Pastor Ron E. Thompson: Remember Jesus Christ
Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, once declared: “Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.” Memory is a wonderful and useful faculty God has given to everyone. There are individuals who remember better than others because they have Hyperthymesia, meaning a photographic memory. The older we get the more our memories fail. Or, as one self-styled thinker chimed: “Three things suggest we are getting old. First, the loss of memory— and I cannot remember the other two!”
The apostle Peter wrote nurturing Christians that he had tried to stir up their wholesome thinking and refresh their memories concerning the Lord’s coming (II Peter 3:1 NLT). He was not sharing anything new, just stirring up their memories. How we need that today! Do not be like the man who said: “I have a good memory. My problem is my forgettery is even better!” Peter could relate to that as he warmed himself up by the enemy’s fire. He forgot all about Jesus’ warning that before the rooster crowed Peter would deny Him three times. When it happened, the record tells us that Jesus turned and looked at Peter. And Peter “remembered” (Luke 22:61 KJV). Like Peter, the apostle Paul gave young Timothy similar advice that is especially worth remembering in three terse words: “Remember Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:8 NIV). That is the theme on which we will focus: Remember Jesus Christ! Remember Him:
- In the Days of Your Youth. Wise Solomon’s advice is: “Do not let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor Him in your youth before you grow old” (Ecclesiastes 12:1 NLT). In his book, Solomon had sought satisfaction apart from God. He tried everything from science, philosophy, materialism, and even religion, only to conclude that all Life was empty and without meaning. In this concluding chapter twelve, he tells us to get back to God while we are still young. Why? The picture he paints of old age in verses 2-5 is not very encouraging: failing eyesight, wobbling legs, teeth problems, diminished hearing, and cracking voices. Believe me, I know this is true because I have noticed it in my eighty-eight-year-old body! The point of this is simply do not put off a relationship with Jesus. Hardening of the arteries and hardening of the heart seem to go together. A survey states that 95% of those who will ever convert to Christ will do so before age twenty. This text is also a reminder to Christian young people to give of your best to the Master, give of the strength of your youth. Do not give Him whatever is remains after your youth has passed. Remember Jesus Christ:
- Before the Finality of Death. Read Luke 23:39-43 and notice that Jesus died between two nameless criminals, called malefactors. Both are a study in contrasts. Both were evil and deserved the sentence of death. For a while, both mocked Christ along with the soldiers and an angry mob (Matthew 27:44). But one had faith, and the other wanted proof. One thief recognized that he was a sinner and repented while the other was unrepentant and simply wanted to avoid punishment. And as death drew near, while one continued his mocking, the other malefactor’s conscience was troubled and he testified that Jesus was innocent and prayed, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42 NKJV). Professor Edward Hindson has observed that: “When someone acknowledges his or her sinfulness, expresses faith in Him as Lord, and believes that He is merciful and will pardon a sinner, this is the kind of answer such a person will receive: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (NKJV). Now is the time to confess Christ, not after death (II Corinthians 6:2 NKJV). Remember Jesus Christ:
- In the Light of Our Savior’s Request. Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to His disciples. He said: “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” He also took a cup, after supper, saying: “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” Before Jesus left this earth, He gave us something to remember Him by. He did not demand a stone monument or a structure. Instead, He instituted a memorial of His death for us to practice in the future. It is in a familiar setting of sitting down at a table together, eating and drinking a simple meal, in remembrance of Him.
This month’s Good Friday I had the blessing of attending a Communion Service at the church where I serve as elder. This service is meant not just to remember Christ’s death, but to also remember Him! We began with a simple meal we call a Love Feast in which we remember Christ’s future ministry when believers will attend the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9). Then we conduct a washing of feet service like Jesus performed, remembering His present ministry of cleansing us through His Word (Ephesians 5:26). We celebrate the Lord’s past ministry with two symbols He left us: bread, we break remembering His body broken for us, and a cup of juice we drink recalling His blood shed for us. Scripture says whenever we embrace Communion we are “celebrating the Lord’s death until He returns” (I Corinthians 11:24-29). It is important that we examine our hearts with God before partaking. Our service assembles annually and is open to anyone who has received Christ as Lord and Savior. Dearly beloved, please remember Jesus Christ!