Acts 16: 6-10 

Psalm 47 

Revelations 22: 12-17, 20 

John 17: 20-26 

Memorial Day Weekend 

“Soldiers with Christ” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

In our opening Hymn, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, the  official words of the last verse ends with As He died to make men  holy, let us die to make men free, while God is marching on.  Some people misinterpret this entire song to be about the end  times/revelation, but the hymn is all about how the end times are  already here, we’ve been living the end times for the last two  millenniums. That is why the opening line begins with, “My eyes  have seen,” have seen is past tense thus with regards to the  coming Lord our eyes do not see in the now nor will we see in the  future, but in the past our eyes have seen the coming Lord. And in  the next verse, when it opens with, “He has sounded forth the  trumpets that shall never call retreat,” again the sounding of the  trumpet is referenced as a past event, thus “sounded”. If we view  this song not as an ode to events yet cometh but as a continual  arc that began with the birth of Christ to today then we see the  intended meaning behind Julia’s poem of which the words to this  hymn originate from. 

We are an army of Christian Soldiers and the trumpet call to  forward march has already been sounded. This trumpet call is the  cross where Jesus gave himself up to save us from our sins. This  trumpet call is the Great Commission which Jesus gave before He 

ascended. This trumpet call is Pentecost when the tongues of fire  filled the disciples with the Holy Spirit. Christ sounded the trumpet  call of forward march for his holy army of Christian Soldiers and  now that he has sounded forth salvation He, God who never goes  back on His Word, will never call retreat. The March has started  and it will keep on moving forward until it has reached its course.  That is why we end each verse with the line, “is marching on.” In  the present we are conducting the continual action of marching. 

But if that is the case then that would mean the battle is still  on going, though the battle we face is one of reaching out to  others, spreading the Good News with the Holy Spirit as our  guide. The terrible swift sword we wield is the Word of God, and  the real enemy we vanquish, put to death, with such a sword is  the slavery of Satan. Yet in war there will be casualties. There  always is. During the first couple centuries of Christianity there  was so many martyrs, those who were put to death simply for  being a Christian. And it wasn’t just us foot Soldiers who were put  to death, our Commander, Jesus Christ, willing gave up His life  for the sake of this glorious mission. 

Freedom never comes free, as a nation we understand this,  but even more so as Christians for we know that the only way to  true freedom – freedom from sin, freedom from the sting of death,  freedom from satanic slavery – is through the blood stained cross.  It is chiefly for this reason why we say the original words to the  Hymn rather than what’s found in our hymnal, “let us die to make  men free.”

To say, “As he died to make men holy, let us live to make  men free,” is wrong on so many levels. The first is that it is  bearing false witness as they changed the lyrics without any  mention that they completely reversed one of the lines. The  second is that it doesn’t make sense as there is no comparison to  Christ dying and us living. It is grammatically accurate to say that  we live because Christ died, but it isn’t grammatically, let alone  logically, accurate to claim we should live just like how Christ  died. Third, its offensive to all Soldiers who lost a brother in arm  knowing full well the consequence of war, for all of us Soldiers  willingly signed our right to live when we gave our oaths waiting  for Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty to call us to arms. War is bloody,  but for the sake of freedom and preserving freedom it is  absolutely necessary. 

I saw something circulating yesterday. It mentioned how  Memorial Day is the most expensive holiday of the American  calendar, for on this day behind every hot dog and beer and ice  cream cone and firework and boating activity we recognize the  blood of every Soldier who laid down their life so that we may all  be free. Free to practice our faith. Free to speak our minds. Free  to be the press. Free to assemble unrestrained. Free to complain  about the government and know that our grievances are heard.  Free to bear arms and thus defend our nation from domestic  tyranny. And so many other freedoms. Know all of this is already  ours by right of God, God-given rights, but fallen humans will  continue to try and snatch these freedoms away from us, and thus  blood is spilled to preserve them.

And to those out of good intention changed the lyrics of this  hymn through deceptive means I understand that you want to  promote life and that you don’t want to see people suffer and die,  but now that you have already changed the latter half to “let us  live” are you now going to also change the first half of the line to,  “as he lived to make men holy”? Are you going to be like Peter  who begged Jesus to live rather than to choose death? The same  Peter who was then immediately received these not-so-nice  words from Jesus, “Get behind me Satan.” Guess what, I just  found out that several churches, to include the ELCA, is doing just  that, trying to write out the passion story. 

Freedom comes at a cost. The Salvation we have in Jesus  Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the freedom to do good works, the  keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, the fruits of the Spirit, all of this  came at a cost. A sacrifice had to be made for the forgiveness of  all mankind, so Jesus became that sacrifice for us all. 

Freedom comes at a cost. Do you think that Satan was just  going to allow Jesus to rescue the slaves of his deathly domain  without a fight? The arms of Satan reaches out throughout the world; influencing the culture at every turn. As we Soldiers of God  go out into the outer world to save sinners with the Word of God  as our sword, Satan will use his demonic influence to have  preachers and lay leaders and missionaries and biblical teachers  suffer jail, starvation, joblessness, homelessness, abandonment,  and even execution. He does this to silence us or terrify us into  compliance. But God shall never call retreat, so we march forward  through tyranny and deadly pestilence, not fearing the potential 

loss that the Devil may thrust our way but having faith, hope, and  love in God above all else. 

Freedom comes at a cost. On this Memorial Day Weekend  we recognize the cost of freedom. Do you think that King George  was just going to let us be a free nation after all the acts of evil  tyranny he dumped on the colonists: the extreme taxes, the taking  away of guns, the forcing of Soldiers into people’s homes, the  church burnings, the property damage, and the consequences of  speaking up against the King? America had had enough. And as  one they rose up behind chants of “Don’t tread on me” and “Give  me liberty or give me death.” The option for us was to either live  under the boot of tyranny, or rise up risking life for the sake of  liberty. So there are actually three options, “liberty, death, or  getting trampled under the boot of the king. With don’t tread on  me as the rally cry, the last of the three options became null. Thus  either we fight for liberty or we die trying. 

The colonists weren’t free, and living wasn’t going to make  them free. If they were unwilling to risk life then a militia, which is  the people, would have never formed and the Revolution would  have never of been waged. George would have remained our  King, and evil would have won. But we rose up, and with God on  our side, though there were casualties, we won and became a  nation of the free. Those who died to free our land and those who  died to maintain our freedom will never be forgotten. 

Same applies to the wars thereafter. Through the civil war  we fought to preserve the God-given rights of all Americans  regardless of who you where or what you looked like. Had 

Soldiers not risk their lives for the union’s cause, choosing to  stand down and peacefully do nothing, we would still see slavery  today. But many good men lost their lives in the hopes that all  regardless of their skin color would be truly free. Through WW2  we fought to rescuing the Jews in the concentration camps and  rescue the invaded western countries from Nazi Germany as  Soldiers willingly risked their lives on the European front. You also  have 1812, WW1, the Pacific front of WW2, Korea, Vietnam, the  Middle East. 

We have lost so many, but instead of hiding from the tragedy  of war by choosing to live submissively to evil, we should give  respect where respect is due. Let us respect our fallen comrades.  Preserve and defend the good things they died for. And hold on to  this one hope, that the Soldiers who died knowing Christ are not  only Soldiers of Christ, but are Soldiers with Christ. 

Let us pray, 


Dear Heavenly Father, on this weekend guide our minds to  appreciate the freedom we have while also acknowledging the  cost that had to be paid for such freedom; whether that is freedom  from political tyranny won by the blood of men or freedom from  demonic tyranny won by the blood of Christ. In your most glorious  name we pray: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Bible Verse of the Day

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