Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome to another study on the wonderful subject of country living! We pray that they have been a blessing to you; and that you are sharing these lessons with other precious souls…
Noah – A Preacher of Righteousness
Today we’re looking at Matthew 24:37-39, where Jesus speaks about the character we want to look at in this lesson – Noah. The Greek word is translated Noe, here it’s talking about Noah.
But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. – Matthew 24:37-39
Who’s speaking in these verses? – Jesus. He’s speaking especially to His church, His inner circle of disciples. He says that down here we’re going to see a time like what? — The days of Noah. It’s interesting what Christ picks out here to especially point out. He says they were doing 4 things. What were they doing?
Now, the way in which the antediluvians gave their attention to marriage was a sensual, self-pleasing program. The Bible says there in Genesis 6 that they picked out their companions according to physical attraction and they took them wives (plural) of all that they chose.
I’m not certain that consecutive polygamy that’s so around us today is any better than the polygamy of where they had several at a time, are you? My point is that we’re living in the days like the days of Noah, and Jesus said that back then they went on with this until what day? — The day that Noah entered into the ark. And then what happened? — Then the flood came. What had been predicted for over a century came. And it says that they were surprised. What does the Bible point out here, what wording does it use? — They knew not. What does that mean, they knew not? – They never heard of it? – They didn’t believe it.
Now, I want to call attention to this, dear friends; they had no signs of a coming flood. The day before the flood broke was just as sunny and bright as any day since creation, wasn’t it? We have dozens and scores of signs urging upon our attention and the attention of all who will listen to the nearness of the coming of Jesus, right? But nevertheless, Jesus says that down here today there will be multitudes that know not until destruction comes.
Why, back there they were preoccupied. There were 2 things that especially filled their time and attention. One had to do with appetite. The other had to do with passion. Is that similar today? There never was a time when the multitudes were so obsessed with the desire to get money so they could enjoy these 2 things. The physical pleasures, it’s a famous age for it.
We are well acquainted with the fact that these inherent desires are God given. It’s the abuse and misuse of them that Jesus is pointing out. But beyond that, I call your attention to this great truth: they were content to do ordinary things in an extraordinary time. They went on living as thought life was going to continue on. But the day came when Noah went into the ark and it was all over. So Jesus said, so shall the coming of the Son of man be.
It’s interesting to me the things that are in the New Testament concerning Noah and his work that we have to go to the New Testament to find out. You and I are well acquainted with the fact that Noah was a preacher, but the Old Testament doesn’t tell us so, does it? Do you know where to go to find that Noah was a preacher? Peter tells us that:
And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly. – 2 Peter 2:5
What was Noah according to this verse? — A preacher; a preacher of what? What is righteousness? – Right doing, doing the right thing at the right time. That’s the essence of all right faith. Do the right thing at the right time. And Noah was preaching for 120 years. Did he get many converts? At first, we’re told there were quite a number that responded. But as time went on worldly influences stole their hearts away; of course, some of them died saved; but many of them when back.
Only A Few
Turn now to 1 Peter 3:19-20. Here is the preaching done through Noah by the Spirit of Jesus:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. – 1 Peter 3:19-20
Now let’s look at this text for a little. Jesus was preaching through His servant Noah while the ark was doing what? — Being prepared. Did the ark have something to do with Noah’s preaching? Oh, yes. It says the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah. Waited for the ark to be built, waited to give people a chance to come in. And how many does it say were finally saved? – Eight. Peter says there were few. How many thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people were in the world at that time I do not know, but there were more than a few people. But those who finally went in the ark were few, how many? – Eight.
Let’s turn to Matthew 7:13-14:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it. – Matthew 7:13-14
What word did we have in Peter’s text that we’ll find here? – Few. Only a few went in the ark. Only a few Jesus said enter the narrow gate and find the way of life.
Isn’t it too bad? Is it still true? As I was meditating on these text there came to me this thought of all the millions upon millions in this world, the minority believe that the Bible is God’s word, is that correct? Well are the majority right or are they wrong? Of those who claim to believe the Bible, do the majority accept the 7th day as Sabbath, as God’s sealed sign? Are the majority right, or are they wrong? I could go on with many other illustrations. Now, you and I recognize that when it comes to the Bible it’s truth that the 7th day is the Sabbath; are we prepared to accept any truth, no matter how unpopular if God says it? This is the test.
Peer pressure was one of the greatest reasons why so few accepted Noah’s message back there. Peer pressure is what keeps many people from embracing an unpopular truth today. But the burden that Jesus has on His heart with His inner circle disciples is not the pressure from the world; it’s from the church. Turn to Matthew 24
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. – Matthew 24:12-13
Now notice it’s talking not about the cold, dark world that’s been cold all the way through. He’s talking about some who’ve had love, warm, fervent, burning love. And their love finally gets cold because of what? — Iniquity abounds; because of peer pressure; because of influences right around them.
Someone was telling me a number of years ago about an experience that came to a man who was an employee in one of these cold storage establishments. It was in a time when most of it was done with blocks of ice. He found himself one evening shut in through an accident; shut in, in this cold storage place surrounded with blocks of ice. He knew that he couldn’t get out of there until the next morning when the help would come on. You know what he did? He pushed those blocks of ice around all night. I advise you to try it if you’re in a similar circumstance; instead of becoming [cold], act upon the cold, react, react, react. In fact we’re told by inspiration that at this time we must gather warmth from what? — The coldness of others. There’s no way to gather warmth from the coldness of others while we lie down and let influences around us have their way. We must react. We must respond to the invitation of Jesus to be different.
Young people, this is God’s challenge to you. Joseph did not allow the peer pressure either of his brothers in the church up in Canaan, or the heathen around him in Egypt to influence him, did he? Oh, what a glorious example we have of a young man who would not yield to peer pressure. He reacted. He gathered warmth from the coldness of others. So it was with Noah and his family. Only a few responded. Jesus suggests that it will be like that today. So we must not wait until truth becomes popular to embrace it. If we do, we’ll wait in vain.
By God’s grace, may we each (individually) accept God’s challenge, without delay!
In Part 2 of this lesson, we will be looking some more at the experience of Noah; an experience that must also be ours. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
- Courtship & Marriage
- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.