Don't Forget to Remember
by Wayne Greeson
I. "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not,
nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Eccl. 12:1).
II. I was relieved to find out that I'm not the only one who forgets things.
A. Everyone does at one time or another, according to Karen Bolla, a Johns Hopkins
researcher. These are the things people most often forget:
1. names 83%
2. where something is 60%
3. telephone numbers 57%
4. words 53%
5. what was said 49%
6. faces 42%
7. And if you can't remember whether you've just
done something, you join 38 percent of the population.
A. One was overhead to say during coffee break:
"The reason I have such a wonderful memory for names is because
I took that Sam Carnegie course." (Martin Buxbaum in Table Talk).
B. Another has said,
"The proper memory for a politician is one that knows what to remember
and what to forget" (John Morley).
C. The same could be said about Christians.
1. There are some things we need to remember to forget and other things
we must not forget to remember.
2. A while back I presented a sermon called "remember to forget" – this
sermon is called, Don't forget to Remember.
I. God and His Works
A. How forgetful we can be!
1. After stopping for gas in Montgomery, Alabama, Sam drove more than 5
hours before noticing something, or better someone was missing - his
wife. Sam had forgotten his wife.
a. Sam stopped at the next town and asked the police to help get
him in touch with his wife.
b. Then Sam called his wife to tell her he was on his way back.
1) He admitted with great embarrassment that he just
hadn't noticed her absence.
2. How Sam could forget his wife is beyond me.
a. But wait! We're not much different in our relationship to God.
b. We actually fail to remember the One who created us and
1) How is this possible?
2) I don't know.
3) But we do forget. And it's a constant struggle not to.
B. We can forget God
1. In high-pressure situations, or when we're just going through a daily
routine, we forget God.
2. We seem to forget that we are His children.
3. We fail to recall what He has promised to do for us.
4. We don't remember His awesome power and His love.
5. So we try to overcome temptation in our own strength, or to solve a
difficult problem by using the wisdom of the world.
C. This is why the scriptures constantly remind us to remember God.
1. The book of Deuteronomy contains more reminders not to forget
than any other book in the Bible.
a. In his final sermons, Moses constantly warned the Jews not to
forget God or the work he had done for them.
Deut. 4:9, 23 "(9) Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy
soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes
have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days
of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons (23)
Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the
Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a
graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy
God hath forbidden thee" 2)
Deut. 6:11-12 "Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which
brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of
Deut. 8:11,14, 19 "(11) Beware that thou forget not the Lord
thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments,
and his statutes, which I command thee this day (14) Then thine
heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which
brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of
bondage (19) And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy
God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship
them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish." 2. God through Jeremiah charged the Jews had forgotten God.
"Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people
have forgotten me days without number" (Jer. 2:32) b.
"A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications
of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they
have forgotten the Lord their God" (Jer. 3:21) c.
"This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the Lord;
because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood" (Jer. 3:25)
3. Solomon reminds us to:
"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy
youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou
shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Eccl. 12:1)
D. The Result of Forgetting God (Job 8:11-15)
"(11) Can the rush grow up without mire? Can the flag grow without water?
(12) Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before
any other herb. (13) So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's
hope shall perish: (14) Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a
spider's web. (15) He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: heshall
hold it fast, but it shall not endure." 2.
"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psa. 9:17)
E. God provides us the means to remember Him
1. Know God does not forget you.
"(8) Thus says the Lord (15) Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she
should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget,
yet will I not forget thee (16) Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of
my hands; thy walls are continually before me" (Isaiah 49:8-16) b. Some days we find ourselves intensely absorbed in busyness.
1) Our attention must be riveted on the details of our work if we are to
do it well.
c. Sometimes the hours can slip by without even a momentary thought of God.
1) When that happens, it's comforting to know that our heavenly Father
has not been too busy to think about us.
d. We can probably identify with the prayer offered by Sir Jacob Astley before
the battle of Edgehill on October 23, 1642:
"O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do
not Thou forget me."
e. Without using those words as an excuse for spiritual indifference, we can
sincerely say what Astley said. And as we lie down at night to rest our weary
bodies, we can rest our souls in the assurance that God, who neither slumbers
nor sleeps, lovingly watches over us in ceaseless vigilance.
f. At the same time, though, let's consciously include God in all we do and
say—seeking His wisdom, relying on His strength, and praising His goodness.
1) We should not take Him for granted, but we can be grateful that
He will not forget us (Isa. 49:15; Heb. 13:5).--VCG
2. See God's blessings
a. When we face difficulties, we sometimes forget God's past faithfulness.
1) We see only the detours and the dangerous path.
2) But look back and you will also see the joy of victory,
the challenge of the climb, and the presence of your traveling
Companion who has promised never to leave you nor forsake
" for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). b. Sometimes we as Christians need to stop along life's road and look back.
1) Although it might have been winding and steep, we can see how
God directed us by His faithfulness.
2) Here's how F.E. Marsh described what the Christian can see when he
a) The deliverances the Lord has wrought (Deut. 5:15).
b) The way He has led (Deut. 8:2)
c) The blessings He has bestowed (Deut. 32:7-12).
d) The victories He has won (Deut. 11:2-7).
e) The encouragements He has given (Josh. 23:14).
c. David said it this way:
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses," which is another way of
saying that people rely on their own resources (Ps. 20:7) But then David added,
"We will remember the name of the Lord our God." d. How's your memory today? (DCE, Our Daily Bread, Dec 27, 1996).
1) Have you been taking the Lord's goodness for granted?
2) How many of His blessings can you list right now?
3) Why not thank God specifically for those blessings?
4) Daily blessings are daily reminders of God.
e. "Always remember to forget
The troubles that pass your way,
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day." --Anon.
"Memory is the wellspring of praise."
(Our Daily Bread, Sept. 1, 1998).
II. We need to Remember to Remember God's Word
A. We must not forget to remember God's Word
1. We need to get wisdom and hold on to it.
"Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither
decline from the words of my mouth" (Prov. 4:5) 2. The Jews were told to remember God's Word and Law.
"Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord
commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you
rest, and hath given you this land" (Josh. 1:13) b.
"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my
commandments" (Prov. 3:1) 3. Paul preached that we should remember Christ's words.
"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak,
and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed
to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35) 4. And remembering Christ's words includes the words of His apostles.
"But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of
the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 17) B. Why do we need to remember….?
1. We will be destroyed if we forget God's Word.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:
because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also
reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me:
seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I
will also forget thy children" (Hosea 4:6) 2. We will be blessed if we don't forget God's Word.
"(24) For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway
forgetteth what manner of man he was. (25) But whoso looketh into
the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a
forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed
in his deed" (James 1:24-25) C. How do assure that we Remember God's word?
1. Taking delight in His Word.
a. The 119th Psalm is all about God's Word
and the psalmist repeatedly says
"I will not forget ." Why not? "(16) I will delight myself in thy statutes:
I will not forget thy word (93) I will never forget thy precepts:
for with them thou hast quickened me "
(Psalm 119:16, 61, 83, 93, 109, 141, 153, 176) b. Backsliding begins when knee-bending stops. (Our Daily Bread).
2. Studying His Word.
a. Can we put God's Word out of our mind?
1) I'm afraid so.
2) That's why we must read, study and obey His Word continually.
3) It's the only way of keeping His Word in our minds.
b. David said,
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psa. 119:11) c. That is part of the work of a preacher.
"Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease
to have these things always in remembrance" (2 Pet. 1:15) 3. Keeping His Word.
a. The quickest way to forget God's Word is to not keep or obey it.
The fastest way to remember it is to always obey it.
"Do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments" (Deut. 8:11) c.
"But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth
therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work,
this man shall be blessed in his deed" (Jas. 1:25) d. I like the song by Hussey: "King of my life I crown Thee now
Thine shall the glory be; Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary. - Hussey
III. We Need to Remember Others Kindnesses
A. We need to remember the kindnesses of others.
1. The scriptures do not mention kindly those who forget what others
have done for them.
(Eccl. 9:14-15) "(14) There was a little city, and few men within it; and
there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great
bulwarks against it: (15) Now there was found in it a poor wise man,
and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that
same poor man" 2. Joash forgot the kindness Zechariah had shown him. Zechariah was a
high-priest and a prophet, upright and unblameable in the discharge of
his high offices who had saved Joash from being murdered, and raised
him to the throne!
"(22) Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father
had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The Lord look upon it,
and require it" (2 Chron. 24:22) a. This murder was perpetrated within the very precincts of the
courts of the Lord; and this truly good man was by blood the
nearest relative of Joash.
b. What a sad and tragic thing to forget.
3. Joseph did a great thing in helping Pharaoh's butler.
a. He asked simply to be remembered.
"(14) But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew
kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto
Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: (15) For indeed I was
stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I
done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon"
(Gen. 40:14-15) b. However,
"Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him" (Gen. 40:23) c. Two years later he finally remembered Joseph and what he had
done for him.
"Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying,
I do remember my faults this day" (Gen. 41:9) B. The best way we can repay the small kindnesses
others give us is by remembering them with gratitude.
1. We are to give "honor to whom honor is due" (Rom. 13:7).
2. "We bury love; Forgetfulness grows over it like grass: That is a
thing to weep for, not the dead" (Alexander Smith).
3. Blessed are those who give without remembering. And blessed are
those who take without forgetting. (The Rest of the Story p.141).
4. "Let me forget the hurt and pain,
Found along life's way;
Let me remember,
kindnesses, Given day by day". - Berry
IV. Remember to Remember Others Misfortunes
A. Christians are to remember those who are less fortunate.
1. The Poor:
"Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was
forward to do" (Gal. 2:10) 2. Strangers:
"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained
angels unawares" (Heb. 13:2) 3. Others:
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is
pleased" (Heb. 13:16) (NIV)
B. When Somebody Forgets it is sometimes sad.
1. Job knew the pain of having his family and friends forget him
when he was faced with great tragedy.
"(13) He hath put my brethren far from, and mine acquaintance are
verily estranged from me. (14) My kinsfolk have failed, and my
familiar friends have forgotten me" (Job 19:13-14) 2. The story is told of a young boy living in a poverty-stricken section
of a big city who found his way into a gospel meeting and was converted.
a. Not long afterward, someone tried to shake his faith by asking him
several puzzling questions:
"If God really loves you, why doesn't someone take better care of
you? Why doesn't He tell somebody to send you a new pair of
shoes?" The boy thought for a moment and then said, as the tears
filled his eyes, "I guess He does tell somebody, but somebody forgets!"
3. While it's true that the believer's primary obligation is to lead people to
Christ, we sometimes use that as an excuse to escape our responsibility to
also "do good and to share" (Heb. 13:16).
a. We need to keep our spiritual balance and not forget to
"do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10) b. If unbelievers who don't even know the Lord are conscious of
the needs of other people, how much more should we, who
have experienced the love of God personally, seek to relieve the
suffering and lift the burdens of those who are less fortunate.
4. If God gives you a burden for someone in need, may it never be
said of you that "somebody forgot!" (RWD, Our Daily Bread, August 24, 1994)
5. The more Christ's love grows in us, the more His love flows from us.
6. "If you once had a heavy load,
That drove you to despair,
Then have a heart for those who bend,
Beneath their load of care." --DJD
7. Don't forget others, for God won't forget you.
"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love,
which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered
to the saints, and do minister" (Heb. 6:10)
V. Don't Forget to Remember God's Forgiveness
A. We must not forget God's forgiveness.
1. In 2 Peter 1:1-8, Peter urges Christians to add certain virtues
to their faith, and after naming them concludes:
"But he that lacketh these things is blind, and
cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he
was purged from his old sins" (2 Pet. 1:9) 2. Several years ago there was a newspaper account about a young
husband who forgot that he was married.
a. According to the newspaper, the day after the newlyweds returned
from their honeymoon, the husband was 3 hours late getting
home from the office.
b. Dinner was burned—and his bride was burning mad.
c. He had absentmindedly gone to his mother's house!
d. That's a funny story, but when people who belong to the Savior
suffer from a similar memory problem, it's not very humorous.
1) The apostle Peter reminds us in a relationship with Jesus that
we are not what we used to be.
2) As God's people, we should always keep in mind that we have
been cleansed from our old sins (2 Pet. 1:9) and that we have
a new purpose in life.
3. We who are united to Christ need to remind ourselves continually
that we belong to Him, and we are to choose to live for His glory.
4. By studying the Scriptures, communing with the Father, and fellowshiping
with His children, we can avoid the spiritual identity crisis of forgetting
who we are and what great forgiveness God has given to us.
5. Failing to remember God's forgiveness will result in something far
more serious than a burned dinner.
(2 Peter 1:8-11) "(8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they
make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) But he that lacketh these things is blind,
and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his
old sins. (10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make
your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never
fall: (11) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly
into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" 6. "Yes, I know Him as my Savior,
For my sins are washed away;
And I'll never cease to praise Him,
For this truth through endless day."
--Hallan, (Our Daily Bread, June 2, 1997).
B. Jesus gave us a "memorial" so we would remember his sacrifice and
1. Why did Jesus command His followers to participate in what we
call the Lord's Supper or Communion?
a. Because He wants us to remember His death on the cross, the
price for the forgiveness of our sins and anticipate His return.
b. He knew we would need something to help us remember.
2. As He broke the bread centuries ago, He said,
"Do this in remembrance of Me" (1 Cor. 11:24) And taking the cup, He instructed,
"This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me" (v.25)
I. There are some things we should remember to forget and others we should not forget to remember.
II. Let us have the strength and courage to know which is which and to forget and remember them accordingly.
Forget each kindness that you do as soon as you have done it.
Forget the praise that falls to you the moment you have won it.
Forget the slander that you hear before you can repeat it.
Forget each slight, each spite, each sneer, whenever you may meet it.
Remember every promise made and keep it to the letter.
Remember those who lend you aid and be a grateful debtor.
Remember all the happiness that comes your way in living.
Forget each worry and distress; be hopeful and forgiving.
Remember good, remember truth, remember heaven is above you.
And you will find, through age and youth, that many will love you.
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