Study 3 THE WORK OF FAITH – NOAH
Studies in Hebrews Eleven
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portions: Hebrews 11:7; Genesis chapters 6, 7 and 8)
In this study we consider Noah and see in him an illustration of the work of faith; for as believers it is not only our privilege to come into fellowship with God and to walk in fellowship with Him, but also to be His co-workers - look up 2 Corinthians 6:1, and compare Ephesians 2:10. In James 2:17 we see that wherever there is true faith in God, there is always an outward evidence of that faith. Belief affects behaviour; faith shows itself in works. It is vain to say that we have faith in God if there are no works in our lives resulting from such faith. Noah had faith, which made him well-pleasing to the Lord, and which was seen in the amazing work he did in building the ark, in proclaiming God’s Word and in obeying the Lord. Read Hebrews 11:7, and compare Genesis, chapters 6, 7 and 8 with 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5; then notice the following three reasons why this study of Noah is so up to date in its teaching:
- Noah lived in a day of grace - and so do we! In Noah’s case, the door of salvation was open for 120 years - look up 1 Peter 3:20. We live in a day of grace, when God’s offer of salvation is still being made to men and women - look up 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:7-8; Revelation 22:17.
- Noah lived and worked in a day of terrible apostasy - and so do we! Read Genesis 6:1-7 and see what dark days they were - and look up 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-9. As Noah lived and laboured for the Lord in a time of great spiritual and moral darkness and wickedness, so do we.
- Noah lived and worked at the end of an age or dispensation - and so do we! Noah worked for God in the last days of the antediluvian dispensation; we live in the last days of the dispensation of grace - look up Matthew 24:37-39. Noah lived in a world which was under condemnation; so do we - look up and compare Genesis 6:7 with John 3:18-19; Romans 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9.
Let us now look at Noah and see how faith works. What is the work of faith?
1. THE WORK OF FAITH IS TO HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD AMID THE CLAMOUR OF OTHER VOICES.
What a confusion of voices there is today! Amid the babble of voices, Noah, by faith, heard God speaking to him – see Genesis 6:13 and Hebrews 11:7; and the first work of faith for us is to do the same. It’s not easy, for like Noah we are surrounded by so many confusing voices - even ‘religious’ ones - but the work of faith is to catch God’s voice amid all the other voices of earth and from Hell - look up and compare Hebrews 3:7; 1 Kings 19:11-12.
2. THE WORK OF FAITH IS TO OBEY THE VOICE OF GOD HOWEVER CONTRARY TO HUMAN REASON IT MAY SEEM TO BE.
Look at Genesis 6:14 - but who had ever heard of an ark, or a flood! Surely there must be some mistake? No - God had said it, and the work of faith is to accept and act upon God’s revelation, however contrary to human reason it may appear to be - look up Genesis 6:22. God’s people have often been called mad when they have done His bidding - look up John 10:20; Acts 26:24.
3. THE WORK OF FAITH IS TO DO THE WILL OF GOD EVEN THOUGH YOU APPEAR TO BE THE ONLY ONE DOING IT.
Are you the only Christian in your home, at college or at work? Noah was the only one, at first. God’s people have always been in the minority - look up 1 Kings 19:14; Matthew 7:13-14. When the Devil suggests to you that you are mistaken in being a Christian because so few are Christians, then remember it is the work of faith to call him a liar - look up John 8:44 – and to go on living and working for the Lord even though you appear to be the only one in your sphere who is doing so - look up Matthew 11:2-6.
4. THE WORK OF FAITH IS TO GO ON WITH GOD’S WORK IN THE FACE OF EVERY OPPOSITION AND DISCOURAGEMENT.
There is no doubt that Noah suffered opposition and must have been discouraged. How many times he must have been tempted to ask, ‘Is it worthwhile?’ or ‘Am I mistaken after all?’ What cruel taunts he would have borne from the godless crowd around him! - ‘Surely you are mad!’ they would say. How does the opposition we have to bear compare with that of Noah? - look up 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; Galatians 6:9.
5. THE WORK OF FAITH IS TO ACCEPT GOD’S JUDGMENT WITHOUT QUESTIONING HIS JUSTICE.
One day God revealed to Noah that He was planning to send a flood and to destroy every living thing upon the earth - look up Genesis 6:7; and Noah said, in effect - Genesis 18:25! You see, Psalm 19:9 is always true. We must remember the severity of God as well as His goodness - look up Romans 11:22. Elijah prayed for a drought - look up James 5:17; Noah took sides with God in His intention to send a flood – look up Genesis 6:22. There is another judgment coming to the earth - look up 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 2 Peter 3:9-14. The work of faith is to live and work in the light of this solemn fact.
6. THE WORK OF FAITH IS TO PROCLAIM THE MESSAGE OF GOD HOWEVER SOLEMN AND UNACCEPTABLE IT IS.
There are two sides to Noah’s message: (i) ‘There is salvation for all who will enter the ark; (ii) there is judgment for all who will not enter the ark.’ In New Testament language, and in the words of our Lord, Noah’s message was - look up Mark 16:16. We should be continually crying out like John the Baptist - look up Matthew 3:7; only by doing so can we ‘condemn the world’ - look up Hebrews 11:7, which means to ‘leave the world without excuse’ - compare Ezekiel 33:6 with 2 Corinthians 5:20.
7. THE WORK OF FAITH SECURES THE REWARD OF FAITH.
In Hebrews 11:7 we read that Noah ‘in holy fear built an ark to save his family’, and that he ‘became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.’ So, not only was Noah accepted by the Lord because of his faith, but also Noah’s loved ones were saved as the result of Noah’s work of faith. What a reward! - look up 2 Chronicles 15:7. Are you exercising faith in the Lord for the salvation of your loved ones? Are you doing something for their salvation? – look up Mark 9:23, and compare Acts 16:31. Is your faith working? - look up James 2:20 and 26.