Wednesday, May 24, 2023

To Jesus Be The Glory - Chapter Two (Sermon)

Michael C. Garrett

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Let us continue the theme of which we have been talking for the last month or more. It all started with a tragic situation at my home, where my right big toe got into an argument with a concrete block. Well, my big toe lost the argument! It got beat up badly. A huge chunk of flesh was removed and the tip of the distal phalanx was shattered. You could see it on the X-ray little pieces of bone. I also lost the nail, but it is beginning to grow back. But, the main problem was with infections. It was such a large ugly wound. The best way that I can describe what happened – take a cheese grater, imagine that your thumb is your big toe, and just scrape the cheese grater down your thumb! That is what the concrete block did to my right big toe! Horrible damage.
     Now, I had been dealing with my primary doctor, and on several occasions, she trimmed away these ragged pieces of flesh that would never be reconstituted. And, she kept saying – well, it’s looking a little better. It was very slow to recover. She finally sent me off to another doctor, a specialist. When I saw him, he took another X-ray. As he was viewing the X-ray, he cocked his head and said, “Boy, what’s going on here!? You just shattered the end of your bone!” Yeah! I did a bang-up job! Then, about a month later, another X-ray was taken by Dr. H. Upon looking at this X-ray he turned to me and said, “Well, Mike, your toe needs to be removed ─ now!”
     I believed that he was going to remove my right big toe right then and there in his office! And that I would be going home not ever again being able to count to twenty. Well, I just didn’t think that was a great idea! In fact, it placed me in a state of shock. Because, up to this point no doctor was using the word amputation.
     So, I went home that afternoon rather confused and troubled. I spent a lot of time in prayer to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ. And others that I know contributed prayers to the throne of mercy and grace on my behalf.
     The following day I decided to get a second opinion. I wasn’t going to go by one person’s opinion of wanting to amputate my right big toe! And, quite frankly I didn’t care for his bedside manner. When Dr. H. first said, “Your toe needs to be removed ─ now!” I put my hands up and stated – “Whoa, settle down!” And, he became indignant, as if I was questioning his professional judgment. Well, yes. I was questioning his professional judgment! He said, “Well, it’s only a toe!” “Yes,” I said, “but it’s my toe!” What I thought about saying was – give me a scalpel, and let me find something on you that you don’t want to lose. And see how quickly your attitude changes. But, I didn’t say that. I never went back to him.
     I made an appointment with Dr. M. I’ve known this doctor for at least 6 years. A very likable person. An enjoyable person to be around. When I was able to see him, he said, “Well, Mike, I think what you were told is correct.” So, this statement was super disappointing. Two doctors, and two professional judgments to amputate. A very concerning period in my life.
     I told Dr. M., “You doctors are mighty quick to want to amputate my toe. I would like somebody who would like to fight for my toe! I need a John Wayne coming in with the Calvary riding in on their horses and saving me at the very last moment!” He got out his phone and called another specialist. And, I was scheduled to see this specialist one day later.

‘This Is A Miracle’

Now, at Dr. M.I.’s office, a day later, a nurse took off my shoe and my sock, along with the little blue “turban” bandage covering my right big toe, and I look down and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Not that the wound looked worse. The day before the ankle was swollen about twice the size, and the whole foot looked like a large ball – it didn’t even look like a foot it was so swollen. The right big toe the color red. Now, I couldn’t see the actual wound because it was on the opposite end of my toe. Yet, twenty-four hours later the foot looked perfectly normal. The right big toe looked perfectly normal.
     At that point, I knew that the prayers which had been offered up to God Almighty and Jesus Christ had indeed been heard! And, Dr. M.I. came into the examining room, looked down at my right big toe, and said, “Mike, I gotta tell ya, as I look down upon your foot, I see no evidence that anything is wrong with your foot or your toe.”
     A little later, they wanted to do a bone biopsy, because there was talk of giving me intravenous antibiotic treatments. I’ve been told by all of these doctors that it’s very difficult to get an infection in the bone to heal. It’s like – their standard procedure is – once you get an infection in the bone that bone has to be removed. And, as they said, if we don’t do this the infection will spread to more parts of your foot, and in the end, you’ll lose half or all of your foot. And some even said that you could lose your life. So, this truly was a serious situation. It was isolated to my toe, but destined to grow.
     I received a few days later a bone biopsy, which wasn’t the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had. They wanted to know what type of bacteria was attacking my right big toe. So that when they gave me the I.V. treatments they would know exactly which antibiotic to use that most affect that particular bacteria.
     I had told many of my friends – the greatest fantasy of which I could ask for is when I hear them tell me: Mr. Garrett, you do not have osteomyelitis. And sure enough, that Monday I received a telephone call, and the lady on the other side of the phone says, “Mr. Garrett, you do not have osteomyelitis.” And I said, “Would you please repeat that? I want to make sure that I didn’t misunderstand you!” She said, “You do not have an osteomyelitis.” Even though the second X-ray demonstrated that I did at one time have osteomyelitis. It was eating away the bone. Once they had established that I did not have osteomyelitis, there was no longer a need for antibiotics. The wound on the outside of my right big toe began to heal rapidly.
     After the day I received my pathology report, I was scheduled to see my primary doctor again, Dr. Mack. And when she walked into the examining room she asked me, “Mike, are you going to have your toe amputated!?” That was her hello. And, I could have been polite and just said – no. But, I wanted to get something across to her – I wanted her to know that it wasn’t just – no. But it’s, “Hell no!” She flinched a bit, surely thinking – well, that’s mighty bold. Every doctor he has seen suggested amputating his toe. She glances at the pathology report and exclaimed, “Mike! You don’t have an osteomyelitis!” She began examining my right big toe, taking off my shoe and my sock, along with the little blue “turban” bandage, and upon looking at my right big toe – she was befuddled. She says, “Nothing that I am seeing makes any sense!” Then she turned, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “Michael, this is a miracle!” The size of the wound was the size of the end of a ballpoint pen. Well, I left there sky-high! I thought – here in just a short time my right big toe will be completely healed.
     Two days later I saw Dr. M. again. He said, “Would you like me to take a look at your right big toe?” I think he was curious. So, I took off my shoe and my sock, along with the little blue “turban” bandage, and he looks at it and goes, “Mike, the wound is completely healed!” We began shouting, yelling, crying, and high-fiving, with the people in the waiting area surely thinking we were crazy! The doctor looks at that guy's toe and all of a sudden they're celebrating!?

A Great Image

I was very thankful! I cannot begin to tell you how thankful – how thankful. And, during this process – the time that I found out that the wound was the size of the head of a ballpoint pen – an image flashed through my mind. Whether this image was from my own imagination, or whether this image was placed within my mind, God knows. And to help you understand where this message is coming from today I wanted you to hear what I was going through. In this image in my mind, I saw Jesus Christ. In this image, I approached Him and asked, “Could I have a hug!?”
     We don’t always think of the LORD God in this way – do we? When the majority of us, historically – and it doesn’t matter what background you grew up in, whether it was Catholic, Protestant, or some other – God is often thought of as being angry. Most people think of Him as “sending you to an ever-burning hell.” That’s the image most people have of God. And, there are people who make a show of worshiping God, and in fact, they do this because they fear God. Not respect God. The word fear in God’s living word in Greek is phobeō, meaning reverent fear, or respect. A proper fear for God. Yes, we need to stand in awe of the awesome power of the LORD God! And we need to understand that in the end God Almighty and Jesus Christ will determine whether we live or die. Yes, we need to respect the family of God. But we also need to love and appreciate Them. Not to look upon Them as some far-off angry creature waiting to strike you down like the Germanic pagan god Thor with his lightning bolts. But rather, God Almighty is indeed our loving Father, and Jesus Christ is indeed our loving concerned, and gentle Big Brother! And this is what I saw in that image. I saw “John Wayne” – who came to my rescue riding on His white horse. And I knew that He had healed my right big toe.
     In this image in my mind's eye, I received this beautiful hug. And as my head was on His left shoulder near His ear, I kept saying, “Thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You!” I began naming all of the things I could think of to give Him thanks, honor, and glory. It was a wonderful moment that happened in my mind's eye. Now, someday, I’m waiting for it to occur right before me! Right before my actual eyes!
     I don’t think that I’ve been the same since all of this has occurred. And especially with the healing of my right big toe! My toe – which was destined for death. It’s now perfectly healthy!
     Today I want to talk about these things which are just jumping off the pages of the living word of God – the Holy Bible – and flooding my mind with thoughts. And I say this – because I know of people from my past – who would not even want to say the name, Jesus. Now, stop and think about this for a moment: there are people who say they are Christian, but they will almost never say the name, Jesus. It’s as though He really doesn’t exist to them. Yes, they will talk about “God.” They will talk about “God Almighty.” They will talk about “our heavenly Father.” Some will even just say, “Father.” But they almost never include Jesus. Now, this one group of people – and others who have come from this group – around the Passover, they’ll talk about Jesus. But, the Passover is completely and totally about Jesus! He was tortured to death and died a horrible death. Allowed to die on a cross. A horrific and terrible thing to go through! And our Lord Jesus Christ is the star of the Passover – and nobody can deny it! The Passover, which happens in the spring, is the very first event in the LORD God’s holy day plan.
     You do indeed have the Passover in God’s living word – Old Testament and New Testament. The Days of Unleavened Bread. And then in the early summer God’s living word talks about the Day of Pentecost. And then as you get into the fall of the year God’s living word talks about the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and then the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. But keep in mind, the very first event of God’s holy day calendar is the Passover. And it is all about what Jesus Christ did for us. He became the Lamb of God, the Sacrifice from God, and of God, and by God! For all of the sins of all mankind for all past, present, and future.

By What Power or By What Name?

My friends, we’ve got to change the way we think. We’ve got to change the way we speak. We’ve got to change the way we pray. That image I saw in my mind – of asking for and receiving a hug from this fantastic being – is firmly planted within my mind and I see it every day! Maybe the reason that my right big toe got into an argument with a concrete block is so that I could see the hand of God!? The hand and the power of Jesus in the salvation of my right big toe. Do you recall the Prophet Moses with the parting of the Red Sea!? And he tells the children of Israel – behold the power of God! Well, I received a close-up view of the power of God and the love and kindness of Jesus. And I don’t ever want to lose that image! And I don’t ever want to go back to this remedial form of religion to which I have referred.
     But, for those people who are ashamed, and embarrassed, of the name Jesus – turning to the Book of Acts we notice that the Apostles Peter and John were taken before the Jewish leaders after this miraculous healing, chapter 4 verse 7 – “And when they had set them in the midst, …” – this highly determinant counsel of the Jewish elite. “ … they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this?’”
     Verse 8 – “Then Peter, filled with [God’s mind], …” – and this is what the Holy Spirit is, the mind of God being placed within our minds. It’s nothing like the ghostly character they call “the Holy Ghost.” An absolutely horrible translation. It is the mind of God which He shares with all of us. For those of us who will submit to His power. “ … said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: … 10) let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.’”
     Notice verse 12 – “’ Nor is there salvation in any other, …”
   And we have tried to explain the meaning of that word – salvation. Normally when we think of salvation we think of having the opportunity to have eternal life in the kingdom of God. Or, spiritual salvation. But, we want you to have a greater understanding. There is also that thought which is physical salvation. Physical protection from harm. And, physical healing from our diseases and our accidents, and medical conditions.
     “ … ‘ for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’”
    Don’t disregard the physical salvation – the healing aspect. Because, we read on two occasions in God’s living word, “by His stripes [the torture that Jesus went through] we are healed.” By His battered, cut, and bruised body, and by His shed blood! By His stripes you have the opportunity to be healed. Jesus is the only name by which being saved – in any form – can ever come about!
     Turn, if you will, to the Book of Mark chapter 8. The very words of Jesus Christ!
     Verse 38 – “’ For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father [or, with His Father] with the holy angels.’
     Friends, this one verse says a mouthful. It’s another verse that demonstrates that God the Father is going to return with Jesus Christ and with all of the holy angels. But the first part: if you are ashamed of Jesus, according to what He says, of you will He also be ashamed. You simply do not want that to happen. Now, these groups of which I speak – which all come from a common heritage – believe that they, and only they, are correct. And that they, and only they, will be blessed. And that they, and only they, will be resurrected into the family of God. So, there is tremendous arrogance on their part. And yet, they only sparingly use the name Jesus. This group and groups like them say they follow the Bible. But in actuality, they don’t. This group and groups like them say they are a Christian. But in actuality, they are not. If you are ashamed of the name Jesus ─ pardon my English here ─ you ain’t a Christian.
     Without the name Jesus, you will fail. □

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