This sermon is number 4 in a series of 7
Jude - The Acts Of The Apostates - Part 4
"The Deathless Man And His Deathless Message"
by David Legge | Copyright © 2000 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com
Now we're turning again to our study in the book of Jude. We've been looking - this is our fourth study in the little book of Jude, entitled 'The Acts of the Apostates' - and we're looking at specifically two verses today, that tell us of one individual character.
Well, let's read the previous verses to get the context of our verses today: "Jude", verse 1, "the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you rather, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the rebellion of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh 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. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit [of God]".
Let's take a moments prayer: Our Father in heaven, the one who ensured that this book should come into our hands today. Holy Spirit, the Spirit who has inspired these pages before us, who exercised and inspired men of old to write the word of God. We turn to Thee afresh and ask that Thou mayest unctionise the preaching of this infallible truth. That the Holy Ghost of God may come among us, that the Christ of God may be preached and seen among all men. Help us Lord, and bind all spirits of oppression in this place. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
I've entitled my message this morning: 'The Deathless Man And His Deathless Message'. The man who never died, with the message that is still alive today among us. We've looked at these very harsh words in the book of Jude and I was amused by the saying of one man when he said: 'Silence is golden, but sometimes it's pure yellow'. Isn't that right? It's easy to be quiet about the things that are going on in the world and indeed the church of Jesus Christ. And there is this misconception that silence is graciousness, that silence is spirituality and that is the way we are to behave - that is not the scriptural understanding of grace. For when we look at the very person of our Lord Jesus Christ it is difficult, indeed, I find it is impossible to find words harsher than His, with regards to this subject of apostasy and false teaching. Therefore it is error to say that we are to be silent in the midst of apostasy. We see the prophets of God and that was their role - to stand against apostasy. John the Baptist - perhaps the greatest prophet that ever was, indeed the Lord Jesus described him as one that was born of woman that there was not another of. And he stood, you remember, just before the dawning of the star of the Lord Jesus Christ, upon the horizon of history, and there he stands in a wilderness crying, 'Repent ye! Repent!'. I've often thought how it is a strange scene to see a man standing in the midst of the desert. Why did the Lord not send him into the market? Why did he not go into the synagogue or the temple to preach this message? Because God was trying to relay to His people that they were like the desert. They were like the wilderness. And indeed the effectiveness of God's word upon them is like the effectiveness of John preaching to the dead plants and the sand.
When God's people were threatened in history by their own sin and corruption or by the deception, deceiving of false teachers and apostates, God came by His Spirit and raised up men. Messengers of God, with God's message, and that was the way that God counteracted and corrected false teaching - that was how God brought revival and spiritual renewal within the word of God. If you look at the book of Judges that I've been reading in recent days you can see that cycle within it. Nearly every chapter you come to, just as the word of God is introducing for us each individual judge, you find the same cycle. It says that the nations sinned, waxed in the face of God. Their sin and their wickedness was evil, the next stage of that cycle is that we read that the anger of God was kindled against them. And then when the anger of God was kindled against them, we find God's people groaning and praying and crying to God for mercy and the next step is God answers their prayer, God sends a deliverer. It's the same with the judges, the prophets, indeed we see it in the very person of our Lord Jesus Christ. That when we are in need, when we are at our wits end in our own sin, it is God that raises men to deliver. Indeed, Ezekiel said it when he quoted the Lord God Almighty Himself in chapter 22 and verse 30 of his prophecy, listen to what God says in his day: 'And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none'!
Would He find one today? Would He find one among us? In Esther chapter 4 and verse 14 she was raised to be a deliverer for her people, and Mordecai came to her and said to her these words, listen: 'For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place'. If you don't rise up and stand up for your people, God will deliver them another way. 'But thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and' - listen! - 'and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?'. Men - and women, by the way - raised of God for specific purposes, to counteract apostasy, to bring spiritual renewal, revitalization and revival to God's people.
The passage that we read today, the two verses that I want to concentrate on this morning, speak of a prophet just like that - and also it records his prophecy that he made. And if you want to sum that prophecy up it was the 'comeuppance of the creepers'. Those who had come in unawares, verse 4 tells us, the ones who had crept, weaseled their way into the church of Jesus Christ. Jude is saying, through the prophecy of Enoch, that there is a day coming when they will have their comeuppance.
I want us first of all to look at this prophet that is named in verse 14. Look at verse 14: 'And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints'. Now we'll look at his prophecy in a minute, but I want us to concentrate on this man! Who was it that God used? What kind of a man does God raise up to face apostasy and to renew the church of Jesus Christ? We find three mentions of Enoch within the word of God, we read of him in Genesis chapter 5, Hebrews chapter 11 and then in the book of Jude. Now I want you, for a moment, to turn with me to Genesis chapter 4, Genesis and chapter 4, and we're not going to read it, but perhaps when you go home you can read this passage of Scripture which outlines the genealogy, the line, of Cain. You know who Cain was - we looked at him last week - that was the son of Adam, who slew Abel. And we look down all of chapter 4, and we find the godless line of Cain, down to the seventh generation of Adam, then the account closes. The end of chapter 4, the account closes and we begin in chapter 5 a new section, which traces the line of Seth. Now have you got it? Adam has Abel, then he has Cain, then he has Seth because Cain slew Abel, and God had to have a righteousness holy line to eventually bring the Lord Jesus Christ - Messiah - and the seed from the woman to deliver humanity. Therefore He had to give Eve another son, Seth. So in chapter 4 right to the end we're looking at the godless line of Cain - and then God does a new thing in chapter 5, and we see the godly line of Seth. From Seth, Noah would be born, from Noah his children would give birth to the nations of the world and the ark - the inhabitants of it - would replenish the earth for the future nations of the world. And if we look right back to our lineage, as we sit here in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, in Europe, we can look right back to Noah himself. And before the flood, and before Noah, we can look right back to Adam the first man - and as we sit here today, we are all related in that one lineage...and the tragedy of it all is this: that we have inherited sin. Oh, this is not preached today. Original sin, from the original sinner Adam and it traces its way down to his children, to Noah and his children, to us and our children - and before us we can see the universal depravity and degradation of all humanity!
And it's outlined - if you look at chapter 5 and the first verses right down to verse 21 - at least eight times you read these words: 'and he died', 'and he died', 'and he died', why? Because sin had come upon all men and death had come by sin! But when you look at verse 21, look at the difference, all this series, 'and such and such was born and he lived so many years and he died', and then verse 21: 'And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: and Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him'.
Enoch is described, in the epistle of Jude, as the seventh from Adam. He did not die, but the word of God tells us that he was translated out of this scene of time right into, ushered into, eternity without seeing death. Now don't confuse Enoch with Enoch in chapter 4 and verse 17, who was the son of Cain, they're not related at all. But this Enoch is a righteous man, he is a holy man of God! We could say that, in the light of the epistle of Jude, he is the rose among the thorns. We see him, and he is altogether other than what we read in the rest of the epistle, because Jude testifies of him - as the rest of scripture - that this man Enoch is the epitome of all godliness and holiness. He is one of two men in scriptures who it was said of they 'walked with God'. He was one of only two men who were taken to heaven without experiencing death - and he is the only man, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, who it is written of him that he pleased God! Now think of that for a moment: Jesus Christ, sinless, spotless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and it was said of Him, and He said Himself, 'I do always those things that please Him'. Yet the Holy Spirit of God could come of one called Enoch, and say: 'This man pleased Me'.
Now I want to say today, that this is the supreme preventative treatment of apostasy. This is the way we prevent apostasy, this is the cure, this takes it away and this makes it afraid of coming within us, it is called simply, within the word of God, 'Walking with God'!
Look at his biography in chapter 5 of Genesis verse 21 to 24 - look at it: he lived sixty and five years, he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God after he begot Methuselah 300 years, begot sons and daughters. He was not - God took him! He walked with God, what does that mean? Well, first of all, it means reconciliation. For in the book of Amos we read these words, chapter 3 and verse 3: 'Can two walk together except they be agreed?' - and it presupposes that if Enoch walked with God, Enoch had to be reconciled with God to be in agreement with Him, to be in agreement about his sin, to be in agreement about the remedy for his sin - the grace of God, to be in agreement about God's holy law and God's standard and character of holiness. And he - if you like - had to be converted, he had to be reconciled with God, and a man cannot walk with God unless he knows God in reconciliation. Can two walk together except they be agreed?
Secondly there has to be correspondency to their nature. God is a holy God. The word of God tells us that light hath no communion with darkness - and in this man's life, as in all our lives, sin has to be judicially put away from the face of God, and that had to be done with Enoch - he had to have his sin dealt with.
Thirdly, he had to have a moral fitness, because God does not walk out of the way of holiness. God does not let His socks [fall] down in His standard of holiness. God will not look at another, God will not have another, He does not lower the standards to fit us. Is that not what the New Testament says? 'If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin'. He had to have a standard of a holy life to walk with God.
Fourthly, he had to have a surrendered will, because God does not force His company on anyone. He chose to walk with God. And you my Christian friend, must take His yoke upon you - that's what the word of God says, that's what the Lord testified to - and that is why, fifthly, he had constant communion with God. That's where the walking with God came from - and the word 'walk' suggests a steady progress, as he puts distance behind him, as he goes to the goal that he has in his mind and his soul - he walked with God!
Someone has said, Enoch did not take a turn or two with God and then leave His company. But he walked with God for hundreds of years! What a splendid walk! A walk of three hundred years, it was not a run, a leap, a spurt, but a steady walk with God!
Hebrews 11 verse 5 tells us that it was a walk of faith. He had a testimony, Hebrews says, of walking with God - that he pleased God, and in the next verse the writer to the Hebrews says this, 'and without faith it is impossible to please God'. Enoch pleased God, and the reason he pleased God is because he was a man of faith. How do you know if you're walking with God? I'm not asking you if you're saved, I'm asking you are you walking with God? If you're walking with God there'll be progress, because walking suggests it - and if you're in the same position that you were last year spiritually, or for that matter worse than last year, you are not walking with God. If you are walking with another, and in agreement with another, there will be a growth in the knowledge of that person as, day by day, you walk with them in their shadow. And Enoch had a knowledge of God that was creating more and more and more - it was self-reproductive!
Do you have that? Do you have a deep peace within your soul? That's what walking with God is - and we find believers wrecked with worry, wrecked with anxiety and one of the reasons is probably they are not walking with God! Many believers don't know where to turn for guidance, they don't know the road to take in their life, and if they were walking with God they would be being taken with God where He wanted them to go! Do you know the guidance of God in your life?
Then we see that he witnessed for God, for he preached, Enoch was a preacher. Now I want you to see this very clearly: that you cannot serve the Lord, until you first walk with Him. 'Oh, I want to be this, I want to do that, I want to take this road, or do this service, or be this type of person', my friend listen! You have to walk with God! If you don't walk with God, God'll not walk with you! God will not use you, God will not bless you, God will not fill your life with fruit unless you are consciously walking with God - and if you are going to fight apostasy in this land, in this church, in this church age that we are in, you must walk with God!
Now I want you to see this, and we're going to take time to look at it, if I preach nothing else this morning. In Genesis 5, if you look at it again, in verse 21 to 22 we see that Enoch had a son, '...he begat Methuselah 300 years and begat sons and daughters'. And that passage, that verse, suggests that Enoch only began to walk with God after the birth of his son Methuselah. Now the name 'Methuselah' in Hebrew means this: 'When he is dead it shall be sent, when he is dead it shall be sent'. What is he talking about? Well, he's talking about the flood that comes up in the chapters that come after chapter 5. When this child is dead the flood will come, and if you can see God saying to Enoch, through the birth of his son Methuselah: 'You see your little baby here Enoch? When its life is run I will judge the world for its sin'.
Cast your mind back to the birth of your child, cast your mind back to a significant experience in your life, and imagine if God named it Methuselah. And God said to you 'Now my child, and you are My child, you see when the life of this child, or the life of this thing, or this experience passes, when this thing is over? I'm going to come in judgement!'. Would that make a difference to your life? I think it's no wonder that Enoch began to walk with God after that. Imagine if God came and said to you, 'You see when this certain thing is over, or when this child dies, or when this thing happens', and you don't know when it's going to happen, so every single day of your life you're expecting it and when the child gets sick of a cold you're worried about it dying, in case the ends all done and you haven't a chance anymore! How would it change your life? If you're not saved here today, how would that change your life? How would it? If God came to you and said, 'As soon as this is over, I will require your soul at My hand. As soon as this is over, you'll not have another chance to be saved' - what would you do? My friend, listen: God has said that! Do you know what He has said? He has said that when we see apostasy in our world, that is the sign that He is at hand - and you're sitting here today and you're still not saved. You're sitting here today and you're backslidden in your sin, and you're not going to do anything about it, and you've no notion of doing anything about it - and Jesus Christ the Son of God is at the gate, you can almost hear the footfall! And where are you?
Oh, it changed his life alright and he began to walk with God. He started a walk with God, he began to prepare to meet his God. Do you know what Enoch means? It means 'dedicated', it means 'disciplined'. And we don't read within the word of God that Enoch was a father of a nation like Abraham, or a charismatic leader like Moses, or a warrior like Gideon, or a king like David, or a statesman like Daniel - and this thrills my soul! Do you know what he was? He was an ordinary 5' 8" man! Like you. Do you know what that tells me? I can be a man of God! I can walk with God! I can know God in the deepest, intimate fellowship and communion and sense of the word, and it doesn't matter that I'm not an apostle or a prophet. It doesn't matter that I'm not a great preacher, or a great intellectual, it doesn't matter that I don't know theology - I can know God! I can walk with God!
Do you walk with Him? Do you walk in the discipline of a life of prayer? Do you know what it says of Adam in the beginning? I think this is beautiful: 'Adam walked with God in the cool of the day'. Do you walk with God? Scholars tell us that when Enoch lived, Adam lived for some time - and I wonder did he not learn from his relative Adam, what it was to walk with God in the cool of the day. My friend, Enoch knew what it was to sing:
'I come to the garden alone,
When the dew is still on the roses,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known'.
I want to ask you - please listen! As a believer in Christ, do you meet with God? Do you? For we cannot take His name if we do not follow Him. You must walk with Him, you must talk with Him, you must seek His presence, you must eat His word, you must be in that place of continual fellowship with Him - and I believe that Enoch met early in the morning with God, do you know why? Because every man of God that you find in the Bible did it. Moses rose up early in the morning, Abraham rose up early in the morning to meet God - when the world was shut up, when the world was dormant, when there were no influences of evil, and he could come before God, and he could meet with his God. I don't want to be superior, but I suspect that 95% of the church of Jesus Christ hasn't got a clue what that's about - to walk with God.
The miracle of it is, that he walked with God when things were so bad. Genesis, that we've been reading, says this in chapter 6 and verse 5: that during Enoch's days God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually - as one writer put it, listen: 'Socially it was the age of permissiveness, scientifically it was the age of progressiveness, and spiritually it was the age of presumptuousness' - everything was bad! And we say, 'How can I walk with God? How can I be holy in the age that I live in today? How can I be a man that God uses like the reformers or the revivalists? How can I possibly, when I see all the filth on the billboards, when the television is spewing out muck every moment of the day? How can I, with the pressures of my job?'. My friend, Enoch and Noah were the only two on the planet that walked with God - and they did it! Do you know why? Because it's a matter of choice. One man put it so lovely, that Enoch went out one day to walk with God, and he walked so far that the Lord said 'Enoch, you're so near home you might as well come in'. And the companion that Enoch had in life, was his companion in death. And I love this, it was almost as if Enoch lived with a consciousness of eternity so much in view, that it was one step from time into eternity. Have you ever experienced that?
I've nothing more to say but listen, I want to ask you - you ask yourself - have you ever experienced that? What it is like - don't shuffle [your Bibles], wait - what it is like to almost reach out your hand, and think that you could touch Him. My friend, if you want to please God, you're going to have to learn to walk with Him.
Now let us pray, you see, it costs us to walk with God. As an unconverted sinner it costs us our life of sin and our pride, and perhaps that what it's costing you this morning. As a backslider it's your sin again, the thing you won't let go of, the thing of pride that you won't admit. As believers that are carnal and cold, guess what? It's sin again. Oh, the desire of the Holy Ghost for us this morning is that we all be done with sin and be taken up with Christ. My friend, I often wonder what it would have been like for Enoch, hand in hand with God. I wonder how much different heaven would have been for him to earth, very little - because he walked with God.
Our Father we want to please Thee, and we know that the only way to please God is by faith and by the walk of faith. Lord some of us are walking backward, some of us are standing still, some of us are going forward but not quick enough, and some of us are running ahead of Thee, our God. And we pray, teach us to walk with God - and may Thy Holy Spirit take a dealing with all of us here today. And Lord for those who have not begun to walk, that today they would follow Christ. For it's in His name that we pray. Amen.
Judith Watkins for
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the fourth tape in his 'Jude: The Acts Of The Apostates' series, titled "The Deathless Man And His Deathless Message" - Transcribed by Judith Watkins, Preach The Word.
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