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Summary: In our service to the Lord, some things must always be borne in mind. Remember Jesus Christ is perhaps the most important truth to hold in mind for each Christian.

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“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” [1]

We have just come through the Christmas Season. We are poised on the cusp of a new year. We have celebrated the knowledge that God has shared our condition—God became man. A Christmas text that is too often ignored speaks to this very issue. The Apostle has written, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” [PHILIPPIANS 2:5-7]. It is always a good thing to reflect on the meaning of significant events. Thus, as we are about to enter into a new year, I propose that we reflect on who we are and where we are as Christians and as a community of faith.

We were studying through the Pastoral Letters when we entered into the Advent Season. It is appropriate, therefore, to pick up where we left off in order to consider where we have been during the previous few weeks and to anticipate where we should be going in the coming year. As I prepared this message I became conscious that the Spirit is evidently guiding our studies. My reason for saying this is that the text challenges sober reflection on the message we have heard, thinking carefully about the Person we have received as Master of life. Open your Bibles, then, to the Second Chapter of Paul’s final missive to the young preacher of Ephesus. Focus in particular on verses eight and nine where we are commanded to remember Jesus Christ.

The text before us suggests its own outline. There is nothing profound about the thoughts I intend to present in the message today. The message is, however, glorious and it is marked by hope and joy that lends courage born of assurance to our service throughout the coming year.

REMEMBER THAT JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE! “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead!” Some truths are essential to be always held in mind, especially if one is a follower of the Christ. Among the truths that Christians, and especially pastors, must hold in mind is that Jesus Christ is alive. The Greek behind what we read in our English Bible reveals something we might otherwise miss. When the Apostle says, “Remember,” he uses the present active imperative of the Greek word mnēmoneuō. The practical significance of this information is that Paul is calling for a continuous action. Timothy is always to hold fast the knowledge that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. The teaching applies to all who occupy the sacred desk.

It would be easy to conclude that many of preachers in this day have forgotten this truth. Listening to the messages delivered from many pulpits would lead the people in the pews to believe that the speakers really don’t remember that Jesus Christ is alive, if they ever knew this. These speakers talk about man’s heroic struggles to find his place in the world, or they speak of coping mechanisms to deal with the pressures of modern life, of the need for greater equality in the world, the unfairness arising from privilege, the need for economic parity or a thousand other matters beside the truth that Jesus Christ is alive.

It is tragic enough when professed leaders of the churches fail to remember that Jesus is alive, but how much more tragic when we allow ourselves to be so beaten down that we forget that Jesus is alive. Child of God, the Lord God is on His throne. Christ Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father; and He still rises to receive His child when that child comes home. This same Jesus hears and answers prayer.

The men who murdered Stephen witnessed him as he surrendered his life and they heard his final words. Perhaps they could ignore the testimony he provided that drove them into unthinking rage, but they could never forget his final assertion. Listen to the account of one who was present that day and never forgot what he witnessed. “[Stephen], full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God’” [ACTS 7:55, 56].

I don’t know what trials you are facing today; I am quite certain that each one listening today is either now facing trials or shall face trials in this coming year. I am confident that we who believe the Son of God will experience trials; we will face challenges for which we lack strength. We are cautioned not to be moved by the afflictions we face, knowing that we are destined for this [see 1 THESSALONIANS 3:3. 4]. Never forget that God is on the throne and that He is mighty on behalf of His beloved child. And you are that beloved child if your face and hope are in Him. Elisha walked with Elijah even to the final day of the old prophets walk on earth. Though Elijah repeatedly tested the younger prophet, Elisha would not leave the weary prophet’s side. He wanted the faith and the courage that Elijah possessed.

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