Title: The Reason for Remembering
Text: I Corinthians 11:24c & 25d
Prop: I propose to you that the memory of the death of Christ is to spur you on to courageous obedience and faithfulness
Obj: My purpose tonight is to demonstrate the relevance of remembering the death of Jesus Christ in order for it to effectively spur you on to courage and faithfulness as you await the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
ACHIEVE THEIR ATTENTION
Memory is our ability to encode, store, retain and subsequently recall information and past experiences in the human brain.
Memory can be considered the sum total of our ability to remember past experiences, and the power and process of recalling to mind previously learned facts, experiences, impressions, skills and even habits. Memory is the store of things learned and retained from our activity or experience, as evidenced by modification of behavior, or recall and recognition.
Memory can be thought of in general terms as the use of past experience to affect or influence current behavior.
Now, most of us have heard the expression “Remember the Alamo!” This phrase was a battle cry in the volunteers' struggle for independence from Mexico, and it was later used by Americans in the Mexican War. It recalled the desperate fight of the Texan defenders in the Alamo, where they died to the last man.
That battle cry was a way to convey strength and honor in three succinct words. But have you ever wondered exactly why we are to remember the Alamo? Sure, a battle was fought at the fort, but plenty of battles have been fought in the United States.
What makes the Alamo so special?
In 1836, Texas was in a state of revolutionary flux. War had caused the former Mexican state to break away, and now, Texas was up for grabs. As a matter of fact, five different groups were trying to get their hands on it:
1. Monarchists wanted Texas (along with the rest of Mexico) subjugated to the Spanish Crown.
2. Centralists wanted Texas as part of a Mexico ruled by a national government.
3. Federalists wanted Texas to be part of a Mexican government where administrative power would exist at both the state and federal levels
4. The Unionists of the United States wanted Texas to join it & become part of the union.
5. The confederation of Anglos and Tejanos (powerful Hispanic landowners) wanted Texas to be an independent republic, like the army led by Sam Houston.
A confederation of Anglos and Tejanos were barricaded inside the Alamo. In the early hours of Mar. 6, 1836, this confederation, these volunteers were faced with defending their designs for Texas with their lives. There were about 215 men. After nearly two weeks of gaining and losing footholds in the town of San Antonio, the Mexican Army had caught up to them and was at the fort's door.
The Battle of the Alamo became legendary almost immediately after it ended. The rebels' fatal refusal to surrender to the Mexican army served to stimulate other rebels to continue fighting General Santa Ana and his army.
So, why do we remember the Alamo?
The volunteers at San Jacinto used the memory of the Battle of the Alamo to fuel their anger. Remembering the Alamo, or the death and burning of the volunteers affected them. Their remembrance of the death and defeat of those brave volunteers influenced the army to action; it influenced them to be courageous.
That now-famous battle cry of "Remember the Alamo!" was used to rally the volunteer army to be courageous and to avenge the death of their comrades.
RAISE A NEED
You have a variety of experiences that occur and take place all of the time don’t you? The majority of those experiences are pleasant, nice, and are very wonderful. You even want to remember them, sometimes forever. How many of you have said after an exciting or meaningful experience, “I want to remember this forever, I will never forget it.”
But, what happens? The memory starts to fade. Dates, places, times, people, events, and even our feelings eventually grow dim. Sometimes we forget them altogether. We don’t want to. We want to always remember what our spouse looked like on their wedding day, or our child’s first step, or maybe when we were converted, or how we felt when we were rewarded for a job well done.
Your salvation can be like that. Sometimes the feelings, the event, the words, the people, the setting of coming to Christ can become a dull memory. Even Christ’s death can be “forgotten.” Its significance or relevance can easily grow dim in the midst of our daily activities. Life can push the vitality and significance of the death of Christ to the back of our mind.
ORIENT THE THEME
Thank God that He is much wiser than we are! Christ knew that we possessed the tendencies to forget such monumental things like His death.
Robert Robertson summed up this reality in his hymn, O Thou Fount of Every Blessing when he wrote, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” I feel that way sometimes. I think it is natural for all of us at one time or another to have the memory of Christ’s death pushed to the back of our memory.
Too often I find myself distracted and drifting, instead of having my heart and mind focused on the Savior who loves me and who gave Himself for me. And so, Robert Robinson and I are not really too different nor alone.
This is why Christ said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Christ gave us something to help us to always remember or recall from our memory His sacrifice and His death on our behalf.
STATE THE PURPOSE
My purpose tonight is to demonstrate the reason for remembering the death of Jesus Christ as you await the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
ANNOUNCE THE TEXT
1 Corinthians 11:24, repeat and read.
BACKGROUND TO THE TEXT
Let’s take just a minute and look at the background to this particular text. We have to ask ourselves, how does the historical background to 1 Corinthians affect the content of Paul’s writings or our understanding of the text?
First – Paul wrote this letter to motivate the believers in Corinth to acknowledge the Lord’s absolute and complete ownership of them and the implications that this truth had on their everyday lives.
Second, 1 Corinthians is actually the second letter that Paul wrote to this congregation. The first letter that he wrote apparently was not preserved for us.
Third, this letter was prompted by information that Paul had received from someone belonging to Chloe’s household about divisiveness, immorality, law suits, and even problems concerning the Lord’s Supper.
Now, if you remember, Paul had gone to Corinth, stayed there about eighteen (18) months and left. When he left Corinth he took with him Aquila & Priscilla. But he left them in Ephesus and traveled on to Jerusalem. Of course it was in Ephesus that this husband and wife gave some further instruction to a man named Apollos.
While Paul was writing this letter he received a letter from the congregation in Corinth which contained a number of questions. (7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1)
· Some questions about marriage & relationships
· Some questions about virgins & widows
· Some questions about foods that had been offered to idols
· Some questions about spiritual gifts
Finally, 1 Corinthians helps us to understand everyday Christian life and various relationships. It is a guide so to speak about functioning together in unity and peace in the local congregation.
The background to this passage is very familiar to you and almost needs no mention. But, a brief review reminds us that this is the night that Judas will betray Jesus into the hands of the Jewish leadership and the Roman government.
Jesus is in the upper room with the disciples observing or participating in the Passover meal which commemorates the exodus from Egypt. In the midst of this meal, Jesus does something most unusual. He institutes a memorialist ritual or practice for the disciples in order for them to be reminded of His death for them.
Jesus pickups the unleavened bread and informs that disciples that this bread is an emblem or representation of His body which he was going to offer as a sacrifice. He took the third cup of wine of the Passover meal and said that the wine now represented his blood which would be shed for them. He told them that each time that they did this they pictured the death of Jesus until He returns for them.
We know that they concluded the meal, they went out into the garden and sang a hymn. And later that evening Jesus was betrayed and arrested. He was unjustly tried, convicted, and condemned, and was crucified.
And so, I propose to you that the command “do this in remembrance of me” was given by Christ for an express purpose or reason, to spur us to faithful obedience
THEME: And so, our theme for tonight is, “It is good to remember!”
And, so, we have to ask ourselves, Why is this phrase so vitally important to us?
What does the phrase “…do this in remembrance of me… mean? Why did Jesus give this command? How can we obey it? Can its effect be measured?
In order to answer those questions, our text implies at least four (4) inferences. Those four (4) inferences are:
· The Meaning of our Statement
· The Mission of our Savior
· The Manner of our Surrender
· The Measurement of our Submission
[So, having laid out of path, let’s look at the first inference implied, which is…]
1A THE MEANING OF OUR STATEMENT
“…do this in remembrance of me…”
First of all, to help us discover and determine the meaning of this or any word in the Bible, we need to compare the major bible translations and see how they translated the Greek word into English. It is always good to read and consult several translations any time you read or study a passage. Now…
The Geneva Bible of 1599 translated the Greek Word as remembrance
The King James Translation translated the Greek Word as remembrance
The New King James also uses remembrance
The NASB uses remembrance
The NIV uses remembrance
The NRSV uses remembrance
The English Majority Text Version uses remembrance
The NLT uses the word remembrance
So, all of the major or popular translations translate the Greek Word as remembrance. We can safely conclude that remembrance is a key word in this passage and it is used in order for each one of us to recall or remember the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
Secondly, we need to see what this word means and how it is used in our English Language. Let’s take a look at the word “remembrance” in our English language.
The Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, circa 1969, defines remembrance as:
· That state of bearing in mind
· The ability to remember
· The period over which one’s memory extends
· The act of recalling to mind
· The memory of a person, a thing, or an event
· That which serves to keep in or bring to mind, IOW, a reminder
The idea of remembrance is the utilization of something that keeps something in the forefront of our mind or when utilized brings something back into the forefront of our minds. Remembrance, then is the use of something to always remind us of something.
Next – We need to look at any other place this word is used in the Bible to get an idea of how Paul and other writers used it. IOW, how did they understand it? What did they mean when they used this word?
· Luke 22:19 – where it reads, “do this in remembrance of me.”
· I Cor 11:24 – do this in remembrance of me
· I Cor 11:25 – in remembrance of me
· Hebrews 10:3 – “But in those sacrifices there is a reminder (remembrance) of sins every year.”
Luke, who was very close to the Apostle Paul used this word in the same manner as Paul did. Luke probably used it because in his meticulous and supernaturally governed research he discovered that Jesus had used this word on the night he had been betrayed.
Paul used our word remembrance because he either received the implementation and instructions regarding the Lord’s Supper and its verbiage from Jesus in a vision, or trance, or revelation or he also passed on to the Corinthians during his stay there what had been passed down to him.
There is a debate on how Paul received this information, but this isn’t the time to address that issue. The manner in which he received doesn’t affect the Lord’s or his instructions in the least.
The writer of Hebrews whom I maintain was either Paul himself or someone so close to him that he thought and wrote like Paul used the same word for the same purpose.
It is clear that the word Jesus used was chosen purposely or intentionally and is of great importance. So, it behooves us to learn what it means.
Finally, to discover the meaning of remembrance we want to actually look at this word in the original language and try to find the root meaning of our word
The word in our text is the Greek Word ἀνάμνησις (anamnesis an-am’-nay-sis)
an-am’nay-sis is a compound word. It comes from ana = again + mimnesko = remember. It literally means to “recall again” and is more forceful than mimnesko, or memory by itself. It carries the idea of thinking back and reconstructing something in one’s mind, not just merely remembering it. It is a call to remembrance, or to cause to remember. It means to remind someone of something.
Why did Jesus use this word? What does this word mean? How did He intend for it to be understood, and how would the disciples understood it?
Well, remember our theme is, “It is good to remember.”
[So, let’s move to the second inference implied, which is…]
2A THE MISSION OF OUR SAVIOR
What was the purpose of Jesus in giving us the Lord’s Supper and this command to do this in remembrance of me?
This is really a simple question and really doesn’t need much elaboration or explanation. Hopefully, our first point points us to the purpose or the reason that Christ used remembrance.
Jesus used this word, an-am-nay-sis as a charge or command to his disciples to continually recall to their minds the truth and the meaning inherent in the memorial of the Lord’s Supper in order for the memory to have an effect.
IOW, the participants of this memorial, the Lord’s Supper, should remember Christ and His expiatory sacrifice of His death.
What Jesus intended with the use of this word was for the disciples to recall or remember the “immensity” or the “greatness” the “hugeness” of His Sacrifice It is this remembrance that should cause the participant, the believing child of God to actually and faithfully abstain from sin, and be spurred on to faithful obedience in the difficult, dangerous, & dull of daily living.
This is really a reminder to walk worthy of our calling. Remembering Christ’s death during the Lord’s Table has an active effect on each participant.
There is an interesting commentary on this idea in Numbers 10:10, which reads:
“Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; [get this] and they shall be a memorial for you before your God; I am the LORD your God.” [Numbers 10:10, NKJV]
The feasts, the offerings, and even the blowing of the trumpet served as a reminder to the children of Israel. That reminder was that God was their God and that they were to faithfully obey Him.
But back to the meaning of ἀνάμνησις (an-am-nay-sis) an-am-nay-sis conveys the idea of a remembrance or recollection in our consciousness.
The genuine believer is to enact the whole action or activity of the Lord’s Supper, not simply to remember it, but in accordance with an active participation in such a way that the believer actually fulfills the purpose or meaning inherent in the word.
The purpose of this memorial is not to merely remember that Christ died, but that the memory, the remembrance, the recollection of His sacrificial death which removed our sin should spurs us to faithfulness and obedience. This is why we eat the bread and drink the wine.
Remember, the Jewish mindset in some ways is a bit different from ours. To remember meant more than just to go back into your mind and picture something. It meant to recapture as much of the reality & significance of an event or an experience that you can. This intense remembrance causes a response.
Let me illustrate it with a couple of passages and ideas:
· Matthew 26:75 - “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, who had said, ‘Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.”
Put yourself in Peter’s sandals. Don’t you think his heart rate went up when he heard the first crowing of the rooster? I wonder if Peter thought, surely, that’s it. Then the second crowing sounded. What must have raced through his mind? When Peter heard the rooster and remembered Jesus’ words, Peter didn’t just say, ‘Oh, yeah, Jesus said I would do this. I remember him saying that!’
No, “So, he went out and wept bitterly.” Remembrance of Jesus’ words called to his conscious mind this event and it spurred him to remorse and he wept. Remembrance had an effect on Peter!
· Luke 17:32 – “Remember Lot’s wife.”
What? Do we remember that Lot was married? Do we remember she was gorgeous? Do we remember how tall she was? Do we just remember that she existed?
No, we are to recall to our minds very vividly that she lost her life because she was disobedient to God. Her death spurs us on to the realization that disobedience can be very dangerous and costly. God might not turn any of you into a pillar of salt, but the remembrance of Lot’s wife is to affect us greatly – my sin, my disobedience may cost me my life.
And so, “remembrance” is a positive force which affects our behavior. So the question is, how does the Lord’s Supper affect your behavior? Does the remembrance of His death cause you to faithfully abstain from sin, and does it spur you on to courageousness and obedience?
Hebrews 10:3 really sheds some valuable light on our word remembrance.
“But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.” [Why?] “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin.”
The animals offered by the Israelites were not simply or merely a rote or routine ritual. They were not without specific meaning, purpose or mission. In the OT economy, sin was dealt with by the offering of sacrifices.
Every time an Israelite offered up an animal it was to remind them that they were sinners. Each sacrifice reminded them of their sin. The offering was an expression of repentance and a heart of faith and trust in the provision of atonement for their sin.
The death of the animal, the pouring out of its blood was a reminder to be faithful, obedient, and to be devoted to God who would provide atonement for their sin.
The cry, “Remember the Alamo,” had a mission. Its mission was to inflame the volunteers into anger at Santa Anna’s army & embolden them for battle.
There is a mission, or purpose of remembrance of Christ’s death. There are at least two things that motivate genuine believers to faithful devotion and active obedience:
· The death of Jesus Christ was the only thing that the Father determined would appease or satisfy His wrath and justice.
· That God the Father, fully and absolutely was appeased or satisfied and that He accepted Christ’s death on our behalf.
To borrow from Milton Vincent in A Gospel Primer for Christians, allow me to expand on his words:
Jesus did not give us the memorial of the Lord’s Supper just so we could be reminded that He died at some point in history. Jesus gave us this memorial so that when we remembered his death it would benefit us by spurring us on to faithful obedience and to put to death sin.
And so, I propose to you that the memory of the death of Christ is to spur you on to courageous obedience and faithfulness. The mission of our Savior was to provide a means that caused each genuine believer to cease from sin and to be spurred on to faithful obedience.
So listen carefully to Christ’s intent! When you eat the bread and drink the wine, do you hear the call to be faithful, to be obedient, to be devoted, and to courageously fight the warfare that you are engaged in by pulling down strongholds, conquering enemy attacks, and mortifying the flesh?
Our theme tonight is, “It is good to remember!”
[[So, let’s look at the third inference implied in our text, which is…]
3A THE MEANS OF OUR SURRENDER
If remembrance is so vital then we need to know how we accomplish it. IOW, how do we use this memorial to effectively cause a positive reaction?
It may not surprise you that we have actually already given some clues and means by which we submit ourselves to the meaning inherent in the word remembrance.
There seems to be at least four means or ways to fulfill Christ’ intent or purpose in remembering His death through the elements of the bread and the wine each time that we participate in the Lord’s Table.
First – The first means to fulfill Jesus’ intent is Remember
IOW, dip into the recesses and chambers of your memory and bring to the forefront of your conscious mind the details of the death of Jesus Christ on your behalf.
Why? Because they can get pushed aside now and then. The details can fade. Other things crowd their way to the forefront of our mind. We have to pick up the cleaners, shop for groceries, get the oil changed, and keep our noses to the grindstone. Remembering keeps His death from being forgotten.
So, remember, actively call to your mind the death of Jesus.
Second – the second means to fulfill Jesus’ intent is to – Rehearse.
Remember, our earlier definition? This word calls to carefully think back and reconstruct events and things in our mind. Think deeply on the death of Christ. Think thoughtfully for a long time on his death. Think about the actual body of Jesus Christ cruelly, painfully, and sacrificially hung upon the cross for your sins. Think about the blood that was shed which represented His life, which again, was given for our sins.
And so, rehearse or review the purpose and meaning of his death.
Third – the third means to fulfill Jesus’ intent is to - Realize
Realize that this memorial was given for a purpose. It is intended to benefit us. It was not given to simply preach or proclaim the Lord’s death, but to give benefit and purpose to the preaching and proclaiming of his death. Realize Christ gave us the Lord’s Supper and these elements to cause us to cease sin and to conduct ourselves in courageous obedience.
Fourth – the fourth means to fulfill Jesus’ intent is to - Respond
Each one of us need to respond. Our response has been covered and doesn’t need to be belabored. But let me say, we need to remember, rehearse, and realize that we are to be obedient, faithful, and courageous.
The recalling of Christ’s death moves and motivates us in a way that it leads us by God’s grace to abstain from and to put to death sin as we are faithful and obedient to our Father.
Our theme for tonight is, “It is good to remember!”
Well, so far we have seen the meaning of our statement, the mission of our savior, and the means of our surrender. Let’s finish with the fourth inference implied in our text, which is…
4A THE MEASUREMENT OF OUR SUBMISSION
The Lord’s Supper is the appointed means by which Jesus intended to remain present in the hearts and minds of those who have been redeemed by His sacrificial death.
What does our compliance produce? How can it be measured in our lives, not necessarily by anybody other than yourself and Christ? I think there are several measurements of genuine remembrance of Christ.
First –it can be measured by an acute awareness of the absolute sinfulness of our sin. After all it took the death of Christ to satisfy God and to make payment for our sin. Nothing else would satisfy God.
No amount of works, self-renovation, rituals, ceremonies, activities, or means could remove the hideous, ugly, repugnant, disgusting, and detestable sin from our soul.
Second – it can be measured by an acute appreciation for the abhorrent sacrifice for our sin. As we sincerely concentrate on the elements as part of our remembrance, we will grow deeper and deeper in an appreciation of God’s marvelous and wonderful grace.
Paul experienced this ever growing appreciation for Christ’s death, listen to him as he writes:
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” [II Cor 9:15]
I think Charles Wesley developed an acute appreciation for Christ’s death. Remember these words?
And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior blood? Died he for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be that thou my God shouldst die for me?” 
Third – it can be measured by an acute appropriation of the axiomatic aim.
Over time and as we reflect and contemplate the benefit of the inherent meaning of our word, there will be a measureable amount of appropriating or the applying of this principle. The genuine believer, fully contemplating the sacrificial death of Christ by the elements which represent Christ’s death, the bread and the wine, will grow in the principle that spurs the believer on to faithful obedience and abstention or mortification of sin. This becomes our consistent practice until the Lord comes.
As just as those volunteers from yesterday rode into battle, they were courageously spurred on to fight with the words, Remember the Alamo ringing in their ears.
And so, our theme has been, “It is good to remember!” which spurs us on to courageous faithfulness in the spiritual battle that engages us.
Albert Barnes writes: “The ordinance is rightly observed when it recalls the memory of the Savior. And when its observance is the means of producing a deep and lively, and vivid impression on the mind, of his death for sin.” 
Well, what do you day we wrap this up?
CONCLUSION- Let me conclude these inspiring words from Thomas Watson.
“Has Christ provided such a blessed banquet for us? He does not nurse us abroad—but feeds us with His own breast—nay, with His own blood! Let us, then, study to respond to this great love of Christ. It is true, we can never parallel His love. Yet let us show ourselves thankful. We can do nothing satisfactory—but we may do something out of gratitude. Christ gave Himself as a sin-offering for us. Let us give ourselves as a thank-offering for Him. If a man redeems another out of debt—will he not be grateful? How deeply do we stand obliged to Christ—who has redeemed us from hell!”
Let’s Pray! J