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By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC 8am Service, 2004-07-18

Text: Hebrews 11;5,6

Faith is the one thing in life that all of us always need as Christians. No matter what your station in life or spiritual standing you may have - young Christian or old Christian, pastor, elder, deacon or church member - you will still need faith. In all my years as a Christian, I have yet to hear anyone say, 'I have all the faith that I need.' Instead, I have met many fellow believers who confessed their lack of faith, or that they desire to have more faith to trust in God. One good way to develop more faith in God is to study the lives of great heroes of faith. 

These Old Testament heroes and the faith they had are all found in Hebrews chapter 11. Some describe this chapter as a condensed register of the OT heroes of faith. But the purpose of this chapter is not to praise these heroes or to exalt them to be venerated by us (as the Roman Catholic Church has unbiblically done for its many saints). Actually all of these heroes of faith of the Old Testament were sinners like us, with weaknesses, failures and faults that are recorded in the Scriptures. The purpose of this chapter is to teach us what having faith in God is all about. Faith isn't just a mental belief that certain things are true. Faith isn't just a nice feeling of security and confidence. As we study the examples of faith in this chapter, we will see that their faith was a faith that worked tremendous things in their lives! May we be fully convinced that the faith that worked for these people can also work for us, to the glory of God.

Last week we began our study of this chapter with the life of Abel. We learned that the life of faith begins with a sacrifice for sin, when we fully accept God's plan of salvation for us. This morning we go on to Hebrews 11:5,6 where we meet the next hero of faith: Enoch. From him we are going to learn that faith is needed in order to please God. Let us read these verses: 'By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.' The point that often captivates readers in these verses is that Enoch did not see death. He went up to heaven without dying!

Enoch was the first of two individuals in the Bible who never had to go through physical death in order to get to heaven (The other one was Elijah). From this, I am sure we all would love to know what kind of man Enoch was, that God should spare him from going through death. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot of information about his life. The main historical data about Enoch that we have is contained only in four verses in Genesis 5:21-24 'And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.' 

I. The Origins of Enoch's Faith

In these verses we can detect a definite turning point in Enoch's life - the time when Methuselah was born. We are told that Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah. Perhaps before he had Methuselah, Enoch was not walking with God at all. Perhaps he was walking the way of the world for 65 years. But at the end of those 65 years, God revealed Himself to Enoch and told Him about things to come. 

How do we know that? One clue can be found in the unique name that Enoch gave to his firstborn son - Methuselah. This name contains a cryptic and ominous message 'When he dies, it shall come.' Apparently God had revealed to Enoch that something very great was going to happen at the time when Methuselah dies. What was this great event? Well, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years - the longest that any man has ever lived! But what is interesting to us is that the year that Methuselah died was the exact year of the Great Flood - The universal flood that destroyed all life in the world except for 8 souls who were in Noah's ark.

So now we know what Methuselah's name means - When he dies, the Flood will come! Could it be that when this baby boy was born, God actually revealed to Enoch the fact that the Great Flood was to come upon the world? Perhaps. Could it be that God had also told Enoch why the great Flood was to come - that it was because of Man's sins filling the world to such a great extent that Divine Judgement could no longer be withheld? Perhaps. Could it be that through this revelation Enoch was so convinced that he himself was a sinner worthy of divine judgment for all his sins of 65 years, that he desperately needed salvation? Perhaps. And could it be that Enoch came to realize how merciful and gracious God was to him, to reveal Himself to him now and to warn him to flee from the wrath to come? Perhaps.

Whatever the actual situation may have been, there is one thing is that is certain: It was at that point in time that Enoch turned to God with all his heart in true repentance, and trusted in Him alone to save him. From then on, Enoch no longer wanted to walk the way of the world any more. >From then on, he walked with God. From then on, he began to grow in his newfound faith - the faith that pleases God!

Dear friends, if you want to have a faith that pleases God, you too need that turning point in your life, which is also known as conversion. And you do not have to wait until you are 65 years old like Enoch, or when you have your first child in order to be converted. Enoch lived long before any portion of the Bible was written. He lived at the time when the Word of God was conveyed only by word of mouth, or by direct revelation from God. But now that the written revelation of God has already come and we are holding it in our hands right now, we can easily learn from it about the wrath to come and flee from it! And just at Enoch was warned through divine revelation that God was going to judge the sinful world with a Great Flood, we are now warned through the Bible that God is going to judge the sinful world once more with the most awful end time plagues and judgments.

Dear Friends, if you have not yet repented of your sins and turned to Jesus Christ to save you, please do not put it off any more. No one can tell exactly when the end time judgements will come. In Enoch's case, God's judgment came 969 years later. But when Methuselah was born Enoch did not know he would live that long. All he knew was that when Methuselah dies, it will come. Methuselah could have died any time, at the age of 10 or 20 years since sickness was already in the worl then. He could even have died soon after his birth! And so it became most urgent for Enoch to seek salvation from sin without any delay at all, if God should choose to take Methuselah early in his life.

I trust that God-willing, there may be someone here today who will follow in Enoch's footsteps, and begin to walk with God this very day by receiving Christ as your Saviour and Lord. May this very morning be the turning point in your life, when you choose to walk no longer in sin, and no longer with the world, but to walk the rest of your life's journey with the Lord Jesus Christ!

II. The Object of Enoch's Faith

We return now to our study of Enoch's faith, and we turn our attention to the object of his faith. The kind of faith that pleases God is faith that has God Himself as its object. This is what we see in v.6 of our text - 'for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.' From this we can learn three things about Enoch's faith in God. Firstly:

A. He believed in the Eternal Existence of God

The people who inhabited the world in Enoch's time were not much different from people who live today. Like the world today, there were probably many at that time who did not believe that a personal God exists. The sinful nature in them made them quite blind to the message so clearly proclaimed in every part of creation - The message that there is a God who made all things. Psalm 19 says, 'The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.'

Despite such clear evidence of God's existence and power, there were probably many in Enoch's time (and notably the descendants of Cain) who had either rejected God, or reduced Him to a form that they could grasp and control - an idol. And this led them to think that they could live and do as they liked without any fear of judgement or retribution. Sin always thrives whenever God's existence is rejected. The sixth chapter of Genesis records that by the time of the Great Flood, sin had multiplied at such an alarming rate, that every imagination of the thought of men's hearts were only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). In such an ungodly environment, the faith of Enoch to believe in the existence of a personal living and true God would surely have stood out very, very starkly. 

We who are Christians today are no different from Enoch in this aspect. In order to become Christians, we had to believe this most basic truth about God - the truth of His existence. 'For he that cometh to God must believe that He is.' Unlike the world of Enoch's time, however, the world today claims to have very solid grounds for not believing in God's existence. 

Ever since Charles Darwin propounded the theory of Evolution in the 19th century, the unbelieving world has eagerly believed that everything that exists was formed entirely by chance from pre-existing material, over billions of years, through natural physical and chemical processes. And every type of animal and plant that exists today evolved from lower forms of life, by genetic mutation and natural selection. Now, evolution has never been conclusively proven. 

It is still a theory, although it is often taught and propounded in schools and colleges as established scientific facts. The truth is that there are so many flaws, faulty assumptions, unanswered questions and inconsistencies in evolution theory that it actually takes more faith to believe in evolution, than to believe in creation. Let us understand what the theory of evolution really is. It is the Devil's most cleverly devised tool that he uses to deceive millions of people and to keep them from believing in the most basic truth that they need to believe - the truth of God's existence. Dear friends, if you have not known Christ yet, let me tell you this: Please, do not be deceived by the theory of evolution, or by any thing that makes you doubt God's existence. If you sincerely want to come to God, if you want to walk with Him and please Him, you must begin by believing that He exists! 

But this is not all that you must believe. The devils also believe that God exists and according to James 2:19 they even tremble at this truth, but it brings them absolutely no benefit at all. In order to have a faith that pleases God, you must go on to believe in another thing about God, as seen in Enoch's faith:

B. He believed in the Excellent Goodness of God

Now, God's goodness can be seen in nature - in the sustanence of His creation with life and with food. Matthew 5:45 says that 'He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.' But what Enoch believed about God was more than that. According to Hebrew 11:6 he firmly believed that God is a rewarder. He believed that in His excellent goodness, God is ever willing to bestow blessings, and ever ready to reward those who come to Him. 

Since the day that Enoch began to know God, he must have been thoroughly enthralled at God's goodness to reward him. Perhaps there were times of crises when Enoch prayed and God answered him. Perhaps there were moments when Enoch was oppressed and persecuted by sinful men, and God delivered him out of their hands. We know from Jude verses 14 and 15 that Enoch preached to the unbelieving world around him that God's judgment was coming. God must have given him the courage and boldness he needed to declare His word to men. 

Dearly beloved, if we know these things, let us not hesitate at all to exercise our faith in God. Let us prove that He is as much a rewarder to us, as He was to Enoch. In 1 Corinthians 2:9, the Word of God tells us: 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.' In 2 Peter 1:3,4, we are told that God's 'divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.' Dearly beloved, there are great and glorious rewards awaiting those who put their trust in God!

And do you know what is the greatest reward that God can ever give? The greatest reward is Himself. This is what God told Abraham: 'I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.' (Genesis 15:1). Asaph testified, 'God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.' (Psalm 73:26). There is really no reward that is better than this! Nothing can compare with the blessedness of having God as your reward and your portion. In His presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). 

It was probably because of this that Enoch sought the Lord diligently. His faith was so much in God, that he diligently sought to be with Him as oftern as he could. This is the third thing that we can learn about Enoch's faith.

C. He believed in Endeavouring to be with God 

This comes from the last part of Hebrews 11:6 'for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.' What we want to highlight here is the earnest endeavour and effort that is put into seeking after God. Are we diligent enough in seeking after God? Do we seek after God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? 

King David did. He wrote in Psalm 63 'O God, thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.' And those who diligently seek God like this will not find themselves disappointed - for God Himself says, 'And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD.' (Jeremiah 29:13-14) - that was God's promise to Israel, and it still stands as His promise to us today.

Dearly beloved, this is the promise that you should claim everyday when you have your daily quiet time. You must believe that as you seek to commune with God, He will be found of you, and you will experience the wonderful delight in your soul of being with Him, in His holy presence. Your daily quiet time should be so filled with delight that it becomes the very best part of your whole day. But perhaps for many of us here, our quiet time has somehow degenerated into a meaningless routine that we just perform to get over with, and sometimes, because we are rushing for time, we skip it altogether! 

If this is the state of your personal devotions right now, you really need to do something about it. Prepare your soul to commune with God. And for those 10-15 minutes, just put aside all other thoughts from your mind and heart. Don't think about the things that you need to do for the day, or the problems that you are going to face for the day. Just keep your thoughts focused on seeking diligently after God. Meditate deeply on the words of Hebrews 11:6 'he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.'

Tell Him how much you long to be with Him and commune with Him. Let your heart be filled with praise and thanks to God. And as you seek God, believe in that promise He made to you 'I will be found of you.' Then read a portion of Scripture, and let God speak to you through His Word. Let Him show you what He wants you to do for the day. He may reveal to you a sin in your life that you need to confess, or a command that He wants you to obey. He may strengthen you with a word of assurance and comfort. And when God has been found of you and blessed you with His Word, give thanks to Him and pray for grace to do all that He wants.

This is what your daily quiet time ought to be - a personal, spiritual time of blessed communion with the Lord. And such daily communion with God will then become your source of spiritual life and strength to live for the Lord each day. I would therefore urge you not to be satisfied with the present state of your devotional life until you have this daily walk with the Lord. Make a commitment to the Lord right now, to keep not just daily quiet time, but daily quality time with the Lord enjoying blessed communion with Him.

Enoch apparently enjoyed this communion with the Lord, because we are told not just once but twice in Genesis 5 that Enoch walked with God. Verse 22 tells us that he walked with God after he begat Methuselah for three hundred years. If you ever think that it is much too difficult for you to sustain a consistent daily walk with God for a few months - think of how Enoch sustained his walk with God everyday for 300 years!

All those years of walking closely with God wrought good results in Enoch's life. And we now end our message by considering:

III. The Outcome of Enoch's Faith

A. Enoch Pleased God

The faith that led Enoch to cease walking in the way of the world and to walk with God for three hundred years brought pleasure to God. By doing this, Enoch fulfilled the primary purpose of his life. Revelation 4:11 tells us that all things are created for God's pleasure ('Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.') Now, that includes us as well. God created all of us not for our own pleasure or anyone's pleasure, but for His pleasure. But are we pleasing God? Do our lives bring pleasure to Him? Hebrews 11:6 says that it is impossible to do this without faith. If we are to please God we must have faith to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Now the second outcome of Enoch's faith was:

B. Enoch Served God

He became a prophet to the people of his time, warning them to flee from God's coming judgment. And it is interesting that the judgment that Enoch preached about was not the immediate one that was to come - the Great Flood, but the ultimate judgement, at the coming of Christ to judge the whole earth. Jude 14,15 - 'And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds'. The faith that Enoch had as a result of his close walk with God gave him the power to preach this message boldly and courageously. Besides pleasing God and serving God, Enoch's faith brought one more result:

C. Enoch was Taken Up by God

This took place after he had lived up to the age of 365. Hebrews 11:5 says, 'By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him.' Why did God take Enoch up? Perhaps it was done to spare him from facing severe persecution that may have arisen as a result of his bold preaching. What happened to Enoch will happen on a much bigger scale in the Last Days - in an event called the Rapture! Believers who are living on earth when the Rapture takes place will be instantly transformed and taken up to heaven without dying. How wonderful it will be to be taken up to be with our Lord Jesus Christ forever, and with all the resurrected saints, including Enoch! 

Dearly beloved, are you looking forward to this event? If you are, then think of Enoch - the very first believer to experience something life the Rapture, and think of his faith - a faith that pleased God and enabled him to walk with God and serve God effectively. Let us be powerfully motivated by his example to cultivate the kind of faith that pleases God and that will enable us to walk with God and serve Him.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25