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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In Christ we walk in the light 3.15.2015
Dear friend,

Psalm 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Because God is good and because His mercy endures forever, this morning I am able to greet you today with grace, mercy and peace from Him and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Please receive these fresh greetings from His heart this morning as we gather here to thank and to praise Him for his goodness and His everlasting mercy and to hear His assurance, His encouragement and His guidance.

Please read text: John 3:14-21

Our text today is from John 3 and it is part of a conversation between Jesus and a high official in the Jewish leadership. Nicodemus came to see Jesus by night, for he wanted to investigate as to whether this prophet who had to be from God because He was performing miracles was the long promised Messiah. Through the conversation, Jesus pointed Nicodemus to the necessity of a new birth, of being born again. He spoke of the necessity of coming into a new existence before pointing out to him that this would come through the Holy Spirit and that it would come through the Messiah, Himself. I would like to what it means to come into a new existence.

Nearly two years ago while my wife and I were out west by my mother's bedside, I received a phone call from my son Jay who was here in Cokato. He shared with me that there was water in our basement. After a number of phone calls, we had a business lined up to bring the basement back to its former state, which would include fixing the leaking faucet which had caused the problem. A few weeks later, the foreman of the restoration project called me and said that they had everything all put back together and that they had just a few more things to do. Then he mentioned that he should go turn the faucet on that had caused the water damage in order to make sure. So he did and to my surprise he came back on the phone with quite a lot of excitement: "There is water coming through the ceiling, in the same place it came before."

Needless to say, there was quite in interesting conversation between him and I, but the greater lesson that was learned is what is seen in our text today:

If there is not an inward change of heart, the outside behavior will continue to be in the old identity, which will be according to our desires, the desires of the world and the desires of the devil.

After speaking of the necessity of an inward change, that it would be by water and the Spirit, Jesus begin to point to the OT in order to reveal to Nicodemus that Moses always pointed to Christ Himself, the One that was speaking to Nicodemus. Numbers 21:4-9

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God has acted in love and mercy, has restored our given away identity, and wants us to live in that Identity in Jesus Christ.. We must understand that He has given us the new identity through Christ and it is only by not believing in what He has done that we condemn ourselves. God is not condemning us.

If we are refusing to trust in Christ for our new identity, we are like a man on death row whose crime has been pardoned but he refuses to accept the Governor's pardon and so eventually he will pay for his crime with his own death. Why would he do that?

Because he refused God's invitation to believe.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.(exposed)

2 Cor 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The judgment that is upon one who refuses to believe what God has done for them is seen in the continuation to stay out of the light of Christ. Paul very well writes of this in 2 Cor 4. It is not our evil deeds themselves that condemn us, but rather it is our refusal to believe that God has taken away our guilt through the cross. It is unbelief in God's provision that brings judgment upon ourselves, and not the sinful acts and desires themselves. Living in rebellion towards God with an unrepentant heart is a result of our refusal to believe the Gospel. Both John and Jesus said: Repent and believe the Gospel!!

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Those who come to repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ bring sin before God, so that they may be released from the bondage of pride and shame. It is only in coming to the light that we are able to be freed from the slavery to self and this is through sorrow for sin, confession of sin and by receiving absolution from God, either directly from Him through prayer or through the pronouncement of God's forgiveness from another person.

As a Christian, we desire to walk in the light of God and when we fail to do so our consciences are convicted, and we recognize that we are yet living in this world in which sin is in us and all around us. When we come into this conviction of sin, it is not condemnation, but it is conviction by the Holy Spirit Who reminds us that we are going away from our true identity in Christ.

We come to repentance again and again, which brings us back to our right mind of who we are according to what God has done for us in Christ. It is very important to be able to separate condemnation for sin vs conviction of sin. Because we believe in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are accounted as righteous before God and the only thing that will take that away from us is that we do not believe that it is so.

The Holy Spirit continually ministers grace to us as He always points us to Christ and what He has provided and does provide for us: God is at peace with us and through repentance and faith we live in peace with Him and with all people. The Spirit leads and guides us into all truth, so therefore when we are slipping into our old identity, He comes to us to help us take corrective action. It is a grave mistake to not listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us of sin in our lives. Let me illustrate with an example from years ago when I was a logger.

A machine operator got irritated with a blinking red light on the dash of his machine which would come on in the dark hours of morning just after he started up his machine, but which would go off after the machine got warm. He knew that the blinking light indicated that the water pressure was dangerously low and if it continued in that manner, the water pump would break due to not enough water going through. In spite of knowing this, he put a piece of black tape over the red light so that in the darkness of the morning the light would not be blinding him. A few months later, he noticed that the water pump was not working and much to his embarrassment and the boss' disappointment, he had to admit that he had covered up the warning light.

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

KJV 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

We come to His table today in our true identity in Christ,as blood washed saints, because He has loved us and given Himself for us. This we possess by faith.

We come also with hearts that desire to walk in truth according to his Word as enlightened by His Spirit.

We want to listen to His Voice which would lead us to reconcile with a brother or sister whom we may have sinned against.

We want to be strengthened in faith that binds us to our Saviour, who ministers His grace and forgiveness to us today as we remember His great sacrifice that He made on our behalf through His body and blood.

In His Holy name, Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 15 Mar 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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