Summary: A Memorial Day sermon that transitions from the normal Memorial Day themes to the idea of our lives being a living memorial with the foundation of God's Word, the framework of faith in Jesus Christ, and the walls of works.

Building a Living Memorial

Memorial Day Sermon

Chuck Sligh

May 26, 2013

The skeleton and some of the basic thoughts for this sermon is borrowed from a sermon by Daniel Austin titled A Living Memorial which may be found on Most of the meat on the skeleton is pretty much my own fault.

A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available by mailing a request to me at

TEXT: Philippians 1:3-5 – “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.”


Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Originally called Decoration Day, it is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. I’m so thankful for ALL the sacrifices our soldiers and their families make to defend our country and all it stands for.

But the greatest debt we owe is to those who made the ULTIMATE sacrifice for our country by giving their lives for their country. Many of you may have a grandfather, a father, an uncle, a brother, a close friend or a fellow soldier who died in the service of our country. May we never forget that freedom is not free: it is paid for by the blood of patriots.

It’s important that we have days like Memorial Day to help us to remember those things that are worthy of being remembered.

We have many ways to memorialize the things we feel are important:

• We have PRIVATE memorials in things like scrapbooks, diaries, photo albums, and family videos.

• We have PUBLIC memorials, often landmarks: Dams, bridges, highways, libraries, schools, and websites, not to mention statues and national memorials to fallen soldiers, all created so that we will call to remembrance the importance of these past deeds and the people who did them.

• THE OLD TESTAMENT is full of memorials and calls to remember important events and people.

For instance…

> You may not know it, but THE RAINBOW was a memorial of God’s judgment against sin and of His promise that He would never again destroy the world by a flood.

> THE PASSOVER FEAST was a memorial to remind the children of Israel of how God delivered them from captivity to the Land of Promise.

> God instructed the Israelites to build MEMORIALS OF RIVER STONES to memorialize the Ark of the Covenant crossing of the Jordan River.

God instituted these memorials so His people would remember important historical events from the past.

• Fast forward, and we see that God instituted memorials in THE NEW TESTAMENT as well:

> THE LORD’S SUPPER is a memorial. Jesus commanded “do this in remembrance of me”—and churches have been commemorating the Lord’s Supper, or communion for over two millennia, just as we did this morning. It’s a symbolic memorial: the bread reminding us to look back and remember the body of Christ that was given up for our sins on the cross, and the blood reminding us of the blood He shed to save us from our sins.

> BAPTISM is a memorial. – It too is symbolic, a visual reminder of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins.

But I want you to consider something else this morning—the idea that your very life should be a memorial. I’d like you to consider this morning what kind of memorial you’re building with your life—your personal living memorial.

Each of us is building one, you know. Whether consciously or unconsciously, it’s happening. For our family, our friends, our co-workers, and the brethren—we’re building a memorial that will remain after we’re gone. How will you be remembered after you are gone?

Illus. – On June 3, 2003—just a few days short of ten years ago—we buried my mother. At the funeral, several of my siblings and I got up and shared something significant about how our mother had touched our lives in significant ways. I had the privilege and burden of preaching her funeral—the hardest thing I ever did in my life. But in that sermon I related some wonderful ways her life mattered in others’ lives.

Her life was a memorial of service to God and others.

• She served her God with dedication and passion.

• She served her family with the same amount of commitment.

• She served my dad in ways he never fully appreciated until she was gone.

• She served her church as a beacon of light, as an example for others to follow.

People from around the country came to her funeral to testify what a blessing she had been in their lives.

One of these days, you will leave this earth just as my mother did, that much we know for sure. What we don’t know yet is… What will your loved ones remember about your life? What kind of memorial will you leave?

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