NIV "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. 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."
AMP. "Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven he received testimony that he had pleased God and been satisfactory to God. But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must believe that God exists and that He is the Rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him out."
GENESIS 5:21 - 24
NIV - "When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God, then he was no more, because God took him away."
Perhaps the best explanation I have ever heard for what happened to Enoch, came from the lips of a child.
The Sunday School lesson that day had been about Enoch. On the way home the youngster was retelling the story to his parents. The retelling went this way: "Enoch and God were very good friends. They used to take walks together every day. One day while they were out walking, God said: 'Enoch, it's closer to my house than it is to yours, so why don't you just come home with me.'"
Taking walks with God...walking by faith. What a wonderful way to describe the fellowship of God with Enoch and the fellowship God desires to have with each of us.
It may be that you have participated in what is called a faith walk. There are two kinds of faith walks: guided and directed. In each you are blindfolded and you are either guided as you take the leader's arm and follow or you are directed as you listen to the leader's voice and obey. Either experience can be quite unnerving and yet very instructive.
God teaches us both kinds of faith walks.
What do you learn from such an experience? Answers: trust, dependence, humility, overcome fear, acting without all information, future is unknown, next step is unknown, etc.
God guides us and God gives us directions. In His Word, Enoch is used as an example of one who walked with God by faith.
What does that mean? It must mean being sensitive to the mind of God, listening for the voice of God, and obedience to the mind, will, and counsel of God.
No one is going to let you blindfold them and lead them around or direct them unless:
1. They believe that they can trust you.
2. They believe that you love them and have only their best interests at heart.
3. They believe that you know what you are doing and know what you are talking about.
No one is going to obey God unless that person believes God knows what He is talking about: that is faith. Faith requires a surrender to the will of God or we will walk through life following our own desires...our own plans...and living without eternal purposes.
Since God has a plan and purpose for every person and for His world, anyone who is not sensitive to His will and who does not obey in faith...is going to leave that will of God for them unfulfilled.
We learn from our scriptures that God takes no pleasure in such disregard. God does not view kindly our stubborn refusals to surrender to Him and walk by faith.
Without faith in a God who created the world with order and purpose, without faith in a God who provides for the children of His love; without faith in a God who loves justice and hates lawlessness; without faith in a God who makes a way...the only way...into the sanctuary of His presence --- without such faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please a God who desires and demands that we believe these things about Him.
To believe anything else or to think we can do these things without His help is to deny the very character of God and try to play His role ourselves. It is the height of arrogance to live without faith in God!
Look at Enoch...a man who walked with God by faith. A man who listened, who was sensitive, who sought God's reward and who entered God's presence.
Look at his powerful testimony. For it was known about Enoch that his life was well-pleasing to God. What an impact to have upon other people. To be known as a person whose life and testimony were godly. That was the force of his faith upon other people. They knew that he walked with God!
And, isn't it interesting that Enoch had this testimony that for 300 years he walked with God?
Can you imagine what a person who lives for 300 years would face and go through in the course of everyday life. This is four times the average lifespan of today. So just take what you live through and multiply it by four.
Yet Enoch was not deterred from his walk with God. In fact, we could say that because of his walk with God he was not deterred from living life God's way.
And isn't it interesting that he walked by faith with God in a Godless age? For Enoch lived and was taken to heaven about 70 years before Noah was born. So Enoch lived during this time when all men were doing what was right in their own eyes...yet Enoch was walking with God.
And his walk was noticed!
How do I know that? Remember what we read? It said that he could not be found. In other words, they went looking for Him.
The people of any given culture do not usually appreciate the value of a godly person until they are gone from the scene. In fact the world frequently maligns and criticizes the dynamic believer during their lifetime.
I recently read a good example of this from political realm. Remember when former V.P. Dan Quayle spoke out about family values and spoke against having children out of wedlock? He was blasted by media, and other politicians.
Then this past year the Atlantic Monthly had this lead article on the family; tracking a whole generation of children and how divorce and single parenting has impacted their lives. The article was not designed to make anyone feel guilty but merely to present the facts. The title of the article: "V.P. Dan Quayle Was Right!".
Of course now, nobody cares if he was right nor are they listening.
In the same way the world frequently maligns and rips against the dedicated believer while they are among us. Even other believers do not always properly value the influence of a person of faith and faithfulness, until they are gone.
But once gone, they are missed by saint and sinner alike. Enoch was missed so much that they tried to find him, but in vain...because God had honored his faith in a very dramatic way and taken him home to different living quarters. As the Amplified Bible says: He was "caught up and transferred to heaven." How's that for a job transfer?!
Are you expecting to be transferred to heaven some day?
That's a good desire.
How is such a transfer obtained?
Only by walking with God by faith.
To walk with God by faith means:
1. To Please God: Walking with God is pleasing God. This kind of walking has to do with fellowship. It means that I do not try to live as a loner. I acknowledge that I need God and I need to walk in fellowship with Him.
2. Walking with God by faith implies a surrendered will. God does not force His company on anyone. He only offers Himself.
3. Walking with God means trusting God by believing that God knows what He is talking about. As you walk with God you learn about His ways. You learn about how God does things in contrast to your way of doing things. Then, in faith, you let God teach you His new ways. This is a process of maturing that requires a teachable spirit. Those with stubborn hearts and closed ears will not experience the joy of growing in Christlikeness.
As you walk with God you learn about His thinking --- the mind of God --- and you realize that God has a different way of thinking. Then, in faith, you begin to think differently about life, people, things, etc.
Faith thinks! Did you know that? Faith is not some thoughtless function of our emotions. Faith thinks! So does unbelief! When we get to the verses on Abraham we will see how faith thinks, and how unbelief thinks.
Walking in faith opens your mind to the renewal of the Holy Spirit and you begin to think differently.
The walk of faith takes hold of the basic fact that there is a God....a true and living God. But then true faith moves beyond just believing that there is a God.
Einstein said: "Certainly there is a God. Any man who doesn't believe in a cosmic force is a fool, but we could never know Him."
But Einstein was wrong. We can know God! We must know God!
Faith believes that God can and must be known. Faith seeks to know Him. Faith believes that I must come to know Him if I am going to discover the divine purpose for my life. When I truly believe that God is...then I begin to seek Him, for faith believes that God is a gracious, loving, and rewarding God who reachs out eagerly to encourage, help, and reward those who seek after Him.
This pleases God. God is pleased when you and I seek after Him.
Nationality and heritage does not please God. Prestige and titles do not please God. My good works and human effort do not please God.
What pleases God? Faith. When men and women in faith begin to seek after God. When we seek Him with all our hearts. When we realize our need of His salvation and His mercy and His love and we cry out to God earnestly with all our hearts. This pleases Him for this is faith.
When we walk before Him in humility and submission, depending upon God's help and wisdom. When we walk in surrender knowing that we belong to Him not to this world. This pleases Him for this is faith.
Faith believes that God is worth seeking after for God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Jesus taught us the same.
In Luke 11:9 - 10 we read: "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
There is a different world that God wants to open to you....a different way of thinking and living that God wants to teach you....a different way of praying that God wants to impart to you....a different purpose for living that God wants to show you.
Enoch learned this so well as He walked with God that he kept right on walking into eternity. But he left a testimony. His testimony is his footsteps. We can walk in them also and be people who walk with God by faith!
We can be people who are sensitive to the mind of God. We can be people who listen for the voice of God. We can be people who obey the mind, will, and counsel of God.
We can be faith walkers!
Other sermons by Pastor John.