Greg Laurie — The World Changer Who Was out of This World
Let's grab our Bibles and we are going to turn to Hebrews 11. We are in a brand new series as you recall that we are calling world changers. Today the title of my message is, "The world changer who was out of this world". All right. A quick question. How many of you like to run? Raise your hand up. You like to run. We have more runners in the second service than the first. How many of you don't like to run? Wow. You are my people. I am on the same page as you. I don't like running. It is funny that when I was in high school I ran track and field. I sort of enjoyed it. I was good at short distance running.
As I got older I began to like it less and less. So I have sort of traded in running for walking. I do like to walk. How many of you like to walk? Raise your hand up. That is good. It is great to walk. Often my wife and I will walk together. She will say to me, "Let's just run to the end of the block". I will say, "No. I don't want to. I like to walk". "No just run to the end of the block". I don't like to do it because it is a trick. Then I get to the end of the block. She will say, "Let's go one more block". She is trying to get me a little more active. Then we will end the walk and I am good. She goes, "I am going to go meet some of my girlfriends and we are going to go for a walk". I will not see her for three days. Because when girls take walks it is different than when guys take walks. I say, "Why don't you just call it what it is. When you go out with girls walking, it is not a walk. It is a talk".
That is really what it is. But you know that is a good thing in many ways. Girls love to communicate. I have made this amazing discovery. Girls seem to like to talk in general more than men do. Have you seen that as well? It is may be because men are brain damaged. I bring that up because when Dr. Dobson was here he pointed out that when we are very young the female brain is actually a lot of estrogen. That is the word. Estrogen. It is sort of flooded with estrogen at a certain moment. And at a certain moment the male brain is flooded with testosterone. He said the testosterone actually damages and kills brain cells. I thought there you have it. That estrogen has got all of those things firing and we men are brain damaged.
I think you girls have it right in many ways with the talk because when the Bible speaks of walking with God that is exactly what it should be. It is a talk. It is all about communication. When you say I am walking with someone through life you are basically saying you are there with them through the rough patches and the great times. The highs and the lows. The ups and the downs. You are there to love them. Understand them. When we say we are walking with God it is essentially the same but even more. I have discovered the secret of a successful Christian life. Are you ready for it? It is living and walking by faith each and every day.
Again the secret of the successful Christian life is walking and living by faith each and every day. Or as one person put it, it is long obedience in the same direction. It is consistency. It is staying with it. That is the kind of person who is going to change the world. That is what we are talking about in this theme of world changers who made their way into the great hall of faith. Really what was their secret? Is it because they were great people? No. They actually weren't. They were very ordinary people but they served a great God. How did they do it? They did it with faith. Great faith in a great God. What is faith? We already discovered together Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It is the evidence of things not seen". Or as the new living translation puts it, "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see". I like that translation. Faith sees invisible things. Faith sees what could be.
Oswald Chambers best known for his devotional my utmost for his highest wrote these words, "Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen". Remember we also discovered faith does things. A faith that does not produce works is a faith that doesn't work. Faith is not given to admire. It is not given to put in a little display case and show to your friends. Faith is like a muscle. It needs to be used. In fact the more you use it the stronger it becomes. The less you use it the weaker it becomes. If you neglect it altogether it will atrophy. Faith does thing. Faith takes actions. Listen. Faith takes risks. Faith leaves its comfort zones to do things for the Lord.
That brings us to Enoch the man who walked with God and ended up walking home with God. You want to talk about long obedience in the same direction. Listen to this. He had the longest walk possible. My wife takes long walks with her girlfriends. He walked with God for 300 years. See people lived longer back in those days. The effects of sin had not fully kicked in. Three centuries of walking with God. Interestingly when we come to Enoch there is not a lot in the Bible about him. One of the passages is right here in Hebrews 11:5. Let's read it together. It says, "By faith Enoch was taken from this life so he did not experience death. He could not be found because God had taken him away. Before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God".
Another definitive series of verses about Enoch are found over in Genesis 5:21-24. It says, "Enoch lived 65 years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had sons and daughters. So all of the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God: and he was not, for God took him". When did Enoch walk with God? Well a long time ago. But I might add it was one of the darkest times in human history. In fact it was so dark, it was so evil, and it was so wicked that God actually said, "I am sorry that I even made man in the first place". God was about to bring judgment on planet earth through the great flood. Enoch was living in the time before the great flood.
So in a way he was a last day's believer. His last days were before the flood. Just like we are last day's believers but we are waiting for the fire. The judgment of God that will come. But even more we are waiting for the return of Christ for us to catch us up in the air to meet the Lord in the air as well. Here is the reason I bring this up. Because Jesus said as it was in the days of Noah so also will it be when the son of man comes back. He was saying these are parallel universes. They are similar times. If Enoch was able to live a godly life at a time like this you can live a godly life wherever you are right now. One thing we learn from Enoch is the same spiritual resources that he had are here for us today. We can live godly lives in an ungodly world.
You say, "Greg you don't know my world. You don't know my family. You don't know what it is like to live in my neighborhood. You don't know what my workplace is like or my campus is like". Maybe I don't. But you know what. I don't care how messed up it is or how evil it is, you can live a godly life in an ungodly world. Enoch proves it. When did Enoch start walking with God? Genesis 5:21 gives the answer. It says, "Enoch lived 65 years and begot Methuselah". It appears that the birth of Methuselah brought about the conversion of Enoch. By the way he was a late bloomer. Guess how old Enoch was when he started walking with God? 65 years old. His son Methuselah was born. Because Enoch walked with God it was revealed to him that when his son died the judgment was going to come.
The name Methuselah means when he is dead it shall be sent. Would you play with a kid named Methuselah? What is your name? Methuselah. What does that mean? Judgment is coming. I don't want to play with you. That is what his name meant. How long did Methuselah live? Wait for this. This is amazing. 969 years. What does that say? It says people lived longer back then. More to the point he lived super long because God takes no delight in bringing judgment. Sometimes we wonder Lord why haven't you come back to bring justice to this planet why haven't you returned for us yet? Here is the answer. It is found in 2 Peter 3. It says, "Know in the last days scoffers will come walking after their own desires and saying where is the promise of his coming for since all things began nothing has really changed".
But then God gives the answer. Listen. "One day with God is like 1,000 years and 1,000 years are like one day. God is not late as some men count lateness, but he is longsuffering toward us not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance". God is waiting. [applause] by the way, God always keeps his appointments. He is never late. Sorry my alarm didn't go off. My watch wasn't working. God always shows up on time. He has an appointed time that he will return to this earth. He is waiting for more people to come into his kingdom. This is a man who walked with God. There is one more point I want to bring up about him. World changers live lives that please God. Go to Hebrews 11:5. Enoch had this testimony that he pleased God.
Listen. Every Christian has a testimony. What is that? That is your reputation. That is what people say about you. What kind of a guy is he? Or she? They are this or that. That is your reputation. What kind of a testimony do you have? Every Christian has a testimony. Some are good. Some are amazing. Some are bad. Here was the testimony of Enoch. He had this testimony that he pleased God. Oh listen. That is an awesome testimony. May that be said of you and me that we lived to please God. There are three people you can live to please in life. You can live to please yourself. If you do that you are going to be miserable. You can live to please others. That will be very frustrating because you can't please everyone always. Or you can live to please God.
That is what Enoch did. He lived to please the Lord. Jesus said, "I always do the things that please the father". What a statement. I can't say that. Can you? You always do the things that please the father. You say I don't know. What does it mean to please God? Let me give you three quick points on what the Bible specifically says about pleasing God. Three specific things. How many of you want to please God? Raise your hand. You want to please him. Now listen. Here is what you do.
1. One thing that pleases God is when we are treated unfairly we hang in there. I will just quote it to you. 1 Peter 2:19 says, "God is pleased with you when for the sake of your conscience you patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath the blows, God is pleased with you". Have you ever been mistreated? Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever been unappreciated? Has anyone ever told a lie about you and you wanted to get them back and defend yourself and it is just not right? Listen. It pleases God when you just kind of let it roll off of you. Here is what D. L. Moody said and I live by this. "If I take care of my character, God will take care of my reputation". You can spend the rest of your life chasing down everything everyone says about you. Trust me people say things about me that are complete fiction. I read it. What am I going to do? I can't control the universe. I just want to make sure to the best of my ability that I am walking with God and seeking to honor the Lord. But you put it in God's hands. Vengeance is his. He will repay.
2. Another thing that pleases God is when we worship and help others. Hebrews 13:15 says, "Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. But don't forget to do good and share for with such sacrifices God is well-pleased". When you came this morning and sang out loud lifting your hands that pleased God. Even if you were off pitch it is ok with the Lord. He is not as concerned about pitch like I am. He looks on the heart when people worship. Sometimes we don't feel like praising the Lord do we? We come to church. We fold our arms. I don't want to praise God. I have a cold. I don't want to praise God. I just had a disagreement with my spouse. I don't want to praise God. The kids are driving me crazy. I don't want to praise God. I have this other problem. Yeah. That is when you offer the sacrifice of praise. You don't offer praise to God because you feel good. You offer praise to God because he is good. The Bible says, "Give thanks unto the Lord for he is good and his mercies endure forever". Then when you do good for others. You see someone in need. Let me help you. A simple thing. It might be opening a door. Holding the door open. Let me help you. Can I pray for you? You seem troubled. Let me pray for you today. Let me get that meal for you. Let me do this for you. You don't think a lot about it. You just do it. That pleases God. God likes it when we do those things. If you are doing those things you are pleasing God.
3. Giving of your finances is pleasing to God. Philippians 4:17 Paul says, "Not that I am looking for a gift. I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I received full payment, and even more, I am amply supplied now that I have received from epaphroditus the gifts that you gave. They are a fragrant offering and an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God". So when you give of your finances to the Lord that pleases God. It is interesting how Paul says I don't want this for me. I want it for you. I am not looking for a gift. I want it to be credited to your account. What do you even think it means when the Bible says, "Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven"?
Do you think that it means you have stuff waiting for you? No. This is every time you give to the Lord it is duly noted by God. It will be a heavenly reward. When you invest in the lives of others and give of the resources God has given you, you share in that. That is pleasing to God. Here it is. When you lift your voice in sacrificial praise you please God. When you are mistreated and you take it, you please God. When you invest your financial resources in his kingdom, you please God. Are you living a life that is pleasing to God? We now that Enoch did not die. He went to heaven. It was sort of like he was raptured. It was like a solo rapture. It is an amazing thing. We will talk about it next time. He walked with God and was not for God took him. Or literally translated him to heaven.
Now look. That could happen to us. I believe we are living in the last days. I believe Jesus Christ could come back at any time. As far as I can see in my study of Bible prophesy I believe the next event on the prophetic calendar is what we call the rapture of the church when all true followers of Jesus are caught up to meet him in the air, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. That could happen. Just like it happened to Enoch it could happen to us. Or we will die. If the Lord doesn't come in our lifetime we die. As I have said before, the statistics on death are really impressive. One out of every one persons will die. The Bible says, "It is appointed unto a man once to die and then comes the judgment". There is no escaping this.
Here is the good news. Enoch walked with God on earth, therefore he was received by the Lord in heaven. When you walk with God and death comes you don't look forward to it necessarily but you don't fear it either. You know when you die you will go to heaven. "To be absent from the body," the Bible says, "Is to be present with the Lord". The moment you take your last breath on earth you take your next breath in heaven. That is the hope of the Christian. Do you have that hope? If you don't, I want you to leave with it today knowing your life is right with the Lord knowing your sin is forgiven. Listen. God made this possible by sending his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for you. Two thousand years ago Jesus died in your place. He died for your sin. If you will turn from your sin and believe in him, you can be forgiven and know with certainty you will go to heaven when you die.