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)

 

2 Timothy 2

2 Timothy 2: Eternal Glory for the Elect

                Paul writes to Timothy and explains that Timothy will need to “…endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3) Everyone who follows Jesus Christ needs to know that as followers, it is possible to experience or endure hardness. Persecution can and will happen!

Paul explains that “…if a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Timothy 2:5) – In other words, if someone wants to master something, they must follow the rules of that something. For example: Someone who competes in a sporting event must follow the rules of that event in order to have the chance of becoming victorious. If someone competing breaks the rules, they usually become disqualified for the prize. This is the same as our lives on earth, we are here to learn and prove ourselves worthy to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Just as the farmer must labor to obtain fruit, so must we also labor to obtain the fruit (the reward) or eternal life! “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” (2 Timothy 2:6)

Paul explains that Jesus Christ was the seed of David and was raised from the dead, Paul says that he endures all things for His sake; for if “…we deny him, he also will deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:12) Paul urges the followers of Christ to “…strive not about words to no profit, but… Study to shew thyself approved unto God…” (2 Timothy 2:14-15) We should not waste our time with things that have no profit to us, instead we should be well studied, so that we can obtain as much knowledge in this life.

Paul leaves us with some very good advice;

“Flee… youthful lusts; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace… the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves…” (2 Timothy 2:22; 24-25)

1 Timothy 6

1 Timothy 6: Money = Root of all Evil

                Paul explains that there are men who have “…corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw theyself.” (1 Timothy 6:5) Paul tells us that we should not associate ourselves with those who love money. Paul goes on to explain; “For we brought noting into this world, and it is certain we carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:7) Therefore, we should focus on things that do leave with us… our bodies, our minds and our service unto others.

Paul explains that “… the love of money is the root of all evil…” (1 Timothy 6:10)

Instead of loving money and material possessions, we should “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” (1 Timothy 6:12)

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 1: Teach ONLY the Doctrine

                Paul writes a letter to his son Timothy, and asks him to command that local church leaders in Ephesus and Macedonia (among others) to “…teach no other doctrine.” (1 Timothy 1:3) During this time it was probably common practice for local leaders to stray slightly from the real doctrine and perhaps teach their own views, or tell stories that are more tradition than fact. Paul encourages his son to not “…give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith…” (1 Timothy 1:4) Essentially Paul is explaining that it is not important to know every detail about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because often times this intense studying of the gospel only leads to questions that may or may not edify someone in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Paul goes on to explain that all we need to know/have (as followers of Christ) is charity and a pure heart. Paul explains that many, who desire to be teachers of the law (and gospel); teach things that are not necessarily correct or true. Because of this, they do not understand; “…what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” (1 Timothy 1:7)

                Paul teaches us that no one is perfect, and for this purpose; “…Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Timothy 1:15) However, we need to strive to be perfect and strive to be like Jesus; “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” (1 Timothy 1:19) In other words, we are not perfect. However, we should strive to be perfect and hold our faith so that we aren’t led away by the devil.

Acts 14

Acts 14: The Spreading of the Gospel

                Paul and Barnabas go into a synagogue in Iconium where they preach to the Jews and Greeks. Unfortunately only half of the people believe in them and the other half desired to kill them. Paul and Barnabas seeing there might be trouble flee to Lystria where they continued to preach the Gospel. While in Lystra, Paul heals a lame man, and the excited crowds declare that both Paul and Barnabas are gods in men form visiting the earth.

Jews from Iconium had followed Paul to persecute him, they stone him and think that they had stoned him to death… but he manages to escape and got to Antioch, where many churches are established. Paul reminds the Saints in the area that “…we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) Essentially he is saying that if you believe in Jesus Christ and follow his commandments there will always be someone, with evil intent, who will persecute you. Believers will always be tested through tribulations, but if they endure well… God will reward them on high!

Psalms 117-118

Psalms 117-118

Chapter 117: The Truth Endureth forever.

Praise the Lord and know that His truth endures forever!

Chapter 118: The Head Stone

“It is better to put trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalms 118:8)

                We need to understand that the Lord and His truth enure forever. Men will always try to deceive and tell us what is right. But we need to take strict heed to the counsel of this verse. Do not put our trust or confidence in man, but only in the Lord.

“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.” (Psalms 118:22) Jesus is the headstone, so we read; the man which the people refused, became the Saviour of man. This is essentially the same thing. It would be like construction workers refusing to accept the only stone that would complete and hold up their structure and by placing anything else their as the “head stone” the building will not stand.

We know that this verse is referring to Jesus because later in Acts 4:10-11 we read; “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner”

                Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.