At the beginning of major sporting events, guests are invited to stand for the playing of the national anthem. All look toward the American flag on display, men remove their hats and many of the fans put their hands over their hearts. This is a ritual of remembrance. We are invited to remember that we are citizens of the United States of America, that men and women have given their lives in service of our country, and that because of their sacrifice our flag still waves and we enjoy unprecedented freedoms … including watching the sporting contest about to take place.
As believers in Jesus we have dual citizenship. The Apostle Paul says, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Because of this citizenship, we have incomparable blessings—the promises of God, forgiveness of sins, eternal life. We, too, need to remember. We need to remember that the Son of Man gave His life in the service of the Father to secure for us the unparalleled privileges of heavenly citizenship. His sacrifice alone atones for our sins and opens heaven’s door.
And so we need rituals of remembrance. Every Lord’s Day can be a ritual of remembrance. We gather to worship on Sunday because it is the day God raised Jesus from the dead. It is His day, the Lord’s Day. What we do when we gather to worship on the Lord’s Day is intended as a ritual of remembrance. The reading of God’s Word, prayer to the Father, singing songs of heavenly citizenship, the preaching of the gospel all remind us that Jesus suffered for sins once for all to bring us to God.
On the first Sunday of each month we partake of Communion. This especially is a ritual of remembrance. The Apostle Paul clearly presents it as such in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25.
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.”
Remembering Jesus and what He has done is vital to growing in Christ. The Lord Jesus through the Apostle John commands believers, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent” (Revelation 3:5). The Apostle Peter sounds a similar note: “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have” (2 Peter 1:12).
We must keep the gospel of Jesus Christ ever in mind. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. It is the Word of God and thereby has the power to change you from the inside out.
The gospel is the good news about Jesus. He is God the Son who left heaven’s glory to come to earth. He live a sinless, righteous life, obeying the Father completely. He died on the cross as payment for our sin, bearing God’s wrath in our place. He was buried. God raised Him from the dead on the third day and caused Him to be seen by various people over a span of forty days. God then took Jesus back to heaven. He now sits at the right hand of the Father as Ruler of the kings and peoples of the earth. And at the Father’s command, the Lord Jesus will return to earth in power and glory to reign forever.
This is wonderfully good news because those who believe it, who receive Jesus into their lives, are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, forgiven from all their sin, and granted a permanent place in God’s family as a dearly loved child. No longer God’s enemy. Now His friend forever.
We must remember this. I want to invite you to begin the practice of remembering this good news on a regular basis. Do not forsake the assembling together of God’s people on the Lord’s Day. Gather with the brothers and sisters so that you can be reminded of the gospel.
In your private life, make a point of daily remembering the gospel. In a time of prayer before the Father, thank Him for His Son. Thank Him for Christ’s life, death, burial, resurrection, exaltation, and return. Affirm before the Father that the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus is your one and only hope. Ask Him to expand and deepen the work of Jesus in your life.