Calvary Road Baptist Church

“IN THE LAND OF FORGETFULNESS”

Psalm 88.12 

Turn in your Bible to Psalm 88.12: 

“Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” 

This line of poetry is likely referring to physical death, and going to where those who remain behind will soon forget about you. However, I would like to apply the concept of forgetfulness to this life.

Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “the greatest advances in human civilization have come when we recovered what we had lost; when we learned the lessons of history.” What Churchill the statesman recognized to be true of civilizations is a principle that also applies in the spiritual realm. It’s a great tragedy for people to forget the past. For, when people forget the past, particularly when we forget the wonders and deeds done by God in the past, no good can come of it.

Sadly, however, much of our nation has been taken over by the intellectual and spiritual heirs of Henry Ford. Not to deny that Henry Ford was a genius who revolutionized the automobile industry and was a great help to our nation’s war effort. But in most ways, he was a man whose example should not be followed by anyone. It was Henry Ford who said, “History is bunk.” That is the sentiment of far too many people who are smart, but who are also foolish and arrogant in their ignorance. What arrogance is required for a man to think there is nothing of the past that is beneficial in the present. And what foolishness a person exhibits who cares nothing for the past, learning nothing from the mistakes of others, and caring only for the present.

My friends, to borrow a phrase from the verse I’ve just read, I think we who live in the United States live in the land of forgetfulness. For, despite the recent elections which give some hope of slowing down our national slide into utter moral decay, we are still a nation that has forgotten. We have forgotten that our land was first populated by religious refugees who came here to worship and serve God according to the dictates of their consciences, arriving on a continent whose native population had already been mostly wiped out by plagues.[1] We have forgotten that the New England colonies began as primarily spiritual communities. We have forgotten that our forefathers recognized that our country was singularly blessed of God.[2] We have forgotten that this was once the most Christian of nations; sinful in many ways while progressing on many fronts.

And what better example of our national forgetfulness than the Christmas season? Madison Avenue has gotten such a hold on this time of year that jolly old Saint Nick and Target and Christmas lights have virtually obliterated from our national consciousness any memory of what Christmas is; an observance of the birth of the Son of God more than 2000 years ago.

On this day before Christmas, 2017, I want to challenge you, folks, individually to reexamine what Christmas time is and should be for you. And as you reexamine your upcoming Christmas time, I suggest that you consider these three things: That Christmas is a time to remember, a time to rejoice, and a time to receive. 

First, CHRISTMAS IS A TIME TO REMEMBER 

There are all kinds of things a person could and should remember. For indeed, some things should never be forgotten. Sadly, they are all too often forgotten. This Christmas let us remember five important events in history:

First, remember the Incarnation, Isaiah 9.6: 

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” 

More than 2000 years ago the Holy Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Trinity, overshadowed a young virgin named Mary. On that occasion, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the eternal Son of the living God, left heaven’s glory and entered her womb and took upon Himself human flesh, 

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,” 

John 1.14 declares. That moment in human history, when the Lord Jesus took upon Himself human flesh, is called the Incarnation. Nine months later the infant Christ child was born in Bethlehem, just as Micah said He would be.[3] Our Christmas celebration is supposed to be a remembrance of the birth of the Son of God to the virgin named Mary in the village of Bethlehem. However, remembering one thing leads to remembering other things.

Next, remember the Identification. The Lord Jesus did not come to earth to live a godly example, primarily. The Lord Jesus did not come to earth to teach and make disciples, primarily. The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, primarily, to shed His blood a sacrifice for our sins. He is, after all, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13.8. So, remember the Identification of Jesus Christ. Paul explains it this way in Second Corinthians 5.21: 

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” 

Isaiah 53.6. Before the Lord Jesus could die for our sins He had to first become sin for us. And this He did. He became our substitute as only He, the sinless Son of God, could be.

Third, remember the Crucifixion. Listen to Isaiah’s description of our Lord Jesus’ crucifixion, in Isaiah 53.10: 

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” 

When He was nailed to the cross, and when He shed His blood, and when He died, this was all done as an offering for sin. Not His Own sin, for He is without sin.[4] For your sins.[5] Because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.[6] So here, hanging between heaven and earth, suffering all the wrath and fury of Almighty God against sin on my behalf, shedding His blood a sacrifice for my sins, dying so that I might live, was the Lord Jesus Christ. And after He had given up the ghost and died, they buried Him. Remember that.

Fourth, remember the Resurrection. Up from the grave, He arose, in a mighty triumph o’er His foes. Just like He’d said He would time and again. Literally and bodily, Jesus Christ rose up from the dead on the third day. And why did He rise the third day? He had to. It was not possible for death to hold Him.[7] It was not possible for Him to see corruption and decay. He Who is the resurrection and the life could not possibly stay dead. And His saving work was not yet complete. One more thing to be done. Remember, when the blood is shed as a sacrifice for sin the blood must be properly applied by the High Priest to the Mercy Seat. So, Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, took His Own precious blood and applied it in the proper way to the proper place to wash away my sins.

Finally, remember the Exaltation. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ has been exalted to the right hand of God the Father. He sits there having finished His saving work.[8] He sits there making intercession for we who are saved.[9] He sits there waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool.[10] And because He is there in heaven, at His Father’s right hand, forever dwelling in glorified human flesh, He is not here. He is risen. Folks, during this Christmas time remember these things, the one which leads to the next and the next. Incarnation, when our Lord Jesus became a man. Identification, when our Lord Jesus became sin for us, He Who knew no sin. Crucifixion, when our Lord Jesus suffered and bled and died to save us from our sins. Resurrection, when our Lord Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over sin, death, Hell and the grave. And exaltation, our Lord Jesus now seated at the Father’s right hand, but ready to come again. Ah, what a glorious Christmas it would be if God’s people would just remember these things in connection to Christmas. For how can God’s righteousness be known in the land of forgetfulness? 

Second, CHRISTMAS IS ALSO A TIME TO REJOICE 

Friend, when you can remember such things as these you can rejoice. If you’re saved, that is.

If you’re saved, you can rejoice over your past. Second Peter 1.9 warns against forgetting that you have been purged from your old sins: 

“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” 

How tragic it is when a Christian slips into laziness and lethargy and runs the risk of forgetting what great things God has done in his life. But if you’ve trusted my Lord Jesus, you can look back into your past, and you can rejoice. You can rejoice that your sins have been washed clean in the blood of Christ.[11] You can rejoice that God remembers your sins and iniquities no more.[12] And you can rejoice, remembering when you turned from sin and trusted Christ as your Savior.

If you’re saved, you can also rejoice over your present. If you’re saved, your sins are forgiven.[13] If you’re saved your life has meaning. If you’re saved you are a child of God.[14] If you’re saved you have the Holy Spirit of God, Who leads you and guides you and lives right inside you.[15] If you’re saved God is your Father.[16] If you’re saved you have a new name written in glory.[17] How can you not rejoice over those things? How can you not be delighted to have eternal life through Jesus Christ your Lord? Only if you are not saved. Only if you’ve never been thoroughly convicted of your sins and trusted Christ to wash those sins away in His Own precious blood. Or if you have forgotten. Why is daily Bible reading important? Why is daily prayer important? Why is discipleship important? Why is faithfulness in Church important? Not only to teach you things you need to learn and implement in your Christian life, but also to help you remember, to prevent your forgetting things you would do well to remember.

Christmas. A time to rejoice over your past. If there’s been a time in your past that you’ve come to Jesus Christ by faith, that is. A time to rejoice over your present. If you’re saved and if you live for Him, that is. Christmas is also a time to rejoice over your future. Of course, your future can only be and must certainly be the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth if you’re lost. It’s the horror of an eternity in Hell and then the lake of fire if you’re not saved. It’s a forever of remembering rejected offers to be saved as you suffer the torment of the damned. But if you’re saved. But if you’ve trusted Jesus. Or if you trust Christ today. Then you can sing that old hymn, “Oh that will be glory for me, glory for me, glory for me.” Oh, how you can rejoice for the fact that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.[18] If you’re saved, heaven can only be, and heaven must certainly be an eternity of joy and peace and delight in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, your Savior, and your Lord. No wonder Christmas time is a time for you to rejoice. 

CHRISTMAS IS, Finally, A TIME TO RECEIVE 

Have you seen through it by now? Do you not recognize that because you do not remember these things that ought to be remembered and because you to not rejoice over things that truly saved people rejoice over, that you are not saved today? Oh, my soul. Don’t go home today lost. Don’t make a mockery of the birth of Christ by celebrating the birth of a Savior you’ve scorned. Consider the claims of Jesus Christ in the Bible and trust Him to be saved today. Here’s how:

First, realize God’s holiness. Do you have any idea what the holiness of God means? It means that He is pure and undefiled. It means that He is clean and spotless. But it also means that our God is a consuming fire.[19] It means He cannot look upon sin.[20] It means that He moves powerfully and purposefully against sin and moral filth. It also means that He has demands. Because He is holy God has said, 

“Be ye holy, for I am holy.”[21] 

And only that which is holy and only those who are holy can abide in His presence in heaven.[22]

Second, realize your sinfulness. 

“In sin did my mother conceive me,” 

David wrote in Psalm 51.5, describing us all. 

“All have sinned,” 

the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 3.23. The result is, you are a sinner. And because you are a sinner you’ll not go to heaven when you die, because God is holy. Do you doubt that you are a sinner? If you do, you’ve just committed a far worse sin than you’ve ever committed to this point, for you’ve called God a liar.[23] God says that all have sinned, so don’t you doubt your sinfulness. That’s calling God a liar. Don’t you dare deny your sinfulness, sinner. Have you ever lied? Have you ever taken something belonging to someone else? Have you always given to your parents the honor due them? Always? Have you never lusted? Have you never been drunk or influenced by drugs? No greed? No envy? Ever? Then you’re a sinner. You’re a sinner just as I’m a sinner. I remember one Thanksgiving night when I was in Toronto, Canada more than 20 years ago. I was a guest on a television show hosted by the Canadian version of Oprah. The topic of discussion was allowing prayer in Canadian schools, with me sitting next to the president of an Atheist organization. Long story short, he told me during a commercial break that he didn’t like me and that I wasn’t good. I said to him, “I don’t care what your opinion about me happens to be, and you are right. I am not good. There is none good, no not one.”

Third, realize the Savior’s sacrifice. Here’s your dilemma. Because God is holy, He will not accept sinners into heaven. And because you are a sinner you cannot get into heaven. So, what’s needed? What’s needed is a remedy for your sin problem. Hang on to that. The problem is ever and always sin! How is sin remedied? Remember. Remember that Jesus Christ became a man and became sin for you. Remember that He died on Calvary’s cross a sacrifice for your sin. Remember that He rose from the dead on the third day and sprinkled the blood that He shed to wash away your sins. Remember that He is exalted on high, sitting at the right hand of the Father and that all the work needing to be done to cleanse away your sins has already been done.

Finally, you are responsible for responding to the Savior’s directive: 

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”[24] 

That’s the Savior’s directive. Are you loaded down by a heavy burden of sin? Then come to Christ, and He will take the burden off and cast the burden away. Don’t think our Lord did all that He did and went through all that He went through for nothing. He did all that He did and went through all that He went through so that you might be saved. So, won’t you come? Won’t you respond to His directive? Won’t you receive Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior?[25] 

Come to Christ.

Trust the Lord Jesus to save you right now. Then you can remember what is good to remember; you can rejoice with joy over sins forgiven and new life in Christ because you will have received the only Savior to be your Savior.

Stop the hypocrisy of celebrating the birth of a Savior you reject.

Come to Christ now.

__________

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNHKDJzgqJg

[2] Michael Medved, The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic, (New York: Crown Forum, 2016)

[3] Micah 5.2

[4] Hebrews 4.15; 9.28

[5] 1 Peter 3.18

[6] Hebrews 9.22

[7] Acts 2.24

[8] Psalm 16.11; 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; John 3.13; 13.1; 14.2-4; Acts 1.9-11; 2.33, 34-35; 7.56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; 6.9; Colossians 3.1; Second Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 9.24; 10.12-13; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 19.11

[9] Hebrews 7.25

[10] Psalm 110.1

[11] 1 John 1.7

[12] Romans 11.27; Hebrews 8.12; 10.17

[13] Acts 13.38; 26.18; Ephesians 1.7; Colossians 1.14

[14] John 1.12-13

[15] Romans 8.9-14

[16] Romans 8.15

[17] Isaiah 62.2; Revelation 2.17; 3.12

[18] Romans 8.18

[19] Deuteronomy 4.24; 9.3; Hebrews 12.29

[20] Habakkuk 1.13

[21] Leviticus 20.7; 1 Peter 1.15-16

[22] Hebrew 12.14

[23] Romans 2.2; Titus 1.2

[24] Matthew 11.28

[25] John 1.12-13

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org