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

Freedom 7/03/2011
Dear ones,

God's Peace to you all!

Freedom: What is it? When we think of freedom, what is it?

As we approach the celebration of the 235th anniversary of our Nation's birth, it is with thankfulness that we do so. We have been blessed to be born into this great nation that has been founded and grounded with principles that pointed to a dependence on God and His Holy Word. May we pray that these blessings will continue into the future.

Our forefathers declared independence from Great Britain, and in the framing of the Constitution of the United States of America, they declared dependence on God, and our nation was guided and directed into godly ways. How familiar are we with the Declaration of Independence? What do we know about the document and its contents? Here are a few questions concerning this historical document.

1. What Was The Declaration of Independence All About?

A Document Wherein Colonists Refused To Pay Taxes To Great Britain
That America's 13 Colonies Were No Longer Part of The British Empire B
A Formal Decree Proclaiming Colonists Would Ban Entry of All English Citizens
A Demand Urging That the British Parliament Be Dissolved.

2. Who Was The Principal Author of The Declaration?
Patrick Henry
Benjamin Franklin
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson D

3. Where Was The Declaration Adopted?
The Customs House in the City of New York
The Pennsylvania State House In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania B
The Virginia State House attended by 130 Delegates
A Room Above The Langston Stable Outside of Boston

4. When Was The Declaration Adopted?
Immediately After The Battles at Lexington and Concord in April 1775
After The 2nd Continental Congress Convened in May 1775
On July 4, 1776 C
The Debate Goes On But Historians Believe Sometime In the Fall of 1776

5. Why Didn't George Washington Sign The Declaration of Independence?
As Commander of the Army He Was Unavailable To Participate A
He Stayed Home While His Wife Martha Was Ill With The Ague
He Was Ineligible to Do So As A Congressman From Virginia
During The Signing He Was Too Busy At His Farm At Mount Vernon

6. Who was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence?
John Adams
John Hancock B
Benjamin Franklin
George Washington

7. Which One of These Phrases Appears In The Declaration of Independence? Governments Are Instituted Of, By And For The People
These United Colonies Are And Ought To Be Dependent States
Life, Liberty And The Pursuit of Happiness C
These United Colonies Pledge All Allegiance To The British Crown

8. Why Was The Declaration Read To Washington's Troops Days After It Was Adopted?
To Encourage British Forces To Surrender
To Publicly Notify King George The Colonies Were Free Of British Rule
To Inspire The Troops And Encourage Enlistments C
To Prove That The Colonists Approved Their Independence


In the recent years we as a nation have been declaring independence from God and choosing dependence on self, believing that this is true freedom. Is that what freedom is, doing what we think is best for us as an individual, independent of what God says in His Word? Our text reveals to us what true freedom is, as our front page of our bulletin verse says: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." That is true freedom. As Jesus put it:

"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 will focus on these thoughts in this meditation today. The Word tells us that Christ has won the victory, we live in the victory by faith and we are to continue His Word.

This is the text and the outline for our meditations today.

I. 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.
II. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.


First of all, the battle is over, Christ is the Victor, but many have not heard the news

In the history of the world, it often has been the case that after a battle has been won, after victory has been attained, that there have been those who did not hear the news of the victory. For instance, after the Civil War ended and the slaves had been freed, there were yet those who had no knowledge that freedom was theirs. After World War II, there were those who fled and hid during the war and when they were found they had a difficult time believing that the war was over. They yet were afraid.

We know that all things are accomplished, for When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." John 19:30

There are many living on the face of the earth today who do not know that "It is Finished." In spite of what God says in His Word, both through the Incarnate Word which spoke from the cross and through His Written Word both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, many do not know that "It is Finished." The victory over death, over hell and the devil is complete! No power will ever be able to undo what Christ accomplished through obedience to the will of the Father, and which was proved on the cross and evidenced through the Resurrection. No one is able or ever will be able to say, "It is unfinished!"


Early on in His ministry, when Jesus was in the synagogue, he took his turn at the preaching post and said, "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,to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:18

As we consider what it means that "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit". Romans 8:1, we must always remember that the work of Jesus Christ is what has won us our freedom, as is written in the letter to Colossians, "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption (freedom) through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:"
Colossians 1:12-14
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: Colossians 1:20-22


This truth is illustrated in the song, Power of the Cross,
"This the Power of the Cross: Christ became sin for us. Took the blame, bore the wrath, We stand forgiven at the cross.

And the fourth verse: The Power of the cross: Son of God, slain for us. What a love, what a cost. We stand forgiven at the cross."

Earlier in this letter to the Romans, Paul had said what he is saying in our text, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," but in another manner. He had from the beginning of the letter been speaking of the guilt of the whole world, had written that not by the works of the law, but by the faithfulness of Christ was salvation provided, and had illustrated this with examples from the lives of Abraham and David. He then writes "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2

Unbelief in that which God has provided does not negate the work of God for all, for it is written by Paul in another place of the Bible, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Cor 4:3-4

Here is where many today stand, in a place where they have not come to see the finished work of God which is described in another place: "that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Cor 5:19-21

What this means is that God is now friendly toward the human race, His wrath against sin has been taken away as He layed it on His Son, and now He is waiting for people to come unto Him through repentance and faith.

True freedom has an eternal source, for it is based on the truth of the Word of God. It is a freedom that comes when one's life is in harmony with God. This harmony and peace 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 with all people..

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

What does it mean to live in slavery? Recently I read a book about slavery in which the slaves gave first person accounts of their lives. They said three things that relate to our sermon today concerning freedom vs slavery.

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

2. Their masters did everything they could to convince their slaves that they were living the best life now: They kept them from seeing and experiencing freedom as well as continually told them that the life the had as their slave was as good as it can get. This is real happiness.

3. They never had their own name, for instance, if their owner was John Doe, the slave would be referred to as John Doe's slave.

This sounds a lot like the great deceiver, the devil who cannot undo the work of God on the cross, but he will yet try to convince a person to live a lie. Saying things like: .

1. Living in Christ is not freedom, but bondage

2. Being a Christian is boring, no fun, a dead end street.

3. It is your life, live it out as you wish, but does not tell you or show you of the destruction that is coming in this life as well as the next.

4. What he does not tell you, when you reject God, you have a name, but it is not your own. for your name will be Satan's servant.

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)

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

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 pplesant 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!

Closing Prayer
Oh, Lord, our hearts are lifted up to you in praise and thanksgiving for true freedom For you have reached out to us while we were yet sinners and you have sent your Son to repair the breach that our sin caused between you and ourselves. Thank you for loving so greatly that you became sin for us, you who knew no sin, so that we could become righteous before you through the gift of faith. And thereby live in true freedom. May the abundance of your love that you show unto us bring a harvest of love and grace through our lives into this sin darkened world. For many have not yet come to freedom which comes from the saving knowledge of your grace. Give us courage to get the word out to those who do not know or understand that the battle is over, Christ has won, and It Is Finished. Freedom reigns today.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.





Posted on 03 Jul 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Confirmation Sunday: Teaching, Training and Transition 6/26/11
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Question: If you knew you only had a short time to live, what would you tell your children, your loved ones? You and I would tell only of the most important matters of life. Paul is writing (the last letter that he ever wrote ) to Timothy, a young man who was converted through Paul's ministry. He is concerned about the Gospel being handed off to Timothy intact so that it may continue to bring salvation through Christ to multitudes. Let us read the first 7 verses of 2Timothy

KJV 2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.


On this Confirmation Sunday, as we hear the testimonies of our beloved young people and as we reflect on our individual confirmations, let us consider what lessons we could receive from the relationship that Apostle Paul and his young co-worker enjoyed together. Let us go through the text briefly, keeping in mind the young people we have before us and our experiences of our learning of Christ.

Paul's authority
KJV 2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,

His love for his son/greetings
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

His prayers/ longing/sympathy/appreciation for his son
3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

What important things did Paul share with his son before he began to address his main concern: The guarding, teaching and preaching of the Gospel?. Like some of his other letters, he affirmed Timothy before he began to recall and recount as to how Timothy had gotten to where he was now in his Christian faith. He points out four things.

The first was his parental upbringing: Biographies never begin with individual themselves, but with parents and grandparents as well for they bring/have brought to bear the greatest influence on who we are today.

KJV 2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.


The second influence on Timothy was his spiritual friendship.
After our parents, it is our friends who influence us most. One of our confirmands shared that she was reminded of the importance of Christian friends while being at CCamp. Through Paul's ministry, Timothy had been led to Christ, and Paul did not desert, forget, or abandon him. Paul constantly remembered him. Three times in our text we see the bond of friendship between Paul and Timothy.

ESV 2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.

ESV 2 Timothy 1:4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.

ESV 2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

The third influence in Timothy's life was a special gift of grace.
KJV 2 Timothy 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

1 Cor 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (for the common good)

KJV Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

"Then the second part to me is relating to when Jesus died for us and saved us all but those who believe are saved eternally." (This is the testimony of one of the confirmands of this year)This is the ultimate gift of grace, but here Paul is probably referring to the call of Timothy into the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


The fourth influence on Timothy was personal discipline
KJV 2 Timothy 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir (rekindle, stir into flame) up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
KJV 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power,(word for dynamite) and of love, and of a sound mind.(sound judgment self control)


Misty, Katie, Caleb, Darren, Thomas, and Josh: You are God's chosen through Jesus Christ, you believe it and therefore you are partakers of salvation through Jesus's efforts.
You have been created by Him for His purposes and have had the blessings of a Christian home and Christian friends. You have also been uniquely gifted by Christ according to his grace and for His purposes, so that glory would be brought to Him and salvation to lost souls.

You may not have as of yet fully realized your special calling of the Lord, but in time you will. In the meantime, continue to stir into flames that which you are in Jesus Christ. You are a member of His body, therefore that which He has given you have been and will continue to be used to strengthen, protect, nourish and enhance His body the Church. All gifts, talents that are given to you are for the purpose of bringing glory to God by being used to bring people to a saving relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.


All the rest of us: As we reflect on the days of our confirmation, the time when we stood before the altar of the Lord and made profession of our faith as well as voiced our commitment to follow Him, let us be reminded that we have been purchased by Christ because He loved us and gave Himself for us. That is Gospel. That is a done deal. The Gospel is God's act toward us.

How has it gone for us since those days? God has not changed His mind, He has not moved away from us, He has not revoked His promises to us. God has always been for us, is for us today and will always be for us during time. Do we believe God?

A wife asked her husband why he does not sit by her anymore in the car. He responded to her as she sat on the far right side of the seat in their car. "I have not moved."

I remember an account that was told me by a fellow believer whose relationship with Jesus had grown cold. He shared that as he was listening to a preacher speak of how Apostle Peter was following Jesus from afar during the time of the hearing before Jesus' crucifixion, his heart was touched as he saw himself in Peter "following the Lord from a far." He turned in repentance and his relationship with Jesus was restored and renewed. He then was able to return to a place of leadership and influence.


We must stir up the gift that is within us so that we may not only live in the Gospel, but so that we may also teach and preach the Gospel. We that are further along the way in our walk with Christ need to recognize the Timothy's among us, such as these young as well as other young in our congregation. May we follow the example of Paul so that the Timothy's among us will be loved, appreciated, prayed for, sympathized with, challenged, equipped and supported. It is important that we began this training, teaching and transition process earlier rather than later.


At His Table of Holy Communion, He waits for us to approach, believing His words and promises that are connected to what He has accomplished, It is His obedience unto death that made Holy Communion meaningful and binding. It has power in and of itself, When we believe it then we are participants and partakers in His Body, the Body of Christ.

We gave Him our sin and He gave us forgiveness. Dear young people, believe that message today. Believe that because of what Jesus accomplished on your behalf, your sins, faults and offences are forgiven because of His name and because He shed His blood for you! Come joyfully unto His throne of grace and forgiveness, believing and trusting in Him.

May God bless you.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala



Posted on 26 Jun 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Freedom 7/03/2011
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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