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Saving Faith Displayed Before the Flood, Part 1 (Hebrews Sermon 46 of 74)

Saving Faith Displayed Before the Flood, Part 1 (Hebrews Sermon 46 of 74)

November 06, 2011 | Andy Davis
Hebrews 11:4-7
Faith, Heaven

What do you live for?

Well, I stand before you today a truly blessed man, a man who is happy because I believe that I serve every day, a living God. And I believe that for me the best things are all yet to come, that someday I will come into a vast rich reward at the end of a life of faith. I truly believe that. And that confidence, that happiness that fills me right now as I speak to you, flows from the truths that are, I think, best captured in one verse in the Bible, Hebrews 11:6 that's in front of us today. And that verse, and the themes that come from that verse teach me how to live and teach me what I ought to live for. What should be the central driving force of my life. Hebrews 11:6 says, "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 diligently or earnestly seek him." But I want to ask you today as you assemble here, what is it you are living for? What is it that motivates you every day?

What is the driving principle of your life? Why are you alive? What do you live for? Reading Tim Keller's book, The Reason For God, and in a foot note at the end of the book, he gives a series of God's substitutes that people can live for. Very enlightening for me to read that list, and the dangers that come from living for those kinds of God's substitutes. He just gives a cautionary set of warnings to you if you live for this or that or the other God's substitute. For example, if you center your life and your identity on a spouse or a prospective spouse then in some way you'll be emotionally dependent on that individual, you'll be jealous and controlling, and the other person's problems will be overwhelming to you. If on the other hand you center your life and identity on your children, you'll try to live your life through your children until they resent you or will have no self-identity of their own. And at worst, you may abuse them when they disappoint you.

If you center your life and identity on your work, your career, then you're going to be a driven workaholic and a boring and shallow person. And worse, you'll lose family and friends, and if your career goes poorly, you're going to develop deep depression. If your God substitute is money and possessions you're going to be eaten up with worry and jealousy about money, you'll be willing perhaps to do unethical things to maintain your lifestyle, which will eventually blow up your life. If you center your life and identity on pleasure, gratification, comfort, you're going to find yourself getting addicted to something. You will become chained to whatever escape strategy you choose for your life and by that you will live escaping the hardness that you perceive in life. If your God's substitute is relationships and human approval, you're going to be constantly overly hurt by criticism. You're going to be always losing friends, you're going to fear confronting others and therefore, you'll become yourself a worthless friend.

If you center your life and identity on some noble cause, and you live for that noble cause, you will eventually divide the world into good people and bad people based on your cause. You will tend to demonize your opponents, ironically, you're going to end up being controlled by your opponents. Frankly, without them you would have no purpose to live. And if you center your life and identity on religion, man-centered morality, you will, if you are living up to your religious and moral standards, be proud, self-righteous and cruel. If you don't live up to your moral standards, your guilt will be utterly devastating to you.

Now, that's just a partial list of God's substitutes but I think it's a good one. You know what the Bible calls God's substitutes? It calls them idols. And the life centered on an idol is idolatry. And so therefore we have always in front of us, the true genuine faith in the living God or idolatry, that's what you have always in front of you. Now, I think the book of Hebrews lays out a better life than that, Amen. It's called the life of faith, and at the end of Hebrews 10 it's described for us very powerfully, and there it says, "my righteous one will live by faith." The life of faith.

Saving Faith is the Same in Every Age

Now, we live in a time of technological advances, we live in an era in which it seems like every 18 months to two years, some radical new invention usually in the electronic realm, or the software realm, comes and just transforms the way you live your life. And you can go to Best Buy and find out what all of those kinds of new technologies are. We live in that kind of world, we live in an advanced society. And we do not, as I've mentioned before, measure our wealth in terms of livestock or how many viable wells that you dug in the waste land from which you're drinking your water. That's not our wealth, we measure it in other ways. But this chapter stands in front of us with a staggering proposition, and that is that in every single generation of human history, people who have lived lives pleasing the God have done so the exact same way. It unifies all of human history, they have pleased God only by faith. And so we're going to reach back to the primordial, the beginning of biblical history, the beginning of redemptive history, and we're going to be looking this week and next week at three individuals who lived their lives before the flood. We're going to look at Abel and we're going to look at Enoch and Noah. And what we're going to find is that even in the world of that time they pleased God, they lived by faith. It's been the same and the author here is commending the exact same life to us. No difference in the end, no difference.

Maybe a world of difference in terms of the technology, frankly, we know very little about the world before the flood. 2 Peter 3:6 talks about how the waters of the flood deluged and destroyed, it says, the world that then was, or the world of that time. And that flood was devastating, it was earth-rending. The flood gates of the deep were burst open, as they're ripping and rending. It's a powerful thing. And so we actually have very little physical... None, really no physical evidence of what the world at that time was like. We have very little descriptions in the first five chapters of Genesis of what the world at that time, was. We really don't know much. Artists will try to draw it, some seeking to be really faithful to the biblical text will draw a world of amazing technology, and I saw one that had a mono-rail, I thought that was really cool. A pre-flood monorail. Others tend to go the other... Expect that they looked Neanderthals in animal skins, living in tents or caves. I have no idea what the world of that time was.

But one thing I do know, Abel, Enoch and Noah pleased God by faith. That much I know, and in that way, we are brothers with them. There's no difference. And so we are looking back to the beginning of history, and we are finding that these three individuals lived by faith, the same faith that Hebrews 10:38 commends to us. Now I'm going to go beyond that, I'm going to say in the language of Romans, and Galatians that those three individuals were justified by faith in Jesus Christ, apart from works of the law, that they stand righteous before God on the exact same basis that I do, because I have believed in Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross I stand righteous in God's sight. I am justified by faith. We celebrated that this week with a reformation week. For me, as a church historian, I always love to think about the events of 1517 and Martin Luther and his nailing of the 95 theses to the door, the beginning of the Reformation.

But the center piece of that whole thing was a work of revival by the Spirit of God, whereby the Gospel of Jesus Christ was rediscovered and stripped of all of its medieval crustiness and got back to the pristine truth of justification by faith apart from works of the law. And so what I'm going to say is that Abel and Enoch and Noah were all justified by faith in Christ. And there's such clear indications of that in verse 7 about Noah. I'm not going to talk about Noah very much there or Enoch, but it says that he became heir of the righteousness that is by faith. That's justification language. That Noah stands on the same ground I do, the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

And as you go on through the catalog that you heard Rick read for us, Abraham was justified by faith in Christ. It says in Galatians 3:8-9, that the scripture foresaw that the Gentiles would be justified by faith, and so it preached the gospel to Abraham ahead of time. And so we become heirs with Abraham of the righteousness that is by faith, so therefore, Abraham was justified by faith in Jesus Christ. And Jesus himself said, "Your father Abraham, rejoiced to the thought of seeing my day, he saw it and was glad." And Moses was justified by faith in Christ because in verse 26 of the same chapter, it says that he considered the riches of Christ, greater than all the riches of Egypt. He was willing to suffer for Christ. It says Christ, right there in verse 26. And so Moses was trusting in Christ. Jesus himself said, "If you believe Moses, you would believe me for he wrote about me." So Moses wrote about Christ, and he believed in Christ.

And so, what I'm going to say is this unifies the entire human race of believers, we have trusted in Jesus Christ, in the finished work of Christ on the cross. And if you're an unbeliever, today, you woke up this morning and you were not in faith, you did not believe in Christ, but yet God brought you here today, I believe more than anything else I'm about to say, he brought you here to hear this. Your sins can be forgiven by simple faith in Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God, he took on a human body so that he could die. And he shed his blood on the cross for sinners like you and me, and all you need to do is look to him with eyes of faith, you will not see him with your physical eyes but you will look to him not having seen him, believing in him. All your sins will be forgiven. Don't leave this place unforgiven. Don't leave this place in sin.

Trust in Jesus and all your sins will be forgiven, and the scripture gives you indications. You'll be just like Abel in that regard, just like Enoch just like Noah, just like all of these. Same thing, justified by faith in Jesus Christ. So we're looking back to the beginning of time, biblical history. We're looking at Abel, we're looking Enoch, we're looking at Noah this week and next week, and in order to do that, I want to jump ahead to verse 6 and treat with it, first.

Basic Principle of Relationship with God (vs. 6)

And so this verse has been much in my mind, verse 6, "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."

First Statement of Basic Goal: Pleasing God

Basically what he tells us there is the basic principle of a relationship with God. He gives us the basic goal, the basic goal here is pleasing God. Look at the verse, "Without faith it is impossible to please God," so it presents pleasing God as the central goal of life. We ought to please God, we have to live for pleasing God. And so the desire of my life as a Christian is, as it says in Ephesians 5:10 to find out what pleases the Lord. I want to find out what brings him pleasure, what pleases him. And so, I exist to please God, I was created for his pleasure. But I've also been instructed and I find that I must find my pleasure in what pleases him. That's the nature, the essence of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

It is true that Jesus is the King of rebellious kings, and the lord of reluctant lords that is true, but that's not the nature of his kingdom. We enter his kingdom joyfully by faith, glad to have Jesus as our king, delighted to serve him. And so, therefore, there's a mutual pleasure here. The purpose of my life then is to find my pleasure in pleasing God. That's why I exist. And so the verse gives us that indication.

Second Statement of Basic Goal: Coming to God

The second statement of my basic reason for existence is that I would come to God. So I am to please God, it also says I am to come to God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him... And I'm going to add the phrase at the very end, earnestly seeking him. So coming to him and earnestly seeking him, I consider the same thing. And it implies a kind of a distance between me and God. And a journey to be traveled. I'm here God is there and I need to come to him, I need to seek him. There's a distance between us and I want to come to him and to seek him. And so the purpose of my life is that, it's to come to God. And to find my pleasure and my delight in closeness to God.

That's why I'm here. It's the purpose of my life, it's why Jesus Christ came. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life," said Jesus. "No one comes to the Father except through me." "I'm here to bring you to God" is what he is saying. 1 Peter 3:18 says that Jesus died on the cross to bring sinners like us to God. And so therefore, the psalmist celebrates this, Psalm 73 says, "As for me it is good to be near God." Isn't that true? Or the psalm, we read earlier, Psalm 27, "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple." The psalmist David there, his delight is to be close to God, he wants to be close. Psalm 84 puts it in the pilgrimage language.

You remember how the Jews three times a year would have pilgrimages from wherever they lived to the central place of worship that God would choose, and they would travel songs of ascents. They would go up and they would travel up to Jerusalem. And Psalm 84 is a song of ascents, and as they're going up, they're celebrating pilgrimage. And the psalmist in Psalm 84:10 says, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a door keeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tens of the wicked." I want to be near God, even the swallow has found a home, a place near your altar O Lord, God almighty. I just want to be close to God. And so there's that sense of a journey, a traveling and diligently and earnestly seeking him, I feel distant from him. I want to get close to God. That's why I live.

Third Statement of Basic Goal: Being Rewarded by God

The third statement of the basic goal is that I might be rewarded by God. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." And so I should be living for the reward. To be rewarded by God. And it's amazing, this verse tells me that in order to please God, I actually have to believe that he will reward me. He's displeased with people who don't care about the reward. We should be living every moment for the reward that God will give. And I want to talk about that today, I want to talk about what that reward is and what it means, but I'm just saying just right from the front, I should be living for whatever that reward is that he's going to give. So that's why I exist. I exist to please God and to find my pleasure in pleasing him. I exist to come to God and to earnestly seek God.

Double Negative Assertion

I exist to live a life that he will reward, that he will reward my life. That's why I exist. And what this verse is telling me is what is required for me to do that, what is required for me to please God, what is required for me to come to God, what is required for God to reward me, and he tells us it's faith. He puts it with a double negative kind of sense, "Without faith," that's negative, "it is impossible," that's negative. So the strong... Whenever there's a double negative, I think, in the scripture you should think about a strong, positive assertion. It is absolutely required that you have faith in order to please God, to come to him and be rewarded by him. And I think we ought to just meditate on this negative. Just think about it. It is a powerful thought. We live on a planet, we live in a world surrounded by billions and billions of people who do not believe in the God of the Bible. Who do not believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, they do not believe in Jesus. We are surrounded by people who do not have faith and this verse tells me that nothing they do pleases God.

That's a radical thought. They could volunteer their time in a soup kitchen, they could set up a disaster relief tent where there was an earthquake or a hurricane, they can pour out every ounce of energy in their lives, but if they don't do it by faith in Christ, trusting in the blood of Christ to forgive them for their sins, God is not pleased with any of it. Another verse teaches this exact same concept, Romans 14:23. It says there, "Anything that does not come from faith is sin." It's not morally neutral even. It's not like they get no credit, it's that they're actually in a worse position now than they were 24 hours ago after spending their whole day serving the poor and needy, or housing those that are homeless now because of a hurricane. They are actually in a worse place than they were 24 hours ago. They have actually stored up more wrath because they have done yet more deeds with no faith. And if they have no faith, their deeds are not pleasing to God. It's powerful. It's overwhelming, it's grievous when you think about it.

It says in Romans 2, that they're actually storing up wrath against themselves for the day of God's wrath. And so without faith it's impossible. It also speaks to me in terms of my own life. Because I find that as I look at my life, I would not say that everything I do, I do by faith. Would you say everything... 100% of what you do you do by faith? I don't think that's true. I certainly don't sin by faith. And so, therefore, there's a portion of my life that's displeasing to God. He's not pleased with anything that I don't do by faith, right?

Faith is Absolutely Required to Please God

So I've been thinking a lot about this verse. I want as much of my life as possible to be pleasing to God, Amen. I want to live for his pleasure. I want to be pleasing. And therefore, you know what he's ushering, he's taking me by the shoulders and he's bringing me to faith and he's saying, 11:6, faith, faith is the issue. And from Romans 14:23, he's saying, you know what your problem is when you sin, you lack faith, faith is your problem. You sin out of unbelief every time. So therefore, for me, the best thing I can do as a man is to grow strong, wax strong in faith.

And the best thing I can do for you as a pastor is to help you do the same, to feed you the word so that your faith gets stronger and stronger. Those are the implications of this verse. Now let's apply it back to Abel, Enoch and Noah. Why does the author give us this in verse 6? Why does he interrupt his history that you heard Rick read, and it's going to be a long history. And he goes to Abel and Enoch, and he just stops himself after those two, and it's almost like, "Oh, by the way, just so you know, Without faith it's impossible to please God." Why does he do that? Well, he's just... I think he's working out logically. He wants us to be thinkers. So use your logic, use your reason. Reasoning is huge in the Christian life. I'm going to talk about that when Abraham reasoned by faith, that God could raise the dead, and that's why he obeyed. I'm going to talk about reason. We'll get to that. Alright, that was bad, see now, I've robbed the punchline of that sermon. We'll get to that, but there's a marriage between faith and reason, and we're supposed to be thinking things out. Well, let's try to understand it. What the author is saying is, he's saying, "Okay, Abel is an example of faith. By faith, Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain did."

But if you flip back and you go to Genesis account, faith isn't even mentioned, faith isn't mentioned. By faith, Enoch walked with God and God took him... Again, you go to the account of Enoch and there's very little about him, and the word faith isn't even mentioned. As a matter of fact, the first time faith or belief is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 15:6, "Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness." That's the first mention of faith in the Bible. I think by the way, it's a very good first mention of faith. It's what's quoted so we can know by which we can be made righteous. But there's just no mention at all in the first 14 Chapters of Genesis of faith at all. So how is it that the author is getting away with Abel and Enoch and Noah as examples of faith? And what he does, he gives verse 6 to tell us how it works. So, fact number one, without faith it is impossible to please God. Fact number two, Abel's offering pleased God, therefore... Come on, give me the logic, he offered it by faith, okay? Fact number one, without faith it is impossible to please God. Fact number two, Enoch was commended as someone who pleased God. Draw the line, give me the conclusion, Enoch walked by faith. Amen.

He walked by faith. Same thing with Noah. And so, the bottom line, the author is giving us the reason why Abel and Enoch and Noah are examples of faith even though faith is never mentioned. Well, let's press a little deeper. How do we even know that fact one is true? How do you know that without faith it's impossible to please God? Well, here we can just, you know, with the Scripture you can say, "Because I'm the daddy, that's why. We just do that." Because I said so, that's why. The Bible makes all kinds of assertions, and we believe them or we don't, but as believers in Christ, we are also believers in the Bible, and we just accept it. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6, "Without faith it's impossible to please God," and many other such verses tend toward that direction or teach a similar thing. And for me that's good enough. But I think the author himself wants us go a little deeper, because he supports the statement with the rest of the verse. "Without faith it's impossible to please God, for anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." So that's the support that he gives us for the assertion.

So as I meditated on this, I thought, it really just comes from the essential basic nature of God and his dealings with us as sinners. It just fundamentally comes down to God himself, what he is like and how he is dealing with us. And so, I'm going to draw out two attributes, the hidden-ness of God and the goodness of God, that's how we know that what verse 6 says is true. First, let's go with the hidden-ness of God. What do we mean by that? We serve an invisible God. God is invisible. Many Scriptures testify to that, he cannot be seen with the eye. And so, it says in 1 John 4:12, "No one has ever seen God," or John 1, same assertion. "No one has ever seen God at any time." John Chapter 1, or in 1 Timothy 6:16. Speaks of God who alone is immortal, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. Isaiah 45:15 says, "Truly you are a God who hides himself, oh God and Savior of Israel." That's a deep verse. God hides himself. And so therefore, you cannot come to God without faith, because faith is the assurance of things hoped for, conviction of things not seen, it deals with invisible things, and you will not be able to come to this invisible God unless you believe that he exists.

And you will not believe in the invisible God without faith. And so you must believe that he exists, the existence of God. No one takes a journey to a place that he personally doesn't believe exists. People may take journeys to places that don't exist, but they think that it does. They may be deluded and their friends would do well to talk them out of it, but if you had a friend that was going to sell everything and move to Shangri-La, I think it'd be good for you to talk them out of it. The place doesn't exist. And we are on a journey here, because of our sins we are separated from God and Jesus came to bring us to God, and so, we must go on a journey to find God. And we actually live every day that way, right? And so, we're going to seek God and we want to find him, but you have to believe that he exists. You won't take the journey if you don't, and therefore you can't please God. And furthermore, you won't take a journey if you don't believe you'll get something good out of it, right? Doesn't it make sense? Now, let's say you lived in 1849, you were a prosperous business man, a merchant in Philadelphia and you read the reports of the finding of gold in Northern California and your brother and two of your best friends sold everything they had, went and were gunned down in the gold field and lost everything.

And now you're toying with the idea of selling everything you have and going to the gold fields of Northern California. Are you going to go? Probably not. Why would you sell everything that you own to go on a perilous journey like that if you don't think it's going to be worth it? That it will be beneficial for you to go, and so you therefore must believe that you'll get something good out of making the journey. You must believe that seeking God will produce something worthwhile to you. It's going to be worth it to find God. Now, what's amazing is, bottom line, the Scripture tells us that no one naturally begins this journey. No one. Romans 3:11 says, "There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God," no one. You're not going to sell your possessions and buy that treasure in the field, unless you think it really exists and it's going to be worthwhile. And so, the first thing that God has to do to save a sinner is give them the gift of faith. He gives them faith, and then they say, "God exists, and he is infinitely worthwhile and I am going to pursue him the rest of my life." And that's how it all begins. And so, what is the reward, what is it you get for earnestly seeking God?

What is the Reward?

Well, look at the verse and the verse has its own answer. And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek God. Okay, can you have any sense of what the reward might be? How about God, maybe God is his own reward. The God who created these beautiful majestic trees that we see around us, don't you love this time of year? Don't you love the vivid oranges and reds and yellows, the piercingly blue sky, don't you just love this time of year? Don't you want to know the God who made it? Isn't he better than what he's made? And so, we want him. And so, I believe that if you earnestly seek him, it's him you'll get, because that's what you want, it's what you wanted your whole life, and he will give himself to you. It says in Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart." That's what you get, you get me. Now, what I believe is that this reward comes both now and infinitely more in eternity. You get some today and you get even more in eternity, isn't that awesome? This is the life of faith. Every day it's like, "God, give me some reward today for seeking you. Show me yourself. I want to know you. I want to have a touch with the living God today. I want to be happy in Jesus today. Would you please touch me today with a sense of your presence?"

And he does, and so he gives a reward to those who earnestly seek him. He gives foretastes through the Spirit. And so we seek him. And we need to do that even as believers, because God is not immediately evident in front of us. Think about Saul of Tarsus. What happened with Saul of Tarsus? He's on the road to Damascus, he's traveling there, suddenly he has a blinding light from heaven and a voice, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you Lord?" "I am Jesus, the one you're persecuting." The blinding light of the glory of Jesus. But then, it went out. He didn't see it later that night. And you know what he did, he spent the rest of his life seeking it again, I want to know Christ, I want to know Christ, I want to know him, I want to know him. Forgetting what's lying behind, pressing toward what is ahead, I want Jesus, I want Jesus, day after day after day. I want to see where that light came from. I want to see it more clearly. I want to be in it forever. That's the nature of the Christian life. And sometimes he gives you spiritual light, it'll flash and it'll go out and then by faith you go to the next one. You're like, "I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I want it, I'm seeking you." That's the life that's commended for us here. This is the life worth living, living for God every single moment.

That is the reward. Oh God, Psalm 63. "Earnestly I seek you… in a dry and weary land where there is no water" like a starving, like a dying man who's got to have a drink of water, I must have God today. It's the life. And infinitely more later. For now, we see through a glass darkly, and then we see face-to-face. Now we know in part and then we shall know fully even as we have been fully known, infinitely better.

So that is the reward. But I believe the Bible also teaches rewards. I believe in rewards, not just reward. And what is that? Well, the Bible often speaks of this, and it has to do with good deeds that you do by faith for which you will receive something back from God. And that also dictates how you will live your life. "For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them," and that we would spend every single day walking in those good works that he has laid out for us to do. And the Bible tells us very plainly, if we do, he will reward us for each one, each one. That's awesome. Every good work you do by faith, he will reward you for it. So basically, my life then is broken into two categories, that which was done by faith and that which is not done by faith. Everything done by faith will receive a reward, everything not done by faith will be burned up on Judgment Day. Wood, hay and straw, gone. That's it. And so, therefore, whether I eat or drink or whatever I do, I want to live to the glory of God. I want to do his will, I want to please him, I want to discover Jesus in the center of it.

We talked on Wednesday night, about the eating of a ham sandwich. Some of you have to have more faith than others to eat a ham sandwich. Some of you love ham sandwich, doesn't take any faith to eat a ham sandwich. But I say to you that I've eaten a lot of ham sandwiches, and most of them probably not by faith, but some of them by faith. And so, I can eat a meal to the glory of God, or I can sit and argue with the people around the table and get fleshly and carnal and eat the same food, but not to the glory of God. Do you see what I'm saying? As soon as the meal is over, I can get up and serve in some way or walk in the good works God has, whatever they are and I can go store up treasure in heaven, or I cannot do that. This is two different ways to live. And that means every moment of every day has meaning for me to discover Jesus in the eating of a ham sandwich, to discover Jesus in a conversation with a brother or sister in Christ, to discover Jesus in intercessory prayer. And in this way, I am told I will be rewarded for anything done by faith. The staggering teaching of the Bible. In John Chapter 12, if we serve Jesus, He says, "My Father will honor the one who serves me." It just blows me away that God would honor me.

I know that I'm going to honor him, and well I should, and I will worship him. But that he would actually honor me for anything I do to serve him is staggering. And what is the nature of that honor? It is, I am pleased with you, I'm pleased with what you did. I'm going to tell you about that. I may even give you a physical artifact, sometimes spoken of as crowns, things like that. I will give you emblems of my pleasure in what you did. And as a matter of fact, this is such a huge issue that Jesus spent almost a whole chapter of the Sermon on the Mount talking about it, Matthew 6, it's all about rewards. Please, he says, don't do your rewards to get your... Your deeds to get your rewards now you'll lose them. So if you give to the needy and you announce it with trumpets and everybody sees what you're doing, I tell you the truth, you have already received your reward. But when you give to the needy, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret and if you do that, your Father who sees what is done in secret, he will reward you.

And when you pray, don't be like the hypocrites, praying out so everybody can see you, but go into your room and close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen and your Father who sees what is done in secret, he will reward you. It's a whole life of living by faith, storing up as he says in Matthew 6:21, treasure in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy. And so, what is the center of that reward, of those rewards? It's commendation from God, like Enoch got. Enoch was commended as a man who pleased God, it's commendation that God would commend you. And then you will cast all your crowns at the feet of Jesus and know you didn't deserve any of them. Every one of your good works were done because God worked grace in you.

But just in the interest of time, I'm going to move Abel to next week. I don't think he's going to mind.  And if we can actually get Abel, Enoch and Noah done in one week that will be close to a miracle. But I think Hebrews 11:6 is worth living out, don't you? That we should live every moment of today discovering the hidden God, discovering the invisible Jesus in every encounter, that's a life worth living. And so, I would commend to you first and foremost that you come to Jesus and trust in him.

If you've never done that before, you know now, I've warned you, none of your good works will be pleasing to God if you don't first come to Christ. Trust in him. But secondly, I urge you, I would urge you... Read this verse every day for the next month, memorize it. And say, "God, I want to live a life pleasing you. I just want to know the truths of Hebrews 11:6. I want to live this out, I want to come to you, I want to please you, I want to diligently seek you." And then thirdly, just discover Jesus moment by moment in every encounter with another human being, every good work, every dish you wash, every moment you're in the car, saturated in prayer, thank God for the trials you're going through, go through this, and just sanctify every moment by faith, close with me in prayer.

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