Friday, August 20, 2010

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday August 22, 2010
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GROWING IN JOY AND PEACE
(Put into practice, what you know about GOD)
(Philippians 4)

Paul’s letter to the Church at Philippi is a very warm and very personal one. He was beholden to the Philippians because they had been the only church to offer up financial help to him, showing concern that he might be in need. They had sent an emissary named Epaphroditus to Paul while he was incarcerated in Rome. It was an offering that came at a time when Paul was not even sure that he would live or die as a result of this act of Roman persecution.
Epaphroditus became ill and nearly died during this benevolent mission, in fact, his illness is one of the overriding reasons why Paul was writing this letter. He was sending Epaphroditus back to Philippi to continue in the work of the church there (Philippians 2:25-30), and wanted also to introduce his young protégé and co-worker, Timothy, who would be visiting for a while there at the church in Philippi (Philippians 2:19-24). Thirdly, he wanted to encourage those who were upset about his imprisonment and remind them of the active promotion of the Gospel that his imprisonment was causing among others. Paul felt that for that reason alone, they should all rejoice.
Throughout this touching letter we see the theme of “rejoicing” being resonated. For the Christian, to live is cause to rejoice, because GOD loves us enough to allow it, despite our continued disobedience to HIS word. To die in CHRIST, is also reason to rejoice, because, as believers, ultimately, we will be with HIM forever, sharing in HIS wonderful kingdom, because of GOD’s grace.
However, this by no means says that we won’t have problems and difficulties from time to time, for that comes with being a part of the human experience. And remember, even JESUS, WHO had no sin, had to suffer when HE made HIMSELF a part of humanity, as part of GOD’s plan to save us from ourselves. And so, even in our obedience to GOD, we will inevitably be involved with a certain degree of suffering.
In Philippians 4, Paul urges those who live in CHRIST to stand firm in that power. He pleads for harmony between two faithful Christian women, as they struggle with a mere difference of opinion, seeking to encourage them not to jeopardize all the good work they had done, by behaving in an ungodly way (V.1).
As Christians, we are not to render worthless, the value of a life that has been dedicated to the work of GOD, by turning on one another for reasons that are petty, and do not involve the violation of the doctrine of CHRIST JESUS. We are to fix our minds and thoughts on what is true and honorable and right, thinking only of those things that are pure and lovely and admirable in the eyes of the LORD. We must put into practice, those things that we have learned concerning GOD’s perfect will for us, and then, the GOD of peace, will be with us, because we are walking in HIS light (v. 9).
In the biblical Greek, the word used for truth is “aletheia” (al-ay-thi-a), and it is “that which is in harmony with reality”. GOD’s truth is to be communicated as concepts that are heard, learned, and received. However, it must be received as “reality”, rather than as “philosophy”, and most of all, “truth” must be seen in the teacher.
When “truth” is communicated to others, by those who exemplify the life that they teach about, then, is it likely to be put into practice by those who hear it. Then to, those who hear it, will be able to grow in joy and peace, because they then sense and discover, the joy and peace of GOD, that had been previously suppressed, within themselves.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Larry D. Alexander - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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