January 27, 2019

Enoch: The Fellowship of Faith

Passage: Hebrews 11:5-6

Good morning! If you have a Bible, I invite you to turn to Hebrews 11. And if you don’t have a Bible, there should be a Bible under the row of chairs in front of you. If you can grab a Bible, we are going to be in Hebrews 11, this morning.

In his book, The Power of Positive Praying, Pastor John Bisagno tells a story from his relationship with his daughter. Here is what he writes: “When my daughter, Melodye, came to me at the age of five and asked for a doll house, I promised to build one, and promptly went back to reading an engrossing book.

“Soon I glanced out the study window and saw her with her arms filled with dishes, toys, and dolls making her little pilgrimage to the corner of the yard, where by now she had gathered a great pile of playthings.

“I asked my wife what the purpose of that impossible pile could be. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘you promised to build her a doll house, and she believes you. She’s just getting ready for it.’

“You would have thought I'd been hit by an atom bomb. I threw aside that book, raced to the lumber yard for supplies, and quickly built that little girl a doll house.

“Now why did I respond? Because she wanted it? No. Because she deserved it? No. Because her daddy had given his word, and she believed it and acted upon it. And when I saw her faith, nothing could keep me from carrying out my word.”

We recently started a new sermon series, here at the Chapel, titled, Heroes of the Faith, where we are looking at the Old Testament characters mentioned in Hebrews 11, and the faith that they had that made them the heroes they were.

Last week, we looked at Abel, and how Abel had an acceptable faith. If you remember, Abel and his brother, Cain, each brought a sacrifice to God. This was the system that God set up for mankind to have their sins dealt with. And Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God, but Cain’s sacrifice was not acceptable.

And what we saw was that Abel’s acceptance was not based on how much faith he had; it was based on the object of his faith. It’s not like Abel mustered the right amount of faith, but that it was the object of his faith, that made him acceptable.

And by faith we are acceptable before a holy God, not on the basis of what we do or have done, but on the basis of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross alone as the sufficient payment for our sin.

And this morning, we are going to look at a man who doesn’t get a lot of attention in the Bible, because his story is rather short, but who is in Hebrews 11 for a very significant reason. This morning, we are going to look at a man by the name of Enoch, and what Enoch shows us is the fellowship of faith.

And we are going to look at four questions, for our time together, this morning, pertaining to the fellowship of faith. And my hope is that the answers to these questions will help us in living out this faith in our daily lives.

But before we get into that, let’s read our text for this morning from Hebrews 11:5-6: “5 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. 6 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.”

1. The first question that I want us to look at, is: What does the fellowship of faith look like? What does it look like?

And if you can keep your finger in Hebrews 11. I want us to turn over to Genesis 5. In the first part of Genesis 5, you see the same pattern: When so-and-so had lived this many years, he fathered so-and-so, and had other sons and daughters, and he died. That’s the pattern in Genesis 5. But then you get to Enoch.

And here is what Genesis 5:21-24 says about Enoch: “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.”

Now, that sounds a little bit different, right? This doesn’t follow the pattern. The first thing that sticks out is that Enoch “walked with God.” It doesn’t mention that with any of the others before him. This is unique to Enoch. And I believe this is the key to understanding the fellowship of faith.

You see, that word, “walked,” should sound familiar to us, because immediately after mankind disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God had commanded them to not eat, it says, in Genesis 3:8, that “they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,…”

It’s the same word used for “walked,” and it indicates to us that it was a regular occurrence for God and mankind to walk together in the Garden. It was normal for mankind to have that kind of fellowship with God.

But after the man and the woman sinned, and they heard God walking in the Garden, what do they do? It says that they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” They run and hide from God.

The walking with God isn’t happening anymore. Sin has fractured the fellowship that they once had with God. And we see the total breakdown of this fellowship when God casts mankind out of the Garden, out of His presence.

And you see the depravity of mankind continue to downward spiral as brother kills brother, and as a man takes two wives for himself, and as a man kills another man just for hitting him. And just when you think that all is lost with God’s people, Enoch enters the picture, and we see mankind walking with God, again.

And so, the answer to our question, “What does the fellowship of faith look like?”, is that it’s a life of walking with God.

And that’s walking WITH God. That’s not walking out ahead of God, and waiting for him to catch up to you, which is what we so often like to do, right? That’s walking at the same speed and in the same direction as God is walking.

When Helena and I got married, we decided that I was going to take a year off from Bible College, so that we could work on being married for a year, before doing something as intense as schooling.

But then, Liam came along, and that caused us to push Bible College back another year. And I just remember, when Liam was only a few months old, feeling so impatient with God. I just felt like I was wasting my life by working in a warehouse, when I could be at Bible College, preparing for pastoral ministry.

And I even called the Bible College and asked if they had any places to live on campus. My thought was that we could go there at the beginning of January for the start of second semester, and that way we could get back into school quicker.

But despite my persistence, they didn’t have any housing for married students, so we wouldn’t be able to come until Fall of next year, which was what we had originally planned.

But I was devastated. I thought that that was what God was calling me into, and if that was what God was calling me into, then why wasn’t God making it happen? And it was because God had other plans for me.

Right after all of this happened, all of a sudden, I was hit with this nasty case of vertigo. I couldn’t walk, because everything was off balance. I couldn’t think, because my head hurt. I couldn’t read, because the lines were blurred.

The doctors had no idea what was wrong with me, or how to treat what I had. I was going to appointment after appointment with no answers. I was seeing chiropractors and message therapists, but nothing was working.

And I ended up being off work for about a month. And all I could do was sit on the couch and watch the Winter Olympics, which almost makes it seem like I was faking it, except that I seriously couldn’t function. But then, as quickly as it hit me, it left. And I was able to go back to ease myself back into regular life.

And I look back at that, and even though I still have no idea what caused it, I know that if that were to have happened to me at Bible College, which is where I was hoping we would be, I would not have been able to function. And it would have been a waste of money, because we would have paid for a semester of Bible College that I would not have been able to complete.

So, I know what it means to walk ahead of God. I know what it means to think that you are walking with God, but you’re really just ahead of Him, wanting Him to catch up to where you are.

But that’s not walking with God. Walking with God means walking in harmony with God. When He moves, you move. Where He goes, you go. What He says to do, you do. It’s kind of like a three-legged race, where you're strapped to God, moving in the same direction and at the same speed.

2. That’s the fellowship of faith. It’s walking with God. It’s trusting in God that He is in control and that He is good, and that where He is taking us is for our good and His glory. The second question, then, is: When does it begin? When does the fellowship of faith begin?

Look at Genesis 5:21: “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.”

Do you see the timeline? Enoch lives for 65 years, he has a son named Methuselah, and then it says he walked with God. So, the timeline of Enoch’s life would suggest that he doesn’t walk with God until he’s at least 65 years old.

Now, that’s something, isn’t it? He begins to live a life of faith after that many years. And it’s not like he’s on his death bed, because he goes on to live for another 300 years. He's still technically a young guy.

And what this reveals is that there is a time in our lives when things get serious, is there not? You go around chasing pleasure and finding joy in all that the world has to offer, but there comes a time, maybe when you’ve run out of options or maybe when you’ve hit rock bottom, when you begin to seek out God.

I mean, that’s what the book of Ecclesiastes is about. It’s about one guy’s attempts at finding ultimate pleasure, only to be left wanting at every turn. Alcohol, sex, workaholism, wealth, the accumulation of knowledge. He tries it all, but nothing is ultimately satisfying to him.

And so, he writes, after he has lived this life of pleasure and gain, at the very end of the book of Ecclesiastes: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

Enoch can certainly identify. For Enoch, the point in his life came “after he fathered Methuselah.” It’s like he gets to the point where he has some responsibility placed on him that he finds what truly matters, and that is, a walk with God. There’s just nothing else left.

And here is the good news for us: It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how bad you think you are, you can still make that decision to follow God, because God wants to be in fellowship with us.

All throughout Scripture, God is the One who makes the initiative to restore the fellowship that sin has fractured. And He would ultimately send His son to this world to save us from the penalty of sin, so that we would go to be with Him, forever, when we die. That’s God doing that for us.

He wants you to walk with Him. He has an amazing plan for your life. But it begins when you take that step of faith. It begins when you say to God, “I don’t know where we’re going, or what the journey will look like along the way, but I’m trusting in you to get there.”

3. The fellowship of faith begins when we put our faith in God. But then, how does it continue? How does the fellowship of faith go on?

Let’s look at Genesis 5:21. “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.”

Do you notice how long Enoch walks with God? 300 years. That’s an amazing testimony!

I was four years old when I asked Jesus to come into my life. It was after our church’s Thanksgiving service. I asked my parents if I could become a Christian, and they helped me in making that decision.

But since then, I have rededicated my life to Christ about hundred different times, and there have been times in my life when I was clearly not walking with God. And that was just over 24 years ago. Enoch walked with God for 300 years.

And it’s not like the guy lived in a monastery. It’s not like he became a monk and was secluded from society. He had a home. He had a wife and kids. He very likely had a business.

I discovered just how sinful I was when I got married. And then, I discovered just how much sin there still was in me when I had kids. Getting married and having children expose all sorts of sinful tendencies, don’t they?

And yet, Enoch, though married with kids, walked with God for 300 years. Like us, he had all of the joys and sorrows that accompany life. Like us, he had all of the temptations to pleasure. And yet, He was so in tune with God, walking with Him, that none of that fazed him.

And this just highlights the preserving grace of God. Let me explain what I mean. Turn to Ephesians 1. In this passage, the apostle Paul is laying out the spiritual blessings that we receive as followers of Jesus.

And in verse 13, here is what Paul says: “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

Do you know what we receive when we put our faith in Jesus? The promised Holy Spirit. And do you know what the promised Holy Spirit does for us? It seals us and guarantees our inheritance as children of God.

In other words, what God begins in us, He finishes. Isn’t that an amazing promise? We might falter in our walk with God, but if we have put our faith in Jesus, it means that the Spirit of God is doing a work in us to seal us until Christ returns or calls us home to glory.

If we are walking with God, then we have the same Spirit that Enoch had, and we have the same preserving grace of God working in us.

And this is why, when you see older Christians, who have been following Jesus for 80+ years, there is something about them that is just different. It’s not bad, just different.

And it’s because there is a more keen ear to God speaking. There are quicker reflexes to God moving. It’s not like they are better than everyone else, because they’ll be the first to say that that isn’t true, but it’s that they’ve spent more time over the years with God, that it just becomes who they are.

And it’s not about how great they are, or about how great Enoch is, but about how great God is, for being able to keep us till the end. Only God can do that. But the more dependent we are on God, the more we will see His grace at work in our lives, the more we will grow in fellowship with God.

And it’s like that fellowship just continues to grow over time, as God continues to increase our faith in Him.

“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.”

4. And this brings us to our final question: How does it end? How does the fellowship of faith end?

There are only two people in all of human history who did not die: Enoch and Elijah. Other than that, everyone else has died. 1 in 1 people die. That’s just a known statistic. And it’s the reality of the consequence of sin in the world.

You see, sin has so greatly fractured our fellowship with God, that, outside of Christ, death eternally separates us from God, with no possibility of reconciliation. That’s our predicament.

Outside of Christ, when we die, any chance of fellowship with God, ends. There is no more walking with God. There are no more opportunities to turn away from our sin and turn to Him. Death takes all of that away.

But there's good news. You see, Enoch did not die. Instead, Hebrews 11:5 says that “by faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.”

The fellowship of faith, for Enoch, really didn’t end. It just continued on in heaven. The walk that Enoch had with God on earth continued in heaven. And so it is for all those who put their faith in Jesus. And that’s the good news.

Enoch points us to Jesus, who would come to this earth to deal with our predicament of sin and death, who would go to the cross and would taste death, but would be raised from the dead, three days later, in victory over death, so that an eternity of blessedness awaits all those who put their faith in Jesus.

In Christ, though we die, we live. In Christ, though our body lay in the ground, our soul goes on to be with God, until Christ returns to renew and restore all things. We have this promise of God, that though our fellowship with God might end on earth, it will continue in heaven, forever.

And church, this is where the fellowship of faith takes us. If we take that step of faith, today, and begin walking with God, we can have the assurance that God will carry out His promise that we will forever be with Him.

I opened with the story of the father building a doll house for his little girl, because she believed the promise of her father and acted in faith. And it caused her father to carry out his promise. And this is an imperfect illustration, because our God is not like this flawed father. Our God is a good and perfect Father, who does what He promises to do. So, knowing that, should we not also be carrying our toys into the yard? Should we not also be acting in faith?

Hebrews 11:6 says, “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.”

The question for each one of us is: Do we have faith? Do we believe that God will do what He promises to do and that He has good things in store for those who seek Him? That’s ultimately what this boils down to.

The world is going to try and tell us that belief in God is a crutch, and that by believing in God we are admitting that we are helpless and in need. And the reality is that we are helpless and in need. We need a Saviour who conquered death, so that we can have life. I don’t see a problem with that.

But I also don’t want us leaving here today, thinking that we have to go through the Christian life on our own. The Christian life is about surrounding yourself with individuals who are going to speak truth into your life and cheer you on in your walk with God.

And this is the purpose of the church. One of the things that the church was known for in the New Testament was fellowship. And I want to make sure that we know that Christianity isn’t just this thing between you and God; it’s about this greater reality of all of us helping each other grow in our walk with God.

Is today the day you take that step of faith in walking with God? Is today the day you trust in the promise of God that He will seal you till the end? Is today the day you leave behind the empty pleasures of the world for that which truly satisfies?

I don’t know where some of you are at, this morning. Maybe God is bringing someone to your mind who can walk with you in this fellowship of faith, or maybe God’s Word is challenging you to step out further into the plans He has for you.

What I do know is that if you take that step in walking with God, you will find more than 300 years of enjoyment. You will find more than 10,000 years of enjoyment. You will find an eternity of enjoyment in the God who wants to be in fellowship with you and who has created you for fellowship with others. Let’s pray…


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