Hebrews 11:5-6 Sermon - Enoch Lived By Faith
We are going to consider a man named Enoch. What we know about Enoch is only found in a handful of scriptures. There are a couple main texts concerning Enoch that I would like to read. We’ll begin by reading Hebrews 11:5-6.
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Now let’s read Genesis 5:18-24. It says, “When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died. When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God (pleased God)after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God (pleased God), and he was not (found), for God took him.”
Almost all of the other passages that speak of Enoch are genealogies. For example, the genealogy in Luke 3:23-38 is where we find that Enoch is in the lineage of important men like: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Judah, and David. Even more significant is that it is through this lineage that Jesus Christ came into the world. When Jesus came into the world God fulfilled His promise in Genesis 3:15.
A few weeks ago when we considered Abel we used an outline which asked and answered three questions. I would like to use that same outline today as we consider Enoch.
Who is Enoch?
What type of world did Enoch live in?
Why does Enoch’s life and faith matter to me?
Who Is Enoch?
From the few verses that speak about Enoch we know some interesting facts about this man. First, Enoch was seven generations removed from Adam and Eve. There was Adam, then Seth, then Enosh, then Kenan, then Mahalalel, then Jared, and then Enoch.
As I was growing up I had the privilege of knowing all of my grandparents. All of my great-grandparents were alive when I was born. I real do not remember anything about them but there are pictures of me sitting on their laps when I was a baby. I mention all of this to say that my family experience goes back three generations and it is very limited. With every past generation I know less and less.
When you read through the Genesis 5 genealogy you discover that Adam lived 930 years. As a result, we discover that Adam was still alive for most of Enoch’s life. Adam and Eve were Enoch’s great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents. Yet, even though there are so many generations between these people Enoch did not have to learn about them from others. He actually knew them! Enoch would have spent about 300 years with Adam and learned directly from Him about what happened in the garden of Eden.
Secondly, we also know that Enoch was a preacher and a prophet of the LORD. We know this because in the New Testament, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Jude says that Enoch prophesied and said, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Thirdly, we discover from the Genesis 5 account that it was after the birth of his son Methuselah at the age of 65 that he started to walk with the LORD. We read, “Enoch walked with God (pleased God) after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.”
From that moment on Enoch’s life was characterized as a ‘man who walked with God’. Because of this we can say that he was a righteous man in every area of his life. He would have loved righteousness and hated evil. He would have been an honest and hard worker. He would have been a devoted husband and a selfless father. He would have been a trusted neighbor and a man who was looked up too by those in the community.
Fourthly, we also see in Genesis 5 that Enoch lived a short life when compared to the others who had come before him. He died at the young age of 365 years. Compare that number of years with those who came before him: 930, 807, 905, 910, 895, 800. Compare that with those who came after him: 969, 777, 950.
Even though Enoch’s life was shorter than all of those who are recorded in this genealogy in Genesis 5, we see that this was not because of some unexpected natural death. No, we are told in both the Hebrews 11 and the Genesis 5 account that the LORD took him away and he was no more.
Enoch’s disappearance surprised and shocked everyone. God took Enoch away and the people went looking for him but they could not find him because the LORD had taken him away. Hebrews 11:5 mentions that Enoch was taken by God three times. We are told…
Enoch did not see death because God took him.
We are told that Enoch was not found because God had taken him away.
We are told that God took him away because the LORD was pleased with him because by faith he believed that God existed and he believed that God rewarded those who sought after Him.
What Type of World Did Enoch Live In?
The Genesis account gives us some interesting things to consider about the world that Enoch lived in. If we were to read Genesis 3 - 5 this morning we would see that it would make for a good series of thriller movies. In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve sinned against God and their fellowship with Him is broken. Because of their sin they deserve immediate condemnation and death, however, God shows them mercy and even promises that He will defeat their enemy through a future offspring of the woman. As you come to the end of the chapter Adam and Eve are thrown out of the garden and never allowed to return and a cherubim stands in the pathway back to the garden with his flaming sword drawn to block any attempted return.
Then as you begin to read Genesis 4 hope is introduced into the story. Adam and Eve have a son and when she delivers the baby she says, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” She probably looked at Cain and wondered if this would be the promised savior who would crush the enemy (3:15)?
They have another son and they name him Abel. Their family is growing but soon Cain becomes angry when Abel’s sacrifice was accepted by the LORD and his was rejected by the LORD. Shortly after this the two brothers were talking in the field together and Cain rose up against his brother in anger and murdered him.
In this we see that Cain was not the one who would crush the serpent; instead, he rose up and crushed his brother and left him dead lying on the ground. After this the LORD comes and confronts Cain. Cain’s heart is hardened by the deceitfulness of sin and when the LORD asks him where his brother is he says, ‘I do not know; am I my brothers keeper?’
As you come near the end of Genesis 4 you see that God sends Cain far away and curses the ground so that it will not produce for him. Cain is sent off and most of the rest of Genesis 4 records that Cain built a city and named it after his son, Enosh. Then we are given the sons that came after Cain.
Lamech, the seventh from Adam, so perhaps he lived during the time of Enoch, had two wives and he boasted about having killed a man. In Genesis 4:23-24 we read, “Lamech said to his wives: ‘Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me. If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.’”
If Genesis 4 were to end here it would be pretty depressing; however, as we come to the end of the chapter we are told that Adam and Eve had another son and his name was Seth. Seth grows up and has a son and he is named Enosh. Then the chapter ends with these encouraging words, “At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.”
We are not told how many people called upon the name of the LORD at this time but there were now at least some people who began to call upon the LORD and seek after Him for salvation. Perhaps, by this time there are some who are beginning to realize that they will have to wait in faith for the fulfillment of the promise that was given in Genesis 3:15. Because of these words Genesis 4 ends with a glimmer of hope.
Genesis 5 is an entire chapter about the genealogy from Adam to Noah and his three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. It is a chapter that contains a total of thirteen names and right in the middle is the story about Enoch. These names form a chiasm of sorts, climactic moment, where the one in the center of this chapter walks by faith and he is taken by the LORD. Each of the genealogies recorded ends with these sobering words, ‘...and he died’. Every one of these individuals died except for one man who is found in the middle of this chapter -Enoch. Enoch walked with the LORD by faith and he does not see death.
I would like for you to see the sharp contrast that we can see between the two great-grandson’s who were seven generations removed from Adam.
In Genesis 4:18-24Lamech boasted to his wives about how he had killed a man and he scoffed at the judgment that he deserved from the LORD.
In Genesis 5:18-24 we find that Enoch walked with God by faith. He pleased God and the LORD took him away to be with Him forever.
We have asked the question, ‘What Type of World Did Enoch Live In?’
Enoch lived in a world much like our own. He live in a world where evil and godless activities were often engaged in. Those who do evil and godless things either tried to justify their actions or like Lamech they boasted about it as if there would be no consequences.
Enoch, however, was very different than the wicked in the godless. He was part of a group of people who were seeking the LORD and were calling out to Him. These people were walking by faith.
In the New Testament we can get a pretty good picture of the world that Enoch lived in and how he spoke to his generation. In the book of Jude we read, “It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’” (14-15)
Jude gives us a description of the ungodly people in his letter; therefore, Jude also gives us a description of the people that Enoch would have lived with. Jude says, “These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.” Jude describes them as ungodly people who pervert the mercy, grace and kindness of God as an excuse to engage in sensuality (4). Enoch lived around ungodly people who relied on their own wisdom and dreams, they defiled the flesh, they rejected authority and blasphemed God and abuse those who are part of His kingdom (8,10).
Enoch is just three generations removed form Noah’s generation which is described by God in this way, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” (6:3) We are told that ‘the LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart...I am sorry that I have made them.” (6:6-7) Because of these things God would judge the whole earth and save only Noah and his family. He would save Noah because we are told, like Enoch, ‘he walked with God’ (6:9).
The testimonies of these men and their faith should help you and I to trust that the LORD will preserve us in wicked and evil days. We can receive the words of the Lord by faith when He speaks through the Psalmist and says, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long lifew I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)
There were many in Enoch’s day who lived by their own unnatural desires and according to their fallen instincts. They lacked a real understanding of true godly things (Jude 10-11,16). Enoch, however, was very different. Because Enoch had faith in God and in His Word he thought, acted, and spoke differently. Although Enoch would have been so different from the rest of the people around him we can see by what the Holy Spirit says in Jude that he was given the grace to be very bold (Acts 4:13, 23-31).
Faithful people walk with God and they walk out of step with the world around them. Enoch walked by faith and he pleased the Lord (Psalm 112:1,7-8). Enoch’s faith pleased the LORD so much that he took him away so that he would not see death. Enoch’s life typifies what is spoken of in Proverbs 15:24 says, “The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath”.
Enoch probably lived during a time much like ours. He lived in a time when wickedness and ungodliness was increasing. He lived in a time when fewer and fewer people sought after the LORD. He lived in a time when sin abounded and people did what was right in their own eyes. He lived in a time when people called good evil and evil good. Yet, despite all of this Enoch lived by faith and so he lived a life that was pleasing to God. By faith he lived the type of life that you and I want to live before God.
Why Does Enoch’s Life and Faith Matter To Me and You?
Application #1 -We have seen that at the end of Genesis 4 there are some who began to seek the LORD. This is wonderful news! However, by the time we come to Genesis 6 there is only one man who is seeking the LORD – Noah. So between the beginning of Genesis 5 and the end of that chapter there is a terrible falling away from the LORD. In the end, virtually all of the inhabitants of the world did not live by faith in God. There was only one man who the LORD found walking by faith (6:9).
Can you imagine what that would have looked like?
Why did this great falling away happen?
Truthfully, Genesis 4-6 do not tell us all the details that we might like to know. But it would seem to me that this tragedy probably sped up after Adam’s death and the farther away from the original events of the Fall happened. When Adam died the people had to accept certain things by faith. When Adam died the first-hand testimony was silenced and sinful people are more prone to break away from the teachings that they were once taught.
We read of this in places like Judges 2:10 which says, “And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.” I am reading through 1 & 2 Kings right now and you see that after King David dies the nation is divided and both Israel and Judah become more and more ungodly and wicked from that point on.
At some point, every generation has to hear the Word of God and respond in faith. Otherwise, they will forget the truth that they know and they will begin to wander from the LORD. Perhaps this process starts out slowly but at some point the process speeds up as ignorance of God’s truths abounds and the LORD begins to judge their faithlessness (Romans 1).
Jesus knew that after His ascension there would be generations of people who would have to hear the Word of God and believe. He knew that within one generation, when the eye-witnesses would be gone, and the next generation would have to receive the gospel by faith.
Consider when Jesus stood before His doubting disciples and said to Thomas, “Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (John 20:27) Thomas is then allowed to touch Jesus and see His wounds and then says, “My Lord and my God!” (28)
Here the eyewitnesses to these things struggled to believe! What hope is there for us?
Jesus gives us hope with his very next words to His disciples. He says to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (29) Every person in this room needs to respond today by turning towards the LORD in faith. We are to respond in faith today because you know He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Application #2 - There was a time when it could be said of most Americans, “At that time people called upon the name of the LORD”. But now we live in a world that is very much like the one that Enoch lived in. In our past many called upon the name of the LORD but it does not seem to be the case today. In fact, we are seeing that there are fewer and fewer people turning to the LORD and walking by faith. If Jude were here today he would say to us, “Brothers and sisters, I wanted to write to you about the salvation that we share but I must tell us to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3).
There are far more Lamech’s than there are Enoch’s in our culture at this time.
How did Enoch keep from becoming like the culture around him?
How did Enoch walk with the LORD and please Him?
How was Enoch able to be so bold in how he spoke to His generation?
How was Enoch able to look beyond the troubles of his day and see that there was a great eschatological day of reckoning for the wicked but a great hope for the righteous?
Enoch lived by faith in God. He trusted God and obeyed His Word. He walked with God even if it meant that he walked alone. He held onto the promises of God and continued to believe them even if in his flesh he could not understand these things.
Let me give you two verses that we can cling to by faith in the wicked and godless days that we are living in. Jude 24-25 says, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Or consider these words from the end of Hebrews, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our LORD Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (13:20-21)
Application #3 – My friends, it seems that we live in a day like Paul speaks of in 2 Timothy 3 when he says, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.”
What does this day of difficulty look like? Paul says, “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2-5) Paul also says, “Evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (13)
Paul also says, “The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (4:3-4)
How can we be like Enoch in an age such as this?
Paul goes on to say, “As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed…”. Like Enoch, we can walk with God and please Him as we continue in what we have learned and firmly believed in the scriptures.
Enoch walked with God and did not see death. Paul walked with God and was martyred. Paul, however, says this in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, with the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”