Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, August 30, 2019

“Ye Are the Body of Christ”








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


Elder Richard G. Scott taught that we “can leave the most precious, personal direction of the Spirit unheard” if we fail to record and respond to “the first promptings that come to [us]” As we read and study this week in 1 Corinthians 8–13, let us not fail in responding and recording the guidance, direction and knowledge the Lord is sending to us. 

Continuing with our study of the words of Paul, we come to these chapters where again he teaches us great lessons and gives us needed knowledge and direction in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

History and Background
In 1 Corinthians 8–13
  Paul addressed concerns from the Corinthian Saints about the use of Church resources to provide for his temporal needs. He explained that the purpose of his preaching was to bring salvation to the children of God. He exhorted them to avoid sinning as well as offending others in their religious beliefs. He also taught that there are divers spiritual gifts that can be granted to faithful members of the Church. These gifts enable Christ’s followers to serve and edify others, thereby creating greater unity in the Church. Paul emphasized the gift of charity, which he characterized as being pure, unselfish love and concern for the well-being of others. He taught that charity should govern the exercise of all other spiritual gifts in the Church. He cautioned that the gift of speaking in tongues, if used improperly, will fail to edify the Church and will distract members from seeking superior spiritual gifts. Paul’s counsel in these chapters continued to address the problems that members of the Church in Corinth were having with doctrinal questions and a lack of unity, which like we, sometimes still have today in our wards and branches.  

Chapter Summaries

Chapter 8
There are many gods and many lords.  To us there is one God (the Father) and one Lord, who is Christ.

Chapter 9
Paul rejoices in his Christian liberty.  He preaches the gospel to all without charge—He is all things to all men to gain converts.

Chapter 10
Christ is the God of Israel and the spiritual Rock that guided them.  Ancient Israel rebelled against Christ and Paul contrasts true and false sacraments.

Chapter 11
Paul speaks of certain customs of hair and grooming.  He tells us that heresies will arise that test and prove the faithful and explains that the sacramental emblems are partaken in remembrance of the flesh and blood of Christ.  We must Beware of partaking unworthily.

Chapter 12
The Holy Ghost reveals that Jesus is the Christ and Spiritual gifts are present among the Saints.  Apostles, prophets, and miracles are found in the true Church.

Chapter 13
Paul discusses the high status of charity.  Charity, a pure love, excels and exceeds almost all else. Without it we cannot progress.  

Doctrine

Part 1: 1 Corinthians 10:1–13  We all face temptation, but God provides a way to escape it.

In these verses Paul cautions the Corinthian Saints to avoid sin and offending others:

1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

“One of the great myths in life is when [individuals] think they are invincible. Too many think that they are [made] of steel, strong enough to withstand any temptation. They delude themselves into thinking, ‘It cannot happen to me’” (“It Can’t Happen to Me,” President James E. Faust Ensign, May 2002, 46)

In what situations might people allow themselves to be exposed to temptation, thinking they are strong enough to withstand it?

Paul referred to examples from Israelite history to warn the Corinthian Saints about temptation and sin. What were some things the children of Israel experienced that should have made them spiritually strong?  1 Corinthians 10:1–5  Paul identified the “spiritual Rock,” or Jehovah, as Christ

1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

According to verse 5, how did God feel about the behavior of many of these ancient Israelites?

What was Paul’s purpose for sharing the example of the ancient Israelites? 1 Corinthians 10:6–11.  Paul wanted to warn the Corinthians Saints so they would avoid repeating the sins of the ancient Israelites.


6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

In your own words, how would you summarize Paul’s message in verse 12
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

What did Paul teach about temptation? 1 Corinthians 10:13  
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

What are some modern examples of common temptations that we face today?  To be dishonest, gossip, or judge others...

How might a person, with God’s help, “escape” these temptations?

If God will not allow us to be tempted above our ability to resist, why did the ancient Israelites give in to temptation?  Spiritual experiences, even miraculous ones, do not exempt us from temptations that are “common to man” 1 Corinthians 10:1. That may be one reason Paul wrote about how the Israelites in Moses’s day struggled with temptation, even though they witnessed mighty miracles

What can we do to help each other “escape” and “bear” the temptations we might face? 

How does unity help us resist temptation?   

Paul recounted that many of the ancient Israelites gave in to temptation as they wandered in the wilderness, despite the numerous blessings they received from God. Paul urged the Corinthian Saints to “take heed” of the examples of those who fell to temptation 1 Corinthians 10:12. The Joseph Smith Translation makes clear that Paul’s admonition to the Corinthian Saints is also directed to us: “These things … were written for our admonition also, and for an admonition for those upon whom the end of the world shall come” (Joseph Smith Translation, 1 Corinthians 10:11 [in 1 Corinthians 10:11, footnote b]). 

Paul also reassured us that if we would rely on the Lord, we would not be tempted beyond our strength to endure (compare 2 Peter 2:9; Alma 13:28). Although God cannot always shield His people from wicked enticements, Paul promised that God will provide them with strength and “a way to escape” temptation 1 Corinthians 10:1). President Henry B. Eyring taught that we can pray for help as we face temptation:

“With the help of the Holy Ghost, we can watch over ourselves. We can pray to recognize and reject the first thoughts of sin. … And we can, when we must, pray for the humility and the faith to repent.

“There will surely be some who hear my voice who will have this thought come into their minds: ‘But the temptations are too great for me. I have resisted as long as I can. For me, the commandments are too hard. The standard is too high.’

“That is not so. The Savior is our Advocate with the Father. He knows our weaknesses. He knows how to succor those who are tempted” (“As a Child,” Ensign May 2006, 17)

President James E. Faust  taught about the necessity for all to avoid temptation:

“Too many think they are … strong enough to withstand any temptation. They delude themselves into thinking, ‘It cannot happen to me.’ … It can happen to us at any time. …

“I once heard a man tell his sons, ‘I can drive closer to the edge than you because I have had more experience than you.’ He thought he was in control, but he was really in denial. ‘The trouble with using experience as a guide is that the final exam often comes first and then the lesson’ [Author unknown, quoted in 1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, comp. Robert Byrne (1988), 386]. Some people think their age and experience make them better able to withstand temptation. This is a falsehood.

“I remember hearing President J. Reuben Clark Jr. tell of the time when one of his children was going out on a date. He asked them to come home at a certain hour. ‘Chafing under that constant, urgent reminder, the [teenager] said, “Daddy, what is the matter, don’t you trust me?”

“‘His answer must have shocked her as he said, “No, my [child], I don’t trust you. I don’t even trust myself”’ [as quoted by Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams (1996), 629]” (“It Can’t Happen to Me,” Ensign, May 2002, 46–47).


Part 2: 1 Corinthians 10:16–17; 11:23–30 The sacrament unifies us as members of Christ’s Church

The sacrament can unify our wards in our efforts to become more like the Savior.  Although the ordinance of the sacrament involves a personal commitment between an individual and the Lord, it is also an experience we share with others.  We almost always partake of the sacrament together, as a body of Saints. Here Paul teaches us about the sacrament.  

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.


What does the word communion mean in this context?  A word used generally in Protestant and Catholic Christianity to memorialize the sacrament of the Last Supper. It is so called because in partaking of the sacramental emblems (the bread and water, or wine), one seeks fellowship with the Master, for it is done in remembrance of Him. Paul uses the concept in speaking of the meaning of the bread and the cup of the Lord’s Supper.  (Bible Dictionary ChruchofJesusChrist.org)

As the Apostle Paul taught, to assist us in partaking of the sacrament worthily we ought to “examine” ourselves 1 Corinthians 11:28. How can doing so lead to greater spiritual growth?


We want every Latter-day Saint to come to the sacrament table because it is the place for self-investigation, for self-inspection, where we may learn to rectify our course and to make right our own lives, bringing them into harmony with the teachings of the Church and with our brethren and sisters. It is the place where we become our own judges.

… No man goes away from this Church and becomes an apostate in a week, nor in a month. It is a slow process. The one thing that would make for the safety of every man and woman would be to appear at the sacrament table every Sabbath day. We would not get very far away in one week—not so far away that, by the process of self-investigation, we could not rectify the wrongs we may have done. … The road to the sacrament table is the path of safety for Latter-day Saints. …(Elder Melvin J. Ballard “The Sacrament and Spiritual Growth.”)


How has partaking of the sacrament together helped us feel more united? 

What can we do to foster unity during sacrament meeting? 

How does Paul’s counsel “let a man examine himself” relate to this goal? (1 Corinthians 11:28).
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Part 3: 1 Corinthians 12 We should seek for gifts of the Spirit to benefit all of Heavenly Father’s children.

Paul taught that there are divers spiritual gifts that can be granted to faithful members of the Church. These gifts enable Christ’s followers to serve and edify others, thereby creating greater unity in the Church. T list of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12–13 is not exhaustive. But it is a good place to start as you identify and ponder the spiritual gifts Heavenly Father has given you.

What exactly is a spiritual gift?  Spiritual gifts are blessings or abilities given by God to His children through the power of the Holy Ghost. Gifts of the Spirit are given to bless and benefit those who love the Lord and seek to keep His commandments. Doctrine and Covenants 46:9.  Gifts of the Spirit are special blessings of spiritual knowledge and power that the Lord gives to us. Many gifts of the Spirit are listed in 1 Corinthians 12, Moroni 10, and Doctrine and Covenants 46.

In Doctrine and Covenants 46:13–26. What spiritual gifts are listed in this scripture?  Revelation, testimony, judgment, knowledge, wisdom, teaching, faith to heal, faith to be healed, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking with tongues, and interpretation of tongues.
Is everyone given all the gifts?  No, while we can receive many of these spiritual gifts, no one enjoys all of them:  “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.  “To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby” (D&C 46:11–12).

Each faithful member of the Church has at least one spiritual gift, and the Lord encourages His children to “seek … earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given” (Doctrine and Covenants 46:8). 

The gifts listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 are referred to as “spiritual gifts” or “gifts of the Spirit.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained this:

“Spiritual gifts come from God. They are the gifts of God; they originate with him and are special blessings that he bestows upon those who love him and keep his commandments” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 270).

The Prophet Joseph Smith confirmed that Latter-day Saints “believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth” (Articles of Faith 1:7). 

Paul explained that the gifts of the Spirit enable disciples to effectively administer and serve in God’s kingdom and meet the needs of others  1 Corinthians 12:4–7.

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.


By using the terms “the same Spirit,” “the same Lord,” and “the same God” Paul recognized that spiritual gifts are manifestations of the united work of all three members of the Godhead. 

The following chart lists the spiritual gifts specifically listed by Paul:

Spiritual Gift  1 Corinthians 12:3–10
Description
Testimony of Jesus Christ (verse 3)
A witness given through the Holy Ghost “that Jesus is the resurrected, living Son of the living God” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Fear Not to Do Good,” Ensign, May 1983, 80).
Differences of administrations (verse 5)
Leadership or “administrative ability,” which is “used in administering and regulating the church” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 271, 278). The ability to discern correctly how the Lord governs His Church through councils, quorums, auxiliaries, and so on.
Diversities of operations (verse 6)
The ability to distinguish between things that are of the devil and those that are of God.
Word of wisdom (verse 8)
Includes sound judgment and the proper application of gospel doctrines and principles, particularly in decision making (see James 1:5; D&C 136:32–33). Paul’s use of word shows that the gift of wisdom includes the ability to teach a message of wisdom by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Word of knowledge (verse 8)
“An endowment of knowledge, not random knowledge, not knowledge in general or as an abstract principle, but gospel knowledge, a knowledge of God and his laws” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 2:370; see also D&C 42:61). Again, Paul’s choice of word emphasizes that this gift includes the ability to teach knowledge by the power of the Holy Ghost (see also D&C 25:7; 28:1; 99:1–2).
Faith (verse 9)
Experienced by degrees and increased through righteous living. Not everyone has the same degree of faith. This gift is a prerequisite for both healing and working miracles (see Matthew 17:14–20; see also 1 Nephi 7:12).
Healing (verse 9)
Manifest through priesthood ordinances. To pray with faith sufficient for healing is also a spiritual gift (see James 5:13–14; D&C 42:48).
Working of miracles (verse 10)
Signs of God’s grace, which affirm that divine power is at work. They are a reminder that God assists those who follow the example of the Savior and minister to others (see Mormon 9:7–11, 18–20).
Prophecy (verse 10)
“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10). Personal revelation is the source of testimony, and testimony enables a person to prophesy or testify of God’s work, including His future works. The gift of prophecy does not necessarily mean predicting specific future events. All members of the Church are to seek for this gift (see Numbers 11:29; 1 Corinthians 14:1, 3, 31, 39). The gift of prophecy should not be confused with the prophetic office of a prophet, seer, and revelator.
Discerning of spirits (verse 10)
Discernment of good and evil (see Moroni 7:12–18; D&C 101:95) and of false spirits from divine spirits (see D&C 46:23). The gift of discernment can make known “the thoughts and intents of the heart” of another person (Hebrews 4:12; D&C 33:1). The gift of discernment “arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions—spiritual impressions, … to detect hidden evil, and more importantly to find the good that may be concealed. The highest type of discernment is that which perceives in others and uncovers for them their better natures, the good inherent within them” (Stephen L Richards, in Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 162).
Tongues (verse 10)
“Particularly instituted for the preaching of the Gospel to other nations and languages” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 382–83; see also Acts 2:4–12; D&C 90:11). Since speaking in tongues is one of the most visible and sought after of the spiritual gifts, Paul warned against its misuse (see 1 Corinthians 14:4, 9, 27–28, 40).
Interpretation of tongues (verse 10)
Should be accompanied by an inspired interpretation so that listeners are edified (see 1 Corinthians 14:9, 11, 13, 19, 27–28).

There Are Diversities of Gifts 1 Corinthians 12:4

Many spiritual gifts are specifically listed in the scriptures  1 Corinthians 12:7–10; Moroni 10:8–17; D&C 46:12–29. But in addition to these  Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Spiritual gifts are endless in number and infinite in variety. Those listed in the revealed word are simply illustrations of the boundless outpouring of divine grace that a gracious God gives those who love and serve him” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 371).

Are spiritual gifts given to all who have the gift of the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11.
Yes.  All followers of Jesus Christ who are baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and seek to keep the commandments receive one or more spiritual gifts D&C 46:11.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Elder Orson Pratt taught: “Whenever the Holy Ghost takes up its residence in a person, it not only cleanses, sanctifies, and purifies him in proportion as he yields himself to its influence, but also imparts to him some gift, intended for the benefit of himself and others. No one who has been born of the Spirit, and who remains sufficiently faithful, is left destitute of a spiritual gift” (Masterful Discourses and Writings of Orson Pratt, comp. N. B. Lundwall [1946], 539). 

Are spiritual gifts gender specific?  Spiritual gifts are given to both men and women, and according to Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin “in the body of the Church, all of the spiritual gifts are present” (“Life’s Lessons Learned,” Ensign May 2007, 47).

Do spiritual gifts have to be magnificent and miracleish?  Elder Marvin J. Ashton shared these examples of what he called “less-conspicuous gifts” of the Spirit: “The gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost” (“There Are Many Gifts,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 20).

Which of these gifts have you seen in people you know?

How might developing these gifts help us become like Jesus Christ?


The following scriptural examples of spiritual gifts can help us further understand:
Genesis 40–41
Ruth 1
1 Kings 3:5–15
Matthew 1:18–24; 2:13–15, 19–22
Acts 3:1–8; 5:12–16
Mormon 1:1–5
Ether 2:14–25; 3:1–20
Doctrine and Covenants 6:5, 10–12

What are the spiritual gifts the people in these scriptures had? 

How did these people’s spiritual gifts bless themselves and others? 

How can we use our spiritual gifts to bless others and edify the body of Christ, or the Church? 1 Corinthians 12:12–31; 1 Corinthians 14:12.  

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.


We should seek spiritual gifts

President George Q. Cannon said that it is our duty “to pray to God to give [us] the gifts that will correct [our] imperfections. … They are intended for this purpose. No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them. If a man lack wisdom, it is his duty to ask God for wisdom. The same with everything else” (Millennial Star, Apr. 23, 1894, 260).


48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

23 And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.

30 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.

What do these resources teach us about how to obtain spiritual gifts?   The Lord has many spiritual gifts that He desires to bestow on us. In order to receive them, we must discover these gifts, or talents, and then develop and use them. We must also live worthy to receive these gifts. 

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained why some members never receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: “It is my judgment that there are many members of this Church who have been baptized for the remission of their sins, and who have had hands laid upon their heads for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but who have never received that gift—that is, the manifestations of it. Why? Because they have never put themselves in order to receive these manifestations. They have never humbled themselves. They have never taken the steps that would prepare them for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, they go through life without that knowledge” (“‘Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts,’” Ensign, June 1972, 3).

The Lord has commanded us to seek the best gifts D&C 46:8. Often we are told which gifts we have or are to seek when we are set apart to an office or calling or when we receive a patriarchal blessing. A missionary called to a foreign country, for example, may be promised the gift of tongues to help him or her learn a new language, or a newly called teacher may be told to seek the gift of teaching.

But in General when we wish to receive gifts of the Spirit, either in our daily lives or in callings we must do the following:

Purify Our Lives:  Before we can receive spiritual gifts, we must purify our lives by continually repenting of our sins.

Obey the Commandments: We must obey the Lord’s commandments to be worthy of spiritual gifts. Obedience is one of the most important requirements for receiving gifts of the Spirit.

Fast: Fasting can help us overcome pride and gain the humility necessary to receive spiritual gifts. It helps us put our spiritual needs before our physical needs.

Pray:  The Lord has commanded us to ask Him for the gifts we desire to receive  Matthew 7:7–11. Such prayers require faith; faith that we will receive the gifts and faith in the Giver of the gifts.

Elder James A. Cullimore gave us some questions to consider as we seek for spiritual gifts: “As members of the Church, is our faith sufficiently strong? Are we in tune with the Spirit that we might be blessed by these great gifts? Do we believe a miracle can be performed or a blessing given? Do we call upon the priesthood as often as we should to administer to the sick? Do we believe we can be healed? Do we have faith to heal? Is the priesthood always prepared to give a blessing? How strong is your faith?” (Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 34; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, 27).

Elder Robert D. Hales explained:  “A prerequisite for seeking after the gifts may require that we find out which gifts we have been given. The scriptures further record:

“‘And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.

“‘For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God’ (D&C 46:10–11).

“To find the gifts we have been given, we must pray and fast. Often patriarchal blessings tell us the gifts we have received and declare the promise of gifts we can receive if we seek after them. I urge you each to discover your gifts and to seek after those that will bring direction to your life’s work and that will further the work of heaven.

“During our time here on earth, we have been charged to develop the natural gifts and capabilities Heavenly Father has blessed us with. Then it will be our opportunity to use these gifts to become teachers and leaders of God’s children wherever they may be found on earth”
(“Gifts of the Spirit,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 16).
Ponder for a moment what you personally must do to prepare yourself for spiritual gifts and to keep the gifts you already have.  Record your thoughts in your journal or Come Follow Me Journal! 
As we receive our gifts, we must be careful not to boast about our experiences or speak to the world about them  D&C 84:65–73. We may share our spiritual experiences with family members and close friends, but we should remember that our gifts are sacred and must be spoken of with care D&C 63:64.

64 Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation, and ye receive the Spirit through prayer; wherefore, without this there remaineth condemnation.

How does developing spiritual gifts make us more like Christ?


The Purposes of Spiritual Gifts
The Lord has revealed that the best spiritual gifts are given to help those who love Him and keep His commandments and those who try to do so D&C 46:9. Through the proper use of these gifts, the sick are healed, devils are cast out, revelations are received, knowledge is gained, and missionaries are able to communicate in different languages. Through the gifts of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost can guide, comfort, encourage, and teach us. These gifts help us to walk uprightly before the Lord and prevent us from being deceived by false doctrines. As we live worthy to feel the promptings of the Spirit, we will know when to use our gifts and when not to use them  Alma 14:10–11.

The Lord has commanded us to remember always that spiritual gifts are given to those who humbly ask in faith D&C 46:8–9. Paul compared the Church to a body to show the importance of each member’s gift or gifts to the rest of the Church 1 Corinthians 12:12–31. Just as a body needs arms, legs, eyes, and ears, so also does the Church need each member’s gifts. Therefore, each of us should exercise our gifts. As we do so, everyone can be blessed.  D&C 46:11–12.  Remember though, Heavenly Father emphasizes that these gifts should not be sought as signs or for selfish reasons  D&C 46:9.

Elder Franklin D. Richards told of certain blessings that come from the Spirit in time of need: “The Savior has promised that to worthy members the Holy Ghost would be a comforter in times of sickness and death. Many have borne witness of the comforting spirit that has attended them in times of sorrow, helping them to find peace and understanding.  A few weeks ago it was my privilege to meet two wonderful women, close friends, who had lost their husbands in a tragic airplane accident. Did I find them in despair and deep mourning? No, indeed. I have never witnessed greater courage and strength. They both bore witness to the fact that they had truly felt the comfort of the Spirit, that they knew there was a purpose in the call that had been given to their husbands, and that they had an assurance that all would be well with them and their families as they lived close to the Church and kept the commandments of the Lord” (Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 171; or Ensign, July 1973, 117).

“Joseph Smith taught by the power of the Spirit.”

On one occasion the Prophet Joseph Smith was invited to preach the gospel to a group of Native Americans. They could not understand English, and he could not speak their language, so he paid a special government agent to interpret his words. The Prophet spoke for a few minutes, and the agent then interpreted the Prophet’s message. When the people showed resentment and anger at the Prophet’s message, the Spirit revealed to him that the agent was telling lies in order to turn them against him. Joseph pushed the interpreter aside and then preached a sermon to them. They understood every word. (Adapted from E. Cecil McGavin, in The Historical Background of the Doctrine and Covenants [1949], 156.)

What spiritual gifts did the Prophet Joseph Smith use during this incident? Discernment, revelation, gift of tongues, and teaching

Do you have a testimony about blessings you have received through spiritual gifts? 


Additional Scriptures concerning gifts of the spirit: 

John 11:22 (ask God for gifts)
Acts 2:17–18 (many to receive spiritual gifts)
1 Corinthians 7:7 (all people have their proper gift)
1 Timothy 4:12–16 (neglect not your gift)
James 1:17 (every good gift comes from God)
Alma 9:21 (Nephites received many gifts)


Part 4: 1 Corinthians 13 Charity is the greatest spiritual gift.

Some people think of charity as donations to the poor or kindness toward others. While these things can certainly demonstrate charity, Paul’s description is even more expansive.  1 Corinthians 13:1–8

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin explained why Paul called the gift of charity “a more excellent way” 1 Corinthians 12:31 and why love should be at the center of every disciple’s life:  “Paul’s message to [the Corinthian Saints] was simple and direct: Nothing you do makes much of a difference if you do not have charity. You can speak with tongues, have the gift of prophecy, understand all mysteries, and possess all knowledge; even if you have the faith to move mountains, without charity it won’t profit you at all [see 1 Corinthians 13:1–2].  ‘Charity is the pure love of Christ’ [Moroni 7:47]. The Savior exemplified that love and taught it even as He was tormented by those who despised and hated Him. 
“In 1840 the Prophet Joseph sent an epistle to the Twelve wherein he taught that ‘love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race’ [Teachings: Joseph Smith, 426]. …”“Love is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the pathway of discipleship” (“The Great Commandment,” Ensign Nov. 2007, 28–29).

For more information on the importance of developing love for others, New Testament Student Manual commentary for John 13:34–35.

What does it mean to “suffereth long” or “not be easily provoked 1 Corinthians 13:4.?" Paul pointed out that “charity suffereth long, and is kind”  When we have charity, we patiently endure offense or hardship. We also act in patience and kindness to everyone, even those who offend us. 

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency taught: “We do not know the hearts of those who offend us. Nor do we know all the sources of our own anger and hurt. The Apostle Paul was telling us how to love in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves, when he said, ‘Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ (1 Cor. 13:4–5). And then he gave solemn warning against reacting to the fault of others and forgetting our own when he wrote, ‘For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known’ (1 Cor. 13:12)” (“That We May Be One,” Ensign, May 1998, 68).

How did the Savior exemplify these attributes of charity? 


What does "Charity Never Faileth mean?” 1 Corinthians 13:8
Like the Apostle Paul, the prophet Mormon also taught that charity would never fail, and he gave a simple definition of this gift: “Charity is the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:46–47).

 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke of true charity as Christ’s pure love, which will never fail:  “The greater definition of ‘the pure love of Christ,’ however, is not what we as Christians try but largely fail to demonstrate toward others but rather what Christ totally succeeded in demonstrating toward us. True charity has been known only once. It is shown perfectly and purely in Christ’s unfailing, ultimate, and atoning love for us. It is Christ’s love for us that ‘suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not.’ It is his love for us that is not ‘puffed up … , not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.’ It is Christ’s love for us that ‘beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.’ It is as demonstrated in Christ that ‘charity never faileth.’ It is that charity—his pure love for us—without which we would be nothing, hopeless, of all men and women most miserable. Truly, those found possessed of the blessings of his love at the last day—the Atonement, the Resurrection, eternal life, eternal promise—surely it shall be well with them. …“Life has its share of fears and failures. Sometimes things fall short. Sometimes people fail us, or economies or businesses or governments fail us. But one thing in time or eternity does not fail us—the pure love of Christ” (Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 336–37; see also Romans 8:35–39).

One way of understanding Paul’s statement that “charity never faileth” 1 Corinthians 13:8 is that charity never ends; thus, it stands in contrast to even the wonderful gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge, which Paul said would end  1 Corinthians 13:8–10.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie further explained this idea: “Shall the gifts of the Spirit cease? Is there to be a day when the saints shall no longer possess the gifts of prophecy and tongues? Or the gift of knowledge? Yes, in the sense that these shall be swallowed up in something greater, and shall no longer be needed in the perfect day. When the saints know all tongues, none will be able to speak in an unknown tongue. When the saints become as God and know all things—past, present, and future—there will be no need or occasion to prophesy of the future” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:380).

How does charity compare to other gifts and virtues? 
President Howard W. Hunter explained why charity is described as being “the greatest” of the virtues (1 Corinthians 13:13): “Charity encompasses all other godly virtues. It distinguishes both the beginning and the end of the plan of salvation. When all else fails, charity—Christ’s love—will not fail. It is the greatest of all divine attributes” (“A More Excellent Way,” Ensign, May 1992, 61).

How do we develop charity? Moroni 7:46–48.  
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Faith Hope and Charity, what does this phrase mean? 
Paul referred to faith, hope, and charity as three principles that “abideth,” meaning they endure or last forever. President M. Russell Ballard explained the relationship among these principles:

“The Apostle Paul taught that three divine principles form a foundation upon which we can build the structure of our lives. They are faith, hope, and charity. (See 1 Cor. 13:13.) Together they give us a base of support like the legs of a three-legged stool. Each principle is significant within itself, but each also plays an important supporting role. Each is incomplete without the others. Hope helps faith develop. Likewise, true faith gives birth to hope. When we begin to lose hope, we are faltering also in our measure of faith. The principles of faith and hope working together must be accompanied by charity, which is the greatest of all. According to Mormon, ‘charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.’ (Moro. 7:47.) It is the perfect manifestation of our faith and hope.

“Working together, these three eternal principles will help give us the broad eternal perspective we need to face life’s toughest challenges, including the prophesied ordeals of the last days. Real faith fosters hope for the future; it allows us to look beyond ourselves and our present cares. Fortified by hope, we are moved to demonstrate the pure love of Christ through daily acts of obedience and Christian service” (“The Joy of Hope Fulfilled,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 33).

Conclusion
Let us not forget that we all face temptation, it is inevitable and part of the plan, however, an escape is and will be provided we only need stay on the path.  The Sacrament though largely about our individual lives, is also about bringing unity to our wards and families.  Let us make sure we are partaking worthily and with the right intentions. Seek to discover your spiritual gifts. Continue to repent, obey the commandments, fast, and pray to purify your life and prepare yourself to receive spiritual gifts.  In doing this we will be prepared for all things, and all things will work for our good now and in the life to come.  Finally let us thank Heavenly Father for this knowledge he has sent to us through his prophets and apostles that we may understand, have meaning and purpose.  That we may in fact become like Christ.  

Resouces
New Testament Student Manual
Ensign 
Conference Reports
Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders Part B
Holy Bible Topical Guide LDS Scriptures Chruchof JesusChrist.org
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary
Historical Background of the Doctrine and Covenants
Millennial Star
Masterful Discourses and Writings of Orson Pratt, comp. N. B. Lundwall
A New Witness for the Articles of Faith
Bible Dictionary ChruchofJesusChrist.org
Joseph Smith Translation Bible
Book of Mormon
Doctrine and Covenants

The Fall of Adam and Eve

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