Friday, January 31, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday February 2, 2014

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HEAR AND DO THE WORD
(Living out the truth of GOD’s Word)
(James 1)

The epistle of James was written to the Jewish Christian Diaspora, for the purpose of providing them with practical instructions to live by concerning “the Christian way”. It contains many short, proverbial sayings, and reflects in a remarkable way, JESUS’ teachings from HIS famous “Sermon on the Mount”.
Here, James, the brother of JESUS, addresses the issues of;

·         Pride,
·         Greed,
·         Discrimination,
·         Lust,
·         Hypocrisy,
·         Mean-spiritedness, and
·         Conformity to the world ways of behaving.

He also stresses the need for Christians to “not just hear the word of GOD”, but also “to actually practice doing and living the word of GOD on a daily basis”.
James believed that “professed Christians” should be able to “show the world “an outer expression” of “the inner transformation” of their heart”. The world needs to see how the gospel of CHRIST really does change the lives of those who choose to follow JESUS, and continue to walk in the newness of HIS light. Christians are to adhere to the ways of an unchanging GOD, and to stand with confidence in GOD continuously. We need to show the world through our behavior, on a daily basis, that Christianity really does produce the best men and women.
In this doctrinal letter, chapter 1, verses 13-18, James offers us his analysis of, and solution to, “temptation”. He tells us that the gravitational pull towards evils such as anger, striking out against one another, or surrender to physical and emotional passions that we feel, does not come from GOD. GOD cannot be tempted to do wrong, nor, does HE tempt anyone to do wrong. Temptations come from one source, satan, who manipulates our own “sin nature”, or, “evil desires”, and leads us to evil actions, which leads us to death, or temporary or permanent separation from GOD.
GOD, through HIS infinite wisdom, has put in place, two “temptation barriers” that help keep us on the straight and narrow, HIS judgment, and, HIS goodness. These two actions represent GOD’s way of balancing our fear with HIS love. GOD motivates us to obedience either by fear of HIS judgment (like David), or, by our respect for HIS goodness (like Joseph).
Only that which is good and perfect comes from GOD, and we should never be led to think otherwise. When we doubt GOD’s goodness, we automatically become attracted to satan’s offers. The GOD WHO created all things does not change or cast shifting shadows, as some of HIS creation (man) tends to do. Through HIS goodness, HE chose to make us HIS children, by giving us “HIS nature” and “HIS Word of Truth”.
We, out of all creation are GOD’s prize possession, and we are expected, by GOD, because we share HIS nature and HIS Truth, to live out our lives in the truth of HIS SPIRIT and HIS Word. And so, ultimately, the key to responding to trials and resisting temptation can only be found in a person’s use of GOD’s nature, and reaction to GOD’s Word (Vs.17-18). And always remember;

·         GOD gives only good gifts
·         The way GOD gives is good
·         GOD gives continually
·         GOD does not change

In verses 19-27, James borrows a thought from JESUS’ “Sermon on the Mount”. It is the same strong, positive, divine advice, that, JESUS HIMSELF imparted to us that day, as HE ended HIS most famous sermon, on the slopes of the Mount of Beatitudes. It was a demand from our LORD and SAVIOR that we first “hear”, and then “do”, exactly what GOD created us to do (Matthew 7:24-29).
We can begin to build our foundations on the “Most High Faith” (Christianity) by;

·         Being quick to listen to the word of GOD,
·         Thinking before we speak, and
·         Being slow to anger

Our anger can never make things right in GOD’s sight. We, as GOD’s greatest creation, need to face ourselves spiritually, and then, strive to improve our spiritual appearance under GOD. We also need to get rid of the filth and evil in our lives, and humbly accept the message that GOD is seeking to implant in our hearts. This will, in turn, save our souls from eternal destruction.
Finally, there is only one word that sums up the process of “hearing and doing”, in both the English, and, the original biblical Greek. In the biblical Greek, that word is “hupakoe” (hoop-ak-o-ay), and it means, “to listen attentively”, and, “to heed or conform to command or authority”. And in the English language, that word is “obedience”.
It is JESUS’ claim that obedience to HIM is the only true foundation. “I AM the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE”, is what HE said to a “doubting Thomas” in John 14:6. And in the final analysis, the one thing that, we as humans all seek, is a better life. For we never seek knowledge just for knowledge sake, but rather, for how that knowledge can be used to make our lives more worth living. Primarily, the professed Christian has to come to understand that the only way to that “better life” has always been, and, will forever be, through CHRIST JESUS, WHO is the LIVING WORD of GOD. If we keep looking steadily into GOD’s WORD, the truth of HIS WORD will ultimately set us free. And, if we “do” what it says, and don’t forget what we heard, GOD will bless us for doing so, eternally.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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