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Hopeless? Break the womb-to-tomb cycle! Right now hear & live!
Lesson Application Ideas
on “Probation After Death” April 19-25, 2004
By Gary Duke, C.S., St. Louis, Missouri

Golden Text (Right Now Hear and Live):
“…now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25) The “dead” also include the living who are ignorant of or not living in full, the message of Christ Jesus. That includes all of us to some degree! What’s the remedy? Hear and live!

Responsive Reading (Eternal Life Versus Hopelessness):
Some interpretations from The Message (Bible in contemporary language by Eugene Peterson): “If Christ wasn’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever…If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.” Even more important is continually leaving the commonly accepted cemeteries of our own making by resurrecting daily, minute by minute. We leave (womb-to-tomb) cemetery cycles of thought, every time we affirm and exercise a sense of man’s spiritual origin and the supreme sovereignty of God, good, in every event and person that we encounter.

Section 1 (Judgment Day):

Good news ~ there is no final judgment day as many believe where the last trumpet sounds at which time God condemns the sinners with damnation and rewards the righteous with ascension. Bad news (but not really) ~ the judgment is continuous! “No final judgment awaits mortals, for the judgment-day of wisdom comes hourly and continually, even the judgment by which mortal man is divested of all material error.” (S3) The “still small voice” within continually guides us and doesn’t let us get away with anything. As we get used to listening and obeying, the voice of wisdom morphs from being a stern parent to our best friend.

Section 2 (Enoch’s Ascension):
During his 365th year, “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (B7) He ascended. Wasn’t the ascension of Enoch taking place throughout his 365 years where he disciplined thought to be free from the carnal mind? (B5) It points back to Section 1 where there is no final judgment-day but rather progress being made then probation, a period of testing. What happens when one makes progress in the classroom, in sports or on the job? Then comes the test or the game or the client! (S9) In addition, Enoch must have had a clear understanding of death being “…an illusion, the lie of life in matter.” (S7)

Section 3 (Do It Now!):

“Now is the accepted time: behold, now is the day of salvation…” (S14)
What a promise! We don’t have to wait until a future time or wait upon a person, place or thing to overcome sin, sickness and death; we can do it now through our understanding of Life, Truth and Love. (Salvation ~ S&H 593:20) Whenever we’re experiencing salvation even a little bit (courteous action, smile, healing, honesty, etc.) we are taking part in the first resurrection. (B13, S11) Whatever plane of existence we’re on when the spiritual understanding of Life is reached, “the second death hath no power.” (B14, S13)

Section 4 (Blinded By The Light):
Saul of Tarsus was accustomed to the darkness of persecuting Christians. (S18) In effect, he was “dead in trespasses,” (S16) and went to great lengths to carry out his vengeance (Damascus was about a 6 day walk from Jerusalem ~ Researched Bible Guide, RBG ). When he was blinded by the light (the appearance of the ascended Jesus), he was told, “…it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” meaning, just like an ox who kicks and receives a painful poke from a pointed rod, Saul had been trying to kick out the Christ from the followers of Jesus and was receiving a poke himself. (B15 & RBG) We all must progress, dropping the mortal for the immortal man and it is either through suffering like Saul experienced or Science as Mrs. Eddy revealed. (S20)

Section 5 (Good Samaritan):
What if Ananias remained fearful of Saul and didn’t want to “get involved?” (B16) He could have rationalized that perhaps his inspiration might have be wrong and Saul would persecute him. Just like Jonah, he would eventually find his way even if it was from the belly of a fish! But Ananias didn’t “kick against the pricks,” instead he was a Good Samaritan, followed his inspiration and blessed not only Saul but saved himself a lot of retracing, as did Jesus when he accepted the cross. (S&H 20:20) Ananias proved, through his healing of Saul’s blindness, that “Sight, hearing, all the spiritual senses of man, are eternal.” (S23)

Section 6 (Are We There Yet?):
When driving, all parents have heard the refrain from their children, “Are we there yet?” The response is often some version of “Be patient!” Patience is even more important in obtaining our salvation. (B19, B20, S26) It may appear Saul’s transformation from persecutor to Paul the Christian was just a few days if we only read Acts. But in Galatians 1:17 Paul indicates he went into the wilderness near Damascus (subject to the King of Arabia) for thought and prayer before his ministry. (The One Volume Bible Commentary by Dummelow) In our daily ministry as student, athlete, homemaker, business person, retiree… we have the patience to continually enter the sanctuary of the wilderness for prayer followed by progress and probation, putting our prayer into action.

Section Summary Benediction: Right now hear and live the word of God which reveals eternal life instead of hopelessness. Judgment day is not a one time event but a daily resurrection as Enoch experienced prior to his ascension. Do it now is key to salvation unless you want to be blinded by the light ~ but have no fear, a Good Samaritan is waiting in the wings to assist! Are we there yet? Patience!

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