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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Colossians 7/12/10
Dear Friends in Christ,

As we begin our series in Apostle Paul's letter through the Colossians, we do so with excitement and expectation. The letter was apparently written while he was in prison in Rome, making it possible for him to communicate with them even though he was not able to visit them in person. The minister of the congregation, Epaphras was a fellowservant (Col 1:7) of the Apostle and had apparently informed Paul of some of his concerns in the congregation that he was overseeing. It is our prayer that we would be blessed by spending this time in His Word going through an entire book of the Bible.

As I have read through this book and spent some time examining the structure, here are a few observations:

1. The first two chapters are doctrinal, the second two concern what it means for our lives today.

2. This particular book reveals more than any other book of the Bible of the person and the work of Jesus Christ.

3. He first affirms who they are in Christ through the gospel, reminds them of what Christ has done for them and does not begin to counsel them about the particulars false doctrines that are threatening them until chapter 2, verse 4.

4. He had never seen them in person, but based upon the testimony of their minister, Epaphras, he extended the grace of God to them, prayed for them with a specific and doctrinal prayer, (1:9-20) and then pointed them to the person and work of Jesus Christ. He sets firmly before them the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all things as he contrasts what the both the philosphies of the world and the legalists of the church would offer in place of or in addition to Him.

5. There are four prayers that the Apostle prayed for those that he wrote to in the books of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. They are in Ephesians 1:15-21, Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 1:3-11, and Colossians 1:9-20. I have heard of some who have printed these prayers out and used them as patterns when they are praying for themselves as well as others.

May the Lord bless our reading, hearing and meditation over this letter to us as Christians, which was written by Apostle Paul under the direction of God the Holy Spirit.

Here is an article that I wrote sometime back and it will give some food for thought regarding our study in Colossians. We must be changed from the inside first before the evidence shows outwardly. That is the theme of the book of Colossians.

"That is precisely how Jesus approaches us through His Word and His Spirit. He knows where we are in our life, for He can see all things that we have experienced to date, there is nothing that He does not know about us, but He loves us deeply because His Father loves us. He knows what sin and death have brought into the world. He sees all the disappointments, the struggles, the sorrows, the broken dreams, the dreams that are in our hearts, the wishes that we have that we are not able to realize and so on. He knows all of this about us, therefore He is constantly working to strengthen the bond of love and thereby increase the union between us and Himself, so that we might move from the pursuit of an Object to the transformation of the subject.

The first thing He tells us is that He loves us just as we are, for we are a person whom He has made in His image. Remember that when God made us, He said that "It was VERY good!" Yes, we have fallen, and therefore sin and death have entered into the world and into our lives, but He has come to fix all of that through the cross and the resurrection. He has overcome the power of sin and death in His resurrection, and has sent us His Holy Spirit to indwell us so that we again are able to know good from evil as well as to have the power to live in the freedom that comes from knowing of Him as well as being transformed by Him. We are forgiven, we love Him and His Word, and we live in the grace of forgiveness which gives us a mindset of service, rather than of being served. In other words, before sin entered into the world, only good prevailed in God's created humanity.

After the fall evil entered in and upon mankind descended the tendency toward self-promotion. Adam and Eve were like God, but the devil seduced them into thinking that somehow by disobeying God's command, they would reach something higher than they were in the garden of Paradise. But what happened? When they fell into sin, they discovered that they were not like God, but rather than being drawn toward God, they fled from Him because of their shame and guilt. They now not only knew good, but now they knew evil, but in that condition they could not know the difference between the two and consequently they ran from God in fear. Since that time, God in Jesus has been pursuing humanity, in order to bring us back to Him. Sin takes from us the ability to see what is blessing for our lives and makes the things of this world, our flesh and the devil appear to be that which will bring us satisfaction and blessing. But it won't and it never will."

May we allow the Word to transform us and mold us into His Body for the glory of God and for His collective and gathering purposes. The evidence of this ongoing transformation will be experienced by us in our hearts through our being able to understand the true nature of God's kingdom in which we serve by love. The better we understand that true peace and satisfaction comes through serving rather than being served, (transformation) the less we will find ourselves focusing on self. In our pursuit of God through Jesus Christ, may we see the proper progression and purpose of the growth:

KJV 1 Corinthians 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

May His grace be multiplied to us today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 12 Jul 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Liberty in Christ: Privilege and Responsibility
Introduction: Galatians 5
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.
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) It does not mean that we live to ourselves outside of the truth which God is. These freedoms have continued to be ours but not without the cost of lives which have been given and are being given..

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.

We all value our political and physical freedom, but we realize that the Christian Liberty, along with its benefits and responsiblities, is superior to all other freedoms.

There is somewhat of a difference between the freedom that we enjoy as American citizens and the freedom which we enjoy as citizens of the Kingdom of God, or the heavenly kingdom. Our own people (with God's help) have fought for our freedom. God has fought the battle alone which won our spiritual freedom.. When we forget that God has given us all our freedoms, we are headed in the wrong direction.

Who gave us our freedom as a nation? What are we free from? We hear about freedom of choice, it is my life I can do what I want, it is my body to do with what I want and so on. In reality, we all made our choice in Adam, and it was to choose to sin.

1. Because of our fall into sin, we were all put in bondage. (We could not free ourselves)
In this state of bondage we cannot come to God of our own.

KJV Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, {love: or, pity}
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; {abundantly: Gr. richly}
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

KJV 1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
KJV 1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

2. God saved us from our predicament

Christ is the Victor
KJV Luke 4:18 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,

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

KJV John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
KJV John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

3. We receive it by faith.
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise," Ephesians 1:13

4. We are freed from the guilt of sin and the power of the law. (Romans 8:1-3)
Romans 7:5-6

Only upon coming to repentance and faith, are we able to see God's will, to desire to live in God's will and to be obedient to God's will. But yet.....

There are two extremes which we as Christians have a tendency to drift into:

A. We struggle with the concept of freedom which comes with salvation and want to put some conditions on it.

B. We use our liberty as a cloak for living in the desires of our flesh. (self serving)

That is what Galatians chapter five is about.

The counsel to resist going back under the law.
KJV 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.

The consequences of being back under the law.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Living in the Spirit
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

As a runner, who stopped them from running in the race that they had started on?
7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? {hinder you: or, drive you back}

God did not do so.
8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.

A little error will turn into a total error, faith that does not save.
9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

Confidence in the Galatians, warning to the false teachers.
10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

Countering those who say that Paul is preaching Christ plus something else. Why is he being persecuted if he is preaching what the Judaizers believe and teach?
11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

Paul exhibits how deadly these false teachers are through this verse.
12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you. (castrate)
KJV Deuteronomy 23:1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

Paul has explained that it is only through faith in Christ that we are justified. Now he begins to explain how freedom is lived out in our lives. He makes some opening statements in verses 13-15 and then expands on them in the rest of the chapter.

Freedom from the law means that we are able to serve one another in love.

1. It is not to live in the desires of the flesh (v 13)
2. It is not freedom to use/exploit our neighbor. (as a thing). (v 13, 14))
3. It is not liberty to disregard principles of the law. (v 14)

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

Yet there remains a conflict of the flesh and Spirit, but living in the Spirit the guilt and the power of the law is no longer present in us.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

The works of the flesh are actions which are seen outwardly, which can indicate that one is yet living in the flesh.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The fruits of the Spirit
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. {affections: or, passions}
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

May these words of our Lord be heard in our hearts and obeyed in our actions now and always.

May His grace teach us to love Him and one another with a pure heart.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

In the upcoming weeks we will be preaching through Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians, so please read Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossian congregation. Read it through a few times to get the whole picture and then by God's grace we will spend some time in that letter which was given by the Holy Spirit through Paul.
Posted on 04 Jul 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Colossians 7/12/10
- 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.