Righteousness is Blessedness

Genesis 6:9-18

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

Wanna be Famous?

We love to watch movies. It seems like movie stars have enjoyable lifestyle. When they appear in public, they have smiling faces. Have you secretly desired to be famous? Well, fame or celebrity status is not for all.

Abigail Van Buren says, “If you want a place in the sun, you’ve got to expect a few blisters.”

Fred Allen says, “A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well-known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.”

Brigitte Bardot says, “I have been very happy, very rich, very beautiful, much adulated, very famous, and very unhappy.”

The popular notion of blessedness is associated with wealth, power, and popularity. It is assumed that if you are rich, famous, successful, healthy, powerful, you are blessed. Such is the kind of lifestyle that we wish to have. It is what many people assume as happy kind of life.

The word ‘blessed’ is properly understood as ‘supremely happy,’ ‘blissfully elated,’ ‘fortunate’ or ‘well off.’ Christ teaches who are blessed in Matthew 5:3-12, 3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Being poor in spirit, one who mourns and hungers and thirsts for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted because of righteousness, insulted, persecuted and people falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Christ—these are opposed to the world’s idea of blessedness.

Bible scholars call this sermon of Christ as the “Beatitude.” What is Beatitude? It’s supreme blessedness, exalted happiness, perfect happiness.

When Christ performs His lordship over our life, we have supreme and perfect happiness, and God’s righteousness becomes our lifestyle as we walk with God. To walk with God is to be conscientious in our lifestyle.

1. Conscientious

 9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

How can one walk faithfully with God like Noah if the inclination of our heart resists God’s righteousness? When we seek Christ as Lord of our life, our lifestyle is transformed into His righteousness. The Lord helps us to act, decide, and be conscientious of things acceptable to God.

Noah was called blameless. He was perfect in his ways. He carefully considered his lifestyle. He was conscientious in his decision. God considered him as righteous. In contrast, everyone in his generation was corrupt.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.

The term ‘corrupt’ is properly interpreted as ‘decaying,’ ‘corroding,’ or ‘rotten.’ The earth has become rotten in God’s eyes. Do you eat rotten fruits? The perfect God don’t like it either. He has evaluated and decided that it’s far better to destroy a rotten population and start a new one.

Building Repair

In a reality TV show, a building contractor estimated the cost of house renovation. He designed a plan, and presented to the house owner. Both parties agreed with the terms, and the renovation started.

After the builders removed all useless parts, the contractor observed that the foundation of the house was deteriorating. He told the owner that it’s better to build a new foundation and remove the corroded foundation.

A new foundation is far better than to repair a corroding foundation. When the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, it’s like a corroded foundation of a house. It’s pointless to repair. It is far better to build a new one.

But Noah was perfect, blameless and righteous in God’s eyes. God commanded him to build an ark, and Noah complied. His compliance is a proof that Noah was conscientious of what’s righteous in the eyes of God.

2. Compliant

13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.

God did not inform the corrupt population about His plan to destroy the earth, why? People with corrupted lifestyle cannot hear God’s voice. We can hear when God speaks to us when we humble ourselves before God and ask the Holy Spirit to help us hear the voice of the Lord.

Proud heart hears God’s words like clanging cymbals. God’s word to unrepentant person is offensive and undesirable. Noah preached about the coming of flood but nobody took him seriously.

God dictated the details of the ark to be built. The length, width, and height of the ark were specific. Other parts had no specific measurement.

Building an ark is no simple task. It took one hundred years to finish the ark. Noah cut down, shaped, and transported the lumbers he used in the ark.

Did Noah ask for help? Did he hire people to help him? Did people laugh at his imposing project? Did his wife give her consent? Did his children complain? Did his relatives ignore him? Maybe, but Noah complied.

Compliance to God’s command is not of human origin. To comply or obey the commands of God is a picture of His righteousness in believers’ life. The natural instinct of humans is to complain, and not to comply.

God’s commands are never easy to obey because our human tendency is to resist and reject God’s word. It also needs godly effort to obey godly commands. Compliance to God is a testament of love for Him.

It’s easy to say that we love God. Did God require us to tell Him that we love Him? God knows those who love Him. The love He requires is the fruit of the Spirit. Those who received His Spirit can love and obey God.

We may deceive ourselves when we say that we love God. Obedience to His instructions is a practical proof that we truly love Him. Love for God and obedience to His words are inseparable. To love God is to obey Him.

John 14:15ff

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Loving Christ is the fruit when Christ’s Spirit is active in our life. To obey His words is a practical proof of loving Christ. Godly love is not temporary. It’s eternal because it comes from the Spirit of eternal God. Obedience to God and love for Christ, both are eternal and not temporary.

Noah spent 100-years in compliance to God’s instruction. He endured the mockery of people but he kept on. He was not frustrated. He had certainty that God would eventually destroy the earth with flood.

3. Certain

18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

When God told Noah that he and his family will enter the ark, it implied the certainty of God’s plan. The ark Noah built saved them from the flood. He obeyed the Lord’s command, and he benefited it.

Compliance to the word of God will certainly benefit from it. When God commands, it is His strategic ways to distribute blessing appropriately. He blesses us according to our obedience to His word. Can you agree that God’s blessings are given in proportion to our obedience to His instructions?

Naaman

A great Aramean commander named Naaman was a valiant soldier, highly regarded, but had leprosy. Naaman had a slave girl from Israel who advised him to go and see the prophet Elisha if he wanted to be cured.

It says in 2 Kings 5:9-14, So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

Naaman rejected the words of Elisha. He thought he had better opinion how healing should be done but his opinion cannot cure him.

It is a common knowledge that people adhere to popular opinions. God grants supreme blessing according to obedience not popular opinions. The Lord Jesus can help us obey God without hesitation. Christ exemplified the kind of obedience that is acceptable to God.

It says in Hebrews 5:8-9, Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Salvation and obedience are in the same sentence. When we accepted Christ as our Lord, His Spirit lives in us to enable to obey and love the Lord.

Christ exemplified a lifestyle acceptable to God that we should imitate. He obeyed God the Father, and He was mocked and crucified. People may laugh at us when we become faithful in our faith in God. Take heart! Christ experienced the worst mockery. True believers are not exempted either.

It says in Philippians 2:6-11, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We won’t receive the same reward of Christ has for His obedience to God the Father but it should inspire us to obey God. Are you now convinced that obedience to God’s command would certainly harvest blessings for believers who obey Him?

Right, only believers can obey God’s instructions according to the kind of obedience acceptable to Him, why?

The standard of God can only be achieved through godly efforts.

With the help of the Spirit of Christ, believers can obey God.

People may not agree with the way Christ’s Spirit lead and guide us in our lifestyle but God has decided which lifestyle is acceptable to Him.

By human effort, it is frustrating and impossible to obey God. Noah believed God, and for 100 years of building the ark, he was never frustrated.

How long since you started to obey God?

Allow Christ to perform His Lordship over your life, and experience joy and peace not disappointment in whatever circumstance you’ve got.

What is it that God is telling to do? Is it bigger than building the ark? You know that Christ is at work in your life if you respond to God’s command spontaneously and not reluctantly or under compulsion.

As we celebrate we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded of Christ’s obedience to the cross. We are certain of our eternal life because the Spirit of the obedient Son of God lives in our hearts. When Christ’s Spirit produces joy and peace in our life, we have spontaneous obedience.

Our faith in Jesus is practically proven by our obedience to His instruction.

Obedience to the Lord is the kind of righteousness that God would bless.

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