November 28, 2015

Swasey’s Last Sermon

by Jordan Standridge

Garrett Swasey was the officer killed trying to rescue people at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. Swasey was shot while saving people at a place he abhorred. He was an elder of a church that believed in the inerrancy of Scripture, and that abortion is evil.

Let that sink in.

A man who hated abortion and hated murder–who gave his life helping others–didn’t hesitate about going to Planned Parenthood to save lives.

Garrett Swasey was also a preacher. He was an elder at Hope Chapel in Colorado Springs.

garrett Swasey

In his last sermon (you can listen to the whole thing here), he encourages his congregation to consider Christ and the Gospel. He seems to be a pretty humorous guy, with a low view of himself and a high view of Jesus. But one thing he said in his last sermon stuck out to me. He said he never seemed to be quoted on the things that he’d like, but he always got quoted on the things he said that he didn’t like (every preacher probably knows exactly what he means by that).

Well, in honor of his heroic effort and our common love of Christ, I’d like to honor the Lord by quoting things Swasey said in his last sermon. I hope they bless you as they have me.

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.

Let’s pray for Hope Chapel in Colorado Springs, pray for officer Swasey’s beautiful family. And may we all learn from pastor Swasey, to value life knowing it is God who gives it. To be courageous in life, to have our eyes fixed on Heaven and to implore those around us to understand life is short, and that today is the day of salvation!

Jordan Standridge

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Jordan is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is also the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion. You can find his personal blog at
  • Linda

    I’ve been so disheartened after hearing about the shooting….about this officer’s death. I work in Law Enforcement and I am so….so….so tired of bad news. I was crying, “How much longer, Lord?” And then I read this story. What a RELIEF it was to hear this hero died with his Savior’s name on his lips. Grief will be temporary for his dear family. I pray that their congregation as well as the entire family of God will care for them personally and in prayer in the coming days. May God’s blessing and peace and comfort abound to his wife and children. THANK YOU, Lord, for welcoming Officer Swasey into Glory, for keeping Your word, and for dying so that we have your ultimate comfort and peace, not of this world’s, but of YOURS.

    • Willie Branum

      grief is never temporary while on earth

      • Lynn B.

        Willie: I never cease to be amazed at the criticalness of supposed Christians. Linda said nothing about “while on earth,” if the wife and children of this officer grieve all their days on this side of eternity it will still be only temporary.

        As a fairly new widow I would also add that for the grief in this life God’s grace truly is sufficient and having such great confidence your loved one is in Glory truly changes the grief to rejoicing. I would not ask my husband to come back and God Himself has promised to be husband and father in this family now.

        You know not of what you speak and your cynicism is tragic.

  • Jordan Standridge

    The young boy and girl in the picture are going through terrible grief, but they will always know their father as a hero, and more importantly as someone who pointed to Christ. I pray many read his final words and give their lives to Jesus.

    • 072591

      Their father saved the lives of baby killers, which Proverbs 28:17 explicitly forbids. How is that heroic?

      • Lots of reasons. First, you gravely misunderstand the nature of Proverbs in general, and this one in particular. But second, even under OT law, a person had to stand trial for murder before you could execute them. And (even if they were guilty) before trial, if the murder was going to be avenged, the guilty could flee to a city of refuge for protection before the trial, and in the Levites in those cities would heroically risk their lives to defend the guilty before a trial could take place (Joshua 20, Num 35).
        Look, justice does not lie to get its punishment. Justice does not break the law to punish the guilty. Bravery is doing your duty in the face of opposition (in this case lethal), to protect someone who may not even deserve it. If you can’t grasp that, then I really can’t help you.

        • Also Jesus said to pray for our enemies

      • Lynn B.

        072591: I long struggled with the book of Proverbs because it is not absolutes and it is not promises. Finally, I came to understand that it is a book of probabilities intended to teach wisdom especially to the young.

        In that light I would think the verse you cite, Proverbs 28:71, could be paraphrased, “it is not wise to be guilty of taking innocent blood because it is likely that would make you a fugitive until death and probably with nobody to support you.”

        In other words, it has no application to this police officer who sacrificed his life both to save life and to keep law and order.

      • skatblueeyes

        It is heroic in many ways. Just two off the top of my head:
        He gave these people an example of sacrificial love which is the love God showed us by sending Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners.
        He gave them an opportunity to repent and accept Christ as Savior.

      • skatblueeyes

        God also says to grieve with those who grieve so instead of trying to add to the grief of these children by criticizing their father, go get the plank out of your own eye.

      • Brian Sanders

        The MacArthur Study Bible says this on Proverbs 28:17:

        “Whoever is inwardly tormented by the murder of someone takes to ceaseless flight to escape the avenger of blood and the punishment of his crime. He flees and finds no rest until the grave receives him.

        “The exhortation is to avoid helping a murder with any support, refuge, or security against the vengeance which pursues him FROM THE ARM OF JUSTICE (i.e. the law).”

        Since the abortionists are not breaking the law of the land and the “arm of justice” is not seeking vengeance against them I do not see any application to this situation. I fear of late that some who believe they are advocating for life are actually advocating for vigilantly justice and want to take to themselves justice on behalf of the unborn who die by abortion. God gives you no such authority.

        • cheeriogirl

          Thank you Brian. You make a valid and scriptural point.

      • Bobby

        The Son of God who inspired the words of Proverbs also died to save God-haters.

      • timb0723

        Consider Romans 5:10 and Romans 1:19-23.

        Christ died for us, while we were His enemies, and He left us an example that we should follow His steps. One day, Christ Himself will bring justice on all abortionists who do not repent, as well as on all other murderers who do not repent.
        Now, do I wish the laws of United States protected all human life? Yes, very much so. But as we work towards that day, we must never resort to violent means. We must follow the example of Christ in everything.

      • KatieAnnieOakley

        His murderer also violated one of The Ten Commandments:

        Thou Shalt Not Kill.

        You can’t continue using political rhetoric like “baby killers” and not expect people with loose screws and small arsenals under their beds not to act upon their worse sensibilities “in the name of God”. You just can’t.

        Or is that the point? Enticing people with little control to act out on your political agenda in the name of God?

      • KarenJ

        Who are you to judge, anyway? Isn’t that up to a higher authority?

        As a matter of fact, that also goes for the legions of zealots who target women’s clinics for a broad spectrum of what they consider violations: teaching young people safe sex, contraception, and healthy living.

        • Charity

          Karen: Like others who have posted, I do not believe that 072591 is correctly interpreting Proverbs 28:17. However, neither are you correctly interpreting Matthew 7:1 where it says judge not lest you be judged. If you read further, verse 5 says first take the log out of your own eye and then you can see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. In others words, judge yourself first before you judge another. Verse 6 gives further instruction about righteous judging. We must always interpret scripture according to the context.

          Furthermore, it is not judging to agree with God and affirm that what He calls sin is indeed sin, which would cover all sexual activity outside covenant marriage of one man to one woman.

          But this blog is commemorating the life of a man who just died let us not make it political and detract from that message.

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  • Thank you for this post, Jordan..well done. Praying <3

  • Dave O

    Amen Jordan, true character and humility is sometimes best displayed in split second decisions. Selflessness is an attribute that can not be taught, it is bestowed. His wife and children will be in our prayers for sure brother.

  • 072591

    Warning: cold-blooded analysis ahead.

    Proverbs 28:17 (ESV) says, “If one is burdened with the blood of another, he will be a fugitive until death; let no one help him.” Swasey’s family lost a husband and a father. His church lost an elder. And for what? What principle did he put ahead of his family and church?

    Protecting people whose job is to facilitate human slaughter.

    Sorry, no. This is not heroic! He gave his live to protect monsters and their assistants, and every single abortion that the rescued perform is on his hands!
    Is it tragic? Yes. Is it sad that his family lost their husband and father? Yes. Is he in Heaven now? By all accounts, yes. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT insult the babies that will be killed by declaring that it was a good thing that their murderers were not killed.
    God says that nobody should help a murderer – the KJV is even more specific in saying that the murderer is going toward his own death and not to stop him. God’s Word supersedes all.

    • Jordan Standridge

      The Bible is not cold-blooded, so this comment can’t be biblical.

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  • Crying, thanks.

    • Ira Pistos

      Me too Michael. Thank you.

  • Ira Pistos

    Thank you Jordan.

  • Daryll Bryant

    Jordan, thank you! this is a great tribute to a very Godly man! as Garrett was one of my best friends and one of the pastors at my church, I really appreciate it! Thank you!

    • Jordan Standridge

      Daryll, I’m sorry for your loss. I’m thankful that this was encouraging to you. Know thousands of Christians are praying for you guys as you deal with the loss of a friend. And know that thousands have now read his final sermon and have been encouraged by his faith.

      • Daryll Bryant

        I know! thank you!!! God is good! May the Gospel prevail!! Satan may have thought he had the upper hand! But the Gospel has gone out strong! I’m sure Garrett is pleased!

  • Willie Branum

    one of you asked how it was heroic to save the lives of baby killers….Garrett was as Christian and the others may not have been they definitely were not doing what God wants so Garretts sacrifice leaves some are not following God the opportunity to reexamine life and call on Jesus for salvation…it is the same with our military….they are sacrificing their freedom for our….loads of love hugs and prayers for his family

    • Lynn B.

      Will: Your post reminded me of Gracia and Martin Burnham, missionaries to the Philippines, who were held hostage by Islamist terrorist for over a year. Martin was killed by those trying to rescue them and after Gracia returned to the States with their three young children she wrote the terrorists in prison after they were convicted.

      To Mrs. Swasey’s friends who may read this, when the dust has settled Gracia Burnham’s book may be an encouragement to her. The first book told their story and I believe the second book is a devotional.

  • Jordan Standridge

    Hey ElizD I appreciate you commenting, but it is really off topic and I don’t want to distract from what Swasey said. Jesse Johnson preached a very helpful sermon on this here I would highly recommend it to you.

  • @yahoo.comAnn Wingender

    As the mom of a son who wears BLUE, I pray for all his brothers and sisters in BLUE. I too was heart sick until I found out he was a man of GOD. I am sure his family misses him but one day they will all be together. I admire this young man and this piece that was placed on facebook is outstanding. Ann Wingender

    • cheeriogirl

      Why are Garret’s “brothers in blue” silent? Why aren’t they speaking out against radical “Christian” extremists who feel it’s duty to murder those who work at or receive health care through Planned Parenthood?

      Their silence is deafening.

      • Charity

        Cheeriogirl: Watch for news of the funeral. If it is anything like the tribute for an officer who died in the line of duty in my own small town, the “men and women in blue” will travel great distances and in great number to be in attendance and that speaks louder than any words. Please do not try to make this blog discussion political. We are here to honor a man who gave his life serving our nation and to offer our condolences to his family.

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  • I am closing the comment thread, as people seem to want to make this a political discussion, and it would be very difficult to monit or to answer them on Sunday. I’d like to keep the focus on officer Swasey. Like I said earlier the wife, young boy and girl in the picture are going through terrible grief, but they will always know their father as a hero, and more importantly as someone who pointed to Christ. I pray that God will turn this evil into good and that many would not procrastinate but give their lives to Jesus today. If you’d like to find out more about the Gospel please go here .

  • Jordan Standridge

    I am closing the comment thread, as people seem to want to make this a political discussion, and it would be very difficult to monitor them on Sunday. I’d like to keep the focus on officer Swasey. Like I said earlier the wife, young boy and girl in the picture are going through terrible grief, but they will always know their father as a hero, and more importantly as someone who pointed to Christ. I pray that God will turn this evil into good and that many would not procrastinate but give their lives to Jesus today. If you’d like to find out more about the Gospel please go here .

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