Summary: Our armed service veterans need to be honored as well as our veterans of faith.
INTRO.- ILL.- Gen. Sherman once said, "You don’t know the horrible aspects of war. I’ve been through two wars and I know. I’ve seen cities and homes in ashes. I’ve seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is hell!"
I don’t mean to contest or contradict Gen. Sherman who has been to war and seen the horror of war, but after considering God’s Word I would have to say that war is not hell. Hell is far worse, but war is hellish.
ILL.- Consider WW II, for example. It’s basic statistics qualify it as by far the greatest war or perhaps the most hellish war in history. In all, 61 countries with 1.7 billion people, three-fourths of the world’s population, took part.
In terms of money spent, it has been put at more than $1 trillion, which makes it more expensive than all other wars combined. The U.S. spent the most money on the war, an estimated $341 billion. Germany was next, with $272 billion; followed by the Soviet Union, $192 billion, etc.
The Soviet government has calculated that the USSR lost 30 percent of its national wealth. The full cost to Japan has been estimated at $562 billion. In Germany, bombing and shelling had produced 5 billion cubic yards of rubble.
The human cost, not including between 5.6 million and 5.9 million Jews killed in the Holocaust who were indirect victims of the war, is estimated to have been 55 million dead-25 million of those military and 30 million civilian.
The human cost of the war fell heaviest on the USSR, for which the official total, military and civilian, is given as more than 20 million killed. The military deaths on both sides in Europe numbered 19 million and in the war against Japan, 6 million. The U.S., which had no significant civilian losses, sustained 292,131 battle deaths and 115,187 deaths from other causes.
What can we conclude from all these figures? WAR IS HELLISH! And our veterans of war need to be honored for giving their lives in service to our country.
Rom. 13:7 "Give honor to whom honor is due."
ILL.- On May 13, 1938 the 11th of November of each year became a legal holiday - - a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day."
Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans."
With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. And we are more than happy to honor all our armed service veterans. They deserve both recognition and honor. God bless all our veterans!
Veterans of another kind need to be considered as well.
Phil. 1:27 "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel."
We are to contend for the faith of the gospel. That word "contending" carries with it the idea of fighting in a battle. Living for Christ in this world is something like fighting a war. We are greatly opposed by the world, it’s thinking and practices. And there are many veterans of the faith who fought this battle against the world and deserve to be remembered and honored.
PROP.- As we remember our armed service veterans, let’s also consider three veterans of faith who have fought the war of faith.
I. VETERAN ENOCH
Gen. 5:24 "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."
Heb. 11:5 "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God."
I CALL ENOCH A MAN AGAINST HUMAN NATURE. He "pleased God." He "walked with God." And it is not natural for people to walk with God. Our human nature is to sin.
ILL.- In the days when there were few cameras and few photographs, and when it was an event in one’s life to have one’s photo taken, an evangelist with a party of friends was enjoying a pleasant Saturday afternoon in Glasgow, Scotland, on a lovely summer day. He carried with him a little leather case containing his Bible and, as he walked along, a company of young people out for an afternoon’s enjoyment approached him and said, "Please will you take our photograph," thinking that the little leather case contained a vest-pocket Kodak.