Mormon Sermon; Bona Fide example
Ex. 20: 8-11 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy"
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Relevant Scripture, Joshua 24:15
This sermon (or Talk , as known by church members) has been composed and presented by Timothy Alexander Donnelly as a brief talk at my local church branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (http://www.lds.org). This church is sometimes improperly known as the Mormon church.
Theme: “NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE” in relation to Joshua 24:15.
Question I was asked to answer: “Why should we choose today (to serve the Lord)?”
Presented in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday July 31, 2005.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Children of men, and Children of God: Matthew, chapter 5 verse 9 says: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
It is with great humility that I use this moment to minister unto you and bring you into remembrance of the Word of God.
My brief talk today refers to the Old Testament Gospel of Joshua, chapter 24 verse 15: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve”
I have been assigned to address the notion of Why should we chose today?
We are living our lives in the last dispensation of prophesies of mortal time. We are in the “latter days”, just as the name of this, our Lord's church, unmistakably declares.
I do not predict doom and gloom, as the book of Revelations prophesies somewhat. I do suggest vigilance of spirit, and vigilance of flesh, in these present, unfolding days.
For no matter how calculated or for that matter, how foolhardy we choose to live, the FACT of the matter is that we do not know at what moment any of us will meet our mortal end.
In fact, when we put off – or – procrastinate to choose today to serve the Lord, we are gambling with our very soul’s salvation – using it as collateral. Collateral is what we pledge as “security” when entering into binding contracts.
I quote: Matthew, chapter 18, verse 18: “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
And from Mark, chapter 13, verses 33 and 34: “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.”
Brothers and Sisters, as children of God, striving to live in the Spirit, we must realize that we are STILL merely children, in the midst of development, and as such, we must beware that “we that seek” to gamble, are inviting addiction.
Anything addicting demands more and more of our time. It grows day, by day, by day to become the center of all our pursuits and attentions.
So, why not choose to invite the Lord into the center of our lives?
I quote: 1st Corinthians, chapter 16, verse 15: “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,).”
The house of Stephanas did not gamble. Rather, they made “the Ministry of the Saints” their central pursuit – and by doing so, served the Lord.
When we choose to be led away from the Lord by some strange god, or habit which we serve, we take a chance , and gamble that tomorrow will come for us as yet another opportunity to repent. We actually wager on some degree of probability that:
· We won’t change our minds
· Or, we just won’t feel like it, and we end up spending our time otherwise
From the Book of Mormon record of Alma, chapter 46, verse 8: “Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one.”
For support, I look to Matthew, chapter 6, verse 34: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
I understand this to mean that we do not worry of things not yet seen, but defend ourselves according to our perspectives gained from our perch in these moments.
I have observed as well, WE BEST ACT in a conscientious way, for measurable results, to be “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone ”, as written in Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 20.
Just as found in John, chapter 15, verse 5, where we read the metaphor of Jesus being the vine, with us as the branches; we can do nothing without Him.
I now bring forward another metaphor:
Consider each of us as the cooling tubes in a car’s radiator. Jesus is the fluid that flows through us. If we allow a restriction to develop in the tubes, we are actually denying the passage of the coolant to the parts, or denying passage of Jesus to the people that need Him to function properly. We are thus as individuals enabled to prevent their breakdowns, or to facilitate their demise.
Although this is not a perfect analogy, we can see that “We do not have to wait until perfection is achieved to use today to serve the Lord.” If this were the case, the wonderful Spirit of us as “new creatures” would never spread to those still suffering. Remember the Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”? We can have an effect on our neighbours.
We may recall in Galatians, chapter 6, verse 10 it says: “As we have therefore, opportunity – let us do good unto all men , especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” And, I suggest, more-so for the inactive members. For indeed, they may have similar thoughts of King David, as we read in Psalm, chapter 31, verses 9 to 11: “Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea , my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without, fled from me.”
Brothers and Sisters, we are yet but fragile mortals, and as such, our only real security we have is, “the time in our hands right now.”
I now quote from the Book of Mormon record of Helaman chapter 13, verse 38: “But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the days of your probation until it is everlastingly too late”. And , it is written in Alma, chapter 34, verse 34: “Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.”
Hence, we cannot control what we will do tomorrow. If we are not inclined to do some things today, we will have the same inclinations tomorrow.
Moreover, we do not control tomorrow’s outcome, nor do we control tomorrow’s certainty.
We are reminded of this in many scriptures including, 1st Peter, chapter 4, verse 7: “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
Therefore: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.”
I would now like to conclude with an anecdote and suggest that: “The local farmer takes advantage of each day given to him to work his field”. He does this without any guarantee of what tomorrow may, or may not bring, including:
· Rain, hail, or fire
· Disease, infestation, or crime
· Or, his own malady, accident, or death
It mattereth not. The conscientious farmer sacrifices his best days for the welfare of his crop.
Finally, let me read the words of Jesus in Mark, chapter 1, verse 17: “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”
I pray that we choose each to serve the Lord today, for the glory of God, under whom we strive to be “farmers of people” – so that children of men will BE Children of God, to redeem them under the law, so that we might receive the adoption of sons, and cry Abba, Father, to be accepted amongst the beloved, and praise the grace of God for His tender mercies and forgiveness, through the merits of His Son, who is the Christ. I say this humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, – our Lord, and Saviour faithful, Amen.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a church where regular lay members are asked to speak before their local congregations. These speakers can be male or female, and are not necessarily members of the priesthood (Aaronic or Melchizedek). All General Authorities of the church however are ordained with the Melchizedek Priesthood, in various levels. This is the same priesthood found referenced in
· Gen. 14: 18 “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God” and,
· Ps. 110: 4 “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
All speakers who are asked to minister (talk) at their local Sacrament Meetings are of course encouraged to diligently research their assigned topics, and sincerely pray for Spiritual guidance and inspiration during their preparation, and especially for their presentation. There are different speakers every week. Visitors are welcome.
Family Home Evening
Please feel free to use this talk as part of your Family Home Evening discussions.