NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 9
- True disciples do right things for right reasons.
- True disciples follow the Savior's example of prayer.
- True disciples treat others kindly and fairly.
- True disciples serve God and do his will.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to become more dedicated
disciples of Jesus Christ.
- READ MATTHEW 6:1-4. Do not do your alms before
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT EVEN WHEN WE DO THE RIGHT THING, THE LORD REQUIRES
THAT WE DO IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS?
- The question: What is our motive? Love of praise or love of righteousness
and those whom we serve.
- HOW DO WE BALANCE THIS WITH THE LORD'S ADMONITION TO "LET YOUR
LIGHT SO SHINE BEFORE MEN, THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS..." (Matthew
- WHAT ARE ALMS?
- Bible Dictionary: Donations for the poor.
- HOW SHOULD WE AND IN WHAT WAYS CAN WE HELP THE POOR AND THE NEEDY?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Almsgiving is the contribution of free
gifts to relieve the poor; the spirit that attends such a course is of
God and finds its highest manifestation in the organized charitable enterprises
of his earthly kingdom. Paul, for instance, in his day, carried alms to
the poor saints in Jerusalem (Acts 24:17), he having first assembled the
contributions from the saints in Macedonia and Achaia. (Acts 11:29; Rom.
15:25-28.) In modern times the major portion of the almsgiving of the saints
is administered through the great church Welfare Plan." (Mormon
- READ MATTHEW 6:5-8. Pray in secret, not before
WHAT IS THE LORD TEACHING US IN THESE VERSE?
- These continue with the theme of motive: Why does one give alms or
say prayers and how do they do it?
- Why do we say prayers? How sincere are we?
I am reminded of the story of a boy and his nightly prayers. Each night
he kneeled by his bed and said his prayers. Eventually he concluded that
he was too tired to kneel at night, so he decided to lie in bed to pray.
As time wore on he got tired of trying to figure out what to say, so he
wrote it on a card in order to read it. The boy got tired of holding the
card, so he taped it on the ceiling. Finally, he pointed at the card and
said "It's up there Lord."
HOW LONG DO YOU PRAY EACH DAY? 20 MINS, 10 MINS, 5 MINS? IN WHAT MANNER
DO YOU PRAY?
The Lord provided us with a key to demonstrate the sincerity of our
prayers, both to the Father and to ourselves.
- Are you praying to be seen of men or out of habit or obligation?
- Are you praying because you love the Father, wish to express appreciation,
and share your heart with Him?
READ MATTHEW 6:16-18. Fast as a sacrifice to the
Lord, not to be seen of men.
- Matthew 6:14-15: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your
heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
- Fasting is a means of taking our prayers to a higher level.
- These verses continue this same theme of motive: Do we do these things
for righteousness sake or are we hypocrites?
Serving God Or Mammon
- READ MATTHEW 6:19-21. Lay up treasures in heaven.
Matthew 6:22-23: "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore
thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine
eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the
light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"
- WHAT EVENTUALLY HAPPENS TO OUR EARTHLY TREASURES?
- One of our earthly treasures may be a car. Consider the resources we
put into a car. We either save up or make payments for several years. We
then continue to spend resources on licensing, insurance, and repairs.
What eventually happens to the car? Over time, it usually ends up in a
junkyard. This treasure which we have poured thousands, possibly tens of
thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours of work ends up in the junkyard.
- HOW DO WE LAY UP TREASURES IN HEAVEN?
- The Lord is teaching us to set proper priorities. We should treasure
that which will last into the eternities, not that which has no eternal
- Neal A. Maxwell: "We can be conscientious but still be confused
about our priorities. How we spend our time is at least as good a measure
of us as how we spend our money. An inventory of how we spend our disposable
time will tell us where our treasure is." (Notwithstanding My
Matthew 6:24: "No man can serve two masters: for either he
will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one,
and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
- If we have set the proper priorities and have our lives focused on
the teachings of the Master, we will be filled with light and knowledge.
If our priorities become corrupted, then we will lose the light of truth.
Matthew 6:25: "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for
your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your
body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?
- DOES THIS MEAN THAT WE SHOULD NOT SEEK THE THINGS OF THE WORLD?
- Matthew 6:33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
- JST Matthew 6:38: "Wherefore, seek not the things of this world
but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his
righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Sacrifice is the crowning test of the gospel.
Men are tried and tested in this mortal probation to see if they will put
first in their lives the things of the kingdom of God. (Matt. 6:33.) To
gain eternal life, they must be willing, if called upon, to sacrifice all
things for the gospel. 'If thou wilt be perfect,' Jesus said to the rich
young man, 'go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me'." (Mormon
- According to Elder McConkie, in these verses, the Lord is speaking
to the Twelve and not the congregation as a whole.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "From the beginning men have been commanded
to labor in seed time and harvest and to lay up store against times of
winter and famine.... This is a temporal world, and men who dwell thereon
are apponted to deal with temporal concerns. The gospel law requires men
to care for their own needs and those of their families." (Mortal
- This law also seems to apply to those who are called to serve on a
- READ MATTHEW 7:1-2. Judge not.
READ MATTHEW 7:3-5. Cast the beam out of your
- Joseph Smith Translation: "Judge not unrighteously, that ye
be not judged; but judge righteous judgment."
- HOW DOES THE JST CHANGE THE MEANING OF THIS VERSE?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "This is not a prohibition against sitting
in judgment either on one's fellowmen or upon principles of right and wrong,
for the saints are commanded to do these very things. The sense and meaning
of our Lord's utterance is, 'Condemn not, that ye be not condemned.' It
is, 'Judge wisely and righteously, so that ye may be judged in like manner'."
- WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO JUDGE OTHER PEOPLE CORRECTLY?
- WHAT HARM CAN COME FROM JUDGING IMPROPERLY?
- Spencer W. Kimball: "It is most evident that all of the many
prejudiced ones fail to catch the spirit of the gospel and the teachings
of the Christ as they hiss and spurn and scoff and criticize."
(Faith Precedes the Miracle, p299)
- David O. McKay: "The context of that scripture plainly indicates
that the sin the Savior is condemning is the disposition to look unfavorably
on the character and actions of others, which leads almost invariably to
the pronouncing of rash, unjust, judgments upon them. Very often these
judgments are formed on insufficient evidence and after superficial observations,
and people who form them and express them in the presence of children put
poison into those children's minds. Parents who speak at the table against
the bishopric, against a teacher, stake president, or any other officer
of the Church are, unwittingly, perhaps, but most assuredly, lessening
in their children's minds the respect and confidence in Church authorities."
(Gospel Ideals, p415)
- Bible footnotes:
- Mote = speck, chip, or splinter.
- Beam = The Greek work refers to a wooden beam used in constructing
- WHAT DOES THIS VERSE MEAN TO YOU?
- Spencer W. Kimball: "The Redeemer's principle of not judging
is not a single-action program—it is a day-to-day requirement of life.
He tells us to clean up our own errors first—to remove the beam-size faults.
Then, and not till then, is one justified in turning his attention to the
eccentricities or weaknesses of another." (The Miracle of Forgiveness,
- I have the opportunity at work in dealing with employee/employer relations.
Employees often come to me with complaints about how they are being treated
unfairly and being taken advantage of. In the majority of these situations,
if the employee took an honest look at his own behavior and work habits
and then made a concerted effort to improve, I believe these situations
would resolve themselves.
- We probably should print these verses on a card and put them in our
wallet as a reminder that we need to clean our own house first.
Seek To Know The Truth
- READ MATTHEW 7:6-8. Cast not pearls before swine,
ask & it shall be given.
HOW DOES ONE LEARN OF THE MYSTERIES?
- JST: "Go ye into the world, saying unto all, Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven has come nigh unto you.
"And the mysteries of the kingdom
ye shall keep within yourselves; for it is not meet to give that which
is holy unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls unto swine, lest they
trample them under their feet.
"For the world cannot receive
that which ye, yourselves, are not able to bear; wherefore ye shall not
give your pearls unto them lest they turn again and rend you.
"Say unto them, Ask of God; ask,
and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall
be opened unto you.
"For every one that asketh, receiveth;
and he that seeketh, findeth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened."
- WHAT PRINCIPLES ARE TAUGHT HERE?
- Teach the basics - faith, repentence, baptism.
- Do not teach the mysteries to unbelievers.
- WHAT ARE THE MYSTERIES?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Any gospel truth, however easy and simple,
that is not understood, or that is beyond the present spiritual capacity
of a given person to understand, is to him a mystery. Faith, repentance,
and baptism are mysteries to the unbelieving Gentiles. But the mysteries
of the kingdom, of which Jesus here speaks, are quite another thing. This
phrase has a special meaning; it refers to the deep and hidden things of
the gospel--to the calculus, as it were, which can only be comprehended
after the student has become proficient in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry;
it refers to the temple ordinances; to the gifts of the Spirit; to those
things which can be known only by the power of the Holy Ghost. The saints
are to keep the deep and more mysterious doctrines to themselves and not
offer to the world more than people are able to bear." (Mortal
- I learned this principle while teaching investigators on my mission.
As time progressed, I came to find that we could not discuss the plan of
salvation, and have the beauty of it understood, until our investigators
had begun the effort of praying, studying the Book of Mormon, and trying
to live the Word of Wisdom.
Read Matthew 7:12. The Golden Rule.
- Ask and seek.
- Alma 12:9-10. "And now Alma began to expound these things unto
him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless
they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according
to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men,
according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
"And therefore, he that will harden
his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that
will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word,
until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them
- Read Matthew 7:9-11. The Father will give to them
READ MATTHEW 7:13-14. Enter at the strait gate.
- Notice the placement of this verse following teaching on acquiring
knowledge of the Lord. The Lord says, "Therefore".
- It appears that learning of the mysteries may well be contingent upon
how we treat and serve our fellow men.
- HAVE YOU FOUND THIS PRINCIPLE TO BE TRUE IN YOUR OWN LIFE?
- HOW DOES FOLLOWING THE GOLDEN RULE MAKE US BETTER DISCIPLES OF JESUS
- Elder Marvin J. Ashton described a meeting in which a group of Church
members considered the queston "How can you tell if someone is converted
to Jesus Christ?"
"For forty-five minutes those in
attendance made numerous suggestions in response to this question, and
the leader carefully wrote down each answer on a large chalkboard. All
of the comments were thoughtful and appropriate. But after a time, this
great teacher erased everything he had written. Then acknowledging that
all of the comments had been worthwhile and appreciated, he taught a vital
principle: 'The best and most clear indicator that we are progressing spiritually
and coming unto Christ is the way we treat other people.'
"The way we treat the members
of our families, our friends, those with whom we work each day is as important
as are some of the more noticeable gospel principles we sometimes emphasize."
(Ensign, May 1992, p20)
- JST reads: "Repent, therefore, and enter ye in at the strait gate."
- WHAT IS THE GATE?
- Baptism - see D&C 22.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Enter in at the strait gate of baptism;
find yourself on the strait and narrow path leading to the celestial kingdom.
Enter in a the strait gate of celestial marriage; find yourself on the
strait and narrow path leading to eternal life in the highest heaven of
the celestial world. The broad gate is always open, and all the influences
of the world urge and entice men to enter and go downward to darkness;
the narrow gate is open only to those who desire righteousness and who
see the Lord and his goodness." (Mortal Messiah, 2:167)
- HOW DO WE STAY ON THIS STRAIT AND NARROW PATH?
- Recall these words from Lehi's dream: "...and 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
Prophets, Good Works, & Salvation
- READ MATTHEW 7:15-20. Beware of false prophets.
READ MATTHEW 7:21-23. They who are saved are they
who do the will of the Father.
- WHAT EVIDENCE IS THERE THAT THERE ARE FALSE PROPHETS AMONGST US?
- HOW CAN WE DETECT FALSE PROPHETS?
- Joseph Smith: "When a man goes about prophesying, and commands
men to obey his teachings, he must either be a true or false prophet. False
prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets and they will prophesy
so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones."
READ MATTHEW 7:24-27. Build a proper foundation.
- There are no shortcuts. The path to salvation is through doing the
will of the Father.
- WHAT IS A PROPER FOUNDATION?
- The gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Helaman 5:12: "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it
is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye
must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty
winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his
mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag
you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon
which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if
men build they cannot fall."
Matthew 7:28-29: "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended
these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught
them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
In the sixth chapter of Matthew, the Lord is teaching us to set proper
priorities and to keep our focus with an "eye single to the glory
of God". Our goal should not be to impress men or attain riches,
but to seek for eternal treasures. In the process, we will be well rewarded,
"...and all these things shall be added unto you." In
the seventh chapter we receive instructions about obtaining true knowledge
and the path to salvation. The Master concludes by saying that if we heed
these teachings, we will have built our eternal destiny upon a firm and
The Sermon on the Mount provides more real instruction on how to live
one's life than all the books ever written. At home, I have nearly two
bookshelves full of books on success, positive thinking, and suggestions
for living a better life. And yet, the Savior has said it best in these
three chapters of Matthew.
Lesson 10: Matthew 11:28-30; 12:1-13; Luke 7:36-50; 13:10-17
Additional Reading: Isaiah 53:13-14; Matthew 11:16-19; 12:14-50;
26:6-13; Mark 2:23-3:12; 14:3-9; Luke 6:1-11; D&C 59:9-19
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Changes last made on: Sat Feb 20 1999