Friday, May 17, 2013

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday May 19, 2013

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(Use your gifts to love and serve others)
(1 Peter 4:1-11)

As professed Christians, we’ve pledge to begin living our lives in a manner that is more pleasing to GOD. We desire to move away from being fascinated by wrong things, which used to have power over us, and we desire instead to indulge only in doing those things that are CHRIST-like, at all times. However, we are still being constantly surrounded by spiritual opposition from the evil forces of satan, and sometimes, when the good deeds that we’ve done go unnoticed by others, these evil forces move in and try to convince us that we made the wrong decision, by doing the right thing.
Oftentimes we may become angry after spending a lot of time doing good and thoughtful things for people, especially for our friends and family, that, we feel are obviously not appreciated by them. They either, don’t show thanks, or, they don’t voluntarily respond in kind, or even come to our aid in our times of need. However, we must adjust our attitudes when these unfortunate things occur, and we must come to rest in the fact that, these are the kinds of things that test our resolve and commitment to retaining the attitude of CHRIST, WHOM we pledge ourselves to, and promise to emulate more closely in our behavior.
In 1 Peter 1, verses 1-11, the Apostle Peter tells those of us who have chosen to follow JESUS’ example, that, we should never forget that JESUS did the ultimate wonderful good deed for us, by way of HIM sacrificing HIMSELF on the cross for our sins. It is  an act for which we have all shown HIM, from time to time, just how unappreciative we are, if in no other way, surely by way of our ungodly behavior towards each other.
Whenever a person chooses to follow CHRIST’s example and begin to live for GOD, we, in effect, are saying that we are also willing to suffer for CHRIST the same way that HE suffered for us. We are also saying that, we are willing to do so, with the same GODly attitude of which JESUS maintained, while HE suffered for us. And whenever the origin of our suffering is NOT sin, then, we are suffering for goodness sake, just as CHRIST did. We are, thereby, emulating HIS example as we promised.
Remember, CHRIST WHO was without sin, suffered, and thereby, HE did not suffer for sin that HE HIMSELF committed. HE suffered instead, for our sins that we have committed, and continue to commit, and, HE did so, not complaining, nor, even showing regret afterwards.
When we choose the Christian walk, we are pledging that we are no longer willing to spend the remainder of our lives chasing after evil desires. We are saying that we have had our fill of the evil things that GOD-less people enjoy and chase after. We are saying that we now wish to turn away from things such as sexual immorality and lust, drunkenness and wild parties, and the worship of our modern-day idols such as cars, houses, people, and all the other worldly things that we had become accustomed to chasing after. We are also saying that we are no longer willing to do foolish and unwise things, such as getting ourselves into financial debt because of envy, jealousy, and greed, wanting everything we see others with, and not showing GOD our appreciation for HIS supplying of all things that we need.
When we suffer as a result of our desires and actions to obtain the unneeded things of this world, we are not suffering for CHRIST, but rather, we are suffering for our own selfishness, which, in itself, makes us un-CHRIST-like. In fact, we can’t even find CHRIST until we come to the end of ourselves, where CHRIST stands waiting. If we are to live and thrive in the chosen community of GOD, we must first leave the community of “self”. Then, and only then, will we be able to enjoy the benefits of loving one another, serving one another, and supporting one another, as JESUS calls for us to do.
The end of all things is near, for each of us, personally. I’ve stated that in my teachings many times over the years, because, that is the warning that the Old Testament prophets, and New Testament writers and thinkers, all leave us with. Therefore, it is urgent and imperative that we be earnest in our prayers, while also, continuing to show deep love for one another, encouraging each other on a daily basis to do what is right under the watchful eye of GOD.
As human beings we sin often, but GOD, through HIS benevolence, has given us HIS deep love, which, as we know, covers a multitude of sin (v. 8). GOD has also given us many gifts and talents, and we are obligated to manage those gifts and talents wisely, manifesting GOD’s glory through them, so that GOD can continue to flow blessings through JESUS, to us, through us, to others (Vs. 10-11). There is great hope and rewards through good stewardship of the things which GOD has entrusted us with, and whenever our hands slack, we rob GOD.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website
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