D&C Lesson 41 – “Every Member a Missionary”

member missionaryTo be a member missionary demands little more than to be a good person. If there are roadblocks to being a member missionary they are usually in our heads, not out in the real world. Let’s look at what the Lord requires of those He has chosen to be His saints in the last days.

We are chosen

 
A thought that might be a surprise to some is that we have been chosen by the Lord to be here at this time in the earth’s history. He has chosen us because we have a special work to accomplish. Part of that work is to be a mouthpiece for Him in declaring the gospel of Christ to all the world.
 
Now, lest we all start to hyperventilate because I used the phrase, “to all the world,” let me say that it only means that we live up to our baptismal covenant to represent Christ at all times and in all places we may be in. And for many of us that includes in our travels to the various locations around the world. It also includes those who live next door, be they members of the Church, members of another church, or no church at all.
 
And how do we represent Christ in all these places? Doesn’t serving our fellow man in any way we can qualify? We can smile at people, talk to them and be genuinely interested in listening to their response to learn more about them. We can ask them questions about themselves and be non-judgmental about what we learn from them. Basically we are being asked to love our neighbor, wherever we meet them.
 
Opportunities to talk about the gospel of Christ will almost inevitably arise the longer we associate with people. It is then that we comfortably, and without apology, talk about our beliefs and how the gospel effects our life.
 

Scriptural injunctions

 
The following scriptures are short and thankfully simple in their content. The first is Doctrine and Covenants 1. These verses tell us our place in the plan of salvation. The manual stops quoting at verse 30, but I have included to the end of the sentence which takes us through verse 33.

And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.

And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.

30 And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—

31 For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;

32 Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;

33 And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.

Verse 4 tells us that those who can call themselves disciples of Christ have been chosen by the Lord to be a voice of warning to the world, i.e. the people around us. Verse 5 tells us that because we are on the Lord’s errand that none can stop us. This is where we enter the realm of faith. Do we believe that none can stop us in our efforts to fulfill this commandment of the Lord? Do we act as though we cannot be stopped?

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When we decide to believe and exercise faith in this commandment we will perceive roadblocks that might intimidate us into keeping silent or prevent us from serving others, which might lead to conversations about the gospel. If we are going to exercise faith in the Lord’s directive to open our mouths and take His message to our neighbors then we need to remember that wherever there appears to be a roadblock He will have already prepared a way to get past it. Remember that this is the Lord’s work. When God declares that something is to be, there is nothing in heaven or hell that can prevent it from coming to pass. The only question is what part we will have in its accomplishment.
 
Verses 30-33 offer a promise and a warning. Those who participate by obeying His commandment to take the gospel to others will have their sins forgiven them. Those who do not will have what light and spiritual knowledge they currently have taken away from them. That is pretty straight forward.
 

Same song, different verse

 
In Doctrine and Covenants 65 we are told that the “keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man.” Because these keys have been given to us the kingdom of God will now roll forth, as prophesied by Daniel, to fill the whole earth. With or without us as individuals, this is going to happen, for the Lord has declared that it will, and He is never refuted, nor is He ever incorrect.

Hearken, and lo, a voice as of one sent down from on high, who is mighty and powerful, whose going forth is unto the ends of the earth, yea, whose voice is unto men—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.

Yea, a voice crying—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the Bridegroom.

Pray unto the Lord, call upon his holy name, make known his wonderful works among the people.

Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth.

Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, mayest be glorified in heaven so on earth, that thine enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power and glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Our instructions that tell us what our responsibilities are start in verse 4. We are to pray to the Lord and make known to others his wonderful works among the children of men. This is how we fulfill the commandment in verse 3 to prepare people for the supper of the Lamb. We must first teach people that there is a supper and that they are invited.

And what is the duty we have in order that we can make his wonderful works known to others? The answer is in verse 5. “Pray unto the Lord, call upon his holy name.” When was the last time you sincerely prayed to know how to share the gospel with others? When was the last time you prayed then took your answer and went and did as the Lord commands to demonstrate love for your neighbor?

If demonstrating love for those not in your immediate family is uncomfortable then the love of God hasn’t yet become second nature to you. You can begin by practicing on your family members. Some of them may be harder to demonstrate love for than your neighbor. Just saying…

Finally, there is Doctrine and Covenants 88. This instruction is plain and straight forward.

81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.

If we go out and talk to those we meet. If we learn to love our neighbor and show Christlike compassion to those with whom we come in contact each day then their sins will not be on our heads in the day of judgment. On the other hand, if we do not make the effort to do this then we will have to answer for the sins of our neighbors in the judgment day.

Final Thoughts

These scriptures are not meant to frighten us because they are only meant to awaken those who need to repent. As Nephi told his brothers, only the wicked taketh the truth to be hard, the righteous don’t fear the truth.

Many who read these scriptures will be joyful that they are doing what the Lord has commanded them. For those of us who still need to do some work before we are fully compliant with the Lord’s commandments, there is hope in our repentance. Joy can still be ours if we are willing to make the effort to believe that the Lord will fill our souls with peace as we actively strive to keep His commandments and love our neighbors as God loves us.

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