Presentation on theme: "The War which began in heaven... What were our weapons? ▪What’s the worst thing that can happen to you in a war? ▸ You die. (physical death – but the spirit."— Presentation transcript:
The War which began in heaven... What were our weapons? ▪What’s the worst thing that can happen to you in a war? ▸ You die. (physical death – but the spirit lives on) ▪What’s the worst thing that can happen in a war of spirits? ▸ Spiritual death – to be separated from God
The War which began in heaven... What were our weapons? ▪The only weapon that overcomes both physical and spiritual death is... ▪The “blood of the lamb,” or the atonement of Christ ▪Our weapon is described in Revelation 12:11: ▪“And they overcame [Satan] by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony” ▪Point: We’d better gain a testimony...
How do I grow my Testimony? Let’s turn to the Parable of the Sower – Matthew 13 ▪What kind of soil do you have? ▸ Is it Hard? ▸ Shallow? ▸ Overgrown? ▸ Good? (Hint...this is what we want)
Matthew 13:4-8, The Parable of the Sower ▪Verse 4, Hard - “By the way side,” fouls devoured them up ▸ Ground that has been trodden down, compacted, hardened ▪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.
Alma 36:12, 17 Alma the Younger was hardened... how did the Lord break up his soil? ▪But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins. ▪And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
Modern wooden harrow
Ancient wooden harrow
Alma 12:13 This property is condemned! ▪Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned.
Matthew 13:4-8, The Parable of the Sower ▪Verse 4, Hard - “By the way side,” ▪Verse 5, Shallow - “Stony places,” sprung up, had no root, whithered away ▸ A small layer of good soil – the plant springs up, but isn’t deeply rooted ▪20-21: But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 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.
Moroni 10:4 ▪If ye will ask with a sincere heart, with real intent...
Matthew 13:4-8, The Parable of the Sower ▪Verse 4, Hard - “By the way side,” ▪Verse 5, Shallow - “Stony places,” ▪Verse 7, Overgrown - “Among thorns,” thorns sprung up, choked them ▸ It’s good soil, but there are too many other plants competing for water, sun, and nutrients ▪Verse 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.
What are the “Spiritual Weeds? ▪“Care of this world” ▸ Matthew 13:21 footnote b - D&C 40:2 ▸ Matthew 13:22 footnote a - D&C 39:9
James Coville D&C 40:1-3 ▪Behold, verily I say unto you, that the heart of my servant James Coville was right before me, for he covenanted with me that he would obey my word. And he received the word with gladness, but straightway Satan tempted him; and the fear of persecution and the cares of the world caused him to reject the word. Wherefore he broke my covenant, and it remaineth with me to do with him as seemeth me good. Amen.
What are the “Spiritual Weeds? ▪“Care of this world” ▪“Deceitfulness of riches” ▪“Lusts of other things...” (Mark 4:19) ▪Doubts and Fears
Deuteronomy 22:9 What an interesting commandment! ▪Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.
Matthew 13:4-8, The Parable of the Sower ▪4, Hard - “By the way side,” ▪5, Shallow - “Stony places,” ▪7, Overgrown - “Among thorns,” ▪8, Good -“Good ground,” brought forth 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.
Growing Your Testimony ▪Jesus taught us about the soil (Matthew 13), who could teach us about planting a seed? ▪The Seed – Alma 32
Growing Your Testimony President Henry B. Eyring, To Draw Closer to God, 186. ▪Just as soil needs preparation for a seed, so does a human heart for the word of God to take root. Before he told the people to plant the seed, Alma told them that their hearts were prepared. They had been persecuted and cast out of their churches. Alma with his love and the circumstances of their lives, which led them to be humble, had prepared them. They were then ready to hear the word of God. If they chose to plant it in their hearts, the growth in their souls would surely follow, and that would increase their faith.
How do you know if a seed is good? Alma 32:28, 32 ▪28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell... when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me. ▪32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
Alma 33:22-23 What exactly is the “seed” or the “word” they were to plant? ▪Begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works. And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.
Growing Your Testimony ▪Jesus taught us about the soil (Matthew 13) ▪Alma taught us about the seed (Alma 32:28, 32) ▪Who will teach us about the season?– It’s still Alma!
You can’t be a cowboy if you ain’t got boots, And you can’t have a harvest if you ain’t got roots....
Alma 32:37-38 You can’t have a harvest if you ain’t got roots... ▪Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye will nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit. But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
Alma 32:37-38 Nourished by the good word of God... (Moroni 6:4) ▪Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye will nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit. But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
▪Those whose testimonies have roots can endure persecution, offense, the imperfections of others, and all kinds of other things, because they are rooted. got root?
Alma 32:39 What if you don’t have roots? Who’s to blame? ▪ Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.
Four Things I Learned from the Growing Season: ▪1. If you want good things to grow in your life, you have to plant them. ▪2. Weeds (on the other hand) will come out of nowhere. ▸ Would anyone deliberately plant weeds in their garden? We do.
Elder Joe J. Christensen ▪The library of Congress has 27,000,000 volumes ▪If you were to read a book a week for 70 years, that would be roughly 3500 books ▪What does that tell you? ▪Don’t waste any time reading the wrong things, watching the wrong shows, visiting the wrong websites...there’s just not time for that ▪To grow your testimony, sometimes you have to weed your brain!
Four Things I Learned from the Growing Season: ▪1. If you want good things to grow in your life, you have to plant them. ▪2. Weeds (on the other hand) will come out of nowhere. ▪3. All you have to do to lose your garden (or your testimony) is...nothing.
Things I Learned from the Growing Season: ▪1. If you want good things to grow in your life, you have to plant them. ▪2. Weeds (on the other hand) will come out of nowhere. ▪3. All you have to do to lose your garden (or your testimony) is...nothing. ▪4. Life will be a constant war on weeds.
When I Put on My Worn-out Tweeds Best Loved Poems of the LDS People, It makes no difference where you go There's no place that the weeds can't grow; Some folks keep weeding, others won't, Some folks have gardens, others don't.
President Brigham Young Keep weeding! ▪The men and women, who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom will find that they must battle every day....Thus let every Latter- day Saint protect and guard his little [garden] against every effort of the enemy to assail, and secure a foothold therein. Let us see to it that we are ready for the enemy, to baffle him at every point, contending bravely against him until he is successfully repulsed. (Journal of Discourses, 11:15)
Elder Neal A. Maxwell Did you put Miracle Grow on your doubts? ▪Lack of intellectual humility is there among those who have deliberately cultivated their doubts in order, they think, to release themselves from their covenants. Some nurture their grievances assiduously. Were their grievances, instead, Alma's seed... they would have long ago nourished a mighty tree of testimony (Meek and Lowly, 6.)
Elder Glenn Pace “Do You Know?,” Ensign, May 2007, 27. ▪As we started up the ramp leading to the statue of the Savior, she paused and tearfully said, “Here comes that feeling again. My heart still yearns for what my mind won’t accept.”
Elder Bruce R. McConkie Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, 53. ▪Being born again is a gradual thing, except in a few isolated instances that are so miraculous they get written up in the scriptures. As far as the generality of the members of the Church are concerned, we are born again by degrees.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:289 ▪If a seed falls among thorns, it is in good soil, as evidenced by the growth of the undesirable plants. But the good plant soon dies, because it cannot overcome the influence of the weeds and thistles... and instead of gaining eternal life, they shall be burned with the tares which overcame them.
Growing Your Testimony Soil, Seed, Season, and Supper... ▪Jesus taught us about the soil (Matthew 13) ▪Alma taught us about the seed (Alma 32) ▪Alma also taught us about the season (Alma 32) ▪When do we eat supper?
What would life be without home grown tomatoes?
Did you use FDP? Alma 32:41-43 ▪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. 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. 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.
What’s for Supper? Do the scriptures ever specify what kind of seed we’re talking about? ▪And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.
Alma 36:24 Why did Alma want to serve a mission? Sweet is the Work – Let’s Eat! ▪Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Ephesians 3:17-19 Being “Rooted” and “Grounded” ▪That Christ (the seed) may dwell in your hearts (your soil) by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height (that’s going to require a season); And to know the love of Christ (the supper – fruit of the tree), which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Why are some testimonies stronger than others? 2 Corinthians 9:6 ▪...He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
According to a remarkable new study... (Your results will not vary...) ▪People who read about Jesus Christ, and study his teachings... ▪Actually know more about Jesus Christ and his teachings! ▪In addition, the researchers discovered that the more they studied, the more they knew!
God is interested in Gardens Three Gardens of God... ▪The Garden of Eden ▪The Garden of Gethsemane ▪The Garden Tomb