Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Noah (Conclusion pointing towards the return of Jesus)

Whenever God does something big in the history of humanity He lets us know about it. He tells us. He may not give us the specific details (e.g., time, date, place), but He warns us that something is going to happen. Take the flood for example; God warned Noah that He was going to flood the earth. He even helped Noah build the ark by giving him the instructions/blueprints for it. The people living around Noah had a chance to believe in Noah and what he was doing and be saved, but they didn’t listen.

There’s another big event in the history of humanity God has warned us about. It’s the return of Christ.

How’s it going to happen?
When’s it going to happen?
Will it be just like the Left Behind series?
Will things get better before He returns?
Will things get worse?
Will there be a World War III or IIII?
Will I fly up to meet Jesus in the clouds or just find myself in His presence?

I’m sure you could add several questions of your own to this list. But, why do we have so many questions? Is it because we want to be prepared and in the know about this big event?

I’ve studied Christ’ return and I have an opinion of how things will happen, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be surprised or that I could be completely wrong. I think we will all be surprised and a little wrong about how it’s all going to go down. Jesus says that He doesn’t even know the time or date of His return, but He is coming back. If He doesn’t and is “ok” with it, we should be too (though that’s hard to do). One thing I do know and am certain of; Jesus is coming back! One thing Christ asks of us is to be watchful and diligent in spreading the Word and Gospel of our savior Jesus to the lost. God’s Word compares the Return of Christ to the days of Noah. During that time people were carrying on with their ordinary lives (marrying, eating, drinking, ignoring God). Nobody stopped to inquire about the giant boat Noah was building…well…when the waters came they became interested, but it was too late. I hope we don’t miss the boat. I hope we are prepared for Christ’s return.

- What should we be doing to prepare for His return?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Noah (Genesis 6, pt.2)

Noah’s faith in God could have been handed down to him from his parents and his parents’ parents. However, his faith wasn’t synthetic in that he just believed because his parents believed. Noah’s faith was the real deal. How do I know? Because he walked with God and he listened to God. The guy built a boat the size of a football stadium. Did anybody even know what a boat was back then? Noah’s story reminds us of the words of James,

Faith without works is dead.

Imagine if he didn’t build the ark? Imagine if his faith was without works? This guy lived it out. He was real. His relationship with God made him complete and it made a difference in his present life. Reality, in the world and people around Noah was missing Someone. It lacked. It was incomplete; a life lived without God always is. Noah, in his relationship with God, found out who he really was, his purpose we might say. This reality, this absolute truth, was so encompassing to Noah and his life that he didn’t want to walk away. He tasted and saw that the Lord was good.

- How do I live like that?
- How do I walk with God in such a way that I actually hear Him speaking?
- How do I trust God at the level Noah did?
- Is it even possible?

On our own this would be impossible. But when we receive Christ we are adopted into His family. This family (the church universal) is a big help to us. We are also given the Spirit of the Lord, who dwells richly within us. This Spirit acts like a teacher and guide in that He instructs and leads us (we must be willing and submissive of course) in how we should live. When we do something we shouldn’t He tells us about it (sometimes in a gentle way and sometimes in a not so gentle way). He helps us through trials by giving us wisdom and hope. He helps us spiritually discipline ourselves so we can become stronger. He grants us the freedom to choose God’s path. God’s Spirit living within the believer and the believer working with the Spirit is what makes the impossible possible.

The question is not a matter of probability, but a matter of reality. Do you believe you can live a life like Noah? I know he is one of Hall of Faith-famers in Hebrews 11, but reality (God’s Word) teaches that we can be there too! Do you believe that? Noah shows us that it’s about a personal relationship with God. It’s about taking the time to listen and deciding to obey. Noah’s world may be separated from ours by several thousand years, but were the trials he faced really that much different than ours today? Noah lived in the days when God hadn’t poured out His Spirit upon all people, but we do. We can find favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Noah (Genesis 6, pt.1)

This is part 1 to a brief 2-part series on Noah. He was a remarkable man! Part 2 coming next week.

There’s an old gospel song I remember hearing at church that went a little something like this,

Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord
Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord
Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord

I don’t remember much more of the song (is there more to it?), just the nine words sung over and over. I never thought too much or too hard about what the Bible and the song were actually saying/trying to say. What does it mean that Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord? Let’s take a look at what was happening in Noah’s world (the context).

The Context
During the time of Noah mankind had reached the epitome of selfishness. Sin, conceived in the Garden of Eden in the hearts of Adam and Eve, had run its course. People were turning away from a relationship with God to pursue the dark path of narcissism. Kings were abusing their power and sleeping with whomever they wanted. Murder, abuse, greed, and sexual immorality were rampant. Evil desires were the dress code of Noah’s day. Do whatever you want. Genesis 6:5 says,

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Things were so bad God decided to start over. However, instead of obliterating mankind and starting from scratch, God chose a righteous man named Noah to rebuild/start over with (we owe him a big thank you!). The Scriptures describe Noah as blameless and one who walked with God. The same thing was said of Noah’s ancestor Enoch (Gen 5:24). Despite the wickedness and temptations surrounding him, Noah maintained a relationship with God.

- How?
- How could he resist evil?
- How could he walk with God during such a vile time?
- How could he walk with God when it wasn’t popular?
- Why did he stick with God?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Some helpful information

It's been a while! Life has been busy and has me on the move. My wife and I finished our childbirth classes and have 4 1/2 weeks until the baby arrives.

In case you haven't heard, Discovery channel has a special on the discovery of the bones of Jesus and his wife. For those of you interested in studying the reality of this fictitious documentary here are a few recommended sites:

Ben Witherinton III (Professor at Asbury)

Ken Schenck (Professor at Indiana Wesleyan)

Scot McNight (Professor of Religious Studies at North Park University)

Hope this helps in your study!

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