Saturday, 20 April 2013

SERMON: Enduring to the End

A Sermon by Matthew P Gill

The fourteenth Article of Faith reminds us that we, ‘hope to be able to endure all things,’ whatever life brings us. And although our challenges may be different, enduring to the end simply means enduring each day well, and faithfully. Endurance knows no time or season. It is a concern of both the elderly and the young. We are tempted at all ages, and none of us know when we will die. Each day we must make the right decisions that will keep us on the road to eternal life.

Enduring life well requires positive action. We must consciously act to improve ourselves if we are to ‘do good’ and ‘hold out faithful to the end’ (D&C 8:5; 6:13/Utah). If we truly follow Christ, our endurance will be productive, not passive. Enduring well means developing faith, devotion, patience, long-suffering, cheerfulness, love, and selfless service. These are the qualities that we as Latter Day Mormons should always be striving for as we endure righteously.

By being baptised into the Gospel and becoming a member of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ shows positive action, but the road to eternal life does not end with baptism or membership. Whether we receive the blessings of all principles and ordinances of the Gospel depends on our continued faithfulness. Baptism and membership are important parts of the endurance process because it places us on the right path to eternal life. Both of these things can and should give us ‘a determination to serve him to the end’ (D&C 2:7; 20:7/Utah)

The Prophet Joseph Smith is a great example to us as Latter Day Mormons of enduring to the end. The Prophet never let any trial stop him in the pursuit of his ultimate goals, and even when his life was in risk never gave up. We. like Joseph Smith, must follow the Saviour to the end, through trails and persecution, through wealth and ease, through periods of tiredness, and through all other hazards of mortality. Regardless of the adversities and the difficulties we encounter in striving faithfully to endure, success can be achieved. This, we can and must do if we would enjoy the blessings promised to us as Latter Day Mormons.

From the Lectures on Faith in the Doctrine & Covenants, we are taught that those who sacrifice all for the sake of the Gospel, “will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God, and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life, and will be enabled, through faith, to endure unto the end, and receive the crown that is laid up for them that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (D&C Lecture 6, 6:10)

Latter Day Mormons, having the witness of the Book of Jeraneck, learn from it many great feats of endurance and faithfulness to Almighty God.

The Prophet Hadjaneck, for example, said to God’s People of Light, “The Lord has promised through revelation that if we, his people are faithful and obedient that we shall become one with him,” and this is true for us today.

So, let us remember that even though our contributions seem small, they are a significant part of enduring to the end. If we follow Christ, enduring well to the end, we can say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.”

Let us brace ourselves, therefore, to our duty and endure with faithfulness and determination to the end.  

Monday, 15 April 2013

OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Church Leader Calls for Prayers for Victims of Boston Marathon Bombings

Matthew P. Gill, the Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ, has released the following statement:
"I am distressed to hear the news coming out of Boston, Massachusetts tonight of the bombings during the Marathon, which have resulted in deaths and injuries. The thoughts and prayers of myself, my family and the entire Church are with those who were injured and with the families of those who lost loved ones in this horrific attack. May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, be with them all."

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Reading: Persecuted "with all manner of words" (Alma Chapter 1)

"But it came to pass that whosoever did not belong to the Church of God, began to persecute those that did belong to the Church of God, and had taken upon them the name of Christ; yea, they did persecute them, and afflict them with all manner of words, and this because of their humility; because they were not proud in their own eyes, and because they did impart the word of God, one with another, without money and without price." 

Alma Chapter 1 (1830) 1:20-21/Utah

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Reading : "...let every man learn his duty..." D&C 3:44 (107:99 Utah)

"Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence."
- D&C 3:44 (107:99 Utah)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

SERMON: Sacrifice Brings Blessings

A Sermon by Matthew P Gill

One of the first principles God taught Adam and Eve was the Law of Sacrifice, and, in every dispensation since, that law has been consistently stressed. Whether the sacrifice involved burnt offerings, the consecration of all possessions to a united order, tithing, fast offerings, or less prescribed giving of ourselves and our possessions, we have been taught from the beginning that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35).

The greedy, gasping person is usually unhappy, for he is seeking happiness by acquiring material things rather than seeking lasting things such as personal relationships. An old Scandinavian proverb says ‘Bare is his back who bears no brother.’ Such a person has not learned to follow the counsel that Paul gave to the Colossians ‘Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth’ (Colossians 3:2). When we sacrifice, we are building up our personal spiritual reserve and resources, not our earthly reserves, and for Latter Day Mormon that should be our goal, and nothing else.

Sacrifice is the crowning test of the gospel. Men are tried and tested in this mortal probation to see if they will put first in their lives the things of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). To gain eternal life, they must be willing, if called upon, to sacrifice all things for the gospel, we must be willing to sacrifice, there is no point calling yourself a Latter Day Mormon is you are not prepared to sacrifice and show God that He is the one in charge.

Those who understand the Law of Sacrifice rarely think of contributions to the Lord’s cause as a sacrifice at all. We may think that being a member of the true church needs no more sacrifice that becoming a member. When we think of sacrifice, we tend to think of such dramatic offerings as Abraham’s willingness to give his only son of the Prophet Joseph Smiths willingness to meet a brutal death, or of Ester’s willingness to put her life in jeopardy for he countrymen (Ester 4:16). Sacrificing one life, however, is not the only way to give of oneself for the building of the kingdom of God. The Lord requires a broken heart and contrite spirit. Individual circumstances must determine what kind of sacrifice the person is asked to give. ‘The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind, and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days (D&C 21:7/ 64:34Utah)

In matters of sacrifice, the question of ‘How much is enough?’ can be painful question. Sacrifice requires giving at some cost. David, at least, thought so. When Araunah the Jebusite graciously offered to give him oxen and wood for a sacrifice, David replied, “Nay but I will surely buy it of thee at a price; neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24). Sacrifice, to be effective, must cost something. The parable of the widow’s mite suggests that the relative personal cost is more important than absolute monetary value of the sacrifice.

For Latter Day Mormons, one story in the Bible should stand out and enable us to strive to sacrifice. In Mark 10:17-22, Jesus gave one of the most thought-provoking answers to the question of how much sacrifice is truly enough. When a young man asked him, ‘What should I do that I may inherit eternal life?’ The Saviour responded by reciting some of the Ten Commandments. Then the young man said to him, ‘Master, all these have I observed from my youth.’ Christ ‘beholding him, loved him’ and explained to the young man the sacrifice by which he might attain eternal life. ‘One thing thou lackest, go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, take up the cross, and follow me.’ The young man, Mark tells us, ‘was sad at that saying, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.” The true disciple must offer his whole soul and be willing to observe every sacrifice required by the Lord (Omni 1:26; D&C 81:2/97:8Utah)

So it is so very important that Latter Day Mormons remember that the Law of Sacrifice means that we are willing to sacrifice all that we have for the sake of truth: our character and reputation our honour and applause, our good name among men, our homes, lands, and families, all things, even our very lives if need be. (Lecture on Faith 6:5)

For, “When a man has of­fered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice & offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain.” (Lecture 6, 6:7)

Those faithful servants who make the sacrifice will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God.

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