Building a Memorial By Aldin Tinsley Joshua 4:1-9 1 When all the people were safely across the river, the LORD said to Joshua, 2 "Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. 3 Tell the men to take twelve stones from where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan and pile them up at the place where you camp tonight." 4 So Joshua called together the twelve men 5 and told them, "Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the LORD your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder – twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes. 6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future, your children will ask, 'What do these stones mean to you?' 7 Then you can tell them, 'They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s covenant went across.' These stones will stand as a permanent memorial among the people of Israel." 8 So the men did as Joshua told them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the LORD had commanded Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there. 9 Joshua also built another memorial of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. The memorial remains there to this day. Intro: Memorials are built all around the U.S. to help us remember what has happened in the past. Washington D.C., in particular, houses many memorials: the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the list goes on and on. Why do we build these memorials? So we can tell our children about our great American heritage. Even the Assemblies of God has a memorial in Springfield, Missouri—the Flowers Pentecostal Heritage Museum. I really love walking through it because it reminds me of the past. Why do we have this museum? So we can remember our Pentecostal heritage. Jewish people believe it is very important to pass down your heritage to your children (Deut. 6:4-9). What kind of memorial are you building? What have you taught your children that they will remember? In the book, Lessons I Learned From My Father, John Ashcroft writes about the valuable lessons he learned from his Pentecostal preacher-dad, J. Robert Ashcroft, who had built memorials for his children to follow. In fact, each one of us is building a memorial for the next generation, whether we realize it or not. How will our children, our grandchildren, the youth and children of our
churches, our neighbors, and our friends remember us? Here are some memorials that we need to be building in our lives. Let’s look at what some stones in the memorial that Joshua erected might have represented. 1. Loyalty/Faithfulness a. Loyalty to your work, family, church, pastor. b. Faithfulness to your Lord and Savior. There is a need to be faithful to the ministry that you’re involved in. 2. Integrity/Honesty a. Parents beware what your children are watching! b. Getting into Disney story (Dad trying to pass off daughter as younger for cheaper rate) c. Story of the girl at the video store giving wrong change back to the pastor, the pastor’s integrity made a difference in the life of that girl. 3. Love a. Loving your neighbors, others, showing the love of God to others. (1 John 4:7-8) 4. Servanthood a. Jesus set the example of being a servant when He took the towel and bowl of water, then washed His disciples’ feet. b. Do you have that heart of a servant and are you willing to serve in whatever area the pastor might call you for? 5. Compassion a. The shortest verse in the Bible shows us the memorial that Jesus left us to follow concerning compassion. “Jesus wept.” Seeing the needs of the multitude, He was moved with compassion. b. Where is your compassion to reach the lost, the hurting, for missions, for the lesser of these the children? 6. Giving a. Giving of our tithes and offering our time. b. Are we robbing ourselves from God’s blessing by not having a giving heart? c. Are we robbing our children from blessings by not teaching them to give? 7. Humility a. Pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. 8. Obedience a. God is looking for a people who will just be obedient to His words. b. Do you really want to experience God’s blessing in your life? Learn obedience. c. Let’s look at what God told Joshua just before he crossed over the Jordan. (Deut. 28:1– 9). 9. Prayer a. Jesus set that example for us by praying. 10. Devotion
a. Studying God’s word, waiting before the Lord. John Ashcroft’s father would always be praying early in the morning. Are we teaching our children that important need of spending time with God? 11. Pentecost a. Who we are and what we believe b. We have a rich Pentecostal heritage we must pass it on to our children. Our children must see it in our lives, not just hear about it. c. Not only must they see and hear about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they must experience it. They must know that it is more than a spiritual experience but that it is a life transforming experience that empowers them to make a difference in their world. Closing: Living in New England, I’ve found many memorials in an area rich with American history—not only secular history but also America’s religious history. Near where we lived in New England, if you drove 15 minutes south, you would find where the great sermon was preached: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. If you drove 30 minutes to the north, you could find the church where the first great Spiritual Awaking took place. But now these are just faint memories in the minds of those who live in that area. We can’t let it die! We must build memorials in the hearts and lives of our children and the next generation to come. I want to ask you today: What kind of memorials are you building? John Ashcroft said the greatest lessons he learned from his dad were the spiritual lessons. They were the ones that transformed his life into who he is today. If you don’t have Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you’re not leaving a godly memorial. As a believer, what will people say about the memorial you are leaving?