Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sermon: Our decision to follow Jesus Christ

Our decision to follow Jesus Christ is based upon faith. Faith is a keystone of our religion. Faith is required of us when we make the decision to join The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ. We must possess faith in order to be healed of our infirmities. Faith is what guides us and should motivate us. Faith is what brings us to believe the things which we hold and cherish as Latter Day Mormons. Where is our faith? How do we believe? What makes us unique? Do we know? Can we answer these questions?

Each member of this work, each member of this Church, no matter what calling we may hold no matter the depth of responsibility is no different. We each must possess faith—faith by which we can conquer and overcome. In the Scriptures, we are called upon to be “overcomers” so that we can stand as pillars in the “temple of God” (Rev. 3:11-12 KJV). We are not just mere members of any ordinary church—but, rather, we are members of a very unique Church—one by which holds the keys, the offices, the rights, and the authority bestowed upon us by Jesus Christ to be representatives of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, when he visited the Americas, told us that “Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you.” (3 Nephi VII.) Yes, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world has set for us an example—an example by which we are to go forth and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but more so, we are to follow the example of Jesus Christ—we are to have faith. Jesus Christ himself had faith—for even Jesus Christ had to overcome like we have to.

Yes, Jesus Christ had to have faith—faith to overcome the devil. Remember that three times he was tempted by Satan. For we are told that “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18.) Yes, Jesus Christ had to suffer temptations, he had to experience all that we ourselves experience—thus, making him the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

We need to remember that while he suffered all these things, he also had faith—faith to accomplish all that was laid before him. For Jesus Christ had to continually yield to the Father’s will. He had to continually seek to be obedient to the Father. “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Ps. 16:8.) For Jesus had lived by every word that came from the Father’s mouth. He put his faith in every word expecting the word to accomplish all that he said. According to his faith, it was then possible for him to accomplish what his mission was for him.

We are told that Jesus had faith so that he could overcome the world (1 John 5:4) and he knew that he needed the faith because he was sent to be the Messenger—the Word of God—and thus, he had to live by example since he was sent to be the Messenger (the Word) (John 1:1).

So how are we living? Are we living how we believe? Through our faith, we must live and be obedient to every word of God just as Jesus was faithful. For we must live with Christ being in us—letting his light shine forth through us. For we are told that “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20.)

Our faith must be a living faith—having the example of Jesus Christ living in us, bringing us to do good, and bringing us to do that which Jesus taught us to do. For through our faith, we will become overcomers, being able to “…hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown (salvation). Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, this is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name. (Rev. 3:11-12.)

How many therefore, would want to be overcomers, keeping fast that which we have received—that which we have learned and been given because of the knowledge which we have in this Church? I would highly ask each of us, over this remaining year and in to the new one that is soon to come upon us, to examine ourselves. Examine ourselves and see were our faith is at.

Over the months and years just ahead, we are going to need to rely more heavily upon our faith. We are going to have to make sure that our faith is greater than we thought because there are things which are coming that will greatly try our faith. We need to keep in mind what Jesus warned us of in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. We need to remember that trials are coming fast upon us and we have to begin doing our missionary work greatly because the Lord has many that will come to the Church—but only through our service and faith will we be able to reach them that are ready to come forth. We need to do this because time is very short.

Remember that Jesus told us that “But he that remaineth steadfast (faithful), and is not overcome, the same shall be saved.” (Matt. 24:11.) Yes, we need to remain faithful to Jesus Christ, being not taken in by the world and by falsehoods. We need to keep in mind that we are to be Latter Day Mormons—forever being lights to the world.

Brothers and sisters, let us examine our faith – being sure of what we believe. Making sure that we counsel with the Prophet and listen to the warnings as the Lord gives them to him because we are in a short time period in the coming years – therefore, let us keep faithful and remain true to the promises that we made at baptism to ourselves and to the Lord.

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