Friday, December 27, 2013

Article Update December 2013

As I have been very busy for the last few months with school and work and I have not been able to write as much as I wish I could. I apologize for that. I am working on a special series of articles and I am hoping to soon be finished with them. They are doctrinally based so I want to do my best at explaining what I mean and make them as complete as I can. Lord willing, they will be done sometime this spring and if not this spring then sometime early this summer. I am hoping to have a separate article done by January 8th if that is the Lords will. I am very excited about this up coming series of articles. I hope that you will pray for me as I write that the Lord would give me wisdom and understanding and that I would not shy away from the hard subjects. I appreciate your prayers. Thanks for reading.

Your brother in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 2013 Update

Hello brothers and sisters in Christ,

I have not written in a while to tell you what has been happening here in Montana. This fall has brought school again and more opportunities to share the gospel on campus here in Bozeman. We have continued our work in handing out gospel tracts to students.

Recent Happenings

A couple of things that have happened recently have been, that I have had the opportunity to share the gospel with some of my unsaved friends that I spend a lot of time doing homework with. I am thankful for the opportunities that the Lord has given me. Another thing that happened was a bunch of the kids in my major were coming out of a class in which I happened to be walking past while handing out gospel tracts. Most of them took gospel tracts and now they know for a fact that I am a believer in Jesus Christ. This has brought about some good conversations with some of my classmates. I am thankful that I had that opportunity; because that is something I struggle with, talking with people closest to me and around me. I have had other opportunities such as talking with a former LDS about who God is. It was such a good conversation. We spent an hour sitting in the sun in 40 degree weather, just talking about the Lord as people walked by. Others were sitting nearby on benches.  I pray that they were also listening. 

Opportunities for just talking about the Lord have arisen while in the engineering computer lab with many non-believers around us. My friend Hervey ( from Uganda) and I spend some time talking about the Bible and the gospel some days, which gives opportunity once again for people working there to hear the gospel. I am so thankful for these small opportunities that the Lord gives me and the others that have been sharing the gospel with me. It has been encouraging to talk with unbelievers and spend some time reasoning with them about who Christ is and sharing with them the great and wonderful hope that we have in Christ.

New Opportunities

This next weekend, I will be in Helena again for Thanksgiving with my family. The day after Thanksgiving there will be a Christmas Stroll downtown there. We have wrapped up some Gospels of John and will be giving some of them out there, as well as handing out Christmas gospel tracts and small calendar cards for the New Year and talking with people about Christ and Christmas. Please pray for me and my family as we do this, All of my siblings are of the age where they know the gospel and are eager and willing to help, so I pray for boldness as we go out and share the gospel with these people in Helena and that all of them might come to know Christ through this.

The next week I will be back in Bozeman again as finals will be the following week.  December 7th we will be in downtown Bozeman once again to hand out gospels of John and gospel tracts for their Christmas Stroll as well as talking with people about Christ and Christmas. Though my sibling will not be there, my brothers and sisters in Christ will be there.  What a great opportunity to share the gospel with people in these two cities in Montana.

These events bring out so many people and we pray that the Lord would help us as we talk with them that we would have wisdom, boldness, compassion and love for the people here that need the Savior.

Here are a few prayer requests:

1.      Praise the Lord for all the opportunities we have had so far this semester.

2.      Pray that the hearts of people might be softened and that their eyes would be open to the state they are in and that they would repent and believe in Christ.

3.      Pray that we might make some good contacts and be able to follow up with them.

4.      Pray that the Lord would help us as we talk with them that we would have wisdom, boldness, compassion and love for the people here that need the Savior.

5.      Pray for the rest of this school year that more people would have questions and that I would also get more opportunities to share the gospel with people that I know.

6.      Pray for the believers on campus that they would be a bold witness and lay aside the things of this world. That they would not be distracted, but follow whole heartedly after Christ.

7. Above all please pray that Christ might be glorified. That is our words and our actions that we would portray Christ.

Thank you all for your prayers. I appreciate them. For now this is my mission field and this is where the Lord wants me. I am thankful to Him for what He is doing, though I do not know what lies in the future. I trust that He does. Thank you again.

Your brother in Christ,
T.J. Kerttula

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sprinkled with Christ's Blood Part 2

In the first article, we looked at the Old Testament passage on what it meant to the Jews to be sprinkled with blood in order to better understand what Peter was writing about in 1 Peter 1:1-2. Now I want to look at the New Testament and to take a look at what the writer of Hebrews has to say about this phrase.  If we look at Hebrews 9:13-28 we find the writer of Hebrews refers to the giving of the old covenant in Exodus 24. He starts out with a question “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (v13-14 NASB)

We can see the sprinkling of blood indicates sanctification. To be sanctified means to make holy, or to set apart for God. This blood of the animals cleansed the flesh, but the blood of Christ cleanses our conscience from dead works. Christ sprinkled us with His blood to cleanse our consciences of dead works to serve the living God. 

The writer of Hebrews goes on to explain “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.”(V15-18) The question could be asked, “For what reason?” Because the blood of Christ has cleansed your conscience and Christ offered Himself without blemish. For these reasons Christ is The mediator. Not a mediator or one of many mediators, but the only mediator of the new covenant. A death had to take place for the redemption of transgressions under the first covenant. So also a death, the death of Christ, took place for the new covenant to be made. Christ is the mediator of the new covenant[1], so that, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.  Even the first covenant was started with blood. 

The writer of Hebrews comes to reference the story of Moses and when the first covenant inaugurated. “For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU." And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. “ (V19-22)

 In the first part of this article we looked at the very story of Moses sprinkling the people with the blood of the calves and the goats. Moses went and spoke every single commandment the Lord had given them. Not just the ones he liked or the ones he thought were the best, but every single commandment. He told them “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.”  Without blood being shed on our behalf there is no way we can be forgiven.

We have an eternal inheritance and we have a covenant with the Father. We can be so thankful that we have a new covenant with God through Jesus Christ, who shed his blood so we can be forgiven, sanctified heirs. What a wonderful thing to know that the covenant was made by the Father for us. What a beautiful picture of our Savior and that we, who have believed and repented of our sins have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood.

[1] I am unsure why the NKJV puts “testament” in instead of covenant. The Greek indicates that the word there is the same word as covenant used above.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sprinkled with Christ’s Blood Part 1

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”~1 Peter 1:1-2

About a month ago, I had an opportunity to speak at the local assembly [1] I am a part of here in Helena. When studying for the message, I came across a couple of verses I had never thought about before. I don’t know how many times I have read this passage and never thought about what it was saying. The phrase I would like to look at “by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.”  Many times we think about Christ cleansing us with His blood. (1 John 1:7-8, Hebrews 9:14). When looking at this passage I have found that there are several other passages that we can look at to understand what Peter is saying more thoroughly.  Let us look at Exodus 24:6-8:

Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!" So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."

The events that happen before this passage are the oral giving of the Law to Moses. God has given him the Ten Commandments, the judgments for the people if they do not keep the commandments, three Feasts, and the instructions and promises concerning the conquest of the Promise Land. In Exodus 23:32, we see that God commands them not to make any covenants with their neighbors or their neighbor’s gods and their neighbors should not live in their land.  Moses comes down the mountain and recounts to the people what the Lord told him on Mt. Sinai. In verse three of Exodus 24, the people say “All the LORD has spoken we will do!”  Moses writes everything down and the men offer burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then Moses takes half of the blood and sets it aside and the other half he sprinkles on the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, which he had just written and read it to all the people. Notice they say the same thing again, but add a phrase to the end. “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” Moses takes the blood that was set aside and sprinkled it on the people and said “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” The sprinkling of the blood indicated the covenant God made with Israel.

When God made the new covenant with us, Christ’s blood was sprinkled on us. The sprinkling indicates sanctification. This means to make holy, or to set apart for God.  That is what the Holy Spirit has done for us. We are chosen to obey Christ, to be sprinkled with His blood and as a result of being sprinkled with His blood the Holy Spirit Sanctifies us. We also can say “All the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”

We can be thankful that Christ has made the new covenant with both Jews and Gentiles. What a wonderful Savior we have that we have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit because Christ has sprinkled us with His blood.

[1] For those of you who do not understand this term. It is the local church I am a part of. The assembling together of my brothers and sisters in Christ on Sunday morning. I am not by any means referring to the denomination of the “Assembly of God”. It is another name of the local church that one attends.