Summary: We have all been influenced by saints who have gone before us. What kind of legacy have they left for you?
May 29, 2011
Text: Hebrews 12:1-3
Subject: Memorial Day
Title: A Great Cloud of Witnesses - Who Has Made a Way for You?
We celebrate Memorial Day tomorrow. As I was preparing my sermon I started thinking about what Memorial Day really means, and I wondered how many really understand what it is about – especially our younger generation. Memorial day is the day we set aside to recognize all of our military personnel who have given their lives for their country. How many of us can say that we know someone – a friend or family member that gave their lives for their country? What a privilege it is to be able to say that. Unfortunately there are many whose names we will never know who have given their lives for us. The number of Americans who have lost their lives due to war since the founding of our great country is about 1,350,000. The total wounded comes to about 1,500,000. I like to take it even a step further. Every man or woman who has ever served in service to our country has faced the possibility that they could become one of those who have fallen. So in light of that thought I would like to ask everyone here who has ever served to stand. We thank you for putting your lives on the line for our freedom. We are so thankful that you didn’t become a statistic of war during your time in serving. You all are heroes. Thank you! We live in a nation that is worth fighting for, Amen? Are we great because we are a great people? No! We are great because this nation was ordained by a great God. And contrary to the rhetoric espoused by our president we are still a Christian nation. In 2007 70 – 80% of Americans considered themselves Christians. That doesn’t mean that they actually are Christians, but at least they align themselves with Christianity. The lives of those who fought for our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice still live on as a testimony to the greatness of our country.
Moving on in that line of thought I want to take you to Hebrews chapter 11. You know that this is the great faith chapter. There is much to be learned about faith by seeing the faith of those who came before us in action. Hebrews 11 is the story of God’s army in action. The things that this army accomplished they accomplished under the direction of their commander in chief. They didn’t try to figure out the battle plan – they simply accepted His word by faith. The word “faith” is used 27 times in Hebrews 11. Twenty-two different people are given as examples of faith. Add to that one nation – Israel (verse 29)– and another group of people – the prophets (verse 32) – And the number rises dramatically. On top of that there are at least twenty-five prophetic acts that accompanied those people. Finally, we see a list of the things that happened to those who lived by faith. Thirteen different forms of persecution are mentioned from verses 35-38. The chapter ends with these great verses. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.