Gather Together in One All Things in Christ

Gather Together in One All Things in Christ

A rope is an essential tool with
which all of us are familiar. Ropes are made from strands
of fabric, plants, wire, or other materials that are
each individually twisted or braided together. Interestingly, substances that
may be quite unexceptional can be woven together and
become exceptionally strong. Thus, effectively connecting
and binding ordinary materials can produce an
extraordinary tool. Just as a rope
obtains its strength from many intertwined
individual strands, so the gospel of Jesus
Christ provides the greatest perspective of truth and
offers the richest blessings as we heed the
admonition of Paul to “gather together in
one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven,
and which are on earth; even in him.” Importantly, this vital
gathering of truth is centered in and focused
upon the Lord Jesus Christ because He is “the way,
the truth, and the life.” I pray that the Holy Ghost
will enlighten each of us as we consider how the principle
of gathering together in one all things in Christ applies
in practical ways to learning and living His restored
gospel in our daily lives. We live in a remarkable
and revelatory season of the restored Church
of Jesus Christ. The historic adjustments
announced today have only one
overarching purpose: to strengthen faith in
Heavenly Father and His plan and in His Son, Jesus
Christ, and His Atonement. The Sunday meeting schedule
was not simply shortened. Rather, we now have
increased opportunities and responsibilities as
individuals and families to use our time for enhancing
the Sabbath as a delight at home and at Church. Last April, the organizational
structure of priesthood quorums was not merely changed. Rather, emphasis
and strength were given to a higher and holier way
of ministering to our brothers and sisters. Much like the braided
strands of a rope produce a powerful
and durable tool, all of these
interrelated actions are part of a unified
effort to better align the focus, resources, and work
of the Savior’s restored Church with its fundamental mission:
to assist God in His work to bring to pass the salvation
and exaltation of His children. Please do not focus primarily
upon the logistical aspects of what has been announced. We must not allow
procedural details to obscure the overarching
spiritual reasons these changes now are being made. Our desire is that faith
in the Father’s plan and in the Savior’s
redeeming mission might increase in the earth and
that God’s everlasting covenant might be established. Our only objectives
are to facilitate continuing conversion
to the Lord and to love more completely
and serve more effectively our brothers and sisters. Sometimes as members
of the Church we segment, separate, and
apply the gospel in our lives by creating lengthy checklists
of individual topics to study and tasks to accomplish. But such an approach potentially
can constrain our understanding and vision. We must be careful
because pharisaical focus upon checklists can divert
us from drawing closer to the Lord. The purpose and purification,
the happiness and joy, and the continuing conversion
and protection that come from “yielding [our] hearts unto
God” and “[receiving] his image in [our] countenances” cannot
be obtained merely by performing and checking off all the
spiritual things we are supposed to do. Rather, the power of
the Savior’s gospel to transform and bless us flows
from discerning and applying the interrelatedness of
its doctrine, principles, and practices. Only as we gather together
in one all things in Christ, with firm focus upon Him, can
gospel truths synergistically enable us to become what God
desires us to become and endure valiantly to the end. The gospel of Jesus Christ
is a magnificent tapestry of truth “fitly framed”
and woven together. As we learn and link together
revealed gospel truths, we are blessed to receive
precious perspective and increased spiritual
capacity through eyes that can see the Lord’s
influence in our lives and ears that can hear His voice. And the principle of gathering
together in one–even in Him–can assist us in
changing the traditional checklists into a unified,
integrated, and complete whole. Let me provide both a
doctrinal and a Church example of what I am suggesting. Example number 1. The fourth article
of faith is one of the greatest illustrations
of gathering together in one all things in
Christ: “We believe that the first principles
and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in
the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third,
Baptism by immersion for the remission
of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the
gift of the Holy Ghost.” True faith is focused in and on
the Lord Jesus Christ–in Him as the Divine and Only Begotten
Son of the Father and on Him and the redemptive
mission He fulfilled. “For he hath answered
the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those
who have faith in him; and they who have faith
in him will cleave unto every good
thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of
the children of men.” Exercising faith in Christ
is trusting and placing our confidence in Him as
our Savior, on His name, and in His promises. The first and
natural consequence of trusting in the Savior
is repenting and turning away from evil. As we exercise faith
in and on the Lord, we naturally turn toward, come
unto, and depend upon Him. Thus, repentance is trusting in
and relying upon the Redeemer to do for us what we
cannot do for ourselves. Each of us must “[rely] wholly
upon the merits of him who is mighty to save” because only
“through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah”
can we become new creatures in Christ and ultimately return
to and dwell in the presence of God. The ordinance of
baptism by immersion for the remission of sins
requires us to trust in Him, rely upon Him, and follow Him. Nephi proclaimed: “I know that if ye
shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart,
acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God,
but with real intent, repenting of your sins,
witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon
you the name of Christ, by baptism–yea, by following
your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according
to his word, behold, then shall ye receive
the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of
fire and … the Holy Ghost.” The ordinance of
laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost
requires us to trust in Him, rely upon Him, follow
Him, and press forward in Him with the assistance
of His Holy Spirit. As Nephi declared, “And now … I know by this that unless a
man shall endure to the end, in following the example of
the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.” The fourth article of
faith does not simply identify the fundamental
principles and ordinances of the restored gospel. Rather, this inspired statement
of belief gathers together in one all things in Christ:
trusting in and on Him, relying upon Him, following
Him, and pressing forward with Him–even in Him. Example number 2. I now want to describe
how all Church programs and initiatives are gathered
together in one in Christ. Many additional illustrations
could be presented; I will use only a selected few. In 1978, President
Spencer W. Kimball instructed members of the
Church to build up the strength of Zion throughout the world. He counseled the Saints to
remain in their native lands and establish strong stakes
by gathering the family of God and teaching them
the ways of the Lord. He further indicated
that more temples would be built and
promised blessings for the Saints wherever
they lived in the world. As the number of
stakes increased, the need was intensified
for member homes to “become [places] where
family members [loved] to be, where they [could]
enrich their lives and find mutual love,
support, appreciation, and encouragement.” Consequently, in
1980, Sunday meetings were consolidated into
a three-hour block to “reemphasize
personal and family responsibility for
learning, living, and teaching the gospel.” This emphasis on
family and the home was again affirmed in “The
Family: A Proclamation to the World,” introduced
by President Gordon B. Hinckley in 1995. In April of 1998,
President Hinckley announced the construction
of many more small temples, thereby bringing the sacred
ordinances of the Lord’s house closer to Latter-day Saint
individuals and families throughout the world. And these enhanced opportunities
for spiritual growth and development
were complemented by related increases in
temporal self-reliance through the introduction of
the Perpetual Education Fund in 2001. During his administration,
President Thomas S. Monson repeatedly exhorted the
Saints to go “to the rescue” and emphasized caring
for the poor and needy as one of the Church’s divinely
appointed responsibilities. Continuing the emphasis
on temporal preparation, the Self-Reliance
Services initiative was implemented in 2012. Over the past several
years, essential principles about making the Sabbath
day a delight in the home and at Church have been
emphasized and reinforced, thus preparing us for
the Sunday meeting schedule announced in this
session of general conference. And six months ago,
Melchizedek Priesthood quorums were strengthened and
aligned more effectively with the auxiliaries to
accomplish a higher and holier approach to ministering. Brothers and sisters, I believe
that the sequence and timing of these actions
over many decades can help us to see one united
and comprehensive work and not just a series of independent
and discrete initiatives. “God has revealed a pattern
of spiritual progress for individuals and families
through ordinances, teaching, programs, and activities
that are home centered and Church supported. Church organizations
and programs exist to bless
individuals and families and are not ends in themselves.” I pray we can recognize
the Lord’s work as one great worldwide work
that is becoming ever more home centered and Church supported. I know and I testify that
the Lord is revealing and will yet reveal many great
and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God. I began my message by
highlighting the strength that is created as individual
strands of material are twisted or braided together into a rope. In a similar way, I promise that
increased perspective, purpose, and power will be evident
in our learning and living of the restored gospel of Jesus
Christ as we strive to gather together in one all things
in Christ–even in Him. All opportunities and blessings
of eternal consequence originate in, are possible
and have purpose because of, and endure through
the Lord Jesus Christ. As Alma testified: “There
is no other way or means whereby man can be saved,
only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and
the light of the world.” I joyfully declare my witness of
the divinity and living reality of the Eternal Father and of
His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. In our Savior, we find joy. And in Him we find the assurance
of “peace in this world, and eternal life in
the world to come.” I so testify in the sacred name
of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

6 Replies to “Gather Together in One All Things in Christ”

  1. Church programs aren't the ends in themselves. So, when your teenager has a job and is learning skills, developing work ethic, and responsibility, they just might have to miss out on mutual.

  2. Yo tengo mi verda mi verda esta escrito en libro de la vida unijenito padre save de mi libro de la vida y filidad Amen

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