. Memorial Day Sermon - Yet Being Dead they Still Speak -

Yet Being Dead they Still Speak
Hebrews 11:4

Compiled by Cooper Abrams

           Introduction: Established in 1868 as a day to honor the fallen soldiers of the just concluded Civil War. Memorial Day has grown to become a solemn recognition of all of our nation's war dead and the high price of our freedoms.

              There is the sense in which the dead, though silent, still speak -- the quality and character of their lives lingering long after they have gone. The writer of Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter, declares of Abel, murdered by his brother but approved by God:

      "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." (vs. 4).

    The Bible itself is a memorial to the greatest sacrifice that will ever be made. It is a record of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ....for you and I....every man, woman, boy and girl here this morning and who have ever been born.

               With all the news media coverage of the WWII memorial in Washington DC and the many stories remembered of so many soldiers from our past wars...who by their sacrifice, many even unto death, it is clear that many Americans dedicated themselves to cause of freedom and they earned us the freedom we enjoy today.

               Yet, in contrast, we have those in our nation who think little or nothing of the sacrifice of their fellow countrymen.

               The have no appreciation for the heritage of this nation and the Judao-Christian principles that has made the nation the greatest and most power nation on earth. God was able to bless the Untied States because His principles we upheld and valued as being the foundation of a proper moral and ethical society.

              Yet, we have the liberals of our nation, including the ACLU, and a major political party who platform includes abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage the destruction of the God given family of a husband and a wife with their children who actions are cutting the very heart out of our country.

               We now have a those in our nation who want to remove the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ from every mention in our society. These same people all the while promote every other "god" and idol of man, including Islam whose basic tenant is "convert to Islam or die" with whom we are at war.

              What a paradox that this weekend we have so many memorial services to honor those who fought for our freedom and at the same time we have so many powerful forces, organizations, including a political party who by their actions have abandoned the very things that made the country the greatest nation on earth.

              Sadly, it appears that it will not be long before these forces destroy this country. What is means for you and I who love the Lord is that we will lose the freedom to openly worship our God and Savior in peace.

              But, be not afraid, the power of God is unaffected. The power of the Gospel to save the sinner is not harmed or lessen in any way....the fact is that the contrast between God and evil is made sharper and easier to discern.

              God has given us the record of those who lived by faith, trusting in Him and not in the temporal things of this world.

ILLUS: I watched news stories of Americans and Japanese shaking hands and embracing each other at WWII reunion at Iwo Jima. To the thousands of brave men who fought on that small island I am sure they could not have imagined while they were fighting and dying there, that one day they would be embracing their enemies. You see all things on this earth are temporal....they change. Some times for good....other times for bad.

          Carolyn and I lived in Germany in 1961-62 at complete peace with the Germans. We were allies in NATO. A short 16 years earlier Americans and Germans were bitter enemies killing each other. I was hard for us to image the horrors of the war that took place there.... It was the German people who ran the death camps of Dachau, Bogen-baugh, Auctwitch and dozens more in which men, women and children were brutally murdered, imprisoned and starved to death, being slaughtered in the name of Nazi...which means German...imperialism.

          Today we are allies....we rebuilt Japan and Germany. How times have changed and how temporal are the affairs of man.

          In spite of the changing world of man, let us not forget that God's promises to those who believe, receive Him as their Lord and Savior, have not nor will be forgotten. The are eternal and not affected by actions of man. Each of us can believe and accept and trust God's promises which are imputable. (Unchanging)

          Let us not forget that all those who in the past have believed God have a sure future in heaven and an eternal life in Him. Let's look at how the Bible teaches us this truth.

          What is it that secures the present and future for the believer in Jesus Christ?

I. Those of God's Hall of Faith, Speak of the Godly Heritage We Ought Not to Forget (Hebrews 11:1-40)

    A. The matter of godly and truth faith

      1. It is defined (Hebrews 11:1)

      2. It is declared (Hebrews 11:6)

      3. It is described -- more than 20 times expressed, "by faith"

    B. Examples of our godly heritage.

      1. Enoch simply believed God and loved his Creator. He was born a sinner, but he believed in God and loved God more than this world.

        a. Verse 5 says, "he had this testimony, that he please God."

        b. How did he please God? He believed and obeyed and that means he did what was right.

        c. Knowing who God is...believing in the promises of God, realizing that to reject God means death, understanding that apart of God there is no life.....he put his faith and future in God's hands.

        v d. One day, God just took him home to heaven.

        e. Do you know that God has offered us the same promise? Heaven can be in all our futures if we will believe and receive Christ as our Savior.

        f. One day, whether we are alive or dead, the Lord will come for us too..... Why? We too can have the testimony that we pleased God.

      2. Noah lived in a evil day, worse than even our time and yet when God told him of the future, of the coming flood which would destroy the world....he like Enoch believed God and for 120 years worked building a ship.

                Only his family believed him. Not one of his relatives, for people in his community believed his preaching...yet he believed and God used him to save mankind.

      3. Abraham's life speaks of faith and obedience. He abandoned much to follow God (Hebrews 11:8-17).

        a. Abram believed God and his faith was demonstrated as true because he obeyed what God said. (Genesis 12:1-8)

        b. God's promise was fulfilled when Isaac Born. (Genesis 21:1-7) There was some doubt on both Abram's and Sarah's part....yet God's promise was such and absolute and sure as if it had already happened.

      2. Joseph's life and faith speaks about purity and wisdom and forgiveness. (Hebrews 11:22)

        a. Purity (Genesis 39:1-12) He would not sin against God.

        b. Forgiveness (Genesis 50:18-21) He had every reason to hate his brothers for selling him into slavery, but he loved them instead and God used him to save the nation of Israel.

      3. Moses speaks about strength and courage. (Hebrews 11:23-28)

        a. There is too much to mention of Moses' life in this short message. He as a great man of faith who believed God and in spite of all the obstacles he faced, Pharaoh, and even worse the lack of faith of the Israelites who murmured and complained, and who would not believe or trust God...he remained true.

        b. God used him to also save the nation of Israel and put them in the land He promised to them.

      4. I think it interesting that Joshua is not mentioned, but Rahab the harlot is.... Because she believed God, he used her and she is found in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus.

    C. Personal examples of godly heritage that have touched our lives.

      Read Hebrews 11:32-40

      1. Did you note the promise of verse 39-40.

      2. "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."

      3. What is it that God has provided for us that is better? The full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did for us.

II. They Speak of the Godly Opportunities That We Dare Not Waste (Hebrews 12:1)

Their godly lives of surpassing trust, valor and integrity summon us to nothing less than the same. That means the following:

    A. Godly Priorities -- "let us throw off everything that hinders" (Luke 9:23; Philippians 3:12 -14)

    B. Godly Purity -- "let us throw off ... the sin that so easily entangles: (2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 4). C. Godly Perseverance -- "let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us" (1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9)

      The battle of good and evil is won only as God's people pay the price of personal discipline and public integrity, touching their world for good. St. Paul said we are to be God's letters, "known and read by everybody" (2 Corinthians 3:2).

III. They Speak of the Godly Message We Must Not Forsake (Hebrews 12:2, 3)

    A. The Good News of Jesus Christ we claim for ourselves (Hebrews 12:2) (Acts 4:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

      1. On the cross Jesus became the author of our faith.

      2. On the throne Jesus becomes the perfecter of our faith.

    B. The Good News of Jesus Christ we proclaim to others (Hebrews 12:3) (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, 18-20)

IV. Conclusion

              Only the Good News of Jesus Christ, only the truth. . . lived and shared, has the power to rescue individual lives and heal our nation. Our nation is made up of individuals. . . men, women, boys and girls. The ONLY hope of our nation is that our people turn back to truth. Those who founded our nation accepted God's truth in making their laws and guiding this country. We are debtors to those who have gone before us for their faithfulness to God and righteousness. (Doing what is right) Now it is our turn to offer the same to those who come after us. Several years ago [Francis Schaeffer] wrote:

              Future generations will look back, and many will either scoff or believe in Christ on the basis of whether we Christians of today took a sacrificial stand in our various walks of life on these overwhelmingly important issues.

              If we do not take a stand here and now, we certainly cannot lay claim to being the salt of the earth in our generation. We are neither preserving moral values or dignity of the individual nor showing compassion for our fellow human beings. Will future generations look back and remember that -- even if the 20th century did end with a great surge of inhumanity -- at least there was one group who stood consistently, whatever the price, for the value of the individual, thus passing on some hope to future generations?

              Or are we Christians going to be merely swept along with the trends, our own moral values becoming increasingly befuddled, our own apathy reflecting the apathy of the world around us, our own inactivity sharing the inertia of the masses around us, our own leadership becoming soft? (Whatever Happened to the Human Race? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop, p. 133)

    ILLUS: In the Civil War Chaplain Jones writes of a captain in the Georgia Brigade who was converted at one of the prayer meetings. The captain professed publicly:

              Men, I have led you into many a battle ... Alas! I have (also) led you into all manner of wickedness and vice (speaking of war) ... I have enlisted under the banner of the Cross, and mean, by God's help, to prove a faithful soldier of Jesus ... I call upon you, my brave boys, to follow me, as I shall try to follow 'the Captain of our salvation.'

              That is the invitation today. My dear friends, I beckon each of you to give yourselves wholly to the battle of living for the Lord Jesus Christ. I encourage you to seek God's truth and live by it no matter what the difficulty you encounter.

               Accept Him as your Savior if you have not...that is the hope of yourself of your family, or you friends and neighbors.

              To those who have believed.....and been saved by God's grace....stand firm, committed and devoted to the living a godly life that will honor the Lord, and thereby allow God to use you to win others. Introduction:   

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