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.

Romans 15

Romans 15: Fellowshiping…

Paul reminds the Saints in the Church that those who are strong, need to lend a hand to those who are weak; “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” (Romans 15:1-2) But we learn that we don’t lend a hand to please ourselves or anyone else. We don’t do good for praise. We do good, for the sake of doing good. We are supposed to edify and uplift each other up. Being strong, can mean being physical, mental, emotional or spiritually strong. Those who lack in those areas, need to be edified.

Paul explains that what the prophets wrote of old is for their learning; “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) The writing he was referring to was the Old Testament, because the New Testament was happening at that time. This goes to show that revelation is constant and having an open Canon of scriptures is important for Revelation. The Old Testament doesn’t lose its value when introduced to the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon does not discredit the Old or New Testaments, but constantly builds on each other… with one end goal; to believe on Jesus Christ and receive our Eternal Salvation.

Paul sums up what we must do to fellowship one another as believers of Jesus Christ; “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)

John 15

John 15: The World Hates the Truth

Jesus explains that He is; “…the true vine, and [His] Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1) Jesus tells us that everyone must abide with Him, because any branch that brings forth bad fruit will be cut off from Him. In this way the Father gets only the best fruit. Jesus explains; “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:9-10) Jesus has made it clear that we cannot love Himself or God, if we do not follow His commandments. But Jesus promises us that the commandments are for our own good; “These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11) Simply put, following the commandments and living a righteous life, will lead to joy and happiness. Living a life of wickedness that is void of commandments, will only lead to pain and sorrow.

Jesus imparts the most important commandment, which truly does cover all commandments; “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) If we Love one another, we will automatically follow all of God’s commandments.

Jesus explains that we “…are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you my friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever yer shall ask of the Father in my name he may give it you.” (John 15:14-16) Jesus loves us so much that we are not only His friends, but His family. Anything the Father has revealed to Him, He has revealed to us.

Jesus knew that shortly after His now impending death, that the Apostles and followers of Christ would be persecuted, and would be persecuted throughout all time. So, He leaved His followers with some encouragement; “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) He explains that as they have persecuted Him, so will they persecute anyone who believes on His name. He reminds everyone that; “…They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:25) So will those who persecute the believers of Christ, be persecuted without a cause.

Luke 10

Luke 10: The Seventy

“…the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place…” (Luke 10:1)

Jesus then explains to the newly organized group of the ‘Seventy’ that the harvest is great, but the laborers are few. He tells them that he sends them as sheep, among the wolves. He gives them instruction to carry no money, and upon entering a house to say; “…Peace be to this house.” (Luke 10:5) and in whatever house a Seventy or Missionary should enter to “…eat such things as are set before you:” (Luke 10:8)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also has a Quorum of the Seventy, as shown in the below Organization of Christ’s Restored Church:

ldschurchstructure

Jesus tells them exactly what to say if a city rejects them…

“Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.” (Luke 10:11-15)

Jesus tells the Seventy that those “…that heareth you heareth me: and he that despiseth you despiseth me…” (Luke 10:16) The Seventy shout for Joy at their new callings! They explain; “…even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” (Luke 10:17) Jesus tells them to not rejoice because they have the power over devils, but rejoice because their names will be written in heaven. Jesus explains that He is happy that God the Father has “…hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes…” (Luke 10:21) Essentially Jesus is telling them, and the reader today that the things of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are not perceived by wisdom, but by the simple of understanding and knowledge; ‘babes’. Jesus tells the Seventy that they should be grateful for knowing the things they know, because many rulers have desired to know and see the things which they had witnessed.

A man among them, who was an attorney, asks Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks him how he interprets the writings and he explains to Jesus that all he needs to do is “…love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and all thy strength and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” (Luke 10:27) Jesus tells the man that he is correct, but the man then asks Jesus; “…who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)

In response to the man’s question, Jesus tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan…

                “…A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment [clothes], and wounded him, and departed leaving him half dead…. There came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” (Luke 10:30-32)

                So, there was a ‘certain man’, who we assume was Jewish, but may or may not have been Jewish, is robbed, beaten and left for dead. The road he was on was probably heavily traveled, so it is not surprising that two people had walked by him in a fairly short period of time. Although time is not mentioned, I personally believe that the events all took place within the same daylight. Both a priest and a Levite pass the man, forgetting the simple ‘love thy neighbor’.

Jesus continues the Parable; “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” (Luke 10:33-35)

Good-Samaritan-Mormon

So, we learn that no matter what faith, gender or race we should show compassion on one another. Jesus asks the man who proposed the ‘who is my neighbor’ question, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves? And he said He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go and do thou likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

The answer to the man’s question was easy, and the Parable of the Good Samaritan really hammers the message home. No matter who we are dealing with, even our enemies… when someone needs help we help!

Mark 12

Mark 12: Taxes, Celestial Marriage, Two Great Commandments

Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees and the Scribes, tells them of the Parable of the Husbandmen;

“…A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to the husbandmen, and went into a far country.” (Mark 12:1)

Jesus explains that God built the world; the ‘vineyard’ and left people to tend it.

“And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed and many others; beating some, and killing some.” (Mark 12:2-5)

Jesus explains that God Prophets to the world; the ‘servants’ to receive the fruit of the ‘vineyard’. However, every time that God sent someone to the people of His world, they rejected them. Some of the prophets were wounded, beaten or killed.

Finally God sends His ONLY BEGOTTEN, His Son. “…he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.” (Mark 12:6-9)

God, after having sent all His servants, sent His Son, Jesus Christ to the world. However, the people rejected Jesus as well. Therefore when God returns to His vineyard, He will destroy those who do wickedly.

After hearing this; the Scribes and Pharisees knew that Jesus spoke of them in that Parable, and they feared the reaction of the people. Instead they decided they would try and catch Jesus in His words. They come to Jesus to tempt Him; “…Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” (Mark 12:14)

                Jesus, being frustrated, asks them why they tempt Him and commands them to bring Him a penny. After they brought Him the coin, He asked them; “…Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s…” (Mark 12:16-17) They were astonished by His teaching.

The Sadducees then came to Jesus to ask Him about Resurrection; “Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.” (Mark 12:19) They go on to explain that the wife ends up marrying all 7 brothers, never raising any children. They ask him, when the wife finally dies, whose wife will she be? After all she had been married to all of them, right? Jesus responds to them; “…Do ye therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24) Jesus goes on to explain that marriage will not be given in the next life, because God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

One of the scribes, perceiving that Jesus had answered very well, desired to know which of all the commandments was the greatest? Jesus responds; “… thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and will all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

                While Jesus sat and discussed these doctrines, a poor woman came into the treasury of the temple and cast two mites, which made a farthing into the treasury. Jesus stood up and said; “…Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did was cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:43-44) We too should give more than just our ‘abundance’, but be generous in helping others and giving beyond what we are expected.