Sermon, April 3, 2022, by E Michael Mills

“Lest We Forget”   By E Michael Mills     

I am sure our first text this morning is familiar to most of you. And while there is a multitude of sermons that can be gleaned from this passage, today I want to concentrate on the last line spoken by Yeshua (Jesus). This morning, I will use the name that Jesus was addressed by, when he was on the Earth. Yeshua HaMashiach = Jesus the Messiah.

 

And while I am on the subject, I hope you will forgive me, if I refer to God, our Sovereign, as Father. And I will explain that later on.

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It is important, that we remember.

 

Preachers are always on the lookout for ideas they can use in their own messages. There’s the story of a Congregational preacher, who while on vacation, visited a little Methodist church in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania.

 

It was a hot summer day and folks were uncomfortable and perspiring in the non-air-conditioned sanctuary. The preacher noticed that his audience wasn’t paying too much attention to his message. So, to get their attention, he worked into his message these words:

“The best years of my life have been spent in the arms of another man’s wife.”

The congregation let out a gasp and came to immediate attention. The ushers in the back stopped talking among themselves and began to pay attention. Then the preacher added,

“It was my mother.”

The congregation tittered a little and indeed paid a bit more attention until the sermon was over.

The Congregational preacher who heard this filed it away in his memory for use later, in his own church. The next summer, when he noticed his own congregation seem to be inattentive to his preaching, he decided to use what he had learned from that Methodist preacher. So, he said in a booming voice:

 

“The best years of my life have been spent in the arms of another man’s wife.”

Sure enough, he had their attention!

One of the ushers in the back row sat up so fast he hit his head on the back of the pew in front of him! The preacher had them.

But the problem was, his memory failed him, and he couldn’t remember what came next. All he could think to say ways,

“…and, for the life of me, I can’t remember her name!”

We all seem to have memory issues as we get older. Some like myself have it worse than others. I keep forgetting people’s names. I try to write down someone’s name when I meet them, but usually, I forget to do that. But it’s really embarrassing when I actually know the person and I still forget their name. I telephoned Pastor Doug one time, and Jane answered the phone. I know her but I could not come up with her name. I stammered, going through women’s names in my head. I don’t ever remember coming up with her name. But the angel that Jane is, she asked if I was calling for Doug.

The teachings of Yeshua can be like that when we don’t consistently work on our relationship with him. “Forget the teachings of Jesus?” you ask – Never!

How many of you have lost your patience with someone, maybe some driver who cut you off at Gray Corner?

Are you worried about your finances.

Is your trust in the economy? In your paycheck?

Are you worried about the status of our country.

Is your trust in the government? In the voters?

Maybe you’re worried about the empty shelves at the store.

What is your trust in, there?

How about some of the fears we all might have?

  • Pandemic
  • War in Ukraine
  • Economic inequity
  • Social inequity
  • The future of our church
  • Your place in eternity

These are all valid concerns. Let me read to you what Yeshua said:

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  (Matthew 6:31-34

Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

Just Jesus. — Just Jesus?

Come on Michael, Let’s be realistic.

  • Trust
  • Faith
  • Believe
  • Experience

The writer to the Hebrews, gave this definition about faith:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:1)

In what, do you put your trust?

Sometimes, especially when we do not spiritually keep in the presence of God, we do forget Jesus’ lessons and we find ourselves putting our trust entirely in earthly resources.

 

What do you fear? Like the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, they were terrified of dying. The boat was filling with water, waves twice the height of a man were surrounding them. Their fear was real. The proposition of dying was real. But Jesus, this man they called Yeshua, was sleeping in the stern or maybe the hold, and the Apostles awaken him.

25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:25-26)

The year was 1959, a man picks up his daughter from school, leaves a note for his wife and disappears.

His wife had just given birth to their third son. Their first had perished after several weeks of life. The wife was left with a newborn, and a two-year-old toddler. The man never contacted his family after that. Two boys were left to believe they were the reason that their father left them.

Through no will of my own, I have found myself in storms that would seem to devastate, destroy me. I was that toddler. I never knew my father. For years, almost my whole life, I held a special place in my heart for him.

A deep dark spot, filled with anger, hatred, resentment.

Through no fault of my own, I was raised by a strong woman, whose resentment toward her husband was only very-thinly veiled.

Through no will of my own, my own body started to fail me with early onset degenerative bone disease. Incessant pain causing a significant depression. A depression that hit hard.

 

To address this pain, I had a well-meaning doctor who prescribed progressively increasing doses of pain killing opioids, morphine, oxy, fentanyl, methadone. My tolerance to opioids was built up so high that when I had spinal surgery a few years ago, they had to use ketamine – an anesthesia commonly used in the veterinarian field, for large animals, such as horses. That is how it got is moniker “horse tranquilizer”.

Through no will of my own, I have found myself in storms that seem to devastate and destroy me.

Then I heard Yeshua telling me “oh ye of little faith”.

So, who was this man, Yeshua?

Prophet?

Mystic?

Gnostic?

Fanatic Zealot?

Messiah?

Maybe all the above, or at least some, or maybe if we really want to be accurate:

Jesus, Yeshua HaMashiach is the Anointed Son of the Father

There was a line in a music video I played a couple of weeks ago, for the Saturday service. The song was “When God Ran” telling the story of the Prodigal Son and when his father saw him coming home.

“He said son, do you know I still love you?

He said son … my God called me son!”

What storms do you fear?

Yeshua’s way is for us to be the Kingdom of God. He says it is within us. And when we are surrounded by the enemy: His way is to turn the other cheek, to forgive 70 times 7, to let go of the belief that the storm threatens us.

We are to offer love, not offense, at every turn.

Yeshua came to set the captives free.

  • Captives of fear
  • Captives of anxiety
  • Captives of worry
  • Captives of oppression
  • Captives of anger
  • Captives of hate
  • Captives of unforgiveness
  • Captives of Depression
  • Captives of Addiction

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, to overcome an illness of the mind, just like we go to a doctor for our bodies, we need to go to a doctor for our mind, especially in the case of a chemical imbalance, or the like.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 

10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  (2 Corinthians 4:7-11).

Woah, as we used to say, that’s a heavy trip.

We are hard-pressed on every side, … we are perplexed, … persecuted, … struck down, …

Those are the times we sit on the edge of our bed, and cry out, “Why me, Lord?”

And God has already provided the answer:

So that the life of Jesus, also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

We must remember this.

This is why our partaking of the Lord’s Supper is so important.

Lest we forget. Lest we forget. God’s blessings, sacrifice, his love, his protection, and provision, his grace and his mercy. And we can confidently say, “I am a child of God. And I am part of his kingdom.

We are God’s Children. My brother is Yeshua, Jesus.

I am a child of the Living God, and yes, he is indeed, my Father.

Thanks be to God.