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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Knowing God 10.22.2017

Dear friend, I greet you with the greeting that Apostle Peter greeted his readers in his second letter, in that he longed that grace and peace, or unmerited favor and the peace of God, would be multiplied in their hearts and minds through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!

This is the Apostle that met Jesus in the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, and who was called to be a follower of Jesus with two words, follow me, (and I will make you a fisher of men). Peter left his nets and began to follow Jesus as one who was quick to speak impulsively. He came to the end of himself when he denied the One whom he said he would die for, denying him before a young girl and even with a curse.

He came to experience the great grace of God through Jesus Christ and upon being restored to his ministry, he served as a pastor for the people of God which is written about in the book of Acts. In the last chapter of the Gospel of John, the nature of his ministry as well as the end of his life is told to him by the Lord.

John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Please note that the Lord spoke the same words to Peter that he had when He had called him in the beginning of his life, follow me. Peter recognized the great grace that had been given to him through Christ and he lived his life out of the abundance of grace received, always magnifying the grace of God as revealed by God through Christ. Peter sets a good example for us in that if anyone would have had reason to look back on how poorly he had followed Christ, he could have. Instead, we see him magnifying the forgiveness of God and of how he extended that great grace to others in the Gospel.

Peter then is credited with writing two letters, 1st and 2nd Peter. In the first one he writes to those who are either under persecution or will be shortly in order to encourage, assure and strengthen them in faith. The one we are considering today, his second letter, is more concerned with grounding them in the scriptures so that they will not be led astray by false teachers and preachers. He does this by pointing out to them that they have received a huge deposit of grace from God through the Word and encourages them to grow in the knowledge of God in Christ through the scriptures. Please take a look at the beginning of PeterÔ€™s letter (ch 1) and the end of it.(ch 3) Note of how he points to growth through knowledge.

1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

If you or I were given a million dollars, what would we do with it? Spiritually speaking, what Peter is saying that we have been given a spiritual deposit of grace, a deposit which will never run dry as it continues to flow from great treasury of heaven.

We are called to not only enjoy the blessings of eternal life, but we are called to deploy this same grace through diligently seeking to demonstrate the life of Christ in us through the distribution of His grace to others. For we demonstrate that we are one with God in Christ when we are imitators of Him. We learn to be imitators by following him, i.e. by listening to Him speak from His Word and Spirit.

The other day I had two experiences which gave me joy as I heard these lovely people share from their heart and in so doing they demonstrated to me of their knowledge of God. One was a person who was disappointed in the circumstances of life and of their unfulfilled expectations of other people. After talking about it, this person asked the question: WWJD? We talked and then I asked WDJD? From the cross, what were His very first words? They were, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

That is knowing God, that we know Him to be gracious, and experiencing His grace, we are programmed to live out of this grace towards others.

2 Peter 2.8 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. (We are demonstrating that we know God)

The other one was when a person shared with me of how they have been helping another person out and of how good it feels to help people. That is knowing God.

I see many in this congregation who in their knowing of the grace and peace of God are living their lives out for the sake of others. I see many here diligently working to increase their usefulness and effectiveness for the sake of the spiritual welfare of others. They are demonstrating that they know God, are known of God, are indwelt by God and so they are merely living out of He who is in them.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Peter certainly recognized that the grace of God was great as he came to recognize it through his following Jesus. Can we imagine for a minute this scene which Peter experienced shortly after disowning his Lord?

Luke 22:1 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.m 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

What kind of a look do you think that our Lord gave to Peter? With our knowledge of God, what do we think? How we answer this question will reveal how well we know God. Do we not think that the Lord looked upon Peter with compassion and forgiveness or did He look upon Peter with accusation and a I told you so look? According to Scripture, we would have to say Peter received a look of tender compassion which broke his heart and left him beside himself as all his efforts and self knowledge was in the trash heap.

Let us close this devotion with this prayer from letter of Paul to the Colossians.

Lord, we pray that we may be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of You. May we be strengthened with all power, according to Your glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to You, our Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For You have delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of Your beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

May we out of the abundance of grace received pour it out upon this world.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 22 Oct 2017 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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