The Ultimate Sacrifice
I read about 3 widows who lived together. One sister got up from the couch in the den to go to bed one evening, and half-way up the stairs she stopped and asked "was I going up or was I coming down"? One sister replied with a hint of aggravation, "You were going up to bed."
A second sister headed into the kitchen to make herself a sandwich. Once in the kitchen she hollered back to her sister who was still in the den: "What did I come in here for?" The sister responded again with a note of irritation, "You went in to make yourself a sandwich" after which she said: "I’m so glad I am not as forgetful as the both of you knock on wood. And with that she got up and walked over to the door and said, "Who is it?"
Forgetfulness – we’re all guilty of it at times! And for some of us it seems to get worst by the month! This weekend is Memorial Day weekend – a time each year for us to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice with their lives to provide and preserve our freedom.
This observance began after the Civil War in 1866 when several groups around the country placed flowers on the graves of the soldiers who died in the Civil War conflict. It came to be known as Decoration Day. On May 5, 1866 in Waterloo, NY, flowers & flags were placed on soldiers graves and held a community wide event.
In 1868, Gen. John Logan, then president of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared that May 30 would be a day to decorate the graves of comrades with “flowers who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”
After World War I the day was set aside to honor all Americans who have died in wars for our country. In 1971 Congress passed the National Holiday Act for Memorial Day to be observed on the last Monday of May each year. So to this day Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor / remember all Americans who have sacrificed and died fighting and preserving this precious freedom we have.
So remembering sacrifices made is vitally important. And in the Bible we find a vital emphasis upon remembering key spiritual events and happenings.
· In Exodus 13:3: Moses said to the people, "Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the LORD brought you out from this place…
· In Numbers 15:40 we read: so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God.
· Deut. 24:18: 18 "But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.
· Psalm 105:5: 5 Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth,
· Eph. 2:11-13: 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.
· And in 1 Cor. 11:23-25 Paul says: 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
* Over 2000 years ago, God the Father sent God the Son into the world to give THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE to provide the way for freedom from sin and bondage and to give the gift of Eternal Life!
* And we are to remember and never forget! Jesus said in referring to His impending crucifixion and death and salvation work…to remember.
* What are we to remember? We are to remember 2 crucial things: We are to remember…
1. How He died.
1. How He died.
- He died as the sacrificial Lamb of God – John 1:29 tells us “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
- Isaiah wrote 700 years before Jesus came in Isaiah 53: “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried. Yet we ourselves esteemed Him smitten of God, afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities….like a sheep that is led to slaughter.”
- He died willingly– submitting Himself to the Father’s plan – in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed 3 times: “My Father, if it is possible, let his cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.“
- He gave His body – His bodily sacrifice. “This is My body broken for you.”
- He shed His blood. “This is My blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”
TS – 2nd…we are to remember…
2. Why He died.
2. Why He died.
- To demonstrate God’s love – John 3:16 says…"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” - Rom. 5:8 says: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- He died To pay the price for the sins of the world - Mark 10:45 says: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
- Ransom refers to “the price of release” and refers to a payment to effect the release of slaves or captives from bondage. It also includes the concept of substitution. We were captive under the power of sin and death from which we could not free ourselves. But Jesus’ substitutionary death paid the price that you we owed to set us free.
- He died To be the atoning sacrifice for our sin - 1 John 2:2: and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
- He died To become our sin - 2 Cor. 5:21: He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- He died To provide forgiveness for our sin Heb. 9:22: “…without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. And Ephesians 1:7: ”In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
- He died To give us life John 3:16: “…should not perish but have everlasting life.” And John 10:10: "…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
- He died To free us from judgment – John 5:24: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
- He died To give us a home in Heaven – John 14:1-3: 1 "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
-And so as we stop and remember the sacrifice of so many in our nation’s history who’ve provided us the great freedom we enjoy, we stop and remember the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE our Lord has made for us in providing the salvation and freedom we enjoy!
- And we worship Him and thank Him.