Friday, January 11, 2013

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday January 13, 2013

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(Humility before honor)
(Philippians 2:1-18)

In Philippians chapter 2, verses 1-11, perhaps two Greek words sum up the gist of the Apostle Paul’s message to the Church at Philippi, “tapeinophrosune” (tap-i-nof-ras-oo-nay) which means “unity through humility”, and “sumpsuchos” (soom-psoo-khos), which means “together in spirit, or like-minded”.
Here, Paul writes of how his joy in his fellowship with the Philippians would be even greater, if they would began to exhibit more unity, by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. This is perhaps Scripture’s clearest portrait of the humility that is called for by CHRIST JESUS.
Humility, in the biblical sense, is not a weak man’s surrender, but rather, it is a strong man’s rejection of all things selfish. It is also a desire to be actively and genuinely concerned with the needs of others (verses 2-4). In fact, JESUS tells us in Matthew 25, verses 31-46, that, HE will judge us, in the last day, according to our reaction to human need. HIS criterion for administering HIS final judgment will be based on how we reacted to the needs of others in our lifetime, and not on how much, or how little, we sinned.
In verses 5-11, Paul uses JESUS as the great example, or standard, of what true humility in a Christian should look like. Here Paul tells us that our attitudes should be the same as CHRIST exemplified, during HIS lifetime here on earth. During that time, even though HE was GOD, HE did not demand, or cling to HIS to rights as GOD. HE took the humble position of a slave and appeared to us in 100% human form. HE obediently humbled HIMSELF even further, by dying a criminal’s death on the cross, by Roman method.
In this supreme illustration of humility, JESUS willingly surrendered the prerogatives of deity, in order that HE may die for the sins of all humanity. It is because of JESUS’ great sacrifice, that GOD raised HIM up to the heights of Heaven and gave HIM the name that is above all other names. And it is at the very mention of HIS name that, one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD. And it will all be to the glory of GOD the FATHER in Heaven. These statements by Paul (vs. 6-11) constitute a grand expression of “Christology”. In fact, it is said by some scholars that these verses are taken from one of the popular hymns of the early Christian Church.
Through our struggles here on earth, the Christian must be able to tap into GOD’s will for us, and then, shine brightly for CHRIST. Paul reminded the Philippians of how careful they were to follow his instructions while he was with them. And now, he was urging them to put what they had learned from him into action, and show the world, through their behavior, how GOD’s saving work is having a positive effect on their lives, and, on the lives of others. It is the brightness of our Christian light that sheds light and life on the Gospel message that we hold out for others to see.
We must set as our goal, a desire to gain certain qualities in life, among them being, a genuine interest in the welfare of others, a genuine concern for those interests that are CHRIST’, and a record of faithful service that we can point to as our witness before those whom we aspire to convert. And by following the examples of JESUS, or, by, in other words, “being in CHRIST”, the Christian Church, by working together, will be able to work out GODly solutions to its own problems, and, at one and the same time, be able to do so, without murmuring and complaining. And through our real life examples and behavior, we’ll be able to show the world, that, without a doubt, Christianity really does produce the best men and women.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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