"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. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."
Our Next Example Of Faith: Enoch
Enoch Pictures Our Future Resurrection To Immortality
"Hebrews chapter 11. We journeyed as far as the fifth verse, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (verses 1-3) We came to Abel last week, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of [upon] his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." (verse 4) "By faith Enoch" what an interesting character he is. "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. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (verses 5-6) So we're assuming that it was in his faith that he pleased God, because without faith it's impossible to please him. By faith, Enoch was translated, it tells us three times in that verse (verse 5) he was "translated", ah, he was caught away, he was taken, he was snatched away, he was taken somewhere else. The first time, in regards to Enoch himself, "by faith Enoch was translated" that's passive, it means that it didn't have anything to do with him. And the next two are active, but they're relative to God, because he was the one who did the "translating." Ah, Enoch was not translated because he had faith to be translated, no one had ever been translated, and he had no idea that it was going to happen in his life. He wasn't walking around believing 'One of these days I'm just going to disappear.' That wasn't it. His faith was towards God, ah, interesting character. I'm going to read a few verses, and then we'll look at him. We have this testimony in Genesis 5, "And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:" so he was sixty-five when he had his first son, "and Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all of the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (verses 21-24) Jude tells us this in regards to Enoch, "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam," now it tells us that because there's an Enoch in Cain's line too, this is in Seth's line, "Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints," so Enoch, the first one to clearly give testimony of the fact that he sees the Lord coming, returning with ten thousands of his saints, "to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude verses 14-15) And then we have our testimony in Hebrews that Enoch, by faith, was translated. Interesting guy, he breaks the pattern that we have for the first 1500 years in Genesis chapter 5, "and he died." Adam begat Seth, "and he died," Seth begat Enosh "and he died," Enosh begat Lamech "and he died," you go through everyone, "and he died." Because God said 'in the day you eat thereof thou shalt surely die,' death entered into the race. The one who breaks that pattern is Enoch, he's the first one in the Bible where it doesn't say "and he died." He was translated, he was walking with God somewhere, and he disappeared, God took him into the heavenly realm, just took him, "and he was not," that's all that it says. He breaks that pattern. He's unique in this, there's only two people in the Scripture that is says "and they walked with God", one is Enoch, and one is Noah. So he's in exclusive company. There's only two that it specifically says "they pleased God," one is Enoch and one is Jesus Christ, interesting. Three times we're told that he's translated, we're told twice that "he walked with God, he walked with God." If you take a collegiate dictionary or Webster's Dictionary it gives a number of definitions for what it means "to walk." One is, in the baseball field, when there's four balls, that's a walk. We're not interested in that. One says "to go or to travel on foot at a moderate pace," I like that because I don't get to do much at a moderate pace in my life [having a congregation where 30,000 have come to the Lord in can make the pastor busier than the proverbial one-armed paper-hanger]. One says "to advance by steps." Now we can make great application to that, to our Christian experience, "to advance by steps." But it's interesting, then they write this "to walk relates to a course of life, as, 'To walk humbly with thy God.'" And it says "That walk is in a moral or spiritual sense." And certainly that's the sense it's talking about when it points us to Enoch, that "he walked with God." It must mean that he had fellowship with God, that he had faith, that he believed God like Abel did, because 'without faith it's impossible to please God, and his testimony is that he pleased God.' When Enoch was born, Adam was 630 years old. You have to realize, everybody's family at this point. Adam's still alive, so when he's born Adam is 630 years old, when Adam died Enoch was 308 years old, he had been walking with the Lord a hundred and some years by then. It says he had a son named Methuselah when he was 65. And it says after that kid was born, then he walked with God 300 years. Now we don't know about the first 65 years. His son's name, Methuselah, means "when he dies, it shall come." So God revealed something to him, and told him 'The earth is only going to live as long as your son is. When your son dies, judgment will come upon the world, I'm going to judge the world.' That gives us an indication, we hear of 'The Days of Noah, and before the Flood,' that's when Enoch lived. So evidently the world was corrupt enough at that time that he understood something of the fact that when this happens, 'When my son dies, the entire world is going to die along with him, is going to be judged.' So that might be an indicator of why, when he was 65 years old and he had Methuselah, and after he begot Methuselah he walked with God. Because if God gives you a baby, and when he gives you a baby, he says 'Name him "When he dies it shall come,' because when this kid dies the whole world is going to die, judgment is going to come,' if God revealed that to you nice and clear you would tend to walk with God then, after that, and watch that kid. 'You know, honey, don't let him fall, keep him away from the steps, keep him away from the pool, 'How do you feel, do you have a sore throat? Do you have a fever, do you have a cold?'' Something ended up in his heart. God revealed it to him. Now here's the interesting point, of course, one of the things we know about Methuselah. And it's such a remarkable demonstration of God's grace. Methuselah lived longer than any other human being that ever lived. God said, 'When this kid dies, judgment is going to come,' and then that kid lives longer than any human has ever lived. What a picture of God's grace. You know, sometimes we look at the world we're living in, and we're grieved by it, and we think 'They're lucky that, aren't they, that we're not God,' because we'd have straightened a few things out by now. And the world was corrupt in Noah's day. This kid comes, when this kid dies, judgment's going to come. And then he lives for over 900 years, God is so longsuffering, he is so patient. What would you do if you had that kid? Would it change your life? You know, because when you have kids that are two-years-old, it's remarkable they live to be three. You know, you want to get them helmets and knee-pads, and it's amazing what they can bang their heads on, and cut their heads open with, you know. When you go to the cast guy at Children's Hospital and he knows your kid by his first name, you know. The cast guy down at Children's, Joe the cast guy said to one of my kids, "I'm only putting this one on once," because the cast before that he had to put on three times by the time six weeks were over. What would you do with that kind of a warning? You know, we have that kind of a warning. Jesus gives us in great detail things to look for, and says 'When you see these things begin to take place, lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.' He does in fact give us the details, so you and I would know, 'Hey, we're going to be translated, the Rapture's'…'Ah, come on, Enoch was only one person,'…'Oh, so are we.' 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?' We are the Body of Christ, we also are just one Body when it's time to be translated [body of believers, made up of whomever God has placed his Holy Spirit inside, cf. Romans 8:1-11---and I don't care which particular denomination you attend, if God's Holy Spirit indwells you as an individual, you are part of the Body of Christ, which Body transcends and spans across denominational lines]. And we live in the days when those things could take place. We look around, we see what's going on in the world, we should know our redemption draweth nigh. Enoch walked with God, in the spiritual sense, morally. You know, just, I'm sure he made progress step by step, but the point was, in his heart, he walked with the Lord. He was cognizant of the fact that things would never just continue to go on as they were without change, that God would have to bring change, because of the conditions. [And one of our pastor's 30-something daughter, an innocent soul, was just murdered in cold blood by a repeated sex offender who had violated parole, in the Mid-West, where things are not supposedly as bad as on the East and West Coast of the U.S.A. It brings it all home. Things are worse in Africa, Central, South America, and the Middle East, where life is extremely "cheap" as they say, and that's not even looking at SE Asia.] And in that, he sought God, evidently, by faith.
'He Who Cometh To God Must Believe That He Exists, And That He Becomes A Rewarder Of Those Who Diligently Seek Him'
He pleased God. "But without faith it is impossible to please him:" it says. So he walked with him, no doubt, in faith. "for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (verse 6) And the idea is 'continually comes to God, must believe two things,' King James says "that he is" and "he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him." But those words are different. If you're going "to come to God" you have to believe two things: Number One, "that he is," that word is "that he exists." If you're going to come to God, if you're going to seek him, the first base is, you've gotta believe he's really there. Or why would you do it (seek him)? Secondly, it says "that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him." "he who cometh to God must believe" Number One, "that he exists," and Number Two, not that he is, but "that he becomes a rewarder of those who diligently seek him." Evidently Enoch believed that. Now that's a great plaque. 'He who cometh to God must believe that he exists, and that he becomes a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.' That challenges me. Do I diligently seek him? Oh, I seek him. Do I diligently seek him? It's a challenge for my heart, because I have to say 'No, I need to seek him more diligently.' Of course I believe he's there. But do I believe in my heart, that he will become to greater and greater degrees in my life, a rewarder as I diligently seek him? Enoch, what's the lesson? One of the lessons is, it must be hard around your family to tell them what you believe is happening in the world. Everybody was family at this in time, and Enoch had a testimony that he pleased God. And that set him aside from a corrupt world. And you and I think, 'Man, it's hard to keep our testimony for five years, for ten years.' How about for 300 years? 'I'm just trying to be a good witness, it's been 275 years now, I'm just trying to be a good witness.' 300 years. He may have been a lousy witness for the first 65 years, maybe that's why God gave him a kid named "When he dies it will come." But after that kid was born, for 300 years he walked with God. I don't know how long he would have lived. God took him. [It's speculated that if God hadn't taken him, he would have been murdered, as Abel was for his testimony and God didn't want that to happen to him.] God reached into that generation, saw what was happening, and he took hold of Enoch, and he took him right into eternity. [Various parts of the Body of Christ believe differently on that last statement. We'll find out more after the Rapture/1st resurrection to immortality, whenever that occurs in the prophetic scheme of things.] Enoch was walking, snap! he was gone. Remarkable.
'By Faith Noah, Being Warned Of God, Prepared An Ark & Saved His Family'
Next verse says, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (verse 7) Noah is the only one who begins and ends with faith. And when we think of what happened in his life, I think that's pretty fitting. He begins and ends with faith. Genesis 6 tells us about Noah, a few things that we want to look at in regards to Noah. It says, "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." (Genesis 6:3) That's the era that Noah lived in. God was saying 'In 120 years judgment would come.' "And God saw the that wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." (Genesis 6:5-7) "But Noah found grace" and that's the first time the word "grace" is used in the Bible, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." Any of this sound familiar? "And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch." (verses 8-14) and then he goes on and gives lots of directions in regards to that. [And by the way, it was a perfectly designed ship, meant to maintain stability without propulsion or steering in rough seas. The naval architecture of the pre-Incarnate Christ was equal to or superior to anything any of the world's navies would build for 4,000 years.]
There's A Warning Attached To The Life Of Noah
Jesus tells us this in regards to Noah, 'As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be, for as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, and marrying, and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ark…until the day, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away. So shall also the coming of the Son of man be.' And again, we're told this, in the 3rd chapter of 2nd Peter, it says, 'Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, mockers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming, for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.' For this they are willingly ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water, and in the water, whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished. The heavens and the earth are now by the same Word kept in store reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.' So as we look at Noah in Hebrews chapter 11, and God tells us there's something we're to learn in regards to our own walk, we have several other places in the New Testament that tell us there's a warning attached to the life of Noah. We're told that, that there's something for us to learn. Jesus said that, 'Take note of Noah and the days that he lived in,' ah, Peter tells us the same thing. Noah's faith, what he's telling us, is a faith that responded to a warning that God had given. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, preparing an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Hebrews 11, verse 7) Noah responded to God's warning by faith. Same word that's used with God warning the wise men that they should return a different way because Herod was pursuing them. God warned Mary and Joseph to take the child Jesus down into Egypt. It's a typical word. However it happened, somehow God spoke to Noah. Noah found grace in his eyes, God communicated to him, and challenged him, and warned him about things, it says, that had not happened as of yet. It tells us in Genesis 2 it had never rained. Something was going to happen that had never yet, that's an important word, happened, and Noah responded. You know, 'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,' we're told in Romans. Noah didn't respond to his generation or to the circumstances. It's interesting, because it tells us in Genesis a couple times, the earth was filled with violence, the imagination of man's heart was only continually evil. And yet Jesus says the other thing about those days is that people were eating and drinking, and giving in marriage, and he says, 'Don't be desensitized,' you're warned, watch, because those are the days that we live in, right now [and even more so ten years after Pastor Joe gave this sermon series on Hebrews 11]. The earth is filled with violence, but it's thousands of miles away from us most of the time, we watch it on the evening news, morning news, and we get desensitized. Those are real faces and real human beings, and real moms and real dads and kids and grandma's and aunts and uncles, orphans being made, people being maimed [and slaughtered] and the earth is filled with violence. But here we go on eating and drinking and getting married, and there are places all over the world where life is going on as usual, too. And it said those things happened together, until the day. And that there's something for you and I to learn about that, as we look at it. We should be able to look at the world that we live in, through the lens of Scripture, and the lesson of Noah, and say 'I need to be vigilant and sober. I can't take for granted that things are just going to roll along.' Because in Noah's day, we're supposed to learn a lesson from the unbelievers in Noah's day, that they didn't take heed to what they heard.
'He Was Warned, And Moved With Fear'---Fear Is Not A Bad Word
You know, Noah's the only man in the Bible that's called 'a preacher of righteousness.' He wasn't preaching the Gospel, he was preaching righteousness. He wasn't saying 'This big boat in my driveway is Good News.' It was bad news. And nobody understood that. He was a preacher of righteousness, and evidently it was in his obedience to God that that took place. He moved with fear, it says. He was warned, and then he was moved with fear. We go to a lot of trouble sometimes, and I understand it to say that word means "reverence", it means "awe." And it does. But fear is not a bad word. God appears to you, and says, 'Build a boat because I'm gonna drown the whole world,' fear's not a bad word to put in the equation. It's not cowardice, and it's not cowering, that's not the word. And certainly it reflects reverence and awe, but fear's a healthy word there. God somehow, clearly, communicated to Noah, that the end of things were coming, that he would not continue to strive with man, in his rebellion against God. And God gave him instructions to build this boat [in naval architectural terms, it was a full-sized ship], and Noah was warned in regards to the Word of God, not the circumstances. It wasn't the circumstances. You can look at our world, eating and drinking, taking in marriage, violence, that's not what's going to warn us, it's the Word of God that warns us. Yes, those are signs of the seasons we live in, but it's the Word of God that gives us a warning. And God speaks clearly to us. Look, that has to be a real thing, because if that's a real thing, we're not going to live in sin, we're not going to live in compromise, we're not going to be sitting around doing stuff on the computer we shouldn't do [i.e. online porn], we're not going to live in that world, because God is clearly speaking to us. And we don't have any excuses. You know scientists who study crows have figured out, you know, they have to figure out something if you give your life to studying crows, to come up with something, you know. 'I studied crows my whole life.' 'What did you learn?' 'Nothing.' They figured out they have at least twelve different cries, they mean different things, they kind of communicate. But they have a particular cry that's a warning when there's danger. So you'll see a whole bunch of them sitting in a field and the trees, and one of them will start giving out this cry, and you'll see them all go, because there's a warning, and they understand it. Now, I guess it's a different group of scientists, I don't know, they figured ducks have the same thing, I read. And you'll see that, a whole bunch of ducks somewhere, and one of them will go off, 'Quack, quack, quack, quack!' and they'll all start flying, they'll all head out of town. And another group of scientists, I imagine, monkeys have the same thing. They'll all be in a tree somewhere, and they have different screams, but there's one scream that means danger, it's a warning, and you'll see one scream and they'll all go crazy and act like monkeys, and everybody goes crazy. Well God respects us so much that he's given us in writing, and the conviction of his Spirit, he's given us the warning. I mean, if crows are smart enough, and monkeys are smart enough, we've gotta respond. And he's written it down, he said, 'This is what it'll look like, this is what to watch out for, I want you to be on your toes, you will have an internal witness from my Holy Spirit.' And new-believers all over the world, that are just starting to study the Scripture, they have a sense of the days that we live in. [especially if they live in the Ukraine or one of the other "hot-spots" in the world.] "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear," and it says he "prepared an ark to the saving of his house," (verse 7a) now that's not like preparing a turkey dinner, because it took him 120 years to prepare the ark. That's what I call "moved with fear." I don't know about you, I got saved in '72, read 'Great Satan' and 'Late Great Planet Earth,' you know [Hal Lindsey stuff], and didn't everybody cool off, we thought Jesus was coming. I got saved in '72, we thought for sure, by '81 he's got to be there. [Comment: I had just been baptized, saved in 1970, attending the Worldwide Church of God, and due to reading such books as William and Paul Paddock's Famine 1975! we honestly had come to some conclusions, believing the Tribulation was going to start in 1972. But then the Green Revolution started by Norman Borlag forestalled what definitely would have been the beginnings of worldwide famine, and we had the proverbial prophetic egg on our faces. The Paddock brothers prognosis wasn't wrong, it just hasn't happened yet, just like prophecy. The whole Christian world, and not just Worldwide was believing along these same lines, which is why one must never attempt to set specific dates for Jesus' return. As Jesus said, no man knows the day or the hour of his return. You can know the season, like we're in now, "as in the days of Noah." And then we cooled off, and our growth as a church denomination sort of hit a plateau.] And then we cooled off. We were all Hippies, we all became Yuppies, we were anti-establishment, then we all collected stuff, then we needed the police to protect our stuff, somehow we got off course and we lost track of everything, and cooled. For 120 years he built this boat [ship, Pastor Joe, full-sized ship], worked on this boat. Now, I think it was tough. Four hundred and fifty foot long. I mean, is he doing this in his driveway? Next to his house? Four hundred and fifty foot long, cutting down trees, in the desert, it had never rained. He's got one helper, named Methuselah, and his name means "when he dies it will come." [laughter] So, no pressure Noah, just you know. And Methuselah is like 849 years old when they started working on the ark. OK? So imagine this guy walking on a scaffold with a bucket of pitch or something, 'Oh, no, no, we're not done, you can't fall off of there!' So after 20 years of working with Methuselah then he starts to have kids, figures he's gotta build the labour force. You know, it's going at a slow pace, he had Shem, Ham and Japheth who ended up all working on the ark with him. So, God has warned us [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/Prophets_Prophecy.html and read all the 2nd coming prophecies in that section. Talk about God warning us in his Word, just look at all the specific warnings that pertain to the great tribulation, World War III, and the second coming of Jesus Christ].
We Have To Occupy Until He Comes, Living Our Lives As If He's Coming Today, As Well As If He Were Coming In Fifty Years
What if it takes 100 years? People say, 'Well I don't know, if the Lord's coming back, why should I even go to college? If the Lord's coming back, why should I get married?' Look, Noah knew the Lord was coming, and had three kids in the process. We have to occupy until he comes, we have to live our lives as though Christ is coming today, and we have to live our lives as though he's coming fifty years from now. That's the challenge. Noah lived that way for 120 years. And you've got to figure, after fifty or sixty years, what were his neighbours doing? 'Yo! Old man! Whacko! What are you doing?' 'Building a boat.' 'A boat, huh? Do you notice we live in a desert!? What are you going to do with a boat? How you going to get it into the water?' 'I don't need to get it to water, it's going to rain.' 'What's rain?' he could have said it's going to gesnork. It had never done it, nobody knew what that was. [Comment: The Bible says it hadn't rained since the time of creation to the Flood. Obviously the earth had been watered by dew and had river systems of some kind. We know of four rivers coming out of Eden before the flood. But again, this is taking the Word of God in faith as being true. It's not a major point in theology, and we'll learn more after the 2nd coming about the actual circumstances.] 'It's gonna rain!' 'Really. Water's gonna fall out of the sky, huh? Hmmm.' And you know, you've got to figure after 40, 50, 60 years, they probably started to have like we have Memorial Day, Labor Day, they probably started to have Ark Day, when the whole community got together, 'Hey, he's been working on it 60 years now, we'll have a big picnic, everybody gathered around,' 'Hey old man, what are you doing?' Every tree in the neighbourhood is gone, [loud laughter], spotted owls have moved to another country. 'What kind of boat is that, buddy, there's no mast, no sail, no rudder, no steering wheel, no anchor, whose the captain? How are you going to keep from having a shipwreck?' And how many of us feel that way sometimes, no sail, no mast, no rudder, no steering, no anchor, whose the captain? I'm working on this, working on this, working on this Lord, and it seems like it's taking forever to…[I feel that way about this site, which is going on 20 years now, 1995 to present, almost 2015]. Well we know who the captain was [for Noah]. We know whose hand was on that boat. And we know where it landed. It tells us in the mountains of Ararat. 'You don't believe this, do ya?' Yeah, I do. A few years ago I was invited to go. I asked my wife, 'Honey, do you mind if I go to Turkey to look for the Ark?' [laughter], you know, because I figure there's a good barometer, because she's going to say 'No, you're out of your mind.' But she said, 'Oh no, go on.' [laughter] And it was someone here who goes to church, friends with the head of the Russian Geological Survey Team who was a born-again Christian, who said, "I've been there before. During Czar Nicholas' day we had a thousand men there for a month. Every fourth or fifth year, on Ararat the snows die back far enough, and for the last two weeks in August, and first two weeks in September the Ark is sticking out of the glacier. It's at the top of what's called the Ahora Gorge, it's at about 15,000 foot, and it is visible every fourth or fifth year, and you have a three to four week window to get in there. Marco Polo in his writings, when he passed Saint Jacob's Monastery, which was at the bottom of the mountain, the monks there had all kinds of stuff from going up to the Ark, artifacts that were there. In 1840 there was a huge earthquake, and the whole side of the mountain came down and buried Saint Jacob's Monastery, it's called the Ahora Gorge today, and right at the top of that, evidently, is where it is. Ah, we have a video in the lending library, and there's testimony from folks that were on Air Force One during Jimmy Carter's day, and there was a plane flying from what was Belgrade, Yugoslavia to Tehran, and as Air Force One was going by Ararat, the pilot said, "Oh, the Ark's visible today, if you look out the right-hand side you can see it." And he said everybody ran to the right-hand side of the plane, it was sticking out of the glacier. The team that I had been invited to go with fell apart because Russia put missiles on Cyprus and it created hostility with Turkey and the whole thing just kind of collapsed. Ah, Dave Lacomp is in with some of the Kurds and some of the folks in Turkey, and he said, "Oh yea, we've been up there, my grandfather's been up there," they know where it is. Nobody talks about it, because the Koran says it's on a different mountain. But they know where it is. I asked someone in the church "Can you ask some of your friends if you can get me some photographs," he came back and said "They won't relinquish anything." He said "They have great shots of it, but they don't want anybody to see how good our resolution is, so I can't get any pictures of it." [this would be our military intel satellites]. Peter says, 'They are willingly ignorant that God destroyed the world with a flood.' There are people in government, and in the intelligence community that know for a fact that thing is sitting up there, and for it to be 15,000 foot up in the air, water had to cover this whole ball of dirt. There are 270 tribes, cultures, villages from around the world that have ancient records of a worldwide flood, 270 that anthropologists have turned up. Do I believe it's there? I believe it's there. I don't have to see it to believe it's there. I mean I can sit here tonight and believe it's there. Sure it would blow my mind to stand there and look at it or walk inside of it. But yea, I believe that it's there. Our lives, by faith, it says, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet," something that had never happened, he was being warned of, "moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (verse 7) Warned, faith warns us, it says, and faith responds. Salvation could be the fruit of that, his house was saved, condemned the world by his faith, he was saying this world is due for judgment. And he becomes the heir of righteousness, the inheritor of the promises of God. That's the same course that we're on, same course that we're on. We're told there are things for us to learn and be warned of in these days. Noah, a guy who was able to stand, and take some heat for his long commitment. His verse begins with faith, ends with faith, there is a long commitment between those words.
God's Call Is Always 'Get Thee Out Of' and 'Get Thee Unto Something'---The First Part Of God's Calling Is Always 'Get Thee Out'
Abraham, his call, verse 8, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." The call of Abraham. I couldn't count the number of times mentioned in the Old Testament, you go to the Strong's Concordance, you look up Abraham, hundreds of times his name is mentioned. His name is mentioned 74 times in the New Testament. It's mentioned 188 times in the Koran. Abraham is at the center of three faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. All of that because of one thing. He was the friend of God, it says. He's got no claim to fame. He didn't turn water to blood, he didn't call down fire from the sky, he didn't part the Red Sea, he did none of that stuff. He wasn't like Joseph who ruled over all the land of Egypt, or Daniel over Babylon. He's got no claim to fame, he's a guy who lived in obscurity, he was a younger son, he had an older brother which had the prominent place in a family. He didn't have any kids, even though he was older, until God got ahold of him. He arrives in Canaan when he's 75 years old. Never too late to get started. He's a city boy. He grows up in Ur of the Chaldees. Now Sir Leonard Woolsey had a major expedition, the University of Pennsylvania was involved, excavated Ur of the Chaldees and found some of the most sophisticated writing, sophisticated math, they found a trigonometry problem that two universities, Cambridge and Oxford still haven't solved. They found Pathagorum's theory only 1500 years before Pythagoras lived, so it wasn't called Pathagorum's theory, but they found it in Ur of the Chaldees, with the equations, of how it worked. They found medicine. They found art that was mind-boggling, public bath-houses, the main god, Sin, but it's not Sin like sin, but the Moon god. Abraham, we're told in Joshua chapter 24, it says this, Joshua said to all of the people, he's challenging them before he passes off the scene, "Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood" the Euphrates "in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac." Abraham was not a Jew, there were no such things [people] as Jews. Abraham was an idolatrous Gentile who lived in Ur of the Chaldees. Now there are remnants of stories even in Ur, religious tradition about a God, a creator, we find that in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the flood, there's some of that stuff there. But they worshipped primarily this moon god. And there was filthy worship involved with it. And here is Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees. It tells us in Acts chapter 7, Stephen gives us some things that no one else does. He says, he said, "Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charan, and said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee." (Acts 7:2-3) Abraham is an idolatrous Gentile living in Ur of the Chaldees, Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor worshipped other gods. Joshua 24, verse 2 and 3. There is no reason in human logic why God appeared to this guy, 'the God of glory appeared to him in Ur of the Chaldees,' revealed himself, and called him. But there's no human logic why he called any of us either, except for his love and his sovereignty. And maybe some day, as it says, we will know even as we have been fully known. But he calls Abraham, I think to remove all of our excuses. His call to Abraham is the same as his call to us, it is 'Get thee out, and get thee unto,' you read it in Genesis 12, you read it in Acts chapter 7, you read it right here. He says "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." (Hebrews 11:8). So God's calling is always 'Get thee out of, and get thee unto something.' It's his calling to us today. No mission board, no monthly check, no map, no Rand McNally, no Calvary Chapel list, no, he just says 'Get out of your country, get out from amongst your kindred, get out from these idolaters, leave your idols behind, get you out to a place that I will show thee.' Now imagine what this is saying. The God of glory appears to Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees and says 'Get thee out unto a place that I'll show you.' So, Abe starts packing. He rents the Ur-Haul, he's got the Ur-Haul in front of his house, loading it up. Terah's there, Abe's there, Lot's there, Sarai his wife is there, we don't know if there's any kids there. He get's everything loaded up, getting everybody to go potty, we're ready to leave, the kids' got the PBJ's, they're loading this all up, their neighbours are saying, you know, 'Are you going to send us your new address?' And Abe's saying, 'Ah, yea when I get there.' 'Hey, you left your idols, they're all sitting there, why'd you leave your idols, you're not taking your idols, that's strange.' "I found the True and Living God, I don't need those idols anymore." 'Really?' 'Where's he sending you?' 'Don't know. West.' Serai said, 'Honey, ah, you didn't mention to me that he didn't tell us where we're going, this God that appeared to you in glory.' [poor Abe] You can imagine, that's enough to make your wife comfortable. He didn't say. Just 'Go.' But you know there's something about that in our lives too. What's it like for you to try to tell your relatives that God's revealed himself to you? 'He has a calling on my life, I sense his calling.' 'What does that mean? Calling you where?' 'I don't know.' You sound just as crazy. That's why it's good to come here, because we can talk to each other here. [laughter] We can have this conversation, pat each other on the back.
God's Calling Is A Progressive Revelation
Now "get thee out" is not probably the more difficult part of the calling for us, but by faith, Abraham when he was called, it's 'being called.' You know, God appeared to him in Ur of the Chaldees, but then God continued to prod him is the idea. And God's calling is like that. I know what I'm doing here tonight, I know what I'm doing Sundays, I know God's called me to pastor this flock, but I don't feel like his calling is done. I get up every morning and still feel there's more to do, and still wonder what that means. And he doesn't give me a five-year plan and a ten year plan and long-range goals, he didn't give me any of that. God's calling is a progressive revelation. If you will give every day to Jesus Christ with all of your heart, you will find yourself ultimately in the middle of what he has called you to do, because he leads. The shepherd is never dependent on the IQ of the sheep, just that their heart is willing to follow.
The First Part Of God's Calling Is Always 'Get Thee Out'
The first part of God's calling is always 'Get thee out.' And you can define that for yourself. You know, depending on when you get saved, you know it's 'Get thee out of drugs, get thee out of this, get thee out of this nonsense,' sometimes it's 'Get thee out of your old friends that you spend all your time with.' If you're a Christian today and God is calling you, you know he's telling you to do something, at least you don't know where you're going, but you know that you've got to get thee out of some things, you know you've got to leave some idols behind. You know there are things that you need to let go of. And God leads us a step at a time. Where is he leading unto? Well, it says he sojourned in the land of promise as a stranger. He got to Canaan when he was 75 years old, and he lived in Canaan until he was 175, so he followed God for 100 years, and never got to where he was going. Because the first part of God's calling is always two-fold. The first part of it is, he's called us to the Pilgrimage, that's the first thing. A fugitive is someone whose running from home. A vagabond is somebody that has no home. A foreigner is someone whose away from home. But a pilgrim is someone whose going home. I can say it again, I think. A fugitive is someone whose running from home. A vagabond is somebody with no home. A stranger, a foreigner is someone whose away from home. And a pilgrim is someone whose going home. So we are strangers and pilgrims, we're foreigners, we're away from home, but we're also pilgrims, we're going home. So God's calling is in regards to our pilgrimage, and the first step is always 'Get thee out,' and we can all think about that this evening. And God is willing to use any of us, there's no excuses, 'I'm too old.' Really, I don't think so. Ah, I don't have any degrees, Abraham had no claim to fame except he walked with God, he was God's friend. There's nothing, we have no excuses.
'Get Thee Unto' Is Two-Fold
So it's always 'Get thee out,' and 'Get thee unto' is two-fold. The first part of that is going to be "the sojourning, the pilgrimage." And it went on in his life for a hundred years. The final part of it is always "the arrival," and that's in glory, face to face with our Saviour, 'looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.' The second part of the "get thee unto" is always the arrival. It isn't in this world, we're never really settled in this world. [And as we saw in the first transcript in this series, that arrival will be outside of Time & Space, the Space-Time Continuum, our arrival at that heavenly city the New Jerusalem.] We're called to a particular mission field, Philly's my mission field. I don't feel done, there's other things to do. I will feel done, as David says, I'll be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness "(cf., Psalm 17:5). When we see him face to face, that's when we arrive, that's the end of the "get thee out, and get thee unto."
Hebrews 11 Doesn't Record The Negatives, What They Did In The Flesh
Isn't it interesting, you read through this, and we will next week head into Abraham and Sarah and the whole scene. There's no mention here of the fact that Abraham took a detour. He went to Haran, he was there for years until Terah his father died. God said 'Get thee away from thy kindred.' Well he's dragging his father, and his nephew Lot along with him, and instead of going to Canaan he goes to Haran, which means "to delay," that's what the word means. It means "to be parched" also. He's there, for a number of years. No mention of that here. He goes from there, he finally comes into Canaan, when he gets in Canaan there's a famine, and what does he do? He heads to Egypt. When he gets to Egypt, he says to Sarah his wife, 'By the way, if anybody asks, say you're my sister,' because the Egyptians didn't believe in adultery, so if they thought you were attractive, they would kill your husband, and then when they took you it wasn't adultery, it was very simple. Now Sarah, Sarai was his half-sister, so it's really a half-truth, but please understand that a half-truth is a full-blown lie, always. A half-truth is a full-blown lie. Abraham says 'If anyone when we get down there, if they ask, say you're my sister.' And you know they get into this big pickle, Pharaoh's got her, he's giving Abraham cattle and goods and thanking him, 'Your sister's wonderful, here take more stuff,' and Sarah's going 'Oye vay.' And finally God has to give a dream to Pharaoh, and he comes to Abraham and says 'What did you do!? You almost got me killed! Get out of here!' Back to the land of promise. Sarah's probably saying, 'God told you to come here, we left the city, here we are, we're living in tents, we're running around, you give Lot the best part of the land, we get delayed for years, we get here and there's a famine. And what about the rest of this story, we're going to have a kid? You know, come on, Abraham, you're 90 years old, you know, I'm in my late 70s [she was actually 81 when he was 90], we're all dried up, what's the kid stuff here?' She says, 'Take Hagar, let's help God.' So Abraham goes into Hagar and Ishmael's born. There's been trouble ever since. [Ishmael is the father of the Arab race.] None of that is mentioned here.
Abraham's Calling Removes All Of Our Excuses
Because this is by faith. And it takes away your excuses. 'Well I'm too old.' No you're not. Abraham was 75 years old when he got to Canaan. How old was he when God said "get thee out and get thee unto"? God can do that in our lives when we're 15 or when we're 85. [We had a member in our church who was called by God in his 90s, I used to take sermon notes for him in services because he had difficulty taking notes. To my recollection he lived for about ten years, and died in the faith, and strong in the faith, Mr. Eggleston.] Corey ten Boom started her ministry very late in life, and touched the world. Don't ever think you're too old. You know, because 75 is just, you're just settling down then, just got the widescreen TV, kids are gone, got some CD's, money set aside, got an electric toothbrush, everything's just kind of, and all of a sudden God says 'OK, let's go, pack it all up,' he can do that. And Abraham changed the world. 'Well you don't understand, I've just delayed for so long, I've taken detours, I've put it off,' no, no, no, no, it doesn't matter. 'I went down to Egypt, you know I tried to follow God, I got into the Promised Land, and there was a famine, it was tough, and I headed back to Egypt. It's been a mess, I've got people lying, the whole thing's, it was hard, but I flaked out.' No excuses, please, no excuses. That's what Abraham's doing, he's taking all of our excuses away, he's speaking to us from the Book of Hebrews, he's taken all of our excuses away. 'Well I tried to be in ministry, nothing ever works out,' yea, you tried in the flesh, you tried to be God's little helper. Because when God does it, it works. Your own agenda, your own thing. Let me tell you something, what the text is telling us is we can today, listen, with all of our failings, idolatry, whatever age we are, whatever's going on, whatever mistakes we've made, if you'll listen, God will say to you 'get thee out, and get thee unto.' And all of your delays, and all of your backsliding to Egypt, and all of the things you've done in the flesh, will not be on your record, they will not be on your record. That's what Abraham says to us.
In Closing: Enoch, Noah & Abraham
Enoch stands up in the middle of a generation, doesn't know he's going to be translated, but just walked with God, and says to us, 'you can do it. It doesn't matter, you're whole family may think you're crazy, your friends may, you can do it.' That's what Enoch says. He didn't have the light that we have, he did have the Holy Spirit the way we do, he didn't have the Word of God the way we do, he had less advantage. And he walked with God for 300 years. Noah stands up and says to us, 'Look, God is gracious, and he's warned us, and he's made a way of escape.' In his day it was the ark. Today it's Christ, that we can come into Christ and be saved. And Noah stands up in the Book of Hebrews and says to us, 'You can do it, by faith, you can do it.' There's warning, and we should be moved in reverence and fear, we should respond, and we should prepare. How do you prepare? Well, what are you building? Is it going to float? What are you building in your life, what are you giving yourself to? You know, certain things, it says they're going to abide the fire when God comes, and when he judges us, like gold and silver and precious stone. Other stuff it says, like wood, hay, and stubble is going to be burned up, some people are going to get into heaven with the seat of their pants on fire and nothing else (cf. 1st Corinthians 3:11-15). And Noah says, no, no, we can respond, we can build the right way. [And what a testimony that the ark still exists. Most wooden sailboats are lucky, with careful maintenance, if they last one lifetime of a person.] We can prepare. And maybe it won't come for 120 years, maybe you'll have kids along the way as you're preparing. But we are supposed to learn something from his life in regards to the days that we live in and the coming of Christ. And there will be people that will be willingly ignorant. You know why? You come to church for 5 years, 10 years, 15, 20 years, 'I've heard this study on prophecy, I've heard about the days of Noah, I've heard,' and what happens is we start to get desensitized, and it starts to roll off our back like water off of a duck, and it doesn't mean anything anymore. And it has to be alive, and God has to speak it to us in a fresh way. And we can ask him to do that. Abraham stands up and says, 'It doesn't matter, I was nothing, an idolater from Ur of the Chaldees, worshipping the worst type of god, with the most filthy kind of worship, and God said Get thee out and get thee unto, and I will make your life a blessing, and you will bless others, anybody who blesses you I'll bless them, I'm going to do something in your life that you can't imagine.' 'Well I'm too old,' it doesn't matter. 'Well, I've gone down to Egypt,' it doesn't matter. 'I've produced an Ishmael,' it doesn't matter. If you walk with him and respond to him by faith, when God writes down your record, like Hebrews 11, it will not be on your record. God's calling, there for all of us. [transcript of a connective expository sermon on Hebrews 11:5-8, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]
God's warning for us is found in prophecy, see,
God really exists. See,