Friday, March 6, 2015

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 8, 2015

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JESUS PROMISES AN ADVOCATE
(The HOLY SPIRIT is now here to teach us)
(John 14)

In John chapter 14, JESUS continues to teach HIS disciples in private. Here HE focuses on trying to encourage them to hold fast to the belief that HE has revealed to them exactly what GOD THE FATHER is like. In the Greek, the word New Testament writers use for “promise” is “epaggello” (ep-ang-el-ee-ah), and it is “an announcement of divine assurance of good”.
John 14:1-3 is arguably the most beautifully written passage in, perhaps, the most beautifully written book, in all of Scripture. It comes in the form of a “divine promise” to those who believe in CHRIST JESUS. Here in this passage, JESUS first, encourages, and then, makes a promise to HIS followers with these divine words; “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in GOD, believe also in ME. In MY FATHER’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would tell you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto MYSELF; that where I AM, there ye may be also” (KJV).
It is a promise that is made at a time when the cumulative weight of all the previous revelations that JESUS had laid on HIS disciples had begun to set in and depress them. Remember, HE had already revealed to them that HE would go away, and, they would not be able to follow HIM (John 7:34, 8:21, 12:8 & 35, and 13:33). HE had also revealed to them that HE would die (John 12:32-33), and, that one of them would betray HIM (John 13:21). Furthermore, HE had already revealed to Peter that he would deny HIM, not once, but three times before daybreak (John 13:38). And also, that satan would be working against them (Luke 22:31-32), and, at that time, every one of them would fall away from HIM (Matthew 26:31).
And so we see it is a statement that was much needed to try and comfort and allay the fears of what was about to befall HIS disciples in the very near future. It is said that a person’s heart (thoughts) is at the center of their personality, and that, we must keep our hearts with all diligence (we must guard the way we think). Our soul’s sorrow is relieved when we trust in the Word of GOD, and CHRIST says, if you trust GOD, trust also in HIM.
“I AM the WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE” is what JESUS said to a “doubting” Thomas in John 14:6. It is the sixth of JESUS’ seven great “I AM statements” that are found in the Gospel of John. JESUS tells us plainly that if we have seen HIM, we have already seen GOD, and if we “know” HIM and “have” HIM (HIS Word) in us, we already possess “Eternal Life”.
No matter how we view our existence, in the final analysis, all we ever really seek is a better life for ourselves and our families. We absolutely never seek knowledge, just for knowledge sake, but rather, for what that knowledge can do to make our lives more worth living. Here, it is JESUS’ claim, that obedience to HIM is the only true foundation that we can securely build upon. It is HIS contention that life through HIM is the only life worth living. No one can go to the FATHER, but by JESUS, because, HE alone, is “THE WAY” to GOD. In HIM, we see exactly what GOD is like. And only HE can usher us, into GOD’s OWN glorious presence, without fear, without guilt, and, without shame.
Anyone who believes in CHRIST JESUS will desire to do the same works that HIS earthly ministry demonstrates to us that HE did. But JESUS says that we can do even greater works than HE did, and this is simply because many of us will have much more time on this earth than HE had to do them. In addition, we are able to ask GOD for anything within HIS Will, and, in the name of JESUS, and HE will grant it, because all of JESUS’ work during HIS earthly ministry, brought glory to HIS FATHER in Heaven (Vs. 12-14). And if we do the work of CHRIST JESUS, we too, will bring glory the SAME, our FATHER, WHO art in Heaven.
John 14:15-31 is the conclusion of JESUS’, now famous, “Upper Room Discourse” to HIS disciples. Up until this point, very little had been mentioned, regarding the HOLY SPIRIT. In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “Comforter” is “Parakletos” (Par-ak-lay-tos), and it is “an Intercessor”, or “a Counselor”. “Comforter” is the word translated here and used by JESUS to describe the function of the HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM HE would send soon after HIS ascension back into Heaven. This COMFORTER would stand as a force against man’s own “sin nature” that he had long ago accepted from satan, and would lead him back into all truth, and once again put him in touch with “the nature of GOD” that he was born with. HE would also be a force that unbelievers would not be able to see or receive into their lives. Only those, who, first, receive CHRIST, will ever be able to partake in this wonderful gift from GOD the FATHER.
And while the SPIRIT of GOD was now dwelling “with the disciples” in the person of CHRIST JESUS, HE would later come to “indwell” them and anyone who chose to follow JESUS through the cross. This type of reaction on people by the HOLY SPIRIT would be different from the way HE came upon people and inspired them in the Old Testament times. In those days, the HOLY SPIRIT would come upon people for a period, and then would leave them. But, in this time that JESUS spoke of now, the time of the first “Pentecost”, would be a time when the HOLY SPIRIT would come to dwell in the Christian Believer forever.
The HOLY SPIRIT is intended to actually fulfill the role of JESUS HIMSELF, in the lives of those, who believe on HIM. It was JESUS’ way of not abandoning us like orphans, and leaving us at the mercy of satan and his demons here on earth, who, of course, have no mercy. That is why, the way we treat the HOLY SPIRIT, is the way we treat CHRIST JESUS. When we accept JESUS into our lives, our bodies become the temple of the HOLY SPIRIT, and since the HOLY SPIRIT wrote the Word of GOD, the way we treat GOD’s Word (the Bible) is the way we treat GOD in HIS fullness.
Our love of GOD is shown by our willingness to obey CHRIST through the prompting of the HOLY SPIRIT, which seeks to guide us into all righteousness. GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT are indeed ONE and inseparable. JESUS left us with a peace of mind and heart that cannot be found in the world. And we can now come to rest in the thought, that this life is by no means, the final act of the human drama.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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