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Today my pastor gave an outstanding sermon on finding our identity in Christ. He based his sermon on the passage of four definitive miracles found in the gospel of Mark 4:35-5:43.
This sermon reminded me of a conversation I had with a Mormon a few years back. A Mormon woman who is a professor at a prestigious university in the States told me that she is “Mormon doctrine”. When I asked her if she’d do a debate with me about this on radio she declined saying all I needed to know is that she could be defined in this “Mormon doctrine”.
The key here is who we make our identification with. When we identify ourselves we have a tendency to label ourselves as a mom, dad, single person, husband, wife, doctor, teacher, policeman, engineer, attorney, etc. While these things are all admirable, they don’t define us as individuals.
Let’s go back to when Jesus was having that famous conversation with His disciples. He asked Peter in Matthew 16:15; “Who do you say that I am?” Remember Peter’s response? “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” What better way to make an identification of Jesus other than declaring Him the Messiah?
In turn, our identification isn’t what we do, but who we are. We are not rules and regulations that have been written down on a piece of paper. We are not a “restored gospel” anymore than we can morph ourselves into a dog. Can the doctrines of the Mormon Church come to your aid in the midst of a storm as Jesus did for the apostles in Mark 4:37-41? And I’m not talking about the Church’s welfare system. But can they sustain you spiritually during the storms in your life?
“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
If it’s the Church you’re looking to for protection and guidance then you are not a Christian. A Christian goes to Jesus for the peace they need during a storm. They fall at His feet to have Him cast out the demons they fight with day in and day out. Christians know they can’t fight the inner struggles without Him, no matter how big or small they may be.
Mark 5:2-6, 12-15;
“And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him…And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. 14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.”
They bypass all others for help because they know Jesus is God incarnate and can perform miracles as He did for Jarius and his young daughter.
Mark 5:21-23. 35-43;
“And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. 22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live…While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. 41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.”
They run to Him for healing when fighting a debilitating disease as the woman did who was hemorrhaging for twelve years. Just to touch the hem of His cloak…
Mark 5:24-34; “And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. 25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”
Let me tell you something, if you don’t go to Him in the deepest, darkest times of your life you’re in a boatload of trouble. Miracles don’t just take place on the outside where everyone can see. Sometimes those miracles take place inside of your heart as it did for the disciples while out on their own boatload of troubles. The main problem was not understanding at first whom they had on board with them.
Maybe they thought He was a prophet or just a good guy who loved God and knew scripture. It’s obvious from the passage in Mark they didn’t realize that God Himself was on that boat. What they soon realized is that it had to be God. Only He can control the air, water and storms. Only the creator of those things can control them.
The hemorrhaging woman, the rich leader Jarius, and even the crazy guy knew the only way they’d find relief for the pain is through Him. They all had one thing in common and that was to make sure they were totally and unabashedly devoted to Him. They knew whom to call on and where to place their faith. Oswald Chambers said this about our identity with Jesus (Feb. 13);
“If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. God may say whatever He wants, but I just don’t hear Him…If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times. At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things—things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God. Have you heard God’s voice today?”
Ask yourself; what does His identity mean to you? When there’s evil around you, who do you run to, the Church or Jesus? When there’s disease in your body on whom do you call for a cure? Where my friend is your devotion?
As my pastor said today “You need a God for the calamities in your life. We’re lost in our own identity but are found in His.”
I can debate and know all there is to know about Mormonism but I have a confession. My greatest source of joy comes in witnessing a Mormon when they come to know the Lord of Hosts. I pray that if you’re a Mormon you will open your bible and look to Him who can save you today.
With Love in Christ;
Jude 1:24-25; “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
Posted in Mormon Jesus, tagged atonement, blood of Jesus, Book of Mormon, Garden of Gethsemane, godhood, Heavenly Father, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Lamb of God, lds church, Mormon, mormonism, only begotten in the flesh, polygamy on 10/23/2010 | Leave a Comment »
As is usually the case, I came across something interesting in the Book of Mormon while looking for something else. This time I was reminded of what the Nephites thought of Jesus and His skin color in 3 Nephi 19:30;
“And when Jesus had spoken these words he came again unto his disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto him; and he did smile upon them again; and behold they were white, even as Jesus.”
The ROMANS ROAD is a pathway you can walk.
If you walk down this road you will end up understanding how to be saved.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin. We were born under the power of sin’s control.
Admit that you are a sinner.
(KJV For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;)
“…The wages of sin is death…”
Sin has an ending. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin.
But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity.
The Bible does plainly teach that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where lost people will be in torment forever.
It is the place where people end up that remain spiritually dead.
Understand that you deserve death for your sin.
“…But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Salvation is a free gift from God to you! We can’t earn this gift, but we must reach out and receive it.
Ask God to forgive you and save you.
(KJV23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.)
“God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!”
When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin’s penalty. He paid the cosmic price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, understanding that we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life.
Because He loved us and gave Himself for us!
Give your life to God… His love poured out in Jesus on the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change. His love bought you out of being a slave to sin. His love is what saves you. Not religion, or church membership.
God loves you! And reaches you right where you are.
“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
Call out to God in the name of Jesus!
“…If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
If you know that God is knocking on your heart door,
ask Him to come into your heart.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him…”
Is Jesus knocking on your heart’s door?
Believe in Him. Ask Him to come in to your heart by faith, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Open the bible to the gospel of John and read what God says about Jesus, about you, and about being born again.
God will help you. Just talk to Him. He loves you.
You need to look for a local church where God’s word is preached. The bible says that we are to desire God’s word like a newborn baby desires mother’s milk.
Aren’t you hungry to know the truth?
Water baptism is one of the ways you first show that you have been joined to Jesus. The symbolism is this: When you go down in the water you show that you have been crucified and buried with Him, And when you come up out of the water you show that you have been raised to walk with Him in newness of life. (See Romans chapter 6)
You have been born again. (See John chapter 3) Your body has become God’s temple. Your heart is where He lives. Forgiveness is yours in Jesus. And you belong to Him. You were sin’s slave. But now…You are a child of GOD!
“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God,
even to those who believe in His name.”
Well dear ones, that’s it! We are praying for each of you and our hearts go out to all those who are ensnared in the lies of Mormonism. I am sure you the mentor, as well as the ex-Mormon, will have thought of subjects we didn’t touch on. In that regard we would love to hear from you! Also keep in touch to let us know how your new lives in the Lord are coming along!
We praise our God for you the mentor and express our deepest gratitude for your undying service to Him!
Jude 1:24-25; “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
1 Corinthians 1:18-19; “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Posted in Mentoring Handbook, tagged bible, Christianity, false gospel, godhood, Jesus, joseph smith, Joseph Smith infuence, lds church, mormonism, only true church on earth, prophet of God, salvation, true church, truth on 10/22/2010 | Leave a Comment »
THE INFLUENCE OF JOSEPH SMITH
To say the Mormons worship Joseph Smith in every sense of the word would be an understatement. There are many subject matters within the doctrines of Mormonism that warrant a closer look and this is definitely one of those times. The influence Joseph Smith has had on people is mind boggling. His name alone throws my own mother into another frame of mind every time his name is mentioned.
Joseph Smith-History 1:33; “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.”
For my research on Mormonism I use the computer program “Gospelink”. It’s sold through the LDS owned company Deseret Books. In that program I have a file of no less than 106 quotes containing titles and/or descriptions of Smith made by leaders in the Church or Smith himself. I can assure the reader that I’ve merely scratched the surface.
The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote after visiting my mother in Utah in the summer of 2005:
“The False Prophet Joseph Smith”
I asked my mother a couple of weeks ago which prophet of all time that she liked the best. She replied by asking me which one I liked. I told her I couldn’t pick but have a tendency to turn to Isaiah time and again. I told her that his words are comforting to me when he prophesied about Jesus in chapter 53, or when he spoke of the ‘Highway of Holiness’ in chapter 35. She had never heard of Isaiah then told me that Hinckley and Joseph had to be her favorites. I found it interesting that Mormons refer to Joseph Smith by just his first name and everyone knows who you’re talking about. Yet I can’t recall the last time my own mother referred to Jesus without calling Him by His title instead of by His given name.
The above scenario is typical of any Mormon you might meet. Another phenomenon you may encounter while mentoring is when the new Christian has stories from the Bible confused with Joseph Smith. This is caused from Smith and others using scripture to describe the greatness of Smith. In their eyes he is superhuman. Below are some of the descriptions of Smith.
Foreordained from foundation of the world
DS 1:184; “Joseph Smith was chosen to stand at the head of the work of the Lord in the last days, and his work was assigned to him through the fore-knowledge of our Eternal Father in the eternities before he was born. He came in the spirit of Elias to prepare the way for the coming of our Lord. No prophet since the days of Adam, save, of course, our Redeemer, has been given a greater mission.”
God to all
TPJS, pg. 363; “God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and He will make me be god to you in His stead, and the Elders to be mouth for me; and if you don’t like it, you must lump it. I have been giving Elder Adams instruction in some principles to speak to you, and if he makes a mistake, I will get up and correct him. (April 8, 1844.) —DHC 6:318-320.”
Controls minds of believers
TPJS, pg. 341; “President Joseph Smith again arose and said—In relation to the power over the minds of mankind which I hold, I would say, It is in consequence of the power of truth in the doctrines which I have been an instrument in the hands of God of presenting unto them, and not because of any compulsion on my part.”
Holds endless priesthood
LDS Hymn #27 & Joseph Smith, the Prophet, the Man, pg. 3; “Great is his glory and endless his priesthood. Ever and ever the keys he will hold. Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom, Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old. (“Praise to the Man,” Hymns #27)”
His name will never perish
Gospel Doctrine, pg. 479; “God lives, and Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God—living, not dead; for his name will never perish.”
Genius with no education
Divine Authority or the Question, Was Joseph Smith Sent of God?, pg. 4; “How came Mr. Smith, if a deceiver, to think of all this? Did Martin Luther, Wesley, Whitfield, Swedenborg, or Irving think of this? Whence his superior intellect, his depth of understanding, his extensive foresight, that he should so far surpass all former impostors for 1700 years? John testifies that when the everlasting gospel is restored to the earth it shall be by an angel. Mr. Smith testifies that it was restored by an angel, and in no other way. This is another presumptive evidence that he was sent of God.”
People studied at the feet of Joseph
Joseph Smith, The Choice Seer, Preface #3; “In assessing the marvelous impact of the Choice Seer’s work on this dispensation, we will turn first and foremost to the doctrinal teachings of Joseph Smith as set forth in his sermons, letters, revelations, translations, and narrations. In addition, we will rely occasionally on the clarifications and expansions of those who knew Brother Joseph firsthand and studied at his feet, as well as those apostolic and prophetic successors to whom is given the divine mandate to build on the doctrinal foundation he laid.”
Joseph had more followers than Jesus
JD 14:202-203; “…this personage whom we call the Savior of the world, there were not, strange to say, as many persons believed on him as have believed on Joseph Smith in the latter days. Not that Joseph was the Savior, but he was a prophet.”
Reverence for Smith’s name advised
Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, pg. 181; “Whenever we speak of the Prophet Joseph Smith … it should be in reverent appreciation of the Lord who called him and whom Joseph served so well. (“‘A Choice Seer,'” p. 113.)”
Confessing spirit of Smith is of God
Discourses of Brigham Young, pg. 435; “Whosoever confesseth that Joseph Smith was sent of God to reveal the holy Gospel to the children of men, and lay the foundation for gathering Israel, and building up the Kingdom of God on the earth, that spirit is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that God has sent Joseph Smith, and revealed the everlasting Gospel to and through him, is of Antichrist, no matter whether it is found in a pulpit or on a throne. 8:176.”
Joseph defies world to refute him
TPJS, pg. 372; “The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me.”
Joseph is Heaven’s Gatekeeper
JD 7:290; “Should not this thought comfort all people? They will, by-and-by, be a thousand times more thankful for such a man as Joseph Smith, junior, than it is possible for them to be for any earthly good whatever. It is his mission to see that all the children of men in this last dispensation are saved, that can be, through the redemption. You will be thankful, every one of you, that Joseph Smith, junior, was ordained to this great calling before the worlds were.”
Joseph’s name known for good and evil
Joseph Smith History 1:33; “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.”
Set aside some time to go through each description with the ex-Mormon. There are three reasons why you’d want to do this!
1. Allow them to share their thoughts on what they’ve read and understood about that description.
2. Help them to find a scripture to refute each example.
3. If the person believed these things about Joseph Smith lead them in a prayer of repentance.
© 2010 Life After Ministries, Inc.
Link for Chapter 20
Chapter 20. The Romans Road
BEARING YOUR TESTIMONY
“Question: “Will you kindly tell me what is a testimony of the gospel, and what must one do to obtain one?”
Sometimes when I pray for the Mormons the only thing I pray is for the Holy Spirit to reveal that it is okay to be an individual and have personal experiences with the Lord that doesn’t include the Church or one of the prophets. This is how Joseph F. Smith defined a testimony:
“…In relation to the gospel, a testimony is a revelation to the individual who earnestly seeks one by prayer, study, and faith. It is the impression or speaking of the Holy Ghost to the soul in a convincing, positive manner. It is something which is far more penetrating than impressions from any other source, but it cannot fully be described.”
After this he quotes Moroni 10:4-5 that says if you ask with a sincere heart the Lord will reveal truth to you with a sign of a “burning in the bosom”. And then the prophet says;
“However it should be kept in mind that the person seeking for this knowledge will not have the privilege of repeated manifestations. He is not entitled to the continual guidance of the Holy Ghost. The Lord will reveal the truth once; then when this testimony has been given, the person should accept the truth and receive the gospel by baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 1472 says this about testimonies;
“The essence of a testimony is a personal inward assurance of Jesus Christ’s divinity, and it provides the fundamental basis for a Christian life. One becomes a disciple of Christ in the fullest spiritual sense only when a personal testimony of Jesus is received…To have such a testimony is to be conscious that God has borne witness within one’s soul by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ (D&C 46:13).”
This almost sounds “Christian” doesn’t it? If you were to see just that part of their definition you’d be wondering why there’s a problem. That is why I included “rest of the story”.
As I was participating in a debate with a stake president recently, someone asked him if he knew for sure that he was saved. After a very pregnant pause, he answered “Oh, now you’re testing my humility. I would hope that I’m doing all right, I mean I certainly do try hard but I am hoping that I have another thirty or so years to try and perfect it.”
After he said that he let out a big breath and continued on to say he believes the Church is true, he knows Joseph Smith is a prophet of God as is Gordon Hinckley, he also knows that nothing would come between him and the Church. My heart breaks for the man who sat in that chair with his shoulders slumping over and looking very tired.
Make sure you’re generous with your time when sharing your testimony with the Mormons and ex-Mormons! Hearing that someone actually has a personal relationship with God and His Son Jesus is an eye opener for many lost in the dark of Mormonism.
Lesson Plan for Chapter 17
1. Using an English dictionary describe the word “testimony”.
2. What is necessary to “gain a testimony” according to the LDS Church? What about Christianity? ________________________________________
3. What did Jesus say in John 14:23 and how does this disagree with the LDS prophet’s answer? _________________________________________
4. What is necessary to truly become a disciple of Christ? See Romans 10:9. _______________________________________________
© 2012 Life After Ministries, Inc.
Link for Chapter 18:
Chapter 18. The Authority and Priesthood Issue