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Great Invitations

Sermon #1

 

Gen. 7:1-16         THE INVITATION TO COMMITMENT

Intro: The Bible is a book of invitations! Beginning here and continuing to the very last verses of Revelation, God is involved in the business of inviting people to come to Him for salvation, for the help they need, and for the things they lack in life. It thrills my soul to think that the Lord of Glory would invite people like you and me to come to Him. As the Lord leads, over the next several weeks, we will be examining some of the great invitations found in the Bible. I hope they will be a help, a challenge and blessing in your life.

      We begin today with the first gospel invitation in the Bible. The word “come” is used some 1,972 times in the Bible. Gen. 7:1 is the first time it is used as a command and as an invitation. Here, God calls Noah and his family to come into the Ark so that they might be saved from the flood of water that He is about to send upon the earth.

      This invitation has my interest today. Even though it was given thousands of years ago, God is still inviting people to enter an Ark of safety. I would like to take this invitation and show you that it still stands today. I would also like to show you that this invitation will do you no good unless you accept and come in. Before Noah and his family could be saved they had to commit themselves to accepting the Lord’s invitation to enter the Ark. If you and I are going to be saved, then we have to commit to accepting His invitation as well. I would like to take these verses and preach for a while about The Invitation To Commitment. If God is calling you to come into the Ark, you should heed His call and come today.

 

  I.  v. 1             THE SANCTUARY OF THIS INVITATION

·         The Ark must have been an unusual sight as it sat there in ancient Mesopotamia. It was a wooden box 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. It had been built by a preacher and his three sons. For the last 120 years, Noah had worked on the Ark and preached his message that a torrential rain and a terrible flood was coming upon the earth. Surely, people thought Noah and his family were mad! After all, it has never rained on the earth, much less flooded. Still, Noah labored and told his neighbors that they needed to come into the Ark when it was finished if they wanted to be saved. He told them over and over that the Ark he was building was the only hope any of them had.

·         His neighbors may have thought Noah insane, and the Ark he constructed must have looked out of place sitting there on dry ground, but Noah was right about everything he did and said. The Ark he was building would be the only hope humanity had in that generation!

      That Ark was to be a sanctuary against the storm of wrath that was brewing against the sin and evil found on earth. As God looked upon the earth, some of the things He saw disturbed Him greatly:

Ø      Gen. 6:1-4 – There was intermarriage between the godly line of Seth and the ungodly offspring of Cain. This was an attempt to pervert the human bloodline and prevent the birth of the Messiah, Gen. 3:15. The children born of this union were evil beyond words.

Ø      Gen. 6:5 – God saw the wickedness of man and knew that man was hopelessly corrupt. Every desire within mankind drew him away to evil thoughts and deeds.

Ø      Gen. 6:11-12 – God looked at man and saw that man had ruined the earth. Man was unjust and violent. Man had abandoned the ways of the Lord and had turned from God completely.

Ø      Gen. 6:6-7 – God’s solution is to destroy mankind.

·         The Bible tells us that one man, among all the men of the earth, was still walking in the ways of the Lord. God extended His grace to Noah, Gen. 6:8. We are told that Noah was “just”. This does not mean that he was sinless; it means that his faith was in God and God counted him righteous on the basis of that faith. That is the way it has always been! In Gen. 15:6 we are told that Abraham “believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” If you are saved, it is because of grace through faith! You believed God and He gave you His righteousness, apart from any works on your part, Rom. 3:23-26.

·         Noah is commanded to build this great Ark, Gen. 6:13-22. Noah is told that this Ark will provide him, his family and all the creatures of the earth, a place of safety and sanctuary. That Ark was the only place in the universe where Noah and his family could be safe.

·         That was then and this is now and there is still a place of Sanctuary. You see the Ark Noah built was a real boat, but it was a so a picture. The Ark serves as a great picture of Jesus Christ and the salvation He provides, 1 Pet. 3:18-21. Notice how this Ark speaks of Jesus.

Ø      Its Substance – Gopher wood – cypress, almost indestructible, durable, will not rot. Wood is a picture of humanity in the Bible. This wood pictures the humanity of Jesus Christ. Just as those trees had to be cut down to build Noah’s Ark, Jesus had to be cut down to provide a place of sanctuary for you and me, Isa. 53:4-6. (Ill. The agony and glory of Calvary!)

Ø      Its Security – After the Ark was built, it was covered with “pitch”. This word is used seventy other times in the Old Testament and each time it is translated “atonement”. It literally means a covering. The wood alone could not keep the water out, there had to be a covering. The word “atonement” brings to mind the shedding of blood, Lev. 17:11. It is not the humanity, or the life of Jesus that saves us, it is His death and the shedding of His blood! He did not come to set and example, He same to die, Mark 10:45. It is the blood that seals us and keeps us safe from the wrath of God, Rom. 5:9!

Ø      Its Size – The Ark was 450’ long, 75’ wide and 45’ high. It could contain three million cubic feet! It was plenty big enough to hold all who would desire to enter. This is a picture of the sufficiency of Jesus! He is able to save all who will come to Him, Heb. 7:25. There is room at His cross for you!

Ø      Its Shape – It was not shaped like a boat, it would have looked like a floating coffin. This speaks to us of the fact that Jesus died for us and when we receive Him, we die to the world. When Noah entered his Ark, he was identifying with death. When we come to Jesus, we are identifying with His death on the cross and our own death to sin! (Col. 3:1ff)

Ø      Its Structure – Gen. 6:16 – The Ark had one door; one window and three stories. These elements are a picture of salvation.  The one door was set low so that all could enter, John 10:9. The window was high so that all would have to look up, Col. 3:2. The three stories remind us that salvation is a work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It also reminds us that when a person is saved, their whole person – body, soul and spirit- is changed, 2 Cor. 5:17!

Ø      Its Sustenance – Gen. 6:21 – Noah was saved by the ship and he was also satisfied in the ship. He had everything in the Ark that he would need to survive the flood. In Jesus, the believer will find satisfaction for the soul. He is bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty. Those who come to Him will find that He is all the need to be satisfied, John 6:35.

Ø      Its Schedule – Gen. 8:4 – The Ark came to rest on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Why is that important? The seventh month is when the Passover takes place. Jesus died as they were offering the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month. He was raised three days later – the seventeenth day of the month. The Ark rested on the same day Jesus would rise again from the dead.

Ø      Its Supply – Noah’s name means “rest”. When Noah entered the Ark, he found rest, safety and salvation. Being in the Ark saved his life; believing in Almighty God saved his soul!

·         Can you see how the ancient Ark pictures Jesus? If you can, then please understand this: the wrath of God is about to be poured out on this world. There is only one place of where safety and salvation can be found. We do not have an Ark, but we do have a Savior and His Name is Jesus. He died for your sins on the cross; He rose from the dead and He is calling you to come to Him for salvation.

      You can adopt any religion you choose; follow any plan you wish; believe any doctrine you want to; but if you are ever going to be saved, you must receive Jesus Christ as your Savior! Yes, it sounds like a narrow plan and it is. It is, however, the only way any soul will ever be saved, Eph. 2:18; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:12; Acts 16:31.

·         Have you entered the Ark of Sanctuary? Are you saved from the wrath that is coming upon this world? There is only one place of safety. Jesus Christ is our Ark of safety from the wrath of God, Rom. 6:23.

 

 II.  v. 1           THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THIS INVITATION

·         The Ark was not Noah’s idea, it was God’s. If God had not spoken to Noah, he would have died in the flood too. Gen. 6:8 tells the tale, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” The one word that made the difference in Noah’s life was “grace”. Yes, Noah was maintaining the ways of the Lord in a wicked day, but he was still a sinner! When the Bible says that Noah “was perfect in his generations”; it means that his bloodline had not been polluted. Because of his sins, Noah still deserved nothing from God but judgment and damnation. But, God reached into Noah’s darkness and extended grace to him. He told Noah about a way of salvation and then he invited Noah to come into the Ark to be saved. I have heard all kinds of different things preached about Noah, but it comes down to pure, precious, perfect, powerful grace!

      Were it not for the grace of God, Noah would never have known about the flood that would have killed him, or the Ark that would have saved him. Both of those insights were the gift of amazing grace!

·         If you are in the Ark of Salvation today, you are there because God extended His grace to you.  You didn’t come to God on your own. You came to Jesus because God, in His grace, His mercy and His love, drew you to Himself, John 6:44. You are saved because God looked beyond your dead, darkened, deceived, doomed condition and He reached out to you in grace, Eph. 2:1-10.

·         We will never know about the wrath of God or the Hell that awaits the sinner unless God in grace shows us. We will never see the truth of our own sinful condition unless God in grace show us. We will never know that Jesus can save us and deliver us from Hell unless God in grace shows us.

·         In salvation God comes to the lost sinner. God opens his blinded eyes. God shows him his lost condition; He convicts his heart of sin; He draws that lost sinner to Jesus; He causes him to understand that Jesus died for Him and rose from the dead. He even gives the lost sinner the faith he needs to be saved. From start to finish, salvation is the work of the grace of God, Eph. 2:8-9! Man has no part in the process beyond simple faith; and even the very faith he uses to receive Jesus is the gift of God’s grace!

·         If it had not been for the grace of God Noah would have died in his sins and went to Hell. It was the grace of God that moved his to faith and action. The same is true today! Salvation is still all of grace and all of God. Hallelujah!

 

III.  v. 16             THE SECURITY OF THIS INVITATION

When God called, Noah heeded the Lord’s voice. He entered the Ark and found safety and security. We are told that when it came time for the floods to come, God Himself “shut him in”. I want you to notice a couple of amazing truths here.

1.  God did not say “Go into the Ark”. God said “Come into the Ark”. He did not say, “Go into the Ark and I’ll be watching you”. He said, “Come into the Ark and I will be with you!” There is a big difference! Now, look ahead to Gen. 8:16. Here, God says, “Go forth of the Ark…” Do you see it? God said, “Come in here with me” at the beginning and He was still in there with them at the end! Noah was as safe in that Ark as God was! If that Ark had gone down, God would have gone down too! God was there in the beginning; He was there through the dark days of wrath; and He was there when they landed on the mountains of a new day! The same is true for us too!

2.  God shut them in. He controlled the door and He determined who went in and who stay in. He sealed them in and they were safe there until they arrived at their destination. The saint of God has been “sealed unto the day of redemption”, Eph. 4:30. He has sealed us in Christ and He has sealed Jesus within Himself, Col. 3:3. We are safe and secure.

3.  Noah was kept safe in that Ark by the mighty power of God. The Lord saw to it that the Ark rode the waves safely and reached its intended destination. The saints of God in Christ are also kept by the power of God, 1 Pet. 1:5.

4.  As the flood waters came on the earth they rose until they were some 22 feet above the highest mountains on the earth, Gen. 7:19-20. But, did you notice that as the water rose higher, the Ark rose even higher? “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”, Rom. 5:20!

            I am sure the trip was rough. The boat must have pitched and rolled. Noah may have even battled a little sea-sickness from time to time. But that Ark kept its cargo safe until it reached the mountains of rest. God never promised us a smooth voyage; but He did promise is that the landing would be safe!

 

Conc: Noah survived because he believed God and entered the Ark by faith. He could have doubted the integrity and ability of the Ark. He could have found failed to believe the promises of God. Noah could have stayed outside. If he had, he would have died with the rest! But, when God’s invitation came to him, Noah entered the Ark by faith and he was saved.

      I want to call your attention to one last thought. When God shut the door of that ark, Noah was on the inside looking out, and the world was on the outside looking in. There was only one ark and there was only one door. So there's only one way to be saved - God's way. There's only one way to God's way - the Lord Jesus Christ who said, “I am the door.” (John 10:9) When the flood of God's judgment is poured out one last time on this rebellious earth, the only thing that's going to matter is this: which side of that door are you on?

        

One door, and only one

And yet its sides are two;

I am on the inside

On which side are you?

 

      Is He calling you to come into the Ark of Salvation today? Are you ready to flee the wrath that is coming on the earth? Come into the Ark and be saved today. Are you ready to make your commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ? Right now, we are in the seven day period, Gen. 7:10. The door stands open now; it will close soon; which side will you be on when it does?

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