January 12, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction and Background (1Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 3:13,14)
A. Childish things need to be forgotten and moved on from!
1. 1Cor 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
2. Example of pockets full of worms, rocks, and bits of tin foil – priceless “treasures”
3. Empty your pockets, and seek some real treasures – like money, photographs, rare coins
B. There are prizes, rewards for a life lived in the will of God (Philippians 3:13,14)
1. Not achieved the will of God yet
2. But this is what I do
3. I forget the things behind me
4. And I reach ahead towards things that are ahead of me
5. All the while, pressing, pushing myself forward towards the will of God, that has a great prize for all Christians who want it!
C. It starts with being a good ‘forgetter’
A. I taught you last week that it is actually possible for a person to forget things on purpose:
1. Everything you have LOST trying to follow Christ (career, jobs, friends, health)
2. All the LUMPS you have endured/hurts from other people against you for the Gospel’s sake
3. All the LONELINESS
4. All the constant LIMITATIONS that you have had to struggle with
5. All the FAILURES
6. All the DOUBTS, and second guessing
7. And finally, it is possible to forget YOURSELF, and just look to the Lord Jesus!
B. But ONLY if you are a Bible believing Christian. Otherwise, it is impossible
C. Unfortunately, the majority of Christians don’t care to forget
1. They are worse than lawyers – criticizing each other, tearing down each other, reminding people of the past hurts, keeping old memories fresh!
D. And they hurt for it – never becoming more like Christ – only more like the devil!
1. But are TRAPPED in the past!
2. This morning, I want to give you some tools from the Bible that can help you FORGET everything that has you in bondage to the past
3. Like all the cruel words, constant criticisms that roll around inside some of your heads
4. Like all the past failures and sins that Satan keeps trying to remind you of
A. Take the Command of God (to forget) SERIOUSLY
1. It is not just something for a few believers to do
2. But for EVERY BELIEVER who wants to be able to press towards the will of God for their lives, and the prize that awaits those that actually do God’s will!
a. There is NOTHING greater to accomplish than God’s will
b. And it will be the hardest thing you ever attempt
c. And it begins with forgetting some things
3. Forgetting the bad stuff is no easy thing to do – the stuff we are supposed to forget
4. God told all Israel to FORGET Egypt and keep it behind them and in the past!!!
a. Numbers 11:4-6 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.
b. Numbers 14:1-4 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
c. The Jews found forgetting hard – and it STOPPED them from ever going forward
1) Think about it - They went in circles for the next 38 years!
2) THIRTY EIGHT WASTED YEARS
d. It was and still is God’s command to forget some things
e. Not everything, but everything that is holding you back from doing the will of God!
5. So we had better learn how and just do it!
B. What Does It Take for a Christian to Forget things that are behind us? Any one of the following Biblical things will help you forget so that you can reach forward!
1. Relax – don’t worry about all the details
a. You are not a solicitor. You are not in a courtroom!
b. Humility allows some things to be forgotten, even if it costs you being right
c. An example: God’s instructions on farming is to be relaxed about it
d. Deut 24:19 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
e. In other words, if you have forgotten some detail about an argument, or about the past, then GOOD! Ignore it – leave it. Don’t be so precise, and so right! Be humble, and God will bless your FORGETFULNESS!
2. Forgive anything that comes up in your memory of some hurt or sorrow caused by someone else – EVERYTHING! That’s a COMMANDMENT!
a. Too many people are way too proud of not wanting to forgive and forget
1) Bitter revenge can never be satisfied
2) Unforgiveness is you trying to hold the person who hurt you in bondage, and yet it is YOU that is in the bondage, and can never go forward until you forgive ALL the past!
3) Forgiveness is an act of freedom from the past hurt
4) Leaving the outcome to God
5) So that YOU can reach forth now!
b. People who don’t have the ability to forgive and forget, DIVORCE
1) There was a study of 50 married people with actual photographic memories, who have the ability to remember a zillion details about the past, and about fights and arguments. Only 2 of those people actually stayed married past 10 years.
2) There is no way to live with and love someone who sees EVERYTHING you have ever done, and failed at, and all the hurts!
3) Your memory is a curse to your marriage, and to every relationship
4) So learn how to FORGIVE, and then you will be able to learn how to forget
5) Heb 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
6) Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
c. You may have to do it every day for a while until you get used to forgetting things that are holding your back
d. Lamentations 3:22,23 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
3. Rightly Divide Your Past
a. Just as important as any other Bible Doctrine…
b. Just as important as soul-winning, and Bible reading, and loving the brethren
c. So also is Forgetting Things
d. So, divide everything going on inside your head into two piles – two buckets…
1) Stuff to remember and hold onto (good memories, healthy memories)
2) Stuff to forget or let go of – or to let it let go of you!
3) And then empty that second bucket – regularly – like clearing the rubbish can
e. Some memories are important to hold onto
f. But EVERY memory is NOT important to hold onto
g. The mature Christian learns how to choose which to remember, and which to forget
1) What should you do with the memory of some awful and stupid sin that you have confessed and confessed for years now… Put it in the forget bin
2) What should you do with the memory of your wedding day, of your first child’s birth, of the first soul you led to Christ? Put it in the Remember Bin
3) What about a memory of someone abandoning you, blaming you, rejecting you?
4. Repent of holding onto memories that have held you back from being more like Christ!
a. Sin in your own heart will stop you from being able to forget sins done against you
b. It is a strange spiritual law…
c. A stubborn, sinful heart and mind will be tormented with memories that must be confessed and repented of, or you will end up hardening yourself more and more!
d. Listen to Job 11:14-16 where Job’s friend Zophar gives good advice about owning up to sin so that you can forget things!
1) If iniquity be in thine hand [IF YOU HAVE SINNED WITH YOUR EYES OR YOUR MOUTH], put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear [THE JUDGMENT OF GOD]: Because [THEN] thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away: [LIKE THE WATER IN A STREAM]
5. Explore and Discover the Good Things God has Placed in Your Life
a. When you can’t just stop thinking about something you have rehearsed over and over and over for years in your head, you have to replace a memory with a better memory!
b. God has probably given you things that were intended to help you forget the hard times…
c. Like your family
1) Joseph had so much he could be complaining about, and could have been crippled by all the mistreatment he experienced by his evil brothers
2) But God gave him some things that helped him to forget all the hurts and the losses
3) Gen 41:51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.
d. Like a miracle, an answered prayer…
e. Like a good friend who calls and just listens to you talk
f. God gives you those things to help you Replace the heartaches and sorrows and hurts, and bad memories that cripple you!
g. So, Take inventory, and discover Better Thoughts – better truths, better promises, better things to think about and meditate on
1) Philip 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
2) You will never be able to forget something unless you have something else in view
3) It is like battling against sin – you need to walk in the SPIRIT, so that sin falls back, and shrinks in power in your life – AMEN!
4) That’s why a mother smiles just after all the pain of childbirth – she is holding a newborn baby, and THAT is a better thought
5) John 16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
6. Request God’s Help to Forget – it is a spiritual endeavour
a. Don’t forget to pray and ask God to help you forget the things that are hard to forget!
b. He Heals broken and messed up thinking as we read and ponder and believe and obey His word (Heb 9:13,14) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
c. God heals broken hearts and hurts. Claim Isaiah 61:1,3
1) Isa 61:1,3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;… To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
2) This Scripture was personally quoted by Jesus!
3) So, Ask Jesus to do it IN YOU!
7. Make It a Constant Effort – “FORGETTING…” Not once off. Until you get Alzheimer’s, you are going to have to work hard at forgetting some things – especially if you have the habit of keeping memories that are wrong to hold!
a. What are the memories that need to be forgotten?
1) Constant criticisms
2) All the hurts by others
3) All the failures – yes learn from them, but then move on!
b. The flesh, our old nature has the habit of living in the past when it should be dead to us
c. So we mortify our hard memories, crucify them, starve them, and ignore their cries for attention
d. And we may have to do that often
C. And THEN you and I will be better able to do the MAIN thing that keeps us faithful to living the Christian life, and faithful in the ministry
D. More next week!
A. What Does It Take for a Christian to Forget things that are behind us?
1. Take the Command of God (to forget) SERIOUSLY
2. Then Relax – don’t worry about all the details
3. Forgive anything that comes up in your memory of some hurt or sorrow caused by someone else
4. Rightly Divide your memories into two piles – two buckets
5. Repent of holding onto memories that have held you back from being more like Christ!
6. Explore and Discover the Good Things that God has placed into Your Life
7. Request God’s Help to Forget – it is a spiritual endeavour
8. Make it a Constant Effort
B. Any one of those things will help you forget so that you can reach forward!
C. Or else your life will end up like a cast away, wasted, never finding and doing the will of God – always going in circles, and never having anything to show for all the investment of Christ in your life! (1Cor 9:24-27)
1. 1Co 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
2. 1Co 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
3. 1Co 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
4. 1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.