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.
2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.
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.
5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.
6 And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.
7 And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.
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
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
The shepherds then became witnesses, and then we read in.....
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
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
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
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;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
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.
5 But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite.
6 And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.
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.
8 But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.
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.
10 Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.
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.
12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
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.
20 And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.
21 And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.
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.