Faith Heroes -“Super to us is faithful to God”
Enoch – Walked by faith
I pray you will participate in the Baby Bottle program for Pregnancy Decision Health Center. God commands us to value life and ultimately real “life” is found in his Son Jesus. Churches from January 17 to January 24 will come together and say something like this. “Life is sacred. People are precious. You can’t say you love God unless you love people!” And it makes no difference if that person happens to be a fetus in her mother’s womb or a senior adult in a nursing home. It makes no difference if that person is white, black or Hispanic. It makes no difference if that person is rich or poor. It makes no difference is that person happens to live in America, Africa or Haiti! The front page on Friday’s edition of the USA Today read, “We need help and prayers.”[i] In just about 25 minutes we’re going to provide both but first… I’m curious? Has anything ever happened in your life that caused you to question your faith in God? Maybe you lost your job? You lost a loved one? You lost your home. Anytime a natural disaster strikes people start to wonder, “Where’s God?” How does anyone stay faithful to God for the long haul? Turn in your Bibles this morning to Hebrews 11:5. Do you need a Bible? This morning we will examine the life of Faith Hero #2: Enoch! (E-nuk) Let’s read verses 5 & 6. If I were to ask you, “Name a Bible Hero,” I would guess that few would say “Enoch!” Enoch seems to reside under the radar. After all, Abel is Adam and Eve’s kid. Noah built one big boat. And Abraham is well, Abraham, the father of many nations. But Enoch – who in the world is Enoch? Just over a year ago the same could be said of Captain Chesley Sullenberger. Do you remember the man people affectionally call “Sully?” This past Friday, January 15, was the one year anniversary of the “Miracle on the Hudson.” Sullenberger and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles landed US Airways Flight 1549 into the frigid waters off Manhattan saving the lives of all 155 people on board.[ii] From that day on Sullenberger & Skiles will always be considered aviation heroes! May I remind you again – a hero is someone who does something courageous. But “courageous” can be so daily – so ordinary it seems to slide underneath the radar. BUT NOT TO GOD! Hold Hebrews 11 and turn now to Genesis 5. In the little book, Know Your Bible, the purpose of Genesis is to know that “God created the world and chooses a special people.” [iii] Knowing where you came from resolves huge issues in your mind and heart. “I am not here by accident! God gives life but he also takes it away. God knows the whole story and I’m only privy to the past and the present.” That “special people” is of course the Hebrews, the Israelites, the Jews, but that special designation also applies to each of us.
In Genesis 5 Moses gives us a family tree from Adam to Noah. Enoch (E-nuk) is included in this family tree. Let’s read verse 18-24. Compare again what we just read with Hebrews 11:5. This man doesn’t die. Did you notice how depressing Genesis 5 could be considered? It’s time for a Genesis 5 mini tour. (5:5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27, 31. (24) You have to admit – that’s SO COOL. But let’s be careful here. Let’s not let the end of his life overshadow daily, hard, confusing, “earthquake altering” faithful living. “Bigga Boy” the snowman and Rob McCabe’s red suit. I see a couple of reasons why Enoch’s life stood out! Reason #1: He chose to please God! Again let’s read Hebrews 11:5. As a minister, teacher, coach it’s dangerous to assume. I think its easy right here to assume that we all know what it means to “please God.” The answers could be in the hundreds, but that’s not helpful, that’s Bible information overload. This is helpful. I was reading in my Bible last Friday and I came across Proverbs 15 because Friday was January 15. Two verses caught my attention. Proverbs 15:8: The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. This verse makes me think of Cain and Abel again. Doing something good means nothing if it’s not done with the right motives. Sacrificing is good – if your heart’s in it. Prayer is pleasing to God – if it’s genuine. “Mom sends her son to his room because he had been misbehaving. After 20 minutes she walks up to his room and she says, “Mom, I prayed to God. Did you ask him to forgive you for being bad? Nope, I asked him to give you the energy to put up with me.” Prayer shouts to God that you believe in him. It shouts to people that God is real. A 2nd verse in Proverbs 15 shows us how to please God. Proverbs 15:26: The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him. How do you know when someone’s thinking evil thoughts? It will eventually overflow into their words. Jesus said, “From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” If your heart is filled with nasty – nasty words will come out of your mouth. If your heart is filled with gratefulness – pure, kind, helpful words will spill out of your mouth! If they haven’t been lately – seek God; ask Jesus for forgiveness, make apologies and that will also PLEASE God! Please reflect for just a moment - do you honestly live your life to please you, to please others or to please God?
Proverbs 15 helped me better understand how to please God. But Hebrews 11:6 gives us the best answer when it comes to pleasing God and it’s the 2nd reason why Enoch’s life stood out. Enoch chose to walk by faith! (Read 11:6)
You can’t please God without faith! And faith is “taking God at his word.” Has that begun to happen for you? Would you go back to Genesis 5:21? When you study the Bible always read the passage several times and then write down any observations. This is what I observed. Enoch became a father at age 65. Yikes, isn’t that kinda freaky? But when you live to be over 300 years of age – 65 is a pup! After he had a son – Moses says Enoch walked with God for 300 hundred years. Again – my observation – Enoch became a dad at age 65. But my observation led to this question. Did the birth of Methuselah jolt Enoch into taking God seriously? Now that I have a son – should I not get my priorities straight? Something tells me my son won’t get faith just by my words alone. I have to show him what it means to walk with God daily! What will it take for you to really start walking with God? Is it the birth of a child? I mean having kids is huge. We all know how you have kids in this world – it’s either through conception or adoption. Being a sperm donor is the easy part. Being a dad or a Mom – that’s the real challenge. When will the realization - “I can’t raise my kids on my own! I need help. I need God actually push you to start taking God at his word?” Having kids is just one example. It might be that you can’t have kids and it more than ticks you off – it hurts you! Why not God? Maybe because he’s all knowing and not just semi-knowing. And we have to trust him with a “no” answer on kids right now. Maybe it’s your current job loss. Maybe it’s a less than cooperative spouse. My brother and I were in a car accident on Jan 16, 2010. A man was hurt in the other car. I asked him, “Do you believe in God? He says, I do now!” Is that what God has to do to you? Does God have to knock you flat on your back before you’ll start taking him seriously? Does it have to take an earthquake?
You can divide our entire existence into two periods. Not BC & AD, but BS and AS. BS sounded a whole lot better in my head but it’s still true. BS is “before sin!” Before sin “temporary” was not in our vocabulary. AS or “after sin” has changed everything. We were meant to live forever. Now forever has dropped to 1000 and 1000 to 100 and 100 to 75 years. If you are older than 75 you are living on bonus years! Plus, God never intended for the world to break apart and swallow people alive, but it does because sin is in this world and sin wreaks havoc on what God created. Whether that be you or me or the world itself.
Enoch had a child and he started walking by faith! What will it take for you (FOR US) to start walking by faith?
Did you hear about the 10 year girl from North Canton? Her name is Fayth Hakaim.[iv] She found a $100 in the parking lot of the North Canton Chase Bank. She returned it to the bank. The woman who lost the money was still in the bank. Fayth gave it back because in her words “it was the right thing to do.” The Repository in Canton printed her story and this is what happened. The bank gave her a $100 savings bond. The woman who lost the money gave her a $25 gift certificate. A man who read the story took them out for dinner. Another man mailed Fayth a check for $100. Other donors placed money in her mother’s account because it was overdrawn. Fayth could have just kept that money but would have ended up with far less. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but her name is Fayth! We’ve talked today about pleasing God. We talked today about pleasing God by walking with God.
Honestly, how is anybody in this world going to know God exists and that there are people who love him? The answer used to be – we go to church. That’s never been the right answer. The right answer is we care about people. We love God and that’s obvious because we love people. The people of Haiti are desperate for our love and prayers today. SO let’s walk by faith by doing this…
1) PRAY! For the Team Haiti. Haitians, Lifeline's ministries in Haiti.
2) GIVE! Did you see the envelope in your newsletter?
3) DONATE! Peanut butter, canned meats, powdered infant formula, shoes, bedding and summer clothing. WCC is a drop off location.
4) SERVE! In both Haiti & in the US
Capt. Sully Sullenberger no longer flies. I wonder if he misses it. Enoch walked with God for 300 year and God took him away! I don’t think he missed experiencing death and who knows what God will do in your life when you walk by faith!
[i] USA Today, Front Page, January 15-17, 2010, FC
[ii] USA Today, Front Page, January 15-17, 2010, 3A
[iii] Know Your Bible, Genesis, 7
[iv] Columbus Dispatch, Returning lost cash paying off, December 24, 2009