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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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
Confirmation 2010
KJV 2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

We recall in our school days of relay races and of the baton that was carried by the runners which was handed off by the one who was finishing to the one who would be continuing the next portion of the race. In order to make the transition, it was important that they synchronize their efforts so that the baton would not be dropped in the exchange so that the race would continue on smoothly. In our text today, we could compare this example with the "passing of the Gospel" between the Apostle Paul, who was imprisoned as he wrote this, and his young co-worker, Timothy. As Paul saw the end of his ministry in the not too distant future, he wrote a letter to his beloved son in the Lord in order to leave him with some important teachings concerning the Gospel. For he knew of the importance of making sure that the teamwork of preaching the gospel was kept intact so that the power of the Gospel would not be diminished in the transition from himself to his young co-worker. After recounting that the authority for his call into the ministry was by the will of God according ot the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, he extended the grace, mercy and peace to him from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. He was thankful for Timothy, he remembered and prayed for Timothy, and wanted greatly to see him again, for it would bring him joy. Then Paul noted four things that were instrumental in the life of Timothy which had brought him to the place where he was, a servant of the Lord. He also called upon Timothy to "kindle anew" the gift of God that was in him. (#5)

1. He was nurtured in a Christian home. (5)
2. He had been ministered to by the Apostle (2-6)
3. He had been gifted by God according to the measure of His grace. (6)
4. He had the spirit of power, and of love and of discipline (7)
5. He was called to "fan into flames" the gift that he had been given.(6)

The Apostle sets before us the desired method of the Lord in that we would raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord so that from generation to generation the Gospel would be "handed off" to the next servants. May the example of the Apostle Paul instruct us today as we consider this teaching from our place of involvement/participation in the work of the preaching and teaching of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul, being aware that his time was short and that his days of personal preaching and teaching were nearly over, greatly desired to leave with his "son" and co-worker, valuable counsel and instruction which Timothy could treasure and utilize as he continued the race that was before him. (In this way the "baton of the gospel" was being handed over to him for his carrying of it forward) As one reads through the entire letter, it is difficult not to feel a sense the heart of Paul through the passion which flows from the words that he writes to Timothy/us. Please read, think and meditate over the entire letter.

As these beloved young people today give testimony of the faith that is in their hearts, may we as a congregation thank God for them, encourage them and continue to pray for them to the end that they would be faithful stewards of the gospel with which they have been entrusted. May they 'fan into flames' the gift which God has bestowed upon them so that they may be lights in this dark world. May they bring much glory to our God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as they live in the power of the Holy Spirit, in the love of Jesus Christ and in the example of a disciplined and godly life.

Running together in Christ,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 27 Jun 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Liberty in Christ: Privilege and Responsibility
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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3/21 7:00 pm:Lent service
3/23 11:30 a.m.:Senior Luncheon
3/29 7:00 pm:Maundy Thursday ...
3/30 7:00 pm:Good Friday Wors...
4/1 10:20 am:Resurrection Sun...
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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns