Wednesday, June 14, 2023

To Jesus Be the Glory - Chapter Three (Sermon)

Michael C. Garrett

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Again, just to set the stage – this summer I had a potential tragedy with a horrible wound on my right big toe. Which actually became life-threatening to my toe and myself! As I’ve mentioned several times throughout these chapters, three different specialists were suggesting, urging, wanting, to amputate my toe from my body! And then at the very last moment – when I was praying to Jesus, “I need Your help very badly here!” What I needed was someone like John Wayne showing up in the nick of time with the U.S. Calvary and rescuing me! And I even mentioned this to one of the specialists.
     Now, not long ago I was walking along, and it occurred to me that in essence John Wayne did indeed come to my aid! Of course, it wasn’t John Wayne – he’s in his grave and he’s been there since 1979. But, JESUS CHRIST, just like a John Wayne character showed up at the very last moment! I mean, these specialists were sharpening their scalpels ready to amputate my right big toe! And Jesus Christ showed up and said, ‘I have heard your prayers, and I will agree to save your toe.’ And literally overnight my foot and right big toe looked – from being horrible; the ankle being twice its size and the toe bright red and sore and badly infected – and nearly in the blink of an eye Jesus Christ showed up and saved my toe! And immediately it was healed!

‘Whosoever Shall Be Ashamed of Me’

So, the most pertinent, important, hopeful, inspiring message for this third chapter I can give is to speak on the overriding issue which keeps coming to the forefront: that a great many people – even many people I have known in the past from many church groups – they seemingly are ashamed of Jesus. They don’t want to mention His name, and they don’t want others to mention His name.
     I recently had a conversation with a person who lives down in Tennessee. And he reported to me, “Well yeah Mike, I remember when people thought you were talking about Jesus too much!” Now, these people would never say it to my face – most people don’t have the courage to say what they’re thinking to your face – it’s much easier to get behind your back and gossip about you. They show a lot of terrible character about themselves when they do that. Well, those that thought I was talking about Jesus too much – wouldn’t those people be even more grumbly now!
    And the honor, the praise, and the thanksgiving! And the hope. Every hope that we have or can conjure ultimately will be fulfilled because of Jesus Christ, and what He did – becoming our Savior. And, what He will do when at the blowing of the SEVENTH TRUMP we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortal (or dead) into immortal spirit beings – living for all eternity as a member of the family of God as brothers and sisters to our Elder Brother Jesus Christ! And this is the Jesus we want to talk about! And this is the God that we want to talk about! We want to learn even more about who this fantastic being is!
     We left off in the last chapter with Mark 8:38. Let’s turn now to Luke chapter 9.
    Verse 26 – again, these are the living words of Jesus Christ, if you have a red-letter edition. “’ For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, …’”
     And I know people who are seemingly ashamed of Jesus, and they are seemingly ashamed of His words, thoughts, ideas, and doctrines.
     “…’ of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.’”
     As I pointed out in the last chapter, here is another verse – and there is at least three dozen – which clearly demonstrates that Jesus Christ is returning to this earth with God the Father. And this is exciting to understand and know!
     Now, we know some people who, if we were to say this revealed knowledge to them, could have very possibly ripped off all their clothes, and threw dust all over themselves, like a few had done in the Old Testament! But the very idea that God the Father would return with Jesus!? No. In their misguided scenario they portrayed a God the Father – and we can still hear their words – ‘God the Father is so pure, and perfect, that He can never be stained (and they use this word) by the presence of human beings.’ They also were known to say, ‘Well, God the Father will never come to this earth until everybody is a spirit being!’ Because, as they continue in their misguided scenario – all humans would have been dead, destroyed, or burned up! They portrayed a God who was so contemptuous towards human beings. Sadly, as it is in the lives of a great many people – do you know the being they most love on a daily basis!? You might think – their spouse. But we have seen many spouses that appear to not love each other. No. But you see a person who has a pet – like a domesticated dog or cat. That bond is nearly unbreakable! Surely, you know of some people – that if thieves were to break into their home, and were to threaten their dog or cat, they’re pulling out a 38 Special! Because they are willing to give up their life for their fuzzy-faced friend!
     This is the type of affection we all should have for JESUS! Because this is the type of affection, He has for all of us! If we allow Him to have this relationship.
     In the Book of Proverbs it says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, …” Now, this works on a personal level – on a human level. For a man to have friends, he must be friendly. So, if you think of Jesus as this being who is just waiting to “get you,” to condemn you – as saying such things as ‘how dare you go into that bar and have a beer! You’re going to die!’ Well, friends, we have no doubt in our minds that back in the first-century A.D., if Roman Palestine made and served beer, Jesus would have ever so often had a glass of beer. And enjoy it. Now, we’re not saying a whole case of beer – we’re just saying, He would have had a beer with His pizza, and He wouldn’t have been upset at all. And He wouldn’t be upset with you. Remember – the very first miracle recorded for us in His living word was changing about 120- 180 gallons of water into fermented wine! And, as you read the story, it was the finest wine those people had ever consumed. Our Lord Jesus was a friendly person. He was a warm and caring person. Remember – the apostles were the majority of the time trying to keep people away from Him. But this wasn’t what our Lord Jesus wanted. He wanted people to talk to Him. Ask what He could do for them, and many times heal them.

The Bleeding Woman

If you would – let’s turn to chapter 8 of the Book of Luke.
     Verse 43 – “Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, …”
     She had some type of female problem – in which she was hemorrhaging.
     “… who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any.”
     So, she tried to get help. She tried to do the best she could for herself. But nothing was working.
    Verse 44 – “came from behind [Him] and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.”
     Verse 45 – “And Jesus said, ‘Who touched Me?’
     When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, ‘Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
    Think about walking down a street in Beijing, China! – with an estimated 21.89 million people! This world’s most populous national capital city! Somebody is touching your left arm! Somebody is touching your right arm! You have to go through a mob of people everywhere you turn! So, the Apostle Peter says, ‘Well, Master, You’re being touched by so many people, yet You ask, ‘Who touched Me’!?’
     Verse 46 – “But Jesus said, ‘Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power [or virtue, or holiness, or godliness] going out from Me.’” The Spirit of God.
     An example would be: surely there have been times when you have thought, I’m not hungry. But then immediately you feel hunger pangs and think, I need to eat something. You’re now aware that the hormone ghrelin is interacting with insulin affecting your blood sugar. Here, our Lord Jesus was so in-tune with His spiritual condition that He felt holiness leaving Him.
     Now, if you’ve gone for several days and haven’t prayed, haven’t studied, or thought about God the Father and our Lord Jesus, or the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God, you will begin to feel a little run down – spiritually speaking. You become low with God’s Spirit.
     Verse 47 – “Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, …”
    So, our Lord Jesus was walking along, with a throng of people around Him, and all of a sudden, He stops, ‘Who touched Me?’ She realizes that she had been perceived.
     “… she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately.”
     Verse 48 – “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.’”
     Jesus showed a lot of kindness and empathy.
    Now, did Jesus know that the woman was going to touch the border of His robe!? He probably did. Because He certainly knew a lot of things. And recall her first reaction, she was trembling. 1 But how did Jesus react!? With kindness and empathy. Notice what He says towards the end, “…’ your faith has made you well. Go in peace.’”
    She also could have easily thought that Jesus would follow the Law of the temple elite of the time. Maybe strike her with a whip!? In today’s comparison think of the terrorist group the Taliban – those friendly people! We’ve seen video images where – as an example – a woman had went outside and she didn’t have her face covered, so one of these horrible human beings (that thinks he’s religious) beats, whips, and eventually kills her! So, isn’t that amazing how people who think they’re religious, who think they’re serving God, can be so unbelievably cruel to a fellow human being!? And what was her great sin!? They could see her face! How perverted they must be! Truly, if you want to find living disciples of Satan the Devil – where would you go!? They are based in Afghanistan. But I don’t suggest you go there! Because you too would surely be treated the same way. Terrible people! All we can think of – with the people like the Taliban, and ISIS K, and Al-Qaeda, and all the other extremists who are desiring to live in the 5th century A.D. – “’ Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.’” And, as it says next to the last verse of God’s living word, “’Even so, come, Lord Jesus!’” Quickly come Lord Jesus and end these horrible things that human beings do to other human beings often in the name of religion! In the name of God! Isn’t that amazing!? Well, they are serving a god – with a lower-case g – the god of this age as God’s living word calls him! – cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Jesus Is the Lord, God, and Creator!

Returning again to Luke 9:26.
    For those of you who are embarrassed and ashamed of Jesus – you’re making things tough on yourselves. And we don’t know what is going to become of you – that’s not our decision. But we know what our Lord Jesus just said.
     Let’s turn to Matthew 10.
     Verse 32 – “’Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, …’”
     And, that word confesses actually means “to acknowledge.” To acknowledge that Jesus is indeed the Lord, God, and Creator. To acknowledge that Jesus is the One who made the entire universe. He was working in consultation with God Almighty – but the actual worker; the One who spoke the words and made it happen – was the One we now call Jesus.
     “… ‘him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.’”
     And, at the resurrection that Father figure will be with Jesus on this earth.
    Verse 33 – “’ But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.’”
     And someday that great being will be upon the earth!
     Do you really want God Almighty and Jesus Christ to deny you!? What if on judgment day you stand before Jesus Christ and He literally says, “’ I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”? But, you argue, ‘Lord, Lord, have I not cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And Jesus simply says to you, ‘I don’t know who you are!’? And then He says to His angels, ‘Just remove him!’ Is this something you want to gamble with!?
     When you deny the very being who is called JESUS, you run the risk of having this happen to you!
     Turning now to 2nd Timothy chapter 2.
     Verse 11 – “This is a faithful saying …”
     In other words – you can bank on this!
     “… For if we died with Him [Jesus Christ], We shall also live with Him.”
     Now, what does he mean here – being dead!? Remember, baptism is when you’re lowered into water, completely immersed, is a type of death. It’s a symbolic death. And, quite frankly, if nobody pulls you up out of the water, you soon will be dead. If we are dedicated to Him, and if we had to – we would be willing to die for Him! And that’s a powerful concept to think about!
     And there are Scriptures where there will be a few people – possible a dozen – that will actually be end-time prophets for Jesus Christ and within their job they will also be martyred just like prophets of old.
     Verse 12 – “If we endure, …”
     In other words, if we go through the tribulations that we end up getting into if you are loyal to Jesus. So, we’ve all had problems because we believe in the true Jesus – the real Jesus. And we are trying to serve Him.
     “… We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.”
     If you are ashamed of Him and you deny Him, you run the risk of never being allowed to graduate into the kingdom of God. A horrible prospect. And yet, there are some people who do it, and apparently are proud of it!? “Well, we don’t talk about Jesus!” Then you are indeed the walking dead!
     Again, what is the most pertinent, important, hopeful, inspiring message for this third chapter!? I want all of you who has had all these different ideas about Jesus – some of them might go back to when you were a member of the Baptist Church, or the Methodist Church – they spoke about the “little baby Jesus, away in a manger. No crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.” Maybe some story you heard in Vacation Bible School. Or maybe you listened to the frauds Jack Van Impe and his wife Roxella!?
    I want you to know a different Jesus! I want you to begin to perceive – as it says in the Book of Hebrews – “Now consider how great this Man was.”
     We read in the Book of John chapter 1 –
     Verse 1 – “In the beginning was the Logos, …”
    That’s what the word Word is – Logos in Koine Greek. It’s roughly translated Spokesman, or One who speaks.
     “… and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.”
     That’s the One we now call Jesus.
    Verse 2 – “He was in the beginning with God. 3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
    The very One we call Jesus of Nazareth – in which a great many people have the image of “little baby Jesus, away in a manger” – is THE GREAT CREATOR GOD! Who made everything that exists in the universe!
     Notice verse 10 – “He was in the world, …”
     And He did. He came to this earth, was born as a human being, lived a perfect life for 33½ years, and He was sacrificed. He was tortured and murdered.
     “… and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.”
     And, when His public ministry was over as a human being – He was dead and then resurrected – we read that ONLY 120 people remained loyal to Him. Think about the multiple thousands of people He fed by miracles that nobody could have understood! Where He just kept recreating food. Feeding vast crowds of people. People He raised from the dead. People He healed from horrible maladies, sicknesses and diseases. And, after all of that was over – only 120 people. It’s difficult to understand, isn’t it!?

Jesus, Our Hero!

With this very thing in mind – “All things were made through Him” – and we want you to fully grasp just how many times we read about this very thing, it’s truly amazing!
    Now, most church people, in their minds, they have God the Father creating everything, and Jesus comes along almost like an afterthought, and does His little thing on the cross. Yet, all they really want to talk about is God the Father. A totally incorrect approach.
    Lord, God, and Creator! One of the very Two we read about in Genesis 1:1 is the being we now call Jesus Christ!
     Turning to Colossians chapter 1.
     Verse 9 in the middle – “… and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”
     The word “His” here is Jesus the Savior. And verse 4 specifically names His name.
     Verse 10 – “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, …”
    And sadly, a great many people can’t or won’t say His name Jesus, but they’re quick to say, “the Lord.” And many say it so that it sounds like “the Lard.” And lard is pig fat. Friends, just say His name – give Him the respect that He deserves! Jesus, God and Creator!
     Continuing in verse 10 – “… fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work …”
     In the privacy of your own mind, you need to ask yourself this question: Am I being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God!? Is this your daily routine?
     Verse 11 – “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, …”
    Strengthen with all might. Do you think of yourself as being strong in God’s Spirit!? Or are you weak in God’s Spirit!? We can gain great strength in the knowledge of the true image of Christ Jesus, not as a fearful God, but as our Hero Elder Brother.
   Have you noticed in the news – as an example, they talk about a fireman that goes into a burning building and saves a small child. Well, that’s fantastic! And they call him a hero. Several mainstream news medias have a Hero of the Day. Friends, we should have only ONE HERO – Jesus! And this should mean the world to us! Because, if you have Him on your side, you don’t need any other power – because you would have it all! 
    Continuing in verse 11 – “… for all patience and longsuffering with joy.”
     Longsuffering is patience which lasts a very long time.
     Verse 12 – “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
     All of us – all of you – have the opportunity, right now while you’re still alive, we all have the chance to “be partakers of the inheritance” of eternal life in light! Not in darkness.
    There are multiple millions of people who claim that they worship Jesus. But, in their everyday actions, they do not. Remember, our Lord Jesus says, “’ If you love Me, keep My commandments.’”
      Verse 13 – “He has delivered us from the power of darkness …”
      Verse 13 – “He has delivered us from the power of darkness …”
     “… and conveyed us [or, changed us] into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
     The kingdom of His dear Son. The kingdom which is soon coming to this earth. We often say – the kingdom of God, but it’s actually the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Sadly, again, a great many people say those words, but Jesus does not enter into their thinking. They do not give Him the respect that He deserves.
  Verse 14 – “In whom [speaking of Jesus Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
     He who made forgiveness possible. The One we now call Jesus.
     Friends, we want you to refocus your thinking!
     And we are not disrespecting God the Father – but we’re trying to relay to you that the being who had actually rolled up His sleeves over many millennia, creating humans, having dealt with humans, had been our sacrifice, Lord, God and director to eternal life is the very One we call Jesus!
     Verse 15 – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
     The image. Our Lord Jesus says, “’ He who has seen Me has seen the Father.’” In that They act the same way, They think the same way, They respond the same way. They’re motivated the same way.
     Now, no one has ever seen God the Father. But there are people in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament who actually saw the One we now call Jesus! The disciples spent 3 ½ years with Him. Also, He had some brothers who spent their entire lives with Him in one way or another! The Apostle Paul saw Jesus for 3 ½ years in the deserts of Arabia. We don’t always stop and think about this – do we!? In many people's minds God the Father and Jesus Christ are far away, and They don’t know what’s going on! No. They are actively alive in the lives of Their begotten sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters. People like you and me.
     Verse 16 – “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”
     For His purpose.
    Verse 17 – “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18) And He is the head of the body, the church, …”
    What does the word church mean!? The word church comes from the Greek word ekklēsia, which means an assembly; a group of people gathered together. A body of people who have been called out to be different than the rest of the world. We hope and pray that our friends who are listening to this fall into this category!
     It all has to do with JESUS! □

1) Jewish Law declared her to be ceremonially unclean due to her bleeding issue. This meant that she would not have been permitted to enter the temple for Jewish religious ceremonies. Anything or anyone she touched became unclean as well. This story also shows us an important point about Jesus and the Law. She was trembling in all likelihood because of the Law – Leviticus 15:25-27.

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