Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, March 23, 2019

“Who Hath Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear”



Scripture links are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org 
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Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog

Imagine you are riding in a bus with friends. As the journey progresses, you are all looking through the windows of the bus to observe the scenery. After traveling together, in the same bus, you come to the end of your trip and discuss what you saw. Will you, yourself, have observed the same things as the other passengers?

People in the same situation do not always observe the same things. Likewise, not all the people who heard Jesus teach understood how His stories applied to them.

The New Testament is full of miracle and wonder as Jesus brought about his mission showing his power and glory as the Son of God on earth. Multitudes gathered to be healed, to hear, to glimpse, to be taught the gospel and to gain faith. When Jesus taught among men he spoke not like the scribes who could be hard to understand; but rather in a language that could be understood by all. He taught in parables.

Some of the Savior’s most memorable teachings were in the form of simple stories called parables. President Thomas S Monson taught us that the Savior's teaching in this way moved and motivated people to a new life. Whether the story be of a shepherd, a sower, or fisherman, all became subjects whereby the master taught eternal truths so there would be those that could understand.

What is a parable?  Parables are used to teach us eternal truths. Some of these are of doctrines, some are of how to live, a new way of thinking or behaving. But they teach us the mysteries of God. The word parable is Greek and means "comparison."  The word parable has been used in a broad sense to describe teachings and stories of the New Testament, but a true parable is actually a longer story that Jesus used to conceal the central meaning of the story which contained profound truths about the kingdom of God for those who were spiritually prepared.

President Hugh B Brown pointed out that the Savior's parables most likely developed out of ordinary day to day experiences.  "His parables were not woven from fancy.  They were word pictures of what he had observed as he lived among the people.  He had seen the sower at work in the field, the shepherd with his sheep, the repentant son returning to his father, the barren fig tree, he knew the publican and the Pharisee and had attended wedding feasts where foolish virgins had no oil in their lamps.  He taught from the richness of His own life and He taught because He loved the people.  (Eternal Quest sel. Charles Manley Brown) 



Why Parables? At this time in His ministry Jesus faced increasing opposition from the Pharisees. He began using a teaching method that reached listeners at their level of individual spirituality. Jesus taught in parables so that those who were His disciples and ready might understand the mysteries of the Kingdom and those who were not ready, not of Him or of the Spirit would not.

The parables of Jesus are here for those who are spiritually ready to receive the doctrines of the Kingdom God. For those who are not spiritually ready or in-tune it may be harder to understand the message. Thus it is vitally important to prepare ourselves to hear the word of God as told to us by his Son Jesus Christ.

How can we prepare our hearts to receive the word of God?

Joseph Smith taught: "I have a key by which I understand the scriptures.  I enquire, what was the question which drew out the answer, or caused Jesus to utter the parable?...To ascertain its meaning we must dig up the root and ascertain what it was that drew the saying out of Jesus."  (History of the Church 5)  


1. Matthew 13:1–23 Our hearts must be prepared to receive the word of God
One of the first parables recorded in the New Testament—the parable of the sower is found in Matthew 13:3–23.   Jesus Christ used this parable to to teach truths about the kingdom of heaven, which is the Church, including the eventual Apostasy and latter-day restoration.

When the multitudes gathered on the seashore, Jesus “spake many things unto them in parables” Matthew 13:3
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

What is a parable?
  A symbolic story that teaches gospel truths by comparing them to earthly things.

What did Jesus say was his purpose in teaching with parables?  To simultaneously teach his message to his disciples and conceal it from unbelievers. Matthew 13:10–13;

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

The parable of the sower Matthew 13:3–8
 People who hear the preaching of the gospel respond in various ways. Also, the Church was established by Jesus and the Apostles in the meridian of time.  “This parable [of the sower] was spoken to demonstrate the effects that are produced by the preaching of the word; and we believe that it has an allusion directly to the commencement, or the setting up, of the Kingdom in that age(Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 298–99).

As we read this parable remember that the objects and actions in the parable represent gospel truths.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the Savior’s parables in Matthew 13 help us understand the gathering of people into the Church during New Testament times and also during the latter-day establishment of the gospel on the earth: “The sayings of the Savior, recorded in the 13th chapter of His Gospel according to St. Matthew, … in my mind, afford us as clear an understanding upon the important subject of the gathering, as anything recorded in the Bible” (History of the Church, 2:264).
 
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

What keeps the seeds that fall on the wayside from sprouting? Matthew 13:4.
 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
 
Why do the seeds in the stony soil wither away?
Matthew 13:5–6; Luke 8:6.
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 

6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.


What happens when some seeds fall among thorns? Matthew 13:7
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

What happens to the seeds that fall in the good soil? 
Matthew 13:8.
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

How might people react when they hear this parable without any explanation of its meaning? Some people might become frustrated because they do not understand it. Others might understand it but think it does not apply to them. Others might ponder it and ask questions until they understand it and know how to apply it in their lives.
 
What invitation did Jesus extend after he presented the parable of the sower?  Matthew 13:9.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

What do you think the word hear means in this invitation? What does it mean to see but see not and to hear but hear not?  Matthew 13:13–15.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 
15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “The multitude … received not His saying … because they were not willing to see with their eyes, and hear with their ears; not because they could not, and were not privileged to see and hear, but because their hearts were full of iniquity and abominations. … The very reason why the multitude … did not receive an explanation upon His parables, was because of unbelief” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith)

 Jesus explains the parable of the sowerMatthew 13:18–23

1. Seed:  In the parable of the sower, what does the seed represent?  Seed = word of God. Matthew 13:19; Luke 8:11.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.



2. Wayside:  What does the wayside represent?   Matthew 13:19  Wayside = people who hear the word of God but do not understand it. The way side was a path or road around or through fields. It became hardened as farmers and travelers regularly walked upon it. The hardness of the way side prevented seeds that fell upon it from sinking into the soil and taking root, allowing birds to easily see and eat them.

19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

What are some things we might do that prevent us from understanding God’s word? Mosiah 26:1–3
1 Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers. 

2 They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ. 
3 And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened.

What must we do to be able to understand the word of God?   Alma 32:27.

27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
 How does lack of understanding make it easier for Satan to take away the word from our hearts?   Matthew 13:19.


3. Stony Places: What do the stony places represent?
  Matthew 13:20–21.  Stony places = people who hear and receive the word of God but do not allow it to take root in them.  Stony places were rocky surfaces covered by a thin layer of fertile soil. Though seeds could send forth shallow roots, the rock that lay just below the surface prevented the roots from going deeper, and the plant was unable to withstand the scorching heat of the day. 

20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Why do some people not allow the word of God to take root in them?  Matthew 13:21; Mark 4:5.
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

What causes hearers to “have no root in themselves”? This is the circumstance of new members who are merely converted to the missionaries or to the many attractive characteristics of the Church or to the many great fruits of Church membership. Not being rooted in the word, they can be scorched and wither away when opposition arises. But even those raised in the Church—long-term members—can slip into a condition where they have no root in themselves. I have known some of these—members without firm and lasting conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are not rooted in the teachings of the gospel and regular in its practices, any one of us can develop a stony heart, which is stony ground for spiritual seeds..
..Another potential destroyer of spiritual roots—accelerated by current technology but not unique to it—is the keyhole view of the gospel or the Church. This limited view focuses on a particular doctrine or practice or perceived deficiency in a leader and ignores the grand panorama of the gospel plan and the personal and communal fruits of its harvest. President.  (“The Parable of the Sower” Ensign  May 2015 Dallin H Oaks).


How can we allow the word to establish deep roots in us?  Alma 32:41–43.

41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. 

43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.
 
Spiritual food is necessary for spiritual survival, especially in a world that is moving away from belief in God and the absolutes of right and wrong. In an age dominated by the Internet, which magnifies messages that menace faith, we must increase our exposure to spiritual truth in order to strengthen our faith and stay rooted in the gospel.
(“The Parable of the Sower” Ensign  May 2015 Dallin H Oaks).


How will this help us endure the heat of tribulation, persecution, and offense? 


4. Thorny Places:  What do the thorny places represent? Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19; Luke 8:14
 Thorny places = people who hear the word of God but are distracted by the cares of the world.   The ground with thorns was fertile soil; however, it was overgrown by thorns and other weeds that crowded out more productive plants by depriving them of water and needed nutrients.

22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.



What does it mean for a person to be unfruitful?  
When we surrender to the “pleasures of this life” (1) when we are addicted, which impairs God’s precious gift of agency; (2) when we are beguiled by trivial distractions, which draw us away from things of eternal importance; and (3) when we have an entitlement mentality, which impairs the personal growth necessary to qualify us for our eternal destiny.  (“The Parable of the Sower” Ensign  May 2015 Dallin H Oaks).


What “thorns” cause people to be unfruitful?  Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19; Luke 8:14.  The cares of the world, riches, deceitfulness, and the lusts of other things entering in...

How are these thorns evident in the world today?   The possession of wealth or significant income is not a mark of heavenly favor, and their absence is not evidence of heavenly disfavor. When Jesus told a faithful follower that he could inherit eternal life if he would only give all that he had to the poor (see Mark 10:17–24), He was not identifying an evil in the possession of riches but an evil in that follower’s attitude toward them......Whoever has an abundance of material things is in jeopardy of being spiritually “sedated” by riches and other things of the world.3 That is a suitable introduction to the next of the Savior’s teachings.  (“The Parable of the Sower” Ensign  May 2015 Dallin H Oaks).


What can we do to prevent these thorns from choking the word of God in us?   Keep our priorities fixed—our hearts set—on the commandments of God and the leadership of His Church.... by praying, by scripture reading, by serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be with us. We must also seek that mighty change of heart (see Alma 5:12–14) that replaces evil desires and selfish concerns with the love of God and the desire to serve Him and His children.  (“The Parable of the Sower” (nsign  May 2015 Dallin H Oaks).


5. Good Ground:  What does the good ground represent?  Matthew 13:23.  Good ground = people who hear the word of God, understand it, and do works of righteousness.  The good ground was fertile soil with sufficient depth for healthy roots so the plants could grow and bring forth varying amounts of fruit.


23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.


What could be done to help the unproductive areas produce fruit?  The wayside could be plowed and fertilized, the stones could be removed, and the thorns could be uprooted.

How can this apply to our efforts to be more receptive to God’s word?

Why do you think the parable of the sower focuses more on the ground than on the sower or the seed?
 

2. Matthew 13:24–35, 44–53 Jesus’s parables help us understand the growth, destiny, and value of His Church

The Parable of the Wheat and Tares
“The word [tares] denotes darnel grass, a poisonous weed, which, until it comes into ear, is similar in appearance to wheat.  The Savior explained that the gathering and burning of the tares represented the destruction of the wicked at the end of this world.   President Marion G. Romney stated: “The tempo of wickedness and destruction has been greatly accelerated … , and so has the gathering in of the wheat. Even now the tares are binding themselves in bundles, making ready for the field to be burned” (Conference Report, Oct. 1966, 53).

In the following verses of the parable the term “kingdom of heaven” refers to the Church of Jesus Christ, which is the kingdom of heaven on earth. 

24 ¶ Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. 31 ¶ Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. 
33 ¶ Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. 
34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 
35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

44 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 

45 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. 
47 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 
48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 
51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. 
52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
53 ¶ And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

What is the meaning of the parable of the wheat and the tares? 
Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43  D&C 86:1–7
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares: 

2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed; 
3 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness. 
4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender— 
5 Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields; 
6 But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also. 
7 Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned.

In the parable of the wheat and the tares, why does the sower refuse to let his servants immediately gather the tares, or weeds? 
Matthew 13:27–30; D&C 86:5–7,
5 Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;
6 But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also. 
7 Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned. 


The righteous and wicked grew together in New Testament times, eventually leading to the Great Apostasy. In the latter days, they will grow together until the end of the world, when the wicked will be destroyed and the righteous will be gathered in the kingdom of God.

“We learn by this parable [of wheat and tares], not only the setting up of the Kingdom in the days of the Savior, which is represented by the good seed, which produced fruit, but also the corruptions of the Church, which are represented by the tares, which were sown by the enemy, which His disciples would fain have plucked up, or cleansed the Church of, if their views had been favored by the Savior. But He, knowing all things, says, Not so. As much as to say, your views are not correct, the Church is in its infancy, and if you take this rash step, you will destroy the wheat, or the Church, with the tares; therefore it is better to let them grow together until the harvest, or the end of the world, which means the destruction of the wicked, which is not yet fulfilled”
(Teachings: Joseph Smith, 299).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven are about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith).  

What can we learn about the restored Church from the Savior’s comparing it to a mustard seed? (Matthew 13:31–32.)  The Church will be restored in the latter days. ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed’ [Matthew 13:31–32]. … This figure is given to represent the Church as it shall come forth in the last days. … Let us take the Book of Mormon, which a man took and hid in his field, securing it by his faith, to spring up in the last days, or in due time; let us behold it coming forth out of the ground, which is indeed accounted the least of all seeds, but behold it branching forth, yea, even towering with lofty branches and Godlike majesty, until it, like the mustard seed, becomes the greatest of all herbs. … God is sending down His powers, gifts, and angels to lodge in the branches thereof” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 301).

What is meant by Leaven and treasures new and old Matthew 13: 33, 52
The latter-day Church will spread throughout the earth, aided by the leaven of the testimonies of the Three Witnesses and the latter-day scriptures:  ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened’ [Matthew 13:33]. It may be understood that the Church of the Latter-day Saints has taken its rise from a little leaven that was put into three witnesses. Behold, how much this is like the parable! It is fast leavening the lump, and will soon leaven the whole. …‘Then said He unto them, therefore every scribe which is instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things that are new and old’ [Matthew 13:52].  “For the works of this example, see the Book of Mormon coming forth out of the treasure of the heart. Also the covenants given to the Latter-day Saints [the Doctrine and Covenants], also the translation of the Bible—thus bringing forth out of the heart things new and old, thus answering to three measures of meal undergoing the purifying touch by a revelation of Jesus Christ, … which will answer to the leaven which leavened the whole lump” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 302–3)
What do we learn about the value of belonging to the Church from the parables of the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price, found in Matthew 13:44–46
44 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 
45 ¶ Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.


“The Saints work after this pattern [of the hidden treasure]  As can be seen by the Church of the Latter-day Saints, selling all that they have, and gathering themselves together unto a place that they may purchase for an inheritance, that they may be together and bear each other’s afflictions in the day of calamity.
“… See men traveling to find places for Zion and her stakes or remnants, who, when they find the place for Zion, or the pearl of great price, straightway sell that they have, and buy it” (History of the Church, 2:272)

It should be noted that although in the early days of the Church, Saints were encouraged to gather to a common geographical location, like Nauvoo or Salt Lake City, today Church leaders have encouraged us to stay where we are and to build up the Church in our current cities and towns.


What sacrifices they you made or seen others make in order to belong to the Church. What blessings have come as a result?   President Gordon B. Hinckley shared an experience he had with a naval officer from Asia who had recently joined the Church:  “He was introduced to me just before he was to return to his native land. We spoke of [gospel truths], and then I said: ‘Your people are not Christians. What will happen when you return home a Christian and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?’  “His face clouded, and he replied, ‘My family will be disappointed. They may cast me out and regard me as dead. As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me.’  “I asked, ‘Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?’  “His dark eyes, moistened by tears, shone … as he answered, ‘It’s true, isn’t it?’  “Ashamed at having asked the question, I responded, ‘Yes, it’s true.’  “To which he replied, ‘Then what else matters?’(“It’s True, Isn’t It?” Ensign, July 1993, 2).

What does the net represent in the parable of the net cast into the sea?  Matthew 13:47
All types of people will be gathered into the Church.  ‘Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind …’ [Matthew 13:47–48]. For the work of this pattern, behold the seed of Joseph, spreading forth the Gospel net upon the face of the earth, gathering of every kind, that the good may be saved in vessels prepared for that purpose, and the angels will take care of the bad” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 303).

What is represented by the action of gathering the good into vessels and casting the bad away? Matthew 13:48–50.  Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:4  “the end of the world” in verse 49 refers to the destruction of the wicked.

 4 And Jesus left them, and went upon the Mount of Olives. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?

What can we do to help us stay faithful in the Church and to help others do the same?


 3.  Matthew 13:24–30, 37–43 At the end of the world, the Lord will gather the righteous and destroy the wicked

24 ¶ Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
 
What lessons can we draw from the parable of the wheat and the tares that will help us remain faithful Latter-day Saints?  Elder L. Tom Perry taught: “That old enemy of all mankind has found as many devices as he can think of to scatter tares far and wide. He has found ways to have them penetrate even the sanctity of our own homes. The wicked and worldly ways have become so widespread there seems to be no real way of weeding them out. They come by wire and through the air into the very devices we have developed to educate and entertain us. The wheat and the tares have grown close together. A steward managing the field must, with all his or her power, nourish that which is good and make it so strong and beautiful the tares will have no appeal either to the eye or the ear” (“Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families,” Ensign Nov. 2014, 44).


 President Wilford Woodruff at a gathering of temple workers in Brigham City, June 24, 1894 stated:   "I want to ask this congregation a question: When I have a vision of night opened continually before my eyes, and can see the mighty judgments that are about to be poured upon this world, when I know these things are true, and while I am holding this position before God and this world (i.e. President of the Church) can I withhold my voice from lifting up a warning to this people, and to the nations of the earth? I may never meet with this people again; I cannot tell how that may be, but while I live and see these things continually before my eyes, I shall raise my voice in warning.* * *Can you tell me where the people are who will be shielded and protected from these great calamities and judgments which are even now at our doors? I will tell you, the priesthood of God who honor their priesthood, and who are worthy of their blessings, are the only ones who shall have their safety and protection. They are the only mortal beings. No other people have a right to be shielded from these judgments. They are at our doors; not even this people will escape them entirely. They will come down like the judgments of Sodom and Gomorrah. And none but the priesthood will be safe from their fury. God has held the angels of destruction for many years, lest they should reap down the wheat with the tares. But I want to tell you now, that those angels have left the portals of heaven, and they stand over this people and this nation now, and are hovering over the earth waiting to pour out the judgments. And from this very day they shall be poured out. Calamities and troubles are increasing in the earth, and there is a meaning to these things. Remember this, and reflect upon these matters. If you do your duty, and I do my duty, we will have protection, and shall pass through the afflictions in peace and safety. Read the scriptures and the revelations. They will tell you about all these things. Great changes are at our doors. The next twenty years will see mighty changes among the nations of the earth. You will live to see these things, whether I do or not. I have felt oppressed with the weight of these matters, and I felt I must speak of them here. It is by the power of the gospel that we shall escape.

What are some lessons in this parable for our day?  
In giving the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus was actually summarizing the doctrines of the apostasy, the restoration of the gospel in the latter-days, the growth and development of the latter-day kingdom, the millennial cleansing of the earth, the glorious advent of the Son of Man, and the ultimate celestial exaltation of the faithful.

"The harvest and the end of the world have an allusion directly to the human family in the last days. . . . As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of the world; that is, as the servants of God go forth warning the nations, both' priests and people, and as they harden their hearts and reject the light of truth—these first being delivered over to the buffetings of Satan, and the law and the testimony being closed up, as it was in the case of the Jews—they are left in darkness, and delivered over unto the day of burning. Thus, being bound up by their creeds, and their bands being made strong by their priests, [they] are prepared for the fulfillment of the saying of the Savior—'The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.'

"We understand that the work of gathering together of the wheat into barns, or garners, is to take place while the tares are being bound over, and [incident to] preparing for the day of burning, [and] that after the day of burnings, the righteous shall shine forth like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father." (Teachings, pp. 97-98, 101.) 
(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1 Bruce R McConnkie)

 While the field is the world and the wheat represents the righteous who hear the Gospel and the tares the rebellious and workers of iniquity, let us not forget that even in the Church the tares are to be found. It is the tares which are to be gathered up and burned from all over the world, but those in the Church will also be gathered out and find their place in the fire. The Savior also bore witness of this when speaking to the Nephites he said: "For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from my people, O house of Israel." (3 Nephi 21:20.)  (Church History and Modern Revelation Joseph Fielding Smith)

Conclusion
Jesus explained his parables to those who sought understanding. as we study Jesus’ parables with a sincere desire to understand, we will see how they apply in our day. As we do this we will have the education we need to give us protection and strength as the sifting continues; for it does continue now even in our day. The great day of the Lord is at hand, even closer than we think, it its imperative that we focus all our efforts not upon the vain things of the world but of the things of Heaven. If I am here when He comes or when If it be that I die first either way, all I take with me are the things that I have learned. I personally don't want my spiritual mind full of the world and then burned with the tares. Do you? No matter how we find the gospel of Jesus Christ, whether seemingly by accident or through purposeful searching, it is worth sacrificing everything we have to obtain it and understand it.

Resources
New Testament Student Manual
Eternal Quest sel. Charles Manley Brown
History of the Church
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Vol 1 Bruce R McConnkie
Church History and Modern Revelation Joseph Fielding Smith
Conference Reports
Ensign
 

The Fall of Adam and Eve

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