“Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.’ And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him.”
In chapter 7 of the Book of Genesis, we will find an account about the flood of Noah. Can we all read verse 1 together, “Then the LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.”
The word Noah here means “rest.” In other words, it is said that Noah’s father had named him Noah because he would be the one who would comfort his people by providing them rest (Genesis 5:29). God comforted Noah, and through Noah, God comforted all people.
People were very evil during the days of Noah. Because their thoughts, intentions, and actions were constantly evil as to draw a huge sigh of grief, God decided to pass judgment on all those people at that time. He had decided to pass His judgment with water. And so God told Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household.” God told Noah to build an ark and then said to him that He will judge the world with water. As God spoke to Noah about the judgment, He also told him how to avoid that judgment by building an ark.
Noah obeyed God, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:22). When Noah finished building the ark according to God’s command, God then told him, “Come into the ark, you and all your household.” God wanted Noah’s family to be saved also by having them come into the ark.
First of all, let us pay close attention to the part where God saved Noah. God wants to save those who are willing to follow His will. That is why God says the same things to you. God wants not only you but also all your family members to come into the ark. The world in Noah’s days suffered judgment. But Noah and his family were able to escape this judgment by entering into the ark.
Just like this, if you also want to receive salvation and be saved from the judgment, you will also have to come into God’s Church. Who is it that can come into God’s Church? Only those who have received the remission of their sins may enter it. Therefore, we should not be satisfied by being the only ones who have received the remission of sins and therefore be allowed to enter into the Church, but rather we must see to it that our family members also come in by telling them about this true gospel. Furthermore, we must also guide the people all over this world to come into God’s Church. Only then, can all the people of this world, not just ourselves, be saved from the curse of hell.
This world is evil. All those who are outside the Church because of not truly being born again will get devoured by Satan. Even those who have received the remission of sins are also in danger if they do not abide in God’s Church. If you are not inside God’s Church, then even if you have received salvation, there is no way for you to be wholly protected. Dear fellow believers, it is said that Satan looks out for those whom he can devour like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). What would be the result for a born-again person if he did not abide inside the Church? They will not be able to receive God’s protection and their faith will unconsciously start to deteriorate. That is why God told not only Noah but also his family members to come into the ark.
Why did God tell Noah who was someone who had received salvation to come into the ark? Because God was going to pass judgment on all those who were on the outside of the ark; this is because Satan walks about like a roaring lion seeking out those whom he can devour, even the chosen people of God, as mentioned. This is why God told Noah to come into the ark without fail. We also can be devoured by Satan if we don’t stay inside God’s Church. It means that even those who have proper faith will lose it completely if they do not come into God’s Church. It is quite possible for people of weak spirits to betray the gospel overnight unless they stay inside the Church.
How does Satan make even the righteous who received the remission of sins betray their true faith? The verse, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), means that even if we really did receive salvation, we can be devoured by Satan. And Satan’s plan is also to try and devour even the righteous like this: If a born-again person does not stay inside God’s Church but instead stays in the world, Satan will start to make that person commit sins. By making that person unafraid to commit sins, he will make him commit these sins with a fearless heart. He makes that person commit sin that is unimaginably great. When we commit sin, all we have to do is to have the faith that professes, “Jesus took away even these sins,” but if we are not inside God’s Church, then we cannot possess this faith. No one can fight and defeat Satan alone. If a person commits a sin and gets wrapped up in a sense of guilt, it is possible for that person to also lose the faith of believing in the gospel by uncontrollably getting tied up in a trap of sin.
Like this, it is highly possible for the born-again to also be devoured by Satan if he were to stay out alone in the world. If they are out in the world, they would repeatedly commit sin and will eventually fall. At first, they will feel pain after having committed sin and towards the middle of it; they would continue to believe that Jesus had taken away all those sins. But as they continue repeatedly committing sin and as the seriousness of these sins grow, they will become completely engulfed in it, and their spirits would then become insensitive to sin. Referring to this, the Bible says that their consciences would be seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2). “Having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” means that the conscience has been burned to death by sins. When their conscience’s have become like this, no matter how hard they would try and believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, they would be robbed of their faith by Satan. And when that should happen, they would repeatedly commit sin and later on fall down. Their hearts would become damaged and dead as they can possibly be, and their conscience which was seared by a hot iron would harden. When they become like this, they will not be able to offer the confession of faith later on that Jesus Christ had taken away all their sins once and for all. They would in fact say, “Dear Lord, please forgive my sins, and please cleanse my sins,” feeling as if sins were in their hearts everyday.
That is why the Bible tells the born-again to come into God’s Church without fail. It is because those who do not come into God’s Church can fall into Satan’s seduction. The Lord warns us that there will be betrayers of Christ amongst the born-again. Just like Esau who had sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew, if people were to leave God’s Church despite having become the born-again children of God, they can sell that faith that saved them for some material things and say, “Alas! It is right for us to repent everyday and ask for forgiveness of sins day in and day out.” This would be the same faith as that of worldly religionists. Satan walks about seeking out those whom he can devour and then after finding them he devours them namely, those who are dwelling in their thoughts of the flesh. We must realize that there are such people. The Bible calls them “the wicked.” God said that He will separate the wicked from among the just (Matthew 13:49). Even if these people did once receive the remission of their sins, their salvation will be revoked, and they will have no other choice but to receive the wrath of God’s judgment (Hebrews 6:4-8, 10:26-29).
That is why God told Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household.” Dear fellow believers, this may seem like just a simple command, but to us this is a very precious lesson. I go on living inside God’s Church following the Lord, and I am aware of many people who claim to have the gospel even though they do not come and abide inside God’s Church. It is absolutely useless to have the gospel and not stay inside God’s Church. The born-again must surely be together with God’s Church.
Say for example, some people serve the Lord inside God’s Church just as we do, but one day they decide to just run out from the Church and attend worldly theological schools and attend worldly churches. At first, they criticize the faiths of those worldly churches as the wrong faith. But when we see them a few years later, we are able to see that they have become a soul with the same heart and faith as the very people of those worldly churches, who are all doing the same thing. They say that they had attended theological seminaries to obtain the title of a pastor which is accepted by mainstream Christianity. Yet, after having studied at these worldly seminaries, they soon find themselves unknowingly trying to cleanse away their sins by offering prayers of repentance everyday. And they eventually insist that it is right to cleanse these sins away everyday, denying the fact that Jesus had taken away their sins once and for all, and go on saying it is right that we are all sinners, who are lacking until death.
There was a pastor whom I used to know long ago. The man was a professor at some theological school in Busan, Korea. I was attending a meeting held in Busan, and by chance, I saw a poster informing me that this pastor was holding a revival meeting at some church. He was a man who had surely received the remission of sins when he was an evangelist prior to becoming a professor at a theological school. And so, being curious how he would deliver sermons, I went into that church where these meetings were being held and took a seat at the very back. Located in a basement, this church had an air of gloominess, and his sermon was also gloomy. The main theme of his sermon that day was ‘how do you receive the Holy Spirit?’ The gist of his claim was that if one prays in earnest for the Holy Spirit, then that person will receive the Holy Spirit that is, like fire. Then suddenly in the middle of his sermon, he grabbed the microphone and started to go off, “Puff, puff. Receive the fire. Puff, puff!” And then he started going wild, “Shalashalashala, Hullallalalala, receive the fire, receive the fire, receive the fire!” Just then, he saw me sitting in the back, and after a slight hesitation, he ended his sermon, roughly skipping through words.
God told us that people receive the Holy Spirit only when they receive the remission of their sins. Is it written in the Bible that people would receive the Holy Spirit if a preacher were to say, “With fire, with fire, with fire! Puff, puff,” with the congregation responding in kind, “Come, oh, the Holy Spirit’s fire! Please come. I believe. I believe”? After the meeting, he stood in front of the chapel, greeting people. As I was leaving, I also greeted him by asking him, “My dear man, did you not receive salvation when you were an evangelist? How is it possible for you to become like this?” That pastor’s face turned dark and replied, “I am sorry. Let us speak over there.” Then, he led me to a secluded place. He just kept on rapidly repeating, “I am sorry.” He just wanted to avoid me. This man had changed because he had left God’s Church. Although he had received the remission of sins during his days as an evangelist, but being smart and not wanting to be ruled by the Church, he left, studied theology and become a professor at some theological school. He had indeed betrayed Jesus Christ.
Regardless of who the person may be, anyone who does not come into God’s Church despite having received the remission of their sins is destined for hell. Just as God told Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household,” the born-again must come into the Church. Those who have truly been born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit must reside inside God’s Church.
At the time of Noah’s flood, and when the waters subsided, Noah sent out both a raven and a dove from the ark (Genesis 8:7-9). It is said that the dove came back, but the raven did not return. People of God who have truly been born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit do in fact return to God’s Church. If you truly believe in the Lord, then regardless of what position you are entrusted with in God’s Church, you must renounce the things of the world and return. And once inside the Church you must be molded into a new creation and do the work of serving the Lord.
But sadly that pastor left the born-again Church of God and continued to follow that path. And now it has become irrecoverable. Not only does he believe wrongfully, he is also making other souls to believe wrongfully. Dear fellow believers, the precept of, “If you pray in earnest, you will receive the Holy Spirit,” is a gravely false teaching. The Bible clearly tells us, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The fact is that if you want to receive the remission of sins, you must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Bible tells us that if you were to receive the remission of your sins by having faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Holy Spirit would come inside your heart. Therefore, it is greatly wrong to teach “If you pray ardently, you will receive the Holy Spirit.” Such a person is stamping his dirty feet on Jesus Christ. When a person stamps his feet on the Word of God, he would in fact be stamping on God.
Those of us who have been born again by the water and the Spirit must bear witness to the Word of God according to our conscience of faith. Despite knowing the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit well, if we were to not bear witness to the Word according to the Truth but bear it differently according to the situation, there would only be the curse and destruction for us. We would then be none other than those “who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29). If we continue to do so and never turn around from that evil way, we would be cast into hell without fail.
When the Lord God was telling Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household,” He was in fact speaking about the importance of God’s Church. We also must not leave God’s Church. Let us say that a born-again saint, regardless of who he is, left the Church. Do you think he will commit sins or not? He will certainly commit sin. He would commit sin even more readily than he had been committing prior to having received the remission of sins. And then later on his conscience would become paralyzed. It is just like that pastor who left God’s Church despite having received salvation. Though he may have become a famous preacher, he preached to people to receive the remission of sins by offering prayers of repentance and to receive the fiery Holy Spirit by praying in earnest with diligence, but actually it is like recklessly trampling on God. Just as all people outside Noah’s ark received the judgment, such a person will receive the judgment and suffer death. The judgment comes down only on those who are outside of the ark. If it were the case that even Noah had not entered the ark and stayed outside, then he would have died just like all the others without exception on the day of God’s wrath. That is why God ordered Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household,” prior to Him passing His judgment. Bearing this in mind, not only must we join but also our family members must also join with God’s Church with faith, and also including other people have to come inside the Church to stay alive; we must therefore exert ourselves to guide these people into the Church.
Having entered God’s Church and stayed there for a while, the spiritually blind will see and the spiritually deaf will hear. Even for those who were once the servants of Satan, if they reside inside God’s Church, the Word of God will hold onto them. That is why it is very important to stay inside God’s Church. God said, “Come into the ark, you and all your household.” This is why we must exert all our efforts into guiding our family members to come into God’s Church. Once you come inside the Church, your faith can be guarded.
What is it like when we see those living in and amongst the world after having left the Church despite having attended God’s Church after believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Though it may not have been long since their departure from the Church, they would say that there is salvation in other worldly churches also. If a born-again saint were to keep on running around, trying to hear the teachings of other churches and neglect to come back into the Church for several months, that person will ultimately become a servant of Satan, and will eventually deny the Word of salvation of the Truth of God. And he will turn his eyes on other things. Not listening intently to the Word of God but instead trying to find out about healing the sick, speaking in tongues, and casting out demons; he will eventually end up denying God’s Church and will be in bondage to Satan.
God told us to come into the ark. God said, “Come into the ark, you and all your household,” but there are people who do not come into the ark, even though they have heard the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. Once a fellow brother who had left God’s Church after staying for a while, came back to visit our Church again. I asked him. “Do you have a leader?” he replied, “No, I do not. Where is the leader then, I asked” “I do not mind that you do not think of me as your leader. It is because I am lacking, but isn’t Jesus also your Leader?” “For me, there is no leader. Jesus also gave us salvation, but I think there is salvation in other religions also.” That was what he said. God told us to strive to come into Noah’s ark, but this pitiful person had left the Church and had already fallen into these false teachings of this world.
We should remember well that God told Noah to come into the ark. We should truly unite our heart with God’s Church. God is the King, and He is the Master inside His Church. If we profess to believe in God, then accepting the Word of God is what true faith is all about. That is why we must first acknowledge the Word of God as true and perfect so as to come into God’s Church. Only when we accept the fact that the Words in the Scriptures are the Word of God, can we come into God’s Church. Just the fact that our physical bodies have come inside the church building does not mean that we are inside the Church; we are inside God’s Church when our hearts acknowledge the Word of God to be true and perfect. It does not matter whether it has been 10 years or just a few weeks since that man had received salvation. People who recognize the Word of God are those who have come into God’s Church, and people who do not accept the Word of God are those residing outside the Church.
This is what was meant by God by telling Noah to come into the ark; those who do not come into God’s Church are those who do not recognize the Word of God. There are people who say, “What? Is that what those Words mean? No, I think what the worldly people say seems to be more reasonable,” but such people are those who fundamentally do not accept the Word of God.
We should allow ourselves to be broken. When will this happen? When we submit ourselves before the Word of God, then our own selves will break. Are there not so many thoughts of the flesh among us? Insisting on reasons of the world and using our own logic by saying, “I think this is better than that,” like this is there not just too much denial of the Word of God in our thoughts? But even though we have done so, if the Word of God speaks something contrary to our thoughts, then we must break away from our own thoughts and submit ourselves to the Word of God. We must say, “Yes, Lord! Your Word is right.” We must allow the Word of God to prevail over us, and not us prevailing over it. We must confess, “Although it differs from my own standard of thinking, I believe that the Word of God is the truth.”
People who accept the Word of God come into the ark. Speaking more precisely, only those who acknowledge the Word of God as true and perfect can come into the ark and dwell in it. Dear fellow believers, do you know how blessed it is to come into God’s Church and to live there eating and drinking? Noah’s family lived inside the ark until the judgment had completely passed, and just as the judgment came to an end, they settled on dry land came out of the ark, and started to cultivate this new land. They were able to lead a beautiful life from then on. They had received such blessings because they had faith in the Word of God. That is why we must also have the heart of acknowledging the Word of God to be true and perfect inside our hearts and stay inside God’s Church.
If you also have been born again by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you must make an effort to come into God’s Church. Just because your body is inside the church building does not mean you have come into God’s Church. If you have truly come into God’s Church, then you must be a person who acknowledges the Word of God as true and perfect. As it is written,
“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Those who accept the Word taught inside God’s Church and go on living with the Word of God as their sign post while residing inside that Word are those who have come into God’s Church.
God told Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household.” You also must come into God’s ark. This is God’s command. No single person is exempt from this command, regardless of who he or she may be. Even if a person had been a leader of a church prior to having been born again, if that person does not accept the Word of God and come into the Word, that person will surely be leaving God. Despite having been a leader, that person will be cast away by God if they do not come into the Church of God. We must follow in accordance with the commands of God. Noah came into the ark obeying the command of God. When Noah was told to come into the ark, he was also told to bring his entire household, and all he replied was, “Yes” and did not say any thing more. Without adding any ands and buts to the Word of God like for instance, “But dear God, I should go inside after bringing in all these animals,” Noah was the first to obey and enter when he was told by God to enter. God only then made all the animals enter the ark.
Dear fellow believers, we must first of all enter into the ark. Going into the ark is acknowledging the Word of God and recognizing God’s Church. A person who acknowledges God must acknowledge His Church to be true. We must realize that God speaks to us through His Church. And we must believe the words coming out from the servants of God are the Words of God and must accept those words. Even if the words of the leader are too rough on your ears, you must acknowledge them as true.
We must be the first to come into the Church, and then we must lead our family members into the Church. God said to Noah, “Come into the ark,” and then said, “Because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation” (Genesis 7:1). God is telling us that Noah was righteous before Him. Because Noah was righteous, God told him to come into the Church. Dear fellow believers, it is said that Noah was righteous before God, but what is this righteousness? The faith of believing in the Word of God is what is righteous. Knowing that you have found the grace of God by having faith in the Word of God and being thankful for that grace is what is very righteous in God’s eyes. God regards our faith in His Word as righteousness.
Dear fellow believers, during the days of Noah, people’s thoughts were all evil and corrupt. If we look at the Book of Genesis chapter 6 verses 5-7, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’” God even felt sorry that He had made man because they had fallen so much in His eyes. Because people’s thoughts were evil, their acts were evil, and their hearts and all their intent were evil, God had decided at that time to destroy them from the face of the earth. Noah was also included amongst those who were to receive this judgment. Noah was also a person destined for death. Yet God had clothed Noah with His grace. Noah had received the special grace of God because he had believed in the Word of God. He went into God’s Church by faith. That is why he was considered to be the just and was rescued from the destruction of the world.
God says the same thing to the people of this day and age. He says that people who accept the Word of God are just, and that they are the righteous. God said that He saw the righteousness of Noah. Because Noah believed in the Word of God and followed His commands, God saw this righteousness and saved only Noah and his family when He passed judgment on the world. At the time of this judgment, those who had received the grace of salvation were just Noah and his family of eight. This means that those who acknowledged the Word of God were just them. In other words, all those who were judged did not acknowledge the Word of God.
Acknowledging the Word of God and believing in it is the pathway to acquiring the righteousness before God. For us as human beings, there can be no righteousness. But having faith in the Word of God is what makes us acquire the righteousness of God. Dear fellow believers, do you believe in the Word of God? If so, you have become the righteous before God. What sort of righteousness is it? It is the righteousness of having faith in the Word of God and the righteousness that makes us receive salvation through the Word, and it is the righteousness of becoming God’s saints, the very people of God, the tools of the righteousness, as well as the workers of God. God had given such righteousness to those who acknowledge the Word of God to be true and perfect.
God said that when He looked at Noah, He found righteousness in him. People who have genuinely been born again by having faith in the Word of God are truly the righteous, that is, the sinless. Indeed, they are the saints. God truly becomes their God. God’s righteousness is with these people who accept the Word of God. There is no righteousness in us as human beings, but we have acquired this righteousness by having faith in His Word. The righteousness we can acquire before God is the righteousness by having faith in the Word of God, and all other righteousness is false.
Dear fellow believers, God is righteous. For that reason, we are given the righteousness of God when we believe in the righteous Word of God. The Book of Romans speaks about becoming the just by faith (Romans 1:17, 4:1-3), and that refers to none other than acquiring this righteousness of God by believing in His Word. The Scriptures tell us, “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God” (Romans 4:2). He was someone who believed in the Word of God. That is why Abraham is said to be justified by believing in the Word of God. Because Abraham had righteousness that was acquired by having faith in the Word of God, he was able to escape the judgment, receive salvation, and become the ancestor of our faith through that righteousness.
Dear fellow believers, we are the same. All the people of the world are evil before God in their thoughts, actions and plans. We are not exempt from being evil. But, by being liberated from sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have become the righteous. We who have become the righteous by having been born again of water and the Spirit are always righteous for we are tightly holding the Word of God in our hearts. But people who have as yet not been born again are always evil in everything they do, including their thoughts and plans. As for us who are the born-again, our flesh is also evil, but because we have the righteousness by believing in the Word of God, we have received salvation according to that faith. And because we carry out the righteousness spoken about in the Word and believe in the truthfulness of that Word, we are able to follow that righteousness.
God told Noah who had faith in the Word of God to come into the ark. This was because there was righteousness in Noah. That God told Noah to come into the ark means that God’s Church is necessary to the righteous. We can reside together inside God’s Church as righteous people because we are the righteous before God. God works inside His Church, and He feeds and nurtures us inside this Church. We need the Church because God is always there, through which He has saved souls. For those who are not saints, God’s Church is also necessary for them to receive salvation, but for the saints who have been born again, the Church is necessary in order for them to live on in the Word of God. For those who have as yet not been born again, the Church becomes a great hindrance to their lives.
For the born-again saints to lead a righteous life, they surely need God’s Church; and in order for them to be raised up, they must believe and follow the Word of God. Do you realize that God’s Church is indispensable to those of us who are the born-again? God is watching us even now and asks, “Do you truly believe in My Word? Do you acknowledge Me? Do you acknowledge the Bible? Do you acknowledge the Church? Do you acknowledge My servants? Do you acknowledge the Holy Spirit working inside the saints in this Church? Do you acknowledge the fact that God is King of this Church? Do you acknowledge the fact that I lead this Church?” These are the things that God wants to see in His saints. I hope you realize the fact that God is watching us even now, just as God had seen the righteousness of Noah standing before Him. God is watching you. We cannot escape and hide ourselves away from His eyes. God is watching your everything.
Dear fellow believers, we must examine ourselves: “Do I truly believe in God inside my heart; do I believe in the Word of God; do I believe in God’s Church?” You must believe in God. Such faith must be placed inside your hearts. You will come to have faith if you believe in the Word of God, but if you do not believe with your heart, then no matter how long you stay inside the Church, you will still be dwelling outside the Church. For the spiritual people who believe in the Word of God, their faith can burst forth into growth by just staying a short while inside the Church; but for the people of the flesh who do not believe in the Word of God, no matter how long they stay inside the Church, their faith will not improve that much. Therefore, it is beneficial for us to accept the Word of God inside our hearts as quickly as possible.
You must also acknowledge God’s Church and believe in the fact that God is guiding His Church. You must have the heart which accepts this Church just as you would accept the Word of God. That is what a spiritual heart is like. This is a right thing before God. Such faith allows you to keep the righteousness of God and to lead a spiritual life before Him.