Saturday, 13 June 2015

Sermon: Death & The World To Come

Joseph Smith Said “All men know that they must die. And it is important that we should understand the reasons and causes of our exposure to the vicissitudes of life and of death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world, our sufferings here, and our departure hence. What is the object of our coming into existence, then dying and falling away, to be here no more? It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter, and it is a subject we ought to study more than any other. We ought to study it day and night, for the world is ignorant in reference to their true condition and relation. If we have any claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject” (Joseph Smith)
 
Every man born into the world will die. It matters not who he is, nor where he is, whether his birth be among the rich and the noble, or among the lowly and poor in the world, his days are numbered with the Lord, and in due time he will reach the end. Death therefore  is merely a change from one status or sphere of existence to another. This death consists in the separation of the eternal spirit from the mortal body so that the body is left to go back to the dust or element from which it was created (meaning organised), and the spirit is left to sojourn in a world of waiting spirits until the day of the resurrection. We must remember always that there was no death in the earth before the fall of Adam. The gospel teaches us that if Adam and Eve had not partaken of that fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would have remained in the Garden of Eden in that same condition prevailing before the fall.
 
When all is said and done and it is over we shall turn round and look upon [the valley of death] and think, when we have crossed it, why this is the greatest advantage of my whole existence, for I have passed from a state of sorrow, grief, mourning, misery, pain, anguish and disappointment into a state of existence, where I can enjoy life to the full as far as that can be done without a body. My spirit is set free, for all time and I find that I thirst no more, I want to sleep no more, I hunger no more, I tire no more, I run, I walk, I labour, I come, I go, whatever is required of me, nothing like pain or weariness, I am full of life, full of vigour, and I enjoy the presence of my Saviour until at Judgment I am joined with the Father in His Kingdom. All fear of death has been removed from the Latter Day Mormon doctrine. We have no dread of the temporal death, because we know that as death came upon us by the transgression of Adam, so by the righteousness of Jesus Christ shall life come unto us, and though we die, we shall live again. Possessing this knowledge, we have joy even in death, for we know that we shall rise again and shall meet again beyond the grave. We know that the spirit dies not at all; that it passes through no change, except the change from imprisonment in our earthly bodies found in this mortal clay to freedom and to the sphere in which it acted before it came to this earth. If we say that early death is a calamity, disaster or a tragedy, would it not be saying that mortality is preferable to earlier entrance into the spirit world and to eventual salvation and exaltation? If mortality be the perfect state, then death would be a frustration but the Gospel teaches us there is no tragedy in death.
 
The spirits of all men, as soon as they depart from there mortal bodies, whether they are good or evil, we are told in revealed scripture, are taken home, where there is a separation, a partial judgment, and the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they expand in wisdom, where they have respite from all their troubles, and where care and sorrow do not trouble them. The wicked, have no part nor portion in the Spirit of the Lord, and they are cast into spirit sprison, because of their own iniquity. And in this space between death and the resurrection of the body, the two classes of souls remain, in happiness or in misery, until the time which is appointed and we are brought to stand before God, and be judged according to our works. This is the final judgment.
 
Paradise, the abode of righteous spirits, as they await the day of their resurrection. Paradise, a place of peace and rest where the sorrows and trials of this life have been shuffled off, and where the saints continue to prepare for a celestial world to come. Paradise, not the Lord’s eternal kingdom, but a way station along the course leading to eternal life, a place where the final preparation is made for that fullness of joy which comes only when we are connected to God in immortal glory!
 
For it is the justice of the Father, that he is going to give to every man the privilege of hearing the gospel. Not one soul shall be overlooked or forgotten in this, it cant be otherwise, or else Gods word would be null and void when he says that no man can be saved in ignorance. This being true, what about the countless thousands who have died and never heard of Christ, never had an opportunity of repentance and remission of their sins, never been in contact with the Church of Christ and with those called to hold the Priesthood which is the authority of God? Some of our good Christian neighbours will tell you they are lost forever, that they cannot believe in the grave, for there is no hope beyond. I ask, would that be fair? Would it be just? No! The Lord is going to give to every man the opportunity to hear and to receive eternal life, or a place in his kingdom. We are very fortunate because we have had that privilege here and have passed from death into life. The Lord has so arranged his plan of redemption that all who have died without this opportunity shall be given it in the spirit world. There the Angels of our Father God are proclaiming the gospel to the dead. All those who did not have an opportunity here to receive it, who there repent and receive the gospel, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God. How wonderful a blessing it is to us to know of the this plan to know of death and the world to come.
 
Amen
Prophet Matthew P Gill

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