The Spiritual Treasure of Remembering
Ronnie Rogers | Pastor
Trinity Baptist Church, Norman, OK
It is not new knowledge that we reject, for we should always be growing in the knowledge of the Lord. Rejecting new knowledge is the failure of traditionalism. Nor do we reject what has been known for years, decades, or even centuries from what God has revealed in His Word because of some superficial changes in culture, for that is the failure of ‘new is better’ mentality. Rather we embrace knowledge that allows us to continually grow deeper in our understanding of God’s person, will, and ways so that we can honor Him with all of our being. This knowledge comes from learning the Scripture in order to live the Scripture. It is kept fresh by remembering.
The Scripture often calls the church to remember, and therefore one of the priorities of biblical preaching is to remind us often of biblical teachings because we tend to forget, and forgetfulness breeds disobedience (2 Timothy 1:6, 2:14; Titus 3:1; Hebrews 13:7; 2 Peter 3:2; Jude 17; Revelation 2:5, 3:3). Several biblical concepts are directly connected with remembering. For example:
Repentance is often tied to remembering. “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5). “So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you” (Revelation 3:3). On the dreadful night that our Lord was betrayed, it was only when the Holy Spirit caused Peter to remember what Jesus had said that Peter repented. “‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75).
Lack of faith is often exposed through being reminded, as with the Apostles when Jesus said to them, “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember” (Mark 8:18). Processing new experiences in a biblical manner is often dependent upon remembering, as when the angels spoke to the women at the tomb of Jesus on that resurrection morning. “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee…And they remembered His words” (Luke 24:6, 8).
Understanding righteous anger is at times only understood by remembering. When Jesus cleansed the temple “his disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house will consume me’” (John 2:17). Spiritual growth is tied to remembering. “These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him” (John 12:16).
Humility and preparing for persecution at times requires remembering. “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20).
Understanding future experiences often requires remembering, “But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you” (John 16:4). “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 11:16). “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).
Thankfulness and gratefulness often require remembering. “Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called ‘Uncircumcision’ by the so-called ‘Circumcision,’ which is performed in the flesh by human hands—” (Ephesians 2:11). “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8).
Therefore, Christians are to be on an endless quest to both learn and be reminded by the Scripture, which requires knowing the Scripture. “That you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles” (2 Peter 3:2). “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17). “But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God” (Romans 15:15). “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17). “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6). “Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers” (2 Timothy 2:14). “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed” (Titus 3:1).
Faithful ministers know all too well of their own inability to retain what they have learned or to thwart the corrupting influence of their own flesh upon what they have learned without constantly remaining in the Word of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to remind them of the great truths of Scripture as well as essential nuances. Consequently, they are constantly studying the Scripture and seeking God to exhort, teach, convict, correct, encourage, and remind them of what they do not know or have forgotten, or expose what they have allowed human reasoning of the flesh to corrupt.
This kind of pastor will be so keenly aware of the charge of the Scripture upon his life and his need of daily reminding by it, that no trick of hell will cause him to fail to be devoted to constantly remind the flock of God. This begs the question, how pray tell can a minister be so devoted to reminding the flock if he is unaware of the need in his own life? Quite probably, this is the reason some ministers see so little need to teach the deep things of God to the people of God because they themselves rarely or never go there. How can one fulfill the mandates to remember, when one has not heard or has forgotten?