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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.
October 1, 2017
“The Difference Between Words and Deeds”
The “Parable of the Two Sons” is part of the confrontation that Jesus had with the religious leaders at the Jerusalem Temple. Jesus was asked by what authority He preached and taught. Since Jesus did not attend the Rabbinical schools, they told him He had no right to preach and teach. Jesus answered their question with his own inquiry about the source of John the Baptist’s ministry. They could not reveal their feelings about the Baptist’s ministry, so they replied that they did not know whether or not the Baptist’s ministry was sanctioned by God. Jesus also refused to tell them the source of His authority, and then proceeded to tell them the Parable of the Two sons.
The Parable is a simple one and has only three characters, a father and two sons. The father approached the first son and said, “Son, go and work in my vineyard today.” The first son replied, “I will not go,” but afterward he repented and went and did what his father had demanded of him.
The father gave the same command to the second son who answered, “I will go, Sir,” but later on he changed his mind and did not go to work in his father’s vineyard. Then Jesus asked a simple question that had a very obvious answer, “which of the two sons did his father’s will?” His listeners gave the right answer by saying, “The first one.” Then Jesus startled them by saying, “Truly I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into heaven before you.”
The first son was guilty of the sin of open rebellion. At first, he refuse to obey his father’s request, but he later realized the seriousness of his sin and repented. He represents the tax collectors and prostitutes who did not hide their sins, but acknowledged them, confessed them, relinquished them, turned to God with remorse and contrition, and began living a new life that was in harmony with God’s will.
The second son was guilty of covert ( secret) rebellion and hypocrisy. He reneged on his promise and never repented. He represents the self-righteous religious leaders who pretended to be pious, but inwardly, they were corrupt, and their deeds did not match their profession of faith.
This is often our problem as well. How may projects have we agreed to be a part of, but later we fabricated excused to avoid getting involved? How many of us consented to serve on a committee, but never showed up for the meetings? It’s not what we say, but what we do that is important for God.
Many people find Christianity very appealing to them, and the study of the Gospel rekindles their dormant souls; consequently, they pledge allegiance to Christ, but they fail to live out their faith, and gradually begin to drift away from their Savior, and forget the commitment they had made to Him.
The first son in this parable was rebellious, but at least he was honest about it. The second son did not have the courage to say “No.” This is a cowardly and dishonest type of rebellion. The honest and open rebellion was practiced by the tax collectors and prostitutes who readily admitted their sins instead of hiding behind a mask of fake piety. The second type of rebellion was practiced by the self-righteous Pharisees and the religious leaders who professed to be obedient to God, but their actions showed their disloyalty to God’s law.
Lord Chesterfield, a British philosopher who lived in the 18th century once wrote, “Almost all our faults are more easily pardonable than the methods we devise to hide them.”
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” Proverbs 28:13.“The Difference Between Words and Deeds”
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Synopsis of the Armenian Sermon
“What Kind of Clay Are You?” Jeremiah 18:1-6
1. Clay that is dry is unusable. At one time, this clay was soft, moldable and pliable.
When we first believed in Jesus, we were like soft and moldable clay, but over a period of time, there are those who allow their spiritual life to dry up. Their life becomes hard and impenetrable. They hear God’s word preached, they come to church, but they are no longer affected by the Gospel truth.
In 2 Peter 2: 20 & 3:1 we read, “If they have escaped the corruption of this world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and are again entangled in it and overcome by it, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit, and a sow (a female swine) that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.’”
When people allow their spiritual life to become like dry clay, the Master Potter (God) can do nothing with them; He can no longer shape the pot to His liking.
There is only one way for a pot like this to be used again. It must be completely crushed and the process of molding must start all over again. This is why believers who go back to the world have to hit the bottom before they will look up again.
2. The second kind of clay God cannot use is clay that lacks sufficient moisture.
This type of clay is just soft enough to exist, but not soft enough to be moldable for the potter’s use. This is where many believers are today. They just have a casual relationship with God to know they are forgiven.
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is for the Day of Judgment will bring it to light. The fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss.”
The implication from Scripture is that many believers never allowed the Potter to mold them. They invest their lives in temporal things. These people got o church, participate in worship, but they have not surrendered their entire will to God.
Water is what makes clay soft and moldable. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is likened to water. In Isaiah 44:3 God says, “The way I pour water on the thirsty and parched land, in the same way I will pour out my Spirit on you and your offspring.”
3. The third type of clay God cannot use is clay with hidden air pockets (sin).
A clay pot may look beautiful, but the final test will tell the potter whether or not the clay was pure. Only the fire can reveal any hidden defect. Some clay has hidden air pockets. You cannot see them or feel them. When the potter puts the clay pot into the furnace, the fire heats it up, the trapped air expands and explodes, and shatters the clay pot.
It’s the same with many Christians. By appearance they look fine. They look like a finished clay pot. But these people know that deep in their lives are some hidden pockets of sin like lust, pride, lack of integrity, etc. When God turns up the fire, the hidden sins are revealed. In Matthew 10:26, Jesus says, “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed.” If you have hidden sin, God cannot use you until you confess it and turn away from it. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them, finds mercy.”
September 10. 2017
“Rescued from the Muddy Pit”
On July 24, 2002, 18 miners entered a coal mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, for their routine work schedule. The coal mine in question consisted of 2 cavernous caves, one of which was 200 feet below the earth surface, while the other one was 240 feet deep. The miners were split into 2 groups of 9 men. Those working in the deeper cave, encountered a problem: the blows of their hammers had weakened a rocky wall of an unmarked subterranean water pool. When the wall collapsed suddenly, the mine was inundated with water, and the 9 miners were trapped. The water level kept rising steadily until it reached their chins. Their only hope was pinned on the efforts of their comrades who were able to escape from the first cave.
As the hours ticked away, the trapped miners held hands, prayed and waited anxiously. They were afraid of being suffocated as their oxygen supply dwindled. Another danger was hypothermia as their bodies began to freeze in the icy-cold water.
Above ground feverish activities continued to rescue the miners. They first attempted to pump the water from the mine, but they soon realized that it would take them a week to lower the water level in the mine by just one foot. Then they brought in a huge machine that could drill wells through rock formations. After 77 hours, they were able to drill a hole that was 240 feet deep, and thus rescued the miners from death.
Today’s Scripture reading presents to us 3 images. The first one is the Muddy Pit. The Psalmist described himself as being in a watery and slimy pit from which he could not extricate himself. The Psalmist is figuratively describing a stressful period in his life when pressures were mounting. This Psalm could refer to the time when King Saul, out of jealousy, pursued David in order to kill him. Or it could refer to a later time when Absalom, David’s own son, tried to assassinate his father so that he could become king.
Whatever the pit may have been, it was uncomfortable, dark and wet. It was impossible to get out of that pit without someone else’s help.
Maybe you feel you are in a pit of helplessness, desperation and hopelessness. The pit is any experience that makes you feel miserable or threatens your life. In sincerity the Psalmist cried out to God who rescued him from the pit.
The second image is that of a Solid Rock. When you are in a muddy pit, there is no secure footing. If you cannot stand up, you cannot escape. Furthermore, when you are in a swamp, the more you move, the deeper you sink. You are stuck! The psalmist likened the Lord’s rescue plan to that of standing on a solid rock that is immovable and is a firm foundation for one’s life.
The third image is that of a New Song. When the ancient Israelites were rescued from Egyptian bondage, they sang the Song of Moses. At the time of Christ’s second coming, that marks the consummation of the plan of salvation, the redeemed of all ages will sing the Song of the Lamb.
When we were sinking in the slimy pit of sin, Jesus extended His hand and saved us from our predicament. Then the Rock of Ages (Jesus) urges us to build our lives on Him. Whenever we respond to the Savior’s call, we are given the ability to sing and rejoice.
September 3, 2017
“Making an Impact Through Unselfish Service”
In today’s scripture we meet a woman who lived at the seaside city of Joppa who had made an enormous impact on her community by “always doing good and
helping the poor” by making robes and other clothing. When this story took place, there were few people in that society who were more destitute than widows. They were usually considered the neediest
people in society. They could hardly feed themselves and their children, let alone buy other things they needed. Dorcas stepped in to help fill that great need in society. Let’s see how this
scripture can speak to us today many centuries later.
Dorcas was a disciple of Jesus Christ. A little while before this time, the Christians were being persecuted in Jerusalem; and as a result, believers were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. Scripture tells us that these believers--”those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word” (Acts 8:4).
Maybe Dorcas heard the Word from one of those scattered believers, or from the Apostle Peter who visited the city from time to time and stayed at the home of Simon the tanner. At any rate, she became a believer and a devoted follower of Jesus--a disciple.
She displayed her love for Christ in very practical ways. Scripture tells us that she was “full of good works and charitable deeds.” “Good works” is a phrase that speaks of general acts of kindness to people, but “charitable deeds” is more specific and has to do with acts of mercy that relieve the burdens of the poor and needy. These specific acts of mercy to make life better for these destitute widows was making clothes for them. Dorcas was continually at work meeting the pressing needs of those around her. She didn’t just do these things in a half-hearted manner, but she was filled with such deeds. Apparently she loved to sew and was good at it. She didn’t just do these charitable deeds once in a great while, but was always working on some project. It was her lifestyle.
In this scripture, you will notice that she is called by two different names--The Hebrew name was Tabitha and her Greek name was Dorcas. Both names meant “a gazelle.” The gazelle is used symbolically in the Bible in three specific ways. Gazelles were symbols of grace, beauty, swiftness and speed.
I think Dorcas’ name was appropriate because she was a person who showed the grace of God in action toward needy people. She was a beautiful person in
spirit toward others and she was swift to meet the needs when she saw them.
You might say, “There are so many pressing needs surrounding us in the 21st century that we don’t even know where to begin. Whatever we do is just a drop in the bucket, let alone making an impact.” Sometimes we are tempted to feel this way; and as a result of overwhelming needs, we do nothing.
Dorcas did not solve all the financial problems of these destitute widows in her community, but she made life a whole lot better for them. She did what she could do. She helped them to feel better about themselves as they wore their new clothes, it helped to raise their self esteem, it helped them to know that someone cared enough for them to do something practical rather than just a casual remark.
Dorcas followed Jesus’ example when he fed the 5000 men plus their women and children.. He did “good” through his ministry of mercy. Mercy is God’s attitude toward those in distress. It’s just making someone’s life better, if only for today. He said, “I have compassion on these people...I do not want to send them away hungry” (Matthew 15:32). He did not solve the world’s hunger problems, Dorcas did not solve the destitute widows’ financial problems, but they did make these people’s lives better for that day.
Often we are paralyzed by inaction. We often think, “what good will this little act of kindness do?” Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father in heaven is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
Today people need friendship and words of encouragement from the many stresses and worries they are under more than anything else. Giving of our time is a way to make an impact on people’s lives as well. We guard our time maybe more than we do our money today. Dorcas gave of her time as well as her money. She was willing to get involved in the life struggles of those who were overlooked and ignored.
An American television network filmed an interview with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India, a woman who gave her life to feed starving people and minister to the dying. The person conducting the interview asked Mother Teresa about her feelings of being used of God to minister to the poor. Her little work was known worldwide, even the President of the USA knew her and her labor of love. She answered, "But it is His work, I think God wants to show His greatness by using my Nothingness." She was asked later, " You feel you have no special qualities?" Mother Teresa replied, "I don’t think so. I don’t claim anything of the work. It is His work and I am like a little pencil in His Hand. That is all. He does the thinking, He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it. The pencil has only to be allowed to be used." What a beautiful story of this little woman who, like Dorcas, used her talent to alleviate human suffering and reflect the compassion of Christ.