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Author:Rev. Ted Gray
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Congregation:First United Reformed Church
 Oak Lawn, Illinois
 www.oaklawnurc.org/
 
Title:Christ and the Ark of Salvation
Text:Genesis 6:9-7:24 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God The Son
 
Preached:09/03/2017
Added:2017-09-25
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


 

“Christ and the Ark of Salvation
Genesis 6:9-7:24
 
Many people would agree with the late columnist, Sydney Harris. In one of his syndicated columns he explained: “Although the Noah story, with the ark and the animals, is of course legendary and figurative, like many such tales, it is believed to have had some basis in historical fact. There was a flood of huge dimensions, and it had a profound effect on that part of the world.”
 
Just as there are many skeptics when it comes to the biblical account of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish, so also there are a great many skeptics when it comes to the biblical account of the flood. Many scoff at the account of Noah. Many are skeptical that there was a worldwide flood in which all species of animals, along with Noah and his family were spared by being in the ark. Many people today would say that the biblical story is a nice story for little children, but knowledgeable people realize that it didn't really happen that way.
 
Room for All
 
One of the first questions that the skeptics ask is: “How could all those animals fit on the ark?” After all, in Genesis 6:19 the Lord says to Noah, “You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.” And Genesis 7:2-3 records this command of the Lord: “Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.”
 
Although there are, and always have been, many skeptics, studies show that there was ample room for all the animals. Usually when we see a picture of an ark there are many large animals on it. You see the hippopotamus and its mate, the elephants and the giraffes. Those animals were indeed on the ark, but so were the smaller animals. And if you were to take the average size of all animals and combine them together you would find that the average size is smaller than a sheep. Two hundred forty sheep fit into one double-decker railroad car. How many railroad cars would fit in the ark? Five hundred sixty nine. That is more than enough space for all the species of animals.
 
Tim LaHaye and John Morris, in their book The Ark on Ararat point out that all the animals would fit in just half the space of the ark. That would leave half the space of the ark for Noah, for his family, and for all the provisions that would be needed. Perhaps some of you have seen the Noah presentation in Branson, Missouri. They do a very fine presentation, and part of it is a realistic portrayal of how all the animals would indeed fit in the ark with room left over.
 
We believe the account of Noah because it is recorded in the inerrant word of God. That is the basis for believing that there was a worldwide flood of immense proportions. But it is interesting to note that over the course of history there have been numerous sightings of a large ship on Mount Ararat in present day Turkey. These sightings are from antiquity.
 
Many Sightings
 
About the year 275 B.C., Berosus, a Babylonian historian, described how people would climb up Mount Ararat to get pitch from an old boat that was shipwrecked way up above the tree line.  Josephus, the reliable and well-known Jewish historian, also cites numerous ancient historians who had seen and heard about the petrified remains of a gigantic boat on Mount Ararat.
 
There have been recent sightings of this ship as well. During World War II photos were published in the Stars and Stripes magazine, as pilots who had flown over Mount Ararat were surprised to see the petrified remains of a great boat are there on the top of the mountain. For most of the year they are covered by snow and ice, for Mount Ararat is 16,854 feet above sea level.
 
The ship that so many people have recorded seeing over the course of history is large enough to fit the description of Genesis 6:15 where the Lord said to Noah, “This is how you are to build it: the ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.”
 
The ark was a massive ship. It was so large that it wasn't until the year 1858 that another ship that large, The Great Eastern, was made. It should not surprise us that the ark was so large, because God gave Noah the blueprint, and then God waited patiently for Noah to build the ark. From Genesis 6:3 many believe that it took Noah 120 years to build the ark, and Peter observes, in 1 Peter 3:20, that God waited patiently in the days of Noah.
 
The Extent of the Flood
 
Another area of truth that is often doubted is the extent of the flood. Some, such as the skeptical Sydney Harris, admit that way back in history there was “a flood of huge dimensions” but they can't imagine that the whole earth was flooded with water. Genesis 7:20 says that the waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.
     
There are many people who believe that is simply impossible, including some professing Christians. For instance Bernard Ramm wrote a book entitled, The Christian View. Although he was a professing Christian he argued against the worldwide flood because he reasoned that such a depth of water around the globe would be so heavy that it would throw off the orbit of the earth. He believed that there was a great flood, but that it was local, not worldwide. By human reasoning, many would agree with him.
 
But we understand that God is able to do what we are unable to comprehend. As Jesus said, “What is impossible for man is possible for God.” Not only is it possible for Almighty God to flood the world with water and still keep the orbit of the earth true to its course, there is ample evidence that that is exactly what the Lord did.
 
Around the world, there are large deposits of animal bones – petrified skeletons – which are found on high hills and mountains. They are found in well-known places such as the Rock of Gibraltar. And these collections of bones are found in unusual spots. There is a hill in northwestern Nebraska that rises up from the surrounding flat plain. At the top of the hill there is a large collection of petrified bones from animals of all types. The bones come from a diverse group of animals, from animals that would not normally be together, literally the lion and the lamb.
                               
What is the only explanation?  It is that as the waters rose around the world, all living creatures fled for refuge. But they could not escape the rising water. No matter how high they climbed the water caught up to them and they drowned.
 
Have you ever wondered how our oil and coal fields came to be? The humanist says, “They came about because of natural forces over billions of years.” But many Christians say, “Those fields came from the burial of vegetable and animal matter by flood activity back in the days of Noah.” Many Christians also understand that the fossil record points to the reality of the worldwide flood of Noah’s day.
 
The worldwide nature of the flood is significant because it points to the worldwide judgment of all the earth when Jesus returns on the last day. He won’t bring a righteous and perfect judgment on just part of the world, but the entire world and all who have lived in it. Everyone will face the flood of God’s judgement on that day, except those who have saving faith in Jesus Christ, for there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1 assures us.
 
There is much more evidence for the truth of Scripture regarding the worldwide flood. Some of you may have been to the Noah’s Ark Museum that has opened in Tennessee. I have not been there, but when I was at a restaurant not too long ago, having supper with a friend, we happened to be talking about Noah – I think I may have mentioned that I planned to preach about Noah in the not-too-distant future – and the waitress said, “I don't mean to butt in on your conversation but I just got back from visiting the Noah’s Ark Museum in Tennessee.  It was so amazing!”  I'm sure it is amazing, because it is based on the biblical truths that we have read about here in Genesis 6 and 7.
 
The Ark Points Us to Christ
 
But the real significance of Noah's Ark goes far beyond the flood. The real significance of the ark is that it points us to Jesus Christ. Just as Noah and his family were spared from God's judgment by being in the ark, so we who are in Christ through saving faith in him, are spared from the condemnation we deserve, spared from the flood of God's judgment that will come on this world on the last day, because we are secure in Christ. J.C. Ryle, a gifted Anglican writer from another era, pointed out that “What the ark was to Noah, Christ is to the soul.”
 
Noah and his family were perfectly secure in the ark. The ark had been coated with pitch both within and without. And the word for pitch, used in Genesis 6:14, is an interesting word. It is the word used when God speaks of how his righteous and proper wrath is appeased. God’s wrath against your sin and mine is appeased when it is covered by the precious blood of Christ. Then the Lord sees, not our sin, but the perfect righteousness of His Son.
 
His wrath is appeased because our sin has been propitiated – covered. And the word used in the command to coat the ark with pitch, inside and out, is the same word used for propitiation. Just as the ark was covered with pitch making it totally secure, so too our sins are covered, inside and out, completely, by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
 
It is his work alone that spares us from the righteous and proper judgment of God against sin. As the apostles declared in Acts 4:12:  “There is no other name under heaven by which man can be saved.”  The salvation that we have in Christ is a totally secure salvation, just as Noah and his family – and all the animals with them – were totally secure in the ark.
                      
There was no way that any water was going to seep through the pitch that God had commanded Noah to put on the inside and the outside of the ark. In the same way it is impossible for our sins to condemn us when they are covered – propitiated – by the precious blood of Jesus Christ:
 
2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
 
John 10:28, the words of Jesus: “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
 
Philippians 1:6, Being confident of this: that he who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.
 
­No wonder J.C. Ryle made that observation, “What the ark of was to Noah, Christ is to the soul.”  By faith in Jesus Christ we are not only spared from the flood of God's proper judgment, but we are totally secure. Not only are we cleansed from our sin, but we are imputed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ!  
 
Christ, the Only Door
 
The door of the ark also points us to Christ. Just as there was only one door to the ark, so Jesus is the only door to salvation. In John 10:7, and again in John 10:9, Jesus says, “I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved.”
 
There was only one door on the side of the ark. There was no other way to enter; no other way to be spared from the flood. In the same way there is only one way to be spared from God's righteous judgment. There is only one way to be secure in your salvation. And that is by faith in Jesus Christ alone. You know the declaration of Jesus, recorded in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
 
It is also significant that when Noah and his family entered the ark along with all the animals, it was God who shut the door. Verse 16 ends by saying, Then the Lord shut him in. It is one more reminder that our salvation is all of God's grace. It is not of our doing, but rather of his electing love.
 
He brings us to the ark of Christ, he covers us with the blood of his Son so that our sin is no longer offensive to him, and he secures us in Christ. We have assurance that we can never lose our salvation; we have the assurance that no one can snatch us out of his hand. Just as God shut the door ensuring the security of Noah and his family, so the Lord has secured us in Christ and promised us that nothing can separate us from his love.
 
The Open Door Closed
 
Then, also, just as a day came when it was too late to enter the ark, so a day will come when it is too late to believe in Jesus. Imagine the surprise of the people when the rain began to fall. Up until that time no one knew what rain was. Genesis 2:5-6 explains how rain had not yet fallen on the earth. Streams and vapors came up from the earth and watered the surface of the ground.
 
But the people should not have been surprised. You may recall that when we read the genealogy in Genesis 5 we read about the unique name given to Noah's grandfather. Noah’s grandfather was Methuselah and his name means “man of the dart.” Just as a dart is thrown, and hits its target, Methuselah’s life was aimed at the time of the great flood.  “When he dies, it will come,” is also an accurate way to describe the meaning of his name.
 
Picture the curiosity of the wicked as they watched Noah build the ark over the course of 12 decades or so. Initially they were probably very interested in what was going on, but as time went by they scoffed more and more at what they considered to be the foolishness of Noah.
 
All the while Noah's grandfather, Methuselah was growing older and older. People lived a long time in those days, but Methuselah lived longer than anyone else. Even for those days it must have been remarkable when he turned 900. And then he was 925. 950! – “Will Methuselah live to be 1000 years old?” the people may have mused.
            
But then, when Methuselah was 969 years old, he died. And when he died the rains came down. Genesis 7:11 is vividly descriptive when it says, In the six hundredth  year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month – on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.  And the rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
 
Do you think it's impossible for the earth to be flooded to where even the highest mountains are covered by 20 feet of water? Consider how much flooding came into Houston, Texas when 53 inches of rain fell in the course of a few days with Hurricane Harvey. Multiply the heaviest day of rain by 40 and then add that the floodgates of the heavens were opened, and that all the springs of the great deep also burst forth and you realize how quickly and completely the entire earth was flooded with water.
 
As the water rose you can imagine how the people rushed for higher ground. Some of them who were close to the ark undoubtedly were calling to Noah to let them in. No longer did they see him as a crazy preacher of righteousness. Now they longed to be on board of that ark that they had made so much fun of. But it was too late. God had shut the door. It would not be opened until the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat.
 
That is a picture of the final judgment. There is a day coming when it will no longer be possible to enter through the doorway of salvation. The day is coming when you will no longer be able to find salvation through faith in Christ alone. The door will be closed.
    
Jesus said that those days would come at a time like when it was in the days of Noah. Those days of Noah seem to be a mirrored reflection of our culture today. The skepticism of the late syndicated columnist, Sydney Harris has permeated our culture. But just as judgment came on the world of Noah's day, so judgment will come upon the entire world when Jesus returns.  2 Peter 3:6 says: By water the world of Noah's day was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men…
 
That day is certainly coming, just as the rains came in the days of Noah. Have you entered the doorway of Christ? Have you found your security in him and in him alone? Are you resting in him for your salvation?
 
By God's grace may you and I find that what the ark was to Noah, Christ is for your soul and for mine – our salvation – now and forever more! Amen.
 
- bulletin outline -
 
The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. – Genesis 7:18
 
“Christ and the Ark of Salvation
Genesis 6:9-7:24
 
I.  Skeptics have often ridiculed the biblical account of the flood even though there is great evidence in support of it:
     1) Studies show there was room for all the animals on the ark
 
 
 
 
     2) Numerous sightings of a large ship on Mount Ararat have been documented
 
 
 
 
     3) Around the world large deposits of animal bones are found on high hills and mountains
 
 
 
 
II. The real significance of Noah’s ark goes beyond the flood and points us to Jesus Christ:
     1) Just as Noah and his family were saved from God’s judgment by the ark, we who believe are saved by faith in Christ (Acts 4:12). “What the ark was to Noah,
         Christ is to the soul.” – J.C. Ryle
 
 
 
 
     2) Just as there was only one door to the ark, so Jesus is the only door  (ESV; “gate”, NIV) to everlasting life (John 10:7, 9, 14:6)
 
 
 
 
     3) Just as a day came when it was too late to enter the ark, so a day will come when it is too late to believe in Jesus (Matthew 25:1-13; 2 Peter 3:3-7)

 

 

 




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 09/0, Rev. Ted Gray

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