As a food lover, I enjoy the idea of trying out various cuisines, but often do not get concerned about the authenticity and hygiene of the several places I visit. This presumption relies on the fact that there are rules and regulations strictly set in place by the governing authorities and the establishments follow them thoroughly in most places. There is a sense of security and wellness that one enjoys in such a setting.
Elucidating this to the spiritual world and the spiritual nourishment we consume, one can easily notice how things weigh quite differently. It is evident that the content and the message of the Holy scriptures are oftentimes different from the picture we see and hear in the spiritual community.
EXAMINING THE LIFE & DAYS OF NOAH
In the second epistle of Peter, the Apostle sheds light on the idea of destructive doctrines that was prevalent in the 1st-century churches and further address the depravity and doom of the false teachers who propagated these counterfeit teachings. At the same time, the apostle exclusively attributes grace to Noah and titles Noah as “a preacher of righteousness” who condemned the world through his preaching. The slight shift of doctrine outlined here may seem subtle, and God’s demands may sound harsh and ruthless to relate such actions to a God of Love. But we probably are much inclined to the modified version of teaching and preaching, that we may have lost the sensitivity to the subtleness that God demands. Perhaps we have overlooked the design of how the Almighty intended the preaching to be, how it needs to be preached and what the believers choose as spiritual nourishment. Because as a child of God, it is apparent that if I need to hold a sense of security and wellness, I need to ensure that the place I fellowship engages in the truth practices that God demands and the sort of nourishment I choose to consume is authentic and not poisonous.
Consequently, it becomes essential to consider the days of Noah that correlates to our modern day. It is worth following the holy life and reverent conduct of Noah, who saved himself from the wrath and received God’s acceptance.
1 Noah was given the mammoth task of constructing something God required (The Ark). But he was faced with challenges from the society and systems that could not comprehend such a ‘saving grace’ method. It just did not fit in and looked outright ridiculous to the physical world.
2. Noah was given clear warning and insight into the future (The Rain). He, nor his generation have ever seen or experienced this. God’s storyline was more a fantasy than a faith reality to the culture of his day.
3. Noah had a message from God concerning both devastation and redemption for a generation God loved to see saved. But everything appeared well and seemed to be a perfect world to go on engaging with life and its appetites. The message appeared inappropriate to the intellectuals and did not fit anyone’s daily schedule.
But with a divine assignment as this, and the opposing situation Noah endured, the driving factor of this one man in heeding and proclaiming God’s instructions did not rest on the externals. His motivation relied not on the fanfare he received from the community, nor the judgment of the society. Surely the cultural inclination did not sway him, nor the relevance and reality of the message to the intellectuals. He had no success formula for the number of converts he would gain, nor a board of directors who designed appropriate mission plans to upsize toward a mega congregation. He did not care if his sermon was the same for about 120 years of his ministry.
He was a man with a divine mission who cared nothing more than his service to God.
Noah had a covenant with the almighty and made a choice.
1. Noah in holy fear obeyed and continued his work undeterred in executing God’s requirement (Heb 12)
2. Noah in righteousness, continued preaching for over 100 years though not gaining any soul outside his family. He chose to adhere to God and his sovereignty, instead of altering the message to fit in.
3. Noah by faith convicted and condemned the world, while advocating God’s word alone. He was not reduced to be a puppet in the hands of the enemy
THE RISE OF PUPPETS & THE EMBRACE OF COMPLACENCY
It is interesting to observe how Jesus answers two prominent questions that have tremendous relevance for today.
During His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21), Jesus was asked by his disciples “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Astonishingly, the very first sign that Jesus indicated was to “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Jesus, by prioritising deception at the top of the list, conveys an acute warning to believers and conveys a prophecy about the abundance of ‘puppets’ over preachers that have increased in the modern-day pulpits.
In another incident, discussing the time near His return to earth, Jesus declared, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-27). In the days of Noah, people thought they were living normal and peaceful lives until the Flood began. They were oblivious to the imminent disaster and was complacent about the situation.
Pastors who ought to be keepers of the souls, lead the saints to slaughter rather than feed them the righteous food that saves them. Ambitious church corporations & apostolic CEO’s water down the gospel to accommodate tenacious culture and poison the spiritual nourishment that the believers much need. I would not be so secure in the spiritual realm as I would when I go for a meal out with the family to a restaurant.
THE PREACHER AND THE BELIEVERS WHO WILL NOT HEAR ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU’
The dangers of pacifying messages outweigh any cost we would ever pay to escape the coming damnation. We live in ignorant times as in the days of Noah. The situation is also perilous and violence remains abundant. If preachers continue sharing half-truths, we are preparing a generation who we ask to skydive without a parachute. They dont have the truth and will not last the suffering and destruction that God has foretold as he did in the days of Noah. The truth must be made known, conformity to world practices needs to be abandoned, minds have to be renewed, a generation needs to be build up for Christ.
On the day when God separates the sheep from the goats, both sides seem to have the same argument of what each did for Jesus – the recount of the fellowships, the miracles, the labour and much more. But the profound words of Jesus “I never knew you”, need to be feared and should not be the portion we are to inherit. Jesus does not say I don’t know you, but rather “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”. Because in the rush to fulfill flesh’s desires, the preachers and believers forgot they were partners with the evil one, and were never the instruments of righteousness and of God.
There has been no time in history where the conduct of Noah is as relevant and a prerequisite to a child of God as it is now. If we need to be assured of our salvation, we better cry out to God to give us congregations that build us for eternity and not stabilise on the temporary. We ought to declare war and appeal to God for preachers of righteousness, who would advance messages that will not appease our desire to better this garbage we live in, but cause a craving in us to be set free into the grandeur of eternity. This is the very reason why Jesus came and paid the price with His life. He would not pay for something that is due for destruction, nor are we foolish to invest a lifetime on something we know is deemed for fire.
So, the question remains to be answered – Where are the Noahs of today who will prepare a set-apart Ecclesia worthy of the price Jesus paid for?.
Pr. Ribi Kenneth