Friday, December 12, 2014




  WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 14, 2014

Over 70,000 readers worldwide
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MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE
(Express your praise to GOD)
(Psalm 95)

Our unwillingness to respond to GOD in the right way (obedience) will result in our losing of our only opportunity to enter into GOD’s holy “rest” when our lives here on earth are expired. In Psalm 95 the psalmist calls for us to acknowledge GOD as the great GOD above all the other deities (influences) of this world. GOD is the CREATOR of this world and we must respond to HIS voice with “saving faith”, if, we wish to end up in HIS glorious presence in the end. Here the psalmist writes these words that so eloquently crosses the spans of time to serve as a reminder to us, here in the 21st century;

(1)” Come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
(2) Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
(3) For the Lord is a great God,
    a great King above all gods.
(4) He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
    and the mightiest mountains.
(5) The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
    His hands formed the dry land, too.
(6) Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
(7)  for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
    the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!
(8) The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
    as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
(9) For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
    even though they saw everything I did.
(10) For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
    They refuse to do what I tell them.’
(11) So in my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest.”
(NLT)

GOD’s voice is represented by any of the directives that are given to us through the Holy Scriptures, and, through the HOLY SPIRIT, WHO, is at work in all believers. True believers will always hear, recognize, and seek to obey that voice, and we worship HIM only when we “hear and do” that which HE directs and commands in HIS Holy Word. The key to our personal relationship with GOD is to remain steadfast and sensitive to HIS HOLY SPIRIT, and to always be ready to respond in the right way when HE does speak to us.
The very concept of “GOD’s rest” is rooted in creation itself, and, even today, still has vital meaning for believers. We, as Christians, know of GOD’s place of rest, because scripture tells us that on the seventh day, GOD rested from all of HIS labor. And so we see GOD’s place of rest, is just like HIS Word, in the sense that it has always been there for us to enjoy following our earthly experience. And even though many have failed to make it to that place of rest over the generations, it still remains to be enjoyed by those who listen to, and obey CHRIST JESUS.
This place of rest is not like the land of Canaan, where Joshua led the people to, following their forty years of struggles on the desert all those years ago. God has spoken since that time about another place of rest that is still waiting for those who believe in this day and time. We will find rest from all of our labors, just as GOD rested after creating the world, if we are led by our faith into obedience to HIS Word. However, anyone who disobeys GOD in this day, as the Israelite people did who died in the desert long ago, will also experience a death that will eternally separate them from GOD.
We, as modern-day Christians, must take care that we do not find ourselves in the position of the Israelites, who were made, by GOD, to wander in the desert for forty years, and were never able to experience GOD’s “rest” in the new “promised land” of milk and honey (Canaan), because of their perpetual disobedience. If we disobey and move against GOD’s Will today, as they did then, we ourselves will never experience GOD’s rest (in Heaven), which JESUS says, has had specially prepared for us, since the foundation of this world.
This Psalm is one of the seven so-called “Enthronement Psalms” of the Psalter (the others are Psalms 47, 93, & 96-99), and it helps us to somehow sense the intimate bond between “Old Testament faith”, and our own “faith in CHRIST JESUS” today. It also helps us to appreciate just “how great of a salvation” we have in GOD, through HIS greater SON. GOD’s promise of salvation, or, entering into “HIS place of rest”, is still valid, and should make us tremble with fear for ourselves, our loved ones, and all other human beings, who might fail to reach it, at the end of this earthly struggle.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website




Friday, December 5, 2014


WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday December 7, 2014

 

Over 69,000 readers worldwide

larrydalexander.blogspot.com

 

WORSHIP CHRIST’S MAJESTY

(We worship CHRIST because of who HE is)

(Hebrews 1)

 

The book of Hebrews was written to address the issues that some Jewish believers had in making the transition from the Old Testament Levitical system to their newfound freedom in CHRIST JESUS. This book describes in great detail, the superiority of CHRIST to everything in the Old Testament, including the entire priesthood, and, the old animal and plant sacrificial system.

The letter of Hebrews, perhaps more than any other writing in scripture, highly exalts the person and works of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. It makes valuable contributions to the doctrinal aspects of JESUS’ priesthood, incarnation, and vicarious sacrifice. It also goes a long ways toward developing an understanding, regarding the relationship between the interpretation of Old Testament Law, and New Testament Faith. It also helps us to understand the “New Covenant” that was ushered in by CHRIST, as it relates to the “Old Covenant” that was given to Moses, by GOD, on Mount Sinai.

Long ago, GOD spoke “many times and in many different ways” (polymeros kai polytropos) to our ancestors, through the prophets. However, today, GOD continuously speaks to us through HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST. “Prototokas” is the word that is used here in chapter 1, verse 2, and later, in verse 6, for the term “SON” in the original Greek writing. Throughout the New Testament, it is a word that is only used in reference to JESUS HIMSELF, and it means, quite simply, “FIRSTBORN”. It is a technical theological term that affirms HIS supreme rank and unique relationship and position in the family of GOD. That is why, even the angels of GOD, worship the SON.

The “right hand” is the traditional place of power and authority in the biblical sense, and so JESUS not only possesses eternal life and existence, by being at the right hand of GOD the FATHER in Heaven, HE also exercises all of the power and authority of Deity. As FIRSTBORN, GOD promised everything to the SON as an inheritance, and through HIM, HE made the universe and everything in it.

In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “brightness” is “apaugasma” (apow-gas-mah), and it is a “brilliance”, “effulgence”, or “light”, which is reflected from one place, or object, to another place or object”. JESUS is the “LIGHT” that wants to shine on all mankind, and gives each of us that light, so that we too, can shine that light on  someone else, making them able to see their way through the darkness that presses to dominate this world. And so, here in Hebrews 1:3, that is the word that is being used by the author to describe JESUS CHRIST in his original Greek rendering.

Also in verse three, the author uses another interesting Greek term to depict JESUS. That term is “charakter” (khar-ak-tare), and it means “express image”. It is from that word that we derive our English word “character”. It is “an exact copy, or representation of”, and, it is like a seal, an impression, or stamp. Here the author attempts to establish the person of JESUS CHRIST as being superior to any other prophet, or intermediary that GOD had sent prior to HIS coming. He also sought to affirm that JESUS is truly “the SON of the living GOD”, and, is the “exact image” of GOD HIMSELF. And so, in JESUS, and through HIS behavior, we are able to see exactly what GOD is like.

In Hebrews 1:4-14, the writer turns his efforts toward proving that JESUS is also superior to angels. In verse 4, he says, in effect, that, JESUS’ superior name serves to add to HIS credentials. In biblical times, a person’s name often summed up who they were. The name “JESUS” means “JEHOVAH is salvation”, and thereby, the very term “SAVIOR” makes HIM eternally superior to any angel, just simply by way of HIS more excellent name.

Verses 13 and 14 serve to remind us of the most important reason why angels should not be the focus of our worship. And that reason being, is that angels are only servants of GOD. Most of them are spirits sent from GOD to care for those who will eventually receive salvation. I say “most of them”, because satan also commands a host of angels. We are told of this fact in both Matthew 25:41, and Jude 1:6.  Therefore, it is JESUS, not angels, WHO should always be the focus of our Faith.

In the final analysis, the true meaning of life is contained in the person of CHRIST JESUS. HE is our “direct access” to GOD the FATHER. However, we must listen closely for the meaning of the truth we have heard about HIM, lest we be in danger of drifting away from the ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF. If GOD is able to spin the Universe into orbit, tell the sun where to rise, and the oceans where to stop, then certainly, HE can satisfy our quest for the meaning of our existence, direct our path through this life, and, at one and the same, save our souls and secure us for all eternity through CHRIST JESUS, our LORD.

 

A Sunday school lesson by,

Larry D. Alexander

 

 


 



 


 


                                 

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

 

 


 

Friday, November 28, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 30, 2014

Over 69,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

LET ZION REJOICE
(Respond to GOD’s reign)
(Isaiah 52:1-12)

GOD longs to free us from our sinful behavior, however, almost since the beginning of creation, we have quite literally insisted on wallowing perpetually in the dust of repent, while we suffer from the consequences of repeating the same old trespasses against GOD, over and over again. Throughout human history we have embraced the same old cycle of “Sin” (rebellion against GOD), “Servitude” (punishment for that rebellion), “Supplication” (prayer and repent), “Salvation” (GOD rescues us from our mess), and “Silence” (peace, and obedience to GOD for a short while).
In Isaiah 52, verses 1-12 the LORD calls on HIS chosen people of Jerusalem to wake up and start acting like people who have strength in an Almighty SAVIOR. GOD wants HIS people to see themselves as being strong, beautiful, holy people, who have been set apart to be HIS “figurative representative”, here on earth, and can, through their behavior, show the whole world that the GOD they serve is the only true GOD, and, that HE reigns over all.
This is also a call to action by GOD, that literally crosses the spans of time to us in this generation, and urges that we too, in this day and age, who call ourselves by HIS name (Christians), will clothe themselves in strength, putting on their most splendid garments (their spiritual armor), so that they may free themselves of the spiritual chains that bounds them, and keeps them imprisoned and separated from HIM. It is not a call to self-effort, but rather, it is a call to know who we are in CHRIST, as GOD’s chosen people (the Church), and to really start acting like we have been redeemed through the blood of CHRIST JESUS.
As Christians, we should never consider ourselves as weak if we really believe that we share in the power of the Most High GOD. In verse 5, GOD asks HIS people in essence; “Why do they keep getting enslaved by the world, if HE WHO is in them is greater than he who is in the world?” Here GOD is saying, that, if we really believe that HE is superior to satan, and we’re on HIS side, and have HIM in us, then, why do we keep losing our hearts (our spiritual battles) to the people and things of this world, where even JESUS says satan is the prince (John 14:30).
The good news in this passage is that, despite our continued betrayal and weak representation of the greatest power in the universe, GOD, will eventually reveal HIMSELF to HIS true followers (v.6), and at last they will recognize that it is HE WHO speaks to them. And how beautiful will be the feet of those who bring the good news of GOD’s peace and salvation to the world, and reveals that the LORD GOD of Israel reigns over all things and entities of the world that HE created (v.7).
In verses 8-10 Isaiah prophesies of a millennial time when CHRIST will come to be enthroned after HIS resounding victory over evil. CHRIST will return to Zion to reign over HIS “Millennial Kingdom” and HIS reign will be one of peace for a thousand years. There will be rejoicing from the righteous remnant as they will be fully comforted and redeemed because of the LORD’s grace. And the LORD will demonstrate HIS holy power before all the nations of the world, and HIS salvation will be seen by all, to the ends of the earth.  
In verses 11-12 we see visions of a new exodus of GOD’s people, who will leave the chains that once bound them to sin and death, and enter into the freedom that can only be found in CHRIST JESUS, our LORD. We will put behind us, the world and everything it represents, and be able to truly function as the LORD’s holy people. And Isaiah says that, as we enter the Millennial Kingdom, we won’t have to leave the world in a hurry, running for our lives, because the LORD JESUS will go before us, because HE was the first to overcome the world, and GOD the FATHER, the GOD of Israel, will also protect us from the rear. Yes the LORD, as HE always has, will still truly have our backs! And we will, for the first time in human history, respond in the right way (faithfully) to HIS reign, because GOD the HOLY SPIRIT will counsel us, teaching us what we should do and say, for all times.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website


  


Friday, November 21, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 23, 2014

Over 68,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

A NEW BEGINNING
(GOD provides an inheritance for all of HIS people)
(Ezekiel 47:13-23)

In Ezekiel 47, verses 13-23, we see laid out by GOD, the instructions for the boundaries of the land of Canaan, of which the twelve tribes of Israel, (which now included two shares for the tribe of Joseph, one for each of his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh), would share in.

 “These are the boundaries of the land: The northern border will run from the Mediterranean toward Hethlon, then on through Lebo-hamath to Zedad;  then it will run to Berothah and Sibraim, which are on the border between Damascus and Hamath, and finally to Hazer-hatticon, on the border of Hauran.  So the northern border will run from the Mediterranean to Hazar-enan, on the border between Hamath to the north and Damascus to the south.
 The eastern border starts at a point between Hauran and Damascus and runs south along the Jordan River between Israel and Gilead, past the Dead Sea and as far south as Tamar. This will be the eastern border. The southern border will go west from Tamar to the waters of Meribah at Kadesh and then follow the course of the Brook of Egypt to the Mediterranean. This will be the southern border. On the west side, the Mediterranean itself will be your border from the southern border to the point where the northern border begins, opposite Lebo-hamath”. (NLT)

The Israelites were to divide the land within these boundaries among the tribes as an inheritance for themselves and the Gentiles who had joined them, and were raising their families among them, under the rules of the GOD of Israel. Those who were once foreigners would be treated just like native-born Israelites, and would be given land within the specified territory with whatever tribe they resided among in the family of Israel, after their return from Babylon (Vs.21-23).
The land as it was, had been divided among the tribes of Israel by Joshua (Joshua chapters 13-21) but had never really been under the exclusive control of its people. Some of the tribes, because of their disobedience and unfaithfulness to GOD, never conquered the specified lands of their inheritance. And even though David and Solomon seized a bit more of those lands during their respective reigns, the Israelites continued rebellion against GOD led to their losing, first, northern Israel to Assyria in 722 B.C., and then later, the remainder of the nation of Israel to Babylon in 586 B.C.
Here in Ezekiel 47 GOD tells his prophet, in no uncertain terms, that the land was still all under HIS control, and now HE was ready to return it back to HIS people, and, to the Gentiles who dwelled among them. It would be considered a new beginning, not because they deserved it, but rather, because GOD remained faithful to HIS promise to Abraham and David, and HE also wanted to restore honor to HIS OWN name, which had been damaged considerably by HIS chosen people, while they were having an adulterous love affair with the world.
After witnessing the restoration power of the living waters flowing from the temple (Ezekiel 47:1-12), Ezekiel could now see and understand clearly, the new message from GOD regarding a new and wonderful future for all people whose hearts were with HIM. And just as GOD had new plans for the people of Israel on the other side of their Babylonian captivity experience, so GOD has plans for all HIS people in this day, on the other side of our earthy experience in this life. HE has plans for the better, if we choose to obey and put our trust in HIM, and for the worse, if we don’t.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website




Friday, November 14, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 16, 2014

Over 68,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

LIFE NEEDS WATER
(GOD’s glory brings us life)
(Ezekiel 47:1-12)

In Ezekiel 47, verses 1-12 we see depicted, an eschatological “river of healing” that will flow from beneath, and through, the Temple at Jerusalem, as Ezekiel’s vision now moves far into the future once again. Here the prophet describes a river that is clearly not the “New Jerusalem” river that is described by the Apostle John in Revelations 22. However, it is also clearly not the kidron brook that flowed through the Temple in post-exilic times, because here Ezekiel tells us that this stream of water will make the salty waters of the Dead Sea into “fresh water” like in a typical lake. And so that is something that still has not happened, even to this day, as the Dead Sea remains “six times saltier” than all of the oceans of the world.
In this passage the angelic being brings Ezekiel back to the entrance of the Temple where he saw a stream of water flowing pass the right (south side) of the altar. The angelic being then brought him outside the wall through the north gateway and led him around to the eastern entrance of the Temple. There Ezekiel could see the stream flowing out through the south side of the east gateway.
The angelic being then led Ezekiel along the stream, and he took measurements as they went. First he measured off a distance of 1750 feet and told Ezekiel to cross over the water at that point, to the other side. As Ezekiel waded across the water, it only came up to his ankles. The angelic being then measured off a distance of another 1750 feet and instructed the prophet to cross over again. This time the water had risen up to his knees. The angelic being then took a third measurement of 1750 feet and when Ezekiel crossed the water this time it had risen up to his waist. Then the angelic being measured off a fourth and final distance of 1750 feet, and this time, Ezekiel had to swim across to get to the other side (Vs.3-5).
The angelic being instructed Ezekiel to keep in mind what he had seen, and then, he led him back along the riverbank. As they walked along, Ezekiel, much to his surprise, noticed that many trees and vegetation had sprung up along both sides if the river. Then the angelic being said to him, “this river flows east through the desert into the Jordan Valley where it then enters the Dead Sea”. He also tells Ezekiel that the waters from this stream will heal the salty waters of the Dead Sea, and make them fresh and pure, and not only that, everything that touches the waters of this stream will live. Every kind of fish will abound in the Dead Sea, something that has never happened before, and fishermen will stand on the shores and fish all the way from En-gedi to En-eglaim. The shores will be covered with fish nets drying in the sun, just as it was along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea (Vs.6-10).
The angelic being told Ezekiel that the marshes and swamps would remain salty, and in fact, would become an important source of salt. And all the fruit trees along the banks of the river will continue to bear fruit all year round, and the leaves will remain green. There will be a new crop every month, without fail, because they are watered by the waters flowing from the holy Temple, and the leaves on these trees will be used for healing (Vs.11-12). Now that’s real “Holy Water”.
The life-giving waters talked about here in this passage presents a lovely picture of how the life-giving blood of JESUS symbolizes the only thing that can satisfy the thirst that GOD has put inside of each of us, innately, from birth. In fact, GOD, as our CREATOR, has continued to offer us this free “living water” that is needed for life itself here on earth, and, for eternal life with HIM in Heaven.
The living water of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST that is offered by HIM to each of us personally, right now at this moment, will cleanse us from all sickness and death, and brings us into eternal life with HIM, starting in HIS Millennial Kingdom here on earth, and carrying on into the new Heaven and earth (Revelations 21), talked about by the Apostle John in the book of Revelations.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website






Friday, November 7, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 9, 2014

Over 68,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

THE ALTAR, A SIGN OF HOPE
(Redemption comes according to GOD’s blueprint, not ours)
(Ezekiel 43:13-21)

After GOD decides to return HIS divine glory back into the Temple in Jerusalem, and reside there once again among HIS people, HE tells Ezekiel to describe the Temple plans, that, HE had shown him, to the people of Israel, and, to do it in such a way that, it would bring to remembrance, the shame of all of their past sins. GOD wanted the people to “feel the shame” for all of the profane things that they had done in the old Temple, and let it be a deterrent from re-visiting those same old trespasses again, after they begin to assemble in the new Temple. Only if the people repent of their past behavior, was he to describe the specifications of the construction of the new Temple to them.
GOD wanted HIS people to be able to see HIS grace through HIS promise of restoration, and be led to repent. Here HE stressed one basic primary law of the new Temple that must be adhered to at all times, and that is; ABSOLUTE HOLINESS! In fact, GOD says that the entire top of the hill where the Temple is built will be holy! And the Temple itself must be adorned with holiness, not human ideals and ingenuity.
Here, and in Ezekiel 44:5-9, GOD is demanding “absolute holiness” from his people, the people who call themselves by HIS name, and in today’s society, that means “Christians”. The only way that man can be holy is by closely adhering to the Word, wisdom, and directives of GOD at all times, especially in the Temple. Man has already proven that he will not adhere to GOD’s holy standards when given a chance to administer his own human ingenuity into GOD’s program in the Church. Eventually he will began to totally favor his own program and religious ideas, and began to ignore GOD altogether.
We must turn from the practice of allowing people to minister in the Temple, who do not exhibit through their behavior, that they really have a heart for GOD. There is to be no hiring of people to work on staff who are not firmly rooted in the word of GOD, and who have not first proven themselves by testing (dedokimasmetha), to be free of worldly ideas that can be used to profane the Temple.
Only those who have experienced a “spiritual circumcision” of the heart, and exhibits such through their behavior at all times, may be able to minister in the Temple. This is something that Ezra, Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, and the returning exiles heavily stressed when they began to put GOD’s plan, that, was given to Ezekiel, into practice (Ezra 4:1-3, Nehemiah 13:1-9).

Ezekiel was allowed by GOD to see the same glory that had once adorned the Temple of old in Jerusalem. Now GOD, would be coming back to Jerusalem, and resting in a rebuilt glorified physical edifice, where HE would also restore the Israelites relationship of friendship with HIM, and fulfill the covenant that HE had made with Abraham.
As Ezekiel’s prophecies continue to waver back and forward between pre-exilic, post exilic, and eschatological times, here in the passage of Ezekiel 43, verses 13-27, we find perhaps one of the more stronger arguments that the prophet’s foretelling of the coming post-exilic Temple may not be descriptions of a yet to come future eschatological restoration of Israel. Beginning in verse 13 of this chapter, we see the detailed description of plans for a sacrificial alter to be built in the new Temple.
Here we can see that there is a theologically based problem with this being an eschatological reference, instead of a post-exilic one, since CHRIST JESUS is the once-and-for-all-time sacrifice that won us our salvation. Therefore, this passage begs the question, Why will we need a sacrificial altar in the “Millennial Kingdom Temple? And the answer is that, we won’t. Here in this passage Ezekiel is clearly prophesying of the Temple that was built by the exiles who would return to Israel from Babylon.
In the Millennial Kingdom Temple there will be no need for a sacrifice altar or Levitical priests of the family of Zadok to minister before the LORD on behalf of the people for their sin because there will be no sinning in the Millennial times here on earth under the direct rule of CHRIST. GOD will have already cleansed us of our sin nature and filth and we will only have the desire to live like CHRIST (Ezekiel 36:26-29). There will be no sinful desires in the Millennial Kingdom as satan, sin, and death will be locked away for a thousand years. 

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website