Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lesson #17 The Church of Jesus Christ Today

The Church of Jesus Christ was taken from the earth shortly after the Savior's death and resurrection. After he ascended into heaven men changed the ordinances and doctrines that He and His Apostles had established. Because of the apostasy, there was no direct revelation from God. The true Church was no longer on the earth. Men organized different churches that claimed to be true but taught conflicting doctrines. There was much confusion and contention over religion. The Lord had foreseen these conditions of apostasy saying there would be a "famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but a hearing the words of the Lord...They shall...seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it". (Amos 8:11-12)

For many years people lived in spiritual darkness. The Restoration of the fulness of the gospel is a "marvellous work". Why is that? In the spring of 1820 a young boy, Joseph Smith wanted to know which of all the churches was the true Church of Jesus Christ. He went into the woods near his home and prayed humbly and intently to his Heavenly Father asking which church he should join. On that morning a miraculous thing happened. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. The Savior told him not to join any church because the true Church was not on the earth.

Authority from God was restored to the earth once more. God again gave the priesthood to men. John the Baptist came in 1829 to confer the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Then Peter, James, and John, the presidency of the Church in ancient times came and gave Joseph and Oliver the Melchizedek Priesthood and the keys of the kingdom of God. On April 6, 1830, the Savior again directed the organizing of His Church on the earth. His Church is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Christ is the head of His Church today just as he was in ancient times. The Church was organized with the same offices as were in the ancient Church. That organization included apostles, prophets, seventies, evangelists (patriarchs), pastors (presiding officers), high priests, elders,bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons.

The Church today teaches the same principles and performs the same ordinances as were performed in the days of Jesus. The first principles and ordinances of the gospel are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. These precious truths were returned in their fulness when the Church was restored. The mission of the Church is as Christ said, "This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations" (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:31) The Church will never again be taken from the earth. Its mission is to take the truth to every person. Thousands of years ago, the Lord said He would 'set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people,...and it shall stand for ever" (Daniel 2:44)

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