Friday, April 9, 2010

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday April 11, 2010
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LOVE WITHIN THE COMMUNITY
(Live in the light of GOD’s love)
(1 John 2:7-17)

The world of ancient Rome was represented by an olio of religious voices, and it is likely that the readers of this first letter of the apostle John were bombarded daily by a variety of religious ideas and doctrine. And even though they may have done so in different ways, they were all guilty of heresy in John’s mind, by way of their common denial of the person of CHRIST JESUS.
In this intensely practical letter, addressed to a group of Christians, John gives a stern warning against the dangers of false teaching and encourages these believers to remain faithful to GOD and continue in their love for each other, by living in the light.
In the Greek, the word John uses for “new” in chapter 2, verses 7 and 8 is “kainos” (kahee-nos), and it is “newness in respect to freshness of age”, and is not necessarily “new in existence to the world”. For example, we can buy a new pair of shoes, but shoes are not new to the world. They have been around for ages, yet we create new shoes every day. The idea for us to “love one another” was not new to the followers of GOD. They had been hearing it since the Old Testament times, as it is evidenced in Leviticus 19:18. They were also taught this concept at the time of their conversion to Christianity only a few years earlier.
When JESUS came, bringing healing to men’s bodies and Salvation to men’s soul, HE also brought with HIM, a new freshness to the phrase “Love one another”. HE expanded it to include, “love your enemy also”, and this is especially true, if the person you consider to be your enemy also happens to be a professed Christian.
JESUS sought to show us, throughout HIS three-year earthly mission, that, no one was outside of HIS love, and that, no one was outside of the purpose of GOD. Both HE and the FATHER wishes all mankind to be saved. HE wanted to show HIS followers then and now, that in HIS new Christian Order, there would be no such thing as an enemy, except satan, in all the world. If a professed Christian says he is living in the light of CHRIST, and hates any one of his fellow men, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, or national origin, he is mistaken, and is still living in the darkness from which he thought he had escaped.
Up until this point, John’s letter may tend to lead his readers to think that he is dissatisfied with their spiritual growth and conditioning. However in verses 12-14 the tone seems to shift a bit, to a feeling of assurance, that their spiritual assets had indeed not gone unnoticed. Here John reminds them of how their sins have been forgiven, by way of JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice on the cross at Skull Hill (v.12). He then speaks of their maturity in their knowledge of who CHRIST is, and how, because of it, they’ve quite literally, won their battle with satan (V.13).
In the Greek, the word used for world is “Kosmos”, and it is from that word that we derive our English word “Cosmos”. In the spiritual sense, it is “that complex intertwining of sinful desires that shape our world of lost humanity”. Before we come to CHRIST, we have already, long ago, adopted man’s perspectives, values, and attitudes. And now we are faced with the radical change that comes with getting to know GOD, and adopting HIS perspective, values, and attitude.
By choosing the Christian walk we automatically become strangers to worldly behavior, as we are no longer permanent residents of this earth. We suddenly become citizens of Heaven, where therefore, the Laws of GOD become paramount to us.
It is not until a person falls in love with goodness, that wrong things no longer fascinate and have power over them. Our relationship with GOD becomes our greatest asset. We realize then that the person who loses his, or her heart to the things of this world, is the person most vulnerable to satan.
This world really is fading away, along with everything in it, and everything it craves. But if we continue to do the will of GOD, by obeying the counsel of the HOLY SPIRIT, we are promised, by CHRIST JESUS, that we will live forever.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander


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