February 14, 2011

The Value of Reminders

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all Jude 5a

Isn’t that interesting? Jude knows that what he is about to say is known to his readers already. He knows they have it down pat. Perhaps they could write the next few sentences for him … so familiar are they with what he is about to say. And yet, in spite of that; and perhaps at the risk of having them say: ‘Here he goes again’ … Jude still says “I desire to remind you”!

Next week, Lord willing, we will take time to think out the things about which Jude wanted to remind them. But today let it suffice to notice that he wanted to remind them. I find it instructive that the great early church leader found it necessary to say some things twice, three times, and more. He found it necessary to re-go-over the same territory which he knew his listeners had heard umpteen times before. It did not bother him to remind them, again, of the forty years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, or of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And the fact that he didn’t mind reminding them is, conveniently, a reminder to us!

Jude’s reminders are a reminder that reminders are not a bad thing! Did you get that? It’s not a bad thing for us to hear the same old Bible stories again and again; or to hear sermons on the same old themes again and again! Precisely because we are forgetful! That is not to say that we will easily forget the story, say, of David and Goliath. But we are very prone to forget to apply its truths to our lives, are we not? If we weren’t, we’d never fret when faced with difficulties, now would we?

Similarly, we will surely not soon forget how God delivered His people from slavery in Egypt. But we may forget that not all of them actually entered the Promised Land. And we may forget what that means for us: namely that we must press on in faith – not turning back; and not simply experiencing an initial exciting religious flourish!

And, of course, we will not forget that Jesus died for our sins. We won’t forget the cross, and the whips, and the thorns, and the tomb, and the resurrection! We won’t forget that Jesus died so that we might be forgiven and set right with God! But we may forget to apply those facts to our daily lives. That is to say that we may live, for many days, as though our relationship with God depended upon how well we’re doing this week; how often we read our Bible; how well we behaved, and so on. O, I know we know better. But we still sometimes carry on this way just the same. And, after a week of feeling defeated and discouraged and distant from God, how wonderful it can be to walk into church on Sunday morning and hear the same old story of Jesus, and of free grace, and of justification by faith and not by works of the law! How wonderful a reminder can be … even if we what we have forgotten was not necessarily the truth itself, but simply its daily application to our lives!

So remember this in days ahead, when your pastor seems to be re-covering the same ground, sometimes Sunday after Wednesday after Sunday after Wednesday. It’s not a bad thing. We all need reminding of the same old things sometimes … and especially of ‘the old, old story of Jesus and His love.’

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