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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Sons not Slaves Galatians 4.1.7
Dear friend and neighbor

May the grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all now and always, Amen.
Who am I? Am I who I think I am according to my estimation, or who others say I am or who God says I am?

In our readings today from Psalm 100, from John‚€™s Gospel (8:31-36) and from our sermon text (Galatians 4:1-7) we know and rejoice in that we are the offspring of God, i.e. sons and daughters and not slaves. Think on what was written by David 1000 years before Jesus came, of that which Jesus said as he spoke to those who based their identity on their family ancestry and of how the Apostle Paul explained to their children that they were not to base their identity on their national heritage or even their religious traditions.

We know that the Lord is God, that He has made us, and we are collectively the "sheep" of His pasture. Therefore we make a joyful noise unto Him, we serve Him with gladness and we come into His presence with singing. Because He is good, His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations, we approach His house with thanksgiving and we enter into His congregation with praise, for we are thankful unto Him and therefore we affectionately and lovingly bless His name. (from Psalm 100)

Knowing and believing His Word and continuing/abiding in it is a must for us as His followers/learners for it is through the knowledge of God through Jesus Christ that we know the truth and as a result have been set free. We are no longer slaves to sin, and under bondage to our Adamic and fallen nature, but we are now sons and daughters of God by adoption, for the Son has delivered us from the penalty and the power of sin. While we still live with the presence of sin, we are no longer under its power, for the power has been broken by our Brother and our joint heir of eternal life, Jesus the Christ. (from John 8:31-36)

KJV Galatians 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

First let us take a look at the historical background of this passage, and then I want to relate this to Father‚€™s Day. In his letter to the Galatians, Apostle Paul has been writing to his readers/listeners in order to explain to them that their identity is not in being a slave, but in being a son through Abraham. It is not according to their family tree that they are sons of God, but it is through the Seed Jesus Christ, the Promised One, through the Gospel by which they have been set free from the prison of self serving sin.

He is driving home the point that because they are sons of God, the Spirit of Christ has been sent into their hearts and as a result, they cry Father, Father. They were being pressured to return to the outward rituals and traditions that had been observed and practiced for many years, but which had missed the coming of Jesus the one who broke humanity out of prison. Paul is telling them that they are co inheritors with God through Christ. In other words, everything that God has is theirs.

Now let us consider what this means for us, in the area of identity. God is our Father, and He has sent His Son to redeem us from the power of the law so that we might be taken into the family of God. We are not a worker or slave but we are now in His household, having all the benefits of a son.

We that have the calling of being a father, is that our identity? No, that is our calling, but it is not our identity. Within this identity, in that we are a son and not a slave, we live out our callings. Let me share of how this works out in a practical way, and since it is Father‚€™s Day and I am a father, I will use myself as an example. A wonderful woman of our congregation has put together an identity statement for a Christian and so I am going to state my identity as a child of God, as a son of God.

I am‚€¦a child of God, (Romans 8:16) saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8), redeemed from the hand of the foe, (Psalm 107:2) an heir of eternal life, (1 James 5:11-12) forgiven (Eph 1:7) led by the Spirit of God, (Romans 8:14) a new creature (2 Cor 5:17) redeemed from the curse of the Law, (Gal 3:13) kept in safety wherever I go, (Isaiah 46:4) strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, (Eph 6:10) livng by faith and not by sight, (2 Cor 5:7) rescued from the dominion of darkness, (Col 1:13) justified, (Romans 5:1) an heir of God and co-heir with Christ, (Romans 8:17) blessed with every spiritual blessing, (Eph 1:13) an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony, (Revelation 12:11) the light of the world, (Matthew 5:14) an imitator of God, (Eph 5:1) healed by His wounds, (1 Peter 2;24) being transformed by the renewing of my mind, (Romans 12:2) heir to the blessings of Abraham, (Galatians 3:14) doing all things through Christ, (Philippians 4:13) more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)

That is our/my identity in Christ. Our callings flow out of our identity in Christ. So on this Father‚€™s Day I am thinking of our Father in heaven, of my earthly father and of myself as a father. Our Father in heaven is the only perfect father and in my eyes my earthly father was pretty special in that I at the very least knew that he loved me and provided for me and my family.

I have come to see that it is of the utmost importance to know our identity in Christ as out of that relationship flows all of our callings. My identity is not in fatherhood or in pastorship. It is that I am a son of God who has given me His Spirit so that I not only know that I am His, but also that from His Spirit in my heart to Him flows this communion and fellowship of love and belonging. So now as His Son in my calling as a father I want so make to ‚€œplease‚€Ě Him in my calling as a father in teaching and training those children and grandchildren that He blessed me with so that they will know Him as Father. They are my natural sons and daughters, but they are His spiritual sons and daughters.

I ask all of us that read this meditation to remember this all important truth: That we are sons and daughters and not slaves. We have been broken out of prison by Jesus, have been set free from the power of the law and now live as His children knowing that we are loved, that we have purpose and that we have a destiny.

So, when we are struggling with our identity, may we read that paragraph slowly, meditatively and thankfully, for as the Spirit witnesses with our spirit of our sonship/daughtership, we will be assured, encouraged, empowered and inspired in our individual callings.

Blessings to each of you as His sons and daughters.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 18 Jun 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Temptation of Jesus
- 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.