Sunday, April 11, 2010

Great Invitations of the Bible : Part 1 Commitment

GREAT INVITATIONS OF THE BIBLE
Part 1 - Invitation to Commitment
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


SCRIPTURE READING

Genesis 7:1-16
 1 The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."

 5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.

 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.

 11 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. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

 13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.





INTRODUCTION

The Bible is a book of invitations, beginning in Genesis and continuing through to the last verse of Revelation, God is involved in the business of inviting people to come to Him for salvation.

God invites those in need of help for the areas where they lack in their lives.

It is astonishing to think that the Lord of all creation invites us to come and be with Him.

Over the next few weeks we will be examining some of these invitations from scripture, I hope they will not only help us with understanding, but challenge and bless us in our lives.

We begin today with the FIRST gospel invitation of the Bible.  The word “COME” is used nearly 2,000 times in the Bible.  Genesis 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.

To those who do not believe in the rapture, here is a picture of God saving the righteous before unleashing His fury.  God may have said that He would never destroy the earth with flood again, but He never said He would not save His people from the coming judgment on 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.



THE SANCTUARY OF THIS INVITATION

a.      The Ark
                                                              i.      Odd to see
1.      A giant wooden box 450 long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet tall
2.      Built by a preacher and his three sons
3.      Noah had worked on the Ark and preached his message of the coming judgment of God upon the entire earth...sound familiar?

                                                           ii.      Hard to believe
1.      How could a flood be coming when it had never rained before?  hard to believe.
2.      Everyone must have thought they were mad
3.      The giant ship sitting in the middle of dry land must have looked ridiculous
4.      But this ridiculous looking object was humanity’s only hope

                                                         iii.      The only hope
1.      Genesis 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, Genesis 3:15. The children born of this union were evil beyond words.
2.      Genesis 6:5 – God saw the wickedness of man and knew that man was hopelessly corrupt. Every desire within humankind drew him away to evil thoughts and deeds.
3.      Genesis 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.
4.      Genesis 6:6-7 – God’s solution is to destroy humankind.

 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, Genesis 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 Genesis 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, Romans 3:23-26.

Noah is commanded to build this great Ark, Genesis 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, 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 Peter 3:18-21. Notice how this Ark speaks of Jesus.



b.      The Ark & Jesus Christ
                                                              i.      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, Isaiah 53:4-6. (Ill. The agony and glory of Calvary!)

                                                           ii.      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, Leviticus 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!  It is the blood that seals us and keeps us safe from the wrath of God, Romans 5:9!

                                                         iii.      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, Hebrews 7:25. There is room at His cross for you!

                                                         iv.      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! (Colossians. 3:1)

                                                           v.      Structure - Genesis 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, Colossians 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 Corinthians 5:17!

                                                         vi.      Sustenance - Genesis 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 they need to be satisfied, John 6:35.

                                                      vii.      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, Ephesians 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, Romans 6:23.



CONCLUSION

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 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, the door stands open now; it will close soon; which side will you be on when it does?