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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Abraham and Isaac Rejoice In Christ 2.5.2017
Abraham rejoices in Christ
Good Morning, reader!

God‚€™s Peace be unto you today through the amazing grace of God which has been poured out upon all mankind and is yet continually being poured out by our Father through His Son, Jesus the Christ.
We continue with our overview of the Old Testament this morning. We have considered so far the first three chapters of the book of Genesis (book of beginnings) and today we are jumping up to the 12th chapter where we are introduced to a man named Abram. Our sermon text will be from the beginning portion of Genesis 22 which occurs after Abram and Sarah‚€™s son of the Promise is born. (Isaac)

Before getting started, I would like to again remind us all that this journey through the OT is intended to accomplish the following: (The title of this long series is the Red Thread)

Trace the Promise of Jesus‚€™ coming through the OT (The coming of the Messiah, the Christ)
Provide a systematic reading plan through the OT, leading up to the first of December, at which time we we begin with the NT and the first advent of Jesus.
Inspire, provoke, stir, rouse, stimulate our desire to read, pray over and meditate upon His Word.
Become more aware how God‚€™s redemption plan in Christ is complete, and how He revealed it in a progressive manner throughout the OT.
Grow in the knowledge and experience of the revelation of God‚€™s redemptive work.
Gain more knowledge of God‚€™s workings with and in those who have gone before us in faith through their experiences.
Grow or increase in the grace of God towards us, in the experience of His faithfulness to all generations and consequently be able to live in assurance, in peace and in confidence in this fallen and decaying world.

God spoke the Promise (of Christ‚€™s coming to redeem mankind) into being in Genesis 3:15 after mankind's fall into sin and death; the evidence of this disastrous state of being began to show itself through Cain killing his brother Abel, (Genesis 4) through the evil that existed in the world, a world in which God destroyed nearly all breathing beings on the earth (saving only righteous Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives) (Genesis 6) and through the dispersion at the tower of Babel. (Genesis 11) A key statement is made in the 11th chapter which typifies what we became after mankind fell into sin and death (Genesis 3)

4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (I placed the bold print)

In about the year 2166 BC a man was born in the land of Ur of Chaldees, with the name of Abram. He was born of Terah in a pagan land and was called by God to be the father of the Jewish nation, through whom the Promised Messiah would come. The first verses of chapter 12 speak of Abram‚€™s future destiny, and of how God was going to use him to bring about the birth of the Promise into being.

KJV Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Thus began the life of our father of faith, Abraham, whose name is mentioned 231 times in the Bible, with 72 of those being in the New Testament. He was given the name Abram at birth but was given the name of Abraham in the 17th chapter of Genesis when also his wife Sarai‚€™s name was changed to Sarah.

It was not until he and his wife were past childbearing years that they were given the child of Promise, a child whom they had waited for for many years. God had performed a miracle in their lives by giving them their only son, (Abram was 100 yrs old when Isaac was born) through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Then came the greatest trial to Abram, one who trusted God according to His Promise......Abram trusted in God above anything else...

Here I must say that without the New Testament, it would be impossible to understand the ways of God in that He now tested the faith of Abraham with an extreme request, and this after they had finally received their son Isaac. It is not difficult to imagine how they must have joyed in this child of the Promise, and it is equally easy to imagine what Abraham must have experienced at the request of God that followed his birth.

KJV Genesis 21:1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

It is not known how old Isaac was when the following occurred in the life of Abraham.

KJV Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt (test) Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Can we put ourselves in Abraham‚€™s place? But let us remember that Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for rightness before God. (righteousness before God, right standing before God) He got up early in the morning and went with his son to where God had directed him.

4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

Abraham demonstrates his faith in God, who cannot lie and who makes promises that He does not break. Please note how he left the servants, telling that the I and the lad will go there and worship, and (we will both) come again to you

6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

What do you think was in Abraham‚€™s heart as they walked along? They both went together, the one who would offer the sacrifice and the other who would be sacrificed? Do we not think that Abraham was getting an insight into the heart of His God, who already from before the foundation of the world had offered His only Son? (Rev 13:8, 1 Peter 1:20) As they walked in silence, Abraham‚€™s son called to his father and asked a question, a simple question and an obvious question (v 7).What would his father say?

8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

It would seem with great pain, but yet with a heart full of faith his father
would tenderly teach his son of his father‚€™s ultimate trust in His Father by his response. As I said earlier, without the NT explaining the a ction of Abraham, we would not be able to understand this happening.

Hebrews 11: 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son,
18 of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named."
19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
17 as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"- in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Romans 4: 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be."
19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.
20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
22 That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."
Abraham, against all emotion and reason, trusted that God would

provide. Provide what? The sacrifice which is according to the Promise. Let us continue on..

9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

This makes no sense if Abraham is not trusting God, but as we read above Abraham believed so surely that through Isaac the Messiah would come, even if he went through with it, God had already raised him back to life. I hope that we are able to grasp the power of this event in that God is not like any other, He alone is God and when He made the covenant with Abraham, He was going to fulfill it.
As Abraham got ready to slay his son, a voice cried from heaven, not once, but twice.

11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

But wait, mercy came down from heaven, as he heard his name spoken by the Angel of the Lord, which is God speaking. As I said earlier, was not Abraham getting insight into his God‚€™s heart through being placed in the position he was placed in? I think so, as this is something that we will continually become more aware of as we journey towards the fulfilment of the promise. By Abraham taking his only son and being directed to slay him on the altar, he surely would have been given insight as to the heart of God towards His own Son whom He placed on the altar of sacrifice.

Many years later in the fullness of time, the Father would slay His Son (Isaiah 53:10) as justice required the payment for our sin, but then He was raised from the dead on Easter morning. Abraham must have gotten a little insight as to the pain that must have gone through His Father‚€™s heart, but also Abraham must have felt the joy of His Father‚€™s heart in what occurred as the result of the death and resurrection of Isaac and of Jesus. I hope I don‚€™t lose you here, but let us go to the next verse, and look at things from Abraham‚€™s point of view and we will also bring in Jesus‚€™ words from John‚€™s Gospel‚€¦

13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

John 8: 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Is this the place that Jesus is referring to when He made this statement? It could be, as Abraham must have been overjoyed that a substitute was provided in the place of his son. He called the place JehovahJireh, in the mount of the Lord is shall be seen, or God provides.

15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

God then spoke a second time (the angel of the Lord) affirming the promise that his seed would be multiplied and through it the Messiah would come (all the nations of the earth will be blessed)

A final thought, to add to the multitude of thoughts we have now. It is interesting in that is does not say that both Isaac and Abraham went back to the young men. For we remember that Abraham had said ‚€œWe will return after we worship‚€Ě but why does it not mention Isaac?
I am not sure, but it could be beneficial for us to consider what Isaac might have been experiencing after his trial. As I said earlier, we don‚€™t know how old he was when he went with his father to the mountain, but we do know that his father demonstrated ultimate trust in their God by his answering of his son‚€™s question: ‚€œGod will provide a lamb.‚€Ě

Isaac must have experienced a thousand deaths once it became apparent to him that he was going to be killed on the altar as a result of his father‚€™s unflinching trust and of his obedience toward their God. It seems that we would gain much from considering a parallel in our experience in that all who are Christians previously have come to a place where death and judgment is looming before us. It is like a deep chasm into which we are falling and there is no escape from it.

The knife of God‚€™s judgment was poised above us, but then out of heaven we heard the voice of mercy that cried unto us of grace and pardon. A voice that cried from the heart of God and which told us that I have love you so much that I provided a substitute for you. You don‚€™t have to die, but I sent MY ONLY SON to die in your place! Live and live in the victory of MY SON‚€™S death and resurrection!!

Could it be the Isaac stayed back to worship His Deliverer through the Promise? Could it be the he sent his father ahead of him, telling him, ‚€œDad, I want to stay here awhile and worship our God at this altar.‚€Ě

Can we not believe that Abraham rejoiced to see Christ, but his son Isaac as well rejoiced also? I think so, and can we not rejoice in seeing Christ through this scripture today? I pray that we all might see our deliverance through this meditation today.

Our next scripture reading and message will be from Genesis 37-50 which will center on one of Isaac‚€™s grandchildren, Joseph.

May the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala


Posted on 05 Feb 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Rebellion and Promise 1.22.2017
Dear friends,

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you now and always, Amen!

My entries for this blog have been somewhat erratic for the last month and a half as I have been experiencing some health challenges, but I am getting better now and hope to get back to work. When sickness comes upon a person, it is difficult to keep up with all that a person regularly does as much rest is needed during the recuperation process.

Well, it is the New Year and with it comes the promise of the excitement of what is before us in the coming months and years. As children of God, we live in the light of eternal life, always keeping in mind that this life is temporary. Accordingly, we set goals for the future, long term and short term, so that we might live what might be called ‚€œan intentional life,‚€Ě
while awaiting the coming of our Lord and Saviour and eternal life.

With that said, we (our church board and myself) have prayerfully decided to ‚€œintentionally‚€Ě plan a long sermon series over the most part of this year. The plan is to spend the most of the year bringing messages that are from the Old Testament from now until the first of December at which time we will come to the New Testament and the coming of God in the flesh, Jesus the Christ. With 39 books in the Old Testament, it is obvious that it will be an overview of it and will not be in depth. It is hoped that through these messages, that we will all grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as revealed in both the Old and the New Testaments. We are calling this series of messages, ‚€œThe Red Thread.‚€Ě We could have names it the ‚€œSeamless Story,‚€Ě the ‚€œStory of God‚€™s Mission‚€Ě or even ‚€œGod‚€™s Rescue Plan,‚€Ě but ‚€œThe Red Thread‚€Ě won out.

One of the benefits of modern technology with cell phones is that one is
able to keep text messages on one‚€™s phone in a continuing dialogue, which many refer to as a thread. That is precisely what the continuing story of redemption is in the Scriptures, for it began from eternity past, came into time, is with us presently and will continue until the day when God rolls up the old creation and brings in the new heaven and the new earth.

It is hoped that this series will not just be a history lesson, but that through using the Old Testament as an outline, so to speak, that we all will gain a better understanding and knowledge of how our God is faithful, has always been and will always be. It seems to me that many of us would gain from increased knowledge of how the Old Testament and the New Testament fit together to bring the message and knowledge of salvation through Jesus the Christ. It is hoped that as we move forward in these messages that our confidence in our God as the ruler of both the universe, the world and of our individual lives will increase so that we will be able to live in peace, joy and hope as we travel through this temporary life. And as always, I welcome any input that you might wish to bring to me, such as comments, questions, observations etc. Please call or text me at 320-224-1912, call me at 320-398-2130 or email me at the church website or my personal email at owirkkala@msn.com.

It is my intention on the Sunday‚€™s that I am preaching to write in this blog a summary of the part of the portion of scripture that we are currently considering, highlighting some of the main points, looking for evidence of the ‚€œRed Thread‚€Ě and also seeking to apply that which we consider into our very own lives in a practical way. Each week it is my plan to give the ‚€œreading assignment‚€Ě for the next message on the following Sunday. For example today‚€™s message is from Genesis 3 and the next one on February 5th (we are having a guest speaker on January 29th) during which we will consider the period after the fall into sin and death (Genesis 3) up to the beginning of the life of Abraham. (Genesis 4-11) I have not worked it out yet, but it is the goal that by the end of November that all who follow along will have read the entire Old Testament and will have gained more knowledge of how the ‚€œRed Thread‚€Ě was seen and understood by those in the Old Testament era.

I want to start out by pointing out that the entire Scriptures could be outlined in brief through the following manner. Creation (Genesis 1-2), Fall into Death and Sin (Genesis 3), Redemption (Genesis 3-Revelation 19) and the New Creation (Revelation 20-21)

Last Sunday we brought the message on Creation from Genesis 1-2 and this Sunday it will be from the next chapter, Genesis 3 and a message entitled: ‚€œRebellion and Promise.‚€Ě Because I have written these long introductory notes, what I write about Genesis 3 will be brief, as in the oncoming weeks we will be referring back to chapter 3, both concerning Rebellion and Promise. I have placed some verses below which will help us to understand that God is not bound by time, and that the ‚€œbeginning‚€Ě was before time. Please consider what Apostle John wrote in the New Testament (NT) which describes events before the Old Testament (OT) of creation of time and matter. (including us)

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

All Creation lived in harmony with its Creator, in purity, in righteousness, in wisdom, in will‚€¦..but then‚€¦‚€¦

KJV Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

KJV Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

We as mankind rebelled against our Creator, by being separated from Him and His Word through the deceitfulness of the liar and murderer, Satan.

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

In brief, he asked a question which was designed to put doubt into Eve‚€™s mind, once he engaged her into a conversation on his grounds, he went for the jugular by directly challenging the statement of God in which God had told Adam concerning eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

She ate, she gave to Adam and so we all died, physically, spiritually and eternally. Oh, it was not immediate, but look at what happened next. They hid from each other and from God as what Satan had promised them was not what they received. But God came looking for them, asked probing questions to which they shifted blame away from themselves, and were left in hopelessness‚€¦..

But God promised them that He would restore that which they had lost, by pointing to the Red Thread.

KJV Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Jesus the Christ would redeem mankind in the future by coming as a representative of mankind, which Apostle Paul refers to as the last Adam in this passage:

KJV 1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

In our Scripture reading today from Matthew 4:1-11, the last Adam resisted all of Satan‚€™s ploys to separate Him from the Word of His Father through the use of the Word.

May we rejoice in the victory that was won by Christ by which He brought us back to our Creator and Father so that death has been overcome, sin has been atoned for and He has been gracious to us by granting unto us forgiveness for the sake of His Son. Now we live in the Spirit who continually testifies to us of the perfection of Christ so that we in our imperfection live in peace and harmony with our Creator and Father! For this unspeakable gift, how can we not praise him now and forever!!!

As my mother on her death bed told me, ‚€œEternity will not be long enough to praise our God for saving us.‚€Ě

Yes, the Red Thread is all the way through the Scriptures, and may we not miss it as we read, meditate and rejoice in our Saviour love, compassion and action toward and for us.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 22 Jan 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Abraham and Isaac Rejoice In Christ 2.5.2017
- 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.