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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Sons and Not Slaves 6/15/2014
We once were slaves to self and to sin, but now are sons of God. The Spirit of His Son lives in us, and therefore we live in freedom. It is not the freedom to serve self, but it is that we have been freed from the guilt and the power of sin so that we may serve others, for the Spirit of Jesus Christ lives in and through us. Our Father in heaven has done this all, therefore we cry Abba, Father. We are sons and not slaves....

Our text is taken from Apostle Paul's letter to the Galatian congregation, who were under extreme attack to jettison the new found freedom in Christ and go back to the slavery of the law. The theme of the entire letter is that Gospel freedom is the power in our lives. It is through Christ that we have been bought back from slavery, which means that we are forgiven, we are set apart for God and we live lives through which we love others for the sake of Jesus Christ through the indwelling and presence of His Spirit, the Spirit of the Son of God.

KJV Galatians 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements (influences) of the world:
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Until Christ came, the law was kind of a boundary that was set up to let them know what was acceptable and what it was not. It was never intended to be a permanent solution to the sin that we inherited, but it was only for a time until Jesus came It was not able to keep people from living for themselves, never will be able to do so, for it was never intended for that purpose. He bought us out from under guardianship of the law, so that He would come to live in us through His Spirit. Through this He would bring us to a place of "privilege "get to" as opposed to an obligation or a "have to."

True freedom has an eternal source, for it is based on the truth of the Word of God. True freedom sets us from from self. This freedom/ only comes through the person and finished work of Jesus Christ. It is for this freedom that you and I have been set free. It is a freedom that frees us from ourselves and frees us to be in fellowship with God, with Christ and in the Holy Spirit.

But, sadly, this freedom is more often overlooked, rejected, even taken for granted and despised. Why? Because, as sinful human beings, our response to the one who lovingly created us, even reconciled us back to Himself, may be to reject his gracious gift. Or as a Chrisitan, we choose to go it alone as if we are the lord and master of our lives. Ironically, such false emancipation actually destroys our ability to be truly free. We think that freedom is to do as were wish, in thought, attitude and action. That is slavery to the law.

What does it mean to live in slavery? For slavery to exist, there must be a master and a slave. In the days of slavery, often times this was the testimony of slaves:

1. The masters kept them under subjection by the use of fear.

2.They kept them from seeing and experiencing freedom outside of their plantation.

3. They also were continually told life as a slave was the best life that they could ever have.

4. They were never given their own personal name: If their owner was John Doe, the slave would be referred to as John Doe's slave.

To live in unrepentance, to live without faith in the Son's work for you, is to live in the bondage of an eternal slavery that no human effort can ever eliminate.

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". (John 8:31-32)

We have been freed from the law of sin and death to live in peace, in joy, in love, and in expectation of the future, for we are yoked unto Jesus Christ, which is an easy yoke, a pleasant and joyful union. God has always been for us, He is with us and now He is in us by His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. He has done it all for us and may we rest in that knowledge and experience!

We are Sons of God, who have been set free from power of the law, so that we may live to serve others in love. And that begins in our closest relationships, which are at home.

Today is Father's Day, and a day that we reflect on the Fatherhood of God as the one through whom we were all given physical life. A distinctive New Testament revelation is that through faith in Christ, God becomes our personal Father. Father is used of God in the Old Testament only 15 times while it is used of God 245 times in the New Testament.

Through His Son, we have been given eternal life. Through the indwelling of the Spirit of His Son, we live as Sons of the Perfect Father, whereby we trust Him and depend upon Him as a child does upon their earthly father.

In the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he concludes chapter 5 by addressing the relationship between husband and wife and then in the beginning of chapter six speaks to the potential fruit of marriage: Children and parenting

NKJ Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise:
3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."
4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

As children we learned of God first and foremost from our parents, and especially our fathers. We learned those things that our fathers modeled of God in a good way but also in a bad way. Our fathers have not been perfect even as we have not been and are not and will not be. God is the only perfect Father. But as we have grown up we have learned that it is not enough to compare others with God as role models, but it is also important to contrast our earthly parent with our heavenly parent. The difficulty is that in our younger years we are not able to see that not everything our parent models and teaches is not as it should be.

Therefore, as we grow in understanding of what a good father is, we look on our fathers with forgiveness and compassion, recognizing that they were/are imperfect even as we find ourselves to be. For those of us who have become fathers, we full well realize that we need forgiveness and compassion from our children.

When my mother died a year ago, a compassionate brother gave me some very important counsel concerning what it means to honor our father and mother. He told it to me in question form: "Do we not honor our parents the most by continuing to believe and to live our lives the in the eternal things that they have taught us even after they have left this life?" Yes, I told him, I think you are right on.

Since all of us have had, do have fathers, most of us will reflect on this aspect of fatherhood today and will enumerate the blessings that have come from their fathers. We understand, as we have already written about, that not all fathers have been positive role models and as a result of desertion, abuse, rejection, and so on, some are dealing with the fallout yet today and as a result live troubled and painful lives. We understand that that is not the ideal, we have compassion for those and we do all we can do to help them contrast what they experienced and what their Heavenly Father desires that they come to know and experience.

We cry for those who have been affected so greatly by our sinful attitudes, habits and decisions. We live in a broken world, we are broken people, and we live in broken relationships. That is not God's desire for us, but those things are realities. We live in grace and forgiveness for our past sins, we live in grace and forgiveness today and we live in grace and forgiveness for our future. And we do this both towards ourselves and towards others.

We cannot go back to undo that which we have done, but we can take ownership for those sinful and selfish choices that have offended our loved ones that the Holy Spirit has brought to our conscience, we acknowledge our sin to God, if needful and if possible, we admit and confess our error to those we offended and use the pain of the past to guide our decisions into the future. God has taken our sin from us, but He has allowed the memories of the past as a means of grace to help us make better decisions in the future.

We are Sons of God, who have been set free from power of the law, so that we may live to serve others in love. And that begins in our closest relationships, which are at home.

Allow me to close with a recent story I heard at a funeral for a dear brother in Christ who died at 90 years old. Through his grandson, his first memory of how his dad taught him about God was related to those of us who were in attendance at his funeral. Here is how it goes.

"I had a knife that I had found when I was five years old and when my sister saw me playing with it, she tried to take it away from me, I did not let her. Finally she got so persistent that she grabbed ahold of the sharp blade of the knife with her hand and I pulled it away from her, cutting her hand deeply in the process. As a result of seeing what I had done, I ran and hid in the woods and did not want to go into my home and face my dad. I struggled for a long time outside, it began to get dark and finally figured that I must go to my father and face up to him. I remember climbing up on to the porch, I remember opening the door, I remember seeing my dad's big boots and as I raised my eyes to his face, I saw a merciful and kind face looking down at me, felt his big arms wrap around me and heard him telling me, "It's okay, son. It's okay................... "

His father, through example, demonstrated of how God is waiting for all those who will come to Him in their need of forgiveness. Young Lauri Lappi, at five years old, was taught by his father of the readiness of God to forgive all who come to Him. For young Lauri's father demonstrated the love of his Greater Father.

May we avail ourselves of this same love of God towards ourselves today.

A Son of God through Christ Jesus,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 15 Jun 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Pentecost: The Coming of the Holy Spirit 6/8/2014
Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day which commemorates occasion of the Holy Spirit being sent from heaven according to the promise of Jesus to His disciples. He had instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the arrival of this Holy Spirit. Upon receiving the Holy Spirit they would then be empowered and equipped to be testifiers of the person and work of Jesus Christ beginning in their home area of Jerusalem but then spreading out into the world that existed at that time. So we could look at this occasion as the birthday of the New Testament church, which was founded upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Have you ever seen a gas fire on the ground? Have you ever tried to put it out by stomping on it? If you have, you have probably found out your stomping only increased the fire to a larger area the more you tried to put it out. This is what happened in the early church, which began to burn brightly with the fires of revival with large numbers being added to the kingdom of God, a kingdom which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is not a kingdom that is necessarily outwardly observed, for He dwells in His people through faith, they are united together in the Holy Spirit, which then demonstrates His presence through love.

We are launching our summer sermon series through the book of Acts. This book is the sequel to the Gospel of Luke and it describes the continuing work of Jesus Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit in the lives of those who are united with Jesus Christ through faith. It is our prayer that through this series that we will become more familiar with the person and work of the Holy Spirit and in so doing be greatly affected by His urging and compelling power and influence.

Today we are marking the coming of the Holy Spirit which was sent 50 days after the Passover.

In our text from Acts 1:1-21 we hear/read that the 120 disciples (Acts 1:15) were gathered together in one accord (in unity and harmony) in one place, waiting for the Promise of the Father just as Jesus had directed them to do. While they were they, from heaven came a sound as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled the house where they were sitting. And not only that, but also appearing before them was divided tongues which rested upon each of the 120 disciples. They, being filled with the Holy Ghost, began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them the ability to do.

During this time of the celebration of the blessings of the harvest, in the city of God, Jerusalem, there were God fearing Jews who had been scattered abroad by persecution and whose regions are described in verses 9-11. What had happened and what was happening caused such an uproar, that the crowds of people descended upon the place that the 120 were gathered. When they got there they were confounded, bewildered, because out of the mouths of these men, they were hearing words flowing forth that they could understand in their mother tongue.

Luke, the writer only elaborates on the speaking with other tongues and says no more about the noise of the rushing wind and the appearance of the divided tongues of fire. He focuses on the speaking and hearing and in verse 11 he points out of the substance of that which was being spoken and heard: The wonderful works of God.

In their amazement, and in doubt, they said one to another: "What does this mean?" They did what we should all do when we have questions about anything that is being said or seen? They asked for clarification. Other mocked saying: "These men are full of new wine." But that was highly unlikely as in was 9 in the morning and it was not usual that they would be drunk already that early in the morning. But we ask for ourselves, what was all this about anyway?

Now Peter, the Apostle who had heard the words of Jesus in the beginning of Jesus' ministry "follow me", who spent three plus years with Him learning what it meant to follow Him, and who heard the last recorded words from Jesus of "You follow me" now stood up and began to answer the doubters and to clarify the questioners of this amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

He first gave it to the doubters straight, that since it was only 9 am, forget the idea that they were drunk.

Secondlly, he pointed to the Prophet Joel in his explanation of what had happened.

2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The Prophet Joel refers to the last times, which the New Testament writers interpret as the entire time of the New Testament, or from the time of Jesus' arrival at His birth all the way until His final return. It is understood as the age of the Holy Spirit during which all whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!!!!

The coming of the Holy Spirit was a one time event, even as the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ are.

He is the third person of the Godhead, part of the three in One.

His ongoing ministry consists of Seven major ministries.

1. Convicts unbelievers of sin, righteousness and judgment: John 16:8-11.

2. Regenerates or causes us to become believers: John 3:1-8; Titus 3:5, I Peter 1:23-25; James 1:18.

3.. Indwells and baptizes the believer: I Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:9; John 14:16; I Corinthians 12:13.

4. Seals us: Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30.

5. Imparts gifts: I Corinthians 12:7-11.

6. Fills the believer: Ephesians 5:15-21; Galatians 5:16.

7. Causes us to bear fruit: Galatians 5:22-23. The characteristics of Jesus Christ.

In the Apostle Creed, we confess that we believe in the Holy Spirit.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the
forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in
Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel,
enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on
earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.

In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all

On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all
believers in Christ.

This is most certainly true.

The Holy Spirit ministers grace and forgiveness to us through the work of Christ, but we in our humanity struggle with living in this reality, for we are subject to our emotions and feelings.

KJV Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Years ago, a man living in Finland grew despondent with the struggles of life, and even wondered if he had the Holy Spirit anymore. He thought he would ski to his brother's house some distance away and have his brother examine him so see whether he still had the Spirit. He skiied the long trip, got to the door of his brother and when his brother opened the door, they fell into each other's arms, embracing in Christian love and joy. They spend some time talking of the things of Christ and soon it was time to return home. The man got on his skis, and as he was traveling home joyfully suddenly realized that he had forgotten to ask this brother to examine him.

The Spirit bore witness with his spirit, that he was a child of God.

A young man, in training for the ministiry, was riding on a train sitting alone. An older man looking for some company, noticed him sitting alone, so he drew near him and began to chat with him.
After the older man mentioned that he was a minister, the young minister in training asked if it would be alright if he asked a question. "Sure" said the older minister, so the question came forth from the young man: "I am barely getting started as a minister and when I was preaching at a conference recently something extraordinary happened at our meeting. It was a meeting of ministers, nearlly all of them older than myself, but I was giving a message on the Holy Spirit when a strange thing happened. As I was speaking, I noticed some men getting up and going over to talk to their brothers, I noticed that they were embracing one another and then the whole room was a movement of activity as many began to to talk to one another. Then it became apparent that the Holy Spirit had moved in the hearts of the men that they were going to one another and confessing the their sins against the other."

The minister listened and then said, "Wonderful, it is wonderful how the Holy Spirit moves to gather the hearts of brothers in Christ together. So, what is your question."

"Well," said the young man, "ever since that happened, it is difficult for me to preach because that scene of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes back to me, I get emotional and it is very difficult for me to preach. Should I quit preaching?"

The wise minister then said, "I wish that there were more of us like you."............................

It is by the Holy Spirit that God showers upon us His grace and mercy, so therefore we invited to pray for the Holy Spirit's influence in our lives.

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Dear Father, thank you for your Spirit who always ministers grace and mercy to us through your Son Jesus Christ. Lord, thank you that through the ministry of the Spirit that we know that we are acceptable in your sight, for He never accuses us and points to our sin in judgment, but points us to the cross of Christ as the payment for our sin, and on the basis of your love, calls us to live in the Spirit. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Come Holy Spirit, we need You.

Come as a wisdom to children
Come as new sight to the blind
Come, Lord, as strength to my weakness
Take me soul, body and mind

Come as a rest to the weary
Come as a balm to the sore
Come as a dew to my dryness
Fill me with joy evermore

Come Holy Spirit, I need you now
Come, Sweet Spirit, I pray
Come in your strength and your power
Come in your own gentle way

Come like a spring in the desert
Come to the withered of soul
O, let your sweet healing power
Touch me and make me whole

Come Holy Spirit, I need you now
Come, Sweet Spirit, I pray
Come in your strength and your power
Come in your own gentle way
Come in your own gentle way
Posted on 08 Jun 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Sons and Not Slaves 6/15/2014
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns