Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sermon: Redeeming Zion

Let me first say that we the church are grateful beyond any measure for the very excellent work being done in the Church by everyone. We extend our high commendation to those who serve in this church. We feel that a foundation has been laid for great progress and development in the days, weeks and months to come. We foresee a day when the Church will be an ever present influence in the world. I would like to make my first address of 2015 one of great importance and one that follows with it great gravitas, for I wish to speak of the building of Zion in these last days. As we also know the Lord God is now in the process of gathering in the lost sheep of and laying upon them the obligation to build up his Latter Day Zion. This is something that the Lord has spoken to us about ever since he parted the veil again and helped to establish his kingdom again in glory upon the earth, it is not something that is just being spoken of or that has just this instant sprang to mind, it is something that we have been proclaiming now for sometime. By the mouth of an ancient prophet who lived 3,000 years ago, the Lord sent a message to us. The holy prophet spoke as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost and he spoke these words: “This shall be written for the generation to come” it is sent to “the people which shall be gathered” to a people who “shall praise the Lord.” (Ps. 102:18.) We are that people, a people who once again receive revelation, a people to whom God has given a gain the fullness of his gospel. The message which has come to us is that the Lord will “have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.” The message is that “when the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.” (Ps. 102:13- 16.)

Zion has been established many times among men. From the days of Adam to the present time, whenever the Lord has had a people of his choosing, whenever there have been those who have hearkened unto his voice and kept his commandments, whenever his people have served him with full purpose of heart, there has been a Zion always and forever, for he has placed them in his protective care in a city that is for him and him alone to be worshiped. The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ is in the process of a period of change and realignment where one of the basic doctrines of the Restoration is concerned. We were directed in the days of Joseph Smith to do one thing, a thing of such importance the prophet tried and tried again and again to do it, and that was the building up of Zion. Today we are counselled again and again in the revelations of the Lord to once again establish Zion and to turn away from the world entirely. Since the glories days of our beloved first Prophet Joseph Smith the keys of the building up of Zion and of the gathering of the ten lost tribes from the land of the north, we the church of God have been using what little means and strength we have to recover the remnant of that once favoured blessing, to establish once again Zion upon the earth. Some success has attended our labours; we have brought forth the Book of Jeraneck, we have established scriptures to be used in Gods kingdom, we have also established laws by which Zion shall be governed. Our message has gone to unto all the nations and many seeking the truth have come unto us for baptism and membership, we have sent word inviting them to come “to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths" fulfilling the words “out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord” (Isa. 2:3.)

Now the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ and its membership need to know now that we are sent to redeem Zion, that is our work, this is what we have been asked of God to do so let us play the part assigned us in the Lord’s eternal drama concerning his people, we ought not to struggle trying to determine, as did the New Testament saints in what part we should play in the building up of Zion for the building of Zion and the establishment of Zion in this latter day is set before us we know what it is we have been asked to do. We should all be aware that we are now living in the days before second coming of God, we know that we are living in the tribulation and that we are here not just to proclaim truth but to establish it in a tangible edifice and that edifice is Zion, Zion is to be touched, it is to be walked upon and to be seen now in our lives, not in some distance far of tomorrow but now and our work lies ahead of us. The Lord has spoken again and again on this subject and I have been reminded to proclaim again that If we do not rightly follow the word of God, we will face confusion and uncertainty and we will keep wondering if and when and how. But If on the other hand we correctly envision our proper role and know what should be done today, then we shall then be able to use our time, talents, and means to the best advantage in building up Zion and preparing the people for the second coming of the Son of Man.
 
My brothers and sisters let us not forget that we live in the age of restoration. Peter called it “the times of restitution,” meaning the period or time in the earth’s history when that which once was shall be restored in all its original glory and perfection, what better example of this do we need than this church and the fruits that it brings forth. have we not been shown that the church fell because of unrighteousness amongst the saints, have we not been shown that the Lord has had his hand in restoring what was once left abandoned to the wolves in sheep's clothing? Let us not forget that the things to be restored include “all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21.) And there are few things of which the prophets have spoken with more fervour and zeal than the building of Zion and the gathering of the Lords  favoured people. Many things have already been restored, and many things are yet to be restored. The Lords people have been gathered in some small part, but the greatest part of the gathering is ahead. The foundations of Zion have been laid in our hearts, but the promised City has yet to be built. We have done some of the things destined to be accomplished in this dispensation; we are now engaged in doing the very things reserved for our time; and there are many things ahead to be done not by our children and grandchildren but by us for we have been chosen as the ones who shall build Zion, we and we alone have been charged with this act, we can not keep kicking the can on down the street, the time has come when the Lord has put an end to this prevarication and asked us to sacrifice all, everything we have to establish Zion, I ask once again are we building the foundations of Zion are we living the principles of God? are we proclaiming that which God has asked or are we like those that dwell in the western desert and doing as we see fit for ourselves and only ourselves. This church has been asked to call everyone to establish and build Zion, and so we must and in doing so we must give all we have not just spiritually but also temporally as well holding nothing back, so that we may be redeemed as well as Zion. Amen
 
Prophet Matthew P Gill

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Five Quotes That Show Us the Charector of The Prophet Joseph Smith

Latter Day Mormons know that Joseph Smith was generous and charismatic, however we can always learn more and there is no better way to learn about his attributes than to study his own words. Here are five quotations from Joseph's own writings that reveal more about his character:
 
1. “I was grieved to hear that Hiram [Hyrum Smith] had lost his little Child I think we Can in Some degree sympathise with him but we all must be reconciled to our lots and Say the will of the Lord be done.”
 
Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832
 
By 1832, Joseph and Emma Hale Smith had three children born to them. All three died, either soon after birth or in infancy. In addition, Joseph Murdock, one of the twins Joseph and Emma adopted, had died just a couple of months earlier at the age of 11 months. No wonder Joseph said that he could sympathise with his brother Hyrum and sister-in-law Jerusha, who lost their nearly three-year-old daughter, Mary, in May 1832.
 
2. “I know that Zion, in the own due time of the Lord will be redeemed, but how many will be the days of her purification, tribulation and afflictions, the Lord has kept hid from my eyes; and when I enquire concerning this subject the voice of the Lord is, Be still, and know that I am God!”
 
Letter to Edward Partridge, 10 December 1833
 
Sometimes we struggle when we don’t get an answer to our prayers, thinking that perhaps it is because of a lack of faith or that God has forgotten us. This passage, written in a letter to Edward Partridge after Joseph had heard about the Saints’ expulsion from Jackson County, Missouri, shows that even the Prophet did not always receive immediate answers from the Lord. Just six days after Joseph wrote this letter, however, he received what is now section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which provided answers to his questions. That section also reiterates what Joseph said the Lord had been telling him: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
 
3. “Zion shall yet live though she seemeth to be dead.”
 
Letter to the Church in Caldwell County, 16 December 1838
 
In December 1838, Joseph and the Church were suffering through some of their darkest days. Joseph was imprisoned in Liberty Jail, Missouri, on charges of treason against the state of Missouri, and his followers had been driven from the state after an extermination order was issued by Governor Lilburn Boggs. Rather than giving into pessimism about the future of the Church during this time the Saints had been expelled from their homes and the place Zion was supposed to be built, Joseph told the Saints to take heart. Zion would yet rise in its glory.
 
4. “And as to yourself if you want to know how much I want to see you, examine your feelings, how much you want to see me, and judge for yourself, I would gladly walk from here to you barefoot, and bareheaded, and half naked, to see you and think it great pleasure, and never count it toil.”
 
Letter to Emma Smith, 4 April 1839
 
While still in Liberty Jail, Joseph wrote this poignant letter to his wife Emma, expressing his love for her and for their children. His expression of love stands as an indication of the deep affection he felt for them. 
 
5. “Mormons can testify whether I am willing to lay down my life for a Mormon; If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a Mormon I am bold to declare before heaven that I am just as ready to die for a Presbyterian, a Baptist or any other denomination.”
 
Joseph Smith Journal, 9 July 1843
 
Sometimes we forget how important the concept of religious liberty was to Joseph Smith. Not only did he pen the 11th article of faith, proclaiming the right of all humans to worship as they wished, he also counselled the Saints to exhibit that same religious tolerance. As he told church members at this Nauvoo meeting, he was just as willing to give his life for a member of another faith as he was for the Saints in the church.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Sermon Given By Brother Joseph Smith The Prophet

I thought that it would be great before we continue our traditional services that we should here from the Prophet Joseph Smith before we move in to our normal church sermons that are posted every week. There will be lots written and said about the early church this year and so this sermon taught by Joseph Smith would give us a very good example about the sorts of issues that the early church were going through. So I give the time over to Brother Joseph.

Sermon given by Joseph Smith, Jr. May 14, 1843, Hancock County, Illinois

(The Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 200-202.)
 
It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us, but that we should have a little; then we can comprehend it. The prophet then read the second epistle of Peter, 1st chapter, 16th to last verse, and dwelt upon the 19th verse with these remarks.
 
The principle of knowledge is the principle of faith unto salvation. The principle of knowledge can be comprehended, for any one that cannot get knowledge to be saved will be damned. The principle of salvation is given to us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Salvation is nothing more or less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet, and when we have power to put all enemies under our feet in this world and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved; as in the case of Jesus, he was to reign until he had put all enemies under his feet, and the last enemy was death. Perhaps there are principles here that few men have thought of. No person can have this salvation except through a tabernacle. Now, in this world, mankind are naturally selfish, ambitious, and striving to excel one above another, yet some are willing to build up others as well as themselves. So it is in the other world, there is a variety of spirits, some who seek to excel. And this was the case with the devil. When he fell, he sought for things which were unlawful, hence, he was cast down. And it is said he drew away many with him. The greatness of his punishment is that he shall not have a tabernacle. This is his punishment. So the devil, thinking to thwart the decree of God by going up and down in the earth seeking whom he may, destroys any person he can find that will yield to him. He will bind him and take possession of the body and reign there, glorying in it mightily, not thinking that he had gotten a stolen tabernacle. And by and by, some one of authority will come along and cast him out and restore the tabernacle to its rightful owner. But the devil steals a tabernacle because he has not one of his own. But if he steals one, he is liable to be turned out of doors. 
 
Now there is some grand secret there, and keys to unlock the subject. Notwithstanding the apostle exhorts them to add to their faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, yet he exhorts them to make their calling and election sure. And though they had heard the audible voice from heaven bearing testimony that Jesus was the Son of God, yet he says we have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light shining in a dark place. Now wherein could they have a more sure word of prophecy than to hear the voice of God saying this is my beloved Son. Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and they were a joint heir with him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightning's flash and earthquakes bellow and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble, and tribulation. Then, knowledge through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Compare this principle once with Christendom at the present day, and where are they, with all their boasted religion and piety and sacredness? While at the same time, they are crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelation, prophesying, and visions, they are just ripening for the damnation of hell, they will be damned for they reject the more glorious principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and treat with disdain and trample under foot the main key that unlocks the heavens and puts in our possession the glories of the celestial world. Yes, I say such will be damned with all their professed godliness. Then I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.
 
By Joseph Smith the Seer.

 

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