Peninsula Community Church
By Faith – Pleasing God
September 19, 2016
Hebrews 11:5-6 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Genesis 5:18-24 When Jared had lived 162 years he fathered Enoch. Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
Today, we move to the next exhibit in the hall of fame of faith. It is an interesting story as there is not much of a story to tell and yet we find Enoch listed in the Hall of Fame of Faith. His testimony is that he walked by faith. Enoch’s story was not one that would have made the cover of the front page of the newspaper nor would there have been a entry in the society page of the day. In fact, little is known about him. What we do know is included in the passages we read above as well as the Book of Jude which we will consider in a few moments. The one known fact is that Enoch walked with God and God took him. He was also commended for pleasing God. It could be said of Enoch that he had a genuine personal relationship with the one true God like no one else. It is amazing to me that while there is little or no history of Enoch, God thought enough of him that he was included in the Hall of Fame of Faith. That is amazing.
While there is not much written about Enoch, here is what we do know from the little we have. Enoch lived during a time that faith in God was not popular. People had turned from God and were doing what was right in their own eyes and not what was right in the sight of God. Even with this, Enoch managed to stay the course and he live righteously before God. In fact he did so for more than 300 years. So many of us struggle to live day-to-day and year-to-year but the Bible tells us that he lived a righteous life for 300 years.
We know the condition of the society in which he lived and the role he played in that society in part because of Jude 14-16. Jude had this to said about Enoch. It was also about these that 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.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.
From this passage, we find that Enoch was a prophetic voice for that time. When I think of Enoch I think of a modern day Franklin Graham who is a prophetic voice in our day. Enoch’s ministry was one of warning his society and those around him that the Lord was about to execute judgment upon the land. While he issued a warning you also see his message being seasoned with grace in that he noted that God would convict all of the ungodly sinners. In other words, God would give them a chance to repent and change. That is always God’s mode of operation. He warns us and gives us a chance to repent and change.
In considering Enoch’s life, let me give you four lessons that are learned from Enoch’s life. First, he walked by faith. This is evidenced by the fact that Scripture tells us in Hebrews that by faith Enoch walked with God. It is noteworthy that Enoch’s faith was founded on the confidence he had in God and not what was evidenced by society. He put his trust in God’s word and promises. You see as believers our faith must also be in God and not what we see in society or in the circumstance of our life. Remember we said a couple of weeks ago that faith is the evidence of things not seen and the substance of things hoped for. Enoch’s faith was in God. He trusted God for what was not seen. What was seen was a failing, hopeless society but by faith Enoch saw God and He believed God for change.
Because of his faith, Enoch remained strong even though the world around him was crumbling and was going to hell in a hand basket so to speak. Even though it appeared his message was not being heard he remained strong and he remained vigilant to preach a message of grace and truth. He looked beyond the reality of the moment to see with eyes of faith that God was up to something. He looked beyond what he saw in the here and now and he saw a new day coming.
Spiritual darkness was all around him but he did not give up nor did he give in. In the midst of the ungodly generation in which he lived he would go against the establishment of the day and would go against the status quo of the society. He would live differently. He would live by faith. He would please God with his life.
Why was faith so important to Enoch? It is because it takes faith to please God. We have read already that without faith it is impossible to please God. Listen to this, we only please that which we trust and have confidence in. Where did Enoch’s faith lie? It was founded in the fact that he believed and trusted the one true God. He did not trust his circumstances. He did not trust what he saw in the society. He did not trust his family’s past. He trusted God. I need to ask you, today, do you trust God? Do you give Him your life each day because you know He can do a better job of handling things than you can? Do you trust Him when everyone else seems to be headed in a different direction than you? That is faith and it is by faith that we please God.
A second lesson for us today is that he sought God because he knew that God rewards those that seek Him. Our passage today tells us that without faith it is impossible to please him but it also states that for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Notice here that the passage tells us that he believed that God existed. That is the base line of all of our faith and existence as a believer in Christ. If we do not believe that He exists why would we even seek Him. It has been said that as believers we often live like Christians in the church but we live like atheists the rest of the time. The point being made is that we can profess Christianity and yet not live like we believe the truth we say we hold to.
Enoch sought God and because of that he was rewarded as a trusted follower of God. It is noteworthy that Jesus himself commanded His disciples to seek first the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 6:30-33 listen to Jesus’ own words. O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
We see that Jesus begins with pointing out they had little faith. Why is that? It is because it takes great faith to seek God first when our world is being turned upside down. In the case of the disciples they were overly concerned about the provision of clothes, meals, houses, and so on in their life. What Jesus was saying is that if you seek me. If you put me first, all of these things will be given to you and more. When we seek God, because we trust Him and believe in Him, then God will reward us by giving us all that we need and all that we require to live faithful lives.
What was Enoch’s reward? His reward was that He walked with God and God took him. For so many people this creates an environment where their are more questions than there are answers. Did Enoch just disappear? Did he walk into the woods or the desert and was never seen again? Was he transported into heaven like a scene from Star Trek? The fact is we do not know. We just know that he walked with God and God took him. That was his reward.
Thirdly, by faith he impacted generations to come which was an added reward. While the society in which he lived seemed to be lost and without hope he was incredibly effective in reaching the generations to come. The truth is that I am not sure that he was even aware that he was effecting the next generation. I think he was simply obedient to what God called him to do. God rewarded him by transforming the generations that were to follow. How do I know that? Well Enoch’s son and great grandson were a testimony to this fact. Remember Methuselah. He lived to be 969 years old (Genesis 5:27). Greater yet was Enoch’s great grandson Noah (Genesis 5:29).
All of us have heard of Noah, even if it has only been by way of the movie “Evan Almighty.” It was Noah who found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8-9). It was Noah who God chose to do the impossible and to do the extraordinary. He was called to build a boat that would hold a representative from every species known to mankind in that day. Even more amazing is that he was to build a boat because a flood was coming when there had been no significant rain fall in the land since the creation of the earth. Because of the faith and testimony of Enoch, Noah could stand tall against some amazing odds. Even though the world of the day thought he was crazy, he was obedient, I believe in large part, because of the influence of Enoch on his life.
Who are you influencing? Who are you making a difference in? You name may never be known or have any notoriety. You may always be in the background, but God sees you and that is what matters. How many remember man named Mordecai Ham? My guess is that there may only be a handful of people if any who will remember his name but how many know Billy Graham’s name? You see it was Mordecai Ham who preached to Billy Graham and Billy Graham came to Christ. We may never know who we are impacting so do not stop impacting lives for Christ.
And finally, we look to Enoch as an example of how we are to model our life. Do we live by faith? Do we truly believe that God is and because of that belief do we truly seek God? Do we put Him first in all that we do? Do we walk in righteousness? Are we effecting the next generation for Christ? I do not know your answers to these questions but they are relevant to us today. Enoch was not placed in the Hall of Fame of Faith by mistake. Enoch was placed there because of his faith and because of a life committed to God. That is God’s plan for us. He desires that we focus on Him and that we live a life filled with grace and power. May we accomplish that for His glory!
One final note. When we read the Genesis passage it is interesting to note that Enoch lived for 365 years. One year for every day of the year. He trusted God for all of those years. May we commit to live each day as a passionate follower of Christ who lives by faith and puts Him first in everything we do.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom