Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

We Are Responsible, Come Follow Me

Scripture references have been highlighted in red and are hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at and will open in a new window. Please click to read!    Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog.

To truly learn from the Savior we must first accept his invitation, "Come Follow Me."  So what does that mean, "Come Follow Me"?

It means to follow what the Savior has taught us to do. But how do we know what the Savior wants us to do?  How do we know about the Savior at all, his life, his mission?

Studying the scriptures is the way to learn about the Savior but not only is it an opportunity to learn about the Savior its also how we learn His doctrine and discover how to follow him more perfectly by acting upon what we have learned from his teachings.  Its how we choose to follow the Savior its how we begin to gain power and knowledge.

In this new year our goal as individuals and families should be to not only learn about the Savior, but as we study his life and teachings identify things that we can do to follow in His footsteps and then act on those; so that in effect, we do follow Him more perfectly. This is how we choose to accept his invitation Come Follow Me.

The Saviors invitation to Come Follow Me is for ALL.  It is for everyone ever created, ever lived or living now.  His invitation is clear, as it is an invitation to become a disciple, His disciple.  MATTHEW 19:16–22  teaches us how to accomplish this: 

16 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

When reading this story what do you learn about becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ?  
The young man in this account learned what we all must learn; being a disciple means giving our WHOLE souls to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. 

Learning from the Savior starts when we strive to understand what he taught.  When we learn what he taught we then progress and we find what we lack or what we need to change.  By acting on what we find we gain knowledge, faith and strength and we become more like Him.  We are following Him as he has invited us to do.  

Elder Dallin H. Oaks tells us: "Many carry heavy burdens. Some have lost a loved one to death or care for one who is disabled. Some have been wounded by divorce. Others yearn for an eternal marriage. Some are caught in the grip of addictive substances or practices like alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or pornography. Others have crippling physical or mental impairments. Some are challenged by same-gender attraction. Some have terrible feelings of depression or inadequacy. In one way or another, many are heavy laden. To each of us our Savior gives this loving invitation." (General Conference, October 2006)

The invitation Elder Oaks talks about his Christ's invitation to Come Follow Me.  When we choose Jesus Christ we find, safety and peace.  Where ever we may be in our journey, when we accept this invitation, using it to work through trials and tribulation, the Savior will give us help, he will give us answers, he will give us rest.   

Learning Requires Acting in Faith
In accepting the invitation from the Savior each of us are responsible for our own learning. Elder David A Bednar taught:  "As learners, you and I are to act and be dowers of the word and not simple hearers who are only acted upon. Are you and I agents who act and seek learning by faith, or are we waiting to be acted upon?  A learner exercising agency by acting in accordance with correct principles opens his or her heart to the Holy Ghost and invites His teaching, testifying power and confirming witness.  Learning by Faith requires spiritual, mental and physical exertion and not just passive reception. (Seek Learning by Faith Ensign Sept 2007) 

What does it mean to take responsibility for your own learning?  

How can you inspire yourself to take a more active role in learning?  

The purpose of the invitation Come, Follow Me is to help us come unto Christ and become more deeply converted to His gospel. In order to do this we must engage in learning; however, such learning requires faith, as well as the faith to act on what we have learned.  Lets take a look at the following scriptures stories that can help us with this.  

Mark 5:25-34
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 

34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Luke 5:17-26
17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Jud├Ža, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
18 ¶ And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.
20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?
23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?
24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 

7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

What did the people in each of these accounts do to show their faith in the Savior?  First they believed, second they acted upon what Christ had told them to do.  Then not only were they healed, but they had a testimony, they knew the truth.  So is the same for us, first we need to believe, even if it is but a mustard seed of faith.  Then act upon that bit of faith, and we will then know the truth.  

We Need to Know the Truth for Ourselves
Maybe you know people who never seem to loose their faith, no matter what happens in their lives.  They may even remind you of the five wise virgins.  Matthew 25: 1-13

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Like the virgins in this scripture story what we may miss when seeing those that don't seem to loose their faith is their great efforts to strengthen their own testimonies.  It is imperative we know the truth for ourselves.  In the coming days and even now we will not be able to ride on the coat tails of others.  We must all, even the strong and the weak, seek to fortifiy and solidify our testimonies because as the foolish virgins learned, we cannot borrow conversion from anyone else.

How do we gain testimonies?  President James E. Faust taught: "To those who believe but wish their belief to be strengthened, I urge you to walk in faith and trust in God. Spiritual knowledge always requires an exercise of faith. We acquire a testimony of the principles of the gospel by obediently trying to live them. ... A testimony of the efficacy of prayer comes through humble and sincere prayer. A testimony of tithing comes by paying tithing. Do not let your private doubts separate you from the divine source of knowledge. Prayerfully go forward, humbly seeking eternal light, and your unbelief will be dispelled. I testify that if you continue in the purposeful process of searching for and accepting spiritual light, truth, and knowledge, it will surely come. By going forward in faith, you will find that your faith will increase. Like a good seed, if it is not cast out by your unbelief, it will swell within your breast." (General Conference, October 2003)

Many passages of the New Testament can guide our search for truth and strengthen us:  
Luke 11:19-13  

9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

John 5:39   ¶ Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

14 ¶ Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 

17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Other passages help us identify truths that we need to know for ourselves:

John 3:16-17

16 ¶ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

1 Corinthians 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

And yet other passages describe Saints who searched the scriptures and gained their own witness of the Truth:

10 ¶ And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 

12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

No matter who long we have been in the Church we all need to constantly strengthen our testimonies.  True prayerful, faithful, scripture study will bring the Holy Ghost which will help us do that.  

What should you do when you have questions?  
First you need to know that it is normal to have questions.  They will come for it is part of our learning and growth.  Its what we do with the questions and concerns that count.  When they come remember the following: 

Seek understanding through divinely appointed sources:  God is the source of all truth, and he reveals truth through the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, and His prophets and apostles.  

Act in faith:  if answers don't come right away, trust the Lord will reveal answers when the time is right.  In the meantime keep living by the truth you already know.  

Keep an eternal perspective:  try to see things as the Lord sees them, not as the world does.  View your questions in the context of our Heavenly Father's plan of salvation.  

President David O. McKay told the following story, "I am going to tell you what happened to me as a boy upon the hillside near my home in Huntsville. I was yearning, just as you boys are yearning, to know that the vision given to the Prophet Joseph Smith was true, and that this Church was really founded by revelation, as he claimed. I thought that the only way a person could get to know the truth was by having a revelation or experiencing some miraculous event, just as came to the Prophet Joseph.
"One day I was hunting cattle. While climbing a steep hill, I stopped to let my horse rest, and there, once again, an intense desire came over me to receive a manifestation of the truth of the restored gospel. I dismounted, threw my reins over my horse's head, and there, under a serviceberry bush, I prayed that God would declare to me the truth of his revelation to Joseph Smith. I am sure that I prayed fervently and sincerely and with as much faith as a young boy could muster.
"At the conclusion of the prayer, I arose from my knees, threw the reins over my faithful pony's head, and got into the saddle. As I started along the trail again, I remember saying to myself: 'No spiritual manifestation has come to me. If I am true to myself, I must say I am just the same "old boy" that I was before I prayed.' I prayed again when I crossed Spring Creek, near Huntsville, in the evening to milk our cows.

"The Lord did not see fit to give me an answer on that occasion, but in 1899, after I had been appointed president of the Scottish Conference, the spiritual manifestation for which I had prayed as a boy in my teens came as a natural sequence to the performance of duty." (General Conference, October 1968)

Elder David A Bednar explained:  "I have observed a common characteristic among the instructors who had the greatest influence in m life.  They have helped me to seek learning by faith.  They refused to give me easy answers to hard questions, in fact, they did not give me any answers at all.  Rather they pointed the way and helped me take the steps to find my own answers.  An answer given by another person usually is not remembered for very long, if remembered at all.  But an answer we discover or obtain through the e4xercise of faith, typically, is retained for a lifetime.  Only in this way can a person move beyond relying upon the spiritual knowledge and experience of others and claim those blessings for himself or herself."  (Seek Learning by Faith.  Ensign Sept 2007) 

How can we make scripture study more meaningful? 
Developing the habit of scripture study is challenging.  Some feel they don't have time, others feel they don't have understanding, and yet others believe they don't have the skills for such an effort.  So what can we do to be successful with this commandment?  Don't give up.  

Make time for study, even if its just a few minutes a day, do it.  Brother Tad R Callister taught on this subject:  "Two axmen held a contest to determine who could cut down more trees in a day.  At sundrise the contest commenced.  Every hour the smaller man wandered off into the forest for 10 minutes or so.  Each time he did this, his opponent smiled and nodded, assured that he was forging ahead.  The larger man never left his post, never stopped cutting, never took a break.  

When the day ended the larger man was shocked to learn that his opponent, who seemingly wated so much time, had cut many more trees than he.  "How did you do it when you took so many breaks?" he asked.  

The winner replied, "Oh, I was sharpening my ax." 

Every time we study the scriptures we are sharpening our ax.  (The Joy of Learning Ensign Oct 2016) 

If reading is hard listen to the scriptures through apps or cd's.    

Create a scripture study journal recording your thoughts and impressions when you read or listen.

Use study manuals from seminary, institute and church resources for a guide line.

Use the commentary of the Prophets, Apostles and leaders to help you understand.  

Video's , apps and more are available to help you enrich your study and understanding. 

Attend Sunday School Class for it will greatly aid your study to hear from your brothers, sisters, and teacher.  The class is meant to supplement your study,  and it will help.  

The essential purpose of gospel learning is to change lives.  Your goal is to do all you can to become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and stay there.  Participate actively in your own learning of the principles and doctrines of Jesus Christ and act on what you've learned.   As you act in faith by studying you will invite the Spirit into your life and be blessed more deeply than you can imagine.

Conference Reports
New Testament

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