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A Noah storytelling sermon

This is a transcript of my sermon to our campus English-language congregation, 13 July 2014

Today we will hear the story of Noah and the flood

What is that story about?
Judgement…
Creation care…
Many things undoubtedly…

As we hear this story we will see that it is about Jesus…
…It points to Jesus; it finds its goal in Jesus

In the beginning, there weren’t many people on Earth
Then people began to multiply and spread out across the Earth
But as they grew in number, they grew in evil

Their hearts were against God; their hearts were against each other
They brought violence against each other; they brought violence against the Earth

They became a source of pain to God

So God said,
“I am so sad that I made them
“That I will wipe them away
“Earth will be empty again”

But when God looked at one man, God couldn’t bring himself to do it

That man was Noah
Noah’s heart was turned towards God; Noah lived well
So God told Noah how he was feeling

God said,
“I am going to wipe the Earth clean with water
“You have to make a boat
“(I am giving you the plans: the deck… the door… the food…)
“I am going to wipe the Earth clean with water
“But you will be on the boat
“(You will take others with you: birds/livestock/wild animals/insects)
“I am going to wipe the Earth clean with water
“But you and your family and the birds/livestock/wild animals/insects will be alive on the boat”

So Noah did as God said
He built the boat, he put his family on, and he put the animals on
Just as God had told him

And then the water came
They were on the boat, and God shut them in, and the rains came and the floods rose

Just as God had once brought dry land out of the water,
Now the land was swallowed up by water

The water came for 40 days

The man in the boat was lifted up high as the water rose

All living creatures died: the birds/livestock/wild animals/insects, and the people
The water swept them all away

Just as God had once filled the Earth with living creatures,
Now the Earth was emptied of life

But the ones on the boat were safe
And God was watching over them
So God stopped the waters
And God sent winds to dry the floods

As in the beginning, dry land appeared from the water once again

And the boat came to rest on a mountain
They waited till the flood had dried up

Then God said,
“Come out — people, birds/livestock/wild animals/insects
“Come out so we can begin again, just like last time”

So that’s what they did

As in the beginning, the empty Earth began to be filled with living creatures

God began again with life on Earth — a new creation

People were still the same, but one thing was different: God’s promise

Noah gave thanks to God, and God listened

Then God said,
“These people still have violence in their hearts
“But I will never again wipe the Earth clean with water
“The Earth will keep going: sowing/harvesting, hot/cold, seasons, day/night
“I am keeping life on Earth”

Then just as God spoke to the the first people in the garden,
God spoke to Noah and his family:
“Be fruitful! Increase in number! Fill the Earth!
“The creatures of the Earth are yours for food
“But when you shed the blood of animals, watch out…
“…Because if you bring violence to the Earth, the Earth will bring violence to you”

Then God said,
“This is my covenant with you —
“It is my commitment to all your children and your descendants…
“…And to every living creature (birds/livestock/wild animals/insects) —
“I will never send a flood again
“I will never again wipe the Earth clean with water
“The rainbow is the sign of my commitment
“Whenever a rainbow appears, I will look at it…
“…And I will think to myself: I am keeping life on Earth”

It was time to begin again
“Be fruitful! Increase in number! Fill the Earth!”
So Noah and his family, the sons of Noah and their families
Began to cultivate the Earth once again

And Noah began to plant grapes, and from the grapes he made wine
But instead of truly cultivating the Earth, Noah allowed the Earth to control him
Noah got drunk on wine
And he lay there naked

And his youngest son saw Noah
But instead of covering up his father’s shame,
He exposed his father’s shame to everyone
Noah’s son went and told his brothers, “Look! Our father is drunk and naked!”

So the story of Noah ends sadly
Noah is supposed to be the leader of a new creation
But he is a foolish farmer, not a wise one
And Noah’s son does not honour Noah but shames him
The ways of violence are still among us

The creation will not be destroyed, but when will we see a truly new creation?
Who will bring a truly new beginning?
Who will lead the way in love and honour — the path away from violence and shame?

Who can please God? Whose heart and life is truly turned towards God?
Not the one who went through 40 days of water only to lie drunk and naked
But the one who went through 40 days of desert and yet resisted all the temptations of Satan

Who can truly care for the Earth? Who can be master of creation instead of being mastered by it?
Not the one who got drunk on his own wine
But the one who turned water into wine

Who takes shame away rather than being shamed?
It is the one who healed a woman who had been bleeding for years
His touch made her whole
His touch enabled her to return to her family
And once more become part of the life of her community

Who is the son who truly honours his father?
Not the one who said, “Look, our father is drunk!”
But the one who said, as he prayed in the garden,
“Father, I do not want to do my will; I want to do your will”

There was one man lifted high above the water in his boat
But there was another man lifted high on a cross
It says,
“When he was lifted up high
“He conquered the powers of darkness
“And gave blessing to his people”

It says,
“Now, in Jesus, you who were once far away
“Have been brought near
“Through the blood of Christ”

It says,
“We have been made alive with Christ
“God raised us up and seated us with Christ”

The man lifted high on the cross is the man God raised to his side
That man is the one who pleases God
That man is the one who saves

Through one man, a new world began
This time, there is one more difference
Yes, we know that God is keeping life on Earth
But now, God is wiping clean the hearts of people
This time, people are being changed
As we go under the water of baptism in Christ
Our hearts are wiped clean by God

We become new creations

So the question for you is,
Will this be true of you?
Will you sail with Jesus?
Will you be lifted up with him?
Will you be carried into the new creation with him?

Like everything in the Bible, the story of Noah points to Jesus
On its own, it is a story with a sad ending — it is incomplete
But its true ending is in Jesus
The goal of the story of Noah is Jesus
Let’s find our identity in him

Categories: Bible Written by Arthur

Tagged as:

Arthur Davis

Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.

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