- My message today focuses on the doctrine of Christ. The scriptures define the doctrine of Christ as exercising faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
Each area of the doctrine of Christ is examined in more detail.
First, faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
- The prophets have taught that faith begins by hearing the word of Christ.
- Upon hearing the words of Christ, we exercise faith by choosing to follow the teachings and example of the Savior.
- It is the process that the Father has given us by which we change, or turn, our thoughts, actions, and our very being so that we become more and more like the Savior.
- Repentance is not a backup plan just in case our plan to live perfectly fails. Continual repentance is the only path that can bring us lasting joy and enable us to return to live with our Heavenly Father.
- A recognition of God’s goodness and our nothingness, combined with our best efforts to align our behavior with God’s will, brings grace into our lives.
- As we repent, we replace our old, unrighteous behaviors, weaknesses, imperfections, and fears with new behaviors and beliefs that draw us closer to the Savior and help us to become like Him.
Third, baptism and the sacrament.
- Ordinances and covenants are essential within the doctrine of Christ. It is through worthily receiving the ordinances of the priesthood and keeping the associated covenants that the power of godliness is manifest in our lives.
Fourth, the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- As our constant companion, the Holy Ghost gives us additional power or strength to keep our covenants. He also sanctifies us, which means to make us “free from sin, pure, clean, and holy through the atonement of Jesus Christ.” The process of sanctification not only cleanses us, but it also endows us with needed spiritual gifts or divine attributes of the Savior and changes our very nature, such “that we have no more disposition to do evil.” Each time we receive the Holy Ghost into our lives through faith, repentance, ordinances, Christlike service, and other righteous endeavors, we are changed until step by step, little by little we become like Christ.
Fifth, enduring to the end.
- The reception of the Holy Ghost and the change that reception creates in us further builds our faith. Increased faith leads to additional repentance. As we then symbolically sacrifice our hearts and our sins upon the sacrament altar, we receive the Holy Ghost to a greater degree. Receiving the Holy Ghost to a greater degree further moves us along the path of being born again. As we continue in this process and obtain all the saving ordinances and covenants of the gospel, we receive “grace for grace” until we receive a fulness.
Brother Ashton says we have to apply these things in our life to be able to be redeemed from our sins and to progress spiritually in our lives. By doing so, we will be called the sons and daughters of Christ.
- We must apply the doctrine of Christ in our lives because it provides the only path back to our Heavenly Father. It is the only way to receive the Savior and become His sons and daughters. In fact, the only way to be redeemed from sin and progress spiritually is to apply the doctrine of Christ in our lives.
Finally, he discusses how we can apply things he has taught in our lives. He discusses that we need to make the sacrament more personal to each of us.
- So how can we apply the doctrine of Christ more fully in our lives? One way would be to make a conscious effort each week to prepare for the sacrament by taking some time to prayerfully consider where we most need to improve. We could then bring a sacrifice of at least one thing that keeps us from being like Jesus Christ to the sacrament altar, pleading in faith for help, asking for necessary spiritual gifts, and covenanting to improve during the coming week. As we do so, the Holy Ghost will come into our lives to a greater degree, and we will have additional strength to overcome our imperfections.
Brother Ashton shares that there steps in our progression will bring us to the Savior. One step leads us to the next until we get to the point that we are able enduring to the end. Brother Ashton encourages us to do something this week to bring something to the sacrament alter. As I have tried to find deeper meaning in the sacrament, I have discovered that the process is interactive. As I bring something to the alter, the Lord recognizes my efforts and blesses me with greater understanding and blessings far beyond what I deserve. I am grateful for His grace and trust that he places in me and the belief that I am worth His time and effort to help me improve.