Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ - Sacrament Meeting Talk Notes - December 20, 2015

Purposes of Talk: 
  • To be of good cheer
  • To help us feel God's love
  • To add oil to our lamps
  • To strengthen faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Atonement
  • To Focus on the Savior
  • To invite us all to seek Jesus

· Pray to understand the needs of those to whom you will speak.

· Identify the key doctrine that will help meet those needs.

· Select scriptures and words from living prophets that teach this doctrine.

· Include your own experiences in living the doctrine.

· Outline your talk.

· Practice delivering your talk until you feel confident that you can speak from your heart without      reading the talk.

· Invitations to action and promised blessings that are inherent in the doctrine 

  • :) Obie Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker enter a Chinese restaurant, sit down, and order their meals. Luke begins to pick at his meal with chopsticks, and after about ten minutes Obie Wan, who is getting impatient with the young Jedi looks him in the eyes and says: "Use the forks, Luke!" :)
  • Gratitude for opportunity to prepare this talk on Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
  • Testimony of Jesus Christ… 
  • Prayer to be taught by the Spirit
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ:
  • Lectures on Faith (Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, school of elders) – principle of action (like Jedi’s using the force) and of power in all intelligent beings / requires 3 things: 
  • “2 Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. 
  • 3 First, The idea that he actually exists
  • 4 Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.
  • 5 Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.—For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 
  • 3 major times in my life requiring faith – 1. Mission 2. Education 3. Marriage and Temple 
  • Nephi had deliberate trust in the Lord:
  • "And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart." (1 Ne. 2:19) 
  • “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained upon principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities.” 
What is faith in Jesus Christ? 
  • A particle
  • How does faith in Jesus Christ lead us to repentance?
  • Faith = Always pointed toward the future (Holland, Remember Lot’s Wife)
  • The future is as bright as your faith (Monson) 
  • Scriptures? All of them… Hebrews 11, Alma 32… Ether 12 
  • Ether 12: Ether 12:3-6 (What is faith in Christ?) / Ether 12:7-22 (What is accomplished through faith in Christ?) / Ether 12:23-41 (What does the Lord invite us to do with our faith in Him?)
  • “Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” (Mosiah 4:9) 
How do we center our faith in Jesus Christ?
  • Sometimes I think we know what faith is, but we forget to squarely center it where it ought to be centered… on Jesus Christ, and how can we center it on someone we don’t know? And how can we know whom we don’t serve? (Remember talk from general conference (Elder Richard J. Maynes, “The Joy of Living a Christ Centered Life”) about the Japanese man who taught children about centering their lives on Christ through his profession in pottery) 
  • “To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience. To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it.... Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love.' -- Richard G Scott
  • An old army saying reminds soldiers in combat to stay focused: “The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.” What is the main thing? Is it scripture study? Is it prayer? Is it obedience? Is it education? Is it relief society? Is it family history? Is it the temple? Is it missionary work? Is it giving to the poor and the needy? Is it service? Is it the Sabbath day? Is it the Sacrament? Maybe it is Star Wars? Where can we center our faith? 
  • “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” – The Prophet Joseph Smith 
  • Elder Oaks – Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ
  • “In our busy lives, with ever so many other things competing for our attention, it is essential that we make a conscious, committed effort to bring Christ into our lives and into our homes. And it is vital that we, like the Wise Men from the East, remain fixed upon His star and “come to worship him.” – President Monson (1st Presidency Message) 
  • “The future is as bright as your faith.” How bright is our faith? Could it use some brightening? Be of good cheer. Christ has overcome the world. 
  • “I plead with you to rise above the tasks of the day and the hurdles ahead. You can do more than the deeds scheduled in your daily planners. You can take the name of the Lord upon you and become more like Him. You can rise to your great potential. You can prepare for the future with greater spiritual capacity." - President Russell M. Nelson 
  • "Remember that the fulness of Christ’s ministry lies in the future. The prophecies of His Second Coming have yet to be fulfilled. At Christmas, of course, we focus upon His birth. But, He will come again. At His First Coming Jesus came almost in secret. Only a few mortals knew of His birth. At His Second Coming the whole of humankind will know of His return. Then He will come, not as “a man traveling on the earth,” but His glory “shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." - President Russell M. Nelson 
  • As a special witness of His holy name, I testify that Jesus is the divine Son of the living God. He will love you, lift you, and manifest Himself unto you if you will love Him and keep His commandments.” – President Russell M. Nelson 
  • Faith in Christ and in His Atonement leads us to the love of God, which enables us to center our lives on Christ and to “remain fixed upon His star” 
Examples of those who centered their faith, and their lives on Jesus Christ:
  • President Hinckley demonstrated such faith throughout his life, even beginning when he was a young boy: 
  • “When I was a boy, we lived on a farm in the summer. It was in the country, where the nights were dark. There were no streetlights or anything of the kind. My brother and I slept out-of-doors. On clear nights—and most of those nights were clear and the air was clean—we would lie on our backs and look at the myriads of stars in the heavens. We could identify some of the constellations and other stars as they were illustrated in our encyclopedia. Each night we would trace the Big Dipper, the handle and the cup, to find the North Star. 
  • We came to know of the constancy of that star. As the earth turned, the others appeared to move through the night. But the North Star held its position in line with the axis of the earth. And so it had come to be known as the Polar Star, or the Polestar, or the Lodestar. Through centuries of time, mariners had used it to guide them in their journeys. They had reckoned their bearings by its constancy, thereby avoiding traveling in circles or in the wrong direction, as they moved across the wide, unmarked seas. 
  • Because of those boyhood musings, the Polar Star came to mean something to me. I recognized it as a constant in the midst of change. It was something that could always be counted on, something that was dependable, an anchor in what otherwise appeared to be a moving and unstable firmament. 
  • Love is like the Polar Star. In a changing world, it is a constant. It is of the very essence of the gospel. It is the security of the home. It is the safeguard of community life. It is a beacon of hope in a world of distress.” 
Personal Experience:
  • Amahl and the Night Visitors, Family, Opera, Star: all of the beautiful music, the beautiful lyrics, story, everything points to Christ – at the end of the opera everything becomes quiet and the lights were dimmed except for the light in the shape of a star hanging from the rafters – symbol, like the North Star (President Hinckley) 
  • Experience: Future – traveling to the Holy Land 1st time, and again.  A man named Malcolm Muggeridge was a journalist for many years before he converted to Catholicism. He made an interesting confession after his conversion: “I've often thought that if I'd been a journalist in the Holy Land at the time of our Lord's ministry, I should have spent my time looking into what was happening in Herod's court. I'd be wanting to sign Salome for her exclusive memoirs, and finding out what Pilate was up to, and- I would have missed completely the most important event there ever was." 
  • What is the most important event there ever was? Birth, life, atonement, resurrection of Jesus Christ. Future return, Second Coming.  He is the center of the Plan of Salvation. – Testimony of Jesus Christ
Other things to remember:
  • "Thus we see, brothers and sisters, how we are justified in being of good cheer for ultimate reasons--reasons to be distinguished, however, from proximate circumstances. If, for instance, our attitude towards life depends upon the praise of men, the level of interest rates, the outcome of a particular election or athletic contest--we are too much at the mercy of men and circumstance. Nor should our gratitude for the gift of mortal life depend upon the manner in which we die, for surely none of us will rush eagerly forward to tell Jesus how we died! Instead, Jesus calls upon us to have a deliberate trust in God’s unfolding purposes, not only for all humankind but for us individually. And we are to be of good cheer in the unfolding process." – Elder Neal A. Maxwell 
  • “It is important to recognize that God’s ultimate purpose is our progress. His desire is that we continue “from grace to grace, until [we receive] a fulness”5 of all He can give. That requires more than simply being nice or feeling spiritual. It requires faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism of water and of the Spirit, and enduring in faith to the end.6 One cannot fully achieve this in isolation, so a major reason the Lord has a church is to create a community of Saints that will sustain one another in the “strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.” - Elder D. Todd Christofferson 
  • “… I command you to repent … lest … your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. 
  • “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; 
  • “But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I; 
  • “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore. …” (D&C 19:15–18.) 
  • “Is there someone for whom you should provide service this Christmas? Is there one who awaits your visit?” – President Monson
  • "And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen." (Ether 12:41)

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