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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Pastor's Blog

So Send I You 4/12/2015
Dear friend,

On the evening of Resurrection Sunday, ten of the disciples of Jesus were huddled behind closed doors as they wondered what was going to become of them in light of the reality that their Teacher had been crucified, had died and had been put into the grave. Even though some of them had gone to His tomb, had heard what Mary had experienced at the tomb, and had seen that His body was not there, they did not yet know/understand what the Old Testament Scriptures had prophesied and of that which He Himself had told them about His resurrection from the dead.

As they waited, suddenly Jesus stood in their midst and spoke these words: "Peace be unto you." He then showed them his hands and his side, and the disciples seeing the Lord, were glad.......He then spoke words of peace to them again, but added some challenging words to his greeting of peace: "Peace be unto you, as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you."....

He then gave them a mission , empowered them for His mission by breathing on them the Holy Spirit and then gave them the message to speak.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.

As we live in a culture that is getting increasingly less tolerant of the very message that is able to free them from the guilt and the power of sin, may we not huddle in fear in our churches, but may we be reminded that He is our Peace, we have a mission, He has empowered us for His mission and that He has a message that He wants all to hear and to believe: "Your sins are forgiven through the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ, who was dead but now lives forever!

We are living in a new Day, and we can never go back to that it was before. Death is now defeated, and we live in the new Day. Jesus had earlier told them that trouble was going to come, but they had not got it. They had the door closed and barred, and were quaking in fear. Jesus had done all that he has said he was going to do, but they did not understand. We spend a lot of our time fearing death, we look for all kinds of ways of how to extend our years.

We live in the Easter vigil, on Saturday, we know that he arose from the dead, but for the most part we act as if we are not sure that he arose from the dead. He is risen from the dead, death is over, it has no power over anyone, and nothing will ever change that. Death is ended, and all that we have now is life. Let us talk about the New Day! Every day we have a new day and it is a constant reality for us. When the grave was empty, it was our grave, we cannot any longer be found in death. For in Him we cannot die, so why do we fear that which cannot happen.

Jesus comes into the room where the disciples are all locked up and tells them: "Peace be unto you." Don't be afraid, he tells them, but be at peace. He showed them his marks in his body, and as a result the disciples were very happy after He talked with them and showed them His wounds. He went onto tell them that he was sending them as he had been sent, but how did they receive that instruction? Being afraid, they must have struggled. After all, they were still in the room 8 days later.

The early church was very successful when it did not have structures to maintain, such as a building, for it had the concept that the church was out in the market place, out in the field, out in the community. The emphasis was not in trying to get people to join their church, in trying to show people that "this is the church."

The church is where the name of Jesus Christ is proclaimed out in the world. Other religions have been around for years, and they are more visible than before. Christians are being killed but it is not the moment of their tragedy, it is the moment of their triumph. It is a new Day and the Resurrection has come. We have been given the Holy Spirit which empowers us to get out into the world to bring the Gospel of reconciliation to them.

1. We have the assurance of peace because of His completed work.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

KJV John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

KJV John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
KJV 1 John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

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.

KJV John 20:20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

After He had spoken to them (the Word), He gave them a sign by showing them His hands and His side. We hear about the Word of Christ in the Gospel and then this message is dramatized in the Sacrament on those Sundays that we partake of His body and His blood.

1 Cor 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew (proclaim) the Lord's death till he come.

The peace he has won for us and that we possess in Him is meant to be sent into the world as He speaks next of His example/model which they/we are to follow.

2. He provides a model:

KJV John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

He tells us how this sending is to be done: We need to lay aside self, There is no authentic mission without our identification with those whom we are trying to reach.

He did not stay in the safety of heaven, but left the place of His glory, entered our world, became one of us, taking our nature, having our sorrows, bearing our sins, and took our death. He identified with us without losing his identity. In becoming human He did not cease to be divine.

All authentic mission means to enter other people's lives, their world, entering into their mind, understanding their world view,and experiencing their alienation and their pain. We state and commend our faith only so far as we go out to put ourselves in loving sympathy inside the doubers, into their minds of pain and doubt and into their questions and into their loneliness as those who have lost their way.

We have peace, He has given us His example and:

3. He empowers us with His Spirit.

KJV John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

Jesus gave his disciples the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, by breathing on them the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, we have no power. He convinces people of sin, of righteousness and of judgment as it is written in John 16.

What significance if the breathing of Jesus upon the Apostles in verse 22? How does that line up with the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost? They had been told to wait for the Spirit in Jerusalem so that promise and that Day of Pentecost are connected. Today we do not have to wait for that day, for it will come when we believe.

The Bible records that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which had been prophesied by the Prophet Joel came on the day of Pentecost 50 days after His resurrection and 10 days after His ascension into heaven. After He gifted them with the Spirit, He gave instructed them what to preach.

We have peace, He has given us His example, He has given us the Holy Spirit and:

4. He gives us the message to share.

KJV John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

2 Cor 5:18 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.

We have peace, He has given us His example, He has given us the Holy Spirit and He gives us the message to share.

The world has changed, but the heart and desire of God for His world has not changed.

The atheists used to hide but now they are openly saying the things that they believe. The political power of the church is broken, which it never was intended to have and now the church will be able to get out into the world. This is the church that is emerging out into the world that began on resurrection morning. In the beginning we had been created to lilfe through the breath of God, and now Jesus breathed on his disciples the Holy Spirit and in so doing recreated them.

Wherever you find people who wish to be free of the guilt and power of sin, preach the gospel to them. It is time for us to be counted as Christian, it is time for us to get out into the world.This is our Day, and no one can take it from us. It is our Day, and every person that we encounter ought to know that Christ has redeemed them from their sin, and we are the privileged vessels who are here tell them the Good News.

It does not matter if one hates Him, He still loves them. If they mock Him, He still loves them And if one ever wants to come to Him, He will be glad to receive that one.

We are going to encounter this world, to engage the world with its problems, which we cannot ignore for they are coming to our own doorstep. In the same way that God has sent His Son, we are being sent. May we be faithful to the call that is before us, and hopefully we will heed His call for us to get out of our world and into the world and the lives of others.. May we be open to the changes that need to come in the way we seek to connect with others.

We fully realize that "being sent" has many applications, depending upon one's stage of life. Not all are called to serve in a public mission, but all are called to serve in their own family, in their own vocation and amongst their church family. Parents are called to train and teach their children the ways of God so that their children will remain in their Father's house all the days of their life, for that is the ideal of our Father and our God. When that does not happen, parents, grandparents, and all family including church family are then sent in some fashion to bring the wanderer back to the Father's house.

We have peace, He has given us His example, He has given us the Holy Spirit and He gives us the message to share.

The world has changed, but the heart and desire of God for His world has not changed.

As we close today and allow this message to be brought into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, may I share a couple of testimonies. One is from our sister Carol Fischer and the other is from the author of the writer of our closing hymn, "So Send I You." I trust that you have read her testimony and invite you to sit down with her so that you may be drawn closer together through sharing of that which Christ has done for you. I have chosen a few excerpts from Carol's experience and as we listen may we note the desire that is in her for the message of the Gospel to be received by the family that has been given to her and Bob, including grandchildren, great grandchildren and the generations to come......

"I was baptized and had been confirmed as a Lutheran in the Apostolic Lutheran Church, but went into the world until I repented and became a Christian when I was age 35. After around a year of being in an awakened condition to my/our need for repentance, Bob and I made arrangements to visit with Pastor Kenneth Hendrickson of the Plymouth Apostolic Lutheran Church concerning our conscience matters. After talking with us and hearing of our need to come to God, he assured us through the Gospel of Christ that our sins were forgiven in the name and blood of Jesus Christ and that we could freely believe that message for ourselves. We then requested to be served Holy Communion which Pastor Kenneth then did for us. That began our walk with the Lord, a walk which has continued ever since. I/we now attend the Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church, the same church that I grew up in.

I would like to be remembered that I am a sinner saved by grace, and I have never been sorry that I turned to God for salvation. In addition, I would like to be remembered as a caring person, and it is my greatest hope and prayer that my family would all be brought into the knowledge of God's saving grace, for that would be a great comfort to me. "
Secondly, we hear the testimony of:

“Margaret Clarkson, who was born in 1915, was a teacher in a gold-mining camp in northern Ontario, Canada. It was a lonely life for this woman, but she also knew that this is where God wanted her to serve Him. She had a great desire to be a missionary on a foreign field but because of her health was unable to go. One day she was reading again the verse John 20:21, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” While meditating on this verse she wrote the words to a hymn that has become a favorite during missionary conferences, “So Send I You.”

“In 1935 teaching jobs were so scarce that I had to take my first job as a teacher in a lumber camp some 1400 miles from home, out in the Rainy River District of northwestern Ontario. From there I moved to the gold mining camp of Kirkland Lake, 450 miles north of Toronto. In all, I spent seven years in the north. I experienced loneliness of every kind; mental, cultural, but particularly spiritual, for in all of those seven yeaars I never found real Christian fellowship churches were modern and born-again Christians almost non-existent.

I was studying the Word one night and meditating on the loneliness of my situation and came in my reading to John 20, and the words ‘So send I you’. Because of a physical disability I knew that I could never go to the mission field, but God seemed to tell me that night that this was my mission field, and this was where He had sent me. I was then twenty-fhree, in my third year of teaching. I had written and published verse all of my life, so it was natural to put my thoughts into verse.”

As we sing this last hymn, may we hear of how Margaret understood that missionaries were developed. It was not so much the place that one labored that was important to the Lord, but more important was the place of the Lord in the heart of the laborer. Listen to the progression that is built into this hymn, in the last line of each verse.

Where are we in sharing the desires of God for our lives, for the lives of our family, for the lives of those around us, whether near or far?

So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing-
So send I you to toil for Me alone.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O’er wand’ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.

So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart ahung’ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one-
So send I you to know My love alone.

So send I you to leave your life’s ambition,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long, and love where men revile you-
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho’ it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.

Margaret understood the ways of the Lord, even at 23 years of age. She understood that the Lord's way was the pathway that was chosen for her. She came to know that being sent was only the beginning of her training, that suffering was going to be her school so that she would learn more of who Love was so that in coming to know that Love, her life would be lost in His and that she would to know and experience the purpose of tasting of Calvary, of which Apostle Paul wrote about to the Philippian believers:

ESV Philippians 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Lord, you want all and you have sent us to deliver your message to all. It is Love that reached down for us, came down to us and now indwells us by your Spirit. Lord, please allow us to experience that which You know will deepen our comprehension and knowledge of Love, give us the ability to love people as You do and by the power of Love draw these souls that you love so dearly to yourself through Christ who works through us. Lord, we humbly pray this today, for you glory's sake. Amen.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala


Posted on 12 Apr 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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