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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Father's Day 6/20/10
We learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ from an early age by the example and teachings of our parents. We are taught by their example and by their words, and this lays the foundation for our understanding of the love of God in Christ Jesus toward us.

Through our parents we learn that we are loved by them which means that they accept us for who we are, (not what we do) and they also give us direction for our life. We begin to learn through experience that love is not simply words, feelings, or emotions, but it is an action. (1 Corinthians 13). When we are disobedient, dishonest or disrespectul, we experience discipline and correction from our parents, but within the relationship of grace and acceptance. In order to teach us of the ways of God, we remember that our parents would not discipline us without telling us of the reason for the correction, even as the Scripture teaches us. (Also Hebrews 12:9-11)-

KJV 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
KJV 2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

In this way, parents raise up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. To a large degree, we become what our parents are (with exceptions) in that how they have come to understand and experience who God is through their own teaching and experiences form our views of God.

When we look at our family relationships, we must always remember that God has acted in our behalf to restore/reconcile us to Himself through the cross and therefore, we are again in relationship with Him. We are brought back into His family through the cross, but it is a relationship of both grace and truth.

When we do not live in this relationship of grace and truth as parents, it is very difficult to not have an adverse affect on our children/grandchildren.

KJV John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

KJV John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
KJV John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Grace is the unconditional love and acceptance of God, for that is His essence. It is relational aspect of God's character.

Truth is the structural aspect of God's nature, but without grace there is only judgment. Grace allows us to approach God freely into a relationship of truth. Real intimacy always comes in the company of truth.

These verses outline of how God has reconciled us to Himself..

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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.

That which God has done has been gifted to us through faith.

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

KJV 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

1 Peter 1:18 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;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 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.
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

This inner experience, which is really seen only by God, is lived out openly in our earthly relationships, such as are outlined in Colossians and in Ephesians, beginning with marriage.

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Colossians 3:8 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

KJV Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

It has been said that the best thing that we as husbands can to for nurture and admonition in the Lord is to love their mother as Christ has loved the church. That type of love is a serving type love and not self serving.
A quote by John Stott, a theologian from England might help us understand this.

"Not that such self-giving is ever easy. I fear I may have painted a picture of married life which is more romantic than realistic. The truth is that all self-sacrifice, although the way of service and the means of self-realisation, is also painful. Indeed love and pain appear to be inseparable, especially in sinners like us, since our fallenness has not been obliterated by our re-creation through Christ. In marriage there is the pain of adjustment, as the old independent ‘I’ gives way to the new interdependent ‘we’. There is also the pain of vulnerability as closeness to one another leads to self-exposure, self-exposure to mutual knowledge, and knowledge to the risk of rejection. So husbands and wives should not expect to discover harmony without conflict; they have to work at building a relationship of love, respect and truth."

When we seek to establish and strengthen relationships with our spouses, we realize that our obedience to the Word of God is all important, for we know that only upon following the progression below will we be able to grow our relationships.

1) What God says, 2) Seeing, acknowledging where we are in relation to His Word, 3) Our obedience to His Word.

This brings us back to the first part of our article, in which we wrote about the reality that God has come to us in grace and truth; in relationship and direction, in spirit and in truth. But there is another aspect concerning of how our relationships grow: They need Time.

After Jesus had spoken to the people who were listening to Him of the necessity of repentance, He spoke a parable which illustrates of His patience and longsuffering toward us...

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.

As we close this meditation, let us consider a practical application before the partake of the Lord's Supper/Holy Communion.

Whenever there is someone that we are struggling to be gracious toward, the Lord continues to be gracious toward us, but He wants us to be reminded that we are not thinking biblically, but we are thinking/battling our own thoughts. He wants us to remember that He has reconnected Himself to the world through the cross and that He is not ungracious toward the world. So why should we be ungracious and judgmental? How could we be ungracious toward anyone in light of His grace and forgiveness toward us?

When we have experienced, and when we think and reflect upon the grace of God toward us in Christ Jesus, we will be changed from focusing on self to the serving of others. This is the nature of the body of Jesus Christ.

He saw us/sees us in our brokenness and need, is gracious and truthful toward us. Our family relationships are the training and developmental grounds for living out in practical ways of that which He has given us by the Holy Spirit. He has loved us, therefore we love one another.

KJV 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
KJV 1 John 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

He comes to us in His Word, He also comes to us in this Sacrament, through which we experience His Presence. He receives us in grace, gives direction to our lives through His Word, and patiently waits for the Spirit to address those things in our lives that need changing. Let us enjoy His Presence at His Table as we partake of His Body and His Blood.

In Jesus Name,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 20 Jun 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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