WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 23, 2012
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LIVING IN THE LIGHT
(We should walk in the light that JESUS brought into the world)
(John 1:1-5 & Ephesians 5:1-14)
In the biblical Greek, the term used for “word” is “logos” (log-os), and it, more or less, emphasizes the message of that which is spoken. In John chapter 1, the apostle expresses to us that our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST personifies the Word of GOD, in the flesh. Here he is trying to get us to understand that one of the key reasons for JESUS’ first advent, was, and is, for “communication”.
JESUS is the “Spoken Word”, and the “Living Expression” of all that which GOD ever sought to communicate to us about HIMSELF. Here John is saying, particularly in verse 1, that, JESUS is both, “identical” to the GOD of the Old Testament concept, and yet, HE is also distinct from HIM. One can imagine how stunning this must have been to the people of the first century. Even today, many people have a problem with embracing this concept, which has now become familiar, and yet still remains just as mysterious as it ever was. Here though, we can see that, while the concept may be difficult, John’s teaching seems to be very clear. He is saying here that JESUS existed eternally with GOD the FATHER, as one GOD, yet, with a distinct and separate personality. Those of us who understand the concept that unity in a family and marriage represents, can certainly grasp the concept of “unity as one” between the FATHER and the SON.
It is true that in human society, if someone hands someone else a gift, and that person doesn’t perceive that gift to be real, then they probably aren’t going to reach out and accept it. Our believing in GOD, in all of HIS fullness, can be likened to that. GOD is giving us the gift of eternal life through HIS only begotten SON, JESUS the CHRIST. Believing in HIM involves seeing HIM as real, and, as coming from GOD, and then, reaching out and accepting HIM. By accepting JESUS, one also accepts GOD the FATHER’s wonderful gift of eternal life in Heaven, and, at one and the same time, becomes what they weren’t before, and that is, quite simply, “a child of GOD”.
JESUS came into the world to teach us how to live our lives under GOD, and, to teach us how to die and live again, with GOD. HE taught us how to give and forgive, and, HE taught us how to love, and how to give thanks. John points to JESUS as being the “LIGHT of the world”, a true light for all people. In HIM we see exactly what GOD is like, and only HE can usher us into GOD’s OWN glorious presence, without fear, without guilt, and, without shame.
In Ephesians chapter 5, verses 1-14 the Apostle Paul relates to Christians about “living in the light” that CHRIST JESUS, our SAVIOR, brought into a world of darkness. Paul begins this chapter by urging us Christians to follow GOD’s example in everything that we do. We should live a life filled with love for one another, following the examples of CHRIST WHO loves us, and, WHO gave HIMSELF up as a ransom for us, to nullify our sins, through HIS death on the cross. It was a sacrifice that was like sweet perfume to GOD (Vs. 1-2).
With every ounce of “worldly success” comes an equal measure of “pride”. To the contrary, with every ounce of “GODly success” comes an equal measure of “humility”. Every professed Christian must strive to be an imitator of GOD, simply because they claim to be GOD’s Children. The more we conform to the world, the more prideful we become, but the more we are able to transform from the world’s ways, to the ways and examples of CHRIST, the more humble we become.
There should be a very distinct and clear difference between the lifestyle of a Christian, and that of one who desires to be like the world. Darkness and light cannot co-exist in the same space. When the people in the community of GOD compromise their ways with the ways of the world, the distinction between the two are soon lost, and professed Christians are no longer able to properly represent CHRIST to anyone with any accuracy.
In Ephesians 5, verses 3-13, we see perhaps Scriptures greatest and clearest defining of the contrasting moral differences between “light” and “darkness, or “right” and “wrong” by GOD’s standards. The vices or sins mentioned in verses 3-4 (sexual immorality, impurity, or greed, even obscene talk and dirty jokes) portray self worship and a lack of concern for others.
Remember, a greedy person is nothing but an idolater, because they chase after and worship the things of this world. We should not be fooled by those who try to excuse such a sin as this. Those who desire to follow CHRIST should not have even a hint of these evil elements in his or her life. Anyone who practices such immoralities cannot expect to enter into the Kingdom of CHRIST (the Millennial Kingdom), and of GOD in Heaven (v.5).
People who are comfortable in their own sin, and, who are offended by those who try to rebuke, correct, or expose them, have themselves, a favorite “scripture-based saying” that they like to use. They love to tell people, “You can’t judge”. However, in the Christian bible there are three separate and distinct types of judgment. Two of them GOD expects all Christians to be able to do, and the third is one that only GOD HIMSELF can do. In fact, even if we wanted to do this third type of judgment, our mere mortality prevents us from being able to do it. There is a different Greek word that is used to describe each of them. They are;
· Anakrino (judgment) – It is a self examination, using GOD’s standards to see if we ourselves are in line with HIS Word and Will at any given time.
· Diakrino (judgment) – it is using GOD’s standards to examine anything, or anyone to determine, or discern, that which is right, from that which is wrong in that person, thing, or situation.
· Krino (judgment) – it is a judgment of “condemnation”, a judgment that only our superior GOD can make. No human being can make this type of judgment, because we are all indeed ourselves, people under judgment from GOD at all times.
In Ephesians 5:10-14, the Apostle alludes to the two, of the three judgments that GOD expects us to make. Here we see a clear example of our duty to judge ourselves (Anakrino Judgment), and others (Diakrino Judgment), by first, finding out what is pleasing to GOD, by closely examining HIS Word and Will for our lives (Vs.10-11).
By closely studying GOD’s Word and finding out what we ourselves are doing wrong (examining ourselves), we’ll be able to help others who are going astray to get themselves into line with GOD’s Word and Will also. Serious Christians should take no part in the worthless, evil deeds and darkness that now permeate and dominate this world. The Word of GOD says that Christians should instead, rebuke and expose such evil (v.11). In fact, we should not even talk about the shameful things that ungodly people do even in secret, but rather, we should let our light shine on them, through our GODly behavior, so that it can become clear that their way is not the way to go. And so our lifestyle and behavior can expose things that are not right with GOD better than anything we can ever say. And wherever the Christian light of CHRIST shines through us, it will automatically expose evil deeds and actions.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website