Saturday, 17 May 2014

Sermon: The Very Small Remnant- We Are It

The only seemingly legitimate question asked today concerning the followers of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ is our numbers. There are only a few is the cry, why are there only a few, how can they be led by God with so few? To answer this question let us look at what the scriptures, and what Christ and his Prophets tell us about the church of God. Firstly we must look at what the Lord told his own people the Jews concerning the state of the world in which the Gentiles would come to prominence and how they would deny what was given unto them.

The scriptures teach us that after the Gentiles receive the gospel dispensation in the last days they were to reject it, again. Jesus even gave the date. When the disciples asked concerning His return, they were told it was not the time and season for them to know; but, to concern themselves with the destruction that should soon come upon Jerusalem. When they saw Jerusalem circled by the Roman army they were to "flee to the mountains." There is no record of how many may have obeyed the command that the Lord gave them. Jesus told them that, "they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)

Joseph Smith, the first Prophet of the last dispensation was clear in his teachings that the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times was to be given first to the Gentiles and then to the House of Israel. "The last shall be first, and the first last." The dispensation could not return to the House of Israel until the Gentiles rejected the priesthood and gospel. In the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time, the Gentiles did not receive the gospel until after the Jews had rejected the priesthood and crucified Christ. "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt. 10:5-6) After his crucifixion, Jesus commanded, "Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:14-16)

It is clear to any one that has studied the scriptures that Joseph revealed that the dispensation which he opened was the last time the gospel would be taken to the Gentiles. "For behold, the field is white already to harvest; and it is the eleventh hour, and the last time that I shall call labourers into my vineyard." (D&C 33:3; 39:17; 88:84; 90:2; 95:4) "Wherefore, labour ye, labour ye in my vineyard for the last time-- for the last time call upon the inhabitants of the earth." (D&C 43:28)

So we see that the teachings of Joseph Smith's are completely in line with the teachings of Jesus in as much as the Gentiles would again reject the gospel and then His people would be gathered. "Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 28:32) "They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ." (2 Nephi 28:14) So we see once again that those that are faithful will be only a few, not millions! Isaiah also wrote of, "a very small remnant."

Only a few? This is what Jesus told of His true followers? "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matt 7:13-15) "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matt. 22:14) So lets look at this again, well it says "few there be that find it," "a very small remnant" Not millions!

The Lord revealed that before Joseph should die, he would appoint "another" as his successor. "But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead. And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me." (D&C 43:4-6)

Sadly there remain today still only a few true followers of the church of Christ. Maybe this is one of the strongest witnesses of truth. There have always been only a few at the turn of world events. Which is better? A few real sheep or many wolves in sheep's clothing? There were eight souls that survived the last destruction that came upon the earth. There was only Lot and his two daughters that escaped from Sodom. When the Disciples of Christ gathered after His death "the number of names together were about an hundred and forty." (Acts 1:15) Even of those who are members of the kingdom of Heaven as Christ's return, only half will be found worthy. They will cry, "Lord, Lord, open to us." But, Jesus will answer, "Verily I say unto you, I know you not." (Matt. 25:11, 12)

Once again when we look at the time of the flood when the time came that the cup of iniquity of the world was full to the brim, the flood was sent to destroy the people and show them that God was not to be mocked with impunity, and then as always when the Lord rises up a righteous people 'only few, in this case eight souls, were saved.'

Today the Lord has not left us without hope and he has not left the world without truth and structure he has given us the church and any person who is earnestly seeking truth has the opportunity to follow the principles of the gospel and enter the kingdom of God. These are members of the Church of the Firstborn and have that great opportunity to endure faithful and obedient, be resurrected into the celestial glory, and inherit the earth in all its glory.  The gate is still open to you, all who are seeking truth. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:13-16) “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt 15:9)

Here in the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ are the true followers of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and Matthew Gill there is no great church buildings. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16) But, here in this church we find the “small remnant” that was to remain until the return of our Lord. Here in The Latter Day Church is truth, the Melchezedick Priesthood, and the opportunity to walk on the path to eternal life. Finally let us remember the words spoke in Matthew “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt 6:33)

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