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Author:Rev. Ted Gray
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Congregation:First United Reformed Church
 Oak Lawn, Illinois
 www.oaklawnurc.org/
 
Title:Walking with God by Faith
Text:Hebrews 11:5-6; Gen. 5:21-24 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Living in a sinful world
 
Preached:2021
Added:2021-03-01
Updated:2021-03-09
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

 
(Blue Psalter Hymnal unless otherwise noted):
 
210:1-3, 10 – O Praise the Lord, His Deeds Make Known
290  - O Lord, My Inmost Heart and Thought
321 - (Red) - When We Walk with the Lord
450 - O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee
Scripture Readings: Gen. 5:21-24; Heb. 11:5-6; Jude 1:14-15
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Pastor Ted Gray
02/28/2021
 
Walking with God by Faith”
Genesis 5:21-24; Hebrews 11:5-6, Jude 1:14-15
 
Can you imagine the surprise of Enoch's family the day he didn't come home? Had he met the same fate as Abel? Had he been murdered? Or had a lion, a bear, or some other predator taken his life?
 
Eventually Enoch's family came to know that God simply took him away so that he did not experience death. But until that time, there was undoubtedly a great sense of mystery concerning Enoch's disappearance. Still today, Enoch’s translation into heaven is shrouded in mystery. What was it that made Enoch’s walk with God so special? How is it that Enoch, in his walk with God, pleased God and entered heaven without dying?
 
The first characteristic of Enoch’s walk with God is that it was by faith. Hebrews 11:5 tells us that Enoch “was commended as one who pleased God;” verse 6 goes on to say, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
 
To please God, you must have faith that he exists, and you must base your belief in his existence on the revelation that he has given of himself in Scripture. Have you noticed that the God revealed in Scripture is far different from the “god” that many people profess to believe in? According to polls in the United States, most Americans still believe in God, but it is clear that many do not have a biblical conception of who God is.
 
Many people simply believe that God is a force, an impersonal power. Others have a personal conception of God, but it is a conception in their own mind rather than the portrayal of God in Scripture. Perhaps to them he is like the great-grandfather in the sky who would love to help us but is unable to. Or they construct a version of who God is by saying, “To me God is...” And then they go on to describe their view of God, often by pointing out, “My God would never consign anyone to hell, or allow famine or war or other catastrophes...”
 
But when Hebrews 11:6 says that “anyone who comes to (God) must believe that he exists”, it is implicit that we understand that he exists as he reveals himself in his Word, and not in the picture that we might construct in our mind.
 
Not only does Hebrews 11:6 teach us that to please God we must believe that he exists, but it also teaches that we must believe that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Enoch's translation into heaven is an example of the greatest reward ever given. But it is only given to those who by God’s grace have true saving faith in Christ alone.  It is God who in grace gives us the gift of faith in his Son. He has given us his Son to be our Redeemer, the one who bore the curse of our sin upon the cross of Calvary. All the Old Testament believers, including Enoch, looked forward in faith to the Messiah, just as we look back in faith to see his life, death, resurrection and ascension – and then look forward to the certainty of his return.
 
Yet, although our salvation is all of God's doing, he rewards us with eternal life in the glory of his presence. He rewards those who believe in him by forgiving all our sins and imputing the righteousness of Jesus Christ to us. And then, in addition to the great spiritual blessings, he also provides for us physically and materially all that we truly need in this life. As John 1:16 puts it, “For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”
 
Enoch walked with God by faith; and then a second aspect of Enoch’s walk with God is that he submitted his will to God's will. In other words, he walked in the path that God marked out for him, and not the path that he had marked out for himself.
 
Enoch was prone to all the sins that we have. He undoubtedly had to work at submitting his desires, his goals and his feelings to the Lord. In a real sense he had to do what we all must do, as we follow the example of Jesus in submitting to his Father’s will. Jesus set the ultimate example of doing his Father’s will.  We see it throughout his life, and especially at his death. Knowing that the time had come for him to be the Passover Lamb, sacrificed for the sins of his people, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).  He submitted his will to the will of his heavenly Father.
 
Amos 3:3 asks, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” It is a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious. Jesus agreed to do the will of his Father from all eternity; he is the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” And Enoch served as a shadow – a type – of Christ as his desire was to walk in the way that the Lord had set before him, the way of holiness and obedience to his Word as he walked by faith in God.
 
Agreeing to walk in the light of God's Word involves repentance and faith for us. Jesus is the only human being who was, and is, and ever will be without sin. But apart from him, “there is no one righteous, no not one” (Rom. 3:10). Consequently, in our walk with God we need repentance and faith, which together equal conversion. 1 John 1:5-7 puts it this way: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
 
Enoch walked in the light of God's revelation to him, and thus pleased God by faith. He pleased God by his submission to take the path that God had ordained for him, and not the path that the others in his era – those in the world – were taking.
 
A third characteristic of Enoch's walk with God is that he actively opposed and denounced the ungodliness of the world in which he lived. In Jude 1:14-15 we read: “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’”
 
In the space of just two verses, we read the word “ungodly” four times. As Enoch spoke about the ungodliness of the world, he focused on two specific warnings. In Jude 1:14 he warned about the second coming of Jesus Christ. And in the next verse, verse 15, he warned about the judgment to follow.
 
We don't know how much God revealed to Enoch about the first coming of Christ, as Jesus took on human flesh and lived for 33 years here on earth. But the Lord certainly revealed to him that after redeeming his people from their sins, and ascending into heaven, Jesus would return with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge the living and the dead.
 
Enoch understood the New Testament truth that the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus into heaven is not the end of the story. Rather, his death, resurrection and ascension lead to the certainty of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
 
And when he returns, it will not be in humility as a little baby born in a manger. Rather, when he returns it will be with the angelic hosts, and those believers who have gone before. His return will be marked by the last trumpet call. His glory will be evident to all and every knee will bow before him and every tongue confess his greatness to the glory of God the Father!
 
And when Jesus returns the final judgment will be held. Enoch proclaimed that the Lord would return to “execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
 
Enoch was no prosperity preacher! Instead, he gave the same warning that Jesus would frequently give, namely that there is a day of judgment. He denounced the ungodliness of his age and gave the warning that was clear and unmistakable – that God's judgment is coming on those who do not repent of their sins and turn to the Lord in saving faith.
 
Enoch’s Walk and Ours
 
How do we apply these passages? Are they just interesting accounts of a man who never died a physical death? Just a mystery of someone who is translated into heaven because they walked with God?
 
One application comes as we realize that Enoch’s society was not much different from ours. Perhaps some people might think, “I could walk with God, too, if I had lived thousands and thousands of years ago. Life was less complicated. I wouldn’t have faced the temptations brought on by social media, the Internet and all the allurements and distractions of our contemporary world. I could have had a much closer walk with the Lord if I had lived in Enoch’s era of time.”
 
But society in Enoch's day was incredibly corrupt, just as it is today. Enoch lived in the time leading up to the days of Noah. Genesis 6:5-8 describe those days this way: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”
 
Yet through this time of great wickedness, Enoch still consistently walked with God by faith; he submitted his will to God's will, and actively opposed ungodliness and warned of the judgment to come. The people who heard about his prophecy would be swept away in the great flood of Noah's day. But that worldwide flood was just a shadow of the great flood of God's righteous and proper wrath against sin and ungodliness that will be unveiled in the final judgment.
 
Although the days of Noah were marked by apostasy and ungodliness, Jesus pointed out that when he returns the world will be just like it was in the days of Noah. In Matthew 24:37-39 Jesus said, “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
 
And as we recognize that the era of time we live in is just as ungodly and sinful as the era in which Enoch lived, we are called to proclaim the same warning as Enoch did. It is crucial to do so because most people in our culture are on the broad road that leads to destruction. And most people on that broad road believe all that you have to do to get into heaven is to die. Most people assume that a loving God would not consign them into an eternal hell. If such a place as hell exists, they reason, it exists only for people like Hitler. If hell exists, it exists for mass murders, serial rapists and child molesters, but not for your average person on the street, right?
 
Consider what Amos said to the people of his day who claimed they were God's people, but did not live like they were God's people. Amos 5:18-19, “Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him.”
 
In the New Testament John gives a similar warning about the return of Jesus to judge all humanity. In Revelation 6:15-17 we read: “Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’”
 
Part of your walk with God, and part of my walk with God, involves warning others of the judgment to come. Every Christian who truly loves his neighbor will sound the warning. If you saw your neighbor's house on fire, would you let him know? How much more important then to warn about the judgment that is to come! And that is why building relationships with neighbors is crucial; it enables us to more effectively warn them of the judgment to come and the great need for repentance and faith.
 
A second way that Enoch's life applies to you and to me is that his walk with the Lord was not just a short sprint, it wasn't a 100 yard dash or 100 meter run; it was not just a spurt of emotion, but rather it was a lifelong walk. Enoch, we read, lived 365 years. Genesis 5:24 notes: “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”
 
I am sure that you have known people who seem to be walking with the Lord, perhaps people whom you would never expect to quit walking with the Lord. It may be a family member, or someone you respected in the church, it could be a pastor or an elder or deacon who seemed to be walking steadily with the Lord and then, like Demas, turned away and chased after the things of the world.
 
Jesus spoke about those type of people in Matthew 24:12-13. He said: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”  Hebrews 3:14 adds: “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
 
It is God who preserves us. It is because of his grace that Enoch persevered and was not a “shooting star.” And it is by God's grace that you and I persevere. Our confidence is not in ourselves but in God who has given this promise in Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
 
But as the Lord grants us perseverance, he uses means to an end. Those means include being faithful in the study of his word, in prayer, in worship and fellowship with his people, building one another up and encouraging one another as we walk with the Lord by faith in an ungodly and hostile world.
 
A third application of Enoch's walk with the Lord is that his translation into heaven teaches us that when our life on earth comes to a close, it is not the end, but the beginning of a perfect and eternal walk with God.
 
Enoch and Elijah are the only two people who did not die a physical death but instead were ushered into the glory of heaven without dying. Unless the Lord returns in our lifetime, you and I will experience physical death. But our physical death is not the end, rather it is just the beginning.
 
Most of you know those reassuring words of Jesus, spoken to Martha at the tomb of Lazarus when Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26). Those who by God's grace do believe in him, and who walk with him by faith as Enoch did, have no fear of physical death.
 
In the year 1899 two famous people died. One was Robert Ingersoll, who was a well-known agnostic, a man of great human intelligence; he was a formidable debater, an articulate speaker, but he used his talents to denounce God and to ridicule the Bible.
 
He died suddenly. Newspapers carried the story nationwide. They described how his family said his death was an uncompensated tragedy. There was no hope. There was no peace.  This, after all, was a man who said at his brother's funeral, “We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our own wailing cry.”
 
That same year, 1899, another famous person died, the evangelist Dwight Moody. He had been instrumental in bringing about great revivals across the land. Many people had come to believe on the Lord through his ministry. Newspapers also carried the account of his death nationwide, including his last words: “This is my triumph! This is my coronation day! It is glorious!”
 
He recognized that when we walk with God in this life, by faith in his Son, Jesus Christ, then death holds no fear, for we are raised to glory in the life to come. Just as Enoch ascended into heaven, so do we: Our soul ascends at physical death and our body ascends at the return of Jesus. So we will be with the Lord, in a perfect walk, body and soul, throughout all eternity!
____
 
Enoch walked with God and was commended as one who pleased God and was brought into heaven without ever experiencing physical death. Unless the Lord returns in our lifetimes, you and I will experience physical death. Hebrews 9:27 states: “It is appointed unto man to die once, and then to face the judgment.”
 
And on that day of judgment, when the Lord returns with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the world – what will be said about you and about me? What will be known about your walk and my walk through the pilgrimage of life? Will it be said of us that by God’s grace through saving faith in Christ we also walked with God?
 
And before we close, did you notice how Jude described Enoch’s ancestry? In verse 14 Jude wrote “Enoch (was) the seventh from Adam.” And then he goes on to describe Enoch’s life. But why did he write about Enoch being the seventh from Adam?  Does that really matter?
 
That matters because there was another Enoch who lived in the same era of time. He was the son of Cain who had killed Abel. Like his father he was ungodly and even had a city that was undoubtedly wicked to the core, named after him - the city of Enoch.
 
That is a subtle yet vivid reminder that there are two roads in life upon which all humanity walks. There is the broad road that leads to destruction – the road that Cain’s son Enoch walked on. And there is the narrow road of life where Enoch, the seventh from Adam, a descendant of godly Seth, walked with God.
 
And all of Scripture teaches that same truth, including Psalm 1 which sets the stage for all the Psalms in describing two separate paths in life, and Matthew 7:13-14 where Jesus says: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
 
When all is said and done, may it be revealed that you and I, by God’s grace, walked with him on the narrow way that leads to life! May it be said of you and me, that through saving faith in Christ alone, we, like Enoch, walked with God! Amen.
 
 
Bulletin outline:
 
 
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death;
he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he
was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. - Hebrews 11:5
 
          “Walking with God by Faith”
                       Genesis 5:21-24; Hebrew 11:5-6; Jude 1:14-15
 
I. Enoch’s walk with God was marked by:
    1) Faith, which is given by God and pleasing to Him (Hebrews 11:5-6)
 
 
 
    2) Submission to the will of God (Amos 3:3), and holiness in walking the path
         God ordained for him (Genesis 5:22, 24; 1 John 1:5-7)
 
 
 
    3) Denouncing ungodliness and warning about the judgment to come (Jude 1:14-15)
 
 
 
II. Applications:
     1) Our society is like Enoch’s. We, too, must warn those who are unprepared
          to meet the Lord (Amos 5:18-19; Revelation 6:16-17)
 
 
 
     2) Enoch’s walk was no sprint; he walked with God for 300 years (Gen. 5:22).
          We, too, must persevere (Matthew 24:12-13; Hebrews 3:14), trusting God
          to complete the good work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6)
 
 
 
     3) Enoch’s translation into heaven is an encouragement, reminding those who
          walk with God by faith that our walk is eternal (John 11:25-26; 1 Thess. 4:16-17)
 
 
 
     4) All humanity walks on one of two roads, the broad road that leads to destruction
          or the narrow road that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14)
 
 

 

 




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2021, Rev. Ted Gray

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