Dear Member, Remember

Bible Book: Romans  12 : 4-5
Subject: Remembering; Blessings of God; Gratitude; Forgetfulness


Dr. Aquilla Webb (1870- ?) provides the following exchange: “‘Yes,’ said Aunt Sarah, surveying her bandaged wrist, ‘the doctor says it's a bad sprain; and the minister says I know now how the church feels, in not having the use of all its members. The minister didn't mean that for just a joke, either; he looked at me as if he wanted to see how I'd take it. I had sense enough, too, to feel I deserved to have him say it to me. A word like that comes home pretty straight when one of your own members is useless, and worse.

‘I've never thought just what being a member of the church meant before, though I've been one for thirty-five years. I've never felt obliged to do what the church wanted done. I felt it was a favor my doing it at all, and half the time I let some one else do it instead. When I was through with work at home, and with what things I like to do outside, then I was willing to do something in the church—if it was the kind of work that suited me. I guess I've been just about as useful a member to the church as the sprained hand is to me, all stiff and crippled, and refusing to bend more than an inch or two.

‘There's lots of things I need to do, but I can't use this member to do them—that's certain. That's the way the minister has felt about me, I guess. I've been a useless member for thirty-five years, that's the long and short of it; and, if the rest of the members had been like me, the church would have been as paralyzed as old Cousin Josiah Jones, who can't move hand or foot. I'm ashamed of myself—I truly am—and things are going to be different from now on’; and Aunt Sarah nodded her head with firm determination, as she looked at the church spire from her window.”1

What kind of church would my church be
If every member were just like me?

Dr. Ray Stedman (1917-1992) shares, “I like the way Dr. [J. Vernon] McGee puts it. He says, ‘Doctors tell us muscles wait for orders from the head to the nerves before they act. If you touch something hot, the fingers send a message up through the nerves to the brain. The message says, ‘You know, it's hot down here’ and then waits until the message comes back from the brain that says, ‘Get out of there!’ So you get out of there. You move! The muscle does not act on its own. It waits for orders from the head. How perfectly God has designed our bodies to illustrate this truth in the church of Christ. We're to wait until we get orders from our living head as to where we are to move, what direction our work is to take, and all.”2

Romans 12:4-5 reads, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”

Dear member, remember these three things.

I. Remember dear member, you were divinely assisted heretofore.

1 Samuel 7:12 reads, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”

You will find the rest of the story about the battle between Israel and the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4-7. Israel carried the Ark of the Covenant into battle as a good luck charm. The Philistines captured it and carried it to the temple of Dagon. After God sent plagues on the Philistines and made their god, Dagon, fall on its face, they quickly returned it to Israel. God thundered causing confusion and defeat of the Philistines. As a reminder of the great victory, Israel set up a memorial stone between Mizpeh and Shen. They called the stone Ebenezer and for years to come, when their descendants saw the stone they remembered God’s help.

Robert Robinson (1735-1790) penned these words in 1758:

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.3

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe writes, “They commemorated the victory (1 Sam. 7:12). The setting up of stones to commemorate significant events has been a part of the Hebrew culture since Jacob set up a memorial at Bethel (Gen. 28:20-22; 35:14). Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan (Josh. 4:9) and twelve more on the western bank at Gilgal to mark the place where the waters opened and Israel crossed into the Promised Land (vv. 4:1-8, 19-21). A great heap of stones in the Achor Valley reminded the Jews of Achan’s disobedience (vv. 7:24-26), and another heap marked the burial place of the king of Ai (8:29). Another heap stood at a cave at Makkedah to mark where five kings had been defeated and slain (10:25-27). Before his death, Joshua set up a ‘witness stone’ to remind the Israelites of their vow to serve the Lord alone and obey Him (24:26-28).”4

J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), founder of the China Inland Mission, recounts, “. . . over our mantelpiece hung two scrolls in the Chinese character--Ebenezer, ‘Hitherto hath the LORD helped us’; and Jehovah-Jireh, ‘The LORD will provide’--and He kept us from doubting for a moment."5 Philippians 1:6 reads, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

On “The place of memorials in the Christian life,” Rev. R. C. Ford explains the following:

I. What the memorial commemorated. It was erected on a battle field where they had been twice defeated. Thus it reminded them of their own

1. Helplessness. But it was also erected on a spot where they had witnessed a great victory, won by God’s help. It therefore also reminded them

2. God was their Helper. The stone also commemorated--

3. The extent of their victory. ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped them,’ as far as this place. It was a kind of border stone marking their advance on a former position.

II. How it helped them. They called it ‘Help Stone.’ In commemorating past help it proved a present help.

1. By keeping them from self-trust.

2. By stimulating their activity. The sight of this stone aroused their patriotism and religious fervour. It was like the flag which stirs the soldier’s martial spirit.

3. It deepened their sense of obligation. To retreat from the position marked by this memorial would have been as disgraceful as for an army to lose its standard.

III. The place of memorial is a Christian life. A written pledge or a spoken vow is for us what ‘Help Stone’ was for Israel. By that act we warn the enemy that he has no more claim upon the territory of our hearts. And each subsequent communion is a gazing afresh upon the memorial of victory won by Christ.”6

Rev. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) comments, “The best of men would faint, if they did not receive mercy from God. And that mercy which has helped us out, and helped us on, hitherto, we may rely upon to help us even to the end.”7

Dear member, remember the Ebenezer stone.

II. Remember dear member, you are divinely attended here and now.

Deuteronomy 33:27a reads, “The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms. . .” This “exceeding great and precious promise” was part of Moses’ last words and blessing upon the nation of Israel. Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015), widow of martyred missionary, Jim Elliot, shared this signature line for over a decade on her radio program, “You are loved with an everlasting love. And underneath are the everlasting arms.”8

Elisha A. Hoffman (1839-1929) penned these words in 1887:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.9

Dr. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) explains, “The filling of the Holy Spirit brings a sharp separation between the believer and the world. Actually, after Pentecost, they were looking at another world. They really saw another world. Nowadays, we perceive that even a large part of evangelical Christianity is trying to convert this world to the Church. We are bringing the world in head over heels—unregenerate, uncleansed, unshriven, unbaptized, unsanctified. We are bringing the world right into the Church. If we can just get some big shot to say something nice about the Church, we rush into print and tell about this fellow and what nice things he said. I don't care at all about big shots, because I serve a living Savior, and Jesus Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings. I believe every man ought to know this ability to see another world.”10

Matthew 28:18-20 reads, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Hebrews 13:5-6 reads, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”

Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot,
He enters all rooms, “the doors being shut,”
He never forsakes; He never is gone,
So count on His presence in darkness and dawn.11

Psalm 90:1 reads, “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Thomas Herbert Darrow (1858-1927) shares the following in The Upward Calling: “We are not the puppets of evil fate, the playthings of blind forces. We are embraced in our father's arms. These very circumstances which we rebel against, these checks and limits which hedge us in, are really the clasp and pressure of His eternal tenderness carrying us along the way which He would have us go.”12 Dr. John Hunter explains, “In times of critical strain and trial to ourselves, and changes in our days which make us feel as if there were nothing steadfast, in the hour of disappointment and unforeseen calamity and loss, in the darkness of temptation and sin, sickness and death, let this be our confidence: ‘The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’—‘thy refuge’ from the world without and the tumults of thine own spirit; 'thy refuge' from all the dark shadows which haunt thee, from sleeplessness, tormenting memories of evil done, and from all invisible terrors; ‘thy refuge’ when thy thoughts baffle thee, and thy faith fails thee; ‘thy refuge’ from the loneliness of life and in the hour of thy final passion and conflict.”13

Dear member, remember the everlasting arms.

III. Remember dear member, you can be divinely affirmed hereafter.

2 Timothy 4:8 reads, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Rev. Walter B. Knight (1897-1995), a former news correspondent, tells, “A young man, having studied violin under a great master, was giving his first recital. Following each number, despite the cheers of the crowd, the boy seemed dissatisfied. Even after the last number, with the shouts louder than ever, the boy stood watching an old man in the top balcony. Finally the old man smiled and nodded approval. Immediately the young man relaxed and beamed his happiness. The plaudits [praise] of the crowd meant nothing until he had won the approval of the master.”14 The approval of Jesus is our primary concern. Romans 14:10 reads, “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-11 reads, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.”    John 5:22-27 reads, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.’”  

Dr. Stephen D. Renn explains, “The metaphorical sense of ‘wreath,’ ‘crown’ refers symbolically to the believer’s eternal reward in glory (cf. 1 Cor. 9:25; Phil. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19; Jas. 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 2:10; 3:11; 4:4). See also Rev. 9:7. In particular, 2 Tim. 4:8 refers to the ‘crown of righteousness.’”15 The only way we can gain a “crown of righteousness” is if we first have the righteousness by grace through faith and that not of ourselves, based on the finished work of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Are you expectantly, trustingly, and obediently, waiting for our Lord’s return? If you are, on the authority of God’s Word, you will receive the “crown of righteousness.” Philippians 3:20-21 reads, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”  

Dear member, remember the eternal rewards.


Dr. A. W. Tozer cautions, “The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful 'adjustment' to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints.”16

Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) warns, “This falling away today, however, is not only from doctrine; it is also from the New Testament standard of Christian conduct. One does not have to be decent to be a church member. Church rolls are stuffed with multitudes of the unregenerate going to hell on a church letter. Others are saved, but they are noun Christians when they need to be adjective Christians. Don't forget that the word Christian is both a noun and an adjective. We need more Christian Christians.”17

Dear member, remember

the Ebenezer stone — you were divinely assisted heretofore;
the everlasting arms — you are divinely attended here and now; and
the eternal rewards — you can be divinely affirmed hereafter.

Remember the words of our text recorded in Romans 12:4-5, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Dear member, remember.


1Aquilla Webb, One Thousand Evangelistic Illustrations #112 “Useless Church Member” (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1921), 51.

2Ray Stedman, “The Body of Christ” Sermon Notes (Romans 12:4-5). 

3Robert Robinson, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (1758).

4Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Successful (1 Samuel), 224. Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp. 

5J. Hudson Taylor, A Retrospect, Chapter 16 “Timely Supplies” Accessed: 07/21/17 .

6The Expository Times, ed. James Hastings Vol. 7 Oct. 1895- Sept. 1896, R. C. Ford, “A Helpful Memorial” (1 Samuel 7:12) (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1896), 86-87. [Also published in The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell, (New York, 1905-1909) R. C. Ford, “The Place of Memorials in the Christian Life” Accessed: 07/27/17 .]

7Matthew Henry, A Commentary upon the Holy Bible: Romans to Revelation, Volume 6 (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1835), 195.

8Debbie McDaniel, “40 Inspiring Quotes from Elisabeth Elliot” June 17, 2015, Accessed: 07/17/17  .

9Elisha A. Hoffman, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” (1887).

10A.W. Tozer, The Counselor: Straight Talk about the Holy Spirit from a 20th-Century Prophet (Camp Hill, PA WingSpread Publishers / Zur Ltd. 1993), 145.

11Paul Rader, “Only Believe” (1921). Accessed: 07/20/17 .

12Thomas Herbert Darlow, The Upward Calling: One Hundred Short Addresses to Young Men and Women (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1905), 154.

13John Hunter, De Profundis Clamavi: And Other Sermons (London: Williams & Norgate, 1908), 323. 

14Walter B. Knight, Knight’s Master Book of 4,000 Illustrations (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1956), 571-572.

15Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Word Studies for Key English Bible Words Based on the Hebrew and Greek Texts, ed., Stephen D. Renn, “stephanos”, #G4735 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2005), 225. Database 2007 © WORDsearch Corp.

16A. W. Tozer, Man, the Dwelling Place of God: What It Means to Have Christ Living in You (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread Publishers / Zur Ltd.,1997), 195.

17Vance Havner, On This Rock I Stand: And Other Messages (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 75.


Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on in hardcover, paperback and eBook] & /   / (251) 626-6210

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