Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 20, 1951
NUMBER 33, PAGE 2-3a

Noah A Preacher Of Righteousness

W. S. Boyett, Altus, Oklahoma

Peter warned the Christians, to whom he addressed his second Epistle, that there would be false teachers among them, just as there were false prophets among the people of old. He pointed out that the sentence of destruction had been passed upon these false teachers and that their destruction slumbered not, and as examples of how God visited destruction upon the wicked he uses several illustrations. One of these was that of the old world in the days of Noah. Here is what he said: "And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, A PREACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." (2 Peter 2:5) Since Peter calls Noah a PREACHER, it seems to me that it would be well for us to study Noah in that light. To do that we first call your attention to:

The World In Which He Lived

Noah was born during that primeval period of Bible history known to us as the period of Creation, or sometimes called the Antediluvian Period. This period lasted for some 1656 years after the creation of the first man. During this time the wickedness of man constantly grew worse and worse. Man became so wicked that it repented God that He had made him, and He determined to destroy him. Noah was born just 600 years before this final destruction, which was visited on man. He lived among people whom the Bible describes as being wicked to the extent that the thoughts and imaginations of their hearts were evil continually. Among all the people upon the earth God would find but one righteous man—Noah. We mention this fact to emphasize the kind of people that Noah had to preach to. I have found often that the type people to which I am preaching has a great deal to do with the preaching, thus the same must have been true with Noah. I doubt if many preachers of our time ever preached to an audience where there were not several who were in sympathy with what he was preaching, but this was not true with Noah. Outside of his own family of eight, there were none in sympathy with his message. Considering the wickedness of the people among whom Noah lived, I wonder:

What Of His Character

If evil companionships corrupt good morals, then surely Noah must have had a difficult job living right. First, Noah was a man of faith. Paul painted him as one of the heroes of faith. Of him he said: "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Heb. 11:7) In this passage the outstanding thing about Noah is his faith. In fact I am sure that this is the greatest thing about Noah's entire life. In this word "faith" is found the power that made him great even among a wicked and cursed generation. There are some things about his faith that are outstanding. He was warned of God and BY FAITH HE MOVED WITH FEAR. Noah's faith was not just a cold realization of the warning, but it was a MOVING power. This was the moving power behind his preaching. Such should be the facts about all preachers. Not only did Noah's faith move him to preach, but to build. This preacher was a builder. Indeed he built only an ark of gopher wood, but consider what was in that ark. There was salvation for all that entered. Today the gospel preacher is a builder in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, in which salvation is for all. Let preachers all realize that they are church builders and not church "splitters." Noah's faith moved him to PREPARE. Hence, his work was that of preparation. He was preparing people, and in so doing, was preparing himself also, for salvation.

No doubt the most beautiful description of Noah's life is found in the following passage: "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God." (Gen. 6:9) I do not know how one would pay higher tribute to a life than this. He lived in harmony with the principles of justice and was a dispenser of the same. He lived in perfect accord with the rules and regulations of right in that ancient day. "He walked with God." This is said of only two men in the entire Bible. The other is Enoch. Of Abraham it is said, "He walked BEFORE God." And Moses commanded the Israelites to "walk AFTER God." Noah did much more than these. He did not just walk before, under God's constant observation; or after, that is to follow after the way God leads, but he had a much closer relation with God than that. He had God as a companion in the way, constant associate instead of far off observer. How great was this man who lived such a wonderful life in that far off day! I am deeply interested in:

His Message

I never hear a preacher deliver a sermon, but that I think how utterly unattractive it would be, were it not for the sweetness of the love of God in sending Jesus to earth to die upon the cross. Were it not for the hope of the resurrection, which Christ's resurrection ascertains, to whom would our message appeal? Were it not for the tenderness of the loving Savior dying on the cross for mankind, who would be impressed by our preaching? Noah had none of these. He preached a message of calamity. He had no resurrected Lord to hold before his hearers. He had no story of the death of a Savior on the cross to "melt" their hearts. He could not tell them of the efficacious blood which was willingly shed for them upon a cross. All he could point them to was an imminent destruction. He had to cry, CALAMITY! CALAMITY! CALAMITY! Reader, pause right here and ask yourself the question: Would I enjoy hearing a message such as Noah preached? A message that told me nothing but the horrors of destruction? I find that people of today do not appreciate such a message. Many in the church do not want us to preach about hell and the destruction of the wicked. This no doubt explains why Noah had so few converts. Since we have a similar attitude to the type of preaching done by Noah among the people of today, we wonder if it is due to a similar condition of hearts. Those in Noah's time are described as thinking and imagining evil continually.

Noah's message was an EXCLUSIVE message. It excluded every other message, system or plan on earth. He denounced every other preacher on earth and the message of all others as false. I need not mention how many people detest preaching now that denounces false systems of religion. This gives emphasis to the statement of Jesus: "And as it came to pass in the days of Noah, even so shall it be here also in the days of the Son of man." (Luke 17:26) Since Noah preached a message that would evidently be so unpopular today, we are interested in

The Success Of His Preaching

Once a lady came to me and said: "The Bible says that Noah preached for 120 years and during that time, he only converted SEVEN people. Now do you think that Noah was a very successful preacher? This set me to thinking. Of course she based her 120 years upon the statement in Genesis 6:3, but if Noah did not preach all this time, he certainly preached much of the time. The members of his own family showed that he did not induce many to repent and accept his message. I could explain the action of the people as the obduracy of their hearts, but what about the success of Noah? He did not have any big meetings to report. I recalled that this sister must have been reading the reports in the religious papers of our time. She evidently, like many, judged the success of a preacher by the number of baptisms he reported. I turned to this lady and replied, "I think Noah was a rather successful preacher. I doubt if many preachers of our time have ever done what Noah did. He saved his own family." It is certainly complimentary of anyone that his greatest influence is among those that are closest to him. Here it was not the polish of pulpit manners, but the simplicity and purity of his life that did the work. His preaching may not have been polished enough to suit the crowd, but his life was beautiful enough to attract those who knew it best. I pray God, GIVE US MORE PREACHERS LIKE NOAH!!