Posts Tagged 'Enoch'

The Pleasing Walk


The Pleasing Walk

And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.  (Genesis 5:24  NKJV)

That’s a very strange verse.  Just those two phrases, “and he was not” and “God took him” are baffling.  Some people find them startling.  People die, right?  People just don’t vanish, right?  Well, not in the case of Enoch.  He was unique among all men.  He “walked with God,” meaning he lived a righteous life that pleased God greatly.  In fact, he pleased God so much that God translated him – God beamed him up to heaven – so that Enoch did not die.  It’s obvious that there was a connection between Enoch’s walk and his translation.

What is the “walk” pleases God?  Paul’s letter to the Ephesians gives us a clue in chapters 4 through 6.  Let’s take a look.

Live a purposeful life and a holy life

If you read the New Testament, not just the four chapters in Ephesians, you’ll get the correct impression that how we conduct ourselves in public is vitally important.  How we behave, especially in front of unbelievers, reflects on our Savior.  Our character ought to reflect His; when it doesn’t we make Him look bad.  Of course we know that salvation is a work of grace – an unrepentant sinner doesn’t clean himself up in order to get saved, he comes to Christ singing, “Just as I am, without one plea.”  Christ does the saving.  But after that seminal event, the life that new convert lives is up to him.  Christ won’t live his life and He won’t coerce that new believer to live a certain way.  Living of a life of holiness is something all believers must do themselves.  The Holy Spirit will help them, but we who call ourselves “Christians” must purposefully live lives of holiness and righteousness that will reflect positively on the One who saved us.  Living this way frequently means living a way that we may not want to. Just because you are a Christian, don’t think for a minute holy living will come easily or naturally.  It won’t.  It’s something you work at every day.  But the more you work at; the more you say, “No” to your desires in favor of God’s, the easier it will become and God will reveal more of His will for you.

And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.  (Romans 12:1, 2  TLB)

Live in unity and peace

The walk that pleases God is a walk of unity and peace.  Not unity or peace with the world, but with the Body of Christ.

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.  (Ephesians 4:2, 3  TLB)

How wonderful the Church of Jesus Christ would look if we actually tried to just get along each other!  Unfortunately, a lot of our churches look like the Corinthian church.

For some of those who live at Chloe’s house have told me of your arguments and quarrels, dear brothers.  Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul”; and others say that they are for Apollos or for Peter; and some that they alone are the true followers of Christ.  And so, in effect, you have broken Christ into many pieces.  (1 Corinthians 1:11 – 13  TLB)

Arguments and strife can ruin a church in no time, weaken its testimony in the community, grieve the Lord and cause members to leave.  When our churches look like the one in Corinth, they lose their effectiveness for Christ.  This is why living in unity and at peace with one another is so important.  Remember, we are to reflect the character of God.  Members of the Trinity all get along.  God doesn’t nitpick and argue with Himself.  We need to work hard at getting along with other members of the Body of Christ.

Practice Godly speech

Don’t use bad language. Say only what is good and helpful to those you are talking to, and what will give them a blessing.  (Ephesians 4:29  TLB)

That’s pretty clear.  A person is known by the words he uses.  If you listen to a person talking, you can tell where he’s from and often how much education he has.  This is true of the Christian life.  Godly speech does NOT come naturally.

…throw off your old evil nature—the old you that was a partner in your evil ways—rotten through and through, full of lust and sham.  (Ephesians 4:22  TLB)

Get along with your family

If you look at Ephesians 4, 5 and 6, Paul gives definite instructions for the Christian home.  Christian homes ought to be a little piece of “heaven on earth” for its members, but too often they feel more like “hell on earth.”  Tension and contention fill our homes, and it shouldn’t be that way.  Parents and children need to get along.  Children need to obey their parents, but Christian parents need to raise their children in a way that is pleasing to God and causes those children to draw closer to Him.  Too many don’t.  There are a lot of lazy Christian parents out there.  Children don’t raise themselves.  They need the guidance that can only from parents who themselves are being guided by the Lord.  The next generation of Christians is being raised right now.  Their character is being formed right now.  If you are a Christian parent, what do your children think of your walk with the Lord?

Avoid all sin

Take no part in the worthless pleasures of evil and darkness, but instead, rebuke and expose them.  (Ephesians 5:11  TLB)

“Worthless pleasures” are those things that draw you away for God.  They wreck your relationship with Christ and other Christians.  Many a Christian has begun to backslide when engaging in behavior that is, by some accounts, “slightly sinful.”  There is no such thing as a “slight sin.”  The Devil knows our Achilles heel; he knows what will distract us; knock us off the straight and narrow.  It’s not easy shunning sin.  God knows that and that’s why He provides a special blessing for those who do.

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.  (Psalm 1:3  NKJV)

Walk in love

Just as certain as “God is love,” so Christians must love each other.  1 Corinthians 13 is known as “the love chapter” because everything you need to know about love you can find in it.  If we don’t have love for each other, then everything we do – from preaching the Gospel to missions to whatever else we do in service to the Lord – is in vain.  That’s how important love it.

If anyone says “I love God,” but keeps on hating his brother, he is a liar; for if he doesn’t love his brother who is right there in front of him, how can he love God whom he has never seen?  And God himself has said that one must love not only God but his brother too.  (1 John 4:20, 21  TLB)

Redeem the time

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  (Ephesians 5:15, 16  NKJV)

To “redeem the time” means “making the most of every opportunity.”  There is a limited amount of time every day.  Indeed, each of us has limited time on this earth.  Are we wasting it?  What do we do all day?  How do we spend our “down time?”  Here’s the thing:  as Christians, our time is not our own.  We don’t have the right to do what we want, when we want.  We owe God our time.  Are we doing what we can to build the kingdom?  Are we (not just living Godly lives, which is important) doing something proactive and productive for the kingdom of God?  These are all good questions that believers need to be asking themselves regularly.  It’s so easy to get caught up in other things.  Even legitimate, worthwhile things can crowd out the spiritual things, leaving us worse off.   Longstaff’s lyrics speak volumes:

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.

Walk in the Spirit

I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.  (Galatians 5:16  TLB)

And that’s that.  If we as Christians can do what Paul told the Galatians to do in this single verse, we would be living lives that glorify God.  Surrender and obedience to God, the Holy Spirit, is the only way we can gain the victory of sin in our lives.  We must learn to hear His voice, follow His instructions, and He will enable us to live holy lives.

Jude, Part 5

Saints and Sinners

Jude 14—16

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

In these three verses, Jude hones in on these apostates and gives clues that will help believers identify them. Never let it be said that the Bible keeps its readers in the dark.

In verses 14 and 15, Jude again quotes fro m an apocryphal book, known as 1 Enoch. While fragments of this ancient text have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, in the first century of the Christian era it was widely circulated and well known. This is why Jude quoted from it. He gives no hint that he thought what he cited was inspired; so many early believers were familiar with it, he used it as a kind of “sermon illustration.”

1. What Enoch Saw, verse 14—15

This prophecy of Enoch is not found anywhere in the Old Testament. We are told about Enoch in Genesis 5:18—24,

When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

And this is all we know about Enoch. “He walked with God;” apparently he had an amazing spiritual nature, and God simply removed him from the earth and he did not experience death. This godly man, who lived and spoke the word of the Lord before the Flood, like Jude, Paul, and Peter, preached against the false teachers of his day. We see that this problem of false teachers and false teaching is as old as man himself. For some reason, God the Holy Spirit saw fit to exclude Enoch’s writings from the canon of inspired Scripture, but here is one, single prophecy that is included: a prophecy against false teachers and their doom. Dr. Wuest’s translation of verses 14 and 15 goes like this:

And there prophesied also with respect to these, the seventh from Adam, Enoch, saying, “Behold, there comes the Lord with His holy myriads, to execute judgment against all and to convict all those who are destitute of a reverential awe towards God, concerning all their works of impiety which the impiously performed and concerning all the harsh things which impious sinners spoke against Him.

The subject of the sentence, and the subject of Enoch’s sermon, is the Lord. Jude puts the quotation is the perspective of Christ’s return. The “holy Myriads,” we know in light of Revelation, refers to either the angelic host that will accompany Christ or to the saints that will also accompany Him, or both. Jude’s point: When Christ returns in glory and power, He is coming to execute judgment upon all sinners and to convict the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in an ungodly way.

It’s interesting when we compare Enoch with the Church. Enoch was translated, removed from the earth by God. The Body of Christ, the Church, similarly, will be translated, removed from the earth by God. What will be left behind when the Church leaves will be an apostate church and a world populated by unregenerate sinners. That kind of world was judged by God using a flood, in Noah’s day. In the same way, God will judge the world to come when Christ returns. The great hymn-writer John Newton wrote these words:

At His call the dead awaken,
Rise to life from earth and sea;
All the powers of nature, shaken,
By His looks prepare to flee.
Careless sinner.
What will then become of thee?

Enoch not only preached against the wickedness of his day, but he looked far into the future to address all godless people of all generations. In fact, in the Greek, the stress in on those two words, “all” and “godless.” In a sense, this brief word of prophecy, spoken in antiquity, is a summary everything every written about Divine judgment through the pages of Scripture.

Those of us who love the Lord and love His Word grow impatient with what see as a rapid degeneration of the Church. Sometimes it is hard to fathom why the Lord permits so much heresy to preached in His Name. So many people are led astray, down the garden path of heresy. But Jude reminds us, through Enoch, a man ahead of his time, that a day of reckoning is coming. Peter said a similar thing, in 2 Peter 3:8—9,

Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. (The Message)

Rest assured, the wicked will get their reward. Once upon a time, the great preacher Jonathan Edwards preached a powerful sermon entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Now, as Leonard Ravenhill observed, the tide has changed; it is now “God in the Hands of Angry Sinners!” But, it won’t always be like this. False teachers are, as we noted before, the walking dead.

2. How to spot a false teacher, verse 16

After quoting Enoch’s prophecy, Jude applies it to the ungodly men, the apostate teachers, of his day. These false teachers, with their flowery words and heady concepts, are really, at their core, disreputable human beings. These false teachers are:

  • Grumblers. The KJV calls them “murmurers.” The Greek word means to “utter complaints,” literally to “whine.” It’s not a loud, outspoken kind of whining, but a quiet and persistent grumbling against God.
  • Faultfinders. That is, they are complainers. The false teachers complain about their lot in life, they are always searching but never finding. They are discontent, unhappy and miserable.
  • They follow their own evil desires. That’s how the NIV translates it, but a more accurate translation might be: “they follow their own passions.” They walk after their own lusts and desires, either good or bad. These apostates do whatever they want without regard for God or God’s will. That’s why they are never satisfied. Nothing can satisfy the needs of the human heart save Christ.
  • They boast about themselves. Literally, “their mouths speak bombastic words.” They’re immodest, arrogant, self-confident, and they use extravagant language to impress impressionable minds.
  • They flatter others for their own advantage. The Greek is very picturesque: “They honor faces for the sake of advantage,” in other words, they surround themselves with the pretty people, the attractive people, the talented people, so that they themselves will benefit from that relationship.

In other words, these apostates exhibit character traits exactly opposite to the Christ-like traits believers are called to demonstrate.

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