Remembering and Forgetting

Remembering and Forgetting

from a sermon by Loyce Carver on July 7, 1995

I would like to speak today on the subject of remembering and forgetting. In our day, you can take courses on how to memorize and remember things. I have taken them myself, though I have forgotten what they were now. I have never heard of courses in forgetting, but forgetting is important. Many people who are professing Christians and trying hard to serve the Lord would do so much better if they could only forget little offenses, little mistakes made by other people, or even intentional rebukes. Events of this type are not that important when you determine to have a forgetful attitude. When you remember every little offense, you are bound by a habit that is hard to shake, but it can be done.

One time a lady asked me, “How can I keep from doubting?”  I said, “I do not know how to answer a question like that. God can help you.” She said, “Yes, I know that and I pray about it. But I need some help.” I said, “All right then, let us start with a very basic instruction. Anytime you begin to doubt that you are right with God and you feel you are going to start falling into that trap again, come to me and get permission first. If I give you permission to doubt, then it becomes my problem.” She said, “Well, that is silly!” I said, “I know that. So if you do not think I can help you, why not say to God, ‘God, will You give me permission to doubt?’” She said, “God would not do it.” I said, “That is right! And if God would not give you permission, you must not do it.”

We need to forget some of the things that cause us problems because God promises that He forgives and forgets. There are times when we need to forget as well as times when we need to remember. God can help us to do both.

Do you want to know where the good drinking water in Portland comes from? It comes down from the heavens. It is collected up by Mt. Hood in the Bull Run reservoir, and piped down to our city. We are thankful for it. But we thank God for the spiritual blessings that far outlast a glass of water. They will last from now until eternity if we do not forget to remember them! This is something big and wonderful. Many of us talk about the past frequently. That is forgivable when you are old; I well know that. However, throughout all of our lives we must remember what we should remember and forget what we should forget.

Deuteronomy 6, verse 12 says, “Beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” The Israelites were on their way from Egypt to Canaan land. When they faced problems, they remembered the leeks and onions they had back in Egypt, but they forgot the hard taskmasters. They forgot that God had provided water from a rock in the desert when they were thirsty, and oh, what water that was! They forgot that when they were hungry, God had provided manna for them. What an experience that must have been—gathering it fresh every morning except for the day just before the Sabbath, when they were to gather a double portion. God provided that! They were warned not to forget, but they ignored that warning and began to forget the great blessings and benefits, concentrating instead on the few hardships they had experienced.

That is the tendency for us today, too. Sometimes we have a hard time passing over the little problems we face and remembering that God has done great things for us. Oh, what memories we have! Call to remembrance those times when God blessed you. If you feel the rain is not falling from Heaven now, just remember you have had showers of blessings before, and sometimes outpourings. We must remember that God is present in His people’s hearts and lives. We must remember that and not doubt what we know God will bring to pass. Every promise of God will be fulfilled. We have been challenged to remember that if we empty our vessels, they will be filled. He will fill one vessel, and if we bring Him another, He will fill it, too. All the blessings of God are available in God’s reservoir.

Let us review some of the topics presented in the Bible concerning remembering and forgetting. Ephesians 5:22 says for wives to obey their husbands. Men tend to remember that verse. I have had that verse brought up to me when I was trying to make peace in a family. The man will say, “The Bible says ‘Wives obey your husbands.’ Am I not the head of the house?” I have told a couple of men with an attitude like that, “Well, have it your way if you want to, but you may not have a wife for long.” That is not the way to do it. We are to remember what God wants us to do and do it.

There are instructions in God’s Word for everyone—husbands as well as wives. God says in the same chapter that husbands are to honor their wives as their own bodies. If we do our part, I believe we will have an easier time settling differences. If you have noticed, there are more women whose husbands are not saved than there are husbands whose wives are not saved. If we treat our wives right, we have a good possibility of them following us. I know there are exceptions, and there are some differences that cannot be repaired or ignored. Nevertheless, we cannot worry about what someone else is told to do; let us remember primarily what God says for us to do.

The topic of faith is also taught in Scripture—about earnestly contending for it, wanting it, seeking it, holding on until we have it, and then using it when we get it. Do not forget that! Do not say, “I have no faith.” The Bible says we are to earnestly contend for faith. Given that instruction, why do you not have it? If God promised it and you contend for it and do your part, it will come. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. The Word speaks to our hearts because the Spirit and the Word agree. The light of Heaven comes to us through those sources. So let us remember to look for faith and praise God for it because it will come.

We have heard teachings about the covenant of marriage, and how that example applies to the church. We have heard about people getting along with each other, appreciating each other, edifying each other, and worshiping together, though you may have forgotten it by now. I know forgetting happens. Sometimes you ask people what a particular sermon was about, and if a little time has gone by, they might have a hard time remembering. I do not mean chapter and verse, I mean simply the preacher’s topic. One old farmer who was asked that responded, “Well, he preached about sin.” Then the farmer was asked, “What did he say?” The farmer said, “I do not remember but he’s against it.” At least he got the point. Be sure you remember the point, whether you remember the words or not.

God is speaking to us. He does not only speak English, French, Norwegian, or the African dialects but He speaks to us in the language from Heaven. It is God’s Voice, and God’s Spirit dealing with us. It is not an audible voice, but something that comes from the Glory Land. One technique that helps you remember what He has to say is repeating the message. You can also remember by association. These are simple techniques, but if you do not try to remember, you will forget. Forgetting is natural. Distractions, other interests, and busyness cause that. So if you want to remember important things—and those of first importance are our spiritual lives before God and what God wants us to do—then it will pay to use whatever strategies are at our disposal in order to remember.

Another teaching we have heard concerns the true purpose of the Holy Spirit. Oh, what a revelation, what a depth of understanding we gathered and heard about the true purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives! But we must remember it! We may have had problems since yesterday that we could have let the Lord take care of if we would have just remembered to give them to Him. In fact, you can begin to pray about something and the problem gets smaller and smaller. Your trust in God deepens and you are assured that God will handle it. He does that when you leave the problem in God’s hands. Soon there is nothing to worry about. It is all God’s way of helping us to remember what we should remember and forget what we should forget.

We read in James 1:23, “If any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer. . .” You have to hear and learn to be able to do. Anything you learn is based upon something you already knew. When I came to this Gospel, it looked so good to me. I had seen it before—not what I saw here, but I had seen the Gospel as one sees a little rose bud. You can tell that a red rose is about to blossom out of that bud. It was there, but when I came here, I saw the full bloom of what the preachers back home in Tennessee preached—they wanted people to pray and to see converts every revival time, but they had very little success. However, when I came here one of the preachers told me, “Be sure to sit toward the front. If you do not, you will not find room to get to the altar.” I had not seen such a thing up to that time, but it happened. It still happens. And it will happen as long as people have an urge in their hearts to say, “I want to talk to God so He can say something more to me.”

Let us continue reading in James 1:23-25. “If any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” If you go to a mirror and look at your reflection and then walk away and forget what you saw, what good did it do you to look? In the same way, if you came to church and God sent His Spirit to take your measure, and you forget how the measure came out, what good would it do you? When God says do it, we must not only hear but we must also respond. When God says move, we must move at any cost!

This message is just as simple as the messages you have heard earlier at this camp meeting. However, the simplicity of the Gospel makes it comprehendible for the slow of understanding and yet broad enough and beautiful enough to satisfy the most intellectual, educated, sophisticated person in the world so long as he will respond. That is why children like to hear Bible stories. That is why old people like to have someone read the Bible to them when their eyesight grows dim.

The Word of God is quick, powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword. It cuts both ways, piercing and dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and joint and marrow. Yes, God’s Word cuts, but the balm also comes with the Word of God and brings healing and blessing.

Proverbs 29 says, “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his heart, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” We have been reproved and will be again from this pulpit. When the minister preaches the truth we do not always say “Glory, glory.” Sometimes we say, “Ouch!” We know we need to listen and respond by acting upon what we heard. Oh, what a glorious thing God has given us! God help us to have the eager spirit! God wants us to remember the things of God and forget the other things.

When we hear sermons over and over and over again, and still do not act upon them, oh, what a waste of our time! Open up your heart and say, “I am not going to need to be reproved often. I am not going to harden my heart and stiffen my neck because the Scripture says that the one who does so “shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Hearing the Gospel repeatedly but forgetting the warnings it gives will bring unavoidable destruction. We have been taught and retaught, learned and relearned many lessons, but we still should be open to listen when God speaks.

Yes, we have a responsibility. The Bible teaches that we are going to be judged according to our privilege—by what we have heard. That does not refer to someone else. That refers to us! We have a great privilege to know that God does answer prayer, and that God requires obedience of us. Yes, there are some requirements to being a Christian. It is not a free ride. It costs something. If it did not, what would it be worth?

You might notice that folks who buy something at a bargain price brag about it when it is new, but after all the glory is gone out of their good purchase, it is just common, ordinary stuff. So it is with us. If we just let the Gospel become common, then it is common. But if we remember how glorious the privileges are that we have had, then we will appreciate them more and more.

We are taught in the Bible of judgment according to privilege. Luke 12, verses 45-49 tells us what happened to the servant who knew his master was coming—he had been taught that and understood it—but was not looking for his master on the day the returned. “But and if that servant say in his heart, my lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him.” The passage teaches us that Jesus will come in a day when some are not looking for him, and at an hour when they are not concerned about His return. Those who neglected to prepare will be appointed a portion with the unbelievers, and we know that the unbelievers and the nations that forget God are going to be turned into Hell.

You can know about salvation, feel it, experience it, yet drift into a state of unbelief and lose your faith and be damned. This passage says, “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” The servant knew what he ought to do. You have heard you should be saved, sanctified, and baptized with the Holy Ghost over and over again through the years. The judgment will be heavy upon those who knew what to do but did not prepare themselves. The passage continues, “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” We have a responsibility to respond to and remember what we have heard.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 says, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” We do not want just a “get-by” religion. We do not want to barely make it. No, we want to have sheaves to lay at His feet! We want to have a reward for faithful adherence to God’s Word! We are not bragging about what we have done for God. Any of us would say we are not very profitable servants. Nevertheless, God is the God of all humanity, the Judge of all, and we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be judged. May God help us to do it right. If we know what to do, it is our duty to do it.

Jeremiah 12:5 presents an important principle: “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee; then how canst thou content with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” If you are getting weary, ask God to help you seek the spiritual blessings that come from Heaven. God’s light shines towards us that we might have new light to walk in that we might see what the will of God is and do it. If we cannot receive light from God here, where will we receive it?

That very premise was what came to my heart in an altar service in July of 1938. I just could not grasp the faith to get what I looked for: the real born-again experience. So I came to the altar and prayed as well as I could and still did not quite grasp it. I thought, “If I cannot get saved with hundreds of people praying all at the same time, what chance will I have when I am back where the poor preacher begs for one person to come to pray? Oh, God help me!” It felt like all hope had flown. So in desperation I turned loose and let God have it. Some way, somehow, the faith came into my heart and I knew I was saved.

I went back home the next day and I was so richly admonished by a brother in the Gospel, “If you will keep what God did for you, it will be worth it.” I said, “I am going to do it.” I could not have kept it without help, but God helped me and God will help you. If you think you cannot do it, God can and God will. But let us remember what we have heard. Let us come closer and closer and say, “I want it. I want the whole thing. I want to be saved and sanctified and baptized with the Holy Ghost.” If you want these experiences, you can receive them. We pray God will send showers from Heaven your way.