Outline for Memorable Things for Memorial Day (Phil. 1, Acts 16)

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Introduction: This is the weekend where we celebrate Memorial Day. For many people, it’s time to enjoy the first 3-day weekend since February! Too many people think too little about the reason we celebrate: to honor those who gave all, including life itself, for us. Peter said of the Old Testament prophets that they “ . . .(did not serve) themselves but us (1 Peter 1:12, paraphrased”) and this is also true of every man and woman who died in our defense.


The “Memorial” aspect is designed to make us remember. Memorials can take many forms: cemeteries, bridges, even sections of roads, also buildings such as churches and structures on colleges and universities. Dake’s Annotated Bible lists 18 specific memorials mentioned in the Bible. These and other things are mentioned as needed by the apostles and prophets.

Paul certainly had a number of memorials. Today we’ll look at Philippians 1 and refer to Acts 16 for some of these.

Paul is writing to believers in Philippi. When he was at Philippi he may have never met some of these folks as recorded in Acts 16. The Philippians had sent Epaphroditus and financial support along with news or updates about the Philippian church.

So here we have :

The first memorial. Getting there!

--He had never been to Philippi before basically detouring there in Acts 16 (after seeing the “Macedonian vision”). Philippi was a Roman colony, land set aside for Roman army veterans, so that they could keep a little bit of Rome in their new home.
--He had to get there by ship (how well did Paul like sea travel?)
--He and the party going with him apparently never found the man of the “vision”

They’re in a new continent, and a city they’ve never seen before: nobody knows who they are!

Compare this with an episode from D. L. Moody’s ministry: he and Ira Sankey were headed to England for revival meetings. When they got there, they found out the sponsor had died and nobody else even knew they were coming! This could have been a disaster but God made it a blessing.

O that He would send another revival

to Great Britain—and everywhere else, too!

The second memorial. Working there!
--He spoke with people as they met by the riverside to pray (allusion to Ps 137, perhaps?)
--Synagogues required 10 practicing adult Jewish males to be established. Where were they?
--They spoke and God opened the hearts of some who believed
--The first convert in Europe was a woman from Asia Minor (Thyatira)!

The third memorial. Suffering there!
The devil usually tries to ruin anything which God or God’s people accomplish. We see several aspects of suffering in Scripture (not counting Joseph, Job, or other saints):

--The demon-possessed girl trying to salvation through Jesus Christ as the same thing as following Apollo!
--The indignity of being denied basic rights of Roman citizens (being beaten and thrown into prison without a trial). Rome took strong measures to protect the rights of its citizens (why doesn’t the USA do the same thing?).
--The physical pain of the beating and their feet in the stocks.

We may not be called to suffer like the apostles did here but rest assured, if we stand or take a stand for God, we’ll face persecution of some kind or another.

Some groups are known for causing trouble. We are not called to do this, but rather to stand for the right, come what may.

The final memorial. Leaving there, but not empty handed
--The jailer and his household became believers after the earthquake (and, perhaps, Paul’s guarantee that nobody had escaped?)
What a change, from inflicting wounds to washing them and feeding Paul and Silas!
--Lydia and her household were already believers
--Who were the “brethren”? We aren’t told here, but they were people who had believed!

Conclusion:

These believers were part of Paul’s four memorials. They remembered him and sent support apparently as the Holy Spirit led them to do so.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have memorials, things we could look back on, and thank God for what He did? Even better, may it be that you and I would be living memorials, where people would see “... Christ in (us), the hope of glory! (Col 1:27)”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. http://www.lockman.org

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