Friday, October 8, 2010

3 Nephi 12: 14-16

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.  Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house; Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Here, again, is a reference to Zion. Zion will be that city upon a hill which cannot be hidden. It will tower over the landscape, elevated both physically and spiritually. It will be the mountain of the Lord in the top of the mountains. (Isa. 2: 2-3.) He will dwell there. (2 Nephi 14: 5; D&C 76: 66; 84: 2.) I've already addressed this and won't repeat it again here.
What is the "light" which you are to be to "this people?" Who are "this people?" What is to be a "light of this people?"
If you have light, how is it to be shared? Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the obligation to preach, teach, exhort and expound is imposed upon everyone having the office of Priest and above. (D&C 20: 46.)  Members of both sexes were commanded in 1832 to teach one another the doctrines of the Gospel. (D&C 88: 77.) If you have light and refuse to share it with others, are you putting a candle under a bushel?
How do you let the light you have shine through "good works?" That is how it is supposed to be shown. Christ's teaching explains that people are to see your "good works" as the means for your light to shine. How would that be accomplished?
Most interesting of all is that upon seeing your good works, the glory is to be given "your Father who is in heaven." How would your works reflect on Him rather than on yourself? What would you need to do in order for those benefited by your efforts to turn their thanks to God, rather than to you?
If you were interested in your good works reflecting credit to "your Father who is in heaven" how many monuments would you want built to your memory?  How many buildings would you want named after you? How many statutes would you want carved of your likeness and put on display for men to admire?
The light should point to the Lord, who can save. It is nevertheless the case that some have become subjects of adoration or veneration despite their inability to save anyone. Those who are distracted from following the Lord become Telestial and continue to suffer the deaths of false religion. (D&C 76: 99-101.) These are no better than the liars, adulterers and whoremongers.  (D&C 76: 103-104.) They became these vessels of God's wrath because they worshiped men, rather than God. If, therefore, prophets such as Moses, Elias, John, Peter and Enoch have such followers despite preaching that salvation is in Christ alone, then how much worse is it for a man to intentionally cultivate adoration for himself? How much worse is it to deliberately invite this error? 
What steps should you take to make certain there are no thunderous celebrations broadcast on television on your birthdays? How quick would you be to reaffirm you are nothing and no-one, and salvation is through Christ and not a man? How clear would you be about your own weakness, foolishness and inability to save another? How often would you point to the Lord who alone can save?
It is not enough to be religious. Hell will be filled with the religious. It is not enough to proclaim you have light if you do not live according to its principles. The sermon we are looking at now is the Lord's careful formulation of the principles which will save. He delivered it often during His mortal ministry. When He was resurrected and ministered to lost sheep, including the Nephites, He delivered the same address to them all.

Above all other sources of information about the path back to God, this is the greatest message of all. Within it are the very steps that are required for life and salvation, spoken by the author of salvation.