Friday, May 18, 2018


BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
larrydalexanderbiblestudies.blogspot.com

BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday May 20, 2018

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF GENESIS

   The purpose of biblical theology is to make known, GOD’s sovereignty over all things. The specified purpose of the book of Genesis is to take us back beyond the pages of recorded history, and reveal to us, the very origins of the universe, and the human race itself. The thrust of the message of this book is to help us to understand, who we are, where we came from, and how that search for those answers must begin and end with GOD.
    The book of Genesis traces the creation of the universe back to a personal GOD, and portrays human beings as unique and special creations of that personal GOD. It explains the origins of sin and evil, affirms man’s moral responsibility, and lays the foundation for a “doctrine of redemption” through CHRIST JESUS. It also lays out the concept of what the Christian Church (a separation of GOD’s people unto themselves, while living in the world), would be like, with the example of the community of Israelites living in Goshen (the community of GOD), which was located in Egypt (which represented the world).
    Genesis also explains the origins of the Jews, GOD’s chosen people, who were to serve as a channel of blessings for all mankind. The Jews trace their origins back to the towering figure in their history known as “Abraham”. Abraham is the direct recipient of what is now known as “the Abrahamic Covenant”, which is the origin of “the promise” of GOD’s continuing purpose of eventual “salvation” that is now available to all mankind through JESUS, the CHRIST, and has been worked out over the process of time.
    The book of Genesis also lays the foundation for the understanding of all Scripture, as the entire bible speaks from its contents. It clearly defines how GOD was, is, and always will be the only wise GOD, and, how HE cares uniquely for us as HIS greatest creation, “human beings”. However GOD must and will, always judge sin, even though HE has set in motion, a process that can bring even sinners back to HIM through repentance and acceptance of a MESSIAH, HIS SON, WHO would snatch us, quite literally, from the permanency of the grave, which we have dug for ourselves in this world.
    Because of JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice, “death” (permanent separation from GOD) is no longer permanent for those who believe on HIM. Now, through repent and our acceptance of HIM, we can re-enter into a personal relationship of friendship with GOD the FATHER in Heaven, and can be led into eternal life by the HOLY SPIRIT, WHO has come to dwell in every body that is willing to accept what JESUS accomplished, not as GOD, but rather, as a 100% human being under GOD.
   
THE ACCOUNT OF CREATION
Genesis 1

   In Genesis chapter 1, we see GOD, in the beginning, exercising HIS creative powers and authority to, quite literally, speak the universe into existence. And after creating the earth, GOD created “the 24-hour day” using “a short span of light”, that HE called “day”, coupled with “a short span of darkness”, that HE called “night”. HE then allowed this 24-hour period to perpetually, automatically repeat itself over and over again, even until this day that we now live in.
    In this chapter of Genesis, we learn how, from day 1, GOD uses “divisions” and “distinctions” in order to fulfill HIS divine purpose for the world.

·         On “Day 1” - GOD separated “the light” from “the darkness” (Vs.1-5).
·         On “Day 2” – GOD separated “the atmospheric waters” in the heavens above, from “the terrestrial waters” of the earth beneath (Vs.6-8).
·         On “Day 3” – GOD separated “the land” from “the seas” (vs.9-13).
·         On “Day 4” – GOD further distinguished “the night” from “the day” by appointing the sun to preside over the daylight hours, and the moon and the stars to govern the night (Vs.14-19).
·         On “Day 5” – GOD created and distinguished between the various animal life by making the fish to reside in the waters of the earth, and the birds in the skies (Vs.20-23).
·         On “Day 6” – GOD makes HIS greatest distinction of all, as HE makes a difference in how HE created man, and how HE created animals (both livestock and wildlife) (Vs.24-31).

    On the sixth day, after GOD had “spoken into existence” all the universe and earth, and fashioned from the soil, all types of animal life, bird life, and marine life that were to dwell upon the dry land of the earth, the air, and the sea, in dramatic fashion, HE suddenly changed HIS “creation method” when HE created man. Here, like with the other animal life, instead of speaking man into existence, HE formed him from the dust of the earth, and then, instead of leaving man without “a human spirit”, as he had done with all HIS other animal creation, GOD decided to embody mankind with HIS own “image” (tselem), or, “nature” (of an invisible GOD).
    This “image”, or, “nature”, is in reality, a set of “communicable attributes”, or qualities, that would make man compatible with GOD, and be able to be “the only figurative representative” of GOD, here on earth. GOD wants man to have fellowship with HIM, and always seek to worship and obey HIM, deeply desiring those things that are pleasing to HIM only, at all times.
    And so GOD then 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 Life, Personality, Wisdom, Love, Justice, Truth, and Holiness. He became a living “person”, having a “personality” just as GOD does.
    These communicable attributes provides man with the spiritual capacity we need in order for us to have fellowship with GOD, and enter into a personal relationship of friendship with GOD. 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.
    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 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, May 11, 2018


BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
larrydalexanderbiblestudies.blogspot.com

BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday May 13, 2018

PAUL’S FINAL ADVICE TO THE CORINTHIANS
2 Corinthians 13

   There can be no coercive work involved in ministry in the Christian Church. The authoritative spiritual powers granted by GOD do not include an element of coercion. Christian spiritual leaders are only “spokespersons” for CHRIST, and so CHRIST speaks through them, and anyone who refuses to listen, is not just ignoring the messenger, he or she, in reality, is ignoring GOD. However, because GOD gave us wills that free, everyone must choose to follow CHRIST, or to reject HIM, voluntarily.
    Here in 2 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul, under the authority of JESUS CHRIST, warns the church at Corinth of a third visit that he planned to make there in the near future. He had already warned those who had violated their pledges to CHRIST, that there would be a great rebuke delivered by him when he came, because of their continued sin, and their continued clinging to their former lifestyles outside the precepts and principles of the Christian way.
    When people looked at Paul, they literally saw a man petite and frail, battered and beaten down by various persecutions (2 Cor. 11:22-33), and to top it off, he wasn’t a great speaker (2 Cor. 10:10) like many of the false “super apostles”, which is what Paul called them (2 Cor. 12:11). Yet Paul tells the Corinthians here in verse 3 that he will give them all the proof they want that CHRIST speaks through him.
    Paul didn’t want the Corinthians to get it twisted or confused and start comparing what they see in him physically is a picture of what CHRIST is like. Only his messages, actions, and behavior show them a picture of what CHRIST is like, not his physical appearance. CHRIST is not weak in his dealings with them, Paul says (v.3), but rather, HE is a mighty power among them. Although it seemed to them that CHRIST died on the cross in weakness, HE now lives among them by the mighty power of GOD. And so, while he may be weak in appearance, the mighty power of GOD lives in him and all the people who work with him, and they use that mighty power in dealing with them, and their foolishness every day.
    The Apostle Paul then urges the church at Corinth to “judge”, or “examine” themselves (anakrino judgment) to see if their “faith” is indeed a “saving faith”. They need to see for themselves if their faith is a “genuine faith” that moves them to positive actions toward one another, and toward obedience to GOD, and, if an unbeliever is able to see a difference in their lifestyles, verses the lifestyle that they now lead. And if they cannot tell if CHRIST was among them, using their current behavior and lifestyles as a barometer, that means that they, by way of their own examples before the world, had failed the test, and are “not approved”, “adokimoi” in the Greek, (ad-o-kim-ohee) by GOD (Vs.5-6).
    Paul’s second visit to the church at Corinth had been a very humbling experience for him and his fellow workers because of the offensive way that were treated, and because of the way that some in the church had fallen away from the teachings of CHRIST JESUS. He admonished the Corinthians of the consequences of choosing to live their lives contrary to principals of CHRIST (backsliding), after pledging themselves to HIM.
    It is the responsibility of the Christian to never oppose the truth, and in fact, choose to follow and stand by the truth, regardless to where it leads you, and regardless to whom it convicts, be it family member, friend, or perceived enemy. GOD glorifies HIMSELF through us when HE uses the backdrop of our weaknesses in order to perform great deeds before mankind.
    Paul closes out this second letter to the Corinthians by encouraging them to rejoice, change their ways, encourage each other, and live in harmony and peace. In other words “aim for perfection” “katartizesthe” (kat-ar-tid-est-he), starting by repenting and putting oneself back into a position where one can be used by GOD for good works. Only then, will the GOD of love and peace abide with them. It was Paul’s sincere desire that the Corinthians behave in such a way that the love of GOD, the grace of CHRIST JESUS, and the fellowship of the HOLY SPIRIT could abide among them, without being grieved.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander











Friday, May 4, 2018


BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
larrydalexanderbiblestudies.blogspot.com

BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday May 6, 2018

PAUL’S VISION AND HIS THORN IN THE FLESH
2 Corinthians 12:1-10

   The biblical concept of “humility” calls for a total absence of pride and arrogance. It is a surrendering force in us, that convinces us that, all that we have, and everything we are, we owe to GOD. The greatest example of humility that this world has ever known is CHRIST JESUS, our LORD. HE was willing to leave the comforts and riches of Heaven, to be born of woman, and subject HIMSELF to the full measure of the human experience, equipped with all of its weaknesses and vulnerabilities, so that we might one day arrive in the “paradise” (par-ad-i-so -  “Heaven”), from which HE came.
    In 2 Corinthians 12, verses 1-10, the Apostle Paul lets the Corinthians in on, what had to be at that time (and still is today), two very startling personal revelations. One involves an enigmatic vision of being “caught up”, or, “raptured” (from the Latin word “rapturo”) into “the third Heaven”, which JESUS calls “paradise” (Luke 23:43, Revelations 2:7).
    The second revelation involves an equally mysterious and very puzzling phrase, “thorn in the flesh”, a terminology that probably describes a physical condition, that Paul says, GOD used to keep him in a state of CHRIST-like humility. In context, the “thorn in the flesh” that Paul is speaking of here, could be anything that might seem to expose a weakness within a person, or, make a person look vulnerable in the eyes of those that he may be facing in opposition, or, seeking to minister to.
    There are many biblical examples of where GOD has turned, what appeared to be an obvious weakness, into an effective weapon of strength, or, victory over those who were thought to possess a superior power or might. GOD’s power is always best displayed, against the backdrop of man’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and in Paul’s mind, he believed that his weakness actually made him strong, in that respect (Vs.8-10).
    Although Paul believed that his weakness made him strong and successful in his work for the LORD, and that he worked harder than all the other apostles, he also believed that he was the least of all of the apostles, and that, it was only through GOD’s grace that he would prevail over his opposition in the Church that CHRIST had charged him to deliver.
    Paul took no pleasure in boasting his credentials as an authentic apostle in CHRIST. He did it only in hopes of silencing his critics so that he might be able to minister more effectively and freely. And like his Damascus Road experience (Acts 9:1-18), Paul’s experiences as a “suffering servant” (2 Corinthians 11:16-33), and his revelation of being “caught up” in the third Heaven, served as defining marks and moments that authenticated and distinguished his calling to be like CHRIST, in the performance of his ministry.
    GOD’s “grace” transformed Paul’s perspective in life, well beyond his own sufferings. Whenever Paul came to the end of himself, our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST would take over and allow him to accomplish his work, to the glory of GOD. In fact, that’s how GOD works in the lives of all of us who desire to do HIS Will, HIS way.
    It was Paul’s deepest hope to find when he revisited Corinth, both, an overwhelming feeling of repent from the church, and, an affirmation of loyalty to CHRIST and HIS teachings. However, instead of coming to the defense of Paul against the accusations of the “false apostles”, the Corinthians had remained somewhat passive, thus compelling Paul to engage in foolish boasting as his only defense (v.1).
    As we continue on in our Christian duties as soldiers in the army of CHRIST, and we are in the midst of our own suffering and feel that things can’t possibly get any worse, we can all take a measure of rest in the thought that, as GOD’s humble servants, we have never once carried the full weight of any of our own afflictions.
    The Almighty GOD will never allow us to be beat down by the very task that HE HIMSELF called us to do, for that is not the way of a just GOD. HE will always be there, shouldering the bulk of our load, letting us carry only that portion which HE created us to be able to carry. And that, my fellow Christians, is called “grace”. 

PAUL’S CONCERN FOR THE CORINTHIANS
2 Corinthians 12:11-21

   Now the boasting was over. Paul had played the role of a fool, so that he might win the hearts of the Corinthians from the false apostles, and deliver them back unto CHRIST JESUS, our LORD. Paul says in verse 11, that the Corinthians had made him act like a fool with his own boasting, and even though he didn’t consider himself much at all (all his credentials belonged to GOD), he still didn’t consider himself inferior to the so-called “super apostles” who displayed their talents and false teaching before them.
    Paul felt that he had provided every proof of his authenticity as an apostle of CHRIST, for all to see, and through the grace of GOD, he also performed many signs and miracles among them. In verse 13, he adds sarcastically, that, the only thing he didn’t do was to be a financial burden to them, and he asked that they forgive him for not taking their money.
    Paul told the church at Corinth plainly that he doesn’t want what they have, but rather, he only wanted them to be children in CHRIST. Little children don’t pay their parent’s way, but rather, parents pay the children’s way. They feed them just as he had fed them the Gospel of the CHRIST, and Paul says that he would give all that he had to supply their spiritual needs, even though it seemed the more he loved them, the less they loved him (v.15).
    Apparently some of the Corinthians thought that Paul’s not publically or openly seeking financial gains from them, was just a ruse to cloak his love of money. They had, no doubt, been convinced by the false apostles that he, along with Titus and the other unnamed brother, were trying to take advantage of them, and would try and highjack the collection for Jerusalem instead of delivering it to the Mother Church as promised (Vs.16-18). However, the money was safely delivered and now Paul points out to them, just how wrong they were for not trusting him, who shares the same SPIRIT and honesty as Titus and the other man, who were his protégés.
    Paul wrote this difficult letter out of deep concern for the spiritual well-being of the Corinthian church, who, was showing obvious signs of backsliding. He had hoped that he could “nip-in-the-bud” some of the spiritual damage that the anti-CHRIST apostles had done there with their false teaching.
    A failure to unite with the plan of GOD always produces “immorality”. Because of our “accepted sin nature” from satan, man will never be able to agree with each other, for there is no unity apart from GOD. That is why we have developed all of our man-made Christian denominations over the centuries, because we refuse to agree “completely” with GOD.
    Nobody wants to agree with GOD, and we can’t possibly agree with the flawed imperfections of each other. Only the mind of GOD can create a “true religion” (Christianity) that can work for all men and women, all of the time, one that all mankind can abide under together. No man can concoct a “true religion” that all men can abide under and live by, simply because we’re all, ourselves, men under the judgment of GOD.
    The eight sins mentioned in verse 20 all stem from “divisiveness” (“schismata”) from GOD’s plan, and so does the three sins mentioned in verse 21. Legalism in frequently used to cover up immorality, and it is no different in this case with the Corinthians. Paul feared that when he re-visited the church at Corinth that he wouldn’t like what he would find. He feared that he would find a church full of un-repented sinners, who had simply fallen away, from GOD’s plan.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
   




Friday, April 27, 2018


BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
larrydalexanderbiblestudies.blogspot.com

BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday April 29, 2018

PAUL AND THE FALSE APOSTLES
2 Corinthians 11:1-15

   The false apostles in Corinth were dead set on establishing their own claims of authority by highlighting their strengths alongside Paul’s weaknesses. They often followed Paul from church to church, literally “un-teaching” everything about CHRIST that Paul and his crew had originally taught, as he struggled mightily to plant the seeds of Christianity in the minds of the people of the first century.
    Paul often returned to those same churches and re-established the teachings of CHRIST, and put a damper on the false teacher’s boasting of themselves, telling the churches that all boasting should be only in what GOD has done for them, and not what they as men had done.
    In the Greek, the word used for “authority” is “exousia” and it is “freedom to act in a given situation, role, or position”. The last four chapters of 2 Corinthians provide significant insight into the nature of spiritual authority. Paul says that, in the Christian Church, a leader’s authority is given so that he can build up the congregation, not tear it down. On the other hand, the authority of a leader is also limited, in that, they can’t use that authority to control behavior, but rather, they can only use it to influence or evoke, hopefully, a voluntary, GODly response.
    Here in 2 Corinthians chapter 11, Paul’s deep concern for the Corinthians spiritual well-being and protection from the infiltration of false prophets and their doctrine, moved him to go against his own principles regarding not boasting about his credentials, or “authority under CHRIST as an apostle”. The fact that he hadn’t taken any money from the Church at Corinth gave him a leg up on the false apostles who, Paul says, masqueraded as “angels of light” and always preached for financial benefits or gains (Vs.12-15).
    Paul says in the opening lines of this chapter, in an apologetic way, that, he hoped that the Corinthians would be patient with him as he was once again being compelled by them to defend his calling and reputation, explaining his credentials to the church again and again. He feared that he was beginning to sound like “the foolish braggarts”, those “false apostles”, whom he constantly warned them about.
    Here in verse 2, Paul says he was jealous of the relationship that may be forming between the church and the false teachers, but it was a jealousy as GOD would be jealous of a relationship between them and an idol god. He explains that he had already promised them over to CHRIST to be HIS pure bride, and now it seemed as if they were being led away by the serpent, pretty much the way Eve was in the Garden of Eden. They were becoming very gullible to whatever strange doctrine that may come down the pike (Vs.2-4).
    Paul assured the Corinthians that he did not feel inferior to these “super apostles” just because he himself was not a trained speaker. The only thing that mattered to him, and should matter to them, is that, he knew what he was talking about, and had proven his legitimacy through his lifestyle, hard work, and persecutions that he suffered over the years.

PAUL’S MANY TRIALS
2 Corinthians 11:16-33

   The world’s standards are far different from the standards that GOD places on HIS people as their goal and aspiration. In fact, the wisdom of GOD is not only “not accepted” by the world, it is foolishness as far as the world is concerned. Here in verse 16, Paul starts to feel as though he is sounding like a fool to the people of the church at Corinth.
    The false apostles had obviously been bragging about how polished and accomplished they were in their training, work, appearance, and presentation, and Paul knew that such boasting of oneself was not something that GOD was pleased with from those who were actually called by HIM.
    However, in this instance, since the Corinthians seemed to enjoy listening to a bunch of fools, he decided that he might be able to make some headway by doing a little boasting of his own, and playing along with the “method of entertainment” that had been working so well for the false apostles, only he would hit them with the wisdom of CHRIST, instead of using the same human plans and methods that they themselves had conjured up as mere men without GOD (Vs.18-21).
    Paul begins his defense by saying that, while they may all share the same pedigree as he does (all the false teachers were Hebrews, Israelites, and descendants of Abraham), they were not called by CHRIST as he was, even though they made that claim also (Vs.22-23).
    Paul’s service to CHRIST was evidenced in his history, and in his walk. He had been put in jail multiple times for defending the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST, he had been beaten countless times, including the five times that he had been given 39 lashes, and 3 others times when he had been beaten with a rod. He had been stoned, shipwrecked, once spending an entire night and day adrift at sea, he had traveled thousands of miles, mostly on foot, and faced dangers from nature (flooded rivers) and from men (robbers and thieves) (Vs.23-25).
    Paul says that both, his own people, the Jews, and, the Gentiles had often sought to kill him. He had faced dangers in the cities, in the deserts, and on the stormy seas, from men who claim to be Christians, but of course, were not. Paul lived a great deal of his life in pain and weariness after he dedicated his life to CHRIST. He had many sleepless nights, hungry and thirsty, sometimes shivering from the cold because he didn’t have enough clothing to keep himself warm (Vs.26-27).
    Paul goes on to say that, besides all of these tribulations and burdens, he also had the continued burden of seeing after the Christian churches which he and others had founded over the years. Paul felt that, if he must boast, he would rather boast about his weaknesses and how a powerful, almighty GOD has shored him up to do even more works, despite his weaknesses.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
   
     






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





                                 
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