RS/MP Chapter 20: Missionary Work: “The Kingdom of God Moves Forward” (Lorenzo Snow Manual)
Posted by kirkcaudle on October 17, 2013
Find the whole lesson here.
For this weeks lesson I will focus on a number of the scriptures listed in the “Related Scriptures” section at the end of the manual.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14)
The Greek word here translated as “nations” can also be translated as “gentiles.” Does that change the meaning for you? Why or why not? Who are the “gentiles” today? Are gentiles simply all non-Mormons or does this mean something else?
We often speak of bring the gospel to the word. This is what we do when we preach. However, what does it mean to preach the “gospel of the kingdom?” Is this a specific part of the gospel that we are supposed to be preaching or is this the gospel itself?
President Snow relates the following in the second section of the lesson regarding the Kingdom of God:
“Now talk about this kingdom being destroyed! … Why, you might as well try to pluck the stars from the firmament or the moon or the sun from its orbit! It never can be accomplished, for it is the work of the Almighty.”
“The kingdom of God moves on with force and power, and with grand and glorious success.”
As I read these quotes it makes me wonder about the connection between the Kingdom of God and the Gospel of the Kingdom. If we are supposed to be establishing the Kingdom of God then perhaps we should be spreading the “good news” of the kingdom?
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27)
First off, notice that “weakness” here is singular. I think that is a very important part of this verse. We, as humans, do not have weaknesses as much as we have an overall weakness because of our mortal bodies and human minds.
Here we are told that if we approach God he will show us our weakness. Is that really necessary though? Could we come to the knowledge of our own weakness in some other way? Why do we have to ask God to show us this? Is our weakness not self-evident on some level?
President Snow relates the following in the last section of this lesson:
“We may increase in knowledge and power, and in our ability to build up the kingdom of God upon the earth, and that, too, by our diligence, our humility and faithfulness to the covenants we have made.”
I think that it is through God showing us our weakness that this increasing knowledge and power comes about. There is something about knowing that you are weak that actually makes you strong.
“And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moroni 7:33)
This verse is not gender specific. How do men and women have equal “power” if they have “faith,” and how, if at all, does priesthood play into this?
President Snow relates the following in the third section of the lesson:
“First we should know that we are the people of God. … It is our business to step forward as did Esther, and be willing to risk all for the salvation of the people. In undertaking her task, Esther said, “If I perish, I perish.” [See Esther 4:3–16.] … But the people of God will not perish. There will always be a ram caught in the thicket for their deliverance [see Genesis 22:13].”
Perhaps receiving power through your faith in God means to be able to honestly say “if I perish, I perish” and be alright with that outcome if need be? That is not easy to do.
”Behold, I speak unto you, and also to all those who have desires to bring forth and establish this work; And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care. Behold, I am the light and the life of the world, that speak these words, therefore give heed with your might, and then you are called.” (D&C 12:7-9)
Just before these verses, verse 6 talks about “seek[ing] to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion.” Therefore, this are the requirements of those who seek to build up Zion. Notice two things here. First, you must have a desire to gather a people. Second, there is no mention of money. Basically, a love for others is all that is required.
President Snow relates the following in the second section of the lesson:
“This Church will stand, because it is upon a firm basis. It is not from man; it is not from the study of the New Testament or the Old Testament; it is not the result of the learning that we received in colleges nor seminaries, but it has come directly from the Lord. The Lord has shown it to us by the revealing principle of the Holy Spirit of light and every man can receive this same spirit.”
I wonder if the firm basis that the Church stands on is love? For, without love, can the Church truly function in the correct manner? I am not sure that it can.
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