Friday, August 22, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 24, 2014

Over 64,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

ADDRESSING TENSIONS
(Working out our differences with open hearts and GOD’s grace)
(2 Corinthians 6:1-13)
Second Corinthians 6, verses 1 and 2, should actually be read with chapter 5. Here Paul finishes his thoughts on “reconciliation”, and, on how Christians must view themselves as being “GOD’s Ambassadors” to the world. It is by GOD’s grace that “true believers” are transformed into “new creatures” and again given the potential to live a truly righteous existence.
It is in this day that every human being can experience salvation because of what CHRIST JESUS did sacrificially, culminating on the cross, if they choose to. Through CHRIST JESUS, GOD allows us to partake in an “imputed righteousness” that we could not have possibly achieved on our own. It is an utter tragedy whenever one of GOD’s greatest creation (mankind), allows his or her hard-heartedness, to reduce the meaning of GOD’s grace in their lives, to being of “non-effect”, or, as having no transforming value at all.
Taking up at verse 3, Paul shifts his thoughts back (2 Corinthians 4:8-12) so that he might elaborate further on some of the many hardships that serious Christians must suffer, if they are to earnestly follow in the path, or footsteps of CHRIST JESUS, our LORD. Here Paul says that we must live in such a way that no one can be hindered from finding the LORD, due to the fact that we may have publicly, or privately, exhibited ungodly behavior to the world we’re seeking to convert (Vs.3-4).
As Christians, we take on a given responsibility to prove to the world that Christianity really does produce the best men and women. And oftentimes that must be done while under duress from the very same worldly people that we are trying to convert. Here in verses 4b-5 Paul shares with us some of the ways he, himself had suffered for the sake of ministering the Gospel to the world.
Paul says that he, and those who traveled with him, had been beaten, been put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. In short, perhaps Paul is cautioning us that, a Christian’s faith has to be proven and confirmed by the way they react to, and endure through their sufferings and persecutions, just as JESUS proved the genuineness of HIS faith under HIS FATHER GOD, during HIS earthly assignment.
In verse 6 Paul mentions six ways by which a Christian can prove himself, or herself of great value under GOD, and at the same time, relieve any tensions that may exist in the community of GOD. Here Paul says that we can achieve this by our;

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

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

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



  

  

Friday, August 15, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 17, 2014

Over 63,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

DOWN BUT NOT OUT
(GOD’s salvation shines through the body of CHRIST)
(2 Corinthians 4)

There is dynamic, life-saving power infused in the Gospel of GOD. Therefore, we must not hesitate to speak out, even though we may not be as skilled, or as knowledgeable, as others may be. We have to always keep in mind that it is the message, not the messenger that saves. And since GOD, in HIS mercy, has given us this wonderful news and ministry, we must take courage in our delivery and never, ever give up, or be dissuaded.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul shows us how firmly his attention is focused on the eternal truths of the Gospel, which are more easily experienced spiritually, than seen physically. The Christian must not lose heart by focusing on the temporary physical setbacks, and momentary troubles, that tend to pockmark our lives here on this earth. If we are in any sense, to become followers of CHRIST, and over-comers of this world, we must come to learn what it means to “live in the SPIRIT”.
As believers, “the perishable containers” that are our bodies, are but mere vessels that GOD uses to show HIMSELF through, in the world. Satan has already blinded the minds of those who do not believe, and so they are unable to offer themselves up to GOD, or, see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining through CHRIST, even on them. They simply can’t understand the message we preach about the glory of CHRIST, WHO, is the exact “spiritual image” of GOD HIMSELF (Vs.3-4).
True believers don’t go around preaching about themselves, but rather, they preach about CHRIST. All we can say about ourselves is that we want to serve others because of what JESUS has done for us. When GOD said “let there be light in the darkness” we understand that that light is the brightness of GOD seen in the face of JESUS CHRIST, our LORD and SAVIOR (Vs.5-6).
In verses 8-12 Paul says;

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.  So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.(NLT)

To live the life of one who is ministering the Gospel in the world is not an easy undertaking, because the Word of GOD suggests in itself, that, the majority of the world’s populace will be blind to the message that it brings through HIS anointed. And it will remain that way until the time of JESUS’ “Second Advent”, when HE comes to establish HIS Millennial Kingdom here on earth (make the world a better place). And so, just as JESUS suffered during HIS “First Advent”, so too, those who follow HIM, must also suffer in completing the work of HIS Church, until HE returns to comfort our pain, and reward us with eternal life in Heaven.
The hardships of the Christian life are very real. And although it may be glorious and transforming to those who are willing to commit to it, it is not a life that is free of suffering. Physically, sometimes our burdens may seem hard to bear, and spiritually, it can be just as overwhelming if we allow our emotions, that come with dealing with people, to throw our focus off of CHRIST JESUS, our leader and pioneer.
Here in this chapter, Paul focuses on the issues of hardship in ministry to try and encourage those who may be presently experiencing some of those hardships, as they try and minister to others. Here Paul seeks to direct us and point out just how he himself has overcome those obstacles by maintaining a strong faith in GOD. He understood very clearly, that the same GOD, WHO raised CHRIST from the dead, was totally able to do the same for him and others, who strive to walk as CHRIST did, by faith. And GOD’s grace will continue to bring more and more people to CHRIST, and HE will continue to receive more and more glory because of it (Vs.13-15).
Suffering for the sake of CHRIST in this world, brings immeasurable benefits in the world to come, and that is why we should never give up. Even though our bodies may be dying, our spirits are being renewed every single day. Our earthly troubles become quite small when we realize that, we are, through our suffering, producing immeasurably great glory that will last forever, for us, and, for those that we help bring to CHRIST (Vs.16-17).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website




Friday, August 8, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 10, 2014

Over 63,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

RESTORED RELATIONSHIPS
(Forgiveness heals and restores)
(2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11)

After the Apostle Paul changed his plans for a re-visit to Corinth during his third missionary journey in A.D. 57, his opponents in the church took advantage of the opportunity to charge Paul as being untrustworthy. They also contended that Paul was just another tyrant who cared nothing for the people he sought to rule over. It was a charge that deeply hurt Paul, because he knew in his own heart, his commitment to the work GOD had called him to do.
In reality, Paul changed his plans, because he had let his “emotions” get away from him, and a visit to Corinth at that time, would have been too painful to both he and the people at the Church at Corinth. Whenever we let our emotions get the better of us, or control us, that is the time when we leave ourselves most vulnerable to satan.
Second Corinthians, chapters 1:12-7:16 is an emotional defense, by the Apostle Paul, of his sincere commitment to his Christian ministry in general, and, to the Church at Corinth in particular. Paul met the questions concerning his commitment head on, and he affirmed with confidence that his moral conscience and his intensified knowledge of GOD’s Word were without censure, and were exemplified in his own day to day conduct, both publicly and privately.
As a leader and a person who closely followed CHRIST, Paul always strove to be simple, sincere, and straight-forward, and he was the same way in his letters. In 2 Corinthians 1, taking up at verse 23, Paul, very honestly and straight-forwardly tells the Church at Corinth, that, the reason he didn’t return to Corinth was because he wanted to spare them from the severe emotional rebuke that he was prepared to give them.
It was not so much, Paul’s desire to try and tell the Corinthians exactly how to put their faith into practice, but rather, he wanted to work together with them so that their joy would be full as they strived to stand firmly behind the teachings of CHRIST JESUS, while living out their lives, in this world. And so Paul decided that it would be best not to dishearten the people of Corinth with yet another emotionally painful visit because, to cause them emotional pain, would not only discourage them, but it would also sadden him deeply on a personal level. He did not wish to be made sad by his brothers and sisters in CHRIST, who were suppose to give him the most joy (2 Corinthians 2:1-4).
In verses 5-11, perhaps Paul is writing about the man whom he had urged the Church at Corinth to excommunicate from fellowship a year earlier (1 Corinthians 5:1-7). The man had been involved in an ongoing adulterous relationship with his father’s wife, living in sin with her (shacking up). Paul had strongly rebuked the Church, who were very much aware of the couple’s sexual immorality, but had taken no action to address this unacceptable behavior.
After Paul’s strong and decisive rebuke, the Corinthians followed Paul’s advice and instructions, and removed the man from church fellowship (apparently the woman was not a member of the Christian congregation at that time). However, now Paul was strongly urging the church to show “compassion” and welcome the man back into fellowship, as he felt that he had been punished enough for his indiscretions.
Apparently the man had been in deep repent and suffering in the time since his dis-fellowship from the church, and now, Paul felt it was time to forgive, comfort him, and show him love, so that he would not become so discouraged that he would not be able to recover emotionally.
Furthermore, Paul knew how satan would seek to take advantage of this situation (incorrect emotional response to GOD - see Nehemiah 8:9-12) and use it to do even greater harm to the man, and to the church. Being thoroughly familiar with the evil tactics of satan, Paul used the only effective weapon he had, which was the ways and wisdom of CHRIST.
Through his wisdom (authority) from CHRIST on high, Paul was forever mindful of  our human need for “repent” and “forgiveness”, and, it was time to apply this wisdom, (forgiveness and encouragement) to the situation, now at hand, in the Church at Corinth. Forgiveness completes the healing process, and restores our relationships with our fellow man, conceptionally, in the same way that all mankind receives forgiveness through JESUS CHRIST, our SAVIOR.
JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice provides us with a vehicle to spiritual recovery and healing, so that we can be forgiven by GOD the FATHER, whenever, and if ever, we decide to repent. GOD then restores us back into “a personal relationship of friendship” with HIM, and HE also lends us the help and guidance of the HOLY SPIRIT, to assist us as we move forward in the ways of CHRIST, for the remainder of our lives, here on earth.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



      


    


Friday, August 1, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 3, 2014

Over 63,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

DOES ANYONE CARE?
(Comfort one another as we are comforted by GOD)
(2 Corinthians 1:3-11)

In A.D. 57, while visiting in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, which was put together to raise money for the financially ailing central Church at Jerusalem, the Apostle Paul sat down and penned a second letter to the Church at Corinth.
Paul’s earlier letter to the Church had not quite settled all of the issues and problems that the Church had been faced with during the difficult days of its infancy. Then too, for reasons not all explained in this letter, the Corinthian Church had apparently developed deep suspicions about Paul, regarding the true legitimacy of his proclaimed authority in CHRIST as a chosen apostle. And so, it was with much grief and anguish that Paul wrote this second letter, which he also intended to use to try and re-establish his authority as one chosen to lead others to CHRIST, and to also, lead them in the faith, as Christians.
In this doctrinal letter, Paul also covers some of the more practical matters, such as supporting believers in other parts of the world who may have fallen on hard times, and then, reviving them to a state of being viable, fruit-producing branches in the newly formed Christian network.
The motif of this letter is “triumph over adversity”, as Paul can clearly be viewed as one who loves his people, but, at one and the same time, we can also see him as being one who is hurt by the Corinthian’s unwarranted suspicions of him. As Paul makes a list of his life experiences, and the intricacies, or nature of Christian service, we can see GOD assisting him in his efforts, bringing good from the opposition of satan, that was intended for evil.
GOD is the source of all mercy and comfort. When HE lifted up CHRIST JESUS to complete HIS suffering on the cross, HE also lifted mankind up from the permanency of the grave. GOD comforts us in all of our troubles, so that when we receive the opportunity, we can take great joy in comforting someone else. The more we suffer for CHRIST, the more GOD showers us with HIS comfort through CHRIST (v.5). And so, when we as Christians are weighed down with troubles for the sake of CHRIST, it can be seen as being to the benefit and salvation of those who would otherwise be lost (v.6). When GOD comforts us, it is always so that we can, in turn, be of encouragement to someone else.  
In the biblical Greek, the word used for “comfort” is “parakaleo” (par-ak-al-eh-o), and it means “to call near for the purpose of consoling, or encouraging”. It is a word that the Apostle Paul uses 8 times here in 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verses 3-7. The point that he is trying to make in this passage is that, our own suffering enables us to identify with the sufferings of others, and vice versa. We can also sense the comfort of GOD, and at one and the same time, find our own comfort in HIM. Whenever our weaknesses are exposed, the strength of GOD is revealed.
In verses 8-11, Paul makes reference to his second missionary journey (Acts 16-18) when he reflects back;

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.  And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.  And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety” (NLT).

It’s always easy for any of us to point to our own strengths as a way to defend ourselves against negative attacks and criticism. But here, we see Paul freely and openly sharing his “weaknesses”, as he often did. To be in pressure situations that take us beyond our ability to endure, or extricate ourselves, is when we realize most earnestly that we need GOD in our lives to sustain us.
Paul already knew full well that he could not force people to respond positively to his authority in CHRIST (you can’t make grown folks do nothing), and he has to be patient and wait on the power of GOD to change hearts. We as Christian are all involved in a ministry that ultimately leads to changes in the hearts of men. However, those changes don’t occur through anything that we do in our own personal strengths. GOD gives us assignments that only HE can complete, as we are just vessels that HE uses to carry HIS message to someone else.
We must be able to know, through spiritual discernment and communication with GOD, just how far HE wants us to go, before we pause to let HIM finish the transforming work that will ultimately save a person’s soul from condemnation in the last days. It is not the duty of a Christian to show others how important they are, but rather, it is the duty of a Christian to show the world, through their behavior, that Christianity produces the best men and women, and, to ultimately expose to the world, the importance of GOD, to the lives that HE created, here on earth.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander  





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website



Friday, July 25, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 27, 2014

Over 63,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

BUILD UP YOUR NEIGHBOR
(Use your gifts from GOD to build up the Church)
(1 Corinthians 14:1-25)

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”.
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), 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.
What Paul is saying in verse two of this chapter (1 Corinthians 14), is that, if a person were sitting in a Church assembly in France, for instance, and everyone in the assembly, except that person, could only speak in the French tongue, 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 (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 (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. 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 communicate, for the benefit of the many foreigners who were in Jerusalem at that time, and, who spoke in many different languages. GOD wanted everyone, regardless of native tongue, to participate in, and understand the significance of this “distinctive act” when HE first allowed HIS HOLY SPIRIT to embody all those who choose to believe in CHRIST JESUS.
Paul says that unbelievers view “strange tongues” as being some sort of a sign, while believers are not of that opinion (v.22). However, in order for unbelievers to become convicted of their sins, they must first 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. However, it can’t do that unless it is first understood by those who hear and see it. But among those who see, hear, and understand, their secret thoughts are laid bare, and they can then, fall to their knees and worship GOD with their whole heart, as they should.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website




      

Friday, July 18, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 20, 2014

Over 62,000 readers worldwide
larrydalexander.blogspot.com

OVERCOMING TEMPTATION
(Warnings against idolatry)
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 rescued them.
He reminded the people of Corinth how Israel failed to remember how GOD had guided them with the miraculous “pillar of cloud” by day and “pillar of fire” by night. They were also prompted 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, when they tried to follow them across (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, on another occasion, 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 further tells the Corinthian Church that they also 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 admonishments, or “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.
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 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” 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





                                 
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website