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[PSST: Strive to maintain a clear, unselfish consciousness of everlasting Love!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Everlasting Punishment”
for April 30, 2017

By Tom and Amy Evans, former staff members and big fans of CedarS

PSST for Golden Text

Is everlasting punishment from God? (No!) Is it real? (No) How does the Lord as a guiding “Shepherd” in Psalm 23 counteract the concept of everlasting punishment? What does a shepherd do for her sheep? What does it mean for God to “restore [your] soul”?

PSST for Responsive Reading

How are people acting if Isaiah compares them to animals? See Isaiah 59:11, 12. The New Interpreter’s Bible Volume 6, p. 501 comments on these verses saying “Justice and salvation are missing in part because of the people’s transgressions”. As the lesson expands on the concept of punishment, Hell, and a false self-inflicted concept of punishment, how do we quit acting like animals as Isaiah phrases it? How do we overcome animal magnetism?

In this context right after verses 11 and 12, the responsive reading jumps to Isaiah 59:19, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood.” In this context, is the Responsive Reading referring to a physical enemy or wrong thoughts? How long are we supposed to keep covenant with God? See verse 21.

The Responsive Reading passages from Isaiah spend time acknowledging wrong behavior, but what is God’s response? Anger? Punishment? Or encouragement to rejoin the fold and come back to right thinking and acting? Walk through the Responsive Reading with your class. Ask about what the speaker is saying in Isaiah and how God responds. Look at the kind of language used when the Israelites are reminded of their everlasting covenant or promise with God. It’s not just “be good” but “arise and shine!” the last three verses are pretty spectacular results for staying with God.

PSST for Section 1

By the end of Section 1 we have read “The Lord is my Shepherd,” the first line of the 23rd Psalm three times. What is our Shepherd guiding us to do?

Talk about the relationships between God and evil as well as light and darkness as presented in Section 1. Break down the way citation S3 presents evil. How does citation S4 describe God’s ability or lack thereof to experience or create evil?

PSST for Section 2

Another sheep reference!

In citation B7 1 Samuel documents repentance from the Israelites. What are they told to do? Should they be ashamed? Should they be cast out of society? Have your class find what they are supposed to do and put the answer into their own words. King James Version (KJV) phrases it this way: “serve the Lord with all your heart.” How does Isaiah 1:18’s promise from God in citation B8 apply here?

Look at the way this change in faith is supported and described in citation S10 and throughout Section 2. “Truth should and does drive error out of all selfhood” (S11). Are you noticing a theme of clear, unselfish consciousness?

PSST for Section 3

Discuss Paul’s statement in Romans in citation B12. Do you ever feel like the good things that you want to do you don’t do, and the bad things you don’t want to do you end up doing? How can you address this? What does Paul say about this challenge? Last week’s lesson included the Glossary definition of Heaven, whereas this week includes “Hell.” If your class is old enough to talk about it, how is “Hell” presented in this section? Is the concept legitimized or belittled?

Look at citation S15. What does Mrs. Eddy say we need to do in order to “find Christ”? Is it difficult? S17 has a clear connection between holiness, purity of thought, and immortality. Ask your class about this connection Looking back over Section 3, why is consistent spiritual thought so important? How does this build on last week’s lesson which focused on spiritual progress?

PSST for Section 4

What can we learn from the story of man with the “unclean spirit” (B16)? How did Jesus handle being faced with a claim? What does it mean to be “clothed and in [your] right mind”? Discuss Mrs. Eddy’s direction in citation S18, “Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients.” Why is this so important? Reason through citation S20 about “your standpoint from which to advance.” How does a Christian Science treatment work? Why is a spiritual standpoint helpful in prayer? Citation S21 is checking in on our thought while citation S23 focuses once again on the power of good thoughts to replace false beliefs: “sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.” Citation S22 talks about blotting out and then rebelling against images of mortal thought and disease. What is the difference between these two approaches? How can we apply these ideas to our own work?

PSST for Section 5

What is significant about the story of Saul (B17)? How did his thought change while on the road to Damascus? Discuss what kind of a man he was. What kind of courage did Ananias need to go heal him? Ask your class to describe the social pressure Ananias was feeling as well as Saul / Paul. How immediate was the healing? Can we expect healings like this for others as well? (hint: YES!) What do you think about citation S26, “Evil is sometimes a man’s highest conception of right, until his grasp on good becomes stronger”? How do we help ourselves and other gain a stronger grasp on good? The destruction of error is once again the closing verse in this section (S28). What is “God’s own way” of justice?

PSST for Section 6

Why can we not be afraid (B19)? What gives us the comfort and protection? Give an example of when you have felt safe and protected. What does it mean for God to have “loved [us] with an everlasting love” (B20)? Consider citation S30. What does it feel like to have an “angel entertained unawares”? Define Doctrine. A very familiar verse “joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy” (S31) is in this section. How have you witnessed this in your experience?

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