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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.

One Response to “RS/MP Chapter 20: Missionary Work: “The Kingdom of God Moves Forward” (Lorenzo Snow Manual)”

  1. Very well done, Kirk, and I enjoyed how you show through powerfully loaded questions and statements, which helped me contemplate the verities and “power” if they have “faith,” and how, if at all, does priesthood play into this?” What a marvelous coincidence, I am writing something now on this and will share it once I am finished.

    I like this point that you brought up. “if I perish, I perish” and be alright with that outcome if need be?” That is not easy to do. In fact, it is not only very difficult for some to surrender, but it’s something we ought and must learn to do, for a more noble, higher purpose, even surrendering ones will for another …unto the Father’s will.

    The Savior knew that he would have to endure tremendous agony to atone for our sins. And he knew something of the excruciating pain of crucifixion. Yet in the preexistence he had committed himself to the father that he would be our redeemer. He expressed his sense of this commitment in the Garden of Gethsemane when he prayed, “O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I wilt, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39.) And yet even when the Savior underwent this terrible agony he did not do it solely out of duty but also out of love. For we know that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…” (John 3:16), and the Son was like the Father. Thus he also loved.

    Love is a very powerful motivator; however, there is actually a level higher than love. It’s something I am currently writing about…joyful service. The following is from an excerpt I had written, for our ward newsletter, which is now part of my journal.

    I hope this is not offensive to anyone, but I am stirred with feelings, as if it were, fire unquenchable.

    April 2007 Journal:
    Having the mission president and sister _______, from Utah, in our midst with the work they are doing is wonderful. I will mention just one that is blatantly obvious. They attend many of the various baptisms throughout their area, to be part of this great work, for the building up of the kingdom of God that is going on, as the world at large is oblivious to the fact that the true church of God is on the earth today. Although, every day, more and more people are becoming part of the true and divine work and church. It has become a great mountain, and is filling the earth as prophesied it would by Daniel, see chapter 2.

    Many of our missionaries have come and gone and many continue to come and serve, selflessly, at no compensation but for the gospels truths sake, is yet, another witness and testimony of devotion and love for their fellow men and God.

    Another couple that continues to serve multiple missions and devotes their time, talents, and resources, for the works of God, is Elder and Sister ______, from Utah, our genealogy missionaries. Their love and devotion to the work they do is beyond my comprehension. Their knowledge and skill level in finding our deceased ancestors, so that the works of God may continue in the world of spirits is astonishing. I am nothing short of amazed, and feel like I have always known them. They are very dear and special to me and my family. They have helped many of us here to do our own genealogy work. [As best as I can recollect, while inside the Manhattan Temple baptismal font, a sister in our ward had a vision of her deceased relative. She herself has since crossed over]. Many of us had had our own personal revelations and sacred experiences come into our lives. I shall never forget those experiences.

    Our youth and primary organization in our ward is phenomenal and the love and devotion towards these little soldiers in God’s army is commendable and appreciated by the parents of our ward. Our relief society president and counselors are women of extraordinary vision and love for their sisters and ward members.

    The priesthood, well, all I can say, brethren, is that we need to stand a little taller and stretch ourselves. Notwithstanding that comment, I love and have great hope for you, as does your bishop and brother ______ which by the way, I love both of these men and am honored to serve by their side. Our bishop continues to care for and does pray often for us.

    I am continually amazed at the acts in life’s drama being played whilst here in mortality. It is evident to me that the works of God are continuous and one eternal round. That the children of men are going to have challenges and be expected to rise above them or at least to endure them well. We will be tested and tried and proved in all things to see in whom we will choose and trust.

    God will test us as a people. He will prove us and he will give us the most ample opportunity of showing our faith in Him, and our confidence in the truth that he has revealed. It ought to be worth everything we have. We cannot make too great a sacrifice for it. God develops the fruit of the Spirit by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you are tempted to express the exact opposite quality.

    We are expected, even at great sacrifice to serve others and share the message of the gospel. While the world at large is consumed with the wearing of costly apparel and setting their hearts on the vain things of this world, and upon their riches or the accumulation of great wealth; there are those that are selflessly serving at no pay, no expense accounts, and no accumulation of great earthly treasures. They work regular jobs, serving at their own expense, full-time, and living off the means they have been blessed to accumulate so they can more fully serve God. They serve countless hours in meetings, even in the wee early hours before many of us awake, they provide training, counsels, pray for us, and much, much, more; and for what? Do they do it for the honors of men? Is there ego so great that they do it at such expense? Me thinks not. While many of the world’s religions, although good, many receive good pay, lodging vehicles, and great esteem, and the honors of men. The Lord’s true church does not operate for pay as declared in the Holy Bible. The same one others purport to believe in. Someday we will look back and see the follies of our limited thinking, or perhaps we will have caught the vision and have made the necessary changes while we sojourned on this earth, while it is still called today.

    The reoccurring theme, from which I drew much inspiration from, was from reading of Alma 5 in the Book of Mormon, so “that ye cannot err.” There is much wisdom, truths, and gems in this chapter and much of it, can be manifested through study, pondering, and by the power and spirit of God.

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