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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Prophecy, Expectation, Waiting, Fulfilment 12/11/2011
There are two words in our language in God's economy that always work together: Prophecy and Fulfillment. For God there is no difference in what He says He will do and what He does, for when He makes a promise, it will be fulfilled when He deems it time to be fulfilled.

For us as His human creation, it is quite a different matter. For two more words enter into the equation with us: Expectation and Waiting. In between that which God says He is going to do and when He brings it to fulfillment, we as humans have our Expectations and we Wait for fulfillment of them. It is called faith, for we base our Expectations upon that which God says will come to pass. The difficulty that we run into is that through the years people did not understand or accept that which God says He was going to bring to pass and so when fulfillment came, they missed God's Promise.

Advent means arrival, coming etc and it is a time of Expectation and Waiting All through time there have been times of Advent. There was a time of Advent for the first people who heard the promise of Jesus' first coming (Gen 3:15). There was an Advent for the people who were taken away into captivity as punishment for their sin as in the days of Isaiah. There is Advent in today's world as we await the deliverance from sickness, from physical death, from life's problems, but mainly from the effects of sin in this world. Finally, we are awaiting the end of all things, the time when the heaven and earth will melt in fervent heat and a new heaven and a new earth will appear and we will live where only righteousness dwells.

In Isaiah's day, they were looking for deliverance from their bondage in a physical sense as they were being held captive in the land of Babylon as a judgment for their sin.. When Isaiah wrote what he did, he was not only writing for the captives in that age, but he was writing for future captives also, such as us. For moving from a physical captivity to a spiritual captivity, we can readily understand that because Satan convinced the human, Adam's race, to doubt God and to eat of the forbidden tree, the entire human race came under the guilt and the power of sin. In this sense we came into captivity of self, of the devil and of the world. Humanity needed one to deliver us from death and sin. The Messiah was God's ordained Deliverer.

As I said earlier, what makes all the difference in the world is what our Expectation is. As we look at our texts of Prophecy and Fulfillment today, we will see this illustrated in the portion of Scripture that Jesus read from Isaiah and which He preached upon in the synogogue. Let us read the two texts and see what the Lord wishes to teach us today. I will make comments in between verses where it seems fitting to do so.

KJV Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Here we see the amazing grace of God exhibited in the One who came to seek and to save those which are lost, in that He was anointed to preach the gospel to the meek and the humble. Those who are of a broken heart, those who are captives, and those who are in prisons are given release from sin by God who comes to deliver from all those helpless situations and conditions. Isaiah prophesies of the Messianic Kingdom, whose King would be Jesus, and says that this will be a time of the favor of the Lord God.

It is also said that it will be the day of vengeance of our God, but that it will be a time to comfort those who mourn. This seems difficult to understand at first, but as we continue to read we see that everything is turned from mourning to joy in each of the contrasts that are drawn. How can that be that God will have vengeance and yet His people are comforted? For those in ashes are turned to beauty, those mourning will be given oil of joy, and those with the spirit of heaviness are given garments of praise to wear so that they might be called trees of righteousness, being planted by the Lord so that He might be glorified.

At this point, let us move to the Fulfillment part of this meditation and allow our King Jesus to interpret and preach it for us. Now we go to Luke 4:16.

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Jesus read from Isaiah 61 and quoted much the same that we have considered above. But He left out a part of it. Which part? And why would He do that? Well, He left out the middle part of Isaiah 61:2, leaving out .."and the day of vengeance of our God".. Remember above of how we asked what was meant by that sentence in Isaiah's writing? Could it be the Jesus left it out because He knew that He was going to be the One on whom His Father poured out His vengeance? Here is where we now are confronted with Expectation and Waiting by the people who were listening to Him quote from Isaiah. For the Expectation of the Jewish nation at that time was for a conquering king would would destroy all their enemies, especially the Gentiles. What do you think they thought when there was no mention of vengeance upon anyone? What were their thoughts as they heard Him speak of vengeance, but in the end allowed it to be poured out upon Himself? Did they understand at that point of what Jesus was hinting at? I doubt it. But let us move on...

20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Oh, how I would have loved to be there at that pregnant pause which must have filled the room after that statement He just made. He closed the book, gave it again to the minister and sat down. I am sure you could have heard a pin drop in that room that day in the synagogue as they fixedly gazed upon this man who many acknowledged was some kind of prophet. But then.....

21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Talk about melodramatic!!! Now Jesus said, "I am the fulfillment of the One whom Isaiah wrote about. I am the Servant King, the Messiah! I am sure in their minds there was tremendous turmoil as they struggled with their Expectations and God's Fulfillment which was happening before their very eyes and which was being said into the ears. How was it received by them? Consider

22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?

Those listening to what He had said concerning Himself being their Deliverer could not deny His Presence or His Voice, but yet they marveled at the grace that came forth in His words. And they asked a question which seems to be of this sort: How can this man say such things, "Is He not Joseph's son?" Their Expectations of the Messiah are being challenged and Jesus now probes deeper into their hearts (as well as into ours) to find out what their/our understanding and therefore Expectations are of Himself. Jesus moves on to apply what He has just preached to them concerning Himself, desiring to find a place of lodging for Himself in their/our hearts. For as it was spoken earlier by Him, He seeks to dwell in hearts that are humble which means broken and contrite. He is not a respecter of any person according to any outward characteristic or situation, for He looks on the heart. The Apostle Peter learned this from God Himself:

KJV Acts 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

KJV Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
KJV Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Now Jesus goes to the heart of the prejudice of the Jewish nation and gives to illustrations from the Old Testament, using two occasions in which God visited Gentiles. But first He told them that they will not see the types of signs that they are looking for, insinuating that they would like to see Him perform miraculous signs here in His own country.

23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. {brow: or, edge}
30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,

After Jesus referenced these two occasions, what was their response? They were filled with wrath and moved to get rid of Him for good, which of course was a foolish thing to attempt. To try kill God?? Their hatred of Him moved them to try to stop Him from speaking of grace toward anyone, let alone the Gentiles whom they were schooled into hating. He entered into their hearts and the response was to try to stop truth from coming into it. It seems like their immediate response was because He was touching their long held traditions of exclusivity and rulership over all, which of course is idolatry. Worship of self, in which we make God whom we think He should be according to our Expectations. This is a basic human condition that has come upon us all, in that we have to unlearn our prejudices and biases toward others whereby we really believe that we are something special in God's eyes because of country of origin, ancestral heritage, social status, denominational identity, race, color and so forth.

He came for all and He was the One on whom God His Father poured out His vengeance against sin. All through the years people had observed a foreshadowing of this event on a regular basis as they watched the "innocent" lamb's blood run off of the altar of sacrifice. Now Jesus was come as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. It is the innocent dying for the guilty. We are the guilty ones, He is the Innocent One. It is the Great Exchange, in that He took our sin and gave us His righteousness. He took our punishment and so that He could set us free. Our sins and iniquities were His punishment. Let me illustrate this with a testimony I heard a few years ago which was spoken of by Pastor Charles Bergstedt.

Pastor Charles said that when he was yet a youngster that he misbehaved one day and his father told him that he would need to be punished for what he had done. As his father got ready to punish his young son, he gave the switch to his son Charles and told him to spank him with the switch. At first he hesitated, wondering what was going on, but at his father's insistence, lightly tapped him a few times. His dad then told him to spank him harder. Then he hit him harder, but Pastor Charles said it was one of the hardest things he ever did, but now looking back on it, he recognizes what powerful teaching it was to help him understand the meaning of God's love for the world through the coming of Jesus. His sins punished someone else, Jesus.

KJV Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

KJV Luke 4:19 To preach the acceptable/favorable year of the Lord.

Let us think of this love that gave so that we might receive. That is what our God chose to do for His people through His Son.

Continuing in Advent meditations,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 11 Dec 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
The Advent of Christ 12/4/2011
Dear friend,

Today's meditation is written from a hospital bed and is not directly related to today's sermon as I am being treated for a chronic illness and am not preaching today. Pastor Charles Bergstedt is bringing the message today in our congregation with an emphasis on the "Power of the Keys."

Today is the second Sunday in Advent of our Lord. The word advent means "coming or arrival." The observance of Advent is a rich tradition that the Church has observed for many years and one which allows us to prepare for the coming celebration of the First Coming of Jesus Christ to earth as God Incarnate (in the flesh). In our culture today the hustle and bustle of activities which are related to the Christmas celebration have already begun after Halloween and even seem to overshadow Thanksgiving on the way to the celebration of Christmas. The season of Advent allows us to keep our lives tethered to the life of Christ in that during this time of Advent (the four Sundays before Christmas Day) we remember and meditate upon the Old Testament prophecies in a spirit of waiting, anticipation and expectation of Jesus through revisited the Old Testament Scriptures.

Of course, He is not coming again physically the first time, but as we meditate upon His first coming through the Old Testament prophecies we would wish to relive the First Advent of Jesus, desiring a renewal and refreshing of the significance of it in our hearts and minds.
We sing the Hymn "The Old Old Story" over and over again, and in so doing bring to mind again the story of the love of God which displayed itself by giving to us that which we did not deserve, could not merit and could not earn. He came the first time, He comes to us here in this time in which we live through His Word and Spirit and He is coming again in a very visible form.. We might say that we live in the "not yet" and living in the "not yet" we joy in the knowledge that He came for the first time to give us life; we live in the victory in Him today; and we have the expectant hope that when He comes for the second time, that we will live with Him forever through the resurrection.

Living in the "not yet" allows us to live in the richness of a life that is not shook by the changing circumstances of life, for we have learned to be content in whatever situation we find ourselves in. Whether we are well or sick, rich or poor, strong or weak, we live our lives in the life of Jesus Christ through believing that He has come for us, receiving Him in our heart and therefore, we look for His Second Appearing with eagerness, anticipation and expectation! So during the time of Advent we are offered the opportunity to reflect on the blessing and significance of His coming: He came for us so that He could be with us so that He could dwell in us!!!. (Immanuel means God with us)

May we wait with expectation to see again the glory of God shine from heaven, piercing through the darkened skies and into the dark minds of the world, thereby fulfilling that which Isaiah had spoken of over 700 years ago, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined" .KJV Isaiah 9:2

May the wonderful favor of the Lord be realized by you this day.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 04 Dec 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Prophecy, Expectation, Waiting, Fulfilment 12/11/2011
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.