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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » John Hagee » John Hagee - The Gift of Forgetting

John Hagee - The Gift of Forgetting

John Hagee - The Gift of Forgetting
John Hagee - The Gift of Forgetting

Turn in your Bible to Philippians 3:13 and 14, as we talk this morning about "The Gift of Forgetting". Did you succeed last year? Forget it. You can starve to death remembering how great you used to be. Let's learn a great lesson from the Word of God today that the apostle Paul practiced. It was the gift of forgetting. Read with me, please, verse 13 and 14. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended: but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ". "I do not count myself to have apprehended: but one thing I do is forget the things which are behind me".

Father God, thank you for your word because it is the light of truth that guides us to the wonderful life that God has designed for us to have. There are things that we must forget if we're going to have a joyous and victorious life. Help us to learn that message today. And all of God's children said, amen.

You may be seated. Saint Paul wrote and made forgetting the past a top priority. Saint Paul had many things about which he could be bitter. When he was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, they stoned him and left him for dead in the streets of Jerusalem. He was bleeding from head to foot. He was beaten with a cat-of-nine-tails three times. By law, you couldn't receive more than 39 stripes, because it was life threatening. The Roman whip was laced with metal, and it ripped the flesh off the bone. Paul was put in prison several times for presenting Jesus Christ as Lord. He spent a significant part of his time in prison for preaching the gospel. He was put in a basket by the believers, held by a rope, and led over the wall of a city to keep him from being killed by the pharisees.

Paul's response was, "These light afflictions are not worthy to be compared to the glorious things that God has prepared for those that love him". Get that in your mind, "These light afflictions". Brother, if that's a light affliction, I would hate to see a severe one. Now, what is it that you were complaining about in your service for Jesus Christ? So it took you 15 minutes to get out of the church parking lot last week. Hallelujah. That parking lot filled with cars is a witness to this city. I am often asked, "What are you doing to get all of those people into that church"? I said, "We're presenting Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life". Jesus Christ is the answer to our lives. And he's the hope for the future of America. Jesus Christ died for us in public. We're not trying to serve him in secret! He is the champion of the cross! We're not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Give him praise in the house of God!

You sabotage your peace of mind with resentment. But resentment is a thought, and you entertain your thoughts. You're responsible for what you think about. How many of you have something in your past that really irritates you to this day? It only happened 40 years ago. But you really remember it. And when you remember it, you get downright angry! And in about 15 minutes, you are a regular snapping turtle. Your past may be so remembered that it paralyzes the present and it imperils your future. We may brood over the past, its failures, its losses, its reversals, its disappointments until the spirit within us droops and dies. Many around this nation, millions who are watching by television are in mourning or a state of depression, because they cannot forget the past. You are brokenhearted because you are riveted to a memory that haunts you out of your past. You have no joy. You have no peace. You do not have the grace to forget.

Hear the words of saint Paul. Don't try to forget. He said, "Forgetting those things which are behind me and move on". There are some things you need to forget for your mental health and your spiritual health. For the good life, learn to forget, and move on! Forget your bitter memories. Some of you suffer with malice. MAlice is a person who's driven by bitterness. They can't get over it. They are seeking revenge and retribution. That person suffers deeply because of rejection. Maybe it's from the wife, the husband, someone around you that you know oozes bitterness. In the west indies, there is a manchineel tree. That manchineel tree has sap that oozes through the bark. And when you touch that tree, immediately, it burns you with a blister. No one wants to be around that tree, because all it does is give out pain. Some of you and some watching are living manchineel trees, because you will not forget. You ooze a bitter pain.

Remembering a bitter past only produces pain for you and for other people. No one wants to be around that. You become untouchable. You need healing in your mind. You need the healing in your heart. You need to recognize something controls me that's destroying the quality of my life. Forget the person who wronged you, for your sake. It's better to forget and forgive than to hate and to remember. Mmm. Always forget your enemies. Nothing annoys them any more than that. Flat out forget them. The rejection of your father, your mother, your brothers or your sisters, who betrayed you, forget that. Forget the unfaithfulness of your spouse. It's over. Move on. Forget the disappointment your children have brought you. And you children will disappoint you. Forget the opportunities you have missed, and bend your back to the opportunity that's at your feet today. Don't lose both. Forget your failure. Every person here has failed in the past. You will in the future. You can either get bitter or better. The choice is yours.

Listen to Paul. Write this on your refrigerator. "Forgetting those things which are past". Period! Do it! Failure is a better teacher than success. But failure seldom gets the apple. Falling down does not make you a failure. Staying down makes you a failure. Get up! Get up and try again! Saint Paul said, "Forget the past," forgetting your triumphs. God closed the Red Sea behind the children of Israel to keep them from going back. Forty years in the wilderness to flush out 400 years of paganism in Egypt. Forty years to learn to hear the voice of God, so that they could reach the destiny God had for them. Forgetting each other, on the other hand, is cruel.

Several years ago, I was on an airplane going from one preaching assignment to the other. And sitting across the aisle from me was a young boy. He was 10 or 12 years of age. He was pale. He was frail. He had one leg, and he was a very weak boy. The stewardess helped him, when the plane landed, to get off of the plane. By himself, I just followed him to see what happened. He got to the airport, he's looking left, he's looking right. He's looking for someone that didn't show up. They forgot him. I went over to him, and I said, "Partner, can I help you"? He said, "They're supposed to pick me up here". I said, "Do you think they're coming"? He said, "No". So I took him by the hand, led him over to the cab, and I paid his fare to where he was going. By this time, he's crying. And I said to the cabbie, "You take him to his house and walk him to the door".

In loving kindness, I said, "Put him in the house". He said, "Okay". How many thousands of children live in that kind of world? He knew he had been forgotten. He knew he had been forsaken, and it was more than he could bear. You say, "Oh, pastor, I could never be that forgetful". Really? Your elderly mother or father is sitting by a phone that never rings in the rest home. They walk to an empty mailbox, maybe day after day, waiting for a short note or maybe even a call. They know it and God knows it: it's cruel and it's thoughtless, yet it continues. The Bible says, "Honor your mother and your father, that your days may be long on the earth". You want to live a long time? Treat your parents well. They don't have to be good parents. You just have to treat them well.

I was visiting in a nursing home on one occasion. And there was a woman there who was 80 years of age. We had a great visit. And as we ended the visit, she said, "Pastor, will you do me a favor"? And tears came to her eyes. I said, "Sure". She said, "Would you ask my son to come see me? He hasn't come to see me for over a year". I said, "Where is he? In Alaska? In Africa? Where does he live"? She said, "Oh, no. He lives five minutes from this nursing home". And tears came into her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. The son had forgotten his mother. I said, "Yes, ma'am, I'll go have a chat with him". I left. I went to the house. He came to the door. And verbally, I eviscerated him. He got on his clothes and went to see his mother like he should. And I said, "I'm going to check on you just to make sure you keep on seeing your mother".

When your parents, aged, are hungering for a thought from their children, you are being observed by God himself. "Honor your mother and your father, that your days may be long on the face of the earth". Don't you ever forget that. Your friends may forget you, but God will never forget you. Your husband or your wife may forsake you. God will not. Your father or your mother may have forgotten you, but God will not. Your children may have forgotten you. When you say, "Our father which art in heaven," he has never forgotten you. He knows where you sit in this church right now. He sees you where you're sitting on your couch in your home wherever you're watching this telecast. He knows your feelings. He knows your thoughts. He knows the battles you're facing. He knows the burdens you're carrying. He's as close as the mention of his name. He has not forgotten you. He has not forsaken you. You are his child. You are royalty! The blood of heaven is flowing through your veins! Nothing is impossible with you! Get excited about your future!

Let me tell you a true story from the pages of history. A drummer boy who was crossing the alps in the army of Napoleon. He lost his footing and he fell into a deep chasm. That chasm was filled with snow. He was not hurt. But it was so deep that he had no hope of escape without help. And the drummer boy frantically began to beat the message to his comrades, the soldiers, to get their attention. They heard but they could not respond. Because if Napoleon did not give the command to stop, they would be shot if they did. He beat the drum furiously. No orders were given. When the boy knew that he had been left to die, he began to beat his own death March. So sad was the scene: that calloused soldiers, hardened by the cruelties of war, sobbed like children.

Napoleon was not moved. He was too busy conquering the world to remember this insignificant drummer boy who had been clumsy enough to lose his footing and fall into this chasm. The boy froze to death beating his own drum, forgotten. To the man, to the woman who has lost your footing and you've fallen into the chasm of sin and iniquity, the great shepherd of the sheep is searching for you. He's looking for you. King David says, "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He restoreth my soul. He leads me where I need to go to restore me. And he searched until he found me".

The words to the solo I sang when I was a child was, "Safe were the ninety and nine in the fold, safe though the night was stormie and cold. But said the shepherd, when counting them more, one sheep is missing, there should be one more. The shepherd went out in search for his sheep. And all through the night on the stormy deep, he searched till he found him. With love bands, he bound him. And I was that one lost sheep". If your life is in the ditch, if your dreams have been shattered, if your hopes have been crushed, the chief shepherd, Jesus Christ, is searching for you. He will pick you up out of the miry clay and plant you on the solid rock. He will put you on the highway to heaven. He will defeat your enemies. He will answer your prayer. Your wildest dreams can come true because you are God's child, and he will never forget you! Give him praise in the house of God!

You say, "Preacher, I don't know if God remembers us like that". Did you ever love someone deeply? Have you no trinkets about your home, valueless to other people, yet precious to you, because they represent someone who had a grip on your heart? What is the value of an old faded flower pressed between the pages of a book? The value is none. Except someone that you loved gave it to you years ago, and it's still precious. What value has an old faded rose pressed between the pages of a family Bible? Little if any, except you plucked it from the grave of a baby that slipped out of your arms into the arms of Jesus. From the grave, you kept it. From the grave of your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your wife, or your child. To others, it has no value. To you, it's priceless.

My father passed from this veil of tears into the arms of God years ago. I officiated his funeral. As we gathered around his casket in the cemetery, there was a white dove on the top of his casket. I took that dove home with me. And every Christmas, that dove is attached to our Christmas tree as a reminder to his children and to his children's children of his life in the ministry. He is gone. But I assure you, he is not forgotten, because he was a servant of Jesus Christ till the day he died. Those who love keep things that have no value to other people, because they are reminders of true love. The Bible says that God has collected the tears of every believer. That's in your Bible. He has recorded your prayers. If God remembers everything about us, what does he forget? Yes, I'm delighted to tell you that he does.

Jeremiah 31 says, "I will forget your iniquity and I will remember them no more". I love that verse of scripture. God's forgetfulness is not negligence: it's love in action. His forgiveness is as ceaseless as the tender hands of your mother. God forgets one thing. Listen. God forgets one thing and that's our sin. But he does not dismiss that sin until we repent of that sin. I am forgiven of all of my sins through the blood of Christ. I am free from the guilt of the past and the fear of tomorrow. I am free from a memory that torments me. I am free to praise God and to be an individual seeking his own destiny. He has placed your sin in the deepest sea and posted a "No fishing" sign over your sin, because your relatives will certainly come around trying to dig them up.

The question is: when does God forget your sin? And the answer is, again, God forgets your sin right after you repent of your sin but not until. Not until. God cannot forgive all sin, because all sin is not confessed. It is full of every thought and every word. Sin cannot enter heaven, but it need not stand in your record book in heaven another moment. Christ is waiting to blot it out. He wants to forget it. He wants to forgive it. But he cannot by his own rules until you ask for repentance. And instantly, that record is expunged and that paper covered with a calendar of your sins becomes as white as snow. Because you are totally and instantly forgiven.

I want you to stand to your feet. How many of you in this room, those of you watching by television, there's something in your life that makes you bitter that you can't forget, someone that hurt you, maybe your father, your mother, a business partner, something in your past, it torments you, and you want that thing to be expunged from your mind and your memory? Right now, I want you to slip your hand up right where you are. Secondly, how many of you here, you are good people or you wouldn't be in the church house, but you know there's unconfessed sin in your life? God's in heaven right now saying, "Watch. When they confess their sin, I'm going to wash it off this book so they'll never face it again". God is eager to forgive you. But you have to confess it before he will forgive you. If there is sin in your life, and you want to confess that sin right now, and let Jesus Christ cleanse your record in the Chronicles of heaven, if that describes you, I want you to slip your hand up right now right where you are. I want you to pray this prayer with me.

Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you to forgive me of all of the sin that I have committed. I want my record in heaven to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I want Jesus Christ to be the Lord of my life, because he will give me peace, give me love and joy for the rest of my life, in Jesus' name. Amen.

Now, I'm praying for those of you who have that tormenting thought. Hold your hand up. All of you pray this prayer with me.

Heavenly Father, you are the Prince of Peace. There is a thought, a memory in my mind that is tormenting to me. I want it to be gone. I want you to take it away, today, in the authority of Jesus' name. I am cleansed from the things of the past. That destroy the joy of the present. In Jesus' name, I'm free! Amen.

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