Noah in Cross-Cultural Context (Pt.5): Applying Biblical Narratives

Now for my 5th and final installment of reflections on preaching Noah cross-culturally at TriEak Parmeshwar Mandali (TPM), the Nepali-speaking church that I pastor in the Chicago area. 

If you remember, I preached through Noah over the course of 2 Sundays.  Having used both improvisational drama and group reading to tell and retell the story, during the second Sunday I was ready to give a couple key applications and principles from the text.   Whenever I prepare to preach narratively, I usually seek to derive applications/principles by asking a number of key questions:
  1. What does this narrative tell us about God?
  2. What does this narrative tell us about life and how to live in a way that pleases God?
  3. Does this narrative say anything that is especially relevant to the cultural context of my audience? (What will they readily see/hear/understand that I may not?)
  4. Does the Bible anywhere provide an infallible application/interpretation for this narrative?

(If you have other helpful questions, please leave them in the comment section)

I took this approach to the narrative of Noah.  Below, I will share only the summary of what I came up with (note that I already shared some applications from this story during my first sermon):
  1. God, by his nature, is committed to the eradication of evil and the salvation of the faithful.  I will not get into all this here, but I recommend looking to Isaiah 54:9-10 and Ezekiel 14.
  2. The Noah story illustrates for us the impact of one faithful person on their entire household.  That is, Noah’s faith influenced his wife and children leading to their salvation as well.
  3. Keeping in mind the fact that there are those in our Nepali church in “mixed faith” households (some Christ-followers and some not), I encouraged them to be encouraged by Noah’s example.  To have faith and patiently follow God’s will in the context of their families.  I encouraged them not to give up on their relatives who were not yet following Christ.  Since I have had a similar experience myself, I encouraged them by my own testimony.
  4. Finally, the Bible does provide a kind of application of the Noah story (that is, it provides another one that we’ve yet to mention).  1 Peter 3:20-21 connects this narrative with the subject of baptism, providing a great opportunity to teach about this topic from Peter’s epistle.

You may also have noticed that over the course of my two messages, I made reference to many Biblical references to Noah occurring outside of Genesis.  I have found that this is always a helpful way to interpret a Biblical story.  How do the apostles and prophets interpret and apply the narratives of Scripture – always a great place to start.

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