Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series, where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many spiritual truths to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand two different points of view of the end of our earthly career.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Point of View
"Job asked: ‘‘If a man die, shall he live again?’’"
"Jesus said unto her, ‘‘I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.’’" Job, Chapter 14, Verse 14; John, Chapter 11, Verse 25
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we explore the spiritual values and meanings of two points of view. And we shall show how these views differ and how they may be reconciled since they both refer to the same event. We hope that this discussion will inspire our faith and propel it to even higher heights of spiritual attainment. But first we shall look at the different points of view contained within this parable:
There was a certain rich man named Dives, who, being clothed in purple and fine linen, lived in mirth and splendor every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who lay at this rich man's gate, covered with sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table; yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried away by the angels to rest in Abraham's bosom. And then, presently, this rich man also died and was buried with great pomp and regal splendor. When the rich man departed from this world, he awoke in Hades, and finding himself in torment, he lifted up his eyes and beheld Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. And then Dives cried aloud: `Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send over Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue, for I am in great anguish because of my punishment.' And then Abraham replied: `My son, you should remember that in your lifetime you enjoyed the good things while Lazarus in like manner suffered the evil.
But now all this is changed, seeing that Lazarus is comforted while you are tormented. And besides, between us and you there is a great gulf so that we cannot go to you, neither can you come over to us.' Then said Dives to Abraham: `I pray you send Lazarus back to my father's house, inasmuch as I have five brothers, that he may so testify as to prevent my brothers from coming to this place of torment.' But Abraham said: `My son, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' And then answered Dives: `No, No, Father Abraham! but if one go to them from the dead, they will repent.' And then said Abraham: `If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded even if one were to rise from the dead.'
After considering Dives’’ and Lazarus’’ points of view, let us now consider the points of view in this next story.
He had struggled for a long time but gradually had become weaker and weaker, finally forced to the confinement of his bed. And as he lay there, drifting in and out of sleep, his mind went back to the days of his youth, those days when it seemed like the smile of health would beam upon him forever. He thought about all the youthful activities that he had engaged in, some good, some decidedly foolish. But that was the way of youth.
(A certain amount of experience is required before youth is convinced that the good is really good and the evil is really evil, regardless of what their inclinations may or may not be. In short, what we want or desire does not change whether what we want or desire is good or evil.)
As he continued to reflect in his mind, he could hear the traffic passing by his house. The heavy trucks created a loud sound as they went by while the lighter vehicles had a lighter sound. Sometimes he could hear the cry of the crows as they flew by or the sounds of the small children as they played outside. As he lay there, his mind returned to one vivid scene of his youth. He must have been about twelve years old. It was definitely prior to the time his mother had passed at fourteen. It was summer and he was spending it on his grandfather’’s farm in rural North Carolina. It must have been about 10 AM on this summer morning when he lay down. It was raining, and he quickly fell asleep. He remembered that he had a vivid dream. The dream was in color. In all of his life, he had had only a few dreams in color. All the details of this dream were so prominent in his mind. He dreamed that he was back home in the projects in Norfolk, VA, where he lived. It seemed as if he was really there, so vivid was the dream. The red color of the bricks of the buildings stood out so vividly, and the grass was so green, and the trees and the people had the same distinctiveness. But the outstanding aspect of this dream was when it was over, he felt so refreshed, so alive, so rested. It was if he had received a new charge of life forces. Never since had he had such a restful sleep.
But as he lay in that bed, the days and nights and weeks merged into each other, and it became difficult for him to keep track of time. Of course he could always ask what time it was, or what day of the week it was. And as he continued with his reflections, surveying the different periods of his life, he continued to get weaker and weaker, and finally the time came when it was time to say goodbye. He looked at his family, whom he loved so dearly and who loved him likewise. He looked at the expression on his wife’’s face, which was a combination of faith and overwhelming grief. She was doing her very best to be brave. The children were very, very sad, and they just sat there, not knowing what to say. But they were clearly grief stricken as all their hopes for his recovery faded and then disappeared. He knew that they would miss him sorely, and his heart was breaking also, for he did not want to leave them. But it was time for him to leave. The Father was calling him home. One day they would have to leave also; they would experience the last great test of their faith. As for himself, he had come down to the final test of his living faith in this mortal life. For many years, he had pursued this faith quest for guidance and direction, ever seeking the Father’’s will and ultimately salvation. And now he was about to have his faith validated. He believed Jesus with all of his heart, soul, and mind.
But now all of a sudden, he was brought out of his reflections by the room filling with the guests and the visitors. His mind had been reflecting upon how these events would play out during an earlier period of life on earth. His family were all there. And this was indeed a joyous occasion. The room was filled with a spirit of inexpressible hope and joy as they prepared to say goodbye to him for a short period of time. They were supremely God knowing and looked forward to the day when they would resume their eternal career on another and higher level. As for myself, I was filled with inexpressible hope and joy, and my soul was filled with the love of the Father and His Son’’s mercy. The long faith years were finally going to be validated, as I prepared to fuse with my divine spirit as Enoch and Elijah had done in the past. The ceremony was about to begin, as everyone settled down and made ready to listen to the authorization that would launch me on the eternal career.
And now that we have seen how these reactions to the same event differ, why is it that in one situation, there is an overwhelming feeling of grief and sorrow, and in the other situation, an overwhelming feeling of joy and happiness? In both situations, we are dealing with the same human event--the liberation of the soul. But what a difference a day makes. Our faith makes the difference. In both scenarios, the Father’’s love and His Son’’s mercy are exactly the same. The difference is that in the latter, we have fully accepted the love of the Father and His Son’’s mercy, whereas in the former we have not. It is our more spiritualized minds and souls with their increased capacity for truth discernment that have allowed us to more fully recognize and accept the Father’’s love and His Son’’s mercy. We have finally come to fully recognize and accept the spiritual purpose of human life. We have finally grasped a quality of faith that recognizes that this life is transitory and is but a prelude to another and greater life of service and opportunity for spiritual growth.
By cultivating our faith and seeking to do the Father’’s will, we can merge the two points of view so that we only have one point of view. In the parable, one death process is sudden; in the other, it is drawn out. Both processes accomplish the same thing: the liberation of the soul from the material mind so that the soul can begin a more glorious existence on a higher level.
This concludes today's message on the two points of view. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.