This Remembrance Day Sermon is on the 11th hour of the 11th day, 2018. That is 100 years to the month, day, hour and Minute since the armistice was declared ending the fighting of the Great War, November 11, 1918.
Australia had almost half a million men enlist, from a population of less than 5 million at the time, so that is almost 10th of the entire population or nearly 40% of all eligible males between 18 and 44 enlisted to fight. For a small nation, the newest nation in the world at the time, our involvement was extraordinary, and the Australian casualty rate was the highest for any nation in the war at 64.8%.
The first British and Commonwealth soldier killed was Private John Parr on the 21st August, 1914 in Belgium, aged 17. The last allied soldier killed was American Sergeant Henry Gunther, ages 23, killed at one minute to 11 am on November the 11th, 1918. One minute before armistice took effect. In between was up to 40 million casualties, including 20 million killed, soldiers and civilians.
They called the First World War the war to end all wars, but little did they know that only 21 years later the world would be plunged into an even bigger war against evil and tyrannical foes.
The fact is, we will never know peace in this world because, as Jeremiah noted
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV Strong's)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
So to celebrate this Remembrance Day sermon, 100 years since that first armistice, I want to simply highlight the role our brave, young soldiers played in fulfilling history and Biblical prophecy in the war to end all wars. The action I speak of took place in Palestine, far from the Western front, but prophetically speaking this was the front line. It is my prayer that as we remember, so we shall be inspired in this Remembrance Day sermon to stand and fight for our people in our generation against the tyranny and evil invading our culture.
THE WAY TO JERUSALEM
Jesus lamented and wept over the Holy City of Jerusalem…
Matthew 23:37 (ESV Strong's)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
He knew the pain and tragedy that this city would experience, and His Heart broke for the people.
Jerusalem has long been a city in conflict. Destroyed in AD 70 by the future Roman emperor Titus, it has changed hands many times, and for most of the last 1000 years it was under Muslim control. In fact, the Islamic Ottoman Empire had ruler Jerusalem and Palestine for 400 years leading up to the First World War, which they entered on the German side.
Crusades, generals and empires came and went in that time, but still Jerusalem remained in Muslim hands. In 1917, British forces tried repeatedly to invade Palestine but were repelled by the strong and well entrenched garrison at Beersheba in southern Palestine. Jerusalem could only be liberated by opening up the road from Beersheba. By the time the Australian Light Horse arrived on the scene, the situation was dire. Several attacks on the city had failed. The light horsemen were low on water, and they knew that they must either take the heavily fortified town of Beersheba, or face a 14 hour trek back to their lines to get precious water.
So on the 31st of October 1917, a bunch of crazy Aussies stood poised to mount a suicidal frontal attack against overwhelming odds, which was destined to become the last great Calvary charge in history!
THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT HORSEMEN!
800 young Aussies from the Light Horse lined up on their horses called Walers for a suicidal charge at the 4,500 Turkish entrenched in their fortified positions, some 6 km away in the town of Beersheba. Outnumbered nearly 6 to 1, and without artillery support, the first wave started at a trot, then opened to a gallop, as the Turks lobbed shells into their lines, killing many. But these young Aussies didn’t flinch in the face of attack, they opened up into a full gallop, emu plumes flying from their slouch hats.
The Turks began to panic, and in their panic found they could not lower the sights of their guns fast enough to target the oncoming Aussies, so the shells exploded harmlessly over their heads and behind them. The light horsemen screamed and charged on faster and faster as the Turkish machine guns were brought to bear. But again the charge was so bold and so fast and intense, the machine gunners in their panic could not lower their sights sufficiently also, so the bullets flew over the horsemen’s heads.
They hit the front trench and leapt it at a single bound, then did the same for the reserve trench and on into the streets of Beersheba, and by sundown the town was theirs! All of the 19 wells of the town had been mined and a German officer was starting to blow them. If he succeeded both the Australians and the entire town would die of thirst. As the Lord smiled on our troops that day, he was able to only blow up 2, and 17 were preserved.
OUR BOYS DID THE IMPOSSIBLE
In typical Aussie fashion, one trooper was asked why he kept charging so fiercely towards Beersheba. He replied, “Beersheba… Some joker knocked off the second half of the sign… I thought we were charging towards beer!”
What 11 Crusades, what the genius of Napoleon and the might of the British army had failed to do, 800 fresh-faced Australian Light Horsemen had achieved, and the way was open to finally set Jerusalem free from Muslim domination. God used the smallest and youngest nation on earth to set His city free!
By the time the British and Australian troops approached Jerusalem, the Turks began to run in panic, almost without firing a shot. On December 17 1917 Jerusalem was freed from 400 years of Muslim occupation... Something worth writing a Remembrance Day sermon about!
Our boys stood in the face of overwhelming opposition and were used of God to change the course of world history! And of course, much of the 2nd light horse regiment was drawn from this very area… Woombye!
THE REMEMBRANCE DAY SERMON IS... NOW IT IS OUR TURN
Right now our nation is under attack. Never before have we seen such a concerted, insidious attack, that is targeting the very moral fabric of our nation. Make no mistake, what we see today is not tolerance and it’s not political change, it is an invasion by an enemy seeking to destroy and dominate our culture and our children!
Proverbs 14:34 (ESV Strong's)
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
While I am proud today to be an Australian for what our forefathers did, I am ashamed to be an Australian for what our politicians and media have done! We have to do more than write a Remembrance Day sermon!
As our society’s sin is piling up, and as we allow same-sex marriage, gender fluidity and worst of all, late-term abortions, we face a choice, church. We can slip quietly into oblivion, keeping our mouths shut as we float along, keeping the peace, being tolerant of every minority group except Christians, being politically correct... Or we stand and fight.
Those 800 light horsemen could have turned back, they could have said its all too hard, they could have taken the easy way out. But they decided to take a chance, to make a stand, to mount a suicidal charge into the teeth of the Turkish guns, believing God was with them… and He was!
If we choose to fight, and pray, and believe for our nation, we do not stand alone, but our God stands with us, and the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world!
And fight we must, not just for the Lord, not just for our churches and our way of life, not just for what is right or wrong, we must fight for our children, for future generations that face destruction because or our complacency!
IT’S TIME TO MAKE A STAND
This coming year you and I face a choice… to quietly tow society’s party line, to slink off and avoid criticism from our friends, or to stand and fight for what we believe in. It's time to live what this Remembrance Day sermon inspires.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV Strong's)
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
We need to do this, church. We must mount up, face those spiritual guns, and stand and fight against every thought that is contrary to the Word of God.
We don’t use insults and mockery and accusations and threats, but we use divine weapons, the weapons with which we can win. We fight with weapons like prayer and faith and unity, love in the face of persecution, the truth in the face of lies, and choosing to honour and respect those who hate us, even when they continue to hate. The 800 light horsemen fought with horse and gun and bayonet, but we fight with truth, and love and prayer... thats what a Remembrance Day sermon should emphasise.
So in this coming battle, do not be surprised at the venom of the attack, even from fellow Christians. Jesus said,
John 15:18-19 (ESV Strong's)
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Those who love compromise won’t love us. But I for one am prepared to stand and fight for what I believe in, to fight for what is right, anywhere, and any time! We cannot win our nation by hating more than they do…. Ours is the way of the Saviour, the way of truth in the face of bigotry, joy in the face of fear and above all love in the face of persecution.
In this Remembrance Day sermon I’m going to ask you to pause and reflect on our descendants fallen on far flung fields of battle over the last century, then I will pray. But as you reflect, think also of the fight ahead, and join me as I pray and commit to continuing the spiritual legacy of the Anzacs and those brave light horsemen. Let us face the next year with a firm resolve to fight the good fight shoulder to shoulder.
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
And what’s more, Lord, after this Remembrance Day sermon we promise to continue to serve and stand for our master in these dark days. We pledge to do play our part in the salvation of our nation, so heavily attacked in recent says. We stand together to say, “Enough!” Satan, we cast you out of our nation, our parliament and our society and we claim Australia, the nation divinely chosen to set Jerusalem free, as the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit!
Welcome to the war room, and like the movie, we fight on our knees. Let’s promise to pray for our nation!