Monday, December 2, 2019

End-Time Prophets - a seven-part series (Part 4)

by Michael C. Garrett

Greetings friends. Welcome to Owensboro, Kentucky and the weekly church service of the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ. We are so glad that you have decided to spend some time with us.

Today is November 26, 2016. And most of us woke up this morning to the news that Fidel Castro, the long-time dictator of Cuba – the Marxist–Leninist – who took power in 1959 in a coup and has ruled that island nation with a strong hand died November 25th, 2016. He had to give up his control in about the year 2006 because of some health issues. Apparently, he underwent surgery for intestinal bleeding, and on 31 July 2006, delegated his presidential duties to his brother Raúl Castro. So, the Castro brothers have been in charge ever since 1959.

The announcement was greeted in so many different ways. Late last night the news spread in Little Havana, down in Miami, Florida. In Little Havana are people who – for the most part – with their families escaped Cuba. Or, came over from Cuba to get away from that island dictatorship. And, the people who were there last night – young and old – were greatly celebrating. And I mean celebrating his death.

And yet, the island nation itself – I saw a few pictures this morning – it was very somber and quiet. And you began hearing reports from different world leaders. And some of the socialist-type leaders were praising Castro – “This great man. This great leader. This epic figure of the 20th century!” And, even our own president (Barack Hussein Obama II) said, “history will record and judge” former Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s impact on the island nation.

Now that seems to me such a foolish comment. And I guess what Donald Trump tweeted out fits more in my opinion. He was not diplomatic. He was very bold and just said, “Fidel Castro is dead!” He was a dictator! He killed people, he put them in jail, he impoverished his nation! He caused untold misery! And, I heard this morning that Fidel Castro was responsible for mass murders. To date, the number of executions carried out by the Cuban government is still unclear but estimates range from 10,000 to 100,000 people. And, isn’t it funny – the people on the Left, they always try to portray themselves as being “open-hearted,” and magnanimous, and caring, and giving. And yet, they are the most intolerant people on the face of the earth! For the Left, you have to agree totally with them or somehow you’re just a terrible human being. And in some situations – not worthy of life!

But, “ding dong, the witch is dead!” And in this case – it’s Fidel Castro! And, all I can say is – good riddance to him. And, I just wish that someday the people of Cuba could live in a true democracy, true freedom, and have normal peaceful profitable lives. And I’m sure all those people in Little Havana wish that for their countrymen also.

But anyway – the world goes on!

Questions & Answers

Another thing I’d like to mention. We received four messages on our Facebook Page this week that I’d like to comment on.
1. November 22, 2016 – “I love this sermon. I have listened to it two times, and I’m listening to it again tonight. Keep up the great work Mike.” – Guy LaMar.
He was speaking of the sermon “End-Time Prophets – Part B.” An accompanying article entitled “End-Time Prophets - a seven-part series (Part 2)” is now available also. And, that was right after the election of President Donald Trump. Guy, we thank you very much. We appreciate those kind words.
2. November 22, 2016 – “End of time?!?!?!? Yeah, Okay! We were told in no uncertain terms that nobody would ever know the day, or the hour, and the return of God on earth!
’ However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows’” – Matthew 24:36; NLT.
Be weary of any talk on this subject.” – Greg.
Now, I don’t know who Greg is, or where he is from. But, my – he really needs to be careful what he says. First thing – ‘End of time’!? Well, the last articles have been entitled “End-Time Prophets.” Not, ‘the end of time.’ It’s not that we’re saying – “The end is near! Run to the hills!” Because, as I have said over and over – even in this series – we don’t know when Jesus Christ is going to return. The only advice we have is ‘watch and pray.’ Keep an eye on world news, keep an eye on world events, keep an eye on things that are happening. And, I presume – by that – as we get closer to the end-time, that we will begin to realize just how close we are. But, the whole purpose of this series is to talk about – whenever – the end-time comes. Whether it’s five years, seven years, ten years, twenty or thirty years from now. Before the end-time trauma and before the return of Jesus Christ – the Bible plainly relays that God would raise up a group of people who would have a very specific job. That’s what we’ve been talking about. But he said, ‘we were told in no uncertain terms that nobody would ever know the day, or the hour, and the return of God on earth!’ Well, he sort of got that right. But, let’s be accurate here. If you would turn to Matthew 24:36. Now, this is a verse that I know I have already covered in this series. Now, what is Matthew 24? It’s Matthew’s version of the “Olivet Prophecy” – which has been labeled by Bible students. The “Olivet Prophecy” can be read in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. And they all talk about the events leading up to the return of Jesus Christ.

And, it all begins by the question in verse 3 of Matthew 24 – “And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the [age]?’” And, Jesus Christ begins to give parameters on a time period where these things would take place. So, Jesus Christ is making it more clear when these events will take place.

But then, Jesus says over in verse 36 – “’ But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.’

Verse 37 – “’ But as the days of Nō´- ē were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’

Now, there’s nothing in this passage – around verse 36 – as he implies, “be weary of any talk on this subject.” No, Greg sort of slipped the tracks – he went from one track to another track. Now, what he’s actually talking about – and I think what he’s attempting to refer to – is what Jesus said in verse 21. “’ For then, shall be great tribulation …’ – terrible problems. “ … ‘such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.’ Verse 22 – “’ And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: …’ and as the Moffett translation says, ‘no flesh saved alive.’ “ … ‘but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.’ 23) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.’ 24) For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, …’ – so, Jesus Christ is claiming that in the end-time there would be people who say they represent Jesus Christ – and they don’t! They are lying! They’re false prophets! And, He goes on to say that these people in verse 24 – “ … ‘shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect. 25) Behold, I have told you before.’

‘I have WARNED you about this!’

And then, He goes on to say, verse 26 – “’ Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He [Jesus Christ] is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not.’ - and, I think that’s where Greg got the phrase – be wary. He misspelled and mispronounced a word. He used a word that refers to you being “tired” as opposed to a word which means “to be careful.”
3. November 24, 2016 – “Man, you all are so stueid [sic]! It will never happen! This God you all cawl [sic] aliena [sic]. The joke is on all of you!” – Gary.
Now, I really don’t know what he’s trying to say. I think he’s trying to say, “This God you call God is an alien.” Well, you know, Gary, my replay to you is – I guess we all will simply have to wait and find out upon whom the “joke” is being played. Now, as far as me, all I know is what is in the Bible. Now, if the Bible is false – then I’m completely diluted and don’t have a clue of what I’m saying. But on the other hand, if God exists, if Jesus Christ exists – which we believe They indeed do – and if They inspired the Bible – which we believe They did – then They are telling us a completely different story.

Now, I understand that Gary doesn’t want to believe the Bible. Yet, there are so many Scriptures that demonstrate that his statement “it will never happen” is incorrect. And, I’m not quite sure what he means by “it.” Is the “it” that the end-time prophets will never exist!? Or, is he saying that God doesn’t exist, and therefore the return of Jesus Christ doesn’t exist!?

And, concerning Gary – and the people like Gary. I guess you can approach life in two different directions. One possible direction is to say – “I don’t believe in God, and I don’t believe in the Bible, and I’m going to make fun of and mock those who do.” Or, would you rather be gullible enough to believe that God exists, that Jesus Christ is alive, and that the Bible is Their inspired Word!? And someday you just might – because of your faith and belief – be told – “Welcome to My family! Welcome to My city! Welcome to My kingdom! A place which has been prepared for you, and people like you, from the foundations of the earth!”? I would rather take that chance!

And if God doesn’t exist – you’ll never know the difference anyway! Because, if God doesn’t exist – there won’t be life after death!
Read our free online pdf booklet The Confusion About Death! Today. You’ll be glad you did!

Wouldn’t it be better to live your life and to be able to say, “You know, I believe this is true! And someday I’m going to be allowed to see, to hear, and to feel, this great moment of being resurrected into immortality – into eternal life!”?

And then Gary will have to decide on whom the “joke” has been played.
4. November 25, 2016 – “Amen. Praise the Lord God Jesus!” – Leslie.
I love it! That’s a really good attitude there! Leslie, to you and to your household – to your family – may God bless all of you! You have an attitude which will be remembered by God Almighty and Jesus Christ – and someday, Leslie, you will be rewarded for your positive attitude.

Germany’s Merkel

Now, this article which I would like to read was in the USA Today on November 20th, 2016. The headline reads – Germany’s Merkel will seek a fourth term, face populist tide by Kirsten Grieshaber The Associated Press.

Now, this talks about some of the very things which we here at the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ have been talking about for a long time.
BERLIN — Angela Merkel, who has steered Germany through several global crises as its first female leader, said Sunday she will seek a fourth term as chancellor in elections next year, when she could find herself up against the anti-immigrant populist tide that has swept both Europe and the U.S.
“I literally thought about this decision endlessly … but I am ready to run for office again,” Merkel told reporters after meeting with high-ranking members of her center-right party. “I want to serve Germany.”
Repeatedly named “The World’s Most Powerful Woman” by Forbes magazine, Merkel, 62, has been cast by some as the last powerful defender of liberal values …
As opposed to conservative.
in the West following Donald Trump’s election as the next U.S. president.
The nationalist Alterative for Germany party, or AfD, could prove to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to her re-election. The party, now represented in 10 state parliaments, has aggressively campaigned against Merkel’s decision to welcome an estimated 890,000 migrants into Germany last year, many of them Muslims fleeing the war-torn Middle East and Africa.
Trump’s election and Britain’s vote last June to withdraw from the European Union have reflected, in part, growing populist and anti-immigrant sentiment among voters. Elections next year could also see a far-right politician become president of France, which has been beset by violence by Islamic extremists.
Merkel said she expects strong challenges from the left and right fringes as Germany has become more polarized.
“This election will be difficult — like no other election since the reunification” of West and East Germany in 1990, she said.
A date has not been set for the election, but it will take place sometime between Aug. 23 and Oct. 22.”
(Read More:
So, there are democratic parties – there are movements – inside both Germany and France that want to take a different direction in their countries. They’re not happy with the way that their countries are going. And, we’ve been saying this now – for the past three years – you’re going to see this happen! And in the end, those countries in Europe that are swinging far-Right are going down the road of certain increased militarism. And, sooner or later they are going to look upon the Muslim people of North Africa and the Middle East as enemies – and they will invade those Islamic countries. In what we call The Last Crusade. So, things are heating up! And, biblical prophecy is being fulfilled – and you can even read about it in secular articles.

What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol?

Now, another article comes from - and I am not out to offend anyone – the Jimmy Swaggart outfit. They appear here in Owensboro on the television. Now, the thing you need to ask yourself as you’re tuning into their channel is – will they be singing, shouting, or selling!? Because they do a lot of selling on their network. Now, they’re trying to sell their products and they’re trying to raise money – I do understand. This article is in their monthly magazine The Evangelist called “What does the Bible say about drinking alcohol?” by Dave Smith.

Now, this is the opening paragraph:
“Most Christians who believe that the Bible is the Word of God, agree that it is sinful to get drunk, but some do not know that the Bible teaches against the drinking of any alcohol.”
The article ends with the following statement:
Therefore, the Bible teaches Christians should not drink any alcohol.”
And he lists several Scriptures. One which he lists is Habakkuk 2:15.

And, Habakkuk – one of the so-called “minor prophets” – says:
“’ Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, Pressing him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk, …” – Habakkuk 2:15; NKJV.
Now, in the last article, we spoke of a miracle by Jesus in John 2. There is a huge difference between taking a drink of wine, or drinking a glass of beer, or drinking a margarita, and getting drunk! One beer does not equal drunkenness. Now, I know some people who can slam down about twelve beers, and it doesn’t seem to affect them. Now, I’m not in that category. But this passage is talking about being drunk. Not just having a drink.

And here is what sort of troubles me about the Jimmy Swaggart people. They position themselves on their television programs as they are the ultimate “not to be questioned” authority on what the Bible does and or does not say. That is how they present themselves. And yet, time after time I find them misrepresenting the Word of God they say that they’re representing. And here is a very classic case.

They say: “Some do not know that the Bible teaches against the drinking of any alcohol.” And that’s not what the Bible says.

Another one of the Scriptures he uses as a proof text is Matthew 24:48-51. And it says as follows:
’ But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ 49) and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, …’” – Matthew 24:48-51; NKJV.
Now, friends, it’s pretty clear what is taking place in this parable. You know – if you get to the point where you have lost hope, you say, ‘My Lord delays His coming!’ You really don’t care anymore what the Bible says, and now you just become a wild maniac – ‘beating, abusing your workers, and just eating and drinking with the drunkards’ – you’ve just become a big-time party person. That’s what Jesus Christ here is talking about! It’s about being drunk! It’s not talking about sitting down and having a beer – if you want to have a beer. If you don’t want to drink a beer – you don’t have to. If you don’t want a margarita with your Mexican meal – you don’t order one. But if you do want to have a glass of wine with your Italian meal – don’t feel guilty and that somehow God is condemning you.

And quite frankly, these people who are misrepresenting the Word of God should not be condemning you either.

Well, another verse he uses as a proof text. 1 Timothy 3:2-3. And these are the qualifications of a bishop – or a minister.
“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded [meaning, of sound mind], of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3) not given to wine, …” – 1 Timothy 3:2-3; NKJV.
Now, what does that phrase mean – ‘not given to wine’? Does it mean having a glass of wine is forbidden!? Or, does it mean – don’t sit down and drink the whole bottle!? Because there is a big difference. Having a glass of wine vs drinking a gallon of wine. There’s a really big difference! And, this very obviously means – don’t over drink!

Well, in a very similar passage – if you would turn to the Book of Titus. Chapter 2. Because Paul wrote these qualifications in two different sections. He wrote them in 1 Timothy 3, but he also wrote them in the Book of Titus. And you get some very similar phraseology.

Titus 2:1 – “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2) that the older men be sober [which means, serious minded], reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3) the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, …”

Again, Titus 2 plainly says – it’s not the drinking of a glass of wine which becomes critical, it’s where you sit down and drink the whole bottle! That’s what becomes the whole problem.

So, I saw this article and it irritates me that these people represent themselves as being the only people who know the truth of God. And yet in doing that they misrepresent the truth of God. And, that bothers me.

And The Evangelist reminds me of publications you would have once seen in the Worldwide Church of God. They’re well written, pretty, nice paper, nice color, with different articles. In fact, the Swaggart family reminds me so much of the Armstrong family – of which I have a lot of experience. A family where the father, the son, and now the grandson – acted as though they knew all truth! And that they and only they could give a judgment on what the Bible does or does not say. And again, there is just a tremendous amount of arrogance that’s bound up in that statement!

There’s another thing I would like to say. And I mentioned it earlier. If you would turn back to John 2. In the last article, we were talking about the miracles of Jesus Christ. And the very first recorded miracle which Jesus ever performed in public. And I think He did some miracles in private – can’t prove it, I just believe that.

Remember His mother comes to Him – they were at a wedding. Verse 3 – “And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ 4) Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’ 5) His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’ 6) Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.”

Now in the Authorized Version, it reads, ‘containing two or three firkins apiece.’ This is the only place in the Bible that the word firkins appears. The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible says that a firkin is “a measurement (about nine or ten gallons).” 1 Let’s just call it ten gallons.

So, a firkin is a measurement of liquid equal to ten gallons. And, each pot contained two to three firkins. So, to just round it off – each pot contained twenty-five gallons. And there were six pots. So, the amount of wine that Jesus Christ manufactured out of pots of water was equivalent to 150 gallons of wine!

Now, for the Swaggart boys to say, “some do not know that the Bible teaches against the drinking of any alcohol.” Well then, what was Jesus doing making by fiat 150 gallons of what was considered ‘good wine’?

Now, another passage. 1 Timothy 5.

So, this article in The Evangelist by Dave Smith, in which he basically says, ‘a true Christian cannot drink wine! – it’s a horrible sin!’ And we’re talking about a glass of wine, or beer, or liquor – whatever you call it. And, we’ve pointed out how Mr. Smith in his article misled the readers of that article as to what the Bible was actually saying. He misleads them! He is being extremely creative and trying to come up with a conclusion that is not substantiated by the Bible.

1 Timothy 5:23 – the Apostle Paul is speaking to this young man Timothy, who is like a son to him. And apparently, Timothy had some stomach problems. And he says – “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.”

Now, keep in mind that this is at an age – the first-century of the year of the Lord – when there wasn’t a lot of medical knowledge. And any remedy that you could get was more of a holistic or home-remedy. And Paul was advising Timothy concerning whatever he had to ‘drink a little wine for your stomach’s sake, and your many physical problems.’ So here, the Apostle Paul (and if anybody should know what they’re talking about, it would be Paul!) says to drink a little wine to help settle your stomach.

Well, Mr. Smith, I didn’t see you quoting this verse! I did not see you quoting the miracle of John 2!

And, I’ve heard so many of these types too, “Well, it wasn’t wine, it was grape-juice!” Which is an utter and complete lie! Again, the word wine in Greek is oinos. 2 And, as I said in the previous article – if you were to get on a plane this afternoon and travel to Athens, Greece and go to a restaurant – and if you ordered oinos – they would bring to you a glass of about 12 percent alcohol-induced wine. Indeed, it was wine! It wasn’t grape juice!

Well, so much for that.

Another thing from the last article – Jesus drives out an evil spirit. Mark 1:21-27; Luke 4:31-36.

If you would turn to the Book of Mark chapter 1. We were reading of another miracle of Jesus Christ. Also, keep in mind – the miracles that Jesus Christ performed we’re told in the Book of John, Jesus Himself speaking – ‘that someday, some of you people, will do even greater miracles than I have done!’ And that’s what we’re talking about in this series – the ‘end-time prophets’!

Mark 1:23 – “Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit.” – an evil spirit. A demon. And this demon cried out, probably was making a loud racket and disturbing everyone. Verse 24 – “saying, ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!’ 25) But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’ 26) And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27) Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? What new doctrine [or teaching] is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.’ 28) And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.”

Now, miracles – remember we read in the Book of Acts – that this Jesus who was able to perform miracles, signs, and wonders proved that He was indeed the Son of God – the Servant of God! And so here’s another miracle which astounded the people who saw it. And again, keep in mind – the ‘end-time prophets’ – which are not yet; again are they three years away, seven years away, ten, twenty, or thirty years away!? I don’t know, I can’t tell you. Because we have not yet been told – we, the end-time servants, can look forward to sometime witnessing these people perform great miracles, signs, and wonders!

And, as I said in the last article - if, in your lifetime, you happen to come across a demon-possessed person who is directly confronting you – I suggest strongly that you do not take it upon yourself to tell the demon to “come out” of there. I strongly suggest that you simply say, “The Lord Jesus Christ rebuke you!” And let Jesus do the work. Because if you don’t you may end up in a whole lot of hot water. Because the demon may just really not care about who you are. As there is an example for us in Acts 19.

Acts 19:13 – “Then some of the itinerant [a person who travels from place to place] Jewish exorcists …” 3 - now my margin says, “witch doctors.’ Sort of self-proclaimed spiritualists. “ … took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ 14) Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.”

So, these are the sons of a high priest of the temple elite. So, they were impressed with themselves – believing themselves to be temple ‘royalty’ themselves.

Verse 15 – “And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’” – and I got a feeling that in the original conversation there were some added obscene words to that last phrase – like ‘Who the hell are you!?’

Verse 16 – “Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them [all seven of them!?], overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” – this demon-possessed man whipped their ass! He thrashed them, he shredded their clothes, and chased them out of the house – probably in pure terror!

Do not discuss religion or politics?

Now, there’s a very old adage – in our culture – and I guess within the last twenty or thirty years I’ve heard a lot. And, I can’t remember hearing it when I was twenty or thirty, yet, here within the last two or three decades you hear it a lot. It goes, “Do not discuss politics or religion in general company.” 4 And often it is said in the context of, “don’t bring up the subject.”

Now, that’s odd because America was founded by people sitting around – maybe on their job site sipping tea – discussing politics. And finally, enough discussion took place that back in 1775 Edmund Burke presents his 13 articles to the Westminster Parliament! The American colonists decided they no longer wanted to be under the heavy hand of King George III of the United Kingdom. And a movement was started and inflamed, and before it was over, the American Revolutionary War came about! And before it was over America announced her Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776! And, from the miracles of God, the American colonists defeated the greatest military and naval power in the world at that time. Now, it never should have happened! But, with God’s blessing – it did!

But, if everyone just sat around going, “I don’t want to say anything because I might upset somebody!” If everyone had done that, we would be saluting Queen Elizabeth II! Well, quite frankly, the world probably would not have survived the anguish and tyranny of World War I and World War II!

Yet, that’s what we say in our culture today – “Do not discuss politics or religion in general company.”

Well, if you want to know the truth – that phrase is actually a form of what we call now “political correctness.” Do you know what “political correctness” is!? It’s when another group of people, or a mass of people, or a movement of people, decide – ‘we’re going to tell the American people what they can say and what they can think.’ And they must not deviate from what this big mass tells them to. Well, friends, I contend that that is totally un-American! And I think it’s W R O N G! And I do not subscribe to such a situation! And I don’t think the Bible does either!

Now, discussing politics, or discussing religion, is not the problem. The discussion is not the problem – it’s the manner or the style, the approach in which the discussion takes place. And the normal reason why people say, “don’t discuss politics or religion,” is because somebody in the group will become very hostile, or very aggressive, and end-up attacking the other side of the argument. So, it’s not the discussion that’s bad – it’s the manner that people perform the discussion. Now, keep in mind – we are to show respect to the people with whom we are around. And that’s godly.

If you would turn to Matthew 19:17.

So, if you would just follow the Words of Jesus, a discussion of politics or religion would not become a problem. I’ve had many discussions in my life with people who were a part of other religious bodies or doctrines or ideas. And I have never got into an argument with a single one of them. And every time I’ve had this discussion I have tried to be polite, and respectful. And in doing that – I have learned a lot!

Now, several years ago on Christmas Day, I was the one who got invited against his will to the home of a Mormon family where there were roughly thirty-three of them and one of me! And friends, we talked religion – because they wanted to. We spoke about religion for about nine or ten hours!

And I not once became disagreeable or insulting. The only thing I did was take their ammunition away from them early – through the grace of God – and said, “Alright, you want to talk religion!? We’ll talk, but I have one ground rule. The only authority which we can quote is the Word of God! No other books, publications, or ideas. It must come from the Word of God!” And early on – to their great chagrin – they agreed. And once they agreed, I had them!

And Redge – the mother of the family; great woman, fun, spirited, just a great human being, and I look forward to seeing her again at the ‘great white throne judgment’ – leaned over to me in the course of that dinner and said, “Well, Mike, do you feel outnumbered!?” And I played along – she had a little twinkle in her eye – I looked around as if I was counting and said, “Redge, by my quick accounting, there’s about thirty-three of you and one of me. But there’s not a problem. I’ve got you outnumbered!” And she laughed – as if to say, ‘I love your enthusiasm!’

And then, during the halfway mark, she again leaned over and said, “You weren’t kidding were you!?”

“About what!?” I answered.

“You weren’t kidding about having us outnumbered.”

“Oh no, I wasn’t kidding at all!”

I was very serious. Because I had on my side the Word of God! And I knew how to ‘rightly divide’ the Word of God. And I had the help of Jesus Christ, having the mind of Christ with me. And so I took them all on!

And Papa Nelson blew his top! I mean he just flat lost it! And he stood up red-faced and he clenched his giant fist and slams it on the table and said, “I don’t care about the Word of God! I care only about my bishop! And what he says!” - talking about the leader of the Mormon Church – Boyd K. Packer – at that time. “And, as long as I am doing that – that’s all I have to know!” And then he stormed out of the room.

And after about nine or ten hours the house was empty except for me. I shewed the people out of their own houses! Because one by one they left – they couldn’t take it.

You must have respect for the people you are talking to. I have some Catholic friends – and every-so-often we will talk religion. But I’m very respectful of what I say to them. And I try not to say the things which will inflame their passions. And I try to approach it from a very academic and intellectual viewpoint. And again, I will say, “The Word of God says, …” And on several occasions, I’ve had my Catholic friends say, “But, my priest says the following …” “Fine,” I respond, “But that’s not what the Word of God says.” And then I’ll actually quote it and show them. And then they run off to their priest and two or three days later, they say, “Well, we’re gonna do it that way anyway.”

Now, everyone is entitled to their thoughts – especially in this country. We do have freedom of religion. If you have a Baptist friend – they have a right to be a Baptist. And, if you have a Pentecostal friend – they have a right to be Pentecostal. If they’re Catholic – they have the right to be Catholic. If they’re a republican - they have the right to be a republican. And, if they’re a democrat - they have the right to be a democrat. Or a libertarian or whatever else. And, they need to be shown that respect.

So, have your discussion based upon respect and logic.

“So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.’ – now, I guess, Jesus as He was a human being felt a little inferior to God the Father. He says, ‘there’s only One ultimate holy Being right now, and that’s God the Father.’ “ … ‘But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’

Verse 18 – “He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19) ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’’ – so, what is He quoting here!? He’s quoting the Ten Commandments as we find back in the Books of Deuteronomy and Exodus!

Have the Ten Commandments been replaced by some new commandment? Have they been "nailed to the cross"? Have only part of the Ten Commandments been approved in the New Testament? Have some been altered or changed? Here is the surprising answer from God's inspired Scriptures. 

Minister Michael C. Garrett's 20-part series - The Eternal Relevancy of the Ten Commandments.
Matthew 22:35 – again a very similar passage. “Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36) ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ 37) Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38) This is the first and great commandment.’ – or, rather, divine principle. Verse 39 – “’ And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ – RESPECT! Verse 40 – “’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’

He’s saying that the totality of the Bible can be summarized in these two ideas. ‘Love the LORD with all your heart, mind, and soul. And, love your neighbor as yourself.’ Again, RESPECT!

If you would, Matthew 7 – we see where this idea is represented by Jesus Christ Himself. Verse 12 – “’ Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’ – this is the so-called ‘Golden Rule.’

Now, keep in mind – what are we talking about!? Can you discuss religion and politics in public? Sure you can. But you have to do it in a spirit of respect. You can’t just start making fun of people and tearing their ideas down and then embarrassing them and trying to intimidate them. You’re nothing more than a bully – if you do that. But if you have a respectful discussion, and an intellectual academic discussion – sure you can talk about those things.

Matthew 5:44 – “’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.’

So, what Jesus is saying – I’m going to paraphrase it – when others are disrespectful to you, try to be respectful to them. Even in the face of their disrespect.

Romans 13 – Paul gets in on this subject. Verse 8 – “Owe no one anything except to love one another, …” – to be respectful to one another. “ … for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9) For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in the saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 10) Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Yes, we are to be very respectful.

Now, I guess that’s why I have a little trouble with that “unofficial” leader of the ICG down in Tyler, Texas. Anytime a person or a group of people disagrees with him or his idea he can become just violently disrespectful. He will trash them, and mock them, and make fun of them. He is the antithesis of someone who is supposed to ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ He has very little respect for anyone – other than himself.

Galatians 5:13 – “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; …” – religious freedom. “ … only do not use liberty …” – or that freedom “ … as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [one phrase], even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Indeed, these are powerful thoughts! And, these are thoughts we need to think about – at all times!

Also, Romans 14:13 – “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, …” – and the word judge has the connotation of condemning. “ … but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

Now, I would contend that when you are on the telephone and you tell somebody, “I’m going to do everything within my power to destroy you and the church in Owensboro!” I have a feeling that you have not read this verse nor have you understood it – and you are not living by it! It’s not our job to go out and to destroy a Baptist, a Pentecostal, a Methodist, a Catholic. As I said, I’ve had many conversations with people of various religions. And, I normally approach it from a curiosity standpoint – I’m trying to figure out what they believe and why. I want to know the why. Why do you teach that!? Why do you believe that!? Where does it come from!? And here’s what I have found so many times – most people don’t know how to explain their own religion.

Well, people can disagree, without being disagreeable. And here – in our days following the US presidential election – our nation is just all torn up! The liberals are all just having crying fits! They’re angry, they’re lashing out, protesting, yelling, and calling people names. It’s really difficult to understand. Well, if you have a friend or a family member who voted for the other person – don’t be disrespectful. I would ask – why did you vote for that person.

Ephesians 6:18 – “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all saints – 19) and for me …” – Paul is saying, ‘pray for me.’ “ …that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.”

That was Paul’s attitude. He wasn’t going to be a shaking little rabbit – he was going to be bold like a lion roaring it out!

If you would turn to Acts 4 – and I believe we’ve covered some of these verses in earlier articles. Acts 4:13 – “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

Verse 29 – “’ Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30) by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy [Son] Jesus.’”

And that’s what the end-time prophets are going to do.

Verse 31 – “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.”

Not timid. Not scared. Not intimidated. Boldness – and I believe that God’s servants should be that way!

And, as far as getting an answer. You should not go around knocking on people's doors. However, if somebody asks you a question, don’t curl up into the corner in a fetal position like you’re afraid to talk. Stand up tall, throw your shoulders back and look them in the eye and tell them exactly what needs to be said – with kindness, love, and respect. But don’t be ashamed of the Word of God. Don’t be ashamed of Jesus Christ – of the very Plan of God.

1 Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear [and respect].”

Always be ready to give an answer! Don’t go, “Well, that’s private, and I just don’t want to talk about it.”

Look at Revelation 3. As far as people who can’t make up their minds, what did Jesus say to a church group in the first century A.D.?

Revelation 3:15 – “’ I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16) So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.’

And what Jesus is saying – ‘I wish you had some boldness to you!’ ‘I wish you had some courage!’ Remember, courage is nothing more than another word for faith.

Matthew 12. You’ve got to be aware of what you stand for and at some point, you’ve got to be willing to stand up and make a stand! So, keep this in mind – Matthew 12:36 – “’ But I say to you that for every idle word [every act or thought] men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37) For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.’

And if you are ashamed of the Words of Jesus Christ, He says that He will be ashamed of you! And yet if you are bold – I have a feeling that Jesus will stand with you and by you forever! You have to be ready to stand up for what you believe.

Again, I’m not speaking about being hostile, or disrespectful. But you have to be able to stand your ground and say, “This is what I believe!”

Romans 14:10 – “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? …”

Woe “unofficial” leader of the ICG – you need to hear these words! “I’m going to do everything within my power to destroy you and the church in Owensboro!” Why did you do that!? Why was that your approach!?

“ … For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 12) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” – and who you are and what you believe and the courage that you have to do that!

2 Corinthians 5:10 – “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body [in their life], according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

I would rather stand before the judgment seat of Christ and have Him say, “Mike, you were bold. You were a warrior. You didn’t back down, but you didn’t do it with meanness or hatred. You simply stood by My Word and My record and My Truth! And for that, I AM proud of you! Well done My good and faithful servant!” That’s what I would like to hear someday. But for some – remember Peter, after Jesus was arrested, Peter goes all scaredy-cat. Remember he was asked, “Well, weren’t you with Jesus!?” And he says, “Oh no, I never knew the man!” And, he even went into this torrid of cursing! Peter wasn’t nearly as brave as he thought he was. Now, later, after he has God’s Spirit he was brave, and he was bold.

But friends, when it comes to discussing politics or religion always be respectful to the people to whom you are speaking. Don’t try to denigrate them or rub them into the ground. But at the same time – stand up for what you believe and boldly speak the truth. We should not be ashamed of what we believe! And, I hope all of you know what you believe. And I hope that you’re willing to stand up and fight for it – if you have to. Be bold. Be brave.

Be S T R O N G in the Lord your God! ■


1 #3355 metrētēs, n. GK: 3583 [→ 3358]: measure (about nine or ten gallons):-firkins [1]. The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Strong, James. Zondervan. © 2001. Pages 399, 3412.
2 In The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible “#3631 οἶνος, oinos, n. GK: 3885[→ 3630, 3632, 3943], wine.” Strong, James. Zondervan. 2001, pg. 3594.
3 The men belonged to a lower section of the class … representatives in Simon of Samaria or Elymas of Cyprus. They practiced exorcisms as a profession, and went from city to city, pretending with charms and spells to cure those who were looked on as possessed with demons. Many of these were said to have come down from Solomon. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers. Exorcists - ἐξορκιστῶν exorkistōn. This word properly denotes "those who went about pretending to be able to expel evil spirits, or to cure diseases by charms, incantations," etc. The word is derived from ὁρκίζω horkizō, "to bind with an oath." It was applied in this sense, because those who pretended to be able to expel demons used the formula of an oath, or adjured them, to compel them to leave the possessed persons. Compare Matthew 12:27. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible.
4 “Do not discuss politics or religion in general company” is from 1879. The saying was further popularized by the Peanuts comic strip in 1961. The character Linus said, “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people...religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” Popik, Barry. “Never talk about religion or politics” (etiquette rule). 17 July 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2019.

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