Walking With God

January 22, 2024 00:27:15
Walking With God
Covenant Words
Walking With God

Jan 22 2024 | 00:27:15

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Show Notes

Hebrews 11:5 ; Genesis 5:21-24

 

Pastor Christopher Chelpka

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Well, spirit, we ask that you would illumine us now as we hear and consider the word that you inspired and you've given to us, that we might know our savior Jesus Christ and have fellowship with the father. We pray this in the name of our savior, our mediator, who has come into this world to draw us close to God. Amen. [00:00:25] It please remain standing, and let's hear God's word from two places tonight. [00:00:33] First, Hebrews eleven five, and then Genesis, chapter 522 and 23. [00:01:13] 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. 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. [00:01:38] And now Genesis 522 and 23. [00:01:56] Genesis 522 and 23. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus, all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him. [00:02:15] You may be seated. [00:02:35] One of the striking things about Genesis five, verse 23, isn't really obvious until you hear the passages surrounding Genesis 523. [00:02:53] If you have your bibles open, you can probably see it by just scanning the page. If you don't, you can hear it in this way. We're in the middle of a genealogy. [00:03:04] We are reading about Adam's descendants all the way down to Noah. And at the end of each of these little sections, we read something like this in verse verse five, for example, of Genesis five. Thus, all the days that Adam lived were 930 years and he died. Or verse eight. Thus, all the days of Seth were 912 years and he died. Or verse eleven. Thus, all the days of Enosh were 905 years and he died. Or verse 14. Thus, all the days of Keenan were 910 years and he died. 17. Thus, all the days of Mahale were 895 years and he died. Verse 20. Thus, all the days of Jared were 962 years and he died. And then when we come to verse 24, we read, Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. [00:03:58] Oh, it's striking, right? [00:04:03] Surprising and wonderful. [00:04:07] Luther said of these verses, genesis 522 and 23, about Enoch, that they are worthy to be written in letters of gold and then engraven on the inmost heart. Deeply engraven on the inmost heart. [00:04:22] Why is that? [00:04:24] Because in these verses we have an example God giving to us, an example, testifying to the way of life, the promise that when we believe that he exists, when we put our faith in him and in him alone, and that he rewards those who seek him, God does not disappoint. [00:04:48] This is also striking and wonderful in the midst of so much death, right, and so much what we might call regular death, expected death. [00:05:00] This is a genealogy, after all, a list of generations moving down, people being born, people dying, born, being born, dying. Over and over again, he stands out. And we have this promise of life, life that is connected to this idea of walking with God. [00:05:25] First, Thessalonians two, verse twelve says that when we walk with the Lord, it leads us to his kingdom, it leads to glory. [00:05:35] Isaiah two three talks about walking with the Lord, and it is from him that we. It is with walking with him that we learn from him his ways. [00:05:45] We come to understand what the ways of the Lord are, his paths, his intentions, his motivations, to put them in human terms. [00:05:57] Colossians 110 talks about walking in him in a way that is fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. [00:06:10] That verse there, Colossians 110, helps fill out a little bit what it means to walk with the Lord. When we walk in the Lord, we walk in a way that is fully pleasing to him. [00:06:22] When we walk in the Lord, it is a way that bears fruit. In every good work. [00:06:28] When we walk in the Lord, we increase in the knowledge of God. [00:06:34] There is this image that comes to mind. I think it's from the second fantasia movie, which was in the year 2000 or something like that. It was a while ago now, I guess. But there is this animation of this creature, spirit, living thing. And as she moves through the earth, things just flower around her. There's this just sort of life power that happens as this creature moves around. [00:07:06] There's something of that image here in Colossians 110 that as we move, there is this bearing of fruit that happens. Life happens, blessing happens. And it happens not because of some mythical creature or some idea, but because of our connection with the Lord, the creator of the heavens and the earth. [00:07:31] As we walk with the Lord, we are not only productive in bearing the fruit and bearing fruit in every good work, but there's a growth that happens. We increase in the knowledge of God. [00:07:46] That happens almost anytime we spend time with someone or something, right? So a good way to get to know someone is to what? Go on a walk. [00:07:58] Spend some time side by side and talking with one another, being with one another, spending time together. [00:08:07] You go on a long enough walk, you might call it a journey in a journey, you make decisions. Along the way, you overcome obstacles. There are challenges that come, and you decide, how will this be? Where will this go? How will we get through this? And all along the way, God is with us. He walks with us as we walk with him. [00:08:33] What does not walking with the Lord look like? [00:08:37] Well, one way we could talk about it is just open rebellion, right? If God is going this way and we go that way, that's not walking with the Lord, right? He says, here are my commandments, here are my ways. And we say, well, I want to go another way. I want to do another thing. This is not walking with the Lord. And as we read in one john, it's dangerous. It means that we are not abiding in him. If we're making a practice of sinning, of straying, of trespass, open rebellion is not walking with the Lord, and it does not lead to the things of the Lord, to life and knowledge and increase and all good things. [00:09:25] There's another way of not walking with the Lord, a way which looks like you're walking with the Lord, but ultimately you are not. [00:09:35] Maybe from a distance, from an outsider's perspective, it looks like you're with him for maybe any number of reasons. You go to church on a regular basis, or you read certain books or have them on your shelf or whatever it is, there's a way in which, from a distance, somebody can look and say they're walking with the Lord, but you know you're not. And of course, the Lord knows you're not. [00:10:04] An image that comes to my mind is a child walking hand in hand with his or her parent, but not wanting to. Right from a distance, it looks like, oh, how sweet. A parent, I'll say, a mother and her daughter walking together right down the path. Meanwhile, her hand is going like this, and the daughter's hand is going like this, and there's like. And this tugging and a pulling and striving and a struggling, and I don't want to be here and I don't want to go. Right. [00:10:39] The Lord knows what's going on. We know what's going on, even if others can't necessarily see it. [00:10:46] That's not walking with the Lord. Right. That's not following in him, trusting in him, knowing that he is taking care of us and leading us in a good way. [00:11:00] What does faith mean, then? [00:11:04] Faith means trust. [00:11:07] It means trusting in him that he knows the way, trusting in him that he can protect us as we go, trusting in him that he will supply us along the way. [00:11:19] I'm trusting that he knows not just the way there, but the manner in which we get there as well. [00:11:27] His commands we see as good, helpful, important faith in him also means putting our faith in Christ. [00:11:40] Paul writes also in colossians this one of my favorite verses. As you received Christ, so walk in him. [00:11:49] As you received Christ, so walk in him. [00:11:57] How did you receive Christ? [00:11:59] Did you receive Christ because you earned something from Christ? Did you receive Christ because you impressed him somehow? Did you receive Christ because you gave to the poor a certain amount of money, or you went to church a certain number of times? Did you receive Christ because you finally atoned for your sins? Good job. You right. No, this is not how we receive Christ. We receive Christ by faith alone. We receive Christ by resting in him who is given to us. By saying, I have nothing to offer and I have everything to receive. That's what receiving Christ is. That's how we first receive him. God changes our hearts and makes us look at him. And so when he says, follow me, we get fast and we go with him and we walk with him, and we love him and we trust him. [00:12:58] As you received him through faith alone, so walk in him by faith alone. [00:13:05] For some reason, sometimes people think that the way to receive Christ is by trusting in him. And then the way to walk in him is by not trusting him. [00:13:14] To just sort of work in your own strength, to fight in your own power to make your own decisions and go your own way, that you are going to decide what it is to be a Christian and how to be a Christian? [00:13:27] Of course, not. [00:13:29] As you received Christ, so walk in him. If he can give you eternal life and protection and supply and bring you out of the dominion of darkness and to be citizens walking in the kingdom of light. At the beginning, he can do it at the middle, and he can do it at the end. [00:13:51] To walk in the Lord, to walk with God, is to walk in Christ. And that's the only way. [00:14:01] What does Jesus say? [00:14:03] I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [00:14:10] In John 812, he says, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness. [00:14:22] What a promise. [00:14:25] To walk in the light of life, to not walk in darkness. [00:14:36] From time to time I tell this story. When I think about walking in the darkness. I always think about my friend who was up in Flagstaff. [00:14:47] We went into the forest and there's a place where you can go down into the lava tubes. These sort of old tubes were lava caves, kind of basically, where lava used to flow. And it's sort of fun to go down in there and walk and hike in the cave for a while and then you pop back out. Well, he went down with a group, got separated from the group, and the group left and didn't do their proper count. And he was just down there without a light. And for hours and hours and hours he was crawling through that cave with not seeing at all a terrifying situation, right? And he was bruised and cut and all kinds of various things on the way. This is what it means to walk in darkness. [00:15:34] Listen to Jesus'promise. [00:15:37] I am the light of the world, not of the cave or the alley or the street. [00:15:44] The world. I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness. [00:15:52] All the dangers of darkness, all the dangers of sin, of ignorance, of blindness, of wickedness, none of it, none of it belongs to the one who walks in the light, who abides in the light, who follows the Lord. That's his promise to us. [00:16:09] In Galatians 516, Paul reminds us also of the spirit. To walk with God is not just to walk with our father and his son, but also the spirit. [00:16:22] Galatians 516 says, walk by the spirit and you will not gladify the desires of the flesh. [00:16:30] And if you think right now for a moment, well, what about that time I was gratifying the desires of the flesh? Well, you are not walking by the spirit. You are walking according to the flesh, according to a sinful flesh that is at war with the spirit. [00:16:50] When we walk by the spirit, we do not gratify the desires of the flesh. It's another of the promises that God gives to us. Listen to Romans, chapter eight, verses three through four. [00:17:05] For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh. And for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. [00:17:29] When the Lord saves us by his word and spirit, he changes us in such a way that we follow after him. [00:17:39] We desire to please him and serve him and walk in the light as he is in the light. [00:17:48] In chapter six of Romans, Paul talks about how we have died with Christ, and because we have risen with him, we now walk in the newness of life. [00:17:58] There's a difference that happens, a change that happens, a change in our minds, a change of perspective, a change in our hearts, a change in our emotions that loves someone, that we formerly hated a change in our wills that says, I don't like that, and I'm going to do this instead. [00:18:18] That's what the Lord does in us. That's his work of sanctification. And this is walking in the Lord. [00:18:26] Walking in the Lord, therefore, is this way of life that is according to faith and according to his work in us. And walking by faith includes this promise of life that is shown in Enoch and given to us in Christ, practically. [00:18:49] How do we learn Christ and his ways? How do we grow in our faith? How do we get better at walking and less good or less willing to wander? [00:19:04] I'll just mention a couple of things. [00:19:08] One is in school, the school of suffering. [00:19:16] In suffering and in trials, we find out a lot of things. [00:19:22] We find out about our limits. We find out about the ways in which we can fall and fail. We find out about the darkness of the world. And as christians, we find out about the steadfast love of God. [00:19:40] In moments of suffering and trial, of difficulties of various kinds, God remains steadfast. [00:19:49] The road winds up and down, hard, smooth, back and forth, bandits, all kinds of things you can imagine. But the Lord, rock solid, never misses a step, never misses a beat. Always, always does his perfect and holy will. [00:20:11] And as you walk with him long enough, you start learning some things. [00:20:17] You start learning that he is steadfast. He is true. [00:20:23] He does answer my prayers. I do receive my daily bread. He delivers me from temptation. Boy, he's good. [00:20:33] And we learn to praise him, and we learn to love him. We learn to draw more close to him. That school of suffering is such a blessing to us, not in itself, because it's in the hands of the Lord. [00:20:50] And that leads me to the second point, which I'll conclude with, and I mentioned this recently in another sermon. Suffering has no advantage, just in and of itself, but it becomes an advantage to us when the Lord sanctifies it to us and it is sanctified to us in Christ by his word for us. [00:21:18] One of the implications of that means that we ought to learn to think about our trials and think about the things that we go through in light of Christ growing in his knowledge as we read earlier, taking every thought captive, thinking God's thoughts after him. [00:21:39] And if I could be really practical for a moment, sometimes that means going slow enough to walk. [00:21:48] I read a story this last week about a man who met with this well regarded chinese pastor, and he was asking him about how you walk with the Lord. And he asked the pastor, how do you walk with the Lord? [00:22:06] Or I'm sorry. The pastor asked him, how do you walk with the Lord? And he starts listing all of the things that he does. I do this and I do this, and I do this. List all these things. And then the pastor said at the end, in order to walk with God, you need to go at a walking pace. [00:22:23] Now, I can't say what a walking pace is, and I suppose that's different for everyone at different times in our lives, in our own physical bodies. Sometimes walking pace feels brisk and sprightly. Other times we find ourselves in a wheelchair. Right? [00:22:42] I think there's some similar. Maybe there's an analogy there spiritually. [00:22:47] But what is a good pace? [00:22:51] It's hard to say exactly, but certainly it must include time to think, time to pray, time to hear God's word, space to meditate, space to wonder, space to praise. [00:23:06] It's hard to walk with the Lord if our minds aren't on him, if we're not thinking about him, if we're not loving him. [00:23:15] It's hard to grow in the Lord if our faith is bound up in other things, if our trust and our hope is in other things. [00:23:27] The encouragement of the scriptures over and over again is to walk with Christ, to follow him, to keep our eyes on him, fixed on him. [00:23:37] We'll come back to this passage often. [00:23:40] Hebrews eleven ends with Hebrews twelve, which begins this way. [00:23:45] Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight of sin, every weight and sin which clings so closely. And here it says, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. [00:24:17] We have the confidence we have because of who Jesus is and what he did. We can walk with the Father because of the Son and because of the spirit. We can have communion and fellowship and support and strength from God because of how he has given himself to us in Christ. [00:24:40] And so let's do that. [00:24:44] Let's fix our eyes on the goal. [00:24:47] Let's fix our eyes on heaven, the appearing of our Lord, the sanctification, the complete sanctification of our bodies and our souls. [00:24:59] Let's strive forward knowing that there are ups and downs in this life, that sometimes we sin, sometimes we fall, sometimes we wander very far away. [00:25:09] But the way back to God is always just one step. [00:25:14] As it's been said, God is close. [00:25:19] He is very close, and he is very good and merciful. [00:25:24] Walk with him and you will not be disappointed. [00:25:29] Let's pray. [00:25:33] Our heavenly Father, thank you for holding our hands. And at times, as your scripture even says, carrying us in your arms because we are so weak, we are so frail. [00:25:48] Lord, we thank you that at the end of our lives you do not leave us or forsake us. You stay with us. You guide us. [00:25:58] We thank you, Lord, that even at the end of our lives, we do not find the end, the final end. But we are ushered into glory. [00:26:11] Lord, we also thank you that this is not entirely a future thing that we are waiting on, that even now we are in Christ, who is seated at your right hand. [00:26:26] Perfect. Having perfect fellowship as our mediator, we in him can have life. [00:26:36] Lord, we confess our sins. [00:26:39] We confess our wandering, our disillusionment, our doubt. We confess our hopelessness and our fears. [00:26:50] We ask for your mercy. [00:26:52] That you would steady our feet. That would strengthen our spines. And that you would give us eyes to see and ears to hear. The grace. [00:27:02] Your grace in Jesus. [00:27:06] May your spirit be at work in us, that we might walk with you and call you Abba. Father, we pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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