Summary: Why do we have the memorials of the Lord's Supper and Baptism? Because we have a tendency to forget.
Intro: Two middle-aged couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other, "Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?"
"Outstanding," Fred replied. "They taught us all the latest psychological techniques, such as visualization, association and so on. It was great. I haven't had a problem since."
"Sounds like something I could use. What was the name of the clinic?"
Fred went blank. He thought and thought, but couldn't remember.
Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, "What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?"
"You mean a rose?"
"Yes, that's it!"
He turned to his wife, "Hey Rose, what was the name of that memory clinic?"
(from Mikey's Funnies)
Whether young or old we all have a tendency to forget. Whether it is important dates times or events or trivial information we all tend to forget. We can often forget to say please, thank you, I love you, I am sorry. In our relationships we do things that will help us to remember. We make vows, wear wedding rings.
In Israel’s relationship with God they were commanded to remember God over and over.
Exodus 12:14 God established the memorial of the Passover, Here in Joshua the memorial stones. Ecclesiastes 12:1 “So remember your Creator in the days of your youth: Before the days of adversity come, and the years approach when you will say, “I have no delight in them”
The word remember here means to focus on reflect on with love and devotion.
2 Timothy 2:12 Remember Jesus Christ
2 Peter Refresh your memory so you can remember them.
Why must we have memorials? As we establish these memorials in our lives our children and young believers around will ask, “What does these stones mean?”
I) Remember God’s powerful intervention
Why does the Bible record in 4:15, 16 “Now the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest season. But as soon as the priests carrying the ark reached the Jordan, their feet touched the water at its edge and the water flowing downstream stood still, rising up in a mass that extended as far as[f] Adam, a city next to Zarethan. The water flowing downstream into the Sea of the Arabah (the Dead Sea) was completely cut off, and the people crossed opposite Jericho.
If you look closely it appears that God brought Israel to the Jordan at this specific time. Why on earth would God do this? Because he wants us to understand that any victory, any barrier crossed any battle won comes by way of His power, His activity on our behalf.
Why is this important? If God can do this there isn’t anything we can’t do or face if we follow Him. When loved ones pass away, when we get a terrible disease, when God calls us to adopt, when he calls us to go to a foreign mission field, when He calls us to give generously until it hurts. When we lose our job, our retirement anything.
II) Remember God’s personal invitation
A) To experience His presence through obedience (Joshua 3:5 consecrate yourself)
Consecrate yourself. You have to understand this is not cleaning yourself up to be acceptable to God or qualifying for His presence. God has already qualified Israel. Now He is calling them to live in a way that welcomes His presence and accepts the blessing of the land he prepared for them.
James the brother of Jesus makes it clear in James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!”
A.B. Simpson – “When an observatory is about to be built, the site selected is always on some high mountain. The aim is to find a place where there is a clear, unobstructed view of the heavens. Similarly, faith requires for its heavenly vision the highlands of holiness and separation, the pure sky of a consecrated life.” A. B. Simpson in A Larger Christian Life. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 8.
Our hands are representative our actions or deeds. If we are to experience God’s presence then we depend on His power to stay clean during our day or His forgiveness to be cleansed at the end of the day! If we are remaining sensitive to these little rebellions in our hearts and hands we will see attitudes and actions differently that we normally attribute to just a human reaction. Pride, greed, gluttony, lust, etc. When God called Israel to get prepared for His action and intervention he told them to consecrate or purify themselves. It mean for them and us a willingness to be broken over our sinful condition and confess at the feet of Jesus who was pierced for our transgressions. We will find that this is revival. A readiness to confess sin before God and experience our soul full to overflowing with the presence of Jesus.