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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Give Me Your Heart Luke 13:1-13 3/07/10
Meditation: Luke 13:1-13
The context of today's meditation is understood in light of what is written in chapter 12 of Luke's Gospel. Here is what Jesus has taught in chapter 12. Let us first look at what He taught in that chapter.

12:1-3 Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. "Being and doing things in secret will eventually come out in the open."

12:4-7 True fearlessness. "Do not fear man who is able only to kill the body, but fear God who is able to kill the soul and to cast it into hell. He will take care of us in the most extreme difficult situations, for if He takes care of the sparrows, how much more will he take care of us.

12:8-12 Confessing Christ: "When opportunities to confess the name of Christ are given to us, we should take advantage of them. We should not fear when we are brought for into the public arena or before men, for the Holy Ghost will give us the words to speak at that time.

12:13-21: "Warning against covetousness, excessive hoarding of riches" Because the rich man hoarded his riches instead of being a good steward over them, they became a liability.

12:22-59 Of Christ's imminient coming and of our preparation for his return.

Our text begins with these words.

KJV Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
There was an understanding that there was a direct connection between the greatness of a transgression and the severity of the punishment. There is the implication that a sudden death in the midst of so sacred doing must be a special proof of the wrath of God upon those who were killed. Jesus says, not so. but all need to repent or perish.

4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Again it is brought forth that because the tower fell on them in Siloam, they were worse sinners than the others in Jerusalem, and therefore the wrath of God was upon them. Again, Jesus says, not so, but all need to repent or perish.

Tsunami in India, Hurricane in Louisiana, The falling of the Twin Towers, The Earthquake in Haiti, can be compared to these events which are described here in our text. Three of these disasters could be called acts of God while one would be an act of man. In our text one was the act of Pilate, while the other was "an act of God."

It is interesting that when disasters such as these, occur, that they are referred to as acts of God. And even though the unbelieving heart resists reminders of God, when disasters strike, unbelief asks: "Where is God in all this?" When these calamities occur, God is blamed, but when there is good weather for bumper crops, who gets the credit?

In general, those who do not believe say that since there is evil there is no God.

1. There is evil in the world
2. If God was real, He would do something about it.
3. Nothing has been done.
4. There is no God.

Those who believe: God is present and there is evil in the world.

1. There is evil in the world.
2. There is evil, so there must be good, God is that goodness.
3. If there is good and evil, there must be a moral law by which good and evil are judged.
4. If there is a moral law, there must be a Law Giver.
5. God is the Law Giver.

God allows death but has the power to restore life. Man has the ability to take a life, but he does not have the power/ability to restore life. Why is it that God is called immoral for the deaths in a plane crash, but the law guarantees a woman the right to choose to kill her baby in the womb, saying that that is her moral right?

ESV Deuteronomy 32:39 "'See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

Jesus, beginning already in chapter 12 is speaking to the people of that day of the necessity of being ready for the return of the Lord, and after the people attach the severity of God's wrath to the greatness of the sin, He uses the situation to teach that this is not so, but tells them of the necessity of their personal repentance.

The teachings were for those present and had a historical implication for the people of that day, but these teachings also have teaching and counsel for us today

The last two articles have focused on what God has done in Christ. Two Sundays ago (John 12:20-41)the message focused on the answer to the Greeks/Gentiles request to "see Jesus." In response to that question, Jesus spoke of His death and how through His death many would be made alive. He also spoke of how the prince of this world (Satan) was judged at the cross, with He Himself, the innocent one, taking the judgment/punishment for the sins of the whole world.

Last Sunday the message (Luke 13:31-35) focused on a different aspect of our salvation, with the emphasis being placed on the love/committment that motivated His coming to earth, His anquish at the rejection of this gift of love and of the warning to those who reject Him as their Saviour.

Today we are going to look at the things of salvation, not from God's eyes or from the heart of Jesus, but we will look at it from our place of response or we could say, responsibility. What will be our response to that which He has done for us in His Son? For that is our worship, our response to what God has done for us. Will we receive and respond to His saving acts of love for us and worship Him?

We understand that which God has done for us from the writings of Apostle Paul:

2 Cor 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
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.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

We note that there are two reconciliations in these verses, God reconciling (or reconnecting) us to Himself through the cross, in so doing, taking our sins away from us and laying them on His Son; Then in verse 20 it is written: "Be ye reconciled to God." There is a taking away of sin as well as a giving of righteouness unto us. God has taken away our sin by acting on our behalf, and has given us the gift of righteousness which we have received by faith.

Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Point 1. God does not punish "greater" sins with greater punishment.

KJV Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. (They were in the temple making their sacrifices and were killed by Pilate in that place)
2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

To those who spoke to Jesus about the deaths of the Galileans and of those in Jerusalem, they were considered greater sinners than others and they got what they had coming. But Jesus asked the question Himself in order to challenge their thinking, (In doing so, did He allow time for them to think through the answer?) which He then answered with a simple, but emphatic, “no.” Then He immediately changed the focus from the judgment of others to the judgment of themselves. The tragedy which befell those Galileans should not be viewed as an opportunity to judge those who died at the hand of Pilate to be greater sinners than others, instead, it should be perceived as a warning to all sinners, namely themselves, of a judgment which awaits them if they do not repent.

Point 2. Every person must come to a place of repentance to be saved for heaven.

3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

What is repentance? What does it mean?

Old Testament
Meaning: 1) to be sorry, console oneself, repent, regret, comfort, be comforted

New Testament
Meaning: 1) a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done

John the Baptist preached repentance
KJV Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Jesus preached repentance
KJV Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
KJV Matthew 9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
KJV Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus left us the commission to preach repentance
KJV Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Paul preached repentance
ESV Acts 26:20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
KJV Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Point 3. God is long suffering toward us as sinners in his calling of us to repentance and faith, but there is a day of reckoning coming.

Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

The point is that the absence of judgment here and now cannot be construed as a sign of one’s righteousness. Rather, if judgment does not strike immediately, it is a sign of God’s mercy, not his approval

KJV 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Perspective of the people in verse one:
God hastened the death of those who died, in judgment of their (greater than normal) sins.

God's Perspective:
The parable of the farmer and the fruitless fig tree speaks rather of the patience and longsuffering of God with respect to the stubborn rebellion and sin of Israel. The visitation left the Jewish nation and went to the Gentiles, to the whole world.

This extended time, this delay in judgment, was for the purpose of allowing God’s people further opportunity to repent. In our humanness, we may use grace as opportunity to not be watchful, and to live in non repentance, but that is not what God's perspective is. We may think that God is not coming soon. that there is a lot of time for ourselves to repent and to believe the gospel. Jesus addressed that type of thinking in the previous chapter, when He said, Luke 12:45 But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, (That servant lived with an unrepentant heart)

Today the Lord asks us for our heart...He calls upon us to repent, to change our mind. Is there change needed in our heart today?

“Give Me thy heart,” says the Father above—
No gift so precious to Him as our love;
Softly He whispers wherever thou art,
“Gratefully trust Me and give Me thy heart.”

“Give Me thy heart, give me thy heart”—
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art;
From this dark world He would draw thee apart,
Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”

“Give Me thy heart,” says the Savior of men,
Calling in mercy again and again;
“Trust in Me only, I’ll never depart—
Have I not died for thee? Give Me thy heart.”

“Give Me thy heart, give me thy heart”—
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art;
From this dark world He would draw thee apart,
Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”

“Give Me thy heart,” says the Spirit divine;
“All that thou hast to My keeping resign;
Grace more abounding is Mine to impart—
Make full surrender and give Me thy heart.”

“Give Me thy heart, give me thy heart”—
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art;
From this dark world He would draw thee apart,
Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”

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

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 07 Mar 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Seeing Jesus
In our meditation today from John's Gospel, chapter 12:20-33, we find certain Greeks (Gentiles) coming to Jesus with a request: "Sir, we would see Jesus." , which describes an occasion which ocurred six days before the Passover feast. Following the question, Jesus answered them by describing the means and the purpose of His coming to earth in response to the will of His Father.

John 12:20-26 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

These Greeks came to worship at the annual feast at which large numbers crowded the city and they in particular wanted to see Jesus. What did they mean? Did they want to see His physical appearance? Did they want to "see" what He was all about? Jesus responded to their request by speaking of dying, even as He had told Peter and the other disciples:

KJV Matthew 16:21-23 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Jesus speaks of the necessity of His death so that out of His resurrection life could be given to an innumerable mulititude of people. Isaiah "saw Jesus" when he wrote 700 years or so before and described the purpose and the benefit of the death of Jesus:

ESV Isaiah 53:10-12 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Then Jesus follows up his statement concerning His death with a description what the life of a follower of His would be. We who are the fruit of His work of salvation are joined into this death and resurrection, therefore we do not count our life valuable, but serve Him through following Him in union with Him and the Father.

27-28 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

What does it mean that God's name would be glorified? It means that His name would be praised, extolled, magnified, honored, made glorious, clothed with splendor, be renowned and so forth. Most often when we think of giving glory to someone we think of them as being in a place of high position or authority. This is the beginning of understanding what the what it means to glorify God's name, for we know that He alone sits on the throne as is shown in the book of Revelation:

KJV Revelation 4:1-3 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

But the question is: What does our God wish to be glorified for? That He is the Creator and therefore since He made all we should worship Him only.. Yes, that is true, but there is a much greater reason as to what glory He wishes to receive from us and from all. We see examples of this in the Old Testament, which describes Joshua speaking with God's people after they had crossed over the river Jordan as on dry ground.

Joshua 4:21-24 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:
That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

He is not only Creator, but He is also our Redeemer. He delights in showing mercy. Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

It seems that in verses 17 and 18 that the Father and the Son had an intimate conversation there, which undoubtedly encouraged and strengthened our Saviour for the joy that was set before Him: Being our Deliverer on behalf of His Father.

29-33 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.

John explains that the voice which was heard in different ways was not for Jesus' sake, but here it was for the sake of those who heard God speak from heaven. The voice of God was heard so that they would know that the Son was doing the work of the Father and that those who heard it should pay attention to what Jesus was saying in response to the request of the Greeks. "We would see Jesus."

John "saw" into the eternies concerning the statement that Jesus made "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." In Chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, he wrote:

KJV Revelation 12:7-11 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

We "see" the glory of God as reflected through the writings of the Apostle Peter:
1 Peter 1:18-21 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Furthermore, Paul prayed for the Ephesian congregation in that they would "see Jesus."

Eph 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:(himself)

(1) 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, (Hope here means "expected end"

(2) and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (We have this inheritance now, for it is written earlier in this chapter: :

KJV Ephesians 1:13-14 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. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (like an earnest money agreement on a home purchase)

(3) 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

We "see" Jesus when we understand that God shows His greatness in His grace and forgiveness. God in His ultimate power and glory is seen hanging on a cross. There His great name is glorified, in that He is gracious to sinners like us. Therefore, when Jesus asked to Father to glorify His name, He was asking that He show the grace and forgiveness of the Father through the cross. He reveals His power and therefore is glorified when He does not give us which we deserve, (mercy) but rather gives unto us grace. (unmerited favor)

Rev. 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

He has won the victory over Satan, and by believing this we are partakers of this victory. As we come to His Table of fellowship in His body, let us celebrate our victory in Christ together with great thankfulness toward Him, let us come in the knowledge of His forgiveness of our sins, knowing the His grace is greater than all our sin, and let us come together knowing that we are united together with all believers of all ages, past, present and future.

Come to His table and "see Jesus" as He is.

Together in Christ Jesus,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 22 Feb 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Give Me Your Heart Luke 13:1-13 3/07/10
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Carol Fischer and her family as they grieve the loss of Bob