Summary: Here’s a Memorial Day Weekend sermon that incorporated the Passover story. It also includes a touching story of how a new battleship forged from sacrifices now serves to preserve our freedom!

A Fitting Memorial!

Exodus 12:1-14

1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2"This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.

3Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ’On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.

4And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb.

5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

6Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.

7And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.

8Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

9Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire--its head with its legs and its entrails.

10You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.

11And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’S Passover.

12For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

13Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

This is the Memorial Day Weekend!

Our cemeteries are decorated with flags and flowers.

Legion and VFW Posts are conducting special services.

Most people visit the cemeteries

to decorate the graves of loved ones

Memorial day started many years ago.

There are 2 main versions of how it got started.

In April 1863, in Columbus, Mississippi after decorating the graves of her two sons who served during the Civil War as Confederate soldiers, an elderly woman also decorated two mounds at the corner of the cemetery. An observer asked, “What are you doing? Those are the graves of two Union soldiers.” Her reply was, “I know. I also know that somewhere in the North, a mother or a young wife mourns for them as we do for ours.” This lady and others set in motion what became known as Memorial Day.

The custom of placing flowers on the graves of the war began on May 5, 1866 in Waterloo, New York, and Waterloo has been recognized by Congress as the official birthplace of Memorial Day. In 1868, General John A. Logan, then president of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that May 30 would be a day to decorate with flowers the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion. After World War I the day was set aside to honor all of the American wars, and the custom was extended to pay homage to deceased relatives and friends, both military and civilian.

Earlier in our service today, we served Communion.

When Jesus sat down with His disciples in the Upper Room…

They had gathered to celebrate The Passover.

Our Bible passage today in Exodus 12

tells us how The Passover celebration began.

Once a year, every Hebrew person observed Passover.

Today’s story is about the USS New York LPD 21. It was officially christened and launched March 1st. It is now stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. The USS New York is the fifth in a new class of warship designed for special operations. It carries a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft. The ship will be used to transport and land Marines, their equipment and supplies, by embarked air cushion or conventional landing craft and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical take off and landing aircraft. USS New York will support amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions throughout the first half of the 21st Century. The USS New York will be defending freedom around the globe.

More of that story a little later!

Passover is where God freed Israel from slavery in Egypt.

The tenth plague was about to fall on the land.

In that plague, the firstborn of each household would die.

But God provided a way of protection for His people.

He told them to sacrifice a lamb

and put the blood of the lamb

on the top and side posts of the door.

Then He promised in Exodus 12:13 “...And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”

There was one essential difference that fateful night

between the Israelites and the Egyptians.

The blood applied by faith in obedience to God’s instruction

made all the difference.

God didn’t say,

I’ll review your works and decide whether you deserve protection

If He had done that,

all of Israel would have been in big trouble.

This is an awesome demonstration of God’s grace.

God Himself provided the way of salvation.

All they had to do was take Him at His word

and do exactly what He told them to do.

The blood applied to the doorposts was the essential difference.

Of course, we know that the blood of those lambs

was only a foreshadowing of the blood

that would provide the eternal protection we all need.

A lamb was sacrificed for each household of the Israelites

and its blood was applied to the doorposts

so the death angel would "pass over" their dwelling

when the firstborn of the Egyptians died.

God instructed Moses

to make the anniversary of this miracle a Memorial Day.

God wanted them to remember some things.

Point #1. God provided the sacrifice

Exodus 12:3-5

Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ’On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

The lamb was supposed to be without blemish.

It could not have spots.

It had to be a pure white lamb!

A spotless lamb had to be sacrificed every year!

Hebrews 9:14 says:

how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

1 Peter 1:18-19

knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

The provision of a spotless Lamb has been made for us all.

The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for us all.

The One sacrifices is without blemish, without spot

and how much better it is than the Old Testament sacrifice.

The blood of Jesus is for all time!

It was the perfect sacrifice.

It is provided where we each can have a hope of eternal life.

Look at Verse 6: Exodus 12:6

Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.

The lamb was to be taken from the flock on the 10th day.

They kept up and fed that lamb by itself until the 14th day.

Then it was to be sacrificed.

The Sacrifice has been provided for us

so we can have spiritual freedom!

There have been thousands of men

who have paid the ultimate sacrifice

so we can have our freedom today.

We have the promise of protection of the Sacrifice.

Let’s get back to our story about the USS New York!

The contract to build the USS New York was awarded to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems of New Orleans, Louisiana in 2003. Hurricane Katrina disrupted construction when it pounded the Gulf Coast, but the 684-foot vessel escaped serious damage, and workers were back at the yard near New Orleans two weeks after the storm. Twenty-four tons of the steel used in its construction were melted down at Amite Foundry and Machine in Amite, Louisiana to cast the ship’s bow section. It was poured into the molds on September 9, 2003. With seven tons melted down and cast to form the ship’s "stem bar" — part of the ship’s bow. The shipyard workers reportedly treated it with "reverence usually accorded to religious relics", gently touching it as they walked by. It was a spiritual moment for everybody there. Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the hair on my neck stood up.

More of that story a little later!

Point 2. God promised the fitting sacrifice

Exodus 12:7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.

The blood of the spotless sacrificed lamb

was smeared on the beam that goes over the door.

Now, look at Verse 13

Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

The house on which this blood is smeared

is under the protection of God

The blood over the door was evidence

that they had complied with the Lord’s directions!

They were under His protection.

With the blood on the doorposts,

they were promised their house was spared.

The promise of God is similar.

When by faith the blood of Jesus is applied to our lives,

we can rest assured we don’t have to fear death.

We can be looking forward to an Eternal Home in heaven

Do you have the blood applied to the doorway of your heart?

Are you covered by the blood of Jesus today?

Can you say if the death angel comes to visit your house

that everything is alright?

Do you have everything clear between yourself and the Savior?

The sacrifice has been provided!

We have the promise of what the sacrifice did for them.

Let us never forget the saving of the sacrifice.

Let us build a memorial

O.K. More of the USS New York story!

The Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS New York was built with 24 tons of scrap steel The 684-foot amphibious transport ship cost the Navy $1 billion to build, but the bow is considered priceless. It includes seven and a half tons of steel recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that was cast as the bow stem. The bow is the tip of the ship that slices through the water. Congressman Vito Fossella from New York said at the christening ceremony at the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding facility in New Orleans, "It’s inspiring to see the wreckage of ground zero transformed into a magnificent and mighty Navy vessel that will patrol our homeland, protect our nation, guard our safety, defend freedom and defend liberty," he said. The ships motto? - "Strength Forged Through Sacrifice. Never Forget!”

We’ll get to the conclusion of that story in a moment!

Point #3. God wants us to properly remember the sacrifice.

Exodus 12:14

So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

God set up the Passover as a memorial.

The Hebrews kept the Passover

to remember the justice and mercy of God.

In Exodus 13:3, God’s word says:

And Moses said to the people: "Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.

Moses told his people to remember the days of bondage.

Let us remember our days before we had spiritual freedom.

Think back to those days

when you were under the bondage of Satan.

Remember the time when you were living how you want to…

And doing what you wanted to.

In reality, you were following where Satan told you to go…

and doing what Satan told you to do.

Let us all set up a memorial

to remember what we were…

and where we were!

Then we will never forget where we have come from

and what God has set us free from.

We should never forget the soldiers who gave up their lives.

Brave men and women have died fighting for our freedom.

We, too, have a chance at life…a life of freedom.

Both freedom and life never come without a price.

The blood of many soldiers paid for the freedom we have today…

just as the blood of the tiny lamb of the Passover

paid for the lives of thousands of Israelites.

A price has to be paid for freedom and life…

and that price is the death of another.

Someone, or something, has to die in order that we might live.

Our soldiers died that we might have a life of freedom…

and Jesus died that we might have life eternal.

In the story of the Passover,

the blood of a lamb was marked on the doorposts

and this caused the destroyer

to pass over the households that were marked with the blood.

This represented the cross of Jesus Christ

upon which the very Lamb of God would give his own life

that we might live forever in God’s kingdom.

If we forget our past of what has happened, then it is very likely that history will repeat itself. We do not want to forget the blood that has been shed so we can enjoy the freedoms which we enjoy now. We never want to forget those who have lost sons, daughters, husbands, mothers, and fathers for the freedom in which we enjoy this morning. You may say, what freedom, well lets take a look, we have freedom of religion, freedom to worship how we want, and to worship whatever God we feel we need to worship. Our flag stands for the freedom that we each enjoy today. Our flag stands for those who have given their lives to sacrifice. Not only does the American flag stand for the freedom as a country, but the Christian flag stands for the freedom we enjoy as Christians.

CLOSING:

Our soldiers died for our freedom…

and Jesus died for our spiritual freedom.

He said in John 8:36

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

In John 10:10 Jesus told us: The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Jesus paid for our spiritual freedom when He died on the cross.

Hebrews 9:22 and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

There is no freedom without the shedding of blood!

We should never forget our many soldiers

who died for our freedom here in America.

More importantly we must never forget our Lord and Savior!

Jesus gave his own life on a cross that we might have eternal life.