The Father Giveth the Holy Ghost unto the Children of Men Because of Me

Christ teaches that the power of the Holy Ghost is an intercessory gift. The Holy Ghost does not operate separate from Christ’s role as the Mediator with the Father on behalf of all mankind.

“…The Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and the Father giveth the Holy Ghost unto the children of men, because of me.” (3 Nephi 28:11)

Questions:

-Why would the Holy Ghost be without effect for humankind separate from Christ’s atoning power?

-Are there specific commandments from God that a person needs to follow in order to draw on the full power of the Holy Ghost?

Ye May Stand Spotless Before Me at the Last Day

Christ teaches that no unclean thing can persist in the kingdom of God, but all who repent, are baptized, and remain faithful to Christ to the end will be sanctified by the Holy Ghost and will stand clean in His presence at the Last Judgment (ready to enter into God’s kingdom).

“…No unclean thing can enter into [the Father’s] kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.” (3 Nephi 27:19-20)

Questions:

-Are the words of Christ designed to work within us to keep us spiritually alert and focused?

-Do His teachings in these verses lead one to be complacent about God’s saving power? Or, do the qualifications of baptism and faithfulness to the end, through continual repentance, challenge a soul to actively gather greater spiritual intelligence through the application of free will in line with God’s commandments?

-If God loves us and can magnify the spiritual intelligence we obtain in this life throughout eternity, how import would it be for Him to encourage His children to gain as much light as possible during their mortal probation?   

This Is the Thing Which I Give unto You for a Sign

The coming forth of Christ’s words in the Book of Mormon is a sign that God has commenced a great and marvelous work to gather the house of Israel in the latter days. The Book of Mormon and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is an invitation to the Gentiles to become part of the house of Israel and an invitation to the house of Israel to gather in unto their Savior.

Below is Jesus Christ speaking to a group of the descendants of the house of Israel in the Americas about A.D. 34.

“…This is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them. Verily, Verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you; For it is wisdom in the Father that [the Gentiles] should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel. Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity; For thus it behooveth the Father that is should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.” (3 Nephi 21:2-6)

“And when these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things—it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel. And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them…Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” (3 Nephi 21:7-11)

Questions:

-How important is it to be numbered among the faithful members of house of Israel in the last days prior to Christ’s return?

-Does biological relation to the house of Israel amount to much if a person does not align his or her life with the true authority and commandments of the Holy One of Israel?

Ye Shall Not Suffer Any One Knowingly to Partake of My Flesh and Blood Unworthily

Christ taught His priesthood leaders that partaking the Sacrament unworthily could bring condemnation to those they were charged to minister to. Accordingly, He taught them who should take part in the Sacrament and who should not as well as who should be numbered among His people and who should not. Through all disciplinary actions regarding the Sacrament and Church membership, the Savior commands his priesthood leaders to mercifully extend the opportunity to return.

“…Ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it; For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him. Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name, and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood. But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered. Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them. Therefore, keep these sayings which I have commanded you that ye come not under condemnation; for wo unto him whom the Father condemneth. (3 Nephi 18:28-33)

Questions:

-Why would partaking of the bread and water of the Sacrament unworthily be spiritually detrimental to the person who does so?

-Since we all sin to some degree week after week, what kind of sin(s) would cause a person to be unworthy to eat and drink the emblems of Christ’s flesh and blood?

-If the symbolic emblems of Christ’s body and blood are administered by one who does not have authority from Christ to do so, would partaking unworthily in that circumstance have a negative spiritual affect?

If Ye Do Always Remember Me Ye Shall Have My Spirit to Be with You

Jesus (shortly after His resurrection) taught a large gathering of the descendants of Lehi in the Americas how and why the Sacrament should be performed.

“And when the disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the disciples and commanded that they should eat. And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude. And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name. And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you. And this ye shall do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.” (3 Nephi 18:3-7)

“And it came to pass that when he said these words, he commanded his disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude that they might drink of it. And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it and were filled; and they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled. And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you. And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock.” (3 Nephi 18:8-12)

Questions:

-Who has authority to perform the sacrament ordinance in our day?

-How important is it to participate in this ordinance regularly in order to truly center one’s life on the Savior?

I Have Given You the Commandments Therefore Keep the Commandments

After teaching His gospel to a group of Lehi’s descendant’s (shortly after His Resurrection). Jesus Christ made the following statement:

“Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep the commandments.” (3 Nephi 15:10)

Below are all the commandments that Christ gave to the group:

“…Ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.” (3 Nephi 9:19)

“…Ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 9:20)

Repent , and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.” (3 Nephi 9:22)

“…On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water. And after this manner shall be baptize in my name…And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been, neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.” (3 Nephi 11:22-28)

“…This is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another, but this is my doctrine that such things should be done away.” (3 Nephi 11:30)

“…The Father commandeth all men everywhere to repent and believe in me.” (3 Nephi 11:32)

“…Ye must repent and become as a little child and be baptized in my name…” (3 Nephi 11:37)

“…Go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.” (3 Nephi 11:41)

“…I give unto you to be the salt of the earth…” (3 Nephi 12:13)

“…I give unto you to be the light of this people.” (3 Nephi 12:14)

“…Let you light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:16)

“…Ye shall believe in me, and…repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 12:19)

“…Thou shalt not kill…” (3 Nephi 12:21)

“…If ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.” (3 Nephi 12:23-24)

“Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him…” (3 Nephi 12:25)

“…Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart.” (3 Nephi 12:27-29)

“…Swear not at all; neither by heaven for it is God’s throne; Nor by the earth for it is his footstool; Neither shalt thou swear by the head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white; But let your communications be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatever cometh more than these is evil.” (3 Nephi 12:34-37)

“…Ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also; And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.” (3 Nephi 12:39-42)

“…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you…” (3 Nephi 12:44)

“…I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12:48)

“Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them…Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men…But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; That thine alms may be in secret…” (3 Nephi 13:1-2)

“And when thou prayest thou shalt not do as the hypocrites, for they love to pray, standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men…But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father who is in secret…But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them, for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.” (3 Nephi 13:5-8)

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (3 Nephi 13:9-15)

“…When ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast…But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, who seeth in secret…” (3 Nephi 13:16-18)

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (3 Nephi 13:19-20)

“…Judge not that ye be not judged.” (3 Nephi 14:2)

“…First cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (3 Nephi 14:5)

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine…” (3 Nephi 14:6)

Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (3 Nephi 14:7)

“…All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…” (3 Nephi 14:12)

“Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction…” (3 Nephi 14:13)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (3 Nephi 14:15)

 “Look unto me and endure to the end, and ye shall live…” (3 Nephi 15:9)

Questions:

-Are the above commandments in force now in our time?

-How many of them only apply to those who have made a covenant to follow Christ?

Come unto Me and Be Ye Saved

Christ (shortly after his crucifixion and resurrection) visited a group of Lehi’s descendants living in the Americas. Below He succinctly reviews what he had taught them up to that point.

“…I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled. Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:19-20)

Questions:

-How does one make the choice to believe in Jesus Christ?

-Is it possible to truly repent of one’s sins without having a broken heart and a contrite spirit?

-How does one come unto Christ as commanded?

They Will Not That the Lord Should Be Their Guide

While abridging Nephite history, and giving yet another account of the Nephites falling into a state of wickedness, Mormon pauses to lament the general spiritual fecklessness of the Nephites (and humanity more broadly).   

“O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world! Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!” (Helaman 12:4-5)

“Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.” (Helaman 12:6-8)

Questions:

-Do you ever feel spiritually unstable? Are you ever taken aback by dark corners in your soul that have somehow formed and festered?

-Why is it often difficult to let God guide (rather than letting evil influences creep in and take control)?

-Are repentance, obedience to God’s commandments, and gratitude powerful spiritual stabilizers?

Let the Affections of Thy Heart Be Placed upon the Lord Forever

Alma teaches his son about the type of relationship one should have with God.

…Keep the commandments of God. Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and withersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day. (Alma 37:35-37)

Questions:

-How does a person reach a state where all they do, think, and feel is directed to the Lord?

-Is it possible to reach such a state without God’s help?

-Is it possible to always have God’s Holy Spirit with you?

Whosoever Shall Put Their Trust in God Shall Be Supported in Their Troubles

Alma testifies that God does not leave those comfortless who trust in Him.

“…I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 36:3)

Questions:

-What does it mean to put one’s trust in God?

-Can someone who willfully disobeys God’s commandments (and does not repent) be said to trust God?