Vereinigte Pfingstgemeinde Mannheim
The Old Man and the boat
Salvation - where does it begin and where does it end?

TEXT: GENESIS 6,5-8; MATTHEW 24,32- 42

Let us take a look at this example taken from the Old Testament:
ln the time of Noah, God planned to destroy the world by a flood. The people who He had created had forsaken Him and had turned to idols. They worshipped gold, silver, and other material riches. Their lifestyle was immoral and egoistic. They had distanced themselves so far away from God, causing them to ignore his spirit that was trying to convict them. Everyone had made themselves to be their own god.

We see this same type of behaviour even today, that is, lack of respect for the law of God. The warnings of the Holy Ghost to turn away from evil and be converted to God are falling on deaf ears. They had reached the stage where it was no longer possible to turn around. However, Noah found grace before God. This is not a fairy-tale but a fact. Will you find grace before God when the time comes? This is a good question. Noah and his family followed the teachings of God-fearing people which had been passed on from generation to generation. However, this was the last generation, yet Noah found grace. Out of all the people, why him? He had a personal relationship with God. Never would you have found him or one of his children in the bar or the disco. If you entered into his home, you would have felt the presence of God. The world was kept out, there was no Brittney Spears, Michael Jackson and Madonna - the prime examples of a lost generation. Noah would have listened to his gospel songs and not to the popular TV preachers, who twist the gospel around and preach about living a "free life style".

He lived a sensible, holy life with his family. In reference to the word "holy", it means that they did what God's word required of them. Noah loved God's word. My friend, in the end it will be worth it all to have walked with God. Everyone is going to reach the stage of coming to the end, but the thing is what will happen thereafter? Woe to the individual who will be standing there alone without the help of God. Noah and his family were the only ones who God chose out of all the people. What a testimony! It seems almost unbelievable. They were lights in the midst of spiritual darkness. God's people is a light in this world. Their light shined so bright that God saw them in the darkness and sent His word of salvation to them.

"Noah," God said to him, "the people don't want to listen to what I have to say anymore; I'm going to take my hand of protection away from them. As a result of their sin, I'm going to eliminate them from this earth by a flood. Therefore, save yourself and your family; build a ship, I'll give you the measurements. When you're finished, I will send the flood...." Noah heeded God's word. Whoever wants to be saved must do what God's word tells him to do. God had a plan of salvation for Noah and his house, and even today there is a plan of salvation, see Acts 2,38. Noah began to build the ship with his sons. Then the day came when God said to him, "Enter into the ark because it's now the right time - I shall bring the animals in, shut the door and seal them."

All at once, the people saw how Noah left the house with his family and marched in the direction of the ship. The news spread like wildfire. People were saying, "The crazy fool has at long last finished and now he really is going into the ship." The TV cameras and the press were there - a live transmission was taking place. They were broadcasting non-stop - keeping everyone up to date of the latest news. People were making jokes, "Old man, how long do you plan to stay in the ship?" "Mr. Noah, when are we going to see the clouds, especially considering that the weather forecasters said that there won't be any?" "How can anyone be so crazy that he invests all his money in a boat instead of investing in stocks and shares?" They were so spiritually dead that they could not understand anything; it did not even occur to them - even they saw with their own eyes - how completely tame the wild animals were which were coming from all directions and entering into the boat. They watched for a long time but, nevertheless, they still did not get it. They still could not grasp the seriousness of the hour.

Today it is exactly the same case! The technicians were concerned about there being no device on the door to enable Noah to close it. This caused a lot of amazement and was the main topic of the day. "How is the fanatic going to shut the door when there is no mechanism for it? He probably forgot all about that." However, Noah had not forgotten; there was no need for mechanism because God was the mechanism. He would close the door, seal them and open them again. Meanwhile, as they were still watching and making fun, this very door suddenly lifted up and was tightly shut in its frame. Bang!! Everyone was shocked. How did that happen? Then a wind arose which steadily grew stronger, clouds were visible - at first there were just a few, but then there were more and more. The sky turned dark, it was pitch black. Suddenly there was a sound of crashing and the clouds released their water. Everyone ran away, they left everything just laying there. Now they believed - Noah had been right after all! The water arose...

Their religion and their idols were no longer able to help them, but Noah and his house were saved. Even nowadays, the intelligent people believe that the Bible is a fairy-tale book. They will stand before God's throne. He will remind them of their deeds and their sins. "Depart from me, you evil-doers", are the words He will say - it will be just the same as it was on the day of the flood. Now they will believe after all, however, there will never be seen again, nor will anyone ever think about them.

Where did Noah's salvation begin? His salvation began when he believed God and lived as according to His word. He had a relationship with God! It is not a one-way street for people that believe in Him. Also, it was not the first time that God spoke to Noah. Noah obeyed, he built towards his salvation - he built the boat. Nevertheless, he was still not saved. Only when the judgment was over, was he then saved. Therefore it is important, even this very day, to ensure whether you are saved and to know what you have to do to be saved - so that you will be able to escape the eternal judgment and stand before God with a good conscience, having done everything He wanted as described in His word! Only then is a person truly saved! (rw)