Friday, September 21, 2012

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 23, 2012

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FAITH INSPIRES GRATITUDE
(A call to listen to GOD)
(Hebrews 12:14-29)

The motivation for pursuing holiness here and now, is the realization that, without it, no one can see GOD, or stand in the presence of GOD in the spiritual life that follows our stay here on earth. In other words, Christians must be, and will be, sinless when they see the LORD in Heaven. A person’s perception of GOD in this present life is the true measure of his or her holiness.
In order to help us reach the state of holiness we need to achieve, GOD whips us into condition with his Holy discipline, and testing. When we fail to understand the love and purpose of GOD’s discipline, we are likely to become bitter towards HIM, and thereby, miss HIS unfailing grace. However, when we are able to see our trials and difficulties in the perspective of GOD’s grace, we are better able to accept HIS chastening.
In Hebrews 12:14-29, the author calls for a renewed spiritual vitality among GOD’s people. It is a call to “listen to GOD” with a renewed interest in how HE wants us to live our lives here on earth. He also urges us to begin by trying to live in peace with one another, being a good example for those who have not yet reached your own stage of spiritual awareness, so that not even one of us will miss out on GOD’s special favor. We can also help others guard against going astray by being accountable to one another, making sure that the bitter root of immorality does not infiltrate the lives of ourselves, and, of those whom we are close to.
Beginning in verse 18, the author of Hebrews gives us a final warning, as he vividly depicts with his writing, a clear picture of the situation on Mount Sinai, where the Old Covenant was given to the people in an awesome way, that only GOD could stage. Here he describes the scene of that event as a place of flaming fire, darkness and gloom, and a whirlwind, as GOD delivered HIS laws to the Israelites. And they could hear an awesome trumpet blast accompanied by a voice with a message so terrible that they begged GOD to stop speaking. Even Moses was admittedly terrified by this awesome display of GOD’s power.
However, in verse 22, the writer reminds the people that, that was then, and this is now. Now we fall under the protection of the New Covenant which was ushered in by CHRIST JESUS, and the realities that are pertained to in it, are even more impressive, because they are Heavenly. In the scenario painted here by the author of this letter to the Hebrews, not only is there a Heavenly city, but there is also, both, angels, and, the spirits of those who have been redeemed and made perfect by the LORD.
Ultimately, all created things will be removed by GOD. When Moses gave the law at the foot of Mount Sinai, the mountain itself burned with fire, and the surrounding plains shook uncontrollably. The fear that was felt by those who were present at that event will be nothing compared to what will be felt by those who cannot see spiritual realities through faith, and as a result, fail to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Kingdom of Heaven is all that will remain after the universe itself is shaken apart, and all of creation disappears. We must see to it that we obey GOD, the ONE WHO is speaking to us. If the people of Israel didn’t escape the wrath of GOD when they refused to listen to Moses, GOD’s earthly messenger, then, how much more terrible it will be for those of us, in this day, who refuse to listen to CHRIST JESUS, WHO came directly from Heaven to warn us. And since GOD, through HIS tender mercies, has given us a choice to be redeemed, and spend eternal life with HIM in Heaven, let us be thankful and begin worshipping HIM in spirit, and, in truth, with holy fear and reverence, because our GOD, is, a consuming fire.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander



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