Summary: A communion message about remembering who we were and what Jesus did for us.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – Avoiding Amnesia
An older couple had trouble remembering common, day-to-day things. They both decided that they would write down requests the other had, and so try to avoid forgetting. One evening the wife asked if the husband would like anything. He replied, “Yes. I’d like a large ice-cream sundae with chocolate ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top.” The wife started off for the kitchen and the husband shouted after her, “Aren’t you going to write it down?” “Don’t be silly,” she hollered back, “I’m going to fix it right now. I won’t forget.”
She was gone for quite some time. When she finally returned, she set down in front of him a large plate of hash browns, eggs, bacon, and a glass of orange juice. He took a look and said, “I knew you should have written it down! You forgot the toast!”
Perhaps most of us could say we don’t have the memories we used to have. What’s funnier, as we get older, we remember funny things. Like, we remember the silliest things from when we were kids, but we can’t remember what we had for breakfast. The loss of memory does strange things to people.
Perhaps that’s why the Bible tells us to remember things on purpose. The writer of Hebrews said this: “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” He also went on to say this: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.” The entire book of Deuteronomy, which literally means “the second telling”, is about Moses calling the people to remember what the Lord had done for them. Most of us have heard the verse in Ecclesiastes: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.” The apostle Paul said that we should continue to remember the poor. And at the end of his letter to the Colossians, he told his readers to remember his chains in prison. And Paul also told Timothy, the young pastor, to “remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.”
Apparently, by the number of times and number of things we are told to remember, you would think humans have a fairly short memory. Even as Christians, we forget. Listen to what Peter said about growing in the faith, from his second letter: “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”
Peter went on to say: “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” That means, that if you aren’t becoming more and more like the Lord, then you have forgotten what the Lord has done for you.
John wrote in Revelation 3:5: “Remember the height from which you have fallen!” The Lord Jesus is saying, remember where you were. Remember what it was like when you first found the Lord. Remember how you wouldn’t miss church. Remember how you had faith to move mountains. Remember how you devoured the Word. Remember your excitement and enthusiasm. Where did it go? Why did it leave? Today we continue our summer sermon series on the why’s of our worship – why we do what we do. Today we will celebrate communion.
Paul writes these words in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Today we are called to remember the sacrifice of our Lord.
Now, the word “remember” is a good one. I don’t usually quote Greek words, but you might find this one interesting. The original word is “anamnesis.” This comes from “ana”, which means “repeatedly”, and “mnesis”, meaning “calling to mind” or “remembering”. So, the words of Jesus tell us to celebrate communion because we are to repeatedly remember Him. Communion is about remembering what Jesus did for us.
But another thing about this word is the second half, “mnesis”, which as I say means “calling to mind.” If you were to make the word negative, in Greek you would add the prefix “a”; for example, an a-theist is someone who doesn’t believe in Theos, or God. So, not remembering, not calling to mind, not thinking about, is “a-mnesis”… amnesia. Not remembering the Lord is our lives is spiritual amnesia.
And Jesus calls us to remember Him. He calls us to remind ourselves what He has done for us. Romans 3:23 says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death.” That means we all sinned, and we all deserve hell. Everyone of us deserves it. Still do. We all still deserve to go to hell. You’ve heard me say this, life isn’t fair, but be glad because of it. If life were fair and just, we would not even get a chance to go to heaven.