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Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on February 23, 2016 under PM Bible Study |

PM Home Bible Study Group; January 27, 2016

Hebrews 11:7

Theme: The story of Noah exemplifies for us the kind of faith that acts on the promise of God.

All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated.

In our last time together, we began our study of Hebrews 11, and its amazing record of those who stand out in sacred history as great examples of faith. The writer began by defining faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (v. 1); and he reminded us that, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (v. 6). And after giving us examples of some earlier heroes of faith (i.e., Abel and Enoch), the writer now points our attention to Noah.

Noah is held up to us in Scripture as a man of outstanding righteousness (see Ezekiel 14:14). But in a very real sense, he can be thought of as a man who exercised an unprecedented act of faith. His, in fact, may be considered the most remarkable act of faith recorded in the whole of the Bible. At a time when there was no such concept as heavy rain or a flood, he obeyed God’s command to build an ark. He kept building this enormous ark—while inland—for 100 years. He endured through the mocking and ridicule of the people of the pre-flood world throughout the time of his labors; believing that God would keep His promise of destroying the old world with a flood. And as a result, he became another ‘Adam’ to the human race—preserving his family, and becoming the founding father of the human family in the repopulation of the present world.

It’s no wonder, then, that this great man is held up to us as an example of faith. His story is given to us in one verse in Hebrews 11:7;

By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

Note from this one verse …


A. The writer tells us that it was “by faith” that Noah was related to the promise of God. He believed what God said. Living as we do on the other side of the flood– that is, in the new and restored world of humanity over which Noah is founding father—it’s easy for us to believe the promise that God gave him. We live in the experience of its fulfillment. Jesus presents Noah’s story as fact (Matthew 24:37-38); and the apostle Peter made the truth of it a significant element of the faith (1 Peter 3:30; 2 Peter 2:5). But to Noah, faith in this astonishing promise from God was an unprecedentedly great act.

B. In this respect, Noah stands out for us as an outstanding example of faith. His faith in the promise of God was “the substance of things hoped for” that are now fulfilled, and “the evidence of things not seen” that we now experience. He truly shows us how such a faith pleases God—being based on a belief that “He is”, and that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” in obedience.


A. It’s remarkable that Noah responded obediently to God’s remarkable call—and kept on obeying and building for 100 years—when all he had was the brief warning and the relatively minor set of instructions that we find in Genesis 6:13-21;

And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them” (Genesis 6:13-21).

There couldn’t have been a greater task ever given to a human being—or in the prospect of a greater and more horrifying judgment! And remember—Noah received this commission from God when he was 500 years old (Genesis 5:32)! And yet, note what we’re told in verse 22: “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.” He left nothing of God’s command undone.

B. This makes Noah’s act a truly great example of faith. We’re not told of any other word of affirmation or of any further instruction God gave him until the ark was completed. So, for 100 years time, Noah (and, no doubt, his sons helping) kept faithful to a truly extraordinary and sacrificial task on the basis of one word from God! May God help us to be as obedient to the more complete word of God that we have as Noah was to the much briefer word from God that he was given!


A. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the motivation for Noah’s action was that of “being divinely warned of things not yet seen”. Up to Noah’s day—in the old world; which, it seems, was very different in many ways from the present world—there had not been the record of anything like ‘rain’ or a ‘flood’. Prior to that, the Bible tells us that “a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:6). While there were apparently bodies of water, we’re not told of anything like ship building or of men traveling across the seas. For all that we can tell, this may have been completely new territory for Noah. All that he had to go by was the expressed grief of God over the sin that had come to fill the earth (Genesis 6:1-6); and the set purpose of God: “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them” (v. 7).

B. We can see something of the gracious work of God in Noah in all this. He was “divinely warned” of these things. We’re told of how Noah “found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (v. 8). But we can also see something of Noah’s character in that, after he faithfully obeyed God’s command, God told him, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation” (7:1). His righteous standing before God was proven by his faith in the promise of God—a faith that demonstrated itself in obedient action. As James puts it;

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? … Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. … For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:14, 17, 26).


A. For faith to be true faith, it must be put into action. And note the action that Noah took. On the basis of that single promise from God—a promise that Noah kept before him for an entire century of hard labors—Noah “prepared an ark for the saving of his household”. As Peter wrote to us, Noah was “one of eight people” (2 Peter 2:5); and that it was in that ark that “a few, that is, eight souls, were saved” (1 Peter 3:20). We’re not told how it was that Noah was able to convince his three sons and their wives—apparently all still childless at that time—to place all their hopes in this action of Noah. But they did. Perhaps it was, in part, the faithful obedience of Noah—coupled with his remarkable righteousness—that convinced them.

B. There may be a great lesson for us to learn in that. Could it be that our own faithful obedience to the word of God—our own faith in God’s sure promises, translated into action—becomes the inspiration for others to obey Him? Paul urged Timothy to “be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). May it be that others see our own faithfulness to God’s promises, and become inspired by our example to also obey!


A. Noah’s example was not only to his family, though. It’s true that beyond those seven others who saw him, no one else was inspired to obey. And yet, It was that faithful obedience of Noah “by which he condemned the world”. We’re told in 2 Peter 2:5 that Peter was “a preacher of righteousness” to the world of the ungodly. In 1 Peter 3:18-20 we’re told;

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water (1 Peter 3:18-20).

Apparently, the Spirit of Christ preached to ungodly humanity living in the days of Noah through the ministry and obedience of Noah. 100 years would have been sufficient time for the world to hear of Noah and what he was doing. And now, those unredeemed human spirits who once heard—but who did not obey—are in “prison” even today; and are awaiting the final judgment. But more; Noah’s obedience preaches to humanity living in rebellion even today. As Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:3-6;

… knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water (2 Peter 3:3-6).

B. One of the great lessons that we can learn from the faithfulness of Noah is that our obedient faith preaches to those who see us—both for exhortation or for condemnation. As Paul put it in Philippians 1:27-28;

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God (Philippians 1:27-28).


A. Note that Noah, by his obedient faith, was not only a preacher of righteousness to his generation; but he also “became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” At the end of his long and faithful construction of the ark, he received the commendation from God, “I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation” (Genesis 7:1). But he had also received this evaluation in the word of God concerning his condition even before he had heard the call from God: “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God” (6:9). His righteous faith was a response to the gracious work of God that had already occurred in his heart; and was, in fact, an evidential outflow of it.

B. In this respect, then, Noah was an example to all who will believe on Jesus for salvation. As the writer of Hebrews (who wrote this letter, let’s remember, to encourage persecuted Jewish Christians to remain true to Jesus) says in Hebrews 10:37-38 (quoting from Habakkuk 2:3-4);

For yet a little while,

And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

Now the just shall live by faith;

But if anyone draws back,

My soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:37-38).

The “just”—that is, the woman or man that God declares righteous in His sight—“shall live by faith”. Noah is a great illustration of this great spiritual truth!

* * * * * * * * * *

May we also—by God’s grace—prove the work of God’s grace in us by our own faithful obedience. May it be that we will live in accordance with the faith of faithful Noah!—a faith that acted on God’s promise!

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