Friday, December 26, 2014

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 28, 2014

Over 70,000 readers worldwide

(Courageous worship gets us out of the boat)
(Matthew 14:22-36)

John’s Gospel records that on the evening following the miraculous feeding of the five thousand men, and their women and children, JESUS instructed HIS disciples to go down to the shore of the Sea of Galilee and wait there until HE disbursed the crowd. However, as darkness fell, and JESUS still had not come, they grew weary of waiting and decided to get into the boat and head on across the water to Capernaum without HIM (John 6:16-17).
However, here in Matthew’s Gospel account, he recalls that JESUS instructed them not to wait, but rather, to get into the boat and cross over to the other side of the lake, while HE dispersed the crowd. Matthew also tells us that after JESUS sent the people home, HE decided to, first, go up on the mountain to pray before joining HIS disciples, and there, HE lingered until nightfall. Both Gospel writers agree that ultimately they did embark upon their short seven-mile journey to the other side without JESUS being on board.
After the men had gone three or four miles, which is about half way across the lake, they were besieged by a storm and high winds. The Sea of Galilee was always noted for its sudden and severe storms, and so, caught in the open sea, the disciples found themselves straining with their oars trying to keep control of their boat.
Suddenly, about three o’clock in the morning, the frightened men see a shadowy figure coming towards them through the wind and the rain, walking upon the water. At first they thought it was a ghost, but when JESUS spoke, they recognized HIS voice. JESUS said to them “It is I, don’t be afraid”.
At this point the disciple, Peter, called to JESUS and said, “LORD, is it really YOU, tell me to come to YOU by walking on the water”. JESUS beckoned for him to come, and Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward JESUS. However, when his fear overcame him, and caused him to focus more on the effects of the storm around him, instead of keeping his focus on JESUS, he quickly began to sink.
As the frightened disciple sank into the sea, he shouted, “LORD save me!”, and instantly JESUS reached out HIS hand and grabbed him, and said, “You don’t have much faith, why did you doubt ME”? And when they both had gotten back into the boat, suddenly the storm ceased, and the men worshipped JESUS, because they were awed by HIS miraculous power over nature.
Over the generations since that day on the Sea of Galilee, many have criticized Peter because he wasn’t able to keep his focus on the LORD in the midst of his problems, and the state of his condition, which is something most of us can’t seem to do either. However, we all have to admire the apostle for his readiness to step out on the sea in the first place, which is something that none of the other disciples were willing to do that day. When we step out in faith, we always, in essence, risk failure. However, it is only by stepping out in faith, that we can ever truly experience personally, the power of CHRIST JESUS in our lives.   
This fifth sign of the MESSIAH serves to show us how JESUS, quite literally, comes to us from across the storms of life, with HIS hands stretched out to save, and HE speaks to us in a calm, clear voice, and HE bids us to “Have no fear”. “Be of good cheer” and “Be not afraid” is what JESUS often said to HIS disciples, however, it is also a statement that is directed to all mankind, from across the spans of time, whenever we choose to put our faith in HIS saving hand, even in this day and age.
We must trust JESUS, that, HE will save us from our troubles, and deliver us into the safety of HIS eternal peace. And we must never leave home without HIM, as the disciples did on that day, but rather, we must always carry HIM deeply within our hearts, whenever and wherever we go in life. And every time we experience the miracles of HIS presence, we must pause in awe to worship HIM and be thankful for HIS wonderful, saving power in the lives of those who have “saving faith”, and believe to a point of knowing.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, December 19, 2014

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 21, 2014

Over 70,000 readers worldwide

(Seek, celebrate, and share JESUS)
(Luke 2:1-20)

Luke chapter two, verses 1-2, are the verses in Scripture that come closest to giving us the exact birth year of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. In Luke 2:1-7, the author of GOD writes of the 90-mile trip, of Joseph and Mary, from Nazareth to Bethlehem to honor the census decree that had been imposed by the Emperor, Caesar Augustus.
The decree was put into place for the purpose of assessing taxes, and discovering those who were liable for compulsory military service. The Jews, however, were exempt from serving in the military, so basically, the census for them was taken expressly for taxation purposes. These census’ were periodical in nature, and the count came once every 14 years. Man has in his possession, actual documentation of every Roman census taken from A.D. 20 to A.D. 270.
Luke 2:1-2, are the verses of scripture that are most reliable in actually determining the year of JESUS’ birth into this world as a 100% human being. Here Luke tells us that it was at the time of this particular census that was imposed by Caesar Augustus, that Joseph and Mary (who was quite far along in her pregnancy with baby JESUS), had to travel to Bethlehem, the home of Joseph’s ancestry, to be counted. Every person, by law, had to return to their original place of ancestry in order to register for this census count.
Luke also tells us in verse 2, that, it was during the time when Cyrenius (Quirinius) was serving as Roman governor to Syria. Roman records show that Cyrenius served in an official capacity on two separate occasions, first, from 10 B.C. to 7 B.C., and later, in A.D. 6& 7. Roman records also show that Caesar Augustus served as Roman Emperor, from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14. What that tells us is, that, the census records that man now possesses, most likely begins with the third 14-year census count, and that, the first count must have been during Cyrenius’ first term in office (10 B.C.-7 B.C.).
We also know, from Scripture (Matthew 2:13-17), that Herod the Great, who was king over Judea at that time, issued a decree to kill all infants in and around Bethlehem, up to the age of 2, in an attempt to kill baby JESUS. Since Roman records show that Herod died in 4 B.C., we know that JESUS had already been born. And if the 14-year cycle of the census count holds true, and, in light of all the Biblical and secular facts that we have, we can, with reasonable certainty, deduce that JESUS was born in 8 B.C., during that first census count.
All of this information is something good and special for the serious Bible student to know, but the good news of the birth of CHRIST JESUS is something good and special for all men to know. The term “Hypostatic Union” is one that can only be used in reference to CHRIST JESUS. It refers to HIS unique theanthropic personage (both divine and human in nature and quality), being 100% perfect man, as GOD originally made Adam (without sin), and, 100% GOD, as GOD the FATHER HIMSELF is.
HE served us here on earth, as 100% perfect man, to show us how we could live if we maintained a willingness to obey GOD at all times, and through HIS FATHER GOD’s mercy and grace, and HIS OWN obedience to GOD, HE died for us because HE knew we would not obey GOD. In fact, man has long ago, since the time of the Garden of Eden, convinced himself that he really can’t obey GOD completely, despite GOD sharing with us, the same “spiritual attributes”, or “divine nature”, that HE sent CHRIST to rescue us with.
However, as I said earlier, because of GOD’s faithfulness, mercy, and grace, we can now rejoice in the knowledge that there does now exist, the “Christian Hope”. It is the Hope that arises out of the New Covenant that was ushered in, and is personified by, our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, and then signed with HIS OWN blood.
That is why no one will ever be able to go into the presence of GOD, except through JESUS. HE, alone, will forever be, the only way to the ONLY WISE SOVEREIGN GOD. We only need to repent of our sins and accept CHRIST with our mouth, and, more importantly, in our heart, as our LORD and SAVIOR.
Luke’s clear and straightforward account of JESUS’ birth, goes a long ways toward anchoring these events in history, and then, linking them to prophesy. He helps us to see that “Biblical history” is “World history”, and, that they will forever be inseparable and synonymous with each other.
The announcement of JESUS’ birth, from on High, came first to the lowly Shepherds in the fields, where they worked and kept watch over their sheep. In the first century, Shepherds were on the bottom rung of the “social” and “economic” ladder, and they were, by way of their meager lifestyles, “the most humble”.
In Luke 2:8-20, we once again get a glimpse of the “Three Great Revolutions of GOD”, and what their importance would be in the coming Christian movement. We saw it first in the writings and utterances of the Old Testament saints (i.e. 1 Samuel 2:3-8). In the New Testament we see it in Mary’s song of praise, known as the “Magnificat” (which in Latin means “My soul doeth magnify the LORD”) (Luke 1: 51-53). There it says, in effect, that GOD will use the birth, life, and ministry of CHRIST, and, Christianity, to uphold and defend the lowly and the humble.
First of all, those who truly understand Christianity know that it is designed to uphold “humbleness”, and by nature, means the death of “pride”. Secondly, Christianity is aimed at stamping out “social injustice”. Every Prophet of GOD that has come to us was a champion of the fight against social injustice. GOD is extremely interested in justice and being just. That is why we find the word “just” written in Scripture over 90 times and the word “justice” 28 times.
And thirdly, Christianity is aimed at combating prejudices based on one’s “economic status”. Money, prosperity, and material things almost always turn a person’s heart away from GOD. So it becomes quite clear, the appropriateness, of announcing the “good news” first to ordinary folks, rather than to the rich. 
And so, during this coming, and every Christmas season to come, let us strive to stay focused on the real reason for our celebration, and let us once again use that time to commemorate the coming of our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, and, to celebrate the love, brilliance, largesse, and mercy, of the ONLY WISE GOD the FATHER, for sending to us, HIS only begotten SON, to save us from ourselves, and the wiles of satan.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, December 12, 2014

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 14, 2014

Over 70,000 readers worldwide

(Express your praise to GOD)
(Psalm 95)

Our unwillingness to respond to GOD in the right way (obedience) will result in our losing of our only opportunity to enter into GOD’s holy “rest” when our lives here on earth are expired. In Psalm 95 the psalmist calls for us to acknowledge GOD as the great GOD above all the other deities (influences) of this world. GOD is the CREATOR of this world and we must respond to HIS voice with “saving faith”, if, we wish to end up in HIS glorious presence in the end. Here the psalmist writes these words that so eloquently crosses the spans of time to serve as a reminder to us, here in the 21st century;

(1)” Come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
(2) Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
(3) For the Lord is a great God,
    a great King above all gods.
(4) He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
    and the mightiest mountains.
(5) The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
    His hands formed the dry land, too.
(6) Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
(7)  for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
    the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!
(8) The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
    as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
(9) For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
    even though they saw everything I did.
(10) For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
    They refuse to do what I tell them.’
(11) So in my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest.”

GOD’s voice is represented by any of the directives that are given to us through the Holy Scriptures, and, through the HOLY SPIRIT, WHO, is at work in all believers. True believers will always hear, recognize, and seek to obey that voice, and we worship HIM only when we “hear and do” that which HE directs and commands in HIS Holy Word. The key to our personal relationship with GOD is to remain steadfast and sensitive to HIS HOLY SPIRIT, and to always be ready to respond in the right way when HE does speak to us.
The very concept of “GOD’s rest” is rooted in creation itself, and, even today, still has vital meaning for believers. We, as Christians, know of GOD’s place of rest, because scripture tells us that on the seventh day, GOD rested from all of HIS labor. And so we see GOD’s place of rest, is just like HIS Word, in the sense that it has always been there for us to enjoy following our earthly experience. And even though many have failed to make it to that place of rest over the generations, it still remains to be enjoyed by those who listen to, and obey CHRIST JESUS.
This place of rest is not like the land of Canaan, where Joshua led the people to, following their forty years of struggles on the desert all those years ago. God has spoken since that time about another place of rest that is still waiting for those who believe in this day and time. We will find rest from all of our labors, just as GOD rested after creating the world, if we are led by our faith into obedience to HIS Word. However, anyone who disobeys GOD in this day, as the Israelite people did who died in the desert long ago, will also experience a death that will eternally separate them from GOD.
We, as modern-day Christians, must take care that we do not find ourselves in the position of the Israelites, who were made, by GOD, to wander in the desert for forty years, and were never able to experience GOD’s “rest” in the new “promised land” of milk and honey (Canaan), because of their perpetual disobedience. If we disobey and move against GOD’s Will today, as they did then, we ourselves will never experience GOD’s rest (in Heaven), which JESUS says, has had specially prepared for us, since the foundation of this world.
This Psalm is one of the seven so-called “Enthronement Psalms” of the Psalter (the others are Psalms 47, 93, & 96-99), and it helps us to somehow sense the intimate bond between “Old Testament faith”, and our own “faith in CHRIST JESUS” today. It also helps us to appreciate just “how great of a salvation” we have in GOD, through HIS greater SON. GOD’s promise of salvation, or, entering into “HIS place of rest”, is still valid, and should make us tremble with fear for ourselves, our loved ones, and all other human beings, who might fail to reach it, at the end of this earthly struggle.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, December 5, 2014


An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday December 7, 2014


Over 69,000 readers worldwide



(We worship CHRIST because of who HE is)

(Hebrews 1)


The book of Hebrews was written to address the issues that some Jewish believers had in making the transition from the Old Testament Levitical system to their newfound freedom in CHRIST JESUS. This book describes in great detail, the superiority of CHRIST to everything in the Old Testament, including the entire priesthood, and, the old animal and plant sacrificial system.

The letter of Hebrews, perhaps more than any other writing in scripture, highly exalts the person and works of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. It makes valuable contributions to the doctrinal aspects of JESUS’ priesthood, incarnation, and vicarious sacrifice. It also goes a long ways toward developing an understanding, regarding the relationship between the interpretation of Old Testament Law, and New Testament Faith. It also helps us to understand the “New Covenant” that was ushered in by CHRIST, as it relates to the “Old Covenant” that was given to Moses, by GOD, on Mount Sinai.

Long ago, GOD spoke “many times and in many different ways” (polymeros kai polytropos) to our ancestors, through the prophets. However, today, GOD continuously speaks to us through HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST. “Prototokas” is the word that is used here in chapter 1, verse 2, and later, in verse 6, for the term “SON” in the original Greek writing. Throughout the New Testament, it is a word that is only used in reference to JESUS HIMSELF, and it means, quite simply, “FIRSTBORN”. It is a technical theological term that affirms HIS supreme rank and unique relationship and position in the family of GOD. That is why, even the angels of GOD, worship the SON.

The “right hand” is the traditional place of power and authority in the biblical sense, and so JESUS not only possesses eternal life and existence, by being at the right hand of GOD the FATHER in Heaven, HE also exercises all of the power and authority of Deity. As FIRSTBORN, GOD promised everything to the SON as an inheritance, and through HIM, HE made the universe and everything in it.

In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “brightness” is “apaugasma” (apow-gas-mah), and it is a “brilliance”, “effulgence”, or “light”, which is reflected from one place, or object, to another place or object”. JESUS is the “LIGHT” that wants to shine on all mankind, and gives each of us that light, so that we too, can shine that light on  someone else, making them able to see their way through the darkness that presses to dominate this world. And so, here in Hebrews 1:3, that is the word that is being used by the author to describe JESUS CHRIST in his original Greek rendering.

Also in verse three, the author uses another interesting Greek term to depict JESUS. That term is “charakter” (khar-ak-tare), and it means “express image”. It is from that word that we derive our English word “character”. It is “an exact copy, or representation of”, and, it is like a seal, an impression, or stamp. Here the author attempts to establish the person of JESUS CHRIST as being superior to any other prophet, or intermediary that GOD had sent prior to HIS coming. He also sought to affirm that JESUS is truly “the SON of the living GOD”, and, is the “exact image” of GOD HIMSELF. And so, in JESUS, and through HIS behavior, we are able to see exactly what GOD is like.

In Hebrews 1:4-14, the writer turns his efforts toward proving that JESUS is also superior to angels. In verse 4, he says, in effect, that, JESUS’ superior name serves to add to HIS credentials. In biblical times, a person’s name often summed up who they were. The name “JESUS” means “JEHOVAH is salvation”, and thereby, the very term “SAVIOR” makes HIM eternally superior to any angel, just simply by way of HIS more excellent name.

Verses 13 and 14 serve to remind us of the most important reason why angels should not be the focus of our worship. And that reason being, is that angels are only servants of GOD. Most of them are spirits sent from GOD to care for those who will eventually receive salvation. I say “most of them”, because satan also commands a host of angels. We are told of this fact in both Matthew 25:41, and Jude 1:6.  Therefore, it is JESUS, not angels, WHO should always be the focus of our Faith.

In the final analysis, the true meaning of life is contained in the person of CHRIST JESUS. HE is our “direct access” to GOD the FATHER. However, we must listen closely for the meaning of the truth we have heard about HIM, lest we be in danger of drifting away from the ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF. If GOD is able to spin the Universe into orbit, tell the sun where to rise, and the oceans where to stop, then certainly, HE can satisfy our quest for the meaning of our existence, direct our path through this life, and, at one and the same, save our souls and secure us for all eternity through CHRIST JESUS, our LORD.


A Sunday school lesson by,

Larry D. Alexander







LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website