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REMEMBERING JESUS’ SUFFERING
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
“This do in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24, 25).
The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is very simple. It is celebrated to remind us of Jesus’ death for our sins on the Cross, of the Blood He shed to cleanse our sins from God’s record, so they would not come back to haunt us – and send us to Hell. Yes, we are told to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We are told to eat the bread – representing His body – and to drink the cup – representing His Blood. We are told to eat and drink with the hope that this little meal will remind us of Jesus, the One who did so much for us that we could never begin to repay Him.
The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus said twice, “This do in remembrance of me.” Once he said the bread should remind us of Him. A second time he tells us that the cup should remind us of the Blood He shed for our cleansing and peace, so we could enter the New Jerusalem and walk on streets of gold, instead of burning in the fire that never shall be quenched. We should be everlastingly grateful to Jesus for dying to pay for our sins; we should be eternally in debt to Him for pouring forth His Blood to cleanse our sins, sins you would not want your mother to know about, much less God! You should say, “Thank you Jesus for washing away my sins so my mother will not be ashamed of me at the Judgment.” It is a great thing to have your mother proud of you. But she would be deeply ashamed of you if she knew your heart and the things you have done in secret. So spirit-enlightened men are thankful to Jesus for bleeding on the Cross, so their sins could be washed out of God’s record book, so they will not have to see their mothers’ hearts broken by hearing what awful things their children did at Judgment Day. You ought to thank Jesus for sparing your mothers grief and sorrow by hiding our sins under His Blood, and washing them away by it too – because your mother, who bore so much toil and pain in life, now will not have to bear the indignity of seeing her children’s humiliation at the Judgment bar of God. Yes,
“This do in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24).
Thankfulness to Jesus is important, and the root of thankfulness lies in thinking and meditating on so many things that He put in our paths, without which we would not be the men and women we are tonight. Jesus said,
“This do in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24).
Yes, I will remember you, Jesus. I will remember you for dying in my place, and for hiding my sin under your precious Blood, and cleansing them. To me, thankfulness is one of the great virtues of the Christian faith – and I pray that God will cultivate it in me more and more – and in you as well.
“This do in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24).
I remember my own mother. She only went to the eighth grade. But she was a great reader. She was always reading – and always doing crossword puzzles. Doing those word puzzles, she was constantly opening the dictionary. She used many obscure words in her everyday speech. She read many of the great classical books aloud to me when I was a small boy. I remember so many quotations and “old sayings” that were a part of her conversations. She was my friend. I will never forget how she was converted, and with what joy I baptized her.
I remember my Dad with great fondness and love as I write this sermon. He was a child torn out of his home in Canada by the failure of his elderly father’s farm. He came to America as a small boy, but he never really felt at home in this country. He left his heart on the farm in Canada. I often sat at his dining room table as a young man and listened to him repeat endlessly the stories of his youth on that farm, in Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Those stories of the uncles and aunts he left behind in Canada made me realize how much we were alike, that we were both, like Moses’ son Gershom, “strangers in a strange land.”
For all the outward show he made of being a modern American, there remained within his heart a little boy who had been uprooted and taken to this strange land of America, away from his roots and the people he loved so much in Listowel. The only newspaper that he ever read, to his dying day, was The Listowel Banner, from that little town he came from as a child.
I remember my Dad as a wounded child who never got over the trauma of losing the farm he loved so well in Canada. I remember him. I appreciate what he did for me. He loved me as best he could, and I will never forget him. I am grateful to have had him for a father.
I remember the people next door, who took me into their home and took me for the first time to a Baptist church. I will always be grateful to Dr. and Mrs. McGowan for what they did for me as a teenager. I would not be a Gospel preacher today had it not been for their kindness and generosity to me. I will never forget them. I am grateful for them to this day.
I remember an old Deacon and his wife at the First Baptist Church of Huntington Park, California. I dropped out of church when I was about 14, and they came to visit me when I was living with my aunt and uncle, next door to the McGowans. One morning I heard a knock at the door. I opened it, and there they stood, smiling at me! He was dressed in a blue suit, starched white shirt and tie. His wife had on a good black coat and an attractive hat, the kind a deacon’s wife would wear when doing visitation for a Baptist church in the 1950’s. They were so kind and sweet. They encouraged me to come back to Sunday School at the church. What a surprise it was to me, just a teenaged boy, to be visited personally by an elderly deacon and his wife! I did what they asked. I went back to Sunday School. How grateful I am for that short visit. I doubt that I would be a pastor today if they had not come that morning to encourage a 14-year-old boy to come back to church. I will never forget Mr. and Mrs. Bean. I remember them to this day.
I could go on and on and tell you about so many others that I remember, and that I am grateful to, because God used them to shape my life. I would not be the man I am if they had not come into my life.
A young Chinese man once told me a story that made an impression on me. He told me of an old missionary at his school in Taiwan. The boy was bitter and angry at the old man for scolding him. That Chinese boy had resentment against the old missionary for many years. But I told him his resentment was a sin. I told him that the old man had left his home in America and travelled far away from his family and friends to try to help a Chinese boy like him know something about Christianity. I told that Chinese boy that it is a sin to remember the old missionary with bitterness and hatred. I told the Chinese boy to remember what the old missionary had given up to go and help children in the far off land of Taiwan. I told him that his bitterness toward the man was a sin. I told him to ask God to forgive him for his bitterness. I told him that he should remember and be grateful to that missionary for what little he did for him. I told him that he should repent in tears for his bitterness and hatred toward the old man.
Every one of us has had people do wrong to us, at one time or another. But we should repent in bitter tears for not seeing how God used them to shape us, and in His way, used them to bring us to this church to hear the Gospel and finally be saved. We should not hate them. We should remember them with gratitude for the way God used them in our lives,
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
This brings us back to our text regarding the Lord’s Supper.
“Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me…This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me”
(I Corinthians 11:24, 25).
Of all the people in our lives, we should especially be grateful to Jesus. Remember – of all the rest – Jesus is the most important. When we come to the Lord’s Supper, Jesus says, “this do in remembrance of me.” We should remember that He left Heaven’s glory and came down to earth to suffer, in His passion, to pay the penalty for our sin. We should remember that He sweat as it were great drops of Blood in the Garden of Gethsemane when our sin was placed on Him. We should remember that they scourged the flesh of His back with a Roman whip so, by His scourging “we [could be] healed” of sin (Isaiah 53:5). We should remember that He was nailed, hands and feet, to a Roman cross, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (I Peter 3:18). We should feel horror for our sin, and weep and cry out in gratitude, that the only begotten Son of God went through such horror to save us from the penalty of our sin in “the lake of fire” that has no end (Revelation 20:15).
If you are not yet converted, think of Jesus’ suffering to save you as those who are converted take the Lord’s Supper. As we do this “in remembrance of” Him, may you also remember that He suffered pain beyond endurance in your place, to save your eternal soul. While we partake of the Lord’s Supper, you too should “remember” the passion, the suffering of the Son of God. And you should weep in your heart for not remembering and being grateful to the Saviour for dying in your place, to save your soul for all time and all eternity. May the Lord’s Supper itself cause you to remember Jesus’ suffering and turn you to Him from sin. At the close of this service, may you come to Jesus and be saved.
(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“He Died For Me” (by John Newton, 1725-1807).