same master
Week 29 is scheduled for study July 10-16, 2023. To answer this week’s CFM question requires that we first acknowledge that we all have the same master, and he calls the shots and leads his work.

Day 1

Begin by reading Acts 6-9. The suggestions in the outline can help you identify some of the important principles in these chapters, thou you may find others in your own study.

Acts 6-9 – My heart needs to be “right in the sight of God.”

Simon the sorcerer wasn’t evil at heart. He believed what he was taught about Jesus, and was baptized, but he didn’t yet understand what the Lord expected of him. I have outlined his experience as a new convert to the church in the following article.

Working With New Converts

Day 2

Begin by reading Acts 6-9. The suggestions in the outline can help you identify some of the important principles in these chapters, thou you may find others in your own study.

Acts 6-7 – Resisting the Holy Ghost can lead to rejecting the Savior and His servants.

The title of today’s lesson caused me some confusion. Do people only reject the Lord’s servants once they have resisted the Holy Ghost? Does resisting the promptings of the Spirit cause us to reject the Savior and his servants? I had to think about it for a while.

If we look through the scriptures in the Old Testament it becomes clear that there is a pattern of resistance among God’s chosen people. For a while they obey and keep the commandments and are happy, but as they begin to make excuses for why it is not just okay, but desirable to break God’s commandments they fall into unbelief, and finally they reject the prophets and drive them out or kill them. They have gone from being obedient to willfully rebellious. Sometimes this happens in just a matter of a few years, and sometimes over the course of one or two generations. But happen it does, over and over again. They only come back to the Lord once they have been either taken into bondage or have been conquered by another people. And each and every time it happens the Lord warns them that it is coming if they don’t repent and change their ways. So it isn’t like they were blindsided by what happened to them. The prophets warned them for years beforehand that their disobedience was going to cause this to happen.

I am fascinated with the concept that it is in the little things that great things happen to us. The Spirit gives us a prompting to do something good. We resist that prompting and don’t do it. The world doesn’t collapse around us, so we forget about it. And if we felt a little guilt – well that goes away pretty soon, especially if we continue to resist His promptings. Over time we justify our own behavior and begin to turn down callings, question the right of the Bishop to call the shots in his own ward, and may even find offense with the Stake President as being out of touch with what is really going on in the stake.

Rejecting the Savior and his servants doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process of self justification and denial that happens over a period of time. I have never seen anyone reject the Savior and his servants who was strict in their obedience. This happens only to those who have stopped reading their scriptures, aren’t praying sincerely or regularly, aren’t serving in the church as they could if they set their priorities straight, and many other little things that make a difference in our life.

The rejection of the Savior and his servants is a package deal. If we reject one we reject the other, for they testify and witness of each other. We are in complete control as to whether we go down that path that leads to rejection of God and His servants. When we choose to be faithful, prayerful, sincere, obedient, and soft hearted, we also choose to be consistent to God and His purposes, and hence to His servants. It is only when we begin to make excuses, choose offense, desire other things than that which is important to God that we go down that road that leads to ultimately walking away from the voice of Christ and his servants.

Day 3

Begin by reading Acts 6-9. The suggestions in the outline can help you identify some of the important principles in these chapters, thou you may find others in your own study.

Acts 8:26-39 – The Holy Ghost will help me guide others to Jesus Christ.

Here are some questions to ponder.

What is the purpose of the Holy Ghost? _______________________________________________________

To whom is the Holy Ghost to bear witness of Christ and the Father? Are there any exception? ______________________________________________

Does the Spirit ever stop and rest from His labors of testifying, teaching, and revealing? ______________________

If you answered yes then when does He do it, and why? If you answered no then that means the Spirit is on duty and ready to testify, teach, and reveal truth 24/7. What does that mean for us? _________________________________________________________________________________

Is there anyone we meet in any place we go to whom the Spirit has no interest in testifying of Christ and God? _______________

If you answered no, does that mean that all are alike, and just as valuable in God’s eyes? __________________________________________

As one who has been given the gift of the Holy Ghost for my constant companion, does this make it my responsibility to stand and represent Christ wherever I am and in whatever circumstance I find myself? Isn’t there a covenant I have made to that effect? _______________________

So what is my responsibility to my covenant when the Spirit prompts me to do something good for someone else? ____________________________

Will the Spirit support me if I open my mouth and try to talk about my experience with the Lord and His church? Will He help me find the words I need to say? ____________________________

Day 4

Begin by reading Acts 6-9. The suggestions in the outline can help you identify some of the important principles in these chapters, thou you may find others in your own study.

Acts 9 – When I  submit to the Lord’s will, I can become an instrument in His hands.

When I submit to the Lord’s will, I can become an instrument in His hands. How? I think this is mostly what we looked at in yesterday’s lesson. The purpose and calling of the Holy Spirit is to teach and testify of Christ, God, and truth. His calling is not just to the Latter-day Saints who have made a covenant then received Him as their constant companion. His responsibility is to all of God’s children in every period of time and in every location on the planet. His work is ongoing and never ending. He can use all the help He can get.

It is a wonderful thing when we are willing to help the Spirit do His work. But we need to remember that God can do His own work. So why do we need to get involved? Don’t we just mess things up for God? Though the answer is yes, we often do mess things up, that is not the whole answer. We need to be involved in their work, so that it becomes our work as well. How can we become like God if we don’t learn to do His work? His work is to save our souls and bring us back to live with Him. So our work needs to become the saving of souls to bring those around us back to live with God as well. As I have said many times in the past, this is a family business. We are all enlisted to help each other come home. God expects us to do everything in our power to assist each other in any way we can, whether or not we have made covenants yet.

God will make sure everyone has the opportunity to be taught the gospel before they are resurrected. In the meantime, we are to follow God’s pattern and do good whenever and wherever we can, and while we are at it, speak of Christ, testify of Christ, and exemplify Christ in all that we do. That is our covenant and our family responsibility. In this way we do God’s work and accomplish His purposes. Our personal influence may be very limited, but it is more important that we exert all of our influence in a very small way than that we live in a vacuum of goodness in a very big way.

FHE/Personal Study

Acts 9:5 – A prick

Prick or goad

When plowing a field, farmers often had to incentivize the work with a little sharp encouragement to continue. After all, the ground could be very dry or filled with roots and difficult to pull the plow through. When the oxen refused to pull any more, the farmer used the prick or goad to “motivate” the oxen to try again and to keep going. The work had to get done, and they were the only ones to do it. Convenience be hanged.

When Paul was being converted by the Lord, Jesus said to him, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” What was Jesus telling Paul with this comment? In Paul’s efforts to round up and punish as many “Jesus believers” as he could, he was actually driving them out of Jerusalem and into the surrounding cities. In all of those cities they taught others of Christ. So as hard as he was working, he was actually making his job harder and harder on himself. It was like the animal who gets a single poke with a prick then in anger at the poke kicks back against it, injuring himself far more than if he had just taken the hint and moved forward.

Paul was doing what he thought was God’s will. But when God showed Paul that he was, in fact, working against His will, Paul changed his course and sought to know what God would have him do. In the coming years Paul became the greatest missionary to the gentiles. He just had to stop working counter to the Lord’s will and start “pulling” with the Lord.

We’ve already had a lesson about what it means to be pricked in our conscience. The lesson is the same, whether it is the Spirit pricking us or someone with a goad behind us urging us forward. It is only when we don’t fight back and resist the efforts of our master that we get the work done He needs accomplished.

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print a PDF copy of the article.

NT29-2023 – What Wilt Thou Have Me to Do?