Summary: The bible commends Enoch for Pleasing God, this message will look at what it means to please God.
Walking with God
Every once in a while I will hear that someone has been elected to this hall of fame or that hall of fame. Maybe the Country Music or Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I will think “Seriously, what took them so long?” I would have assumed that they would have been there long ago. But then again nobody asked my opinion. And while I can’t speak to sports those of you who follow hockey and baseball probably have had that feeling at one time or another.
The Bible has its own hall of fame, part of it was read for you earlier. It’s found in Hebrews Chapter 11 and often it is referred to as the “Faith Hall of Fame”.
And for the most part we understand why those who are listed are listed. It starts with Abel, the younger son of Adam and Eve who offered a better sacrifice than his brother Cain did. And then for thirty five verses example after example of faithful people are given. Noah who built an ark, Abraham who became a father in his old age, and then Abraham’s son, grand son and great great grandson, that would be Isaac, Jacob and Joseph and then the author highlights Moses and the faith that he had to lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt to the promised land. And finally we read Hebrews 11:32 How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.
This is week ten of our Story of the Book series, this summer we have taken a whirlwind tour of the bible. Three weeks ago we landed in the New Testament.
And now we are in the section most often called the General Epistles, or General Letters. These are the letters in the New Testament that weren’t written by Paul and they include. Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John and the book of Jude.
For the most part it has been accepted that James the brother of Christ wrote the book of James, Peter the apostle wrote 1 and 2 Peter, John the Apostle wrote 1, 2 and 3 John and Jude, another brother of Christ, was the author of Jude. Jude of course is the diminutive of Judas and was used to avoid association with the one who betrayed Christ.
Nobody really knows who wrote the book of Hebrews, many would suggest that it was the apostle Paul but there are enough differences between this letter and others that he wrote in writing style and structure to cast at least a shadow of doubt.
Among the suggestions of who the writer may have been Priscilla is gaining more and more acceptance, and if that is the case she would be the only female writer of the New Testament. The letters were written between 45 and 90 AD.
The earliest being written by James and the latest being written by John while he has exiled on the Island of Patmos.
And so for this section we are landing in the book of Hebrews in one of my favourite chapters. In most of the stories that are told in Hebrews 11 there are some really neat things happening, nations begin, arks are built, and people are rescued. But listen again to the scripture that was read earlier Hebrews 11:5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—”he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.
That sounds like something out of x-files. “Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying.” You might say “there he was and then there he was, gone.”
That is so cool and it’s even cooler in the King James Version because it reads Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Enoch was translated. I’ve had my words translated, and we all know what that means. You speak using words from one language and they are repeated in a different language. One night on my first trip to Africa my friend Nick Graham spoke in English, his words were translated into a second language and then another person translated them into a third language.
So we know that when you translate a language the message remains the same but the words used are different. In the original language the word used meant “To change, or to turn”. Before H.C. Wilson returned to be our district superintendent he gave oversight to the Wesleyan Church worldwide and I heard him refer on some occasions to translators as “Word Turners”