Remember. Don't Forget | Deuteronomy 8 | Chad Rosell | September 18, 2022.
DEUTERONOMY 8 LINK
Let me begin with the end goal: my hope is that we drive away from here celebrating the goodness of God, remembering His grace, and eager imitate our Teacher – Jesus – in the mundane parts of this upcoming week. Today we’re going to be talking about the concept of remembering and its value in practice in our lives.
Alright, group survey Scale of 1-10 (10 being 100% and 1 being never) rate yourself on your overall ability to follow through on commitments / responsibilities. PAUSE. – Do you have that number? Ok. Now, envision the person who knows you best. What number would they give you? I’d venture to say none of us are batting at 100 100% of the time.
I know myself well enough and I’m guessing a good deal of us are in the same boat – we are consistently inconsistent. Sometimes we want what is right. Sometimes we don’t want what is right. Sometimes even if you want what is right, we fail to follow-through. We often live conflicted; knowing what is right, passionate about what is right, intending to do what is right; but just not doing it.
So here’s the reality:
A disciple of Jesus forgets; but they make long-term progress to remember. They want to remember. They fight to remember. They learn to discipline themselves to remember. We’re talking about this concept found throughout the Scriptures: remember. Don’t forget.
We’re going to talk about the what, the why, the how. What it is and what to remember. Why we remember. And how we can practice the discipline of remembering… this week.
CONTEXT + TRANSITION:
.God delivered Israel out of Egypt through the parting of the Red Sea. He takes them to Mt. Sinai and gives them His Law. Moses goes up the mountain to get the Law and the 10 Commandments. And within 40 days, Israel rejects Moses and God. They build a Golden Calf under the leadership of Moses’ brother Aaron. God is gracious to them and saves a remainder of them. He brings them to the border of the Promised Land. He is ready for them to go in, but they lack trust and disobey.
God speaks out Numbers 14:11 – “How long will they refuse to believe in me despite all the miraculous signs I have performed?”
So, God bars the generation he redeemed from slavery from going in to a land He prepared for them. For the next 38 years, Israel is wandering in the wilderness. They weren’t lost. God just said “no.” God was waiting for the next generation to start over again.
How long you think it should have taken them to get from Mt. Sinai to reach the Promised Land?
- Around 2 weeks. They were out there for 40 years… or 2085 weeks.
- Deuteronomy 1:2 “Now it is ordinarily an eleven-day journey from Horeb (Mt. Sinai) to Kadesh Barnea (southern edge of the Promised Land) ...”
So, the first generation is out due to their disobedience and now their sons and daughters have made it here – to Mt. Nebo. They have made it right across from Jericho to the Plains of Moab. Moses has led this generation and their parents for decades. Moses knows he will die on this side of the Jordan River. Now without his stable presence and leadership. He gives them his parting words – this is what the book of Deuteronomy is. You can be sure he chooses his words very carefully. So Moses speaks to a people who consistently forgot.
Now, we’re going to see what they are to do: God wants them to remember and what they are to remember.
“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.”
“remember.” Our first priority is to understand what in the world that concept is. The Hebrew concept of “remembering” is found in the term zakar. Zakar is not a mere mental lapse of something that slipped your mind. It is that, but it more than that. It means to RECALL and RESPOND; to bring something to mind and ACT in accordance with that thought. For instance, we can have a deep passion, correct knowledge, all the good intentions, and still not remember.
Q: Anyone like those chocolate bunnies you get at Easter? Well, I hate them. They’re the biggest false advertising scheme out there. It looks amazing, but completely hollow on the inside. I don’t want that. I want chocolate. I want it throughout. Similarly, that can be us. We can have all the externals right: passion, knowledge, and intention, but it’s all for not when we don’t carry it out to action.
We do this all the time. It's like the well-intended, but hollow dinner invites. We want to hang out with a person, feel bad we haven’t, and so we keep telling them, “We should have you over… [on repeat]” But we haven’t done it. If you don’t get it on the calendar, you haven’t in the biblical sense, remembered.
So that is the concept of remembering – to think about something and do something with it.
Now what to remember?
Let’s go to verse 2. “…remember the whole way…” Israel, look left. Look into the wilderness. It’s right there. The wilderness was rough. I like to say the wilderness is God’s classroom. It’s not His only one. But let’s just think who God brought to the wilderness. Jesus. Boom. Done. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha, Ezekiel, John the Baptist, Paul. God brings His people to the wilderness to teach them who He is, who they are, and how they are to live. So, Israel, look at the wilderness. You and your parents failed. God was gracious. You were impatient. You didn’t wait on the LORD. You built a golden calf after He split the sea.
GOD’S GRACE YESTERDAY MOTIVATES MY FAITH FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW.
Do you remember when God intersected your life? What would you be doing today if He didn’t? What else do we remember?
Look at verse 2 again - “…testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not…” Moses realizes God brought them into the desert to reveal who was the final authority. The reality is it was Israel. Not God and His Word. So MidTree, the question remains for us: when you remember, what do you remember? The Word. When you get squeezed, is it the Word? Has this become the lens by which you see every aspect of life?
Now, Why? Why do we remember?
Maybe you picked up on it, but in chapter 8 Moses is specifically addressing Israel’s future – what they do after they enter the Promised Land. They’ll have everything they need (comfort, money, food, and excess). Deuteronomy 8:7 calls it, “a good land.” I’ve been there. It is a good land. This doesn’t negate the importance of remembering when things are rough. Israel just spent 40 years of rough. They’ve seen the cost of forgetting when things are rough. Now, Moses is covering the grounds for when things are good, easy, and comfortable.
“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery,
Moses is warning them not to forget. Spoiler alert (I don’t feel bad for spoiling the ending– the story’s been out for thousands of years): They forget.
Q: Are we any different? Nope.
Why they forgot is the same reason we forget:
It is bent of the human heart to forget and turn to everything but that which is truly right and fully satisfying. For what we remember reveals what we really want. We know what it means to remember, but what does it mean to forget?
The Hebrew idea of forgetting, or shakah, is [verb]: to remove one's knowledge from the forefront of one's mind, whether intentionally... or unintentionally. It’s not a mental lapse, but a turning away from something to something else.
Now, verses 17-19:
Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.
Theologian Tim Chester said, “Obedience falters when memory fails.”
Two things this reveals about the human heart:
- We easily forget the Giver of the good gifts and credit ourselves.
- We easily run to other gods that are not worthy of our worship.
We easily forget in the wilderness when things are rough and, just as easily, in the “good land” when thing are going well.
We can forget:
- Like in verse 17, In the good land, we become:
- Comfortable (want things to be easy and you’ve just settled in)
- Self-important (think we earned whatever we’ve been given)
- Easy (When you get the job promotion you’ve always wanted)
- We can become entitled.
- Or in the desert we become:
- Lonely (we have tried to make meaningful connection with others, but are just about to give up)
- [Q: Did you know on a survey that just came out this year, only 33% of 18-35yr old feel deeply connected to another person?]
- Busy + Overwhelmed (we going at a frantic pace of life and just don’t have a good solution and don’t know what to do about it)
- Crippled by fear (other’s opinions, not being liked – so we avoid the hard conversations and keep everyone at an arms-length away in artificial harmony, etc.)
- Argue poorly with our spouse (we want to win out in an argument and go into attack mode)
- Bored (scrolling TikTok, FB, Instagram, websites you shouldn’t)
- Bitter (God hasn’t come through on our timing or in the way we have wanted Him to)
- Unpredicted and unexplainable loss (sudden death of child, miscarriage, etc.)
Two examples of this elsewhere: Ps 77:1-13 and Lamentations 3:14-21.
1I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.
2In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.
3When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah
Listen to the lament – the groan. We’ve all been there. And it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s something in our life right now that makes us groan. But also look at the honesty and look at the confidence. “I cry aloud… and he will hear me.”
And, now Lamentations 3:14–24. It’s interesting to know that this whole chapter is written to be memorable. It’s written as an acrostic in the Hebrew alphabet (i.e. A-Z). They want you to be able to memorize this, for it’s worth repeating.
14 I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitterness; he has sated me with wormwood.
16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes;
17 my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is;
18 so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”
19 remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
21But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
We need to be reminded of our God (Who He is; character; promises) and His Truth (Scripture) – truth reorients us – gives us the perspective we so desperately need on a daily, sometimes moment by moment basis.
For REMEMBERING REORIENTS US TO TRUTH. REMEMBERING TRUTH GIVES US HOPE. Hope for today and hope for tomorrow.
What do we remember? Truth. Who God is. His character. His record. What He’s done. His promises. Who we are in Him.
Why do we remember? Because we forget! All too often. Every day! Because we need to! It’s a matter of life and death. Because we’re fallen. Prone to wander. Prone to leave the God we love. Because we get stuck on ourselves, in our own head.
C. S. Lewis says, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
We forget the wonder of the cross. The blood that was shed. The miracle of the resurrection. The grace that was and IS given.
Finally, how… how do we remember?
4“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
SHEMA: These scriptures have been prayed by Jewish people twice a day – morning and evening – for thousands of years. You ask any Jew and they will be deeply acquainted with it. This is called the Shema. For the first word is shema. Shema is translated “hear” or “listen.” Again, it’s similar to remember in that it is closely tied to action. Simply put, the idea is “hear and obey.” There’s not a stand-alone term in Hebrew for “obey” so the Hebrews used terms like this to convey action. In other words, whatever is said after shema is meant to be acted upon – not just know about, or intended, or spoken passionately about. But done.
Deut 6:4-9 is what I like to think of as the original vision for discipleship. Let’s notice a couple of things. It’s speaking of our loves. It’s addressing our affections – what we really love. Do you really love God? Not just for what He does for you, but for who He is. Really? The heart is the place of the mind, will, emotions, and affections. It’s at the core of who you are. It encapsulates everything. This kind of love is not compartmentalized. It gets into the mundane things of their lives.
Let’s translate this for us: Anyone sat on the couch? Ride in the car? Put your head on a pillow? This is not meant to be laborious. It’s not meant to be another thing to get added to our calendar. It’s what we’re already doing! In those normal moments. Start small, pick one moment of you day to incorporate remembering the LORD and His Word. You can do this!
My wife is going to love me using her as an example, but about three weeks ago, we were driving here from Impact and our kids were wound up. Instead of putting on Paw Patrol (not that Paw Patrol is bad – I want Ryder’s four-wheeler.) She starts speaking to them about Gen 1. By the time we’re turning here off of 18, she’s to Gen 3 and Ember my 3-year-old is in tears. And my wife got to preach the Gospel to our kids. At 8:54am. Now is that every morning? No. But it can be some mornings.
What else did this look like for Israel?
- Bodies + homes: (Deut 6:4-9)
- Weekly calendar [Sabbath]: (Exod 20:8-10)
- Celebrations [holy days]
- Passover (Feast of Unleavened Bread)
- Sukkoth (Feast of Booths)
- Shavuot (Feast of Weeks / Pentecost)
- Physical monuments (Josh 4:1-7)
Find what helps you remember. The idea is that we deliberately put physical objects or rhythms into our life to remind us of truth. And again, who God is and what He has done gives us hope for today and hope for tomorrow.
You can do this. You probably already doing this without even thinking about it. It’s rocks with key instances of God’s faithfulness that you’ve painted on them. It’s the Scripture artwork you buy on Etsy. It’s what you get 50% on at Hobby Lobby.
God’s instructions for these people was that they was be intentional to be orient their lives to remember.
But we must also ask the question: What kind of People is God trying to form? Not just individuals. But a community. A community that remembers. An interdependent (i.e., whole person, yet belonging to the Body) community that brings one another back to life when we forget. My concern is that we think this is just an individual thing. No – the Church of God is intended to help one another remember. (i.e., Lord’s Supper, MCG)
We need each other. We need each other to help one another remember. When I forget, I need you to remind me.
So, there is this individual and communal aspect of remembering.
Whether you’re in the wilderness season of life or celebrating good times, remember who God is and what He has done. Remembering reorients us to truth. Remembering truth gives us hope.
Jimmy read this passage last week and I want to read it again. Moses comes to the end of his speech, the end of this book, and the end of his life and says,
Deuteronomy 30:15–20 (ESV)
15“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.
16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
17But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them,
18I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.
19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live,
20loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Mid Tree, remember. Remember, reflect, rejoice, recount to others… who God is, what He’s done, who we are in Him. This week, and every week, may we be a church that remembers and doesn’t forget.
The Lord's Supper | 1 Corinthians 11, Matthew 26 | Jimmy Brooks | September 11, 2022.
The Lord’s Supper
Purpose of this sermon:
Sept. 11 is a day of memorial, remembering the events and lives lost. Pearl Harbor Day is a similar day of remembrance. Remembering those days does not; however, make us a participant in those events.
The Lord’s Supper is more than a memorial; it is meant to be a participatory sacrament, and this sermon aims to aid us in a greater heartfelt experience of the Lord’s Supper.
Context: Acts 2:42
There are four areas of ‘devotion’ that characterized the early church: the apostles teaching, the fellowship, prayer, and the breaking of bread(the Lord’s Supper).
Concern: are we devoted to, or passionate about, the Lord’s Supper, or has it become ritual?
“It would be healthy for the church today to recapture a more vivid sense of God’s presence at the table of the Lord.”
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology
Background: Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper at Passover: Exodus 12:21-27
The features of Passover are: sacrifice, sense of ongoing participation over the ages, salvation from bondage, foreshadowing of Messiah. The ‘Afikomen’ (meaning ‘that which comes after’) is the unleavened bread which is hidden during the Passover meal, nd abrought forth at the end to be shared. This portion foreshadows the Messiah who is to come, and is the bread which Jesus broke when he said, “This is my body, which is for you.”
Lord’s Supper is a sacrament.
Tertullian took the Latin word, ‘sacramentum’ to apply to the sacrament of baptism. Sacramentum means a solemn oath, and referred to the new life a man took upon himself when becoming a Roman soldier, leaving his old life behind and becoming totally loyal and devoted only to the Emperor.
Augustine defined the sacraments (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) as “an outward sign of an inward grace, instituted by Jesus.”
Grace is felt, not only intellectually known. We spontaneously feel joy when someone is baptized; yet how do we feel when partaking of the Lord’s Supper? Do we feel and experience grace when partaking of the Lord’s Supper?
So, is the Lord’s Supper a memorial, or is Jesus present?
The church has in many places begun to look at the Lord’s Supper as a memorial, following what is often called the Zwinglian (U. Zwingli, a Swiss Reformer) school of thought.
However, the church over the ages has generally always believed that Christ is present in some fashion during the Lord’s Supper.
The Catholic and Greek Orthodox church believe in transubstantiation-the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ; while Martin Luther and modern Lutherans believe in consubstantiation- the bread and wine remain but coexist with the body and blood of Christ.
Calvin in his Institutes taught that Jesus is truly spiritually present in the elements.
These debates may be intellectually stimulating, but seem to move away from Jesus’ primary concern for our heart and souls rather than our minds. Doctrine is important, but love should prevail.
Calvin: “For unless a man means to call God a deceiver, he would never dare assert that an empty symbol is set forth by Him…and the godly ought by all means to keep this rule: whenever they see symbols appointed by the Lord, to think and be persuaded that the truth of the thing signified is surely present there. for why should the Lord put in your hand the symbol of His body, except to assure you of a true participation in it?”
Four things that the Lord’s Supper is about:
- Spiritual sustenance
- Submitting to God
The Lord’s Supper is about our sin.
God is holy, and man through sin is unclean. (Isaiah 6:3-5)
Sin separates us from God (Romans 6:23)
God’s holiness demands justice.
Jesus brings about a new covenant in and through his blood, replacing the old covenant of works(Deut. 30:15-18), for the remission of sins.
For all sin: past, present, and future.
The Lord’s Supper is about the perfect sacrifice. (God requires sacrifice in order to effect justice)
To sacrifice all of the lambs in Jerusalem for Passover required three different sittings at the temple, and this would have left the temple awash in blood.
The move ‘The Passion of the Christ’ is hard to watch more than once due to its brutality, but especially once one considers that it is our sin that puts Jesus on the cross.
The Lord’s Supper is about our ongoing need for spiritual sustenance.
We all need Jesus, and the Lord’ Supper is a means of grace, enabled by the Holy Spirit.
Calvin: “In order that the Word may not strike your ears in vain, and that the sacraments may not strike your eyes in vain, the Spirit shows us that in them it is God speaking to us, softening the stubbornness of our heart, and composing it to that obedience which it owes the Word of the Lord. Apart from the Spirit’s work, the sacraments profit nothing. When the Spirit does work, He transmits those outward words and sacraments from our ears and eyes to our souls.”
So, as we come to the Lord’s Supper, do we open our hearts to the enabling power of the Holy Spirit?
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
The Lord’s Supper is about submitting to God.
In order to partake of the Lord’s Supper in a manner worthy, we need to fully submit to God.
Paul chastises the Corinthians for their selfish and greedy manner, in which they “despise the church of God”.
We may not be as overt as the Corinthians in our sin, but do we come to the table prepared, in a manner worthy? To do this we must submit, and be reconciled to God before we come.
- We must follow Him completely, taking up our cross (Matt. 16), and putting to death the things of the flesh (Romans 8)
- Rich young ruler loved his possessions more than Jesus. We must love Jesus more than our material belongings and comfort.
- Matt: 10:37-38 – we must love God more than our families.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
We must also be reconciled to the body of Christ before we come.
- I Cor. 10:17 “ Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”
- Matt. 5:23-24 – be reconciled to your brother before you come to the altar.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
Our sin requires a perfect sacrifice, and Jesus who is present at the Lord’s Supper is our spiritual sustenance, of which we can partake in a worthy manner if we submit to God.