Memorials

 

Many people view Memorial day weekend as the beginning of camping season. I think many have forgotten what Memorial day is for and even fewer could tell you when it started.

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the ďbirthplaceĒ of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterlooís claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

I think that its important that we as Americans take just few moments to remember that our freedom was won by many soldiers who gave their lives. We need to continue to pray to God for our troops that we have in foreign fields today as they continue to fight for democracy.

I personally think that memorials are a good thing, because it helps us to remember the past events and it can help us to remember to look to future events. So this morning what I would like to do is to look a several different memorials that are found within the Bible. Before, we get to our first one I just want to point out that man did not come up with the concept of memorials God did. When you read in the OT especially you see all kind of memorials that God had the children of Israel set up to remind them and the future generation to observe.

Our first memorial comes from,

Exodus 12:11And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover.12 'For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.13 'Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.14 'So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

 

So our first memorial is the Passover. God wanted the children of Israel to observe the Passover every single year. He wanted them to do this so that they would remember how God had delivered them from the Egyptians bondage and how God passed over them that night and did not kill their first born males. You see, a memorial is not limited to just remembering a war but can be used to remember any event. When a Jew would reflect upon what God had done for them it would bring things back into perspective. Its easy for us to take things for granted but memorials help remind us of the work that was done so that we can have the blessing that we have today. Memorials are usually passed down for generation to generation and this exactly what God wanted done in regards to the Passover.

 

Exodus 13:6-96 "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD.7 "Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.8 "And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.'9 "It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD's law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. 10 "You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.

 

God wanted to ensure that the Passover want forgotten so that all the generations to follow would remember what God had done for them. In a very similar manner the Lords Supper is a memorial for every Christian today to remind us what God did for us through his son Jesus Christ. Notice what Paul tells us in

 

1 Corinthians 5: 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 

Paul is using the OT Passover as a spiritual example for the NT Christian today. The phrase purge out the old leaven is exactly what the children of Israel did to prepare for the Passover. They worked hard to remove all the leaven from there houses. In a spiritual sense every Christian should work hard purge all sin from their life so they can stand clean before God. Paul goes on to tell us that Jesus is our Passover who sacrificed himself for us so that we could have the forgiveness of our sins. Whenever we partake of the Lord Supper today there are several things that we are to remember. Paul describes these things staring in,

 

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

 

One of the things we are to remember is the great sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross. When we eat of the unleavened bread we are to remember his body and when we drink of the fruit of the vine we should think upon his precious blood that he shed for our sakes and how that blood ushered in the new covenant of grace which we now have.

 

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

 

Not only is the Lord supper used to remind us of the sacrifice that Jesus made it also used as a teaching tool to proclaim Jesus death until he come again.

 

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

 

Some have been confused on this passage thinking that a person themselves has to be worthy to partake of the Lords Super but I can tell none of is worthy to partake of it was only by the grace of that we have the honor and privilege to partake of it. What this passage is teaching is that when we partake of the Lords Supper we need to make sure that we are partaking of it for the purpose of remembering what Christ did for us. You see some in the first century were turning the Lord Super into a Pagan ritual and doing things they ought not to be doing. So there was a great need for them to be taught that there is a right way and a wrong way to observer the Lords Supper. We also need to remember that when we partake of the Lordís Supper we are in fellowship with him. As we remember this memorial it will encourage us to live more Christ like lives on a daily basis.

 

Our next memorial comes from

 

Joshua 4: 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe;5 and Joshua said to them: "Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel,6 "that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?'7 "Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever."

 

You see these stones would be a visual reminder of how God guided his people into the promise land. Joshua set up to memorials the first one marked where the priest stood in the middle of the river and the second was where the children of Israel camped for the first time after crossing the river.

 

Joshua 4:21 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."

 

Again, we see this idea of where these memorials were to be taught from generation to generation. Without memorials it would be easy for events that took in the past to be forgotten forever. So far in this lesson we have examined memorials that are used to remind us about what God has done for us. But now I want to us to examine how individuals write their own memorials by they way they live their lives and by the things that they do. Letís look at some Biblical examples.

 

Our first example comes from

 

Mark 14: 3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted?5 "For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they criticized her sharply.6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.7 "For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.8 "She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.9 "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."

 

What a way to be remembered. Here Jesus has reached the point in his life where he is about to be arrested and crucified and this women named Mary (Jn 12:3) poor this very expensive oil Jesus head to anoint for his burial. Let give you an idea of how much the oil was worth. It has been estimated it that it would have taken a full year of work working all day to make enough money to purchase this oil and Mary used to anoint Jesus. Because of Maryís action Jesus makes it know that that she would be remembered forever for what she had done for him. In fact this story is found in all four gospels. The account in John 12 also informs that Jesus forgives Mary of her sins and just Jesus promised what Mary did for him then is still being taught today and it remains a memorial for us today. When think about this story it teaches us several things.

 

1. It teaches not to allow riches of this earth to become more valuable than serving God. Mary didnít care that the oil cost a whole year of wages she used for the Lord and did so gladly. We can look at her and realize that we donít need to be stingy when it comes to giving of our selves or giving of our physical blessing to God.

 

2. Jesus says she had done what she could. You Mary wasnít an apostle she wasnít going to be someone who would preach to thousands but though this act of love that she did for Jesus she would be remembered forever. From this example we learn that God doesnít expect to do things thatwe cannot do but he does expect us do what we can do. I think what Paul says in.

 

2 Corinthians 8:10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack -- that there may be equality.15 As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack."

 

I like what Paul says in verse 12. He says there first must be a willing mind. We must be willing to what we can. We must be willing to live our lives in such a way that we leave behind a memorial that glorifies God.

 

Our next example comes from,

 

Acts 9: 36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.37 But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.38 And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.

 

Here we have another great example of how a person can leave behind a memorial that glorifies God. Dorcas was women who used her abilities and talents to help those around here. One of her good works that she did was making garments for those who needed them. The people around her loved her and they couldnít stand her dieing so they call for Peter and Peter raises herfrom the dead. No doubt this women continued on doing good works and serving God for the rest of he life. This women setsa good example for us to follow today as well. We should do our best to good works for those around us aswell.

 

Our next example comes from,

 

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!"4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?" So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.

 

Even though Cornelius was a gentile he was living his life dedicated to serving God the best way he knew how. He was man who feared God, gave alms and prayed to God always. Even though he was not saved man at this time God recognized the sincerity of heart and his alms and prayers were a memorial before God. Because of his sincere searching for the truth God choose Cornelius and household to be the first gentiles that the gospel wouldbe preached to and to show that God accepted all gentiles into hisplan of salvation. We can see this from

 

Acts 11: 13 "And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, 'Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter,14 'who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.'

 

Since Cornelius and his family had this sincere heart they obeyed the gospel call and were baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins.

 

All these examples I have mentioned so far are good examples of how we should live our lives to bring about memorials that glorify God. However, we can also leave a negative memorial. A good example of that Judas who betrayed Jesus over 30 silver coins. In fact Jesus says this about him.

 

Matthew 26: 24 "The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born."

 

What a way tobe remembered that it would have been better if you had never been born. That is not the kind of memorial that you want to leave behind.

 

This morning we have looked at several aspects about memorials. There is memorial day where we remember the fallen soldiers. There are memorials set up for to remember the things that God has done for us and there are the memorials that we leave behind based on how we lived our lives.

But now here are some crucial questions. What kind of memorial are you going to leave behind? When you die what will people remember about you? Will they say you did what you could or will they say it would have been better if you hadnít been born? We really think about how we live our lives and how we treat others and make every effort to do it in such awaythat we will leave behind a memorial that will glorify God.