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?

Satan Desireth to Have You

Christ taught a group of the descendants of Lehi (visiting them shortly after His Resurrection) that prayer is an indispensable form of spiritual protection.

“Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name; And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you. Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” (3 Nephi 18:18-21)

Questions:

-Are those who do not earnestly and consistently pray in Christ’s name inevitably under the control of Satan to one degree or another?

-Or, is it more that Satan works particularly hard on those who have covenanted to follow Christ, so that prayer becomes absolutely necessary (to survive spiritually) for those who have entered the covenant path?

-If Satan knows that those who don’t have the law (i.e. don’t have the gospel of Jesus Christ) won’t be judged accordingly, would he also understand that efforts to tempt and destroy such souls would have little eternal affect?

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?

After This Manner Therefore Pray Ye

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 9 through 13 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. 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, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be 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. (3 Nephi 13:9-13)

Questions:

-Do the above verses provide guidelines for a meaningful prayer? For instance:

  • feeling and expressing deep respect towards God with whom you are communicating
  • seeking for God’s will to be done through your life and in the world in general
  • seeking strength to be a forgiver so you can meaningfully find forgiveness from God
  • asking God to prepare the way before you so temptation loses its power
  • recognizing the truth that God is the source of all good and the Righteous King over all

–  Is it nearly as meaningful to simply repeat the words that Christ taught rather than using them as a guideline for how you approach your Heavenly Father in prayer—using your own words and drawing on your own feelings and thoughts?   

When Ye Pray, Use Not Vain Repetitions, For Your Father Knoweth What Things Ye Have Need of Before Ye Ask Him

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 7 through 8 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: 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.” (Matthew 6:7-8)

“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 thing ye have need of before ye ask him.” (3 Nephi 13:7-8)

Questions:

-What is the difference between God knowing what you need without you asking for help and God knowing what you need with you sincerely seeking help with the need?

Sanctification Comes from Yielding One’s Heart to God

The prophet historian, Mormon, tells of a time in Nephite history where true followers of Christ drew closer to Him despite being mistreated by their fellow church members.

“…In the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God—And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction. Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling of their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.” (Helaman 3:33-36)

Questions:

-How can one be filled with joy even while passing through great difficulties in life?

-Would this group of people have obtained deep purification and sanctification of their hearts without the persecution they experienced?

-Are there worldly powers (including political forces) today that are tempting some in the Church to become prideful and despise others in the Church? -How vital is humility in ensuring one does not end up on the wrong side (i.e. prideful side) of inter-Church divisions?

Be Sober

Alma teaches his son about how a missionary for Christ should conduct him- or herself.

“…Now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things. See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength. Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness. Do not pray as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom. Do no say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren, but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times. And may the Lord bless your soul, and receive you at the last day into his kingdom, to sit down in peace. Now go, my son, and teach the word unto this people. Be sober. My son, farewell.” (Alma 38:10-15)

Questions:

-How does bridling one’s passions open the way for a person to be filled with love?

-What does it mean to be sober (in the more general sense of the word)?

Bear with All Manner of Afflictions with a Firm Hope That Ye Shall One Day Rest from All Your Afflictions

Amulek provides vital keys to progressing spiritually.

Questions:

-In what ways do people contend against the Holy Ghost?

-How can a person receive the Holy Ghost? Is it possible to fully do so without being baptized by one with authority?

If Ye Do Not Remember to Be Charitable, Ye Are as Dross

After teaching about prayer as a means of drawing on God’s help (see previous post), Amulek emphasizes that we must be willing to help others.

“…After ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith. Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out, (it being of no worth) and is trodden under foot of men.” (Alma 34:28-29)

Questions:

-What attribute is God trying to foster in His children more than any other?