Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Secure on the Ark

Leslie Basham: Does talk of judgment make you nervous? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You don’t need to fear the judgment of God. You don’t need to fear the wrath of God if you’re a child of God, if you’re in the ark, if you’ve believed God, if you’ve repented of your sin and placed your faith in Christ. Now, if you haven’t, you ought to be in terror of the judgment and the wrath of God. 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, August 11, 2015.

This week we’ve been in a series called "Noah and the Flood." It’s led us into some heavy discussions of sin and judgment. If you know Christ, you can listen to discussions like that with peace and joy in your heart. You don’t have to fear. Here’s Nancy to explain.

Nancy: As we’ve been in this study over the last week, we’ve seen that the whole world was destroyed in the great flood under God’s judgment and wrath. This was not just a natural disaster. This was the hand of God. By the way, the hand of God is behind all natural disasters, in one fashion or another. But this was the direct response of God to the sinfulness of the human race. He purposed in His heart to blot out sin and sinners, to give the earth a fresh, new start.

In that great judgment one man and his family were spared. How? By grace through faith. And that faith was ultimately in Christ. They didn’t know Christ. They hadn’t seen Christ. But they had seen what pointed to Christ. They were believing God’s promises, believing God’s Word. There is no other way to be saved from the wrath and the judgment of God.

So Jesus said in Matthew 7:13, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” And isn’t that what we see in the flood? Many, maybe a billion, souls perished in that great flood. It was a wide way. It was the broad way. It was the easy way. It was the natural way, to go the way of destruction.

But verse 14 of Matthew 7 says, “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” How many found refuge in Noah’s day? Eight: one man, his wife, his three sons and their wives.

So in the flood God blotted out, He wiped out the corruption on the earth. He gave it a fresh start. But God preserved this one family. Noah found favor, found grace, in the eyes of the Lord. He was made righteous by grace through faith, and God’s plan for preserving a righteous seed was fulfilled.

The story of Noah becomes a type, a picture, of the Lord Jesus, who would come to our corrupt world as God’s ark of safety, God’s way of safety, the narrow way. The way that few find is the way of Christ. We have so many world religions today, all claiming to be the truth, all claiming to be the way to God. There is one way to God: His name is Jesus. Christ is the only way to be spared from the judgment and wrath of God.

We said in the last session that we want to ask the “So what?” question. So what about the flood? We talked in the last session about the “So what?” for unbelievers, unrepentant sinners. What is the “So what?” for them? Believe the gospel, repent and be saved.

Now we want to talk about the “So what?” for those of us who have already believed the gospel. What are the implications of the story of the flood for those of us who are already believers in Christ, those who are under the grace of God?

If you are in the ark, if you are in Christ by grace through faith, you are safe. You are assured that if
you are in Christ, you will never, ever, ever experience the wrath and the judgment of God for your sins.

We talked a lot, early in this series, about the sinfulness of man, the degradation of this world, the depravity of man; that’s the condition into which we were born. But God sent Christ to this world, and at the cross of Christ, Jesus took on Himself all of my guilt, all of my sin. He paid the price for that sin so I could be right with God. As a result I never have to experience the wrath or judgment of God for my sin.

Let’s look at this in the life of Noah. God established a covenant relationship with Noah. That covenant relationship was pledged before the flood. In Genesis 6:17, God said,

For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you (vv. 1718).

What did Noah do? Noah believed God. That’s how he was made righteous. He believed God. Hebrews 11 tells us, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” So Noah believed God. He responded in obedience. He demonstrated his faith by building that ark according to the command of God.

Now, that covenant that was pledged before the flood was actually made and explained and sealed with Noah after the flood. We read about that in Genesis chapter 9, beginning at verse 8, “Then God said to Noah . . .” They’ve had the flood, the waters have receded, the ark has come to rest on the mount; Noah and his family have gone out of the ark, and:

God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you [you’ll see that word over and over again in this passage] that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: [What is the sign?] I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” [When the bow is in the clouds], God said to Noah, “I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth” (vv. 8–17). 

What’s the word that keeps recurring there? Covenant. This is a covenant relationship, sealed with the sign of the bow—the rainbow.

What is the rainbow? Every time it appears, it’s the sign of God’s covenant-keeping faithfulness, that when God says you are safe, you are secure in this ark, you can count on it. You are safe. God will keep you. You will not experience the wrath, the judgment of God. So in that rainbow God perpetually reminds Himself never to flood the whole world again.

Now, that rainbow has incredible significance. The word bow is the word used in the Genesis account we just read. The word bow there in the Hebrew is the same word that is also translated in other places a battle bow, as in a bow and arrow. God’s not putting a bow and arrow in the sky. It’s a rainbow.

But there’s a similarity between the two. He’s saying the battle bow has now been put away. The suggestion is that the battle is over. The storm is over. It speaks of peace now that God has put away His battle bow.

Remember how in the ancient world they made treaties after they would have wars? They were peace treaties. Well, God made a peace treaty. He made a covenant of peace. He reminded believers that the war was over between God and man, that those who would come for refuge into the ark were safe. So when we see that bow in the sky, it’s a picture that God has brought peace into our relationship with Him. We’re no longer enemies of God. We’ve been restored to fellowship with Him.

God has hung His bow in the sky, and it’s a picture of the peace that will come in this world after the final judgment of God. Final judgment is followed by that great, world-wide, millennial peace and rest. So the rainbow reminds us of God’s promises and says to us that you can count on God to keep His word.

What are some of those promises as it relates to our salvation? Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Believe it. The rainbow says, “Believe that promise.” Romans 5:1, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God.”

In John chapter 10, Jesus said, “I give [my sheep] eternal life, and they will never perish” (v. 28). Never. You don’t need to fear the judgment of God. You don’t need to fear the wrath of God if you’re a child of God, if you’re in the ark, if you’ve believed God, if you’ve repented of your sin and placed your faith in Christ.

Now, if you haven’t, you ought to be in terror of the judgment and the wrath of God, and I’ve tried to communicate something of that through this series. But your heart can be at rest and at peace if you have believed the gospel of Christ and repented and come to Him for refuge. You don’t need to be tormented in your conscience, tormented by guilt, tormented by fear of judgment to come. Believe the promises of God.

Are you in Christ? Are you in the ark? Have you believed the gospel and repented of your sins? Then trust the promises of God.

  • “No judgmen.t”
  • “No condemnation.”
  • “They will never perish.”
  • “I will never cast them out.”
  • “No man can snatch them out of my hand.”
  • “We have been justified by faith.”

Right with God. What a promise! Believe it.

I want to talk today about a few other implications in our lives as believers. What does this story mean to us? How does it affect the way that we live? How does it impact our daily lives?

We see one of the implications of the story in the book of Genesis, chapter 8, verse 20, as Noah came off that ark where he had been preserved from the judgment and wrath of God. When perhaps a billion souls had perished, Noah and seven others with him were preserved. What did Noah do in chapter 8, verse 20? He “built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”

What was Noah doing? He was responding to the mercy and the grace of God. And how did he respond? In worship. In gratitude. In humility. In sacrifice.

As he offered those sacrifices, though he did not yet have the Word of God as we have it today, he didn’t know all about the sacrificial system. Those sacrifices he offered, he knew in his heart it was right. He knew in his heart that atonement, forgiveness for sin, requires a sacrifice—that the sacrifice ultimately is Christ. So in offering these sacrifices, Noah was giving us a picture, a reminder of the fact that atonement for sin requires a sacrifice.

We’ve studied in this series the guilt of man. We’ve studied the fact that we deserve God’s wrath and judgment for our guilt. We’ve studied the grace of God that brings salvation to those who believe. Now, what’s our response?

“Thank You, Lord!” Gratitude! Wonder! Amazement! “I worship You. I make an altar to You. I sing to You. What a great and kind and merciful and gracious God You are!” It’s a response of worship and gratitude.

Here’s another “So what?” that has been impacting my thinking as I’ve been walking through this study. It has to do with our response to the whole problem of suffering, circumstances that are beyond our control, things we have to bear in life that are hard. We tend to get this kind of “woe is me” view of life when we go through these hard things.

But you know, that kind of thinking is always rooted in assuming that we deserve something better. But once you have a concept of your sinfulness (which we’ve tried to emphasize during this series), once you have a concept of the judgment of God that you deserve for your sin (and I’ve tried to explain that in the best way I know how), once you have a sense of your sin and God’s judgment that you deserve, you will never be able to contend with God over His will, even if that will involves suffering, because you realize, “I don’t deserve anything better.” Anything good I have in my life, any blessings in my life are more than I deserve.

Then, if you’re a child of God, you can trust God to be your refuge in times of storm, not only the ultimate eternal storms of God’s judgment and wrath (we’ve talked about how He will protect us from that), but you can trust God to be your refuge in the storms of life here on this earth, the temporal storms, the little storms by comparison to that ultimate one.

There’s a wonderful passage in 2 Peter chapter 2. In the context he’s talking about how God preserved Noah and seven others with him when God brought a flood on the world of the ungodly. Then in verse 9 he says, “Therefore the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.”

One of the things God has been doing in my heart as I’ve been studying this passage in recent weeks is just continuing to remind me, in the storms of everyday life that I face—much like the ones that you face, perhaps—that if I’m in Christ, I’m safe. As long as I am in that ark, as long as I am in Christ, I am safe, not only eternally but in the here and now.

While we’re in 2 Peter, let me ask you to turn over just one chapter to chapter 3. We’re jumping in the middle of the passage here. If you look at verse 10, he’s talking about the Day of the Lord. We’ve talked about this already. It will come like a thief, the heavens will pass away, the heavenly bodies will be burned up, the earth and the works that are on it will all be consumed in the judgment of God.

Now, verse 11, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be . . .” Now, that’s not so much a question as it is an exclamation. If you know that the judgment of God is coming on the earth, what kind of life should you be living?

It goes on to say, “. . . lives of holiness [has to do with our conduct, our lifestyle] and godliness [that has to do with our heart attitude], waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” That word waiting for occurs three times in this passage. Hastening has to do with, not that we can make it come sooner, but it means "earnestly desiring, expecting, longing for the day of God." This isn’t the Day of the Lord. That’s the Day of Judgment.

But the day of God is not something to be feared or dreaded. It’s something to hope for. It’s the day that will be the end of all sin, the end of all corruption, and the beginning of a new creation, where we will have eternal glory and holiness in the presence of God. Is that not something to look forward to?

Verse 13, “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” You see, God blotted out all human life thousands of years ago in the flood. But Noah and his family, though they were preserved, were still sinners. So once they got out of the ark and began to repopulate the world, the world quickly became corrupt and violent again just like it had before the flood.

So what’s the difference in the judgment that’s coming and the new heavens and the new earth to follow? One day God will again destroy this world, but this time there will be new heavens and a new earth; everything will be holy. We will be holy. There will be no presence of sin in this world. What a day to look forward to!

So he says in verse 14, “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” What is he saying? Live in constant readiness for the return of Christ. This time of God’s patience and long-suffering is an opportunity for those who are perishing to repent, to believe, to be saved.

So what are we to do while God is being patient? This is an opportunity for us to do what Noah did: to proclaim the gospel; to proclaim the grace of God to those who are lost; to call them—our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, our family members—to call them to repent and believe and be saved.

In verse 17 he says, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.” Don’t believe everything you hear. Don’t believe everything you read. Be careful about who you listen to. Be careful about what you listen to.

There are false teachers. They’ve been around for years. They’ll be around until Jesus comes back. They’re deceptive. They pose as Bible teachers. You can hear some of them on Christian media today. Examine everything you hear by the Word of God, because these false teachers who have a false agenda can draw you away. They can affect your own spiritual stability. But instead, what should you do?

Verse 18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

That’s the purpose of the story of the flood. It’s a purposeful, intentional story to point us to the fact that all of life is for the glory of God. Live for His glory. Live in light of eternity. To Him be the glory, both now and until the day of eternity.

Thank You, Lord, for the greatness of Your Word, for the greatness of Your ways, for the wonder of Your grace. Thank You that You’ve told us how to live now in light of the coming, ultimate judgment.

Thank You, Lord, that we look for something beyond that to the day of God. Help us to live now in light of the end of the story, to live for Your glory. May we be found doing that until the day of Your return. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: Did you ever realize that the story of Noah and the flood could be so practical? Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray. We’ve talked about some heavy, important, and joyful topics over this week. If you missed any of it, I hope you’ll get a copy on CD. You can order at ReviveOurHearts.com. When you do, you’ll get additional teaching that we didn’t have time to air.

Nancy brought out some fascinating elements of this story. Today she compared the rainbow God hung in the sky to the bow and arrows of a warrior. Sally Lloyd-Jones make the same point in The Jesus Storybook Bible. Nancy reads a sample.

Nancy: “The first thing Noah did was to thank God for rescuing them, just as He had promised. And the first thing God did was make another promise: I won’t ever destroy the world again. 

“And like a warrior who puts away his bow and arrow at the end of a great battle, God said, See, I have hung up My bow in the clouds. And there in the clouds, just where the storm meets the sun was a beautiful bow made of light. It was a new beginning in God’s world.

“It wasn’t long before everything went wrong again, but God wasn’t surprised. He knew this would happen. That’s why before the beginning of time He had another plan, a better plan: a plan not to destroy the world but to rescue it; a plan to one day send His own Son, the Rescuer.

“God’s strong anger against hate and sadness and death would come down once more, but not on His people or His world. No, God’s war bow was not pointing down at His people. It was pointing up into the heart of heaven.

Leslie: That story is from The Jesus Storybook Bible, great for families and for anyone who wants to get inside classic Bible stories and gain new insights. This book will show you how Bible stories are linked. Nancy says everyone needs to understand the Bible from this big picture point of view.

Nancy: I think so many times, today’s children and adults are maybe moderately familiar with some of the better-known stories in the Bible like Noah and the ark, David and Goliath, and some of these familiar stories. But we don’t realize, and we’re not often teaching our children, I think, how those stories connect to the big picture of God’s redemptive plan, the redemptive story, the gospel, how it all ties together.

While it’s so important for parents to be not only teaching their children the stories of the Bible, but showing them why those stories matter, what they have to do with the gospel, and to be training and discipling our children, the next generation, in that great redemptive story.

Leslie: We’d like to send you a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible as our way of saying “thanks” when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Ask for The Jesus Storybook Bible when you call 1–800–569–5959, or support the ministry and get this book by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Tomorrow we'll see an important story of Mary Magdalene with teacher Janet Parshall. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture was taken from the English Standard Version.

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