NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 14
Matthew 18; Luke 10
- Jesus teaches that we must become as little children.
- Through the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus teaches about
- Through the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus teaches about charity.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to be humble, forgive others,
and show charity for one another.
Following The Transfiguration
- James E. Talmage: "Our Lord's descent from the holy heights
of the Mount of Transfiguration was more than a physical return from greater
to lesser altitudes; it was a passing from sunshine into shadow, from the
effulgent glory of heaven to the mists of worldly passions and human unbelief;
it was the beginning of His rapid descent into the valley of humiliation.
From lofty converse with divinely-appointed ministers, from supreme communion
with His Father and God, Jesus came down to a scene of disheartening confusion
and a spectacle of demonized dominion before which even His apostles stood
in impotent despair. To His sensitive and sinless soul the contrast must
have brought superhuman anguish; even to us who read the brief account
thereof it is appalling." (Jesus The Christ, p378)
- READ MATTHEW 17:14-21. Healing of the demoniac
- Prior to this event the Twelve had been ordained with priesthood and
power. They had been on missions, preached the gospel, healed the sick,
and cast out devils.
- WHY WERE THE DISCIPLES UNABLE TO HEAL THE YOUNG MAN WHO WAS POSSESSED
BY AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT?
- This was a particularly evil and difficult spirit. According to Elder
McConkie: "Clearly there are degrees of...evil powers among hell.
Just as there is a heavenly hierarchy, so is there a government that puts
one evil spirit in charge of another; are degrees of righteousness and
glory, so are there levels evil. It takes greater faith to overcome greater
evils." (Mortal Messiah, 3:73-74)
- Of the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, faith seems to
be the most difficult to understand and yet it is the foundation for the
- The Lord often speaks of faith:
- Matthew 17:20: "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed,
ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall
remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
- Mark 9:23: "If thou canst believe, all things are possible
to him that believeth."
- WHAT IS FAITH? WHAT IS THIS GREAT POWER THAT CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS?
- Alma 32:21: "...faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of
things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen,
which are true."
- It must entail some knowledge, but as Alma says it "is not
to have a perfect knowledge."
- It is a hope for things which are not seen, but are true.
- Alma says in v22: "[God] desireth, in the first place, that
ye should believe, yea, even on his word."
- HOW DOES ONE OBTAIN AND STRENGTHEN FAITH?
- Some keys are found in Alma 32:21:
Fasting and prayer:
- Some knowledge, not a perfect knowledge - a perfect knowledge
requires no faith.
- In other words, there may be some action (study) involved here. If
one wishes to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon he cannot lay it on
his desk or beside his bed he must
- Open it and read, study, ponder.
- Study the Prophet Joseph Smith & his testimony.
- Hope - as one studies this record and discerns the implications
and meaning of its truthfulness, one who is honest in heart will begin
to hope that it may be true.
- Believe - Alma says that the Lord desires us to then believe.
- Alma continues in the 32nd chapter:
- He says to try an experiment upon his words.
- He says if your faith is weak, exercise it by simply desiring to believe.
- "Let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner
that ye can give place for a portion of my words."
- Compare the word unto a seed and plant it and nourish it. Do not cast
it out by your unbelief.
- V41: "But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree
as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience,
looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it
shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life."
- The Lord told his disciples that "this kind goeth not out but
by prayer and by fasting."
- These are acts of desire, hope, belief, & faith. It is part of
nourishing the seed of which Alma spoke.
- Fasting is a sacrifice which the Lord will recognize and bless if it
is done in the proper spirit.
- If we are not willing to make even a minor sacrifice such as fasting,
how then can our faith possibly grow?
THE SAVIOR TAUGHT, "IF YE HAVE FAITH...NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE
UNTO YOU." DOES THIS MEAN THAT WE CAN DO ANYTHING WE DESIRE?
See Helaman 10:4-11.
- How can we possible develop faith, without truly experimenting on the
words of the Lord?
- ARE WE WILLING TO TAKE THE LEAP?
- Are we willing to take a single step.
- Temple service.
- Service to our neighbors.
- Sharing the gospel.
- V4-5: "Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou
hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared
the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast
not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my
will, and to keep my commandments.
"And now, because thou hast done
this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I
will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea,
even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for
thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will."
Discourse On Meekness & Humility
- On becoming as a little child.
- READ MATTHEW 18:1. Who is the greatest in the
- WHY DO YOU THINK THE DISCIPLES WERE CONCERNED ABOUT WHO WOULD BE GREATEST
IN THE LORD'S KINGDOM?
- As mortals, I am sure that they wondered who was most favored by their
Master. Many of us have had the experience of having our children come
up and ask who among the children we love most. Most of us as adults enjoy
being in a favored position. I don't think these disciples were so different.
- Peter, James, and John had been taken aside at times and there probably
was some discussion as to their being chosen to a higher or more favored
- WHAT EVIDENCE IS THERE THAT CONCERN ABOUT RANK AND STATUS STILL EXISTS
AMONG CHURCH MEMBERS TODAY?
- READ MATTHEW 18:2-5. The Lord's answer to the
- WHAT IS JESUS' COUNSEL TO THOSE WHO DESIRE TO ACHIEVE TRUE GREATNESS
IN HIS KINGDOM?
- WHAT DOES THE LORD MEAN TO BECOME LIKE A CHILD? CERTAINLY HE DOESN'T
EXPECT US TO ACT LIKE OUR CHILDREN ACT AT TIMES?
- Little children are fresh from the presence of the Father and without
sin. We must allow the refining powers of the gospel to take effect in
- Little children are submissive.
Little children are humble and without pride.
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SUBMISSIVE? HOW DO WE TO BECOME SUBMISSIVE?
- Doesn't a child try to please his parent. Shouldn't we be doing the
same with our Heavenly Father?
Children have a willingness to believe.
WHY DO MANY OF US HAVE DIFFICULTY FOLLOWING THIS COUNSEL?
HOW DOES THIS COUNSEL COMPARE WITH WHAT THE WORLD TEACHES ABOUT HOW
WE ACHIEVE GREATNESS?
READ MATTHEW 18:8-9. If thy hand offend thee,
cut it off.
- Does a little child care if he is wearing the latest style or name
- The Lord taught his disciples, "If thy hand or thy foot offend
thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee." This sounds rather
- WHAT IS THE LORD TEACHING? HOW CAN WE CLEANSE OURSELVES OF THINGS THAT
LEAD US TO SIN OR TO CAUSE US TO WAIVER IN OUR COMMITMENT TO CHRIST?
- We must cast away that which may tempt us or lead to sin.
- As a man thinks, so is he. If we expose ourselves to negative influences,
it will affect our lives.
- Negative/immoral TV, even the news, can affect our actions.
- Books, magazines, and those whom we associate with impact our thoughts
- I have on cassette tape a speech entitled Dynamic Living by Skip Ross.
In his talk Mr. Ross states that he came to a time in his life when he
was frustrated with the direction, or lack of direction, in his life. He
decided the most important thing he could do to aid his success was to
control his mental environment. For 18 months he did the following:
- No exposure to the following negative influences:
- Negative conversations
- His life was changed by this experience and Mr. Ross went on to enjoy
great success. He says, "Get rid of what you don't want, to make
room for that which you do want." He says that you cannot afford
to have anything in your life that is a serious energy drain.
- Mr. Ross was willing to perform mental surgery to acheive his goals.
What are we willing to for eternal values?
- Once we have cast away the negative, we must fill that void with positive
- WITH WHAT CAN WE FILL THIS VOID?
- As part of his 18 month experiment, Skip Ross replaced the negative
with spendinf from 1 1/2 to 5 hours daily:
- Reading positive books
- Listening to positive tapes
- Thinking positive thoughts
- We can follow a similar approach to that of Mr. Ross:
- We can read the words of eternal life
- We can listen to talks and uplifting music
- In quiet moments we can focus our thoughts on gospel ideals
- Give of ourselves in service to others
- Where is our heart? Do we need to perform mental surgery?
Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
- Matthew 18:15: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against
thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall
hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."
Matthew 18:21-22: "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord,
how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven
times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but,
Until seventy times seven."
- WHAT SHOULD WE DO IF WE HAVE BEEN OFFENDED?
- WHY IS THIS THE BEST WAY TO RESOLVE DISPUTES?
- Neal A. Maxwell: "There are no guarantees; the risks of such
openness are real. Yet, significantly, we are not to wait and pout, but
are to seek (in the spirit of love and candor) to communicate what we believe
are our legitimate concerns of injury to him who has offended us. It is
not always that he whom we believed has erred will be wrong. Confrontation
can improve our own perceptions of the other person; it can make us aware
of extenuating circumstances which otherwise would never be known to us.
Finally, even though our feelings initially are those of injury, the fact
that we care about improving our relationship with the other person can
eventually mean something to him. Caring enough to complain is often evidence
of deep and loving feelings. In fact, expressing our feelings of disappointment
may be more helpful to others than to present an antiseptic, intellectual
analysis of failure. The latter can be challenged and rationalized, but
honest statements of feelings can make the reprover and the reproved feel
enough concern to focus on what needs to be done." (A More Excellent
READ MATTHEW 18:23-35. Parable of the unmerciful
- D&C Commentary: "That means, practically, an unlimited
number of times. In the days of our Lord, the Rabbis taught that no one
was under obligation to forgive a neighbor more than three times. Peter,
asking the Master for a ruling on that question, suggested that perhaps
seven times would be a liberal improvement on the rule of the Jewish teachers,
but our Lord answered, 'seventy times seven'." (p626)
- The greatness of the number itself means that we should forgive as
many times as we are offended. We could easily track three offenses, or
even seven offenses, in our mind. But to track more than that would require
some sort of system (or database, in modern lingo) to keep an accounting.
The effort of keeping such a system would be evidence in itself that we
have not forgiven even the first offense.
- This reminds me of a current situation. About a year and a half ago,
the bus route that took me directly into Seattle for work was cancelled.
It was replaced with a shuttle that takes me three miles to the freeway
entrance where I transfer to another bus going downtown. I have to do the
reverse when I come home. Occassionally the connections don't work and
I am forced to wait up to 40 additional minutes for the bus. I became frustrated
with this situation and started calling Metro (King County municipal bus
service) every time the connection failed. They didn't seem to listen to
my pleas, so I started tracking the failed connections on an Excel spreadsheet.
My intent has been to take my evidence to the Metro planners and demand
The interesting thing about tracking and
focusing on the failed connections is, that in a strange sort of way, I
began focusing on the failures and not the successes. At times I hoped
for a failed connection in hopes of adding evidence to my list. We are
now three months into the year. I have probably made about 60 round trips
to Seatlle during this time period. I have suffered through 10 to 15 failed
connections out of about 120 total connections. So more than 100 times
the connection has worked. And when the connection works, it actually gets
me home earlier than the old route. I suspect that if I had focused on
the time saved versus the time lost, I would discover that I have actually
saved time over the old route.
- So it is in our lives. When we dwell on the negative, the offenses
of others, this becomes the focus and we get caught up in the negative.
As Skip Ross stated, we need to "Get rid of what you don't want,
to make room for that which you do want." Do we want the blessings
of the Spirit in our lives? Do we want to become like our Heavenly Father?
Then we must forgive to purge (or do surgery) on the negative thoughts
and feelings that can overpower our lives.
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE KING'S EXAMPLE IN FORGIVING OTHERS?
- WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DANGERS OF NOT FORGIVING OTHERS?
- HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FORGIVE SOMEONE?
- KNOWING THE GOOD FEELING THAT COMES FROM FORGIVING AND BEING FORGIVEN,
WHY DO SOME OF US CONTINUE TO HOLD GRUDGES AND LET OFFENSES FESTER? HOW
DO WE OVERCOME THIS?
Parable Of The Good Samaritan
- The Savior teaches about charity (see Luke 10:25-37).
- While the Savior was teaching, "a certain lawyer stood up,
and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
The lawyer answered the Lord's question by saying, "Thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with
all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself"
- HOW DID THE MASTER ANSWER?
- "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" (v26).
- This is about the same as saying, "If you want eternal life,
keep the law of Moses" (Mortal Messiah, 1:75).
The lawyer then asked the question, "Who is my neighbor?"
- The lawyer was quoting from the Law of Moses:
- Deuteronomy 6:5: "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with
all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
- Leviticus 19:18: "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
- Jesus confirmed the lawyer's answer, "Thou hast answered right:
this do, and thou shalt live" (v28).
- James E. Talmage: "These simple words conveyed a rebuke, as
the lawyer must have realized; they indicated the contrast between knowing
and doing. Having thus failed in his plan to confound the Master, and probably
realizing that he, a lawyer, had made no creditable display of his erudition
by asking so simple a question and then answering it himself, he tamely
sought to justify himself by inquiring further" (Jesus The Christ,
Additional Notes on the Parable
of the Good Samaritan.
- READ LUKE 10:30-37. The parable of the good Samaritan.
- WHO ARE OUR NEIGHBORS?
- President Howard W. Hunter: "We need to remember that though
we make our friends, God has made our neighbors--everywhere. Love should
have no boundary; we should have no narrow loyalties." (Ensign,
- WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT PEOPLE NEED HELP TODAY?
- Due to the heavy workload at my place of employment, in recent weeks
I have worked on Saturdays. I usually drive in with an associate and we
park a few blocks from our building. As we walk to the office, we walk
under a viaduct. We usually see a number of people camped out in tents,
or blankets spread between shopping carts, or maybe just laying in a sheltered
doorway. These "neighbors" deserve our help. What tragic lives
But we also have neighbors around us every
day crying out for spiritual help. Their buckets are empty and their thirst
is great. We are carrying buckets full of living water. We need to stop
and dip into our buckets and share this water with those who so thirsty.
President McKay said that every member should be a missionary. Are we being
stingy with our bucket of living water because we are so caught up in our
own lives and activities? How did the Savior live his life?
- WHAT ARE SOME REASONS WE DO NOT HELP OTHERS IN NEED?
- HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED BY "GOOD SAMARITANS"?
A few weeks ago in our discussion of the great Sermon on the Mount,
we read where the Lord declared that we should "perfect, even as
your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Why? Because this
is our ultimate goal, to become like the Father. The Lord has taught us
some of the things we need to do to become like the Father. We need to
exercise our faith. We need to become, humble and submissive. We must completely
forgive others of their trespasses. And we must reach out and serve those
around us. We each need to look into our hearts and seek ways of more fully
implementing these great messages into lives and then commit to doing it.
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Changes last made on: Fri Mar 26 1999