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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2 Peter 1:1-15 Learning of Jesus
When we were recently at the funeral of my niece, Laura, in Washington State, letters were read that had been written by herself to her husband and to her daughter, which were to be read upon her passing from this life. In the letters she expressed her love for them, her appreciation and thankfulness for the relationships she had had with them, but she also pointed them to the future, emphasizing to them of the importance of knowing Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. The minister who preached the sermon did a fine job of then connecting the letters that she had written with the Letter (The Bible) that God has written to us in which He expresses to us of His love for us, of the need/necessity of our getting to know Him as our Saviour and Lord through Jesus Christ, doing this by bringing us into union with Himself and His Son.

It was encouraging for me to hear the letters that were read as it had been my privilege on occasion to visit with Laura in her lastt years on the phone during which she shared some of her personal struggles with me. She was able, by the grace of God, to leave her past and to press forward toward the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus, looking to the Author and Finisher of her faith, Jesus Himself. It was particularly encouraging for me and continues to be, as I reflect on her life with her health struggles, her personal struggles, in that she was able to live in forgiveness of her past, she was able to live in grace of the present and therefore, she looked to the future with expectation and hope. She could do so because her hope and joy was grounded in the finished work of Jesus Christ. This came forth clearly in her letters to her loved ones.

One of the greatest struggles we have in our lives is accepting the reality that what God has done for us through His Son is sufficient and that there are no additions that we must provide on our behalf in order to be reconciled/reconnected to God. We are called upon to believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ. God has done all the work, and we are called by God to believe upon that which He has done for us in Christ.

Laura, using a similar pattern, wrote the letters to her loved ones, in that she first affirmed her acceptance and love for them before giving them some guidance and direction for their lives, in that she longed for them to know her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. In her letters, she followed the same pattern that God did in showing of His love for us. He first affirmed our value in Him by reconciling'reconnecting us unto Himself through Jesus, and He calls upon us to believe this for our eternal salvation. This is always the pattern with which our God approaches us in order to bring revelation of Himself to us.

First comes relationship, and then direction. And it is ever so important that our relationship with him be based upon what God has written as the basis of the relationship that He wants to establish with us. And not only establish, but to grow as well. He wants us to grow closer in oneness of heart with Him. That means go grow in our awareness and experience who we are in Him. It means that we are become participants in the body of Jesus Christ and partakers of the divine nature.

From these initial remarks, then we understand that all relationships need grace and truth to be established as well as to grow. But they need one more thing also: What do you think that is? They need time. The Apostle Peter, who wrote this letter, (2 Peter) the opening part of which we are going to read and meditate upon, certainly is a case in point in that Jesus, on the first occasion when He saw Peter, pointed to that which He saw Peter becoming in the future. (John 1:35-42)
Shortly after that He called Peter to follow Him so that He could make him a fisher of men. (Matthew 4:18-29)

Then for three years Peter struggled with what it meant to be a follower of Jesus as well as a fisher of men, not really coming to understand and experience what it was all about until after the Day of Pentecost. On that day when He was filled with the Holy Spirit, He begin to see in a clearer manner of that which Jesus had meant for Him to come to know and to experience through the knowledge of His suffering and resurrection. He begin to preach Jesus Christ and even though he continued to be subject to the frailities of his human nature, he nevertheless spoke of the rightousness of faith. He pointed to the finished work of Jesus Christ in his preaching, by his life and in his writings.

Laura needed grace, she needed truth, and she also needed time to gro.
Peter needed grace, he needed truth, and he also needed time to grow.
We need grace, we need truth, and we also need time to grow.
Our relationships with one another need grace, they need truth, and they also need time to grow.
Those we desire to lead to Jesus need grace, they need truth, and they also need time to grow.


KJV 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to (by his) glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Luther: "The knowledge of God is not only that we believe that He created all things, it is not only that we believe that the Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered, died and rose again, but that we believe that God is our God and that Jesus Christ is our Christ."

As we wrote earlier, we live in the knowledge and experience in this union with Christ through the His finished work. This is our experience through faith. This is what it means that we have obtained "like precious faith." Because we have this experience, which must come through repentance toward God and because of faith in Christ Jesus, we are living in the growing awareness and knowledge of the grace and peace of God and of Jesus our Lord. Peter here expresses the wish that this grace and peace from God would be increased in us, that it would be multiplied. This is much more than the word "adding" would imply, as we can easily see that the if one takes the number 5 and doubles it, one comes up with the number 10. But if you multiply 5 times 5, one arrives at 25. We will come to the word "add" later.

Let us prayerfully consider to what Peter may be referring to with becoming a "partaker of his divine nature," which he writes about in verse 4. In verse 3, he refers to the reality that God has given us "all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who has called us to/by glory and virtue. In verses 3 and 4, the foundation is laid, which is the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Everything is built off of this reality. If we do not have this as our foundation, the rest of the text is meaningless for us, for it will become a work by which we will try to fix our problems and strive to improve our life with external means. We must believe and live in the experience that God has given us all that is needed in our union with Him and that everything that is His is ours. Jesus, in His high priestly prayer, alluded to this "oneness" when He prayed for us shortly before He gave His life for us.

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

The Apostle Paul referred to this union, comparing it to a building in which God lives through His Spirit.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

In other words, we are to be in practice what we already are. When we have troubles in our life, we think that all we need is a verse or two, but we need a lot more than that. We need to understand the first four verses of 2 Peter 1 in that we have been given all things which pertain to life and godliness. We have much more than a life coach who can give us a few principles or bible verses. We are in union with the living God, for He dwells in us by His Spirit. God has given us all things that are needed when He has given us salvation. On Christmas Eve, remember getting a toy that required batteries but there were no batteries, and all the stores were closed. God has given us the gift with the batteries, the power, the Holy Spirit.

Now Peter addresses that age old question that has plagued and continues to plague the church: Since we are saved by grace through faith, are works needful? He says, they are not only needful, but that they will follow a faith that is living. And they are evidence of that our faith is alive and not dead. Here are a few verses which speak of faith, in the negative and in the positive.

KJV James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

KJV Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

KJV 1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
KJV 1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
KJV 1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.


Note that it goes from relationship with God, to our relationship with others. This is the pattern we see in the Ten Commandments, in the Beatitudes and even somewhat in the Lord's Prayer. God always addresses first His relationship to us, (v 1-4) our relationship with Him (v 5-6)and then our relationship with others. (v 7) Let us look at verses 5-7.

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; (moral goodness) and to virtue knowledge; (understanding of what is right according to God)
6 And to knowledge temperance; (self control) and to temperance patience; (steadfastness, endurance, perserverance) and to patience godliness; (reverence, respect, piety towards God)
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness;(Christian love toward one another) and to brotherly kindness charity. (Love to not only Christians, but to everyone, for as Christians we have no enemies)

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luther: "That is, if you do works of these kind, you are on the right path and have a true faith, and the knowledge of God is active and fruitful in you. Therefore see to it that you do not make light of this. Hold your body in subjection, and do for your neighbor as you know that Christ has done for you."

9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Christianity does not stop when we come into a saving relationship with Jesus. If we are truly united with Him in union, it cannot be so. How can one plant good seeds and they not come forth into beautiful flowers? Or a beautiful harvest of corn? The nature of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is to grow and to flourish for the glory of God in Christ Jesus. For the glory of God is to save sinners through His Son, Jesus Christ. Peter, in the beginning of this chapter prays that our knowledge of who we truly are in this union with Christ would grow exponentially, that it would multiply in our knowledge. Then he calls upon us to build upon this awareness and experience by adding to our faith through yielding ourselves to the constraining influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives for the benefit of the growth of the kingdom. We must always remember that the end of our growth through this process is not our "increased spirituality," but rather the goal is that we would be a spiritual blessing to others in that they would come to know and experience the saving work of Jesus Christ. Peter warns us against retreating into ourselves, whereby we become blind to that who we are in Christ, forgetting that He has wiped our slate clean through His atoning for our sins.

As we meditate upon these truths, and struggle to understand not only the meaning of them as well as the application of them into our lives, perhaps a couple of modern day experiences will assist us in seeing just what it is that Peter is teaching us in these verses. One is from our sister in Ghana, Alice Magola, who is in fellowship with the Foreign Mission Board of our Federation of churches and the other illustration is from a young mother who sent me an email some time ago.Here Alice shows us the meaning of compassion: Experiencing pain and hurt because of suffering combined with a desire and willingness to minister to those who are in need, spiritually, physically and economically)


"I thank God that He has been faithful to all of us including everybody reading this report. Many of you will be touched in one way or another. If a neighbor, work mate, a relative to us or someone we know and the list goes on pass away due to Aids, surely we are affected. I for one have badly been affected as quite a number of my relatives and some friends died untimely deaths due to Aids. Some it was due to not living right but some were innocently infected by either spouse or blood transfusion. This is the sad part of this disease. I have chosen therefore to turn my pain into something that can change somebody’s life. To show the Agape type of love and I pray that God will always help me not to judge why people are in that situation. I just want to show them to the Cross of Jesus. Hallelujah!!'
Alice Magola

The person that sent me the email had read this daily devotion by Oswald Chambers, which he entitled "THE WATERS OF SATISFACTION SCATTERED," using this following scripture verse as his basis.
Nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord."2 Samuel 23:16

What has been like water from the well of Bethlehem to you recently - love,friendship, spiritual blessing? Then at the peril of your soul, you take it to satisfy yourself. If you do, you cannot pour it out before the Lord. You can never sanctify to God that with which you long to satisfy yourself. If you satisfy yourself with a blessing from God, it will corrupt you; you must sacrifice it, pour it out, do with it what common sense says is an absurd waste. How am I to pour out unto the Lord natural love or spiritual blessing? In one way only - in the determination of my mind. There are certain acts of other people which one could never accept if one did not know God, because it is not within human power to repay them. But immediately I say - This is too great and worthy for me, it is not meant for a human being at all, I must pour it out unto the Lord, then these things pour out in rivers of living water all around. Until I do pour these things out before the Lord, they endanger those I love as well as myself because they will turn to lust.We can be lustful in things which are not sordid and vile. Love has to get to its transfiguration point of being poured out unto the Lord. If you have become bitter and sour, it is because when God gave you a blessing you clutched it for yourself; whereas if you had poured it out unto the Lord, you would have been the sweetest person out of heaven. If you are always taking blessings to yourself and never learn to pour out anything unto the Lord, other people do not get their horizon enlarged through you.

This part of the devotion really moved that person.
"If you are always taking blessings to yourself and never learn to pour out anything unto the Lord, other people do not get their horizon enlarged through you."

The person's comments:
"I'm not sure how that will play out exactly... I will let you know how things develop. I reached out to a few people today, who I believe are unsaved or struggling in their faith. I was thinking of texting them once a week, just with a bible verse or encouragement of some kind. Today I asked if there was anything I could pray for them specifically, and 3 out of the 4 responded to that with requests. So, I don't know what will happen. I will pray about it, and see where God leads".

These are personal experiences of two people who are living union with Jesus Christ and they are seeking to add to their faith, not for merit of self, but rather to live in outward expression of that which they are as a result of being united in the body of Jesus Christ. Their desires are becoming the desires of God even as yours and mine are. Peter continues on with his letter to his beloved readers, concluding with the encouragement that they/we would give diligence to that which he has written concerning our living and active faith. In verses 12-15, he pours out his heart to them/us, not wanting that "these things' would be forgotten, but that they/we would remember them always. May we never forget that which the Lord has done for us, that which He has given us, and that which He calls us to be as His people.

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

Let us pray
Lord, thank you for your grace, thank you for revealing your truth unto us through your Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Word. You have come to us, you who knew no sin, and you became sin for us that we might be reconnected with you through faith.
Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit inspired and written Holy Word, so that we might remain grounded upon that which you have established. Thank you that we have those around us who by their words and examples encourage us as well as challenge us so that we would not be stagnant in our relationship with you.

Lord, as they speak with us and to us, may we would not forget that we have been forgiven our sins and that we do not need to allow them to torment us any longer. Lord, help us to be servants of one another, rather than expecting to be served. Please keep these things in our remembrance so that we would not forget who we are in Christ Jesus. For in Him we have been given all things which pertain to life and godliness. We have no need of anything else.

Help us to see ourselves as you see us and that which you desire to work in us. And then Lord, help us to see and to treat one another as you see them and what you desire to accomplish in them through knowledge and experience. We have this in remembrance that your Son saw Peter in the beginning of his life as an opportunity for His grace, rather than a liability in His kingdom. Lord, you ministered grace unto Peter, you placed truth in front of him, but you were also very patient with him and in your time, he came to understand and experience the power of your resurrection. We thank you for your grace, your truth and your patience toward us, Lord. Amen.

Together in His grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 26 Apr 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Let us press on 4/19/10
Sunday April 18, 2010 Philippians 3:1-16

Introduction
We recall to memory this morning of our Easter Sunday worship service during which Gaius and Julia had a conversation concerning the background of the famous and important words which were spoken by the angel of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Those words were:
ESV Mark 16:6 (Angel speaking) And he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

At the end of the conversation in response to Julia's questions of why is it necessary the Jesus rises from the dead and what does that mean for her in her life, Gaius asked her to wait to hear more of the story. We recall that our dear Sunday School children then witnessed of their faith by sharing accounts from the Scriptures of the details of the resurrection, of the eventual return of Jesus from heaven, and of our call to be the bearers of the Good News as we go about our lives.

For the many of us who could be asking questions such as Julia did, this Sunday we are going to look at the change that came into the life of the Apostle Paul, as he encountered the resurrected Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Then he was known as Saul and he at that time he persecuting the true believers of Jesus Christ. He was steeped in the religion that he had been born into and into which he had been trained and nurtured into, believing that he was pleasing God.

This portion of Scripture today defines shows us the difference between religion (offering our work in order to be saved) and and Christianity. (apprehending/unnderstandin in/believing that which God has done in Christ) Saul understood religion real well, as we will see in our text. He was second to none as far as what man had to offer, but he came to see that it was all worthless concerning merit toward salvation.

As we consider the change in Paul's life through this text before us today, let us think of our own lives so that we may
be able to compare Paul's experience with our own experience. Not that we use Paul's experience as a model that must be followed to the T and therefore making it a requirement that all have the same experience, but rather that we mainly focus on the pninciples of things he experienced as he went from religion to Christianity. It is a privilege for us to have so much of Paul's own testimony concerning his experiences which relate to his conversion, not only in the book of Acts, but also from the epistle (Philippians) before us today as well as in some of the other epistles which he wrote. There is sufficient material written about Paul and his life before he was converted to give us a good idea of what kind of repuation he must have had before the people in that day. And, of course, there is far far more written about things he did and said in his new life in Christ which consisted of his being united to Christ by faith. We learn much about the heart of God through the life of Paul as we read of his actions and listen to the words that he speaks in his many writings in the New Testament. For they are the words of Jesus Christ as spoken through the mouth of the Apostle Paul

Paul was a product of that which he was born into and consequently did that which he was expected to do and be. He was carefully trained into a system of belief that did not worship God in a relationship of spirit and of truth. It was a man made system which did not understand the heart of God towards sinners. Therefore, there was no understanding of that which Jesus was doing and saying in the kingdom that He brought to the earth. For it was a kingdom of grace and truth, one which endeavors to serve the other rather than to have dominion over the other. Paul's peers did not understand Jesus, were jealous of Him, hated Him and therefore they in the end killed Him. This is the type of religion that Paul was raised in.

As we compare religion with Christianity, we could also say that Christianity is relationship. We recognize that to have a relationship there must be at least two people and that to have a relationship with another person in a real and intimate manner requires that we not only spend time together with them but that we also share more than superficial things between one another. We realize that the closest of all relationships is the one between husband and wife and is one that when experienced and lived in according to the plan of God is designed to bring deep intimacy through sharing of one another's lives. True relationships require grace, truth and time. Grace, truth and time. There must be acceptance and affirmation of each other, there must be honesty and truth and thirdly, there must be time allowed for dealing with differences that often exist.

Life is about relationships. Christianity is about relationship. Without knowing about as well as experiencing the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have no relationship with Jesus. We have only a relationship that is based upon external practices, traditions and customs. In other words, we have not yet come to know and experience what true relationship is.

The text is found in Philippians 3:1-14 and is found in the spiritual love letter that Paul wrote to the church at Philippi while he was in prison around the year 60 a.d. It is a letter that does not address any direct problems at the church, but gives affirmation, encouragement, direction and warning. Through this letter the heart of Jesus comes forth clearly through Paul and in chapter three Paul opens up his heart and life for the world to see, both what he was before he came into relationship with Jesus and after He had an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. I am not sure of how many years it was after his encounter with the resurrected Jesus, but it was quite a few.


The Text: Philippians 3:1-14

KJV Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.(safeguard)

He begins with a word of exhortation, that they would rejoice in the Lord. Paul is showing us here that repetition from the ministry is no problem, but that repetition is necessary in order to keep ourselves reminded of and grounded in truth. We must beware of the novelty of having something new and that we not get bored with the same old story of the Bible. We need the Spirit of God to bring freshness to that which is true and certain.

2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

These people were demanding that in order to be a true Christian one had to be circumsized. Paul had consistently taught that this teaching was contrary to the plan of God, for it is written in the books of Romans:

KJV Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
KJV Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

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.
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.

This is crucial for our church in our generation as the battle for the gospel is being fought.
There is always the temptation for our flesh to add to that which God has done for us in Christ. We want to say and to preach: "Yes, it is by grace through faith, but... but... but. There is nothing that can be added to what God has done in Christ, for if we add anything to it, we are falled from grace. (Galatians 5:4)

3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Paul lists three attributes of what a relationship with God through Jesus looks like.
1. We worship God in the spirit,
2. We rejoice in Christ Jesus
3. We have no confidence in the flesh

KJV John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

KJV Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
KJV Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

When we ask someone what a Christian is, most people will say, I repented years ago, I belong to this church, I give so much to the church, I sing in the choir, I teach Sunday School, and so on. These are all good and godly things, but in and of themselves, they are not worship. For our whole life is worship and the things that we do are expressions of that which is in our heart. We are to put no confidence or trust in the things that we do in order to attain some kind of favor before God.

Paul now shows of how he formerly trusted in heritage and his efforts before he came to experience Christ.
The first four were his by inheritance, but the last three were by his effort.

4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Now his change in perspective came, for this is where he had the encounter with Jesus. (Acts 9:1-22) But we also must refer to Acts 7:58-8:1 which tells of Saul being present at the stoning of the faithful witness Stephen of Jesus Christ for preaching the gospel. Would Saul, after consenting to and after being at the stoning of Stephen, have laid awake all night with the scenes going through his mind of the radical behavior of this witness of Jesus? Would there in Saul's soul be seeds of doubt beginning to sprout which would cause him to question of the truth of his own behavior toward the followers of the resurrected Jesus? We can only speculate on this as we think of how the revelation of Jesus Christ has come to us sin our lives. For some the revelation of the love of Jesus for their soul has come suddenly and then has grown over the years as they spend time with Him. With others, it has been a revelation almost from the crib, as they have been nurtured by their mothers and their fathers who demonstrate the gospel through their care for their child. We are as the child in that we cannot add anything to our care, but we can only receive the care. God brings the gospel to us and we receive it.

But for some of those who have been raised and taught in religion, the conversion to Christianity has been somewhat akin to Apostle Paul's journey, in that there have been points along the way that have begin to jar the foundation of our religion. The situations as well as the people with whom we have had encounters with have caused us to rethink our traditions, our behaviors, our practices and our beliefs. And so it is with us, Jesus is always pursuing us into relationship with Him. Not secondhand, but direct from the revelation of Himself through the Word via the Holy Spirit.

Now Paul writes of how he sees things according to how God sees them, according to His Word.

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

This speaks of justification which is by faith.

When we are united in Him, we are saved.
People of Southeast Indies in their pidgin english say like this as they testify of their position with God because of trusting Jesus for their salvation: It goes like this:
They look at the Bible and at their life:
God He say: I'm all wrong.
God He say: I can't fix it.
God He say: Here's my Son.
I say, I trust in Christ.
God He say, I'm all right.

Here we now see a heart that is yearning for a deeper and closer connection with the one who saved him.

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Becoming a Christian is like a coffee shop which changes it owners. You see that it is all broken down, it is run down, but one day you notice that there are some changes and renovations in the shop. Somewhere there was a transaction in an office, ownership changed and the outward changes begin to appear. Likewise, in our lives changes become visible outwardly when we enter into relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. A new owner is evident in our life.


Paul wants to encourage those who may be feeling not up to par in their Christianity by being transparent with the Philippians as to the reality that he also is a work in progress in knowing Christ.

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul was sought by Jesus, was humbled by Jesus and was saved by Jesus. Only two things are needful to be saved: To realize that we are a sinner and that Christ is a great Savior. Those two revelations will always cause one to ask for mercy and pardon from God through Christ.

He now clarifies his confidence by saying that he is yet in process on the journey. This is important in Christian leadership in that we may give the impression that we are far ahead of those we desire to nurture and teach and therefore bring them discouragement because of their lack of ability to understand spiritual truths. Let us here remember that all who are in a position of effecting others are leaders and therefore, very few would not be considered leaders. It seems as if Paul in these verses, writing in the singular, is emphasizing the importance of leadership in providing the example in being transparent with one's struggles to understand all things, but yet pressing forward in that which one does understand. Let us remember that we only know in part and only prophecy in part. We go forward on the foundation of which we have been placed upon and are being built upon, the person of Christ Jesus in a relationship of spirit and of truth. Not a religion, not even a doctrine, but we move forward in the building and nurturing of the relationship with our dearest One. We are united unto Him and maturity in understandings of scriptural truths does not separate any of us, for we are One. With Him and with each other. We are thankful that others bear with our small understanding of a lot of things, knowing that they will be patient and long suffering with us as we like Paul continue to press onward toward the goal before us: The Prize fo the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus!!

Let us press on.

We are so often discouraged that we do not need to be told to press off, but that we need to be encouraged to press on because we are called for eternity, we are kept for eternity, therefore we press onward for the prize of eternity, Christ Jesus.
Sometimes the prize is so dim in view, that we are not even certain that we are running in the right direction. But He who called us has already set aside the prize will keep us to the end. So let us press onward to this upward calling in Chist Jesus.

In my struggle to grapple with the text and its meaning for us today, I shared with my wife of what the text was about and when I asked her what to do, she said, Press On

It is a sign of immaturity to think of ourselves of that which we are not. Spiritual maturity is marked by consistency and moderation, not inconsistency and extremes.

Let us press on toward the mark of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus!

Paul "saw" the goal for himself, for us and for them.
KJV 2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

KJV 1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

.KJV 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
KJV 1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

As did Peter for his hearers.
KJV 1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Let us press on......

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

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 19 Apr 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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2 Peter 1:1-15 Learning of Jesus
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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