“Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, ‘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.’ But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 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.’ Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.”
This evening I would like to share the Word on Noah’s ministry and how he found grace in the eyes of the Lord God. What kind of age was Noah living in? I’d like to examine this question first before delving into today’s sermon.
The human race began to spread over the face of this planet earth from the first man Adam, who begot Seth and all the descendants that followed. It’s from this lineage of Adam and Seth that Noah was born. This genealogy is the lineage of faith, and God has thus concentrated His concern on this genealogy. God is the Master of the history of the human race, as the saying goes, “History is His story.” So, from the very beginning, the history of the human race was the history of the people of God. When Adam fell into sin, God not only saved him from his fall but also gave him descendants of faith.
Adam’s first two sons were Cain and Abel. Cain, the first son, did not believe in God, whereas Abel, the second son, believed in God. But Adam lost both these sons; he lost the first son spiritually, the second son physically. God then gave Adam Seth as his third son, and through this son allowed the lineage of faith to continue. When we turn to Genesis chapter 5 we see the Bible listing the genealogy of Adam, describing how his lineage of faith was sustained. Everyone recorded in this genealogy had received the remission of sins through faith. Like this, the very beginning of the human race unfolded according to God’s plan, and therefore God bestowed His grace on men, allowing them to obtain the remission of sins and blessing their descendants to also receive the remission of sins.
It’s true that there were also many among Adam’s descendants who did not trust in God, but despite this, the human race continued on to multiply. As advancements were made to make life more prosperous and comfortable, the human race flourished and increased in number. Meanwhile, the sons of God saw the beauty of the daughters of men and took them as their wives. The Bible says that as a result of this, the sons of God also had degenerated into mere fleshly beings. This means that they ceased to be spiritual beings and became fleshly beings instead. In other words, they came to be preoccupied solely with their own fleshly calculations, no longer able to see the spiritual dominion.
In those days giants sprang forth on this earth. These were mighty men with imposing stature, dwarfing ordinary men with their physical strength. And they took advantage of their physical prowess to domineer and oppress the weak. As mentioned, the sons of God took the daughters of men and bore children in those days; as a result they ended up departing from God; and the world was as a consequence, filled with sin. The prevalence of wickedness in those days was probably as rampant as it is now. This present world has become so wicked that even the very young commit the kinds of sins that only the grown-ups used to commit, and the days of Noah were also evil like this. The Bible says that every intent of the thoughts of the people of Noah’s days was evil continually. God therefore decided to wipe out the entire human race from the face of the earth, but the Bible says, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8).
Noah Put on God’s Grace of Salvation
Why did Noah put on God’s grace? How did he receive the remission of his sins? How was he able to save all his family members? And how could he live as a servant of God? Noah found salvation from God, but this salvation was reached not because Noah was more virtuous than anyone else in his days, but because he had fear of God in his heart. Noah feared God, was vigilantly mindful of God’s will, looked at everything from God’s point of view, and lived according to His will by faith. That’s why Noah could find God’s grace despite the fact he still had committed sin in God’s sight. In other words, Noah could carry out God’s work because he was someone who followed God by faith.
Everyone is the same as far as the flesh is concerned. No one is special in the flesh. However, when looked at spiritually, people of faith are mindful of God’s plan and desire to follow His will in total obedience. Even though they are carrying on with their lives on this earth just like everyone else, they are special in God’s sight. It’s to such spiritual people whom God blesses and entrusts with His work.
It’s said here in today’s Scripture passage that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord God, and this means that Noah was indeed a spiritual man in God’s sight. Noah was mindful of God’s will and desired to practice and follow it in his life. That is why God not only saved Noah, but He also enabled him to prepare for the next world. God made Noah build the ark. And after allowing Noah to take his family and living creatures into that ark, God made him open the next world.
Like Noah, there are many people on this earth who have also received the remission of sins. Who then are these people who have received God’s grace? They are the ones who are mindful of God’s will. Such people who are mindful of God’s will and desire to follow it are found even today among the countless people living in this world. So, it is through such people that God reveals His will and carries out His work.
There is a fundamental difference between those who live in this world thoughtlessly without any aim and those who live with a clear discernment of God’s will attained from His Word. The latter are mindful of God’s will when they see what’s happening in this present age, and they seek to practice this will of God; and these people of faith are inevitably bound to have a different point of view from the carnal people of this world. It is therefore through such people who are mindful of His will and follow it that God reveals and fulfills His will.
We have many co-workers overseas. One of them, a pastor in Vietnam, sent us some very good news from Singapore. His son is attending a seminary in Singapore, and seven students there had received the remission of sins as a resulting of his son preaching the gospel to them. So he went to Singapore to baptize them. He sent some pictures of this ceremony, which took place in the sea. One of the sisters in the pictures looked scared, while an older sister was smiling. The rest were very solemn.
My fellow believers, even though this present age is so full of sins that God cannot help but condemn it, He still sees such people who are mindful of His will and seek to follow it. It is these people whom God saves; it is through them that God fulfills His will; and it is these redeemed saints whom God clothes with His grace. Moreover, God enables such people to save others as well, and it is through them that God fulfills everything that He planned for the future. It’s very important for all of us to grasp this.
After clothing Noah with His grace, God commanded him to build an ark. God gave Noah detailed instructions on how to build the ark, specifying its size and materials, and Noah did exactly as God had told him. One of the required steps to build the ark was to cover it with pitch both inside and outside. In today’s parlance, the pitch here refers to a type of sealant and adhesive. A certain type of sealant and adhesive is used when furniture is built without using any nails, and this is what the pitch in today’s Scripture passage means.
By instructing Noah to cover the ark with this pitch inside and outside, God ensured that no water would seep into the ark when the flood came and the ark was afloat. Spiritually speaking, that Noah covered the ark with pitch has the same implication as our ministry that preaches the gospel of the water and the Spirit in this age and time. Although Noah did not preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit per se at that time, He still did everything exactly as commanded by God.
When we finish preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the peoples of this world to save them from its certain destruction, the judgment of God will surely come. We are now covering the people of this world with spiritual pitch to deliver them from this declining world. To all who still remain ignorant of the Truth of the remission of sins, we are preaching the gospel of the water and the blood as follows: “The Lord has blotted out all our sins in this way. He has also saved you from all your sins. When our Lord was baptized by John the Baptist, He bore all the sins that you commit out of your weaknesses and shortcomings while living on this earth. By being baptized, our Lord bore all the sins of this world committed by each and every human being from birth to death. And the Lord died on the Cross in our place to be condemned for all our sins, and having risen from the dead again, He has become our Savior. God has saved everyone this way, and He has made us preach this gospel of the water and the blood to everyone in this word.” In short, we are now carrying out the will of God by preaching this genuine gospel.
When Noah built the ark, it was absolutely indispensable for him to cover it with pitch inside and outside. Covering the ark with pitch inside and outside was an absolutely necessary step to build a wooden vessel properly. Even if Noah built the ark with the utmost care and meticulously followed every instruction, if he failed to cover it with pitch and allowed the water to seep into the ark, then the ark would have ended up sinking. But because Noah covered the whole ark with pitch, both inside and outside meticulously, the ark was sturdy and safe.
Why Did God Instruct Noah to Cover the Ark with Pitch Both Inside and Outside?
God instructed Noah to cover the whole ark both inside and outside to prevent any water from ever seeping through its wooden boards. If just the outside of the ark was covered with pitch, then water could seep into the ark if it struck a reef and the outer boards got breached. That’s why God commanded Noah to cover the whole ark with pitch both inside and outside, and that is how God saved Noah’s family and all living creatures to open a new world.
You and I are now living in this second world, not the first world. God judged the first world with water, but He also said that He will judge the second world with fire. This Word of God is now being fulfilled. Just as it was absolutely important for Noah to cover the ark with pitch, it is also absolutely important for us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to fulfill our duties of spreading this gospel all over the world.
Many Christians say arbitrarily that they have received the remissions of their sins just by believing in the blood of the Cross alone. But they still commit countless sins while living in this world. How can they deal with these sins then? They have no one else to turn to but us. In other words, they can be washed from all the sins written in their consciences only if we preach to them this gospel of the water and the Spirit, saying to them, “The Lord has fulfilled all righteousness by bearing all your sins when He was baptized by John the Baptist. He bore each and every one of your sins to fulfill all righteousness.” It is only by believing in the baptism of the Lord and His blood on the Cross that you can be completely washed from all your sins.
Human beings are fragile. Because they are so weak, they are subject to their circumstances, and therefore they cannot help but continue to commit sin as long as their circumstances make it possible for them to sin. That is why the Lord commanded Noah to cover the ark with pitch both inside and outside. Put differently, the Lord has saved you and me today through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is not just with the water or the blood, but it is with the water, the blood, and the Spirit that the Lord has saved us from all our sins (1 John 5:6-8). God has delivered us from all our sins with the water and the blood and the Holy Spirit. This is why it’s so absolutely imperative for all of us to realize and believe that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the very Truth of salvation through which the Lord has saved us all. If you have faith in this gospel, then no matter how weak you might be, you can now be freed from all your sins and become a completely righteous person, never to again revert back to your sinful state.
That your heart is made completely sinless is feasible only if you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit with all your heart. After all, how could anyone claim to be sinless unless his heart has faith in this genuine gospel? It’s only because we have faith in this genuine gospel in our hearts that we can say with every confidence that we have been remitted from all our sins. It’s only because of this gospel of the water and the Spirit that we could receive the remission of sins by faith.
Because we have the gospel of the water and the Spirit in our hearts, no matter how many shortcomings we have, all of us can still renew our hearts and faith and follow the Lord always if only we have a deep desire to obey the will of God in our lives. This means the Holy Lord has blessed us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit so that we would all be able to follow Him with a clean heart and unwavering faith. Otherwise no one can follow the Lord.
Just as God said that there is no one righteous, not even one, there is indeed not a single person on this earth who is righteous innately. However, because the Lord has saved us by coming to this earth, being baptized by John the Baptist, shedding His blood on the Cross, and rising from the dead again, we could become sinless in the Lord’s eyes, and we are now able to live for God’s righteous work no matter how lacking the works of our flesh might be. He has blotted out all our sins that we commit with both our flesh and mind. It is therefore very important for us to grasp what an amazing blessing it is that God has sealed us completely inside and outside with His grace, just as the ark was covered with pitch inside and outside. It’s by God’s amazing grace that we have received such wonderful blessings.
And if it is amazing enough that we have been saved from all our sins thanks to God’s grace and blessings, it is an even greater blessing for us to live for God’s righteous work now that we have received the remission of sins. The very fact that we are living for the righteous work of God is in itself a wonderful blessing. The Lord told us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). And just as the Lord instructed us, we are indeed living for the righteousness of God and His just work of salvation. We have devoted all our lives to saving other souls, supporting the gospel ministry, preaching the gospel personally, and praying for this work ceaselessly. This is an amazing blessing. God clearly promised us that He will add everything both spiritually and physically to those who live for His righteous work.
Many people in this world think that they have been quite successful on their own. But in my view, such worldly people have accomplished nothing. All that they have achieved is barely getting by to make a living. Some of them might even be board members in huge conglomerates, but they are just living in plenty; others might own their own flourishing businesses, but these people are also just making a living. They can all be ruined the moment something goes wrong. In practically every country, all cabinet members are entitled to draw from a generous pension plan once they leave their posts, even if they have served just for a few months. The same is true for presidents, prime ministers, legislators, and so forth. Perhaps that’s why so many politicians are dying to get their hands on government posts. But even these politicians are just trying to make a living like everyone else. If they have really maintained their integrity throughout their political career, never taking any bribe, then even their generous pension would give them just enough money to keep a comfortable but not so luxurious lifestyle. These people are so preoccupied with their own successes that they are incapable of living an altruistic life for the sake of anyone else or even considering it.
In contrast, those who have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit live their lives for the sake of others. Such people who are living for the Lord to save other souls have seen their basic needs already taken care of. That’s because God does everything to ensure that their needs are met.
Can anyone be absolutely sure that all their basic needs would be met if he just works hard enough? No, this is not the case. Hard work alone does not necessarily mean that you can take care of all your basic needs. Even though countless people on this earth are working hard and sometimes even deceive others and do evil things to ensure their own success, they are still struggling just to make ends meet. Few can take care of their basic needs so easily.
What’s so blessed about those who have received the remission of sins? It is that they are living for the righteousness of God and His pleasure. Who are these blessed people then? They are the ones who do not worship any golden calf.
Happy Are Those Who Do Not Worship the Golden Calves Made and Worshipped by Jeroboam
Once you worship any golden calf, you have to continue to make offerings to it, bow down before it, and serve it. Who is behind this worship of golden calves? The Devil is behind it. So anyone who worships golden calves will be put to death for sure. And anyone who serves the Devil will be cursed by God. Although countless people in this world practice one kind of religion or another with the utmost care and devotion, no religion in this world whatsoever can ever bring any blessings to them.
Those who do not worship golden calves are the blessed ones who have received God’s blessings. In contrast, those who worship golden calves are all cursed by God. In fact, the more one worships golden calves, the more one is cursed. That’s why the people of Israel were cursed for so long. Even though the Israelites were God’s own people, because they worshipped golden calves as their gods, they were cursed for generations over thousands of years. When Hitler seized power in Germany, countless Jews were put to death in gas chambers under his dictatorship. This happened because the people of Israel had worshipped golden calves. It was the cause of curse. Such a terrifying curse is bound to follow anyone who worships golden calves.
If you believe in the living God and trust in His righteousness, then this in itself is a blessing. God is not dead. He is a living God; He is indeed the God of the living, not of the dead. And because God is the God of the living, He knows all about us who are serving Him by faith. So God blesses those who obey His will like Noah. And He will allow them to live in a new world which will unfold. Even though this world we see is where we are living right now, but soon the Lord will destroy this planet earth. He will open the new heavens and the new earth to replace this planet earth. Just as the Lord created this universe and this earth that we see and experience right now, so will He also create the new heavens and the new earth. And the Lord will allow us His people to live there. When this time comes, you and I will also live there. This is not just a fairy tale. It’s completely real. God created this universe. And this God will surely wipe out the present world that we see now and make the new heavens and the new earth. And He will enable us to live there. We will live there forever with God as His own children enjoying all His divine glory. This is the blessing that God wants to bestow on all of us humans.
It is written in John 1:16, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” The Bible also says that while the Law was given through Moses, the grace of God came through Jesus Christ. It’s thanks to Jesus Christ that we have been blessed. Jesus is God Himself, the only begotten Son of God the Father, and the Savior to all of us. Moreover, the Lord is not only our Savior God who has delivered us from all the sins of the world, but He is also our Shepherd taking care of us and protecting us.
The Bible says that those who are poor in spirit are blessed. All of us ought to be poor in spirit. When we understand God and rely on His righteousness by faith, we are not only saved from all our sins, but we are also blessed to no longer suffer on this earth bound by the chains of this world. Once we are saved, we can all live amidst God’s blessings, not only in prosperity and health but also carrying out His righteous work. And we will also be blessed to enter the Kingdom of the Lord and enjoy all its glory. Even now, God is looking for such people who are like Noah. And when He finds them, He clothes them with His grace without fail.
We have many co-workers from all over the world, and today, I heard from Rev. Jim Montgomerie of the Netherlands saying that he distributed our books to many people. I am sure God is very pleased with his devotion. My heart is also truly joyous whenever I hear such news. Not too long ago, we had also gone to Gangwon University and preached the gospel to the people there, sharing our books with them. Anyways, when I heard this news from Rev. Montgomerie, I thought about going to the Netherlands and joining him to distribute our books. But I changed my mind to not go there. How many books could I distribute even if I went there? After all, I don’t even speak Dutch. I should do what has been entrusted to me here.
Anyway, what I am saying is that God blesses those who are obeying His will with joy. Why did Noah find grace in the eyes of God? It’s because Noah looked for the will of God carefully. It’s because Noah was mindful of God’s will that he could understand it, and it’s because he understood God’s will that he could follow it. Likewise, even though this present world is in havoc, we can also grasp God’s intention if we look for His will carefully.
This present age is the age of the black horse as described in the Book of Revelation. I heard in the news today that a small coastal town in Korea was hit by a tidal wave all of a sudden and over a dozen fishermen were swept out to sea. The authorities are busy trying to find out exactly what happened, and rescue effort is still continuing. The sea had been peaceful all along that day, but it surged all of a sudden and giant waves crashed down on the unsuspecting fishermen enjoying their day, sweeping them out to sea. The sea then settled down as suddenly as it had roared so furiously, as thought nothing had happened. Such unexpected tidal waves are all too common nowadays. We call such a tidal wave a ‘tsunami.’ Tsunamis usually originate from an earthquake. When an earthquake breaks out deep in the sea, the tremor sends out giant waves that eventually crash into the shoreline. A fisherman who witnessed the above incident saw giant waves as tall as 5 m crashing down on the shore and sweeping the victims out to sea.
If we look at this present age carefully, we can all see what kind of age it is. This present age is the age of destruction. This age is the same as the age of Noah just before God judged the world with water. And God said that He will scorch this world and destroy it completely with fire. We are living in such an age. All of us therefore must be on our guard.
We have this duty to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to everyone in this age who still does not know this gospel. And we must rely on the righteousness of God and live a righteous life. Such a life of faith is for your own sake. Noah obeyed the will of God for His sake, but who ultimately benefited from this? Was it not actually Noah himself who benefited from his obedience? Indeed, Noah’s obedience benefited himself and his family. Moreover, Noah was also able to save countless animals by obeying the Word of God. Who would be saved if we also obey God like this? Would it not be our own family members who would be saved? Would our neighbors and everyone all over this world not be all saved? Living for God is in itself for our own sake, and it is also for the sake of everyone in this world. We ought to live out our faith with this realization. It’s absolutely important for all of us to discern this present age and live by faith.
This present age is now moving on to the age of the pale horse from the age of the black horse. So therefore, this age is the age of destruction. It is the age in which everyone will perish both in body and soul. Gas prices have skyrocketed so much nowadays that if this trend continues on, soon most people won’t be able to afford driving their cars. Even now, many people have already parked their cars away and stopped using them. There will be even more people like them if the price of oil keeps climbing. In my neighborhood there already are many cars just sitting in the garages. With the gas price going through the roof, more and more people are finding out that they can’t afford to drive their cars anymore, as they have to prioritize their spending to make ends meet.
The cost of living has increased quite a bit recently. As if paying for bread and everyday necessities is not enough, there are so many bills piling up, from medical insurance to pension contributions, taxes, utility bills, and so on. A fellow pastor ministering in Seoul once told me that although the city is renowned for its wealth; many small-building owners are actually broke. They have to pinch every penny just to get by. In Seoul, you need over a million dollars just to buy an apartment. When I heard this, I told the pastor, “Well, if someone in Seoul sold his apartment, he could buy a mansion over here in my town.” But the pastor told me, “Well, it’s not exactly that simple. Many people in Seoul are struggling to just get by. Some of them are so pressed for money that they are renting out their homes and living in rooftop houses of their buildings instead, just so that they can have enough food.” I am telling you this by showing you just how hard it is to live in this present age.
It’s very important for all of us to discern and grasp what kind of age this present age is and live accordingly with discernment. Even now, countless people in many parts of the world are starving to death. Although such calamities are still unheard of in rich countries, the day will come when even people living in rich countries would not be able to afford to buy food. It’s very fortunate that God is protecting our country. This is because we are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit that God is protecting us and our country. Just as the Bible says here in today’s Scripture reading that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord God, so have we also found God’s grace.
If you still have not found God’s grace yet, then I ask you to look for the will of God and attain His grace by obedience, so that you may live the rest of your life with His blessings. I hope and pray that you would all live with God’s blessings. No one can live unless he is blessed by God, no matter how hard one might try to live on his own. For me also, it’s only because of God’s blessings that I can make my ends meet, and the same is true for you as well. You can then easily imagine just how much the people of this world are struggling. Even though they may look just fine outside, they are empty inside. There have nothing worthwhile in this world.
In this age and time when the world is inexorably spiraling toward its destruction, it’s all the more important for us to be mindful of the will of God and obey it. So let us all seek God’s help, and with this help from God, let us all lead an upright life for the remainder of our time on this earth.