FIRST AME ZION CHURCH VIRTUAL WORSHIP
SUNDAY JULY 26, 2020
Call to Worship and Invocation
Bless our God, O people, let the sound of God’s praise be heard, who has kept us among the land of the living, and has not let our feet slip. This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank you Heavenly Father for this beautiful day that you have so graciously given us. Amen.
Song of Inspiration– Spirit of the Living God
Scripture Reading (Acts 20:17-28, 32 )
17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.
18 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia,
19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;
20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,
21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there,
23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.
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.
25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.
26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all,
27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Altar Call/Pastoral Prayer – Lord Do It
We are praying for you,
Rev. Keith Johnson, Octavian Rodriquez, Angelikka Carter, James Spaulding, Rev. and Mrs. Braxton, Dwaine Giggans, Johnie Mae Williams, Christine Ferguson, Rev. Michael Henderson, Rev. Veronica Buckner, Brother Daniel, Sister Simone, Presiding Elder Rogers
Song of Praise - He Made the Difference
Tithes and Offerings
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2nd Chronicles 9:7
Visit our Gift section on the Gift tab. You may give via credit cards, PayPal Givelify.com (Download Givelify to your Smartphone). If you prefer, mail your tithes and offerings to First AMEZ Church, 95 S. 20th Street, San Jose CA 95116
The first Quarterly Conference for this Conference Year is scheduled at 1:00 p.m., on Sunday, August 2, via Zoom. All officers are requested to be in attendance to give your reports. Report forms have been emailed to responsible officers.
Sermonic Scripture Reading -
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (King James Version)
But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Song of Preparation - The Potter's House
Sermon - Marred So He Made it Again
Performed by Cocoa Seventh Day Adventist Church
Performed by The Fam Ministries
Performed by Donald Mallory
Performed by James Bignon and The Deliverance Mass Choir
Let us go back this morning to the days when Nebuchadnezzar was King of
Babylon -- Zedekiah ruled Judah, -- and Pharaoh Necho sat on the throne of Egypt.
Imagine standing in old Jerusalem, in the Holy Land (I know those of you have visited Jerusalem can relate to this.) Just think about standing there and seeing one of the ancients, clad in flowing robes, with an expression of sadness on his countenance. The expression on the man's face makes him appear to be extremely old. This man is Jeremiah, Judah's prophet, and God's appointed spokesman to His people.
Why was there so much gloom in Jeremiah's expression?
Well, for 40 years, Jeremiah had watched the spiritual decline and ultimate
fall of Israel.
He had seen the chosen people forsake God and transgress God's law.
He had witnessed them willfully turn away from the fountains of living water to the broken cisterns of stagnation and death.
It was a tragic time and experience in Jeremiah's life.
Jeremiah was God's spokesman in the days of Judah's darkness and disaster. No prophet of old had a more thankless task. Yet, no other prophet had delivered his message of warning with greater fidelity than Jeremiah. He stood as the lonely messenger of God in the midst of criticism and opposition from his people.
I can say without a doubt that Jeremiah was dismayed and discouraged. His heart broke with each passing day!
Jeremiah felt that there was nothing more he could do to hold off the inevitable destruction that would follow. It was at this critical juncture in history that God told Jeremiah to go down to the potter's house. This time he didn't send Jeremiah to preach a sermon! God sent Jeremiah to the potter's house to learn a priceless lesson.
Now, let's take a look at where God sent Jeremiah.
The potter's clay field was south of Jerusalem. It was outside the walls of the City, beyond the Valley of the son Ben Hinnom. The Valley of the son of Ben Hinnom marked the limit between the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. You can find this in Joshua 15:8. Jeremiah traveled to the potter's field just as he was told. When he arrived, he went to the Master Craftsman's workshop. There he watched the craftsman at work.
Now, Jeremiah was fascinated by the way the craftsman constructed vessels from clay.
Jeremiah saw that the potter worked on a revolving wheel. It was a rotation device in the form of a horizontal disk. The disk was turned by a foot pedal. Laying right beside the potter was a large heap of potter's clay. The potter seized the clay by the handful. He threw this crude material down on the center of the revolving wheel. And, then something strange happened. The centrifugal force of the rotating wheel gradually gave shape to the clay. This process could only be completed by a skilled, master craftsman.
As the clay took form, the potter used his hands to mold and fashion it according to the pattern he desired to make. There was no printed pattern before the potter, the only thing that he had to guide his hands was the picture of the finished product that was in his mind.
Jeremiah watched as what was once a formless mass rose into a fair and lovely vessel. With each turn of the wheel and each stroke of the potter's hand, the mass grew toward the point of perfection!
Just as the vessel seemed perfect; something happened!
Somehow it crumbled and fell in fragments against the wheel and tumbled down to the floor!
Jeremiah thought this was surely a tragedy, since the form had come so close to its perfect state. Yes, the vessel was marred in the making.
Now, we have to understand that the vessel was marred, but it wasn 't marred due to a lack of skill on the master craftsman's part. It wasn't marred because the potter didn't know what he was doing. The vessel was marred because there were imperfections within the clay! Yes, the imperfection came from within the elements of the clay. Something was wrong with the elements that made up the clay. Perhaps there was a pebble in the clay that caused it to shatter. Or, maybe there was a stone that came to the surface and ruined the vessel. Jeremiah may have expected the potter to fling the ruined clay aside or replace it in the large heap and take another fresh lump to begin forming a new vessel.
But, no, the potter didn't throw out the ruined clay. He simply stopped and gathered up all the broken rebellious pieces — he took some from the wheel and even had to stoop down and get some from the floor; but he didn't throw any of it away. The potter gently moistened, softened, and kneaded the clay again. He removed and tossed away the pebble that had cause the first vessel to break. Then the potter placed that same lump of clay on the whirling wheel again.
The record says he reformed it and made it again into a fair and lovely vessel. It was more beautiful than ever and the vessel could now be used for that special purpose that the potter had in mind when he first began to form that particular lump of clay. Jeremiah had expected the potter to cast out the unruly lump of clay.
In Jeremiah's mind, the potter's attempt to make the vessel had been a complete failure. Unlike Jeremiah, the potter looked at the clay with caring, tender eyes. He could seem beyond the initial blemish in the clay. That's why the master craftsman took the very same lump of clay, although it had been marred, and made it over again. He wasn't going to give up and he worked at forming that clay until he had designed it to be perfect!
When Jeremiah saw the work of the master craftsman and how he handled the marred clay, he knew that the parable of the potter's clay was his commissioned message.
Jeremiah realized that this message would show the world that there was hope in the potter's hand. It told men and women that God is the God of a second chance.
The potter's story represented God's gift to man of another opportunity; it showed how one could experience success in situations that seemed doomed to failure and how God offers redemption from disaster.
If you're here today and you feel like a worthless lump of clay, listen to this message carefully. The potter's story lifts the spirit and brings assurance to the soul that God will touch your life and you can start anew!
Don't be fooled, God does not reject people because of their failures. People reject God by refusing to yield to His will.
People reject God's rebuilding power because they refuse to be made over again by the divine Potter.
When we fail, it is because we do not let God remake us.
We reject God's divine plan for us we are like a lump of clay, being molded into vessels to be used by God. God wants to work in us, for us, and through us! We who live in this generation are not the first to be marred, and God is still restoring his people unto himself.
Adam, the first man on earth was grievously marred! But, in the end, God made Adam again, and Adam became a vessel unto God's honor.
Jacob was marred. But, God met Jacob at the brook Jabbak and made him again, and Jacob was the prince of God.
Peter was sadly marred. You've heard the story of how he denied Jesus, but God reshaped Peter and made him again into the powerful preacher of Pentecost!
We don't have to look in the bible to see every example of God's reforming process. Each of us has witnessed God's geovistic hand touching and remaking the life of someone we know and love. Take for instance, God has taken drunkards out of the gutter and made them over again and they have gone on to win souls for Christ. Church, we are indeed the clay and the Potter's name is LOVE! The potter's wheel is the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
In the process of remaking our lives, Heaven's hands press us -- but they press to shape our lives. Heaven's hands even crush us at times, but they crush us because we are marred and, in order to be made anew, we must be crushed to remove some of our impurities.
If you're being tested today, if you're going through, remember this! Sometimes God has to break up the whole form of a man's life so that the man can begin a new life in Christ. You may not always see the benefit of God's work in your life, but I tell you --
God will break up old associations so that you can experience a friendship with Jesus.
God will crush your old ambitions, so that you can say like Job, "For God I live, and for God, I'll die."
God will sever some of your old ties through afflictions and failure, suffering and sorrow so that you can build a new life with him. A new life filled with new opportunities, responsibilities, and possibilities for good and for God.
Yes, Church it is important that we — like Jeremiah — visit the potter's house. No matter what state you're in, you need to go by the potter's house.
Tramaine Hawkins reminded us, "You don't have to stay in the shape that you're in, the potter wants to put you back together again!" Listen!
You who are broken — stop by the potter's house.
You who need mending stop by the potter's house.
Give him the fragments of your broken life — my friend.
The potter wants to put you back together again!
Remember our scripture, Jeremiah 18:4
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
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Invitation to Christian Discipleship
The door of the church is open. Now is the time when we offer Christ to you. If you need to make a tough decision, now is the time. Without discussion, dialogue or debate, take that step and unite with First AME Zion Church today. Call (408) 688-6980 and First Church will celebrate with you as you make the best decision of your life.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Performed by Jessy Dixon