"Enoch walked with God, and he was not: for God took him" (Genesis 5:24)
You all wish to go to heaven. I know it. I am fully persuaded of it; I am certain of it. There is not one of you however false may be his view of what he must believe and what he must do, however unscriptural the ground of his hope, however worldly-minded he may be during the week, however careless when he gets outside that door - there is not one of you, I say, who does not wish to go to heaven. But I do sadly fear that many of you, without a mighty change, will never get there. You would like the crown, but you do not like the Cross; you would like the glory, but not the grace; the happiness, but not the holiness; the peace, but not the truth; the victory, but not the fight; the reward, but not the labor; you would like the harvest, but not the ploughing; you would like the reaping, but not the sowing; and so I fear that many of you will never get to heaven.
Well, you may say, these are sharp words, this is hard measure; but we should like to know what sort of people they are who will be saved. I shall give you a short and very general answer. They who have the same faith as those holy men whose names are recorded in the Bible - they who walk in that same narrow path which all the saints of God have trodden - such persons and such only shall have eternal life and never enter into condemnation.
Indeed, beloved, there is but one way to heaven; and in this way every redeemed soul that is now in Paradise has walked. This is the way you must yourselves be content to follow; and if you are really wise, if you really love life, as you profess to do, you will take every opportunity of examining the characters of those who have gone before you, you will mark the principles on which they acted, you will note the end they had in view, you will try to profit by their experience, you will follow them so far as they followed Christ.
Now, I purpose to speak to you about the history of Enoch, who was one of the first among those who by faith and patience have inherited the promises; and I shall divide what I have to say upon the subject into four parts.
1. What was the character of the age in which he lived:
2. What was his own character?
3. What was the leading motive or principle which influenced him?
4. What was his end?
God grant that you may all be stirred up to a diligent inquiry into your own state; may many of you, hearing how Enoch walked with God, be led to pray, "Lord, I would walk with Tee (I have sinned, but I repent in dust and ashes), guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward bring me unto glory."
1. Now, respecting the age when Enoch lived we know little, but that little is very bad. He was the seventh from Adam, and lived in the time before the flood. In those days, we are told, the earth was corrupt before God, and filled with violence. Every sort of wickedness seems to have prevailed; men walked after the vile lusts of their hearts, and did that which appeared good to them without fear and without shame. The children of Cain, after he murdered Abel, as far as we can learn, made no attempt whatever to keep God in their thoughts, - like the prodigal son, they went afar off from Him and gave themselves up to worldly employments, as if they would keep the Lord out of their minds as much as possible. They got a name as founders of cities, like men who looked upon this earth as their home, and set all their affection on things below and had no desire after the new Jerusalem above, the city of the Lord God and of the Lamb. They became famous and skillful in all the works of this life: one was called the father of shepherds, and another the father of musicians; but we read of none that was a father of faithful lambs in Christ's flock, of none that was a father of children who made God's statutes their song in the house of their pilgrimage. And another was a teacher of artificers in brass and iron; but we do not hear of any who taught the good knowledge of the Lord. In short, they were all clever in finding out how to be rich and how to be merry and how to be powerful; but they were not wise unto salvation, there was nothing of God and His fear and His service among them.
~J. C. Ryle~
(continued with # 2)