Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reminded to Remember


I’ve had conversations with numerous folks in the church regarding the bombardment phenomenon.  It refers to times when the Lord hits you from all sides with the same message.  Perhaps the Sunday sermon is on the same theme as an article you read or a topic you discussed with a friend.  Then a couple of days later, one of the preachers on the radio is teaching on the same theme.  Then you pick up the Bible and randomly happen upon the same teaching.  It’s as if the Lord is bombarding you with one message in a concerted effort to get your attention, teach you something, or offer you comfort. 
I’ve had a bombardment recently that I’d like to share with you.  We’ve been studying 2 Peter on Wednesday nights and one of the themes in the book is the importance of remembering.  After spending the first part of the first chapter exhorting the readers to pursue specific godly qualities, Peter writes:
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. (2Pet 1:12-15)
Peter believed it was so important for the readers to remember these qualities that he dedicated himself to spending the last days of his life reminding them and reminding them so that they would never forget.  He did this “though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”  In other words, great familiarity with the truth did not dissuade him that actively remembering these things was essential.
This fixation on reminding the readers is evident throughout 2 Peter.  In chapter 2, to encourage them that God would judge the false teachers and rescue the godly, Peter reminded them of three different OT examples of God doing those very things.  God was faithful in the past and He’ll be faithful in the future.  Don’t forget. 
Then in chapter 3 he writes: This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles…(2Pet 3:1-2).  Peter’s desire to remind them extended back to his first letter to them, presumably 1 Peter.  There is no other purpose for these two verses than to communicate, “Hey! It’s super important that you remember!” 
Throughout 2 Peter, when the apostle isn’t talking about reminding them, he’s reminding them! 
Now, if that was the only avenue through which I was receiving that message, I would probably heed it, but in a bombardment its never one avenue.  It’s been a while since I’ve listened to John MacArthur so I listened to his most recent podcast over the last couple of weeks.  Providentially, he was preaching through 2 Peter 1 a sermon series entitled, “RememberingWhat Not to Forget.”  In it, MacArthur jackhammered away at the same idea – the importance of remembering.  It’s been an amazing series.  I highly recommend it.
Yet another avenue of bombardment was the passage we studied together last Sunday morning (Matt 16:13-20), in which Jesus gently rebuked the disciples for their failure to remember His past works and live accordingly.  Also, I have been moved to read 2 Timothy repeatedly this week.  In it, Paul seeks to stir Timothy up for continued faithfulness in ministry by reminding him of his spiritual heritage, his upbringing in the Scriptures, and the mystery of the gospel.
Okay, I get the hint.  I need to remember.  But remember what?  What is the object of our remembrance?  Well, in each passage involved in this bombardment the object of remembrance has been truth about the Lord, ourselves, and what He calls us to.  In 2 Peter, the apostle reminds the readers to pursue holiness, to remember the predictions of the OT and the commandments of the NT, and to remember that the past faithfulness of the Lord means He’ll be faithful in the future.  In MacArthur’s series, he referenced many OT passages in which the people were exhorted to remember the Lord and His past works.  In summary, the object of remembrance is the truth and how we should live in light of the truth.
What is the means of our remembrance?  What is the tool that helps to refresh our memories about the Lord and how we should live?  Consistently, the Word is held up as the primary means of our recalling important truths.  In 2 Peter 1, after detailing his own commitment to refresh the readers' memories, Peter calls their attention to the “prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention.”  Then there is the reference to his own previous letter, “stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.”  In other words, Peter wants them to be reminded by returning to the Old and New Testaments.
For those of us who have read the Bible for years, it can be tempting to think that we know the Word pretty well and therefore do not need to re-read it over and over.  The apostles thought differently.  In addition to the exhortations from Peter already mentioned, in 2 Tim Paul calls Timothy to continue in the Word, noting its power for sanctification.  He calls Timothy to this even though Timothy had been raised in the Scriptures (2 Tim 3:14-15).  He also charges him to continue to preach the Word.  Psalm 119 is filled with the idea that continual intake of the Word is essential for spiritual health.  Knowing the Word does not change the fact that we need to be reminded of it constantly.  As Peter wrote, I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth…  We need to be committed to a constant stream of biblical truth no matter how well we know it.
What is the effect of our remembrance?  According to Peter, we are stirred up by way of reminder.  We are energized and eager for action.  We are motivated to obey.  That is what we saw in our message on Sunday.  In Deuteronomy 7-8, the people were reminded of Yahweh’s actions in the past to motivate them to obey Him in the present and future.  2 Tim3:16-17 teaches that the Word of God is the tool He uses to make us like Christ, ready for good works.  It is simply the case that when we are devoting time to remembering –  that is, spending quality time reading and meditating on the Word – it is easier to walk in faithfulness.
I’ve been bombarded and wanted to share it with you.  It's a crucial reminder: we’ve all got some remembering to do.

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