Hold up Your Light That It May Shine unto the World

Christ commands that the blessings of His Church be extended to all who desire to partake:

“And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not; But ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in my name. Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed. And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.” (3 Nephi 18:22-25)

Questions:

-How many churches actively invite others to come and see what they have in the manner Christ describes above?

-Does the belief that some hold, where there are those predestined to be saved and those that are not, reduce the energy behind their extending the invitation to come and see?

-What will a typical person feel when attending a church that has authority to act in Christ’s name compared to one that does not?

Ye Shall Pray in My Church

Christ taught the descendants of Lehi that prayer is an essential part of worship in the church setting.

“Verily, Verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him. And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you.” (3 Nephi 18:15-16)

Questions:

-What kind of prayer did Christ give to set an example for those He is speaking to in the verses above? (See The Eye Hath Never Seen, Neither Hath the Ear Heard So Great and Marvelous Things)

-Imagine trying to pray as the Savior does. Would doing so lift the quality and meaning of your prayers?

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?

Behold, I Am the Law and the Light

Shortly after His Resurrection, Christ taught a group of Lehi’s descendants (who up to that point were living the Law of Moses somewhere in the Americas) that the Law of Moses was fulfilled. The pre-mortal Christ (Jehovah) was the One who gave the law and the One who fulfilled it as the resurrected Christ. The Savior also made clear that His fulfillment of the Law did not negate the prophecies that extended beyond his coming as the Messiah or His covenant with the people of Israel.

“Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end. Behold, I do not destroy the prophets, for as many as have not been fulfilled in me, verily I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled. And because I said unto you that old things have passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come. For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me. Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” (3 Nephi 15:6-9)

Questions:

-What do the above verses say about Christ’s continuing covenant with ancient Israel and their descendants (including the Jewish people)?

-Do some believe that God’s covenant with the Jewish people ended with the coming of Jesus Christ (the Messiah)?

-What does Christ mean when He says that He is the law?

If Thine Eye Be Single, Thy Whole Body Shall Be Full of Light

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 passages below show the words from verses 22 through 23 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)

“The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (3 Nephi 13:22-23)

Questions:

-What does it mean (spiritually and mentally) for one’s eye to be single?

-Is it empowering to know (or believe) that one can make the choice to make their eye single to the glory of God and be filled with the light Christ describes here?

-Have you ever met someone who seemed to be filled with light?

Let Your Light So Shine before This People, That They May See Your Good Works and Glorify Your Father Who is in Heaven

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) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

The passages below show the words from verses fourteen through sixteen of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house; Therefore, let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:14-16)

Questions:

-Is there a light in some peoples’ countenances which testifies they have received the Holy Ghost (and Jesus Christ of whom the Holy Ghost testifies)?

-Are these the same people whose good works glorify the Father?

-Why does Christ refer to glorifying His Father rather than himself?

I Have Glorified the Father in Taking upon Me the Sins of the World

After descending from heaven to visit a group of Lehi’s descendants gathered at one of their temples, Christ reminds them of who He is and the relationship He has with God the Father.

“…I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father has given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning…I am the God of Israel and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.” (3 Nephi 11:11,14)

Questions:

-How did Christ’s life and Atonement (won through incomprehensible and eternally meaningful suffering) glorify the Father?

-Was Christ’s unflinching loyalty to the Father closely tied to his similar loyalty to us (those for whom He worked out the Atonement)?

-What would it mean to you to strive to be as loyal to Christ as He has been to you and God our Father?

This Is a Sin Which Is Unpardonable

Alma teaches his son about the most serious sins which can be committed.

“…If ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yea, and whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; yea, I say unto you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness.” (Alma 39:6)   

Questions:

-Why is denying the Holy Ghost, after an undeniable witness therefrom, an unpardonable sin?

-Is this unpardonable sin very rare…only committed by a very few people?

Gratitude: I am grateful that Christ is mighty to save! Short of the gravest sins mentioned above, He will always apply his saving power whenever I (or anyone else) chooses to sincerely repent.

There Is No Other Way or Means Whereby Man Can Be Saved, Only in and through Christ

Alma teaches his son about the only way salvation can be obtained.

“…There is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.” (Alma 38:9)

Questions:

-How does one receive salvation through Jesus Christ?

-What role does baptism (by one who has authority) play in receiving Christ’s salvation?  

Every Seed Bringeth Forth unto Its Own Likeness

Alma continues to teach about the beginnings of faith and how to obtain spiritual knowledge.

“…If ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge. But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.” (Alma 32:28-31)

“Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it growth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away. And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good. And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word has swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doeth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doeth begin to expand.” (Alma 32:32-34)

“O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good. And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say; Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit. But if ye neglect the tree and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.” (Alma 32:35-38)

“And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life. And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white, yea, pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.” (Alma 32:40-43)

Questions:

-Will you conduct the experiment Alma describes in the verses above?