Don't Forget, But Remember
Don’t Forget - But Remember
As we study the Bible we come to realize that there are some negative and positive things for the Christian to consider. “Don't forget” can be considered negative while “remember” can be considered the positive.
There are some things that should be forgotten, things evil; but there are many things that should be remembered: God's word, Christian duties, and everything that enriches and ennobles life.
But oftentimes we remember what we should forget, and forget what we should remember.
1. "Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32). DON'T FORGET GOD. As it was in the days of Jeremiah, so it is today with many: A maid cannot forget her ornaments; a bride cannot forget her wedding gown; neither can a man forget his business affairs; but multitudes have forgotten God.
They have remembered the material and have forgotten the spiritual. When should man begin to remember God? BEGINNING IN THE DAYS OF HIS YOUTH. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). WE ARE COMMANDED TO REMEMBER GOD.
2. What kind of hearer did James say would be blessed? (James 1:25). A HEARER THAT DOES NOT FORGET. ONE WHO DOES WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS.
“22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 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 deeds” (James 1:22-25).
This passage is telling us to not forget the word of God. Remember, we did not hear the word with the object of forgetting it. We heard and enlisted in the Master's service with the aim of remembering His word in our hearts forever. WHY? So we will stop sinning (Psalm 119:11). May nothing deter us.
3. The Psalmist wrote: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and FORGET NOT ALL HIS BENEFITS" (Psalm 103:2). Think of his benefits: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17).
Let the person who has forgotten God and thinks he does not need the blessings of God do without God's air, sunshine, rain, and a thousand other benefits. It ennobles man to remember from whence these blessings come, and it degrades him to forget such.
4. Jesus said, "Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:28-32). Why did He say that? In fleeing from Sodom, she looked back (Genesis 19:26) when God had commanded them not to look back (Genesis 19:17), and God made her a monument of his displeasure by turning her into a pillar of salt. This is an example of the consequences of sin. Sin has its consequences and we should never forget that fact.
Man cannot sin without paying the penalty (Galatians 6:7). The sinner may escape some penalties in this life because it rains on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45); but the day of reckoning will come: “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).
5. Jesus does not want us to forget Him. Christ said to the apostles, “Remember the word that I said unto you" (John 15:20).
(1) A remembrance of the word of Jesus will lead to penitence, obedience, and righteousness.
We have a wonderful example in the life of Peter of what it will do. How did a remembrance of the words of Jesus affect Peter? After Peter had denied his Lord and after the cock crew it was memory which shocked him to his senses and brought him to penitence. "Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said and he went out and wept bitterly" (Matthew 26:75). Through forgetfulness Peter was led away from the Lord, but through memory he was brought back.
(2) What memorial did Jesus institute to perpetuate his memory? It is so vital in Christian living that we remember Jesus and what he has done for us that he instituted the Lord's supper in memory of Himself. "The Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till he come" (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The Christian is to observe the Lord's supper as a sweet and simple memorial, a memorial much more effective than a faded flower taken from a loved one's grave, or a lock of hair cut from a friend's head bowed in death, or a marble monument standing on some square.
This memorial stands in memory of Christ's having come and as a reminder that he will come again. We take the Lord's supper in retrospect, looking backward to His having come, and in prospect, looking forward to His coming again (1 Corinthians 11:26). We need the benefits of both. This period of remembrance each week will warm the heart and rekindle love.
Our Saviour said, "This do in remembrance of me"; but many have forgotten the Lord in the very thing He has commanded them to do in His memory. As to the regularity with which we are to take the Lord's supper, the Bible says they came together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Does this mean every first day? (cf. Exodus 20:8).
6. Fallen away Christians have been too forgetful. “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” (2 Peter 1:9-10).
How did the Lord appeal to the fallen Christians in the church at Ephesus? Jesus said to the church at Ephesus which had left its first love, “4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works" (Revelation 2:4-5).
"Remember"! Remember what ''first love" caused you to do. Recall the place prayer used to have in your life. Reflect upon how you once read and studied the Bible. Oh! how you loved that Book! Remember how sensitive you were to sin back during those days of "first love" for Christ. But now how long it has been since you have wept over sin! Yes, such a sweet memory of what "first love" did will help to restore the fallen.
7. A forgetfulness of God is a devastating force which also weakens and destroys nations: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." (Psalm 9:17). A remembrance of God strengthens nations, but a forgetfulness of God weakens them. Every nation which forgets God sooner or later perishes. America, beware!
8. Will memory end with death? NO! If we forget God in this life, memory will haunt us in the next life. Abraham said to the rich man who was in torments, "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things" (Luke 16:25).
The rich man had a memory of what he had done and had failed to do in this life. Grace rejected! God's love refused! The hand of God spurned! The Lord's work deserted! The gospel trampled on beneath unholy feet! These and a thousand other thoughts will haunt us in the hereafter if we forget God in this world and die in that state.