Presentation on theme: "In Tune…. Arturo Toscanini, the late, famous conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, received a brief, crumpled letter from a lonely sheepherder."— Presentation transcript:
In Tune…. Arturo Toscanini, the late, famous conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, received a brief, crumpled letter from a lonely sheepherder in the remote mountain area of Wyoming: "Mr. Conductor: I have only two possessions—a radio and an old violin. The batteries in my radio are getting low and will soon die. My violin is so out of tune I can't use it. Please help me. Next Sunday when you begin your concert, sound a loud 'A' so I can tune my 'A' string; then I can tune the other strings. When my radio batteries are dead, I'll have my violin.” At the beginning of his next nationwide radio concert from Carnegie Hall, Toscanini announced: "For a dear friend and listener back in the mountains of Wyoming the orchestra will now sound an 'A.'" The musicians all joined together in a perfect "A.” The lonely sheepherder only needed one note, just a little help to get back in tune;... he needed someone who cared to assist him with one string; [after that] the others would be easy. (Elder David B. Haight,"People to People," Ensign, November 1981,p 54.)
Lesson 30 Acts 10–14; 15:1–35 “God Is No Respecter of Persons” The gospel is for all people and the Church is guided by continuing revelation. Frances Hume
Acts 10:1–11:18 What kind of man was Cornelius? (See Acts 10:1–2, 30–31.) What was the angel’s message to Cornelius? (See Acts 10:3– 6.) How did Cornelius react to this message? (See Acts 10:7–8, 33.) Why is it important to act immediately on instructions or promptings from God? While Cornelius’s men were traveling to Joppa, Peter had a vision (Acts 10:9–16). While Cornelius’s men were traveling to Joppa, Peter had a vision (Acts 10:9–16). What did Peter see in this vision? (See Acts 10:11–12.) What was Peter told to do? (See Acts 10:13.) Why did Peter resist? (See Acts 10:14. How did the Lord respond to Peter’s concern? (See Acts 10:15–16.)
Peter learns in a vision that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles. As he met with Cornelius, Peter understood his dream. What did it mean? (See Acts 10:28, 34–35. “God is no respecter of persons” “God is no respecter of persons” It means that God will provide every person with the opportunity to receive the blessings available through the plan of salvation. The gospel was for all people, not just the Jews. Why were the Gentiles represented in the dream by unclean animals? The Jews thought the Gentiles were spiritually unworthy or unclean, like the animals that the law of Moses forbade Jews to eat. By saying that the animals in the dream were now “cleansed,” the Lord was telling Peter that the gospel should now be preached to all people.
After Peter explained his dream, he began teaching Cornelius and his friends. What did he teach in his first sermon to them? (See Acts 10:36–43.) What happened as Peter was preaching? (See Acts 10:44, 46.) Why did this convince Peter that Cornelius and his friends should be baptized? (See Acts 10:47–48; see also Acts 11:15–17.) How did some Church members react when they heard that Peter had been teaching the gospel to Gentiles? (See Acts 11:1–3.) Why were these members upset?
BIBLE DICTIONARY - CORNELIUS A centurion at Caesarea, baptized by Peter (Acts 10). The significance of Cornelius’s baptism is that he was probably the first gentile to come into the Church not having previously become a proselyte to Judaism (see Proselytes). Other gentiles had joined the Church, but they had been converted to Judaism before becoming Christians, which caused no great commotion among Jewish Christians who thought of Christianity as having some ties with Judaism. Preceding the baptism of Cornelius, there were several spiritual manifestations: the ministry of an angel to Cornelius; a vision to Peter showing that the dietary restrictions of the law of Moses were to be discontinued; the voice of the Spirit to Peter; and a manifestation of the power of the Holy Ghost, accompanied by the speaking in tongues. All of this would make clear the divine approval and direction of what was about to take place. The baptism of Cornelius and his family marked a new dimension in the work of the Church in N.T. times, since it opened the way for the gospel to be preached to the gentiles directly, without going by way of Judaism. It is notable that this major event in the missionary activity of the Church was done through the ministry of Peter, the chief apostle, who held the keys of the kingdom of God at that time on the earth.
How did the Church members’ opinions change after Peter told them about his vision and his experience with Cornelius? (See Acts 11:4–18.) What should we do when we receive new instructions from our Church leaders, even if we initially dislike the instructions or find them difficult to understand? (See John 7:17; 2 Nephi 28:30; D&C 6:11, 14–15.) Why was Peter the one who received the revelation to teach the gospel to the Gentiles? Who receives revelation today for the entire Church? Why is it important to have only one person who receives revelation for the entire Church? (See D&C 43:2–6)
Where were you June 8, 1978? Hint What significant revelation occurred on that date? The Priesthood was made available to all worthy male members of the Church. Official Declaration 2 – located at the end of the Doctrine and Covenants
The Apostles determine that Gentiles do not need to keep the law of Moses. Acts 15:1–2 - What dispute did Paul and Barnabas go to Jerusalem to resolve? Bible Dictionary, “Circumcision,” 646. Circumcision was symbolic of the entire law of Moses. A circumcised man was one who kept the law. Although Jesus Christ had fulfilled the law of Moses, some Jewish Christians still practiced it and wanted Gentile converts to practice it as well. How was the dispute resolved?
Token of Abrahamic Covenant Circumcision - Token of Abraham’s and every male descendant’s covenant (Genesis 17:3-7; 10-11) Circumcision – Latin words meaning “to cut around” Not the act itself but rather what it stood for that gave circumcision its great significance. Though a person may have had the token of circumcision in the flesh, unless he was righteous the covenant was invalidated and the circumcision became profitless. Thus, circumcision was only a sign or token of what needed to happen to the inward man. If the inward change had not taken place, then circumcision was virtually meaningless. True circumcision is of the heart. The heart that is “circumcised” is one that loves God and is obedient to the Spirit. The “uncircumcised in heart” are wicked, proud, and rebellious.
Bible Dictionary, “Circumcision,” 646. There was much controversy in the early church with regard to the obligation of circumcision (Acts 15:1-31). The Church under direction of Peter and the Twelve, and acting under the guidance of the Spirit, declared that circumcision was not obligatory for gentile converts. However, it apparently did not settle the matter of whether or not Jewish members of the Church should have their children circumcised. As one reads the scriptures on the matter, it becomes evident that the real issue was not circumcision only, but also the larger question as to continued observance of the law of Moses by members of the Church. The word circumcision seems to have been representative of the law in these instances. The controversy was renewed later on in Galatia, as we read in Gal. 2: 1-15; Gal. 5: 2-6, 11; Gal. 6: 12-16. These passages, along with Rom. 2: 25-29; Rom. 3: 1- 2; Philip. 3: 3; and Col. 2: 11, contain Paul’s teaching on the subject.
The Jewish part of the church membership, especially in Jerusalem, appears to have been very reluctant to cease from the rituals and ceremony of the law of Moses (Acts 21: 17-15). This is a marked contrast to the Church among the Nephites, in which there seems to have been a cessation of the law immediately upon their awareness of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (3 Ne. 15: 1-4; Moro. 8: 8).
Church Policy & Practices How do the events described in Acts 15:6–31 demonstrate the pattern by which decisions about Church policy and practices are made? a. Church leaders meet to consider the matter (verse 6). b. They discuss the matter thoroughly (verses 7–21). c. They make a decision in accordance with the Lord’s will (verses 19–21). d. The Holy Ghost confirms that the decision is correct (verse 28). e. The decision is announced to the Saints for sustaining (verses 22–31).
President Kimball speaking to saints in South Africa. "As you know, on the ninth of June a policy was changed that affects great numbers of people throughout the world. Millions and millions of people will be affected by the revelation which came. I remember very vividly that day after day I walked to the temple and ascended to the fourth floor where we have our solemn assemblies and where we have our meetings of the Twelve and the First Presidency. After everybody had gone out of the temple, I knelt and prayed. I prayed with much fervency. I knew that something was before us that was extremely important to many of the children of God. I knew that we could receive the revelations of the Lord only by being worthy and ready for them and ready to accept them and put them into place. Day after day I went alone and with great solemnity and seriousness in the upper rooms of the temple, and there I offered my soul and offered my efforts to go forward with the program. I wanted to do what he wanted. I talked about it to him and
President Kimball speaking to saints in South Africa. said, "Lord, I want only what is right. We are not making any plans to be spectacularly moving. We want only the thing that thou dost want, and we want it when you want it and not until." We met with the Council of the Twelve Apostles, time after time in the holy room where there is a picture of the Savior in many different moods and also pictures of all the Presidents of the Church. Finally we had the feeling and the impression from the Lord, who made it very clear to us, that this was the thing to do to make the gospel universal to all worthy people. You will meet this situation undoubtedly as you bring the gospel to them on condition that their lives can be changed. (It was announced to the church members.) I anticipate the day when the gospel, that has come to you and your families and has transformed your lives, will begin to transform their lives and make new people out of them. They become people who will love the Lord and who will make the same sacrifices that you make (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 450-451).
October 22, 1961 The first official Church meeting in black Africa was held on October 22, 1961, in a small mud hut in Opobo District, Nigeria, where Brother Williams met with a pastor and 110 followers. No one came by car. Many, including eight mothers with small children, had begun their day before 4:00 a.m. and walked 25 miles or more to be there. After teaching them for two hours, Brother Williams prepared to end the meeting. He recorded: It was hot as blazes.... My suit was wringing wet.... When I turned the meeting back to [the pastor], I heard a murmur all through the congregation... and [the pastor] said to me, "They don't want to go home. They have something to say." Then for three hours... these people were standing up bearing testimony to the truthfulness of the Church and how they believed in the prophets. I could not believe what I was hearing. [Williams interview, pp. 10–12] One elderly gentleman said: “I keep hearing you say, "if we are sincere." Elder Williams, I want you to know that I am sincere. I am an old man... I am sick. But when I heard you were going to be here, I walked 16 miles this morning to see you and to hear what you have to say. I still have to walk 16 miles to get back home, and I am not well. I want you to know that I am sincere or I would not be here. I have not seen President McKay. I have not seen God. But I have seen you. And I will hold you personally accountable to tell President McKay that I am sincere.”
The significance of this unique chapter of Church history was summed up by Brother Jude Inmpey from Nigeria. At a social gathering with mission couples, the mission president called on him to share his feelings about the gospel coming to his people. He related a dream that he had not understood until that moment. He had dreamed that he was in a gathering where an organ was playing background music. It sounded terrible, and people were complaining. They discovered that the organist was playing only on the white keys. Brother Inmpey then observed, "For many, many years the Church has been playing only the white keys, but now we are playing on the white and the black keys, and the music is much, much sweeter" ( LeBaron, All Are Alike unto God, p. 123).
Church Statistics At the beginning of 2002, the Church had over 11 million members living in over 160 nations. There were more than 60,000 missionaries working in over 120 independent countries, speaking about 50 major languages and many additional dialects. The Church is also growing more diverse internationally. More than half of all Church members now reside outside of the United States, a milestone that was reached in February 1996. 2007 ~13,000,000 members 2006 more than 272,800 convert baptisms. 8,254 meetinghouses internationally, a 10 percent growth rate over the past five years. United States has 6,361 meetinghouses—or a 9.6 percent growth rate for the same time period. Many of these meetinghouses accommodate several congregations. More than 52,000 missionaries teach in 347 missions in more than 140 nations. total number of missions around the world to 347.
President Gordon B. Hinckley remarked: “With the ever increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4). It is our duty and opportunity to provide these things” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 66; or Ensign, May 1997, 47).
President Gordon B. Hinckley has emphasized how essential it is that new members’ involvement not end after baptism and confirmation. “The challenge now is greater than it has ever been because the number of converts is greater than we have ever before known. … I plead with you … I ask of you, each of you, to become a part of this great effort. Every convert is precious. Every convert is a son or daughter of God. Every convert is a great and serious responsibility. … In my view nothing is of greater importance” (“Converts and Young Men,” Ensign, May 1997, 48).
Next Week Lesson 31: Lesson 31: Acts 15:36–18:22; 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians
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