April 22, 2015

bible study imageSubject: Progress

Golden text: Psalm 147: 7-8*

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills

Matthew 14: 22-36

22 Immediately [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[b] from the land,[c] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

From 21st Century Science and Health*

Spiritual cause is the one question to be considered, for more than all others spiritual causation relates to human progress. The collective mass consciousness is approaching this subject and pondering somewhat the supremacy of Spirit.

Our moral and spiritual progress will be monotonously slow if we constantly bounce back and forth between futile habits and the hope of forgiveness. Selfishness and stupidity cause constant retrogression. We must wake up to Christ’s demand, however, the waking generally causes suffering. We feel like we are drowning. We struggle to stay above the water. And, through Christ’s precious love our efforts are rewarded with success.

Evidence of progress and of spiritualization can definitely be seen in the world. People are realizing the power of mind. We are learning to question drug systems and surgical procedures. Less obtrusive drugs, alternative health care treatments, responsible eating, consistent exercise, and homeopathy are being pursued. The substance of medicine is being transferred from matter to mind.

Opponents should consider that the mortal human being is not the reality of God’s child, and this consideration will allow the mind to receive new ideas that lead to progress and well-being. We can expect to receive more epiphanies, if you will, as a result of Christ in action. The Christ-spirit comes now as of old, preaching the good news to receptive minds, healing the sick, and destroying evils. Can error, human intellect, or any human invention, restore the essential element of spirituality—namely, apostolic, divine healing? No, the Science of Christ is restoring it, and is the light shining in darkness, a darkness that does not overcome the light.

Being is holiness, harmony, immortality. It is already proved that knowledge of this, even in a small degree, will improve the physical and moral standard of human beings, will increase longevity, will purify and elevate character. Progress will finally destroy all error and bring immortality to light. Spiritual progress is truthful. New thoughts are constantly breaking human laws. The two contradictory theories—that human mind is something, or that all is Mind—will fight each other until one is acknowledged to be the victor. Calling the people to arms, Winston Churchill said: ”Our task is not only to win the battle—but to win the war.”[1] Science says: All is Mind and Mind’s idea. You must fight it out to the end. Matter, human mind, is of no help in this war.

Philippians 1

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Mechanical prayers or knee-jerk rituals are not progressive. Seeking Truth doesn’t include paying someone else to give us a prayer. The advance guard of progress has paid for the privilege of prayer the price of persecution.

As the crude footprints of the past disappear from the dissolving paths of the present, we shall better understand the Science which governs these changes, and stand on firmer ground. Every sensuous pleasure or pain is self-destroyed through suffering. There can be painless progress, attended by life and peace instead of disorder and death.

In the annals of Christianity, there are many sects but not enough spirituality. Centuries ago, religionists were ready to call on an anthropomorphic God and lavishly delegate human-like power with pomp and ceremony. However, this is not the manner of truth’s appearing. The sign of suffering is more like it. The Roman era whip may have been more tangible than today’s modern whip, but they both cut. Cold contempt, stubborn resistance, church opposition, state laws, and the press, still try to stop truth’s full-orbed appearing.

If religious people accept church salaries and build churches, yet turn away the poor and stranger, they are shutting the door on progress.

Abstinence from immoral sexual activity leads to an advanced state of intellectual and cultural development in human society, marked by progress in the arts, science, and religion. Without integrity there is no social stability and the Science of Life can’t be achieved.

Question. How can I make consistent, rapid progress in my understanding of Christian Science?

Answer. Study thoroughly the letter, receive and retain the spirit. Unite with the divine Principle of spiritual Science; practice the intent of Spirit; and remain sincere in wisdom, Truth, and Love. In the Science of Mind, you will eventually figure out that error cannot destroy error. You will also learn in Science, that the transfer of negative suggestions from one human being to another can be proven unreal, for there is but one Mind. This ever-present omnipotent Mind expresses the entire universe and is reflected by us. The first responsibility in divine Science is to adapt to Soul, to have one Mind, and to love another as yourself.

We all must learn that Life is God. Ask yourself: Am I living the life that advances with supreme good? Am I manifesting the healing power of Truth and Love? If so, then the path will be “shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”[2] Your accomplishments will prove what the understanding of God brings to person. Hold perpetually this thought—that it is the spiritual idea, the Holy Spirit and Christ, which enables you to demonstrate with scientific certainty, the rule of healing, based on its divine Principle, Love, underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being.

*The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. ESV® Text Edition: 2011. Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Text from 21st Century Science and Health, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

[1] Churchill, Winston. “Be ye men of valour,” BBC Radio, 1940. Twentieth-Century Speeches, edited by Brian MacArthur. London: Penguin Books, 1992. Reproduced with permission of Curtis Brown Ltd, London on behalf of The Estate of Winston Churchill. Copyright Winston S. Churchill.

[2] Prov. 4:18

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