Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, New Testament

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 32 – “Live in the Spirit”

  1. Paul teaches, baptizes, and confers the Holy Ghost on believers in Ephesus.

Acts 18: 22 And when he had landed at Cæsarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Gone up = gone up to Jerusalem

Acts 18:23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

This is Paul’s 3rd (and last) missionary journey.

Acts 18:24 ¶And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

‘An eloquent man.—The Greek adjective implies learning as well as eloquence. It was applied pre-eminently to those who wrote history with fulness and insight. (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Acts 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

I hope my granddaughters will understand that Relief Society today is organized after a pattern of discipleship that existed in the ancient Church. When the Savior organized His Church in New Testament times, “women were vital participants in [His] ministry.”1 [Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society (2011), 3.] He visited Martha and Mary, two of His most dedicated followers, in Martha’s home. As Martha listened to Him and served Him according to the custom of their time, He helped her see that she could do more than that. He helped Martha and Mary understand that they could choose “that good part,” which would not be taken from them.This gentle comment served as an invitation to participate in the Lord’s ministry. And later in the New Testament, Martha’s strong testimony of the Savior’s divinity gives us some insight into her faith and discipleship (See John 11:20-27).

As we read further in the New Testament, we learn that the Apostles continued to establish the Lord’s Church. We also learn about faithful women whose discipleship contributed to the growth of the Church. Paul spoke of female disciples in places such as Ephesus. (See Acts 18:24-26 and Romans 16:3-5) and Philippi (See Philippians 4:1-4). But as the Lord’s Church was lost in apostasy, this pattern of discipleship was also lost.

As the Lord began restoring His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith, He again included women in a pattern of discipleship. A few months after the Church was formally organized, the Lord revealed that Emma Smith was to be set apart as a leader and teacher in the Church and as an official helper to her husband, the Prophet.  In her calling to help the Lord build His kingdom, she was given instructions about how to increase her faith and personal righteousness, how to strengthen her family and her home, and how to serve others.

I hope my granddaughters will understand that from the day the gospel began to be restored in this dispensation, the Lord has needed faithful women to participate as His disciples. (Julie B Beck, General Conference, October 2011)

Acts 18: 27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

‘For he mightily convinced the Jews—The word is very strong: “stoutly bore them down in argument,” “vigorously argued them down,” and the tense in that he continued to do it, or that this was the characteristic of his ministry.’ (Jamieson- Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

A scriptural example of the gift of the Holy Ghost being conferred by the laying on of hands.

Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

Disputing = discussing or discoursing

Acts 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

‘Many of them also which used curious arts . . .—The Greek word expresses the idea of superstitious arts, overbusy with the supposed secrets of the invisible world. These arts were almost, so to speak, the specialité of Ephesus. Magicians and astrologers swarmed in her streets and there was a brisk trade in the charms, incantations, books of divination, rules for interpreting dreams, and the like, such as have at all times made up the structure of superstition. The so-called “Ephesian spells” (grammata Ephesia) were small slips of parchment in silk bags, on which were written strange cabalistical words, of little or of lost meaning.’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Acts 19: 23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.

‘The Syriac version reads, “the way of God”; and the Vulgate Latin version, “the way of the Lord”: that is, the Christian religion, and the doctrines and ordinances of the Gospel, which the saints were directed to walk in; and the Ethiopic version renders it, “about this doctrine”; which mightily grew and prevailed, and which such numbers embraced; and how great the stir was about it, and from whence it arose, who began it, and what were the consequences of it, are hereafter related.’ (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

Acts 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

Pagan pilgrims to the temple of Ephesus would buy small silver models of the temple.

Acts 19:25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.

26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:

‘We have here the noble testimony of a pagan to the zeal and success of the ministry of Paul. It is an acknowledgment that his labors had been most strikingly successful in turning the people from idolatry.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

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Acts 19: 27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

‘The grounds of the charge which Demetrius made against Paul were two: first, that the business of the craftsmen would be destroyed usually the first thing that strikes the mind of a sinner who is influenced By self-interest alone; and, second, that the worship of Diana would cease if Paul and his fellow-laborers were suffered to continue their efforts.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

  1. Paul gives a farewell address to Church leaders from Ephesus.

Acts 20: 28 ¶Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

“We are convinced that our members are hungry for the gospel, undiluted, with its abundant truths and insights. … There are those who have seemed to forget that the most powerful weapons the Lord has given us against all that is evil are His own declarations, the plain simple doctrines of salvation as found in the scriptures.” (Harold B Lee, “The Power of the Word,”Ensign, May 1986, 79)

Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

‘There have always been alternate voices whose purpose or effect is to deceive. Their existence is part of the Plan. The prophet Lehi taught that there “must needs be … an opposition in all things.” (2 Nephi 2:11)  And there have always been other alternate voices whose purpose or effect is unselfish and wholesome.

In most instances, alternate voices are heard in the same kinds of communications the Church uses to perform its mission. The Church has magazines and other official publications, a newspaper supplement, letters from Church leaders, general conferences, and regular meetings and conferences in local units. Similarly, alternate voices are heard in magazines, journals, and newspapers and at lectures, symposia, and conferences.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not attempt to isolate its members from alternate voices. Its approach, as counseled by the Prophet Joseph Smith, is to teach correct principles and then leave its members to govern themselves by personal choices.’ (Dallin H Oakes, General Conference, April 1989)

Acts 20: 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

‘Not only false teachers from abroad should come and enter among them, but some would spring up out of their own communities, such as had been admitted members of them, and of whom they had hoped well;’ (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

“The tears were not in thankfulness for new generations of Christians but in sadness in realizing that all that he had worked for would be spoiled. He bluntly warned of apostasy soon after his time: ‘For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves’ (New King James Version, Acts 20:29-30). … Thus, Paul left the astounding testimony that local Christian leaders would reverse the apostle’s doctrines.” (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul, p. 65.)”

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

‘And to the word of his grace – That is, to his gracious word; to his merciful promise. Paul refers, doubtless, to the gospel, including its promises of support, its consoling truths, and its directions to seek all needful help and comfort in God.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

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Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.

34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

“…it is abundantly clear that the Bible does not contain all the words or deeds of Jesus. It is such a partial record that it is simply unthinkable to the reasonable mind that this sketchy record contains all his teachings, or that he never said anything new or worthwhile on those other days. John makes reference to this when he says: ‘And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written’ (John 21:25).

“In this connection one is reminded of Paul urging his friends from Ephesus ‘to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35). It is clear that Paul knew this as a particular statement by Jesus, yet nowhere in the four ‘testimonies’ is Jesus represented as saying that. (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 24.)

  1. Paul chastises and counsels the Galatian Saints.

Galatians 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

‘Removed.—The Greek word is one regularly used for a “deserter,” “turn-coat,” or “apostate,” either in war, politics, or religion. The tense is strictly present: “You are now, at this moment, in the act of falling away.”’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Galatians 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

“Paul’s epistles…are…written to answer the questions and solve the problems of specific groups of saints. And in the case of the Galatians, the problem is apostasy. These Galatians are Gentile converts. They are now being contaminated by Jewish-Christians who tell them they must also be circumcised and live the law of Moses to be saved. Paul’s purpose is to call them back to Christ and his gospel.

“Galatians is thus written to people who are losing the true faith, who are adopting false doctrines and ordinances, who are being overcome by the world, who are commingling the dead law of Moses with the living word which is in Christ. Thus, in principle, Galatians is written to the Sectarian world, to those plagued with apostasy, to people who no longer believe the gospel in its purity and perfection.” (Bruce R McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2: 455.)

 Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach anyother gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

‘Now that is quite a statement, but Paul was not at all backward in indicating what he thought of those who didn’t teach the truth that had come to them through the Savior and his teachings.

Now I realize, as I stand here today before this great multitude and all those who are listening in on television and radio, that I will come under the condemnation that Paul spoke of if I am not preaching the same gospel that Paul preached; but I bear witness to you today that we have the only true, living church upon the face of the earth that the Lord recognizes that has divine authority to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel.’ (LeGrand Richards, General Conference, April 1975)

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Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it ,but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

‘For I neither received it of man – This is very probably said in reply to his opponents, who had maintained that Paul had derived his knowledge of the gospel from other people, since he had not been personally known to the Lord Jesus, or been of the number of those whom Jesus called to be his apostles. In reply to this, he says, that he did not receive his gospel in any way from man.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

‘The Gospel was preached to Abraham, and also to ancient Israel. The Israelites were unable to live the law of the Gospel—so a law of carnal commandments, known as the law of Moses, was given as a schoolmaster to bring them up to the higher law: Christ came and introduced that higher law—the Gospel, explained its precepts, and pointed out the difference between it and the law of Moses. The Gospel took the place of the law of Moses, which was laid aside, having fulfilled the object for which it was added to the Gospel.’ (Brigham H Roberts, Journal of Discourses)

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;  Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

“Today the dealers of pornography, sex, alcohol, tobacco, narcotics, and other forms of vice hate the souls of youth but love their money and resources. Such despisers of youth would make slaves of the young by drowning them in the addictive works of the flesh. So they raise their voices high and seek to entice young people to get lost down strange roads with dead ends. Their contempt for you is evidenced in the trail of broken hearts, broken promises, and broken health (physical and spiritual) they leave behind.” (Carlos E Asay, The Road to Somewhere: A Guide for Young Men and Women [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 127.)

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

“We mortals sometimes experience boredom in the routine repetition of our mortal tasks, including even good works; and thus vulnerable, we are urged not to grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9; D&C 64:33; 84:80; Alma 37:34). But given God’s divine love, there is no boredom on His part amid His repetitive work, for his course, though one eternal round, involves continuous redemption for His children; it is full of goodness and mercy as His long-suffering shows His love in action.” (Neal A Maxwell, Not My Will, But Thine[Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 53.)

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