We seem to be in a time with a heightened sense of fear. Recently, I was listening to a newscast where the commentators where terrified about the American economy. They used words like “fiscal cliff,” “devastating,” “traumatic,” “life-changing,” “meltdown,” and “depression.” Whether their analysis is correct or not, the tone of their comments could not help but bring fear and anxiety to those listening.
All of us are constantly challenged by fear: financial crises, health issues, family concerns, local crime, the neighbor’s dog, and even driving in traffic. Fear is one of our God-given emotions to cause us to be alert, to warn us that danger is lurking, and to prepare us to act. But fear can also paralyze us and lead to anxiety, worry, and all kind of physical effects in our body. Fear is to be a guide, not the controller of our being. It calls us to pay attention, but it is not an emotion by which we are meant to live.
The most often used words of Jesus in the New Testament are: “Do not fear.” He did not mean that we should not be aware of our fear. He meant that we should not live in our fear. Fear can terrorize one’s life. He wants us to know that God is with is in all our circumstances and will guide us and direct us regardless of what we face.
Jesus tells us that as we seek the things of God and attempt to follow His ways, what we need will be provided as we obey and trust Him – food, clothing, health, time, guidance, etc. (Matthew 6:21-33) In our culture of abundance, it is easy to fear the loss of so many of our wants and greeds. We forget the important things in our lives.
The biggest weapon we have against fear controlling us is our faith that God is with us. Knowing that His Presence is with me - right now - empowers me to have the courage to face what is before me. His Holy Spirit, who indwells us, empowers us to move forward with caution and wisdom. Joshua 1:9 says: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
We have a God that loves us so much, and God’s love for us is expressed to us through His “covenants”. Also, God’s “covenants” reveal to us His grace and faithfulness. In today’s message, we will discuss God’s Covenant with Noah. A “covenant” can be defined as an “oath or promise of God”. In a Biblical covenant: 1) God establishes the Covenant; 2) God always implies that “I am your God, and you are my people” – God desires a personal relationship with us; and 3) God sets the covenant’s terms and rulers.
In Genesis 6:5-22, the corruption of humanity, through mankind’s sin after the Fall, became too much for God, and He became sorry that He made mankind. From Genesis, we know that God “grieved in His heart” because of human evil, corruption, and violence. However, Noah found favor in the eyes of God. Noah was righteous and blameless, and Noah “walked with God”.
After destroying all humans and all other inhabitants of the earth, except for Noah, his family, those animals that Noah collected for His arch, God “blessed Noah in Genesis 9:1-29; and God established His covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:9-1:10,11-13: “’Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you . . . that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.’". Therefore, this covenant is not only with Noah and all other living things on the earth; but God’s covenant with Noah is with us too! The “rainbow” is a sign of this covenant between Noah and all humanity; and this “rainbow” is, also, a sign of God’s love, grace, and mercy.
In 1 Peter 3:18-21, the Apostle Peter relates Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, which is a redemptive covenant for our salvation, to God’s earlier covenant with Noah: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . .". In this text from 1 Peter, we learn that our “baptism” represents our Salvation through Jesus. Like Noah and his family, we have been saved “through the water” not “by the water”. Therefore, “baptism” is another covenant between God and all humanity, through God’s Grace, to save mankind from itself if we accept God’s Grace. God does not see us, now, in our sin like humanity’s evil of Noah’s time; rather, God sees us through the eternal (like the “rainbow”) “Justifying” covenant blood of Jesus.
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13).
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Genesis 6:5-22; Genesis 9:1-29; 1 Peter 3:18-21; Psalms 28: 1-9.
WEBSITE LINK TO DR. BEACH’S SERMON VIDEO: https://awordfromthelord.org/video-archives/
DONATE TO AWFTL: https://mygiving.secure.force.com/GXDonateNow?id=a0Ui000000DglsqEABAll Sermons by Archbishop Foley Beach