New Hope Notes
God Gets Our Best
Doing Church As A Team
Pastor Jon Burgess
Today, we will be talking about Communion and what it does. 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 NIV, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’”
Exactly as Jesus had predicted, the Corinthian church had forgotten what Communion was about. They were perverting the meaning of Communion using it as a time to feed themselves rather than celebrating Christ and His sacrifice for them and so Paul reminds the church about Communion.
God uses Communion and water baptism to involve our five senses to help us remember what matters most—the necessity to align our memories because our memory lane gets clogged and we soon forget what matters most—that God deserves nothing less than our absolute best!
Communion is about Christ. Communion clears our memories of junk filled with ridiculous things. Communion is like an ambulance that clears the path for its precious cargo. Everything else has to go to the side and the siren gets you to what matters most.
Remembering the following three things will help to give God our best; however, these are the places that we often experience spiritual amnesia!
1. When tempted to retreat from your enemies, REMEMBER God fought for you!
We all have enemies to our mind, finances, or relationships and are constantly in spiritual battle. Some of us are even now tempted to retreat. As the people of Israel were about to enter into the promise land, God told them that they would soon forget how He had fed and fought for them and they must remember what He had done. Deuteronomy 7:16-19 NLT, “You must destroy all the nations the Lord your God hands over to you. Show them no mercy, and do not worship their gods, or they will trap you. Perhaps you will think to yourselves, ‘How can we ever conquer these nations that are so much more powerful than we are?’ But don’t be afraid of them! Just remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all the land of Egypt. Remember the great terrors the Lord your God sent against them. You saw it all with your own eyes! And remember the miraculous signs and wonders, and the strong hand and powerful arm with which He brought you out of Egypt. The Lord your God will use this same power against all the people you fear.”
When you are fearful and ready to retreat because the enemy looks so much bigger than you, “Just remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh…”
Some are ready to retreat from your marriage. May I remind you that the God that fought for your marriage then will fight for you now!
Some may be tempted to retreat from purity, but may I just remind you that the God that set you free from pornography in the past will fight for you now!
Some are thinking of retreating from your budget because it's just too hard to get your finances in order. May I remind you that the God who fought for you then is the same God that will fight for you now!
Some are thinking of retreating from your call to serve. Serving is what Doing Church As A Team is about. Often our flesh is offended when we face difficulties. Jesus is saying, “Remember, I called you to this place. I fought for you to have relationships you never thought you could have. I never told you it was going to be easy. It will always be a fight. I fought for you then, will you fight alongside Me now?”
Whenever we retreat, remember, we’re giving God less than out best. Don’t give God less; give Him your best! Let's keep fighting. This is where we often want to retreat.
*What Are Three Ways I Can Get Back In The Fight?
Stand up right where I fell, stand up with those that have my back and then stand back and watch what God can do.
2. When tempted to receive the glory, REMEMBER God fed you!
Deuteronomy 8:16-18 NIV, “He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself. ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
God already saw what would happen when the people stepped into the promise land (a land flowing with milk and honey) and the wonderful things that would begin to happen to them. They would grow their own food and feel a sense of independence. God knew their thoughts: "I don't really need God. I can get my own food."
Often when God blesses our lives, we kind of leave Him behind. When we start to gain influence and accumulate wealth and position, we take that as proof of our own accomplishments and soon receive the glory for ourselves instead of giving the glory to God. We stop following God and start asking people to follow us.
Always remember where your provision comes from. God fed you then and He will feed you now. Follow God so that even when He says “no,” you can trust that He has something better for you!
Give God your best and stay in the fight! Even when blessings upon blessings are given to you, still follow Him. Keep following the Giver, and you will end up right where you're supposed to be.
*What Are Three Ways I Can Get Back To Following God’s Lead?
3. When tempted to refuse to forgive, REMEMBER God forgave you!
Deuteronomy 9:4,6 (NIV), “After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.’ No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you…Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.”
God calls it like He sees it! We forget that we didn't get what we deserved. We got what we didn't deserve. What we deserved was death. What we got was deliverance. What we deserved was judgment. What we got was forgiveness. Even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God is telling His people, “Don't think that you received all of these possessions because of your own righteousness—your own goodness.” It's only because of the goodness of God that He chose you and said, “I love you. I love you enough to call you out of that stiff-necked place of stubbornness and pride. I love you enough to forgive you even when you take credit for where you're at right now. I love you that much.”
When we refuse to forgive, we begin to take credit for that which we did not deserve in the first place. We begin to take the same position that the people of Israel did by saying, “I am here because I am all that and a bag of chips!” No, you're not. We sometimes take the seat of a judge and jury and begin to look down upon people.
We don't get to do that. We are forgiven. We are beggars at the door of God. We don't deserve what we were given, but He loves us freely and calls us His own, even while we cursed His name.
Let it sink in because we may be at a place where we do not want to forgive and we have been giving God less than our best. The best version of me is: the me that always forgive; the worst version of me is: the me that holds on to unforgiveness and I become bitter, mean, judgmental, and cruel—a very bad representation of the Jesus that I say I follow and fight alongside!
*Who Are Three People I Need To Forgive Right Now?
If I don't forgive, I'm stepping away from the very person that God's called me to be. You've heard “forgive and forget.” That's impossible. I would tell you to forgive and remember. Forgive and remember what Jesus has done for you. Don't let somebody tell you, “Oh, you haven't really forgiven if you haven't forgotten.” I'm sorry but the wounds from the people in our lives are real and it's impossible to get those memories out of our brain. But when you forgive somebody, remember what Jesus did for you and where He brought you to and suddenly that's the weight of the Communion! The reason Jesus said, “As often as you do this, do this in remembrance of me,” suddenly becomes clear of what He was doing.
You see, we can't ever forget, but we can remember. I have good news for you because we're serving a God that who in His divinity chooses to forget our sin. Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."
We cannot forget what's been done to us, but when we forgive, God chooses to forget what we've done to Him. How amazing is that? How can we do any less than give God our best? Many times I wanted to hold back on forgiving, but God reminds me, “Look what I've forgotten in your life. I'm asking you to extend the same forgiveness to them that I've extended to you.” It's heavy, it's not easy, but it's worth it!
Communion reminds us to remember what God has forgotten. God has forgotten our sins. I'm not saying forgive and forget. I'm saying forgive and remember. And when you do, you can receive the forgiveness for that thing that's been trying to get you to retreat. You can receive forgiveness for that place of pride when you stopped following God.