Summary: Our annual Memorial Day message
It is the VETRAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETRAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETRAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETRAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETRAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETRAN, not the politician, Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the VETRAN who salutes the Flag,
It is the VETRAN who serves under the Flag.
It is the VETRAN who rests under the Flag.
(Adapted from the Sermon Central message Memorial Day Service by Richard Horn)
As we celebrate Memorial Day, it is far more than just a day that we get off from work. It is more than just a day that we break out our flags and feel patriotic. It is more than a time for parades and cookouts.
Memorial Day is set aside as a time to remember those who have gone before us. It is set aside to remember the sacrifices of others that have brought us to where we are in life. It is to remember that each day we are building a legacy for others to follow behind. The ultimate goal of Memorial Day is to remember.
As Christians, we follow the legacy of Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. What is it that we are to remember about what Jesus has done for us? What is that we should have our focus on during this celebration of Memorial Day? If you have your Bibles please open them to Ephesians 2:11-22
11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called " Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands - 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. Ephesians 2:11-16
Paul specifically focuses on the Gentile believers and that they were in the flesh. He is pointing out that the Gentiles were given the opportunity to come to Christ just the Jews were. God was working to bring the Jews and the Gentiles together in Christ. There would no longer be separation between them because God saw all people the same in Christ. The church needed to embrace this new unity and focus on their common faith in Jesus as the bond that brought them together.
The problem is that many Jews believed that they were right with God merely by being Jewish. Many had the false assumption that they had a relationship with God by birthright. Israel represented God’s chosen people and had a unique position in the world. In the Old Testament, Jews believed that they had a spiritual monopoly with God and that they were the only who could be righteous.
Paul makes it clear that both the Jew and the Gentile needed to come to Christ because of spiritual need. All people were in need of the spiritual renewal that only Jesus could give. Paul calls the Gentiles to remember their former lives when they were far from God. The word here for remember means more than just having a memory. It means to be moved to action on the basis of the memory.
Gentiles were separate from Christ
The Gentiles were not familiar with the Jewish Messiah and the means that would save the world from sin. Due to this lack of knowledge, they were considered separate from the message of the Messiah and the promise of His coming.
Gentiles were not citizens of Israel
The term Gentile was used for anyone who was not born of Jewish descent. Those who were not part of the nation of Israel were not able to join the nation. There was the opportunity for non-Jewish people to convert to the faith and join the Jewish people but they would never be citizens.
Gentiles were foreign to the promises of God