Monday, May 03, 2021

Come Follow Me: D&C 46-48

 D&C 46

This section discusses the importance of allowing people into most of our meetings. There were some who felt that only members should attend the Sacrament meeting. In this, the Lord clarified that peaceable people should be invited and welcomed into our open meetings.

"But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils." (vs 7)

Note that there are doctrines of God, men and devils. (see also 3 Ne 27:11). Only the doctrines and commandments of God can bring us eternal life and joy. As Jesus notes in 3 Ne 27, the doctrines and commandments of men and devils will bring temporary happiness, but eventually bring us down into misery. The world is swirling today with various beliefs. Whether they be political, social, emotional, or intellectual, if they are not based on the teachings of Christ, they will fail.  

It isn't that these things are necessarily devoid of truth. They lack the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For example, there's nothing wrong with the concept of evolution, as long as it is connected with God and Creation. However, when God is taken out of the equation, suddenly evolution lacks an important and key element: the power of God that initiated the process.

So it is with any other doctrine or teaching. If God did not inspire it, it is not from Him. It is incomplete at best, and devilish at worst. While the Pharisees taught the Mosaic Law, their teaching was incomplete without the Messiah. Christ warned that the Pharisees were stopping others from entering heaven by their corrupt teachings.

It is very important to separate out our personal beliefs from actual doctrine of Christ. There is not much core doctrine in the Church. Most of what we believe is actually speculation. Christ is our Redeemer is doctrine. HOW that redemption occurred exactly, falls into the realm of speculation. Christ created the world is doctrine. HOW he created the world is in the realm of speculation. The same holds true in politics, where there currently is a battle in the Republican party for where it is going: does it hold onto Donald Trump, or does it accept Mitt Romney as a good Republican conservative? The same goes with the Democrat party, which is battling between being moderate and socialist.

"Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;

"For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts." (vs 8-9)

How many of us are deceived by the doctrines of men or devils? Do we really believe that a politician can save us? Do we really believe that some actor or rock star can bring us eternal happiness. It isn't that these are necessarily bad, but they can deter us from what is Celestial. President Dallin H. Oaks noted the difference in his talk, "Good, Better, Best."

D&C 46 then speaks of the Gifts of the Spirit. Each of us is given at least one gift, if not more. At times, we may have one gift and other times another. 

Are we seeking out the "best gifts?"

Brigham Young’s counselor, George Q. Cannon noted this about the gifts of the Spirit:

” We find, even among those who have embraced the Gospel hearts of unbelief. How many of you, my brethren and sisters, are seeking for these gifts that God has promised to bestow? How many of you, when you bow before your Heavenly Father in your family circle or in your secret places, contend for these gifts to be bestowed upon you? How many of you ask the Father, in the name of Jesus, to manifest Himself to you through these powers and these gifts? Or do you go along day by day like a door turning on its hinges, without having any feeling on the subject, without exercising any faith whatever; content to be baptized and be members of the Church, and to rest there, thinking that your salvation is secure because you have done this? I say to you, in the name of the Lord, as one of His servants, that you have need to repent of this. You have need to repent of your hardness of heart, of your indifference, and of your carelessness. There is not that diligence, there is not that faith, there is not that seeking for the power of God that there should be among a people who have received the precious promises we have.....

“I feel to bear testimony to you, my brethren and sisters, ... that God is the same today as He was yesterday; that God is willing to bestow these gifts upon His children.... If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections. If I am an angry man, it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind….So with all the gifts of the Gospel. They are intended for this purpose. No man ought to say, "Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature." He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them. If a man lack wisdom, it is his duty to ask God for wisdom. The same with everything else. That is the design of God concerning His Church. He wants His Saints to be perfected in the truth. For this purpose He gives these gifts, and bestows them upon those who seek after them, in order that they may be a perfect people upon the face of the earth, notwithstanding their many weaknesses, because God has promised to give the gifts that are necessary for their perfection.” (Millennial Star, 23 Apr. 1894, 260)

The prophet Mormon noted the greatest gift is charity, and explained:

"But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:47-48)

Seeking the gifts of the Spirit is one of the key things to prevent us from being deceived by men or devils. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is guided by revelation - a very important gift of the Spirit. President Nelson has frequently encouraged us to seek for personal revelation. Are we actively seeking gifts, like revelation and charity, or are we just a door swinging on its hinges? 

Are we willing to give up many of our current beliefs, so that God can reveal his higher truths to us? Are we willing to change, so that God can work his mighty work within us? Are we ready to have God reveal himself to us? Just what are we seeking most in life? How much effort do we give to seeking God and his kingdom through the gifts of the Spirit?

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