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

Independence + Dependence=Freedom



May the grace and mercy from God our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you now and forever, Amen.

ESV Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Whether it is in our nation, in our churches, in our families, or in our personal lives, three words are fundamental in living a life that will be lived in freedom and service: Independence + Dependence-
Freedom to Love.

National Independence
Since the year 1776 our nation has enjoyed the freedoms in which we are a people of the people, by the people and for the people, one nation, under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all. (For various reasons, we are leaving our study through Paul's letter to the Galatians until July 28th)

As we celebrate with thanksgiving to God for another year of this independence and freedom, let us remember that the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been given to us by our Creator. Inalienable means that this right cannot be given to some else or be transferred to someone else, but it does not mean that we live to ourselves outside of the truth which God is. For all humanity is dependent on God.

Dependence
Our nation has been founded on the truths of God's Holy Word, the Bible, which testifies to us that He is the Creator, that we are His creation, that we are dependent upon Him for our every need in our lives and that without Him, we can do nothing, whether it be spiritually or naturally.

If we minimize or fail to heed His teachings, we will lose our freedom as a nation since real freedom is not able to exist outside of truth. Throughout the history of the world, no nation has continued to exist and thrive outside of the truths of God in Christ Jesus.

May the Lord grant all of us the grace to know the truth, continue in the truth, and to responsibly live in the freedom comes that from being set free from the control of other nations. Our nation was founded under the principles of the Scriptures, we have been blessed by Him and as a nation we have been a blessing to many others through the years. For as a nation we have understood the importance of living for the other, using that which we have been given to help others. We have freedom to serve others



In Our Congregation

Independence + Dependence=Freedom to serve others
The beginning of our congregation was in 1896 and here are the recorded words of that beginning: "The following constitution was adopted: The Finnish Sunday School Society of Kingston, Minnesota, acknowledges the Bible, the Old and New Testaments, as the only true and sufficient and infallible doctrine and standard for Christian faith, teachings, life conduct, and activity. No person shall be received into the church who does not believe in being born again and the remission of sins. The Finnish Sunday School Society of Kingston, Minnesota, shall for a time remain independent and shall not unite with any other sect or denomination, but remain free according to Galatians 5:1 The property of the Finnish Sunday School Society of Kingston shall be managed by its trustees and shall be common property for all its members who have been formally received into the church and are acknowledged as voters. The meeting house of the church shall be opened for such purpose as the trustees shall direct." The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 a.m., February 10, 1896.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Two years after the church was organized, its name was changed to the The Kingston Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Congregation. In 1987 it was changed to The Apostolic Lutheran Church of Kingston.


Family/Individually

A godly nation comes out of godly churches, godly churches are built from godly families, and godly families are built upon godly individuals, which are built upon those whose foundation is Christ Jesus.

It is oftentimes easy to forget that and think that righteousness is something that can be created by making laws in order to make people live rightly. But that is not true as the same three words apply to our lives individually: Independence + Dependence=Freedom to serve others

Independence from the guilt of sin, dependence on Christ = freedom to serve others

After WW 2 a soldier who had been hiding in a cave not knowing that the war was over was afraid to come out when he was approached by some people who found him there. After he was told that he did not have to fear to come out for the war was over, he came out and then headed for his home to be reunited with his family. The word got out of his soon return so that when he came to the entrance of his town, it seemed as if the entire town was there welcome him home. A big banner was set up which declared: "Welcome home, It is finished, The war is over!" He experienced freedom.

"My brother in law was shot down on his first mission as a gunner in a B24. As he floated down in his chute he saw farmers with pitchforks and clubs waiting for him to land. Just as he landed a German staff car drove up and saved him from the crowd. He spent nearly two years in POW camps as the enemy moved back as the Allied forces advanced. One morning as they arose the guards were gone and the gates were open. Soon a group of Patton's jeeps came roaring in camp and told my brother in law and the others. "We are with General Patton and we are here to take you guys home. The white star of freedom on the hoods of the jeeps was a beautiful sight. Likewise our Lord and Saviour Jesus has rescued us from the prison camp of sin and despair. All glory and honor be to God."

Another response: "That is like me in prison with my drinking."


ESV Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."


Independence from having to win our own righteousness.

Dependence on the finished work of Christ alone

Freedom to. serve our one another through love.


How do we serve one another in love?


ESV 1 Corinthians 6:12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything.

ESV 1 Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up

ESV 1 Corinthians 8:9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

(1) Freedom is constrained by our love of Christ. Do we love as we are loved by Him?
(2) Freedom not be enslaving. Can someone be enslaved by their liberty?
(3) Freedom should not cause another person to stumble, be made weak, or turn from Christ.
(4) Freedom should be edifying. Doesyour liberty build up the body of Christ?


What True Freedom Is:
Freedom means that we are free from the slavish drive to earn our approval before man and God.
Freedom means the we rest upon the finished work of Jesus Christ for our salvation.
Freedom is living in the knowledge that our identity is in Jesus Christ.. .
Freedom means that we are free to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Freedom enables us to make choices which are regulated by love for God and for the benefit of our neighbor.


Let us conclude with this story of Jesus encountering a lawyer who asked the most important question that one could ask. Please note the question that was asked and how Jesus walked the lawyer through to the place where he was forced to look at his question from the opposite side. Initially he looked only at what he must do but Jesus turned the question entirely around through relating the story in which He takes the place of the Good Samaritan who served His helpless neighbor. Jesus instead of telling the man who the man's neighbor was, asked the lawyer to point out in the story which of all the people involved was a neighbor to the apparently dead man. Which one was neighborly to the man lying alongside the road? What do you think?

Luke 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?"
27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
28 And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35 And the next day he took out two denarii1 and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?"
37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."

ESV Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today and always.
Pastor Orval Wirkkala










Posted on 07 Jul 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Encountering Jesus 3/30/2013

Grace and mercy be to you today from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


In the name of Jesus, we read our text of meditation for today.


Apostle Paul's Previous Life
Galatians 1:11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel.1
12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.
14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.

Paul's Call to Repentance by His Grace
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,
16 was pleased to reveal his Son to1 me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;2
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.
19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother.
20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!)
21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.

People's Response to Paul's Conversion
22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.
23 They only were hearing it said, "He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."
24 And they glorified God because of me.truth.

As we continue in our series in Galations, in which Paul is addressing false teachers who are trying to trick Christ followers into adding to that which Christ has done through His death and resurrection, Paul is warning them of this with extreme language as he begins this letter. He now gives his "credentials."

As we can well imagine, the first thing that those who would be resisting Paul entering into this discussion with the false teachers would be saying would be: "Who do you think you are?" Especially in light of what his former life was.

Much of his early life is recorded in the book of Acts for us. The first part concerns Stephen preaching to the Jewish leaders and describes their resistance to the true Gospel of Christ. Please note the Apostle Paul's participation in this event. who is still referred to as Saul. (His name eventually was changed to Paul)

Saul's first appearance in the Scripture is at the martyrdom of Stephen, who when defending the true Gospel preached a sermon which described the history of God's work of redemption in the Old Testament to the current day. Our references are from Acts 7:51-8:4 and Acts 9:1-23. Paul also gives his testimony in Acts 22 and 26, the first one before an angry mob and the second before King Agrippa.

ESV Acts 9:1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,


Wow, what a turnaround. Whereas Saul was for the killing of the true messenger of God, things had completely reversed. Now he was being hunted to be killed by the very ones that he had been working with. All who heard Saul preach, like Ananias, and like any of us had their doubts about the turn around of Saul, from a persecutor of the Christians, and to a preacher of the Gospel? How can we believe that, they said? Was he faking it? No, he was not.

Paul became a preacher of repentance, that people might see their sin so that they will be able to receive the forgiveness of sins. For without a conviction of one's sinfulness, grace will not be received. In the following account we see that he was living under guilt of conscience.....For Christ in that moment told the soon to be Apostle that as he was persecuting any of his followers, he was persecuting Christ Himself.

13 At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me.
14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language,1 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.

What happened to Saul when Jesus met Him on the road to Damascus?

1. He was stopped in his tracks so to speak, because the Lord is full of grace and mercy, and He had need of him to be a vessel for Him.

2. He heard the Lord tell him that his persecution of the church was persecution against Christ Himself.

3. He heard the Lord speak to him of his guilt for what his life was now.

4. He was led away physically blinded to the home of Ananias so that through Ananias he would regain his sight.

5. He regained his sight, was baptized, ate and after a few days with the disciples there, began to preach Christ the Son of God.

All this because of the Gospel of Christ, which is given to us by the grace and mercy of God in Christ. Paul received it by faith, for he knew in whom he believed and was persuaded that He was able to keep that which he had committed unto Him against that day. God is gracious and merciful through Christ Jesus, He has reconnected Himself with the world through Him and He calls upon us today to be reconciled to Him through repentance and faith.

Years ago there was a small notice in the Chicago paper: "Switchman found dead on tracks."

The article explained the rest of the details. The switchman whose job was to electrically move the track from one side to the other to save the two trains from colliding had evidentally tried to switch the track the usual way, but the electrical part had malfunctioned. As he saw the two trains approaching, he realized that unless he did something quickly they would have a massive headon collision. So he did what needed to be done, he layed his body across the track in the front of the uncoming train, hoping that the current would go through his body and cause the track to switch to the other side. Unbeknownst to the people on the two trains which passed in their normal and safe manner, the wheels of the trains crushed the sacrificial offering of the switchman which was headlined the next day with the mere words, "Switchman found dead on tracks." Instead of "Switchman saves two trains and their passengers," it merely said "Switchman found dead on tracks."

Christ was the Switchman for us, for He saved us from death in order to give us life, eternal life. We have received grace and mercy, and by faith we have eternal life, for He paid a debt He did not owe. Let us close by thinking on the words of the song we sang earlier today....

He paid a debt He did not owe

He paid a debt He did not owe;
I owed a debt I could not pay;
I needed someone to wash my sins away.
And, now, I sing a brand new song,
“Amazing Grace.”
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.

He paid that debt at Calvary.
He cleansed my soul and set me free.
I'm glad that Jesus did all my sins erase.
I, now, can sing a brand new song,
“Amazing Grace.”
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.

One day He's coming back for me
To live with Him eternally.
Won't it be glory to see Him on that day!
I, then, will sing a brand new song,
“Amazing Grace.”
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.
Yes, Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.

Author: Ellis J. Crum

Have we received this gift through repentance and faith?

Grace and mercy to all this day through Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala













Posted on 30 Jun 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Independence + Dependence=Freedom
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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