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Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Noah: A Preacher of Righteousness" by Sergio Arguello



ARK FACTS:

·     More than 250 Flood legends from all parts of the world have been found. Most have similarities to the Genesis account, but none of them contain all the details of the Genesis account. This suggests that the Genesis account is the original, and all others are derived from it.
·     The Biblical word for Ark is "tebah". It is used 28 times in the OT and is only used of Noah's Ark and for the container in which Moses was hidden. Because of a similar Egyptian word meaning "box", and the ultimate purpose of the Ark, it is believed the Ark was not like a streamlined vessel designed to easily glide through the water. More likely it was shaped like a rectangular barge which floated rather low in the water. From what we read in the Bible, it also would appear that Noah had no control over the vessel. He, and it contents were at the total mercy of God.

The Ark was to be coated inside and out with pitch.
·     It is thought to have been some resinous material used not only to waterproof the vessel but also to prevent decay. If Noah was 480 years old when God told him to build an Ark and 600 when the Flood came, it is reasonable to assume that the construction of the Ark took place during this 120 year period (See Gen. 6:3 along with I Pet. 3:20). The need for this preservative was essential.

The Size of the Ark
·     It is given in cubits as being 300 cubits long by 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. A cubit in the OT was generally about 17.5 inches. However, an Egyptian royal cubit measured about 20.5 inches. Since Moses was educated in Egypt we must allow for the possibility that the longer measurement was meant here. The Ark, therefore, could have measured from 437 feet to 512 feet in length! It was not until the late 19th century that a ship anywhere near this size was built.  If you’ve seen the Queen Mary, in comparison, the Ark would have been about half that length.
·     Scientists have estimated that the ark could have accommodated 70-75,000 animals, food and extra storage as well as the 8 people.  However, only 16,000-32,000 animals would have been needed to repopulate the earth.
·     The length-to-width-to-height ratio of 300 to 50 to 30 is what shipbuilders today often use. This is the best ratio for stability in stormy weather. (God thinks of everything!)
·     The top 3,000 feet of Mt. Everest (from 26,000 to 29,000 feet) is made up of sedimentary rock packed with seashells and other ocean-dwelling animals.
·     Sedimentary rock is found all over the world (this is formed in water).
·     Petrified clams in the closed position (found all over the world) testify to their rapid burial while they were still alive, even on top of Mount Everest.

People choose to not believe in the Flood because it speaks of the judgment of God on sin (2 Pet. 3:3-8). Fossils are like Gospel tracts, reminding us of the truth of the Flood, the judgment of God and His mercy in salvation.

1.    Being A Godly Person in an Ungodly World


Genesis 6:9-13
Noah and the Flood
This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

·      Noah was living a Godly life in an ungodly world—He was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time.
·      He was in the world but not of the world (he was in it but did not belong to is—a citizen of God’s Kingdom)
·      It’s extremely difficult to deny your ungodly desires and tendencies
·      As people we are: critical, selfish, irresponsible, whiners, complainers, impure, angry, bitter, rude, disobedient to God, faithless, inconsiderate, lacking empathy for others, unforgiving.

Genesis 6:6-8
The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

·      God was troubled by man’s sinful state.  He regretted that He had created mankind.
·      But Noah was different.  He found favor in God’s eyes.
·      We are either going to imitate Noah or the rest of mankind. Just like Abel and Cain chose different paths, we need to choose one or the other, the path of obedience to God’s call that defines a faithful walk with God, or the path of self focus and independence that defines a faithless and disobedient / rebellious walk without God.

2 Timothy 3:1-6
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

·      This is the state of Christianity today and as a church we are heading in this direction quick unless we take a stand for living righteous lives and not embracing the sins our world and many of us are accustomed to.
·      A godly person separates themselves from the world as to not allow the world to influence them and only engages the world in an effort to save them from impeding destruction.
·      Noah’s impact continues to be felt (other’s ridiculed him) today.  But he lived a radical life in obedience to God.
·      If you’re living a righteous life, people will ridicule you because of your obedience to God.
·      You won’t be consumed by technology or money or the opposite sex or anything else, but you’ll be consumed by God and His calling for you.
·      Would you like Noah be considered a righteous person by God?  Blameless among the people of your time?
·      We need to make every effort to live like that!!
·      IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!

·      1 Timothy 4:8—Train yourself to be godly!!!

·      Invest yourself fully in God and allow Him to transform you into a Godly person.  That people may look at you and know that though you are in this world you are not of it.

2.   Faith to Complete The Task


Genesis 6:14-22
14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[a] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.[b] 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit[c] high all around.[d] Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

·      Noah had no experience in ship building.
·      He learned as he followed God’s instructions. He trusted him even though he could not picture God’s plan and even though it seemed like an unbelievable thing to flood the whole earth.
·      He persevered for 120 years building something no one had ever seen all the while being persecuted by ungodly people all around him.
·      He took on this great, but crazy, task all based on his relationship and trust in God.
·      Noah took on a seemingly impossible task, but God wouldn’t ask one to do something impossible.  Hard, yes.  Impossible, no!  Nothing is impossible with God.
·      Building the ark was an all-consuming task.
·      Noah built a vessel that would help others escape destruction. 
·      The ark would have only one way in (one way to God—Jesus)
·      Everything outside of the ark would perish (outside of Jesus we cannot have eternal life) only an expectation of destruction
·      God has called all of us to help others escape destruction. 
·      Am I trusting His plan for me, for us?
·      In trusting Him, am I preaching seriously and urgently to others in a way that will help bring others to salvation—to the vessel that is Jesus?
If you said Jesus is Lord and got in the boat as a disciple of Jesus, He is calling you to complete the task.  Don’t just do it out of duty, but with a faithful heart to continue to the end, till the task is complete.  Know that God has a great reward for you.  As he rewarded Noah and all the men of faith we have been studying and will continue to in our series, know that God has a great reward for those who complete the task of remaining faithful till the end.

If you are not a true committed disciple of Jesus right now, make a decision to study the Bible and take a leap of faith.

Don’t let time pass you by and be like the men of Noah’s generation who watched him build the ark and continued in their sin.  Only trouble and destruction awaits those who disregard God’s warnings.  Stop being stubborn, prideful and resistant to God’s calling.

Decide to live like Noah, a righteous man, a person whose life preached loudly to those around him.
Decide to be a preacher of Righteousness!!

"Abraham: Faith for a Foreign Land" by Steve Lounsbury


Sunday, July 5, 2015

"Legacy of Faith" by Sergio Arguello



A Legacy of Faith

Hebrews 11:4
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

·      We will all leave a legacy
·      Some a legacy of faith
·      Others a legacy that’s not of much faith, but worldly, or of fear or selfishness
·      Abel’s faith continued to speak on his behalf long after he was dead.  It continues to speak to this day.  He left behind a legacy of faith, of great faith.
·      I want to be the type of person who by faith still speaks long after I am gone.
·      I want to leave behind a legacy of faith for my children, which is far more valuable than anything we could leave as an inheritance for them.
·      I want us to be able to delve into the specifics of why Abel’s faith was so highly praised so that we could understand and apply the heart and the principles of his faith into our lives.

Let’s start with a word of prayer (for God’s word to move our hearts to greater faith and obedience)

Genesis 4:1-17
Cain and Abel
Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth[c] a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so[e]; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod,[f] east of Eden.
17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

This is one of the first recorded instances of fallen men going in to worship God; and it was a wonder of mercy that man was not cut off from a relationship with God by the fall. (2.) After the fall, God ordained that He must be worshipped by sacrifices, a way of worship which carries in it a confession of sin, repentance from sin, and a profession of faith in a Redeemer, who was to be a ransom for the souls of men. (3.) Interestingly, from the beginning, there has been a remarkable difference between worshippers. Here were two persons, brothers, both of whom went in to worship God, and yet there was a vast difference. Cain was the elder brother, but Abel was favored by God. It is not seniority of birth, but grace, that makes men truly honorable. The difference is observable in their actions: Abel was an upright person, a righteous man, a true believer; Cain was given to reason and rational thinking, he did not have a clear grasp of grace and faith and how they work together. It is observable in their actions: Abel acted under the power of faith; Cain only from reason or habit—minimizing his sacrifice to benefit himself, I would say out of a worldly conscience (worldly generosity). There was also a very observable differences in their offerings: Abel brought a sacrifice of atonement, brought of the firstborn of the flock, acknowledging himself to be a sinner who deserved to die, and only hoping for mercy through the great sacrifice; Cain brought only a sacrifice of acknowledgment, a mere thank-offering, the fruit of the ground, which might, and perhaps must, have been offered in ignorance with not much thought; there was no confession of sin, no regard to the ransom; this was an essential defect in Cain’s offering. There will always be a difference between those who worship the true God; some will offer and come to Him with lies, others will be faithful; some, like the Pharisee, will lean to their own righteousness; others, like the tax collector, will confess their sin, and cast themselves upon the mercy of God in Christ.


1.   Bring Your First and Best to God

Genesis 4:3-5
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

2.   Gaining Acceptance From God

·      True saving faith:  Jesus is Lord!!  What does it mean?
·      Doing what is right.  How can I know?

Romans 10:1-4
Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Romans 10:8-13
But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[a] that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[b] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[c]

Romans 10:16-21
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”[a] 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”[b]
19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
    I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”[c]
20 And Isaiah boldly says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me;
    I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”[d]
21 But concerning Israel he says,
“All day long I have held out my hands
    to a disobedient and obstinate people.”[e]

3.   Ruling Over Sin

·      Controlling my sinful impulses
·      Living by the spirit

Galatians 5:13-26
Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.