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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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
Protecting the Unity of the Spirit 4.10.2016
Dear friend,

As we continue our studies in Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesian congregation, we are picking up in verse 17 of chapter 4. Last Sunday we heard of our call to walk worthy of the calling which we have been called into. First of all, we have been called by God to enter into His kingdom as an individual through repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Having been called into His kingdom, we are called to walk in unity in the Spirit, for we are of the same Spirit. Being called by and being indwelt by the same Spirit of God, we are one body and as individuals we are called to serve for the good of the body.

Each member is gifted according to the grace of Christ, various gifts are dispensed among the members by Christ, which are for the maturing of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the building up the body. This work is to continue within the body for the personal growth and maturity of each member off all ages all the way to the time when Jesus will return again.

We left off last week with this verse, which leads us into our sermon text for today. In verse 16 of chapter 4, Paul writes:

KJV Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

The Holy Spirit concluded the first section of this letter by pointing out that Jesus Christ, as the chief cornerstone of His Body, is the head of the body and it is from Him that the body is built together. In the buildings of that era, the cornerstone was placed first and the rest of the building was built in accordance with the initial cornerstone. What Paul is saying here is that all teaching and doctrine flow from the Word of God that we have before us, and from the Word of God who became flesh and lived here on the earth.

Two very important facts stand out here: We must remain connected to the Vine, Christ and as members of his body, we must remain joined together with each part doing its part to work for the collective good of the corporate body, the congregation and so on. It is through remaining in Him, in His Word that we grow in love amongst ourselves, and therefore become enabled to love all people. In other words, being in Christ, we are called to participate within the body that we are a part of.

What has been written here in the beginning part of chapter four is an overall outline of what the structure of the body of Jesus Christ is designed to be so that it might function properly. As we go through the last part of this chapter, we will hear some more general teachings, and in the last part Paul we will hear some specific instructions, from which will flow application into our lives. What the Apostle seems to be doing here is giving admonitions/warnings about those things which can and will cause the connections within the body to become ineffective and even broken.

Let us read the portion that is before us today, and we will go through only verses 17-24, and next week will finish the chapter with verses 25-32.

4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity (devoid of truth, perverseness, empty) of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

He is speaking to Gentiles who have been converted from darkness to light, instructing them to not walk in the darkness anymore, a darkness that is in the mind, having a darkened understanding, shut out from communion and fellowship with God through ignorance which is due the the blindness of their heart. He than gives a warning of the consequences of walking in darkness, saying that in that condition they have become hardened in their conscience and have given themselves over to unbridled lust, to moral depravity that hungers for more and more ways to fulfil its lusts.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
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.

If we have come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ as revealed from God, we are to put off the old life that is according to the flesh, which is corrupted, depraved and which will never change its nature.

As a Christian, we have been delivered from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, but not from the presence of sin. In other words, we no longer live under condemnation of God, for He has placed our sin upon Christ, we have come to an acknowledgement of our guilt and of our need for forgiveness. We have been assured through the preaching of the Word that His grace is greater than our sin, and believing that, we live with no guilt for our sin.

We have also been delivered from the power of sin. What does this mean? Upon receiving the gift of faith, God comes to live in us in His Spirit, by which we given new loves and new hatreds.. These are consistent with the loves and hatreds of God. We no longer live under the power of the law, but we live under the power of grace,

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

But we have not been delivered from the presence of sin.

Perhaps going to the 7th chapter of Romans will help us in this.

Romans 8:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

KJV Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

As already stated, we live in freedom from guilt and from the power of sin but not from the presence of sin. Here in this part is shown unto us in verse 22 of the delight and joy that is in our heart that has been renewed, called the new man.

But there is left in us the old man's influence, which wars against our new mindset and which is trying to bring us into bondage to the old mindset. This causes a lot of unhappiness in our minds, in our hearts, and in our lives. So at times we cry out like the writer did: 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The answer: I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, and we could go onto say that through Christ we have been delivered from the guilt and the power of sin. But not the presence of sin. For Paul goes onto write that with the mind (and that is the mind that has been renewed or the new mindset) we serve the law of God (we love the things of God); but with the flesh, the law of sin. Hence, the conflict goes on, the new mindset has dominion in our life, but the old mindset is always trying to come back to gain the control.

A number of years ago we had a visiting preacher here and he used an illustration to help us see how this works that really stuck with me. Perhaps some of you remember it, but if not here is how he brought it out. He said that our old mindset could be likened unto us having a back pack on our back all the time, in which the old mindset lives. Every so often the old mindset tries to open up the top of the backpack and try climb out of his lower position. Sometimes we are not even aware of his advances, other times we are, but when we recognize him and his old ways, we push him back down into his place.

Thought leads to actions, Actions lead to habits, Habits become your character, Character determines destiny (your eternal life)

4:22 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.

There are three very important truths here, so let us look at each one separately.

4:22 That ye put (for good) off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

23 And be renewed (continual action done in us) in the spirit of your mind;

KJV Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Righteousness is God's unchanging aversion to right, and holiness is His unchanging aversion to sin.

God's mindset never changes, and we are called to put on this mindset of new clothes, to sink into them so to speak.

Our new mindset has been created by the Word, by faith we trust Him and His Word.

1. We need to resist the old mindset that only wants to live apart from God. (get back in the backpack)!

2. We need to continually be renewed in the knowledge that we are free from the guilt of sin and from the power of sin.

3. We need to remember that even though the presence of sin is still in us,we have been clothed with the righteousness of God through faith, and those are clothes what will never wear out.

Let us pray:
Lord, we thank you for your Word which is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Dear Father, you have blessed us through Christ your Son, by reuniting ourselves with you through Him, you have placed us in this wonderful fellowship of believers and you have given each of us gifts according to the measure of your grace.
Help us to comprehend more and more of your saving grace towards us, for we know that as you do that work in us, it will enable and empower us to put off the old mindset, to be renewed in the spirit of our mind and to continually live in the clothing that you have provided for us, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, clothing that will never wear out.

And that growth and maturity, dear Father, we understand will increase our love for you, for one another here in our congregation and for all people. For we know that as your love increases in us and amongst us, unity in the Spirit binds us together in purpose: Your purpose.

May we receive this benediction that the Apostle Paul prayed upon the Thessalonian congregation:

2 Thess 2:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 10 Apr 2016 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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Living in the Spirit 4.17.2016
- 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.