Pulpit Today Sermon
Robert D. Pace
It’s strange that an amazing man like Enoch has so little information recorded about him. There are only ten scant verses from both the Old and New Testaments that sketch his biography. But those ten verses provide astonishing information! While many heroes of the faith were martyrs, death never approached Enoch. He completely escaped its clutches and was translated into God’s presence. What made Enoch so special that God snatched him from the company of men into the realm of angels? From the limited information available about Enoch, we find three words that clue his translation. Hebrews 11:5 asserts, “he pleased God.” That’s quite a commendation!
Moses was marked by meekness.
Samson was distinguished by incredible strength.
Daniel exemplified unwavering devotion.
Ezekiel is remembered for his visions.
Paul is heralded for his passionate preaching and writing of Scripture.
John is known for his apocalyptic disclosures.
But Enoch’s career is distinguished by pleasing God and defying death. That’s quite a legacy! I suppose you could surmise that God translated Enoch into His presence because He thought Enoch was more qualified to associate with angels than the men of his polluted generation. Enoch lived in the days immediately preceding Noah’s Flood. Historians refer to this as the Antediluvian Age. The Bible describes the earth as being “filled with violence.” It was a time when man’s wickedness ran unrestrained and their hearts were bent on devising plans of deceit and evil. But despite this decadence Genesis 5:22 asserts that there was one man, Enoch, whose was intimately acquainted with God and who fellowshipped with Him for 300 consecutive years. Let’s look at that passage:
Genesis 5:21-24 says, “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. (22) And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. (23) Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. (24) Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” This is an amazing passage. When the Bible says, “he was no more, because God took him away,” it doesn’t mean God resettled him into another land. That word “took” means God broke upon Enoch’s activity, suddenly captured him, and he was gone. It was an instant translation, like a flash of lightning.
(Humor) Some years back a guest minister preached at the Church I pastored. I gave him a nice introduction and sat behind him on the rostrum. During the sermon he said preachers should be given guns when they enter the ministry. I’m serious. He said when sinners accept Christ preachers should immediately shoot them so they could evade life’s temptations and go directly to Heaven. My wife was in that service and when the preacher said that, I looked down from the platform and watched her draw a gun from her purse and point it directly at me. Thank goodness she was a poor shot!
(Transition) Anyway, I want to explore some highlights from Enoch’s life that the Bible mentions. First, I want you to notice that the Bible says that Enoch changed for God.
I. Enoch Changed For God
Look at Genesis 5:21‑22 once more. “When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. (22) And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters.”
When you study this passage, you can see that something significant occurred in Enoch when he turned sixty-five. In fact, it was transformational. Enoch lived sixty-five years, was “set in his ways,” and then suddenly, his entire character, disposition, thinking, and behavior were overhauled. Everything about him was directed toward God.
(Definition) When Genesis says, “Enoch walked with God,” that word walk is a graphic Hebrew word. It means he “walked . . . (literally and figuratively) . . . apace . . . continually . . . [and] conversant [with God].” He willfully exercised himself before God. That means he lived with integrity, faithfulness, and with a constant awareness of God.
(Example) One of the most profound challenges on earth is for people to modify their behavior! Think about it. We can launch a shuttle into orbit, split the atom, encode a billion bits of information on a computer chip, instantly fax information around the globe, but behavior modification surpasses all man’s challenges:
Just ask a spouse dealing with a destructive character flaw in their mate.
Talk to counselors dealing with people struggling against habits, addictions, or obsessions.
Parents understand the difficulty of correcting the rebellious behavior of their teenagers.
Man is plagued with a rebellious, untamed nature that struggles against keeping God’s commandments. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change. It doesn’t mean that we should give in to sin and hoist the white flag in surrender. We have to bridle our behavior and seek to serve God.
The essence of Christian living is all about change! It’s an experience that ultimately changes us from center to circumference.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Romans 12:1-2 says to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are in the process of “being transformed into [Christ’s] likeness with ever-increasing glory.”
And Philippians 3:21 says Christ’s ultimate intention is to, “transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
When you accept Christ as your Savior, you’re agreeing to change! That’s what a spiritual conversion is about! It realizes you’re limping along in the wrong direction, displeasing God, and what you’re doing isn’t bringing you a sense of satisfaction. It means you’re willing to permit Christ to intervene and make changes at every point necessary—in your attitude, ambitions, conversation, and associations!
There’s a reason God wants you to change. It’s to glorify your Heavenly Father and infuse you with His peace and joy. Peace and joy are found in one Person—Jesus Christ, and nothing else in life does!
If fulfillment could have been found in intellectualism Voltaire would have been ecstatic. But in his own words he wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”
If Lord Byron could have found peace and joy in his constant pursuit of pleasure, he would have been euphoric. But before dying he wrote: “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”
Jay Gould was an American multi-millionaire but he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
If conquest could bring satisfaction Alexander the Great would have been the happiest man on earth because he conquered the entire known world. But just before falling on his sword he lamented, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”
If popularity could bring fulfillment then Elvis Pressley should have never died from a drug overdose.
Fulfillment comes through one person—Jesus Christ. That’s why Christ, not the world, should be our object of affection! He alone furnishes peace and joy and satisfaction.
(Transition) That’s the lesson from Enoch’s life. Enoch, after sixty-five years, changed for God. But secondly, Enoch not only changed for God he aimed for God.
II. Enoch Aimed For God
Look at our text once again. “When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. (22) And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God.” Enoch intentionally directed his life toward God. He made God his target and walked with Him. I want to ask you something. What are you aiming at today? What is your target? What are you pursuing? There are several ways you can determine this:
When you analyze your spending habits it becomes apparent what your target is.
When you determine where the bulk of your time goes, it becomes obvious what you are pursuing.
And you can determine what your target is when you examine the people you continually fellowship with.
Here is what we have to understand about the concept of aiming. Aiming isn’t accidental, it’s deliberate! You aim a gun at a target. When you play baseball or golf, you aim at a target. And, right now, your life is aimed at either a target of the world, or the target of Jesus Christ. And your aiming is not accidental, it’s purposed and deliberate.
Enoch knew this. At age sixty-five, he redirected his focus from the world around him and zeroed it upon God. Let me tell you. You can occasionally stumble upon good fortune in life. You can seem to get a ‘good break.’ But one thing you will never do accidentally is devote yourself to God and commune with Him. There’s nothing coincidental about that; it’s determined!
(Illustration) Several years ago I was traveling in the Far East. Korea. While there, I visited the Yoido Full Gospel Church. Here I was 8000 miles from home and I stumbled upon a college friend in that service. That was an unplanned meeting. However, what wasn’t unplanned was our purposed effort to walk into that Church and worship God. Directing our life at Christ and worshiping Him are never coincidental!
That’s what Paul meant when he said in Philippians 3:13‑14, “[This] one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Pleasing God requires a steady aim at God. Like an archer steadily looking over his crossbow toward the bull’s eye.
Listen carefully: God doesn’t aim at man, man aims at God! Nowhere in Scripture is God pictured imitating our fallen ways. The purpose of Christ descending from heaven to earth wasn’t to diminish Christ’s deity it was to elevate man. Jesus taught us how to love, show mercy, and speak the truth so that we could imitate that.
If you please God, it won’t be accidentally, it will be purposed and aimed!
Enoch’s Defining Moment
When I read these words of Enoch’s amazing change of character, I have to come to the conclusion something startling happened to him. He had a life-changing experience like Jacob at Bethel or Moses at the burning bush. It was a defining moment that created a desire to live in God’s presence even though the world was totally depraved.
Do you know what Enoch’s defining moment was? It was the birth of Methuselah. Here was a child with a special name. Scholars tell us his name meant “in the year of his death, it shall come!” From the moment Enoch named his son—and God must have spoken to Enoch to name his son Methuselah—Enoch knew something cataclysmic was coming. And it caused him to rearrange his entire life. It literally brought the fear of God into his life.
And people will amend their ways when they understand the wrath and retribution that’s in store for the last days. Just as God destroyed the earth with a flood, He has warned mankind of a great tribulation that will plague the end-time generation. And yet, people live without the faintest fear of His terrible coming.
When we really understand the terror of Christ’s Return it brings sanctifying presence into our lives. 1 John 3:2-3 says, “we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (3) Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” When we live with an awareness of Christ’s Return we are encouraged to live holy lives.
(Transition) But thirdly, Enoch not only changed for God and aimed for God, he proclaimed for God.
III. Enoch Proclaimed For God
People that change and aim for God want others to enjoy the peace and satisfaction that God offers. And the way others discover God’s goodness is when Christians boldly proclaim for Christ. We testify of God’s goodness. We tell of His love. And we proclaim heaven’s glories and warn of hell’s dangers. It isn’t enough to twist our heads back and forth in disgust when we see the world’s evil, we have a vocal responsibility to speak up. That’s what Enoch did. He lived in a world that was desperately depraved. In writing about Enoch Jude made it clear that he warned his generation of their wrongdoing.
(Example) If you see your child playing in the path of oncoming traffic your immediate response will be to head toward them and scream a warning. And if we love unbelievers we must warn them of the coming judgment. We’re the ones to sound the alarm.
Enoch’s Astounding Apocalyptic Prophecy
There’s an absolutely amazing prophecy Jude unveils. Turn to his book. When Enoch prophetically proclaimed to his generation he spoke of the Lord’s Second Coming. When you carefully investigate this verse it indicates that Jesus could come in our generation! Look at verse 14.
“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones.” Now you say, “How does that verse indicate Jesus could very well come in our generation”? Here’s why: Jude notes that Enoch was the “seventh from Adam.” Note that, because it’s important. He was the “seventh, from Adam.” Bible scholars agree that God has established a correlation between numbers and meaning in Scripture.
For example, the number one conceptualizes unity; two signifies difference; the number four symbolizes the totality of the earth; six represents man; the number eight signifies new beginnings; the number forty designates a human generation; and the qualitative significance of seven represents the fullness or the totality of something. It’s used to typify a completed period. This imagery is used repeatedly in Scripture:
The creation of the heavens and earth took seven days. All was completed in that time frame.
God instituted seven annual feasts for Israel. The full requirement for celebrative worship.
It took seven days of marching around Jericho and the city was completely destroyed.
Zechariah 4:10 says God looks at everything with seven eyes, that is, comprehensively.
Christ’s words in Matthew 12:43 concerning the seven evil spirits returning to a man implies total possession.
And Revelation uses the number seven frequently: there are seven Churches addressed; seven apocalyptic visions each having seven items of concern; seven angels with seven trumpets; seven seals; seven vials; seven thunders; all taking place in a seven-year tribulation-period. And then, after this recurring series of sevens, John announces the world’s termination. It’s over, everything is complete, and God’s judgment has consummated.
How does this number relate to Enoch? Again Jude 14 says: “[Enoch] the seventh from Adam,” prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones.” After six generations struggled with sin, Enoch, being of the seventh generation, was instantly translated into God’s presence. “He was not because God took him.” And after 6,000 years of human history struggling with sin this generation is entering the seventh millennia. God is just before closing the books on this side of eternity and millions of seventh millennia Christians will experience an Enoch-like translation into Heaven! God’s chariots are preparing to rumble toward man’s kingdoms!
And who will be translated at Christ’s coming? Matthew 24:31 says He’s coming for His elect:
“And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Luke 12:40 says He is coming for the prepared: “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Thessalonians 5:23 says He is coming for the blameless: “may your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And Simon agreed in 2 Peter 3:11. “…You ought to live holy and godly lives (12) as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”
1 John 2:28 says He is coming for those abiding in Him: “And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”
Revelation 3:11 says He is coming for those persevering in the faith: “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”
He is coming for those, like Enoch, who please Him.