May 4, 2016

bible study imageSubject: Witnessing to God

Golden text: Isaiah 43:10*

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.

Acts 5: 17-26

 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.

Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council, all the senate of the people of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. 25 And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

From 21st Century Science and Health**

The truth preached by Jesus was more than just talk and robotic behavior. A life of spirituality is requisite. Few understand or adhere to Jesus’ divine precepts for living and healing. Why? We don’t emulate Jesus, because we don’t want to set aside personal agendas, human beliefs, habits, and learned information. In Bible terms, we don’t want to cut off the right hand[1] and gouge out the right eye.[2] It is requisite to leave all for Christ.

Default thinking assumes that all revelation must come from a scholarly or ecclesiastical lineage, like kings crowned from a royal dynasty. Those assumptions disallow inspired understanding and the demonstration of God’s healing power. For this Principle there is no ecclesiastical monopoly, no human lineage of teachers, no successor. The priest is the spiritualized person. Immortal rulings are crowned. In healing the sick and sinning, Jesus actively brought attention to the fact that the healing effect followed the understanding of the divine Principle and of the Christ-spirit which controlled his physical self. As divine Principle is scientifically understood, you can comprehend and experience for yourself the works of Christ, Truth. The Bible declares that all believers “will be called priests of the Lord.”[3]

Acts 5: 27-33

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.

From 21st Century Science and Health

The thought of human material nothingness, enrages the human ego and is the main cause of its resistance to new ideas.

What is termed physical sense can report only a mortal temporary sense of things, whereas spiritual sense can bear witness only to Truth.

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.

As we triumph over erroneous views and allow Soul to hold the control, we shall detest and correct sin under all its disguises. Only in this way can we bless our enemies, though they won’t take it as a blessing. We can’t choose for ourselves, but must work out our salvation in the way Jesus taught. With humility and spiritual courage, he was found preaching the good news to the spiritually responsive. Arrogance and fear are unprepared to hold up the standard of Truth, and God will never place it in such hands.

Christianity will never be based on a divine Principle and so found to be unerring, until its absolute Science is reached. The Science of Mind seems to dishonor the ordinary scientific schools, which wrestle with human observations alone; therefore, this Science has met with opposition. However, any system honoring God ought to receive support, not resistance, from all thinking persons. Divine Science honors God as no other theory and it does this in the way of Soul’s appointing, by doing many wonderful works through the divine name and nature. All persons must fulfill their own mission without timidity and without putting on a show. Spiritual goals are successfully achieved when our work is done unselfishly, and as a result, arrogance, prejudice, bigotry, and envy cannot wash away its foundation, for it is built on the rock, Truth.

Acts 5:34-42

34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

From 21st Century Science and Health

The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away. Ignorance of God is no longer the steppingstone to faith. The only guarantee of obedience is a right apprehension of Him whom to know aright is Life eternal. Though empires fall, “the Lord shall reign forever.”

A book introduces new thoughts, but it cannot make them speedily understood. It is the task of the sturdy pioneer to hew the tall oak and to cut the rough granite. Future ages must declare what the pioneer has accomplished.

It may seem vain to share our love with someone who doesn’t give it back, but it isn’t a waste as long as we allow spiritual Love to enlarge, purify, and elevate the circumstance. If spite, revenge, and arrogance do uproot and scatter our affections, this separation of fleshly ties serves to unite thought more closely to God, for Love supports the struggling heart until it ceases to sigh over the world. Love recognizes the spiritual cosmos.

Physicians, whom the sick employ in their helplessness, should be models of integrity. They should be wise spiritual guides to health and hope. To the frightened patient on the brink of death, physicians can be prepared to share an understanding of the Truth that is Life. When the soul is willing and the flesh is weak, the patient may be willing to learn of the ever-perpetuating Life, and plant their feet on the rock of Christ, the true idea of spiritual power.

Clergy, chaplains, and spiritual leaders, observing the world, should advance the standard of Truth. They can inspire their hearers spiritually so that listeners will love to grapple with a new right idea, and broaden their views.

*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

** Text from 21st Century Science and Health, 5th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

[1] Matt. 5:30

[2] Matt. 5:29

[3] Ex. 19:6; Isa. 61:6; Rev. 1:6

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