Summary: What did Jesus mean by telling the Ephesian church to "remember the height from which you have fallen?"
OPEN: Art Toalston in The Baptist Press - Nov. 15, 2001 reported from New York and he wrote: “The cross has been saved. That’s the cross of steel beams uncovered as workers in New York cleared away debris at the World Trade Center.
Recovery worker Frank Silecchia, who has championed the cross’ preservation, told Baptist Press Nov. 6, the cross has been designated as a memorial by the City of New York.
The cross has been moved to the front of the World Financial Center’s Building Six on West Street, Silecchia said, noting that is final location has not yet been determined.
The beams, at least 6 feet high and four feet wide, were bolted together as part of the original structure. The edges of the beams bear no marking of being cut or welded to make the shape of a cross.
The most heart-wrenching discovery was that a silver object melted onto the cross’ left side was the remains of a firefighter’s jacket who died in the blast. Firefighters say the fire-resistant jacket turned silver and took on the look and consistency of metal when it encountered extreme heat and fire. Now it is wrapped around the left arm of the cross.
APPLY: That cross has been dedicated by New York because it was seen as an appropriate memorial to the bravery and tragedy of Sept. 11th. It’s a proper monument. A fitting memorial to those that had died trying to save others.
As we gather on this Memorial Day Weekend, we need to realize that Memorial Day was also meant as fitting time to remember those who have died for us. This Day has been set aside by our nation to remember those who perished attempting to save us and our nation. Memorial Day is a time to - remember.
I. Memorials have always been important to God because God regards remembering as a critical exercise for His people.
> As the Israelites were preparing to leave the slavery of Egypt for the freedom of the Promised Land, God commanded that they celebrate the first Passover. God told His people “Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name. Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste— so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt.” Deuteronomy 16:2-3
> When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on their way to Jericho:
Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you.
In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:4-7
> On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He held the “Last Supper” in an upper room. And sometime during that meal, Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” Luke 22:17
> When Paul wrote the Christians who were tempted with sin in Rome he told them: “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” Romans 6:2-7
In other words, Baptism was meant to be a memorial to our death as sinners, and a reminder of our resurrection to a new life. When we’re tempted to sin, baptism is God’s way of reminding us of those truths.