Matt Hagee - The God Who Remembers
I'm so encouraged today by the fact that God never forgets. And yet, there are some people that are concerned because if God never forgets, then what does he remember? Today, we're going to recognize that in Noah's situation, it could have been possible for him to feel forgotten. You know a lot of people feel as if they're the only man on the face of the earth. Well in Noah's situation, it was true. He's all that's left. Noah had faith in God before the flood. And it was that faith that gave him the willingness to put faith in the Word of God that directed him to build an ark before the flood. In faith, Noah got on the ark. And then God shut the door of the ark. And now, 150 days after the flood began, Noah hasn't heard a word from the Lord.
In this sermon series, what we've established from the life of Noah is, one, every human being, sooner or later, is going to go through a flood experience. It may be a physical flood, a financial flood, an emotional flood, a spiritual flood. But sooner or later, something that is so much greater than you is going to attempt to overwhelm you. And before it does, you need to recognize that the only way you're going to survive the flood is with faith. But you can't have faith in the wisdom of others. You can't have faith in what you've seen other people do. You can't have faith in the circumstances that are around you.
You must have faith in God. Just as Noah had faith in God before his flood, you need faith in God during your flood. Just as Noah put his faith in God's word, you need to place your faith in God's word. Why? Because without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith doesn't look at circumstances. Faith does not consider other people's opinions. Faith doesn't look at the odds that are against you. Faith starts out before you understand how it's going to turn out. Faith goes to work even when you don't know exactly where you're going to wind up. Because when you have faith in God, what you recognize is that all things are possible to them that believe.
It was in faith that Noah built an ark and that ark pulled him out of judgment. It is in faith that you and I have been saved by the ark of our salvation, Jesus Christ. It is in faith that we have been spared from destruction of sin, death, hell, and the grave. It is in faith that he has redeemed us, and he has set us free, and he has changed us. Child of God, no matter what flood you're going through in your life, as long as you have faith in the ark of your salvation, Jesus Christ, you can rise above, you can overcome, you can conquer, because you were born and created to be more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ! Give the Lord a handclap of praise in this house today!
Heavenly Father, let your goodness, your mercy and your grace in our life cause us to be faithful to a God who has never failed. In Jesus' name, we pray. And all of God's children said, praise the Lord.
You may be seated. Two weeks ago when we began the series about finding faith in the flood, one of the things that I mentioned was the fact that God knew exactly when the flood was going to start. You can read about it in Genesis. It speaks about in the 500th year of Noah's life, in this month, on this day, at that time. "That is the day," that's what the Bible says, "That the flood began". And the reason that we could take hope in that is because if God knows exactly when the flood begins, then he knows exactly what you need before your problem starts. Well today, I am equally encouraged to be able to tell you this: based on what we read in Genesis 8, not only does God know exactly when the flood is going to begin, but God knows exactly when the flood is going to end. He says here in Genesis 8, "In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day, on that day, that's when the ark came to rest and the waters receded".
Now that's good news. Some of you say, "Well what's the big deal"? The good news is simply this: that nothing in your life happens that God is not in total control of. You're never gotten into a problem, a trial, or a tribulation where God looked down from heaven and went, "Oops. That got out of control. I mean, sorry". That's not how he operates. He knows exactly where you are. He knows exactly what you're going through. He knows exactly what you need. And he knows how long it's going to last. You might not be comfortable, but he's in total control. You might wish it would be over, but God knows exactly how long you need to be in the circumstances that you're in for you to learn exactly what you want to learn. In his perfect sovereignty, he has a plan for you.
Don't ever forget that. It's a joy to be able to know that God not only controls the beginning and the end of our flood, but God controls everything that happens in the middle. You see this 150-day situation is something that might have caused Noah to feel abandoned or forgotten. I mean think about it. Up until now, he's done everything that God has asked him to do. Have you ever lived your life, saying, "Lord, I'm just going to spend the next six months, the next 12 months, I'm going to do everything I can to honor your word"? You get up early and you read, you pray, you witness, you give, you call all your friends and tell them about Bible study. You call them back and ask why they didn't come to Bible study. And then you go through all these, I mean you even get on Facebook and put, you know, Jesus messages out there on your feed and stuff like that. You ever live like that? I mean you've done everything that you think the Bible wants you to do. And even then, you get to go through the flood.
You see Noah has done everything that God asked him to do: one hundred and twenty years of cutting down trees and building an ark. He's got a boat as big as a cruise line. The first two floors are a zoo, literally. The top floor is for him and his family. He's been commissioned to do something that no other human being has ever done, to be a part of something that no one else has ever seen. And in faith, he's done it all. And now, for 150 days, he's been stuck on this floating boat, no rudder, no wheel, no map, no sail. If there was some place he wanted to go visit, some island where he wanted to dock, there wouldn't be land for him to do it on. Noah, in this moment, could sit here in the middle of this trial and feel forgotten. And there are many people in this sanctuary that you're going through a personal trial. And right now, you feel forgotten. Some of you had a great life. And everything was going just right.
And then suddenly, some sort of traumatic circumstance invaded what used to be a peaceful place, and now you feel forgotten. You had a great marriage, and it ended in divorce. And sitting here alone, you feel forgotten. You had a great business and it was going good. But the economy changed, and now it's bankrupt. And you feel forgotten. You were in physical health and strength and vitality. And one visit with the doctor and he gives you a diagnosis. And now you've got a totally different circumstance than you had just a few days ago. And you're wondering where all of your blessings went. And sitting here in an hour of need, you feel forgotten.
No matter who you are, no matter what you're going through, you need to recognize that God forgets no one. His promise is, "I'll never leave you and I'll never forsake you even to the ends of the age". He knows where you are today. He knows what you need today. He knows what you're going through today. And you can rejoice and be exceedingly glad, because the God who knows you is the God who can meet your need! And he has promised that every need you have, he'll supply, according to his riches in glory! Give the Lord a handclap of praise!
You say, "I don't like where I am". Consider the alternative. Better to be in the ark of salvation, riding over the flood, than drowning in the waters with the rest. But it's been 150 days. And God hasn't said a word to Noah. Without a doubt, his wife is sitting next to him, going, "How much longer are we going to be in here? Seriously"? Ham, Shem, and Japheth are doing the old, "Are we there yet"? Where? There's no place to be. Without question, Noah could have felt forgotten. But Genesis 8 begins with these words, "And God remembered". Say that with me. "And God remembered".
Today I am so thankful that God forgets no one. Over and over in scripture, you read, "God remembered," "God remembered Noah," "God remembered Abraham," "God remembered Rebekah," "God remembered Hannah," "God remembered Jeremiah," "God remembered Daniel," "God remembered David," and God remembers you. God remembers you because he has perfect knowledge of who you are. Before you were formed in your mother's womb, the Bible says, "He knew you, and he ordained you, and he has a plan for you". In the darkest hour of your life, he's right there with you. In the best moments of your life, he's standing right beside you. And so what David says is, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. This my heart knows well, so I will rejoice in God my Savior". Whenever you feel forgotten, whenever you feel abandoned, whenever you feel like your flood is greater than you can bear: you need to think about what God has done and how he's done it in your life. And take a page from David's book, and simply lift your hands, and say:
God, I thank you. I thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I thank you that you know me. I thank you that you love me. I thank you that you're making a way for me. I thank you that you've spared me from judgment. I thank you that I'm redeemed. I thank you for the breath that I have to breathe. I thank you for the strength that I have to live, and move, and have my being. I thank you for the way you feed me, you clothe me, you provide for me. I thank you, Heavenly Father, for everything that I have, because it's come from you. "Every good and every perfect gift comes from the father above". So Lord, I just lift my hands and I give you thanks and praise. I thank you for the mountain that's in front of me, because you made me a mountain climber. I thank you for the battle that I'm fighting in, because you made me more than a conqueror. I thank you for the enemies that are coming against me, because when you send them fleeing, the world will know that the God that I serve is on the throne and everything is going to be all right!
Child of God, if you feel forgotten, lift your hands and give the Lord thanks and praise, because God forgets no one!
God has perfect knowledge of you, so he cannot forgot you. But God doesn't forget several things. One, he doesn't forget the work that you do in his name. Here's what Jesus said in the book of Matthew: he said, "Whoever gives one of these little ones a cup of water in my name, assuredly I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward". You say, "It's just a cup of water". God says, if you do it in my name, I'm going to make sure that you get repaid for it. Here's what the book of Hebrews says in the 6th chapter: it says, "For God is not unjust to forget your work". And then it gives it this title, "Your labor of love", say that with me, "Your labor of love which you have shown towards his name: in that you have ministered and do minister to the saints".
Now what the Bible is telling us there is that God looks at what you do in his name as a labor of love that you do on a consistent basis. And he says he's not unjust: he will reward you for that. What does that mean? One, that means that everybody has something that they can do in faithful service to the kingdom. You say, "Well I just don't know what that is". Give us a chance. We'll help you find it. Two, it means that you have to labor in his name. And if you ever want to know whose name you're laboring in, take your name off of it. And if it offends you, it's about you: it's not about him. When the thing that you're most concerned with is that God gets all the glory, then you know you're working in his name. A labor of love is not only done in his name: a labor of love is done with excellence. Why? Because if it's done for God, then you should do it first class.
Don't you do anything half heartedly and call it God's. Whenever he gave to you, he gave you his absolute best. When you give to him, you give to him the exact same way. Not only is a labor of love done with excellence, not only is a labor of love done in his name, but a labor of love is done consistently. That means that it's good when everybody's watching and it's just as good when nobody knows. Here at cornerstone, we call those, who labor in love, "Difference makers". Why? Because they all make a difference. It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter what you do. If you're in the parking lot smiling and waving when they come through the gates, or you're at the door shaking hands, or you're here in the sanctuary welcoming people in, or you're in the choir loft leading us in worship, or you're out in the Sunday school class up to your neck in five year olds.
I've been there. It's a labor of love. It's done in his name. It's done for his glory. It's done for his kingdom. And because you do it, you're making a difference. And God bless you for what you do. God remembers your work and God remembers your tears. Here's what the Bible says in Psalm 56:8: it says, "My tears you keep in a bottle. Are they not written in your book"? Now think about that. When God is writing something down in a book, he's taking an accounting of it. Why is he so interested in every tear that you cry? Here's why: because he is such an exact God so into detail that he wants to keep every promise he's ever made to you. And when you read Revelation 21:4, here's what the Bible says: it says, "And when we see him face to face, he will wipe away the tears from our eyes".
How can he wipe away the tears if he hasn't collected them all? It's not a symbolic statement. What God is saying is every tear that you've ever cried in sorrow, I'm going to wipe every one of them away. And I'm going to fill your life with such joy, and such peace, and such happiness: that you will never shed another tear. There will be no more crying. There will be no more parting. There will be no more death, because the former things have passed away: and behold, all thing have become new. Child of God, when he sees you, he's going to wipe away the tears that you cried when you lost a loved one. When he sees you, he's going to wipe away the tears that you cried when you failed in failure. When he sees you, he's going to wipe away the tears that you cried when your heart broke and your dreams were destroyed. When he sees you, he's going to wipe away the tears that you cried when nobody could hear you, when nobody knew you, when nobody saw you. Why? Because the former things are going to pass away: and behold, all things will become new! Give the Lord a handclap of praise!
God not only remembers your works and your tears, but God remembers his word. "His word will not return void". And I believe that the reason Noah didn't feel forgotten is because Noah had a promise before he ever started the process. The promise was, Noah, I'm sending a flood, but I'm saving you. Genesis 6:17, "Behold, I am bringing flood waters on the earth. And everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, with you and your sons, your wife, and the wives of your sons with you". Before he even got in the problem, God sent him a promise. And God has sent a promise to you today. You say, "Well I've never had a conversation with God like he had with Noah". Sure you have. We've just had one for the last 40 minutes and 36, 7, 8, 9 seconds.
Just as Noah heard the spoken word, today you have heard the written word spoken in this message. And if you don't think that that's a word from God for you today, then you need to get your ears checked. You say, "Well what are you talking about"? Oh, the other day, I was talking to my son, j.W. I said, "J.W., did you hear me"? I got no response. "J.W., are you listening"? And the boy's about eight feet away from me. Now I don't know if you've experienced this phenomenon, but I was starting to get a little frustrated. And then upon further review, I recognized that there was this little plastic piece of technology stuck in his head.
How many of you've seen those kids? They look like space invaders. And he had his music going on in his ears. And the answer was true. No, he didn't hear me. I thought, all right: I got you. I said, "Joel, Madison, let's go to dairy queen and get a blizzard". We came back, and j.W. Was like, "Where did everybody go"? I said, "Dude, you were in your own world. We were on a different mission. Congratulations". "Well, can I have a blizzard"? "No, you missed the blessing". "Why"? "Because you were listening to something else when dad was trying to talk to you".
You see each and every Sunday, people come into this sanctuary, and God is talking to you. God is opening up to you. He's got blessings for you. He wants to find you in the moment of your need and show you what a mighty God he is. But the problem is you come into this sanctuary, and you're still listening to the noise outside in the world. You're still listening to the opinions of the people that you work with. You're still listening to the circumstances and the situations that you couldn't control even if you had the ability to.
And God is sitting here saying, "Take that out of your ears and listen to what I have to say to you. I am going to make you the head and not the tail. I'm going to make you above and not beneath. If you will abide in my word, and my word abides in you, whatever you ask for in my name, you shall have it. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. I've conquered death, hell and the grave on your behalf". Child of God, no matter what you're going through, the God who you serve is going with you! And you will be more than a conqueror through Christ!
Can we stand in the presence of the Lord? God's talking to you today. He's telling you, I haven't forgotten you. I know who you are. I know what you need. I know what you're going through. And I have the answer. Today some of you in this place need to do what David did. Simply lift your hands and just begin to thank God. You might not even know what you're thanking him for. But just start where you're at. Say:
God, I thank you that I can stand in this sanctuary and I can praise you. I thank you that I have the opportunity to be in your presence because of the blood of Jesus Christ that has been shed for my life. I thank you that my needs have been met. I thank you, father, for my friends, and my family, and my relationships. I thank you, Lord, that you know me. I thank you that you've created me. I thank you that you have a plan for me. I thank you that you've already solved whatever problem it is that I carried into this place. And today, Lord, I praise you because you're going to make a way where there seems to be no way. I praise you because you're going to move any mountain that I can't climb. I praise you because you're going to put a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I thank you, father: for everything that I have, you've given. I thank you, father: for you are indeed the glory and the lifter of my head. I thank you, father, because your name is a strong tower that the righteous can run into and are saved. I thank you, father, because you're an ever present help in a time of trouble. I thank you, God, because you are great and greatly to be praised!
Just take a moment and thank him. Just thank him.
Father, in this place today, there are people who feel forgotten. Let that fear, let that anxiety, let that heartache vanish, in the mighty name of Jesus. And let faith replace what fear created. And let hope baptize what despair has done. And let grace cover a multitude of sin: that we, your people, standing in this ark of salvation, would be able to walk from this place knowing that the God that we serve is in total control, and everything is going to be all right. In Jesus' name, we pray. And all of God's children said, praise the Lord.