On Remembrance Sunday, we remember many millions who suffered violent deaths. We consider the meaning of their deaths. We think about the purpose of their deaths.
“We will remember them.” We remember not only the fact of their deaths. We remember also the meaning and purpose of their deaths. They died so that we might live a better life, that we might enjoy freedom, that we may not be forced to live under a regime of tyranny, a dictatorship.
As we remember them, we dare not forget another young man who also died a violent death.
* They died in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He died many centuries ago.
* They died on a battlefield. He died on a cross.
* They died with many others. He died with only two others.
* Their death has a meaning and a purpose – for us.
His death has a meaning and a purpose – for us.
As we remember them, let us also say, “We will remember him.”
The death of Christ – What does it mean? Why did he die?
In the Bible, the death of Christ is described in different ways.
Here is one description – “through him we have received our reconciliation” (Romans 5:11).
“Our reconciliation” – What does this mean?
On Remembrance Sunday, we remember a time of war, and we pray for a time of peace.
When we look at the cross of Jesus Christ, we remember that we were God’s enemies, we consider how God has responded to us, his enemies – “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10), and we rejoice in our reconciliation – “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
* Reconciliation and peace – These are the blessings for which we pray. We seek them for ourselves, for our society, for our world.
* Reconciliation and peace – These are the blessings which we need.
(a) “I feel so confused.” “It doesn’t make sense.” “I can’t sleep at night.” “I feel so guilty.”
What do we need? We need a satisfied mind, a mind at peace with itself.
Reconciliation and peace – These are the blessings which we need at the personal level.
(b) Marriage breakdown, the generation gap, the conflict between those who have power and prestige and those who have neither influence nor reputation.
What do we need? Reconciliation and peace – These are the blessings which we need at the level of interpersonal relationships.
(c) We look around the world. We hear of situations of conflict in different places.
What do we need in these situations of conflict?
Reconciliation and peace – these are the blessings which we need at the level of national and international affairs.
* Is there a way to reconciliation and peace? Yes. There is. First and foremost, there must be reconciliation to God. This is the true meaning of reconciliation. This real peace – peace with God.
Reconciliation and peace – Where do they come from? They come from God, the God who reconciles us to himself through his Son. they come to us from the God of peace, the God who puts us at peace with himself through his Son.
* Reconciliation to God – There are practical implications for our state of mind, for our relationships with other people, for our life in society, but, first and foremost, reconciliation means reconciliation to God.
– The inner peace, which we find, is peace with God.
– The peace of God: This the peace we pray for – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
– The peace of God: This is the peace we work towards in our world – “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).
* Reconciliation and peace – These blessings come to us from the God of peace.
* Reconciliation and peace – They are God’s gift. They are also His calling. They are our privilege. they are also our responsibility. The Bible speaks to us of God’s gift. It also speaks to us of his calling.
– God’s gift: Through faith in Christ, we have received peace with God (Romans 5:1).
– God’s calling: He calls us to be peacemakers – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
His gift and his calling are not to be separated. We cannot really be peacemakers, in the fullest sense, unless we have received peace with God.
Peace with God; this is our privilege. Be peacemakers; this is our responsibility.
* How can we grow in our experience of God’s peace – learning to appreciate our privilege, learning to exercise our responsibility?
We learn together, in fellowship with one another. We learn to rest in the peace of God. we learn to share God’s peace with others.
We grow in the peace of God through worship.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:15-17).
Note the first words – “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15).
Notice what follows:
(a) fellowship: “you were called in the one body” (Colossians 3:15).
(b) teaching: “Let the word of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16).
(c) worship: “sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
* As we grow in the peace of God, worship leads to service – “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3;17).
– The peace of God is experienced in worship.
– the peace of God is expressed through service.
* There is, for us, here, a message which is particularly apt on Remembrance Sunday. It is God’s call for thanksgiving.
(i) “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts … and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
(ii) “Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
(iii) “Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3;17).
Thanksgiving – On this Remembrance Sunday, we are called to be thankful. Thank God for those who gave their lives for the freedom of our world. Thank God for him who gave his life for the world’s salvation. In his name, we will remember them. A we remember them, we will not forget him. we will remember him. as we remember them with gratitude, we look back beyond the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We look back to the cross – back to the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us” (Galatians 2:20).