Show video – Good tidings of great joy: The Birth of Jesus Christ
Our lesson today is on Building the Kingdom and as I've thought about this I realized we could talk about a million different things. We could talk about missionary work, teaching our families, being good examples and neighbors, learning more about the gospel, serving others, temple work, all kinds of things. But what kept coming back to me was that none of this happens unless you have a testimony of Jesus Christ and then in order to use that testimony of Christ, you must be a witness for him and of him. So we're going to talk about being a witness of Jesus Christ.
We'll start in the scriptures with Samuel the Lamanite.
Lets read Heleman 14: 1-7
1 And now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things which cannot be written.
3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.
4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.
Samuel was a witness of Christ's birth as well as his death. He defied arrows and stones to stand upon a wall and testify of the things the Lord wanted the people to know. He cried repentance to a very unrepentant people.
The time of Christs birth came and an angel bore witness of Him to the shepherds in the fields
Luke 2: 8-14
The shepherds then became witnesses, and then we read in.....
11 ¶And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
The wisemen became witnesses
Simeon was a witness for Christ
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
Anna was a witness
In 3Nephi 1: 4-21 – we read of witnesses on this continent
4 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.
7 And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.
9 Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.
11 And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
16 And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.
17 And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.
18 For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.
19 And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.
The Nephites were witnesses and Nephi the son of Nephi stood tall as a witness
Not least of all, Mary and Joseph were witnesses of Christs divinity, power and love. Angels appeared to them and bore witness of Him. They raised Him and taught Him and learned from Him.
We have been blessed to have prophets and apostles on the earth to witness and testify of Christ. The document The Living Christ, quotes Joseph Smith as he bears witness, it says
His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying;
I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.
Of Him the prophet also declared: And now after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him; That He Lives!
For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the only begotten of the father
That by him and through him and of him the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.
Joseph Smith bears a powerful witness – he sealed that witness with His life
So how do we witness of Christ?
In the last conference President Thomas S Monson gave us some insight as to how we might do this
He quotes from the sermon on the mount
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
And then a 2nd scripture to help explain how to do the first. This is from the Apostle Paul's Epistle to Timothy:
Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity and then our light shines forth.
The apostle Paul lists 6 attributes of a believer
be an example in word
be an example in conversation
Do not use words that harm or demean. Do not use profanity, or use the names of deity casually or as slang, keep your language clean and uplifting
be an example in Charity, the pure love of Christ
work within your sphere to lift and cheer and strengthen
be an example in spirit
cultivate a spirit of kindness, forgiveness, goodwill
be an example of faith
Trust the Lord, trust his word, his timing. Faith and doubt cannot live in the same space
be an example of purity
Be clean in body, mind and spirit. Treat your body as a temple, fill your mind with uplifting things, stay away from all things that would pollute.
President Monson says
We will stand out from the crowd because we are different. We will stand out because we dress modestly. We will be different because we do not use profanity and because we do not partake of substances which are harmful to our bodies. We will be different because we avoid off color humor and degrading remarks. We will be different as we decide not to fill our minds with media choices that are base and demeaning and that will remove the spirit from our homes and our lives. We will certainly stand out as we make choices regarding morality, choices which adhere to gospel principles and standards. Those things which make us different from most of the world also provide us with that light and that spirit which will shine in an increasingly dark world.
We receive a witness of Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost, that is his job!
We receive that witness through study, prayer, fasting, pondering, a genuine desire to know who Christ is and all that he has done for us.
We receive confirming witnesses that add to our testimony when others bear their testimonies, when we hear or see something that brings the spirit into the room or our hearts.
I had a powerful witness last Sunday as I sat in the singles branch. There were 2 returned missionaries speaking and they had amazing testimonies, and my daughter played her violin. She played If You Could Hie to Kolob. My heart was pounding, my chest was so tight I could barely breathe and the tears were pouring down my face. There wasn't a sound in the room except for her music, all the whispering stopped, all the shuffling, and when she was finished the was almost a gasp. Her music was the vehicle that helped us to feel the Holy Ghost say Amen to all that we had been taught in that meeting.
It was at that moment that I decided to have her come and play for us today along with Sister Whitney. I wanted all of us to have the reminder that we can also feel a witness and share our witness through all kinds of good things, especially the power of good music, it has the power to touch our souls!
I hope you will receive a witness of Christ. I pray that you will have the strength and courage to be a witness for Christ.