earth, earthquakes and tidal waves and all of this happening in one huge act of God.

We cannot imagine the affect that this had on the planet and what it was like for all those men, women, children, animals and plants, and the earth’s surface itself. Many of the aspects of the topography of our earth today were determined by the upheaval that took place at this flood.

You say, “Why do you make such a big point about this?” This is God’s response to the great sin of man. And that’s why we need a greater concept of how serious our sin is and how God views it. This horrible, torrential flood is God’s just retribution on those who rebelled against Him.

In 1741 Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest preachers our nation has ever known, preached what became his most famous message, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." His text was Deuteronomy 32:35, “Their foot shall slide in due time” (KJV). Listen as my friend Max McLean reads a portion of that message, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

Max McLean: “The black clouds of God’s wrath are hanging directly over your heads. They are full of a dreadful storm with its loud thunder. And if it were not for the restraining hand of God, it would immediately burst upon you. For now the sovereign pleasure of God holds back the rough winds; otherwise they would come with fury, and your destruction would come as a tornado, and you would be blown away like dry chaff.

“The wrath of God is like great waters that are temporarily dammed up. They keep rising higher and higher until they find an outlet. The longer they have been dammed up, the more rapid and powerful will be their flow once they are let loose.

“It is true that judgment against your evil works has not been carried out yet, but in the meantime, your guilt has been building up, and every day you are storing up for yourself more wrath. The waters are constantly rising, and nothing but the mere pleasure of God holds them back. They are unwilling to be stopped and are pushing with great force to break free.

“If God were just to lift His hand from the floodgate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God would rush forward with unbelievable fury and would overtake you with unlimited power. Even if your strength were 10,000 times greater than what it is; in fact, if it were 10,000 times greater than the boldest and most powerful devil in all of hell, it would not be able to withstand or endure it.”

Nancy: The words of Jonathan Edwards describing the fury of God’s wrath. That wrath of God that was unleashed in the great flood in Genesis was seen 1,000 years later when Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go out of Egypt. Remember how God sent that angel of death to destroy the firstborn son of every Egyptian family? That was the wrath of God unleashed upon those who refused to repent.

We see yet another unleashing of the wrath of God’s judgment 1,500 years later when God put His own Son to death and poured out upon Christ all the floodwaters of God’s great wrath against man’s sin.

The judgment of God—vast, immense, incomprehensible, powerful—destroying all in its wake except for those who believe the gospel and repent and are safe in the ark.

There is so little teaching today in the church and in our world on the judgment of God, the wrath of God in response to the sinfulness of man. I think that’s one of the reasons we have a flippant, cavalier form of Christianity today. People can laugh their way down an aisle to make a profession of faith in Christ—no sense of conviction, no sense of the weight or of the guilt of their sin. That’s why they can make a profession of faith and then go and live for years like the devil.

But the person who has never demonstrated a repentant heart, who has not turned from his sin to Christ, has no basis to have assurance of salvation, no basis to expect to be preserved in the time when God pours out His final judgment and wrath on this world. You see, you can’t fully appreciate and value the salvation of Christ, the cross of Christ, until you know what you’ve been saved from—the wrath of God.

So the flood is a warning to every generation that God takes sin seriously. It’s a warning about the final judgment, the coming wrath of God. That’s why the message is Repent! Believe the gospel! Flee to Christ, your ark, for refuge.

Let me ask you to turn in your Bible to 2 Peter chapter 3 as we think about those who have never turned to Christ, never repented of their sin, never placed their faith in Christ, some listening perhaps today. Perhaps you’ve been listening to this series on the flood or you know those who are not believers. What are the implications of this story for those who are unrepentant sinners?

Second Peter chapter 3, let’s begin at verse 3. Peter says, “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” He’s talking about an era, the last days. We’re in the last days. Later in this passage we’ll see that the last days are followed by The last day, the Day of Judgment, the day of God’s wrath.

So the last days are days when there’s still time to repent, but in these last days most people are scoffers. They don't believe God. They scoff His truth. They don't believe His Word. They follow their own sinful desires. Ladies, that's the reason that people scoff at biblical truth. It's not because they don't have some great intellectual insight that you don't have, or some great questions that you can't answer, it's because they want to justify their own sinfulness.

So these scoffers come. They’re all around us today. They’re following their own sinful desires. Verse 4: “They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’”

What do these scoffers say? “There was no flood! Things just evolved. They just happened this way.” All these evidences in the earth’s crust and surface that show the evidence of a great universal flood, they say, “That wasn’t a flood. That just happened that way.”

Why do they say that? Why do they work so hard to disprove the flood? Their point is, there never has been a cataclysmic judgment before; therefore, there will not be one in the future. They’re trying to deny the probability or possibility of future judgment.

So in order to make their case they say, “There never has been a great judgment. Flood? You silly evangelicals. You just take the Bible literally.” They make us feel stupid. Well, they are the ones who are the scoffers. We are the ones who have the truth. They try to dismiss, to deny, to disprove the flood so they won't have to deal with concept, the thought of future judgment.

Verse 5: “For they deliberately overlook this fact.” Remember that, next time you hear some arrogant philosopher or writer or scientist or reporter dismissing offhand all these things you read about in the Scripture. God's Word says they deliberately overlook this fact. They're depraved. They are wicked in their minds. They don't want to know the truth.

“They deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these,” that is, water, “the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished” (vv. 5–6). This is the New Testament restating of the historicity of the flood. It happened. The whole earth except for the eight in the ark was destroyed with this flood. The people who don't believe that is because they deliberately do not want to believe it.

Then Peter goes on to say in verse 7, “By the same word,” the word of God that destroyed the earth in a flood, “the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” The fact that there was a flood is just another God-given warning and evidence to call people to repent before the final destruction of the world by means of fire, the Day of Judgment.

Verse 8: “Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” He’s saying, “From man’s viewpoint that final judgment may seem a long way off. But in God’s economy it won’t be long at all.” It’s coming. It’s going to be soon.

Verse 9: “The Lord is not slow [or slack] to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

Now does that mean all are going to repent? All will be saved? We know from other parts of the Scripture that that is not so. This is referring to all those whom God has called and chosen to be redeemed. God is waiting for all of those to believe, to be saved.

It can’t refer, in this context, to everyone in the world being saved, because the verses around it are talking about the ultimate judgment of the ungodly. So it’s referring to all those whom God has chosen and called to believe. God is waiting, giving them time to repent and believe the gospel.

Verse 10: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.” What is the day of the Lord? He’s been talking about these last days. He’s said, “There’s a day of judgment coming.” Now he talks about the day of the Lord. In the Old Testament and in the New Testament, the day of the Lord refers to this future day of God’s wrath and judgment, when He will end this world as it currently exists.

As true as the flood was, as surely as the flood came and destroyed the world, there will be a day of the Lord when God sends fire to destroy this world as we know it. It will be the day of final judgment. And that day, Peter says, will come like a thief.

How does a thief come? He doesn’t knock at your door and say, “Hello. May I come in?” What does he do? He's surreptitious. He’s stealthy. He sneaks up. He’s unexpected.

He says, “This day of the Lord will be like a thief.” It will come unexpectedly upon the wicked, the unrighteous, the ungodly. It will catch them off guard. It will surprise people who have not made preparations for eternity. And it will be too late at that point to make any more preparation.

“And then the heavens will pass away with a roar.” The heavens there refers to the physical universe as we know it. The world will be consumed by flames. It goes on to say that “the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved.” Some of your translations say, “They will melt with fervent heat.” The elements of the earth will melt with a fervent heat, “and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” They will be laid bare, consumed, burned up.

Judgment day is coming. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that “It is appointed for man once to die, and after that comes judgment.”

Jesus said it in Matthew chapter 13:40–42:

Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Over and over and over again through Scripture we see this theme of a coming judgment of God on unrepentant sinners. I took the first five days of this series to build the case that it’s a righteous judgment, that it’s deserved for our exceedingly great sinfulness, and that there’s a means of escape that God has provided that no one has to perish.

So what is the message? Believe the gospel and repent. God is delaying this final judgment. He is giving you an opportunity to come into the ark, to come to Christ for salvation.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish,” you don’t have to perish, “but have everlasting life.”

Romans 3:23 says to us that “all have sinned.” All “fall short of the glory of God.” And in the context of that passage it says we all deserve the judgment of God. But Romans 3:24 says we “are justified [made right with God] by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

As I was preparing for this session this morning, seeking the Lord and waiting on Him and trying to get His heart for this series, my heart just longed to see those who may be listening, even today, believe the gospel and repent. Come to Christ for refuge. Come to Him for deliverance from the wrath of God.

There may be somebody in this room. You're a church member. You love Revive Our Hearts. You listen to the program. You read my books. You read other peoples' books. You sit in your church week after week and hear your pastor preach.

There is a man in my church who does not know Christ and knows he does not know Christ, who comes week after week and sits under the preaching of the Word of God.  I don’t know where you are in that. I don’t know where your heart is. Only God knows. But I’m saying, if you have not repented of your sin and believed the gospel, I plead with you, do it today.

God is delaying His judgment for you, to give you time to believe the gospel and repent of your sin. Flee to Christ for mercy. He is the ark. He is sufficient. There is room in Him for you, and God has been waiting for you to repent and believe, if you have not done that.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss inviting you to take refuge in Christ. If you’ve never come to Him in faith, repenting of your sins and seeking His forgiveness, will you pray with Nancy? We’d also like to send you some free literature about what it means to live as a new person and grow in your new-found faith. You can call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Do you ever find yourself fearing the judgment of God? If you’re in Christ, you can be free from fear. We’ll talk about it tomorrow. Now here’s Nancy to lead us in prayer.

Nancy: I don't know your heart. I don't know the condition of your soul. Our churches are loaded with people who have religion, but they don't have Christ. They are not prepared for the final coming of the judgment of God. They've believed in a church. They've signed somewhere on a dotted line. They've gone forward somewhere during a service or an invitation, or joined a church. They've done a lot of good and religious things, but they don't have Christ. They are still under God's judgment and wrath. That could be you that I’m speaking to today.

If God’s Spirit has brought conviction to your heart of your lost condition, can I just plead with you? Turn to Christ. Believe the gospel and repent. Run to Christ. Come to Him. If God is putting that on your heart, if God is initiating that call to you, He's saying, “The ark is open. The door is still open. The judgment has not come. The floods is not yet come. Believe the gospel and repent. Turn to Christ.”

You can do that right now just by saying, “O Lord, I cannot save myself. I am a sinner. I deserve Your judgment and wrath for my sin. Thank You for providing Christ as a sacrifice for my sin, as an ark where I may go and be safe.”

May lost sinners hear this message, O Lord, and be converted for Christ's sake. For you are willing that not all should perish, but that all would come to repentance. We give You glory for the souls that You are saving, Lord; for saving our soul and bringing us to Christ, our great Savior and refuge, in whose name we pray, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture was taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.