April 8, 2015

bible study imageSubject: Ascending to discipleship

Golden Text: Ephesians 4:7-8*

Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

From 21st Century Science and Health*

The spiritual growth that allowed Jesus to rise from the dead was increased even more to allow him to ascend. Jesus was “the way;”[1] that is, he marked the way for humankind. The final display, called the ascension, closed the earthly record of Jesus, and this world’s human minds and physical senses could no longer detect Jesus.

His body was no more perfect because of death and no less material until the ascension, when his consciousness was further spiritualized. Thus Jesus discovered the eternal Ego, and proved that he and the Father were inseparable as God and God’s reflection. The Teacher gained the solution of being, demonstrating the existence of but one Mind without a second or equal.

The human temporal concept, or Jesus, disappeared during his ascending transformation, while the spiritual self or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science. Christ-spirit takes away the sins of the world, as always, even before the human Jesus was incarnate to human eyes.

Acts 1:12-26

 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

From 21st Century Science and Health

The Scriptures are sacred. Our aim must be to have them understood spiritually, for only by this understanding can truth be gained. The true theory of the universe, including person, is not in material history but in spiritual development. Mental evolution, or ascension, inspires thought to expand to a higher awareness and relinquish a changeable, superficial, mortal theory of the universe. The spiritual and immortal are then adopted through metaphysical improvement.

In Latin the word disciple signifies student, a learner. The power of healing was not a supernatural gift to those learners, but the result of their cultivated spiritual understanding of the divine Science which their Teacher illustrated by healing the sick and sinning.

As followers of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.

The Mind scientist has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death.

Acts 2:1-21

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants[c] and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

From 21st Century Science and Health & Mary Baker Eddy’s Preface to her Science and Health

After Jesus’ ascension, his students received the Holy Spirit. Meaning, that by all they had witnessed and suffered they were wakened to a clearer understanding of divine Science. The scientific spiritual interpretation and understanding of Jesus’ teachings and demonstrations gave them a faint conception of the Life that is God. This allowed them to stop interpreting people through human knowledge and turn their thoughts instead to divine knowledge. Through the Holy Spirit they gained the true interpretation of their glorified Master and became better healers, leaning no longer on matter or human mind, but on divine Principle. The appearance of light was sudden, likened to the overwhelming power on the Day of Pentecost.

The reappearance of divine Science repeats itself now.

It is divine Science to do right, and nothing short of right-doing has any claim to the name. To talk the right and live the wrong is foolish deceit, doing one’s self the most harm.

The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus’ time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or “God with us,”—a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime,

To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense],

And recovering of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty them that are bruised. (Luke 4:18, KJV)

*The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. ESV® Text Edition: 2011. Text from 21st Century Science and Health, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

[1] John 14:6

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