Acts 6

Acts 6: The Apostles Chose 7 Others

                The number of disciples of the Lord (followers of Christ) multiplied and as the Church grew, some complained that the distributions [the money and goods] were not being handled properly. So Peter and John ask the disciples to give them some names of good men, honest men who they could call and appoint over that duty, so that they might go on teaching about Jesus Christ and Administering in His Church.

                Peter and John call; Stephen, Phillip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas to have the delegation of duties regarding the distribution of the wealth of the Church. These men were set before the Apostles “…and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:6) Here we see that the Power and Authority was given to these men in the same manner that Peter and John had received their Authority from Jesus Christ, meaning that the Authority must come in this manner.

                From this point on… the Church grew and multiplied in Jerusalem. Stephen did man miracles and even preached the Gospel. However, a group called the ‘Libertines’ [Freed-Men] sought to destroy Stephen, because they believe he spoke blasphemies against Moses and against God, because they did not believe in Jesus Christ. The group “…set up false witnesses. Which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:” (Acts 6:13) The council that was over seeing this “trial” could only see Stephen as an angel. Essentially the council could not see the evil that he supposedly had in him. 

Acts 3

Acts 3: The Restoration of All Things

                Peter and John go up into the Temple together to pray, and on their way in they find a man at the gate of the Temple, which was called Beautiful, and the man was asking for money as he was lame (unable to walk) and Peter and John looked at him and said; “…Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise and walk.” (Acts 3:6) Immediately the man received strength in his feet and ankle bones and walked! The man leaped for joy as he accompanied Peter and John into the temple, many people saw this and wondered in amazement! When Peter saw that everyone was so amazed by this miracle he said; “…Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look so earnestly on us as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our Fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea. The faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3: 12-16)

                Peter asked the people of Israel a very simple question; why did they marvel at the sight of this miracle? After all many had seen Jesus perform these very miracles, yet they wondered how it was possible. Peter chastises them for having killed the Son of God, because in their ignorance they did exactly as their rulers and ancestors before them… they rejected the prophets sent by God and now they had rejected the Son of God, whom was sent by God the Father.

Peter offers the Israelites a way to redeem themselves; Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution [in other words, RESTORATION] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:19-23)

                Peter speaks about the Last Days and references that there will be a RESTORATION of ALL THINGS. What are “ALL THINGS”? When Jesus Christ was on the Earth He established His church, but we all know the Head of the Church [Jesus Christ] was killed and His Apostles were shortly thereafter also persecuted and killed [Peter himself being crucified], and with time the Authority that Jesus Christ had bestowed upon them (see Matthew 10:1; “…he gave them power…”) Jesus even told His Apostles that before the Restoration would happen, Elias would have to come; “…Jesus answered them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” (Matthew 17:11) and we know that Elias will come as a precursor to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself said; “…I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:5-6)

                Just so there is no confusion; Elias is the Greek form of the name Elijah in Hebrew, therefore they are the same person being referred to by the Lord. Before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ a “RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS” needs to happen, and the very start of that Restoration would bring Elijah to restore the kings on man to seal families for eternity. This power was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith who was working as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ Restored His church on the Earth today… The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This
Restoration has already occurred.

Acts 2

Acts 2: The Gift of Tongues

                On the day of the Pentecost many people gathered together in one place. During this meeting “…there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as fire, and it sat upon each of them.” (Acts 2:2-3) So, we are told that the Holy Ghost came down and put on them the ability to speak in tongues. So what exactly does it mean to speak in tongues? We continue to read; “…they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4) Some believe today that speaking in tongues means that the Spirit of God comes down and causes you to lose control of your physical body and spew nonsense that only the Spirit can understand. Is this speaking in “tongues”? No. We continue to read; “…every man heard them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:6) So what does it mean to speak in tongues? To literally speak in other languages, for example in Spanish you would say “lenguas” for languages, but “lenguas” also translates as “tongues”.

However, some gathered believe that those speaking in tongues are only drunk, why? Because they don’t believe that God can give someone the power to communicate in other languages. I personally can say that the Gift of Tongues is real, I served as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and found that I could learn Spanish a lot faster than if I were to try on my own. The Prophet Joel spoke to the unbelievers; “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17) Joel brought up a good point, God has the power to do anything, including giving the Gift of Tongues or causing someone to have a vision. Joel prophesies of the coming doom in the last days and encourages those that are gathered (and more importantly those living in the Last Days) to “…that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21) Does this mean that to be saved, all we have to do is accept Christ in our lives? No. If we go back and read in Matthew, Jesus taught; “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) So, accepting Christ in our lives is only the first step, Salvation was never easy… but yet again it wasn’t easy for Christ to die for all of our Sins, the least we can do is follow His commandments.

Joel explains that Jesus was take and tried by wicked men to be beaten, and die on the Cross with no crime. The Apostles that Jesus had called recount what Joel had prophesied in days of old. The Apostles continue to teach those gathered about Jesus and their message “…pricked in their heart…” (Acts 2:37) so much so, that they turned to Peter and asked how they might return to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and he responded to those gathered; “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

The people did as the Apostles had directed them and many were baptized and did receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, by the Authority given to the Apostles. Many departed of their belongings and gave to those in need and “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47)

Acts 1

Acts 1: Matthias is chosen as Apostle #12

                We learn that Jesus continued to teach for forty days after His Resurrection. Jesus continued to instruct His Apostles and while doing so, one of the Apostles asked Jesus: “…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” and His response was; “…It is not for you to know the times of the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:6-7) After He had said these things, Jesus was taken up into the clouds and the Apostles looked up and marveled. Two men who were presumably angels stood dressed in white and said; “…why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

The Apostles then returned to Jerusalem where they went into an upper room to pray about who should be the next Apostles, because Judas had betrayed Jesus and was no longer an Apostle. One Apostle explains what was the end of Judas; “…this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, the field of blood.” (Acts 1:18-19)

                Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and felt so bad about doing it, he committed Suicide. The Apostles therefore in replacing him, chose two men who had been with them ‘Joseph Justus’, and ‘Matthias’ and this is the manner in which they chose between the two men; “…they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship…” (Acts 1:24-25) After much praying they came to the conclusion that Matthias was the Lord’s choice and he would be ordained to be an Apostle for the Lord’s church. Today in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, the Apostles follow something similar to choose new Apostles when older ones finish their mission on the earth.

John 14

John 14: Jesus is the Life

Jesus speaks to His Apostles and others; “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I got to prepare a place for you… if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And wither I go ye may know.” (John 14:1-4) Thomas was one who was gathered there and was confused as to how they would know where Jesus would go, he asks Him how they might know and Jesus responds; “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

We learn that Jesus is the Savior, and that He is the one that will prepare the way for us to see God again. In the house of the Father there are many mansions, which can also be explained as inheritances. If we are good in this life we can inherit a bigger mansion that is closer to God. This is part of the Plan of Salvation and includes three different degrees of heaven. In a letter to the Corinthians this concept of mansions is explained further; “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars…” (1 Corinthians 15:40-41)

Phillip, who was also gathered there asked Jesus to show the Father to them, Jesus responds; “…Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not know me, Phillip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father…” (John 14:9) Does this mean that Jesus and God the Father are one? No. Jesus was stating that if you have seen the Son, you have also seen the Power of God, because Jesus does nothing without the power and authority from the Father.

Jesus then addresses everyone; “…whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:13-15) We are given a promise that if we ask with true desire and intent, God will answer our prayers. If we love God, and if we love Jesus we must follow His commandments. If someone were to say they have faith in Jesus or that they believe in Jesus, but do not follow His commandments, it is in vain. Jesus even says; “He that hath my commandment, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved by the Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest myself unto him.” (John 14:21) If someone loves God and love Jesus and FOLLOWS the commandments, they will see the light of Jesus Christ in their lives.

Jesus, now knowing that His time was running short, left a promise to the Apostles and anyone who wanted to follow Him; “…the Comforter, which is in the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give unto you. Let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26-27) Jesus Christ tells them that the Comforter or the Holy Ghost would be their guide until another Prophet would be called before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We can understand that if we truly believe in Christ, He will comfort us one way or another, so we have no need for worrying. Peace be unto us.

John 3

John 3: Jesus Christ

                Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews and a Pharisee came to Jesus by night to tell Him that He came from God. Jesus tells Nicodemus that “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Nicodemus, being puzzled, asks Jesus; “…How can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4) Jesus responds; “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

                Even after Jesus had explained what being born again meant, Nicodemus was still puzzled at how this could be possible. Jesus tells him that if He were to tell him of earthly things, he would not believe, so Jesus asks him; “…how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12) Jesus goes on to explain that God has a plan and anyone who follows that plan can obtain Eternal Life; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John3:16-17)

After declaring these things, Jesus left with His Apostles to the land of Judaea, where they were baptizing. John was also baptizing in Enon, near Salim; “…because there was much water there…” (John 3:23) During the baptizing, a question arose between the Apostles and the Jews regarding purification during baptism. John tells them; “…A man can receive nothing, except it be given from heaven.” (John 3:27)

So, two things are taught about baptism; one you must have a lot of water, meaning you have to be baptized by immersion. Second, you must have the Authority from God to do the baptism. You cannot receive anything from man, except it be given from heaven first.

Luke 6

Luke 6: Blessing for the Obedient… woes for the Wicked

                On the second Sabbath, Jesus and His Apostles travel through a corn field and plucked ears of corn because they were hungry. Without having stepped much further the Scribes and Pharisees were ready to find fault and begin questioning Jesus; “…Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?” (Luke 6:2) Jesus responds; “…Have ye not read so much  as this, what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the showbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? …the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:3-5)

The Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus doing anything wrong, but even their so called mastery of the scriptures and the word of God was no match for the Son of God himself. The Pharisees did err, because they knew not the scriptures. How could they not see that Jesus was the Christ? The Son of God!?

Jesus continues His journey and enters into a Synagogue to teach, while He was there He saw a man whose right hand was withered. The Scribes and Pharisees again stood by waiting to see if Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath, and therefore find fault for having healed on the Sabbath. Jesus of course knew their intentions and asked the man to come near and stand up, He then asked the man; “…Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save a life, or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9) Jesus then asked the man to stretch forth his hand so he could heal it, and the hand was restored to a perfect condition.

The Pharisees were angered and communed with one another to figure out what to do with Jesus, for He was clearly violating what they had made up or misunderstood about His own law. The Sabbath day should be kept as a reverent, holy day unto the Lord. If at all possible we should avoid activities that draw away from the Savior or do not bring peace into our homes. Sabbath days are meant to be a day of rest, but also a day of service. The Sabbath is the time to go to church, worship God and spend time with Family. We should avoid working or shopping on this day, so that others can honor the Sabbath day.

Jesus leaves the Pharisees and goes to a mountain to pray (where He prays all night to decide who to call to be His Apostles), those chosen the next day are; Simon (who is also named Peter), Andrew, James, John, Phillips, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Judas and Judas Iscariot. Jesus speaks to His apostles and those gathered;

“…Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” (Luke 6:20-22)

Jesus taught that all things will be made right for those trials we go through in life. Jesus continues to address the people gathered; “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28) Jesus taught that we should love our enemies, regardless of what they do to us.

Jesus explains that we must be charitable and give unto others. For what we sow, so shall we reap; “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” (Luke 6:36-37)

Jesus continues by explaining that:

  • The blind cannot lead the blind (Luke 6:39-40)
  • Do not judge others when you, yourself are not perfect (Luke 6:41-42)
  • Every tree brings forth its own fruit, and is known by that fruit (Luke 6:43-45)

Most importantly Jesus explains that those who follow Him, and actually do as He has taught will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock, with a solid foundation. However, those who don’t listen to Jesus or follow His teachings will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the floods come the one without a foundation will be washed away. This metaphor can be used in our own lives, if we do not ground ourselves in the doctrines of Christ and follow Him each day… when the storms of Satan come and he tempts us, we might just give into those temptations and wash away.

Jesus asks those who follow Him; “…why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) Earlier in Matthew we read that Jesus taught; “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in haven.” (Matthew 7:21) Because of this, we are Saved by grace and good works. We cannot simply say we believe in Christ. To believe in Jesus, means that you believe His teachings, and if you believe His teachings you are a follower. Therefore if you follow Jesus, you believe in Him, are a follower of Him and do the will, and good works.