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Celebrate Amazing Grace! Lesson Application Ideas on "Probation after Death"

Gary Duke, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, October 18th, 2004

Celebrate Amazing Grace!
Lesson Application Ideas on "Probation After Death"  for  Oct. 18-24, 2004
Gary Duke, C.S., Saint Louis, Missouri

 

Golden Text:  Grace, Saved, Gift. 
"...by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Eph. 2:8)

Grace is expressed as "patience, meekness, love and good deeds." (S&H 8)  By these qualities we are saved ~ from what?  Sin, sickness and death.  How are these qualities brought forth?  Through faith, and more consistently, through spiritual understanding.  As we see others express grace we can appreciate it and claim the same for ourselves, because grace is not a personal attribute, but available to everyone ~ God's gift!

Responsive Reading:  Praise God. 
King David praised God even when "The sorrows of hell compassed me about:"  What about us?  Do we praise God only when times are good, which is easy to do?  During challenges is our attention so riveted on the problem at hand that we leave God out of the solution because ... this school assignment, bill payment, fight with our loved one, sickness, or time crunch is just too much for God to handle!  We have a choice.  We can wander in the desert of human will for "a thousand" days.  Or we can spend "a day in thy courts" gracefully praising God in joyful anticipation of seeing our deliverance work out step-by-step.

Section 1:  Eternal Life.
"...seek ye the kingdom of God;" (B3)  Researched Bible Guide states, "...disciples are to seek God's Kingdom.  Then things will become a plus in their life, not the main interest.  The non-believer seeks things, and that is all he has.  The believer begins with God's reign, and the rest is extra.  Hence, when the disciples' things are taken away, only the plus is lost, whereas the non-believer ends with nothing."

As we effectively seek the kingdom of God, it becomes a reality right here and now giving us dominion over any challenge.  "Life is eternal.  We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof." (S&H 4)

Section 2:  Progress. 
Can we escape the problems of life by death?  Not according to the Bible and Science and Health.  "...where the tree falleth, there it shall be." (B6)  "As man falleth asleep, so shall he awake.  As death findeth the mortal man, so shall he be after death, until probation and growth shall effect the needed change." (S&H 7)  It makes sense.  We learn in school and then get tested twice ~ first on a written/oral test and again in the test of life.  "Progress is born of experience." (S&H 6)  So we might as well embrace right now the task of "unwinding one's snarls, and learning from experience how to divide between sense and Soul." (S&H 9)

Section 3:  Warfare with the Flesh.
Sunday School Student (remarking with a mischievous smile):  "If matter, error and death are illusions, and God loves me unconditionally, I can do anything I want and still be ok."

Substitute Teacher (responding with an equally mischievous smile):  "Sure, you'll always be ok (pause for effect)... but you won't know it because you're happiness won't be genuine or lasting. In fact, you'll be miserable until you earnestly begin "warfare with the flesh, in which we must conquer sin, sickness, and death, either here or hereafter, --- certainly before we can reach the goal of Spirit, or life in God." (S&H 11)  And the Bible says, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (B11)  Wouldn't you agree, we become servants of what we serve, so we might as well become servants of all that is good and true, not servants of illusion! 

Section 4:  Mercy.
In the Bible story of the woman of Samaria at the well (B15), let's look at all the merciful acts performed by Jesus:
1)  Talking with Samaritans:  the Samaritans were considered half-caste Jews because they married foreigners and became idolaters whose worship wasn't pure.  In addition, they tried to disrupt the rebuilding of Jerusalem when the Jews returned from captivity in Babylonia.  Detractors of Jesus often called him a Samaritan.
2)  Talking with a Woman in Public:  the disciples had gone into the city to buy meat and Jesus was alone, talking with a woman in public, which was considered improper.
3)  Offers Her Living Water:  she interprets living water to be a stream vs. the stagnant water in a well, but Jesus was offering her a continual stream of abundant life now and eternally, given by grace.
4)  Non-Judgmental:  Jesus perceived her unfaithfulness with five husbands and that she currently was not married to the person with whom she was living, but he does not condemn her.
5)  Reveals Himself as the Messiah, Christ (verse 26, not in the Lesson):  the Samaritans perceived the Messiah to be a religious figure and not a political figure as did the Jews; in Samaria he could reveal his title as the Messiah/Christ without creating unrest.
6)  Healing:  Jesus' pure view of her healed the woman and she was willing to proclaim him as the Christ to others in the town.

(B16) sums up the Samaritan story beautifully, "God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).

Correlative passages from Science and Health state:
(S&H 14)  perfection is the basis of demonstration;
(S&H 15)  eternal life is livable starting now!
(S&H 16)  yielding to Principle relinquishes error;
(S&H 17)  error wanes in the illumination of grace;
(S&H 18)  right work and prayer reveal the way!

Section 5:  Resurrect Now!
Even though Jesus raised two people from the dead, the daughter of Jairus and the son of the widow of Nain, Martha thinks Jesus was too late to help her brother Lazarus, "...Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." (B17)  After three days, by Jewish belief, all hope of resuscitation would be abandoned and in that climate, decay would have begun on the fourth day, which is when Jesus arrived.  Isn't that just how mortal mind works?  Too little; too late; maybe good in the future ~ the Pharisees and many others including Martha believed in resurrection in the Day of Judgment, the last day.  What was Jesus' response?  "...I am the resurrection and the life:  he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."  And he called Lazarus forth from the tomb, alive.  Why wait!  Experience life and good right now and do battle with the dead-end beliefs of an interminable term paper, termination at work or a terminal illness.  Realize the only proper "term" is eternity.  "The great spiritual fact must be brought out that man is, not shall be, perfect and immortal." (S&H 22)

Section 6:  Grace-full.
The raising of Lazarus was the warm-up to Jesus' resurrection and ascension.  Miracles?  No; grace.  "The miracle of grace is no miracle to Love." (S&H 23)  As Love's very expression, we include grace which overcomes sin, sickness and death as we display patience, meekness, love and good deeds. (S&H 8) 

Grace overcomes sin, sickness and death. (B20; S&H 23, 24, 26)
Grace frees us from mortal law. (B21; S&H 25)
Grace is given as a gift of Christ. (B22)
Grace expresses perfection. (B22, S&H 27)

"Give us this day our daily bread;
Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections;"  (S&H p.17)  

Section Summary Benediction: 
By grace, the gift of God which we include as Love's expression, we are saved from sin, sickness and death.  Our job is to praise God, by which eternal life is revealed on a daily basis, nurturing our progress in warfare with the flesh.  Mercy is fully realized in the destruction of sin, enabling us to experience continual resurrection in leading a grace-full life.

Resources: 
Researched Bible Guide, 561-776-5711 or e-mail
DayBreakPlease@cs.com


The
Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress 800-366- 7788, website 
www.MessageBible.com

The One Volume Bible Commentary
, by J.R. Dummelow

What's So Amazing About Grace, by Philip Yancey

(Camp Director's Note: As the latest in a long series of CedarS weekly lesson "mets" (metaphysical application ideas) contributed by many CedarS practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians, this document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons. Sent originally just to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue their inspiration from camp, CedarS lesson "mets" are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive. The thoughts presented are offered to give a bit of dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone providing unique insights and applications.  We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey.)

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