Saturday, November 11, 2023

To Jesus Be the Glory - Chapter Six (Sermon)

by Michael C Garrett

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     Here we are in the sixth chapter of this series, “To Jesus Be the Glory.” We’ve been talking about so many things that have been coming to our thought processes in the wake of all the things that happened to my right big toe this summer – it being nearly destroyed. Being threatened with amputation by three different doctors. And finally – John Wayne, in the form of our Lord Jesus Christ, came riding in on His white horse, literally at the last moment. And He saved my right big toe!
     You know those stories of our Lord Jesus Christ coming through in the very last moment – i.e. Abraham. When he was told to sacrifice his son – his only son. And he was in a quandary, but Abraham was such an obedient and loyal servant to the LORD God (the very family of God, which at this time consists of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ), that he was going to sacrifice his only son. Now, we read in the Book of Hebrews, that Abraham had always known that if his son died, the LORD God would bring him back to life. Now, that’s faith, my friends. That’s great hope and reliance upon the LORD God.
     But, this idea that the LORD God comes to the rescue at the very last moment.

At The Very Last Moment

     Back in December 2018, Leonard and I made a trip to New York City, and we had the wonderful opportunity to meet Dimash Qūdaibergen – the famous Kazakh singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. And, unfortunately for the world, Dimash and so many of the other great performers have been bottled up with the COVID-19 pandemic. And I do know that different performers are trying different ways to get their music out – such as making home videos. It’s been tough on performers. Because crowds cannot gather. And if crowds cannot gather, why would performers perform? The whole idea is to perform before people. But, we had this hope – now, quite frankly, I had absolute assurance that we were going to meet Dimash. I felt that concept had been relayed to me from above. And, the night of the concert, we were quickly running out of time to meet him. Let me put it to you this way – the security had thrown us out of the building. Now, inside it was mild and warm, but outside in the evening it was drizzling rain, cold, and wet. And when it looked as if the meeting would not happen – at the very last moment – it all came together.
     And so, if you are praying to the LORD God for something – hopefully it’s legitimate, right, and proper according to Their will – don’t give up too soon. Hang in there. We do believe that at times the LORD God is testing us. He’s saying, ‘How much does that begotten child really believe!? Does he really believe that I’m going to come through!?’ Or, ‘Is he just sort of play-acting that he believes?’ And, we tell you – maybe, when you have to wait, but then the door opens up and the promise comes through, it makes you appreciate what has happened even more.
     Well, we’ve been reading about this great being – this being called Jesus Christ. We’re in the Book of Hebrews – and have been through several chapters of this series – To Jesus Be the Glory.  But, to help you with what is going on – why did the apostle Paul write what he did and when he did it, and how he did it – if we turn to the very end of the Book of Hebrews chapter 13.
     Notice verse 23, the apostle Paul writes, “Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. 24) Greet all those who rule over you, …”
     Meaning, be respectful to the ministers because they’re trying to help you.
     “ … and all the saints. …”
     Now, saints are not little babies with wings or some other odd concept that Western society has come up with. Saints are simply human beings, alive and well on the earth, who have their names written in the Book of Life. They have been called to know the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the ultimate Plan of God. They have been chosen to receive God’s Spirit. And those living people are saints.
     Sadly, there are religious organizations that believe that saints are somehow up in heaven – and that sometimes they don’t become saints until three or four hundred years after they lived and died. And they actually have the concept – now this is a bit of arrogance – that they, as a church, can declare who and who is not a saint. Have you thought about the arrogance involved in that!? Well, no. They have completely gotten it wrong! Saints are people in whom God’s Spirit resides – and they’re alive on the earth at that point in time.
     So, meet and greet fellow members of the Body of Christ in a respectful manner.
     And then he writes, “Those from Italy greet you.”
     Now why would the apostle Paul put that little phrase in there!? They of Italy. Well, that’s where the apostle Paul ended up his public ministry. He ended up in Italy – in fact, he ended up in Rome under house arrest. He wrote some of the books of the New Testament when he was under house arrest in Italy.
     So, this is the apostle Paul from his desk in Italy – surrounded by Gentiles. He wanted to write an epistle specifically for remnants of the Jewish people scattered abroad around the world. And that is why the epistle – or rather the Book – is called Hebrews. The epistle, the letter, to the Hebrews. And, he is trying to convey to the Jewish people – to whom he is writing; he himself of Jewish origin – ‘I want you to believe in this being we call Jesus of Nazareth.’ Remember, the Jewish leaders of that day hated Jesus!
     Why did they hate Jesus?
     For one – He was showing them up. Quite frankly. Because they couldn’t produce miracles. But He could. He could gather huge crowds of people – they couldn’t. He had a certain personality and magnetism to Him that drew people in. And the people loved the message – even if they didn’t know what He was saying. But they couldn’t do that. Now, they certainly had all these traditions behind them – but they truly came to detest our Lord Jesus. And He dared to say – and this really got their goat – that He was the Son of God! They called that blasphemous! And repeatedly they picked up stones to try and stone Him to death.
     Well, our Lord Jesus had a mission to complete, and He was allowed to complete that mission – and in the end, He had a very serious commission. And that was to die a most horrible death on the cross that we might have a Savior – both physically and spiritually. My right big toe was completely saved – physically. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “And by His stripes, we are healed.” And we all look forward to having spiritual salvation – eternal salvation – through that very same act of sacrifice.
     So, this is what the apostle Paul is doing – he’s trying to make the Jewish people to whom he’s writing WAKE UP! But, you’ve got to be willing to change. And there are people who have come from a tradition – of a group that we know and groups who have come from it; and the original group doesn’t even exist anymore – never respected our Lord Jesus the way they should have. And why they did that, as we’ve said many times, it’s nearly impossible for our ability to comprehend! How could they be that WRONG!? How could they be so UPSIDE DOWN!? Inside out – backward!? It truly frustrates us. Now, many of us were with this original group, and groups who had come from it, for a while. But we always knew something was missing. At times, and because of our youth, we didn’t have the wisdom to know exactly what – but we knew something was missing. But with time and with age, experience, and wisdom, and even through some experiences we’ve had that Almighty God and our Lord Jesus allowed us to go through – and as I said concerning the American actress and singer Ethel Merman, she’s got to sing, and I’ve got to testify. And if only one person who is reading or listening to this out in the world hears this message, and it clicks – it turns on the Light, it opens up a door and the Light shines in – then all of this testimony is worth it.

Counted More Worthy Than Moses

     In the last chapter, “To Jesus Be the Glory,” in the Book of Hebrews chapter 2.
     Verse 18 - “For in that He [Jesus Christ] has suffered, being tempted, He is able [now] to aid those who are tempted.”
     Speaking about you and me.
     Again, we mentioned in the previous chapter all the temptations that are in this world. There is a beautiful song – and I love to sing this song, even though the original words to the song are incorrect. It is biblically incorrect. Beautiful song – beautiful melody. “This Is My Father’s World” – have you heard this song!? It has a nice, sweet sentiment – but it is factually wrong. This is not Father God’s world at the present time. Yes, Jesus Christ created it. And Jesus Christ has visited the Earth at different times and in different manners to relay different messages – but right now – the LORD God says, written by the apostle Paul, Satan the Devil is “the god of this age” at the present time – cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4.
     Now, understand – Lucifer was assigned the duty of preparing the Earth for the habitation of mankind. That was his original assignment. The assignment has not yet been taken away from Lucifer – now called Satan the Devil. But with the advent of Jesus Christ – and one of the things that our Lord Jesus had to do when He came to this Earth was that He had to prove that He had dominion over Satan. One of the first parts of the public ministry of our Lord Jesus’ life – He withstood the temptations of Satan. “’ If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’” And, “’ If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.’” Along with Satan showing Him all the kingdoms of the world at that time and their glory. “’ All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’”
     But, our Lord Jesus knew that He was destined to be the King of the Earth. And, He’s not yet taken over His throne. He is in the upper heavenly realms – called the Third Heaven – sitting with God the Father, but He is not yet asserting power over the entire Earth. Yes, we believe, that there have been times throughout history that He has interjected Himself so that things turn out according to Their will. As an example – the Battle of Dunkirk during World War II. A true miracle took place in order for some 338,000 Allied soldiers to be rescued by a fleet of naval and civilian vessels – from being completely annihilated by the German army! Also – you hear stories that the German government during World War II was working on a nuclear weapon. An atomic weapon. How close were they!? Well, according to one source – Science alert, “In April 1945 – just three months before the world saw the first nuclear bomb test detonate in New Mexico – an allied mission into Nazi Germany discovered just how far behind the enemy was. … Even if they had succeeded in enriching the material [some 664 uranium cubes, small enough to hold in your hand], the total amount of nuclear material in the cache was minuscule. Nowhere near what was needed to produce an appreciable bang.” 1 However, what about George Washington and some of the things he did – the Revolutionary War!?
     Listen – the American Colonists should never have won the American Revolutionary War! They had everything against them. The far superior British military, munitions, weapons, and leaders. Yet, the Americans won their independence! You don’t think that the LORD God was there helping!? Now, if you don’t understand that the LORD God was there – then you don’t really understand this nation and our history. We are a special people given this great gift of living in this land and God promised it – and God fulfilled the promises. He made those promises to Abraham – and then to Isaac, Jacob, and then Joseph. And then his two sons – Ephraim and Manasseh – received that promise and that blessing. And this is a long story – and we’re not going to go into it today. But, if you would, be sure to read or listen to our seven-part online book “God’s Promises To Abraham.” On our Soundcloud Radio channel, we have this online book in audio format. But, we have been blessed as a nation. And our existence – we owe it to God! In fact, to be more specific, to JESUS!
     And isn’t it interesting that upon our currency – if you have a US dollar bill in your pocket take it out and look at it – it reads “In God We Trust.” Well, once upon a time – we as a nation – did. Sadly, however, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the oligarchs in the District of Columbia didn’t try and get that removed from all future currency. “In the Thing We Trust.” Yeah, Joe – we know – the Thing. But, we’re not going into the realm of politics.
     The apostle Paul was wanting to share this message with different pockets of Jewish people. So he wrote this epistle so that they might be enlightened about this being that we now call Jesus.
     In Hebrews chapter 3 –
     Verse 1 – “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession [or advocation, our profession, our life’s purpose], Christ Jesus, 2) who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, …”
     He was faithful to God the Father. God Almighty – whatever term you want to use.
     “ … as Moses also was faithful in all His house.” – the people of Israel.
     Now, again, the apostle Paul was trying to connect with people who had come up with a Jewish tradition. And in Jewish tradition, Moses had great prestige. Important status. He’s trying to get the connection. A little later in the Book of Hebrews, the apostle Paul uses Abraham to try to connect with the Jewish people of what he is saying. So that they might understand the magnitude of Jesus.
     Verse 3 – “For this One [referring to Jesus] has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, …”
     Now for a devoted Jew of that day – that would have been a shocking statement!
     More glory to Jesus than Moses!
     To Jesus Be the Glory!
     “ … inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.”
     Now, what did he mean by that!?
     Who created human beings? Jesus Christ.
     Who identified the House of Israel? Jesus Christ.
     Who had been with those people – in one form or another; or rather attempting to be with them, they being a hard-headed group of people? Jesus Christ.
     He is the One who placed them together. He is the One who brought them out of slavery. He is the One that allowed them to become a nation. He is the One that allowed David to become their king when they rejected Him being their king. He has always been with these people!
     And to this very day, He is with a remnant of those same people! We’re speaking about the founding stock of the United States of America – of which a great number of us share in that genetic ancestry.
     Verse 4 – “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.”
     The apostle Paul is trying to get across – ‘this being that I’m talking about, He is everything! He is the foundation of everything we have!’
     And that is still a true statement – today.
     Verse 5 – “And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house [to all of his relatives] as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward.”
     Now, in the time of Moses, it was not yet time for Jesus the Messiah to be there. But now we – so many centuries later – have access to the real and whole story. Or, as Paul Harvey would say, “to the rest of the story.” We have access to that now. We are a blessed people!
     Now, we’re going to say something that might be shocking to some people. We – people like you and me – if we have God’s Spirit. If the LORD God has graciously poured out Their Spirit upon us through the role of repentance and baptism, and the laying on of hands. If God’s mind is within you – and we have His living word in front of us – now get this, we understand more about the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God than such heavyweights as the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. Or, Abraham, Isaac, Moses. Now, those men were heavyweights in the living eternal word of God. But we actually understand more. In fact, we right now may understand more than the original apostles like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
     We have a fuller picture – they all had a rather limited view. But we, through time and through growing in grace and knowledge. Even through having a Bible – remember in times past. People would cherish it if they only had a scroll of Isaiah. It would be like a family treasure. But today, you can go to any reputable bookstore and buy all the Bibles you want. And many people have multiple translations of the Bible. And then there are others that have a Bible on their cell phone! And, we just recently heard in the news that over in Afghanistan – with those poor godforsaken people – that there are so-called Christians (they do have the respect for Christ Jesus) that the Taliban (we can’t help but think of the words of a song by The Byrds, ’ Hey Mr. Taliban, play a song for me’) – but the Taliban if they catch you with a Bible on your phone they will summarily take you out and chop off your head! NICE PEOPLE! It was Secretary of State Antony Blinken who said that the State Department could work with the Taliban on areas of mutual interest! Oh yes, like they are perfectly civilized! No, they are savages from the Middle Ages! And if ever there is a people who carry the spirit of Satan the Devil their father – a great many of those people are! And so are many other individuals who are like they are. Just complete fanatics of the nth degree!
     You think it’s not a blessing to live in the United States of America!? We – you and me – don’t truly appreciate just how blessed we have it - even though there are leaders in Washington, D.C. doing everything they can to destroy America! And we do believe this, and sooner or later they will. This nation will cease to exist as all of us knew it. Such as the late 1940s and early ‘50s – a time of Fourth of July parades, and family outings – a more peaceful and tranquil-loving time period. Baseball and Jackie Robinson. Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron. The “shot heard ‘round the world.” I have memories of all of that. Some of our younger people don’t even know that that world had existed.
     But, getting back here – the apostle Paul is trying to relay the story of our Lord Jesus to people who don’t know that much about it. He’s trying to educate them. He’s trying to introduce them to some concepts. He just spoke concerning Moses – and now verse 6 –
     “but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are …”
     Now, he’s referring to the House of God. The Israel of God – we now call the Body of Christ.
     “ … if we hold fast the confidence [the faith, the determination] and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”
     And we have a little notation on the side of our margin – 1st John 5:10.
     And, let’s just quickly do that.
     The apostle John writes in verse 13 of chapter 5 –
     “These things I have written to you who believe on the name of the Son of God [Jesus], that you may know …”
     Again, this certainty.
     “ … that you may know that you have eternal life, …”
     Notice verse 11 – a very similar concept that we just read in the Book of Hebrews – this idea of certainty. We can imagine little girls playing with daisies out in the yard, imagining that someday they will marry Prince Charming. Certainly, many young girls have those types of dreams – i.e. ‘someday I’m gonna become a movie star.’ ‘Someday I’m gonna become a professional baseball player.’ Children have those types of dreams. But, when the child gets older and he finds out that he can’t even hit a slow pitch – he knows that he will not become a major league baseball player earning 4.9 million a year! Or, when the child can’t even throw a football three feet, ‘No, you’re not gonna become an NFL quarterback.’ Somewhere our dreams fall apart. But we hope – and it’s just a hope; a figment of an idea. The apostles Paul and John are talking about something else – that you absolutely know, without a doubt, that you have eternal life.
     Verse 11 – “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, …”
     And, it’s not that God is thinking about it. ‘Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.’ THIS IS THE TESTIMONY! THIS IS THE WAY IT IS! No uncertainty.
     “ … that God has given …” – God is giving to us – “eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”
     For all you of this particular church group – of whom we are thinking – that don’t appreciate Jesus Christ (and we don’t know how you became so blinded, how you got off the track so badly – you’re like a bloodhound tracking a criminal). Do you remember the 1967 movie “Cool Hand Luke?” There’s a great scene where Luke makes a run for it from his prison work detail. The guards track him with a trio of barking bloodhounds. As the pursuers draw near, Luke pours out a can each of red pepper, chili, and another pungent spice that devastates the sensitive noses of the dogs. Well, that is what happened to this particular church group along the line! They were supposed to be following the scent of God – and we don’t know how they got up their noses the pungent spice of red pepper and chili! Or why they continue to do it.
     “And this is the testimony …” This is the way it is – Walter Cronkite’s sign off “And that’s the way it is.” God is in the process of giving us eternal life “and this life is in [with and about] His Son [Jesus the Savior].”
     Verse 12 – “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
     How can it get any more plain than that!?
     And again we have a little notation on the side of our margin – Hebrews 10:35.
     The apostles Paul and John – what do they keep saying? Have confidence. Knowing that when you take your last human breath, in the very next moment of your consciousness, you will hear the voice of Jesus Christ calling you out of the grave. To eternal life.
     Hebrews chapter 10 –
     Verse 35 – “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.”
     Verse 36 – “For you have need of endurance [of patience] …”
     Well, of course, we do. I myself have been hearing about this message of the glorious soon-coming kingdom of God since I was sixteen years old! That was a long time ago. I am still patiently waiting.
     “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”
     The promise of eternal life. He also talks about this in other parts of the Book of Hebrews. That is what the apostle Paul is talking about! Jesus Christ and eternal life!

Mediator of A Better Covenant

     Notice chapter 8 and verse 6.
     “But now He [our Lord Jesus Christ] has obtained a more excellent ministry, …”
     As compared to the Old Testament religion of that era of time. It was a physical religion, meant for physical people at a time when Jesus Christ had not yet given the gift of eternal life and His Spirit to people on a mass scale.
     “ … a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.”
     Like the promise of forgiveness.
     There was no promise of forgiveness in the Old Testament. All you could do was take some poor little creature – a lamb, a dove, a goat – and he got slaughtered to sort of symbolize the death penalty, instead of you having to take it.
     But in the New Covenant – and this is why we’ve said this to so many people so many times – this is a NEW COVENANT CHURCH. The name of this church along with our affiliated churches – the Church of Jesus Christ. We do not want to identify with the Old Testament. Not that we’re rejecting it – there is awesome material within the Old Testament. A tremendous amount of lessons – but Christ is the Mediator of a better covenant! So says the apostle Paul – writing this under the inspiration of God’s Spirit, Jesus Christ!
     It's a better promise.
     He says in verse 13 – “In that He says, ‘A New Priesthood,’ Those words are in italics, it’s probably more accurately rendered ‘Priesthood.’ Because remember, there was the Old Testament priesthood, and now we have the priesthood of the great High Priest – the High Apostle Jesus. He says this new priesthood He has established “has made the first obsolete.” Now that which decays and waxes old “is ready to vanish away.” This again astounds us – we know people who even say they believe in Jesus Christ, yet desire to “be Jewish”! Somehow in their distorted vision of the Bible want to go and become Jewish.
     Verse 13 chapter 8 – “ …’ A New Priesthood,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
     That’s the Old Covenant – the old priesthood. And all of that physical rigamarole that they went through – we have a new life.
     Well, since we’re here, chapter 9 verse 11 – “But Christ came as High Priest …”
     Now, the apostle Paul here is not saying that you cannot have a priest or a high priest – he’s just saying ‘forget the guys wearing the Mitre’s – the fancy headgear of so-called Christians. Or the funny long robes and their funny religion. But set your affection on a new Priest!’ A NEW HIGH PRIEST, JESUS THE MESSIAH!
     “But Christ came as High Priest of good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation [this building].”
     Verse 12 – “Not with the blood of goats and calves [and doves, and sheep], but with His own blood He entered [once into] the Holy Place …”
     You see, they understood that analogy. Because in their Old Testament traditions, they knew that the high priest once a year went into the Holy of Holies and confessed the sins of the people. So, what he’s trying to say is, ‘Yes, I know you have that tradition of the great high priest going into the Holy of Holies.’ But he’s saying, ‘I’ve got a better deal for ya! I’ve got a better thing for you.’ And the high priest would sacrifice in that Holy of Holies.
     “ … but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
     Eternal redemption for all of us!
     Verse 13 – “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh.”
     Again, Old Testament, Old Covenant tradition. He’s trying to relate this story to people who need to be delicately changed in another direction.
     Verse 14 – “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, …”
     No sin. His whole life – no sin.
     “ … cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
     And this certainly encompasses a great number of people! Think about all the people who have bowed down to idols – pieces of wood, stone, gold. Think of the children of Israel, the prophet Moses went away for a while up upon the mount, and the children of Israel rose up and played. Well, they played some really nasty games if you wanna know the truth! But, they needed something they could see, and something they could touch – and they said, ‘Well, we will call that, our god!’
     And TODAY – in the United States of America – there are a lot of people who have made politics their god. And their favorite political leader is their god – whether it be red or blue, whether it be a donkey or an elephant. I’ll tell you friends – if Donald Trump can grant you eternal life, then bow down to him and follow him wherever he goes! Or, if Joe Biden and his bros – if they have the power to extend to you eternal life, dedicate yourself to them! Defend them every chance you get! If those guys calling themselves asses, if they have the power to grant you eternal life, you stick with them! However, as you know, they can’t do it!
     Who is the One being who can grant you eternal life!? The One being – and it’s not even, and we don’t mean this to be disrespectful; but we’re just talking about what our Lord Jesus says, ‘Judgment is reserved to Me!’ Jesus! The Messiah! Your Savior! He is the only One who can grant you eternal life.
     He says again, in the last part of verse 14 – “ … cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
     Verse 15 – “And for this reason He [Jesus Christ] is the Mediator of the New [Testament] …” – the New Covenant. That “by means of death, …” – His death. A most horrible death. “ … for the redemption of the transgressions under the first [Testament] …” the First Contract – you can also use the word contract. That’s all the word testament means – an agreement. And notice this, “ … that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Like the song by Dionne Warwick asks, “What’s it all about Alfie?”
     That’s what it’s all about! Eternal life! And how you navigate to eternal life.
     It’s not getting deeply absorbed into politics.
     And sadly, so many people TODAY – in our societies – it is so polarized, tainting every part of their thinking. And we know of a person, and we’re told, he can’t even open a Bible without spouting off Right-wing political opinions – which he holds dear. Don’t do that! Don’t stain the living word of God with the garbage of this world’s politics.

Do Not Be Ignorant Of This Mystery

     Let’s turn over to the Book of Romans, and notice chapter 11.
     Verse 25 – again, the apostle Paul. And, what was the one theme of his ministry? It boils down to one word that Paul spoke about – Jesus. He wasn’t wasting his time on any other stuff. He too was like Ethel Merman. He had to tell the story.
     “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, …”
     We read in different places – “the mystery of God.”
     What is the mystery of God?
     Well, I’m going to tell you real quickly so that you’ll know.
     It’s the fact that we, as human beings who came from dirt, have the opportunity to inherit eternal life as a member of the family of God! Not just eternal life as a peon – a low-ranking worker such as an attendant, orderly, or assistant. No. But as a full-fledged son or daughter in the family of God! And that our Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity becomes our Elder Brother!
     “ … that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, …”
     Now, there are people who learn just a small portion of the Bible – and sometimes they learn just enough of the Bible they become dangerous to themselves and others. They become conceited. Another word for arrogant. Another word for self-righteous. They come to think they know it all – and they become hard-headed and nearly impossible to deal with.
     He says, ‘I do not want you to become that conceited person’ because “that blindness in part has happened to Israel …”
     And, not just a part – but rather, a huge part.
     The majority of the people you know do not know anything about the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the ultimate Plan of God. Other than, God the Father, Jesus, and the term eternal life. If you’ve been around a church setting you’ve heard those terms. But, as far as the particulars – and how all that fits together – the Plan of God, and where it’s all going to happen, the who, what, when, and how – they’re ignorant.
     There are people who go to a church every weekend. Dedicated. And there are some religions where people go to a service every evening – and partake of The Eucharist. Everyday. And we’re sure in their heart and mind they’re wanting to serve God. They think that is what they are supposed to do. Yet, they do not know the ultimate Plan of God. They do not know the who, what, when, and how.
     “ … that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
     Well, that’s an odd phrase. ‘the fullness of the Gentiles.’
     Just very quickly in the realm of biblical prophecy. Gentile people – at some point – overtake ancient Jerusalem. And are ruling from the city of David. The fullness of the Gentiles. And just following that – the next part of the Plan – our Lord Jesus Christ returns to this Earth. And, sets up the kingdom of God.
     Verse 26 – “And so all Israel will be saved, …”
     Now, remember that phrase – because we’ll probably talk about this in the eighth part of this series – “To Jesus Be the Glory.”
     In the Plan of God, you get the following – everyone, every human being (including unborn babies that were aborted for one reason or another) 2 sooner or later, depending on when that person is plugged into the Plan of God (“but each one in his own order”) will be offered eternal life. And the overwhelming majority of people will take Almighty God up on the deal.
     “ … so all Israel [at some time] will be saved, …”
     But it all doesn’t happen at once.
     And for people like you and me – God willing – we get to be in the first wave. We have that opportunity. It’s a great blessing! We are called ‘the few.’ Few are chosen. Just a handful – in reality.
     “ … as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, …’
     Referring to Jesus Christ.
     “ … ‘And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; …’
     From Israel.
     “ … ‘For this is My covenant with them, …’”
     Then – when our Lord Jesus Christ saves the world. Understand – at this moment our Lord Jesus Christ is offering eternal life to relatively few people.
     The LORD God’s Holy Days Plan –
     In the spring – Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost.
     These center on INDIVIDUAL SALVATION.
     They are not speaking about everyone – they’re talking about an individual.
     You have a chance at eternal life – if you understand the meaning of those Holy Days. Pentecost means – receiving the Spirit of God. Not as a Pentecostal – no! But, receiving the mind of God that gives you the understanding of God at a much higher level.
     Our time – again, God willing – is now. We either make it into the glorious kingdom of God now, or we will eternally be dead. There is no other option. Now – live or die.
     For all others, that have NEVER KNOWN the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God – verse 26, there will come a time when they will have an opportunity to learn the truth of God.
     As it says, ‘The Deliverer [our Lord Jesus Christ] will turn away ungodliness from Israel – Jacob.’
     Verse 28 – “Concerning the gospel …”
     What does the gospel mean?
     The good news of the LORD God’s truth and the coming kingdom of God. It means “good news.” It’s not a genre of music. To a lot of the people around the nation – especially in what is known as the Bible Belt – you say “gospel” they think Christian music. Now, some of that music is fantastic, and we love it! Also, some of it is not so fantastic.
     “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election [or the selection – being chosen to become a part of God’s kingdom] they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.”
     God Almighty and Jesus Christ have not forgotten Their promises – to the people in the past, people in the present, and to the people in the future. It’s not lost to Almighty God and Jesus! They know everyone who has ever lived. And sooner or later they will be given an opportunity to know the living Word of God, Truth of God, and Plan of God.
     Verse 29 – “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” – This is a most powerful statement! If the LORD God grants you the gift of Their Spirit and accepts your repentance – They will never take it away from you. God is an extremely honorable being!
     However – we have the capability of turning our backs on that great Plan. The LORD God will not turn Their backs on us. But we can – and sometimes do turn our backs on Almighty God, on Jesus Christ, and on this great contract called the New Covenant.
     Verse 30 – “For as you were once disobedient to God, …”
     This is certainly a mouthful. How many of you reading or listening to this at one point in your life did not know the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the ultimate Plan of God!? Everyone.
     “ … you were once disobedient to God.” You certainly didn’t understand the living truth of God. “ … yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience.”
     Others have not believed – but now you have a chance to believe.
     So, understand – this is a promise to anyone you know – especially to people that you love and care deeply about. This verse explains a principle that truly overwhelms us!
     This awesome principle overwhelms us because not many of us, that is being called in this lifetime, have or had relatives (members of our genetic family) that are, or had walked down, the path that we are traveling today. Very few of us. It appears to be a rare instance. And so on the FIRST RESURRECTION at the very return of our Lord Jesus Christ, we won’t necessarily have someone like a wife, a son, a daughter, a grandmother, a brother or sister, and have the opportunity to say, “Dearest Sister, we made it!” Very few of us, apparently, will have that great blessing. Whoever that person is. Some of us – may. But, most of us will not. But the thing that fires our engine, and makes us want to walk about three feet off the ground, is the knowledge that someday everyone whom we have known and of whom we have deeply loved and cared about – we know, and we know that we know – that someday we will meet them again when they are a human being (not off in heaven in a cloud), and we are going to have the opportunity to (if the LORD God grants our wish) to be their teacher, their mentor, their helper. We’ve mentioned this in several different articles – we have within our minds what we call “The List.” And this list, we often say to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus – ‘dear Father, dear Brother, that person of whom I just spoke with – or the person of whom I am thinking – please place their name on The List.’ It means that these are the people we are asking the LORD God to reserve for us. That someday we can become reacquainted with them – and have the opportunity to teach them the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the ultimate Plan of God. This is speaking of the meaning of the Last Great Day.
     Let’s read the very next verse – “even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.” Your mercy, your grace, your belief – ‘that they also may someday obtain mercy.’
     Friends, somewhere down the road – and we’re probably speaking about a thousand years down the road – when these people are brought back to physical life and we are reacquainted, and they get to meet us again. And we get to say to them, “dear friend, dear relative, I have been a member of the family of God for over a thousand earth years. You have been brought back to life (as the LORD God has promised), I would now like to teach you the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God.” And I suppose if you have a real hardhead in that crowd, you could turn up your glory and begin glowing like the sun!? That would certainly get their attention! They wouldn’t be dealing with physical human beings anymore. They would be dealing with beings that have been given eternal life. “And we are looking forward to helping you gain eternal life.” Now, dearest ones – that fires our engines! That empowers us! That is the steam in our engines! That’s the nuclear fuel in our reactor! That’s the coal in our furnace!
     When we look forward in time – and we think about these things, and we think about our loved ones and friends – we become extremely emotional. Not an emotion of sadness – but rather the emotion of utter and complete joy! Because, even though it has not yet happened, we have already seen them in our minds' eye. And, we’ve already had a chance to taste it – in a way. And we can’t wait! We cannot wait for that moment! And we cannot wait to someday give all of our loved ones and friends a hug again!
     Again, verse 31 – “even so these also have now been disobedient, …” – they don’t know the living truth of God. “ … that through the mercy shown you …” – through the grace you have received, that they someday “ … also may obtain mercy.”
     Often we like to tell this story on the Last Great Day – of the story of Joseph. He was betrayed by his brothers – and sold into slavery. Most of his brothers wanted to kill him. And Judah thought – well, we can make a profit. So, they sold him into slavery. The cruelness and hardheartedness that they were showing to both their little brother and to their own father! They knew that their father’s favorite son was Joseph. And they were going to crush him – because of their act of jealousy.
     But, Joseph was a chosen child – chosen by the LORD God. And, long story short – Joseph ends up bouncing from here to there, and he ends up finally – through miracles of the LORD God – as Vizier of Egypt, under the name of Zaphnath-Paaneah. 3 And when the famine came, it was so severe that people from surrounding nations came to Egypt to buy bread. In the second year of famine, Joseph's brothers were sent to Egypt to buy goods. When they came to Egypt, they stood before the Vizier but did not recognize him as their brother Joseph, who was now in his late 30s; but Joseph did recognize them and did not speak at all to them in his native tongue of Hebrew. He, of course, looked completely different. Joseph placed his brothers in prison for three days. And on the third day, he brought them out of prison to reiterate that he wanted their youngest brother brought to Egypt to demonstrate their veracity. The brothers conferred amongst themselves speaking in Hebrew, reflecting on the wrong they had done to Joseph. Joseph understood what they were saying and removed himself from their presence because he was caught in emotion. When he returned, the Vizier took Simeon and bound him as a hostage. He was taking a little satisfaction. But, the whole time, his whole plan, was to get his entire family back to Egypt – where he could protect and provide for them.
     Now he appears to them as the Egyptian Vizier – the highest official to serve the pharaoh during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms – certainly with armed guards on both sides of him. And we can only imagine that his brothers were thinking that somehow they would be inducted as slaves or worse. Yet, there was this fantastic outlay of food served at a side table – possibly with beautiful music playing in the background. And, Joseph speaking to them in ancient Egyptian – at some point overcome by emotion and breaking down into tears. He could not control himself any longer and so he sent the Egyptian men out of the house. He probably took off his tight cap, or maybe his colorful striped and pleated nemes, with an attached uraeus – a cobra image of Wadjet with the vulture image of Nakhbet representing the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt from off his head. Maybe even wiping away much of the black kohl from around his eyes – and speaking to them in Hebrew revealed to his brothers that he was in fact their brother, Joseph. Surely they began to think that he brought them there to kill them! “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into slavery.” Surely his brothers all lost their bladder right then and there! But, he spoke up and said, ‘Fear not, dear brothers! You’re not here to be harmed.’
     He had mercy upon them.
     Joseph in his life was a type of Jesus.
     He was sent, and he suffered, to ultimately save his family. And then he redeemed them. A most fantastic story! The greatest story that Hollywood has NEVER MADE! How have they missed this fantastic story? Well, they don’t make Bible movies much anymore – do they? They do, however, make a ton of movies involving witches, warlocks, and zombies!
     But, can you imagine the sentiment that flowed from that meeting? The love.
     Now, have you ever remembered doing something wrong – maybe you were a child or a young employee – and you did something you shouldn’t have done? Maybe you took a little money out of the cash register – whatever it was. Maybe you took $5 from your mother's purse? The things that people do when they are younger. Or immature. And then they find out! They put the pieces of the puzzle together and they know you are the one who did this improper deed.
     And, did you ever have the opportunity to have that person which you offended forgive you!? To wipe it out. Remove it. “We’re not gonna talk about it. Just don’t do it again.” This is what the LORD God has said to all of us. Our Lord Jesus has said it to the woman who was caught in adultery, “ …’ go and sin no more.’” He didn’t pound on her! He didn’t get on camera and give her the evil eye! He just simply asked, “’ Woman, where are those accusers of yours? …’” ‘I’m not your accuser.’ He, in effect, forgave her. And, that’s what Joseph did. Now, he certainly had reason to be angry with his brothers. Big time! But Joseph had matured enough – he had changed, he had grown – where he knew that was the plan. He had to suffer so that he could take care of them. Redeem them. Forgive them. Bring them together and save them. How many of you think one of those brothers disliked Joseph – at that point? I’m sure they thought – that’s the greatest little brother I’ve ever heard of. He’s saving us!
     I have in my mind a vision – a fantasy – that sometimes I look forward in the kingdom (I hope I’m allowed this great honor) to gather together my family members to a great banquet hall. Maybe tell them all earlier that day – “You’re going somewhere this evening, get all scrubbed up and clean, and put on your nice clothes, because we’re going to have a really fancy dinner.” And later that evening they enter the banquet hall and there sitting at the head of the large table is Jesus Himself.
     You want to show off the ones you know!?
     “You know the King? You know the King of kings and the Lord of lords? He’s a personal Friend of yours!?” And He acquiesces and says, ‘Sure, I would love to meet your family.’
     So, you think at that point that through your mercy they might also obtain mercy? Do you really think that you will have any problem convincing them of the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God? And of the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ is the number ONE – no one else, other than God the Father!? And they have access to Him! And they now have access to eternal life.
     Again, this is speaking of the meaning of the Last Great Day.
     Verse 32 – “For God has committed them all [now] to disobedience, …” – they don’t know the living truth of God. They can’t understand the truth of God.
     And I’ll let you in on another mystery – when God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ decided to call us – including you, reading this or listening to this, wherever you are at this moment – They were in essence gambling with our lives. We don’t know if you’ve ever thought about this. But when God the Father called us – and we got far enough down the road of knowledge and understanding – at some point we became accountable to what is being given to us. And if we now turn our backs on the living truth of God, on Jesus Christ – well, let us put it this way – we will not get a second chance. We would not be a part of the second resurrection. We will either make it in the first resurrection, or we will be dead for all eternity.
     So, God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ actually took a risk. They could have said, ‘Oh my, that guy Johnson – I don’t think We can chance it! He is too much of a knucklehead! Let’s just save him for later!’ But, the fact that They called you, they said, ‘We think that We can make this work!’ We can get him through. Because if We don’t – because if he fails – then he will not be among that number.’
     Remember – we want to be among that number when the saints come marching in.
     So, “God has committed them all to disobedience, …” – to disbelief. “ … that He might [someday] have mercy on all.”
     Verse 33 – the apostle Paul trying to relay to us the excitement he feels for this Plan of God! “Oh, the depth of the riches both of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways [are far] past finding out!”
     And then he writes, “’ For who has known the mind of the [Eternal]? …’
     Well, before They give you Their Spirit no one really does. But, here is something different, if you have been given the Spirit of God – the very mind of God – that means a part of the mind and energy of God is living within you. And guess what – at that point, you can know, in part, the mind of the Eternal One.
     Well, a verse just flickered in my mind. Let’s turn over to 1st Corinthians chapter 2 –
     Verse 9 – “ … ‘ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man …’” – devoid of the Spirit of God. “ … ‘The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’
     The typical traditional human mind. God’s living word calls it a carnal mind – meaning, it’s just meaty. Those that speak Spanish - la carne de vaca. Beef. The average human mind cannot grasp the knowledge of the Eternal. But, notice verse 10 – “But God has revealed them …” – these ideas, these thoughts, these understandings. “But God HAS revealed them to us [by and] through His Spirit.”
     Again, the Book of Romans chapter 11 –
     Verse 34 – “’ For who has known the mind of the LORD? …’
     Well now, through the grace of the LORD God, we – bit by bit and inch by inch – can begin to understand the mind of the LORD.
     In verse 26 – we see just how awesome and great Jesus Christ truly is – “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
     To Jesus Be The Glory. □

                             Full Sermon

Bibliography and Notes:

1) McRae, M., Startling Discovery Shows How Close Nazi Germany Really Was to a Nuclear Program, Sciencealert, 2 May 2019, Retrieved 31 Oct. 2023.
2 Mr. Garret, in the article “Day of Atonement – End-Time Trauma” wrote, “that after the Millennium everyone who has ever lived (a human life – including little babies and unborn babies), except for just a small handful, will be brought back to life to live another span of human life on an earth which is devoid of Satan, his demons, false churches, false politics, and false religion of all types.” And, in our online book, “Notes Regarding: The Day of Atonement – Prophetically the Day of the Lord,” he writes, “Those dead babies will live again! The great GOD of the universe, if He had the power to resurrect human beings that centuries ago had turned into dust and blown away, if He has that ability, and the Bible says He does, then surely that same great GOD would have the ability to bring back to life a young unborn child.”
3) Very possibly a vizier of Amenemhat III (c.1678-1635BC) – the most successful pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom. Chris & Jenifer Taylor, Joseph becomes Vizier of Egypt, The Bible Journey, Retrieved 8 Nov. 2023.

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