Wednesday, November 24, 2010

December 2010 Message to the Missionaries

Elders and Sisters of the Japan Kobe Mission,

I‘m dreaming of a White Christmas!

Not the cold snowy kind though. I’m dreaming of being dressed in white in a field that is white already to harvest. This is the White Christmas I am envisioning!

Ever notice that the fields in Japan are a golden yellow color when they are ready to be harvested? The rice harvest has already finished this year in Japan, but the harvest of souls, in that field that is white, white with people dressed in white entering the waters of baptism, is ready to be reaped! And you, my fellow missionaries, have been called to labor in that field.

So, “Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation…You shall begin to preach from this time forth, yea, to reap in the field which is white already to be burned. Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul…” (D&C 31:3-5)

We have had a wonderful year thus far in the Japan Kobe Mission. We have increased our convert baptisms over last year and the work is moving forward on a solid foundation of faith and works. Let’s finish this year with gratitude in our hearts for the wonderful miracles we have seen in our mission as we continue to open our mouths and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Japan. After all, what could be more appropriate than to share the Doctrine of Christ with everyone we meet this wonderful Christmas season? This Christmas, as we remember the miraculous birth of the Savior, let us boldly share His doctrine with all those we meet. The scriptures teach us to preach the gospel or the Doctrine of Christ whenever we open our mouths.

“…open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord…Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and remember that they shall have faith in me or they can in nowise be saved.” (D&C 33:10-12)

The doctrine of Christ is based on the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel. First, faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, which leads to second, repentance or a change of heart and actions that are aligned with the commandments of God, third entering into a covenant with God through baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We then continue throughout our lives to show faith in Christ by striving to follow the commandments, repenting and renewing our covenants regularly. This is how we endure to the end.

The doctrine of Christ is not only central to the Plan of Salvation and our message, it is our message! It is the message that has been taught from before the foundations of the world. And it continues today to be the focus of all we teach and do as missionaries.

Often as we live our lives and even as we work as missionaries, we get distracted from the plain and simple message of the gospel and the doctrine of Christ. Christ is the reason for this wonderful season and why we are engaged in this work. The scriptures give many examples and references of these plain and simple truths and emphasize the importance of the doctrine of Christ, or in other words, our purpose as missionaries. This (the Doctrine of Christ) has been the message and purpose of missionaries in all dispensations of time.

Adam was taught the doctrine of Christ shortly after he and Eve were cast out of the garden.

“And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence. And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord. And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore. And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son…” PGP 5:4-8

The prophet Enoch gives further insight into this event as he taught that the day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam was the day Adam was baptized.

“Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man. And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with afire, and with the Holy Ghost.” PGP 6:64-65

Enoch later taught the same doctrine of Christ to the people as he preached and built the city of Zion.

“And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you…Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.” PGP 6:52, 57

The New Testament is filled with references to faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, in other words, the doctrine of Christ. Jesus’ own baptism is found in Matthew chapter 3. Peter and the apostles taught this doctrine as can be seen in Acts 2 and many other places in the New Testament. But perhaps some of the most profound and powerful explanations of the doctrine of Christ are found in the Book of Mormon. Particularly 2 Nephi 31 where Nephi states, “I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ, wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying.” The subsequent verses talk of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Other passages in the Book of Mormon that declare these things plainly are found in 3 Nephi 9:20-22, 3 Nephi 11:21-41 and 3 Nephi 27:13-22.

Understanding and teaching the doctrines found in these scriptures is how we fulfill our purpose as missionaries. In fact, in 3 Nephi 11:40-41, we are taught by the Savior as missionaries to teach these things (the doctrine of Christ), nothing more or less than this.

And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

Elders and sisters, we have been called to gather the elect of God by opening our mouths and declaring the Doctrine of Christ to this people. We should make sure we teach this doctrine, not more or less. Remember the gospel is simple. Baptism requires a broken heart and contrite spirit, faith in Christ and a desire to follow Him. Let us not make it more complex than this when we teach. Further, let us be careful to not teach less than this. When we hesitate to invite people to repent and come unto Christ through baptism or when we do not teach this doctrine in the first lesson, we risk falling into the category of teaching less than His doctrine.

All the prophets from Adam until today, including the apostles of old and the Savior himself, never shied away from the bold invitation to come unto Christ and be baptized. May we not shy away from this divine call and commission we have been given. May we go forth with boldness and declare the Doctrine of Christ to this people.

May the Lord bless you as we celebrate this wonderful season and remember Christ our Lord and Savior, the Only Begotten of the Father, our Elder Brother and Friend, Jesus Christ!

Merry Christmas!

Make it a white one!!


President and Sister McIntyre

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. I was checking this blog as it was introduced in my mission package. Thank you for sharing this month's "message to the missionaries" here on this blog. I really enjoyed it as I will soon be a missionary in Kobe. I am very excited and happy to be there very soon.