Summary: Begins with a brief recognition of the meaning of Memorial Day, and then segues into the three memorials in the New Testament: communion, baptism and a Christ-like life.

Memorials to the Master

Memorial Day Sermon

Chuck Sligh

May 24, 2015

Adapted from a sermon outline in Preach for a Year, #5, by Roger Campbell.

TEXT: Turn to 1 Corinthians 11


Memorial Day was established in 1868 to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. It has grown to become a solemn remembrance of all of our nation’s war dead and the price they paid for our freedoms.

Joke – A church had a bulletin board decorated with pictures of soldiers who had died in the service to their country. A little boy was looking up at the board when the pastor came up. The boy asked what the board with the pictures was about, so the pastor explained that the pictures were the men from their church who had died in the service. The little boy paused for a moment and then said, “The morning worship service or the evening service?”

A little boy’s innocence belies the seriousness of grown-up realities.

We need to remember, don’t we?—Because we had a tendency to forget if we don’t remind ourselves to remember. My dad has Alzheimer’s, a condition that causes a person to forget the past. One of his practices, until recently when he has really gone down, was to make notes to himself to help him remember things.

Illus. – [Illustration about our natural tendency not to remember important things as we ought. Best not to be another humorous one given the solemnity of Memorial Day.]

We need ways to remember, and setting aside a certain day each year to remember is what Memorial Day is all about. It’s a little note on our calendar that reminds us, “Don’t forget” the sacrifices of those who served and those who died for our freedoms.

The price of freedom has always been high. We take too lightly the blessings bought with blood—so we set aside a day to remember that it is those soldiers who served and sacrificed and died to preserve the precious freedoms we treasure as Americans.

• It’s the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

• It’s the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

• It’s the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

• It is the soldier—who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag—who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Yes, the price of freedom has been high.

Death, suffering, blood, loss of limb, brain injuries, grieving wives, fatherless children—THAT is the price paid for our freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom from search or seizure without a warrant or just cause, and many other freedoms we have.

Yes the price of freedom has been high, so we should pause, take time to remember and thank God for those who purchased our freedoms at such great cost.

But I want you think about something else: The death of Christ also purchased freedoms for us—freedom from fear; freedom from judgment; freedom from hell; freedom from the slavery to sin; freedom from a guilty conscience; freedom from a sinful past.

And you know what—there are some “Memorials to the Master” we have in Christianity. defines a “memorial” as “something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc., as a monument or a holiday.”

Let’s think about three “Memorials to the Master” in the Bible this morning:


Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 who established the Lord’s Supper and why. – There Paul says, “I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”

The Lord’s Supper is a memorial to Christ’s death. It’s a remembrance. It’s designed to preserve the memory of Jesus and what He did on the cross. And just as we set aside a time once a year to remember those who have fallen to secure our political freedoms, likewise we should set aside time to remember the sacrifice of Him who secured our spiritual freedoms.

There are many misunderstandings about communion based on tradition and man’s teaching, but which have no basis in the Bible.

• Some think of communion as a means to salvation.

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