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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No Fear! 8.6.2017
Dear friend, May grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ now and forever, amen!

I would like to preface our time together today with a question: What does it mean to be a Christian? We could say that it contains mainly two parts: Being rescued from slavery and brought into sonship, or into the family of God whereby He is our Father.

For the Jewish believer in the Old Testament, their knowledge of God was not as their father, but through many names which identified aspects of his character.

God was referred to as "our Father" 13 times in the Old Testament, Jesus' frequent use of this title brought a whole new understanding of our relationship with God. Jesus referred to God as His father over 150 times, and He spoke of God as being our father 30 times.

For the Jewish worshipper of God to refer to His as Father was entirely foreign to them. They lived in fear and awe of Him, and so over time their worship was primarily involved in making sure that God was pleased with them and that they did not offend His holiness.

Today we sang a number of songs that had to do with what our God who is holy and Who cannot look upon sin, did to rescue us back to Himself. And we sang of the joy in our hearts at being rescued through the love of God demonstrated through God and Jesus jointly rescuing us from sin¿½¬¢s penalty which is death. We have been hearing of how we are no longer subject to the power of sin in our lives, for the Holy Spirit¿½¬¢s indwelling presence has freed us from the power of sin to put us to death. So as we look at our continuing progression through the letter of Apostle Paul to the Romans, let us see what else the Holy Spirit ministers to us.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

The power of sin over us is broken, says Paul in Romans 6-8, by the Spirit of God. And one of the things the Spirit does in liberating us is to convince us that we are the beloved children of God. The cross of Christ demonstrates that God loves us as our Father, and the Spirit of Christ completes the circle of love by assuring us that we are now the adopted children of God.
Possessing all this, why would we ever think about paying any kind of allegiance to the flesh? For what the Spirit has brought to us through faith, how would it make any sense to live after the flesh? When all it can to is bring us to death?

We are now indwelt by the Holy Spirit, by whom Christ our Lord lives within us. This life which throbs in our heart beats also in the pulse, so the very life which is in Christ in glory is also in our hearts. We are to resist every effort of our body of sin which would attempt to restrict the experience and expression of life in the Spirit. This is what the Apostle means by doing to death the practices, stratagems, and lawless promptings of the body, which are ever calling for ease and self-indulgence. There is no stage of our earthly journey at which we can dispense with the power of the Spirit of God for deliverance from the deeds of the body.

But there is another most blessed function of the divine Spirit, Romans 8:14. He is willing to lead us, to prompt our actions, to inspire our purposes, and to mold our characters.

The Spirit we received does not make us slaves, so that we live in fear again; rather, the Spirit we received brought about our adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." ¿½¬€ Romans 8:15

The more we yield to Him, the deeper becomes our awareness of that filial relationship with God which breathes in the cry, Abba, Father. But note the wonderful climax, Romans 8:17. When we yield to the Holy Spirit, He will conduct us into the divine treasure-house and bid us avail ourselves of the infinite resources which are there stored for our use, not in the next life, but in this.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

As is seen in the case of the slave-made-son adoption, this process occurred in a change of social status for the person being adopted. Obviously, for the Romans this movement of status was a serious matter. The purpose of adoption in Roman culture was to secure the benefits of having a son in a family who has either no son or an estranged son. The primary motivation for adopting was to continue the family line and practices. It was not necessarily for the protection or maintenance of the one being adopted; the focus was on the benefits the family as a whole gained through the process.

What is the Father/ Son relationship between God and Jesus?
1. Authority and Mission
John 6: 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

2. Affection: John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth:

3. Fellowship: John 8: 29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

4. Honor: John 5: 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
God only has one Son, Jesus, and we have been brought into Jesus so that we are in Him and He in us. God has given us sonship, we have an inheritance that is incorruptible, does not fade away and is reserved in heaven for us. Since God has only one Son and we are the brothers of Jesus, we are also sons, but by adoption. Yes we were adopted as an object of His love and also for Him to carry on His Name in order that it He might be glorified by gathering many into His family through us.

What a joy to be a child of God!!! May the Lord open our understanding so that we could experience a greater appreciation of his gracious forgiveness, but perhaps more than that, that He would open up our understanding of what it means to be in His family. We have the blessing of being loved as well as the joy of sonship which when properly understood and experienced, moves us to desire to care for and to increase His family.

A couple of questions: Do we know the forgiveness of sins in Christ? And, do we understand that we are now in His great family of believers, who are loved and cared for by our Father? Are we being led by His Spirit? Is our spirit giving witness to His Spirit that we are His family members?

May the grace of God in Christ Jesus be with us always!
Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 06 Aug 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
No Condemnation 7.30.2017
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be unto you and unto all people everywhere now and forever, Amen.

We are continuing our studies in the book of Romans and today we are looking at the first 11 verses of chapter 8 with the main focus to be on the opening verse which loudly declares an all important truth:

"There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."-- Rom 8:1.

It is the plan to bring 3 more messages from this chapter with the titles of those messages being in succession as follows: No Fear, No Comparision, and No Separation. I have borrowed a theologians commentary on the first verse, which is an introduction to the entire chapter. Please think upon his words in relation to No Condemnation.

It is present: "Now."
If we are in Christ, we need not wait in doubts and fears for the verdict of the great white Throne. Its decisions cannot make our standing more clear, or our acceptance more sure, but we shall learn there the meaning of God's dealings with mankind, and triumph in the successful vindication of His ways. We can never be more free from the condemnation of God's righteous law than we are at this present.

It is certain: "There is no condemnation." You must catch this accent of conviction, and be able to speak with no faltering voice of your assured acceptance with God, if you would enter upon the rich inheritance of this chapter, to which these opening words stand as the door of passage. The shadow of a perhaps or maybe cannot live in the light of that certainty of which the Apostle speaks.

It is constant: "There are some who live on a sliding scale between condemnation and acceptance. If health is buoyant and the heart is full of song, they are sure of their acceptance with God; but if the sun is darkened and the clouds return; when the heart is dull and sad, they imagine that they are under the ban of God's displeasure. They forget that our standing in Christ Jesus is one thing; our appreciation and enjoyment of it quite another.

Your own heart may condemn you; memory, the recorder of the soul, may summon from the past evidence against you; the great Accuser of souls may lay against you grievous and well-founded charges; your tides of feeling may ebb far down the beach; your faith may become weak and lose its power and grip; your sense of unworthiness may become increasingly oppressive, but none of these things can touch your acceptance with God when we through the hearing of faith have laid hold of the promises of God in Christ Jesus! F.B. Meyer

KJV Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

At the beginning of this chapter, the Apostle Paul applies that which has previously written about in the entire letter, and especially in chapters 6 and 7. Due to our being united with Jesus in His baptism, in His death and in His resurrection, by faith we are now in Him. He has pronounced the death sentence over sin in the flesh, or we could say it another way, that He has destroyed sin€™s power to bring us to death by tasting death on behalf of all mankind. Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

We are given an imputed righteousness which is by faith and out of that faith proceeds the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus spoke of this when He taught in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

When faith comes into the heart, The Triune God takes abode in our heart and consequently we are assured of His love (Romans 5:5) and we are given His divine nature.

2 Peter 1: 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

We are now minding the things of the Spirit for the Spirit Himself indwells us. As we heard last time, there still is a battle that goes on due to sin€™s presence yet remaining in us, a presence that will remain until faith becomes sight. Let us continue to the second thought of this portion of scripture.

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

What are the things of the flesh? What are the things of the Spirit?

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

So far in our study we have come to see that outward pressure of the law can never bring us to the kind of perfection that God requires for His acceptance, we have learned that that is not the function of the law for the law was given so that we would come to realize that of our own we cannot by our efforts please God. Only His Son with His perfection pleased Him in all things and so His perfection is credited to us by faith. Not only is our sin removed from our account, but righteousness is credited to our account.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Romans 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (the faith of Abraham in that He believed/trusted God)
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

As a pastor I spend a lot of time in the scriptures, reading other pastors and theologians commentaries on scripture and a lot of time asking God for His revelation and enlightenment of Himself through His Word and Spirit. In the end it comes down to the reality of what Jesus spoke in His Gospels: Who are we serving? God or mammon (the things of the flesh) He said that we cannot serve but one for we will hate the one and love the other or vice versa.

May the Spirit take this precious Word and reveal into our hearts of that which from the foundation of the world has been accomplished, that we have been chosen in Christ, before we even thought of Him.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

May this Spirit convince us of our need for forgiveness, reveal to us of His righteousness and assure us of the judgment of the devil. (John 16:8-11)

He loves you, He has given Himself for you, He has given you everything you and He wants to spend eternity with you. May it never be that you or I would be deceived by Satan who does not wish that anyone would inherit eternal life. May the calling, inviting and gathering Spirit of God accomplish His work in all of us.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 30 Jul 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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No Fear! 8.6.2017
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob