Terror attacks have increased more than ever, indicating that we are living in the last days, and the life of Noah in the Old Testament teaches us how to live as Christians in these days, Pastor Greg Laurie of California's megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship said in a sermon.
It is quite obvious that we are living in the last days, Laurie said in his message Thursday. "Terrorism seems to be stronger than it has ever been. Islamic terrorism, it's not going to go away," he added.
Islamic State, also known as IS, ISIS or ISIL, wants to establish a caliphate, or an Islamic rule, he explained. "It's an ideological war" between the Islamic worldview and the Judea-Christian worldview.
They have hatred for Christianity and Judaism, the pastor said as he read the statement IS issued while claiming responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, which killed at least 130 people.
"In a blessed attack for which allah facilitated the causes for success, a faithful group of the soldiers of the caliphate, may allah dignify it and make it victorious, launched out, targeting the capital of prostitution and obscenity, the carrier of the banner of the Cross in Europe, Paris," IS stated.
They refer to America the same way, by calling us "crusaders," Laurie pointed out.
Recent developments appear to be the fulfillment of a prophecy, Laurie suggested.
In the Syrian conflict, which started in 2013 by Sunnis against the Alawite President Bashar al-Assad, Russia is now aligning with Shia Iran, he pointed out.
Ezekiel 37, 38 and 39 talk about Magog, which most Bible scholars believe is the modern-day Russia, marching against Israel. And Persia, which is today's Iran, marches along with Magog, Laurie told the congregants.
He read out Matthew 24:37-39, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."
The he quoted Genesis 6:5-7, which reads: "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 things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.'"
"God is fully aware of what's happening," Laurie said, adding that He always reveals His grace before He brings His judgment.
God takes no pleasure or delight in bringing judgment for sin, the pastor added, referring to Ezekiel 33:11. God sends judgment because He is just, and He hates anything that harms us, Laurie explained.
God loved Noah, who found favor in His eyes, not because he was righteous, but Noah led a godly life because he understood how much God loved him, the pastor stated. God has chosen us because He loves us, he added.
We need to do what Noah did during the dark time that he was in, Laurie said. There are four things Noah did.
One, Noah walked with God, the pastor said.
"Can two walk together unless they have agreed?" Laurie asked. When you walk together with someone, you keep pace and talk. This is what it means to walk with God as well, he said.
Two, Noah worked for God, who told him to make an ark, the pastor shared. God asked Noah to make a boat when there was no water. And Noah obeyed.
Three, Noah was a witness for God, Laurie added.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness, as described in 2 Peter 2:5. But he didn't have a single convert after 120 years of his life, the pastor said. You can't always measure your success in the ministry, he added.
We should preach the Gospel whether people respond or not, Laurie went on to say. "Conversion is up to God, not up to me."
God always finishes what He begins, he reminded the congregation, referring to Philippians 1:6.
Four, Noah worshipped God, Laurie shared.
Noah built an alter and worshiped God after the flood was over. He remembered God, and God remembered Him, the pastor said. Sometimes, we forget God. We remember God from crisis to crisis, and not when things are fine.
We must always say grace before a meal, Laurie urged. Even Jesus thanked God before eating food.
Give thanks for every success in your life, for He gave you the ability, the pastor said.
We should also thank God for hearing our prayers. Many a times, God's answer can be "no," but that, too, is an answer, he said.
Remember God each day, Laurie told the listeners.
We should also give thanks when things are hard, for He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, the megachurch pastor said, referring to Romans 8:28.