Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

05/28/2017 A.M.

 

Memorial Day – It’s All About Remembering

Joshua 4.1-9 & 20-24

 

Memorial Day is about remembering.

In fact… When you think about it… All our American Holidays are about remembering…

• Remembering Jesus’ Resurrection…

• Mother’s Day…

• Father’s Day…

• Our War Dead… On Memorial Day…

• Our Independence…

• Labor Day…

• Thanksgiving…

• The Birth of Jesus.

 

What a great blessing God has given us in this thing called… Memory.

Think about it a moment... What would life be like if we had NO memory?

Memory is one of the ways we’re made in His Image… God is a memorial minded God.

• He gave Noah the rainbow…

• The Jews Passover and Pentecost

 

In fact, the Bible is replete with instructions and encouragement... Even commands us to… Remember…

• Numbers 15.40... Remember all My commandments and be Holy.

• Deuteronomy 5.15... Remember you were slaves in Egypt... And the Lord brought you out.

• Ecclesiastes 12.1... Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.

• Isaiah 40.8-9... Remember I am God... There’s no other before Me... My ways will not be throated.

• Paul told Timothy... Remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead.

• Memory plays a significant part in our worship… As we commune around the Lord’s Table...

This do in remembranceof Me.

 

The reading found in your Worship Bulletin is about a Jewish Memorial Day…

The Israelite people were ready to cross the Jordan.

It was spring... And the river was flooded... Every wadi was full.

Joshua 4.18 tells us that the river was out of its banks.

But… As the priest stepped into the waters... They parted. And all the people marched across safely. As a memorial to this great eventJoshua was instructed to carry TWELVE stones... One for each tribe... from the middle of the Jordan... and to place them in Gilgal as…a sign…  A monument…A Reminder…  A Memorial… for their children.

 

In our lesson this morning… We are not going to pick up twelve stones… But only three from today’s Jordan… Memorial Day 2017.

Three people we are going to…  remember...Honor...

 

First… We remember those soldiers who died for our freedom.

There’s some argument today about how Memorial Day had its beginning.

Our story starts in Columbus, Mississippi...

It was in April… 1863… A group of elderly women were decorating graves of their Confederate sons who were causalities of the Civil War.

 

One of the women made her way to the corner of the cemetery and began placing flowers on the graves of two Union Soldiers. The others began chiding her… What are you doing… Those are graves of Union Soldiers. I know… And I also know that somewhere in the North…

• A mother mourns the loss of a son...

• A young wife mourns the loss of her husband...

• Children have lost a father… They mourn for their loved ones...As we do for ours.

That small band of ladies set in motion what has become America’s Memorial Day.

 

Five years later, five thousand people gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for ceremonies presided over by General and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant. This was the nation’s first major tribute to those who fell in the Civil War. In that ceremony… American flags were placed on each grave… A tradition that continues today.

 

This kind of… Memorial Day… Decoration Day… On May 30th…Continued through the 19th Century, until in 1971… when an Act of Congress… established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May… to honor the dead of all our wars.

 

Then in 2000 Congress passed The National Moment of Remembrance Act… asking all Americans to pause at 3PM local time on Memorial Day for… a moment of silence… In remembrance of all those who have died in Military service to America.

 

So… Tomorrow… We remember those brave ones who gave a portion of their life… Or perhaps… The ultimate sacrifice upon our country’s altar. A sacrifice that enabled… And continues to enable… the freedoms and liberties we enjoy today.

 

You see Church…

• It’s the soldier… Not the theologian or preacher… Who secured ourfreedom of religion... The freedom to be here this morning worshiping without fear.

• It’s the soldier… Not the reporter… Who has secured our freedom of speech… Of the press…

• It’s the soldier… Not the protestor… Who has secured our freedom to demonstrate.

• It’s the soldier… Not the judge or lawyer… Who has secured our judicial system.

• It is the soldier… Not the businessman who has secured our economic opportunity.

• It is the soldier… Whose coffin is draped with the flag… Who has secured freedom for those who wish to burn the flag.

 

From the battlefields of Bunker Hill and Yorktown… Of the American Revolution…

From the Battle of New Orleans and the War of 1812…

From the Halls of Montezuma representing the Mexican War…

From the fields of... Gettysburg… Shiloh… Prairie Grove… Pea Ridge… Of the Civil War…

From a little place in Cuba… Called San Juan Hill… Of the Spanish American War…

From the trenches of WWI…

From the beaches of... Normandy… The fields of Europe… The jungles of Guadalcanal…Iwo Jima

From the frozen expanses of Korea…

From the Ho Chiminh Trail… To the Mekong Delta… Of Vietnam…

From the smaller battles of... Granada… Panama… And numerous military insurgencies…

From the sand dunes of.. Kuwait and Iraq…

From…Kosovo… Somalia… Iran… Saudia Arabia…

From the mountains of Afghanistan… To the city streets of Pakistan.

Americans have paid… And will continue to pay… The price for our freedom and safety.

 

John F. Kennedy once said… Let every nation know… Whether it wishes us well or ill… That we shall pay any price… Bear any burden… Meet any hardship… Support any friend… Oppose any foe…To assure the survival and the success of Liberty.

 

It was Jesus who said… Greater love has no-one than this… That he lay down his life for his friends.

 

Here it is church… A man is not dead until He is forgotten…Will we forget our soldiers?...Those who gave so much for the freedom that we sometimes take for granted?

We must never forget them… Amen?

 

Can I give you this challenge?... Tomorrow find a National Cemetery… Place a flag or a flower in honor of those who served and have gone before us.

 

There’s a National Cemetery in Fayetteville at the end of Government Avenue… And a Confederate Cemetery at the end of Rock Street on Mt. Sequoia…

 

If you can’t make it to Fayetteville… You can easily find veterans in any local cemetery by the white governmental stone or the military plaque on their grave.

 

The second stone we pick up is that of… family… friends… and church.

God created us for relationships… Memorial Day is about people…Not things!!

 

As a Chaplain… I’ve been at the bedside of dozens who were in their final days or moments.

As they stand on the edge of eternity… I have never had one to say…

• Bring my checkbook…

• Bring my diplomas…

• I want to see the gold watch I was given for forty years work.

• Take me for a ride in my... new automobile… bass boat… or airplane...

• Bury me in this house.

The dying do not surround themselves with things… But with PEOPLE… Loved ones. In the final moments of life… We realize that relationships are what life is all about… A right relationship with God… And with others… All others… Both friend and enemies.

 

We need to remember others… Both living and dead…

We have Biblical examples… Paul wrote to his young friend Timothy…In the first three verses of Second Timothy… He writes…

• I constantly remember you in my prayers…

• Recalling your tears…

• I am reminded of your faith.

 

Church… Do you know what Proverbs 10.7 says?… The memory of the righteous willbe a blessing… But the name of the wicked will rot.

 

So… Tomorrow would be a good time to remember the righteous in our lives…

• Our Parents... Those who gave us life... Many of whom brought us up in the training and instructions of the Lord.

• Those who disciplined…

• Guided…

• Advised…

• And befriended… Us.

 

A couple of weeks ago in our devotional... I gave you the names of those who… Taught me... Disciplined me... Encouraged me... Mentored me... I will be thankful for them tomorrow.

 

Let me challenge your thinking for a moment… Take this Worship Bulletin home with you… And tomorrow make this a part of your Memorial Day celebration…

 

• Take three minutes… 3 Minutes… to name five righteous family members that were instrumental in our being who we are today.

 

• Take three minutes to remember five righteous friends who we are especially thankful that God brought them into our lives… Either years ago or today.

 

• Take three minutes to remember five righteous Christians who taught us about Jesus… Brought us to Christ… Or who enabled our closer walk with God.

 

It was Paul who said… Give everyone what you owe him… If you owe taxes… Pay taxes… If revenue… Then revenue… If respect… Then respect… If honor… Then honor.

Give honor to whom honor is due.

 

So… Tomorrow… Will our Memorial Day be about things?… Places to go?… Fun?… Food?… Shopping?... Playing?…

• Or  will it be about… People… Relationships?

• About remembering… Honoring those special and precious ones God placed in our lives?

 

Stone number three… remember and honor the God who died for us.

Our Scripture reference is from First Corinthians eleven… For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you… 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. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup… You proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

 

• The Lord’s Supper is God’s Memorial Reminder of Jesus and what he’s done to save us.

 

• Sunday is our Spiritual Memorial Day.

 

• The Lord’s Supper is a Memorial…

 

• A Weekly reminder that Jesus came to die for us.

 

How many of us know what First Peter 2.5 says?

Joshua built his memorial from stones taken from the Jordan. Today!…Today!… God builds His Memorial from living stones… Listen… You… Like living stones… Are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood… Offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… You are a chosen people… A royal priesthood… A holy nation… A people belonging to God… That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

 

Church… We are redeemed to become a Memorial...

• If God has forgiven your sins… Removed your guilt... Build Him a livingmemorial with your life daily.

• If God has delivered you from alcohol & drugs… Build Him a memorial.

• If God has healed your body… Build Him a memorial.

• If God has met your financial needs… Build Him a memorial

• If God has delivered you from depression… Build Him a memorial.

• If God has saved your children… Build Him a memorial.

• If God has given you the peace that surpasses all understanding…Build Him a memorial.

• If you are thankful for your salvation… Build Him a memorial.

 

How do we become God’s Memorial?...

By becoming His instrument of righteousness…

• His living sacrifice…

• His living stone.

 

John Wesley once said... We become His living Memorial by serving the Jesus in others…

Doing all the good we can…

By all the means we can…

In all the ways we can…

In all the places we can…

At all the times we can…

To all the people we can…

As long as ever we can.

 

In Galatians chapter six… Paul wrote about this same principle in these words… Let us not become weary in doing good… As we have opportunity… Let us do good to all people… Especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

 

Tomorrow is Memorial Day… How will we celebrate?

• Will we place a flag or flower on a Veterans Grave?

• Will we take three minutes to honor the righteous ones God has brought into our lives?

• Will we remember the God who died for us by serving the Jesus in others?

 

Here it is church... The worst way... The very worst thing we can do to celebrate this weekend is to be indifferenT... by complacent INDIFFERENCE!

• Indifference... Toward our soldiers...

• Being indifferent... Toward our... Parents... Teachers... Both in School and Church... Our Mentors... Our disciplinarians and Our encouragers.

• Indifference toward God... Who loves us... A God who provides uswith every blessing... One who came and died that we might live forever inHeaven.

 

I beg you this morning... Don’t be indifferent to God... If you are not His child… Become His living Memorial... His living Stone… By faith…Repentance… and New Testament baptism.

 

If... as His Child... we need to make some corrections in our life to become His Living Memorial… Let’s do so… As we stand and sing this invitation song together.