Friday, March 24, 2023

End-Time Prophets (Online Book) - Chapter 4

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3:51 - Germany's Merkel
7:07 - Do not discuss religion or politics?

Minister Michael C. Garrett     About

Chapter 4 - Do Not Discuss Religion Or Politics?

Note: This book was created from a series of sermons starting in November 2016 by Mr. Garrett. This book consists of 6 chapters reflecting the eight sermons published of the same title. This book is for the convenience of having all eight sermons in one easy-to-read format and download. These sermons are on our YouTube channel - Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ - YouTube

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 on 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.
     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, and 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,” magnanimous, 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!

Germany’s Merkel

In this chapter, I would like to briefly read what was in 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 Alternative 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.”
     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.

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.” 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 England. 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 in which 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.
     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 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!
     doing that – I have learned a lot! You must have a respect for the people you are talking to. I have some Catholic friends – and ever-so-often we will talk religion. But I’m very respectful in 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!
     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 on 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.
     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 destroy a Baptist, a Pentecostal, a Methodist, or 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!
     Turning 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!
     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 an 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? ...”
     “ ... 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!

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Published 2023

11-26-2016 - End-Time Prophets - Part D

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