1 Timothy 3

1 Timothy 3: Qualifications: Bishops/Deacons

                Paul explains to Timothy the qualifications for a Bishop in the Church;

“…If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine… not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:1-5)

                In the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, a.k.a The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Bishops and all leaders of the church are not paid, nor can they be ‘elected’ or ‘work’ towards obtaining these positions. All positions in the church are given based off revelation.

                Paul also lays down the requirements for Deacons in the Church;

“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre…” (1 Timothy 3:8)

Deacons in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are 12-14 years of age and provide the first taste of leadership in the church and in their own lives. We can understand from this chapter that Paul wanted Timothy to understand the importance of these sacred roles and for those who hold those titles to do so reverently.

1 Thessalonians 5

1 Thessalonians 5: The Last Days…

 

Paul writes to the Thessalonians and tells them that they do not need reminders to know that they themselves “…know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3) Paul exhorts them to be mindful of the day of the Lord, and reminds them that they “…are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6) He urges those in the Last Days to not only be sober, but to put “…on the breastplate of faith and love; and… an helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

He urges the members of the Church of Jesus Christ to edify one another and to work for the sake of love. He asks that peace be among the followers of Christ and to support the weak and be “…patient toward all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

 

Paul begins to end his letter with some wisdom;

“Rejoice evermore.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

                                In other words; be happy always.

                “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

                                In other words; Pray ALWAYS! Day and Night!

                “In everything give thanks…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

                                In other words; be humble and realize ALL of your blessings.

                “Quench [do not suppress] not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

In other words; Do not do anything that would offend the Spirit. Follow the commandments so you can always have the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

“Despise not prophesyings.” (1 Thessalonians 5:20)

In other words; We need to listen to prophecy and revelation, even if we don’t 100% agree.

                “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

In other words; We need to be knowledgable and know what is TRUE and FALSE. Those things that are good, we should hold on to!

                “Abstain from the appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

In other words; Just because you aren’t breaking the commandments of God, doing something that even appears to be bad should not be done.

Finally Paul asks all the members of the Church to “…pray for us.” (1 Thessalonians 5:25) This is a reminder that we should pray for all the divinely appointed leaders of Christ’s Church.

 

1 Thessalonians 2

1 Thessalonians 2: Purpose of Missionaries to Converts

                Chapter two of 1 Thessalonians is one of my favorite chapters. As a Missionary serving in Honduras I found this chapter to ring true. I have included the entire chapter below with my commentary.

 “For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2: 1-4)

As a young Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I found that we would speak to all sorts of different people. Our message was simple; Jesus Christ lives! He Restored His Gospel and His Church on the earth. Today we have modern prophets that act as His mouthpiece. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can all be saved and one day return to live with our Heavenly Father. I found that although our message was simple, many people liked to speak harsh words and contend with us. But one thing was for sure is that we did not come to please the ears of men, but rather God. Our message was taught through the Holy Ghost and not through our words. Our words were just that, words. No one was ever converted by our words, but rather how they felt about our words.

                “ For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. “1 Thessalonians 2: 5-9)

                As a Missionary, never did I want to trick someone into believing something. Either you believed or you did not, either way I loved everyone I came into contact with. Those who converted and found Jesus Christ, I rejoiced with them. Because as Paul puts it, they were dear unto us.

“ Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judæa are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” (1 Thessalonians 2:10-16)

As representatives of Jesus Christ and His Church, were acted holy, just and unblameably before those who believed on Him. When the people listened to us, they heard God speak, not men. As a Missionary we are instruments in God’s hands and as such those who heard our words, heard them as the truth.

“ But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20)

                I understand Paul greatly when he is saddened at not being able to be with those converts he so loved! When I left Honduras I was sad, and I desire to return and spend time with second family in Honduras. As a Missionary or Servant of the Lord, the greatest joy you can have is in those people you brought unto the presence of God!

1 Thessalonians 1

1 Thessalonians 1: The Gospel = Word and Power

                Paul addresses the Thessalonians and explains that he came unto them in word and power;

                “For our gospel, came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

                This chapter, although short, is very powerful. Paul explains that he is not just a minister of word, but actually has POWER from God. This power or “Authority” is necessary in the ordinances of the gospel and is needed for the TRUE Church of Jesus Christ.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the power of the Priesthood and its restoration began on May 15, 1829 when the resurrected John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to confer the Aaronic Priesthood upon them.

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)

Ephesians 3

Ephesians 3: The Love of Christ

                Paul opens his letter to the Ephesians by explaining that through Apostles and Prophets, God has “…made known unto me [Paul, an Apostle] the mystery… whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:3-4)

Paul explains this so that we can understand the importance of not only the prophets, but their teachings [the scriptures], so that we can understand and know the mysteries of Christ. Paul goes on to explain that in times before, those mysteries were “…not made know unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit;” (Ephesians 3:5) This further helps us to understand the importance of prophets that we can continue to reveal more of those mysteries through modern day Apostles and Prophets.

Paul explains to the Saints [the members of the Church], that they can overcome their own personal tribulations in this life, through faith and love in Jesus Christ; “…faint not at my tribulations for you… That he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his spirit.” (Ephesians 3:13,16) 

Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2: Saved by Grace through Faith

                Paul explains that we are saved by grace that we might “…sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 4:8-9)

                We are indeed saved by grace, through faith on the name of Jesus Christ and not from works. In order to understand the FREE gift of Grace, we must understand what it means to have Faith in Jesus Christ. Having Faith in Jesus Christ means that we accept Him in our hearts, which means that we accept all of His teachings! If we say we accept Jesus Christ and then ignore His commandments, we are not accepting his grace through our faith. Paul does say that grace is not achieved through works, and this is absolutely true… you cannot only do good works and never accept Jesus Christ. You have to do both, but like he said… to not do them unto boasting.

Jesus Christ Himself said; “Not every one that saith unto, 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) See what Paul is trying to say after we read what Jesus said in Matthew? Being saved is not just about a verbal; “I accept Jesus Christ” neither is it a “I do good works, so I should be given grace”… rather it is about having Faith in Jesus Christ and desiring to live like Him!

Jesus goes on to state; “Many will say to me in that day [the day of judgment]. Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have we cast out devils? And thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23) Jesus clearly tells us that if we don’t have true Faith in Him, it does not matter how many times we claim to be doing good in His name, nor does it matter how many times we say His name, or say that we accept Him. It is a combination of good works that are brought on by our faith in Him.

Paul explains that if we do what is right and follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, following the example He gave to us, we can be saved. He then tells the Saint in Ephesus that they “…are not more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone;” (Ephesians 2:19-20)

                As Saints [members of Christ’s church] are not strangers, but fellow citizens of His household, which is built on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets. This is the same organization that exists in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.