FORGET ABOUT IT
March 24, 2002
Do you ever forget stuff? I do, all the time. Have you forgotten someone’s name? Have you ever met someone, they introduce themselves to you, and five seconds later you are wondering, “What in the world is that guy’s name?” That’s horrible, isn’t it, to forget someone’s name?
It must be a genetic condition in my family because yesterday morning, I was talking to my mother, and she called me “Cliff.” Cliff happens to be my youngest brother.
The staff gives me a hard time about confusing names. Our staff is kind of confusing anyway because we have got Tianne, Julanne, Liane and Louanne. I have a hard time with all that calling people by different names.
I think sometimes we forget names, and also we forget special occasions. Have you ever forgotten a birthday, an anniversary? That’s a bad one. When Lisa and I were first married, I forgot about our anniversary. About five or ten minutes before the stores closed, it hit my mind that I had an anniversary and I had better get her something. So, I ran to the mall and picked her up a bathrobe. She has never let me forget that bathrobe blunder. If you do forget an anniversary, guys, don’t buy the bathrobe.
Definitely, the most embarrassing thing I have ever forgotten in my life, the video will explain.
(Barry and Sherry Hilton video about Ed missing their wedding)
That’s the worst. I still have nightmares about that. I’ve done hundreds of weddings and only have forgotten one. That one happens to be on tape. We forget names. We forget special occasions, even weddings.
Sometimes though, we forget our friends. Have you ever forgotten your friend? Have you ever forgotten to remember someone close to you, maybe a loved one. I think, if we are totally honest with ourselves, sometimes we forget God. We forget to spend time with him. Sometimes we forget to get involved in his ministry. Sometimes we forget the commitments we have made before God. For example, some husbands here forget that they are to love their wives like Christ loved the church.
Sometimes we forget to be the kind of parents that God desires us to be. The list goes on and on about stuff that we forget. We are forgetful people. The question that begs to be answered, that is hanging in the balance, goes like this, “Does God forget?” Think about it. Does our transcendent and holy God forget? Do certain things sort of slip out of his cosmic cranium or not? Does God forget? The answer is, “yes.” God forgets. It’s not that he forgets, but it’s actually what he forgets. In a little while, I will tell you what God forgets.
Before I answer the question, I want to talk to you about what God remembers. God remembers our names. Isn’t that great? When I am praying, God does not say, “Okay, what is this guy’s name? He is a pastor….he’s skinny….he has a loud voice….there is a cartoon, “Ed, Ed and Eddie….he’s named after a horse….oh, yes, Ed!”
God doesn’t say that. He knows you. He knows me. The Bible says he has you on his mind every second of every day. He is thinking about your needs and your desires. He loves you. You matter to him. Even though your mind might be a thousand miles away from this place. Maybe your mind is in Tahiti. Maybe you are thinking about the Final Four coming up. Maybe your mind is thinking about Easter weekend, or what you are going to eat after church. Maybe your mind is thinking about that special girl you have seen who came in late to Fellowship Church. I don’t know. God, though, is thinking about you.
Here is what Jesus said in Matthew, Chapter 10, Verses 29-30, “Not even a sparrow worth half a penny can fall to the ground without your father knowing it.”
Is that awesome or what? God knows his creation. He is that detailed, that specific, about it.
Look at Verse 30, “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”
For some of us here, that number is diminishing after every shower. God knows us. He knows our names. He knows about the creation. He also knows about our needs. Something else I wanted to bring up is he knows about what we do. Specifically, he knows the good deeds we have done over the span of our lives. I like that. Just think about that. Ponder that for a second. Every generous gift, every sacrificial act, every positive word, every good thing you and I have ever done, God remembers.
He is saying, “Look at all the great stuff that girl has done. Look at all the great stuff that boy has done.”
That’s the kind of God we serve. Sometimes, I collect trinkets or things that close friends or maybe my children give me that really have a lot of value to me. I have stuff like little pieces of paper with Crayola Crayon colored on it. It will say, “Love, Laurie or Landra,” with a picture of me or whatever. That means a lot to me. If I showed you some of this stuff, this stuff in and of itself does not have a lot of value. Do you hear me talking? Just a piece of paper with Crayola Crayon on it doesn’t mean that much. It’s not worth that much. But it is valuable to me because someone I value gave that to me. It means something.
It’s almost like God knew that we were going to have problems with our memory. I believe God knew that we were going to have a tough time remembering stuff, that we would easily forget him and forget what he did for us by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins and rise again. So he gave us communion. He gave us the Lord’s Supper. Jesus took two common elements of an ancient meal, some bread and some wine. Think about bread and wine. They are not expensive. They don’t have a lot of value in and of themselves. But to Christians, to those of us who know Christ personally, they mean a lot.
Because Jesus said, “This bread is going to represent my body and this wine is going to represent the blood I am going to spill for your sins and for all the inequities of the world.”
Again, to believers these things are huge. God gave them to us and told us to remember him regularly and intentionally as a church.
God said, “Don’t forget me. Remember the sacrifice that I made by sending my son to die on the cross for your sins.”
That’s communion. We also have baptism. Baptism also symbolizes Christ’s’ death, burial and resurrection. Communion is so important because it is a time that we remember the fact that God remembers. You need to download that. It’s a time that we remember the fact that God remembers.
In Matthew 22, Verse 19, “And he took bread (he, being Jesus, took the two common elements. Remember not because of their value but because now he is going to attach significant value to the elements) He gave thanks and broke it. He gave it to them saying, this is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Remember when Christ was dying on the cross for our sins? The gospel writers record that he was crucified between two common criminals. As he was paying for your sins and mine, as he was feeling all of the guilt, shame and turmoil, as he was suspended between heaven and earth on that Roman cross, one of the common criminals looked at him and said, “Jesus, will you remember me? I trust you, Jesus.”
Jesus looked at him and said, “Yes, I will remember you. From this day forward, you will spend eternity with me in paradise.”
That is an awesome thing because here Jesus was paying for our sins, yet, he had enough time to remember a common criminal. He remembers you. He remembers me. He remembers occasions. He remembers our needs. He remembers. And communion is a time that we remember the fact that he remembers.
Also, communion is the time that we remember that God forgets. We remember, as believers, the fact that God forgets. I said earlier, does God forget? I said, yes. Do you know what God forgets? This is going to be some good news for you. This is going to cause all of us to clap. The Bible says that God forgets one thing, sin. Yes, I like that. We would be in a heap of trouble if God did not forget sin. The Bible says he remembers everything else but sin. He forgets sin. However, he doesn’t forget all sin. Some of you here have sin in your lives. Not only do you have sin in your life, but you have sin that God still remembers. God remembers your sin. But my sin, he doesn’t. He has forgotten my sin. He remembers your sin because you have not done one thing. Because God’s forgiveness rides upon one thing. There is one contingency here. The Bible says it is repentance. If we come to a point in our lives where we realize that we have sinned, that we have blown it, that we have committed cosmic treason before God, if we repent, (the word repentance is a military turn. It’s doing a spiritual 180) God will forgive us. Jesus will infiltrate our lives. He will cleanse us and he will forget everything we have ever done wrong, thought wrong, or acted wrong.
In Jeremiah 31, Verse 34, God speaking, he says, “For I will forgive their inequity and their sin I will remember no more.”
God is saying in essence, if you are a Christ-follower, “Hey, forget about it.”
Sadly, what do we do? We forget what we should remember and remember what we should forget. The only person that brings up stuff we should forget is the evil one. I’m talking about Satan. Satan loves to dredge up the past and say, “Ed, you don’t deserve this. Ed, remember what you did?”
Or, “Susan, you don’t deserve this. Remember what you did?”
He is the one who dredges up the past. We remember as we come to God’s table that God forgets. It’s not that he just forgets, it’s what he forgets. He forgets sin, sin that has been dealt with, sin that we have turned from.
We need to do the 1 John 1:9 thing. Many of you who have sin in your life right now that God has not forgotten, you need to do the 1 John 1:9 thing. Here it is. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” If we confess, we repent, that’s an about face. The word “confession” simply means to agree with God. When you confess your sins and you repent, God is not going to say, “I didn’t know you were a sinner. Thanks for telling me. Thanks for letting me in on the 411. Thanks for the information.”
God is not going to say that. He knows it. That’s why the word “confession” means that you are agreeing with God. You are telling the truth about your condition. So many of you are just one prayer away from God forgetting and forgiving you. I pray that you repent. I pray that you confess and bow the knee and ask Christ to infiltrate your life. He will forgive you and forget your sin. The Bible says he will remember it no more.
You see this word “unrighteousness?” “He will purify us from all unrighteousness.” Our sin is unrighteousness. We learned a while back, that once we receive Jesus Christ, what happens? Positionally, we become righteous in the eyes of God the Father. You have got the trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I brought some chairs on stage a while back, and I said, “What if God the Father looked at you as a Christian, and Jesus in two chairs side by side? Which one of the two, you or Jesus, would be the most righteous in God the Father’s eyes?” The answer was simply this. Both of you are equally righteous. Once you receive Christ, you receive the righteousness of Christ. You receive his sacrificial death, burial and resurrection upon your life. When God looks at you and me as a believer, positionally, we are as righteous as Jesus. That’s unbelievable.
Also, though, practically, we are to live out a righteous and holy life. We can’t just say, “Positionally, I have got the righteousness of Jesus. I’m on God’s team. When God the Father sees me, he sees me as the same as Jesus because I have received Christ.” If you have made that step and made that choice, positionally, then practically, you are going to live out a pure and holy lifestyle. It’s not because of some legalistic trip. It’s not like “don’t drink, don’t dance, don’t chew, don’t run around with girls who do” just to do that. That’s not the deal. We are to live a pure and holy life because God wants it and because that’s our expression of love and worship to him. That’s practical righteousness.
Positional righteousness without practical righteousness is an abomination. It’s a joke. As they say in Texas, “That dog won’t hunt.” This Christian life is the way to go. I just thank God that he has given us something tangible, an awesome illustration, that signifies his death, burial and resurrection. It signifies the fact that we are to remember and that he remembers. It also signifies the fact that we should remember that God forgets. Does God forget? Yes, he does. He forgets sin.
Let’s come to God’s table together in a spirit of worship and a spirit of prayer as we remember the fact that he remembers and we remember also the fact that our great God forgets.