Word of Encouragement

 

ESV Genesis 5:22-24: Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. ESV 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. 6 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.

 

Beloved, are you characterized by “walking with God”? Is your life an example to others of what it means to walk with God? Are you satisfied with your walk before God in Christ today? Is your life lived well?

 

Today I want to talk with you about union and communion with God. I want us to better and more effectively to know how to walk with God in Christ in a way that perhaps you have never dreamed possible! God can do immeasurably above all that we ask or imagine- -and so let us trust God to teach us to better realize our union with Him in Jesus, and to seek to develop our communion with Him.

 

In Genesis 5, we are told of a unique man named Enoch. He is described a one who “walked with God” (Gen. 5:22, 24). Very rarely in the Bible is this used of men in their relationship to God. Noah is described as one who walked with God, and the priests who walked before God’s special presence in the Holy of Holies are described as men who walk with God (Gen. 6:9; Mal. 2:6). Enoch’s relationship was special, and Hebrews 11:5-6 tells us more specifically of what it means that Enoch walked with God.

 

Enoch was commended as one who walked with God because he lived as one who “pleased God” (Heb. 11:5). In Genesis 5, Enoch is unique in that his life does not end in death, but God takes him, or translates him to God’s special presence without undergoing the curse of death that he deserved. Genesis 5:24 teaches: “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”

 

Enoch’s being taken by God without seeing death reminds us of two important truths: (1) Although death is a curse upon mankind for sin (Gen. 2:17; 3:19- “You shall surely die”), God has the power over death and so there is hope in God for all who believe His promises that death is not the final word; and (2) Enoch may have lived a brief life (in comparison to the other people who lived during his time very long lives), nevertheless, his life was lived well, pleasing God and then continuing in communion in his life with God forever. Enoch lived well in communion with God.

 

We should understand right away that Enoch ultimately points us to his greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Adam, the Son of Seth, the Son of Enoch…and the Son of God (Luke 3:23, 37-38). Enoch’s short life (of ‘only’ 365 years!) was characterized by walking with God, pleasing God, and eternal life without seeing death, yet this life could only be possibly by faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Although Enoch did not know as much as we know today about the Lord Jesus because we live in the fullness of God’s revelation of Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-2; Gal. 4:4ff), nevertheless, he trusted God’s promises to him that were given at that particular time in redemptive history, and he lived by faith in knowing God was faithful to his promises that he had made to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15). Enoch believed the gospel good news as he knew it at his time in history, and walked by faith before the living God pleasing God with his faith.

 

God blessed Enoch and he did not see death. God favored Enoch and so he was privileged to be taken, or translated to live in eternal communion with God without seeing death.  But death was a reality for all other men in Adam (notice the phrase “…And he died” in Genesis 5 that describes the effects of the curse and heightens the contrast with Enoch’s life).

 

Although Enoch would not see death, he could not have solved the problem of death as a curse upon man. Enoch could not take away the problem of the curse of death upon mankind. Even Enoch was born into Adam’s image (Gen. 5:1-3), which means that he was conceived in sin with a sinful nature, and so he could not have died for himself or for others in order to take away the death curse that hung over mankind because of Adam’s transgression against God (Rom. 5:12, 14). As a sinner, Enoch’s life was lived by God’s grace alone; Enoch’s translation into eternal communion with God was by grace alone.

 

Even though Enoch did not see death, death was still a problem for mankind, especially in the realization of God’s gospel promises to undo the curse of sin caused by the serpent, and destroy the serpent and what he had done to Adam and His seed in his diabolical death-works (Gen. 3:15). How would death be abolished and the serpent’s work destroyed?

 

Enoch’s sinfulness in Adam, and inability to abolish death himself points to another, to the Lord Jesus Christ, Enoch’s greater son, because death could only be abolished by one who was perfect, untainted by sin and the curse of Adam, and could die under God’s condemning wrath as a sacrifice for all who believe.

 

Jesus Christ came in the fullness of time, born of a woman, born under the condemnation of the law that threatened death, in order to abolish death. Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we might be the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus entered into Adam’s genealogy (Luke 3:23-38) without the taint of sin (because he was conceived by the Holy Spirit of the substance of Mary), to do away with the curse of death by taking the curse upon Himself!

 

Jesus died, and was raised from the dead! Death could not hold him; Jesus abolished death; Jesus’s death was the death of death! We can rejoice that death that threatens all mankind in Adam has been abolished, and the sting and threat of death has been removed from the viper’s poison.

 

ESV Hebrews 2:14-15: Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

 

Jesus in his death for sinners, as the son greater than Enoch “destroyed the one who had the power of death”!

 

The Apostle Paul exults in the Gospel good news that death has been abolished not by our works, but by Christ’s work on our behalf that is received by grace alone through faith:

 

ESV 2 Timothy 1:9-10: …[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel

 

Jesus abolished death in his death so that life and immortality might be brought to all who believe. This is the great promise of life that Enoch’s translation and being taken to be with God was pointing forward to! Enoch could be taken by God and not see death, but Enoch could not take away the curse of death.

 

Praise God that we live not in a time of types and shadows as Enoch before the flood and the incarnation, but in the fullness of the time and the bright light of God’s realities in Jesus Christ! Let us rejoice in Christ’s victory over death. Although we may see death, and walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we shall fear no evil, for our death is now as merely going to sleep to awake to eternal life and communion with God for all eternity (Psalm 23:4-6; 1 Thess. 4:13-19). Some Christians will not see death when the Lord returns, but will be immediately translated as their brother Enoch before them!

 

God indeed has the power over death and this is what Enoch’s life and translation points toward in Jesus Christ. But Enoch’s life also points us to a life that is pleasing to God and one that has of communion with God not only in this present life but also in the life to come.

 

Enoch’s life points us to eternal life with God, but an eternal life with God that begins right now as we believe! Enoch’s life point us not merely to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but more fully and exhaustively and extensively to the believers’ union with Jesus Christ!

 

Now you may say to me: “Pastor, Enoch was a great man, I am an average man or woman, etc.” But I would remind you that we live on the other side of the death and resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus! No matter how “average” a man or woman you are, you are extraordinary in God’s sight compared to Enoch and the time in which He lived.

 

Enoch lived a life in union and communion with God, but Enoch could have never dreamed (unless revealed to him outside of Scripture) of the close union and communion with God that we have because of our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Enoch pleased God by walking with him by faith and believing God’s promises only imperfectly in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Jesus Christ, one greater than Enoch, and Enoch’s greater Son, walked with God perfectly and he came under the curse of death and was raised from the dead in resurrection power, not only for himself, but for all who believe both in the Old and the New Covenants!

 

Jesus Christ is a life greater than Enoch’s that gives us more than an example of what it means to walk with God, but one who walked with God and pleased God on our behalf.

 

Jesus walked with God and pleased him for us. Jesus secured our salvation and our union and communion with him. Enoch’s life points forward not merely to Christ’s resurrection, but union with Jesus Christ and all the benefits of that union! In Jesus Christ, we have one who has pleased God perfectly on our behalf. Jesus’ perfect righteousness before God that he earned in walking with God is imputed to us by faith as we receive it. God’s work in Jesus Christ is received by grace alone and we are reckoned or considered perfectly righteous in God’s sight because of Christ’s perfect life (Romans 4).

 

Christ lived perfectly walking with God and therefore in Christ we have walked perfectly with God and pleased Him in a way we could never have done as sinners. Enoch was a sinner and God imputed the righteousness of Christ to him through types and shadows that God gave to His believing people at that time in redemptive-history. We live in the fullness of the times as Christians and we can live gratefully knowing that Christ has pleased God by walking with God perfectly on our behalf.

 

Jesus has overcome and abolished death, and he has been translated, he has been raised, he has been taken, he has been resurrected to live with God in eternal communion for all eternity with the living God. In fact, Jesus is ruling and reigning at God’s right hand as King of kings and Lord of lords, and the last enemy to be conquered by him is death (1 Cor. 15:23ff- although it is already a present reality, it has yet to be fully manifested).

 

We as Christians walk with God now in union and communion with Jesus Christ by faith. The Bible teaches us that even though we still live here in this world, we are really already translated, raised, taken and resurrected to live with God.

 

Notice this truth in Colossians 3:1-4:

 

ESV Colossians 3:1-4: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

 

The Bible teaches us that as Christians we live in union and communion with God, walking with God now, and even having been translated to be with God now, in a way that Enoch would have never imagined in his “short” life! This teaches us people of God that no matter how short your life may be, no matter how insignificant you think you and your life may be, you are united to Jesus Christ by faith and already you have died with Christ and been raised up with him! Your life is greatly significant and you can be one who is defined in Christ as one who walks with God and enjoy sweet communion with this great God!

 

Colossians 3:1-4 teaches that believers like Enoch before (but much better) “have been raised with Christ” now (v. 1a), and that because of this we are to live in communion with God “seeking the things that are above” (v. 1b). Although we live in this world now, we are to live as if already translated like Enoch, because we have been translated and raised with Christ.

 

So secure is our present existence in union with Jesus that our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” and that Christ is our life (vv. 3-4a). Although we remain here, our union with Christ is so very **INTIMATE** that we live in Him and move in Him and have our very being in Him- -we are His holy temple, the special people in which He dwells by His Spirit.

 

Although we await the full realization of the abolition and destruction of death, and the full manifestation of the everlasting glory that Enoch was able to experience. Nevertheless, we are already partakers of it now in our union with Jesus.

 

As Christians, we must understand that we now live by faith in all of God’s promises in Jesus, knowing that as we live by faith in our union with Jesus, we will always please God. We are reminded in Hebrews 11:6:

 

“Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

 

Let us live by faith in Christ Jesus, and live in light of God’s promises in Scripture, let us live as if God exists and rewards those who seek Him as He has promised!

 

Like Enoch, but so much better, we can live pleasing God, and knowing that already we have been taken to be with God in a very special and unique way!

 

It can be said of believer who seeks God and lives by faith in God’s promises fully revealed in Jesus that they are “not” or “no more” “for God has taken them”. We can especially no longer be friends of this world, the world that is enmity with God (James 4:4ff), because we live in the Heavenly Places in Jesus (see also Ephesians 2:5-10).  Like Enoch, but in a way that Enoch never fully could have imagined at his time in history, we are dead in Christ and raised with Christ in our union with him, and we already live and move in the Heavenly Places by God’s Spirit here and now.

 

Can it be said of you that you “walk with God”?

 

Do you realize more of your union with God through communion with God? We should understand the distinction in our relationship to God between our union with Him and our communion with Him. Do you make this important distinction?

 

Our union with God in Jesus Christ by faith can never be broken. Our union will never fluctuate; no one, nothing can snatch us out of Jesus’ grip, and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (John 10:28ff; Romans 8:31-39). If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

But our communion with Christ because of our union must be developed; we grow into our communion just like getting to know a friend better or a parent if we are adopted into a family. In our communion with God, He is always near and promises that if we draw near to Him, he will draw near to us to commune with us (James 4:4ff).

 

We should understand that it is not that God withdraws from us who are in union with Jesus, but that we have a tendency to withdraw from him and not walk with him as we are called to do in Jesus Christ. God doesn’t move away from us, but we do and we often wander away from God from our hearts, although we are in union with him.

 

In other words, while living already translated in Jesus Christ, we can live as if we are still part of this world and not seek communion with Him as we should.

 

As we realize what Christ has done for us and how he has pleased God on our behalf, and we know how we are saved from our sinful condition, so we learn to develop our communion with the Triune God.

 

Let us remember these things as part of developing our communion with God. Meditate on these things this week, and by God’s grace and Spirit, you will find that you will please God more in your obedience (not in order to be saved, but as a manifestation of your gratitude for salvation), and you will find more joy in your journey here, just because you are already translated and are “not” because you have “been taken, like Enoch, but so much better.

 

Developing our Communion with God:  Remind yourself daily…

 

(1)   Remind yourself of the distinction between union with Christ that is unbreakable and will not fluctuate, and the communion with God that must be sought and developed.

 

(2)   Remind yourself daily that you were not seeking God, but this glorious and self-existent and wonderful God who you had lived sinning against, sought you out and initiated a relationship with you in Jesus Christ for the sake that you might know Him better.

 

(3)   Remind yourself of the interaction that should be happening in your life as you grow in the knowledge of the Triune God. Our communion with God is interactive: God works in us by His Spirit, we respond with joyful obedience; God speaks to us through His Word, we respond with thankful gratitude and walking according to His commandments; God tell us how much He loves us, we love him back by living for him and seeking to please Him.

 

(4)   Remind yourself that because God is your Father, you are a child of the living God and heir to all that Christ is heir to, and that God will lead and guide you and even chastise you because you are a dear child whom he loves and he knows better than any earthly parent what you most need.

 

(5)   Remind yourself that because Jesus is your Savior, you have a Shepherd who will never leave you nor forsake you but guard and guide you to the promised land of eternity. Because Jesus is your Savior, you have a loving Husband-Bridegroom, who has given his life for you, and has betrothed himself to you, so be faithful to you Heavenly Husband. Because Jesus is your Savior, you have a great and mighty King who is with you and will strengthen, help and uphold you in your day to day struggles. Because Jesus is your Savior, you have a dear friend who has laid down his life for you and lives to make you joyful (see John 15:11-15). Jesus calls us friends, will you not seek him, this Heavenly friend who only longs to rejoice over you and to be with you. Won’t you just be with Jesus sometimes, leaning confidently on his bosom, letting him know that you love him?!

 

(6)   Remind yourself that because the Spirit of God is with you, you may have as much of Christ as you seek in Him! The Spirit loves to talk about Jesus, minister Jesus and lead us into all the truths of Scripture about Jesus! We have the Spirit to war against our sinful flesh; we have the Spirit to comfort and console us, and to help us to pray. Won’t you seek His power to enable you to die more and more to sin, to realize the union you have with Christ and the communion with him you need to develop. Won’t you seek Him for the power to desire Him more?

 

(7)   Remind yourself to delight yourself in the LORD daily (Psa. 37:4)! The Bible says “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Is the LORD **THE** desire of your heart?! You can have more of Him the Bible says- -you can walk closer in communion with him. Can you say with the Psalmist: “Who have I in heaven but you, and what on earth do I desire but you?” (Psalm 73:23ff). You can have this kind of response to your union with Jesus and grow in your communion. Remember that what enlists a person’s affections, rules the person. This means that if God is what gets you excited, then God will rule over you. If someone or something else is loved or delighted more in and gets you excited than God, this/these things will rule you. There is no way to live for God if your affections are not given over to him and this is the urgent practical need of communion with him!

 

(8)   Remind yourself to please God in Jesus Christ in response to the Gospel message that you have died and already been seated with Christ in the Heavenlies. You no longer need the things of this world. Seek the things of Christ that are above, and beware of prosperity that tempts you to have a weak relationship with such a glorious God!

 

(9)   Remind yourself daily that God is a consuming fire and worthy to be reverenced, feared and worshipped according to His Word. Although He has been gracious in Christ, may we never presume upon His grace and the blood of Jesus, thinking that if we do, we will not be judged with great and painful consequences! Remind yourself that although God has stooped to be gracious in Christ, He is still the living God and you are to approach Him in Christ with fear and trembling (Heb. 12:25-29). May we seek never to grieve our God because of our sins- -may we never live as those who are trusting in Christ’s precious blood and living blatantly sinfully thinking that Christ’s blood can be excuses for sin and freedom to live as we please!

 

(10)                       Remind yourself daily to develop your prayer life as never before now that you know that you have already been raised, translated, and resurrected with Christ. Because your life has been hidden with Christ in God, develop your relationship with God by talking to Him all the time. Talk to God through prayer in the precious Name of Jesus in formal prayer times in your closet, on the way to work, during difficult circumstances and times during your day, and as often as you possibly can. Pray for yourself, pray for others, delight yourself in talking to the Triune God who has saved you in Jesus!

 

IN Christ, we realize that Enoch’s life of pleasing God as he “walked with God” teaches Christians today that we can all be Enochs!

 

We all can walk with God in union and communion with Jesus Christ by faith. All who are listed in Hebrews 11 are simple sinners like you and me who had both good and bad times in their lives. What set them apart from the rest of the world was their faith in God and His promises. They believed that God existed and that God rewards those who seek him.

 

Do you believe in God? Do you believe God? Do you believe God rewards those who seek Him?

 

Look to Jesus Christ and see your life!

 

Then go and live a life worth living—one that is pleasing to God as you more effectively and accurately walk with God as His child.

 

In Christ’s love,

 

Pastor Biggs

08/02/11

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