Sunday, June 30, 2013

Farewell Talk

    Today I’m going to speak on the eternal goal and commandment of each individual and member here today, and that is to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.  And as members of His holy Church, it is our duty and obligation to become his disciples for, in D&C 41:5 it reads “He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you.”

You all here have been taught and received his law, now you must, for it is commanded, to do his law. For the greater sin is found with greater knowledge. So it is our duty as members to become his disciples and to obey his law and live his gospel.

    Now becoming a disciple isn’t an easy thing to do. You can’t wake up one morning and decide you want to be better and follow Christ. Discipleship does have a beginning, but it will never have an ending. Discipleship is a continuous, eternal process. It is never given, it is only earned, and then maintained. It’s a journey that you must walk for the entire duration of your life. Once started, it is never finished. It is slowly gained, by “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little.” Each day should be a day of newer and higher understanding of Christ. We should daily be edifying ourselves to become Christ’s Disciples.

    The cost of discipleship is very great. It may not be finical, but it is a cost in action, performance and time. The cost is you, not what you have, but what you are. Christ wants people, not possessions.

    In D&C 4:2 it reads, “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” He requires your heart, might, mind, and strength. Not some of it, not a small portion only on sundays. But he requires all of it everyday. He wants all of your heart, all of your might, all of you mind, and all of your strength. God wants all of you.

    This point is clearly demonstrated in Luke 9: 57-62. Forgive me for the long set of verses, but considering Bishop makes me read these every week, I consider these to be very important verses on the requirements of discipleship. “And it came to pass that as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Now, this man is like all of us, we has members, just want to follow Christ.

 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Following Christ isn’t easy. It’s a hard, cruel, rejectful lifestyle. Just like Christ and his apostles, you will be hated and scorn by man. But, where’s the blessings without first the trial.
Continuing to verse 59 it says, “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”

    Now these are reasonable requests. To bury one’s father and to simply say goodbyes. Now I’m sure the Lord was exaggerating to make a point. He values families above all else, but his point was, that you should value Him, even before your family. God must always come first. To be a disciple, God must come first.

    Christ taught in Luke 14: 26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Now this sounds viscous. We have to hate our families and ourselves? NO! Of course not, families are essential to Christ’s plan. Love your families. But again, Christ exaggerated to make a point. You must love God more than you family and yourself, if and only then, can you become a disciple of Christ. When Christ becomes the center of your life.

    Brothers and sisters, you cannot commit yourself to Christ, you cannot become his disciplse, and then long for your previous life. Christ wants commitment. Take Lot’s Wife for example, she was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back. Now, it wasn’t the single act of her turning her head to look back that caused her to turn into salt, but it was the desire to go back, to go back to her previously life and to reject her commitment to Christ. Christ wants commitment. The world will constantly try to lure you back in, but you can’t look back. You can’t love your home, family, friends, significant others, possessions or anything else more than God. You’ve put your hand to the plough, you’ve dedicated and committed yourself to Christ, you can’t look back, only look heavenward.

    In JST  Luke 9:24–25 (Appendix) 24  For whosoever will save his life, must be willing to lose it for my sake; and whosoever will be willing to lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. And in D&C 103:28 we read “And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.”  Christ wants you. And as his members, and disciples, he wants you to serve him with everything that you are, and if it comes to it, death. Just like Abinidi, and Stephan, he wants you to die praising his name. Being selfish and perusing personal desires, worldly ones, leads to you losing your life. Or what I think it means, is losing your exaltation. You may not physically die, but you’ll die in spirit, you’ll loose your exaltation because You can’t reach it because the worldly chains that bind you down won’t allow you ascend. But obeying and pursuing God’s desires, losing oneself in His work, leads to eternal life and Eternal exaltation.

    The path of discipleship and exaltation is a road of great costs, but even greater rewards. In Romans 8: 16-17. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” I love this passage because not only does it say we are children of God destined to be kings and queens, but it says we must become kings and queens through Christ if we suffer as he did. If we become disciples of Christ, and suffer and labor as he did, then we will be heirs to God, and to have everything that God has.

    To be Christ’s disciple, he requires all of you, he wants your heart, might, mind and strength, til death. But the costs of us becoming Christ’s disciples are minuet compared to what he did for us. Christ gave his life for us, he endured every pain from every person ever in existence. Christ sacrifice himself for us. So to honor that sacrifice, it is only fair that we give all of ourselves to him. And through him, we can gain our exaltation.   

    A disciple is many things. He is Obedient, humble, loving, patient, faithful, hard-working and many others. But the first law of discipleship is that of obedience. To quote my brother-in-law, “Obedience brings power and safety.” He gave this advice for my mission, but I believe it also is advice for life and discipleship. If you obey God, and willfully do all of God’s Commandments, then you will be blessed with power; power in the priesthood, power in faith, power in ability, power in confidence, power to work, and power to achieve. You will be blessed with a portion of godly power. That Power that must be respected. Also in addition to obedience. You will be blessed with safety. Safety from the vile, hurtful, sinful, mean, abusive, painful, and any other ungodly thing. For as we follow him, “He will make our weak things become strong” our faults and weaknesses will become strengths, and we will be protected from any harmful thing that we could not otherwise withstand. Our past weaknesses that would’ve normally cause us harm, he will make strong to provide us with safety. This is all obtained as we heed the commandments.

    A disciple of Christ is meek and humble, a disciple is one who “yields to the enticings of the holy spirit.” He isn’t puffed up in his own authority, but rather humble enough to give God the glory and to follow the promptings given unto him. A disciple is so passionate and involved in Christ’s gospel that he “lays hold upon every good thing.” And to paraphrase  Elder Merrill J. Bateman, “When you believe in Christ strongly enough to believe that He knows and cares about you and will respond to your prayers and needs, you will lay hold on the good.” A disciple of Christ believes in Christ, and his ability to want to respond and act to our prayers. And because of that believe, a disciple wants to follow Christ and lay hold upon the good and following the promptings given by His holy spirit.

    Now, a disciple of Christ is not only a man or woman of meekness and passion, but also of action. Discipleship is participation. And participation means you get out and perform the work. Rather than staying at home and edifying yourself, which is a very good thing, he would rather you get out and do his work. Christ wants laborers. A disciple of Christ is someone who is willing to do the work when prompted to, but also committed enough to perform the labor without being prompted to. A disciple not only relies on Christ, but also relies himself, But he isn’t prideful in himself. A disciple is someone who’s Will is in perfected Harmony will God’s.     A disciple act on his own Will, with the only intention to fulfill God’s Will. A disciple puts forth his effort before Christ will put forth his. Nephi demonstrate this perfected. Nephi 11:1 is the passage where Nephi demonstrates the participation of discipleship. He has a desire, he believes he will receive an answer, and then he puts forth his own effort. And now paraphrasing it reads “ For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, I sat pondering in mine heart when I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord...” Nephi was pondering before he was caught away in the spirit. Nephi put forth his effort before God put forth his. I believe this same principal is involved with work and discipleship. You won’t get blessings if you stay at home and pray for them. Christ would much rather you forget to pray because you’re so involved in the work that you forgot to pray. Now, this is just a point, you should never forget to pray, but along with that prayer, you should act on it. Just like my dad has always said, “God is always more willing to help the man who tries to fix his own flat tire, rather than the one who prays that the tire will become fixed.” God wants disciples, and a disciple is a laborer. And as a member and his disciples, you are also commanded to be a laborer. It is your duty to also go out into the field and harvest it, not just pray that it becomes harvested.

    Luke 9: 23 reads, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Now to take up your cross doesn’t mean to bear your burdens. From JST Matt 16:25 we learn that “ for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments.” Taking up your cross means you not only believe Christ, but you obey him, and are willing to endure the hardships of discipleship. To take up your cross means to stop making yourself the object of your life, and to make Christ the object of your life.  It means to value God above all else. To take up your cross is to abstain from any immoral, lustful, harmful, sinful action and thought, and to continually serve God.

    But, above all these things, above everything I have spoken of, Love is the most important trait of Discipleship. And to quote Brother Danny Jones from last week, “love becomes the new theme is discipleship.” It is the first and great commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” “ And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Christ only wants us to Love him and others, and if we heed to that commandment to love, then becoming a disciple and following Christ’s other commandments, will be easy. Love contains within it every other good and wholesome emotion and action. The same is with the commandments, the commandment to Love has within it every other commandment, which is why it is the first and greatest one. For if we love Christ, then we will follow him.

    Brothers and sisters, I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to be able to spread this message of discipleship and to spread the message of Gods love for all his children, for I know it is only through God’s love, that we should love one another. Christ’s call to discipleship is one of few costs, but many eternal rewards. I know this church is true, and nothing will ever shake my faith, Salvation is found in Christ and comes through the atonement, he died for us, so we must live for him. My duty, is to forever serve God. And I’m grateful that God has blessed me with such a wonderful privilege. Amen.

Notes:

“He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you.” [D&C 41:5]

 D&C 4: 2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

 Luke 9:23 ¶And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his across daily, and follow me.
    JST Matt. 16:25–26 “And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments.”

Moroni 7:19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the alight of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.

Luke 9
57 ¶And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

JST Luke 9:24–25 (Appendix) 24  For whosoever will save his life, must be willing to lose it for my sake; and whosoever will be willing to lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

D&C 103:28 And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.

No comments:

Post a Comment