The Power of Grace Luke 13:1-9

Dear friend in Christ.

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

As we continue fixing our gaze upon the Lover of our soul, who came not be ministered to , but to minister to us His grace, we find ourselves in the middle of a long dissertation by Him. He has been discussing various topics with His hearers as He journeyed closer and closer to the time when He would be lifted up above the earth in order to make all things new by delivering the forgiveness of sins to the world.  Here is the text that we are going to use as our focus of meditation today, found in Luke’s Gospel  13:1-9.

KJV Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Jesus answers the first example and then provides a second happening that they must have been familiar with by telling them that their assumption was wrong. In the Gospel of John He also spoke to the same type of question.


KJV John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

He then turns to the hearers and tells them of the necessity of their repentance, or turning away from sin and to God for His grace of forgiveness.

There are two truths in Christianity that must be understood, believed and told to all: First: That Jesus Christ in His death on the cross brought us back to God so that sin is not imputed unto anyone anymore.  

Second: That by believing (which involves repentance) this reality, we are counted as perfectly righteous even as Christ is.


 Let us read two of the foundational texts which teach this reality:


John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.



2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 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.


KJV 2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

In both readings we see the reality of the reconciling work of Jesus which secured forgiveness for all, and those who believe the Gospel live in the joy of forgiveness. Those who do not believe that they are forgiven, are not forgiven.


What is repentance?

The Apostle Paul spoke of two types of repentance, one that is godly and the other that is of the world. One brings salvation, the other brings death.

1 Cor 7: 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Essentially true repentance means that we are sorry for our sin, we want to truly forsake it, and want to turn from it, yet recognizing that we may continue to struggle with it in our weakness.  The sorrow of the world would be ‘getting caught’, but no sincere desire from the heart to change results.  In this, we must never forget that as it is written:


Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.



What is God’s desire for all of his beloved creations?

Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.



Jesus then speaks a parable which could be understood from the point of view that we have touched upon above. He wants all to come to believe in that which He will do (Has done) for all, He is long suffering, and adds at the end that today is the day of grace, not tomorrow, for tomorrow may never……..  He desires fruit, and that fruit is faith.


Luke 13: 6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Rejoice everyone!! For God has redeemed us through His Son, for He loves us deeply and wants us to live in the riches of His grace, free from bondage to self and sin, and freed to love others as we are loved.

So, dear one, let these words sink deep into your mind, into your heart and into your soul: You are forgiven for the sake of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work!! Believe it!!!!

The gracious peace of God be with you.

Pastor Orval

Come to My Table


KJV Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

KJV Luke 13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.


As Jesus journeyed towards through the cities and villages towards Jerusalem where according to the foreordained plan of His Father, He would rescue us from sin and death by becoming sin for us and by dying for us, He continued to teach many as he went. He would not only rescue us but He would invite us to be joined unto Him in a relationship of grace and truth, a relationship in which He wants us to live in the abundance of the riches of His grace.


Throughout the ages the heart of God has been seen in those who lived in the Old Testament times, in that through the preaching of the Word they have been touched by the heart of God to the point that they  became those who lived in the Promise (Genesis 3:15) of the coming of the Messiah. They not only looked to the Promise but they also were changed inwardly so that their hearts became new, in that they looked to how they might serve others in love. In our first Scripture reading (2 Samuel 9:1-13) we heard of how David, one after the heart of God, asked if there was anyone in the house of Saul that he might show kindness to for Jonathon's sake. (Please read that account)


Then we heard of the heart of Apostle Paul who called upon his people to follow his example, which of course was lived after Christ's example. (Philippians 3:17-4:1) He then goes onto reveal to us of how with weeping he warned them that there are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, whose glory is their shame and whose minds are set on earthly things.


Paul had the mind and the heart of God and of Christ, as he sorrowed over those who had not come to yield to the amazing grace and gift of God which is through the cross of Jesus Christ. He wept over them as he spoke to his people about the enemies of the cross of Christ. As he pointed them to the great and glorious future of their heavenly inheritance, he pointed out that their earthly body one day would be fashioned like unto the body of Christ, by the power that enables Him to subject all things unto Himself.


Then he poured out his heart of love for his people, when he said, "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and my crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.  Wow, how many endearing words did he use in trying to express his love for those he was given the grace to minister to? Let's see, brethren, dearly beloved, longed for, my joy, my crown, my dearly beloved.  Wow! Wow! Wow!


From where did the Apostle get that love that he felt inwardly and which he so profusely expressed to his congregation? Of course we know the answer, from God and we even know the verse in Romans 5:5, "And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."


In our Gospel lesson today Jesus spoke to the man who asked him a question as to if many were going to be saved:


ESV Luke 13:24 "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.


KJV John 10:9-10 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.


As Jesus spoke it was still the day of grace for those He was speaking to as he pointed to Himself as the only way to life and that once the door was closed, it would not be opened again. Today the door is open, Christ is the door to the abundant life in grace. As we heard above, after coming through the door which is Christ and His cross, David and Paul's lives were very similar in attitude and action of God, of Christ and of His Spirit. Paul expressed great joy in the love that he shared with his fellow believers and great sorrow even to weeping for those who "would not come" to Christ. (Luke 13:34).


His sorrow was not in hopelessness, but perhaps he channeled it into reaching those who were yet "enemies of the cross of Christ by seeking to "open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'   Acts 26:18


Acts 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.


As we continue to pray for our upcoming annual ALCA convention in St Cloud during the last part of June,may the Lord give us His heart, the heart of His Son and the heart of the Spirit. We have come to HIs table of salvation and it is our joy to have fellowship with Him and with one another in this feast of salvation here in time. May our hearts be enlarged so that we would call upon other sinners who have been redeemed, so that they might take their place beside our Saviour, sit down and be set free, set free to truly love....


Therefore, my brothers and sisters, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.


Come to His Table and receive from His hands His gracious gift of His body and of His blood, for the forgiveness of your sins. Amen.


Pastor Orval Wirkkala







Lent and the Two Temptations

There are two temptations stories in the Bible: There was the temptation of man and there was the temptation of Christ. In the first temptation, humanity was defeated by Satan, when Christ  was tempted, Satan was defeated.


The Temptation of mankind  by  Satan and its outcome.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"


Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and she did eat. (Sin and death came upon all)


The Temptation of the New Man, Jesus the Christ, by Satan and its outcome.

The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'"


And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, "' You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'"


And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, "' He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  (Luke 4:3-12)


“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33 (defeated Satan and continues to defeat him)


Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5


Yes, Lent is a reflective time to meditate upon the victory of Jesus the Christ over Satan and over all evil, and having been taken up into His victory by faith, we  live as overcomers who offer hope to this dying world. That hope is only found in the victory of Jesus the Christ!


Pastor Orval Wirkkala