This morning I came across a message by Charles Haddon Surgeon entitled "The Remembrance of Christ." He preached from 1Corinthians 11:24. The message was given on a Sunday evening in January of 1855. In this message Spurgeon remarked that the "text implies the possibility of forgetfulness." He went on to say that "Christians may forget Christ." He then again wrote, "Nor is this a bare supposition: it is, alas, too well confirmed in our experience, not as a possibility, but as a lamentable fact."
At first, these statements startled me. I thought to myself "how can a believer forget Christ?" But then it hit me, Spurgeon was right, it wasn't really that hard after all. We allow our minds to be so preoccupied by so many things, and we have an enemy in Satan who loves to distract us from proper meditation on the Lord and His Word!
Consider with me for a moment the phrase "this do in remembrance of me" found in 1Corinthians 11:24, 25. For context, observe the text below.
1Corinthians 11:23-26 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: (24) And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. (26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.The remembrance statement is a command, and the word for remembrance means to remind, to recall, a memorial so one does not forget. Alexander MacLaren comments, "The real meaning of the words is, ‘Do this in case you forget’; do this in order that you may recall to memory what the slippery memory is so apt to lose-the impression of even the sweetest sweetness, of the most loving love, and the most self-abnegating sacrifice, which He offered for us."
There are ways in which mankind is very forgetful. The Israelites of the Old Testament struggled with forgetfulness. They quickly forgot the mighty acts that God performed on their behalf! Moses had to continually challenge the people to not forget. Notice in two texts from the Book of Deuteronomy:
Deuteronomy 4:7-9 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? (8) And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? (9) Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
Deuteronomy 6:12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Friends, we are not much different from the Israelites of old. And this is why Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reminded the Corinthians of Jesus' words "do this in remembrance of me."
How might we forget Christ? Well, every time we commit a sin- we forget about Christ! Every time we tell a lie, respond in anger, take out our frustrations on others, complain about things, act selfishly, etc. You get the point! There are other ways which are more subtle such as mindlessly worshipping on Sunday mornings. Singing great hymns about Christ while thinking about other things. Texting or serfing the web durring the worship service. Or maybe even serving the Lord at church in order to be seen or praised for what you are doing. Or what about Teaching a bible class, then later in the service be gossipping or complaining about someone. See, there is any number of ways in which we can fail to "remember" Chirst.
Let us guard our hearts and purpose to keep Christ at the forefront of our minds and lives. Let us follow the mindset of Paul in Philipians 3:8 "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," Notice that Paul wanted "win Christ." What does Paul mean? I believe that he is saying that he wants to know Christ better by experience. To enjoy Christ in every aspect of life. It is Christ that fills his life, not the things he lost and gave up. The loss of other things were really no loss at all because Christ fully replaced any percieved or seeming loss. William Hendrickson, commenting on winning/gaining Christ, suggested that in meant "to make Christ more and more fully his own." Christ was everything to Paul! So, he shared Jesus' words back in 1Corinthians 11:24 that believers are to continuously celebrate the Lord's Table in order to remember all that Christ did for mankind on the Cross.
So, how forgetful are you? I hope not to forgetfull. Keep Christ as your supreme possession! Look to Him daily! Study His Word daily! Consistantly promote His glory! And we all look forward to when we can once again participate in the Lord's Table in our local congregations with our brothers and sisters in Christ!