The discussion questions this week come from Pastor Jonathan’s sermon on Genesis 6-8. You can read or listen to the sermon, but it’s not necessary for discussion. I’ll try to provide enough content for everyone to be able to participate.
Even more surprising than God deciding to flood the world is that God chose to save Noah and his family. We learn from Genesis 6 that God spared Noah because he walked with God (Genesis 6:9). Walking with God simply means to have faith in God, which is to trust him. And, we know of Noah’s faith because it was expressed in obedience to God. As Pastor Jonathan said,
God told Noah to do something, and the text says that Noah did exactly what God said. “He did all that God commanded him.” The portrait here of Noah is that he is waiting on God — he’s looking to God — and that kind of faith is expressed in Noah listening to God. The emphasis is not Noah’s obedience in isolation; the emphasis is Noah’s faith that is expressed through obedience. Because you don’t obey who you don’t trust. Obedience is an action that flows from faith in the heart, and God is always going for the heart.
How have you wrestled with the connection between faith and obedience? How is faith expressed? What are other examples in Scripture?
As Jonathan said, “You don’t obey who you don’t trust.” Our disobedience to God is actually always an expression of our distrust of God.
What do the ways you question or disobey God say about the ways you distrust him? How are specific forms of disobedience connected to specific forms of unbelief? Why do you think you distrust God in these areas?
[Attempt to get as personal as possible here. While intellectual objections to trusting God should be addressed, distrust is not ultimately an intellectual problem. Distrust is an issue of the heart. At the heart level, what lies about the character of God tempt you to question his trustworthiness? How does the Bible or your personal experiences of God’s grace correct those lies?]
Jesus really is coming back. And when he does he is going to bring judgment upon the world not by flood but by fire (2 Peter 3:6-7). This is an uncomfortable reality and one that we and the vast majority of our friends and neighbors try to distract and hide ourselves from. As Jonathan said,
The judgment of God is a serious thing. And it’s so easy for us as modern people to just write it off, or try to poetically tip-toe around the words said here, or maybe think that Peter must have been exaggerating.
See, it’s kind of funny how this goes: a lot of times when we come across something we don’t like, we assume it’s somebody’s else problem. We’re predisposed to read Peter’s words here and think that he must be the crazy one.
But here’s the twist: the crazy one isn’t him, it’s us.
And the alarm clock keeps going off. The alarm clock keeps trying to tell us to wake up, but we just hit the snooze over and over again. Because we’d rather sleep a little longer than open our eyes to the mess that we’ve made of this world. But the writing is on the wall. It’s there. But we’d rather drug ourselves with distractions than sober up to see that the earth is filled with violence. And the flood is coming.
In what ways do you see our society to be “hitting the snooze” or “drugging yourself with distractions” to avoid the reality of Jesus’s return and the final judgment? What about for yourself? What does being awake and sober look like in hopeful expectation of Jesus’s return? (See 1 Thessalonians 5:6)
Jesus is our ark. He is our salvation. He is the only one who can save us from the final judgment we deserve. Here’s how it works:
Jesus is able to rescue you because he took the divine judgment you deserved. That’s what happened when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus was perfect in every way, and when he went to the cross he took our sin and our guilt and our shame, and on the cross, in our place, he suffered the judgment we deserved. The flood that was coming for us, Jesus took it on the cross. The flood waters were barreling toward us, and on the cross Jesus drank them all down in our place. If we trust him — if we get in his ark.
How does this truth affect you? How should it affect you? How should we encourage one another with this reality?