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

The Rest of Jesus 7.9.2017
Dear friend,

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ now and always, Amen!

Grace is greater than all humanity's sin, which the Holy Spirit refers to in 5:20, "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
In Romans chapter 6, the question comes forth out of verses 20-21. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" In other words, if God is glorified through being gracious, why don't we continue sinning so that God can be glorified more in extending grace to us!

What does the Word answer: "God forbid!, How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Sin and death no longer have power over us, we who by grace through faith are united in Jesus Christ, for the penalty of sin which is death, has been removed by Christ. In addition, the power of sin has been broken by our being in union with Jesus Christ. Henceforth we no longer live as slaves of sin, but rather as slaves of righteousness. The law no longer has power over us, either to condemn us or to provoke us to sin. (Romans 7:8)

KJV Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Jesus calls to us to "come unto Him, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. "For heavy burdens are borne by us when we are either trying to earn God's favor by trying to live up to the demands of the law or are by being loaded with guilt at the realization that we have broken His perfect law. The law is like a mirror, and when we look into the mirror of God‚€™s perfection, we see and acknowledge our sin. But when we receive by faith the grace that has been extended to us, all our burdens are laid aside, and we now live in the power of His Spirit which continually ministers unto us the grace of forgiveness as well as provokes and empowers us to walk in His Spirit.

KJV Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
KJV Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

We now live as servants/slaves unto God, wanting to please Him, resisting the callings of our flesh and desiring to follow Jesus in His Word.
He says unto us today: ‚€œMy yoke is easy and my burden is light.‚€Ě

Have you received an invitation to a wedding this summer? Was there a RSVP request in that invitation? If there was, the host was requesting a response to the invitation for their planning purposes and it is considered inconsiderate to not respond to the RSVP.

When I was yet a teenager, Reverend George Wilson, who grew up in this area, became a preacher and a leader in our Apostolic Lutheran Church Federation, preached a sermon in the small congregation that I was privileged to be a part of in Rosburg, Washington. That is a small town near where I grew up, located in Southwest Washington State, close to where the Columbia River empties in the Pacific Ocean.

I recall what he said on the statement that Jesus made concerning the Greatest Invitation ever given and which still stands today. ‚€œCome unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.‚€Ě
He divided the verse into two parts, saying that those who labor are those who are in the delusion that they must earn God‚€™s favor by living a righteous life and those who are heavy laden are those who live under such a burden of guilt that they think that God will not forgive them. In the years that have passed since, I have more and more appreciated the simplicity with which he opened up and explained this particular scripture.

Can we be thankful enough for those who have preached and taught Jesus to us through the years? I am not sure that I appreciate them as much as I should, but yet I do recognize the blessing that has been brought to me through the love and care of many many people who loved me enough to teach me who Jesus is. I could get way off track here and begin to list them, but I will not do so. But you get my point.

I don‚€™t remember much more about what he said on that day, but I do remember very well of how he pointed to the two sides of the road where we tend to stray: We somehow think that we must live a good enough life so that God would be pleased with us according to our own efforts, or we are convinced to believe that our sin is too grievous for God to have to deal with. We somehow thing that this is too much for Him to even stomach, that what we have done or that which we are are in our flesh is beyond His reach of grace.

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus is addressing the crowd that was gathered around Him as He began to become more visible and impactful upon people‚€™s lives. He was rising to the forefront and the responses and reactions to His preaching and teaching began to divide people: Those who followed Him and those who rejected Him.

Even John the Baptist while in prison (Matthew 11:1-6) needed some reassurance from Jesus in order to not lose heart as he languished in a bad bad prison for preaching the truth to a king. Jesus pointed out the crowd that John was no wimp, for he was God‚€™s messenger to announce the coming of Jesus. He told the crowd, He tells us ‚€œHe that has ears , let him hear!‚€Ě

When we do not have ears to hear Jesus talking to us out of His Word, we see Him as meaningless, we will be seeking to find truth in meaninglessness in all sorts of ways, and we look at Him in disdainful ways. Jesus addresses those to whom He has spoken of Himself as the Light of the world and of how they will be held responsible for not repenting even after seeing and hearing the mighty works of God through Jesus. (Matthew 12:20-24)

To the Jewish mind, God was the ultimate and because the relationship between the Father and the Son was hidden from them, they rejected Jesus totally. So when Jesus invited them to come to God through Him, they could not do so, for that would have been blasphemy against God. They were trapped in their religion of God and God alone, and there was not room for Jesus in their theology.

‚€œI will give you rest.‚€Ě What is He talking about? What is this rest? Well, going back to the words labor and heavy laden, one can see that firstly it is a ceasing from the impossible requirement to live good enough to inherit eternal life. Secondly it is coming to a place of peace when we know that all our guilt has been taken away through Christ‚€™s sacrifice which is received through believing that God has taken it away from us. When we have peace, we have rest. No more working to get saved, for we have already been saved through Christ and His perfection.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Okay, we have peace and we now rest in Him. But what about this yoke that binds us to Christ? Remember how we have been discussing of the union that we have with Christ, by which we are brought into His body and are the temple of God? Romans 6 and Ephesians 2:21-22? We are so joined to Him that we are in Him and He is in us. (John 17:21) We are joined to Him through the knowledge of our sin and through the hearing of faith whereby our desires and goals are the same as His. He wants us to learn of Him from Him via His Word and Spirit as we live life. May we avail ourselves of all the tools of technology to learn of Him from Him.
It is in the learning of Him that we will come to see more and more that He is indeed meek and lowly in heart, and that coming to this awareness, we will find peace and rest into our souls. For surely His yoke is easy to bear and His burden is not heavy.

Cannot we not say that His yoke is one of His love for us, of His forgiveness toward us and of His joy in us? Yes, I think so, but it is only when we are humbled before God to admit not only that we are sinners completely before Him and that we need His forgiveness that His yoke becomes one that we want to have unite us with Christ. From then on, everything changes completely for us.

May this Word be blessed into our hearts and souls today and always!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala




Posted on 09 Jul 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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