Friday, April 24, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 26, 2015

Over 77,000 readers worldwide
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WATCH OUT FOR DECEIVERS
(Love and obedience keeps us from deception)
(2 John)

In the Apostle John’s second letter to the Christian Church he expresses the need for Christians to beware of false teachers and teachings that arise out of the antichrist influence that has long existed in the world. In fact the antichrist influence predates the creation of mankind, as satan himself, has inhabited the earth since being ejected from Heaven by GOD the FATHER, long before HE created any other living beings on this planet.
The purpose of this letter is to encourage true Christians to continue in love, as well as to warn them against those whose job is to deceive believers in matters concerning their faith. Here John charges the believer not to participate in those evil things that deceivers bring into the Church from the world, under the guise of saying that “they are trying to attract people to CHRIST” by employing a “worldly familiarity”, or method.
CHRIST does not have, recognize, or endorse any worldly way of doing things, HE only recommends those GODly strategies that are already laid out for the Church in biblical literature. There is no room for “human ingenuity” in the Church (John 6:63b). Things that contradict the SPIRIT of GOD should be left outside the Church when people join, and those who pledge themselves to CHRIST must also pledge themselves to living “a changed life” that coincides with the teachings of JESUS CHRIST, the LIVING WORD.
Those who choose to come to CHRIST must do so by accepting the GODly idea of “katharisomen” into their spirit. Katharisomen is a Greek term that means, “separation from all people and things that defile”. It is a term that is discussed more in debt in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. When we join the Church where Christ JESUS is the head, we make a vow to change and no longer live as partners with those people and things that are intent on doing and promoting the lifestyles that GOD deems as evil.   
In the first century and beyond, heavy persecution dictated the Churches use of “code words, or expressions” whenever they communicated to each other in the various towns and cities where they had established Christian congregations (mostly house churches in hidden locations). Here in this letter, in verse one, we find the code words “favorite mistress”, or “chosen lady”, in the Greek “eklektos kyria”, and her “children”, in the Greek “teknon”, being used to hide the identity or exact location of the church from those who sought to infiltrate it with worldly ideas and false teachings, to the ends that the Church might be destroyed before it could take roots. GOD does not wish for us to mix the “holy” with the “profane” (i.e. “miming” with “praise dancing” in today’s Church), and the early Church went to great lengths to keep that from happening.
John begins the letter (v.4) by expressing his joy in how the newly founded church had been dedicating themselves to the righteous living and truth that they had been introduced to through the Word of GOD. Apparently John had recently met with some members of that particular church, and wanted to express how pleased he was with their Christian behavior in a public forum. He reminded the church to also stay in keeping with the commandment of CHRIST JESUS that we “love one another”.
John also reminded the church of how some had gone out of the church, who, did not truly believe their reports about CHRIST, and were giving the world a bad impression of how true Christian really behaved. They did not believe the “human example of perfection” that was presented by CHRIST during HIS life on earth, which was intended to show the world that “Christianity really does produce the best men and women”. In this letter, John urged the church to be diligent so that they might receive the full reward that they had worked so hard for (v.8). He tells them that they must never wander away from the teachings of CHRIST, and always keep their fellowship with GOD, and CHRIST, intact (v.9).
In verse 10 John warns Christians that if anyone comes to their church and does not teach the truth about CHRIST, don’t even invite them into your house, or encourage them in any way. JESUS perfectly obeyed GOD as a 100% human being and HIS very life tells us that we should too. Anyone who encourages a deceiver, or false teacher, becomes a partner with them in their evil work.
All of the central teachings of Christianity hinges on the 100% humanity and 100% deity of JESUS, our LORD. HE is the one and only “Hypostatic Union”, and the only way to GOD. HE is the one and only truth, and the one and only source of “eternal life”. No one, who doesn’t teach the humanity and deity of JESUS CHRIST, can ever be held up as a teacher of the Christian truth.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website




Friday, April 17, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 19, 2015

Over 76,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

BELIEVE GOD’S LOVE
(The HOLY SPIRIT helps us to love and overcome fear)
(1 John 4:7-5:5)

Since love originates with GOD in the Christian sense, a person who loves his fellowman is born of GOD, and thereby, in a very discerning way, knows GOD. By contrast, the absence of love can be viewed as evidence that a person does not know GOD. In 1 John 4:7-21, the apostle, and author of GOD, elevates the topic of “love” to yet another level. Here John shows us the divine and inseparable link between “GOD” and “love”.
GOD showed us how much HE loves us by sending HIS only begotten SON into the world, so that we would have eternal life through HIM (v.9). HE did not send HIM because we were so lovable, but rather, HE sent HIM because HE felt that HIS love for us required that HE rescue us from ourselves. Such an action from GOD provides the defining standard for love as we know it, and thus, we as Christians are responsible to love each other because we ourselves enjoy the privilege of GOD’s largesse. Not only is GOD the source of love, HE is love by way of HIS very nature. GOD is love, and anyone who doesn’t love HIS fellowman doesn’t know GOD.
Christians who say that they love all mankind, and indeed, really do have the love of CHRIST in their hearts, cannot stand by idly and watch while any other group of people different than themselves, is being treated unjustly, or is being oppressed in any way, without coming to their defense, in the name of JESUS. The love of CHRIST must be expressed fully by us, and exemplified through us, in our actions (v.12).
In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “abide” is “meno”, and it means “to stay in a given place, state, relationship, or expectancy”. If we abide in our relationship with GOD, our love will grow more perfect. And when our history judges us, we won’t be afraid to come before GOD, but rather, we can face HIM confidently, because our history will show that we tried to live like CHRIST, here on earth (v.17). Learning to show and express the divine love of CHRIST will dispel all “fear” of the coming judgment.
Because GOD is love, and JESUS’ new commandment is love, it only stands to reason that love will inevitably bring us closer to each other, and, at one and the same time, closer to GOD. It is only by love, that we ever come to know GOD, and it is only by GOD, that we come to know love.
All that we know now is partial and incomplete, because, until we finish our Christian race, we will remain children in the GODly sense of what true knowledge really is. We are incapable right now, of handling the Heavenly knowledge that GOD will one day impart to those who abide in HIM until the end. However, we do know now that if you don’t have love for those brothers and sisters that we now see around us, we will never be able to love GOD, WHOM we cannot physically see at any time.
GOD HIMSELF has commanded that we love, not only HIM, but also, our Christian brothers and sisters. And when we honor and obey that command, we can be confident that when we stand before the LORD, our conscience will be clear, and we will be able to face HIM without fear, guilt, or shame. Those who win their battle against the world are the ones who truly believe that JESUS CHRIST is the SON of GOD (1 John 5:5)

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website





Friday, April 10, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 12, 2015

Over 76,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

LOVE ONE ANOTHER
(GOD’s love has to show in our actions)
(1 John 3:11-24)

The first epistle of John is perhaps the most difficult book in the New Testament to outline. In fact, many scholars argue that there is no outline at all, and that John had no logical plan in mind while writing it. Here in this letter, he was most likely writing down his personal, yet divinely inspired thoughts, on various themes as they were put on his mind by GOD.
In 1 John chapter 3, verses 11-24, John continues these divinely inspired ramblings by jumping back to the subject of “love one another”. However, here in this segment, he raises his plea to another level, as he urges his readers to transform their “words of love” into “GODly actions of love”. What does it profit a man to boast of his love and faith, if that love and faith does not compel him into action? (v.18)
The fact that we cast everything over to GOD does not give us a right to sit back and do nothing, for the true Christian, can never be just a spectator. Love is not just having knowledge of GOD’s existence, but rather, true love comes from knowing GOD on a personal level through prayer, and a close, careful, and sober study of HIS Word.
GOD’s love, is, quite literally, a reflection of HIS OWN heart flowing to us through CHRIST JESUS, and, the infusion of the HOLY SPIRIT in us. When we love our Christian brothers and sisters as CHRIST commands us, it serves as proof that we have passed from death (permanent separation from GOD), into eternal life (new life in CHRIST). A person, that has no love for his fellowman, has not passed into the light, but rather, continues to linger on, in darkness.
In verses 18-19 the apostle urges us to stop just saying that we love each other and start putting it into action. It is by our actions that we know when we are living in the truth, and knowing that, we can be confident whenever we stand before the LORD, even in those times when our hearts condemn us, as Peter’s did in John 21.
In reality, the only way we can prove our love for JESUS is by loving others, and the best way to show our love for each other is in our actions towards one another. Love is the greatest privilege the world has ever known, and it is also the world’s greatest enduring thing, however, inevitably, love brings with it, the world’s greatest responsibility. From the beginning, GOD made “responsibility” to be the obverse “privilege”, and then, he made “love” to be inseparable from the two.
In chapter 15 of the Gospel of John, verses 12-13, JESUS commands us to love one another as HE loves us, and there HE also tells us how to measure that love to see if it is sufficient enough to meet HIS demand. There JESUS states that, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (KJV).
JESUS goes on to state that we are HIS friends if we obey HIM, and if we obey HIM, HE will no longer refer to us as “servants”, but rather, we will become members of HIS holy family and household of GOD (v.14). Looking back, we now know that for Peter and all the other disciples, love brought a cross that they all had the privilege and responsibility of bearing in their own way. Love always involves responsibility, and it always involves a sacrifice. We don’t really love JESUS unless we are willing to take on HIS task, and take up our own cross.
We may never be able to write or think like the Apostle John, or be able to travel to the ends of the earth, and preach like the Apostle Paul. However, it is a certainty that we can all follow in the footsteps of Peter, by obeying the instructions of JESUS that were laid down to HIS disciples just prior to HIS ascension back into Heaven (John 21:15-17).
If we love JESUS, let each of us help someone else guard against going astray, and if we love JESUS, let each of us love one another all of the time, and if we love JESUS, let each us, as Christians, begin to feed JESUS’ sheep, with the nourishing spiritual food, of the Word of GOD.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website






Friday, April 3, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday April 5, 2015

Over 75,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

RESURRECTION GUARANTEED
(Our new life is sure because of the resurrection of CHRIST)
1 Corinthians 15

In the biblical Greek the word used for “resurrection” is “anastasis”, and it is “a moral recovery of spirit truth”, and in the physical sense, it means, “to stand up again”. The sins of Adam and Eve ushered physical death into the world, and by contrast, the resurrection of CHRIST JESUS brought spiritual life. Adam, the first man, came from the dust of the earth, while JESUS, the second man, came from Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47).
It was William Barclay who wrote, “Cleverness can never be the basis of true religion, and true religion can never be the product of a man’s mind”. The resurrection of CHRIST is the essence of the Christian Faith, and is the core of all of the apostle’s teachings. No man is capable of producing or concocting a “True Religion”, or Faith. Only GOD, the CREATOR of Heaven and Earth is capable of meeting the qualifications necessary, and setting the examples, that every man can benefit from, 100% of the time. Man, through his imperfections, will never be able to spiritually rule over another man, and so, “Christianity” remains as the only true religion, simply because, it is the only religion that is a product of GOD’s mind. 
In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul offers us an indebt understanding of the subject of the resurrection of CHRIST JESUS and the powerful impact that that resurrection has on those who choose to believe on HIM in this world. The resurrection is guaranteed through the sacrifice of CHRIST JESUS, the author and finisher of the only true faith, Christianity. He begins by reminding the Corinthians, in particular, and the world in general, of the important teaching that he had passed on to them in a previous time, regarding the resurrection of CHRIST. He then tells them of the many witnesses to that resurrection, which included himself, Peter, James, and many more, including all of the other apostles.
In verses 12-19 Paul embarks upon a logical argument explaining the centrality of the resurrection of CHRIST to the Christian Faith, and the belief that because of that resurrection, all who die believing in HIM will also be raised from the dead, and into eternal life with GOD, just as HE was. Our hope in CHRIST, “the Christian Hope”, is not just for this life, but rather, it is for the eternal life yet to come in Heaven. That is why true Christians are not “miserable people”, but rather, to the contrary, we are people who retain unshakable joy while still living here on earth.
It is a true fact that JESUS has been raised from the dead, and HE became the first fruit of a great harvest of believers who will be raised to life again. And just as death came into the world through Adam, resurrection from the dead into eternal life with GOD has been ushered in by JESUS CHRIST. Everyone dies because of their relationship to Adam, but everyone can live again, eternally, through their relationship with CHRIST JESUS. Death will be the last enemy of man to be destroyed, or nullified, and so, we must not be fooled by unbelievers. Remember, bad company corrupts good character. We have to come to our senses and quit living in sin by coming to know GOD on a personal and experiential, “life saving” level (Vs.20-34).
Paul concludes this chapter with the analogy of the “dead seed” that is planted and then, through nourishments from GOD, once again becomes “a living thing”, full of life and growth, producing life-giving food, and even more seeds for future growth. However, the dead seed (lost person) had to first fall into the hands of a sower (a witness) who could introduce it to “new life” (JESUS) by planting it firmly into the nourishment of GOD (The Word). Death is then swallowed up by victory, and its sting (sin) is taken away (Vs.35-58).    
 The person who has met and accepted the “Risen LORD” will be able to live forever in the joy of HIS presence. They will be able to come to rest in the knowledge that nothing can ever again separate them from HIS saving grace. And so, we should be able to see quite clearly now how no man can give another man that kind of religion. It is something that only GOD is capable of doing. That is why the Christian can “believe”, “share”, and “rejoice” in the saving power of GOD.
Through the birth, ministry, passion, death, and resurrection of JESUS CHRIST, GOD is saying to us, as only HE can, that HE loves us with an everlasting love that can withstand all of the suffering that this world has to offer. With GOD, it is possible for us to make “a moral recovery of a spiritual truth” found only in HIM, and when we accept that TRUTH, we become fully able “to stand up again” and live forever in the presence of the ALMIGHTY GOD in Heaven.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander 





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website




Friday, March 27, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 29, 2015

Over 75,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

THE ONE WHO COMES
(JESUS’ Temple will be called a place of prayer)
(Mark 11:1-18, John 2:13-25)

Mark chapter 11 marks the beginning of the last week of JESUS’ physical life here on Earth. John Mark opens the chapter with a vivid description of JESUS, setting the stage for HIS “triumphant entry” into Jerusalem. It is the last leg of JESUS’ incredible journey in route to HIS own execution.
When JESUS rode into Jerusalem that day, HE claimed to be a King, however, by riding in on a Donkey, HE was claiming specifically to be a King of peace. This was in sharp contrast to everything the people had expected from JESUS in the end. We even see them greeting HIM, as the “Son of David”, and probably expected HIM to come into Jerusalem that day with fierce fighting, as David had done some 950 years before HIM, but even now, they didn’t seem to understand the whole purpose of JESUS’ ministry.
Here we see them thinking of JESUS’ arrival at Jerusalem, as a long-awaited, physical conquest that was about to take place. It is even suggested in their shouts of “Hosanna” in verse 9, which means “save us now”. Their welcome was one that befitted a Conqueror, who was there to slay the enemy of HIS people, however, by the end of the week, JESUS HIMSELF, would be treated as an enemy to the Jews.
When JESUS arrived in Jerusalem, HE went directly to the Temple and cast out the unsavory characters that were found within. In the Greek, the word the Apostle Paul uses to describe GOD’s goodness, as in “the goodness by which HE can rebuke and discipline us”, is “agathosune” ( ag-ath-o-soo-nay). It is a word that does not occur in secular Greek. This is the word that applies to JESUS’ actions in verses 15-17, when HE ejected the robbers and moneychangers from the temple because they had desecrated GOD’s Holy Place.
By overcharging the people for animals, used to give as sacrifices to GOD at the Temple, and, by charging them too large of a fee to convert their money over to the proper local currency, they were, in effect, blocking these people from worshipping GOD. Here, JESUS seeks to remind us not to block anyone from worshipping GOD, and, that GOD loves, not just the Jews, but, all the nations of the world.
There is, perhaps, no other place in Scriptures, where we feel reminded, that we need to make a more conscious effort to be fair in our dealings with each other. There were many crooked people in the Temple Court that day, but there were also many others, whose hearts were set on GOD. The LORD will never hold blameless, those who make it hard, or impossible for others to worship HIM.
False teachers and ministers who deceitfully profess to be men of GOD are always more concerned with imposing their ways of doing things, on their congregation, than they are with preaching and teaching the word of GOD, or the salvation of their flocks. Remember, JESUS didn’t send everyone in the temple away that day, but rather, it only those who were blocking the worship of GOD, by making it difficult, or impossible for the poorest among them to afford animal sacrifices used in worship of HIM.
In the Apostle John’s Gospel account, in chapter 2, verses 13-25, unlike the three Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, JESUS’ cleansing of the temple at Jerusalem comes at the beginning of JESUS’ ministry, rather than near the end. This fact, and, the differences in their narrations, leads most scholars to believe that there were probably two temple cleansings performed by JESUS, during HIS three-year ministry, one at the beginning, which caught the people by surprise, and a second in the third and final year, probably during HIS “passion week”. This second cleansing (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) probably contributed more heavily to the Jewish leader’s plans and desires to kill JESUS.
In John’s account, at the time of the annual Jewish Passover, JESUS went up to Jerusalem, as was HIS custom, and visited the temple, most likely to teach and preach. However, in the “court of the Gentiles”, the outermost court of the temple, the Jews had begun a tradition of buying and selling animals used for sacrifices at the temple, during Passover. They rationalized these activities, as providing a convenience for the pilgrims, who had journeyed into Jerusalem from afar, and needed lambs, or doves, or, needed their currency changed over to the local currency so that they could participate in the Passover rituals and celebrations. 
Unfortunately, like all of the best-laid plans of men, abuses soon developed, and pilgrims became, more often than not, victims of scams and high prices, by corrupt dealers and merchants. For instance, they had even begun to charge an admission fee, or dues, in order to enter into the temple during Passover.
When JESUS saw all of this corrupt activity, taking place in the House of GOD, HE made HIMSELF a whip from some ropes and chased all of the merchants and moneychangers, and their livestock, out of the temple. HE then walked over to those who sold doves and instructed them to take their birds and leave the temple also, because they were turning the house of GOD into a marketplace that was attracting robbers and thieves.
When the angry Jewish leaders, who were, no doubt, getting their cut from the temple proceeds, asked JESUS, “What right did HE have to clear the temple?”, and, to show them a miraculous sign if HIS authority came from the LORD, JESUS responded by telling them to “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”.
Now it had been 46 years since King Herod the great had started rebuilding on the temple that Zerubbabel and his crew had constructed, following the Israelites 70-year stint in Babylonian captivity. Herod had decided that he would restore the temple back to the glorious state that King Solomon had brought to it, during his prosperous reign. However, the temple that JESUS spoke of was the temple of HIS OWN body, a statement that the spiritual-less Pharisees were incapable of hearing, and actually, so too were HIS disciples, at that time.
The disciples, however, did recall this statement after JESUS’ Resurrection, and because of the many miraculous signs and wonders that JESUS performed at the Passover, many other people were also convinced that HE was truly the MESSIAH. However, JESUS didn’t trust them, because HE knew what people were like. After all, HE was present at the beginning of creation (John 1:1), and so no one needed to tell HIM about human nature.
JESUS disrupted the ungodly activities that were taking place at the temple in Jerusalem because it had become a den of robbers and thieves whose greatest sin was that, they were blocking the poor, who couldn’t afford their services, from worshiping GOD in the temple during Passover.
Notice how differently JESUS handled those who sold doves (John 2:16). The dove was mostly used by the poor as an acceptable sacrifice for Passover worship, but their product may have been hard for the poor to acquire because of temple admission fees, and the exorbitant money exchanging fees, that were required before the purchase.
JESUS was not protesting against the sacrificial system itself, however, here, the purpose of the sacrifices was being lost to the criminal element. Then too, the merchants were also transacting their business inside the temple in the only area where the Gentiles were permitted to enter, thus, they were also blocking the Gentile’s opportunity and right to worship peacefully.
And so, even though the dove merchants were providing a similar temple service for the poor, they were still, in tandem with the other merchants, blocking another segment of GOD’s people from worship, in this case, the Gentiles. Here in this passage, JESUS is clearly showing us that GOD will not hold blameless, anyone, who blocks another human being, made in HIS spiritual image, from worshipping HIM, at any time, not in the Christian Church of the first century, and certainly not in the Christian Church today.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



Friday, March 20, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 22, 2015

Over 74,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
(JESUS empowers us with the HOLY SPIRIT)
(John 20-19-31)

The Christian Church should never endeavor to follow man-made policies, but rather, should always aspire to adhere to the will of CHRIST JESUS. The Church fails when it tries to solve problems within its own wisdom and strength, and omits the will and guidance of GOD, through the Holy Scriptures that are already written. It tends to cast doubt on the Christian belief structure, already put in place by CHRIST, through the holy and divine instructions of GOD the FATHER, and exhibits an inadequate faith, or inadequate view of GOD, as far as us trusting in HIS superior wisdom.
In John chapter 20, verses 19-29, JESUS invites all doubters to accept and believe in HIM. We see chronicled in these verses, the first two times JESUS appeared to HIS disciples during the forty-day period following HIS Resurrection. The first occurred on the day of the resurrection, and the second occurred eight days later. On the evening of Resurrection Sunday, the chosen Disciples of CHRIST JESUS were meeting behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. They feared that the Jewish leaders would be seeking to kill them, just as they had slain JESUS three days earlier. They had not yet received the courage from the HOLY SPIRIT that they would need to carry out the commission of CHRIST.
Suddenly, JESUS was standing among them saying, “Peace be with you”, a phrase HE would repeat three times, twice in the first visit, and once more in the second visit. During these post-Resurrection visits, JESUS was seeking to strengthen and encourage HIS Disciples, and get them to finally believe in HIM. HE sought to instill in them, the “Divine Viewpoint” they would need in order to convince others to also believe. The phrase “HE breathed on them” is translated from the Aramaic idiom meaning, “HE gave them courage”. That encouragement came in the form of “the promise of the HOLY SPIRIT”.
JESUS tells HIS chosen men in verse 23 that, “Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained” (KJV). This statement has been the subject of much controversial debate over the centuries, however, here JESUS is saying, quite simply that, “a saved person, who embodies the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD, and has been granted mercy and forgiveness as a result, has in turn, been granted the power of forgiving sins committed against us, and thereby, against GOD. If we forgive anyone’s sins, as a saved person, those sins are forgiven because GOD is in total agreement with “forgiveness” and “being merciful toward one another.
In the Greek, the word used here for “forgive” is “apheimi” and it means, quite literally, to “send away”, “wipe away”, or “restore a relationship back into a condition of wholeness or rightness”. In essence, sharing the Gospel also places us in a role of forgiving, or not forgiving of sins, depending on the response of the hearer. Even when we, as Christians, receive a person’s request for salvation, and we subsequently lead them to CHRIST, we are, quite literally, giving that person an opportunity to turn from their sins and turn to GOD, so that their sins can be forgiven. It is the same as the opportunity that JESUS gives all of us, by way of HIS vicarious sacrifice, and the HOLY SPIRIT in us, bears witness to that (Acts 5:31-32, Ephesians 1:6-8). It is still the great privilege of the Church to convey the message of GOD’s forgiveness to men.
In contrast, the word used this passage for “retain”, or “un-forgiven” is “krateo” (krat-eh-o), and it means “to leave something or someone in the same state or condition of brokenness as they were found”. As saved people, Christians, because we embody the HOLY SPIRIT, allow people to “retain their condition of spiritual brokenness” when we don’t forgive or extend forgiveness and mercy to those who seek it from us. An “un-forgiving spirit” makes it impossible to restore “relationships” with GOD, and our fellowman, back to a condition of rightness and wholeness.
Eight days later (Vs.24-29), JESUS reappears to HIS Disciples. During the first visit, Thomas, who was one of HIS original Disciples, was not present. JESUS, knowing of Thomas’ doubts, invites him to examine the scars of the wounds on HIS hands and in HIS side, so that he too, would finally believe. After Thomas had done this, he proclaimed definitively these words; “My LORD, my GOD!”
Then JESUS told Thomas, “You believe because you have seen ME. Blessed are those who haven’t seen ME, and believe anyway”. That statement depicts the very fiber of the Christian Faith. Only those who walk by faith, and believe in CHRIST JESUS, can ever enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Thomas never lacked courage, but he was a natural pessimist. There was never any doubt that he loved JESUS, however, the cross was only what he humanly expected, just as all the other disciples did also. They saw death on JESUS’ cross that Friday, as being the end, but now, as a result of JESUS’ visits, they began to clearly understand on that Sunday evening (and for Thomas, on that Monday week), that this life, is not the final act of the “human drama”. And we too, as Christians, must also come to that realization, because JESUS truly is “the Resurrection and the Life, and HE offers that “Eternal Life”, only to those who believe in HIM.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander




                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website