Summary: The importance of Jesus Christ in our quest for peace and freedom. Memorializing the sacrifice of Jesus as our Christ who gave us the freedom that we defend war after war.
MEMORIAL DAY 2004
Remembering the sacrifices for our freedom
From Jamestown to Plymouth; from the French and Indians to the struggle for independence; from the wars to end all wars to the present skirmish in Iraq, millions have laid down their lives to make us free.
I lost uncles in WW 1… cousins in WW2… foxhole buddies in Korea… and high school classmates in Viet Nam.
But the one whose sacrifice means the most to me is: Jesus Christ.
Those who were sacrificed in war gave us political freedom… but
Jesus Christ gives us eternal freedom.
No matter what you think... Jesus is REAL!
His sacrifice is real! His salvation is real!
He was born in Bethlehem of Judea ... just like the prophets said.
Tacitus, perhaps the greatest Roman historian of the first century, speaks volumes of Jesus.
Josephus, a Jewish historian born A.D. 37, tells of the crucifixion of Jesus from the Jewish point of view.
The Encyclopedia Britannica uses 20,000 words in describing Jesus… more space than is given to any other single individual -- Aristotle, Cicero, Alexander, Julius Caesar, Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed... all of whom lived ... worked ... and left their mark on history.
But none marked history ... and the future of mankind nearly as much as Jesus ... our Christ.
Jesus is the very hinge-pin of our history.
Since his death, burial and resurrection… He has given us 2 major jobs to do until he returns:
1. Love one another just as God loves us ... and
2. Share the good news of Jesus as the Christ to everyone everywhere.
As we memorialize the sacrifices for our freedom, have we done what he asked us to do?
And, how do you share Christ effectively—with clarity?
Joseph Turner, English painter, painted a picture of a storm at sea that was so realistic ... you could almost feel the wind and the spray in your face.
When asked how he had captured the essence and intensity of the storm so completely, he said:
"I went to the coast of Holland and hired a fisherman to take me out to sea in the next storm.
Entering his boat as a storm was brewing, I asked him to bind me to the mast. Then he steered his boat into the teeth of the storm.
Turner said, "The storm raged with such fury ... that at times I longed to be in the bottom of the boat.
Not only did I see the storm in its raging fury, I felt it, he said.
It blew into me, as it were, until I became a part of it.
Afterwards, I returned to my studio and painted the picture."
How do we show someone the REAL Jesus?
The same way Joe Turner painted the picture of the storm!
We have to EXPERIENCE Jesus ... all the way from creation ... until His return!
Let’s take a look at our JESUS BOOK ... First:
Ephesians 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
This is how we identify with Jesus:
• He is the Head; we are the body.
• He is the bridegroom; we are the bride.
In both ... we—the church—are inseparably joined to Jesus our Christ!
Marriage is NO mystery. Consequently, Paul is referring to something else when he says: This is a great mystery!
As we look at this mystery, we might even get an entirely NEW viewpoint about ADAM, himself.
BUT... a little background first:
THE BIBLE, from page one... line one... all the way to the last word of the last book: The Bible is a JESUS BOOK!
Let’s start on line one:
Gen 1:1, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Where’s Jesus, You ask?
Well, John 1:1 tells us: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
The picture may be dim at first, painted in with broad strokes with very little detail.
Now, we dip into the NEW TESTAMENT to find the detail to more clearly see that it is JESUS as he stood in eternity past and spoke this universe into existence.
Colossians 1:15 tells us: (Jesus...)Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (not the first to be born ... but ranked first above all who are born)
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: