Study 2 THE FELLOWSHIP OF FAITH – ENOCH
Studies in Hebrews Eleven
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portions: Hebrews 11:5; Genesis 5:21-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
In our first study we saw that a sinner can only enter into the presence of a holy God as he exercises faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His finished work. Faith sets aside all human efforts. Instead it trusts wholly in the revelation made in God’s Word concerning man’s need, and the provision which He has made in His Son to meet that need – look up John 3:16; Acts 4:12. We shall now see how the sinner, who by faith has come back into fellowship with God, (like Abel), by faith continued in that fellowship with Him, (like Enoch) – look up and compare Hebrews 11:5; Genesis 5:21-24. The fifth chapter of Genesis makes sad reading, until we come to verse 21, where we are introduced to Enoch, ‘the seventh from Adam’, who walked with God and lived each day in holy fellowship with Him. Adam and Eve walked with God until sin came in and broke that fellowship between the Creator and His creatures. When unbelief has robbed man of fellowship with God, faith is the link by which he is restored into fellowship with Him. Enoch’s faith enabled him to enjoy this fellowship. Notice, this is the only thing we are told about Enoch – that he ‘walked with God’; but that is the greatest achievement for anyone, to live on this earth and be in fellowship with God Himself! All down the centuries men and women have known what it is to walk with God; in our own day millions of ordinary people enjoy the same blessed fellowship with the Lord Himself. Let us ask and answer the questions: What is this fellowship like? When does it begin? How does it go on? How does it end, so far as this life is concerned?
1. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF FAITH
What were the distinguishing marks of Enoch’s walk?
- First, it was a walk with God. The word to emphasise is the word ‘with’, for this word denotes fellowship. Enoch did not walk independently but in dependence upon God. He walked with God, which implies that he went in the same direction, at the same speed, and that his life was lived in harmony with the Lord, in step with Him – look up Amos 3:3. Enoch lived in the conscious presence of God and in the centre of His will.
- Second, it was a walk that was pleasing to God. We are told this in Hebrews 11:5. Is it possible for us to know that we are living day by day in a way which is pleasing to the Lord? Yes, it is – for in His Word God has told us some of the things which are pleasing to Him. For example: (i) we can only please Him if we are born again – look up Romans 8:8; (ii) we can only please Him if we are living lives which are separate from sinful and doubtful things – look up 2 Timothy 2:4; (iii) we can only please Him by giving ourselves wholly to Him – look up Romans 12:1; and (iv) we can only please Him by obeying Him – look up Colossians 3:20, and compare John 8:29; Romans 15:3.
Enoch, then, was like any other man in that he lived on earth; but he had faith in God, and this brought him into fellowship with God and made him well-pleasing to God. When did Enoch begin this walk, this fellowship with God?
2. THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF FAITH.
Was Enoch always a believer? Did he always walk with God? It seems fairly clear from Genesis 5:21 and 22 that he began to live a life of faith at the age of 65, when Methuselah was born. What is the answer to the question that is asked in John 3:4? The answer is – yes! A man can be born when he is old – that is, he can be born again! Very often the joys and the pleasures of life lead to a man’s conversion, as possibly the birth of Methuselah led Enoch to commence a walk with God – look up Romans 2:4; but sometimes it is not the joys but the sorrows and afflictions of life which lead to a man’s conversion. Many, like the Prodigal Son, have to come to the end of their tether or into straitened circumstances before they are ready to seek the Lord and turn to Him – look up Luke 15:17-18. It may be you are in a place of great difficulty now, and that God has brought you there in order that you may turn to Him for help and deliverance. If this is so, it is only because He loves you, and wants you to seek Him and find Him and enjoy fellowship with Him – look up Isaiah 55:6-7. Why not turn to Him now and start today to walk with Him? Your name may not be Enoch, but you can do what Enoch did!
3. THE CONTINUATION OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF FAITH.
How long did Enoch walk with God? Enoch’s walk with God continued just as long as his earthly life lasted; then he stepped from earth to Heaven and faith was lost in sight. Perhaps some of Enoch’s relatives or friends who noticed that he was now walking with the Lord said, ‘It won’t last! It’s only a nine-days’ wonder!’ But Enoch’s walk with God did last; he went on and on in the fellowship of faith until, as Genesis 5:24 dramatically states, ‘he was no more; because God took him away.’ Think of it! Enoch walked with God for 300 years, for 109,500 days, for 2,628,000 hours! Did he live in a monastery? No, he had a home, a wife, children, business, pleasures, joys and sorrows, just as we have; but he had an anointed ear to hear God’s voice – look up Psalm 27:8; a heart full of love for Him – look up John 21:15-17; a will ready to obey Him – look up Acts 9:6; and he had the enabling of the Holy Spirit, just as every believer has – look up John 14:16.
4. THE CONSUMMATION OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF FAITH.
How did Enoch’s walk of faith end? As we have noticed, Genesis 5:24 tells us, ‘he was no more; because God took him away’; and in Hebrews 11:5 we are told that he ‘could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ Thus, it was only the faith aspect of Enoch’s fellowship which came to an end; the fellowship did not finish because the fellowship went on in Heaven directly it came to an end on earth! And if we walk with God down here, by faith in Him, this will be our experience also. We may have to pass through the vale of death – look up 2 Corinthians 5:8; on the other hand we may, like Enoch, go to be with the Lord without dying. But whether our bodies are in the grave or are still upon the earth, at His coming we shall be taken from this life! – look up and compare 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.