For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. 1 Peter 3:18-20 (NIV)
This is something very wonderful and powerful for us today—those who hear the voice of Jesus are not just those who happened to live in the time of Jesus.
By the Holy Spirit, the Jesus who died and rose at a fixed point in history speaks to people in every generation. When Noah spoke, his words were as the words of God to the people of his time. Jesus spoke through him. And when you speak about Jesus, Jesus speaks through you.
Our ministry today is very similar to Noah’s. Noah had to share the gospel to the most resistant people who have ever lived, people whose thoughts were “only evil all the time” (Gen. 6:5). In that environment, Noah didn’t see massive numbers of conversions. In fact, at the end of his ministry, only eight people were saved (1 Pet. 3:20).
If God has put you in a highly resistant place, remember that you are following the example and the model of Noah. Don’t get discouraged by small results.
Like Noah, we also know that God’s judgment is coming. There are only two occasions in the history of the world when a judgment from God will fall on the whole world. The first was in the time of Noah, when God sent the flood. The second will come when Jesus comes in power and glory to wind up human history as we know it.
The task of declaring God’s truth before the first judgment was given to Noah. The task of declaring God’s truth before the second and final judgment is given to us. We’re Noah. That’s the ministry that God has given to us. So don’t underestimate the importance of the message.
Are you feeling discouraged by small results? How can you take courage from Noah today?