Summary: In this sermon we look at the purpose of Memorial Day, and we look at the importance of remembering Christ
Memorial Day 2018
Text: Deuteronomy 8:11 – 19
Well, this is Memorial Day weekend. And it’s an important holiday. Not just because people get off work. And not because we get to see so many family and friends. Even though those things are nice. It’s important because of what it’s all about.
Memorial Day began after the Civil War, as a day to recognize the fallen soldiers who died fighting for what they believed in. It was originally called Decoration Day as families would decorate the graves of the fallen soldiers with flowers, flags, and ribbons. It didn’t become an official holiday until 1967. And it’s important that we don’t forget those who have given their lives in the service to their country.
In the American Revolution we lost around 8,000 men. In the Civil War, over 490,000 men died. In WWI – 53,402. In WWII – 291,557. The Korean War – 30,880. Vietnam – around 58,000. And in wars and conflicts since Vietnam we’ve lost over 10,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. And so we have Memorial Day to remind us of all those lives lost. Each one of those men and women wanted to live their lives just as badly as you or I want to. They probably wanted to raise families, live in nice homes, with 2.5 kids and dog. They had dreams and plans, and hopes for their futures. So we should remember them and honor them, and that’s why Memorial Day was created. To help us remember the high cost of freedom. The high cost of fighting for freedom. But unfortunately; a lot of folks don’t remember… even though we have this national holiday. To many, it’s not about the lost lives, it’s about getting a day off of work and back yard bar-b-ques. The purpose of the holiday seems to be forgotten. But I guess that shouldn’t be surprising… because a lot of people forget about Jesus as well.
I really think that one of the biggest problems the modern day Church faces is that we forget. We forget that God is God. We forget that He is sovereign, Almighty, and in control. We forget that Jesus is Lord, and that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. We forget that God’s Word is authoritative and that it’s through His Word that God saves us, changes us, sanctifies us, matures us, and transforms us.
I want to share a quote with you from the late pastor and theologian R.C. Sproul.
“The majority of American’s claim to be Christian, and only a small percentage claim to be actual atheists. But the truth is – many within the Church are functional atheists. In other words; they would never say that they do not believe in God, but they live their lives like there is no God. Truly, they profess Christ with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him.”
Now think about this for a second: Atheists do not pray, and neither do functional atheists… even though they say there’s a God, they don’t pray. Their behavior doesn’t line up with their profession. Atheists don’t believe in the authority of God’s Word, and neither do functional atheists… They might say that they believe it’s God’s Word, but it doesn’t rule their lives. Atheists don’t believe in laying up treasures in heaven, and neither do functional atheists – they’re too busy seeking all their treasures here on earth. Atheists only live for themselves, and live for today. Functional atheists are no different.
Now here’s the difference: Atheists believe that there is no God… functional atheists say they believe in God, but their lives show that they really don’t. Basically; the functional atheist is trying to hedge his bets, just in case. He’s become aware of the possibility that there is a God, and he’s aware of the possibility that God is real, and so he’s trying to play the odds and cover all his bases. But the problem is – it doesn’t work that way. Jesus doesn’t give us the option of riding the fence. He says, “Those who are not with Me, are against Me.” He says, “If you’re lukewarm, I’ll spit you out of My mouth.” He says, “You can’t love two masters.”
All through the New Testament He makes this distinction. He separates the sheep and the goats. He separates the wheat and the chaff. He says, “This is My Church, My Body… and this over here isn’t.”
So basically; the functional atheist is someone who has forgotten God. Now what does it mean to forget something, or someone? Well basically it means that thing, or that person; are not in your thoughts, or in your mind. And that happens when other things are in your thoughts or in your mind. Those other things or people have taken the forefront. You’ve set your minds, and your thoughts, and your desires on them. And you dismiss or disregard the thoughts of that other thing… or other person. And that’s what the functional atheist does. Monday through Saturday, the thoughts of God don’t cross their mind. The thoughts of living for Christ, learning about Christ, loving Christ, worshiping Christ… it’s there only one day a week. But the rest of the week, their hearts are far from Him.