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

Don't forget the Truth! 5.24.2015
Dear friend,

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Well, it is nice to be back feeling a lot better after being sick for over three weeks. I thank many for their prayers for my healing and am thankful to get back to work as there is a busy time coming up in the month of June.


Today in the church year is the Day of Pentecost, which is the day that we mark on which God gave Himself to the world when He sent His Spirit. This event occurred 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus and 10 days after His ascension. Please read how Peter responded to those who saw this amazing event happen (Acts 2:1-13) as he spoke after some said that those affected by the coming of the Spirit are merely drunk! I have highlighted the two key parts of the coming of the Spirit. It was poured upon all and whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This was a one time event never to be repeated, but one that is foundational to our Christian faith, as it declared in the meaning of the third article of the Apostle's Creed.

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.

Only through the work and presence of the Holy Spirit are we able to be in Christ Jesus and for that we praise our Heavenly Father in a way that if the shackles and restraints of our fleshly pride were taken off, we would blow the roof off of the church that we are in today. In our sermon text today, which we are going to only briefly refer to, the Apostle Peter exhorts us to remember that grace and mercy of God that has been granted unto us by God our Father through the giving of Himself in the Holy Spirit.

He tells us that we have the grace and mercy through the knowledge of God, in other words, knowing rightly who God is, what He has done for us in Christ and what He has in store for us, both here on earth as well as in eternity. Allow me to put the verses that I am referring to here in front of us:

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We could summarize this section by saying that God has downloaded Himself into us via His Spirit so that He has taken up habitation in us, thus we have become partakers of His divine nature. That does not mean we are God, but that we are indwelt by His Spirit according to His promise which enables us to escape the corruption that is in the world through fleshly lust. Let then note that Peter does not stop there, but uses the word "add" to point us to growth in Christian character, or in Godly attributes. It is important to note that all these attributes are to be added to faith, for faith is the well spring of all these succeeding attributes, characteristics. Unless faith is sprung forth, there cannot be any real fruit of the Spirit.

He calls upon us to add to our faith, and to do it diligently: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity (love) There are seven characteristics that he calls our attention to. I will place the ESV translation for clarification's sake on these words.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,(moral goodness) and virtue with knowledge,
6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,(reverence toward God)
7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He is saying that we are to seek diligently to grow in our relationship with our God and our Saviour through the increase in these characteristics which are of God. They are not to be considered as to bring favor from God towards us, but they are as evidence of the life of God in us. It is very important to keep that distinction in mind always.

9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is stated that if we lack these things, that we are blind, cannot see afar off and have forgotten that Christ has washed us of our sins. We remember that we spoke a few weeks back of the reality that fruit bearing is entirely dependent upon being hooked to the Vine, Jesus Christ and without Him we will bear no fruit. Here it is saying the same thing as there is a call for us to grow in our relationship of love and commitment to Christ so that the evidence of the growing relationship would be evidenced by our attitudes and actions towards others. We note that the last two characteristics are brotherly love (which Philadephia is named after) and love, which is the love of God (agape) The love of God is unconditional and it is one way from Him. He pours it out upon us in abundance!!

The last part of the first chapter is where Peter brings the word remember into play. Three times he tells them of the importance not forgetting, but to be in remembrance!!!

12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

Let us note of how he hammers the word remembrance to them. He says that I am not going to be a slacker in reminding you, even though I know you know them, for I want you to be established in the truth. He knew that he had only so much time left to live here on this earth, and he was going to use that time to stir (wake up, arouse) them up by reminding them of what he had written in the first part of the chapter:

God's grace and mercy is yours, you are His offspring, you are a partaker of His divine nature, you have escaped the world's lust but don't relax in that state. Add to your faith virtue, (moral goodness), and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,(reverence toward God) and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Peter wants to leave such a deep impression upon his hearers, he wants to have these truths so embedded in them that they will not forget it when he is no longer there in person to remind them. For he is leaving, under the inspiration and the direction of the Holy Spirit, a written record of these things. It is more than an oration that he is leaving them, for the Holy Scripture is being left
with them.

He goes on to tell them that he was an eyewitness of Jesus Christ on the Mt of Transfiguration and that he heard the voice of God from heaven with these words:

"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount."

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

We understand that the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all written either as a result of eyewitness accounts or the testimony was written by one who had been an eyewitness to the events. This is what Peter is attesting to here, but he is doing more than that. What he is saying that, yes, he saw with his own eyes Jesus Christ, and he ties the Old Testament together with the New Testament when in verse 19 he talks about the more sure word of prophecy (Old Testament) For the Old Testament prophecies were not some cunningly devised fables, but as Peter writes in verse 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

The Old Testament prophesied via the Holy Spirit as He inspired men to write the scriptures, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies, the writers of the New Testament recorded these eyewitness accounts and so we have the written record with us today to teach, rebuke, correct and instruct us as to the ways of God.

Wow this has gotten kind of long. I am going to have to figure out a way to reduce this down for the sermon somehow, as I want to speak a little on Memorial Day as we remember tomorrow those who have given their lives in the service of our country.

This I would like to do by the way of illustrations, and I pray that we will be blessed through these contributions as we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

KJV John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

This man is an example of giving himself for his friends in the time of war. Albert Romberg was the brother of Elna Niemela, my wife's aunt, Elna is a very good friend of Steve Hendrickson's mother Verna.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Private First Class Frederick Albert Romberg (ASN: 36823878), United States Army, for gallantry in action while serving with the 85th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, on 14 April 1945, near Castel d'Aiano, Italy. When well-emplaced snipers held up the advance of an assault company and deadly mortar and artillery fire swept the immobilized men, Private First Class Romberg acted as the first scout for a platoon sent around the flank to wipe out the hostile snipers. Advancing ahead of his comrades, he crept to within a short distance of a building which housed three snipers, who had been particularly effective in their fire. With no more cover available, he then rose to his feet and charged the emplacement. All hostile fire was directed at him, but he continued throwing grenades, killing all of the three snipers and enabling his company to advance. Inspired by his gallant deed, his comrades overran all enemy resistance and quickly secured their first objective. Private First Class Romberg, by his extreme heroism in the face of great danger to expedite the assault, has earned the undying memory of all who witnessed his splendid action, and perpetual commemoration in the finest traditions of the united states army.

This account from former Senator Bob Dole in his book Our Soldier's Story.

"Moments later, a heavy machine gun opened fire on us, from the farmhouse.....the men and I scrambled from out behind the hedgerow and started up the steep, rock grade toward the farmhouse. The Germans might get some of us, but they would not get all of us before one of us go them. We were about fifty to sixty feet away from the hedgerow before the machines guns crackled again...Private Fred (Albert) Romberg, our first scout, had a better angle than I did. He stood so he could throw better, get some distance to his grenade toss, but he had no sooner stood up than the machine gun fire cut him down. He writhed in the air and fell face forward in the dirt. His helmet fell off and rolled in front of him. As in a surreal movie, Romberg's helmet rolled away from its owner and tumbled down the slope, clanking by a few rocks before coming to a stop. I wanted to run to him, but I knew that if I did, there would be two of us dead in the dirt. "Romberg, you are a good man, I won't forget you."

On our prayer list we have the names of those who are connected with our congregation who are serving in the military

For those soldiers and their families who have been in harm's way, have not lost their physical lives, but have returned with wounds inside that continue and continue.

The effect of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome are terrible......

(From a member of our congregation who suffered abuse as a child)

Once tattered and worn, my soul was torn.
My wounds have healed, a new life revealed.
Far better than the one before, And yet I can't seem to ignore...
That the scars remain, just the same.
They are a part of me, of who I was,
They are not there just because.
For without them I simply would not be.
The person who God inspired in me,
Yes I remember the hurt the shame, the scars remain just the same.


And lastly, which goes along very well with our text today, is from our only graduate this year, Marla Peterson. She had been to the National Holocaust Museum and at my request wrote the following short article. She calls it protecting the Truth.

Protecting the Truth
“Where books are burned, in the end people will be burned.” Heinrich Heine’s powerful words compelled me to stop while walking through the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.. The words were carved into an impactful granite wall with a large stack of books piled next to it. The quote was shocking. My immediate reaction was that it couldn’t be true. But there I stood, surrounded by the evidence that Heine’s statement was, in fact, complete truth.

Books are most often created to explain, inform, or introduce an idea. Book burnings occurred in an attempt to destroy an idea. Eventually, people who believe in this idea will also be destroyed. This tactic was used in 1933 when the Nazi regime began burning all books opposing Nazi ideology. Today, Christians in our country are experiencing a similar assault on Christian ideas and beliefs, which are based on the absolute Truth of the Bible. Although few have gone as far as burning books, our beliefs are consistently called into question, while other religions have become more prominent in our country. However, we should not discourage. Our nation is changing, but the Truth will never change. It is as eternal as our lives in Jesus Christ. Under the protection of an all-powerful, living God, we must continue to pray for our nation and challenge worldly beliefs with courage and confidence in the name of Jesus.

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I pray that you will have time of mediation and reflection over what has been written here today. It is quite long, but it is fairly simple to follow along, I believe. God bless you!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 24 May 2015 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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