Friday, June 20, 2014


For the week beginning Sunday June 22, 2014

(Let mercy triumph over judgment)
(James 2:1-13)

To show partiality to the rich discriminates against the poor, and, is evil (James 2:1-9). Yet publicly, it is, more often than not, the poor, whom we see swooning over, and showing their envy and worship for, the rich and famous. Here in James 2, the brother of JESUS tells us that it is the rich who oftentimes slander the name of, or show little or no reverence for, CHRIST JESUS (James 2:5-7).
GOD has chosen the “poor in spirit” to be “rich in faith”, not the “financially poor”. In other words, those who realize their need for JESUS, no matter how rich or poor they are in “the material sense”, will be given the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3). To be poor in spirit is “to humble one’s self before GOD”, and show a need for HIM, no matter how little, or how much wealth one may have accumulated in this life.
In James chapter 2, verses 1-13, the brother of JESUS issues a warning against, discrimination, prejudice, and even favoritism based on what a person may own. There is no special merit in being poor however, except that it is a proven fact that the poor are more likely to choose GOD, because of their more intense focus on their day to day needs. The wealthy tend to grow a dependence on their riches which covers their day to day needs and leaves them more time to focus on their wants. More often than not, riches can corrupt character in a person, which drives them to exploit the poor and despise the spiritual (James 2:6-7).
Warren W. Wiersbe once wrote, “The way we behave toward people indicates what we really believe about GOD”. Whether we realize it or not, we cannot separate “human relationships” from “divine fellowship”. If we say we love GOD and hate any human being, we are lying to ourselves about our love for GOD. If we can’t love our fellowman, whom we see every day, we can’t possibly love a GOD, WHOM we cannot see.
GOD’s law, which was presented to us by HIS servant Moses, is “a multi-faceted expression of HIS will”. Violating any aspect of GOD’s law makes us sinners. We have all violated GOD’s law at one time, or, the other, and, we all continue to do so, some perhaps on a daily basis. Violation of GOD’s law renders a person “a lawbreaker” no matter how petty we feel our violation may be. Even something as simple as “favoritism” is not considered “minor” in GOD’s sight. GOD considers it serious because it violates HIS command for us to “love one another the way HE HIMSELF loves us”, which is “unconditionally”.
GOD does not have a “favorite sin”, nor, does HE feel that one sin is lesser or greater than the other. If you blow up a balloon, and write on that balloon with a pen, every sin that you can think of, and then, stick a pen on any of those sins that you have written on the balloon, the whole balloon will burst. That is a picture of how GOD feels about sin. If a person commits any sin at all, he or she violates “the whole law of GOD” (Vs.10-11).
The same GOD WHO says, “Do not commit adultery”, or “Do not engage in homosexual behavior” also says, “Do not murder”, and “Do not steal”. If a person does either one, he or she has violated the whole law of GOD, and GOD is not pleased by their actions, one, any less, or any more, than the other. 
We, as Christians, rich or poor, must all learn to walk in faith and put more emphasis on the “eternal things” that await us, than we do on the “temporal things” that we feel will make us happy now. We know that if our “earthly house”, that was built by the hands of man is lost, we still have an eternal house, that is built by the hands of GOD in Heaven, that can never, ever, be lost.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, June 13, 2014


For the week beginning Sunday June 15, 2014

(Living out the truth of GOD’s Word)
(James 1)

The epistle of James was written to the Jewish Christian Diaspora, for the purpose of providing them with practical instructions to live by concerning “the Christian way”. It contains many short, proverbial sayings, and reflects in a remarkable way, JESUS’ teachings from HIS famous “Sermon on the Mount”.
Here, James, the brother of JESUS, addresses the issues of;

·         Pride,
·         Greed,
·         Discrimination,
·         Lust,
·         Hypocrisy,
·         Mean-spiritedness, and
·         Conformity to the world ways of behaving.

He also stresses the need for Christians to “not just hear the word of GOD”, but also “to actually practice doing and living the word of GOD on a daily basis”.
James believed that “professed Christians” should be able to “show the world “an outer expression” of “the inner transformation” of their heart”. The world needs to see how the gospel of CHRIST really does change the lives of those who choose to follow JESUS, and continue to walk in the newness of HIS light. Christians are to adhere to the ways of an unchanging GOD, and to stand with confidence in GOD continuously. We need to show the world through our behavior, on a daily basis, that Christianity really does produce the best men and women.
In this doctrinal letter, chapter 1, verses 13-18, James offers us his analysis of, and solution to, “temptation”. He tells us that the gravitational pull towards evils such as anger, striking out against one another, or surrender to physical and emotional passions that we feel, does not come from GOD. GOD cannot be tempted to do wrong, nor, does HE tempt anyone to do wrong. Temptations come from one source, satan, who manipulates our own “sin nature”, or, “evil desires”, and leads us to evil actions, which leads us to death, or temporary or permanent separation from GOD.
GOD, through HIS infinite wisdom, has put in place, two “temptation barriers” that help keep us on the straight and narrow, HIS judgment, and, HIS goodness. These two actions represent GOD’s way of balancing our fear with HIS love. GOD motivates us to obedience either by fear of HIS judgment (like David), or, by our respect for HIS goodness (like Joseph).
Only that which is good and perfect comes from GOD, and we should never be led to think otherwise. When we doubt GOD’s goodness, we automatically become attracted to satan’s offers. The GOD WHO created all things does not change or cast shifting shadows, as some of HIS creation (man) tends to do. Through HIS goodness, HE chose to make us HIS children, by giving us “HIS nature” and “HIS Word of Truth”.
We, out of all creation are GOD’s prize possession, and we are expected, by GOD, because we share HIS nature and HIS Truth, to live out our lives in the truth of HIS SPIRIT and HIS Word. And so, ultimately, the key to responding to trials and resisting temptation can only be found in a person’s use of GOD’s nature, and reaction to GOD’s Word (Vs.17-18). And always remember;

·         GOD gives only good gifts
·         The way GOD gives is good
·         GOD gives continually
·         GOD does not change

In verses 19-27, James borrows a thought from JESUS’ “Sermon on the Mount”. It is the same strong, positive, divine advice, that, JESUS HIMSELF imparted to us that day, as HE ended HIS most famous sermon, on the slopes of the Mount of Beatitudes. It was a demand from our LORD and SAVIOR that we first “hear”, and then “do”, exactly what GOD created us to do (Matthew 7:24-29).
We can begin to build our foundations on the “Most High Faith” (Christianity) by;

·         Being quick to listen to the word of GOD,
·         Thinking before we speak, and
·         Being slow to anger

Our anger can never make things right in GOD’s sight. We, as GOD’s greatest creation, need to face ourselves spiritually, and then, strive to improve our spiritual appearance under GOD. We also need to get rid of the filth and evil in our lives, and humbly accept the message that GOD is seeking to implant in our hearts. This will, in turn, save our souls from eternal destruction.
Finally, there is only one word that sums up the process of “hearing and doing”, in both the English, and, the original biblical Greek. In the biblical Greek, that word is “hupakoe” (hoop-ak-o-ay), and it means, “to listen attentively”, and, “to heed or conform to command or authority”. And in the English language, that word is “obedience”.
It is JESUS’ claim that obedience to HIM is the only true foundation. “I AM the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE”, is what HE said to a “doubting Thomas” in John 14:6. And in the final analysis, the one thing that, we as humans all seek, is a better life. For we never seek knowledge just for knowledge sake, but rather, for how that knowledge can be used to make our lives more worth living. Primarily, the professed Christian has to come to understand that the only way to that “better life” has always been, and, will forever be, through CHRIST JESUS, WHO is the LIVING WORD of GOD. If we keep looking steadily into GOD’s WORD, the truth of HIS WORD will ultimately set us free. And, if we “do” what it says, and don’t forget what we heard, GOD will bless us for doing so, eternally.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Sunday, June 1, 2014


For the week beginning Sunday June 1, 2014

(Returning to faithful Christian discipleship)
John 21

In the epilogue to this gospel account of the Apostle John, he seeks to show us how JESUS re-instated Peter, following his latest bout with failure, namely, his blatant denial of even knowing our LORD and SAVIOR, during HIS “passion” hours in Jerusalem. JESUS had already promised to meet with HIS disciples in Galilee (Matthew 28:7), and so, here we are in a scene at the Sea of Galilee, otherwise known as the Sea of Tiberias.
Here in John 21, we find that Peter had led many of the disciples back into the trade from which JESUS had called them some three years earlier. However, their lack of success in their old profession stands as evidence as to why we should not try and return to a place where the LORD has already removed us from so that HE can better use us for HIS purpose. JESUS tells us too, that, apart from HIM, we can do nothing anyway.
When JESUS calls us, not only does that often call for a change of occupation, it also always calls for us to change our ways, and our thinking completely, and, we will no longer feel any real satisfaction in the old lifestyle. Peter must have, no doubt, been feeling pretty low about his denial of CHRIST JESUS, and was desperately seeking to find acceptance back in his old fishing career. We should never allow our sin to drive us away from the LORD, but rather, one should let their sins stand as proof that we cannot live life correctly apart from the LORD.
After Peter and the other disciples had been out all night fishing without catching a single fish, JESUS instructs them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat (v.6), where they would catch many fish. The disciples were obedient and did as the LORD said, and as a result, they were overwhelmed with success.
This incident prompted the men to recognize that the LORD was still with them. HE had given them a commission to obey and their old style of fishing was not going to work for them anymore. They were to now lay down their old nets, that were used to catch fish for physical food, and pick up their new “spiritual nets”, and become fishers of men.
JESUS had shown them during HIS three-year ministry, how to fish from the “right side” of the boat, and now, it was time for them to implement those teachings, and the whole world would serve as their new fishing waters, where their harvest would be exceedingly great.

John 21:9-18

In John 18:27, Peter denied JESUS for the third and final time. It was H.G. Welles who said, “A man can be a bad musician, and yet, be passionately in love with music”. And so, for whatever Peter did, and no matter how terrible his failure was, there was never truly any doubt that he was passionately devoted to JESUS. He may have been overconfident at times, as he was when he told JESUS that he would never deny HIM. However, sometimes when a man says, “That’s the one thing I will never do”, then, that’s the very thing that he needs to carefully guard against doing.
Satan often attacks a person at a point where they are most sure of themselves, because he knows that it is there, where they are most likely to be unprepared. The shame of failure and disloyalty is not altogether a lost, because it often gives us a feeling of sympathy and understanding, that, otherwise, we may have never had.
“Do you love ME?” is what JESUS asked Peter, three times, here in John 21, and I guess, the only way that we can prove our love for JESUS is by loving others. Love is the greatest privilege in the world, yet, it brings with it, the greatest responsibility. For Peter, it brought, a cross, and he did die for the LORD, because he too eventually died on a cross, and as Jewish tradition has it, he requested to be nailed upside down, because he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as CHRIST.
Love always involves responsibility, and it always involves a sacrifice. We don’t really love JESUS, unless we are willing to take on HIS task, and, to take up our own cross. We may never be able to write, or think, like the Apostle John, and in fact, we may never even be able to travel to the ends of the earth and preach like Paul. But here’s where we can all follow in the footsteps of Peter. If we love JESUS, each of us can help someone else guard against going astray. And if we love JESUS, each of us can love one another. And finally, if we love JESUS, each of us has an open opportunity to feed JESUS’ sheep, with the loving and nourishing food, of the “Word of GOD”.

John 21:19-25

Obedience to JESUS’ command to “Follow ME” is the key issue in every Christian life. We must follow the LORD’s path wherever it leads us personally, whether it leads to a cross, or, to some other difficult undertaking in life. The important thing is that we concentrate on following where JESUS leads us as individuals. And at the same time, we must be careful that we don’t interfere with where GOD is leading other Christians in the Church.
Remember, the church is not a hierarchy like the one that was established by the Sanhedrin in New Testament biblical times. It is not a place where the overseers can tell others what GOD’s plan is for them. The church is an organism of living believers who are directly connected to JESUS CHRIST, the LIVING HEAD of the Church, and each member is responsible to love and follow HIM in the form of a personal experiential relationship.
After being informed by JESUS how he would personally glorify GOD in death, Peter immediately became curious as to what fate the apostle John would encounter. Here we see JESUS sharply rebukes HIS newly reinstated lead disciple, as HE, in effect, tells him to only be concerned with his own personal calling, and to not concern himself with the calling of others.
GOD has a personal plan for each of us, and the only way we can successfully do GOD’s will, is by staying focused on our own calling or task. In order to fulfill the role of a disciple, we must be willing to take up our own cross and follow JESUS where HE leads us, personally. We can’t afford to become distracted by someone else’s ministry, or become envious of what GOD is doing in someone else’s life, just because it may seem to be more glamorous than our own task.
GOD chooses us for ministries that HE has already equipped us to do, personally, and HE expects us to be obedient in carrying out that mission, HIS way, not ours. HIS plans for us will always vary, and HIS reasons are seldom revealed to anyone.
The apostle John witnessed all of the events written about in his book, and he wrote all of these things under the influence and power of the HOLY SPIRIT. His book ends showing us a picture of himself and Peter following our LORD and SAVIOR into the unknown. They were walking out and following JESUS on faith, right into the pages of the Book of Acts. They now had their own personal special assignments, and they were ready to carry them out together, yet in different ways, to each, his own.
And this now obscure, little sect of followers called “Adherents of the Way” was about to explode into the first century and quickly become the most important offering the world has ever known. They would become known, the world over, as “Christians”, and their organization would carry, as its greatest perk, “the gift of Salvation”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander