Sunday, June 23, 2013

Separating Wheat and Tares

Jesus Christ gave a parable recorded in Matt 13 about the Kingdom of God being likened to a field planted with wheat and tares. Christ tells us the wheat and tares would be allowed to grow together until the end when both would be gathered together. The wheat would be saved and the tares would be burned. This post addresses how God is separating the wheat from the tares and how we as individuals define and separate ourselves.

2Ne 30:10 For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, Chapter 30)

Very simply. The angels of God sent forth are the LDS Missionaries carrying the Book of Mormon. Those who accept the Book of Mormon are the wheat, and those who reject the Book of Mormon are the tares.

10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, Chapter 33)

Regarding this great Latter-day separation of the wicked from the righteous, Peter says that this issue "God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (New Testament, Acts, Chapter 3)  Whether the scriptures are talking about unprofitable servants, wise and unwise virgins, sheep and goats, mark of the beast vs sealing in the forehead, abomination of desolation, purifying of silver, the marvelous work and a wonder in the Last Days; all the prophets have spoken about God separating and differentiating the wicked from the righteous.

After having read the scriptures and pondered on them with a prayer in my heart, if there was one issue that that separated the righteous vs the wicked it is this: and it is summed up in the Book of Mormon.  PRIDE.  Past Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ, Ezra Taft Benson spoke of the dangers of pride in his great sermon entitled, "Beware of Pride".  The Book of Mormon also clearly defines pride.

Hel 12:4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world! 

5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths! 

6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. (Book of Mormon, Helaman, Chapter 12)

What is pride? Pride is the great sin of thinking you can decide how you should live your life better than God can.  When the real purpose of life is to choose to live our life after the manner God has shown, to give our lives to God, to submit to His authority, amd His will. But not just to His will but also His priesthood.  Submitting to God's Earthly authority and priesthood. Submitting to God's authority becomes an issue both inside and outside the Church.

So many people are foolded into thinking, I'm a good person.  I've never killed anyone. I've only lied, stolen, cheated and been immoral a few times. I'm still a good person.  I would do anything for God.  But, I will not tolerate some self-proclaimed prophet telling me what to do or how to live my life. This is what makes false religion so seductive. False religion lets people go through the motions of religious observance without the right expectations.  

D&C 124:45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place. 

46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. 

47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord. 

48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practise before me, saith the Lord. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 124.

I was talking to a youth pastor at the airport on day and I asked him what he thought attracted youth to faith. He said that home and school had expectations of youth but church was a place that excepted youth as they are and had no expectations.  No expectations.  Those were his exact words.  How sad. I told him that the LDS Church was successful because it fulfilled the test of true religion by providing opportunities for true Christian service (charity and virtue).  LDS youth are attracted to faith because of its high standards and values and expectations. 

Its nice to believe in forgiveness of sin, but the atonement of Christ is not just about mercy to forgive sin but also power to help us overcome sin in our lives and forsake sin Accepting Christ with our lips is one thing, but there still is no happiness in sin. Wickedness never was happiness. Sin still carries its painful consequences. I am thankful for the standards and expectations of the Church that  helped me 1. avoid many serious sins and pitfalls and 2. when I have sinned, helped me overcome and forsake it.   What good is religion if it doesnt empower its people to true charitable service and high moral virtue keeping us "unspotted from the world" and clean from the "blood and sins of this generation".

Members of the LDS Church are not immune from the sin of PRIDE or from being labeled tares or unwise virgins. The issues can be very similar to those who are not members. But even with a testimony of the Book of Mormon, LDS members can still take issue with following counsel from our local leadership.  If we are are true disciples of Christ: 

1. Are we willing to live up to the standards of the church? 1 Cor 5:11

2. Are we willing to accept and magnify a calling from our local Bishop?

3. Are we willing to do our home teaching and visiting teaching?

4. Are we willing to prepare and live worthy to serve full-time missions and receive sacred covenants in the Temple?

Our attitude with regard to these issues determines our williness to submit to God and his authority. In the last Days as we go through the trials of the Tribulation, our attitude in these issues today will determine how we respond to some future calamity and where we place our trust.

We are told that the kingdom of the Devil must shake and Babylon must fall. The Great and Abominable Chrurch shall fail. This is neccessary because the only thing left standing will be Zion.  And, unless we look to Zion as a refuge, it will be the only place we can look for safety.

So far we have been instructed by our prophets to get our houses in order, to get out of debt and to have a year supply of wheat, sugar, rice, beans.  To start out small and build up. 

When I think about our faith in God and our need to submit to His will and His authority on Earth, I think of my baptism and the symbolism of submission and trust associated with the baptismal ordinance. Also, every time we partake of the sacrament we renew our commitment and our williness to follow and submit to the Savior. 

D&C 20:77 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 20)

No comments: