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Genesis 6:9 – 7:5 1
69 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. 11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

71 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” 5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

img201Background 2

The first verse of the Bible gives us our account of the origin of the earth and the heavens. The faith of humble Christians understands this better than the fancy of the most learned men. From what we see of heaven and earth, we learn the power of the great Creator. And let our make and place as men, remind us of our duty as Christians, always to keep heaven in our eye, and the earth under our feet. The Son of God, one with the Father, was with him when he made the world; Let us remember that we are often reminded that the world was made by him, and nothing was made without him. This is why our thoughts of God must be forefront in our minds, of that great God whom we worship, and of that great Mediator in whose name we pray! And here, at the beginning of the Scriptures, we read about the Divine Spirit, whose work upon the heart of man that is so often mentioned in other parts of the Bible. Observe, that at first there was nothing desirable to be seen, for the world was without form, and void; it was confusion, and emptiness. In like manner the work of grace in the soul is a new creation: and in a graceless soul, one that is not born again, there is disorder, confusion, and every evil work: it is empty of all good, for it is without God; it is dark, it is darkness itself: this is our condition by nature, until God’s almighty grace works a change in us.

Biblical Truths

These verses give us the familiar story of God’s justice upon the wicked and the faith walk of a man and his family. Noah had every reason to ignore God’s commands. His friends, the people in his community, even his family questioned the judgment of building the ark. Yet, the faith of Noah prevailed and now serves to remind us that God’s justice is powerful, God’s instructions are clear and God’s love is for the people of faith.

Items for Discussion

  • Do you believe in the “literal story” of Noah and the ark? Why or why not?
  • What does this story tell us about our God?
  • What does this story tell us about Noah?
  • What does this story tell us about those in the world that are not believers?
  • What would you tell a non-Christian about this story?
  • If you look at the Christian Church today, in what way are we like Noah?

 

1 Peter 1:5-8
5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Background

The Apostle Peter is the author this letter. Peter wrote this letter in the Greek language so the good news about Jesus could spread easily among those who lived in the area we now call Turkey. A man called Silas (Silvanus) helped Peter to write the letter (see 5:12) about 30 years after Jesus’ death.

On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) some of the people from this area were visiting the city of Jerusalem. Some of these people may have become Christians there and perhaps they went home and started new churches. Peter wrote to Jews and Gentiles who became Christians.

Peter wanted to encourage Christians who were suffering for Christ. Peter’s message was that although Christians might suffer in this life, they will not suffer forever. This world is not their real home but Heaven is and one day they will live with God, sharing in God’s glory. Peter also wanted his readers to understand the grace of God. He wanted every Christian to know what God has done for them.

This letter had a practical message. When a person becomes a Christian his life changes. Peter told his readers how to live a good Christian life, encouraging them to live like Jesus.

Bible Truth 3

Verse 5 – ‘Shielded’ is a military word that has two meanings. It means to guard from attack and to prevent escape. Peter wants to encourage Christians who are suffering for being Christians. God’s power guards their spirits. As they trust in God, his power makes them strong. Then they will not run away from being a Christian. All Christians must continue to trust God until Jesus comes again. This is when they will receive their complete salvation (the inheritance in verse 4).

Peter and the other apostles saw Jesus go back to heaven (Acts 1:9-11). They heard the angels say that Jesus would return. They also heard Jesus teach about this (Matthew 16:27). No one knows when it will happen. Therefore, Christians must be ready. They should live good lives as they wait for that important day (1 Thessalonians 4:14-5:11).

Verse 6 – When Christians understand what Peter wrote in verses 3-5, it makes them very happy. They have joy deep in their spirits. But Christians may suffer troubles in their lives. These troubles make them sad for a little while. But they will not be sad for ever.

Verse 7 – It is easy to be a Christian when life is favorable. But Christians often have troubles in their lives. God uses these troubles to make their faith in God strong and pure. To have faith in God means to trust in God and in Jesus Christ his Son. James 1:2-4 says that troubles help people to grow up as strong Christians. So they should have joy even when they have troubles.

In this world gold is very valuable. When someone has faith in God, this is much more valuable to God than gold. Gold is a metal. It shines even when it is not pure. If you mix gold with other metals, it still looks like pure gold. If you melt gold in a pot in a hot fire, you can find out whether the gold really is pure. As it gets hotter, any other metals or bits of dirt rise to the surface. Then someone can remove them. Peter said that troubles in a person’s life are like this fire. When people have troubles, they see the bad behavior that hides inside themselves. They should stop their bad behavior and trust God. If they do this, then their faith in God is genuine.

‘Your genuine faith will bring praise, glory and honor to Jesus when he comes again’. This means that both Jesus and the person with genuine faith will receive praise, glory and honor. We shall not understand some of God’s purposes in this life. God will reveal them only at the final judgment.

Verse 8 – Peter had been in the company of Jesus for three years. But Peter is writing to people who have never seen Jesus. They love Jesus without seeing him. To ‘believe in’ Jesus means to trust and obey him, although we cannot see him. It means more than believing facts about him. People who believe in Jesus have joy in their spirits. This joy comes from God. No one can explain it in words because it is too wonderful.

Verse 9 – We understand salvation in three ways: in the past, in the present, and in the future.

  1. Salvation in the past, when people first become Christians (verse 3).
  2. Salvation in the present, as they learn to trust God each day and to receive his help (the first part of verse 5).
  3. Salvation in the future, when they will receive all of God’s promises in heaven (verses 4-5).

Items for Discussion

  • How does suffering “purify,” make someone cleaner and more valuable?
  • Would this world be missing something if everyone had everything and there was no suffering? What?
  • How does the story of Noah help us to understand suffering better?
  • Describe how you think a Christian should respond in the following areas:
    • You are suffering an injustice
    • You are suffering because of your own behavior
    • You see others suffering but not by their hand or actions
    • You see others suffering because of their actions
    • You have caused others to suffer
  • What are the ways we show others that we trust God?

Discussion Challenge

  • What is the role of the church at large when there is suffering?
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