Thursday, August 29, 2013

"The" Will of the Father Part 8

When The Lord Jesus speaks, His words are spirit and they are life. (John 6: 63) If we are wise, if we desire "life," we will hear what He says and believe. When He says something, we need not spurn at His words. There is an interesting word, "spurn." Webster's says "spurn" means:
  1. to reject with disdain; scorn.
  2. to treat with contempt; despise.
  3. to kick or trample with the foot.
We need not imagine in our hearts that His words that He has spoken are vain. (3Nephi 29: 3) Spurning at His words will simply result in it eventually overtaking you. (3Nephi 29: 4) There are woes pronounced on any that spurn at the words of The Lord. (3Nephi 29: 4-6)

Lest we spurn at His words, what evidence do we have that these words of The Lord are not in fact vain?

"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6: 40)

"No man can come unto me, except he doeth the will of my Father who hath sent me. And this is the will of him who hath sent me, that ye receive the Son; for the Father beareth record of him; and he who receiveth the testimony, and doeth the will of him who sent me, I will raise up in the resurrection of the just." (JST John 6: 44)

Evidence and proof of actual fulfillment of the will of the Father in many individual mortal lives is abundant and can be found throughout the scriptural record. Foremost among the examples available to us in our day is the prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph's record says:

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me...When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" (JSH 1: 16-17)

Years later, Joseph again received the Son and the specific more sure word of prophecy (D&C 131: 5-6) from the mouth of the Lord by which Joseph's calling and election was made sure. He was told, "For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father." (D&C 132: 49)

Joseph knew exactly what was meant when he counseled on Sunday May 21, 1843 at the Nauvoo temple stand:

"It is one thing to receive knowledge by the voice of God, (this is my beloved Son &c.) & another to know that you yourself will be saved, to have a positive promise of your own Salvation is making your calling and election sure. Viz the voice of Jesus saying my beloved thou shalt have eternal life. Brethren never cease struggling until you get this evidence." (Words of the Prophet Joseph Smith Ehat and Cook page 208)

Joseph could teach this marvelous doctrine with authority and from a position of knowledge because he had received it himself. We should always remember and never forget, Joseph assured us he had received nothing that was not available to every person. Even the least saint, he said, could receive exactly what he himself had received, as soon as they were prepared. (The Words of Joseph Smith Ehat and Cook page 4) 

The prevailing belief among Latter Day Saints that these things can only be had by those holding position and title in the church is a damning belief. That belief constitutes "spurning" at the words of the Lord. Thomas Monson, and Boyd Packer, and every other person, must come by these things in exactly the same way and according to the very same process and laws that you do. (D&C 130: 20) That process, those laws, are the very ones we have discussed in this series of blogs. There are no end runs around the decrees of God. Titles, positions, wealth, power among men, great learning with degrees, hold absolutely no water whatsoever where receiving the Son of God is concerned. These are the things that will pervade the minds and the beliefs of those who think a mere cry of Lord! Lord! coupled with a quick recitation of "many wonderful works" and a few miracles will save them in the Kingdom of God. (Matt. 7: 21-23)

The Old Testament contains numerous accounts of those who fulfilled the will of the Father and received the Son. Our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (who coincidently are now exalted and sitting on thrones in heaven, (D&C 132: 37)) each stood in the presence of God during their mortal life. The respective accounts of each of their encounters with the Son are recorded as follows:

Abraham: (Genesis 22: 26-18)

Isaac: (Genesis 26: 2-4)

Jacob: (Genesis 28: 10-22)

From the New Testament record is the account of Saul of Tarsus who later was named Paul. The account of Saul is one from which we sinners should take great hope. Saul, not unlike his counterparts from the Book of Mormon, the sons of Mosiah and Alma the younger, went about trying to destroy the church of God. (Acts 22: 4-5 and Mosiah 27: 10) If those sons of Mosiah and Alma's son were, as the record says, "the vilest of sinners," (Mosiah 28: 4) then Saul of Tarsus must have been locked in a dead heat with them for the title. Saul himself confessed to The Lord, "Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him." (Acts 22: 19-20) Never the less, from the record of Saul's mortal experience, we have these words spoken by righteous Ananias to Paul, from which we learn how Paul fulfilled the will of the Father and received the Son:

"The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth." (Acts 22: 14)

No account in any of our scripture is more instructive for us regarding fulfillment of the will of the Father that we receive the Son, than the account found in the Book of Mormon describing how the brother of Jared received the Son of God. Besides the account of the prophet Joseph Smith, there is no greater detailed written account of a person receiving the Son than that of the brother of Jared.

Chapters 3, and 4 of the book of Ether should be read and reread by every disciple of Christ who desires to understand how we are to receive the Son. Although the entire account is precious and worth recounting, what we need to know for this discussion can be learned from one verse:

"And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you." (Ether 3: 13)

We need not spurn at the words of The Lord. He means what He says. If He says it is the will of the Father that you receive the Son, if He says it is the will of the Father that you "see" the Son, then that is exactly what He means.

If Joseph Smith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Saul, the brother of Jared and countless others have received the Son, heard His voice, and stood in His presence, then so can you. His words are spirit and they are life. (John 6: 63) None of His words contain more "life" for you than the words of His testimony (D&C 76: 51 and D&C 131: 5-6 and Rev. 19: 10) from His mouth to your ears that He has redeemed you from the Fall. This is life, this is in fact life eternal. (John 17: 3)

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