by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Ecclesiastes 12:1


I.         At times I get teased about my memory.

            A.        A researcher at Johns Hopkins noted 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.         Whether you’ve just done something - 38%

            B.        John Morley said, “The proper memory for a politician is one that knows what to remember and what to forget.”

                        1.         We could said that is true for Christians as well

                        2.         There are things we need to forget, but there are things we need to remember.

II.        Remembering God and His Works

            A.        How forgetful can we be

                        1.         “After stopping for gas in Montgomery, Alabama, Sam drove more than five hours before noticing something, or better someone, was missing. Sam had forgotten his wife. Sam stopped at the next town and asked the police to help him get in touch with his wife. Sam then called his wife to tell her he was on his way back. He admitted, with great embarrassment, that he just hadn’t noticed her absence.”

                        2.         How could Sam forget his wife for so long?

                                    a.         But you know, we are not much different in our relationship with God.

                                    b.         Far too many of us forget about the one who created us and redeemed us.

            B.        We can forget God

                        1.         When we are under pressure, we don’t have time to think about God or religious matters.

                        2.         Or, when we are simply in the midst of our daily routines, God isn’t on our minds.

                        3.         We forget we are His children or recall what He has promised to do for us. We don’t remember His awesome power and His wondrous love.

                        4.         As a result, when we face temptations, we try to overcome by our own strength. When we face a sticky problem, we try to solve it with worldly wisdom.

            C.        God knew this would be a problem, that is why the Bible is full of reminders.

                        1.         The book of Deuteronomy contains more reminders not to forget than any other book in the Bible. Moses constantly warned the Jews not to forget God and His work on their behalf.

                                    a.         Deut. 4:9, 23

                                    b.         Deut. 6:10-12

                                    c.         Deut. 8:11, 14, 19

                        2.         God warned through the prophet Jeremiah that Israel had forgotten their God.

                                    a.         Jer 2:32 - Can you imagine a bride forgetting her gown on the day of her wedding? That is how much God should be on our minds. Yet the Jews forgot God innumerable days.

                                    b.         Jer 3:21 - They perverted their actions and forgot God

                                    c.         Jer 13:25 - They forgot God and preferred trusting lies.

                        3.         Solomon warned us to remember God when we are young - Eccl 12:1

            D.        The result of forgetting God

                        1.         We cannot survive without God - Job 8:11-15

                        2.         Forgetting God is the road to Hell - Ps 9:17

            E.        We may forget God, but God will not forget us

                        1.         Isaiah 49:14-16 - A mother will forget about her nursing child before God forgets His people.

                        2.         Some days we are intensely absorbed in the details of our work so we can preform our task well. Sometimes hours can slip by without even a momentary thought of God, but we can take comfort knowing that God is never too busy to think about us.

                        3.         Sir Jacob Astley prayed on October 23, 1642, before a battle, “O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not Thou forget me.”

                        4.         This is not an excuse for indifference towards God, but it is a comfort to know as we lie down at night to rest our weary bodies, our souls can rest in the assurance that our God, who neither slumbers or sleeps, lovingly watches over us in ceaseless vigilance.

            F.        At the same time, we need to consciously include God in all we do and say – seeking His wisdom, relying on His strength, and praising His goodness. - Hebrews 13:15-16

                        1.         When we face difficulties, we sometimes forget God’s past faithfulness. We only see the detours and the difficult path. But look back and you will also see the joy of victory, the challenge of the climb, and the presence of a traveling Companion who has promised never to leave you. (Wayne Greeson) - Hebrew 13:5

                        2.         Knowledge of God’s past help will give us confidence to face present trouble

                                    a.         God has delivered His people - Deut 5:15

                                    b.         The way God led His people through trials - Deut 8:2

                                    c.         The victories God has given - Deut 11:2-7

                                    d.         The blessings God bestowed - Deut 32:7-11

                                    e.         Everything God promised came to past - Josh 23:14

                        3.         Some people rely on their own resources, but we rely upon God - Ps 20:7

                        4.         Daily blessings are daily reminders of God

                                    a.         Have you been taking God’s goodness for granted?

                                    b.         How many of His blessings can you list right now?

                                    c.         Then why not thank Him for those specific blessings?

                        5.         “Always remember to forget

                                    The troubles that pass your way,

                                    But never forget to remember

                                    The blessings that come each day.” (Author Unknown)

III.       Remembering God’s Word

            A.        Do not forget to remember God’s Word

                        1.         Prov 4:4-5

                        2.         Prov 3:1

                        3.         Paul told us to remember Christ’s words - Acts 20:35

                        4.         We also need to remember the words of His disciples - Jude 17

            B.        Why is it important to remember God’s Word

                        1.         Israel was destroyed for a lack of knowledge - Hosea 4:6

                        2.         It brings the hearer blessings - James 1:23-25

                        3.         Take a look at how often David says he will not forget God’s laws in Psalms 119, it occurs many times. (Read Psalms 119:16, 93)

            C.        I’ve been in many of your homes, and I have seen pictures on your walls of people and events in your past. They are there to remind you of important people and times. Being where you see them often, you don’t forget.

                        1.         If we are going to remember God’s Word, we must see it often.

                        2.         Ps 119:11 - Hidden in our hearts

                        3.         II Peter 1:15 - They were written to remind us

            D.        The best way to remember something is to put it into daily practice

                        1.         It is one thing to learn a mathematical formula, it is quite another matter to use it daily in your work.

                        2.         Deut 8:11 - If we don’t keep God’s commands, we will forget.

                        3.         James 1:25 - We must be a doer of what we learn

IV.      Remembering others’ kindness

            A.        Not every great deed is remembered - Eccl 9:14-15

            B.        Those inclined to wickedness tend to forget past kindnesses - II Chron 24:17-22

            C.        When Joseph helped Pharaoh’s cupbearer, all he asked was to be remembered - Gen. 40:14-15

                        1.         Despite Joseph’s kindness, the cupbearer forgot - Gen 40:23

                        2.         Two years later, he remembered his fault - Gen 41:9

            D.        Instead of forgetting, we need to remember the kindness of others

                        1.         Give honor where it is due

                        2.         Like the man, cleansed - Luke 17:15-19

                        3.         “Blessed are those who give without remembering, and blessed are those who take without forgetting.” - Paul Harvey.

V.        Remembering others’ misfortune

            A.        Christians are commanded to remember those who are less fortunate

                        1.         The poor - Gal 2:10

                        2.         The stranger - Heb 13:2

            B.        When Job lost so much, his family and friends turned their backs on him - Job 19:13-14

            C.        A story is told of young boy living in a poverty-stricken section of a large city who found his way into a gospel meeting and was converted. Not long afterward, a bully tried to shake his faith. “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 a moment and then said, as tears filled his eyes, “I guess He does tell somebody, but somebody forgets.”

                        1.         As Christians, our primary obligation is to lead people to Christ. But our duties do not end there.- Heb 13:16

                        2.         We need to do good – to those within and those without - Gal 6:10

                        3.         As Christ’s love for us grows within, that love should spread to those without.

            D.        God remembers our deeds - Heb 6:10

VI.      Remembering God’s forgiveness

            A.        II Peter 1:5-8 - Virtues we need to have

                        1.         But notice what happens if we do not grow - II Pet 1:9

                        2.         We need to continually remind ourselves to live the Christian life. This life was not forced on us, we freely took on this obligation. - II Pet 1:10-11

            B.        Jesus gave us a memorial so we will remember his sacrifice and his forgiveness of our sins

                        1.         Do this in remembrance of me - I Cor 11:24-25

                        2.         Jesus wants us to remember his death on the cross, the price he paid for our sins, and to anticipate his return

VII.     Let us have the strength and courage to forget and to remember appropriately.

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 there are who love you.

-- Author Unknown

Lesson based on "Don't Forget to Remember" by Wayne Greeson

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