What is your love language?
In 1995 a relationships counselor called Gary Chapman wrote a book called 'The 5 Love languages' which said that there are basically 5 ways of showing and receiving love. They are…
• Acts of service
• Words of affirmation
• Receiving Gifts
• Quality Time
• Physical touch
And the idea is that for each of us some of those love languages are more important than others.
So perhaps words of affirmation are your love language, you feel loved when people tell you that they love you, or appreciate you…
And you show people that you love them, by telling them.
Or perhaps you show people that you love them by buying them gifts, or by serving them, or making time to spend with them?
Now perhaps you're into all this and you could tell me exactly what your love languages are and in order of importance…Or perhaps you think this kind of thing is all a bit ridiculous.
But here's the thing…If you know someone's love language, then it will help you love them (and quite possibly save you money!)For example, if you know that your husband, or that girl you really like isn't so bothered about gifts, but does care about quality time. Well then, don't waste your money on buying them a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates, instead go for a long walk. I happen to know, for example, that Gay-Lynn's primary love language is Ben and Jerry's ice-cream. And if you're interested, my love languages are dark chocolate and rounds of golf!
But here's my question for us tonight.
If it's not irreverent, I want to ask this question…
What do you think is God's love language?
What is it that God loves?
What is it that shows God, more than anything else, that we really love him?
How does God receive love from us?
And the answer, that I hope we'll see tonight as we look at Hebrews 11.5-6, is faith.
This evening we're going to be looking at just two verses, and I want us to see three things.
One fact, one application and one implication.
First of all then, the fact, and it is this,
Enoch Pleased God v.5
The writer of Hebrews tells us just three things about Enoch.
The first is that he had faith. Beginning of v.5,
By faith Enoch…
Secondly we're told that Enoch's faith pleased God,
Look at the end of v.5,
For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
And thirdly were told that because Enoch had faith that pleased God, he never died, God simply took him away.
Genesis 5, which we read earlier, is a chapter all about death. It's not a very well known part of the Bible, perhaps you've never even read it, or heard it being read in church before tonight. But when we read it what tends to stand out is the incredible age that people used to live to."Altogether Methuselah lived 969 years"!
But it's not a chapter about life, it's a chapter about death. We're told again and again and again that "Altogether so-and-so lived this many years, and then he died…","…and then he died…and then he died."
God made mankind to live forever.
Do you remember, what was in the middle of the Garden of Eden? There was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, from which God said that Adam and Eve should not eat. But there was also another tree, a tree that Adam and Eve were supposed to eat from, that was the tree of life. And when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God threw them out of the Garden of Eden so that they might not also eat from the tree of life. Men and women were supposed to live forever, but when Adam and Eve sinned they brought death into the world. And so we read in Genenis 5
Altogether, Adam lived 930 years… and then he died…
And so did Seth, and Enosh and Kenan and Mahalalel and Jared, and then we read in v.22
And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
Enoch didn't die. And the only explanation we're given in Genesis for this incredible fact is that Enoch "walked with God." Everything he did, he did with God. Following God, obeying God, trusting God, serving God, worshipping God, honouring God, remembering God, thinking of God, loving God, exalting God, honouring God…"Enoch walked with God". He had faith in God, and his faith pleased God and so one day God took him away to be with him. One day Enoch walked with God, all the way home. Enoch's faith pleased God.That's the fact that we're reminded of in Hebrews 11 v 5, and then we get the application in v6.
Without Faith You Cannot Please God v.6
Without faith it is impossible to please God. For two reasons.
Firstly, we're told, it's because you cannot please God unless you believe that he exists. Now perhaps that seems entirely obvious to you. Of course you can't please God if you don't believe that he exists. In a moment I hope I'll show you that actually people try to do that all the time. But first lets consider what this means. What does it mean to believe that God exists? Well, saying that you believe that God exists isn't like saying that you believe that Newcastle will win the Premiership this year or that Gateshead will be promoted, or that chocolate actually has a slimming effect on people. Believing that God exists doesn't mean hoping that God exists however unlikely it may actually be. No, believing that God exists means knowing for certain, trusting, and putting your faith in the fact that God exists.
And if you know that God exists, well then you know that he is God. God is not his name. Saying that you believe that God exists is not the same as saying that you believe that Robbie Williams exists. If you believe that God exists then you don't just believe that there is a person who exists who is called God. No, it means believing that he is God. You believe that there is a God who controls all things, and knows all things, and created all things. If any of those things weren't true, then he wouldn't be God.
But it doesn't stop there. If you believe that God exists then you not only believe that he is real, and that he really is God, but you must believe that he is your God. If God exists, then he must be your God. He must be your King, because he must be your creator. If you believe that God exists then you believe that life does not revolve around you, it revolves around Him. You exist to worship him.
That's what it means to believe that God exists. And so Hebrews says, if you don't believe that God exists then you cannot please God. Why? Well because anything you ever do is not done for him. It is done for someone else, or for yourself. If you don't believe that God exists, then nothing you do can ever be done to serve him, you cannot serve someone you don't even acknowledge. You're serving someone else, you're serving yourself. If you don't believe that God exists then you cannot please God.
But just believing that God exists is not enough to make your actions pleasing to him. After all you could believe that God exists, that he is God and that he is your God, and still choose to ignore him, and reject him.
As James says
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons do that- and shudder.
If all we do is believe that God exists then we're still no better than demons. No, if we want to please God, then firstly we must believe that he exists, but secondly we must also believe "that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
Now what does that mean? Well that is really what the whole of Hebrews chapter 11 is all about. Look back at what it says in chapter 10.35-36.
The writer of Hebrews is trying to encourage and inspire Christians to keep on faithfully following Jesus, by remembering that one day he will come back and on that day our obedience to him will be rewarded.
Then we get this great long list of examples from the OT of people who lived by faith in chapter 11. And look at what it says over the page in v.13,and then look at his conclusion in 12.1-3
Run the race with perseverance
fix your eyes upon Jesus
don't lose heart
Why? Because if you do, then one day you will receive your reward. Faith, as it says back in v.1,
is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Anyone who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
That is faith. Faith believes that God exists, and faith believes that God will reward us in eternity. If we have faith, then we live our lives today in light of that reward. Faith does not seek rewards now on earth. No, faith seeks obedience to God now, trusting that one day we will receive our reward from him.
Faith seeks those rewards. And if you aren't seeking those rewards, but earthly ones, well then the book of Hebrews says, you don't have faith, and you cannot please God.
Do you see? Firstly we have faith in God because it is our duty. We believe that he exists, that he is God and that he is our God. But secondly we have faith in God because it is our joy. We believe that he will reward those who seek him. Without faith, we serve ourselves, and we live for this life. Living by faith pleases God, and Enoch gives us one of the most incredible examples of faith in the whole of the Bible. But without faith, you cannot please God.
Surveys tell us that the majority of people still say that they believe in God. If you stopped people on the street, then most people will still say that they believe in some God, or some higher power or authority. And when I speak to non-Christians about God, and I ask them, 'What do you think will happen when you die and you stand before God.' Do you know what most people say? They say, well I hope that on that day my good deeds will outweigh my bad deeds. Or something along those lines. But do you see what Hebrew 11.5-6 have told us? If you do not have faith in God, if you don't live with him as your God, and if you aren't following him no matter the cost because you're looking forward to the reward that he will give you on that day… If you do not have faith, then NOTHING you do pleases God.
Without faith you cannot please God. Without faith, nothing you do is good in God's eyes. Because nothing you do is for God… it's for you. If you do not have faith in God, well then when you die and stand before him, he won't weigh your good deeds and your bad deeds. For the simple fact that, you will have NO GOOD DEEDS TO WEIGH.
It doesn't matter if you give to charity or have been faithful in your marriage or even save somebody's life.
If you don't do those things for Him, then you're doing it for yourself, or at very best someone else. Even if you're a Christian, and doing 'good things'. If you're not doing them not for God, but for yourself. Well then you're not pleasing God and you won't be rewarded for them in heaven. If I preach a sermon for my own sake, not by faith and for God's glory, well then it does not please God.
That's the application. Without faith you cannot please God. But finally and briefly, there is one implication of all this, and that is that…
With Faith You Can Please God
We know almost nothing about Enoch. Enoch had faith. His faith pleased God. And so Enoch never died. That's it.
In Jude we have one verse which tells us that Enoch foretold that God was going to judge the world for their ungodliness, and he did in the flood in Genesis 6. But that's it.
Apart from that, all we know of Enoch is that his father was called Jared, he had a son called Methuselah and that
Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
Maybe Enoch was a gardener? Maybe he was a teacher, or painter or unemployed? Maybe he was a stay-at-home dad? Maybe he was a live in carer for his parents? Maybe he was an extrovert? Maybe he had lots of friends? Maybe he loved sport, maybe he hated sport?
I don't know what he did, we're not told. All that we're told is that whatever he did, he did it walking with God.
(Following God, obeying God, trusting God, serving God, worshipping God, honouring God, remembering God, thinking of God, loving God, exalting God, honouring God.) And that's the point.
God doesn't mind so much what you do. He minds how you do it. And whatever it is you do, as long as it's not something God tells us not to do, then you can do it by faith, pleasing God. Do you see? Faith redeems everything we do. You can be a teacher or a doctor or a son or a daughter or a husband or a wife or a student or a football player, or a waiter or a waitress, or a customer in a restaurant. You can do all of those things only for yourself, only thinking about your reward here on earth. Or you can do them by faith. Constantly thinking of how you can do them to the glory of God and seeking your reward in heaven.
And whatever you do by faith will be pleasing God. Because faith is God's love language!
George Herbert was a Christian poet 400 years ago.
And this is what he wrote in a poem called The Elixir
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in any thing,
To do it as for thee.
A servant with this cause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
Makes that and th' action fine.
This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.
Do you see what he says?
Faith is God's love language.
Faith, can turn the drudgery of cleaning a house,
Or filling in paperwork,
Or ordering supplies,
Or answering emails,
Or washing the dishes,
Or making meals,
Or doing your taxes,
Or preparing a lesson,
Or revising for an exam,
Or answering a client's question.
Faith can turn all of those things into a divine act of worship.
Faith, turns everything it touches to gold.
Without faith you cannot please God.
But with faith…