Sunday, September 28, 2014

Thou Art The Christ

While Jesus was in Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples: “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matthew 16:13) After they responded by saying that some thought he was John the Baptist or Elias or Jeremias, Jesus then asked: “But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15) Peter answered by saying:

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 16:16-17)

Peter knew by revelation from Father in Heaven that Jesus was the Christ. He was not just a good speaker, teacher, or prophet; he was the Son of the living God.

Here in the North American Continent about 500 years earlier a man, named Sherem, came among the people teaching that it was a foolish tradition to believe in Jesus Christ. He said it was not possible to know the future. When the prophet Jacob questioned him asking him if he denied the reality of Jesus Christ, Sherem responded:

If there should be a Christ, I would not deny him; but I know that there is no Christ, neither has been, nor ever will be.

And I (Jacob) said unto him: Believest thou the scriptures? And he (Sherem) said, Yea.

And I said unto him: Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ. (Jacob 7:9-11)

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

Why is it important that we know that Jesus Christ is real and that we have a Heavenly Father? To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe all the scriptures testify of him. He is the creator of heaven and earth, he is the Son of God and we are also children of that same God. We lived with them before we came here in mortality and we were sent here to prove ourselves worthy of returning to live with Christ and our Heavenly Father after we die. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ all who are born on this earth will live again after they die; the only thing to be determined is what type of life we will have. If we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and let the atonement become effective in our lives and keep God’s commandments, we will become joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17) and all that the Father and Christ have will given to us (Doctrine & Covenants 84:33-38) and we will become as they are (Doctrine & Covenants 132:20).

The Prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon testified of the importance of having faith in Christ. He said:

And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. (2 Nephi 25:29)

And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.

And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.

And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.

And now, my beloved brethren, all those who are of the house of Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come.

And you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the words which shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God, behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, for these words shall condemn you at the last day.

For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen. (2 Nephi 33:10-15)

Elder D. Todd Christofferson in the last General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quoted from a book by President Monson of a man that did not believe in God and Christ and then bears his testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ and the importance of a testimony of Christ. He said:

“President Thomas S. Monson tells of a Robert Blatchford who, 100 years ago “in his book God and My Neighbor, attacked with vigor accepted Christian beliefs, such as God, Christ, prayer, and immortality. He boldly asserted, ‘I claim to have proved everything I set out to prove so fully and decisively that no Christian, however great or able he may be, can answer my arguments or shake my case.’ He surrounded himself with a wall of skepticism. Then a surprising thing happened. His wall suddenly crumbled to dust. … Slowly he began to feel his way back to the faith he had scorned and ridiculed. What had caused this profound change in his outlook? His wife [had] died. With a broken heart, he went into the room where lay all that was mortal of her. He looked again at the face he loved so well. Coming out, he said to a friend: ‘It is she, and yet it is not she. Everything is changed. Something that was there before is taken away. She is not the same. What can be gone if it be not the soul?’”

“As the prophesied birth of Jesus drew near, there were those among the ancient Nephite and Lamanite peoples who believed, though most doubted. In due course, the sign of His birth arrived—a day and a night and a day without darkness—and all knew.37 Even so today, some believe in the literal Resurrection of Christ, and many doubt or disbelieve. But some know. In due course, all will see and all will know; indeed, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him.”

“I believe the many witnesses of the Savior’s Resurrection whose experiences and testimonies are found in the New Testament—Peter and his companions of the Twelve and dear, pure Mary of Magdala, among others. I believe the testimonies found in the Book of Mormon—of Nephi the Apostle with the unnamed multitude in the land Bountiful, among others. And I believe the testimony of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon who, after many other testimonies, proclaimed the great witness of this last dispensation “that he lives! For we saw him.” Under the glance of His all-seeing eye, I stand myself as a witness that Jesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer, and I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection. May you receive the conviction and comfort of that same witness, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (“The Resurrection of Jesus Christ”, D. Todd Christofferson, General Conference, April 2014)

I add my witness of the reality of Jesus Christ. He is the Son of the living God. He is our Savior and Redeemer. He was Jehovah of the Old Testament; he was born of Mary and established his church on the earth during his ministry. He was rejected by the Jews and crucified, then rose again the third day. He taught the people in Jerusalem for 30 days, and also appeared to the people here in America after his resurrection. Because of the death of the ancient apostles and apostasy within the church, the the priesthood authority Christ gave to the Apostles to administer the saving ordinances was lost. Jesus Christ and the Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in 1820 (Joseph Smith History) and restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the priesthood on the earth again in these latter days (Doctrine & Covenants 1:17). We have a prophet who is God’s voice to all today, Thomas S. Monson. Without this knowledge and testimony I would be as the Apostle Paul described “be most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

Your comments and questions are always welcome. 

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