Monday, April 21, 2014

Remember Jesus Christ!

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,

When you are in deep trouble, you can almost remember telling your dear friend, ‘please remember me’ can’t you? But Paul, in a dark dungeon, just about to be executed says, “Remember Jesus Christ” He did not say, remember Paul!
The imperative to remember Christ seems ridiculous when it is directed to a believer and a minister like Timothy. How could Timothy ever forget Him? However we are to bear in mind that unbelievers and believers alike have this tendency to forget the Creator – see Ecc. 12:1. Moreover, the epitaph of the nation of Israel was written repeatedly that, “They soon forgot God” see Deut. 32:18; Judges 3:7; 1Sam. 12:9; Psalm 106:4. The West is very quickly forgetting the Lord Jesus Christ, hence this reminder message. The human mind is so forgetful and so it was to overcome this weakness that Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper.
Today we have a very simple duty brought to us – ‘to remember Jesus Christ’. Now folks, let us interrogate this statement: Why are we to remember Jesus Christ?
1)    Because He is risen from the dead
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the death…” The message of the gospel is that God loved the world and gave His Son. Yes God the Son, who is equal with God the Father (and the Spirit), in power and glory, became man. This is the thrust of this verse because everywhere else in this letter Paul calls Him Christ Jesus, except here. (See, 1:1a&b, 2, 9, 10, 13; 2:1, 3,10; 3:12, 15; 4:1, otherwise he just called him Lord!) This is to emphasize His humanity. God became man.
He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Heb. 2:17). For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2Co 5:21). The most remarkable thing that has ever happened in the history of mankind is that God, the Creator took the human body, and limited Himself for a while in time and space. The incarnation of Christ is the most dumbfounding thing – this blows away my mind.
But even more interesting thing is the cross of Christ. This is at the center of Christendom. Christ came to be the Substitute for the sinful man. He came to bear our griefs and our sorrows,  to be smitten and afflicted by God on our behalf; to be wounded for our transgressions, to be crushed for our iniquities, so that upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with His stripes we are healed. Brethren, the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all, because it was the will of Jehovah to crush Him so that through Him girls and boys, men and women in Campus Church, in London, in Britain, and Sound Arabia, and North Korea, and Kenya and Brazil and the whole world, throughout the age may be accounted His righteousness – because He bore the sins of many. Is it not a wonder that God became a man? Is it not remarkable that God condescended, humbled Himself to become a man in order to save man who is a sinner? God humbled Himself to the level of His creation – even unto a shameful death on the accursed tree?
But the news we celebrate today is that He is risen and reigning. The pangs of death could not contain Him. And so on the first day of the Week – the day of the Lord, or the Lord’s Day, the Lord rose. In so doing He destroyed death. He took its sting and its power. He became the firstfruit from among the dead. This is the news that no other religion have – only Christians can speak of life after death because they have trusted in the One who is resurrected and promises the life and resurrection to those who put their trust in Him. Would you trust Him today? Have you trusted in Him – then He has killed death for you so that it is not death to die. To die is to sleep for Christian, it is a time when they close the teary eyes to be woken in glory, where there shall be no tear, no sin, no pain. Surely the chosen of the Lord cannot die, like Him they conquer death in strife to reign with Him on high. Are you there with Him?
2)    Because He is the Promised Messiah
“Remember Jesus Christ… of the seed of David…” You remember Christ because He is the realization and fulfilment of the promise of God. Paul is telling Timothy to persevere in faith because God is faithful. He Israelites the Messiah and delivered. Jesus is the promised Messiah! He is the Hope of Israel in the OT and now realized in time… He ought to remember Him.
For this the reason His descent is given – He is the seed of David. God promised David, When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.(2Sa 7:12) Jesus Christ, the offspring of David who God sent in the fullness of time, was born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons. All those who care to listen must know that this is the good news upon which the whole world depends.
This is what has been preached throughout history and those who have believed this have eternal life. This same gospel has not lost its power, even here in Britain. It might appear as if we do not preach the same gospel as the one preached by George Whitefield, but I can assure you that it is the same power of God for salvation for all who believe, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile, for from it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, for it is written that the righteous will live by faith.
In times of storm we know it’s power, the power of the gospel is so conspicuous in the face of persecution – this is the hope that made Paul not to live in self-pity even in the face of death. It is the faithfulness of God that makes us to know that God will do what He promised because His promises are yes and amen.
3)    Because this is the good news that you ought to own and spread
This imperative is, “Remember Jesus Christ…according to my gospel.” What is the point Paul is making here? Is he claiming to have invented the gospel? Paul is saying that it is His gospel in a manner that it ought to be yours. But He is also saying that as an apostle, he had received it by immediate revelation, he continues to preach it by mouth and pen, as an herald, apostle and teacher and that he clings to it with his whole heart, even now in the face of death and he recommends Timothy and everyone else who would like eternal good to do the same.
This is the gospel that Jesus entrusted to His apostles. So Paul proclaims it as ‘my gospel’. This means, not a gospel that he invented owns, but the gospel entrusted to Him by the Saviour to dispense authoritatively. Paul would have us know, that the gospel that he preached is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal 1:11-12)

How can we forget Jesus Christ?

May I point out to you how you forget Christ:
1)    When you are scared of men rather than God
2)    When you are afraid of circumstances like sickness and death
3)    When you are anxious instead of prayer
4)    When you get careless in spiritual things and live as Christ did not die for sins,
5)    when you treat sin casually and live as if sin is not what led Christ to die,
6)    When your mind is not fully occupied with Christ and so you do not love you with your whole heart, soul and mind
7)    When you do not pray and you do not listen to the Lord in His Word,
8)    When you allow doubts to overwhelm you and so live in spiritual despair,
9)    When you are not interested in the church or calling others to Christ, yes, when you are ashamed of the gospel and of Christ with your children, and your relatives, and your neighbours, and your colleagues in school and at work,
10)                       When you do not live in light of eternity and waste away God-given resources and waste time away as if there are no sinners to be won, then you forget Christ!

How are we to remember Jesus Christ?

First of all, it is in the manner He has revealed Himself to us by His written Word. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is committed to paper and ink so that we may never forget the Lord and Saviour of our souls. Therefore, we are to learn what He has said in the Word, so listen, read, study, memorize, meditate and apply and teach it.
Paul in the previous verse tells Timothy, to think over what he told him, for the Lord would give him understanding in everything. Then he told him to study to show himself approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed but handles correctly the Word of truth (2:15). Later he reminds him that it is the Scriptures which are able to make him wise for salvation.
Throughout this letter there is a pattern to spur in Timothy a sincere faith (1:5) and to fan into flame the gift of God (1:6). He encourages Him to never be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord (1:8). He prays for him that he would be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus so as to pass the baton of proclaiming the gospel to others (2:1, 2). He encourages Him to share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2:3) and now the exhortation is to remember Christ. He then encourages to him to endure all things for the sake of the elect so that they also may obtain salvation (2:10). No suffering can make us to forget Christ when we have our eyes on Christ through the lens of the Scriptures.
According to Thy precious word in deep humility, this I will do my dying Lord I will remember Thee! May we then learn and study the Word of God when we wake up and when we sleep we meditate on it. May our delight be in the law of the Lord and then we will be the blessed of God. Read your Bible and make sure that you read it daily study each precept and each line from Genesis to Revelation so that you may never forget Christ. Encouraging them to flee sin and passions of the flesh so as to pursue righteousness (2:22). It is only by the word that we are made competent and equipped for every good work (2:17). When we to learn the Word of God so that we may be able to teach and remind others and also be able to preach it in and out of season (4:2). If we want others to never forget Christ then we are to make all the effort to reprove, rebuke and exhort with complete patience and teaching (4:3).
The second way in which we are to remember Jesus Christ is by the communion of the saints. Thy body, broken for my sake, my bread from heaven shall be, Thy testamental cup I take and thus remember Thee. The meeting of believers such worship service and the Lord’s Supper are great reminders of the Saviour of sinners. Therefore, we would be wise in always being there with other redeemed of the Lord, in close fellowship, in love and unity. We are therefore admonished to not neglect the meeting together of brethren in Hebrews 10:25. Any opportunity with Christian is a reminder of the Saviour who saved them, because we remind of each other of our great redemption.
Here is a call not only to have a relationship with Christ, but also to enjoy this relationship always with Christ. When things are hard in life, recall the Lord Jesus Christ. He is near us. If you are rejected by men, it could be your own children or relatives, remember Jesus Christ and His community. When you are discouraged for one reason or the other – remember Jesus Christ. When you are tempted, remember Jesus Christ who was tempted in every way, yet without sin. When the devil assails your with doubts and despair – lift up your eyes to the one and only One –Jesus Christ and tell Him. He is listening to you – call out to Him, remember Him!
Now as you go through trials and temptations in this dark world of sin; as you make all the effort to strangle sin in your life… as you work out your salvation with fear and trembling; as you are gladly spend and spent for the salvation of souls, as you eat and drink, as you mourn or celebrate, as you ascend or descend … REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST… AND NO ONE ELSE … AND NO MORE … HE IS ALL SUFFICIENT!


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