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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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
Putting on the Armor of God
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesian 6:10-11

As we enter a new year in the Lord, we face it in confidence and hope because the Lord is strong and powerful. As we go into the new year, our expectations are built upon the promises of the Lord for the future, rather than upon that which has happened in the past. Yes, our circumstances may remain the same as we begin this new year, but as we have seen in the lives of people throughout history, circumstances are always changing. Sometimes for the worse, but mostly for the better. The experiences of Christmas equip us for the year ahead, for we are called to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might!!

As we celebrated Christmas this year, did we not receive much encouragement from the mutual sending and receiving of Christmas greetings through cards and gifts? Yes, we did. These times of fellowship one with another are helpful for us in that they point toward the reason for our hope and away from the cause of our pessimism toward the future. There are many modern forms of communication today which the people living in the time of the early church did not have for their use. But even if they did not have all of that which we have, they had that which our Father has ordained for the purpose of communicating with us: Language..They communicated in the same way that people have for all of time: With words. And they wrote and received letters, in whatever form they had at that time.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Christians at Ephesus in the early church years. In his conclusion to the letter, he counseled them with these words: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.Ephesians 6:10 After writing these words, he went on to say that they should "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." And why we must put it on: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:11-12)

He then goes on to list the 7 parts of the armor which he had called for them to put on, emphasizing that they are to put on the "whole" armor. Here are the seven which he listed:

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, (1) having your loins girt about with truth, (2) and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 (3) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, (4) taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 (5) And take the helmet of salvation, (6) and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 (7) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

As we consider this letter which was written to the Ephesians (and to us)by Paul while he was in prison, we can appreciate his giving heart which we see reflected from the words he wrote while imprisoned:
"Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. "Ephesians 3:13

The driving force of his life was that those to whom he had been called to serve would be pointed to the source of Hope and Joy, Jesus Christ. He outlines this in this letter to the Ephesians in a systematic manner, first establishing their position in Jesus Christ through faith, pointing out to them of how the body of Jesus Christ (the church) works together in common love and purpose. Then in the conclusion, calls them to stand in that which God has done for them, is for them in Christ and is doing through them as the body of Jesus Christ. As reflected in the verse above, he did not consider his life important, for he spoke to the elders of the Ephesian church in the book of Acts in this manner as he said farewell to them as he journeyed toward an unknown future in Jerusalem: "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." KJV Acts 20:24

May we read and meditate on these verses which have been given for our teaching and edification. May the Spirit of Christ dwell richly in us today and may it be reflected by our understanding of who we are within the body of Jesus Christ. Yes, the armor must be put on individually, but it is through the corporate body that we gain and have more strength as an army as opposed to acting on an individual basis. May this letter be read and reread by us so that we will understand clearly as to what it means to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Let us read, meditate upon and pray through Paul's prayers for us in 1:15-23 and 3:14-21 and his call to prayer in 6:18-24. His prayers focus on our increased awareness of the power of Christ which we possess being in Him and that this power is brought forth among us and through us through the serving of one another within His body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 02 Jan 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Seeing Jesus
- 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.