Temple Baptist Church - 5-27-2012
A. Tomorrow is Memorial Day. A day set aside to remember our war dead. As we cook out, travel, or just relax for the day—let us spend the day in remembrance of those who gave their lives for that freedom so relished and cherished by our nation.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971. On this day we need to pause and thank God for the men and the women who served our Armed Forces to bring Liberty and Justice for all to our country. May we truly pause and remember their sacrifice, their service, and their blood.
B. Memorial Day:
1. It is a time of remembrance. As far as the accuracy of such a count goes, no one will ever know the real statistics of those who died or were wounded in all ways (I also count those of Law Enforcement who have given their lives; a count which has risen by 13% this past year alone). The best numbers that I have including Afghanistan to this day are: a) Total dead in all wars: 1,343,812 b) Total wounded in all wars: 1,529,230. Almost 3 million men and (unfortunately) women total have either died or been wounded in all wars. All who have either served or had a loved one who served gave some while many of these gave all.
2. It is a time of reflection. Where would we be today had these not died? What language would we be speaking had it not been for these who fought so bravely? They were scared just as we would have been. They wanted to live just as we want to live. They had families, parents, spouses, children and grandchildren just as we have. They deserved life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness just as we. There are over 3 million serving (either active or reserve) today in our military with over 25 million VETS living in our land. As we sit in church, there are those still in harm’s way.
3. It is a time of thanksgiving. We are the most blessed nation on the face of the earth! More than we even understand because this bounty is all that many of us have ever known. We take this blessing of freedom and plenty for granted but it was not always this way. Thank you for serving. Thank the Lord for supplying.
C. The Courage Of Our Military To Die And Our People To Sacrifice – “Give me liberty or give me death” has been the motto of every American fighting man in all wars. I gave some statistics of those who died but could not count the countless millions who have served in all branches of the military. They lay behind the bodies of their dead brothers while the bullets whizzed past their heads and returned fire. They still join up; they still fight; and they still die. Their crosses are around the world from Normandy to the South Pacific to North Africa to Arlington National Cemetery where the Tomb of the Unknowns (also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) stands. Upon that sacred Tomb are engraved these words: “HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD.” The willingness of our nation to sacrifice – families have sacrificed their sons and daughters; they have sacrificed their moneys and possessions; they have sacrificed their personal desires for the betterment of the nation as a whole.
D. I want to say again this year that freedom in a privilege, not a right! Freedom was not always for all! Freedom has never been free! There are many in these countries that enjoy the freedoms while misusing them.
1. We do not have the freedom to do wrong in this land.
2. We do not have the freedom to live here and defame this land.
3. America has had some sordidness in its history and still is not a perfect land, but it is my country and I say, “Love it or leave it.”
E. New Hampshire has a slogan on their license plates that reads: “Live Free Or Die.” A nation that will not fight will not remain free! Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death!” It is the cry of the patriot and is the prerequisite for freedom. In order to live free, men must sometimes die.
F. I want to read two oaths to you:
1. Oath of Enlistment into our military:
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
2. The Oath of U.S. Citizenship and Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution
I hereby declare, on oath,
· that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
· that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
· that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
· that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law;
· that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law;
· that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law;
· and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
In acknowledgement whereof I have hereunto affixed my signature.
G. Our text for this morning tells of Another who gave His life freely that we might live: our Lord Jesus Christ. As men and women sacrificed for our physical Freedom, He sacrificed for our spiritual Freedom.
1. Christ Loved Sinners - John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (A love underserved; a love not accepted by most; a love so often not returned by saints; a love that is eternal in spite of our continued faults and failures.)
2. Christ Left Heaven’s Glory - 2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (The Richest of the rich became the Poorest of poor that the poorest of poor might become the richest of the rich! Born in a stable and, as a grown man, He slept under the stars with a stone for a pillow; He gleaned with the poorest of the poor in the fields of the rich; the Glory of heaven and Israel’s long awaited Messiah rejected by those He came to save.)
3. Christ Lived To Die - Romans 5:6-8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (For those who are helpless and hopeless, “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”)
4. Christ Longs For Us - John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (We are saved, sure, secure, and sealed until the day of redemption. One day He is coming as He said for those whom He has redeemed.)
Conclusion: Tomorrow we will remember our war dead. They died that we might live free. Today, we remember our Lord’s death. He died that we might live eternally free with Him.