Friday, January 19, 2018


For the week beginning Sunday January 21, 2018

1 Corinthians 14

   Strangely, it has always been a matter of considerable debate, just what the Apostle Paul means by “speaking in tongues”. In chapters 12-14 of his first letter to the Corinthians, he uses the Greek expression “glossa” (gloce-sah) 21 times for “Tongues” and it is by definition “the organ in one’s mouth that is used primarily for taste and speech”, and, it is “a learned spoken language or dialect, not naturally acquired”.
    “Ecstatic (emotional) utterances (statements)”, otherwise known as “speaking in tongues” is “non-sense utterances” that have no possible interpretation, not even by the person who speaks them, and, is of no spiritual value, or no apparent spiritual benefit, to anyone who hears it. Such a person is speaking only from his or her “human spirit” (v.14), which is controlled primarily by satan. As Christians we should all know that not only must our human spirit be willing in prayer, but we must also pray in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT WHO directs us to the will of GOD in our prayers, where we can also benefit others.
    “Ecstatic Utterance” finds its origins in the ancient pagan prophetesses known as “sibyls”, or “sibylla”. One sibyl in particular, the “Cumaean Sibyl”, was the most famous and influential of the ten pagan sibyls in and around the Roman Empire in the first century. She was the priestess who presided over the Apollonian Oracle at Cumae, Italy, an important Greek colony located near Naples. She is also the person most responsible for infiltrating of the Christian Church with this nonsense, along with her ally, the sibyl of the Oracle at Delphi in Greece.
    The word “sibyl” comes from the ancient Greek word “sibylla”, which means “prophetess”. Because of the importance of the Cumaean Sibyl’s position in the legends of early Rome (it is even codified in “Virgil's Aeneid VI”), she became the most famous of all the ten pagan sibyls in the Roman Empire prior to the first century and beyond.
    These sibyls were believed, even by medieval Christians, to prophesy through the use of “ecstatic utterances” and thereby, they began to gain spiritual weight and respect in the Christian Church of the first century. Their “Sibylline Oracles” sometimes called the "pseudo-Sibylline Oracles" are a collection of “oracular utterances” written in Greek hexameters, ascribed to the Sibyls, who uttered so-called divine revelations “while in a frenzied emotional state”. Fourteen books and eight fragments of Sibylline Oracles survive today. These collections of utterances have been composed or edited under various circumstances, probably between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD.
    The Sibylline Oracles are a valuable source for information about “Classical mythology” and early first century Gnostic, Jewish, and Christian beliefs. Some apocalyptic passages scattered throughout these oracles seem to give “sketchy outlines” of the Apostle John's Book of Revelation, and other Apocalyptic literature. These oracles have undergone extensive editing, re-writing, and redaction as they came to be exploited in wider and wider circles as the years went by.
    The satanic demon spirit behind ecstatic utterances is called “Cybele” (sounds the same as “sibyl”) known as “Magna Mater”, or, “The Great Mother” in Roman religion. The Roman State adopted and developed a particular form of her cult after the Sibylline oracle of Cumae recommended her conscription as a key religious component in Rome's second war against Carthage. Rome’s defeat of Carthage, the battle victory that launched the Roman Empire, was predicted by this Cumaen Sibyl and thus she gained great prestige and a huge following for her “lucky guess”, I mean, “prophecy”.   
    Roman mythographers “channeled” this demon up as a Trojan goddess, and over time it became an ancestral goddess of the Roman people, by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome's eventual military and political dominance over the Mediterranean world, Romanized forms of “Cybele's cults” spread throughout the Roman Empire. The meaning and morality of her “transgender” cults and priesthoods were topics of debate and dispute throughout ancient Greek and Roman literature, and remains so, even in modern scholarship.
    The Apostle Paul was very much aware of the pagan sibyl’s influence in the Christian Church in its infancy, mostly through the infiltrating work of “Gnostics” and antichrist Jews, and he knew that the Corinthians may have thought of ecstatic utterances as a spiritual gift from GOD. That is why in this first letter to the Corinthians, we find Paul using the word “glossa” 21 times between chapters 12-14 to demonstrate, and accentuate, the difference between “a learned language or dialect” (those gifts or abilities that come from GOD), and the “mumble jumble” emotional utterances of the pagan sibyls.   
    Nowhere in its biblical use, or its Greek or English definition does the word “glossa” or “tongue” refer to “ecstatic speech”, not in any of Paul’s letters (used only three other times outside of 1 Corinthians), and, not when used anywhere else in the New Testament. Whether it is used “literally” of the physical organ (Mark 7:33, James 3:5, Revelations 16:10), or “figuratively” of human languages (Acts 2:11, Revelations 5:9, 7:9, 10:11, 11:9, 13:7, 14:6, & 17:15) the word is always the same, “glossa”.
    What Paul is saying in verse two of this chapter of 1 Corinthians 14, is that, if a person were sitting in a Church assembly in France, for instance, and everyone in the assembly spoke in the French language except that person, then, if that one person was to stand up and start speaking in, say, the German tongue, no one would be able to understand them but GOD.
    And while that person, who may be gifted to teach in more than one language, or, “tongue”, and, could be uttering something that may be totally GODly and spiritual, it wouldn’t be of benefit to anyone in the assembly because none of them are gifted in the German dialect. They simply would not be able to comprehend what the, more gifted, person were saying, as it would sound to them like “utter non-sense” or “mumble jumble” (1 Corinthians 14:2).
    However, one who has the gift of prophecy, which is a “Spiritual gift”, is helping people grow in the LORD, encouraging them, and comforting them by giving them revelations from GOD (revealing and explaining the bible and its application)  (v.3). The person who speaks in various tongues, a “learned gift”, through GOD-given intellectual capabilities”, is only strengthened “personally” in the LORD, while one who speaks a word of prophecy strengthens the entire Church (v.4).
    In verse 5 Paul says, “I wish you all had the gift of speaking in tongues, but even more I wish you were all able to prophesy. For prophecy is a greater and more useful gift than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so the whole church can get some good out of it”. Dear brothers and sisters, if I should come to you speaking in tongues, how would that help you? But if I bring you some revelation or some special knowledge or some prophecy or some teaching, that is what will help you (NLT).
    Paul himself spoke in various tongues, in fact, the bible tells us that he was able to speak and write in at least three different languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. However, he tells us in verses 9-12 that “If you talk to people in a language they don’t understand, How will they know what you mean? You might as well be talking to an empty room. There are many different languages in the world, and all are excellent for those who understand them, but to me they mean nothing. I will not understand people who speak those languages, and they will not understand me. Since you are all so eager to have spiritual gifts, ask GOD for those that will be of real help to the whole church” (NLT).
    Languages that are interpreted can benefit the assembly (Acts 19:6) as well as prophesy, therefore, the gift of interpretation should be requested from GOD also. This means that someone independent of the person, who is speaking a different language, must be present and able to interpret what that person is saying to the assembly, not just the person who’s speaking it (v.13).
    Gifts are not given by GOD, so much for personal use, as they are for use in helping others, and building them up. “Personal edification” is something that should be a “by-product”, or a “result”, that is reserved for someone who has shared their gift to help better the Christian community as a whole. Personal edification should not be a result of one helping himself, or taking advantage of others.
    Some people try to make a distinction between the word “tongues” in this epistle, and the use of the word “tongues” in the book of Acts on Pentecost Day. However, there is no difference as the same Greek term “glossa” is used in both instances. The only difference is that the HOLY SPIRIT acted on several people on that Pentecost day, giving them special supernatural abilities to “instantly” communicate in other languages that was not their own, for the benefit of the many foreigners who were in Jerusalem at that time observing the Pentecost, and, who spoke in the many different languages of their native land.
    GOD wanted everyone in attendance that day, regardless of their native tongue, to participate in, and to understand the significance of this “distinctive act”, where HE first allowed HIS HOLY SPIRIT to embody all those who choose to believe in CHRIST JESUS.
Paul says in this particular passage of 1 Corinthians (Vs.22-24), that, unbelievers view “strange tongues” as being some sort of a sign, while believers are not of that opinion. In order for unbelievers to become convicted of their sins, they must hear the Gospel in their own native languages before they can begin to comprehend the things of GOD.
    The Word of GOD should convict and condemn by what it says to us personally, and it can’t do that unless it is first understood by those who hear and see it. And among those who see, hear, and understand the Word, their secret thoughts are laid bare, and they can then, fall to their knees and worship GOD with their whole heart, just as they should.

1 Corinthians 14:26-40

   Here in this passage, Paul returns to the subject of spiritual gifts and their limitations. All the while, he was trying to deal with the problem of the Church services being disrupted by women who worshipped the highly respected pagan sibyls (female pagan prophetesses) of the first century, and, who ran around the room during services speaking in demonic “ecstatic utterances” commonly known as “speaking in tongues” trying to imitate the women of the pagan church assemblies who were said to prophecy that way.
    Here Paul uses the “gift of prophecy” to counteract this foolishness, and to show the difference between “intelligible speech” (teaching and providing revelations from GOD), which “edifies”, or, “spiritually builds a person up”, and, unintelligible speech (ecstatic utterances) that is of no spiritual value whatsoever, to anyone, not even to the person who speaks it.
    Paul says that, while “unbelievers” who see ecstatic utterances (nonsense speech) as a sign, may be impressed with it, “believers”, on the other hand, should not be, but rather, they should be more interested in what GOD has to say through intelligible prophecy (teaching and revelation), not the unintelligible murmurings of pagan sibyls.
    The problem of ecstatic speech interruptions in Church services had gotten so out of hand in the Corinthian Church that Paul had to command that all women be silent during church meetings, period (Vs.34-35). Furthermore, why would GOD give someone an unintelligible message that even the hearer can’t understand. It makes absolutely no sense that it can come from GOD. However, it does make sense that ecstatic utterances would come from satan, because it can be very effective in distracting the Church from the teachings of GOD, and the effect those teachings can have on the lives of those who seek HIM.
    Here in this passage Paul seeks to restore some sense of order to the Christian Church at Corinth before the influence of the pagan sibyls spread and infiltrated the entire Christian Network of believers as it has in today’s Christian Church. The believer has to hear the Gospel in their own native tongue before they can be convicted by it and be able to acknowledge the importance of CHRIST JESUS to the lives of mankind in this world.
    We will also do good not to miss Paul’s instructions about judging those who prophecy before you. In verse 29 he says that we must “weigh” (diakrino judge) what is said by those who claim to prophecy from GOD. The word “diakrino” in the Greek means to “judge every person, place, or thing, by the written word of GOD”.
    GOD wants us to “judge”! But we must, first, judge ourselves (anakrino judgment) by the Word of GOD, and then we must judge others by the Word of GOD (diakrino judgment). However, we are not allowed to judge (krino judgment, which is to condemn) a person as only GOD can, for we do not have GOD’s permission, or power, or the perfect lifestyle that would enable us to rightfully “condemn” others. We are to simply make the correct judgment calls, based solely on GOD’s Word, so that we may do no harm to ourselves, nor allow others to harm us, neither spiritually, physically, or mentally.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, January 12, 2018


For the week beginning Sunday January 14, 2018

1 Corinthians 13

   Faith, Hope, and Love, are the three great enduring things. They are the spiritual elements that must be embodied in every person, who desires to be a true follower of CHRIST JESUS, and, who wishes to worship GOD, in spirit, and in truth. Out of those three elements, “Love” is the greatest.
    The word “love” in this chapter is “charity” or, in the Greek, “agape” and it is “benevolence and affection toward people”, and “adoration and obedience to GOD”. JESUS says that, we show love for HIM by obeying HIM, and by obeying HIM we remain in HIS love, just as HE obeys the FATHER and remains in HIS love (John 15:10). And then HE tells us in Matthew 25:31-46 that HE will “judge” us, when HE returns, and that judgment will be based on how we reacted to “human need”, or, how we showed or didn’t show “agape love” towards one another.
    In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, the segment we now know as chapter 13 is the best-known passage. In fact, with the exception of Psalm 23, it may be the most well-known chapter in all of Scripture. Over time, it has come to be known the world over, as the “Love Chapter”.
    In this, now famous passage, Paul, moves from explaining how to recognize “spiritual gifts” that come from GOD, in the previous chapter, to how one can measure and express, his or her spirituality, in the “most excellent way”. Here Paul insists that we succeed in exercising our gifts, only by showing “Love”, an element of quality so vital, that without it, not even the greatest of man’s GOD-given abilities can enrich and enhance the lives of those who possess them, nor, the lives of the people that they seek to help with those abilities (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
    Paul clearly understood that “Love” is not just an abstract, philosophical idea, but rather, it is practical, and must be expressed in the everyday actions and attitudes of the believer (verses 4-7). Even the greatest of spiritual gifts are limited and distorted, by their own mortalities and imperfections. In other words, no spiritual gift lasts forever, but rather, they fade and deteriorate in conjunction with the aging process of the human body (verses 8-12). 
    However, through it all, we can rely on our Faith, Hope, and Love, which is, GOD personified, to sustain us. And “Love” is the greatest quality, because it, quite literally, is the foundation of the Christian Faith, and, life itself. Understanding that, we can see, quite vividly, why “Love” is the true measure a person’s spirituality, and it also exemplifies the closeness of one’s relationship with GOD.
    Paul sought to make sure that we realize, quite readily, who, among us is truly spiritual. And the only way to do that was, by first, making sure that we understood the true nature of love, and then, by presenting to us, the criteria, by which we can evaluate the spirituality of others. This is so we won’t be duped into following the leadership and advice of false teachers.
    Paul, quite simply, shows us in his own brilliant sort of way, the true “behavioral definition” of “Love”. In this passage, Paul is saying that, any person, who is a spiritual representative of GOD, “acts like it”, not just “talks like it”. GOD is love, and when JESUS came to earth, HE clearly demonstrated that Love to us, and for us, time and time again. As a result, HE became “LOVE” personified, in the eyes of men, for all times. HE served to show us what “Love” is supposed to look like as an integral part of the human, earthly experience, or, in other words, how we are to incorporate this “Love” into our everyday actions, attitudes, and indeed, into our existence.
    And while it is true that perfection won’t come to the Church until GOD’s   program for it is consummated with the “second coming” of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, and until then, a church is only perfect when no human being is in it, we as Christians can still, all reach a high level of maturity, by learning and becoming accustomed to practicing the immortal acts of Love, already exhibited to us, by CHRIST JESUS, during HIS first advent. 
    As for “Faith” and “Hope”, they are merely manifestations of “Love”, but because of it, they too, will endure forever. All, that we know now, is partial and incomplete, because we are yet, mere children in CHRIST. And when we are children, we are expected to act like children, just as, when we grow up, we are expected to put away childish things and behavior.
    Before we come to know CHRIST, we’ve already long become accustomed to looking at ourselves, through an unclean mirror, and, as a result, we do not see ourselves, as we really are. The blood of CHRIST gives us something, by which we can use, to clean that mirror off, and begin seeing ourselves clearly, for the very first time.
    We are then able to walk into the store of GOD, and pick us up a free bottle of “faith”. And then, we can take it home and use it to spray some “hope” on that unclean mirror. And with “Love”, we can wipe away the old life, and usher in the new. Then, and only then, will we be able to turn ourselves around, and begin heading in the right direction, in the newness of life, that is found only in CHRIST JESUS.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, January 5, 2018


For the week beginning Sunday January 7, 2018

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

   In the first century “ecstatic utterance” which is by definition, “nonsense speech” or “speaking in tongues” as it is called by confused professed Christians today, was a popular sign that a person was “possessed by certain gods of the pagan world”. In fact, in the pagan world even “Epilepsy” which has a similar effect on people during a seizure, as one would experience during a spell of ecstatic utterances, was considered to be a “divine disease”.
    The mutterings of drugged “female pagan prophetesses” known as Sibyls, at places such as Delphi, Greece, and Cumae, Italy, were believed by the people to convey messages, or prophecies from idol gods. Today this attitude and belief has carried over to the Christian Church, and now many Christians unwittingly are worshipping these false gods through these ecstatic murmurings, as some truly believe that they are communicating with the real GOD, even though they don’t understand a word they are saying themselves.
    In the Church at Corinth, many women who were already familiar with these pagan Sibyls before they converted to Christianity, continued to worship these female prophetesses and even considered themselves to be more “spiritual” than other Christians. Even though their utterances were interpreted only by those who spoke them, and clearly contradicted the laws and principals of GOD, some Christians were awed enough by them to believe them anyway.
    And so, it is against this backdrop that Paul began to develop his teachings on spirituality, spiritual gifts, and the proper way to discern the difference between those abilities which truly come from GOD, and those that don’t come from GOD. Paul felt that it was high time that he correct the misunderstandings concerning “ecstatic utterances”, etc., which is something that doesn’t come from GOD (Vs.1-3a).
    In verse 3b, Paul tells us that, “no one speaking by the SPIRIT of GOD can curse JESUS (deny HIS humanity), and no one is able to say, “JESUS is LORD” except when speaking by the HOLY SPIRIT”. One of the first heresies of the Christian Church came from those false teachers who denied JESUS’ “humanity”, not HIS “deity”. To deny JESUS’ humanity is to curse HIM, and it robs us of the true understanding of the impact that JESUS had on the human existence, in this world.
    The Apostle John had to tackle this same issue later on, and he dealt with it in his letters to the Churches (1 John 4:1-3, 2 John 1:7). It is extremely important to our understanding how we, like JESUS, can become great overcomers of this world. However, we can’t do that unless we first accept the fact that, like JESUS, we were all born with “GOD’s nature” in us already, and along with the power of the HOLY SPIRIT, we have within us, a power that is greater than “he who is in the world”, satan.
    In verses 4-11 Paul goes on to list several gifts, or “abilities” that the HOLY SPIRIT provides us with, as they are needed in the various services that must be performed and addressed in “the Body of CHRIST”, which is the Christian Church. Here he tells us that;

·         To some, the SPIRIT gives a word of special wisdom
·         To some, the SPIRIT gives special knowledge
·         To some, the SPIRIT gives special faith
·         To some, the SPIRIT gives the ability to heal the sick
·         To some, the SPIRIT gives the ability to perform miracles
·         To some, the SPIRIT gives the ability to  prophesy
·         To some, the SPIRIT gives the ability to discern between (human) spirits
·         To some, the SPIRIT gives the ability to speak in different languages
·         To some, the SPIRIT gives the ability to understand and interpret what is being said

The HOLY SPIRIT alone decides who receives which abilities, but they all come from one source, GOD.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31

   The human body has many parts, however, all of those parts, only make up one body. That’s how it is in the “Body of CHRIST”, the Christian Church. The Church is a living body, where each member, or part of that body, needs to make a contribution in order for the body as a whole, to maintain its health and functionality.
    The use of the human body as an analogy in this passage stresses the necessity of a close, interpersonal relationship between each of its members, with their unique GOD-given abilities to succeed in its service to CHRIST, in unison. Each part of the human anatomy belongs to the body as a whole, and likewise, each member of the Body of CHRIST belongs to HIM, and, we are responsible to HIM and to each other as a viable unit under GOD.
    This three-part summary of chapter 12, as it is expressed by the Apostle Paul, is crystal clear, and it really brings home the point about how the Church has to be viewed, in so far as to how it has to work together in unison with all members being on board with CHRIST. Here we see that;

·         The Church body, like the human body, is a unit
·         The Church body, like the human body, has many parts
·         The Church body, like the human body, must work together as one

    Everyone in the Body of CHRIST has been baptized into the Church by the same HOLY SPIRIT, and therefore, no person is inferior to the other, but rather we are interdependent upon each other. If the SPIRIT gifted us all with the same abilities, the Church could only succeed in one area of its business, and everything else would go lacking.
    However, GOD made our bodies, and the Body of CHRIST, the Church, with many working parts, and HE has put each part where HE wants them to go. No part of our body or the Body of CHRIST can say “I don’t need you”. In fact, on our bodies, some of the parts that seem weakest, or least important, are really the ones that are the most necessary. And some of the more important parts that the body naturally shields, such the heart, the brain, and other internal organs, are never seen, but in reality, are what keeps the body functioning as a whole.
    The parts we clothe with the greatest care, and regard as, less honorable, the ones that we protect from the eyes of others, in reality, should not be seen. However, there are other parts that do not require that kind of special care. That is why GOD put the body together in such a way that, extra honor would be given to those parts that have less dignity. Such an action provides harmony among the members, and causes them to care for each other equally. If one part of the body is hurt or suffers injury, the whole body is aware of it and senses the pain.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Friday, December 29, 2017


For the week beginning Sunday December 31, 2017

1 Corinthians 11

   The passage of 1 Corinthians 11, verses 1-16, is one that has been debated for centuries among church goers who so want to do what they want to do, and it continues to be debated in the modern-day church by the same defined group of people with the same exact motives in mind, rebellion against GOD’s principals of wisdom. In fact, the only reason we ever debate any of Scriptures is because we desire badly for GOD to agree with our respective man-made denominations, instead of us seeking to come into accordance with HIM.
    Over time, satan has been able to successfully put into our human spirit, an overbearing desire to rebel against GOD more and more with each passing generation, and we choose to accommodate our sin nature more with each passing day, and with an overpowering lust that is, quite literally, sucking the life right out of us. Man has almost from the beginning, sought to have a god who is made in his own image, instead of desiring to worship, and obey the words of the GOD WHO made us in HIS.
    The origins of woman’s rebellion against GOD and man began in the Garden of Eden when Eve willfully left the covering of her husband, Adam, and entered into a sinful dialog with satan. Adam rebelled against GOD by allowing Eve to move ahead without him, instead of interceding in the dialog in defense of what GOD had already instructed them to do. And he should have, since Scripture tells us that he was standing right there with them.
    In this passage of chapter 11, the Apostle Paul attempts to explain the order of creation under GOD to the Church at Corinth. He begins in verse 3 by setting up for the people, the order in which GOD expects us to remain (our creation roles) under HIM, because HE feels that it is right and good. Here he tells us that;

·         JESUS is responsible to GOD the FATHER
·         Man is responsible to JESUS
·         Woman is responsible to man

    Here in this verse the word “head”, in the Greek “kephale”, does not imply “superiority”, but rather, it implies “subordination” and “origination”. JESUS is not inferior to GOD, HE voluntarily submits to GOD because it is right and good. Woman is not inferior to man, but like CHRIST does with GOD, so too must she submit to man because GOD says, it is right and good. And man, who is inferior to CHRIST, must submit to HIM, under GOD, because GOD says, it is right and good.
    And so, here “head” explains the divine order that GOD places upon HIS human creation, and it aligns it the way that GOD feels is right and good. GOD the FATHER covers all, JESUS covers mankind, and men cover women and children. In order to stay within the will of GOD, everyone must stay within the creation role in which GOD assigned us, and we rebel against GOD when we try to move out of our assigned creation roles (i.e. in homosexual behavior).
    The much debated passage of 1 Corinthians 11, verses 4-10 is not that complicated when we realize that Paul is not-so-much speaking about a “head garment” in church, as he is about order under GOD, and “creation roles” in life.
   Men and women are interdependent. No woman has to be like a man to have worth and value, and no man has to be like a woman. We only need to be what GOD made us to be. A man covering his head while praying or bringing a revelation from GOD symbolizes dishonor toward CHRIST, his SPIRITUAL HEAD.
    In the first century when Paul lived, head covering for women was a universal custom in the Jewish culture. At that time, a woman not wearing a covering on her head brought the same amount of shame that she would receive if she cut off all her hair, it was simply not something that was contemplated by Jewish women in those days.
    On the other hand, Corinthian women at that time had begun to express a desire to rebel against those GODly principals that they had learned from Paul and others in the Christian Church. They saw it more as degradation, rather than being liberated, as most Jewish women saw it. By not covering their heads, they were asserting their equality with men.
    However, this creation role principle does not make women inferior, but rather, it uniquely exalts them. Men and women were created by GOD to glorify HIM, and there is no better way for each of us to glorify GOD than to live out, and be what GOD created us to be in accordance with our sexual gender, not with our envious twisted fleshly lusts.
    And so we see, the fact that GOD is the head of man, whom HE created, actually exalts him, not demean him. And the covered head of a woman is not a sign of a man’s authority over them, but rather, it is a sign of a woman’s authority to pray and prophesy in worship and in private. A person does not have to be a man in order to participate fully in life, nor in the Church. Any man or woman just has to do it GOD’s way, and not yield to the evil lures of their own sin nature to do things their own way.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

   The words “in remembrance”, that JESUS uses in HIS instituting of the LORD’s Supper, dates back to the Old Testament concept of “Zikkaron” (Zik-ka-rone). Zikkaron is a Festival, Practice, or Object, that is used to symbolically link future generations to a distinctive act of GOD from the past. The name derives from the Hebrew word “zikrown” (zik-rone), which means “a memento, or memorable thing, day, or writing”.
    Through the Zikkaron, GOD’s people could sense their personal participation, along with the original generation, in the act that GOD had performed for them. Thus the LORD’s Supper is a unique institution of sacrament, intended to link all generations to the memory of CHRIST JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice.
    Some of those in the Corinthian Church were totally missing the significance of the LORD’S Supper. Instead of making it a shared time in holy sacrament in CHRIST, they were treating it as if it were a dinner party that was dedicated to one of the pagan deities they used worship. 
    The New Covenant is mentioned many times in the Old Testament, and it is spelled out quite clearly by GOD, in Jeremiah 31:31-34. JESUS came to usher in that new Covenant from GOD. It is a Covenant that is far superior to any before, or since, that time. This New Covenant provides for the regeneration of mankind, and allows for us to be indwelt by the HOLY SPIRIT, when we come to believe in JESUS CHRIST. The bread, which we eat at the sacrament, is common bread, but for those who have the heart to feel and understand, the purpose and work of GOD, it is the very body of CHRIST JESUS.
    In the Gospel according to Luke, as expressed in chapter 22, in verse 22, in his original Greek writings, the word Luke uses in JESUS’ statement, that translates “determined”, is “horizo” (hor-id-zo). Luke is the only author in Scripture who uses this particular word for “determined”, and he uses it only here, and in Acts 17:26. In both places it means “decreed by GOD”, and is meant to remind us, from a “time-bound” perspective, that JESUS’ death was a miscarriage of justice, and that, from GOD’s point of view, it was the keystone of HIS plan to, not only provide salvation, but to also, set all things right.
    In Exodus 24:1-8, the Israelites accepted GOD’s Covenant, as it had been given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The continuance of that Covenant depended on man keeping his pledge and obeying the laws of GOD. But man would not then, and quite frankly, will not now, abide by such a Covenant, because our sin continuously interrupts our relationship with GOD. It took the life of CHRIST to restore that lost relationship of friendship with GOD. “This do in remembrance of me”, is what JESUS said to HIS Disciples. But it is also a statement that comes to us, from across the spans of time, in hopes that we too, can share in HIS new Covenant.
   JESUS knew how quickly the human mind would forget. HE knew that we would become so pre-occupied with our own worldly affairs, that, eventually, we would fail to recall HIS vicarious sacrifice. And so, HE invites us to, come in sometimes, into the peace and tranquility, of HIS FATHER’s House, and to “Do this in remembrance of HIM”.
    It is all the more tragic that, at that very table, on that Passover night, in a dimly lit upper room, somewhere in the midst, of the festive atmosphere of Jerusalem, that there sat one, who was a traitor, and, who would sell JESUS out, for the price of a common slave, which was thirty pieces of silver, at that time.
    Since the birth of the New Covenant, at every Communion table, there are those who would betray JESUS. If, in HIS House, we pledge ourselves to HIM, and then, go out and fail to reflect HIS image to others, through our own behavior, then we too, like Judas, have become traitors to HIS cause.
    Unlike JESUS, we don’t know when our last supper will be. It is the will of GOD that man not know what his time, place, or method of demise will be. But, like JESUS, we can all, become great preparers, and begin to store up our treasures in a place that JESUS says, “has been prepared for us, from the foundation of this World”. That place that Luke, Paul, and other New Testament writers call, in the Greek, “Paradeisos” (Par-ad-i-sos), but we call, “the Kingdom of Heaven”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander


Friday, December 22, 2017


For the week beginning Sunday December 24, 2017

(Overcoming temptation)
1 Corinthians 10

   In 1 Corinthians 10, verses 1-12, the Apostle Paul takes his readers back down memory lane to an unforgettable place in Jewish history, some 1500 years earlier. Here, he reminds them that, it was activities surrounding idolatry that led ancient Israel to sin. While still on the desert, immediately following their release from captivity in Egypt, their forefathers had already began again to sin against the GOD WHO had just rescued them from their miseries.
    He reminded the people of Corinth how Israel had failed to remember how GOD had guided them with the miraculous “pillar of cloud” by day and the “pillar of fire” by night. They were also prompted by Paul to recall the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, that allowed them to escape the Egyptians on dry land, and then, how GOD drowned their pursuers with the same waters that HE parted for them, when they tried to follow them across and bring them back to the waiting Pharaoh (Exodus 13:21-14:31).
    Paul then cautions them that the ensuing disciplinary actions upon the Israelites in the wilderness by GOD, that turned a thirty-day trip into a forty-year journey, can be viewed as a warning to them, and to all future generations, so that we won’t repeat the same old evil practices of that era.
    In those days, Paul says, the peoples’ fling with sexual immorality and other sins led to the deaths of 23,000 people in one day, a direct result of the wrath of the Almighty GOD (Numbers 25:3-9). Paul tells the Corinthian Church that they would not want to end up, quite literally, “snake bitten” as those were, who chose to put CHRIST to the test, by grumbling against, both, GOD and Moses, on yet another occasion, near Mount Hor, just outside the borders of Edom (Numbers 21:4-9).  
    Paul insists that all these things happened as a warning to future generations, and, they are recorded in the annals of biblical history so that we can share these “distinctive acts of GOD” with others, as a determent from sin, for all time. And if you think you are OK, don’t get too smug, because every human being is always just a breath away from falling into sin (v.12). In fact, satan often attacks a person at a point where they are most sure of themselves, because he knows it is there, where they are most likely to be unprepared, leaving the door open for his entry into their destiny.
    The good news, however, is that GOD is always faithful, and whenever temptation presents itself in our lives, GOD, through the aid of HIS HOLY SPIRIT, will not only help us to withstand them, HE will also present us with a way out (v.13). This, the fact that GOD is faithful, is the continuing source of our hope and security.
    As Christians, and as reasonable people, Paul says that we must decide for ourselves, whether or not we are going to believe the whole Word of GOD. For instance, when we bless the cup at the LORD’s table during communion services, we are sharing in the benefits of the blood of CHRIST. And when we break the bread we are sharing in the benefits of the body of CHRIST. In effect, we are all eating from one loaf, showing that we are one body. All who eat the sacrifice are symbolically and spiritually united by the process with CHRIST, and the whole GODHEAD (Vs.14-18).
    After laying the foundation for his argument, Paul now returns to the discussion started in chapter 8, regarding the eating of food that has been sacrificed to idols. In the first century, dinner parties, or feasts, were the most common way that people would socialize with each other. It was very typical for pagan dinners and feasts to be dedicated to pagan gods and goddesses.
    The Christians often debated whether or not it was right for them to attend these kinds of events. The trouble with attending such events, in their minds, was likened to eating dinner at the table of a pagan deity, which symbolically implied that, the people who dined were under that deity’s protection. In that case, as Christians, they would be disrespecting the power of the protection of GOD the CREATOR, whom they say they are committed to.
    The demonic power that is ascribed to idols cannot ever be condoned by Christians. We cannot eat at the LORD’s table, and, at the table of demons too. The blood of CHRIST symbolizes HIS saving work, in which Christians participate in, through faith. A Christian cannot participate in both, the idolatry of a pagan feast, and the community of CHRIST.  We cannot drink from the cup of the LORD, and then, turn around and drink from the cup of demon too, lest we rouse the jealousy of the Almighty GOD (Vs.19-22).
    In verses 23-30, Paul gives his summation in this warning against indulging in idolatry in any way, form, or fashion. Here he leaves us with three important points:

·         Do not take part in social events that are dedicated to demons, or, pagan gods and goddesses (i.e. in today’s society, rock concerts, secular parties and get-togethers with motifs that are specifically not of GOD, etc.)
·         Feel free to eat meat that is sold in the marketplace.
·         Feel free to eat at an unsaved person’s home, and don’t ask where he got the meat, unless he makes it an issue. (see explanation below)

Even though GOD blessed us with wills that are free, everything we choose to do may not be good, or beneficial to us, or someone else. As Christians, we also have the responsibility to consider what is good for other Christians as well (Vs.23-24).
    Paul says, we are free to eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace, and since idol gods are not real gods, we don’t need to ask whether or not it has been sacrificed to idols, and our conscience should be clear. The whole earth belongs to the LORD, and also everything that is in it (Vs.25-26).
    If a non-Christian invites you to dinner, then, accept the invitation, because with that invitation, comes an opportunity to witness of CHRIST JESUS, and the Gospel. However, if someone warns you that meat is being served, that has been offered to idols, don’t eat it, just out of having consideration for the person who warned you. While it may not be a matter of conscience for you, it is a concern for the other person who warned you, that may also be a believer, and it is important that you do not “stumble” (“skandalon”) them.  Then too, the “unsaved person” may also be testing you to see how committed you are to CHRIST (Vs.27-29).
    Whether we like it or not, as Christians, our freedom has to be “respectfully limited” by our concern for others, just as CHRIST JESUS’ freedom was limited because of HIS concern for us. We must always consider what is best for others so that they too may be “saved” because of our sacrifice of “giving up certain liberties”. We can overcome any tempting offer from satan, simply by being “unselfishly” obedient to GOD.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander