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This page includes words from our Senior Pastor, Rev. G. K. Terian, such as synopsises/translations of the Armenian Sermons or special articles.
The pruning process cannot be likened to spiritual surgery. It is not only the removal of what is dead;
it can also mean trimming the good in order to produce the best.
In today’s main Scripture, Jesus tells us the importance of being connected to the source of life by using the analogy of the vine and its branches. Just as electricity supplies the power that enables a lamp to produce light, in like manner the vine supplies the necessary nutrients to the branches to make them produce fruit.
Jesus is the true vine; God is the gardener; we are the branches. We can grow and be fruitful only when we remain connected to Jesus.
It is interesting that Jesus stresses the importance of pruning. Notice that God does not prune the dead branches; He prunes the branches that bear fruit in order to make them more fruitful. At first glance, the pruning may seem as an unnecessary or harmful activity because what is being pruned looks like a healthy vine; however, that vine is being pruned because it has not produced all the fruit that it is capable of producing.
Two of my maternal uncles owned a citrus grove near the coastal city of Jaffa, Israel. As a child, I was a frequent visitor to their grove because I loved to pick and eat the juicy oranges and the sweet tangerines. I also noticed how carefully they pruned their trees every year. I would hear my uncles instructing their hired helpers to cut off what they called “The Suckers” that were tiny branches growing on the main trunk of the trees. I was repeatedly told if “The Suckers” were left untouched, they would consume most of the sap and very little nourishment would reach the main branches.
“The Suckers” represent the cares of this world that can prevent, delay or stunt our spiritual growth and reduce our fruit bearing potential.
Pruning is not punishment; it is being done to make the vine more productive. Pruning may be painful at first, but it leads to a bumper crop. God prunes us spiritually by cutting away our selfishness, pride, greed and the worldly distractions.
Bear this truth in mind: you never see a branch pruning another branch. The pruning is God’s work only.
In Galatians 5:22, there is a list of the spiritual fruit that God expects us to bear. I want you to notice that the word “Fruit” in this verse is singular and not plural. We are told that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity and self-control. The Holy Spirit produces in us one fruit that has seven attributes.
We are not commanded to bear fruit; we are commanded to abide in the True Vine, Jesus Christ.
We don’t have to struggle to produce fruit; the Vine and the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit if we remain inseparately attached to Jesus without whom we can do nothing.
The longer we abide in Jesus, the more abundant our fruit would be.
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Romans 5:6, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
Fiorello LaGuardia was mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression. He was called by adoring New Yorkers 'The Little Flower' because he was only 5’4” and always wore a carnation in his lapel.
He was a colorful character who used to ride the New York City fire trucks to encourage the firefighters, take entire orphanages to baseball games, and whenever the New York newspapers were on strike, he would go on the radio and read the Sunday funny stories to the kids.
One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. substituting for a judge who was sick. Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia that her daughter's husband had deserted the family, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. "It's a real bad neighborhood, your Honor." the man told the mayor. "She's got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson."
LaGuardia sighed. He turned to the woman and said "I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions--ten dollars or ten days in jail." And then he reached into his pocket and paid the fine. Then he turned to the crowd in the court and said, “I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom 50 cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Baliff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant." $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, 50 cents of that amount being contributed by the red-faced grocery store owner, while some 95 people, petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and NYC policemen, each of whom had just paid fifty cents. That’s grace.
Grace blesses us when we don’t deserve it. Grace is received when we fall down and fail, when we fall flat on our faces, when our sin is exposed, and forgiveness and restoration meets us. In fact, it is grace that finds us out. Grace meets us in the middle of our mess and offers us forgiveness and restoration. And grace takes away the power and control that fear, sin and failure have over us. It frees us up from our baggage. It empowers us to address our failure. In doing so, it takes away fear’s power and control over us so we don’t have to run anymore. When we come to the Lord’s Table we admit we are broken and thus make ourselves ready to receive God’s grace.
Grace speaks a fresh word about who we are created to be. To the woman who has been caught in adultery, Jesus said, “Go and leave your life of sin.” Grace meets us in our brokenness and then points us in a new direction. Grace says, “This may be what you have done, but this is not who you can be in me.” This is why Paul says in Romans 2:4, “God’s kindness (or God’s grace) leads us to repentance.” God’s unmerited, undeserved love and acceptance move us beyond where we are and points us in a new direction.