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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"Whom do you say that I am?" 3.1.2015
Sermon Text: Mark 8:27-38
Sermon Title: Jesus: "Whom do you say that I am?"

Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all now and forever, Amen.

Today we are faced with a question asked by Jesus of all people of all time? "Who do you say that I am?" Is our knowledge of Jesus by revelation from God or is it a combination of other people's opinons? By God's grace we will consider a short portion of the revelation of God from the Gospel of Mark, in the 8th chapter.


Mark 8:27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?
28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.
29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

The followers of Jesus had to come to know who Jesus was and this they did by being with Him for over 3 years, but they did not really understand the heart of God as shown by Jesus until after His resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The following excerpt from Luke's gospel gives insight as to how they were still understanding things according to the OT and were in need of Jesus' teaching through His attitudes, words and actions. As we read this account, may the Spirit search our minds and hearts and not only show us where we are in relation to looking at the lost in the world, but may He also convict us to repentance so that we may have the mind and heart of God towards them.

Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

At another time in John's Gospel we see that even though they did not understand many of Jesus' teachings, they yet recognized that there was no one else to go to, for at the very least they knew that He had the words of eternal life.

John 6: 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

May we be encouraged and grounded in this fallen world today by sticking with Jesus as the way, the truth and the life, and in so doing reject the pluralism and relativism that abounds today. Apostle Paul found his peace only in the cross and what it accomplished for him, for he came to live in the dual effect of the power of the cross: The world lost its hold over him and the world lost is love for him.

May we understand what is being said here in the light of our text today, which speak of disowning ourselves, taking up our instrument of death which means that union with Christ will cause us to be persecuted by our own flesh, by the world, and ultimately by the devil.

KJV Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

KJV 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus asks us today? "Do you know who I am?" The Apostle Paul thought he knew who God was, but when he met Jesus He found out who God really was. Next week, if the Lord so wills, we will illustrate what it means to deny oneself, take up one's cross and to follow Jesus through the life of Apostle Paul in chapter three of the letter that we have been studying, the letter to the Philippians. Here is a portion of that third chapter.

Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

May the Spirit give us revelation into the heart and mind of God through Christ through His Word.

In Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 01 Mar 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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

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"Whom do you say that I am?" 3.1.2015
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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2/28 7:00 pm:Lent Service
3/7 7:00 pm:Lent Service
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3/21 7:00 pm:Lent service
3/23 11:30 a.m.:Senior Luncheon
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