He That Cometh To God

Posted by on Dec 9, 2007

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

December 9, 2007

Sunday Morning

“He That Cometh To God”

 

Scripture Text: Hebrews 11:4-7

Introduction:

 

A.   Hebrews 11 is a wonderful chapter.

1. I say that for at least two reasons.

2. First of all, because it explains exactly what faith is.

3. Notice again Heb. 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

4. In other words, “Faith is the absolute certainty that God is going to do what He has promised to do, even though there is no physical or visible evidence upon which to base our assurance.”

5. For example, I am absolutely certain that when I die, heaven will be my home.

6. Can I prove it? No! Is there any physical or visible evidence to support my assurance? No!

7. It is simply a matter of faith,…

-faith in God,

-faith in His Word,

-faith in His promises.

8. And so, Hebrews 11 is a wonderful chapter because it explains exactly what faith is.

 

B.   But there is another reason, and that is because it gives us example after example of faith being lived out in the lives of ordinary people like us.

1. People like Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and Sarah, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and Moses, and Joshua, and Rahab, and Gideon, and Barak, and Samson, and Jephthae, and David, and Samuel, and the prophets.

2. These were ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things for God.

3. How did they do it?

4. They did it “by faith.”

 

C.   This morning, we want to look at three of these ordinary people who “by faith” accomplished extraordinary things for God.

1. First of all, we will look at Abel, who teaches us the way to God.

2. Secondly, we will look at Enoch, who teaches us how to walk with God.

3. Finally, we will look at Noah, who teaches us how to witness for God.

4. And so, first of all, let’s take a look at Abel, who teaches us the…

 

I.       Way To God.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 4 of our text, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”

 

B.   Most of us, I’m sure, are familiar with the story of Cain and Abel.

1. Cain and Abel were brothers, sons of Adam and Eve.

2. Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd.

3. One day the brothers decided to bring an offering to God.

4. Cain, the older brother, brought an offering “of the fruit of the ground,” in other words, things that he had grown. (Gen. 4:3)

5. Abel, on the other hand, brought a lamb from his flock, which no doubt had it’s throat cut. (Gen. 4:4)

6. Both brothers brought an offering, but only one of the offerings was accepted by God.

7. Which one?

8. Abel’s offering was accepted while Cain’s was rejected.

 

C.   Now this raises a question.

1. Why was Abel’s offering accepted and Cain’s offering refused?

2. Why did the writer of Hebrews refer to Abel’s offering as “a more excellent sacrifice than” Cain’s?

3. The answer is very simple.

4. Abel’s offering, a lamb that had been slain, was a more accurate picture of the sacrifice that God would one day provide for the sins of mankind.

5. In other words, Abel’s offering was an accurate picture of Christ, while Cain’s offering was not.

6. Do you remember what John the Baptist said in John 1:29, when he saw Jesus approaching? He said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

7. The apostle Peter referred to Jesus as “a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Pet. 1:19)

8. The apostle John described Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8)

9. And so, Abel’s offering was “a more excellent sacrifice than” Cain’s because it was an accurate picture of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

D.   Do you realize the significance of this?

1. The fact that Abel’s offering was accepted and Cain’s offering was rejected teaches us that there is only one way for sinners to approach God, and that is through the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. Do you remember what Jesus said in John 14:6? He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

3. The Bible also says in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

 

E.   Not only is Jesus the only way, but those who put their trust in Him are declared “righteous” in the sight of God.

1. Notice again Vrs. 4 of our text, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.”

2. So many people today are convinced that in order to be declared “righteous” (right in the sight of God), they must perform righteous (good) deeds.

3. Now there is nothing wrong with performing (or at least striving to perform) good deeds, but doing this has never made a sinner “righteous” in the sight of God.

4. Only faith in the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ can make one righteous.

5. The Bible tells us plainly in Rom. 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

 

F.    And so, Abel teaches us the way to God.

 

G.   By the way, did you notice how Vrs. 4 of our text ends, it says, “…and by it he (Abel) being dead yet speaketh.”

1. Even though Abel has long since died, he is still speaking, telling us by his own example that the only way to God is through Christ.

2. There is a lesson for all of us to learn here.

3. We too will still be speaking long after we have died, in the sense that the life we are now living will continue to influence those around us (for either good or bad) long after we have died.

4. Something to think about.

 

H.   Now let’s take a look at Enoch, who teaches us how to…

 

II.      Walk With God.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 5 of our text, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

1. Again, we all know the story of Enoch.

2. The Bible tells us in Gen. 5:24 that “…Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

3. The writer of Hebrews puts it like this, “…Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him.”

4. What happened to Enoch?

5. (Illus.- A little girl who had just come home from Sunday school explained it best. Her mother had asked her, “Honey, what did you learn in Sunday school today.” The little girl said, “We learned about Enoch.” “And what did you learn about Enoch?” her mother asked. The little girl then told her mother this story: “Enoch lived a long long time ago, and God would come by every afternoon and ask him, ‘Enoch, do you want to take a walk with me?’ And Enoch would say, “Yes, God, I would love to take a walk with you.’ And so, every day God would come to Enoch’s house and Enoch would go walking with God. One day God came by and said, ‘Enoch, let’s go on a long walk today, I have a lot that I want to talk with about today.’ And so, they started out on their walk. And they walked and they walked and they walked until it got very late in the day. Enoch said, ‘God, it’s getting very late, perhaps we need to start back towards home.’ But God said, ‘Enoch, we are closer to my home than we are to your home, why don’t you just come home with Me.’ And so, Enoch went home with God.”)

 

B.   However, this morning, I don’t want us to focus on Enoch’s translation, but rather I want us to focus on the life that he lived before he was translated.

1. What do we know about his life?

2. We know that he lived a life that was pleasing to God.

3. Notice again how Vrs. 5 of our text ends, “…for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

4. Man, what a testimony!

5. Wouldn’t it be great to have that epitaph on our grave stone after we die that reads, “He (She) Pleased God With His (Her) Life”?

 

C.   Now this raises a question.

1. How does one please God with his life?

2. First and foremost, we please God by living a life of faith (believing in His Word and His promises).

3. Notice again the first part of Vrs. 6 of our text, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.”

4. I’m afraid that a lot of believers have the idea that faith is only important when it comes to getting saved, and that after one is saved, there is no longer a need for faith.

5. This, of course, is not true.

6. Not only are we saved (justified) by faith, but the Bible says, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17)

7. And so, first and foremost, we please God with our lives by living a life of faith.

 

D.   We also please God by living a life of obedience.

1. Our Lord Jesus is our example when it comes to living a life of obedience.

2. Listen to what Jesus Himself said in John 8:29, “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”

3. How did Jesus please His Heavenly Father.

4. First of all, by doing His will, but also by keeping His commandments perfectly.

5. Of course, we cannot keep God’s commandments perfectly, but the more of His commandments we can obey, the more we can please Him with our lives.

 

E.   Let me ask you a question.

1. Are you walking the way the Enoch walked?

2. In other words, are living a life that is pleasing in the sight of God?

3. Are you believing His Word and keeping His commandments?

4. You may, indeed, be saved, but if you are not pleasing God with your life, then your walk is not what it ought to be.

 

F.    By the way, Enoch did not always please God with His life.

1. It was only after his first son, Methuselah, was born, that Enoch began to walk with God.

2. Listen as I read Gen. 5:21-22, “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:…And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah.”

3. For the first 65 years of his life, Enoch did not walk with God, then God gave him a son.

4. There was something about the birth of his son that caused Enoch to reevaluate his relationship with the Lord.

5. There is definitely a lesson here for us.

6. While every believer needs to walk with God, it is even more important for those who have children.

7. Why? Because our children will most likely follow in our footsteps.

 

G.   And so, Enoch teaches us how to walk with God. Finally, I want us to look at Noah who teaches us how to…

 

III.    Witness For God.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 7 of our text, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

 

B.   Now when we think about Noah, we usually think about the ark that he built, in which he and his family were spared from the great flood.

1. Now it’s true that Noah, because he believed that God would indeed destroy the world with a flood, was obedient to God and built the ark that God told him to build.

2. However, there’s something else about Noah that I want us to think about this morning.

3. Not only did he build the ark, but he also, while he was building the ark, witnessed to his friends and neighbors, warning them about the coming flood.

4. How do we know this?

5. Because the Bible tells us in 2 Pet. 2:5 tells us that God “spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;”

6. It says that Noah was “…a preacher of righteousness.”

7. Someone says, “I thought Noah was an ark builder.”

8. He was, but apparently while he was building the ark, he also preached and warned the people of the coming judgment of God.

 

C.   What can learn from Noah about being a witness?

1. Several things.

2. First of all, Noah teaches us that our witness should be motivated by fear.

3. Notice again Vrs. 7 of our text, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.”

4. It says that Noah was “moved with fear” (motivated by fear).

5. What did Noah fear?

6. He feared the coming judgment of God.

7. He feared that not only would he and his family perish if they didn’t find refuge in the ark, but he also feared for the rest of mankind (that they would perish in the flood).

8. Of course, because we have already entered the ark (by trusting Christ), we have nothing to fear ourselves, but our lost friends and loved ones are still in danger, and we should fear for them.

 

D.   Noah also teaches us that our witness should be alarming.

1. In other words, we should be warning people around us about the reality of hell and the reality of what will happen to those who die without Christ.

2. Don’t you think Noah warned those who would listen of God’s coming judgment? (I’m sure he did!)

3. I realize that warning people about hell is not cool, but it is our responsibility.

4. Yes, it’s true that most will pay us no mind.

5. Yes, it’s true that some will make fun of us.

6. Yes, it’s true that some will say that we have lost our right mind.

7. All of these things are true, but we must warn them none the less.

 

E.   The third thing that Noah teaches us about being a witness is that we shouldn’t judge our success by how many people actually come to Christ.

1. Noah preached a hundred years, yet other than his family, he saw no converts.

2. Does this mean that he was a failure as a “preacher of righteousness”? Of course not!

3. Our responsibility is to witness.

4. Our responsibility is to warn about coming judgment.

5. Our responsibility is to invite people to enter the ark (trust Christ as Savior).

6. However, whether or not they accept the invitation is between them and God.

7. Noah would be considered a failure by many today, but in the eyes of God he was a very successful “preacher of righteousness.”

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we learned from these great heroes of the faith?

1. First of all, we learned from Abel the way to God (faith in the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ).

2. Secondly, we learned from Enoch how to walk with God (to live a life pleasing to God, faith and obedience).

3. Finally, we learned from Noah how to be a witness for God (be motivated by fear, be alarming, realize our success not determined by number of conversions).

 

B.   May I ask you a few questions?

1. Have you come to God?

2. Are you pleasing God with your life?

3. Are you being a witness for God?