September 20, 2012 by FHElessons
This is a talk I wrote a few years ago for Sacrament Meeting. When writing it, I truly felt that it was delivered to me by the Lord. He directed me in where to go to research it and what to write. Without Him, I could not have written it.
Ways to use this talk:
- Read it for your own personal benefit.
- Use it for your own talk you give.
- Take an outline from it for a lesson you give (I have outlined it for you with bold type and underlining).
Coming soon: An FHE lesson for your family, drawn from the outline of this talk and including some fun activities.
When I first received the assignment to speak about reverence, I thought: What is there to say about reverence other than “Just do it!” But as I started researching, I found that reverence is much more than reverent behaviors. In fact, reverent behaviors without an attitude of reverence are hypocritical and are performed only for the praises of men.
True reverence is an attitude of:
- Worshipful adoration
What type of Being is deserving of this kind of attitude? In other words, who is the Being that we reverence?
1. He is God the First, the Creator
In Moses, chapter 32 we read the words of “the Lord God Almighty”: “And by the word of my power have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son (So the Only Begotten Son is the word of His power)
And worlds without number have I created… And innumerable are they unto man, but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them…There is no end to my works.”
Enoch observed that “were it possible that men could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of Thy creations” (Moses 7:30)
Pres. J Reuben Clark declared: “It was not a novice, not an amateur, not a Being making a first trial, that came down in the beginning, after the Great council, with other Gods, and searched out and found the place where there was space, and taking of the materials which they found in this space, made this world.”
The radius of the known universe is believed to be 16 billion light years across, and astronomers believe there are at least 10 billion galaxies. They say that this galaxy in which we live, in which we float and have our existence, is one hundred thousand light-years in diameter. (So, knowing how fast light travels, our galaxy is so vast that it would take light one hundred thousand years to cross it.)
Astronomers now yield what they did not formerly yield, that there may have been many, and probably were, many worlds like ours.
“Worlds without number have I created through Mine Only Begotten Son.” I repeat, our Lord is not a novice, he is not an amateur; he has been over this course time and time and time again.
And if you think of this galaxy of ours having within it from the beginning perhaps until now, one million worlds, and multiply that by the number of millions of galaxies, one hundred million galaxies, that surround us, you will then get some view of who this Man is that we worship.
2. Among His many creations is Us, His Spirit Children. He is the Father of our spirits.
Joseph Smith taught that He has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.
Moses learned that we are created in His image, after the likeness of His own body.
And so we learn what our God looks like.His body looks like our bodies and has substance – flesh and bones.
Paul taught the Ephesians that because He is the Father of us all, that He is in us all. Because of our heritage from Him, we have the capacity to become like Him. From modern day revelation, we learn that He once was as we are. That He has progressed to the high state in which He now exists.
In speaking to Moses, He called Himself, “Lord, God Almighty” and named Himself “Endless”
He said He is without beginning of days or end of years. We learn that He is an eternal being and that His works and words are without end. We learn that He has always existed and always will exist.
When speaking with Adam, he called Himself, “Man of Holiness.”
Thus we know that He is a man. He is holy. He is the Supreme Governor of the universe, an exalted, holy, Endless man. He is the example of holiness for which we strive.
Jesus Christ taught us that the Father is perfect and admonished us also to strive for that perfection. God, the Father, is the standard by which perfection is defined. He is the meaning of the word “perfect”.
Joseph Smith bore witness that His brightness and glory defy all description. No words can express His greatness and glory. No man can tell of His majesty and grandeur.
And after all this, the apostle John taught that God loves us.
He loves us enough to give us the gift of His Only Begotten Son.
In fact, He declares that the entire sum of His existence, His work and His glory is to bring about Our progress – our immortality and Eternal Life.
3. Because of this, He designed for us a Plan – a plan for our Salvation.
Nephi calls this plan “merciful” and Job tells us that when we heard of the plan in the pre-existence, we “shouted for joy.”
Without this Plan we would have been unable to receive a body, to progress, to become like our Father in Heaven. Without this Plan, and because of our many weaknesses and mistakes, we would have been “exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice.” (Alma 34:16) But God provided a way for us for which “mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles [us] in the arms of safety”
And so God asked for a volunteer – someone to live a perfect life and then sacrifice Himself to meet the demands of justice for all of God’s children. And God asked, “Whom shall I send?” And the Savior answered: “Here am I, send me.”
Jesus Christ became the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2), the “author of our eternal salvation.” (Heb 5:9)
Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows:…he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:…and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
4. And so, the God of the world, the Son of Man, or in other words, the Son of the Man of Holiness, who was with the Father in the beginning, condescended to come down to earth – to be born of a mortal woman as a helpless infant and to suffer the pains of the flesh.
This condescension of God, this act of waving the privileges of one’s rank and status in order to go down to a less dignified state, was enacted by both God the Father and the Son.
Bruce R McConkie teaches, “God the Almighty, the Maker and Preserver and Upholder of all things; the Omnipotent One…elects, in his fathomless wisdom, to beget a Son, an Only Son, the Only Begotten in the flesh. God, who is infinite and immortal, condescends to step down from his throne, to join with one who is finite and mortal in bringing forth the Mortal Messiah.”
And Jesus Christ,
- the Creator of innumerable worlds,
- He who had grown in light and truth and knowledge and power until He was like unto His Father,
- He who manifested Himself to Adam and Eve, to Enoch and to Noah,
- Who made known the plan of salvation to Abraham,
- Who gave the law of Moses to ancient Israel,
- Who spoke to the brother of Jared and directed the Jaredites,
- Who led Lehi and his family to a promised land,
- In whose name we perform ordinances and say our prayers,
Submitted to be born into the most humble of circumstances. To be subject to the veil of forgetfulness. To suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer except it be unto death (Mosiah 3:5,7)
And so He began earth life as a helpless infant and as a “child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom.”
James E Talmage writes, “The Child grew, and with growth there came to Him expansion of mind, development of faculties, and progression in power and understanding. His advancement was from one grace to another, not from gracelessness to grace; from good to greater good, not from evil to good; from favor with God to greater favor.”
He progressed until by the age of twelve, He not only knew of His own Divine parentage, but had knowledge and wisdom enough that as he sat in the temple, the rabbis and men of great wisdom both listened to Him and asked him questions.
And then in the Joseph Smith translation of Matthew, we read that Jesus “waxed strong, and waited upon the Lord for the time of his ministry to come. And he spake not as other men, neither could he be taught; for he needed not that any man should teach him. And after many years, the hour of his ministry drew nigh.”
As this time drew near, He was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15)
He lived a life of service, using His infinite power to heal, to uplift, to protect, to liberate, to revive and rehabilitate.Through His actions He showed Himself to be understanding, kind, forgiving, compassionate, prayerful, obedient, and loving.
His earthly life was filled with countless acts of kindness, compassionately saving those around him from suffering and pain. “Have you any that are sick among you?” He asked, “Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.”
To the leper who asked, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” The Savior replied, “I will, be thou clean.”
To the crippled man who waited by the pool of Bethsaida, he asked, “Wilt thou be made whole?”
He made the blind to see; the lame to walk; Those who were sick, who had been afflicted with handicaps and debilitating maladies were made whole by His infinite power. Some who were dead were made alive again.Every miracle was an act of mercy, an expression of His divine love. Even amidst His own fatigue, He continued to life the burdens of other.
On a day when He and his disciples had not even had time to eat, let alone get some rest, Jesus observed the multitude following him. He did not ask for some time to Himself, to eat and to rest. Instead, he “was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”
When His disciples tried to allow Him a little time to rest by forbidding the children to bother Him, He answered, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”
With those who mourned, besides lifting their burden, He also mourned with them.When Mary and Martha wept for their dead brother, Lazarus, Jesus wept with them. It was only afterwards that He brought forth Lazarus from the dead, and then thanked the father for hearing His prayer.
He had power over the elements.He calmed the storm, made plants to wither or to grow at His will, commanded the fishes of the sea, and taught that with the Faith of a grain of mustard seed it is possible to move mountains. His disciples marveled, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the seas obey Him?”
Even devils acknowledged His power and trembled in His presence. As he called them to leave the tormented individuals that they inhabited, they cried, “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?” and “We know thee who thou art, the Holy One of Israel.” They knew Jesus and his power because they had encountered it before the world was. They recognized Jesus as Jehovah, who by the power of His Almighty Father had thrust them out of God’s presence and cast them down to earth for rebellion. (Brent Top, the Redeemer 208)
No one will ever be His equal. He taught with perfect understanding– not only did he understand perfectly the truths that he taught, but he looked into the hearts of those who listened and saw what was there. He taught in ways that people could understand. He taught in ways that showed His infinite love for those who listened. His teachings, like His life were made to uplift, to strengthen, and to draw all men unto Him.
The One who taught us the astounding doctrine of “If any man smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also, and of love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you” showed us the way by His example. And the world, because of their iniquity, judged him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men. (1 Ne 19:9)
The one who declared “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father and He will presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” chose instead to patiently allow men their free agency – to allow them to arrest him, mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, drive nails through his hands and feet, and ultimately crucify him. Of the soldiers who did it, He asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed that He might not drink of such a bitter cup as to take upon Him the sins of all who had ever lived or ever would live, yet He was obedient to the will of the Father. He offered, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” He suffered in a manner so great as to cause great drops of blood to come from every pore of His skin. He suffered in a way that no man would have been able to bear. And then, after yielding to death, he rose again on the third day. He prepared the way for us to be resurrected. He made it possible for us to bridge the gap that separates us from the God who loves us and whom we love. He made it possible for us to be redeemed of our sins, to be made whole and clean again, to come again unto the Father and to have Eternal Life.
His teachings and care for us did not end with His death. He has proven His love for us and earned the right to show us the way and to instruct us in the laws of Heaven.
Robert L Millet declares: “It is not just that the Son of God brings light into a darkened and fallen world, He is the Light; It is not just that our Savior shows us the way; He is the Way; It is not just that Christ makes the resurrection available, He is the Resurrection; And it is not just that Jesus of Nazareth restores the truth and teaches truth; He is the Truth.”
- He is the anointed One
- The Messiah
- He has been called Emmanuel, meaning God is with us
- His name has been called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace
- He is the Holy One of Israel
- The Blessed of God
- The Only Begotten in the Flesh
- The Lamb of God and
- The Good Shepherd
- He is the king of Israel and shall rule and reign forever
- He is the Savior of Mankind, Redeemer of the World
- He called Himself the Bread of Life
- The Living Water
- The Teacher
- He is the Word, as in the Word of God’s Power
- The true vine
- The great Healer and Exemplar
- The Holy One and the Just
- It is He that will judge us at the last day
- It is He who is our advocate with the Father
- He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end
- He tasted death for every man
- He is our deliverer
- The chief cornerstone
- The first fruits
- The propitiation for our sins
- His name is Jehovah
- King of Kings and Lord of Lords
- Ever-existing One
- Ever-constant One
- The Great I Am
Jesus declared, “He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.”
He and God the Father are one in heart, mind, and purpose. They are so alike, that to know one is to know the other.
He further taught, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father is me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.”
In all His many and great works, he gives credit and glory to the Father. He tells us that all of His miracles, all of His teachings and acts and sacrifice are done through Him by God, the Father.
In John 17, He prays, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.”
As we come to know Jesus by His words and His works, we come to know God the Father. As we marvel at the greatness and power of the Savior, we must be awed by He who is His Eternal Father.
The prophets Nephi and Jacob teach that we worship God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, that it is the Father who is the ultimate object of our worship and adoration. It is Elohim who is the Father of our Spirits and the director of our progression. It is He to whom the Son defers glory.
And so, knowing the type of Being that we worship, knowing that He is all-knowing, all-powerful, Endless and Everlasting and that He loves us, what will our behavior be?
When we speak of Him, when we say His name, how will we say it?
When we walk in His house, how will we walk?
When we read and discuss His word, when we go to Him in prayer, when we care for the body He has given us, and when we care for the children and other stewardships He has given us, and when we consider all the many blessings He has given us, how will we do these things?
It is my prayer that we will always retain in our memories, the greatness of God and our own nothingness to Him, That we will remember how He condescends to effect our Salvation. And that this feeling of love and adoration and gratitude towards this Great and mighty being who is, in fact, our loving Father in Heaven, will lead us to reverent behavior in all aspects of our lives.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.