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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Trinity Sunday June 19, 2011

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

2.Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

3.Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.

4.Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

Reginald Heber wrote "Holy, Holy, Holy" while serving as vicar of Hodnet, Shropshire, England. He was the first to compile a hymnal ordering hymns around the church calendar. Wanting to celebrate a triune God, Heber wrote "Holy, Holy, Holy" for Trinity Sunday--a day that reaffirmed the doctrine of the Trinity and was observed eight Sundays after Easter. The hymn was first published in 1826.

Heber was impressed by the holiness of God. Whether in England, with the prevalence of vice, or in Calcutta, where people worshiped idols, he would often write "Only Thou art holy." Based on the words of Revelation 4:8, he used the symbolism of three repeatedly throughout his hymn: God is "holy, merciful and mighty," he's "perfect in power, in love and purity," he's worshiped by saints, cherubim, and seraphim, and he's praised "in earth and sky and sea."

A young child heard a grown up say, "holy cow" and told the grownup, "Only God is Holy!"

Through these consistent units of three, this hymn describes and worships God in three persons.

Many consider the Hymn "Holy Holy Holy" to be a paraphrase of Isaiah 6:1-7.

KJV Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Trinity Sunday, is one of the few feasts of the Christian Year that celebrates a reality and doctrine rather than an event or person. On Trinity Sunday we remember and honor the eternal God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. .

It is a Sunday to reflect with joy and thanks in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is remembered as Christianity’s creator, the Son as its savior, and the Holy Spirit as its comforter.

The Trinity is one of the most fascinating and controversial Christian dogmas. The Trinity is a mystery. By mystery the Church does not mean a riddle, but rather the Trinity is a reality above our human comprehension that we may begin to grasp, but ultimately must know through worship, symbol, and faith. It has been said that mystery is not a wall to run up against, but an ocean in which to swim.

Essentially the Trinity is the belief that God is one in essence, but distinct in person. Don’t let the word “person” fool you. The Greek word for person means “that which stands on its own,” or “individual reality,” and does not mean the persons of the Trinity are three human persons. Therefore we believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are somehow distinct from one another (not divided though), yet completely united in will and essence.

How can this be? Well, think of the sight of two eyes. The eyes are distinct, yet one and undivided in their sight. Another illustration to explain the Trinity is the musical chord. Think of a C-chord. The C, E, and G notes are all distinct notes, but joined together as one chord the sound is richer and more dynamic than had the notes been played individually. The chords are all equally important in producing the rich sound, and the sound is lacking and thin if one of the notes is left out.

I have included the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed texts at the end of this writing along with a brief history of when and why they were written. One or the other is read on Trinity Sunday in many churches throughout the world.

Now let us consider our text for this Trinity Sunday.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, as the disciples traveled to the place that they had been told that they would meet Jesus, both by the angel and by Jesus Himself, one cannot help but wonder what was going through their minds.

Matthew 28:5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples, followers) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching (Instructing, teaching) them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Jesus said four things to them.

1. All power/authority is given unto Him in heaven and in earth.

2. Go make disciples/followers/learners of Him of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

3. Teach (Instruct, instill doctrine) them to observe (keep, obey, guard) all things whatsoever He has commanded

4. He will be with them/us even unto the end of the age.

Matthew 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

When Jesus drew from the OT, He usually said "It is written," and in the NT when He spoke as one having authority, He did not say, The Lord hath said, but rather, He said, Truly, Truly, I say unto you. He did not speak on His own authority though, but that which the Father told Him to speak, both from the OT Scriptures as well as the direct revelation from His Father. (John 12:49) The Scribes spoke upon the basis of the OT Scriptures and their interpretations of the rabbis only, having no authority of themselves.

KJV Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

Jesus had the power to forgive sins, as is demonstrated in the above account from Matthew.

Joh 12:44 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
45 And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

Jesus has the power of judgment, but one that is received upon one's self as a result of one rejecting His grace and truth. He came a light into the world, revealing to all His salvation through the Word that He spoke, and the rejection of His Word will cause one to enter into eternal condemnation.

Continuing with the text, we again take a look at the four emphasis' that Jesus made...

1. All power/authority is given unto Him in heaven and in earth.

2. Go make disciples/followers/learners of Him of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

3. Teach (Instruct, instill doctrine) them to observe (keep, obey, guard) all things whatsoever He has commanded

4. He will be with them/us even unto the end of the age.

Looking at the rest of the points that Jesus made, it is easy to understand as to why this text is included for this Sunday as it points out that the making of and the baptizing of disciples is to be done in the name of the Triune God. In light of this, it is noteworthy to realize that the reading of the Nicene and the Athanasian Creeds is done on this Sunday for a very important reason, for within them is defined the relationship between the three persons who are of the same substance, but yet have distinctive properties. In this verse in John's Gospel, one can see the three functions. The Son came to reveal the Father, the Spirit is sent to reveal the Son.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

This portion is commonly known as the Great Commission which was given by Jesus to the disciples, but which applies to the Christian church of all time. This, of course, was spoken by Jesus before His ascension and before Pentecost, the latter being the day when the Holy Spirit came in His power to the people gathered in the place where Jesus told them to gather and to wait. It is in and with His authority that we carry out this Great Commission, desiring to make followers of Jesus by uniting them to Christ through baptism. Apostle Paul writes of the finished work of Jesus in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 in which he lays out that which we are to tell people: (verse 20) "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." Christ has removed the judgment against the world, and we are called to broadcast this Good News to them, imploring them to be reconciled to God through repentance and faith. (Acts 20:21)

We see the importance of reading and understanding the Scriptures as they are written so that the disciples that are made would be taught the Word of God and not the traditions of the church, of the elders, or of our own interpretations. May we teach that which Jesus has commanded. May we be students of His Word, being careful to teach the whole counsel of God in accordance with His Word, through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

He assures us of His Presence with us to the end of the age, to end of the world. For from before the creation of the Word, God has been for us, He is with us and He is in us today. He is not against us, as the three fold enemy tries to convince us. The world, the devil and our own flesh continuely try to trick us into believing that God is against us. Let us tell him to get out of our minds, our hearts and our lives!!! Note what God says concerning His Presence:

1 Peter 1:20 Who (Jesus) verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

KJV Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, (Jesus) and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

KJV John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, (Holy Spirit) that he may abide with you for ever;

KJV John 14:20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

Jesus had told the disciple in the Upper Room Discourse (John chapters 13-17) that He would not leave them as orphans, but that He would come to them and that He would permanently abide with them. There are many things in Scripture that are hard to understand, and especially when it comes to our understanding of what is real. Is there a God, did Jesus really live here? Is the Bible true? Did He rise from the dead? Where is He today? Apostle Paul tells us this in Galatians 2:20 ' I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Christ died and when He died, we died with Him. When Christ arose, we arose with Him. Christ now lives in us by faith.

KJV Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

As Pastor Raymond Hilman said at Confirmation Camp: "Because God said it, I believe it and that settles it."

May we be found to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ in all things. May He enlighten the eyes of our heart to comprehend, understand and live in that which God says.

The Nicene Creed

About the Creed
The Nicene Creed was first adopted by church leaders in 325 at the First Council of Nicaea. Later that century, at the Council of Constantinople (381) some minor changes were made and it was again reaffirmed at the Council of Chalcedon (451). This ecumenical creed is the most widely accepted creed in the Christian faith and it is an essential part of the doctrine and liturgy of Lutheran churches. Historically it has been used at Holy Communion on Sundays and major feasts.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son,* who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

* Or, "who proceeds from the Father." The phrase "and the Son" is a later addition to the creed.

The Athanasian Creed
About the Creed

This creed takes its name from Athanasius, the great theologian of the fourth century who defended Trinitarian teaching. However, the creed’s origin is uncertain, and many scholars believe that it comes from the fifth or sixth centuries because of its Western character.

The Athanasian Creed expresses two essential elements of Christian teaching: that God's Son and the Holy Spirit are of one being with the Father; and that Jesus Christ is true God and a true human being in one person. Traditionally it is considered the "Trinitarian Creed." In many congregations it is read aloud in corporate worship on Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost.

Athanasian Creed

Whoever wants to be saved should above all cling to the catholic faith.

Whoever does not guard it whole and inviolable will doubtless perish eternally.

Now this is the catholic faith: We worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.

For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is still another.

But the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory, coeternal in majesty.

What the Father is, the Son is, and so is the Holy Spirit.

Uncreated is the Father; uncreated is the Son; uncreated is the Spirit.

The Father is infinite; the Son is infinite; the Holy Spirit is infinite.

Eternal is the Father; eternal is the Son; eternal is the Spirit: And yet there are not three eternal beings, but one who is eternal; as there are not three uncreated and unlimited beings, but one who is uncreated and unlimited.

Almighty is the Father; almighty is the Son; almighty is the Spirit: And
yet there are not three almighty beings, but one who is almighty.

Thus the Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God: And yet there are not three gods, but one God.

Thus the Father is Lord; the Son is Lord; the Holy Spirit is Lord: And yet there are not three lords, but one Lord.

As Christian truth compels us to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord, so catholic religion forbids us to say that there are three gods or lords.

The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten; the Son was neither made nor created, but was alone begotten of the Father; the Spirit was neither made nor created, but is proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Thus there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three spirits.

And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.

Whoever wants to be saved should think thus about the Trinity.

It is necessary for eternal salvation that one also faithfully believe that our Lord Jesus Christ became flesh.

For this is the true faith that we believe and confess: That our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, is both God and man.

He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother -- existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body; equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity.

Although he is God and man, he is not divided, but is one Christ.

He is united because God has taken humanity into himself; he does not transform deity into humanity.

He is completely one in the unity of his person, without confusing his natures.

For as the rational soul and body are one person, so the one Christ is God and man.

He suffered death for our salvation. He descended into hell and rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

At his coming all people shall rise bodily to give an account of their own deeds.

Those who have done good will enter eternal life, those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.

This is the catholic faith.

One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully.
Posted on 19 Jun 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Living in the Power of the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. 6/05/2011
1 Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, (unbridled lust, shamelessness) lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, (level headed, of sound mind) and watch unto prayer.

When Christians do not go along with the world anymore, do not think it strange as they think it strange. All will give account of their behavior. One must be in their right mind, level headed and watch unto prayer. Just because someone is saying that Jesus is coming soon, they must not be taken in by every crack pot. In one's right mind, one should pray so that one could stay above all the predictions of the coming apocalypse. Be level headed, do not panick. Be in prayer and be mindful of what the Scrpture says.

God has not revealed the precise moment of His return, but rather has told us continually that there is a day coming when all things will end. Peter was writing this in the 60's, but he still wrote that the end of all things is at hand. Be level headed and be in prayer. Know who God is and function in that understanding.

8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.
9 Use hospitality (be generous) one to another without grudging.(murmuring, muttering)
10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

He calls on the church to love fervently (earnestly, intently) one another and in the same way that God overlooks our sins because of His grace, we are to do the same, for in doing so we will cover a mulititude of sins. Be nice to one another without grudging. Do it cheerfully, not muttering under our breath. We should not have looks of disdain and dissatisfaction with one another. We should use the gifts, minister to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. As the end approaches, this is what we should be found doing. He concludes this section by saying that our whole life is given to us to live in the life that God has given us to live. He knows how to take care of His affairs. Allow Him to do what He does and we should do that which we are called to do.

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery (burning) trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

The trial that he seems to be referring here is the refining process, which can be compared to the refining of gold. We are to live in this patiently, rejoicing in this suffering. He seems to be going over this concept over and over again. We are to glory in suffering when it is done for God's glory, and we are to suffer rightfully when we have been doing things which are not in agreement with the will of God. When we do the right thing and suffer, we should not be afraid, but we should praise God because we are suffering in His will which will bring about His purposes.

The judgment must begin at the house of God. If the refining begins with us, how will it be for those who are not obeying the gospel of God. For believers it is a refining process, but for unbelievers it is a judgment that is designed to lead to repentance to faith. Therefore we are called to suffer according to the will of God, committing our souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. On the basis of the end, God is refining us to strengthen us and also so that we will do that which He has ordained that we do for His body. The resurrection has delivered us from death, and through life's suffering we are delivered from our selves, so that we may fulfill our God's purposes in this life.

As we read through the last chapter of the Apostle Peter's First Epistle, being familiar with his restoration and recommission by Jesus on the shores of the sea of Tiberias, we think of the words that our Lord spoke to Peter at that time. Specifically in this 21st chapter of John, we remember the the three questions that Jesus asked Peter, the answers that Peter gave and the remainder of the conversation. Here is the dialogue:

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

Peter had learned a lot from the time that he first met Jesus (John 1:42). until the day that he met Jesus in His resurrected form at the sea of Tiberias. When our Lord had called Peter, He had spoken the words "follow Me" (Matthew 4:19) and as Jesus ends this discussion in which Peter is rrestored and recommissioned, the same two words are spoken to Peter, "Follow Me," but our Lord added the pronoun, you, saying, "You follow me!"

Peter was with the Lord for around three years. He heard the words "follow me" early on, but it was not until the end of our Lord's life that he was able to better understand what they meant, it was upon receiving the Holy Spirit that he began to experience it for himself, and consequently to live his life in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came to understand what it meant deny himself, take us his cross and follow Jesus. So then he wrote about it for those in Asia minor as well as for the Christian church for all time. That leads us into our text today.

KJV 1 Peter 5:1 The elders (presbuteros) which are among you I exhort, who am also an (fellow) elder, and a witness (martyr) of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker (partner, sharer) of the glory that shall be revealed:

He lists three ways not to be and contrasts them with how to be.
2 Feed (nourish, tend) the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight (oversee, look after) thereof, not by constraint, (by force) but willingly; not for filthy lucre, (not for monetary gain) but of a ready mind; (an eager mind)
3 Neither as being lords (domineering) over God's heritage, but being ensamples (examples, patterns) to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

The Apostle now writes to the elders (mature in faith) calling himself a fellow elder, and not an Apostle which would have given him place to dictate to them, but rather he writes as a co laborer and not as someone who is superior to them. Peter writes about the suffering, for he had seen the suffering of Christ. Rather he says, that Christ gave him to be a partaker of that glory of God that shall be revealed. Peter understood the glory and honor that comes with being identified with the person and the cause of Jesus the Christ.

He then calls them to feed the flock, overseeing them, not because one is forced to, but eagerly and willing, not for money, but of a ready mind. Not as a lord, but as an example, or a pattern, a type, a model, a shepherd like Christ. When Christ shall return, one will receive a crown of glory that fades not away.

Let us consider a few other references concerning the role and responsibility of leaders in the congregation. As always, we must first follow Jesus' life and words before looking to further instruction from the non-Gospel teachings of the Scriptures. He is the Pattern as we see from Matthew's writings.

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

The Apostle Paul speaks to his son in the Lord, Timothy in this manner:

2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

And these two references from Hebrews speak to the responsibility of the congregation.

Hebrews13: 7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Hebrews 13:7 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject (under) one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Humility: Meaning: 1) the having a humble opinion of one's self 2) a deep sense of one's (moral) littleness 3) modesty, humility, lowliness of mind

Pride: Meaning: 1) showing one's self above others, overtopping, conspicuous above others, pre-eminent 2) with an overweening estimate of one's means or merits, despising others or even treating them with contempt, haughty

Grace: Meaning: 1) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech 2) good will, loving-kindness, favour 2a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ...
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:6-10

Did you hear about the clever salesman who closed hundreds of sales with this line: "Let me show you something several of your neighbors said you couldn't afford."

Pride is the dandelion of the soul. Its root goes deep; only a little left behind sprouts again. Its seeds lodge in the tiniest encouraging cracks. And it flourishes in good soil: The danger of pride is that it feeds on goodness. David Rhodes

The story is told of two ducks and a frog who lived happily together in a farm pond. The best of friends, the three would amuse themselves and play together in their waterhole. When the hot summer days came, however, the pond began to dry up, and soon it was evident they would have to move. This was no problem for the ducks, who could easily fly to another pond. But the frog was stuck. So it was decided that they would put a stick in the bill of each duck that the frog could hang onto with his mouth as they flew to another pond. The plan worked well--so well, in fact, that as they were flying along a farmer looked up in admiration and mused, "Well, isn't that a clever idea! I wonder who thought of it?" The frog said, "I did..."

It was John Riskin who said, "I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a ... feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them." Andrew Murray said, "The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised while he is forgotten because ... he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and who sought not His own honor. Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility." M.R. De Haan used to say, "Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have."

Humility and a passion for the praise of God are a pair of characteristics which together indicate growth in grace. The Bible is full of self-humbling (man bowing down before God) and doxology (man giving praise to God). The healthy heart is one that bows down in humility and rises in praise and adoration. The Psalms strike both these notes again and again. So too, Paul in his letters both articulates humility and breaks into doxology. Look at his three descriptions of himself quoted above, dating respectively from around A.D. 59, 63, and 64. As the years pass he goes lower; he grows downward! And as his self-esteem sinks, so his rapture of praise and adoration for the God who so wonderfully saved him rises.

I am the least of the apostles. 1 Corinthians 15:9

I am the very least of all the saints. Ephesians 3:8

I am the foremost of sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15

Cultivate humility and a passion for praise if you want to grow in grace. James Packer

How do we cultivate humility and resist pride?

"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ...
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:6-10

Many years ago, Christian professor Stuart Blackie of the University of Edinburgh was listening to his students as they presented oral readings. When one young man rose to begin his recitation, he held his book in the wrong hand. The professor thundered, "Take your book in your right hand, and be seated!" At this harsh rebuke, the student held up his right arm. He didn't have a right hand! The other students shifted uneasily in their chairs. For a moment the professor hesitated. Then he made his way to the student, put his arm around him, and with tears streaming from his eyes, said, "I never knew about it. Please, will you forgive me?" His humble apology made a lasting impact on that young man. This story was told some time later in a large gathering of believers. At the close of the meeting a man came forward, turned to the crowd, and raised his right arm. It ended at the wrist. He said, "I was that student. Professor Blackie led me to Christ. But he never could have done it if he had not made the wrong right."

KJV James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.

There is a CC music group called Tenth Avenue North and they have put a video on youtube which can briefly be described as follows:

Video. From a Youth Pastor: Two young people had sex in the car, someone told them that they saw them, they were horrified that someone saw them. The pastor went on to say that God saw them and that He already knows about it. The conversation went on to say that it is harder to confess to people than it is to God. God has given us this blessing so that we have the privilege of confessing to another. We cannot save ourselves, we try to be our own Saviour. We suffer from the Rocky syndrome, "I have to go fifteen rounds," (he was trying to be his own saviour by his own performance). The Gospel is "I am a bum, I need a saviour, James 5:16a It helps us to see that we cannot save ourselves, for healing begins when we confess our sins. KJV James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.

Here are statements made by those in the music group.

“When we were going through songs and writing songs, we weren’t worried about whether or not this record was going to take,” Jamison says of the album’s potential. “The No. 1 priority is the songs and the lyrics. We want to create strong songs that hopefully draw people in to experience Christ.”

Donehey agrees, “I carry this ache with me and I don’t know if that’s common to a lot of people, but I know Paul says in Romans ‘I have unceasing anguish for my brothers who don’t believe.’ I don’t have unceasing anguish, but I do get a taste of what he’s talking about when I get up on stage and I’m talking about the truth and Christ and redemption. I look into the faces of the crowd and you can tell that some people have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.”

Owen feels the first single “Healing Begins” encapsulates the theme of the new album. “It’s where the title of the record comes from. It’s basically about confession -- confessing your sins to one another that you might be healed, which is a scary thing to do. You can believe in God and love God, but confessing the things that you keep secret and hold on to -- that keep you tied to your past and weigh you down --confessing those things is not easy. You can experience such freedom in telling someone else. You know that God knows everything about you, but telling someone else is an entirely different thing.”
Here is a recent song, entitled: Healing Begins

So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do
So we think that you're good
And you can't believe it's not enough
All the walls you built up
Are just glass on the outside

So let 'em fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won't disappear

So let it fall down
There's freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We're here now
We're here now, oh

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us
So please don't fight
This coming light
Let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

The attitude of lowliness does not come from the false representation of lowliness. It is the understanding of self in relation to God. A young person in the faith is placing themselves at the disposal of God and when the time comes, God will lift this person up. Do not usurp the position of being a young person, but wait your time in order to be exalted by God Himself. During that time, allow every concern that is before yourself to be cast upon God, who cares for you. If you are eager to advance in the church, be careful not to desire to step up before it is your time.

Be level headed, be alert, be watchful, for the one who wants to accuse you, the devil, your opponent, goes about like a roaring lion, walking about seeking whom he may devour. This adversary refers to one who brings an accusation before you. The devil, who is attempting to bring one down, goes around trying to get a younger person to refuse the advice of the elders and do their own thing. This is an excellent place by which young people are given direction as to how they are to conduct themselves in the church. When we as young men/women conduct ourselves in a self serving manner, we will be found an easy target, for twe are opening the door for ourselves to be deceived.

10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (establish firmly)
11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.
13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

The God of all grace, who has called you/us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after one has suffered for awhile, will make us perfect, stablish us, strengthens us and settles us. To him be the might forever and dominion forever. Finally, there are some greetings that are given. Stand firm in the grace of God, he tells them. Peter most likely had this Epistle written through the pen of Silvanus,

Babylon seems to be a reference to Rome. Peter never went to Babylon. Marcus is called his son, and this is more than likely to be John Mark. This is not his son physically, but an affectionate term for a brother in Christ.

We do not have the custom of kissing one another when greeting, but in the Eastern countries it is done. We do the same thing with a warm handshake and we say God's Peace to one another as we extend the peace of God to them and wish them His Peace.

Conclusion to the Epistle of Peter: Tribulation was either present or it was imminent. He is telling them that God is overseeing all things, they must imitate the actions of Christ, entrusting themselves to God in the same way that Christ entrusted Himself to God. We are to imitate Christ and in so doing, bring glory to God through our lives.

Be of good cheer, "For the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 05 Jun 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Trinity Sunday June 19, 2011
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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2/28 7:00 pm:Lent Service
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The Lawry Kilpela family as they grieve but yet rejoice in Lawry's being called home.