Friday, 11 April 2014

Sermon: The Plan of Salvation


“For behold, this is my work and my glory

to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”

Revelation to Moses 1:23

It has long been asked if The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ believe in what has been termed ‘The Plan of Salvation’. In answer to that we can categorically state that we do believe in a plan of salvation given to us by God as the sacred scriptures tell us. When recalling the words of the great poet Wordsworth it is impossible to believe otherwise.

 

“Our birth is but a sleep and or forgetting.

The Soul that rises with us, our life’s star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar.

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home...”

 

William Wordsworth

It must be remembered by Latter Day Mormons that it is the gift of modern revelation that has given us an understanding of Gods eternal truths, and the great poet William Wordsworth only implied in these short poetic phrases those eternal truths that we have come to know as fact undisputable. For we know that it is God that has spoken to us again from his heavenly realm and answered forever the question that has plagued man for centauries, from generation to generation, “who are we, where did we come from and where are we going”. The sacred scriptures of the restoration tell us that “Man was also in the beginning with God” D&C 93:29. Let us examine what we know from revelation and from the scriptures, we know that our psychical bodies are the creation of our mortal parents, but that the soul consists of both a body and a spirit “And the spirit and the body is the soul of man” D&C 88:15, and it is because of this that we came forth in that pre-mortal life as spirit children of our Father in Heaven. We must as Latter Day Mormons not be afraid to stand for what we believe in and never be afraid to state that we are children in spirit begat by the Father, that he begat all the spirits that ever were, or ever will be, upon this earth, that they were born as spirits in the eternal world while we lived with the Father. It was while we lived with him as spirits that we prepared to come to earth and receive a body and be tested to see if we are worthy to return to be with him, it was while we lived with him as spirits that we participated in the council in heaven and learned of this plan, that we call the plan of salvation. We learned in this council that the plan would require us to leave our Heavenly Fathers presence, with no memory of our former home or existence, to undergo a time of testing which we now know as mortality and that if we were worthy we would inherit honour and glory and attain peace with the Father.  By coming to earth and partaking in the plan of salvation and obtaining physical bodies we have already started down the path to becoming more like our Father, we have advanced along the path that our Father has set for us. We can advance further along this plan by being obedient to the gospel and to the Fathers son, even Jesus Christ.

For us in the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ the plan of salvation is set out and designed for our very happiness and progression. The Lord revealed to Moses that our happiness and progression have always been his highest concern, remember the words that were spoken to Moses in the Revelation received by Joseph Smith in the Bible when its says:- “For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”  Revelation to Moses 1:23 and we also read in D&C when is t says in verse 10 to 13 “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God, for behold the Lord your redeemer suffered death in the flesh, wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth”.

So it is that Immortality is the condition in which there can be no physical death. This condition is made possible through Christ’s atonement and resurrection. It is a free gift to all who have entered this life, all no matter who they may be. Every mortal will someday be resurrected, never to die again. However as Latter Day Mormons we know that Eternal life is more than immortality, it is the kind of life that our Father in Heaven lives and that this life is only made available to us through the Saviours atoning sacrifice and only available to those who accept it through faith in Christ the Lord, repentance and obedience (Hebrews 5:9). Latter Day Mormons, indeed all those that have come to a sure knowledge of Christ and the plan of the Father know that eternal life is to be exalted in the celestial kingdom, the place where both God the father and his son will dwell, indeed where all those who do as he has commanded will dwell, for it must be understood by all that the glory and wonders of the celestial kingdom  are so beyond what we know and what we can imagine and indeed see that they have not as yet found a place in the hearts of men, this is why the very idea of such a place in so alien to many that they simply do not believe and in doing so condemn and persecute those that do believe. This is why as Latter Day Mormons we should continue to hold fast to what we know to be true and step by step we will fulfil the plan of salvation and dwell with the Father In his Celestial glory.

It must be remembered by all of us that the plan of salvation has been given to us that we must and can only come unto the Father in the name of the Saviour and in due time revive of his fullness. Let us remember the words “For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fullness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father” (D&C 93:19-20). It is important that we live the principles and teachings of the gospel so that the ordinances and covenants of the gospel can be sealed by the power of the Holy Ghost. The eternal birthright of all Latter Day Mormons is to progress in the things of God until they can inherit the kingdom of God, let us therefore remember that God loves us, that he is watching over us, he wants us to succeed, and we’ll know someday that he has not left one thing undone for the eternal welfare of each of us. I proclaim that if only we knew it, if only we knew that there are indeed heavenly hosts pulling for us, they are yearning for our victory, they are pulling for us to tread the path of the gospel with sure footedness, they are there for us just beyond the vail waiting to instruct us in the name of the Father, if only we would show unto the Father what we can do and indeed show him that we are willing to do his work and do what it takes to return unto him. This is the plan of salvation to tread the path of God and in doing so fulfil our potential and so we attest to the world the following principles of the plan of Salvation:-

 

·        The Plan of Salvation enables us to return to Almighty God, the Heavenly Father, after our lives end, and lets us live according to His will while we are here on earth.

·        Before our birth into physical bodies here on earth, each of us existed in the Pre-Mortal world as purely spiritual beings.

·        We were sent to earth to receive a physical body and to be tested to determine our eternal destiny.

·        Here, we are tempted by Satan, a fallen angel who disobeyed Heavenly Father and was cast out of heaven. Satan wishes us to fail and to be eternally separated from Heavenly Father, as he is.

·        All people have fallen short of God’s will for our lives.

·        But God wishes us to repent, be Born Again, and stop sinning. (D&C 49:13)

·        Jesus Christ, the Son of Heavenly Father, revealed teachings and commandments of God that allow us be Born Again, stop sinning and attain salvation.

·        God has revealed scriptures to us to guide us and keep us from sinning.

·        When we recognise these Truths, we are baptised and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

·        Upon baptism, we are reborn and begin living according to the will of God.

·        At baptism, we make a covenant with Jesus Christ and with Heavenly Father that we will not live sinfully anymore.

·        By continuing to live in fellowship with Jesus Christ, by following his teachings, principles and the precepts God has revealed through Christ and God’s Prophets, we will attain salvation.

·        We have the ability to freely choose to obey Satan or the will of our Heavenly Father, as revealed by Jesus Christ and His Prophets. (2 Nephi 2)

·        We will be judged by God after our physical deaths according to our works in this life. (Alma 41; Moroni 7)

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