Today’s message is from Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God.” In my previous message, I pointed out that the whole chapter 11 is about faith, but it is written in the context of a recommendation to live with patience. Among the recommendations that begin at 10:19, the author encourages us by giving us some examples of people of faith from the Old Testament. We also want to follow these great figures, hold on to the word of God, and not to lose sight of our goals even in our trials and difficulties. Now, please read Hebrews 11: 1-7.
In Hebrews 11: 1, the definition of faith is written. It says,「Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.」(Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
What a powerful word that faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see! Verse 6 says,「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.」(Hebrews 11:6 NIV) This verse teaches us that God is pleased with certain faith. The first one is faith in the Existence of God. In times of challenges and trials, we sometimes forget that God exists. However, God is in the midst of our difficulties, and He is with us. The second faith is to believe that God rewards those who earnestly seek him. Through prayer, we believers receive a lot of help from God. To summarize faith that pleases God, it is to believe God is with us, He hears and answers our prayers, and God’s reward will be given to us someday. God is pleased with such faith.
I want to share my personal prayer with you today. I am sure that you are also praying in the similar way. When I wake up every morning, I thank God for giving me a new day. I ask Jesus to come to the throne of my heart and welcome him to my heart. I also pray that through this new day, I’ll be able to give thanks to Him and glorify him. In the times of trials and difficulties, I pray that God will give me a strength to endure and overcome them. Sometimes I pray for the patience and endurance that I need for that day. I also pray for managing the day well. In each day, I enjoy tasting the word of God and the time with God through prayer. I hope you will be able to believe that Jesus is right here with you, and enjoy your prayer time with Him.
Now, let us consider the lives of Enoch and Noah from today’s passage of the Bible. Verse 5 says, 「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.」(Hebrews 11:5 NIV) This means that he was transferred to heaven without dying on earth. Genesis 5:24 says,「Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.」Chapter 5 records the names of his son Seth and his children, starting with Adam. The 7th generation was Enoch. Surprisingly everyone lives long at that time. Verse 5 says,「Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.」(Genesis 5:5 NIV) By comparison, Enoch’s life was 365 years, so it seems that his life wasn’t so long. But please don’t be surprised by the length of their lives. The ancient Orient documents say that the kings lived for more than 10,000 years, so I think the ages of those in the Bible are rather possible and realistic numbers. However, rather than years of his life, the author of Genesis tells us that Enoch, who lived with God, was called to heaven without dying, and he mentions the blessings of heaven. The author of Hebrews describes this Enoch as being moved by faith so that he would not see death. And before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. From this passage, it teaches us that the blessing of heaven is also given to us, to those who believe in Jesus by faith.
Following Enoch, Noah is introduced at Hebrews 11: 7. The story of Noah’s Ark is written in Genesis chapter 7-8, so please read it. I have visited Noah’s Ark in Kentucky, USA. The ark is built to the actual size described in the Bible. Its size is about 132m in length, about 22m in width and about 13m in height, which is the size of a large shopping mall with 3 or 4 floors. The ark has three floors, and it took more than a half day to tour the entire ark. I realized that building an ark of this size was a risk-taking job and a lifelong task. Noah believed in what God has said and built an ark, you will be truly amazed at the magnitude of his faith. Hebrews 11:7 says, 「By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.」(Hebrews 11:7 NIV)
We are saved by faith in Christ. It involves a risk-taking decision, as Noah did. The cross of our Savior Jesus is also the work of God, and it was literally risk-taking work. As we love Christ, let us live our lives as believers even in our difficulties and challenges, since we know that His rewards awaits for us, for those who believe.