Noah’s Boat, Part 4: God’s Doves

Noah’s Boat, Part 4: God’s Doves

Text

Genesis 8:1-19

“But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.

At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. 10 He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11 And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12 Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.

13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.”

Introduction

1) In our past three messages we’ve been thinking about Noah, about what the world was like in his days, and about the judgement that came upon the ancient world at that time. We’ve also been mindful that Jesus warned His disciples that as it was “in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They were eating, and drinking, and were marrying and being given in marriage. And they were doing all of these things right up “until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-27).

We’ve also looked at the principle of as goes the believer, so goes the nation. We’ve looked at what it means for Jesus’ followers to be salt – and the extraordinary consequence of a diminishing number of mature believers within a nation – especially a client nation.

I want to conclude this series this morning with something that will be more hopeful.

2) There is no doubt that God sometimes runs His people through the paces! But, as we just saw in Genesis 8 that the rains of judgment eventually stopped. Those who remained we the people of God.

These were not sinless people, but those who, like Noah, “found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8).

We also saw, at the end of last week’s message, that God did remember Noah. God hadn’t forgotten about Noah for a nanosecond. But from Noah’s perspective, after those many long months, God remembered him and helped him and sent a wind to dry up the waters.

The truth is this: Jesus has promised to never to forget the children whom He purchased with His own blood.

But we can’t deny the fact that God sometimes puts His servants through some very difficult trials! In fact, on the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus told His disciples: “In the world you have tribulation . . .”

The Paces

1) Now, there is no doubt that God sometimes runs His people through the paces! This is sometimes very painful! Consider Paul in Acts 14:19-22:

“But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

Isn’t that an interesting phrase? Paul and Barnabas were preaching this message to the young church at Lystra: “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

2) So, why does God do this? There are several biblical answers to that question.

a) First, God uses trials and testing to make us into the men and women He wants us to be for the kingdom.

Through these tests, the Lord matures us, preparing us for the work of the Kingdom of God.

 James 1:2-3: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

So, as we study God’s Word and then do God’s Word by applying it to the circumstances and the trials of life, God matures us – making us vessels fit for service in the Lord’s house (2 Timothy 2:21). This is the principle of Ezra 7:10: “For Ezra had (1) set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and (2) to do it and (3) to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”

And, even when the trials are difficult, we continue to press on, to persevere. Hebrews 10:35-38 encourages us toward that end: “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,

and the coming one will come and will not delay;

38  but my righteous one shall live by faith,

and if he shrinks back,

my soul has no pleasure in him.”

So, first, God uses trials and testing to make us into the men and women He wants us to be for the kingdom.

b) Secondly, God puts His children through trials to reveal His glory to the unbelieving world through them.

Some have called this “evidence testing” – those times when the Lord places a mature believer on the witness stand to testify, despite the circumstances or the consequences of doing so.

Think of Daniel and the Lion’s Den in Daniel 6 (NKJV).

The Plot Against Daniel 

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”

So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

Daniel in the Lions’ Den 

10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?”

The king answered and said, “The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.”

13 So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

14 And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15 Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

16 So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”

17 Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.

Daniel Saved from the Lions 

18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”

23 Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.

Darius Honors God 

24 And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.

OK, that was a great deliverance, but it doesn’t answer the question of why God would put such a godly man as Daniel through such an ordeal! Well, the answer begins in verse 25

25 Then King Darius wrote:

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

Peace be multiplied to you.

26 I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.

For He is the living God,

And steadfast forever;

His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,

And His dominion shall endure to the end.

27 He delivers and rescues,

And He works signs and wonders

In heaven and on earth,

Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

Do you see it? God was glorifying Himself through His servant – just as He seeks to do with us! Listen to Jesus:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-16).

Do you see it? When we are unfairly persecuted for the sake of Jesus, when our reputation is assaulted, and when we – despite of it – press on to be salt and light – preserving and shining – our Father is glorified even as He was by Daniel. THAT’s why God allows such things!

So first, God uses trials and testing to make us into the men and women He wants us to be for the kingdom. And second, God puts His children through trials to reveal His glory to the unbelieving world through them.

c) And third and finally, I’d suggest that God uses trials to prepare us for the great work of God’s Kingdom, to help us discover God’s perfect will for our lives.

i) John Mark is a good example of this. In Acts 15:37-40, we read that Paul did not want to take Mark along with him on his next missionary voyage because of past failure.

“Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”

Now you can imagine how this must have made poor Mark feel! A failure, unneeded, unwanted! But I can also imagine Jesus sliding up alongside John Mark and saying, “Hey Mark, Paul might be done with you, but I’m not!” And, as most of us know, Jesus used Mark to write one of the four Gospels, the one which bears his name.

It’s through this terrible trial of failure and rejection by the great apostle Paul himself, that Mark discovered God’s perfect will for his life and the work that God wanted him to do for the Kingdom.

ii) There are many examples of this principle in Scripture, but perhaps the most profound is that of the Apostle Peter. Peter is a study in mountain peaks and low valleys! Jesus famously said to him:

“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17-19).

And that would have been quite a victory if he’s stopped talking right there. But he didn’t! And the next thing that Jesus said to him was:

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23).

Peter also, of course, denied that he even knew Jesus three times – and that on the night of His betrayal! But when Jesus appeared to him after His resurrection, He gave the flawed apostle an opportunity to reaffirm his love for Him three times – once for each time he’d denied Him (John 21:15-17).

And it was on that very occasion that Jesus prophesied Peter’s martyrdom:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said [John tells us] to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God)” (John 21:18-19a, brackets mine).

Now there’s a tradition that comes from the early church called the Quo Vadis legend. It’s a legend that I find quite plausible and, while its not recorded in the biblical text, I believe it’s true. It is an ancient legend concerning Peter’s martyrdom, believed to be from the second century and preserved in the collection of legends included in the apocryphal Acts of Peter.

George Edmundson, in his book The Church in Rome in the First Century (London, 1913) summarized the legend like this:

His friends, so runs the story, had entreated the Apostle to save his life by leaving the city. Peter at last consented, but on condition that he should go away alone. But when he wished to pass the gate of the city, he saw Christ [coming toward him from the opposite direction – going into Rome] … Falling down in adoration he says to Him ‘Lord, where are you going?’ [Latin, quo vadis?] And Christ replied to him ‘I am coming to Rome to be again crucified.’ And Peter says to Him ‘Lord, will you again be crucified?’ And the Lord said to him ‘Even so, I will again be crucified.’ Peter said to Him ‘Lord, I will return and will follow Thee.’ And with these words the Lord ascended into Heaven … And Peter, afterwards corning to himself, understood that it was of his own passion that it had been spoken … The Apostle then returned with joy to meet the death which the Lord had signified that he should die.

Regarding the authenticity of the story Edmundson writes: “That it contains a story that is authentic in the sense of being based on events that really occurred is not improbable. The Peter described here is the Peter of the Gospels.”

Likewise, J.B. Lightfoot, in his Ordination Addresses and Counsel to Clergy (London, 1890), defended the authenticity of the story:

“Why should we not believe it true? … because it is so subtly true to character and because it is so eminently profound in its significance, we are led to assign to this tradition a weight which the external testimony in its favor would hardly warrant.”

It’s a remarkable story. Peter is fleeing his appointment with the cross, only to be met by Jesus on the road who causes him to remember His earlier words: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34).

(A small church southeast of Rome marks the spot of the encounter, the Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis, located near the Porta San Sebastiano, where the Via Ardeatina branches off of the Appian Way. There has been a sanctuary on the spot since the 9th century. There was an inscription above the front door on the façade which used to say: “Stop your walking, traveler, and enter this sacred temple in which you will find the footprint of our Lord Jesus Christ when He met with St. Peter …”)

O, Peter is a study in mountain peaks and low valleys! But it was through the low valleys – the denials, the impetuous words, the fear of danger – that he matured, and became magnificently humble, and found the precise part that Jesus desired for him to play in the Kingdom.

So, God uses trials and testing to make us into the men and women He wants us to be for the kingdom. And God puts His children through trials to reveal His glory to the unbelieving world through them. And God uses trials to prepare us for the great work of God’s Kingdom, to help us discover God’s perfect will for our lives.

That’s why James 1:2-3: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 

That’s why Jesus said, “when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad” (Matthew 6:11-12a). 

That’s why after the apostles were beaten in Acts 5, they “left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41).

The trials that God is allowing us to endure right now are all a part of His plan and He’s using them for His own glory. And have been given the wonderful privilege of remaining here as the “light of the world” – shining in into the darkness of these times and giving “light to all in the house.” (Matthew 6:15). “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:16).

God’s Doves

1) Now, in closing out this little series, I’d like to think about Noah’s Doves. I think there’s a lot of beautiful symbolism here. We’ve already read Genesis 8:6-12 this morning.

Verses 6 & 7 tell us that “at the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.”

It apparently never returned. The probable reason is that ravens can live off the carrion (that is, the decaying flesh of dead animals) that would have been floating in the flood waters. Doves, however don’t eat carrion.

So, verses 8 & 9 tell us that Noah “sent forth a dove from him … But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark.”

It’s a very beautiful detail that Noah “put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him.”

Then verses 10 & 11 tell us that Noah “waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So, Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.”

And finally, verse 12 says Noah “waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.”

2) I think it’s significant that the dove is a symbol of peace and rest.

The return of the dove with a freshly-plucked olive leaf in its beak surely brought peace to the hearts of Noah and his family after so many days in isolation!

It’s no accident that the Holy Spirit manifested Himself as a dove resting upon Jesus. And it was Jesus who promised peace to all who would come to Him: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,” He said, “and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). It’s only in Jesus that we ever find peace and rest.

Those who “come to” Jesus are not simply those who are saved – there are many saved people who never find rest! Those who come to Jesus and find rest for their souls are those who take His yoke, and learn of Him. They are disciples. They have received Jesus not only as their Savior, but as their Master and Lord. That’s what “come to Me” means.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” When Jesus said to the Matthew the tax collector, “Follow me,” in two simple words (Ἀκολούθει μοι) He separated Matthew from all of his worldly pursuits in an instant (Matthew 9:9).

And the truth is, it is only disciples, those who “come to Me,” as Jesus said – who ever find the peace and rest symbolized by the dove. Artur Pink writes that “there is no promise in Scripture that God will reward the careless, half-hearted, indolent seeker; but He has declared, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).[1]

When Jesus promised, “I will give you rest,” He was promising what no mere man could ever deliver! Noah, couldn’t promise peace to the people of his generation – neither could Abraham, nor Moses, nor David, nor anyone else in the Bible. Moses, the monumental leader of the Old Testament, never said, ‘Come to me and I’ll give you rest!’ To have done so would have been patently absurd!

The impartation of peace to the weary soul is beyond the power of any human being, regardless of his or her desire to do so. It was no mere man who said, “Come to me … and I will give you rest … and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). Only Jesus, the uniquely-born Son of the Living God could promise this – that’s because He is the vaunted μονογενής, the only one of His kind or class.

And so, only Jesus offers this promise – and only to those who “come to” Him. The peace He offers is explicitly defined as a peace that is intrinsically different than any peace the world can give. Jesus called it, “MY peace” in John 14:27. No man can honestly promise it, the world cannot manufacture it, and even the believer who possesses it cannot fully describe it. It is a peace that “surpasses all understanding” that guards our “hearts” and our “minds in Christ Jesus” in Philippians 4:7.

It’s the peace that is pictured in the Holy Spirit descending and resting as a dove upon Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

And it’s the saddest of all things to watch a believer seeking peace in the world, and happiness in material things, knowing that the Bible every tells us that to do so is a fool’s errand. Oh, the world will promise us everything. But in the final reel, its promises are broken cisterns that hold no water.

The Prodigal Son learned this the hard way (Luke 15:11-32). The only peace he ever knew was in the Father’s House. Everything was fine when he had money in his pocket and “squandered his property in reckless living.” But then, the crisis came: “When he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need … and no one gave him anything.” But when he came to his senses, he said, “I will arise and go to my father.” And there – and only there – he found again the peace and the blessings of a SON in right relationship with his Father. The want of the world gave way to celebration in the Father’s presence.

We see it over and over again in God’s Word. It’s no wonder, then, that Paul says of unbelievers, “the way of peace they have not known” (Romans 3:17).

Now I see a beautiful picture of this in Noah’s story as well.

Genesis 8:9, NASB says, “the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself.”

Do you know what the name Noah means? It means rest. And here, Noah is a type of Christ: it was only when he put “out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him” that the bird which could find no rest in the world found it. Isn’t it so with us?

The LXX has the word ἀνάπαυσις, which means a “cessation from wearisome activity for the sake of rest, relief.”[2] But it “expresses something more than rest, or a mere relaxation from toil; it denotes refreshment likewise.” [3] Not only the removal of the wearisome burden, but the refreshment necessary to restore our spent strength.

The symbolism is rich here. The dove is a symbol of peace. The olive leaf she bears in her beak is a symbol of peace. Noah’s name means rest. The world is a desolate wasteland with no place for the bird to find peace. After it’s fruitless quest it returns to Noah. Noah “put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself,” and, at last, the bird found rest. And just as Noah stretched out his hand to draw the bird to himself when she could find no place to rest, Jesus says to us, “Come to me … and I will give you rest … and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

And “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

Now you may be feeling alone right now – upset, without a place to rest tour foot – or your soul! You might need some rest in a world that looks very different than it did a few months ago – before the flood, as it were. I want us to Jesus, hand outstretched, calling to us, welcoming us to come to Him, that He might pull us into the safety of the ark.

When the Holy Spirit descended from heaven and rested upon our just-baptized Savior, He did so in the form of a dove (Matthew 3:16), the bird of peace.[4] This was the visible manifestation of the great truth of Ephesians 2:14 – namely, that Jesus “Himself IS our peace!”

3) And one last thing as we close out our series this morning: I see a picture of the believer’s work in the imagery of Noah’s doves.

True followers of Jesus are God’s doves. We are sent out, but often return with a hard-to-hear report. The earth is in trouble, judgment is evident all around us, there is no place to rest our feet. Like Noah’s dove, we return to the place of crisis finding no relief.

But, O, we bear another message too! A message of hope and an offer of real peace. Safety from judgement and the promise of home soon to come. God is clearing the land – He’s preparing a place for all who will receive Him. It’s a place of hope and deliverance. It’s a new beginning. It’s a place of peace and rest and a realized mercy.

It the two messages entrusted to God’s doves: the message that the world is wasteland and the message that God drying up the waters of judgment. Followers of Jesus must be faithful to bear them both.

But here’s the thing: bearing that message will involve trials and tribulation and suffering. That’s why Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Philippians that when Christians are found “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents, “it is “a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (1:27-29).

But, as we’ve seen this morning, our Father is glorified in the faithfulness we exhibit in these trials. And, as the apostle Paul put it, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Conclusion

Now, at the start of this series I stated that my prayer for these messages is threefold:

(1) That they’d equip us for the work of the ministry in these difficult days;

(2) That they’d convict us as to the urgency of the current hour, and;

(3) That they’d move us to serve Jesus with an unprecedented single-mindedness and an undistracted heart.

I truly hope they’ve accomplished at least some of those lofty objectives for you. These are difficult days, but the Church has always known difficult days. And its mission, regardless of the circumstances, has always been to understand its times and faithfully speak light into the darkness of those times.

I believe that God’s ark is now boarding. And, as in Noah’s day, when the judgment of God came down, the people of God went up! We call this momentous and soon-coming event the Rapture.

And so we’re inviting those who’ve been blinded by God’s enemy to come, to meet the Captain of their souls, to find deliverance, and – if they’ll on follow after Him with their whole heart – to find the peace and rest that only He, only Jesus, can ever give them.

When the Lord calls us up to meet Him in the air, Church, may we all be found so doing!

Amen?

[1] Pink, Arthur Walkington, The Nature of God (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005), 266–274.

[2] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 69.

[3] Op. cit., Pink, pp. 266–274.

[4] Pink, Arthur Walkington, Gleanings from Paul Studies in the Prayers of the Apostle (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005), 43.

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Comments

  1. WE SHOULD BE LIKE NOAH AND LOVEGOD NOAH LOVED GOD GOD CHOSE NOAHA AND HIS FAMILY HE SAVED HIM AND HIS FAMILYFROM THE FLOOD .

    • Karen Martel : May 31, 2020 at 10:41 am

      Amen, Anita! I’ve so missed seeing you! I hope you are doing wee and that we’ll see each other next Sunday when we celebrate communion together!

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