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#330 SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON #4 GENESIS 5-6
WHAT CONSTITUTES SALVATION
The Scriptures do not tell us a lot about the parents of Noah, but they do reveal that he was from God-fearing parents. It is significant that Scriptures do not record the history of their lives and actions or experiences.
Noah was the grandson of Methuselah and the great grandson of Enoch, who was translated to heaven. Upon reading about Noahs birth in GEN 5:29, we see that Noahs father, Lamech, was a God-fearing man: "And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed." Regarding Enoch and Noah, the significant information is that they walked with God. It is most significant that the emphasis is on their walk of life, not their experiences.
Enoch was a man who walked with God, and the Lord took him to heaven. Enoch did not die. We dont need to use a lot of imagination to understand and realize that Enoch had many, many rich experiences. Enoch walked with God daily. Turn now to JOH 14:23, which says, "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." We are not wresting the Word of God to say that Enoch understood that principle. God had his abode with Enoch as he walked with the Lord, and the Lord took up His abode with Enoch. What was the precondition required for this habitation? It was obedience from a motive of love, "If a man love me." Loving God with all our hearts, souls, and minds is the first and greatest commandment of God, Cf. MAT 22:37-40. The Lord Jesus says the reward for those who do so is "...we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
Therefore, we may believe that Enoch had many rich experiences that could have been recorded. However, it is not a coincidence that the Scriptures are silent on this matter. Why? For the answer, lets turn to 1CO 9:27 to see why these experiences are not the highlight of the history of Enoch, but rather, his walk with God. Here we see the words of the Apostle Paul who was greatly enriched with experiences of the nearness of God. He told how he had been exalted unto the third heaven, but how the Lord now sent a messenger of Satan and a thorn in the flesh to buffet him lest he should build upon his experiences. This is his message in verse 27: "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." He is cautioning against building on these experiences as the hope of our salvation.
Notice how he begins chapter 10 with an example of the experiences of the children of Israel. "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea." He refers to the rich experiences of the children of Israel; they were all under the same cloud, the Holy Spirit. All passed through the sea. All ate the same spiritual meat. They had spiritual blessings. Continue in verses 2- 1CO 10:2-4: "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
Those were rich experiences. They drank of the spiritual rock that was Christ. Notwithstanding these rich spiritual blessings we read, "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness," 1CO 10:5. Do you see the message? Do you see the principle being taught here? Why were they overthrown in the wilderness? See what the Lord said in NUM 14:22-23, "Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness [that is, because they had such rich experiences, and still would not obey], and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it."
The experience they lacked is that for which the Apostle Paul prayed for in HEB 13:20-21 "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will [That outworking of grace by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit is what they lacked and which is so beautifully described as:], working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Our richest experiences, if they be void of this sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, are not the foundation upon which we build the hope of our salvation. We may be able to tell of great experiences and their blessedness, but they only testify against us if we refuse to obey Gods revealed will. Our emphasis should be on the Scriptural evidence of the Spirits work of grace, i.e., our walk of life. It is the Father who has chosen a bride for His Son, but it is the Holy Spirit who prepares His bride to be presented ready for that marriage union as we see from 2TH 2:13-14, " God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel ". The call of the gospel is unto sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth!
We are to see the emphasis the Scriptures place on Enoch: "He walked with God." This walk with God implies so many things. It reveals the outworking of the grace of God, or the "divine influence upon the heart, which reveals itself in the life," as the word "grace" is properly translated from the Greek. The grace of God by the work of regeneration is revealed in the attitudes of the heart toward Gods will! EPH 4:17-20 reveals the fruit of darkness for those whose walk is with a wrong attitude toward Gods revealed will: "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ."
This same admonition goes on to teach that the work of regeneration cannot be separated from a change of wrong attitude toward Gods will. EPH 4:21-24 says, "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
This change of attitude also bears the fruits which we find recorded in the following verses. EPH 4:25-32 says, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you."
If we have experienced these changes in our attitude toward Gods law of love, loving God above all, and our neighbour as ourselves, we have a more sure evidence of our salvation than if we had all the experiences the children of Israel had, and yet rebelled against Gods holy will, Cf. 1CO 10:1-5; NUM 14:22-34; and HEB 3:12-19. Do we truly fear the Lord and reverence His perfect will, or do we slight our God as the great Lawgiver, by slighting what He has commanded?
Now notice the vivid contrast between Noahs walk of life and the spiritual condition of the world as revealed in GEN 6:5-9. Notice the emphasis on the fact that the overthrow of the Old World was due to their walk of life. Note too, the emphasis on Noah, and why God spared him. It was because of his walk of life.
Look for the reason God spared Noah. It was not because Noah, like Enoch, had such rich experiences. It was Noahs walk of life. Lets read GEN 6:5-9. "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." A holy walk of life is the fruit of a heart religion. Of the wicked world the Lord said, " that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God."
Noahs conduct and his walk of life are emphasized; he walked with God. The same thing was recorded about Enoch; it is the essential element we need. We need a change of heart so we walk with God instead of walking with the world. It is a change of attitude. The imaginations and thoughts of the heart cannot be evil continually while yet we expect to walk in Gods favor. We must have a walk of life that corresponds with our profession.
Two children were born to Adam and Eve: Cain and Abel. Abel was murdered. Who was left to inhabit the earth but the generations of Cain? The Lord looked upon Adam and Eve with mercy and gave them another son, Seth.
GEN 5:3 says, "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth." It is from Seth that the Lord decreed to bring forth Noah, whose children should come forth from the ark to replenish the earth.
After the death of Abel and the curse pronounced upon Cain, the fall of Adam is again brought to remembrance. Genesis 5 begins with Gods reminder of the creation of Adam in His likeness followed by the fall. Cain now seems to dominate the earth, but the Lord reminds us how man is created in His image to represent the character and likeness of God.
GEN 5:1-3 says, "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth." They are no longer the reflection of the true character of God. They are born in the image of fallen man, the result of the fall. Even Seth, was born with the fallen nature. He was a God-fearing man, but he had the fallen nature.
Since Noah was the descendant of Seth, of whom we read that Adam "...begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image," we herein have the doctrine of universal depravity. There is not one man that is not the victim of that fall because we all are descendants of Noah, who is a descendant of Adam. All mankind born after the flood are descendants of Noah, descendants of a man who walked with God. In Noah, we are also the descendants of Adam and victims of universal depravity.
As we read the generations of Adam in GEN 5:3-20, eight times we read, "and he died." This information tells us exactly what we read in ROM 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death..." In the generations of Adam, every one, no matter how long they lived, died. Some lived nearly a thousand years. There is one exception, Enoch.
A miraculous distinction is recorded in GEN 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." What is so striking about Enoch? In GEN 5:24 we read, "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."
Question: What is the greatest lesson we learn from this Scriptural account of a descendant of Adams race entering heaven without going through the portals of death?
Answer: "He pleased God." In HEB 11:5, we read that God was so pleased with such holy reverence of His will and such a walk with God that He took Enoch. When we become so concerned about heaven and hell, we forget what pleases God. What was it that so pleased God? Enochs will was dissolved in the will of God, and he walked with God. God was so pleased with the attitude of Enoch that He set him as a beacon for His church.
The wages of sin is death, but God allowed Enoch to escape death because He was so pleased with the example in his walk of life. That is the special lesson we need to learn from this part of Scripture. We can please God. Much is said about sins and miseries and needing to be justified. Very little is taught about how we can please God. It is not complicated or difficult to see. We please God by loving Him. How? It is with our hearts, our souls, and our minds. Our whole will and being are dissolved in the will of God, and that pleases God.
We need to carefully analyze what saving faith is, and then see the context in which we find it described! HEB 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him [How can we please God by faith?]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Is it not awesome when we see the context of this teaching of saving faith? The previous verse sets Enoch before us as the blessed beacon to draw our attention unto how God can be pleased and what the reward is! HEB 11:5 says, "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."
Do you know that today it is not impossible for you and me to have the testimony of the Word of God, applied with the power of the Holy Spirit, that we please God? It is possible. If the Word of God is applied in our souls in such a way, it is a most humbling and melting thing. I have had such an experience. It is so humbling to know that something pleased Him. To think that you and I, such wretched, fallen creatures, can do something that pleases God is so humbling. What pleases God? Obeying Gods will, walking with Him according to His revealed will, pleases God. I do not wish to exalt myself with my experiences, but the issue is that doing the will of God brings rich experience. Those experiences are not the foundation of salvation. The perfect obedience of Christ is wherein the Father was well pleased, and we need that obedience imputed unto us, and imparted in us.
Scripture most certainly teaches the doctrine of predestination, but whereunto are we predestined? ROM 8:29 says, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." The foundation of our faith for salvation must be established in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in the Word of God, not our experiences though they are ever so rich.
The humble walk of Enoch with his God was a visible preaching to a wicked and perverse generation. That is why the Lord is so pleased with our humble obedience. It is a visible preaching wherein He is glorified! Our Saviour said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven," MAT 5:16.
Often a person will want to share his testimony and what he has experienced. If his attitude toward Gods will, and his walk of life do not correspond with his testimony, I dont even want to hear it! It is what we can see in his walk of life that preaches the loudest. If his walk of life does not correspond to his profession, it is not pleasing to the Lord. As we saw in 1CO 10, all the special experiences avail us nothing if they are not accompanied by true repentance. Repentance is a gift of God that accompanies the work of regeneration. ACT 5:31-32 says, "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."
The most important question you must answer for your own soul is, "What is it that constitutes salvation?" You ask one hundred different church denominations that question, and you will likely get just that many different definitions. But what does Scripture say constitutes salvation? It is to become reconciled with God!
To rightly understand the doctrine of reconciliation, we must understand that in the creation, God created man in a perfect state of conciliation, which was broken by the disobedience of Adam. "For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners " ROM 5:19a. We must never forget that reconciliation must be obtained by both parties, or you are not reconciled.
From Gods side, in order for Him to become reconciled with sinful man, disobedience must be atoned for by payment of the penalty, and perfect obedience must be restored before reconciliation is possible. For this, we must look unto Christ as He stepped into the Fathers wrath upon our sin as an act of humble obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, Cf. PHI 2:8. "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous," ROM 5:18-19.
However, notice the necessity of reconciliation with the will of God from our side, before we can be reconciled with God. 2CO 5:19-20 says, " God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God."
Can we claim salvation, or say we are reconciled with God as long as we have a heart filled with rebellion against God? Any person who claims to have the work of grace in his heart without having come to true repentance, and while still walking in open rebellion to the will of God, is deceiving himself or herself. 1JO 2:3-6 says, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
If we cannot see the visible preaching in their walk of life, we dont need expounding on experiences. Look at the example of some of the television evangelists who came across as such holy men. Later, the news reports that they were caught with prostitutes or swindling or embezzling. That brings such reproach upon the name of God. Their bold professions and their walk of life did not correspond. The walk with God is pleasing to the Lord, not the pretentious talk.
Enochs preaching was visible; he practiced walking with God. His walk of life was his visible preaching. JUD 1:14-16 explains how Enoch was a preacher of righteousness: "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 which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
What is being ungodly? It is any violation of the law of love. Godliness is loving God above all else with our hearts, our souls, and our minds. So the ungodly are those who do not show love to God and have no respect for His will. Notice in the above verses that Jude is speaking of the walk of life of the ungodly. Their ungodly deeds were committed in an ungodly fashion. They were so strong in their words. Enoch was a witness against their strong words. He preached righteousness through his personal walk of life that corresponded with his words.
Lets consider an illustration. You have a shop with men working for you. One man will wash his coveralls once a week while another comes with clean coveralls every day. At a glance, you can tell which one is cleaner. However, by afternoon, even the clean coveralls are soiled. If his bride came in wearing a white wedding gown, he wouldnt dare touch her or come close to her lest he should defile her gown. You do not see the filthiness in its right light until there is a sharp contrast.
In the same way, Enochs walk of life was a visible preaching to an ungodly generation. His beliefs and his walk contrasted sharply with the wretched and wicked state of his generation. He walked in the white linen, the righteousness of saints, Cf. REV 19:8. That contrast was a visible preaching to the generation in which he lived.
Question: What does this visible preaching of Enochs walk of life teach us?
Answer: It teaches us of our personal need of repentance! We read in MAT 4:17 that Jesus began His ministry saying, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Have you ever thought about where the gospel begins? Does it begin with justification? No. Does it begin with predestination? No. It begins with repentance. What does it mean to repent? It means changing our attitude; when we realize how offensive we have been to a God of love, we are filled with remorse over having sinned against such love.
Legal repentance is remorse over being caught in sin; remorse over the consequences of the sin is the prime motive. Cain had that. A true gospel repentance is remorse over having offended the ONE we love. That is true repentance.
What does Jesus mean when He says, "...for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"? He means the kingdom is here today; and we must learn to walk with Christ under His Kingship today while we are in this life. We are not waiting for a kingdom of heaven we will inherit after we die. We are talking about a kingdom of heaven that we enter today. If we go to the original, the word "kingdom" means "to come under the sovereign reign and rule of, to walk under the authority of." Does that begin in the life to come? No! Enoch spent his life walking in the kingdom of God. His walk is the significant matter of Enochs life that is recorded in Scripture.
In MAT 6:33 we read, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Seek first the kingdom of God. What does that mean? It means to seek to serve Him according to His will; His will becomes the highest desire and priority of our hearts. What is the Lords will? It is that we will have such a desire to come under His authority and to walk under His sovereign rule that it becomes the highest priority of our lives.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness..." is the next area to consider. What is His righteousness? It is our right attitude under the second table of the law. The first table is to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds. The second is loving our neighbour as ourselves; this is righteousness. Then we need not be anxious about the things of this life or eternity. Nothing will make us anxious. God will add all we need; it will all be taken care of.
What is the first thing we learn from the history of Enoch walking with God? We learn that he was reconciled with God. The word "reconciled" sounds like a common word, but what does it mean? Man was created in a state of conciliation with God. God and man were in perfect harmony, but it was broken in the fall. To be reconciled means to be restored back into the former state of conciliation. How can you or I ever be reconciled to God until we become conformed to the image of Christ? Until our highest desire is to be reconciled to God, we are not conformed to the image of Christ.
From Gods side, reconciliation is in place in the sacrifice of Christ. But now He says by the mouth of His messengers, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God. For [See His condescension as He pleads the fact that He made reconciliation possible from His side!] he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," 2CO 5:20-21.
Faiths view of such condescending love must break our rebellion and stubbornness and hard heart, "For the love of Christ constraineth us" 2CO 5:14, or moves upon our heart irresistibly. The call of the gospel is, "Repent." Be reconciled with His will. We must be reconciled with the will of God from our side, before we can claim salvation.
See how God pleads with you and me to become reconciled with His Holy Will. He not only tells us to be reconciled, He beseeches us as we see in the next verse. He was the offended party, and He has given the unspeakable gift of His own Son to open the way to become reconciled, and now He pleads with us to break our rebellious enmity. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," 2CO 5:21.
See how the God of heaven, the Creator of the universe, sends His ambassador to you and me? He pleads and reasons with us. Notice that verse 21 begins with the word "For." In other words, He is showing us where reconciliation can take place. The Lord Jesus Christ became sin for us; He knew no sin. It was so we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. The penalty of sin has been taken away; it has been paid. The only barrier between God and you and me is our stubborn will. The way is open, the penalty paid, and all that stands between God and us is our rebellion and hardness of heart. How can we ignore such pleading and love? Look at what God has done; He opened the way. He gave His own Son who knew no sin to be made sin for us, to stand in our place, and satisfy Gods wrath upon our sin.
We can be made the righteousness of God in Him. That means we can stand perfectly righteous before God in Christ and His atonement, but there remains one barrier. Reconciliation must come from both sides. We must become reconciled with the will of God from the heart! We must be delivered by Gods grace from our hard, rebellious, and stony heart that refuses to submit to the will of God. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God," ROM 8:5-8.
Neither you nor I [nor Enoch] can walk with God until we are reconciled with His will. See this in 2CO 6:14b-16, "...what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
What fellowship can we have if one of us talks only of hatred and bitterness while the other wants to speak of Gods love? Unrighteousness, the lack of love for ones fellow man, cannot walk with righteousness. Take notice of the above Scripture. God will dwell and walk in them that are reconciled with His will. Is it possible for us to understand Enochs walk with God? Yes! It is the promise of the gospel that when our hearts have been reconciled with God, He will walk in us. He will be our God, and we shall be His people. Who? It is not those who walk in unrighteousness, for "...what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" It is not possible to have fellowship with God if we walk in unrighteousness. There must be reconciliation.
All separation between God and us is caused by sin. Therefore, those who by the grace of God are given to conformity to the image of Christ, humbling themselves unto the death of the flesh, walking with God, have this evidence of the imparted righteousness of Christ. PHI 2:8 tells us Jesus, "being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Will you and I conform to the image of Christ? Will we humble ourselves and become obedient? It goes farther, even to the death of the cross. Will we obey, even to the crucifying of our old nature and the things which please our flesh? ROM 6:5-6 says, "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Will we write death upon self, sin, and the world and follow Christ in the way of the cross, becoming obedient unto the death of the flesh? This is what having the Spirit of Christ means, and how important it is! "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his," ROM 8:9.
EPH 1:4 says, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world [For what? Whereunto are we predestined?], that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Notice the reason we are predestined before the foundation of the world. We are predestined to be conformed to the image of His dear Son, "...that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." That is a picture of our walk of life. That is wherein we have the evidence of our salvation. We must become holy and without blame, "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory," COL 1:27.
Our thrice holy God keeps no company with the unclean. When you and I can still cherish sin, loving it, we do not have salvation. A man told me of his conversion, and going through his checklist, concluded by saying, "and then, of course, I was lost, I was converted, and Im saved." However, he spent the next two hours, with a beam of glee in his eye, recounting all the wrong things he did as a young man. The expression in his eyes spoke loud and clear. That man still cherished his sin; he could relive it as he told me his story. Was he converted?
When I think back on the sins of my youth, I have to say with the Psalmist that I dare not raise my eyes. There is nothing of which to boast; if I do recount those deeds, it is with shame. David said, "Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness sake, O LORD," PSA 25:6-7. A holy God cannot keep company with an unclean heart, and until the heart has been cleansed by the work of regeneration, until the desires of the heart have been changed, we cannot walk with God. Even though we may say we have been literally delivered from our sinful deeds, if we can still cherish sin in our heart, we cannot walk with God.
1JO 1:6-7 says, "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another " Light is the condemnation of the world because they cannot come to the light since their deeds are evil, and the light will reveal them. Our walk of life is so much more important than many people realize. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we will have fellowship with each other, " and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
Now lets check to see what comes first and what follows. We walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Dont come to others claiming pardon if you have never been sanctified. TIT 3:5-7 says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." If the work of sanctification is not part of your experience, you have no claim to the blood of Christ. That work must come first.
To walk with God implies a surrendered will. God does not force His company onto anyone! You and I must understand that principle. You first invite a guest before he is welcomed into your home. If a person tried to force their company upon you, the welcome mat would be removed shortly. Do you think the Lord will force His company upon you or me? No. The Lord will not fellowship with anyone who does not cherish His fellowship, presence, and company. A person must first long for His nearness and love.
There must be a willingness and desire on our part before there will be a walk with God. The secret will of God in our election and His revealed will in our walk of life work together in perfect harmony through obedience, to " work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure," PHI 2:12-13. Jesus gave a beautiful illustration of this principle in MAT 11:29-30: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Do you see what must come first to enjoy the Lords companionship? There must first be a willingness and a desire on our part. There will never be a walk with God until, on our side, we hunger and long for it. Jesus first instruction is to take His yoke upon ourselves and learn of Him. Jesus did not grab anyone and put His yoke upon them. He does not want us to serve Him under any form of compulsion. There is nothing pleasing to God when someone tries to serve Him under compulsion. Rather, we are invited to take His yoke upon ourselves. Do you see the difference? The Lord wants us to desire to do His will.
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." Then He follows with "and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." What makes His yoke so easy? PSA 112:1 says, "Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments." There is our answer. The chief desire of our hearts is to know and do His will; we are seeking first the kingdom of God.
Jesus said, "learn of me." What is it that we learn from Him as the most important example? What does He mean? The Lord Jesus Christ in His walk of life has given us so many examples, but what is the most important example we learn from Him? It is the secret of His intimate communion with God His Father which David spoke of in a prophetic way in PSA 40:8. "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." That is godliness. That is heaven. That is salvation -- to be reconciled with the will of God, "...yea, thy law is within my heart."
Like every other descendant of Adams race, Enoch was born under the power of sin, but there came a time, by the grace of God, as we read in HEB 11:5, "By faith...he pleased God." How can we please God by faith? Faith cannot be separated from our walk of life. JAM 2:20-23 says, "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."
Unbelief is to stand in open rebellion to the will of God. Faith is to be in unconditional surrender to His will. It was through his obedience of faith that Enoch pleased God. It is the only way we can do anything pleasing to God. We see this truth in HEB 11:6. Notice that verse 6 begins with the connecting word But, and sometimes we miss the importance of such small, connecting words. "By faith...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." In another sermon, there is a study of the word "diligently." It is a very important word that means to give everything of ones heart, soul, and mind. It is the law of love; God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. By faith we please God.
Enoch was born into this world a lost sinner as we all are, but he was saved by grace, through faith. His faith was the vehicle or the instrument whereby he obtained salvation. If you were in a wilderness and come upon a well, you could die of thirst while seeing water in the depths if you did not have some instrument to bring the water up to your mouth. Faith is like the bucket and rope; it is the instrument whereby salvation is carried to you as water is carried up in the bucket on a rope.
We see in Scripture that it was Enochs faith, his walk of life, that pleased God. His obedience to God, through faith, was pleasing. Through the new birth, he was made a partaker of the divine nature and made fit for fellowship with the Most High. By nature, you and I are not fit in character to have fellowship with God. It is the work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit that we must have in our hearts. If we have that, we have assurance that we have salvation. Has the Holy Spirit worked in our hearts a new nature?
COL 1:12 says, "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet [That word "meet" means fit in character in the Greek.] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." Notice that it is not in our own strength, nor by our own works that we obtain this inheritance; neither is it without works. It is God by His grace that works in us to will and do of His good pleasure, Cf. PHI 2:13. That is the work of regeneration. We want to give thanks to the Father who made us meet.
Verse 13 continues, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." We cannot deliver ourselves from the power of darkness and sin, it is the work of grace. It is the way the Holy Spirit works in each heart to deliver us from the kingship of Satan and bring us under the kingship of Christ. That translates us into the kingdom of His dear Son. Regeneration is the translation into His kingdom by breaking our hard and stony hearts. We become willing, "fit in character!" "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." PHI 2:13.
Enochs walk with God teaches a growth in grace; we must grow in grace. Enoch walked, and walking is a forward motion, i.e., we become more and more dependent upon God. In the beginning, before grace, we stand so strong. However, as we go forward and grow in grace, we learn more and more what it is to become dependent upon God. Jacob is an example of this principle. Turn to GEN 32:30-31 which says, "And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh."
Jacobs name means trickster, deceiver. In stating his name, he confessed what a wretch he was. Jacob began to walk with God, but how? Every step he took, he halted. One foot could only come up to the other; then he halted before taking another step. His thigh was out of joint, and he could no longer walk in his own strength. Every step he took for the rest of his life required stopping; it brought to remembrance that his name was Jacob. As Jacob grew in grace, he came to realize he could not prevail in his own strength. As we walk with God, we grow and mature in grace.
GEN 32:25-27 says, "And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacobs thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob." Jacob had to confess his name was sinner, and as we grow in grace we will grow in the knowledge of the sinfulness of our sin.
Now lets look at the wrestling match that took place. A wrestlers strength is not in his arms, legs, or back. His strength is in his thigh. By touching the hollow of his thigh, God totally eliminated Jacobs strength. He became as a vegetable in the hand of God, or as clay in the hand of the Great Potter; all his resistance to the will of God had been slain.
As Enoch walked with God for over three hundred years, he gained a deep abhorrence for sin. This example is for our edification; as we walk with God, we come to abhor sin more and more. JUD 1:14-15 says, "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 which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." Enoch saw how abominable sin was.
Through Enochs daily walk with his God, he also came to an intimate knowledge of Him. JOH 17:2-3 tells us, "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." That is an example of growing in grace; it is to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we are serving the Lord, we must examine to see if we have the one thing which must precede acceptable service. Let me show you the one thing that must come before we can ever serve acceptably. We find it in MAT 4:8-10 where Scripture is talking about the temptations of Christ, "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
Unless our hearts worship the Lord rather than the things of this world, we cannot have acceptable service to God. Our hearts must be centered on the Lord; we cant have a split service. We cannot serve God a little and flesh a little. "Him only shalt thou serve."
This reverence for God and His will was also found in Enochs great grandson, Noah. We learn this in GEN 6:8-9, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." In his generation, Noah walked with God. Now notice the word "perfect" which means the end of all conniving, cheating and twisting of words. Noah was not one to twist the words of another or Scripture for his own benefit; he was not like Jacob.
We see the same visible preaching as Noah built the ark; each stroke of his hammer was a visible warning of the coming destruction. Every cut of a board or timber was a warning of the coming destruction as a condemnation for their sin. Each step we take in this life brings us closer to a never-ending eternity. Even a chiming clock can remind us of the brevity of our time; every chime is another quarter hour closer to eternity that we will never live again. The older we get, the more real this truth becomes.
Our Savior said in JOH 15:14, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." What commandment was it that Jesus said we must obey to be His friend? He tells us this in JOH 15:12, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." To be His friend, we must walk with God in the same way as we read of Enoch and Noah. Amen.
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