Monday, July 12, 2010

"Real Faith: Pleases God (Enoch)" - sermon notes for 11/07/10

(You can hear the sermon audio here)

Enoch is well known for one of the greatest disappearing acts in history. One moment he was, the next he was not.

Read Gen 5.21-24 - Enoch is well-known for one curious fact, but if we focus on that to the detriment of another facet to his story, we miss out in a big way...

In the centuries prior to Christ's arrival, the Jews were increasingly interested in heaven/angels/afterlife. Subsequently there was a lot of interest in this little-mentioned man called Enoch. He became popular in Jewish writings in few centuries before and after Jesus. His strange apparent escape from death seemed to grant him a certain mystique. Books were written in his name which were increasingly mystical (Jude 1.14 also quotes from 1st of these - not as authoritative but as example!); the 3rd even claims that he's an angel called Metatron. But Hebrews turns from this aspect of his story and zooms in on what really matters::::

Heb 11.5-6: = walked, pleased, rewarded by...

1. The PACE And The PLACE (The walk itself)

"The 11th chapter of Hebrews is not about ultimate achievement in the world's eyes; it's about holding to faith, even when the world thinks you're ridiculous" Steve Ayers

Knowledge vs faith: "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up". DEMONS WILL BEAT YOU HANDS DOWN IN A BIBLE QUIZ! Needs to be centred on and in faith. Applied. Worked out. Why was Enoch commended as one who pleased God? Twice the Genesis text says He walked with God = commended as pleasing God BECAUSE he walked with God.

God "walked" in the garden Gen 3.8 and Noah "walked with God" Gen 6.9 (=generational family values!)

Ray Stedman = "Enoch used to take long walks with God. One day he walked so far God said, 'It's too far to go back; come on home with me.'"

Ever since the Fall there's been a need to walk WITH God that has been absent. There is a value to be found in walking with God so naturally and so genuinely that we can find ourselves closer to His place than to ours. Walking = lifestyle. He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden - and that relationship was broken - but now that kingdom is at hand, we are under an open heaven, it is available to us. Right here, right now. Through Jesus.

Our sin - the things we should do but don't, shouldn't but do, and more importantly the state of our selfish heart that causes that - this sin has separated us from the perfect, one-of-a-kind, HOLY God & made us subject to the judgement that that bears. Forever. EXCEPT by His Son Jesus... Once more we can walk WITH God. No shame. No hindrance. Perfect union. Through Jesus. Walking with Him: sometimes it's a walk, a run, a climb. Wrestling or resting.

2. the PERSON:

TOM WRIGHT: without faith, you can't begin to please God... you may have a general sense that there is a supreme divine being, and you may even have an idea that this being wants people to seek Him out. But unless you have faith, unless you really believe that God exists and that he does indeed want people to seek Him, and will reward them when they do, you can't actually begin to worship Him.

Why did Enoch please God? Because his heart & his mind were in step with God. He acknowledged God as THE context. And so, He ultimately found his pleasure IN God. Finding your joy in something gives it worth. So wherever you find most joy is what you consider of greatest worth. Is that Him? Or stuff/people/dreams?

God was not Enoch's means to an end. "Loving God means I get saved, ticket to heaven/ means I can ask Him for things/ means I'm not alone". Are we loving the walk/walking more than the One we're walking with?


(John Piper illustration of 3-year old on edge of pool and Dad says, "Jump! Trust me!" It makes HIM look good, not us. And the harder it seems for him to fulfil his promise, the better he looks when you trust him.)

We give glory to God when we trust him to do what he has promised to do – especially when all human possibilities are exhausted. Faith glorifies God.

THUS: what is faith? = more than facts/knowledge. It is trust. It is more than simply knowing someone, it is whether you trust them. We cannot rely on someone else's faith or trust.

2 Cor 5.7 = memory verse! = "For we walk by faith, not by sight"

Do you have any promises God has given you that you need to act upon? Not just prophetic promises given to you, but also trusting the promises in the Bible?

Is He clearly saying something to You and you have yet to step out in faith upon it? eg giving/ commitment/ prophetic gift/ baptism/ sharing your faith with your neighbour? YOU'RE ON THE DIVING BOARD; GOD SAYS JUMP!

...walk with Him. It pleases Him. And there lies the greatest reward. Christ walked among us. Let that continue to be a reality as demonstrated in our lives, in step with him, through His Holy Spirit.

Cell Q's:

  1. How do we really know we're walking in step with God? What clarifies or endorses that? Give Biblical examples.
  2. Share stories of when you've trusted God and the lessons the rest of us can learn from that.
  3. Jesus says in John 10.10, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly"
    • What are the common misconceptions of that promise?
    • What does it really look like?
    • What is your personal response to that?

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