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Summary: On Memorial Day we remember also Christ’s death and sacrifice to set us free and give us eternal life.

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Remember, Relate, and Rejoice

Sermon for Memorial Day weekend 2009

Scripture : Acts 1:15-17 21-26

I John 5:9-13

John 17:6-19

As we come together this Memorial Day weekend, I know that many of you have special memories related to someone serving in the military. Perhaps you are a veteran or someone in your family may have died in a war or be serving even now in Iraq.

We want to honor their sacrifice and perpetuate the memory of those willing to give their lives so that we might live free. And perhaps this is the closest we may come to understanding just what kind of sacrifice Jesus made to give us eternal life.

He faced the enemy of death and sin in our place and gave his life.

I’ve titled today’s sermon….

REMEMBER, RELATE, and REJOICE.

We honor our military heroes on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day and Flag Day.

In America we proudly display our red white and blue and wave the flag and sing the national anthem even when our country may be in economic crisis or in a war that we all may not agree on.

We as Christians celebrate Easter Day as a time to remember our Lord’s great act of sacrifice for us.

There is a Christian flag and a pledge to that flag which I learned a long time ago in vacation Bible school, but I am not sure that it is even memorized by today’s children.

We do still sing the song, “Onward Christian Soldier” (marching as to war) but do we think of our lives as a battle against sin and slavery to the evils of this world?

Are we relating to Christ’s victory?

Are we rejoicing in what he won for us?

All through the Bible the people of God were instructed to remember what God had done for them.

When he parted the Red Sea, when he gave them water from the rock and sent manna from heaven to feed them in the wilderness, and when he delivered them from their enemies, all of these things were depicting the eventual salvation from sin that Christ would come and accomplish.

Death was swallowed up in victory just as Pharaoh’s army was swallowed up by the Red Sea.

Jesus is our rock from which we get living water and the bread of heaven which came down to feed our souls

Just as in the Old Testament God’s people were told to remember the Sabbath, every Sunday is to be a memorial day of His resurrection on the first day of the week.

Jesus established the Lord’s Supper and said, “do this in remembrance of me.” The cup reminds us of His blood and the bread His broken body Yes, remembering is something God is very concerned that we do.

During revolutionary wartime soldiers were involved in hand to hand combat. Lines of soldiers faced the enemy and when some on the front rows fell, others on the next row moved up into their places.

We know that Jesus chose twelve men to become his closest companions during his time on this earth. They were mentored by Him and caught the vision of what his life was all about. They saw His compassion, heard His teachings and saw Him model the life of sacrifice.

Once Jesus returned to heaven, his followers had to keep his memory alive and relate the stories of his work and ministry. They believed they needed to fill the gap left by Judas so that a continual “army” of twelve could go out witnessing.

They proposed two men who had followed Jesus from the time of His baptism by John the Baptist through the time of His ascension. They prayed and cast lots and believed God had prepared Matthias when the lot fell to him.

Through the eye-witness accounts that they told and wrote about, we have a heritage of ministry left by real heroes who were willing to suffer and perish for the faith.

If you ever look up how each of the apostles died, you will see they were martyrs in every sense of the word.

But since their time, thousands of others have answered the call to go and tell the news of our salvation in many areas of ministry throughout the world.

Preachers, teachers, singers, missionaries, translators, and young and old in all walks of life have spread the news that Jesus came to die for our sins and set us free to live for him.

“Their iniquities I will remember no more,” Hebrews 8:12 says.

This news is too good not to share.

As soon as you become a believer, you become qualified to be a gap-filler.

You were not an eyewitness but you have the witness of the Spirit birthed inside you when you believe.

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