Sunday, 21 February 2016

Sunday's Sermon: Recognising Our Personal Guidance of The Spirit

A serious difficulty that we experience in our desire to receive guidance of the spirit are as to our thoughts, impressions, and opinions are generated by our own thoughts or from the Holy Ghost.
 
Most of us do not receive great visions, or visits from angels. So the question is how can we know for certain when we are being guided by God. We can find an exceptional example of personal revelation from an experience by Oliver Cowdery. Two important revelations, and counsels were revealed to him in April 1829.
 
1 Oliver Cowdery, verily, verily, I say unto you, that assuredly as the Lord liveth, who is your God and your Redeemer, even so surely shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which are ancient, which contain those parts of my scripture of which has been spoken by the manifestation of my Spirit. Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
 
2 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. (D&C 8:1-2)
 
The second revelation to Oliver defines a very clear format, or structure.
 
3 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me. (D&C 9:3)
 
Another example is found in Acts. Philip was travelling along the road to Gaza and passed by a chariot of a high Ethiopian court official. The spirit said unto Philip go near and join thyself to this chariot.
 
26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
 
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
 
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
 
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. (Acts 8 26-29)
 
There are three specific physiognomies to understand any message by the Holy Ghost. A definite message; a definite purpose, and a persistence until they are either accepted, or rejected. There is a physical sensation connected with these revelations from the Holy Ghost. A burning in the bosom and a feeling that the inspiration, decision, or instruction is correct. As we read in Luke 24:32
 
32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (Luke 24:31)
 
In closing Moroni taught that the testing process can only be carried out in faith, and without doubt as we read in Mormon 9:49-51
 
49 And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth. And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ?

50 Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish. O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need.

51 Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
 
In closing we can experience the blessing of personal guidance, and have these feeling of Certainty, joy and happiness, peace, calmness, and security, fearlessness, an attraction, and a heavenly feelings.
 
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Apostle & Third Elder Peter Barber

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