Introduction Dietmar Joosten
We greet everybody this morning in the name of our Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful day that we can meet and listen to God’s word. It is our prayer that God will be with you and that you will receive a blessing from above. It is Fathers’ Day today. Fathers play an important role in the family and they need prayer because they have to fight the good fight, not for themselves only but for those the Lord has given them. There is no soldier that is not trained. We have to go through training which involves hardship, endurance and perseverance. Young people, do not underestimate what you have heard and received. It will help you in your training and one day you will need it. You will never make it alone because a battle belongs to a group. A battle can be only victorious if you fight the way God’s wants you to.
Young people, if you want to be an ordinary soldier you become a chocolate soldier. When the battle gets hot and the devil attacks, you will melt. If you want to be a real soldier of our Lord’s Jesus Christ, do not cave in. Do not give in to sin. This is where it starts and if you miss the mark here you will miss it later on.
We want to wish every father in our midst and those who are listening God’s richest blessing, that you too may show what the good fight of the faith is all about. It is the men who are usually in battle. They set the standard. I am so happy and thankful that I can wish Revered Stegen a blessed Father’s Day. May God be with him. He has gone through many battles. He is a hardened soldier. He has given his life, everything. Fathers, may we learn from him. We wish him and his whole family a blessed day. Reverend Stegen, you mean a lot to us. You have done so much for us. There are many more than you think who stand with you. I do not think we grasp what God has done through you. So, on this special day, Reverend Stegen, we have got a special clip to play for you.
Thank you very much. I trust that you have seen the many, many people who miss and remember you. Many wished to greet but we regret that not everyone could. If the listeners still want to say something, please pass it on to one of Reverend Stegen’s children.
We are privileged that Reverend Stegen can address us today. It is always wonderful to receive something from him. One cannot express in words what we feel. We are always thankful. His words are always a blessing and this morning we will be blessed.
Reverend Erlo Stegen
Today’s reading is taken from Genesis 6:8-10
8 But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
People had forgotten God. Jesus refers to this time when people were marrying and given in marriage, where people just did as they pleased. They did not seek God in marriage because God says that what He has brought together let no man cut asunder. The sons of God began marrying as they wished, not according to the will of God. Their lives did not please God. They lived for self.
In the days of Noah people cast faith aside. The grandfather of Noah was Enoch, a man who feared God and walked with Him. He did not see death because God snatched him into heaven. His father, Methuselah, reached the age of almost 1000 years. They walked with God. They knew Him. But faith was very quickly thrown overboard. Faith does not automatically pass from one generation to the next generation. If you follow the Lord, your children need to meet Him and follow Him otherwise they will be a generation of Satan. A person who has faith and knows the Lord, does not give birth to a Christian child, but to a child who also needs to repent. Generations before that knew and served the Lord but it did not take long and they threw it overboard and began marrying just as they wished.
Archaeologists are still unearthing old cities that existed at that time. They even found eye make-up that women used to darken their eyelids, as well as many other things which are remarkably similar to today’s. They forgot God. They became apostate. They turned away. God said to Moses that His anger will not be stayed forever, but if people refuse to repent there will come a time when His anger and wrath will be poured out on them.
The Bible refers to Noah as a preacher. He taught people the way of faith but they refused to listen. God said, “Noah, I want you to build an ark now.” According to their knowledge it was the first time such a boat had been built. There were little boats around but nothing on this scale. He said, “Noah, build an ark because after 120 years I will destroy this world with a flood.” History has it that Noah was also the chieftain of a large city. It is evident that he was a rich man. It was not only him and his three sons who built this enormous boat but it is said that thousands were hired to construct it. Imagine the cost of wages, not just for a week’s work, but for 120 years. He hired them to build the ark with them.
The Bible gives exact measurements. It had three storeys or floors. There were some windows at the top for ventilation and sun. It was an enormous task. The length would have been the scale of this auditorium - 1,5 times broader that this auditorium. Underneath the boat there would have been rocks that weighed tonnes that were tied to the boat because it was built with a light type of wood. They have discovered some of these rocks as they rolled down that mountain on which the ark rested. The rocks would have been used as a ballast to stabilise the boat against high velocity winds. From the place where the ark was built to where it rests now is an estimated 500 miles. If the ark did not have the ballast of rock, the waves would have turned the ship over. If the waves hit the ark from a certain angle, the ballast would have helped it to aim into the waves. Massive modern ships are built on a similar pattern to Noah’s ark. The very design that God described to Noah is used in modern ship design.
God said that he should take all the animals, even the unclean ones, in pairs. Two at a time. Clean, edible, animals could be taken 7 pairs at a time. The ark was so massive inside that it could have easily housed 7000 types of animals and birds. God laid out the blueprint. The wood was not just a single piece of wood but laminated so that it would be as strong as steel. He used tar on the outside and inside as waterproofing. There would have been cages everywhere including little cages for the little birds. The cages on the sides would have added greater strength to the hull of the ship. God Himself gave the blueprint and said, “Noah, build exactly like this.” After God had put Noah and his family into the ark, for 7 days there was no rain. Thereafter it began to pour. Water gushed out from under the earth until the floodwaters reached the highest mountains.
God told Noah to make provisions and to store them in the ark because they lived in the ark for 1 year and 10 days. Noah was 600 years old when he entered the ark and would have been 601 when he left the ark.
All the animals entered the ark obediently but not one of the people who were preached to or the labourers who built it, entered. How is such a thing possible? Look at our school, DSS. Look at the many who pass through 13 years of schooling where they hear preaching every day, but once they leave school they go into the world. The people in the days of Noah heard the gospel for 120 years but they did not enter into the ark. Look at our country. There are so many church goers, parents might be believers but the children go into the world. Many of those who refused to enter into the ark were his relatives, the children of his brothers and sisters. Jesus said that as in the days of Noah, so it will be when the Son of man returns -evil will increase.
The ark rested in the Armenian mountains, on a peak called Ararat, the highest peak in the area. When the ark rested, Noah released a crow from the window to see whether the waters had dried up but the crow never returned. Why? Crows eat rotten flesh and it is said that bodies and corpses were collected in huge heaps, together with the carcasses of horses and cattle and all sorts of things. The crow rested on them and feasted. A week later Noah released a dove. It returned and rested on the palm of Noah’s hand. After another week Noah released the dove again. It returned with a green twig in its beak. Noah could see then that the water had receded. Russian pilots flew over the area in 1945 and saw what seemed to be the ark. They mentioned it to the Bolsheviks, the communists, who being anti-Christian agreed to cover it up in order not to give Christians any more ammunition. It is higher than all the mountains in Europe, so it is covered with ice all the time. They say that if there are four years of heat and drier weather, the ark is visible and the wood of the ark can be seen. The communists closed the area. Today the Turkish authorities are in charge and they have prohibited any climbers from ascending the mountain. They do not want any Christians there.
There is a man, the only known climber to have seen it and the son actually entered it.
When we visited Armenia we slept on the 13th floor of a building from which we could see the mountains of Noah.
Noah had three sons who had three wives. He must have had such authority to raise his sons, as well as their wives, to fear the Lord in the midst of that generation where they were mocked because they were building a ship on dry land. God said, “Now Noah, go in with your wife, and your sons and their wives.” After they had entered, God followed and locked the door. We people can easily feel sympathy in the same way parents feel for their children. Parents who see their children on their way to hell have such sympathy for them that they go to hell with their children. Instead of standing strong, they bow to their children. But Noah had such an influence that his son’s wives were good, as well as his own wife.
God locked the door. He knew that the people would cry for help once they realised what was happening. God locked it so that it would be impossible to open. Noah could not open the door when his relatives shouted and banged on the door asking to be allowed in. God said, “They have had their chance. I will not strive with men forever.”
The waters of the Euphrates, the Mediterranean, the Black and Caspian Seas rose until it was one mass of water. Just imagine the people, even the pregnant women, who tried climbing higher and higher to escape - but to no avail. They all died.
What happened to Shem, Ham and Japheth – the sons of Noah? God chose Shem to continue teaching the people the true worship of God. From him came the Jews. Abraham was from the tribe of Shem. God elected the Jews to be those through whom He would display His living power to all the nations - until Jesus came and was crucified – then they lost the Gospel. They were in those lands of Caanan.
From Japheth came the various European nations, in Western Europe. Ham did not respect his father but mocked him instead. The Bible says that you should honour your father and mother that it may go well with you. There are racist whites who claim that the blacks are the offspring of Ham but there is no evidence of this. There is no truth in the fact that blacks are the offspring of Ham. When Noah’s nakedness was uncovered in that incident, Shem and Japheth walked backwards and covered him respectfully, but Ham mocked him. Noah said that because Ham mocked, his son would be a curse to him. Ham’s offspring were the Canaanites. Canaan served his brothers. God warned His people, like Abraham, not to have anything to do with the Canaanites because they hated God.
Racists claim that blacks originate from Ham but there is no evidence for that. God never cursed Africa. The person who carried the cross when Jesus was bent over and could not carry it any further, was a man from Africa. He was not cursed but blessed. When Herod sought the life of the baby Jesus, God spoke to Joseph in a dream, to take the child and His mother and go to Africa. In Africa Jesus was spared and so we have a Saviour today. They stayed there until Herod died and then God said to Joseph that because Herod had died, they could return to Israel. When Philip was in Samaria, God told him to get up and go to the road leading to Africa and there he met the Ethiopian minister of finance. That was the entry of the Gospel into Africa, into Ethiopia. Ethiopia became the second Christian nation. The Ethiopian leaders became Christians. I am hurt when Africans say they do not want the Gospel which is a European Gospel. It was Africa that embraced Jesus. It is painful for me to see a person who is not thinking clearly or with a limited mind. It is painful to hear Africans say that it is the gospel of the white man. It would be better if such a person does not speak so that he is thought to be wise rather than open his mouth and make it clear that he is a fool. The same person says this while smoking a cigarette and drinking from a bottle bought at a bottle store, while wearing trousers, ties, shoes. Why do they wear this clothing if they say it is a white man’s thing? You have all adopted Western ways – you have boyfriends and girlfriends, like White people. It is sad when people accept the ways of white men but refuse the things of the Lord Jesus. Egypt did not reject Him, they accepted Him but you embrace wicked things.
Who are the offspring of Ham? Some in Egypt. Some Muslims are descendants of Ham. The Philistines and the Canaanites were descendants of Ham. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Babylonians were descendants of Ham. There is not a single verse which states that the descendants of Ham are blacks from Africa. No, Africa is blessed by God but if you refuse to accept Jesus you cast off your blessing and adopt the wicked ways of Canaanites.
The offspring of Japheth in Europe – through their acceptance of the Gospel their civilisation advanced. They planted and worked diligently. God chose Shem so that through him God’s ways would be made known: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their offspring. If you do not hold onto God, then you will lose even the blessings He has given you. If you lose and cast off the Lord Jesus, the Cross, which Africa embraced, where will you be? Africa, come back to God, receive the Lord Jesus. Do not cut off the Lord’s hand of blessing which reaches out to help you. To the Canaanites, come back to God and you will find that Jesus has taken that curse on Himself. He bore that curse on the cross for you. Return to Him.
Conclusion D Joosten
You have heard how Reverend Stegen has spoken, preparing us for this battle before us. Those who have an ear to hear can discern that we are living in a time like Noah’s where people live like animals. Noah was saved because he obeyed God and did exactly as he was instructed. As it was in the days of Noah, it will be today. People will mock you and speak badly about you. It should never discourage you. Evil is spreading but we must fight the good fight of faith. The battle belongs to the Lord. The victory belongs to Him.