Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Come... Learn of Faith, Hope, & Charity

Below are highlights from Anthony Sweat's talk
given at Women's Conference
April 18, 2013

"The Fountain of All Happiness" - Faith, Hope, & Charity

“Faith, hope, and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness” (Ether 12:28)
“And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron…led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life, which waters are a representation of the love of God.  And I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.” (1 Nephi 11:25

Faith is evidence
Hope is personal
Charity is a relationship

Faith is evidence
·      “Faith is the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)
·       “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial [or test] of your faith” (Ether 12:6)
·      “We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)
·      I [used to assume] that if the human mind once accepts a thing as true it will automatically go on regarding it as true, until some real reason for reconsidering it turns up. In fact, I was assuming that the human mind is completely ruled by reason. But that is not so. For example, my reason is perfectly convinced by good evidence that anesthetics do not smother me and that properly trained surgeons do not start operating until I am unconscious. But that does not alter the fact that when they have me down on the table and clap their horrible mask over my face, a mere childish panic begins inside me. I start thinking I am going to choke, and I am afraid they will start cutting me up before I am properly under. In other words, I lose my faith in anesthetics. It is not reason that is taking away my faith: on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other...Now just the same thing happens about Christianity. I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of the evidence is against it. That is not the point at which Faith comes in. But supposing a man's reason once decides that the weight of the evidence is for it I can tell that man what is going to happen to him in the next few weeks. There will come a moment when there is bad news, or he is in trouble, or is living among a lot of other people who do not believe it, and all at once his emotions will rise up and carry out a sort of blitz on his belief. Or else there will come a moment when he wants a woman, or wants to tell a lie, or feels very pleased with himself, or sees a chance of making a little money in some way that is not perfectly fair: some moment, in fact, at which it would be very convenient if Christianity were not true. And once again his wishes and desires will carry out a blitz. I am not talking of moments at which any real new reasons against Christianity turn up. Those have to be faced and that is a different matter. I am talking about moments where a mere mood rises up against it. Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. ...That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods "where they get off," you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book III, Ch. 11, Para. 2-5, p. 122-124).

Hope is personal
·      Alma 33:20 “would not look…Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that is would heal them.”
·      Hope comes of faith (Ether 12:4)
·      our everyday language, the word “hope” has a hint of uncertainty.
·      In the language of the gospel, however, the word hope is sure, unwavering, and active.” (“Hope,” True to the Faith, (2004),85).
·      The prophet Moroni taught us that true hope is so sure that it is like, “an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast” (Ether 12:4). 
·      “What is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ” (Moroni 7:41)
·      President Deiter F. Uchtdorf taught, “Hope is…the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Infinite Power of Hope,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 21–24; emphasis added).  Hope is the surety that God will fulfill his promised blessings to us, personally
·      Nephi taught us to “hear ye the words of the prophet[s], which were written unto all the house of Israel, and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope” (1 Nephi 19:24; emphasis added).
·      These are things that I have gained a sure hope in:
                        That Jesus will save us
                        He is merciful
                        That God is aware of us individually and personally
                        That God hears and answers prayers
·      “Now [may] the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13)

Charity is a relationship
“Charity” is a small English word that encompasses a large heavenly concept.

1.     Intro: Word that means encompasses a huge meaning that we don’t have in English:
a.    Shemomedjamo (Georgian)
You know when you’re really full, but your meal is just so delicious, you can’t stop eating it? The Georgians feel your pain. This word means, “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”
b.    Tartle (Scots)
The nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember.
c.     Koi No Yokan (Japanese) The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love.
d.    Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon
e.    Charity (Heaven) Moroni’s 7:45 definition, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

2.     What is charity
Originally the word was agapÄ“, which is Greek for “the fatherly love of God for humans and their reciprocal love for God” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agape). Nearly all cases in the English New Testament where the word “charity” is translated, it is agapÄ“—the love of God for us, and our love for him in return.
·      Alma uses it this way when he said: “Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts” (Alma 13:29). Charity is a heavenly relationship between us and God the Father, made possible by applying the atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives. 
a.    Charity more than service.  Paul even said: “Though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
b.     “[Charity] is never used to denote alms or deeds or benevolence” (Bible Dictionary, “Charity,” p. 632)
c.     TWO KEY Verses:
1.     Ether 12:33-34  “And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou [Jesus] hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world . . . And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity” (Ether 12:33-34).
2.     Moroni 7:44 “If a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jeuss is the Christ, he must needs have charity”

d.    It literally is the “pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47) his love for us, our love for him
e.    Re-read Moroni 7:46-48 but replace the word “charity” with the words “the atonement”
f.      Sister Julie B. Beck said, “Charity is…the Atonement working in us, purifying us, changing us. It is covenant keeping at its purest. It requires repentance and change. …Sisters, it’s more than benevolence. It is becoming like the Savior, utilizing the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” (BYU Women’s Conference, April 29, 2011, p. 7)
g.     the truest sense, charity is simply receiving the Love of God through the atonement of Jesus Christ, and loving God in return. It’s a deep love RELATIONSHIP

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