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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Being Kind and Tender 4.24.2016
KJV Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

As we look at the words of Ephesians 4:32, most of us would have a good idea of what it means to be kind, but we might have more difficulty understanding what it means to tenderhearted. Synonyms would be compassionate and kind.

The hymnwriter of our offertory hymn, Jean Pigott (1845-1882) wrote the following words in which she spoke of how she had discovered the key to having a loving or tender heart. It was through resting in who Jesus was, Her Saviour, and that by having ongoing fellowship with Him she was finding out the greatness of His loving heart. For it was by His transforming power, that she had been made whole and as she continued to gaze on Him in His Word, His beauty filled her soul. She by grace was living in the newness of the Spirit which had made her a new creation in Christ Jesus. She had put off the old, was continually being renewed in the spirit of her mind and had put on the new. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, and Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power, thou hast made me whole.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings, meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings: thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me as I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory, sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with Thy grace.

.
Jean, who lived only 37 years here on this earth wrote of how she was resting in the joy of who Jesus is. Her Saviour and Redeemer, the One who suffered, died and rose again from the dead, triumphing over sin, death and hell.

As we are hearing from this letter to the Ephesians, we are a new creation who have been created after God in righteousness and true holiness, Jesus now lives in us by His Spirit and therefore our heart is after the things of God. That is not the impulse of our heart as His children. We see this reflected in the hymn that is before us.

In our short text today, we are called to be kind and tender, compassionate. Why? Because that is who we now are? Are we always kind and compassionate? No. Why not? Because as we heard a couple of Sundays ago, we have been freed from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, but not from the presence of sin.

So that means that we are still susceptible to being unkind, and lacking in tenderness compassion.


Tenderheartedness Is Different from Weakness

There is a tenderness that has no justice in it, no morality, no love of the good, no hatred of the bad. It is the overflowing of an easy nature that often works irreparable wrong just because it has not strength enough to take a firm stand for what is right.

But it also knows how lonely people are; how sad the heart may be for all the laughter; how heavily the burden of the cross may weigh, although the face is always brave and bright. Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted.

You can never tell what that other soul is bearing. The men and women you are inclined to envy--if you knew all, you might not envy them.


Causes Which Make Tenderheartedness Difficult

1. Tradition: We grow accustomed to patterns and lose the specialness of our fellowship.

2. The struggles of life--The busyness, the stress, the strain.

3. Sin--It is the greatest enemy of tenderness, for it always hardens the heart, by causing it to grow callouses, it loses its ability to hear, to see, and to feel God.



Casual or surface knowledge of another may be misleading.
There are many who outwardly appear to be not very tender, but those who know them best know that they are tender. If we would have seen Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, we would not have thought him to be kind, but yet children readily approached him for they detected his kind and tender heart.

It is almost always because we know one only after their outward appearance, or what we have heard about them that we will have a wrong understanding of who a person is.

KJV 2 Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

Tender memories move us towards God.

The prodigal son remembered his father's house and as a result said, "I will arise and go unto my father."

One of departed preachers in our ALCA related of how the memory of his mother caused him to come to repentance and turn to the Lord for for forgiveness. As he and his brothers were leaving their home to go spend the night partying, the tender words that his mother spoke to them as she kneeled on the floor washing it, one day bore fruit: She said, "Boys, there is a better way."

But nothing moves us towards tenderness more than knowing the tenderness of Christ towards us in bringing us redemption. And this takes us back to the hymn "I am resting in what thou art."

Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, and Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power, thou hast made me whole.

Now if there is one scene that sensitive hearts would shrink from, it is the awful scene of crucifixion. We never could have endured to look on Calvary, and yet it is Calvary that works tenderness in us. Is not that strange? A story I heard will explain it. There was a lady who was very beautiful--all excepting her hands, which were misshapen and marred. And for many a long day her little daughter had wondered what was the meaning of these repulsive hands. At last she said to her: "Mother, I love your face, and I love your eyes and your hair, they are so beautiful. But I cannot love your hands, they are so ugly." And then the mother told her about her hands: how ten years ago the house had taken fire, and how the nursery upstairs was in a blaze, and how she had rushed to the cradle and snatched the baby from it, and how her hands from that hour had been destroyed. And the baby saved was her little listening daughter. And then the daughter kissed the shapeless hands (that she used to shrink from, before she knew their story), and she said: "Mother, I love your face and your eyes and your hair; but I love your hands now best of all."

Prayer

May today be the day we understand why the suffering and death on the cross by Jesus. May we come to see more clearly that it was out of tender love that He suffered and died, and through that knowledge may we be continually transformed so that we would have the heart that he has for all.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 24 Apr 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Living in the Spirit 4.17.2016
As Christians we have put off the old life, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts; we are continually being renewed in the spirit of our mind and have put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.(Eph. 4:22-24) In other words, no longer live under the dominion of our flesh, for we have put on the new man. We confess in the third article of the Apostle's Creed of this work which has been done and is being done by the Holy Spirit.

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life.

In today's message, Paul moves from general teaching as to what the life of a Christian is by providing a few examples of those the actions and attitudes that are commonly present in our lives. May we hear Him speak to us through His Word today.

We begin by going back to verses 21-24 that precede the portion that we are going to be studying today.

Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

As Christians we are now living under the power of the Spirit of God, which means that our minds and hearts are turned to the things of God, as in verse 24 we hear that we have been created after God in righteousness and true holiness. Simply said, that means that to be created after God in righteousness means that we have the same love of righteousness that God has, and to be created after God in true holiness means that we have His aversion to sin. We love the things that God loves and hate the things that He hates.

As we move from general things to specifics, the Word will now begin to hit closer to home as we hear of some of the attitudes and actions that arise out of our flesh which if left unchecked will cause relationships to become strained and will often times cause a relationship to be broken off. But we will also hear of the foundational bedrock of all relationships: Forgiveness.

I would like to approach this message by saying that most of us are very careful when it comes to our physical health. Most of us have regular checkups, and especially if we are aware that we have a chronic illness. It would be foolish to not keep an eye on our physical health for obvious reasons. When we go to the doctor, we know that it is very important for us to listen to what is said and to follow through with their counsel......

Could we not say that to have a spiritual checkup regularly is reason alone to come to church weekly? As we heard last week, our flesh is dead, but yet it continually wants to resurrect itself in its attempts to take away our peace of conscience and to make shipwreck of our faith in Christ. So let us hear what the Spirit is going to say next as He teaches us how to relate to one another.

4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

It is clearer if we understand this to mean that we have put away the Big Lie, the lie of living in the old man.
It is that great lie that is being spoken about here as the verb is an aorist. Having put on the new man we no longer walk in the lie that dominated us, which means that we lived according to and under the power of the corrupt and lying flesh. Since we now are in the truth, we will not wish to lie to our neighbor, for we know that not to tell the truth will harm our neighbor, who is part of the overall body.


26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

Anger for a just cause is exempt. When the things of God are reviled, is not anger justified? When helpless victims are abused, when right is masqueraded as right, anger is justified. This is how we have been created after God in righteousness and true holiness: We love righteousness and hate sin.

We are urged to be angry, but not to sin. How do we do that? Let us use some verses from the book of James.

James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

KJV Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
ESV Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.Proverbs 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

We are urged to commit our struggles with anger before the Lord, so that the devil does take our anger which was properly demonstrated and turn it to his own uses, which are always to stir up strife and contention.

KJV 1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

We will always suffer to some degree when we stand for righteousness and true holiness, for it cannot be any other way. We must not let it go too far in that what began as a necessary and needful emotion under the control of the Spirit for God's purpose ends up being used for the devil's purposes.


28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Do we recall the Seventh Commandment? That is what the Apostle is referencing here, "Thou Shalt not steal." One of my grandsons was asking me about wars and why there are wars. I told him that almost always wars are intiated by someone trying to get something that does not belong to them. To help him understand I pointed out how this may be among nations or it may be between two individuals, but it all boils down to the fact that someone wants something that is not rightfully theirs. He seemed to understand when I reminded him of how even 2 year olds will often argue and struggle between one another over something they both want to have for their own.

We now move to verbal/body language communication, which involves communication between at least two people. May I ask a question of each of us, a question that I often ask of myself. Which type of communicator am I?

1. One who simply does not listen to others when they share.

2. One who listens in order to respond/add to the conversation.

3. One who listens to understand the one who is sharing.


29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 8th Commandment

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:


The emotions listed in verse 31 appear to be progressive, with anger in the middle of the five. Bitterness begins to take lodging in our heart, wrath (indignation, exasperation) grows in our heart, anger starts to build, some outward motions, noises are given and finally words are used to bring forth that which is boiling out of our hearts. The word malice seems to combine the entire progression of emotions which lead to actions: Malice: a desire to injure, unwillingness to obey laws)

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, speak well of him and put the best construction on everything.


32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

In closing our message for today, Paul encourages us to continually walk in the Spirit, by being kind one to another, by being compassionate to one another and to forgive one another. This is the life of the new man, of the life in the Spirit, a life that has been created after God in righteousness and true holiness, which ultimately has its foundation in the following statement:

We have been forgiven by God, so why shouldn't we be forgiving to one another?

As we partake of the Lord's Supper today, we are reminded of this great forgiveness that we have been given freely, as we are called to remember His sacrifice as often as we partake of His Body and Blood. May we come before His table with broken and contrite, but yet rejoicing hearts for the forgiveness that we receive through the power of His Name of His Shed Blood.

In Christ's Name,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala


Posted on 17 Apr 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Being Kind and Tender 4.24.2016
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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