Garrett Swasey’s Last Sermon: Our Objective is to Bring Glory to God, Not Ourselves

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 30, 2015   |   12:58PM   |   Washington, DC

The police officer killed during Friday’s shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood is pro-life and a co-pastor at his local church.

Garrett Swasey, 44, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs police officer who was shot and killed while responding to a shooting at a Planned Parenthood office, was described by his fellow church members and friends as a courageous man and loving father who drew strength and inspiration from his Christian faith.

He was married, with two young children, and had been on the campus police force for six years. He also spent seven years as a co-pastor at Hope Chapel in Colorado Springs.

“Here’s a guy who worked full time as a police officer, and then gave a great amount of time to his local church and didn’t get a dime for it,” said Scott Dontanville, a co-pastor who knew Officer Swasey for 15 years. “He did it because it was the thing that he felt he needed to do.”

Today, Swasey’s family released a statement on his behalf:

“While the nation now knows Garrett as a hero who gave his life for others, he was also a devoted husband of 17 years and a wonderful father to his two children,” the family said. “Helping others brought him deep satisfaction and being a police officer was a part of him. In the end his last act was for the safety and well-being of others and was a tribute to his life.”

Now, copies of Swasey’s last sermon at Hope Chapel have surfaced online. The sermon clearly shows a man who put his love for God ahead of himself.

“Our objective is not to bring glory to ourselves but to bring glory to God. How? By transforming our lives through the Gospel. Apart from that it can’t be done, not in our own strength,” he says.

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Below is a copy of Swasey’s final sermon to the congregation. Transcript courtesy of The Cripplegate web site:

Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers, therefore we must not be ashamed to call each other brothers in Christ. We are not born brothers, but it is something that happened to us after birth.

We are redeemed by Christ despite our betrayal.

If we were able to be more attentive we would be able to love Christ more and be able to obey him more.

We are part of a family. Your sin affects me and my sin affects you. Exhortation comes with the territory, it’s part of being part of the family of God.

We must accurately consider our fallen state, but it’s easy to be self-absorbed. When we are accurately considering our fallen condition we very quickly just become focused on that and forget about Christ and forget about the Gospel. Even in an attempt to be more attentive to it! However, we’re not the object of our own faith. Christ is!

One of the challenges is that the idea of Immanuel (God with us) becomes commonplace. I think it’s important for us to renew and refresh in our minds how amazing it is that God walked among us.

We were once enemies of God. To truly grasp this, we need to understand man in his natural state is opposed to God. We like to think they are neutral, no they are not neutral, and it’s important also to understand that God is opposed to man because of sin. So there’s this clash going on between God and man because of sin.

With God we have this mentality we don’t want to change. I like my sin! I enjoy my sin! so in the midst of all of that we decide to change God!

People say, “I’m a halfway decent person!” “God’s going to let everyone into heaven, because He’s so loving and merciful.” This really diminishes the idea of what sin is, and how it impacts our relationship with God and how opposed He is to it.

We tend to want to do our own thing — “rugged individualism.” But in spiritual matters we are utterly dependent on Christ. We cannot stand before God on our own merits!

Jesus is the cornerstone, we are merely stones being added to it. Jesus is the builder of the house, and He receives more glory than the house. And if we’re the house, He gets more glory than we do.

Our objective is not to bring glory to ourselves but to bring glory to God. How? By transforming our lives through the Gospel. Apart from that it can’t be done, not in our own strength.

Everything we have comes from the Lord and everything we have should glorify the Lord. And everything we need is provided by God because Christ is sufficient.

Perseverance is not something that we do in order to obtain salvation; it is merely evidence of us being in the house of the Lord. So if you are not in the house of the Lord, you are not persevering. Perseverance is the evidence of us being in the house of the Lord; it is not the means of us being there. If it were, it would be works (He reads Eph. 2:8-9). We aren’t saved by perseverance; we are saved by grace!

Today if you hear His voice. If you hear His voice do it today. Not tomorrow, not let me sleep on it; today! Before it is too late! Today if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts!

Douglas MacArthur says, “History of failure can be summed up in two words: too late.” I think it speaks to the illustration I’m about to give, where the devil and his cohorts are devising plans to get people to reject the gospel. So one of them proposes, “Well, let’s go to them and let’s say there’s no God.” And silence prevailed over the group because, every devil knew that most people believe in some kind of Supreme Being. ‘There are no atheists in foxholes!’ Another said, “Let’s tell them there’s no hell, no future punishment for the wicked.” That was turned down too because men obviously have consciences and know that sin has to be punished somehow. And so this gathering was about to end in failure. And there came this voice at the back of the room. “Lets tell them that there is a God, there is a hell, and that the Bible is the Word of God, but tell them there is plenty of time to decide. Let them neglect the gospel until its too late.” And all hell erupted in a glee, because they knew if a man procrastinated on Christ they usually never accept Him.

There is much for us to consider today. … We must consider the object of our consideration. What is it? Let us exhort one another to consider Christ, not as we would imagine Him but as He is written about in the Scriptures. And finally, let us not harden our hearts to the Gospel!

Let’s pray.

Lord, You are tremendously patient with us, and in that patience we can become inattentive, thinking that somehow your grace, patience and mercy is something for us to consider, as a default position where there is not judgment or punishment for sin. Lord, let us view grace as what it truly is: a costly tremendous gift that cost You everything, that we might be in relationship with You. And because of the high price of that gift, that we might make You and the Gospel the forefront of our minds as the most valuable thing we possess, as we sang this morning, “You can have all this world but give me Jesus!” Give us You! So Lord as we sing I ask that our hearts would be attentive towards You, that we would consider You and what You’ve done, and that we wouldn’t just leave it here, but as we go about the day…that this would be the conversation that’s on our lips. that this would be what we post on Facebook, that this would be at the forefront of our Bible studies, that we would read attentively recognizing what a precious gift You are! In Jesus name, Amen.

Family and friends of Officer Swasey have set up a memorial fund for his family to which people can contribute.