We have the sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of Jesus Christ with all who will listen
Prayer for Spiritual Rejuvenation and the Preaching of the Gospel
President Russell M. Nelson acknowledges that we are facing difficult times. He mentions the impact of a global pandemic and how our lives have significantly changed. The Russian – Ukraine Conflict that significantly impacting innocent women, children, and men. And the awareness of how prophets of old foresaw our modern day when the whole earth would be in commotion (Doctrine and Covenants 88:91).
Along with this, President Nelson invites us to engage in thoughtful prayer:
- Nations and leaders to find peaceful resolutions to absolve and disengage from any armed threats and conflicts
- Pray in order how to help those who are distressed and are in need and ways to end any major conflicts
In this context – President Nelson observes that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is needed more than ever. And it is because there appears to be an increase in a Spirit of Contention among society:
Contention violates everything the Savior stood for and taught. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and testify that His gospel is the only enduring solution for peace. His gospel is a gospel of peace (Doctrine and Covenants 27:16).Emphasis mine
His gospel is the only answer where many in the world are stunned with fear (Luke 21:26). This underscores the urgent need for us to follow the Lord’s instruction to His disciples to “go … into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). We have the sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of Jesus Christ with all who will listen and who will let God prevail in their lives.
What I notice is two things: First, our sacred responsibility to share the power and peace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who will listen. Second, preaching to them who desire to allow God to prevail in their lives. This brings to mind what the Apostle Paul wrote regarding the power and authority of ministering and preaching the Gospel in order to bring about a person’s salvation (Romans 10:8-15). This includes the blessings of missionary work.
And just what type of preaching of the Gospel message is needed today? A message that provides spiritual rejuvenation to where people are not only willing to listen, that they also have a deep desire and motivation to allow our Heavenly Father to prevail in their lives? It is the type of preaching that rests upon speaking with genuine authority and truth while at the same time speaking truth in love and compassion. It begins when we take up our sacred responsibility and care for the needs of others. When we engage in ministering to other people. When we minister the way the Savior ministers – people will ask about the hope that is within us:
Every person who has made covenants with God has promised to care about others and serve those in need. We can demonstrate faith in God and always be ready to respond to those who ask about “the hope that is in [us].” (1 Peter 3:15). Each of us has a role to play in the gathering of Israel.
What President Nelson shares here is that we ought to be ready to engage in any form of ministering work toward others. Regardless of whether they are members of our faith or not. Sometimes we forget that preaching the Gospel is not so much what we say – rather than how we live our lives consistently and continually within the scope of the Gospel of Christ. It is more about our own personal attitude and behavior that may influence someone to inquire as to the reason for our own personal faith and testimony in Christ.
This opens the door for us to engage in missionary work and share the hope of Christ, the peace he brings into our lives, and the joy we have in living the principle truths of the Gospel.
Reaffirming the Sacred Responsibility of the Restored Gospel
President Nelson moves from the conditions of our present day to the sacred responsibility of missionary work. It is a reaffirmation of what Spencer W. Kimball announced as to the purpose of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in these last days. It was at the 152nd Annual General Conference of May 1981 where President Spencer W. Kimball announced his own faithful and prophetic stewardship (see, A Report of my Stewardship) where he laid out the three-fold purpose and mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today, the Latter-day Saint Christian faith is focused on a four-fold missionary effort. This appeared to come about through much meditation and prayer:
My brothers and sisters, as the Brethren of the First Presidency and the Twelve have meditated upon and prayed about the great latter-day work the Lord has given us to do, we are impressed that the mission of the Church is threefold:
1) To proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people;
2) To perfect the Saints by preparing them to receive the ordinances of the gospel and by instruction and discipline to gain exaltation;
3) To redeem the dead by performing vicarious ordinances of the gospel for those who have lived on the earth.
All three are part of one work—to assist our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, in Their grand and glorious mission “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39.)
In 2009, the fourth aspect of this was added to create a four-fold mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What was the later edition? It focused on reaching out and caring for the needy and the poor through the vast humanitarian aid that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers.
Sacred Priesthood Responsibility to Serve a Mission
Along with reaffirming the four-fold mission of the Church – President Russell M. Nelson also made a strong reaffirmation that it is every young man’s sacred priesthood obligation to serve a full-time mission:
Today I reaffirm strongly that the Lord has asked every worthy, able young man to prepare for and serve a mission. For latter-day Saint young men, missionary service is a priesthood responsibility. you young men have been reserved for this time when the promised gathering of Israel is taking place. As you serve missions, you play a pivotal role in this unprecedent event!
Here are some things to consider regarding what President Nelson is teaching – and the reason it is a sacred priesthood obligation of every worthy and able young man to enter into the mission field and serve a mission.
First, every young man is anointed and given apostolic authority to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is because of the endowment of the Melchizedek priesthood. And the reason every worthy and able young man is anointed and given apostolic authority through the ministering keys of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ is because:
- Each young man is sent out by the authority of the Apostles of Jesus Christ
- Each young man has the authority to speak by the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit to convict and bring salvation unto all those who desire to come unto Christ
- Each young man is separated for his calling and filled with the Holy Spirit
- Each young man has established the foundational spiritual disciplines of prayer and meditation, fasting, scripture study, journaling, and how to align their own personal lives to the spiritual truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
- Each young man has the power and authority to bring healing and hope into the lives of those whom they minister to
It is because of this apostolic authority and anointing that every young man has the power of the Holy Spirit to magnify their own personal testimony of Jesus Christ in order to preach the Gospel to all who are willing to listen and to all who are willing to come unto Christ for the salvation through His infinite atonement. There is no greater honor, no greater privilege, and no greater sacred responsibility than to go out and fulfill all that Christ had commanded us to do.
Second, every worthy and able body young man is given the power and authority to preach against any prevailing false doctrine and teachings prevalent today. This is because Christ taught as one having authority. He challenged the misconceptions of the religious leaders and how they misinterpreted the law. He expounded on the spiritual aspects that many missed. He spoke in parables. Taught truth, and even spoke in such power and authority to heal the lame, give sight to the blind, and even call forth the dead to rise and live again.
And third, each young man worthy and able to serve a mission is able to preach with absolute truth against a spirit of relativism that seems to capture the hearts and minds of all people. When it comes to absolute preaching there is no grey areas. It rests upon the absolute truth and authority of who Christ is and the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is absolute in the sense that it calls forth men and women everywhere to make a costly sacrifice in coming unto Him and following Him. It is absolute preaching because it speaks to the false doctrines and messages men have set up because of itchy ears (2 Timothy 4:3). It is absolute preaching because it is founded upon sound doctrine and absolute truth.
Blessings of Serving a Faithful Mission
President Nelson acknowledges the spiritual significance and impact young women, and seniors have in their devotion and willingness to serve missions:
For you young and able sisters, a mission is also a powerful, but optional, opportunity. We love sister missionaries and welcome them wholeheartedly. What you contribute to this work is magnificent! Pray to know if the Loird would have you serve a mission, and the Holy Ghost will respond to your heart and mind.
In my own personal observation – there is a difference between young men serving a full-time mission and those who are young women serving full time mission. While young men hold the sacred keys of the Melchizedek priesthood and are anointed and sent out with apostolic authority; the Sister Missionaries appear to have a different, and powerful, anointing when serving their missions. For those sisters who serve their missions – there tends to be a spirit of nurturing, caring, and compassion. Sister missionaries tend to minister the message of the Gospel in a different way than young men.
Regarding those who are seniors and desire to serve a mission:
We also welcome senior coup0les to serve when their circumstances permit. Their efforts are simply irreplaceable.
Which is quite true. Having observed senior couples serving their missions is also a blessing to the specific wards, stakes, and communities. One of my favorite missionaries growing up were two elder Sisters. We called them Sister Sisters because they were actually sisters who decided to serve their mission together. They were seniors and what a blessing it was to learn from these sweet women of faith.
The other observation, if one is lucky to get a set of full-time senior couple missionaries in your ward, is the powerful testimony, rich heritage of faith, and the resilience and boldness that comes from living a life faithful and obedient to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Regardless of the missionaries being young men, young women, or seniors – Russell M. Nelson affirms the importance and blessings that come from missionary work:
All missionaries teach and testify of the Savior. The spiritual darkness in the world makes the light of Jesus Christ needed more than ever. Everyone deserves the chance to know about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every person deserves to know where they can find the hope and peace that “[pass] all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
This is the invitation that is being extended to each one of us. To pray, meditate, fast, and share the message of the Gospel to others who are willing to listen and open to have the power of God work and prevail in their lives. It is up to us to help the missionaries fulfill their calling and authority in preaching the Gospel. We all have a participatory obligation to preach the gospel and bring about the hope of Christ, the Peace of Christ, and the Joy of the Lord in the lives of many who are feeling discouraged, lost, and without direction. We are the vessel and the light (Matthew 5:14) that shines forth and bring about a spiritual rejuvenation to those who are ready to hear and be converted.
Seek After Personal Revelation, Guidance, and Direction
The final invitation President Russell M. Nelson gives is that of seeking after personal revelation by hearing, understanding, and applying the spiritual truths from the general conference messages. He does this by inviting us to:
May this conference be a time of peace and spiritual feasting for you. May you seek and receive personal revelation during these sessions.
Let us take up the invitation and ponder the messages by feasting upon the spiritual truths we hear.