Noah and Today

Scripture: Luke 17:26, Genesis 6:5-9, Genesis 7:18-22
Jesus is coming soon. Most people are more concerned about being conformed to the world than in preparing for Christ's second coming. Like in the days of Noah, many are caught up in living for the pleasures of this world.
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One of the strangest things in our modern world is the tremendous power and influence of conformity. It almost seems that the millions of Americans are made up and packaged according to the same recipe and formula. Especially do we find this true as far as youth and teenagers are concerned. There seems to be a massive hysterical obsession to be with an "in" group that seeks to set the pace in almost every area of life. This reminds us of what Jesus had to say about the proportion of who would be saved in His coming kingdom. Jesus made it clear that very, very few of earth's people would be ready for Him at His return. He said, "narrow is the way and strait is the gate that leadeth into life and few there be that find it." Everything we see in this 20th century confirms the fact that only a small minority are seeking to put God first in their lives.

In Luke 17:26 Christ spoke these words, "And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man, they did eat, they drank, they married wives and they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." Now, friends, the reason that more people do not follow the truth today is the same reason, exactly, that more people did not flock into Noah's ark back in the days of the flood. That is what the Bible says. And when you read and analyze that story, you see that out of a whole world there were only eight people saved. And the same things that kept people out then are holding people back now from following God's great message of truth.

I don't know whether you realize it or not but Noah was a mighty preacher of righteousness. The Bible calls him that in 2 Peter 2:5. I'm convinced that he was one of the greatest preachers that this world has ever known. He preached for 120 years. Now the trouble with most of us, as preachers, is this, we study and preach until we just about learn how to preach and then we are too old to preach anymore. But not so with this man Noah. You see, he lived back in the time when the world was young. Men were very long lived in those days. The present span of life between maturity and senility is about 40 or 50 years at best. These are the years in which one may build a productive career. But the men of Noah's time had about 20 times this long in which to live and progress. Try to imagine what it would mean if people still lived as long as they did then.

If Noah was a boy today, his father might be a war veteran as so many fathers are. However, the war stories he could tell would not be confined to his service under Eisenhower or MacArthur. He could also have served under Pershing, Grant, Jackson, Napoleon and Washington. Noah's grandfather might tell how he carried some of the twenty-four dollars worth of cloth and trinkets for Peter Minuet when he bought Manhattan Island from the Indians in 1626. Of course, Noah's father and grandfather were still young men. If he should visit some of these older neighbors perhaps he would talk to Gutenberg who printed the first Bible from movable type about 1450. He could hear the story of the Magna Carta from one of the barons who forced its guarantees from King John. He could thrill to the reminiscences of the crusaders from veterans of even the first crusade in 1096. People these days feel fortunate if they get to know five generations. If they can remember their grandparents from their childhood, and then live to see their own grandchildren, they feel they are long-lived. But someone as old as a man of Noah's day could be acquainted with thirty generations.

Now friends, there were giants in stature and strength, in wisdom and skill, in those days. The development possible for a man over nine centuries is unbelievable. Try to imagine the civilization that might be ours if the Einsteins, the Edisons, the Luther Burbanks, the Pasteurs, the Beethovens could live nine hundred years instead of the usual three score and ten. Of course, while you are doing that, don't forget another side of the picture. Genesis tells us that the wickedness of man was great in the earth. And no wonder atheism was rampant, because the Julian Huxleys and the Karl Marxs also span thrity generations. People suffered great injustices and oppressions because the Hitlers and Mussolinis and the Kadars were living for centuries.

From the description of things given in the Bible, it would seem that the antediluvian world had almost made a science out of sin. In Genesis 6:5 we read, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." I tell you friends, the world had just about completely degenerated and become totally demoralized. We get some idea of the moral conditions by what Jesus said. He declared that the world of the last days would be just like it was before the flood. We can well compare the age in which we live to the vast moral dissolution which must have obsessed the world in the time of Noah. So, as the surgeon cuts away a tumor or a diseased organ in order to prolong the life of a body, God says in Genesis 6:7, "And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth." But, as always, God tempered His judgment with mercy. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord because Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God according to Genesis 6:8, 9.

God told him about the coming flood. He gave a detailed instruction about building an ark in which those who so desired might survive. No such thing had been seen before, of course. Surely the idea must have sounded preposterous to the great scientists of the day. Noah could get no confirmation of the possibility of such a disaster from them. If he asked the meteorologist at the weather bureau, they informed him that a rain of such proportions was utterly impossible. If he suggested to the geologist that the crust of the earth might be broken and release great quantities of water under pressure, he was likely met with an indulgent smile and assured that the earth's crust had served well for several million years and would continue to do so. If he consulted with theologians he was piously told that the God of love and mercy would never allow such a tragedy. No doubt this was followed by a lecture designed to awaken his social consciousness. Ought he not to quit squandering time, materials and wealth on that ridiculous ark and devote himself to something practical; like some low-cost housing developments and play-ground projects? Friends, believe me, it took a giant of faith to accept God's word in the face of this overwhelming, contradictory evidence. But Noah was such a giant. "By faith Noah being warned of God concerning the events as yet unseen, constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of righteousness which come by faith." Hebrews 11:7.

Thus, the world got another preacher of coming judgment. Year after year he preached. And with each passing year he must have looked more ridiculous in the eyes of the people. He became the standing joke of his age. His ark and beard became familiar cartoon subjects. Every psychiatrist had his theory about the inside of Noah's brain, and what repressions, inhibitions or shocks had contributed to its derangement's. Had anyone ever given such monstrous expression to feelings of insecurity. To carry an umbrella in that rainless age would have been grounds for suspicion, but to build a ship in ones back yard just in case, well, really! But Noah refused to be discouraged. Year after year, decade after decade, he continued preaching and building. Then one day he laid his tools away for the last time. Animals began coming in pairs and sevens. Birds likewise, made an orderly entrance into this land-bound boat. Finally, Noah and his family went into the ark and the door was shut. One week later the sun was blotted out by the black clouds.

In spite of the predictions of the weather bureau, for forty days and nights the skies poured torrents of rain. In spite of the smug dictum of the geologists, the fountains of the deep were broken up. In spite of the theologians who tried by their own efforts to construct the kingdom of God on earth, the flood came. Genesis 7:18-22, "And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land died."

Well, its a strange and tragic story, friends. It was made of more vital interest to us by our Lord Jesus Christ when He said, "As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man." Recalling the days of Noah is just exactly like reviewing our modern society. Atheism is being taught in the schools of our own country and in the educational systems of the world. This is a civilization that has endured the butcheries of Buchenwald and Dachau, an age that has witnessed the deliberate starving to death of more than five million people during one season for the furtherance of a political objective. Stories of violence and larceny fill the daily newspaper. Yes, my friends, pleasure seeking has been made so easy we no longer need to go to places of amusement, we can bring the same amusements into our homes. Pleasure has become one of the principle avenues of appeal. We're asked to smoke for pleasure, drink for pleasure, eat for pleasure, even to buy soap for pure pleasure.

How do the standards for the modern home compare with those of Noah's day? His neighbors were polygamists. But our civilization scorns this practice. Surely, its evils are apparent in those areas where it's still legal. However, in one respect, open polygamy is not as vicious as the common brand of tandem polygamy, which permits as many wives or husbands as one wishes to collect, provided they are taken in succession or in rotation. The old-fashioned kind at least did not deprive the children of their father and mother as our shameful divorce procedures do. Could immorality have been any more widespread in the days of Noah than today? Anyone who thinks so, must be ignorant of the Kinsey reports. There's no need to dwell further on such wickedness. It would be impossible to exaggerate.

If conditions in Noah's day were similar to our own, then we can expect that much unbelief would exist today concerning God's last warning message. Do you realize, friends, that men still scoff and ridicule the idea of a universal flood? There are millions of people who do not even believe the Bible account that this world was once covered with a tremendous flood of water. In 2 Peter 3:3 and onward we read this, "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts. And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."

Oh, yes, just as men disbelieved the story of the flood in the antediluvian days so men today scoff at the idea of a great flood of fire coming to destroy the earth. And yet, friends, the Bible is filled with warnings and exhortations about the approaching end of all things. Peter says the very elements of the earth will melt with fervent heat. The curse of sin is going to burn out of this old vice-riddled world. Jesus described in fine and graphic details the signs which would mark the approaching end of things earthly.

There is nothing vague or mysterious about the way Christ described the events of earth which would characterize the end of the world. If men have eyes to see and ears to hear there will be no question at all concerning the truthfulness of that message. Yet, today the world is rushing madly along in a wild, unreasoning binge of pleasure and iniquity.

Millions of teenagers, young people and adults could care less about the solemn warnings contained in the word of God. The unpopular message of Noah made about the same impact on his world as the Word of God is now having upon the 20th Century world. But does this mean that the warning is not valid? No, my friends, the flood came in spite of the disbelief of an entire world in Noah's day. The end is coming and the destruction of the world will take place in spite of the universal disbelief of a scoffing world. It has become commonplace to see on television screens and the newspapers the ominous mushroom-like pillar of fire and smoke that reminds us of what atomic power has done and can do. The descriptions of its possible devastation sound very much like what the prophets described centuries ago. Pillars of fire and smoke, forsaken cities, the land emptied and spoiled; indeed, even melted. People walking like blind, their blood oozing out and their flesh rotting. Yes, my friends, the shaking of the earth and the nations is well underway. Man's hearts are failing them for fear. The prophets, the apostles and Jesus Christ have stated unequivocally that these conditions immediately precede the great day of judgment in the coming of our Lord. Are there any with enough of the faith of Noah to believe the warnings God has given? Or is this generation to go to its grave as did the word before the flood?

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