Memorial Day Weekend Sermon
THE USS NEW YORK IS AN AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT SHIP.
BUT IT'S NOT JUST ANY ASSAULT SHIP,
IT'S BOW IS MADE OUT OF 24 TONS OF SCRAP STEEL THAT HAD BEEN SALVAGED FROM THE WORLD TRADE CENTER.
THE SCRAP STEEL WAS SENT TO AMITE, LOUISIANA TO BE MELTED DOWN, AND THEN POURED INTO MOLDS
TO FORM THE USS NEW YORK.
BEFORE THE STEEL WAS MELTED DOWN,
THOSE GRUFF STEEL WORKERS WOULD GENTLY TOUCH IT AS THEY WALKED BY.
THEY TREATED THAT STEEL WITH THE UTMOST RESPECT.
THE SHIP WAS FINISHED AND CRISTENED THE NEW YORK ON MARCH 1. 2008.
SOMETIME THIS FALL, THE NEW YORK WILL BE COMMISSIONED AS THE USS NEW YORK.
THE PROSPECTIVE COMMANDING OFFICER IS GOING TO BE F. CURTIS JONES,
HE'S A NATIVE OF BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK.
THE NEW YORK IS A NEW CLASS OF WARSHIP
IT'S DESIGNED FOR MISSIONS THAT INCLUDE
SPECIAL OPERATIONS AGAINST TERRORISTS.
IT WILL CARRY A CREW OF 360 SAILORS AND
700 COMBAT READY MARINES TO BE DELIVERED ASHORE BY HELICOPTERS AND ASSAULT CRAFT.
IT WOULD BE SO FITTING IF IT'S FIRST MISSION;
WAS TO MAKE SURE THAT BIN LADEN
AND HIS TERRIORIST ORGANIZATION WERE TAKEN OUT OF THE PICTURE.
THE SHIPS MOTTO IS NEVER FORGET.
THE SHIPS MOTTO ALMOST SOUNDS LIKE A GRUDGE,
BUT I THINK IT’S DIFFERENT THAN THAT.
I THINK IT FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE REASON THAT WE CELEBRATE A MEMORIAL DAY.
WE MUST NOT FORGET WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST,
BECAUSE IF WE DON'T REMEMBER THE THINGS THAT LED UP TO OUR PAST TRAGEDYS
THEN WE WON'T RECOGNIZE WHEN THEY'RE ABOUT TO HAPPEN AGAIN.
WE OWE IT TO THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES
WE OWE IT TO OUR CHILDREN TO REMEMBER
SO THAT THEY CAN BE SAFE AND SO THAT THEY CAN BE FREE.
TOMORROW IS MEMORIAL DAY,
MEMORIAL DAY IS A DAY THAT WE'VE SET ASIDE FOR
REMEMBERING THE PEOPLE
WHO WERE IMPORTANT IN OUR LIVES.
MEMORIAL DAY IN AMERICA
GOES WAY BACK, TO THE CIVIL WAR.
IN THE BEGINNING, IT WAS CALLED DECORATION DAY,
BECAUSE PEOPLE WOULD DECORATE THE GRAVES
OF THE SOLDIERS WITH FLOWERS AND FLAGS.
WATERLOO, NEW YORK IS CONSIDERED BY SOME TO BE
THE BIRTHPLACE OF MEMORIAL DAY.
ON MAY 5, 1866 THE PEOPLE OF WATERLOO PLACED FLOWERS ON THE GRAVES OF NORTHERN SOLDIERS WHO HAD DIED IN THE CIVIL WAR.
TWO YEARS LATER;
ON MAY 30, 1868 MAJOR GENERAL JOHN LOGAN DECLARED MAY 30 TO BE A DAY FOR HONORING SOLDIERS WHO HAD DIED FIGHTING FOR THE NORTH.
AND THEN IN 1971, IT WAS DECLARED THAT MEMORIAL DAY WAS TO BE OBSERVED ON THE LAST MONDAY IN MAY.
There’s a Professor Named David Blight
of the Yale University History Department that claims,
the first memorial day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic race track in Charleston.
That’s a full year earlier than the 1866 Waterloo date.
The site was at a former Confederate prison camp
where there was a mass grave for Union soldiers who had died in captivity.
The freed slaves took the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave
And put them into individual graves,
Then they fenced in the graveyard and built an entry arch
declaring it to be a Union graveyard.
This was a very daring action for them to take, down in the South especially,
So soon after the North's victory over the South.
THE PURPOSE OF MEMORIAL DAY TODAY,
IS TO HONOR OUR NATIONS MILITARY PERSONEL
WHO WERE KILLED IN WARTIME.
THERE ARE MANY MEMORIALS RECORDED IN THE BIBLE.
1. When Israel crossed the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land for the first time,
God commanded Joshua to pile up a mound of stones at Gilgal. (Joshua 4:20)
These stones were to be a memorial for the sons of Israel to see forever. They were memorializing God’s grace.
2. THERE WAS THE ALTAR THAT ABRAHAM BUILT IN CAANAN
Genesis 12:7 (NIV)
7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
3. THERE WAS THE REPLICA OF THE ALTAR THAT WAS BUILT BY THE 2 ½ TRIBES ON THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE JORDAN.
Joshua 22:10 (NIV)
10 When they came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar there by the Jordan.
WHEN THE OTHER 9 ½ TRIBES HEARD ABOUT THIS ALTAR THEY WERE READY TO GO TO WAR OVER IT.
Joshua 22:24-25 (NIV)
24 “No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 The Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you—you Reubenites and Gadites! You have no share in the Lord.’ So your descendants might cause ours to stop fearing the Lord.
4. THE STONES THAT WERE PUT ON THE PRIESTS EPHOD
WERE THERE AS A MEMORIAL TO THE TWELVE TRIBES.
Exodus 28:12 (NIV)
12 and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord.
Thought. Jesus Christ is our priest and He carries
the names of every believer before the LORD OUR GOD.
He is our Mediator and Intercessor.
No matter what our burden is,
No matter how heavy or terrifying our burden may be,
WE CAN GIVE IT TO JESUS CHRIST.
HE’LL LIFT THE WEIGHT OFF OF OUR SHOULDER,
he’ll strengthen us,
he’ll give us peace and rest from the burdens we carry.
The heavy burdens of the soul need to be freely
GIVEN OVER TO HIM AND PLACED ON
His strong, never-failing shoulders.
There is no burden that is too heavy for Him.
THERE WAS A MEMORIAL OFFERING IN LEVITICUS,
WHERE A PORTION OF THE GRAIN OFFERING WAS TAKEN AS A MEMORIAL AND BURNED ON THE ALTAR.
Leviticus 2:8-9 (NIV)
8 Bring the grain offering made of these things to the Lord; present it to the priest, who shall take it to the altar. 9 He shall take out the memorial portion from the grain offering and burn it on the altar as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.
OUR PRAYERS CAN BE A MEMORIAL.
Acts 10:4 (NIV)
4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.
THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY COUNT WITH GOD.
PRAYING AND GIVING TO THE POOR ARE TWO THINGS THAT GO A LONG WAY TOWARD GETTING GODS ATTENTION.
I. OK, SO WHY DO WE NEED MEMORIALS?
IT SAYS IN
Deuteronomy 6:12-15 (NKJV)?...
beware, LEST YOU FORGET the LORD
who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
from the house of bondage.
A. We NEED MEMORIALS BECAUSE WE HAVE SUCH SHORT MEMORIES.
THEY SAY THAT A GOLDFISH HAS A MEMORY
THAT LASTS ONLY ABOUT 30 SECONDS.
EVERY TIME A GOLD FISH SWIMS AROUND THE POND
THEY'RE ALWAYS AMAZED AT ALL THE NEW STUFF THEY'RE DISCOVERING.
ALTHOUGH THE LIFE OF A GOLDFISH MAY BE CONTINUOUSLY NEW AND EXCITING,
I DON'T RECOMMEND IT FOR PEOPLE, OR FOR NATIONS.
I’M GETTING TO THE PLACE THESE DAYS
THAT I HAVE TO WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN
SO THAT I DONT FORGET TO DO IT.
NOW MY BIGGEST PROBLEM IS FINDING ALL THOSE PIECES OF PAPER THAT I WROTE STUFF ON.
AFTER WE'VE PRAYED AND GOD HAS DELIVERED US,
AND THE DANGER IS ALL PAST,
IT’S JUST EASY TO FORGET ALL ABOUT HIS HELP AND HIS BLESSINGS.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT HAVING A MEMORIAL
IS NOT SAYING
THAT WE SHOULD BE LIVING IN THE PAST.
THAT'S NOT WHAT A MEMORIAL IS FOR.
A MEMORIAL IS THERE TO HELP US
REMEMBER AN IMPORTANT LESSON
SO WE DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AGAIN,
OR A MEMORIAL IS PUT THERE TO HELP US
REMEMBER AN IMPORTANT EVENT
WHEN SOMETHING SPECIAL HAPPENED.
II. WHAT GOOD ARE MEMORIALS
MEMORIALS ARE GOOD FOR TEACHING OUR CHILDREN ABOUT GOD’S POWER AND MERCY.
THE TWELVE STONES FROM THE JORDAN
Joshua 4:19-24 (NKJV)
19 Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. 20 And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. 21 Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; 23 for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
THOSE STONES WERE TO SERVE AS A SIGN TO FUTURE GENERATIONS SHOWING THEM WHAT AN AWESOME GOD THEY SERVED.
Joshua 4:6-7 (NIV)
6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
THOSE STONES WERE PUT THERE TO GIVE PARENTS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SHARING THEIR FAITH WITH THEIR CHILDREN.
CHRISTIANITY IS NEVER MORE THAN ONE GENERATION FROM EXTENCTION.
IT SAYS IN
Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT PARENTS SHOULDN’T GIVE THEIR CHILDREN ANY RELIGIOUS TRAINING.
THEY THINK THAT THE CHILDREN SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO CHOOSE WHETHER OR NOT THEY WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN
WHEN THEY’VE GROWN INTO ADULTHOOD.
THAT’S LIKE FORCING YOUR CHILDREN TO SIT IN A WHEEL CHAIR UNTIL THEY’VE GROWN UP AND THEN LETTING THEM DECIDE IF THEY WANT TO WALK OR NOT.
NO MY FRIEND, IF WE ARE GOING TO PROPERLY EQUIP OUR CHILDREN, WE MUST TEACH THEM ABOUT GOD AND JESUS EARLY IN THEIR LIFE.
WE SHOULD BE A MEMORIAL
OUR VERY LIVES SHOULD BE MEMORIALS TO GOD
A MEMORIAL HELPS TO REACH OUT TO OTHERS WITH THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST
Joshua 4:24 (NIV)
24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
ONE OF OUR MAIN FUNCTIONS AS BELIEVERS IS TO BE WITNESSES TO A LOST AND DYING WORLD.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
W. A. Criswell Said you can’t hide a city set on a hill,
and you can’t hide a noble, worthy, steadfast Christian life." -
III. WHAT SHOULD A MEMORIAL BE LIKE
A MEMORIAL SHOULD BE Enduring
IT SHOULD LAST A LOOOONG TIME.
these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. Joshua 4:7b
The witness of the memorial should be a perpetual declaration
of the power and delivering hand of God.
A LANDMARK CAN BE A MEMORIAL
Proverbs 22:28 "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."
We’ve had several landmark decisions by our Supreme Court.
These landmark decisions have shown God
that we as a nation are intent on eliminating every bit of Christianity from public life.
a. 1962 - Prayer in schools was declared illegal
b. 1963 - Bible reading in Schools was declared illegal
c. 1980 ? declared illegal to post the Ten Commandments in the schools
Today: We are in the process of removing of everything that is Christian from our holidays.
5. Hebrews 12:1 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."
5. The enduring testimony of those who have gone before us has blessed us. Likewise, we should have a lasting testimony to those who follow after us.
A MEMORIAL SHOULD BE UNMISTAKABLE
IT SHOULD BE CLEAR WHAT THE MEMORIAL IS ALL ABOUT
IV. WHAT ARE SOME CHRISTIAN MEMORIAL STONES
BAPTISM IS A CHRISTIAN MEMORIAL STONE
Romans 6:4 (NIV)
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
JOINING THE CHURCH IS A CHRISTIAN MEMORIAL STONE
THE CHURCH EXISTS FOR THREE REASONS:
1. THE CHURCH GETS TOGETHER TO WORSHIP GOD. (WORSHIP)
2. THE CHURCH GETS TOGETHER TO HELP EACH OTHER GROW IN THE LORD. (EDUCATION)
3. THE CHURCH GOES OUT INTO THE WORLD TO BRING THE LOST INTO THE SAFTY OF GOD’S FOLD. (SALVATION)
SOMEONE ONCE SAID:
A Christian church is a body or collection of persons, voluntarily associated together, professing to believe what Christ teaches, to do what Christ commands, to imitate His example, cherish His spirit, and make known His gospel to others.
Our business is not to do something for the church, but to do something with it. SAVE, WORSHIP, EDUCATE)
I Peter 2:9
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:"
THE LORD’S SUPPER IS A MEMORIAL TO OUR LORD’S DEATH.
I Corinthians 11:26
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come."
OUR VERY LIVES SHOULD BE A MEMORIAL TO WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE IN US.
I Peter 2:5
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
2 Corinthians 3:2
"Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:"
Do you understand these words of Jesus? “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12-13).
JESUS GAVE HIS SINLESS LIFE SO THAT WE, WHO DESERVE TO DIE, COULD HAVE ETERNAL LIFE WITH GOD IN HEAVEN.
Paul Harvey Tells a story about an old man who would come to an old broken down pier on the eastern seacoast of Florida.
Every Friday night, until his death in 1973, he would come, walking slowly and slightly stooped with a large bucket of shrimp.
The sea gulls would flock to this old man, and he would feed them from his bucket.
Many years before, in October 1942, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was on a mission in a B-17 to deliver an important message to General Douglas MacArthur in New Guinea.
Somewhere over the South Pacific the Flying Fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio.
Fuel ran dangerously low, so the men ditched their plane in the ocean.
For nearly a month Captain Eddie and his companions fought the water, the weather, and the scorching sun.
They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts.
But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation.
Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to save them.
Then a miracle happened.
Listen as Captain Rickenbacker tells us the story:
“Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a sea gull. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. Everyone else knew too.
No one said a word, but peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces.
They were staring at that gull. The gull meant food . . . if I could catch it.”
Well the rest, as they say, is history. Captain Eddie did catch the gull. They ate its flesh. They used its intestines for bait to catch fish and they survived because this one sea gull gave it’s life for them.
The survivors were sustained, their hopes were renewed because a lone sea gull, hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.
He never forgot and so every Friday evening, about sunset, on a lonely stretch of the eastern Florida seacoast, you could see an old man walking . . . white-haired, bushy-eye browed, slightly bent.
His bucket was filled with shrimp to feed the gulls, to remember that one, which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle.
Just as Eddie Rickenbacker never forgot the gull that gave its life, we should never forget the soldiers of our country who gave up their lives.
Eddie got a second chance at life, and because many brave men and women have died in the armed services fighting for our country’s freedom, we too have a chance at life – a life of freedom.
Both freedom and life never come without a price.