Friday, February 13, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday February 15, 2015

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SERVING THE LEAST
(Reacting positively to human need)
(Matthew 25:31-46)

In Matthew 25, as JESUS concluded HIS, now famous, “Mount Olive Discourse” from the slopes of Mount Olive, HE gives us the answers that we need in order to pass “the test of life” that GOD has set before us. Here the TEACHER, JESUS, gives us the criterion by which HE will grade all humankind upon HIS second coming, when “the school of life” as we know it here on earth, is over.
Here JESUS is speaking of a time immediately following the final tribulations of man that were foretold by the prophet Daniel during the Babylonian conquest (Daniel 7:25, 9:27, 12:7), and then later, by the Apostle John through his visions from CHRIST JESUS on the island of Patmos (Revelations 11:2-3, 12:14, 13:5). This final tribulation period is to last for seven years just prior to what we’ve come to know as “The Rapture”.
JESUS tells us that HE will be accompanied by a host of angels, and will be seated on HIS glorious throne because HE plans to stay for a while, 1000 years to be exact. It is from there, that HE will exercise HIS GOD-given authority to judge all mankind, and HE will do so, strictly according to “how we reacted to human need” in our lifetime. If we reacted positively, we passed the test of life, but if we reacted negatively, and did not show love and concern for our fellowman, we’ve failed the test, and thereby, cannot pass into eternal life in Heaven, nor, for that matter, not even into the earthly “Millennial Kingdom” which CHRIST will set up immediately following HIS final judgment.
During this millennial period (1000 years), CHRIST JESUS will reign over a restored earth where there will be no satanic influence, because satan will be locked away for the duration. The prophet Ezekiel tells us that GOD will, quite literally, take away the remaining sin nature, or desire to sin, from those who are still seeking GOD in the end (Ezekiel 36:25-33). Therefore, there will be no sin in the Millennial Kingdom, and thereby, there can be no sickness and death. Everyone who enters into the Millennial Kingdom on day one, will still be a member at the end of the thousand year period, because where there is no sin, there can be no sickness and death.  
In this passage JESUS makes it pretty clear that anyone who hasn’t accepted HIS salvation offer by the time HE returns (the goats) will be sent away into eternal damnation and punishment. Only those individuals who have already accepted CHRIST before HE returns (the sheep) will be allowed to enter into, and share in HIS Millennial Kingdom. One must have already taken on the attitude of treating everyone as if they were dealing with CHRIST HIMSELF, personally. They must actually practice this behavior in this life, right now, here on earth.
What stands out in this passage is that no sin, in particular, is mentioned, as a part of the criterion that JESUS will use for judging us. The reason being is that, all the sins of man, past, present, and future, have already been covered by the blood of JESUS when HE died on the cross at Golgotha. JESUS is telling us that we will be judged according to our reaction to human need, and that salvation is granted only to those who believe that HE died and took the mandatory death penalty for sins off the table. Since that time all those who accept HIM as their LORD and SAVIOR will be saved from eternal damnation.
However, our faith in GOD has to rise to the level of “Saving Faith” before we can be motivated to act out that faith in a way that is pleasing to GOD. Real saving faith manifests itself through GODly deeds and behavior that actually show GOD our love for HIM and our fellowman. And when GOD looks into our hearts and sees HIMSELF, HE then sends us to JESUS. That is what JESUS means when HE says, “No man can come to ME unless the FATHER draws them” (John 6:43-45). As Christians, we must be able to show the world, through our behavior, that Christianity really does produce the best men and women. And then, because of the desire we have shown to do the Word of GOD, JESUS, in the last day, will raise us up from the dead.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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