Monday, June 27, 2011

The Articles of Faith part 7of 13

Article of Faith #7, "We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth."

Gifts are an amazing thing that the Lord gives all of us. The Prophet Joseph Smith only mentioned a few of those gifts in this Article of Faith. The scriptures also mention a ton of gifts that we can get from the Spirit. The Bible and Book of Mormon both give us examples of gifts of the spirit. We can find reference to these in Moroni 10, "For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom; And to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; And to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; And again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles; And again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things; And again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits; And again, to another, all kinds of tongues; And again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues. And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will. And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ. And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men." Moroni explains that different gifts of the spirit are given to different people; of course, we can all strive to have these different gifts, but not everyone is born with these gifts. As we try to acquire these gifts we need to ask God. He is the only one who can give them to us. Prayer is the first step in gaining anything from God. I know that we can all attain the gifts that we would like in this life if we just put our hearts and souls into it. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Articles of Faith part 6 of 13

Article of Faith #6, "We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth."

So this statement is pretty well stated. It is saying that we believe in the same organization that Christ set up when he was on the earth. The same exact names may not be used, but we have to remember that the English Language changes and the people are doing the same thing. Evangelist is a patriarch, a pastor is a bishop and those are the only two that change everything else stays the same. One of the ways you can know the church is true is through the way it is organized. One can't claim to be a restoration of something if it isn't organized in the same fashion. Paul states in his epistle to the Ephesians why it is necessary for us to have the Church organized as it is, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachersFor 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 no 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;" so with that we must turn to the apostles and prophets, and etc. to continue to follow that straight and narrow path that we are all trying to stay on. This keeps us doing the things that we need to be doing, and how we need to be doing them. Without the organization of the church, we would all be like Paul said and we would be going after what sounds best to us instead of what is right.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Articles of Faith part 5 of 13

Article of Faith #5, "We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer the ordinances thereof."

So this goes directly in line with the way the God works. He has always done this from the beginning. We can take Aaron for example. He was called by God, set apart, and he went out and did his work. We have another example in the New Testament with the Apostles. Christ called them all together, and set apart each one and sent them off to go do their work as well, and now days we have the same thing, not only with General Authorities, but with the missionaries that you see walking around as well.

So let's break down this sentence. The first part says, "We believe that a man must be called of God." This is a basic belief, I believe, amongst all Christian parties. That in order to preach, a man must be called of God. The second part, "by prophecy," this I think is where we start to differ. Modern revelation is a key thing in the Church. It helps not only those being called, but those of us who are the "average member" to know that the person is called as well. The third part, "and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority," this is another part of where we differ from a lot of other Christian religions. The laying on of hands is an important part of being called, and set apart to do His work. In Luke 9, we read, "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick." This is the same call that we are given as missionaries. And the last part is, "to preach the Gospel and administer the ordinances thereof." We must go out and preach. We've been called of God and had all the power and authority given to us and it's now our job to go preach and teach and do the things the Lord would have us do, namely, baptize and give the gift of the holy ghost. This is one of those truths that must be fulfilled. Power and Authority don't come from the Bible or any other from of paper. It comes from the man upstairs, our Heavenly Father. He's in control and knows what and how it needs to happen. This is my testimony.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Articles of Faith part 4 of 13

Article of Faith #4, "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."

So I think first we must define what a principle is and what an ordinance is. So first off, a principle is "an underlying faculty or endowment" and an ordinance is "a prescribed usage, practice, or ceremony." So what that is saying is that a principle is a basic need that's established, like faith, and an ordinance is something that is performed, like baptism. (Definitions came from Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Now that we have that established we can get into what the first principles and ordinances are. The first one being, "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." So what is faith, and why do we need it? Faith as explained in the scriptures is, "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." (Alma 32:21) So we must hope for things that we can't see, but we know are there. It's like the air we breathe, we can't see the air but we know it's there. It fills our lungs every time we take a breath, and so it is with Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. We can't see them, but we can still know that they are there. We can feel the Spirit, and we can have their influence in our lives. We need faith in our lives so that we can know who to turn to in our times of need. It is what gets us through those hard times and picks us up when we are down.

Second is repentance. What is repentance? Repentance is a change of heart. It is turning away from the thing we don't want in our lives and adding something we do want in our lives. There is 5 steps to repentance: 1) To acknowledge that we are sinning, 2) be sorry and feel godly sorrow, 3) confess to God, 4) correct the mistake, and 5) endure to the end. As we apply these five steps in our lives, our lives become so much easier to handle and to get through. It's not making big changes, but the small ones that really add up to making big ones.

Third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Why is baptism by immersion so important? What is it a symbol of? What Christ baptized? Baptism is so important because it does exactly what Joseph Smith said it does, and that is gives us a remission of our sins, or it cleanses us. It symbolizes not only Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, but our own as well, by dying to our old life, burying it and coming up renewed with a new life, or in other words being born again. Christ showed us the way in all things, including baptism. In Matthew 3:13-17, we can witness Christ's baptism. We get a little bit better glimpse at what Christ did for us in the Book of Mormon, Nephi gives us a great explanation in 2 Nephi 31, he tells us, "And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water! And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water? Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove. And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them. And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son. And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall followthe Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel." Christ has set forth the example and we all need to follow it. Baptism is our first covenant and ordinance that must be performed if we are to inherit the Kingdom of God, except it's not finish. Christ said, "yet a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God," which leads into the fourth thing.

Fourth, the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. This is also known as the baptism by fire.The gift of the Holy Ghost is so very important. It is the purifying, or sanctifying, part of baptism. The gift of the Holy Ghost allows us to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. This can help us stay closer to our Heavenly Father, and to have to ability to be guided in all things. The Holy Ghost provides comfort, protection, and revelation.

These are the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. We know that we need to continue on and endure to the end in order to live with God in the end. These are just the beginning. I love this gospel. It is so simple and allows all to come closer to Jesus Christ.