Friday, September 13, 2013

Bible reading for 2013 - 14


Bible Reading -2013 - 2014

September

Sept. 1 – 7 – Matthew 1 – 5

Sept. 8 – 14 – Matthew 6 – 10

Sept. 15 – 21 – Matthew 11 – 15

Sept. 22 – 28 – Matthew 16 – 20

Sept. 29 – Oct. 5 – Matthew 21 – 25

October

Oct. 6 – 12 – Matthew 26 – 28

Oct. 13 – 19 – Mark 1 – 5

Oct. 20 – 27 – Mark 6 – 10

Oct. 28 – Nov. 2 – Mark 11 – 16

November

Nov. 3 – 9 – Luke 1 – 5

Nov. 10 – 16 – Luke 6 – 10

Nov. 17 – 23 – Luke 11 – 15

Nov. 24 – 30 – Luke 16 – 20

December

Dec. 1 – 7 – Luke 21 – 24

Dec. 8 – 14 – John 1 – 5

Dec. 15 – 21 – John 6 – 10

Dec. 22 – 28 – John 11 – 15

Dec. 29 – Jan. 4 – John 16 – 21

January

Jan. 5 – 11 – Acts 1 – 5

Jan. 12 – 18 – Acts 6 – 10

Jan. 19 – 25 – Acts 11 – 15

Jan. 26 – Feb. 1 – Acts 16 – 20

February

Feb. 2 – 8 – Acts 21 – 25

Feb. 9 – 15 – Acts 26 – 28

Feb. 16 – 22 – Romans 1 – 5

Feb. 23 – March 1 – Romans 6 – 10

 

 

March

March 2 – 8 – Romans 11 – 16

March 9 – 15 – 1 Cor. 1 – 5

March 16 – 22 – 1 Cor. 6 – 10

March 23 – 29 – 1 Cor. 11 – 16

March 30 – April 5 – 2 Cor. 1 – 5

April

April 6 – 12 – 2 Cor. 6 – 9

April 13 – 19 – 2 Cor. 10 – 12

April 20 – 26 – Galatians 1 – 6

April 27 – May 3 – Ephesians 1 – 6

May

May 4 – 10 – Philippians 1 – 4

May 11 – 17 – Colossians 1 – 4

May 18 – 24 – 1 Thess. 1 – 5

May 25 – 31 – 2 Thess. 1 – 3

June

June 1 – 7 - 1 Tim. 1- 6

June 8 – 14 – 2 Tim. 1 – 4; Titus 1 – 3

June 15 – 21- Philemon; Hebrews 1- 4

June 22 – 28 – Hebrews 5 – 10

June 29 – July 5 – Heb. 11 – 13

July

July 6 – 12 – James 1 – 5

July 13 – 19 – 1Peter 1 – 5

July 20 – 26 – 2 Peter 1- 3; 1 John 1-2

July 27 – August 2 – 1 John 3 – 5;

2& 3 John; Jude

August

August 3 – 9 – Revelation 1 – 5

August 10 – 16 – Revelation 6 – 11

August 17 – 23 – Revelation 12 – 16

August 24 – 30 – Revelation 17 – 22

 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

this the sermon I preached today.

Think on these things

Philippians 4.4 – 9



          In studying the Bible, we are taught that the situation or setting of the writing is important to consider. Where is the author and what is to happening to him when he is writing? If a person is in a good place – if so then he will probably write happy things. If he is in a terrible situation, he or she will probably write negative things. This passage today is ironic in that just the opposite is true – Paul is in a terrible situation – he is prison, but look at the way he writes.

          I love the way the apostle Paul writes especially at the end of some of his letters. He gathers a bunch of different thoughts and writes them in short pithy statements. He could write a whole paragraph for each of these statements, but it is almost like he is running out of papers, so he just writes a few, powerful words. Listen as I read Phil.4.4-9.

Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Phil 4:5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (and leave them there)

Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phil 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Phil 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

          Did you get all of that? I think the last verse is extremely important – put these things into practice. That is really the point of all of Paul’s writing – it is not just some nice things to read, but these are to do every day in our lives. We will get back to that, but do not forget this. I am going to go through most of these fairly quickly and then slow down on one this morning.

          Christians are to rejoice in the Lord always – do you hear me – rejoice. Rejoicing is more than smiling all the time. We are to have joy in our lives always in spite of what is happening. All of us have bad days – they start out bad and get worse it seems. But even in those days we are to rejoice in the Lord. Deep down we know our Lord is at work in us and through us so we rejoice. Paul is rejoicing while sitting in a horrible Roman prison, yet he had joy in his life because of Christ.

          Then we are to be gentle and let our gentleness be evident to all people. I wonder how many of these commands are for the benefit of Paul himself? I think that Paul might have had trouble with gentleness. Paul was a fighter, and never backed down from those who confronted him, and neither should we. If he thought you were doing something wrong, he told you in no uncertain terms. Paul and all of us need to learn to be gentle with others – even those who might attack us and slander us. Jesus Christ was gentle, but he deal with those who were doing wrong – think of those who were making the temple area a den of thieves instead of a house of prayer. The prison where Paul was held was anything but a gentle place – prison guards are notoriously violent with their prisoners, but Paul was gentle toward them.

          Next Paul makes the statement – the Lord is near. I do not know whether to take this with the statement before this or after or as an independent sentence. God is always near us – near enough to know our needs and cares. The sentence can also mean that the return of the Lord is near – 2000 yrs ago Paul thought that and wrote it – and the coming of the Lord is still near – he may come today or tomorrow. The coming of the Lord gave Paul hope – what he had to endure would be over soon – when the Lord comes.

Next Paul writes this – read verse 6 - it is not written in the text, but I think it is understood – and leave it there. Do not be anxious about anything. Watching the evening news is makes us anxious, or that is what it is designed to do. Even in the weather report – Thursday night the man said there was a chance of snow – a slight chance – so slight that it is hardly enough to be mentioned, but it will make some of those out there to be anxious so put it in. What will make people anxious should be brought to the Lord in prayer and left there. Do you think Paul had reasons to be anxious in that Roman prison? At any minute he could receive his sentence of death – any minute.

Read verse 7. The peace of God is his peace - the peace that comes from him. God will saturate our lives with this peace so we can be at peace. This peace is indeed to beyond our understanding. I believe the only way Paul could have endured the imprisonments he went through for the cause of Christianity. No human being has the strength to endure what he went through without the peace from God in his life.

As Chrs we must think the best thoughts – those things which are the truth – when we feel we are being lied to all the time. Think about those things that are noble or worthy of respect. Think about things that are right – just and upright. Think about things that pure – those things that are morally good. Think about things that are admirable and praiseworthy.

We think about negative things – how bad the world is.

We think about immoral things – story of a Chr man who started to lust after a neighbor – he wished that her husband would die so he could have his wife – he even thought of ways he could kill the husband. Finally while reading the Bible he realized how immoral his thoughts were and stopped them.

We can have “stinkin thinkin” twisted in so many ways.

We can have materialistic or worldly thinking because that is what we hear all the time on TV, in books, and on the computers. Instead we are to fill our mind constantly with the right kind of thoughts – from the Bible, from good books, from Chr radio and prayer.

Finally Paul says whatever you have been taught, received, heard, or seen in him, put them into practice. This is the plea of every preacher – story of the minister who preached the same sermon once, twice, and the third time – when you start practicing that one I will go on to the next one.

          Chrs are to be: Rejoicing in the midst of terrible wretchedness

                             Show Gentleness in the midst of extreme brutality

                             Live in Hope for the Lord’s return in the midst of despair

                             Not be anxious in the midst of massive worry

Have the peace of God or from God in the midst of constant terror

Have our minds filled with Noble thinking in the midst of twisted thinking

          These things will make us shine light for the Lord in a dark world that needs more than anything else to have the light of Christ.





April 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sermon on return from Phil.

Trip Report – Cebu, Philippines – 2011

Acts 17.16 - 34



          Thank you for the opportunity go on the Mission trip to Cebu City, Philippines, for the last 3 weeks. This is complex of cities for 3.5 million people, lots of dogs, and even more chickens. Thank you for your prayers – everything went well on the flights, and I am recovering pretty well from the jet lag. I stayed with Nigel and Loida Pyle, and their two kids – David – 16 and Melody – 14. Nigel was originally from New Zealand – his family was farmers who milked cows. He then moved to Australia near Perth where he was converted under the ministry of Leroy Randall. He came to Minnesota Bible College when I was teaching there and I got to meet him. He went to the Phil in about 1990 as a missionary. He worked at a Bible college there until 2001 when he helped start the Central Phil Bible College. They were very good hosts.

          This was a different trip than the Jamaica trips or any of the other mission trips I have been on. I did a lot of teaching on prayer and on the book of James, as well as preaching at different churches in Cebu City. They spoke English so my sermons did not have to be translated. I learned a lot about the Philippines and the religious life there and I am going to share some of that with you today. The city is big, crowded and the traffic is terrible. There are cars, trucks, jeepneys – van type thing that is used as buses – hundreds of them, and more motorcycles than you can count. All of these are crowded onto good sized streets, but way too many vehicles. Add to that people crossing the streets all the time. At night it is even more challenging to drive.

          The scripture that came to mind as I traveled around the city of Cebu was the one found in Acts 17 where the Apostle Paul was in Athens, Greece. As he walked around the city he came to this conclusion: Read with me Acts 17. 16-23. I want you to notice that the people were very religious, but they always were looking for something new and different. They even had a statue for the “unknown god.” They were not dumb – they did not to take a chance of missing and offending any god, so they had this special statue. Paul took the opportunity to proclaim to them the

God who is known, as he revealed himself to them and to us especially in Jesus Christ.

The Philippines as a country is 80% Roman Catholic, 5% Muslim, 10% Protestant, and mixture of other religions. One morning the Pyles took me to the main Cathedral in the city – Santa Nino – in which is a statue of the baby Jesus that has been in the church since the 1600s. (Show the statue)  There were long lines even during the week, for the chance to stand before it. They say it has the power to heal and grant requests. Outside there was a huge open air plaza for huge masses that are said there on special occasions. There was a place to light candles – there could be 1000s of candles lit at one time. This was just one of a number of very large Catholic churches in Cebu. They also honor the Virgin Mary calling her the mother of God instead of the mother of Jesus – she is honored as equal with the God Jesus.

          The same afternoon, we went next door from the Bible College to use the recreational area of a Buddhist temple. (Show the statue) The students from the college used the basketball and volleyball courts. I explored the temple and the monastery areas. It was very interesting. There were other temples – Buddhist and Taoist temples. There was a church group called the Church of Christ which does not believe in the deity of Christ – it is sort of like the Mormon Church here, but different. It has thousands of members and is really politically active. As we drove around the city we saw all kinds of different churches – store front churches and other kinds. There was also a Muslim mosque in Cebu, but they are more prevalent in the southern island of Mindanao.  Cebu is a very religious city. Yet on Sunday there were few people in the big churches.

          Nigel, Loida, and another couple started the Central Phil. Bible College and City Church 10 years ago with the purpose of reaching the city for the Lord. At the time there was just one Church of Christ in the city of 3.5 million people.  In the 10 yrs since, they have helped start 5 churches in various parts of the city. I visited 4 of them. The graduates of the Bible College go into a neighborhood and start a church. They usually rent a house until they can afford to by a property. These are small places – about the size of our foyer – but there are a lot of people close to the church building that they can reach. One place was in an area of shops down a small street – too small for cars. We walked about a half a block to the building. 6 or 8 of the members were meeting for a Bible study – this is in a poor area and only two of them spoke much English – they speak Cebuano. But they were very friendly to us.

          This is something I was really impressed with there, as I have been as I traveled to other places on mission trips – these are brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what the color of their skin or their language. They love the Lord and are trying as hard as they can to win others to him. At the worship services the elders read the same scriptures we do for communion and they have grape juice and wafers. Since they are so far to the East, they are some of the first ones on a Sunday to worship and partake of the Lord’s Supper. Then Chrs all around the world partake. Finally a half a day later we gather to worship and partake together.

          I got to meet the two students I have supported at the college. I give $50 a month for their room, board and tuition. For 2 yrs I paid for the education of John Paul. He graduated two yrs ago and is now a youth minister in Davao – he also teaches at a private high school there and leads a basketball ministry. It was fun to meet him. The other student I am supporting is a young man named Roy. He was abandoned at age 7 and spent a few years on the streets. A minister took him in and he became a Chr. He is a second yr student and is an excellent guitar player. He loves the Lord and is studying hard to become a minister. For just $50 a month I think that is a real bargain and well worth it – if you would like to adopt a student – talk to me.

          During the first week I taught them the ACTS prayer material in detail. The last time they were in the US I gave Nigel a copy of the prayer material and he has been using it there. On that Saturday morning all the students and faculty members participated in a 3 hour or so, prayer and fasting time using the ACTS prayer material (6-9 AM). That was a good experience for them and me. They were eager to learn and then used the prayer information in their lives.

          I also taught them the book of James – the Bible study I taught here at the Wed. morning Bible study. They listened and asked good questions. One of the things I learned about the Pilipino students is that they do not like to read books. I really pushed them to read so they would have something to share with others in the churches where they served.

          In Acts 17 Paul finishes his message to the people of Athens with these words: read Acts 17. 29-34. The message of Jesus Christ and his resurrection needs to be preached because there are still lots of people even in a religious nation that need to know Jesus as their personal Savior. That is what our brothers and sisters in Christ are doing in Cebu. I think God used me to encourage them in their work, and I was encouraged in the process. Again thank you for letting me go and for praying for me while I was there.

         






Philippines trip

Pastor DeFor returns from the Philippines

          Thank you for praying for me on my recent mission trip to Cebu City, Philippines. All the flights went well and the whole trip was very good. It was very hot and muggy for me coming from our climate.

          I taught and preached at the Central Philippines Bible College in Cebu. The college is ten years old and I helped them celebrate with a weeklong conference which brought together former and present students. It was great to be with students eager to learn. They loved to sing and praise God.

          One thing I thought about was the church all over the world worshiping God all day on every Sunday. Cebu is 14 hours ahead of Austin so we came together there early to participate in worship and the Lord’s Supper. The Philippines is one of the first places in the world to start their Sunday services. After them, brothers and sisters in Christ in succession in China, India, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and then South and North America come together to worship God – sometimes with the same songs and certainly the same scriptures. We are part of a vast family of believers all over the world – something we sometimes forget being here is the US.

           Cebu is part of a complex of cities of 3.5 million people, and when we were driving from place to place it seemed like all of them were on the streets. There were cars, trucks, hundreds of motorcycle, and Jeepneys – a van like vehicle that the people ride in. Add to this people crossing the streets all the time and driving or riding in a car was an adventure. The city had a lot of churches of different kinds – from large cathedrals to many storefront churches, Buddhist and Taoist temples, and I saw one Mosque. They are definitely a very religious people.

          One of the things I had fun with was giving out nickels. I brought 100 nickels with me, and give them out and asked the people to pray for the kids in the US when they saw it. They were eager to do that. I brought back about 100 pesos and am giving them out here, asking the people to pray for the children in the Philippines. People here have been just as willing to do that.

          It was a tiring but fulfilling trip. Thanks again for your pray

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sermon for 10/23

I HAVE FOUGHT THE FIGHT



2Ti 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

2Ti 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.

2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  2Ti 4:8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.



          As we get older, we begin to think about our lives – what have I accomplished in this life – how have I spent my years? Psychologists say all of us get to a point in our lives where we evaluate our lives – looking back to assess how we have spent our lives. Sometimes we are too negative in doing this and fall into despair according to some. As we look at our lives we can also see that we have indeed served the Lord and have integrity.

The Apostle Paul is my hero – my model, my example in the Chr live. In the NT we have an account of his life from when he was young and fiery, until he was older and ready to go to meet the Lord. We are going to look this morning at what he said about the end of his life. In 2 Timothy 4.5-8 Paul is writing to his younger friend Timothy about his work for the Lord. Read with me what he says. Read 2 Tim. 4.5-8.

First, Paul had a sense of purpose in life. In Acts 9 we read about Saul/Paul being converted. He was a committed Jewish leader who wanted to destroy this new religion which was preaching about a risen Jesus Christ. He was going to the city of Damascus to arrest the Chrs there when Jesus appeared to him and called him to be an evangelist for him. From the very beginning Paul knew what he was supposed to do – preach and teach about the love of Jesus Christ and salvation through his name. Paul spent the rest of his life knowing his purpose and doing it.

       Our faith in Jesus Christ gives us purpose in life. All of us have a reason to live because of Jesus. Some of us serve by cleaning the church; others by teaching Bible school; others by praying for others; some by leading Thursday night alive; many by serving your families; some by helping our neighbors. The list could go on and on, but I believe all of us have a purpose – a God given reason to live. We have a sense of purpose in our lives.

          In the passage Paul also knows that he has a sense of accomplishment. He wrote that he had fought the fight, he had finished the race, and he had kept the faith. The Chr life is a fight or a war according to Paul. We need to recognize that we all are in a life and death battle against satan. He is a like a lion looking for every opportunity he can to destroy us. Many do not even see that they are in a battle for their soul. We are to resist the devil and he will flee from us.

          The Chr life is also a race. Maybe Paul was in a town where they something like the Olympic Games and he saw the races that took place. The runners would line up and run the race and the crowd would cheer. The race he is talking about here is not a 100 yd dash, but a marathon. In 100 yd dash today the runners are done in 10 seconds or so. The Chr life is a marathon. Years ago I ran marathon races (26.2 miles) and a lot of shorter races. I started 15 marathons and finished 14. I ran Grandma’s marathon from Two Harbor to Duluth a number of times. We would start at 7.30 in the morning and if I had a good race, I would finish running before 11. They were tiring but it was a great accomplishment to finish the race. We are called to run your race for the Lord – day after day for his glory.

          The Chr life is about keeping the faith. Paul loved Jesus Christ with all of his heart, mind, soul and strength. He believed that Jesus had lived, died, and then arose from the dead to ascend to heaven to live with God forever there. In the life of Paul, all of these things he believed were challenged by those who did not believe them. Paul is probably the greatest defender of the Chr faith who ever lived. Jesus lived his life and taught us what we needed to do, and then Paul took those teachings and told us how to live them.

          We need to keep our faith in Jesus Christ. I know many people who made a commitment to Jesus Christ when they were teenagers, but have not been servants of the Lord for years. I know others who served God in their adult lives, but then for whatever reason, just stopped serving him. Still others may have lived for him into their later years, but then fell away from God. We need to be faithful to God all of our lives. God is faithful to us all of our lives and into eternity. In our lives we have a sense of accomplishment.

          Finally, Paul speaks of a sense of assurance. Listen again to what he says in verse 18. Read. He knew that what God promised through Jesus Christ, he would carry out. Jesus promised eternal life with him for all of his servants. Paul was looking forward to the crown of righteousness that he would get from the hand of God at the end of his life. Maybe Paul was thinking again about the races he had seen. At the end of the race, the winner was given a crown of flowers or leaves as his prize. When I finished a marathon, I got T-shirt and a medal usually. A million times more valuable than that will the crown of righteousness that we get from the Lord at the end of our lives.

          Notice too that is crown will be awarded by the Lord to him and to all others who are looking forward to the return of the Lord. Sometimes we think – sure Paul will get his crown – he was the best Chr ever and served the Lord so faithfully. But not me – I am a sinner; I fail too often to do what the Lord wants. We even get the idea that maybe we will get disqualified from heaven just at the last minute. If I have an evil thought and then step out on the street and get run over by a car, I will miss out on heaven. We think that we have not done enough to earn our way into heaven, so we will not be welcomed there. I am sure that none of us here today will ever earn our way into heaven – none of us. We are saved only by the grace of God, and his grace alone. We have the assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ.

          There is one more passage of scripture written by Paul tells us what we need to do with our lives. Listen to Phil. 3.12-14. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

          Paul knew that in his Chr life, he must continue serving the Lord no matter what. He did not rest on his past accomplishments, thinking that he had done enough for the Lord. He knew that there was a crown of righteousness promised for him by the Lord, but he was not done on earth. He was not made perfect by God yet, but he would press on to that goal. Do you hear the eagerness and determination in these verses written by Paul? With all his strength he would keep on keeping on. With all the power that came from the Holy Spirit he would press on the goal, so that at the end of his life, he would win the absolutely unbelievable prize of eternal life with the Lord. At the end of his race on earth he would not just have a crown, but eternal life with the Lord.

God calls us heavenward; God calls us to life with him forever in heaven. No matter what age we are, we cannot stop serving the Lord. Do not let anything keep you from the vision of heaven with the Lord forever. Pray for me that I will never let anything keep me from the serving the Lord. I will do everything I can to help you to press on to the goal of winning the prize for which God had called us heavenward in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Come to the Lord.

Keep on serving him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gen.5 walking with God

Genesis 5 – The Ultimate Senior Citizen Chapter



          We are starting a series of sermons about Senior Citizen in the Bible and in our town. Mower County has one of the highest rates of retired men and women in the state. All you have to do is go to the grocery store to see how many SrCs we have here in Austin. They provide this county with some great people and wonderful models to live by. There are many who have church homes but many still needed to have a relationship with Christ and a place to worship.  Some people don’t mind being SrCs but others don’t like it. (Are you a SrC too?)

In Genesis 5 we have the listing of the line of Adam and Eve. In our day, if a person lives to be over 100, they are really old. Listen to the ages of the men when they died as listed in this chapter – Adam was 930; Seth was 912; Enosh was 905; Kenan was 910; Mahalalel was only 895; Jared was 962; Enoch was really young – only 365; Methuselah was the oldest at 969; Lamech was 777 years old. This is definitely the ultimate SrC chapter in the Bible.

          Let me say a little about the ages in this chapter. Many people have questioned the numbers listed in Genesis 5. How could anyone live to be 969 years old? What would the person look like at that age if they aged the way we do? Can you imagine the wrinkles that person would have? Men’s ears get bigger as we age – they would be hanging down to our waist by that time. Can you imagine how bad our knees would hurt by the age of 900? Some have suggested that the years are really months or maybe 1/10 of what we would have.  So Mahalalel was not 895 but maybe 89 when he died. But that would mean that he would have born a son at age 6.5 years old. I believe the numbers are accurate, but the atmosphere in the world before the Flood was different and plants and animals aged differently then. It might have been like a greenhouse where everything was protected from the sunlight so we aged differently.

          I want to look at just 3 of these men this morning – the last three in the chapter. Methuselah is the man who lived the longest on this earth – 969 yrs old - when he died. In our day he would have been of Social Security for over 900 yrs. All we know about him was that his father was Enoch; his first son was born when he was 187, that he had other sons and daughters, and that he died. That is not much information for that many yrs. We assume he was a farmer or a herdsman, and he may have been very good at it, but we do not know. Methuselah is like a lot of people who live and die and not much is known about him. He might have accomplished many things during his life, but we don’t know. There is a poem I use at some funerals called, The Dash – it refers to the dash between the date of birth and the date of death on a tombstone. All of the person’s life is represented by that little “dash” - certainly there was more to his life.

          Next let us look at Lamech. We know more about him than we do his father. The picture we have is a vicious man. In Genesis 4 we hear him bragging to his two wives: Ge 4:23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. Ge 4:24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” Lamech was probably more like the other men of his time – arrogant and violent. This is the generation and time that was so evil that God was sorry he had made men and eventually wiped them out with the flood at the time of Noah. Lamech acted like the gangsters in the movies who would kill another person without a second thought.

          There is a second short passage that quotes him – found in Gen.5.29 where is says this: Ge 5:28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. Ge 5:29 He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.” To Lamech God was the cause of all the problems of the earth. God cursed the ground because of the sin of Adam and Eve, but Lamech did not see that. He was a wickedness man probably for his whole life – 777 years. Are there SrCs like that?

          Now we come to Enoch. The main phrase that characterizes this man is “Enoch walked with God.” Read Gen. 5.21-24. (With the death of Fern Everson last week – I said over and over – she walked with God day by day.) At first we might feel sorry for Enoch since he only lived 365 yrs. He was a young man compared with all his relatives. He had a wonderful quality of life rather than quantity. Again we do not know what Enoch did – whether he was a farmer or what. We know he lived in the midst of a wicked people - listen to what God said: Genesis 6.5 “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. Ge 6:6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. Ge 6:7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.”  That sounds like people in our age – some people. Can you imagine living in your whole life in that kind of atmosphere? Instead of wanting to do good for others, everyone is trying to hurt you. We are used to living in a fairly Chr world – but there are places where evil is the typical. (In most places in our world you just don’t lock your doors, you have bars on the windows.)

          Yet somehow Enoch was different from the rest – he walked with God. This reminds me of Adam and Eve in Gen.3 where it says God walked in the Garden in the cool of the evening, and they walked with him, talked with him and received his love directly. Enoch must have done the same. Why did he walk with God and not the rest of the people? I know that God sought people then and he does now. The big issue is our receptivity to God. It is like God is a TV station broadcasting on channel 4, but most people do not tune into that channel. God always has and does now want a personal, intimate relationship with people. I don’t know why – we seldom are very good company – we always fail him and break the bond between us. Enoch listened to God and walked with him.

Walking with God for Enoch was difficult for a number of reasons. Nobody else it seems was listening to God. In fact I am sure he was mocked and made fun of for his faith in God. No doubt the rest of the people had invented their own gods by this time, idols and images. But Enoch worshiped the one true God in spirit and in truth directly. He had purpose and fulfillment in life – Augustine said there is a God-shaped hole in our heart that only God can fill. Enoch found God and his heart was filled completely. I am sure he tried to share his faith in God with others, but they did not listen, none of them.

          Remember this was centuries before the Law of Moses, before the Temple, and before the sacrificial system. Enoch had no scriptures to read – we have both the OT and NT to encourage us in our Chr life – he had none. There were probably the stories about Adam and Eve, and all the others and how this God had work with them. Maybe these sustained him some.

Mostly I believe it was God reaching out to Enoch and drawing him to his side day after day. Listen to what is written about Enoch in Hebrews 11.5 &6:  “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” The passage say God rewarded him – he was no more because God took him away – directly to heaven so their fellowship could continue for eternity.

          What about us today? What does it mean to walk with God? Am I doing that – are we walking daily with him? That is what Christianity is – daily walking by faith with the Almighty God, the loving God. As Chrs he takes our hand or puts his arm around us and we walk. We feel his love and forgiveness because of Jesus Christ. He comforts us and challenges us – always helping us to be obedient to him in all of our life. There is nothing that could be more wonderful in the whole world than walking with God day after day. None of us are good enough to be taken directly to heaven like Enoch, but we have the best possible life walking with God.