learn of Christ
Week 07 is scheduled for study Feb. 6-12, 2023. What a wonderful week to learn of Christ! This week we look at his glory, his miracles, love, and his judgments. All in all a great week of study!

Day 1

As you read John 2-4, the Spirit will teach you things about your own conversion. Make note of His promptings. You may find additional spiritual insights from the study ideas in this outline.

John 2:1-11 – Jesus Christ’s miracles “manifested forth his glory.”

There is more than one way to describe glory. It can be power that defies description or comprehension, or it can be light, or even praise given. In the story of the miracle at the wedding feast the word glory easily falls into the category of power that defies description or comprehension. As we understand miracles, they are events that don’t follow the laws we know about. Jesus walking on water is one such miracle. His turning common water into the best of wines is another.

Miracles are brought about by faith. I don’t know how faith allows us to access laws that the physics we know about doesn’t know about, but it does. This means that the act of turning water into wine was an act of faith. Jesus was about 30 years old when this first of his public miracles was displayed. That idea got me thinking. Do you think Jesus never demonstrated faith before that day? I think not. I imagine that Jesus was constantly demonstrating ever increasing faith as he grew into an adult. His family was probably accustomed to seeing him do things that defied understanding.

This casualness with his faith can be seen in his mother’s comment to the servants. She had just informed Jesus that they were out of wine, so he asked her what she wanted him to do for her. Without any explanation at all that we know of, she turned to the servants and told them that they were to do whatever Jesus told them to do. All he knew was that she needed him to provide some wine, and she believed he could do it. She left the solution of the problem up to him. She was apparently very comfortable with his ability to solve problems in unique ways.

Contemplating the Lord’s willingness to provide what was lacking for his mother, because of her faith, makes me wonder if when the Lord says in the scriptures that if we ask it will be given, if we seek we will find, and if we knock it will be opened to us it means that we are not yet living up to our privileges. Perhaps if we exercised greater faith the Lord would be able to do greater things for us that we currently enjoy. What do you think?

Day 2

As you read John 2-4, the Spirit will teach you things about your own conversion. Make note of His promptings. You may find additional spiritual insights from the study ideas in this outline.

John 3:1-21 – I must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.

Now that we have been born into mortality, the Lord desires that we participate willingly in a complete transformation of our soul. This transformation requires a physical body, which we didn’t have before birth. The changes needed are both physical and spiritual. Both must be present for the transformation to happen. The physical body lives for its own pleasure. The Lord wants us to learn to control that body and learn to live, as He does, to bless the lives of others, instead of self.

Baptism is a representation of the death and resurrection of Christ. Like Christ, we go down into the grave then rise from our symbolic death into a newness of life, a life everlasting. This newness of life is the object of the gospel of Christ. The gospel serves to prepare us for the rest of the eternities where we learn and grow to become more and more like Jesus, and our Father in Heaven. The statement we make to God that we want what He is offering us is made through this representation of Christ’s death and rebirth. Jesus willingly laid down his life for the welfare of all mankind, and to show obedience to our Father, so he could rise triumphant, resurrected and glorified. In our own little way we are making this same commitment to our Father. We promise to lay down our lives in service to others, living a life of obedience, in exchange for His promise of glory and exaltation.

Baptism isn’t just a social nicety or custom. It is a covenant of the most sacred kind. By entering into the waters of baptism we commit to giving our lives to God, to strive for the rest of our lives to be like Jesus, obedient and constant in doing good always. When we keep our covenant of baptism for a while we become worthy to enter into the temple and receive even greater covenants, the covenants that come with the promise of exaltation. Just as Jesus exited the waters of baptism and was visited with the Holy Ghost, so too do we get confirmed a member of God’s church and then are given the gift of the Holy Ghost to be with us daily and to guide us to our heavenly home.

Note that God does not give the gift of the Holy Spirit to just anyone. That gift is reserved for those who willingly choose to follow Christ into the waters of baptism then choose to listen to the Spirit’s voice and influence all the rest of their days. This covenant of water, blood, and Spirit is how we signify that we want to be one with the Godhead as they are one with each other. I stress the word “want.” To become one with the Godhead and with each other is a pursuit of a lifetime, but it starts with the willingness to want the blessings that oneness offers enough to change our lives through making covenants with God to get our heart’s desire.

Day 3

As you read John 2-4, the Spirit will teach you things about your own conversion. Make note of His promptings. You may find additional spiritual insights from the study ideas in this outline.

John 3:16-17 – Heavenly Father shows His love for me through Jesus Christ.

Our relationship with our Father in Heaven should be the simplest and most precious thing in the world. Problem is, in this life we only come to know our Father through the gift He has given us of His Son, Jesus Christ. God has already gone through mortality, so is unable to come to earth to show us personally just how much He loves us while we are here. His plan for our salvation included His most obedient and capable Son who would personally come to earth and demonstrate for us the love of God in all things. Because God and Christ are so in tune with each other, we can be assured that whatever Jesus would do for us, our Father would do the same.

Over and over again Jesus states in the scriptures that he came to do the will of his Father. The Father’s will is that we find happiness by receiving the covenants and blessings of His gospel. As John the Apostle wrote in the JST (Joseph Smith Translation), the “word” was given to Jesus by the Father to give to us. That word is the very substance of our salvation. Note in the JST verses below (John 1:1-5) John states that God gave His word (plan for our salvation) to His Son, who represents to us God’s plan for us in all things.

In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made.

In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men;

And the light shineth in the world, and the world perceiveth it not.

The word God gave Jesus is the gospel Jesus teaches us. It is this gospel of Christ that shows us the way to become more like Christ and to return to our Father in Heaven. So all that we receive from Christ is a demonstration of God’s love for us as well. This should embolden us in our prayers to our Father each day. We can get a sense of how much Jesus loves us through what he did for us during his ministry, and through the scriptures that show us that his love for us has been constant and consistent from the beginning of time. This is the same never ending love our Father has for us. We need to learn to believe in the transformative power of that love.

Day 4

As you read John 2-4, the Spirit will teach you things about your own conversion. Make note of His promptings. You may find additional spiritual insights from the study ideas in this outline.

John 4:24 – Is God a spirit?

As much as we love the Bible and the truths it gives us, we must never be blind to the tampering of men with the text and content of the book. Some mistakes were just that, mistakes made by the scribes who copied the contents of the Bible over and over again down through the ages. Other changes were made deliberately by men with private agendas. Most of the book is correct, but today’s verse demonstrates powerfully how badly a little change can alter the doctrine taught in a single verse.

Never in all the scriptures from Adam’s day to the present has God taught that He is only a spirit. The only member of the Godhead who is a spirit is the Holy Spirit, but even he has a spirit body and looks just like the rest of God’s family. When Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman at the well he told her that she didn’t know what she believed in, for salvation came only through the Jews of her day. The Samaritans of Christ’s day were the remnants of the twelve tribes who had been left behind in the dispersal of their tribes. They had intermingled and married into other cultures and religions and had lost the truth of the gospel. They still considered themselves of the house of Israel, but those who returned from captivity considered them polluted by their associations with those outside their religion and would have nothing to do with the Samaritans.

22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Verse 24 states very clearly that God is a Spirit, yet the God the Jews worshipped was sitting right beside her in physical form! The JST corrects this verse to read this way.

For unto such hath God promised his Spirit. And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and in truth.

Jesus is teaching the woman that those who worship God correctly must worship Him in spirit and in truth through the Spirit (Holy Ghost) He (God) would send them. This should be a plain and simple truth. But those who have been taught that the Bible in its present form is infallible feel compelled to accept the statement that God is a Spirit at face value. This is one reason many Christians don’t feel we believe in the same God they do.

Day 5

As you read John 2-4, the Spirit will teach you things about your own conversion. Make note of His promptings. You may find additional spiritual insights from the study ideas in this outline.

John 4:5-26 – Christ offers me His living water.

Today’s lesson has three paragraphs. Please pay attention to the second paragraph. It has an important point we all need to consider carefully.

Here is an article I wrote on this topic a while back. Please take some time to read it and consider it. The article is comprised of several sources of information that all came together to help me better understand what the Savior means when he refers to his word acting like a well within us springing up into everlasting life. I hope it will do the same for you.

Understanding the Well of Living Water

FHE/Personal Study

John 2:13-17 – Impure influences

The life of Christ as portrayed in the New Testament is one of boundless love and kindness. I have always felt that the cleansing of the temple, which Jesus did twice in his ministry, felt oddly out of place. It wasn’t until recently that the thought occurred to me that Jesus, being the God of the Old Testament, is the same person who flooded the earth, killing every living soul, save Noah’s family. Jesus was also the same person who judged Sodom and Gomorrah and consumed them both in a single day with fire and brimstone from above. Jesus may be a God of love, but of necessity he is also a God of judgment.

This brings us to John 2:13-17. What are some lessons we can learn from the cleansing of the temple by Jesus? The temple had, over time allowed impurities to enter in and set up shop within its precincts, literally. Those impurities were an affront to all that God stood for, so he drove them out. It was his temple after all. Have you ever considered that idea? The temple and all that it represented was to teach the Israelites to come to Christ. So here is Christ, himself, coming to his own temple only to find money changers and merchants profiting off the people in their worship of him.

It took hundreds of years for the people to become so wicked that Jehovah (Jesus) finally declared them so ripe in their iniquity that the whole earth needed to be purged. It took Noah a long time to build the ark. And while he built it he also preached repentance to the people, though no one listened. We don’t know how long the Lord gave the people of the cities of the plains to repent before he consumed them all with fire and brimstone. So should we be surprised that Jesus took some time to braid a whip before personally driving out all those offending him from his own temple? They should have considered themselves lucky that was all he did to them, considering all the possibilities open to a God to punish those who have offended him.

What about us?

Our homes are temples to us. They are sacred places, a refuge from the world. Yet we, like the temple in Jerusalem, sometimes slowly allow that which is impure to enter into our daily routine. It could be by what we look at on the Internet, what we watch on television, or by accepting the social norms that more and more go against all that God stands for.

Until Christ comes again and burns the wicked with fire to purge the earth of their evil, it is up to us to cleanse our own homes of the impurities we have allowed to infiltrate our lives. I believe that many of these impurities we have allowed into our sacred space were not deliberately invited in. Most probably entered into our homes through other means or combined with other purchases or ideas we wanted. Satan is great at upselling us. We may buy one thing, but he tries to entice us with additional goods that will lead us, in the end, away from God and all that He wants for us.

Consider your current habits and place of abode. Think of Christ coming to his own temple, your house. If he were to see how you live your life in your home, especially in your private moments, would you be ashamed or pleased to have him in the same room with you? Many of the pieces of baggage we may need to purge from our life in order to make our home a sacred place again may just be a matter of fixing our priorities. Do we put job above our family time? How about fun and entertainment above the teaching or care of our family members? Even if our home consists of just our bed or private space in our apartment, what habits have we accepted and built in our life will we be showing to the Lord? He can see them all, and we will be judged for what we have accepted as priorities in our life. That judgment will either be a blessing or a punishment to us.

So today might be a good time to consider what kind of “temple” you have built in your life. Is your life one in which the Savior will feel at home, or do you need to do some “cleansing” of your own so you will feel more comfortable inviting him into your sacred space?

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print a PDF copy of the article.

NT07-2023 – Ye Must Be Born Again

Week 07