Friday, April 20, 2018


BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
larrydalexanderbiblestudies.blogspot.com

BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday April 22, 2018

PAUL DEFENDS HIS AUTHORITY
2 Corinthians 10

   In the biblical Greek, the word used for “meekness” or “gentleness” is “epieikeia” (ep-ee-i-ki-ah, and it is a tool or strategy used by one who wishes to bring a situation to a productive, peaceful ending or outcome. It calls for one to be thoughtful and considerate in his or her approach to a peaceful solution.
    The Apostle Paul had often been accused of being, both, too bold, and, too timid. He was regularly accused of being too harsh in his writings, and yet, too timid in person (v.1). However, when doing the work that CHRIST calls us to do, it calls for both “meekness” and “boldness”, but with an equitable balance, or compassion, that will not add fuel to the fires of disagreement.
    In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul attempts to make a very difficult transition to the topic which he intentionally reserved for last. The final four chapters of this second letter to the Corinthians is believed by some scholars to be from a different letter that was probably written, either earlier, or perhaps later, because now, he seems to begin to engage in a direct, unavoidable confrontation with those in the Corinthian church who oppose his authority in CHRIST.
   False teaching, and false teachers, must be confronted and challenged openly, so as they don’t steal the hearts of those seekers of GOD, who are yet vulnerable to satan, because of their lack of knowledge in CHRIST. These teachers must be cut off from the Christian Church and kept from filling the hearts of potential Christians with their own personal, tainted doctrine.
    Wherever false teaching occurs, seeds of doubt in the truth are planted in the hearts of mankind. Paul realized that it is no small thing to allow such spiritual infidelity to exist and persist in the Church of CHRIST JESUS. And so here, his letter makes a severe shift from talking about the benevolent collection of funds for the Mother Church at Jerusalem, to the more delicate subject of devotion to CHRIST, and the upholding of HIS teachings.
    While we may be human, we are not waging war against a human enemy, and so our human ingenuity (human plans and methods) are useless (Vs.3). Only the plan of GOD can liberate us from the clutches of satan, and allow us to overcome the gravitational pull of this world the way JESUS did. When JESUS, in a 100% human body, was ready to begin HIS ministry of doing spiritual battle with satan, HE had to first be empowered by the HOLY SPIRIT (Matthew 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-3, & John 1:32-34), and it is the same with us. We can’t wage a physical battle with a spiritual enemy, and so, as I always say, there is no room in the Christian Church for “human ingenuity”.
    It is a must that we use GOD’S mighty weapons, that are incorporated in HIS Word,  to knock down the devil’s strongholds. When we do so, we can break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing GOD (v.4). With these weapons we can conquer man’s rebellious ideas, and, at one and the same time, teach ourselves how to obey CHRIST, and those who remain disobedient, will be punished (v.5).
    Like most people, the Corinthians made their decisions based on appearance. Paul, in their minds, did not look the part. He was diminutive in statue, and by his own admission he was not an eloquent speaker like, say, Apollos was. He was also battered and scarred from the many beatings and persecutions he had suffered for teaching the truth about CHRIST JESUS.
    For these and other reasons, Paul, many times, found himself having to spend a great deal of time defending himself against doubters of who he was, before he could address those who doubted the teachings of CHRIST, and WHO HE is. In fact, sometimes he came off as being a “bragger” about his authority in CHRIST, because he had to repeat himself in his own defense, over and over again.
    However, Paul assured the Church at Corinth that, despite his weak and battered appearance he was a strong man of GOD, whose teachings were meant to build them up, not tear them down, and Paul assured them that he would not be put to shame by having his work among them destroyed by false teachers (Vs.7-8).
    The struggle of the Christian leader is to resist the temptation to incorporate his or her own human ingenuity into GOD’s plan for the church, and, for the Christian community. Oftentimes, after a pastor makes a name for himself, he begins to errantly focus on what they perceive to be their own greatness, and lose themselves in the idea of how wonderful they are, as opposed to how wonderful GOD is. They begin to compare themselves to each other, and consult each other regarding their plans, not GOD’s plan, for the Church (v.12).
    To be validated by the world is an abomination to GOD. To be validated by GOD is an abomination to the world. The goal of the true Christians is to stay within the boundaries of GOD’s plans for us. We must trust GOD’s provisions, trust GOD’s protection, and trust GOD’s plan for us, which in part, is to evangelize the world, making disciples of men. And the greatest way we can do that is by showing the world, through our behavior, that Christianity really does produce the best men and women. We must not let the world define us, but rather, we must abide with GOD’s definitions of what is best for us and the world that HE created.
    And so boasting about ourselves and the successes that we think we have achieved in ministry on our own is ridiculous and pointless. It is only when the LORD approves and validates us that we are truly successful. We can’t take credit for achievements GOD has made possible through us. As our faith grows, so does our success in doing GOD’s work. And so, the person who wishes to boast can only boast of what GOD has done with them, through them, and, for them (Vs.13-18).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



Friday, April 13, 2018


BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
larrydalexanderbiblestudies.blogspot.com

BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday April 15, 2018

THE COLLECTION FOR CHRISTIANS IN JERUSALEM
2 Corinthians 9

   Throughout all the ages we can find that one of the oldest principals of life, that continues to persist in both, the physical, and, the spiritual world, is that, the size of a harvest, under normal circumstances, always corresponds directly with the amount of sowing that was done.
    In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul continues on with his written lecture to the Corinthians on generous giving. However, here he focuses his efforts more clearly on the collection for the Christians central Mother Church at Jerusalem. In this section of his letter he issues a not- so-subtle reminder to the Corinthians of how eager they were to help the cause when they had first heard of it a year earlier. This reminder is issued here, first in written form, so as to spare their branch of the Christian Church Network the embarrassment of not being prepared as promised, or, not being willing to follow through on what they had started.
    Paul had been boasting about the generosity of the Corinthians to the Macedonians, and his boasting had helped to stir up enthusiasm there, and, in a lot of other churches along the Christian network of believers. In addition, he had sent Titus, along with two other trusted men from the Church to help ensure that the gifts they had promised would be ready when he himself arrived some time later.
    The relationship between Paul and the brethren at Corinth had been plenty strained in the three years since Paul had visited there, and he had suffered much while he awaited their reaction to his “sorrowful letter” that he had sent earlier by Titus. However, he truly cared for the Christians at Corinth and he wanted to make amends with them, but more importantly, he needed to uphold the integrity of his apostolic credentials. Paul did spend the following winter months in Corinth, and it was at that time, that, he probably wrote his, now famous, letter to the Romans.
    This second letter to the Corinthians, however, is most personal, and perhaps, the least doctrinal of all of Paul’s known letters to the Christian churches of the first century. He tells of some very personal experiences in this letter as he vividly reveals an intense emotion and personality, not seen in any of his other epistles. This letter truly shows us Paul’s deep sincerity and determination to live by the principals of material exchange  between churches, that really had already been laid out by GOD in HIS law since the days of the Israelites desert experience with the “manna from Heaven” (Exodus 16:18). There GOD sought to show us that, the person who follows HIM, needs will always be met. JESUS, our LORD and SAVIOR, sought to show us the very same thing during HIS lifetime here on earth.
    Remember, anyone who sows generously will reap generously, and anyone who sows sparingly, will reap sparingly. Paul warns us, however, that we should not give reluctantly, or, in response to pressure, because GOD only loves the attitude of a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). And GOD will generously provide for all of our needs, with plenty left over, so that we can share even further with others in need.
    GOD gives us many opportunities to do good deeds, and HE will produce a great harvest of generosity in all those who take advantage of those opportunities by using them to help someone else in need (Vs.10-11). That’s right! The true Christian should want more, so that they can have more to give away. And when we use the blessings that GOD has given us to enrich the lives of others, two things will transpire. First, we will have met the needs of someone who may have otherwise gone without. And secondly, that person whom you helped will hopefully see the need to glorify GOD through their expression of thanksgiving. In both instances, GOD will be pleased, and your generosity will prove to HIM, your good stewardship, and, your obedience to the Gospel of CHRIST (Vs.12-13).
    I’ll leave you with the well-known story of the widow’s offering, as it is so vividly depicted by Luke in chapter 21, verses 1-4, of the Gospel account that bears his name. “While JESUS was in the temple, HE watched the rich people putting their gifts into the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two pennies. Then JESUS responded, “I assure you, this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they (the rich) have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has” (NLT). In my mind, this lady’s attitude and spirit for giving, sets the New Testament standard of CHRIST, for gracious, cheerful, GODly benevolence on a human level, for all to see and understand, even in this age.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander






                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website





Friday, April 6, 2018


BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
larrydalexanderbiblestudies.blogspot.com

BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday April 8, 2018

A CALL TO GENEROUS GIVING
2 Corinthians 8:1-15

   In the biblical Greek, the word used for “grace” is “charis” and it is “the divine influence upon one’s heart, and its reflection on life”. In 2 Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9, the Apostle Paul turns to the subject of “gracious giving” by the saints of the newly formed Christian Churches. The main purpose of Paul’s third missionary journey was to raise money for the central church at Jerusalem, who had fallen on hard times.
    Paul had actually been planning and organizing this tour to aid the needy in the Christian network for a number of years, after being urged to do so by Peter, James, and John (Acts 9:27-29 (also see Galatians 2:9-10). From the time the Corinthians first heard about this collection, they had been, seemingly, very eager to participate, and Paul had previously laid out a plan that would make it possible for them to do so without putting a strain on their personal budgets (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). Each church in the Christian network would set aside funds weekly that would be earmarked as a benevolent offering for those who were in need in the Christian Churches.
    According to Paul’s wording in this passage, however, it seems that the previous good intentions of the church at Corinth had since dissipated, and so Paul asked his trusted aid, Titus, to go and look into the situation at Corinth. Paul wanted to find out what factors, or, issues had come up to interrupt, or derail, the church’s previous intended benevolence (2 Corinthians 8:6). 
    Here in 2 Corinthians 8, verses 1-5, Paul sought to motivate the Corinthians spirit of generosity, by first, giving the great example of the benevolence of the Church at Macedonia. Here he told of how, even though, the Macedonians were going through much hardship themselves, they were able to “turn the concern for their own deep poverty, into an overflowing of rich generosity for others”. They gave, not only what they could afford, but through their joyful spirit, they even went beyond the call of Christian duty. In fact, Paul says that they even pleaded for him to allow them the privilege of doing even more, and they dedicated themselves to the LORD, and to Paul and his aides for whatever directions and instructions GOD would give them.
    Then, in verse 9, Paul uses the greatest example of all times to motivate this young Church at Corinth. Here he steers their attentions to the very “personification of benevolence”, our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST. Here Paul reminds the Church of how full of love and kindness CHRIST was when HE came to us, though HE was very rich, HE made HIMSELF poor so that, by HIS poverty, HE could make us rich.
    Paul’s advice to the Corinthians in verses 10-11 is that the young church finishes what they had started a year earlier when they were so enthusiastic about wanting to give and help with the benevolent project that had been initiated for Jerusalem. Their church had been the first to act upon this idea, and now, it was the time to go forward towards its completion.
    In verses 12-13, Paul reasons that “each individual’s giving need only be commensurate with their ability to give”. Beyond an individual’s tithes, GOD does not want us to give what you can’t afford to give. HE does not want us to give so much that we suffer from having too little for ourselves. Such could, in time, cause us to have ill feelings about giving, or cause one to feel as though they have put the church in their debt, or, put GOD in their debt. And so we can see that, even in giving, one must use GODLY wisdom.
    Finally, in verses 14-15, Paul expounds upon the guiding principal regarding the material exchange between Christian churches. It is the “principle of equality” which involves the “checks” and “balances” that are contained in “GOD’s system of justice for the regulation of human existence”:

When one has plenty,
he should share with others,
and when one does not have enough,
others should share with him”.

When we apply that principle to real life, the needs of every individual will always be met, and there would never be a need for worldly government sponsored welfare programs.
    Paul then reminds the church of the very source of this “guiding principle”, which GOD exposed to the Israelites one day in the wilderness of the Negev, following their divine exodus from Egypt. It is with the miracle of “manna from Heaven”, as it is recorded by Moses in Exodus 16:14-18:

When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance, as fine as frost, blanketed the ground.  The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat.  These are the Lord’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts   for each person in your tent. So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little.  But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed”. (NLT)

    There we see that, by the Israelites gathering two quarts for each person, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had plenty enough. Each family had just what it needed”. Let those who have ears to hear, take heed, and those who can read this lesson, understand.

TITUS AND HIS COMPANIONS
2 Corinthians 8:16-24

   In verses 1-15 of this chapter we saw four New Testament giving principals that should be considered by everyone who wishes to follow the examples and teachings of JESUS CHRIST, our LORD. There we learned that we should;

·         Give ourselves (v.5)
·         Remember CHRIST’ example (v.9)
·         Give as we are able (Vs.10-12)
·         Give to meet needs (v.14)

    Here in verses 16-24 we’ll see how important it is to have faithful, trusted men in the church who can be used to handle money that is given by the members of the church for benevolent causes that will surely crop up along the Christian network of believers. Paul was very thankful that young Titus was gifted with the same enthusiasm for ministry that he himself had. He had wholeheartedly welcomed the opportunity that Paul gave him to visit and minister to the church at Corinth.
    Paul also sent along with Titus, a highly respected unnamed companion. He was a man who was highly praised by all of the churches along the Christian network. Together they were to deliver the monies that had been donated by the various churches on Paul’s third missionary journey, to help relieve the effects of the famine that had devastated Jerusalem, and the members of the central Church.
    In addition Paul also appointed a third brother who he says had been thoroughly tested, and had shown his earnestness on many separate occasions over the years (v.22). All of these men were splendid examples of what representatives of GOD should be like, and they were very enthusiastic about bringing glory to GOD by way of their mission. No one would be able to accuse Paul of profiting from the collection of these funds, and the Corinthian Church, through this project, would gain invaluable experience in regards to how Christian work is carried out, and at one and the same time, they’ll be able to demonstrate their love and respect for those who toiled endlessly for the good of the Christian movement.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



  




Friday, March 30, 2018


BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
larrydalexanderbiblestudies.blogspot.com

BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday April 1, 2018

PAUL’S JOY AT THE CHURCH’S REPENTANCE
2 Corinthians 7

   In the book of Luke, chapter 17, verses 3 and 4, JESUS sternly states to HIS disciples to “Watch yourselves! If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive” – JESUS CHRIST (NLT).
    In the New Testament Greek the word used for “forgive is “aphiemi” (ap-i-mee), and it means “to send away”, or “wipe away”. The other key word in this statement from JESUS is “repent”, in the Greek “metanoia” (met-an-oy-ah), which is “a change of mind”. In the biblical sense it is a change of mind “before we sin”, but it also can be applied after the fact, and is a sting of the conscience that is brought on by a deep sense of guilt, or a strong feeling of compunction.
    However, it is GOD’s desire that our conscience convicts us while we are still in the thinking stages, before we commit the act of sin, not after. This makes more sense, because, if we go through with the act of sin, that means we really didn’t change our mind, and in that case, we must suffer the consequences of that sin, and that is something that will grieve both us, and GOD. It grieves us because we have to suffer judgment, and it grieves GOD because HE has to administer it to us.
    In A.D. 57, while visiting in Ephesus, during his third missionary journey, that was put together to raise money for the central Mother Church at Jerusalem, the Apostle Paul sat down and penned this second letter to the Church at Corinth. His earlier letter to the church had not quite settled all of the issues and problems that the church had been experiencing during the difficult days of its infancy. Then too, for reasons not all explained in this letter, the Corinthian church had apparently developed deep suspicions about Paul, regarding the legitimacy of his proclaimed authority in CHRIST as a chosen apostle.
    It was with much grief and anguish that Paul wrote this second letter, which he intended to use to try and re-establish his authority as one chosen to lead others to CHRIST, and to also lead them in the Christian Faith. In this letter, Paul also covers some of the more practical matters, such as supporting believers in other parts of the world who may have fallen on hard times, and reviving them back into a state of being viable, fruit-producing branches in the newly formed Christian network.
    In 2 Corinthians 2, verses 5-11, the Apostle Paul writes again about the man who had been dis-fellowshipped from the church at Corinth a year earlier at his request. The man had been involved in a sexually immoral affair with his father’s wife (1 Corinthians 5:1-7). Paul had strongly rebuked the church for its lack of disciplinary action regarding this most unacceptable behavior.
    The Corinthians had followed Paul’s advice and instructions and put this man out from fellowship, and now, in this second letter, Paul is urging the church to show compassion and invite the man back into the fold. Here Paul is advising the church that the man had been disciplined enough for his indiscretion. Apparently the man had been in deep repent and suffering since the time of his dis-fellowship, and now it was time, Paul felt, to forgive him and comfort him and show him love, so that he would not become so discouraged that he would not be able to recover. Furthermore, Paul knew that satan would seek to take advantage of the situation and use it to do harm to the man, and the church. For Paul was already thoroughly familiar with the evil schemes and tactics of satan, and he was also thoroughly familiar with the ways and wisdom of CHRIST, regarding our need for repent and forgiveness.
    In 2 Corinthians 7, verses 2-15, after Paul had again expressed his love for the church at Corinth, and his unwavering confidence in them, good news from Paul’s assistant, Titus, seems to interrupt Paul’s train of thoughts, and he suddenly begins to shift his focus to the news of a breakthrough in the Corinthian church’s attitude toward him. Apparently Paul had sent Titus to the church with a special letter, some time between the first letter that we all know about, and this second letter, which are both now recorded as a part of New Testament Scripture.
     This, now lost, written communication of Paul’s is now referred to by biblical scholars as “the sorrowful letter”. This letter was apparently very effective, even though it had caused Paul great sorrow to write, especially on the heels of his painful first visit to the church several months earlier.
    In his original Greek rendering of his second letter to the Corinthians, the word Paul uses for “sorrow”, Lupeo” (loo-peh-o), describes an experience of great stress, which can bring about physical and emotional pain. It is the same word that is used to describe the emotional and physical state of JESUS on that night in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of HIS crucifixion. “GODly sorrow” is actually a form of compassionate grief and heaviness, that is later rewarded by joy, because one was obedient to GOD, even while under duress.  
    GODly sorrow is something that we’ll never regret having, because it is also a sorrow that can identify true repent in the sinner as well. Sorrow without repent is a worldly sorrow that is experienced by one who feels sorry for themselves for having to suffer the consequences of sin, and not for the person whom they have offended. This kind of sorrow always leads to death (a permanent separation from GOD).
    Here in this passage we can clearly see that GOD uses Paul, who was a great teacher, to actually teach himself a lesson in love and compassion. For GOD wants us to be free of defilement, especially ceremonial defilement (defilement in church worship services). And those who responded positively to Paul’s “sorrowful letter” that was delivered by Titus, had now set themselves right with GOD, and were cleansed of any previous guilt suffered because of their actions, or “lack thereof” in the church.
    And so, in the end, all involved, were gladdened and encouraged, as a result of how GOD uses “GODly sorrow” to bring about the repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation that can strengthen and improve Christian relationships, and can also help cure us of our desire to mix the holy with the profane in the Church.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander









Friday, March 23, 2018


BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
Larrydalexanderbiblestudies.blogspot.com

BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday March 25, 2018

PAUL’S HARDSHIPS
2 Corinthians 6:1-13

   Second Corinthians 6, verses 1 and 2, should actually be read with chapter 5. Here Paul finishes his thoughts on “reconciliation”, and, on how Christians must view themselves as being “GOD’s Ambassadors” to the world. It is by GOD’s grace that “true believers” are transformed into “new creatures” and again given the potential to live a truly righteous existence.
    It is in this day that every human being can experience salvation because of what CHRIST JESUS did sacrificially, culminating on the cross, if they choose to. Through CHRIST JESUS, GOD allows us to partake in an “imputed righteousness” that we could not have possibly achieved on our own. It is an utter tragedy whenever GOD’s greatest creation (mankind), allows his or her hard-heartedness, to reduce the meaning of GOD’s grace in their lives, to being of “non-effect”, or, as having no transforming value at all.
    Taking up at verse 3, Paul shifts his thoughts back (2 Corinthians 4:8-12) so that he might elaborate further on some of the many hardships that serious Christians must suffer, if they are to earnestly follow in the path, or footsteps of CHRIST JESUS, our LORD. Here Paul says that we must live in such a way that no one can be hindered from finding the LORD, due to the fact that we may have publicly, or privately, exhibited ungodly behavior to the world we’re seeking to convert (Vs.3-4).
    As Christians, we take on a given responsibility to prove to the world that Christianity really does produce the best men and women. And oftentimes that must be done while under duress from the very same worldly people that we are trying to convert. Here in verses 4b-5 Paul shares with us some of the ways he, himself had suffered for the sake of ministering the Gospel to the world.
    Paul says that he, and those who traveled with him, had been beaten, been put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. In short, perhaps Paul is cautioning us that, a Christian’s faith has to be proven and confirmed by the way they react to, and endure through their sufferings and persecutions, just as JESUS proved the genuineness of HIS faith under HIS FATHER GOD, during HIS earthly assignment.
    In verse 6 Paul mentions six ways by which a Christian can prove himself, or herself of great value under GOD, and at the same time, relieve any tensions that may exist in the community of GOD. Here Paul says that we can achieve this by our;

·         Purity
·         Understanding
·         Patience
·         Kindness
·         Sincere love
·         And all, by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT

    Christians must learn to faithfully and correctly preach and teach the Gospel so that GOD’s power will continue to work in us. We must operate using the righteousness of CHRIST as a weapon to, both, defend ourselves against, and to attack, the unseen demons who may influence people all around us. We have to serve GOD whether people honor us or despise us, slander us or praise us. We have to remain honest, even when people call us imposters, simply because they do not want to live by the message of GOD that we peach and deliver (Vs.7-8).
    Even though Paul was well-known he was sometimes treated as an unknown by his opponents in the Church. Oftentimes they dismissed him as being poor, sorrowful, and useless. However, in the opinion of GOD (the only opinion that counts), Paul’s servant-hood was proven genuine by his willingness to suffer hardships that sometimes brought him to within an inch of his life. He was able to joyfully withstand heartache, and even though he was poor financially, he was able to give much spiritual riches to those who accepted it. And while he may not have owned anything, with GOD, he had all that he needed in life, and more. He was successful under GOD because he was willing to open up his heart to the people he was called to minister to, and as a result of his open-heartedness, and GOD’s grace, he was ultimately able to remove tension and strife from the assembly of GOD at Corinth, at least, for a time (Vs.9-13).

THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD
2 Corinthians 6:14-18

   In the Greek, the word used for “separate” in 2 Corinthians verse 17 is “katharisomen” (kath-a-ris-o-men) and is a setting apart from those people and unclean things (spirits) that defile or influence us, and move out of the will of GOD”. It is a warning for us not to mix “the holy” with “the profane”, and thereby, defile our body and spirit with the things of this world, or, satan.
   Paul begins this passage with a stern warning for believers not to team up with those who are unbelievers. People who seek after righteousness and goodness cannot partner up with those who seek to do wickedness and live in darkness. Light and darkness are incompatible with each other, and there can never be any harmony between CHRIST and satan (v.14-15).
    The union between GOD’s temple (the Christian’s body and the Christian Body) and idols is a complete impossibility. The true Christian is, quite literally, the temple of the living GOD WHO said, “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their GOD, and they will be MY people” (v.16).
    The bad idea of one “yoking a donkey with an ox” as a work team, is the imagery behind Paul’s appeal in verse 14 for Christians not to be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers. It is “a mixing of the holy with the profane”, in this most personal sense, that will make for a very uncomfortable union and existence for people who are seeking GOD.
    And while the believer is not to avoid all contact with the unbeliever (for it is our charge from CHRIST JESUS to witness to the “unsaved” world), we are to “avoid partnerships” with them, that will compromise our principles as Christians, and lead us away from the Will of GOD.   
    The true Christian will respond to GOD’s grace in a positive manner, as it has been given to us for the purpose of “transforming ourselves into men and women who live lives that are pleasing to GOD at all times. Our lives should reflect the lifestyle that JESUS HIMSELF portrayed when HE lived as a 100% human being. HE was “GOD’s perfect figurative representative” here on earth, and HE was able to overcome the gravitational pull of this world, with a perfect obedience to GOD, while HE existed in 100% human flesh and blood in Palestine.
    Paul’s quotation of the prophet Isaiah (v.2) was a direct rebuttal to the false teachers who taught that the way to “righteousness” was through complete obedience to the Laws of Moses. However, Paul knew that righteousness and salvation for mankind comes only through having faith in what JESUS did during HIS first advent here on earth. It is HIS overcoming of the world through obedience to GOD, that frees us when we believe on HIM, and it is through an “imputed righteousness” from HIM, that GOD “justifies” us, giving us another chance at a personal relationship of friendship with HIM, and then, HE begins to treat us as if we never sinned at all. But it is all because of what JESUS has done, and not because of what we can do, because, long before we come to CHRIST, we’ve already blown our chance at perfection under GOD.
  

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website