For All the Saints

Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
0 ratings

We remember the examples the saints of God set before us on All Saint's Day.

Hebrews 11:32-40
Hebrews 11:32–40 NKJV
And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
We come to what should be a very important day for us on the Christian calendar, the day known as “all Saint’s Day or the Feast of All Saints. It is a day in which we are to remember those in the faith who have one before us, many of whom suffered great hardship for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a holy day, not a holiday. It has been eclipsed by Halloween which trivializes the fact that it was once called “All-Hallows Eve.” It is not meant to be about spooks, witches, and spirits. It is not an earthly harvest festival. First of all, we remember that those who have died in the faith are now with Jesus. We might ask what this great cloud of witnesses are doing right now. Do they intercede on our behalf? Should we invoke them. This brings up the second thing which has eclipsed All Saints Day, the Reformation. Now the Reformation was essential to the restoring of biblical Christianity. One of the abuses which the Reformation addressed was the invoking of the saints or Mary to intercede for us. The Reformation clearly taught that Jesus is the true mediator. There is, therefore, no need for intermediaries other than Jesus. The excesses and virtual worship of Mary and the saints were abolished in the churches of the Reformation.
But does this mean that the saints are to be forgotten? Let us examine a text from Revelation 14:13: “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”” This indicates that the Lord indeed remembers the works of the saints. And if the Lord remembers, should we not follow the same example and give due honor to them?
When we look at the text from Hebrews 11 which we read, we see a roll call of the saints from what we would call the Old Testament times. These were set forth for the readers of Hebrews, which includes us, to be the witnesses and models to true faith. Moses and Abraham get much mention in this chapter as they were indeed mighty men of the faith. But they were not alone. Abel, Joseph, and even the harlot Rahab are mentioned as witnesses to the faith.
The writer of Hebrews realizes that if he were to list the deeds of all the saints of God that it would be an endless essay. He realizes this and summarizes the work of a few more: Gideon, Barak, Samson, David and Samuel. Then he groups all of the prophets. Then he starts addressing the works of the nameless saints and the things they suffered. Although the list is long and the number of deeds great and could not be individually mentioned, they are known to God, These make up the cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12:1. The church of Hebrews had already suffered some persecution, but not unto blood. This indicates that soon, many of that congregation would join this great cloud of witnesses. We should note that the Greek word for “witness” is martyr.” We can see why the word changed its meaning as many witnesses to Christ have spilt their blood for the faith and become martyrs.
From the study of martyrologies such as Fox’s Book of Martyrs that many Christians over two thousand years have witnessed to Christ at the expense of their own earthly lives. But we also remember that this ever-increasing cloud is with Jesus. They are not dead, nor forgotten. The church has celebrated the birthdays of the saints. But this “birthday” is not the date they were born on earth. Rather it is the day they perished on this earth, often by the violence of others and were born into the heavenly realm.
We could make a long list of the saints of God. We could talk about Justin who would become Justin Martyr. We could talk of Polycarp. We could talk about Lattimer and Ridley who were burnt together at the stake for their faith. We remember the saints in hymns like Faith of our Fathers. Just like the writer of Hebrews, time would fail to give proper treatment of even the exploits of the greater saints, no less the numerous cloud of nameless witnesses, nameless to us but not to God who knows and remembers all. So, it is proper that we remember their witness. We do not worship the saints. They were saved by grace through faith even as we must be. Just consider the names Hebrews mentions in this passage. Gideon was timid. So was Barak. It was God who made them bold. We all know of the faults of David and Samson. But their faults are no longer remembered. What is remembered is their faith. I cant tell you what role they might play in our behalf right now, but the important thing is that we don’t look at this but rather to cast our gaze upon Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. It was He who gave these saints the ability to do exploits and persevere through their trials.
Hebrews brought out the exploits and witness of the saints in order to strengthen the Church which was on the verge of the Neronian persecution. That church would have to suffer greatly for the faith. Likewise, we Christians around the world face the real possibility of shedding our blood. In many places, this is already the case. So we need to arm ourselves to be of the same mind as the saints. We need assurance that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. He has promised. We do not with to face dungeon, fire, and sword like they did. We need boldness from the Lord that if and when these things happen, we will remain steadfast, and bear witness even in our martyrdom.
We will close this morning’s service with the hymn: “For All the Saints.” The tune is by Raiph Vaughn Williams. You will notice also that the words were penned by Sine Nomine, which is Latin for “anonymous.” A nameless saint penned these inspiring words. this should remind us that all of our contributions are important, even if we receive no earthly credit. Note the words:
For all the saints, who from their labors rest, who thee by faith before the world confessed, thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia! Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might; thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight; thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light. Alleluia, Alleluia! For the apostles' glorious company, who bearing forth the cross o'er land and sea, shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee: Alleluia, Alleluia! For the Evangelists, by whose blest word, like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord, is fair and fruitful, be thy Name adored. Alleluia, Alleluia! For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye, saw the bright crown descending from the sky, and seeing, grasped it, thee we glorify. Alleluia, Alleluia! O may thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold, fight as the saints who nobly fought of old, and win, with them the victor's crown of gold. Alleluia, Alleluia! O blest communion, fellowship divine! we feebly struggle, they in glory shine; all are one in thee, for all are thine.1 Alleluia, Alleluia! And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long, steals on the ear the distant triumph song, and hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong. Alleluia, Alleluia! The golden evening brightens in the west; soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest; sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia! But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day; the saints triumphant rise in bright array; the King of glory passes on his way. Alleluia, Alleluia! From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast, through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, and singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:2 Alleluia, Alleluia!
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more