By FaithPastor Jerry Gillis - March 5, 2017
Walking with God brings you out of death and into life.
Community Group Study Notes
- What is the difference between stepping and walking – based on what we heard in Sunday’s message?
- How would you give proof that you are walking with Jesus and not just occasionally stepping towards him?
- What is one thing you can do this week to apply what you heard on Sunday?
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 2:9)
So about four years ago in a British paper called the Telegraph, they ran a story about a man named Graham. That wasn't his real name, they just called him that so that they didn't give away who he was. That was a really interesting story, because this man had gone beyond kind of what we would call like clinically, you know, clinical depression. He'd gone beyond that. He actually got to a place where he woke up one day and he thought he was dead. I'm not kidding. It was a really sad kind of story. He woke up and actually thought he was not living anymore. He was actually alive, but he thought he was dead. Now there is a name for this, it's called Cotard's Syndrome, and it's diagnosed in just literally a few hundred people every year in the world. So it's extraordinarily rare. But the casual name that they refer to it as is "walking corpse syndrome".
And so what happens is this man, Graham just stopped eating because he thought he was dead. Stopped talking. He was a habitual smoker and when he woke up and thought he was dead he didn't smoke anymore, like even though he probably had a nicotine fit, it just didn't even, he just quit. And they actually did some testing on him because he didn't talk, didn't eat, didn't really do anything. They did some testing on him and they found what they thought was just basically almost imperceptible brain activity. They couldn't believe it, that the guy was actually alive. So he really didn't do anything at all except for one thing. He would leave the house at random times and would make his way to a cemetery. And then he would just lay in the cemetery because he thought he was dead and so he figured this was the closest that I can get to that, I guess. And he would just go and lay in the cemetery. Then eventually, you know, the police would have to come and they would get him and they would take him back to his home, and he was staying there with family and you know, they did their best to love him and try to take care of him. It's really an extraordinary story.
I mean, I'm glad to note that kind of toward the end of the story, it recorded that Graham had gotten some additional assistance and there were some medications that were involved now that were trying to help him and he was doing a bit better, and in his words, he felt less dead. It was a real story for Graham, and it couldn't be more real for him and what he experienced and it's sad to think about something like that but as a metaphor for us, it's reasonably interesting.
You see, we live in a culture that is full of walking corpses. Spiritually speaking, some of them know that they're headed to a cemetery, some of them don't know that they're headed to the cemetery, but it seems as if that the more our culture remains in its ungodly state, turning away from the nature of who God is, that more and more people spiritually speaking are walking corpses headed to cemeteries and seemingly inviting people to come along with them. Now it was interesting at the very end of the article Graham had said when they asked them how he was feeling and he said, you know he feels a little less dead and he said but I'm not so worried about dying, he said, because I realize everyone dies. Well, he's almost exactly right. Almost.
You see, the guy that we're going to take a look at today in Hebrews chapter 11, he didn't die. And even though he was living in a time where all around him were walking corpses, death before him, death during his life, death after him, where it was growing in ungodliness and wickedness and violence in the generation that he was living in and it was becoming this blossoming seed that we would see hundreds of years later would become a place that was deserving of judgment and condemnation, that even in the midst of that, there was a man who was not like everyone else it seemed, in that particular time frame and his name was Enoch. We read about Enoch in Hebrews 11 in verse number 5 and it says this. It says "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so he did not experience death: 'He could not be found, because God had taken him away.' For before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God."
Now I'm going to tease out of our text today a few things that I think we can learn about a life of faith, and the first one is pretty straightforward. It's this: By faith, Enoch walked with God. Now I want us to pause here for just a moment, because when we look back at Hebrews chapter number 11 you might have said well, I didn't really see anything in the text about him walking with God. Notice what it says in the beginning of the text, it says: "By faith Enoch was taken from this life so that he didn't experience death. He could not be found because God had taken him away."
Now pause right there. You see this? These are quotes. That means that the author is actually referring to something that came earlier, right? He's quoting from a different text, and the text that he's referring to is in the book of Genesis because that tells us a bit of the story of Enoch. And I want you to see in Genesis chapter 5 what that story tells us about Enoch's life. It says: "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 a total of 962 years, and then he died. But when Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. And altogether, Enoch had lived a total of 365 years. And Enoch walked faithfully with God; and then he was no more, because God took him away."
So the first point that I'm talking about here is that by faith Enoch walked with God. Now when we hear that phrase, walked with God we're not using it in the same way that maybe it was described in Genesis chapter 2 or 3 with Adam and Eve in the Garden walking with God. This is not talking about here many generations removed from Adam, seven generations removed from Adam, it's not talking specifically about God showing up in physical form so that they're taking a stroll together. The idea of walking with God in this context is the idea of intimacy, of fellowship, of connection, of a sharing with someone else. That's kind of the idea that's here, and Enoch was actually doing that by faith. Because he believed that this was God that he was walking with and communing with and talking with, right? He had been told of God from his ancestors that had come before and so he walked faithfully with God.
In fact, the Scripture actually tells us that this fellowship, this communion, this connection, this intimacy with Enoch lasted, listen to it - 300 years he walked faithfully with God. Some of us would be glad to walk 300 days faithfully with God. Some of us would be okay with walking 300 minutes faithfully with God. Enoch walked 300 years faithfully with God. Now when we talk about this idea of walking with God, the metaphor is used all through the course of Scripture and I'll show you that in just a moment, but if I can risk being a little bit elementary here at the beginning of the message, I'm going to. If you're going to go like, hey, wow professor, you've really shown us something incredible here, I'm going to break down the idea of what walking entails because it gives us a picture of the metaphor a little bit better. But don't worry, we're going to be doing a deep-dive a little bit later. Right now we're just bobbing. Okay? We're going to deep-dive here in just a little bit, but I'm just going to start us out a little easy, okay?
So when we talk about this idea of walking there's a couple of things that I would have you keep in mind when you're thinking about the idea of Enoch walking faithfully with God or maybe you and I walking faithfully with God. Here's the first thing that I know about walking. If you're walking with someone you have to be traveling in the same direction. I know, I'll be here all day. You have to be traveling in the same direction. So what that means for Enoch is this, is that for 300 years he was traveling in the same direction as God. Wow! You say, okay, how did Enoch do that? Listen. The same way we do.
I want you to think about this for just a moment. How do we know what direction God is going in? Well, we know it because God has revealed His character to us. We have the vantage point of looking at God's character through the lens of Scripture and through the person of Jesus that Enoch did not have quite like we have. We have the beauty of God's character being revealed to us. That God is righteous and He's true and He's loving and He's just and He's honorable. And God is faithful and forgiving and gracious. We have all of this that we know about God. So here's what we know. That God is always moving in those directions that are consistent with His character. Okay, we do know that. Or maybe let me flip it for you. God is always walking the opposite way of those things that rage against His character. God is always walking in the opposite direction of sin.
You see, what happens with the people of the world that we live in is that they have and they may or may not know it, but they are spiritual corpses that are basically already dead on their way to a spiritual cemetery. And as they make their way there they don't even realize what they are doing. They are walking against the direction that God is walking in because when you walk against the direction God is walking in you are walking toward death but when you walk with God you are walking toward life. You see, this idea of walking means that we are traveling in the same direction as someone and Enoch was testified to as walking in the same direction as God for 300 years.
It is a good question for us, what direction are you traveling in? What direction are you traveling in? Are you traveling in the same direction that the rest of the world is? Because that's just kind of how the world works, and we're just caught up in all the same stuff that the world is caught up in. Making idols for ourselves, of other things other than God. Even if we don't call them that, right? Our lust for money or our lust for pleasure or our lust in thinking our satisfactions are going to be found just in human relationships and not realizing that all of this is met in the person of God through His Son Jesus. You know, any dead fish can float downstream. That's easy to do, right? Walking in the direction of death toward the spiritual cemetery with the rest of the walking corpses, that's easy to do. But it takes someone who is going to choose by faith, to trust God to walk against the current, to walk in opposition to sin and to walk faithfully in the same direction as God. So that's one thing I know about walking, right? You have to be going in the same direction if you're going to be walking with someone.
But there's another one. I know, you're going to be blown away by this as well. You have to take a series of steps, right? Quick illustration, here you go. Not walking. Walking. One more time just in case you didn't pick it up. Hold on. Not Walking. Walking, right? Why do I say that? I know it seems elementary and we're kind of laughing a little bit about it, but the reason that I say that is because ultimately when we talk about the idea of taking a series of steps, it's actually giving us a picture. It is a picture of faithful obedience. In other words, what walking looks like is taking a series of steps in the same direction with someone over a long period of time. This is the picture of faithful obedience. This is the picture of exactly what Enoch was doing. Enoch was demonstrating a faithful obedience because he was taking step after step after step after step which means this series of steps becomes a walk that is going in the same direction as God and it is over a long period of time--300 years in his case. This is something he's commended for.
Now I wonder with us, not only do we have to ask ourselves the question "what direction are we actually walking?" but you need to also determine whether or not what you are doing can even be defined as walking. Let me illustrate. So maybe in January some of you got fired up about you know, I'm going to read some of the Bible this year. You know, I'm going to spend some personal time in the Bible this year. And maybe you started out in January and all things were good and like you started, you know, reading the Bible maybe three or four times a week even. And kind of personal time, you know beginning to study the Bible and read it and stuff and now maybe that we're in March now you've set it aside for a month and a half, right? You started pretty good for the first couple of weeks and started to read a little bit, and then you set it aside for a month and a half. Here's what I would call that. Stepping. Not walking. Walking involves a series of steps that are moving in the same direction over a long period of time. We've not been called just to take a step, we've been called to walk faithfully.
Or maybe like in our corporate worship, right? We came and we said you know what I'm going to be more faithful because I need to be a part of the body of Christ, I need to worship with the body of Christ, I need to be fed in that context and all those kinds of things. And it was great because for a handful of weeks you were coming each week and then you know, you come every couple of months or whatever. I don't call that walking. I call it stepping. Or we do it with our giving, right? We throw a few bucks in the plate and like, oh yeah, I want to participate, throw a few bucks, what's up dude? Throw a few bucks in there. But we're not faithful in it. So we do it and then you know, we don't. Forever. Stepping. Not walking.
You see, walking is about a series of steps. In the same direction with a person with whom you're walking over a long period of time. That's what walking looks like. But for many of us we are only stepping. Now stepping is better than standing still. I'm not taking a shot at that, that's good. But what we're called to is we're called to a faithful obedience over our lifetime. A faithful obedience of walking, where it is a series of steps, not just a step. It is a series of steps that turn into a walk with the person with whom we're walking which is God in the direction of His revealed nature and His character that is in opposition to sin and is over a long period of time. Faithful obedience is what Enoch demonstrated and that's what God calls us to demonstrate as well.
Now, the great thing is that the Scripture tells us over and over and over and over again about this idea of walking. It uses this metaphor all through the Scripture. I mean if you go back into the Old Testament in Deuteronomy you see this in chapter number 5: "Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess." Do you know what literally it's saying? That when we take steps with God and we are walking with God we are walking toward life. And away from death. Notice what the psalmist says in Psalm chapter 1: "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers." In other words, blessed is the one who walks with God in the direction of wisdom and life instead of the company of walking corpses that are headed to the cemetery. Psalm 101 says it this way: "My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me." And then you can fast-forward in to the New Testament certainly and you see this in Galatians chapter 5: "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." The book of Ephesians says it this way: "And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." And then of course, in 1 John you see these words: "If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
You see, this idea of walking is something that Enoch was doing "by faith Enoch walked with God" and that's something that God is calling us to do as well. And of course, it tells us that when Enoch walked faithfully with God for 300 years, it says that then he was no more. Because God had taken him away. Now what's interesting about this is what we know is that Enoch did not die because Hebrews tells us that very clearly that he did not die. But did you know that neither Genesis 5 nor Hebrews 11 actually tell us where Enoch went? It doesn't say specifically where Enoch went. The text itself does not tell us that, but our assumption is that what Enoch did is he went into the presence of God. That's the assumption that we make and I think it's the right assumption. Now, how that happened metaphysically is so far beyond my pay grade that I don't even know what to do with it. And it can get complex when we start to talk about this, that Enoch was and he was not for God had taken him away. How did that happen? God did that? That's what I say, that's what I say, that's my theological answer to that. God took him away, right, to be with him.
I guess maybe the better answer that I would give you came from a child that was in a small group on a Sunday morning. When mom asked the child what did you guys learn about, the child said, she said we learned about this really neat man named Enoch. What did you learn about him? Enoch took these awesome walks with God and one time he took a walk with God that was so long that God said to Enoch "Hey, we're so far from your house, why don't you just come to mine?" And so God took Enoch to His house. I would suggest to you that's probably as good an explanation as I would be able to offer you. That's just good child theology.
So we see that Enoch walked with God by faith, but let me give you a second thing. By faith Enoch pleased God. We find these exact words back in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 5 and 6, take a look at it: "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he didn't experience death: 'He could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God."
Now, this is an interesting thing, because it's pretty easy for us on the front end, right, because we can ask the question "Okay, Enoch pleased God, how come Enoch pleased God?" Very simple, two-word answer, by faith, right? Because he says very clearly "without faith it's impossible to please God" therefor we know that Enoch pleased God because of his faith.
But we have to ask a second question, right? Why is it impossible to please God without faith? Well, Hebrews 11 verse 6 actually fills that out, the rest of the verse answers that for us. "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him." There are two foundational properties related to this idea of faith, that without them it is impossible to please God. In other words, you can't please God unless you believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Can't please Him any other way. Now why do you think that is? Why do you think that is? Let me tell you why I think it is. It's because when our lives demonstrate a faith that believes that God exists and believes that God rewards. In other words, that God is real and that God rewards. When we actually demonstrate with our lives that very thing, do you know what it's testifying to? It's testifying to God's own nature and when our lives are testifying to God's own nature, God cannot help but be pleased.
Let me explain. God's nature is that He is absolute reality. We have a reality that we understand and it's as real as we can understand it, but God is actual, absolute reality. There is no ability to describe reality outside of the nature of who God is, since we've already determined in Hebrews 11 verse 3 that He is the One who has spoken everything into existence. He is the One behind everything that has happened because He Himself is the ultimate reality. In other words, no one created God, God has always been, always is and always will be. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end and He's without beginning and without end. God needs nothing to add to His personhood because He Himself is absolute reality.
But God is also on the other side of that, completely and totally self-sufficient. There is no need for anybody to do anything that adds to God or that God has dependence on, anyone or anything for His existence. He is so self-existent and so self-sufficient that He actually overflows in His fullness whereby He doesn't need anything from anyone, His person-hood actually is so full that it overflows onto other people because He doesn't need us to gain reward, He is the rewarder. Are you following me? This is the nature of who God actually is and whenever we are giving testimony to that, we are giving testimony to what faith is supposed to look like, because you can't please God without believing that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. You see, when Enoch walked with God faithfully for 300 years, he did it because he believed God existed and he believed God was the rewarder.
What do you think the reward was for Enoch? Don't answer heaven. That's a secondary reward. God was his reward. The presence of God was his reward. He walked with God, a series of steps in the same direction over a long period of time. He walked with God, and then he was not, for God had taken him. Why? Because God was pleased with him. Because his faith demonstrated in his life, in a culture of violence and wickedness and spiritual corpses, Enoch's life demonstrated that he believed in God and that he knew that God's presence was his great reward.
So he's walking with God, experiencing the reward of who God is in His presence, and God's so pleased, he just takes him, to reward him even more fully in His presence. What a story.
I mean, I'm reminded that my life is intended to please God. And the only way that will happen is by faith. That my life actually testifies to the fact that I genuinely believe that God exists. That He is as we sang earlier, He is Lord over all. And in that in believing that, I recognize that my sole desire, my great heartbeat, is Him. It is His presence. And that He himself is my great treasure and my great reward.
We need more faith like that demonstrated in the church of Jesus Christ. We need people in this world that are spiritual corpses to see that kind of faith in the lives of people that believe that He exists, and believe that He rewards.
So, by faith, Enoch walked with God, and by faith, Enoch pleased God. But I also want to mention one more thing. We're going to deep dive here. By faith, Enoch spoke for God.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, self... self, I don't remember reading in either Hebrews 11 or in Genesis 5 about Enoch speaking for God. Okay, let's look back at Hebrews 11:5 again. It says this. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death. And then it quotes Genesis 5, right? "He could not be found, because God had taken him away."
Now, when we get into Genesis chapter 5, here's what we see. We see this genealogy. Like, if you ever turn there, or if maybe after today, you go home and you open up Genesis 5, you're going to see this genealogy. It's person after person after person after person, right, that's being spoken of. Kind of from the line of Adam, and all of those people who came after. And here's what it says about all of them. And so and so lived, and then they had sons and daughters, blah blah blah. And then he died. And then so and so, and had sons and daughters, and then he died. So and so died. So and so died. So and so died. That's what your getting all through Genesis 5, until you get to Enoch. And then it just says that Enoch walked with God, and then he was not, for God had taken him away. And then the people that come after Enoch, died. Died. Died.
It's very interesting, really. When you start to look at it you, you kinda go, huh. That's an interesting thing to pay attention to. Well, the reason that I think it's important for us to pay attention to is because, Enoch, he was surrounded by death. Death came before him, death during him, and death after him. That's what was true of Enoch's life. But Enoch did not only not die, he actually spoke to people of his age about impending death and judgment.
Now how do I know that? Well, not because of Genesis 5, specifically, not because of Hebrews 11 specifically, but because of another place tucked away in the New Testament in a small little letter called Jude. You might think, okay, well I haven't read that recently. Well, let me help you with it. Here's what Jude says in verses 14 and 15. There's just one chapter so you never have to say Jude 1. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: (Here's the prophesy.) "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
Wow. That's strong. Did you pick up the phrase "ungodly" over and over and over again? He's talking about the world that he lives in.
Now, for those of you who are students in the Bible, so I can erase any of the confusion here, Jude is quoting a prophesy of Enoch, but he is not quoting from what we would call the canon of Scripture. He's quoting from a non-canonical source called First Enoch. The reason that he's quoting from that is not to confirm upon First Enoch, the idea that the whole book is inspired by God, and should be included in our Bible. The reason he is quoting from it, is because there is a prophesy in it of which the Holy Spirit has confirmed it is true. And as a result, the Holy Spirit leads Jude to include that in this, because it is a prophesy that Jude is using for a particular purpose.
Now let's ask this question. When Enoch shared this prophesy, what was he talking about? You're going to have to go with me here. Okay, we're deep diving. What was Enoch talking about, and when did it happen? It's a fair question. Right? Let me answer it very quickly, and I'll tell you why I think it. Enoch, in his prophesy, was talking about the coming flood, and when he got this prophesy was at the age of 65. You're going, okay Mr. Specific. Like, where did that come from? Stay with me for just a minute. Alright? And I'll show you the reason that this is important. This just isn't important for the biblical ninja-ry to try and figure this thing out. This is important for what it teaches us. Okay?
Genesis 5 that read a moment ago, I need you to see something. Because what you have a tendency to do, and what I have a tendency to do, is that sometimes when I read, I skip over very important things, because they seem common. Stay with me. Open your eyes. They seem common. But they're not.
Genesis 5 says it this way. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years. For a total of 365. After he became the father of Methuselah, he walked faithfully with God for 300 years. Hmm. So, what that tells me is this. Something happened around the time of the birth of Methuselah that got Enoch's attention in a significant way, such that, he turned his attention to God and walked faithfully with God. Knew about Him in the previous 65 years I'm convinced, but walked faithfully with Him for the 300 years after.
What do I think it was that got his attention? I think it was this prophesy that God had given him about impending judgment in the world that he was living in. You say, well Jerry, that could have come at any time in the 300 years that Enoch walked with God. It could. That's a possibility that I'm willing to grant. But let me tell you why I think it happened when he was 65. Because of what he named his son.
So the word Methuselah. Hebrew in general is hard enough. But the construction of the word Methuselah in Hebrew is a challenging instruction. But the best available scholarship would translate Methuselah's name this way. You have to stay with me for a second, I'm connecting dots. It would translate Methuselah's name this way: man (meth), man of the spear, or man of the dart. Okay? Spears or darts were just used as weapons of you know, killing. Weapons of war. So some would translate that - man who brings death. Man of the spear, man of the dart, man who brings death. Methuselah.
Now when you read about Methuselah in the New Testament, you actually see his name mentioned in a genealogy in Luke chapter 3. And I know I'm running around here, so stay with me. In the Greek context, the word Methuselah is translated this way: "When he dies, it will come." Or, when he dies, there will be an emission. So in Hebrew, a man of death, so to speak. Or in the Greek, when he dies, there will be an emission. Or when he dies, it will come.
Why do I tell you that? I tell you that because we know how old Methuselah was when we look at Genesis chapter 5 and we do the math. It tells us very plainly that Methuselah was 969 years old when he died. When know Methuselah had children, and had grandchildren. His great-grandson's name was Noah. We actually know based upon the genealogy of Genesis chapter 5 how old Noah was when Methuselah died. Methuselah died at 969, and Noah was 600. You can just go in Genesis 5 and do the quick math, and it's pretty simple. It's right there for you.
Why is it important how old Noah was and how old Methuselah was when he died? Here's why. Notice was Genesis chapter number 7 says. Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. So, if I could break it down for you. When Methuselah died, the flood came. When Methuselah died, the flood came. His name means, when he dies, it will come.
Now, why is that important for us? Because what Enoch was doing is God got a hold of Enoch's life about the age of 65, such that, it was so impressioned upon him, this prophesy about coming judgment, he named his son over this. Knowing that when his son died, judgment was coming.
Could you imagine Enoch's life? Every day. Oh no, no, no. Methuselah, don't go over there. Right? That's his life every day! Little Methuselah comes in. Hey dad, I want to spend the night with so and so. You're not spending the night with anybody. Right here. Staying right here next to me. You're not going anywhere. Right? Because he knew when Methuselah dies, judgment is coming.
That is something for us to consider, because Enoch was warning the world in his communication by faith as he walked with God, he was warning the world that judgment was coming, such that he had named his own child that very idea. We know that Enoch spoke for God because of this very thing. And he was warning about a coming judgment. He knew that all around him were spiritual corpses that were making their way to cemeteries. And he was trying to warn the world of what was coming, the impending judgment to come, so much so that God had arrested his attention, and that's what he named his child. And knowing that it was coming, he walked faithfully with God for 300 years. Knowing what was coming.
Now you know what's interesting about this? When Methuselah died at 969, the flood came, just as God had prophesied through Enoch. But do you know what shows the grace and patience of God? Methuselah was 969, the oldest human being that has ever lived, ever. And this is who God said, when he dies, it will come. He created the largest human window by grace for people to repent and to seek His face.
And God is still doing that today. Because in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, he came, he died, he rose from the dead, he ascended back to the Father, and there is a promise of his coming. And we are living in an age of grace, where walking corpses are making their way all around us to cemeteries. But God has exhibited such extraordinary patience.
You see, when Jude quotes this prophesy, he's not just referring to what Enoch was talking about, about the flood. Jude connects the prophesy to the second coming of Jesus. And he reminding his audience that just as surely as a flood came when God spoke through Enoch, there is another flood coming. It is not one of water, but it is of the righteous Lion of Judah, who is going to make his way back, and he is going to sort out the wheat from the chaff. He is going to sort out the sheep from the goats. He is going to make things right on behalf of the righteous, but is going to deal in justice with those who have chosen to walk against him. It's just as true.
We don't often talk about it, though, do we? We're too busy coddling everyone. Enoch tells us, stop it. You can't coddle everyone all of the time. Sometimes you have to help them to know that judgment is coming. And that's why we can't help but speak about this idea.
Peter told us this, didn't he? He told us about the massive grace of God, and what we should look like as a result of this. Listen to what he said in 2nd Peter. I've got to tell you this. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord, it will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.. in other words, you ought to walk faithfully with God... as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
This is the promise that we have before us, but it is also a promise that is a warning. That we as the people of God, if we're going to walk by faith, then that means we're going to walk with God. It means we're going to please God, because we believe that he exists, and we believe that he's our great reward. And it means that we will speak for God, and we will let people know that there is a flood that is coming when Jesus returns if you reject him. But that there is a glorious waterfall of forgiveness and salvation when you receive him. This is what we are taught.
You see, Enoch teaches us a really great lesson here. And I'd summarize it this way. When you walk with God, it will bring you out of death and into life. This is what Enoch helps us to see, right? Walking with God brings us out of death and into life.
Now, let me land the plane here before we dismiss. Maybe you have been, maybe the lesson for you in all of this is, you've got to ask yourself, have you just been stepping occasionally with God instead of walking faithfully with God? Or maybe you have to ask yourself the question, have you just failed to realize that God Himself is actually your great reward? Himself. His presence is your great reward. But you've looked to satisfy yourself with other things! You've tried to put people and stuff and substances and distractions all in the place of the God who is the only one who can satisfy, because He Himself is our great reward.
Or, maybe you've forgotten that your life is being watched all around you by people who are spiritual corpses on the way to cemetery. And they don't even know what a flash of real life looks like unless they see it in you. And it will only come in you by faith!
Or maybe, you yourself are a walking corpse. That you are a dead man or a dead woman walking. As the Scripture says, that you are dead in your sins and your trespasses, and you recognize that you cannot raise yourself up. You have not had a spiritual heartbeat that has been transformed by who Jesus is. I've got good news for you, and I've got bad news. The bad news is that you can't save yourself. The bad news is that you can't resurrect your own life. That's the bad news.
The good news is Jesus came, listen to this. Jesus walked into his death on a cross so that you could walk into his life through his resurrection. That's what Jesus has done. That's the heartbeat of the gospel, ladies and gentlemen. That Jesus walked into his death, so that you could walk into his life. And how do you do that? By faith. That's how you do it. By faith.
So if you're here, and you've never turned from your sin, and stop believing that you can save yourself. Stop believing that you can raise your own life from the dead. If you've never turned away from that and put your faith and trust in Jesus, then today is your opportunity to do that. Because God has shown Himself extraordinarily patient and extraordinarily gracious to you, by creating this season. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the appointed time.
But for those of you who say you know Jesus, I want to remind you of something. You don't know where Methuselah is walking around, that when that last person takes their last breath, here He comes. That should put in our hearts a burden for people around us that do not know Jesus. And that our lives would be so filled with the radiance of God, because we faithfully walk with Him. That they would be able to see His life in us.
Would you bow your heads with me? Before we're dismissed, if you're here and you've never entrusted your life to Jesus, then there's no bigger decision that you make in your life. No more important thing. Because there is a flood coming. But God's desire is not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. That's His heart. We read it. That means you. No matter what you've done, no matter where you've come from, no matter what your background, no matter how bad your sin, God can and will forgive you in Christ Jesus, if you by faith will entrust yourself to him.
If you've never come to that place, where you've entered into that relationship with God though His son Jesus, when we dismiss in just a moment, if you're in this room or in the East Worship Center, I'd ask you to come by the Fireside Room. There's some pastors in there, some prayer partner in there that would love to talk to you for just a few minutes. You're not going to be in there forever. But we've love to talk to you about the most important thing that will ever happen in your life, ever. It has eternal consequences, this whole idea of faith. This whole idea of relationship with God, it matters more than anything. We want to help you with that, but I'm putting it on you. It's incumbent upon you. With the faith that God has entrusted to you, you have to then release that to Him, and put it in Him, and in His son. And so when we dismiss in a moment, if that's you, I want you to leave whichever room that you're in and I want you to come straight to the Fireside Room, and just say, I need to begin a relationship with God. And they'll help show you what that looks like.
Maybe for the remainder of us, maybe God has spoken to us in an area that we need to deal with before the Lord. Maybe there are parts of our lives that don't testify to the fact that we really believe that God is who He says He is, and that He Himself is our great reward. Because we put so many other things in place of Him. And maybe we need to do what the Bible calls repent. That means to turn away from that kind of thinking, and to renew our minds and saying, no Lord, by faith, I'm going to trust You. I'm going to believe You.
Father, I pray that you would give us a heart to be able to know, like Enoch, that you are our great reward. And that you would give us a heart to know like Enoch, that there is judgment coming for those who reject you, for all of us who are walking corpses headed to a cemetery. But God, would you help us to be careful and gracious in the way that we proclaim your truth as we speak on your behalf. Because we too, we're walking corpses, who could not raise ourselves to life. It is only through the Lord Jesus, the sinless, spotless, perfect Son of God, who in our place took upon himself our wrath and our justice, satisfying the justice of God, and rising from the dead to bring and usher in new creation and new life. It is only because of Jesus that we are no longer headed to a cemetery. That we are no longer walking in death. But because we walk with you, we now walk into life. May we bear that message humbly and graciously, but urgently, to people around us that need to know you.
So Lord, by your Spirit would you do in the hearts of every one of us your own great desire, and may we have the wisdom to receive from you however you want to shape us and change us, and mold us more into the image of your Son by faith. We ask in Jesus' name. Amen.
God bless you. Have a great week.