Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 and 6) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.
The passage below shows the words from verse 24 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verse from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
“No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” (3 Nephi 13:24)
-Are you moving towards loving God in increasing degrees? Or, are you moving toward loving the idols and materialism of this world?
-Is it possible to be neutral in the direction you are going according to Christ’s teaching above?
Jacob, speaking as the Lord’s prophet, teaches that the will of God and the will of the devil are active in the pursuit of all human souls.
“…Cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life. Wherefore…reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.” (2 Nephi 10:23-24)
-According to the passage above, what are the results of reconciling yourself to the will of God? On the other hand, what are the results of reconciling yourself to the will of the devil (and the flesh)?
-Is the pull of the two wills strong enough that each individual is either moving toward living in accordance with one will or the other at any given time?
-How can one be reconciled to the will of God?
Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:
“[Satan] promotes conduct and choices that limit our freedom to choose by replacing the influence of the Holy Spirit with his own domination (see D&C 29:40; 93:38–39). Yielding to his temptations leads to a narrower and narrower range of choices until none remains and to addictions that leave us powerless to resist” (D. Todd Christofferson, “Moral Agency,” Ensign, June 2009, 49).
Jacob teaches that seeing and acting as led by the Spirit of God is the way to eternal life with God. When translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was prompted to translate some of Jacob’s message in language very similar to the King James version of Paul’s words as found in Romans 8:6.
“…Remember the awfulness in transgressing against the Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.” (2 Nephi 9:39)
-What characteristics and actions result when a person is controlled by carnal desires? (see Wo Unto All Those Who Die in Their Sins)
-If the path of least resistance in this fallen world is to be carnally-minded, how does one become spiritually-minded?
-Are most of the popular trends and opinions in the world based on a carnally-minded perspective?
-What can one do to become more spiritually-minded? (See links below for a sampling of what the Book of Mormon teaches in answer this question.)
Lehi, in counseling his sons to choose Christ, also teaches about the most important choices all must make.
“…I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; and not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.” (2 Nephi 2:28-29)
-How can a person look to Jesus Christ in his or her day to day life?
-What does it mean to be faithful to His words?
-How is keeping God’s commandments a path to greater freedom away from captivity?
-What is the will of the Holy Spirit? Can one’s will become one with the Holy Spirit’s will?