Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sermon: Learning to Discern The Truth

I’m told there are only two vegetables that are “perennial” - they don’t have to be replanted to produce on their own- several growing seasons.  All other vegetables must be replanted every year.

Quiz: What are the only two vegetables that don’t have to be replanted?
(Rhubarb/ Asparagus). Now, that’s probably a good thing for those vegetables because if it depended on me, they wouldn’t get replanted gardening is not my strong point in fact I hate it. There is a basic definition of the difference between garden plants and weeds: Weeds are anything you don’t have to plant, water, or fertilize. Weeds just grow up all on their own. Now, here in this parable about the weeds, we find that the weeds didn’t just happen. The weeds didn’t just grow up by chance amongst the good crop.
They were planted by an enemy.


In the parables found in the book of  Matthew in the bible in chapter 13 of Matthew, Jesus is trying to help us understand some of the dynamics we can expect to encounter as Christians in this world. For example: His first parable talked about a farmer spreading seed on four different kinds of soils. I believe that part of what He wanted us to understand was that we shouldn’t get upset when people
1. get angry with us,
2. reject our faith,
3. make fun of our commitment to Christ.


This is important because (just like those different soils) not everybody’s heart was going to be open to our faith or our witness about Jesus. Now, He’s telling us another parable about a farmer that sows “good seed” in the field. But during the night an enemy comes and maliciously sows weeds in the field.

Before we get started let’s revue what Jesus tells us about the parable…
1. The farmer is… “The Son of Man” (Jesus, vs. 37)
2. The good seed stands for… “the sons of the Kingdom” (that’s us, vs. 38)
3. The enemy is… “Satan” (vs. 39)
4. The weeds are… “the sons of the evil one” (vs. 38)
5. And the harvest is… “the end of the age” (judgment day)


Right from the start, there’s something that seems pretty obvious to me. I’m not much of a gardener but even I know – if you’ve got weeds in your garden – you pull them. These weeds are the tool of Satan. They are the “sons of the evil one”. Satan has sown them in this world to undermine God’s Kingdom. So, why on earth wouldn’t God just yank them up as soon as they appear? Well, we’ll get back to that in a minute. But first, I want to tell you a little about the setting of Jesus’ parable. There’s something Jesus’ audience would have understood, that we wouldn’t know about in our culture. And that is the type of weeds Jesus was probably talking about. Most scholars believe that the weeds were something known as the “Bearded Darnel”. The Bearded Darnel looks so much like wheat that it’s called “False wheat” as it grows, you can’t hardly tell the two apart until the ear appears. You wouldn’t want to make bread out of this false wheat because it contains a strong sleep-inducing, hypnotic like POISON. If you prepared bread like this for your family, you’d hurt them. In this parable Jesus is telling us that Satan’s goal is to actively undermine the Gospel by presenting people with a substitute.

To the untrained eye this “false wheat” (these false teacher and preachers) will look just like the real thing If you listened to their ideas/ teachings/ doctrines they’d almost sound like us, but once the full body of what they believe is known there’s a hypnotic poison about them that could drag us in/ and drag us down.

At the last church I was a member of, indeed many in this room were members of there were a couple of families in the church that had gotten into the habit of listening to the teachings of Brigham young. Aside from the many countless wives he had his doctrines didn’t sound that far off… that is until you began reading his written literature in his discourses . he taught the teaching that Cain was the offspring of Eve and Satan! And that Cain was a black man. Thus all black people were offspring of Satan himself and were to be shunned and treated as inferior. It was a new twist on the old racial bigotry interpretation of Genesis. Of course, this was all heresy (not to mention fairly inane), and I tried to tell these families that. But they wouldn’t listen. They’d already been pulled in by the churches slick spiel and revision of history. 

Jesus warned us about these kinds of teachings when he said "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew7-15).

To conclude this sermon I say that we need to be able to distinguish between good things and bad. We cant always have our hand held we must learn discernment through being familiar with the scriptures and through prayer the presence of the Holy Ghost. By being close to the Lord we will be able to see a clear path and avoid these poisons that lie in wait.

In the Lords name, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
Apostle Elder Philip A. Gill

Official Church Statement: Release of Presiding Bishop

Today we announce the release of Elder Paul Barber as the presiding bishop of the church. We do so with thanks to Elder Barber who has served with great veracity and strength of his conviction. We thank him for all his hard work during his time as the presiding bishop and wish him well for the future.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Sermon: Prophecy

This morning I am going to speak to you about The gift of prophecy. The gift of prophecy is manifested to us in our lives in many different ways. One is the ability to foretell events, and the other is to understand, and interpret the prophecies made by others. We have to remember that holding the priesthood is one of many prerequisites for possessing this gift. We have been informed many times in the scriptures of women possessing this gift and so they also possess the priesthood as do men. we read:-
 
1  FOLLOW after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
2  For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
3  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
4  He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
5  I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. (New Testament | 1 Corinthians 14:1 - 5)
 
Paul informs us in the Book of Acts
 
8  And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Cæsarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
9  And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
10  And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judæa a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
(New Testament | Acts 21:8 - 11)
 
Luke also speaks of Anna the prophetess which by definition means she also held the priesthood, she testified of the divinity of Jesus as a baby. There was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity.
 
37  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39  And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
(New Testament | Luke 2:36 - 40)
 
In closing Nephi taught that we must have the spirit, and gift of prophecy to understand prophecy as we read in 2 Nephi 15:1-4.
 
1  NOW I, Nephi, do speak somewhat concerning the words which I have written, which have been spoken by the mouth of Isaiah.  For behold, Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand; for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews.
2  For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations.
3  Wherefore, I write unto my people, unto all those that shall receive hereafter these things which I write, that they may know the judgments of God, that they come upon all nations, according to the word which he hath spoken.
4  Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy.  But I give unto you a prophecy, according to the spirit which is in me; wherefore I shall prophesy according to the plainness which hath been with me from the time that I came out from Jerusalem with my father; for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 25:1 - 4)
 
We are so blessed to have Matthew Gill as our living prophet whom God has raised up for us. He is not free from the common struggles in this world we all face on a daily bases. He is God’s holy vessel on earth to assist us in efforts to become a saved people.
 
In The Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Apostle and Third Elder Peter Barber

 

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