Friday, September 28, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 30, 2018

Over 174,000 readers worldwide

(Sin separates us from GOD)
(Genesis 3)

   Before GOD ever made man, the Scriptures tells us that Lucifer had already been ousted from Heaven and confined to the earth where he would be the shrewdest of all the creatures that GOD would create later on (Ezekiel 28:12b-19, Luke 10:18). In actuality, satan ruled, or, had dominion over the earth at that time, as GOD had not yet saw fit to place HIS figurative represent, man, here on earth.
    When GOD created mankind the way we know him now (the creation account of the Christian bible), HE then gave dominion over all things on earth to man, who would serve as HIS personal, figurative, representative, and by doing so, HE automatically usurped satan of his self-appointed position as “prince of the earth”.
    Here in Genesis 3, satan regains control, or dominion over the earth, back from man, because Adam and Eve weren’t willing to do what GOD had commanded them to do in order to keep control of what GOD had given them. There in the Garden of Eden, they accepted satan’s “sin nature” the moment they disobeyed GOD, and as a result, sin and death entered into the world and became a powerful negative force upon man’s existence.
    On that day, the serpent, at that time, a “subordinate to Adam and Eve”, quickly pounced upon his first opportunity to take advantage of his “lackadaisical superiors under GOD”, and became, himself, “the prince of this world” once again. The serpent successfully convinced Eve that her “disobedience” would make her “equal to GOD”, and Adam, who was there with her at the time, apparently agreed (Vs.1-6). It was at that moment that they both realized just how “vulnerable and naked” they were, because they were now, “totally separated” from the GOD, WHO created them, in HIS OWN spiritual image. They were now feeling “the sting of guilt” for the very first time.
    If we are to be victorious in this life, just as JESUS was, we must do so by understanding, remembering, and doing exactly what GOD commands of us in HIS Word, just as JESUS did. In this world, we all eventually come to know we are “naked” and “unprotected” from the subtleness and shrewdness of satan’s temptations, unless we stay in obedience to GOD.
   When we don’t know and adhere to the laws of GOD, it always leaves us vulnerable to satan. A personal relationship with GOD is a relationship that we simply cannot afford to live without. And that relationship must be an “experiential” and “personal” one, the only kind that GOD has to offer us.
    The position of “innocence and peace”, that GOD had placed Adam and Eve in, was destroyed by their yielding to temptation from man’s only enemy, satan. And the consequences of that disobedience would affect the entire human race, for all times. Satan’s shrewd enticement of Adam and Eve will forever remind us that we are never forced to sin, but rather, we are always vulnerable to temptation, and must ultimately “choose” to do the “right” or “wrong” thing.
    For, among all of the wonderful things GOD bestowed upon us, most importantly, and perhaps most critically, HE gave us “wills that are free”. In order to overcome temptation we need to know the Word of GOD accurately, and then, be voluntarily willing to trust in HIS Word and judgment, that it is the very best thing for us to do.
    If we believe GOD’s Word, we believe that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom”. Satan convinced Eve that “disobedience to GOD” was the beginning of knowledge and wisdom”. However, the truth is that, wisdom can never be obtained by disobeying the CREATOR of wisdom, WHO is GOD. GOD’s Word tells us that, before the world was ever created, wisdom already existed with GOD. In other words, GOD created wisdom first, before HE ever created anything else (Proverbs 8:22).
    Following the spiritual fall of Adam and Eve, the spirit of “mistrust” and “alienation” entered into their personal relationship with each other (their marriage), and their personal relationship with GOD (their Faith). They begin to hide themselves from GOD, and made excuses when they were finally confronted by HIM. They both blamed GOD directly for their sin, instead of accepting responsibility for their own “bad choices”. Adam claimed that it was the fault of “the woman GOD made” (v.12), and Eve claimed it was the fault of “the serpent GOD made” (v.13).
    Today we react in the same way that Adam and Eve did when confronted with our sins, but instead, we claim that “it is the “sin nature” that GOD gave us when we were born”. And so, again, we see it as GOD’s fault that we sin, not ours, which is still just as ridiculous as it was when Adam and Eve originally voiced their lame excuses.
    We sin because we want to, not because “we can’t help it”, and a 100% human JESUS, proved that with HIS OWN mortal life. For a wide variety of inexcusable reasons (bad teaching, laziness, the desire to do only what we want to do, etc.) most people don’t have an accurate knowledge of, or desire to obey the Holy Scriptures, and this is in spite of it being available to us today, in almost every language there is.
    Human beings are not born with “sin nature”, but rather, we are born with “GOD’s nature”. We acquire “sin nature” from satan the moment we first disobey GOD at an age of accountability, just like Adam and Eve did. GOD would not be a “just GOD” if HE started us out with the disadvantage, or “deficit”, of already having sin in us.
    Instead, what Scripture teaches us is that we are born into a “state of sin”, or, “a world of sin”, a world where sin already exists. The sin is not originally in us, but rather, we are “born into it” by way of our parents, who sinned before us, starting with Adam and Eve, who were the first to choose to do the wrong thing.
    Psalm 51:5 is one of the most misinterpreted verses in Scripture, and its misinterpretation is what gives rise to the demonic thought of “being born with sin in us”. There the Hebrew word used for “born”, “chuwl” (khool) means “shaped” or “born into a state of”, in this case “iniquity”, or, “brought forward” into “a state of being”, or an environment that already exists, and therefore am destined to become a product of that environment. Therefore, correctly interpreted, it means that we are born into a world where sin already exists, and not that we were born with sin nature already in us. We accept satan’s sin nature the first time that we disobey GOD at an age of accountability, just as our predecessors, Adam and Eve did.  
    GOD wouldn’t be angry at us for sinning, if HE in fact, “made us” to sin from the beginning, starting us out in a state of helplessness, for that is a ridiculous thought. GOD made everything “good”, from the beginning just as HIS Word says, and HE still does, especially with “the human side” of HIS creation. The originals (Adam and Eve), and the reproductions (us), were, and are, made perfectly well and good in the beginning (Genesis 1:31), particularly in the spiritual sense (being made in GOD’s spiritual image).
    Sin brought “physical death” into the world, however, we don’t have to fear because JESUS has covered it, and will eventually replace it all together with “spiritual life”, the end result of HIS vicarious sacrifice on the cross at Golgotha. Satan crippled mankind with temptation and deception, but JESUS “crushed satan’s head” with HIS “righteousness”, and has now “reclaimed” man from under the dominion of sin and death (v.15).
    The only way that we can keep our “restored relationship” with GOD, and with each other pure, is by accepting responsibility for our sins and bad choices, earnestly repenting, and then, by relying on the “forgiving love” and “life-giving blood” of CHRIST JESUS to heal the damaging effects that our sin can have on our lives, and, on the lives of others.
    GOD banished man from the “ideal setting” of the Garden of Eden for his own good (Vs.22-24). However, HE did not banish man from HIS heart, and, from the ideal setting of the coming “Millennial Kingdom” here on earth, nor from “the Kingdom of Heaven” later on, for the same reason. And so, biological death can now be viewed as a “grace gift” from the Almighty GOD (for we can’t enter Heaven unless, we first, die to this world). And when we choose the right path, we will be kept from the “punishing consequences” that lie on the road to destruction, and, in the end, we will come to know the absolute full extent of GOD’s redeeming love for mankind, HIS greatest creation, when HE welcomes us into the paradise that is, the Kingdom of Heaven.  

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, September 21, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 23, 2018

Over 174,000 readers worldwide

(Woman was created from man, for man)
(Genesis 2:18-24 and 4:1-2)

   When GOD uniquely breathed HIS spirit and life into man, HE also imparted to us, the elements of HIS nature, which allows us to have the capacity for spiritual fellowship with HIM, and to worship HIM as GOD.  These are the seven basic elements, or attributes of GOD’s nature that all human beings are born with;

·          Life – Genesis 2:7a, John 1:4 & 14:6
·           Personality – Genesis 2:7b
·          Truth – John 14:6, Hosea 14:9b
·          Wisdom – Proverbs 7
·          Love – 1 John 4:8 & 16
·          Justice – Jeremiah 50:7b, Psalm 89:14a, Deuteronomy 16:18-20  
·          Holiness – Leviticus 11:44 & 19:2

    With that being said, now let us look at the creation of man in even more detail. In Genesis chapter 2, verse 1, the bible tells us that “the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was complete”. This means that GOD had “totally finished” HIS work of creation, and left nothing undone that HE would have to come back later on and finish, or change. And neither does HE need man to come along and try to change anything for HIM, or, desire to change the things of GOD to suit our own selfish, evil, pride-filled purposes.
    And so, we are to function as GOD originally purposed us to do in this world that HE created, and if we are to stay within HIS Will, we must stay within the creation roles that HE has blessed us with, be it our “general” creation role as “male” and “female”, our “specific” creation role that HE assigns us to when working as a team or group, or, our “personal” creation role in life that only we, as an individual, are called to do.
    Man is incapable of improving upon GOD’s work, period. He cannot improve upon GOD in any way, not in nature, not in animals, not in insects, not in birds, not in human beings, human functions, nor in our creation roles, and certainly not in the way that the institution of marriage was originally set up. As mere humans, we don’t get to change the definitions that GOD has already placed on morality, marriage, creation roles, etc.
    Here in Genesis chapter 2, verses 8-17, Moses tells how GOD carefully shaped the “Garden of Eden” so that Adam and Eve (not Adam and Steve, nor Eva and Eve), whom HE created, would be able to use all of those “communicable attributes”, to make wise decisions based on obedience to HIM. They were not to use human ingenuity, sexual perversion, or any of the other things that evil minds concoct to do, through pride, self-worship, and worship of other people, places, and things (self-made idols).
    GOD left it to them to take care of their place of residence that HE had so generously provided for them here on earth, and, HE also left them with specific instructions as to how they should live under HIM. Those attributes that HE embodied in them were to also come in handy as they explored and discovered their love and respect for each other, their delight in meaningful work, their moral responsibility, and even their passion for invention.
    When GOD fashioned beautiful Eve from the rib of Adam (the world’s first surgery–v.21), it let man know that “he and woman” would always share a common identity in GOD, and “a distinct identity from each other” (separate and distinct creation roles). They would always be equals, who are interdependent upon each other, sharing in GOD’s likeness, or, spiritual image, and, as husband and wife, they should always be distinct, and yet inseparable. They would always share an equal responsibility in caring for each other, and, for all of GOD’s other creation.
    And so we see in verse 7 that GOD made man distinctly for HIMSELF, shaping him from the dust of the earth, and breathing life into him, along with all the other characteristics of HIS nature, giving him a personality (making him a living person) that was compatible with HIS OWN, so that he would obey, serve and worship HIM, at all times, in the capacity in which HE wants him to serve. And then later (Vs.20b-22), HE made woman, from man, for man, to be a companion who will help him at all times, in the capacity in which GOD wants her to serve him (v.18). They were also to come together in marriage, to “reproduce life” through sexual intercourse (Genesis 1:28a), and the man (Adam) and the woman (Eve) knew no sin at that time. This would be the only time period on earth, be it very short, when a full-grown man or woman lived perfectly under GOD, until JESUS came.
    When Adam and Eve experienced each other sexually, she conceived and bore a son whom Adam named “Cain”. Then she gave birth to another son, and Adam named him “Abel”. And since the bible doesn’t say that she conceived again before Abel was born, it is possible, and even likely that Cain and Abel were twins. And so we see here that, for the first time here on earth, a human family was generated. When the boys grew up, Cain became a farmer, and Abel became a shepherd (Genesis 4:1-2).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, September 14, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 16, 2018

Over 173,000 readers worldwide

(We are created in GOD’s OWN spiritual image)
(Genesis 1:26-2:7)

    On the sixth day of creation, after GOD had “spoken into existence” all of the universe and the earth, and fashioned from the soil, all types of animal life, bird life, and marine life, which were to dwell upon the dry land of the earth, in the air, and in the sea, in dramatic fashion, HE suddenly changed HIS “creation method” when HE created man.
    Here in this passage, instead of speaking man into existence, like HE had done with all the other animal, bird, and marine life which HE created, GOD decided to form physical man from the dust of the earth, and then, place within him “a human spirit”. GOD decided to “pattern” (v.27) (“dmuwth”-which is pronounced “dem-ooth” and means “mannerism”) that human spirit to reflect HIS OWN spiritual image, or “nature” here on earth.
    Our spiritual make-up consists, first of all, of a “heart” (“kardia”), not the physical organ in our chest, but rather, “the center of our thoughts” where GOD must be kept). Then there is the “soul” (the human spirit), which embodies GOD’s “nature”, a set of “communicable attributes”, which include Life, Personality, Love, Truth, Justice, Wisdom, and Holiness. And finally there is the “mind”, where we are free to make choices and decisions in life regarding all things. In other words, GOD did not make us into robots, but rather, HE gives us “wills that are free”
    And so, the word “image” (v.26 and v.27), “tselem” in the Hebrew, is in reality, a “spiritual image”, not a physical one. We don’t look like GOD, but rather, “we are what GOD wants us to look like” physically. GOD placed within our “human spirit”, or “soul”, a set of “communicable attributes”, or qualities, that would make man compatible with HIM, and desire to obey, worship, and have an experiential, personal relationship with HIM.
    And so GOD breathed into man, the breath of life, and from that day forward, man became a living person and began to embody the elements, or attributes of “GOD’s OWN Nature”. Mankind became “personally” related to GOD through HIS nature which includes those attributes I just mentioned. Man became a living “person”, having a “personality” just as GOD does. Without these qualities we would be just another animal, like wildlife, livestock, and all the other domesticated animal life forms.
    When GOD said “let us make man in our own image”, HE, being an invisible Spiritual GOD, was not talking about a “physical image”. “We do not look like GOD”, because “GOD doesn’t have a physical image”. JESUS tells us in John 4:24 that “GOD is SPIRIT” and so, the only way that we can resemble GOD is to act like HIM by incorporating HIS spiritual attributes into our everyday behavior and existence. We must resemble HIM spiritually, through our behavior.
    We are required by GOD to use those communicable attributes of HIS to reflect HIS “image” to others through our behavior, the same way the coming CHRIST would do during HIS first advent. These attributes also equip us with the capacity to care for ourselves and GOD’s other creation, similarly to the way that GOD cares for us.
    After perfecting man for HIS service, GOD then blessed us and instructed us to multiply ourselves and “replenish” (“male” – pronounced “maw-lay” in the Hebrew, and it means “to fill again”, or “refill”) the earth (v.28). That command from GOD suggests that there was something here before mankind, and the earth we now know. In fact, it is true that many archeological finds have been discovered to show that human, animal, and plant life, and even the universe can go back millions of years.
    The phrase “in the beginning” suggests just that, “that GOD was already here in the beginning”, or, in fact, before the beginning was, there had to be GOD. HE’s the ONE WHO got the ball rolling, and so, HE had to be already here before the beginning. This is too great for us to understand because we can only think in “linear time”, however, by telling Adam and Eve to “replenish the earth”, that tells us that GOD probably already had put something here before HE decided to start all over again with the creation of earth and mankind as we see it today. It suggests that everything began with GOD, and not that, everything began with us.
    In addition to providing us with the wonderful reproduction system that HE fully intended for us to take advantage of, GOD also commanded us to subdue all of HIS creation, and to maintain full responsibility and dominion over it (Vs.26-28). GOD then set up all of HIS human and animal creation with an almost unlimited vegetarian diet (Vs.29-30), with one distinction or restriction of course, and that is that we not eat of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, which was planted in the center of “The Garden of Eden” along with “the tree of life”.
    GOD evaluated each of the first five days of HIS creative work that HE had spoken into existence, and at the end of each day HE called HIS work “good”. However, near the end of the sixth day, HE physically created and formed man from the dust of the earth, and when HE had finished making man, HE called HIS work, “very good”.
    GOD, our CREATOR, seems to have invested much more time into the creation of man than HE did in all of HIS other creations, and as a result, HE expects much more from us than the rest. The intricate details that GOD embodies into every living thing clearly suggests that HE deliberately and strategically placed each and everything here on earth, and, in the heavens above, with great vision, and, with great purpose. And man, and everything else, was made specifically to serve GOD in a predetermined special way, according to “a superiorly wise plan” that we need not fully understand or comprehend, but rather, must go forward with it, by faith.  
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Friday, September 7, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 9, 2018

Over 172,000 readers worldwide

(GOD brings order to the world)
(Genesis 1:14-25)

   Many people, who are currently on the road to destruction, consider the events in the book of Genesis (especially chapters 1-11) as mythological. However, we must remember that all myths derived from ancient man’s expression of his view of reality. In other words, myths are born from actual events. Actual events are not born from myths.
    The Old Testament presents us with a radical shift from the philosophy of the ancient world, and one cannot do these writings justice by saying that ancient Israel borrowed from myths in order to describe it’s faith in the only wise GOD. To ancient Israel, and, to believers everywhere today, an absolute sovereign GOD brought all things into existence, including them (Israel), as a nation, and every other human being, and all other sources of life in the universe. The reality of Israel was based on what they know about their history, and, it was actualized in their history, not in mythology.
    At the heart of the biblical report of GOD creating the world and everything in it, is the “Faith” that it takes to rely on GOD as our provider, protector, guide, and redeemer. Everything was made by HIM, and without HIM was not anything made. That faith was born out of the reality of Hebrew history, and Hebrew history was not born out of myth.
    This week we’ll look at days four and five of the Creation account of the Christian bible, and how GOD continued to harmonize the universe HE created. Here in Genesis 1, taking up at verse 14, on day 4, GOD organizes “Linear Time” by establishing days, weeks, months, seasons, and years.
    GOD separated the day and the night by creating the sun and the moon and all of the distant planets of the universe that, at night, shines and sparkle because of the great light of the day, which is the sun. However, during the daylight, they would all seem to disappear from existence, because of the dominance of the same great light of the sun. The lesser light, the moon, is used to govern the night, along with all of the stars (distant planets and other celestial bodies). Together, reflecting the great light of the sun, they perpetually light up the earth from Heaven, day by day and night by night. And GOD saw that it was good.
    On the fifth day GOD created all of the various fish and marine life of the waters of the oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers. HE also created all of the birds of the air and distinguished them from the various other animal creations that would reside on the land (Vs.20-23). And they all increased in population until they filled the whole earth. And GOD saw that it was good.
    When looking at the book of Genesis, we must keep in mind, that, it was not written just to chronicle events, and nor was it written to be a book of history just for history’s sake. Instead, it is a theological account of selected records of the ancient ancestors of Israel, GOD’s chosen nation, which attempts to explain the divine causes behind all events, human and otherwise. It is a part of the revealed Word of GOD which places it above mere history, or pagan mythology.
    The world we live in is not a product of “blind chance”, for everyone in their right mind has to agree to that fact. A superior and awesome, divine living GOD, had to very carefully, and very loving, design all things that we see here on earth, and, throughout the universe, including we ourselves.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander