2 Nephi 31

2 Nephi 31: Baptism is Essential

                Nephi explains why baptism is so essential in the Gospel of Jesus Christ;

“…if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!” (2 Nephi 31:5)

If Jesus Christ, being perfect was baptized, how much more are we in need of baptism? Jesus Christ did not have to be baptized, but He did so, to show; “…the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.” (2 Nephi 31:7)

After Jesus Christ was baptized, the dove descended upon Him as a representation of the Holy Ghost and His willingness to follow the Commandments. Jesus Christ set the example, and those who believe in Him will follow in His footsteps.

 “…He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.” (2 Nephi 31:12)

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is promised to those who follow Jesus Christ and are baptized in His name.

“…if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 31:13)

Here in verse 13, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is outlined… first we must follow Him with full purpose of heart, without hypocrisy. We need to have FAITH, we then need to REPENT of our sins and be BAPTIZED in His name. After having been faithful and baptized in His name we will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the Laying on of Hands and then the last step is completely up to us… the ENDURE and follow Him throughout our lives, repenting anytime we fall short.

Are we saved by Faith alone? Absolutely not! We must endure to the end and always follow the commandments of God. Nephi explains how just faith and baptism is only the first steps in Salvation….

“…. [after baptism] ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20)

We need to understand that after we have faith in Jesus Christ, we need to abound in good works by keeping the commandments. Good works alone will not grant anyone salvation, but faith without works is dead. Faith requires action.

Nephi reminds us that only through Jesus Christ can we be saved; “And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.” (2 Nephi 31:21)

 

Moses 6

Moses 6: Enoch Preaches the Gospel Plan

                God continues to tell Moses about Adam and Eve and his offspring…

“…Adam hearkened unto the voice of God, and called upon his sons to repent…. Adam knew his wife again, and she bare a son, and he called his name Seth…  Adam glorified the name of God; for he said: God hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” (Moses 6:1-2)

Now, Seth was good in the eyes of the Lord and offered acceptable sacrifice like his brother Abel. “…And to him also was born a son, and he called his name Enos.” (Moses 6:3)These men began to call upon the name of the Lord, and they were blessed for it. God tells Moses that Adam and his offspring kept “…a book of remembrance was kept…  in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration; And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled.” (Moses 6:5-6) Here we learn that not only were these children righteous, many of Adams offspring also knew how to read and write!

We also learn that Adam and his offspring were given the Priesthood from God Himself, and that; “…this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also.” (Moses 6:7) Adam kept a record of his family and created a book of his generations (see verse 8).

8 Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by theHoly Ghost, and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam, saying: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

God goes on to explain to Moses that; “…Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image, and called his name Seth… after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years, and he begat many sons and daughters; … all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.” (Moses 6:10-12) Adam lived for 930 years!

Seth (who died at the age of 912 – see verse 16), the son of Adam went on to have many sons and daughters including Enos. The posterity of Adam was “…numerous upon all the face of the land. And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power.” (Moses 6:15)

God goes on to explain more of the genealogy of Adam;

“…Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan… Enos lived, after he begat Cainan, eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat many sons and daughters. And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years, and he died… Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel; and Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died…Mahalaleel lived sixty-five years, and begat Jared; and Mahalaleel lived, after he begat Jared, eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died… Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begat Enoch; and Jared lived, after he begat Enoch, eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God” (Moses 6:17-21)

God explains that because Satan raged in the hearts of men, God had to call the righteous men to teach them. So God called preachers of righteousness who; “… spake and prophesied, and called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; and faith was taught unto the children of men.” (Moses 6:23) From this we learn that the work of bringing souls to God has existed since the dawn of time. Jared lived until the age of 962, before he died.  At the age of 65, Enoch had Methuselah. One day Enoch was traveling when God descended upon him from heaven and said;

“…Enoch, my son, prophesy unto this people, and say unto them—Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off; And for these many generations, ever since the day that I created them, have they gone astray, and have denied me, and have sought their own counsels in the dark; and in their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments, which I gave unto their father, Adam.” (Moses 6:27-28)

God had commanded Enoch to warn the children of Adam that they were breaking God’s commandments and following after Satan. He warned that those who did not cease from their actions and repent immediately would be destroyed. Enoch bowed himself before the Lord and asked; “…Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” (Moses 6:31) The Lord responded to Enoch saying; “…Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good. Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.” (Moses 6:32-33)

Despite the fact that Enoch was slow at speech, God gave him a commandment and promised him that if he was faithful that His Spirit would be with him and all the words he needed would come forth. So, Enoch went forth and preached among men, and was hated for it; “…all men were offended because of him.” (Moses 6:37) However, the Lord promised to protect Enoch and; “…it came to pass when they heard him, no man laid hands on him; for fear came on all them that heard him; for he walked with God.” (Moses 6: 39)

With Enoch’s presence and the words he spoke, it brought forth a great deal of attention. There came a man named Mahijah, questioning Enoch;

“…Tell us plainly who thou art, and from whence thou comest? And he [Enoch] said unto them: I came out from the land of Cainan, the land of my fathers, a land of righteousness unto this day. And my father taught me in all the ways of God. And it came to pass, as I journeyed from the land of Cainan, by the sea east, I beheld a vision; and lo, the heavens I saw, and the Lord spake with me, and gave me commandment; wherefore, for this cause, to keep the commandment, I speak forth these words.” (Moses 6:40-42)

Enoch went on to explain that God created the Heavens and the Earth, and that death will one day come upon them, for it is written in the book of remembrance that even Adam died. After hearing these words the people were scared of his presence, because he spoke with authority from God. Enoch said that because; “…Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe. Behold Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God. But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent…  If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.” (Moses 6:48-52) This is very important doctrine that Enoch taught to the offspring of Adam. Because Adam (their father, and the first man) fell, death came into the world and so all men and women became partakers of misery and woe. However, God made a plan for us to return to Him and overcome this world of misery and woe. If we hearken unto the voice of God and repent of our sins and overcome the temptations of the Devil… we can return to live with God.

Why do we need to be baptized?

God explains that Adam asked Him; “…Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.” (Moses 6:53-54) Because God has forgiven the transgression of Adam and Eve, we must be baptized in water to obtain the promise of returning to live with God again. Because Jesus Christ would go on to Atone for the sins of the world, this ‘original sin’ was no longer, because Jesus Christ ATONED for that sin. We are born into this world to experience life and learn to overcome sin, so that we might better ourselves. In this life we will; “…taste the bitter, that [we] may know to prize the good. And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves…” (Moses 6:55-56)

Enoch goes on to teach the people and asks the offspring of Adam to continue to teach this to their children; “…that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence…” (Moses 6:57)

Why the Fall of Adam?

“…by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;” (Moses 6:59-60) The Fall of Adam had to occur in order to bring forth Agency among men, that we might learn for ourselves, be baptized (born again) into the Kingdom of God.

God goes on to explain to Moses that He gave us the Holy Ghost to be a comforter in this life, and that all things bear record of Him. God explains that even Adam was baptized;

“…Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.” (Moses 6:64-65)

1 John 5

1 John 5: Saints are Born of God

                John explains that all Saints are born of God and that those who love God; “…keep his commandments…” (1 John 5:3) For those same people who love God and who keep the commandments of God; “…overcometh the world…” (1 John 5:4) Jesus Christ overcame the world, and we can too! For not only by water; “…but by water and blood.” (1 John 5:5) did Jesus Christ sacrifice Himself for us, setting the example.

By the Spirit we may know the truth of things, for the “…witness of God is greater…” (1 John 5:9) John goes on to explain the purpose of what Jesus Christ did for us; “…God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:11-12)

John explains that those who have faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ will have confidence’ “…that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he will hear us; And if we know that he hear us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15) In other words, God will answer our prayers according to His own will. This can be likened to a little child attempting to touch a hot stove. Obviously the parent says not to, because it’ll burn them! However, as little children in the eyes of God, we often want something, but God repeatedly says no. Why? Because He knows best and does not want us to be burned!

1 John 3

1 John 3: We Shall be Like Christ

                John opens with a very powerful explanation of the Love of God, more specifically the love that God has for us; “…what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God… now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-3) Isn’t this powerful? We are literally God’s offspring, making us the sons and daughters of the God the Eternal Father! John explains that when we see Him, we shall be LIKE HIM! After all we were made in His image. This means that we have UNLIMIMITED potential!

John also explains that; “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin…” (1 John 3:9) Therefore little children cannot sin. This means that little children do not need to be baptized, for baptism is for the remission of sins.

As followers of Christ we will often be ridiculed, but John says; “Marvel not, my brethren, If the world hate you.” (1 John 3:13) It is inevitable, if you are following Jesus Christ, the world WILL hate you. If we follow God and His commandments then “…whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22) Beyond loving Jesus Christ, we also need to love our fellow man, this combined with the keeping of the commandments will ensure that we have His spirit with us always.

Titus 3

Titus 3: After Baptism, Live Righteously

                Paul explains to Titus that after baptism, those who become members of Christ’s Church, must be; “…subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready for every good work. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3: 1-2)

As Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have often explained that we follow after the words of Paul, for he was an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ. One of our Articles of Faith explains; “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (Articles of Faith 1:12)

Paul goes on to explain that just because someone is a member of Christ’s Church, does not mean that they are perfect; “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating on another.” (Titus 3:3) But Paul makes it clear that whether that was in the past or present, we can always better ourselves through Jesus Christ, who shed his blood for us. Paul urges the members of the church to “…avoid foolish questions… contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.” (Titus 3:9) Essentially Paul is telling us that we should not argue over the scriptures, but rather put them into practice and follow Jesus Christ. We should not be judgmental of how others worship Christ, but instead worship Christ.

 

 

Colossians 2

Colossians 2: Beware of Deceit

                Paul warns the Colossians in Colosse about men who will come to them and attempt to confuse them with ‘doctrine of men’;

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

Paul explains that only through Christ can we be ‘complete’. Paul expounds on how baptism should be performed;

“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12) Notice how he said ‘buried with him’, this means baptism by immersion. In our baptism is represents the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we follow him as a new and clean person. We should leave our sins behind in the baptismal font.

Ephesians 4

Ephesians 4: Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ

Paul opens this letter by explaining that there is “…one body, and one Spirit…” (Ephesians 4:4), which means that there is one purpose behind all of God’s works. Paul goes on to further exclaim that there is “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5)

                What is Paul saying here? He is saying that there is only one God, One Savior [Jesus Christ], and one baptism… which also means there can only be one Authority. Paul explains that there is “One God and Father of all… unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:6-7) So we learn that there can only be one Lord, one faith and one baptism… so the question arises; Why are there so many religions? Different Faiths? Different Baptisms?

Paul goes on to explain the organization of Christ’s Church: “…he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be not more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may group up into him all the things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-15)

From these five verses we learn a lot about how Jesus Christ’s Church must be set up; it must have an organized body to administer His Church on the earth, including: Apostles, Prophets, Pastors and Teachers. Those who hold those positions are CALLED to them, and do not receive money for being in them. These people called to the work and given the authority from Jesus Christ himself can guide the church and receive revelation for the Saints [members] in the church, that they might edifying the body [the members] of Christ. The reason for God calling Prophets and Apostles is simple, so that we can be guided by men called of Christ and not just those men who ‘lie in wait to deceive’. This is the reason there are so many religions, churches and faiths… because it is profitable. Over thousands of years since the death of Jesus Christ there have been evil men who distort doctrines and confuse the masses. Because of this we have so many religions today… when in reality there can only be one.

Paul explains that one day, when everyone is united and everyone believes on Jesus Christ, that there will be no reason for this same organization because Christ will reign as King. Paul urges the Saints to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth… let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you… by ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving… even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29, 31-32)