Monday, September 1, 2008

Work and the Glory

Recently my mind has been very much focused upon the purpose of life and the great plan of salvation. The salvation of souls. What is it all about? What do we need to do? I’ve thought much about our roles personally and collectively and most of all about missionary work. When I say missionary work, I mean to suggest the three fold mission of the church.

Well, what is it we need to do? First, I think of a scripture in the Book of Mormon found in Mosiah, Chapter 3:19. Many know it well or may have memorized it. What does it say? “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam.” Well, what does that mean? It means that from Adam’s fallen state we became mortal, subject to death and knowing good and evil, and in this state have natural desires and passions of the mortal body. Well, what are we told about passions? Bridle your passions. How? Well, going on, the natural man is an enemy of God and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless,(here comes the how) he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man, and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child does submit to his father.” Submit to all things, what does that imply? It means exactly what it says, and if you will for a moment, those who have gone through the temple let your mind rest upon the fullness of the law of sacrifice. Need I say more, except that I suggest even, that we must be willing to give back even, the only two things that are actually ours, our life and our agency. Meaning, to submit our will for his will. Praying in all things, “Thy will be done, Oh Lord.” Christ showed us this in perfect example. “and he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt 26:39) All things. So we know what we must first do. Be humble and submissive, repentant and have faith.

Doctrine & Covenants section 4, which is well known as the missionary constitution. This is a revelation given to Joseph Smith Jr. for his father Joseph Smith Sr. in 1829. 1829. At this period the church hasn’t yet been organized . Not until the following year on April 6 1830. Here he is revealing what his father needs to know before he goes out on a mission. But it is just for proseylating? I suggest not. Well, verse 1, it starts out, “Now behold, a marvelous work and a wonder is about to come forth among the children of men.” I suggest, in the mighty vision of the lord, he knew of the great import of this revelation for missionary work all inclusive. Meaning, perfecting the saints, proclaiming the gospel, and redeeming the dead. Our three fold mission. Verse 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 him at the last day. Well, blameless, to be blameless means to become clean, free of sin in and through the atonement of Christ being pure of heart and full of charity. Having lived a life abided in good works. Blameless.

Verse 3 “Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work;” So what is the work? Well, Moses 1:39, we all know it. “This is my work and my Glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” While these two terms, Immortality and Eternal life go together, separately they are very different outcomes. What is immortality? Well, 1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The fall of Adam brought death into the world and therefore we are not responsible for death. It is a gift from God that we will all be resurrected and live forever. We chose in the pre existence to keep our first estate and to take on mortality. Through Christ we will be resurrected and become immortal. That’s immortality, and different from eternal life. What is eternal life? Simply put, salvation and exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of God, forever and ever, without end. With our families sealed to us and with our Heavenly father and his son Jesus Christ. That is Eternal life. That is the work spoken of in section 4 of D&C, and so, back to the revelation in Verse 4, (and I see the lord giving this in much urgency and conviction because of its great import) “For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store, that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul.” What a promise! Bringeth Salvation, meaning Eternal life. If we but thrust ourselves into his work we will be partakers of the purpose of the work. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God and how great shall be our joy if we may bring souls unto him through baptism and fellowship. Now, some attributes that we must have. Verse 5,”and faith, hope, charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work”, verse 6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance,” and what does it mean to have temperance? Well, it's a lot of things, but one I’d like to suggest that I learned from Truman Madsen, is that it means balance. Balance in all things good, and in that balance enduring to the end. “Patience, brotherly kindness, Godliness, charity, (again) humility, diligence.” Then, in the last verse, the great promise we see time and time again throughout the scriptures. “Ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.” He isn’t saying, well, put in a request and if I have time and I feel like it I’ll let you know. No, no, he isn’t saying that. He is saying you will receive; it will be opened to you. Now as we know God frequently doesn’t give us the why or the when, but, I testify that he does answer. It is his promise, if we ask with faith.

It is my prayer that we obtain an inner bursting conviction of this work, the work spoken of in Moses 1:39 and the plan of salvation. That we may put off the natural man, be humble, repentant, faithful, and desire to serve god in doing this work, obtaining these attributes spoken of. They are not only requirements for the work but I suggest gifts from God. Gifts of the Spirit. Ask and ye shall receive. In so doing these things, may we endure to the end. But then again, “The End”, is kind of a paradox if you will. For we know, for those persons who follow Christ and keep his commandments, there is no end. No end to life, no end to progression, no end to seed and family, no end to knowledge or power, worlds with out end.

I bear testimony that I know this work is true. I know that the plan of salvation is the whole meaning of our life. I know our Heavenly Father lives. He loves everyone one of us. We are his children. I know that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God, the only begotten of the father in the flesh. I know that he lives. He is our Redeemer and our Savior. I am thankful for his everlasting atonement which makes our return possible. He fulfilled his mission; he marked the path, and gave us his perfect example. I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that he saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ in the sacred grove and ushered in the dispensation of the fullness of times. That Christ’s true church has been reorganized. That through him the priesthood and authority of God has been restored, as well as, all the saving ordinances and principles. I know that through his faith, worthiness, diligence and seer-ship he translated the Book of Mormon from gold plates of sacred writ. I know the Book of Mormon is true. It is another testimony of Jesus Christ. With His teachings, prophesies, revelations, commandments, and the purpose of life. The Scriptures give me strength and a guide to my life and my purpose. I know these things are true by feelings of the Holy Ghost which have borne testimony to me in my heart and in my mind. I have felt the fruits of the spirit and have experienced them first hand. I have put the seed to the test and continue to do so. It is more than a belief, it is a knowledge. He bears witness of truth and light. I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. He is my guide and my Companion in all things. I know he lives. I know even today we have a prophet on the earth. He is the mouth piece of the lord, a seer and a revelator who holds the sealing powers of heaven and earth, who leads this church by God's will. Christ is the Head of it. May we all have this understanding of the purpose of life unto salvation and eternal life, where there is no end. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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