I pray that God would use this writing to encourage the hearts of his children, draw the lost souls to himself, and remind me and teach me the way that I should remember, so that I do not attempt to wander around in this world.
The word of the LORD came to Noah in the days of great wickedness in the earth, for Noah had found grace in the eyes of God. God would destroy the world with a great flood, so he told Noah to build an ark of gopher wood, which was the mode of security for both Noah’s family and the animals of the earth that God commanded Noah to take into the ark.
This task of building the ark was one that took many years, during which time Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) to the lost, and to himself. I do believe that many Christians today forget that the Pastor or Preacher is not a perfect man. Solomon was called “the preacher”, yet he himself was an adulterer, greedy, idolater, and hypocrite. We must all (as many as be saved) be thankful that such were some of us before we knew Christ. Noah had to have preached to himself, first and foremost.
What effect will God’s word have on the congregation if the preacher does not partake of the fruits of the Word of truth? If the preaching does not attack the heart of the preacher, as a sword opening the loins, spilling the dirt, a clean and deadly cut, how will the preaching then also heal that which has been broken? It does the job of sealing the wound, cauterizing the flesh. The word of God has this effect, and unless the husbandman is a first partaker of the fruit, how will any eat of the vineyard, if the husbandman has not already tasted and seen that the Lord is good? How will he tell the congregation about a truth he knows nothing of? Truth can only come by the Holy Ghost, for truth can come by none other but God.
Noah heard the word of God and believed. God told Noah to seal the ark with pitch, both within and without. The hearing of God’s word, and the belief Noah had in his word, had already sealed Noah with pitch, but what if that pitch had been false pitch? God forbid, for no false thing can come from God, as it is written, let God be true and every man a liar.
Yet there is a false seal in the world. In the days of the captivity of Judah and Israel, the days of Ezekiel, the false prophets had daubed souls with untempered mortar (Ezekiel 22:28), in an attempt to seal them with a false seal, and build upon them a false work. The LORD said that this false seal destroys souls for dishonest gain. They divined lies saying, “Thus saith the LORD GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken” (Ezekiel 22:28).
I see the pastors today tell lies for dishonest gain. I see God’s word used as a means of a dishonest living. I myself am a preacher, and when I preach my heart will sometimes break from the preaching. For the honest words of God coming from a dishonest mouth, the clean words of God coming from a dirty tongue. O wretched man that I am! What privilege the LORD of glory has given man to preach his word! I think to myself, what am I? That God would give me these words to speak, of which I myself am guilty of? As the Lord Jesus said, Repent or ye shall likewise perish. I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord that he shall deliver me from the body of this death.
Yes, Noah must have been a preacher to himself first, for how could any man, chosen by God to do a work, continue to do the work unless he himself was humbled by the command of God? Any work of God in a Christian should have this effect, for how can a man help another, unless he himself has already been healed by God? How could a man preach God’s word for more than a hundred years and not be the first audience? The man must have to be thankful that God has chosen him to do a work for him, as the work of God is not an exalting one, but a humbling one.
Now I ask the preachers and the pastors, why is it that the gospel preached by your lips is not mixed with faith? The first audience of God’s word is the pastor, if it has not broken his heart, how shall it break the heart of the congregation, coming from the lips of a man who does not believe what he preaches? Ezekiel and Noah had only God’s word to preach, therefore throw away the silly works of the world, let the word of God do a work in your heart.
The congregation needs to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ for many more years. As the ark was sealed with pitch, and Ezekiel longed for tempered mortar, let us remember that the Holy Spirit of God will seal us by the blood of Jesus Christ by promise until the day of redemption, being known by God as his own (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13, 4:30, 2 Timothy 2:19).
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