Friday, 27 September 2013

What is the purpose of Baptism?

Baptism comes from Greek and it means to dip or immerse.When Jesus Christ was on the earth, at the start of his ministry He was baptised, by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:13-17) John at that time was baptising unto repentance, (Matthew 3:11) Jesus Christ himself of course did not need to be baptised for repentance, He was perfect. So, Why did he get baptised?
 John even recognised that Christ was superior to him when he said "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?"  and in a humble response Jesus responds "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness"  So A perfect man felt it was necessary to be baptised to fulfill all righteousness How much more greater is our need to be baptised?

Okay So there is a need to be baptised, But why? What does baptism even do? At baptism we make a covenant with God. A covenant is an agreement where God tells us what the reward will be and we agree with God what we have to do in order to get that reward.

So, The prophet Alma, In the Book of Mormon, taught what this covenant involves (Mosiah 18:8-10). In this promise we make with God, is that we will help and try to uplift those around us, promise to keep His commandments and stand as witnesses of him at all times and in all things, Or in other words show people that you are trying to follow Christ by trying to be like him in your actions and the things you say.

By being baptised you agree with God to keep his commandments, And you are basically saying that you are putting your past behind you and are going to follow him and keep his commandments. When you do this, you enter into the fold of God and become one of his people.

In return for you doing this He promises to give you his spirit in more abundance. That he will forgive you of your sins and wash them away, That you will be resurrected and live with him.

In closing, Late one night Jesus Christ was conversing with a Pharisee called Nicodemus, He was a ruler amongst the Jews. Jesus Christ taught him that no man can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again. This confused Nicodemus, and so he asked how can you be born again?

"Verily, verily, i say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:1-5)

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Gift of the Holy Ghost.

In my previous post I talked about what the Holy Ghost is and that we are all affected by his influence. Although everyone can feel the Holy Ghost testify of truth to their souls, There is a unique gift that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints has to offer and that is The Gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is different to feeling its influence. First because when someone who has received this gift they are entitled to the feelings and guidance of the Holy Ghost constantly so long as they keep the commandments of God. In the Bible, the apostles, after the Holy Ghost descended upon them preached right away, And after they preached  the people felt the Holy Ghost as a prick in their hearts, they then asked (Acts 2:37-38) "What shall we do?" The Apostles than declared that they should "Repent and be baptised everyone in the name of Jesus and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost"

The Prophet Nephi in The Book of Mormon,  taught that once you "receive the Holy Ghost, it shall show you all things what ye should do." (2 Nephi 32:5) Personal guidance from God really is a great gift. This is the gift that Jesus Christ called The Comforter, in John 14:16.

And yet, Jesus Christ said (John 14:17)"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." So how can we receive this gift if the world cannot receive it? The answer is through the laying on of hands. There are a few places that teach this but my favourite story is of simon the sorcerer. (Acts 8:12-25) Here, Philip went and preached the Gospel in Samaria, They were all being bewitched and fooled by a man called Simon who practised sorcery. 

When Philip preached to these people he showed them miracles and taught them about Jesus Christ. Even simon believed his words and they were all baptised. The apostles Peter and John heard that they were baptised and they travelled all the way from Jerusalem to Samaria and in verse 17 the apostles laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost.

Simon saw that when they laid their hands on peoples heads they received this gift and he wanted it for himself. He was even willing to offer money for it. But peter rebuked him and told him that the gifts of God cannot be purchased with money and he told him to repent of this evil.

This is something that was so important that the apostles travelled all that distance just to give them this gift, The role of this Gift is to cleanse our spirits of guilt, to guide us in our every day lives, to testify of the truth and to provide comfort to us in times of need.

I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me in my life.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

What is the Holy Ghost?

So, The Holy Ghost is God's messenger to our souls, He has many names, like The Spirit, The Comforter, The Holy Spirit, The Spirit of Truth, and many more. His role as the third member of the Godhead is to teach and testify to us what is true and from God.

Since the times of Adam, The Holy Ghost has guided the followers of God. The Apostle Peter (2 Peter 1:20-21) Teaches all the prophecies and scripture in times of old (Or in other words the Old Testament) was written through inspiration of the Holy Ghost. And of course all of the New testament was written in the exact same way, The Holy Ghost inspiring the Apostles what to write and how to guide the followers of God.

Everyone on the Earth can be influenced by the Holy Ghost, As the Holy Ghost inspires scripture, It also testifies to our souls of truth. An example of this is Romans 8:16 Here it teaches that The Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are the children of God.  And this is because this is truth, All truth that is sent from God is testified by the Holy Ghost. and anyone who will not harden their heart can feel it whenever someone teaches truth.

There are many ways that the Spirit teaches us, Mostly we get feelings. The other day, we were in the chapel, and a man who had never been here before walked in, we gave him a tour of the building showing him what it was like, At the end of the tour he said that it feels "Different" in here. That it felt good. The feelings of comfort that come from the Holy Ghost are unique, Indescribable in some cases. It can feel like peace just washes over you. In Galatians 5:22-23 It describes "The Fruit of the spirit" Or in other words, The feelings that come from it. These are definitely feelings that all of us could do with more in our own lives. "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance"

 Or it comes as the apostles described in Luke 24:32, When Jesus appeared to two of them, and they did not recognise Him, He talked to them for a while and read to them from the scriptures. The way they knew who he was afterwards was because they felt "our hearts burn within us while he talked" This is a very powerful occasion and is more rare than is common. Another occasion is when the Apostles were teaching at the day of Pentecost when they themselves received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:37-38) "They were pricked in the heart" And after that the apostles gave everyone The Gift of the Holy Ghost.

In the Book of Mormon, in Moroni 10:3-5 Moroni teaches us all how we can find our own answers from God, The promise given here is for the Book of Mormon specifically but can apply to anything we want to know from God. He instructs us that First we must "ponder it in our hearts." Or in other words, Think about them for ourselves. Than we need to Ask God, in the name of Jesus Christ if it is true. If we do this and are willing to act on the answer that God gives us, Believing that he will answer you. You will feel the guidance through the Holy Ghost on what you should do.

The Holy Ghost has really blessed my life and has bought me great comfort when i have been feeling low, He can help anyone so long as we ask God for help.

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Resurrection.

Because of Adam and Eve, we will all die, this is a promise that God gave them when they ate of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. When they ate of it they would die in two different ways Physically and spiritually. Physical death is where our body is separated from our body. Spiritual death is separation of us from God. (Alma 42:9)

Because of Jesus Christ we will all be raised from both physical and spiritual death. The prophet Alma, in The Book of Mormon, explained to his son that Resurrection is when our body and spirit are joined together again, but our body will be made perfect.(Alma 40:23)

After we are resurrected, we will all be brought into the presence of God to be Judged of what we have done here on the earth, (Revelation 20:13-13)and we will be judged by Jesus Christ (John 5:22-23). As we will be judged according to our works, It seems a little unfair that God would have only two options, like If you make it this far you get to heaven, if you fall short you go to hell. And you do not need to accept Jesus Christ in order to be a good person, So what happens to them?

well, Lets first establish that there are more than two places that you can go, There is more than just heaven or hell. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is explaining to the Corinthians that there will be a resurrection, and in (1 Corinthians 15:40-42) Here it compares the types of body to the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. This is what it refers to when we receive according to our works. 

Those who follow Jesus Christ, strive to keep his commandments and are Baptised will receive this "Glory" Now it dost mean they will become the sun but they can be compared to the sun. for example in Revelation 1:16 it compares the countenance of Jesus to the sun. Those who are compared to this glory will live with God, and they will live in a state of perfect joy and peace. I love how in psalms 16:11 it teaches that in Gods presence is a fullness of Joy. 

The glory of the Moon, Is for people who lived a good life, but for one reason or another chose not to follow Jesus Christ. They will have some amount of happiness. But they will not live with God, and as a result will never be as happy as those who have been cleansed through Jesus Christ.

The lowest of these three places is compared to the stars. Just as from our perspective the stars are almost nothing in compared to the moon, and you cannot even see them compared to the sun. The Glory of these people will be almost nothing. This is because they did not live good lives and did not want to change. God has prepared somewhere for them to live.

This was something that God revealed to Joseph Smith through divine revelation. And is one of the many fruits that God has given to us through prophets who live today.