Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Imitating God 2/22/2015
Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with us now and always, Amen.

This is the first Sunday in Lent, a time of the year when we especially consider that which the Lord has done for us through Christ's offering of Himself. It is also a time of inward reflection and examination which culminates on Easter Sunday with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. As we meditate upon that which God has done for us, let us pray that He will deepen our knowledge of His love for us, let us be quick to acknowledge those times when we fail to love as we should, and let us continually return to Him so that we may walk in His love.

In our scripture reading today, we heard of love's practical application:

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.

In today's lesson from a letter that was written to the Ephesian congregation by Paul through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be a followers/imitators of God as dear (His) children, walking in love, as Christ has loved us and has given himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a fragrant odor/savour.

We are called to imitate/mimic God in our lives as we live in Jesus Christ through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, by which we have opportunity to demonstrate on a relational level with all people, and especially in the marital relationship as he writes of in the latter part of this chapter.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.


In your regular times with the Lord in His Word, when you have read the letter of Paul to the Ephesians, perhaps you have noted the three sections which separate the letter.

The first three chapters could be described as how and who God has made us to be through His Son Jesus,

the next section 4:1-6:11 describes what our life is to be as a child of God,

and the last section 6:12-24 teaches of standing firm against those opponents which would oppose whom we are in Christ Jesus.

Today we are considering chapter 5 of this letter, which is in the middle of the application part of the letter. We could outline the application part of this letter in the following manner.

The Christian life is a lifestyle, and we are to walk/live

… worthy of our calling (4:1-16)
… based upon a renewed mind (4:17-32)
… in love (5:1-6)
… in light (5:7-14)
… in wisdom (5:15–6:9)

We will read our text in according to those different headings:

Walk in Love
KJV Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers (imitator, mimic) of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
3 But fornication,(porneia) and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Walk in Light
7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (determine what God wants and follow it)
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

Walk in Wisdom
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly,(carefully) not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming (Make wise use of) the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (what He wants)
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.


25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.


32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.



Principles in this text:


1. Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

KJV Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

1. We are to walk in the love that Christ has for us and which indwells us through the Holy Spirit.

2. We are to walk/live in the light of love and not in the darkness of sin.

3. We are to walk/live in wisdom, seeking to live how God wants us to live.

4. We all, male and female, first live under the provision protection and security that we enjooy in our union with Christ.

5.. Wives are to walk/live in the provision, protection, and security of the sacrificial love leadership of their husbands, as the church does under the sacrificial love leadership of Christ.

6. Husbands are to love our wives as Christ loved the church, and as they love our own bodies.

7. Husbands and wives are to leave their parents, cleave to one another and to become one flesh.


The richness in marriage is directly related to how much sacrifice is made for the sake of the other, and therefore for the sake of the oneness in the union of husband and wife.

Last year I came across this article and thought it would be good to use to illustrate what the scripture teaches about walking in love, walking in the light, and walking in wisdom.


Marriage isn't for you

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me.

With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family.

Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful—she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and anguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.

Marriage is about family.

I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.

With marriage comes many challenges, and through these trials comes the opportunity to demonstrate love. The Bible always looks on differences not as reason to separate, but as an opportunity to work together to grow in maturity. With differences which result in conflict being viewed as opportunity for growth, a marriage can and will grow in togetherness and intimacy.

Consider the following story.

Robertson McQuilikin, president made the decision to leave his calling as president of Columbia International Bible College, to care to his wife when she contracted Alzheimer's. As he struggled with stepping down, he sought for direction from the Lord, through the question that went like this. "Lord, are you putting me on the bench?" He knew that someone else could be a president, but no one else could be his wife's husband. But should he step down or not?

Later that day he went for a walk with his wife, as they were walking holding hands, an inebriated man approached him, and after he walked by he looked back at the couple and said: "I likes that, yes that's good, that's good, I likes that." He did not think much of it but later as he lay in bed during the night it came to him to ask of the Lord. "Lord, was that you talking to me through that inebriated man?" He heard the response of the Lord: "Yes, that was me.....'

Later he was asked this question by a student? Wasn't it hard to leave your calling? He replied: "It was the easiest decision I ever made, as it was made 44 years ago when I vowed before God and the congregation present that I would stay with my wife til death separates us."
After hearing this story, a Christian radio talk, Dennis Rainey, show host called his wife and told her about the McQuilikin story, and especially how Mr McQuilikin had laid aside his wants and dreams on behalf of his wife to care for her. At hearing this his wife became silent, she started crying and in tears asked her husband: "Would you do that for me?" Dennis Rainey, kind of taken aback, assured her that he would.

The richness in marriage is directly related to how much sacrifice is made for the sake of the other, and therefore for the sake of the oneness in the union of husband and wife.

1. Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

KJV Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

May our Lenten meditations be focused on the love of Christ for us and of his sacrificial offering which was pleasing to His Father and our Father. May the fruit of our meditations be that we would imitate our Father as we walk in His love, in His light and His wisdom.

In the love of Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala





Posted on 22 Feb 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Love of God
Dear friend,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you today and always! Amen.

Today's readings are from Matthew 17:1-8, 1 Corinthians 13 and our sermon text is 1 John 4. The first one is Matthew's record of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain top in which His divine essence shined through His human body and was witnessed by James, John and Peter.

John spoke of that experience later when he wrote his Gospel, John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." and Peter referred to that experience in his second letter. "KJV 2 Peter 1:17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
KJV 2 Peter 1:18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount."

Our second reading is from Paul's first letter to the Corinthian church and it it he writes of the characteristics of love, speaking of them in a very practical manner.

And our sermon text today is from John's first letter, from the fourth chapter which we will now read.

Message

A dear brother of mine often tells those whom he meets: "God loves you and so do I!" He is demonstrating his knowledge of two very important truths that exist concerning the nature of God. Whether he has thought it through this way or not, I am not sure, but as I hear him say that statement, I thank God for the revelation of Himself to my brother and also for the testimony that he reveals when he tells other that he loves them. My brother has received the love of God into his heart, he knows this love and believes that this Love has purchased him back to our Father through the cross, and through the indwelling Holy Spirit in him, God's love flows out of him not only in word, but in deed and in truth also.

In two verses from our text of meditation today is contained three key components of understanding the love of God. In them we see Love's origin, loves definition and God's desired response to His love for us. God dwells in the hearts of those who love one another. Or we could say it another way, because God dwells in our hearts as believers in Him, we are enabled to love one another.

1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.


In the first six verses of chapter 4, John explains of the necessity of believing that Christ came in the flesh to be the sacrifice for sin, which is referred to in 1 John 4: 10. The love of God cannot be understood or experienced independent of the cross of Jesus Christ. From verse 7 to the end of the chapter, he then expands of what it means in the life of one who has received the love of God by believing in that which Christ has done for them: Granted pardon and forgiveness of sins.




A number of years ago, another brother shared with me of his experience in growing in his knoweldge of love, which helped him to understand in a greater way what it means to love unconditionally vs conditionally (fleshly love). He shared with me of the difficulty of visiting his mother who was in a nursing home and whose health had deteriorated to the point that when my friend visited his mother, she did not know who he was. He struggled with his continuining to visit her, for he was getting no response back from her. As he prayed about this, the Lord began to expand to him of the love that He has for him (my friend) and for all people.

In this experience that he felt was from God, my friend went on to tell me that he remembers when his father and mother would wave to him after he had visited them in their home; then the day came when only his mother waved goodbye to him as he left her home after his father's death, he remembered how his mother would say goodbye to him after he left her room in a nursing home......Then he felt the Lord was speaking to him in this way: " I many times a day visit you in various ways and you do not always acknowledge my visiting to you, but I keep on visiting you for my love does not need a response to keep on loving you, for that is who I am. Through this experience I am offering you the opportunity to grow in your knowledge of my love, for it is a love that loves to pour itself out into the lives of those who are not able to love me back yet. Love your mother as I have loved and do love you."

My friend shared with me that after that experience, he went with joy to see his mother for the rest of her days of her life.

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin

As our text teaches us, the beginning of understanding God is to know and experience that He is love and He has extended grace toward us by gifting us with the forgiveness of sins which we receive through repentance and faith. We have been delivered from the guilt of sin and from the power of sin so that we are now free to love as we have been loved. May the Lord bless our meditations in His Word so that we will be able to discern what is truth and what is error in the all important meaning of love. We conclude with the main teaching of today's text: God is love, He demonstrated this love on the cross, and He desires that we love Him in return.

In His love,
Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 15 Feb 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Imitating God 2/22/2015
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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