Consider Romans 12:1-2 which says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." This verse underscores what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-27 24 where it says, "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works."
This Memorial Day combined with those scriptures inspired me to consider what the Bible says about trials by fire, sacrifices and memorials. Consider the following:
The following are examples memorials, sacrifices and offerings.
- God’s name, I AM WHO I AM, is to be a memorial. Exodus 3:14-15
- The blood of the lamb on the doorposts, which came by sacrifice and is rehearsed through the Passover Feast each year is a memorial. Exodus 12:12-14
- God told Moses to write down their victory over Amalek in a book as a memorial and Moses created an altar called THE LORD IS MY BANNER. Exodus 17:14-15
- The atonement money and offerings served as a memorial in in Exodus 30:16 & Leviticus 2:1-2.
- The centurion’s prayers and alms came before the Lord as a memorial. Acts 10:4
Trials & Fire
Leviticus 2:1-2 mentioned above says, “'When anyone offers a grain offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour. And he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it. He shall bring it to Aaron's sons, the priests, one of whom shall take from it his handful of fine flour and oil with all the frankincense. And the priest shall burn it as a memorial on the altar, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.”
The offering was made by fire. Remember the idiom, which refers to someone when they go through a “trial by fire?” On Memorial Day we remember those who laid down their lives making the ultimate sacrifice. That was their ‘trial by fire.” The Bible says:
- 1 Peter 1:7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
- Psalms 66:10-12 For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.
- Prov 17:3 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts
- 1 Corinthians 3:13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done
Today, the Church has entered a period in history where we have entered a trial by fire. The question is what are we giving heaven to memorialize? What are we giving heaven to celebrate? Malachi 3:16 says, “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So, a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name.”
The word “remembrance” in the Hebrew means memorial. In fact, it is three times more frequently translated memorial. We could properly translate this, “so a book of memorial was written…”
What are you giving heaven to memorialize? Jesus admonished us to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Matt 16:24 & Mk 8:34). Revelation 14:13 says, 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."
Heaven records our sacrifice. Rest assured, the one who knows how many hairs you have on your head will be faithful to every act of sacrificial living. Rest assured your:
- Prayers are recorded
- Tithes, offerings, firstfruits and alms are recorded
- Acts of service are recorded
- Your stand for truth is recorded
- Your relationship and obedience to God’s word and the leading of Holy Spirit is recorded
Jesus called us to be a living sacrifice. Our sacrificial living, representing His name faithfully, speaking the truth courageously, standing in faith boldly, giving of our tithes, offerings, firstfruits and alms are all worthy of memorial. Hebrews 6:10-12 says, “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
So, I want to encourage you this day. If you are an American, then honor those who sacrificed for our liberty and pray for their families.
To the believer in Christ I say, be strong and very courageous. Recognize the honor we have? Out of all of creation and eternity, God choose us to live here and now. He has given us the opportunity to represent Him, His will, His purpose, and His kingdom. He has given us the privilege in engaging in this heavenly conflict.
He is waiting for 1 Corinthians 15:24-25 to be made manifest. It says, “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.”
Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1 when He said in Matthew 22:44, “'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"'?
My friends, we are engaged in a heavenly warfare which began in Revelation 12. I want to say, and I hope you want to be able to say the same thing Paul did when he said in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
The fight is tough, but the reward is worth it. We are in a trial whose fire is testing our faith. But I again urge you to consider the eternal rewards. This trial is temporary. The rewards, which in a sense is like a memorial, is eternal.
I pray the legacy heaven records of you will memorialize your trial by fire, your victories in spiritual war and how your sacrifices, prayers, acts of service, tithes, offerings, prayer and worship gave great glory to our Lord.