Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, New Testament

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 41 – “I Have Finished My Course”

  1. Learn and teach true doctrine.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

‘The Lord poured out His Spirit upon the people and gave them visible manifestations of His power, in addition to the inspiration of the Holy Ghost which made them all see and comprehend alike, and which bore witness to the divine mission of Christ and to the mission of the Apostles whom He had sent forth. These signs were seen in their midst, which comforted and made them strong. But after a time the people began to go astray. Wicked men took the Apostles and put them to death. Some were cast unto wild beasts; some were thrown into caldrons of boiling oil; some were crucified; others were tormented in various ways, persecuted and afflicted and slain. Then others began to depart from the faith, bringing in damnable heresies. Others began to preach for hire and divine for money, making merchandise of the souls of men. And thus the apostasy went on until darkness covered the minds of the people, and paganism was introduced into the Christian church. And the time came when that wicked power spoken of in the Revelation overcame the saints. The Spirit of God left the polluted church. The body became dead. Just as when the spirit of man leaves his body, the carcass begins to crumble; every particle seems desirous to get away from every other particle. So it was after the time that the Apostles fell. The Holy Ghost left the church. The spirit of revelation departed from the body and dissolution set in. Darkness ensued. Apostasy prevailed.’ (Charles W Penrose, Journal of Discourses)

1 Timothy 4: 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

‘The apostle meant to say that this grand apostasy would occur under the influence of a hypocritical, hardened, and arbitrary ministry, teaching their own doctrines instead of the divine commands, and forbidding that which God had declared to be lawful.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

1 Timothy 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

‘Just as a cucumber must be prepared and cleaned before it can be changed into a pickle, so you and I can be prepared with “the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6) and initially cleansed through the ordinances and covenants administered by the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood.’ (David A Bednar, General Conference, April 2007)

 1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

‘And exercise thyself rather unto godliness – Rather than attempt to understand those fables. Do not occupy your time and attention with them, but rather cultivate piety, and seek to become more holy.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

President Joseph F. Smith said: “When [we receive] the truth [we] will be saved by it. [We] will not be saved merely because someone taught it to [us], but because [we] received and acted upon it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1902, 86; see also Teaching, No Greater Call [1999]

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

‘The Apostle Paul also saw our day. He described it as a time when such things as blasphemy, dishonesty, cruelty, unnatural affection, pride, and pleasure seeking would abound. (See 2 Timothy 3:1-7) He also warned that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)

Such grim predictions by prophets of old would be cause for great fear and discouragement if those same prophets had not, at the same time, offered the solution. In their inspired counsel we can find the answer to the spiritual crises of our age.

In his dream, Lehi saw an iron rod which led through the mists of darkness. He saw that if people would hold fast to that rod, they could avoid the rivers of filthiness, stay away from the forbidden paths, stop from wandering in the strange roads that lead to destruction. Later his son Nephi clearly explained the symbolism of the iron rod. When Laman and Lemuel asked, “What meaneth the rod of iron?” Nephi answered, “It was the word of God; and [note this promise] whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” (1 Nephi 5:23-24) Not only will the word of God lead us to the fruit which is desirable above all others, but in the word of God and through it we can find the power to resist temptation, the power to thwart the work of Satan and his emissaries.

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Paul’s message is the same as Lehi’s. After portraying the terrible wickedness of future times—future to him, but present to us!—he said this to Timothy: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned. …

“From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)’ (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1986)

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

‘By “evil men” are meant, not sinful men in common, as all are by nature and practice; nor only open profane sinners but rather wicked men under a form of godliness, as before; and who are full of wickedness and malice against truly godly persons, even as the devil himself, of whom the same word is used, when he is called the wicked one; and this is a reason why true professors of religion must expect persecution, seeing as there ever were, so there ever will be such sort of men, who will not grow better, but worse and worse. ‘ (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

“The New Testament indicates that the early Apostles worked hard to preserve the church that Jesus Christ left to their care and keeping, but they knew their efforts would ultimately be in vain. Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Saints, who were anxiously anticipating the second coming of Christ, that ‘that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first’ (2 Thes. 2:3). He also warned Timothy that ‘the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; … And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables’ (2 Tim. 4:3-4).” (M Russell Ballard, “Restored Truth,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 65-66)

2 Timothy 4: 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

‘The sober, sound doctrine of the Word of God, teaching self-discipline, humility, and purity of heart and life, will not assuage their itching ears, and therefore they will turn away from it, and go after more congenial fables – those taught by the heretics. ‘ (Pulpit Commentary)

Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

‘Here St. Paul goes to the root of the evil, when he shows what was the end and aim of these “teachers” life. It was a mean and sordid ambition, after all—merely base gain. When this is the main object of a religious teacher’s life, his teaching naturally accommodates itself to men’s tastes. He forgets the Divine Giver of his commission, and in his thirst for the popularity which brings with it gold, his true work, as the faithful watchman of the house of Israel, is forgotten and ignored.’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

  1. “Be … an example of the believers.”

 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

“The Apostle Paul wrote an epistle to his beloved companion Timothy in which he provided inspired counsel equally as applicable to you and me today as it was to Timothy. Listen carefully to his words: ‘Neglect not the gift that is in thee,’ ‘but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.’ (1 Tim. 4:14, 12.)

“We need not wait for a cataclysmic event, a dramatic occurrence in the world in which we live, or a special invitation to be an example-even a model to follow. Our opportunities lie before us here and now. But they are perishable. Likely they will be found in our own homes and in the everyday actions of our lives. Our Lord and Master marked the way: ‘[He] went about doing good.’ (Acts 10:38.) He in very deed was a model to follow-even an example of the believers.

“Are we?” (Thomas S Monson, “An Example of the Believers,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 98)

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  1. “Follow after righteousness” and deny ungodliness.

1 Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

‘Why another farm, another herd of sheep, another bunch of cattle, another ranch? Why another hotel, another cafe, another store, another shop? Why another plant, another office, another service, another business? Why another of anything if one has that already which provides the necessities and reasonable luxuries? Why continue to expand and increase holdings, especially when those increased responsibilities draw one’s interests away from proper family and spiritual commitments, and from those things to which the Lord would have us give precedence in our lives? Why must we always be expanding to the point where our interests are divided and our attentions and thoughts are upon the things of the world? Certainly when one’s temporal possessions become great, it is very difficult for one to give proper attention to the spiritual things.’ (Spencer W Kimball, General Conference, October 1953)

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1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

“As members of the Church, we are engaged in a mighty conflict. We are at war. We have enlisted in the cause of Christ to fight against Lucifer and all that is lustful and carnal and evil in the world. We have sworn to fight alongside our friends and against our enemies, and we must not be confused in distinguishing friends from foes. As another of our ancient fellow apostles wrote: ‘Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.’ (James 4:4.)

“The great war that rages on every side and which unfortunately is resulting in many casualties, some fatal, is no new thing. There was war even in heaven, when the forces of evil sought to destroy the agency of man, and when Lucifer sought to lead us away from the path of progression and advancement established by an all-wise Father.

“That war is continuing on earth, and the devil is still wroth with the Church and goes forth ‘to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ (Rev. 12:17.)

“And it is now as it has always been. The Saints can only overcome him and his forces ‘by the blood of the Lamb, … by the word of their testimony,’ and if they love ‘not their lives unto the death.’ (Rev. 12:11.)

“Now there neither are nor can be any neutrals in this war. Every member of the Church is on one side or the other…We are either for the Church or we are against it. We either take its part or we take the consequences. We cannot survive spiritually with one foot in the Church and the other in the world. We must make the choice. It is either the Church or the world. There is no middle ground. And the Lord loves a courageous man who fights openly and boldly in his army.” (Bruce R McConkie, “Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 33-34)

1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

‘Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded – One of the evils to which they are particularly exposed. The idea is, that they should not value themselves on account of their wealth, or look down with pride and arrogance on their inferiors. They should not suppose that they are any better people or any nearer heaven, because they are wealthy. Property really makes no distinction in the great things that pertain to character and salvation, It does not necessarily make one wise, or learned, or great, or good. In all these things, the man who has not wealth may be vastly the superior of him who has; and for so slight and unimportant a distinction as gold can confer, no man should be proud. Besides, let such a man reflect that his property is the gift of God; that he is made rich because God has chosen to arrange things so that he should be; that it is not primarily owing to any skill or wisdom which he has; that his property only increases his responsibility, and that it must all soon be left, and he be as poor as the “beggar that lies at his gate;” and he will see ample reason why he should not be proud.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 1 Timothy 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

“Andrew Carnegie, one of this country’s great philanthropists, stated his attitude toward wealth as follows: ‘This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of wealth: First, to set an example of modesty, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and after doing so to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community-the man of wealth thus becoming the mere trustee and agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.’ (The Gospel of Wealth.)

“With this philosophy of wealth in mind, one might properly say, ‘What I am worth is what I am doing for other people.’

“In many respects the real test of a man is his attitude toward his earthly possessions.” (Franklin D Richards, “The Law of Abundance,” Ensign, June 1971, 46)

1 Timothy 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

‘Riches in themselves are but for the present, but there is a use may be made of them for the time to come, if we employ them for the better enabling us to do what God hath commanded us to do.’ (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

‘Virtue is the golden key to the temple. So, third, be not moved in being worthy to make and keep sacred covenants. The covenant you make at baptism will tether you to the path of virtue and happiness as you renew that covenant each week by partaking of the sacrament. As you keep your baptismal covenant, you will look different, dress different, and act different from the world. Keeping this covenant will enable you to be guided by the Holy Ghost. Stand in holy places, and do not even go near those environments or music, media, or associations that might cause you to lose the companionship of the Holy Ghost.’ Elaine S Dalton, General Conference, April 2013)

Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

‘Be sober.—In a more extended sense than the bare literal meaning of the word would give. Let the elder men be “thoughtful,” in contrast with the thoughtlessness of careless youth.

Grave.—And quietly earnest, in contrast with all passion and undue excitability.

Temperate.—Discreet, or self-restrained, would be a better rendering for the Greek word.’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

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