In Remembrance of Me

By John Thiel, mp3, pdf

Scripture reading: Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

We want to ponder upon the meaning of those words of Jesus: In remembrance of Me. On the surface, every person who is engaging in Christianity understands these words simply as “remembering that Jesus was on earth, that He died for me, and rose again.” But is that all that Jesus meant? What does Jesus really mean when, having broken the bread, He says, I want you to do this “in remembrance of Me”? It can’t hardly mean the surface understanding that is often taken from it; because as we see in the following scripture, there are people who remember Him alright, but whom Jesus totally disowns:

Is That All Jesus Meant?

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Did these people remember Jesus? Obviously yes; they called Him Lord. But He never knew  them. So “In remembrance of Me” must mean something more than just simply remembering that Jesus was earth and we are His children and we are His church and we remember every time we have the Lord’s Supper that He is our Saviour.

The Holy Spirit is given to bring to our remembrance the words and works of Christ, spoken for the salvation of the soul; and if this Spirit were recognized and appreciated, spiritual life would increase one hundred-fold.  {ST, January 20, 1898 par. 11}

So “In remembrance of Me” has to do with the remembrance of the words and works of Christ, spoken for the salvation of the soul.

But many do not choose to remember. They seek rather to forget the good impression made on mind and heart. They do not desire to yield their way for God’s way. God bears long with them, and his Spirit is constantly employed to bring spiritual things to their remembrance, that subjects of vital importance may find a lodgment in their hearts. The Spirit takes of the things of God, and presents them to mind. Constantly the mind is given glimpses of God. If men listen for the voice of God, these spiritual impressions become more and more frequent… {Ibid.}

The Lord keeps on bringing the spiritual impressions frequently to us if we listen for the voice of God. And that’s why it is so important that when we listen to the word of God spoken, we cling to every word; then the holy impressions will find lodgement in the heart, and they are repeated again and again. And what is the beautiful consequence of that?

If men listen for the voice of God, these spiritual impressions become more and more frequent, and extend from one to another till the leaven seems to go through the whole church. {Ibid.}

How can the impression go from one to another if we don’t share, if we don’t talk? It’s so obvious, isn’t it?

A divine presence hovers over the people, and a revival is the result. Souls are converted. The sympathies and energies of the people are enlisted on the side of the truth. God works in them, to will and to do of his good-pleasure, breaking the spell of the world, and engrossing the thoughts with subjects of eternal interest. {Ibid.}

The most powerful motives and attractions that can be imagined are offered to reclaim man, and win him from the path of transgression to the path of humble obedience. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?” No stronger inducement could be offered. Nothing is withheld. In Christ God gave Himself. He has enriched the world with a gift beyond all parallel. This gift is the source of all patience, forbearance, and mercy. In it is love sufficient to fill the whole world. It is of infinite value; for with it was given all that heaven could bestow.  {ST, January 20, 1898 par. 12}

So when Jesus says, This do in remembrance of Me, the remembrance that He is talking about is plainly in harmony with the words we have just read above. We should remember the words and works of Christ; we should remember a divine presence in God’s word; we should remember the detail of the living truth, which Jesus lived out. Not just about Him, but the living reality.

And this brings forth to our mind that we should know Him, and that He should be in us, so that He knows us according to a rapport that we are to have with Him. Do you know the meaning of this word rapport? It is a harmonious interaction with each other, so that we feel one with Him and He feels one with us. Is that not what God wants us to absorb, according to the previous statements quoted above?

Nothing is withheld. In Christ God gave Himself. He has enriched the world with a gift beyond all parallel. This gift is the source of all patience, forbearance, and mercy. {Ibid.}

it is a rapport with Him, of Him with us in Jesus Christ, through whom He gave all things to us.

A Rapport

So let us explore that rapport a little more closely. Jesus told us, I want you to do this in remembrance of Me. We are to remember something. Here is the rapport that He is talking about:

John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

May the Holy Spirit make these words livingly applicable to us. This is the rapport: I in them. And not only that, but, as we read before, In Christ the Father gave Himself: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may have rapport among each other on that level, and be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that there is something with these people that is truly godly, because they have a rapport with the God of the universe.

To enhance this meditation, we read the following:

The water that Christ referred to was the revelation of His grace in His Word. His Spirit, His teaching, is as a satisfying fountain to every soul. . . . In Christ is fullness of joy forevermore.  {5BC 1134.3}

You notice here a connection. The water that Christ referred to is the revelation of His grace in His Word.

Christ’s gracious presence in His Word is ever speaking to the soul, representing Him as the well of living water to refresh the thirsting. It is our privilege to have a living, abiding Saviour. He is the source of spiritual power implanted within us,  {Ibid.}

So His word is to be the source of a personal rapport with Him, implanted within us,

…and His influence will flow forth in words and actions, refreshing all within the sphere of our influence, begetting in them desires and aspirations for strength and purity, for holiness and peace, and for that joy which brings with it no sorrow. This is the result of an indwelling Saviour (Letter 73, 1897).  {Ibid.}

All that we are admonished and counselled to do in God’s word, which we find so difficult to respond to and do, is going to take place by an indwelling Saviour. It is through Him dwelling within me that the water of life begins to bubble forth from us, that living water, to refresh the thirsting. So it is our privilege to have a living, abiding Saviour. This is the rapport that we are to engage in through His word.

God’s Audience Chamber—Our Engagement with the Word

The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us, just as surely as if we could hear it with our ears. If we realized this, with what awe we would open God’s Word and with what earnestness we would search its precepts. The reading and contemplation of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the Infinite One.  {ML 283.3}

How many times I have slipped into a terrible state where I just read the Bible to get information, and then I felt I could defend the truth because I’ve got the knowledge of the truth. That is a shortfall. That’s why many people will say, Lord, Lord, we heard You; we were reading the Bible; we knew all about You! And He will answer, I don’t know you; I haven’t got a rapport with you. There is something more to remembering Jesus in our life.

We are to open the Word of God with reverence and with a sincere desire to know the will of God concerning us. The heavenly angels will direct our search. God speaks to us in His Word. We are in the audience chamber of the Most High, in the very presence of God. Christ enters the heart.  {ML 283.4}

In all our study of the doctrines, the prophecies, and the standards of God’s word, this is to be the presiding priority. We are reading and studying these things for a purpose, which is, an indwelling Christ; for the purpose of being in the audience chamber of God. So it has to do with a rapport, which is meaningfully summarised here:

Unless we mix faith with our hearing of the Word, unless we receive the truths we hear as a message from heaven, to be carefully studied, to be eaten by the soul and assimilated into the spiritual life, we lose the impression of the Spirit of God. We do not understand by experience what it means to find rest by receiving the divine assurances of the Word.  {UL 75.4}

To have Jesus within us, to have a rapport with Him, is to retain the impressions that the Holy Spirit has given out of His word. These words are so important. It continues:

We do not understand by experience what it means to find rest by receiving the divine assurances of the Word.  {Ibid.}

We lose the impressions of the Spirit of God; we do not understand by experience. Jesus is saying, You are to eat this bread in remembrance of Me. We are to eat the Word; we are to receive it and assimilate it into the spiritual life. And if we don’t do that, we lose the impressions of the Spirit. There is so much that we need to take in here.

So it is that as we study all the doctrines, all the prophecies, and all the standards, that presiding priority of having an experience, an in-depth relationship of what we are reading in the Bible, whether it be Daniel 11, or Revelation chapter 14, or 15, or 16, and all those different prophecies. All these things are there for us to enter into a rapport with God, to have Christ dwelling within.

This is what Jesus said in John 15:3-7. My word is to abide in you, He says. You are to be connected with Me, as the branch is in the vine. This is what it’s all about. As we take God’s word, it is to be engaged in with the Person of the word. There you can see, in the light of all this understanding of the words “in remembrance of Me”, why there are people who will say, Lord, Lord, thinking they remember, when they are not remembering the right thing. They are not doing what the Lord is saying. They are not under His control and under His total will. They are doing what they’re liking as well. And sometimes they don’t want to retain some of these things because it’s uncomfortable.  So the presiding priority is to study God’s word in all its forms to have a rapport with God.

In the following words of the psalm we see that our engagement with the word has to do with the presence of God, standing in the audience chamber of God.

Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

Are we looking for the quenching of our thirst? Are we looking for joy? Are we looking for love? I often hear people say, I want someone who wants to be my friend; I don’t have any friends! Well, I’m sorry; you haven’t found Jesus. Because if you’ve found Jesus, you have a friend. You’re never alone! And the finding of Jesus is not some poetic fancy; it is finding Him in the word; studying the word for the purpose of having a rapport, an interrelationship with Him. This is what He wants us to remember. He wants us to remember the divine impressions that come to us through His word; because it is He that is giving us these impressions.

Psalm 140:13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

I want you to ask yourself: Do you do that? In God’s presence there is joy for evermore. Don’t we want that presence, don’t we want that joy forevermore? Don’t we want this water of life that bubbles up within us, which is Jesus, the abiding Jesus? The upright shall dwell in Thy presence.

He who is a citizen of the heavenly kingdom will be constantly looking at things not seen. The power of earth over the mind and character is broken. He has the abiding presence of the heavenly Guest, in accordance with the promise, “I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” He walks with God as did Enoch, in constant communion.–R. & H., Nov. 10, 1910.  {CS 346.3}

And how? By the word. Not some sort of illusive imagination. The things that we study in His word, the impressions that we receive in His word, is He; and we must remember all those divine impressions. And this is why we need to read and study often. This is why we need to talk about what we have received. That’s why we need to exchange with each other the things we have been impressed by—so that we don’t lose those divine impressions. And it will make our characters in harmony with Him.

As we search the word of God in humility of heart, the grand theme of redemption will open to our research. It will increase in brightness as we behold it, and as we aspire to grasp it, its height and depth will ever increase.  {COL 129.2}

As we search the word.

Our life is to be bound up with the life of Christ; we are to draw constantly from Him, partaking of Him, the living Bread that came down from heaven, drawing from a fountain ever fresh, ever giving forth its abundant treasures.  {COL 129.3}

Can you see now what Jesus meant? He broke the bread and gave it to them and said, Eat this in remembrance of Me. We are partaking of the word; we are partaking of Jesus in the word. He is the Bread of life. It leaves you without any misunderstanding.

If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life. {Ibid.}

Do you notice the language here? “Allowing our hearts”—that is quite an important little statement. Do you allow your heart? or do you keep your heart caged in because certain things are not going to be comfortable? But we are to allow our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, and we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life as a result.

Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God as we would talk with a friend. {Ibid.}

What will He do?

He will speak His mysteries to us personally. {Ibid.}

That is, as we take and search the word of God. This is the personal rapport.

Often there will come to us a sweet joyful sense of the presence of Jesus. {Ibid.}

The beautiful sense of the presence of Jesus will come to us as we explore God’s word like that. He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Often there will come to us a sweet joyful sense of the presence of Jesus.

Often our hearts will burn within us as He draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. {Ibid.}

How will He do that? As I study the word. Not out of the blue! Not out of the imagination of our own heart. In the study of God’s word it will happen. And then, as we retain the impressions and talk about them, it will be what I have gained from the word that is going to make this whole experience realistic.

When this is in truth the experience of the Christian, there is seen in his life a simplicity, a humility, meekness, and lowliness of heart, that show to all with whom he associates that he has been with Jesus and learned of Him.  {Ibid.}

And it is this priority in the study of God’s word that we must hold on to and that must not be lost. We read it in reference to Nebuchadnezzar. He lost the impressions because he was occupied with everything else. Jesus is the one we are to be preoccupied with. And Sister White says this priority can be lost.

First Love Lost

When self is made first, God is put aside, and the sweet sense of his presence and love is lost.  {RH, November 24, 1910 par. 3}

Every time you indulge in self, every time you indulge in poor little me, thinking, “Look how much I am suffering, look at what I am going through”, you will lose the sense of His presence.

There is such an example in the Christian life that is given to us. Jesus said to the Ephesus church, the early church: I have something against you. What was it? “You’ve actually lost it. You’ve lost your first love. You’ve lost that impression of the deep enjoyment of My fellowship with you. You’ve lost it.” Why? What came in? We need to understand how this actually happens. The description of the first experience that was given to the early Christian church is here given and also how they lost it.

At the first the experience of the church at Ephesus was marked with childlike simplicity and fervor. The believers sought earnestly to obey every word of God, and their lives revealed an earnest, sincere love for Christ. They rejoiced to do the will of God because the Saviour was in their hearts as an abiding presence. Filled with love for their Redeemer, their highest aim was to win souls to Him. They did not think of hoarding the precious treasure of the grace of Christ. They felt the importance of their calling; and, weighted with the message, “On earth peace, good will toward men,” they burned with desire to carry the glad tidings of salvation to earth’s remotest bounds. And the world took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. Sinful men, repentant, pardoned, cleansed, and sanctified, were brought into partnership with God through His Son.  {AA 578.3}

There it is again, that partnership.

The members of the church were united in sentiment and action.  {AA 579.1}

Why? Because they had that rapport.

Love for Christ was the golden chain that bound them together. They followed on to know the Lord more and still more perfectly, and in their lives were revealed the joy and peace of Christ. They visited the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and kept themselves unspotted from the world, realizing that a failure to do this would be a contradiction of their profession and a denial of their Redeemer.  {Ibid.}

They were in real close association and rapport with Jesus. What was it that came in that made Jesus say, “I have somewhat against you”?

But after a time the zeal of the believers began to wane, and their love for God and for one another grew less. Coldness crept into the church. Some forgot the wonderful manner in which they had received the truth. {AA 580.1}

They had forgotten the impression, you see?

Weary of Oft-Repeated Truths?

One by one the old standard-bearers fell at their post. Some of the younger workers, who might have shared the burdens of these pioneers, and thus have been prepared for wise leadership, had become weary of oft-repeated truths. {Ibid.}

What? I can really identify with that. Can’t you? “I’ve heard all that before; I know that already.” Have you ever said that? But why do we have to have those things oft repeated? Because: in remembrance of Me, a relationship with Me. Not just that facts! Of course, if the facts keep on being repeated to you, it becomes a weary experience. But it’s for a relationship with Him that these things are oft-repeated; and they, the Ephesus church, became tired of it.

In their desire for something novel and startling they attempted to introduce new phases of doctrine, more pleasing to many minds, {Ibid.}

This is the way the impressions are slowly deteriorating. We want something more startling; we are getting used to this regular doctrinal impartation, because we have lost the relationship with the word.

In their desire for something novel and startling they attempted to introduce new phases of doctrine, more pleasing to many minds, but not in harmony with the fundamental principles of the gospel. {Ibid.}

That’s how the doctrines were changed. That is how it happens.

In their self-confidence and spiritual blindness they failed to discern that these sophistries would cause many to question the experiences of the past, and would thus lead to confusion and unbelief.  {Ibid.}

Isn’t that what happened? I love the way God’s word is speaking to us here.

Christ revealed Himself to you, and deep impressions were made as the Holy Spirit moved upon your hearts; but you pursued a course by which you lost these sacred impressions, and failed to maintain the victory. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). You began to come to Christ, but you did not abide in Christ. You forsook Him, and the realization you had had of the great favors and blessings He had given you, was lost from your heart. {1SM 136.1}

Christ reveals Himself and we see that we engage in things that actually cause us to lose the impressions. We lose the impressions that meant so much to us in the beginning, of a relationship with Him. And we become just like a child enjoying a toy, and then it wears out; afterwhile you don’t play with that toy anymore; you’ve got used to it. That’s the way we do with Jesus.

So because God knows this (and we saw how God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar), because God knows that we are dust, and knows what is the problem with us, to reverse this tendency of ours to forget, and to refresh our appreciation of the rapport with Jesus, Jesus made a provision. What was it? He broke the bread, which represented the living bread of Christ, that I am to eat and partake of, as we saw earlier. He broke it and said, This I want you to partake of in remembrance of Me; in remembrance of everything we have covered here as to what is meant, that we would actually engage in the word, with the living audience chamber of God in the word, and have that word impressed upon us as a living presence of Jesus with us.

It is at these, His own appointments, that Christ meets His people, and energizes them by His presence. . . . All who come with their faith fixed upon Him will be greatly blessed. All who neglect these seasons of divine privilege will suffer loss. Of them it may appropriately be said, “Ye are not all clean.” . . .  {SD 158.3}

That’s what the problem was with Judas. So with all these meditations we return now to our beginning statement:

The Holy Spirit is given to bring to our remembrance the words and works of Christ, spoken for the salvation of the soul; … But many do not choose to remember. They seek rather to forget the good impression made on mind and heart. They do not desire to yield their way for God’s way. God bears long with them, and his Spirit is constantly employed to bring spiritual things to their remembrance, that subjects of vital importance may find a lodgment in their hearts.  {ST, January 20, 1898 par. 11}

At the time of the Lord’s supper, that is God’s wonderful manner of reminding us. Because we forget the impressions, God bears long and brings us again and again to the Lord’s supper, brings us again and again to the contemplation of not just getting facts right, but getting a relationship right through the correct facts.

O it took me a long time to become fastidious in getting the facts right, because I wanted the relationship with Jesus more than the facts; and I learned that I need to get the doctrine right to get the proper relationship with Christ right. And as I had to defend the truth, as a servant of God and a minister, in the churches I was ministering in, the Lord had to come and encourage me, Fight for the truths once delivered to the saints; fight for it. Because if you don’t get the pure truth, you won’t have a pure relationship. It belongs together.

May God truly tune our minds as we come to this time of the Lord’s supper. He wants us to remember, not about Him, but to remember His closeness to us in the past, to restore it again, to bring it home as we had it when we were as little children. We had that beautiful experience, and we’ve lost it awhile; but now the Lord wants to bring it back. So let us lay aside anything that would interfere with that, is my prayer.

Amen.

Posted on January 3, 2022, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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