Theme: God judges sin
Verse: Acts 16:31- “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.”
How many of you have been to the Ark Encounter, the life-size model of Noah’s Ark in Kentucky?
The ark is huge. The Bible tells us exactly how big it was. (Read Genesis 6: 14-16.)
Noah’s Ark was about the size of 1 1/2 football fields. If you visit the Ark Encounter, you can see just how huge it is because it was built according to the dimensions in the Bible.
Here is a picture of the inside. It is very long, and it has 3 levels.
Why did God tell Noah to build the ark?
God saw how wicked and violent all the people on earth were. Although God loves everyone, He must judge sin. So God decided to destroy all mankind and start over.
There was only one family who loved and obeyed God—Noah’s. God’s plan was to save Noah’s family in the ark when the flood destroyed everything else. So God told Noah exactly how to build it.
God equipped the ark with everything they needed for the forty days and forty nights it rained and then for the many months it took for the waters to go away.
There were cages for the animals. God told Noah to bring two of every kind of animal, a male and a female. Here is what a cage might have looked like:
The reptiles and amphibians may have been in containers like this:
You may wonder how all the animals fit on the boat, especially the big ones such as dinosaurs or hippos or giraffes. They probably took baby animals. Some may have been in hibernation, so they didn’t take as much care. But the boat was so big that there was room for 50,000 animals.
On the boat were the living quarters for Noah and his wife and his three sons, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and their wives. They may have looked like this:
It took Noah 120 years to build the ark. During that time, people wondered what he was doing. Noah told them that God was going to send a flood to destroy them as punishment for their sins. They had a chance to repent and believe God, but no one did.
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be one of those people locked out of the ark when the floods came? I have, and I have written an imaginary story about it:
Jara wept in the alley behind her house. Oh, how she hated her brother Kenan and his friends for making fun of her. It wasn’t her fault she had that big purple scar across her cheek.
She remembered that terrifying day when she was just a little girl. Mother had been combing Jara’s hair while Father slept in the corner. Suddenly a man rushed through the doorway waving a knife and yelling at Mother. Before Father could stop him, Mother had fallen lifeless to the floor, the man had escaped, and poor little Jara’s cheek had been sliced open. When she cried, Father had said how lucky she was that she hadn’t been killed too.
The cut had healed into an ugly purple scar, and she had been teased ever since. Life was hard for poor Jara. With Mother gone, no one cared for her. Father was always off drinking with the men, and Kenan hung around with his friends doing bad things. But that’s just how life was. There was wickedness everywhere.
Jara heard footsteps and loud voices. Kenan and his gang had found her. She dashed out the other end of the alley.
“There she is, guys. Get her!”
The alley echoed with running footsteps, but Jara had a head start. Still, she heard the hated taunt, “Jara, Jara, what a terror!”
That made her run all the faster. Panting, she headed out of town and up the mountain. She didn’t think she could go much farther, but she couldn’t let them catch her.
Suddenly her toe caught on a root, and down she went, face first. She lay there, gasping.
She expected the guys to pounce on her, but when she looked up, no one was in sight. They must have given up. She sighed in relief.
Then she heard heavy pounding. Now what?
She tiptoed up the path. Reaching a clearing, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Almost as tall as a mountain, a wooden structure towered toward the sky. Men were on the roof, nailing on boards.
A small crowd watched. Someone yelled, “Hey, everyone, old man Noah is building a boat. Where are you gonna float it, Noah? Gonna build yourself a sea too? Ha, ha, ha!” Everyone joined in the laughter.
So this was Noah. Jara had heard Father talking about a crazy old man named Noah who was building an ark because God told him to. It sounded pretty crazy to her too.
Without thinking, Jara laughed at Noah along with the others. Then she realized she was making fun of Noah just like Kenan and his gang had made fun of her. But she didn’t care. Noah had to be really crazy. He deserved to be laughed at.
Unexpectedly, the crowd stopped laughing. Coming toward them was Noah himself. He had a long white beard and hair.
“Neighbors, please listen to me. The Lord has told me He is going to send a terrible flood of waters on the earth and destroy every living creature, both man and animal, because they are so wicked. The only way to be saved is to come into the ark with us. Tomorrow we load the animals on board. We invite you to believe in God and please join us.”
Jara shivered. What if it was true? What if there really was a God, and what if He really did send a flood? She didn’t want to die.
But the people weren’t afraid. They laughed at Noah, and soon Jara lost her fear and laughed too.
The crowd grew tired of the fun and headed back toward the village. Jara decided to come back tomorrow and see if the animals really went on board. That would be good for a few laughs, and in Jara’s miserable life, she needed all the fun she could get.
The next day dawned bright and sunny like every other. The thought of rain and floods was ridiculous.
She quickly finished her chores around the house and then climbed the mountain again to watch Noah and his ark.
A large plank of wood led up to the door of the boat, and on it were animals, two of every kind. She couldn’t understand what was making them go in. Noah wasn’t pulling or shoving them. They just seemed to know where to go.
Jara was so fascinated that she watched all day. When it was too dark to see anymore, she walked home.
A whole week went by. Jara heard people laughing about crazy old Noah locked up in a boat with all those animals. Jara thought he was crazy too. The sky was as sunny and blue as ever.
The next morning she was awakened by Kenan shaking her. “Are you gonna sleep all day?”
Jara rubbed her eyes. It was as dark as night. “It’s not morning.”
“Yes, it is. It’s raining.”
Raining? She jumped up and looked out the door. Rain poured down so thick and fast that she could hardly see across the street. Already the alley was filling with water.
It was raining just like Noah said.
A voice yelled, “Quick, head for the hills. It’s flooding down here!”
Father and Kenan rushed past her and called for her to follow. But Jara was too scared to move.
It was raining just like Noah said.
As the water sloshed around her ankles, Jara realized she had to save herself. She had to reach higher ground. The closest place was the roof.
She desperately clawed at the side of her house, but the rain had made it too slippery. She screamed. She was going to die!
It was raining just like Noah said.
By now the water was up to her knees and rapidly rising.
Above the thunder of rushing water, she heard her name being called. She looked around and saw a family perched on their roof across the street. “Come join us,” they yelled.
Could she make it through that deep, churning water?
She expected each step to be her last, but she finally made it. Helping hands reached down and pulled her up. She was safe at last.
But it was as wet here as it had been on the ground. With chattering teeth, Jara stood with the family on that rooftop with her eyes closed. She couldn’t bear to watch. Before long, the water sloshed around her ankles, and then her knees and waist. It was rising toward her neck when she thought of Noah safe and snug in his boat. Everything was happening just as he said it would. There really must be a God like he said. How Jara wished she had believed when she had a chance. Now it was too late.
It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Every living creature on the face of the earth died except for those in Noah’s ark.
Was it fair for God to destroy everyone like that?
Yes, because they chose to sin, even Jara, and they had to be punished for their sin.
The good news is that God promised never to destroy the whole world with a flood again. However, God is still a just God. He still must punish people for their sin.
What is the punishment for sin?
Being separated from God; being sent to hell when you die.
But God loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to go to hell. He made a way for your sins to be forgiven. He died on the cross and took the penalty for your sin. If you believe in Him, ask Him to forgive your sin, and invite Him into your life, your sins will be forgiven, and when you die, you will go to Heaven to live with God forever. Wouldn’t you like to do that? (Give an invitation.)
Noah told people about God and how they could be saved. How about you? Have you ever told anyone how God can save them from the punishment for their sin?