The Sermon on the Mount
The blueprint/patten for an individual to be perfected in Christ.
Ensign 1972 - David H. Yan - The Sermon on the Mount
Teachings of Harold B. Lee - The sermon on the Mount
Study Guide - Class study guide
Attention Activity: Prince of Peace - Akiane - Vision of Heaven at 8 years old painting
If someone asked you to describe Jesus physically, what would you say?
Display a picture of Jesus Christ. Point out that in providing representations of Jesus’ character, different artists have portrayed Jesus in many different ways. Then ask class members to think about the following question without answering aloud:
What about if you were asked to describe Jesus's character, what would you say?
- Harold B. Lee has said:
- “In his Sermon on the Mount the Master has given us somewhat of a revelation of his own character, which was perfect, … and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives. …” (Teachings of Harold B Lee).
Explain that when Jesus visited the Nephites, He gave a discourse similar to the Sermon on the Mount. As we study and apply the teachings in this discourse, we will lean more about the Savior’s character. We will also be able to develop a blueprint, or plan, to patten our lives to be perfected in Christ through his atonement.
We have been following the history of the Nephites and Lamanites up to the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Samuel concening the birth and the death of Jesus Christ. After Jesus died and was resurrected and the destruct ions have occurred in the American continent the people had gathered together at the temple in the land bountiful and were marveling concening the great change that had taken place in the land. Today we are going to review what occurred when Jesus Christ showed himself unto the people and the doctrines that he taught to the multitude.
3 Nephi 11:1-7
Notice that they had gathered at the temple... do you think it's significant that when he showed himself it was at his temple?
Video - Scripture Legacy - section on Christ's arrival in America
Video - Bible Video Sermon on the mount
You will remember that the Nephites were currently living the law of Moses. This law is a law of canal commandments and sacrifices. As we read of the doctrines that he teaches in the sermon on the mount compare it to the law of Moses and the differences in emphasis and principles.
3 Nephi 12 in its chiasmatic structure.
Divide the class into groups for each couplet - give each group 5 minutes to review and discuss the principles taught in each couplet, otherwise review/read as a class.
Read - Ponder - Share.
Blessed are ye if you give heed to the 12 and are baptized
3 Nephi 12:1-2, Compared to Mathew 5 - does not contain this couplet
Blessed are ye if give heed to the 12 he has chosen
To minister unto you and be your servants
What is being emphasized by these verses?
Do you think there is any significance in that this couplet isn't in the Mathew version?
What doctrine is taught concening the disciples? How are they supposed to lead?
Who is the most blessed as per these verses... and why?
Why do you think this is the case - what makes them more blessed?
What change to the individual is being requested/required of these verses?
You will note that Being baptized is the first thing that is mentioned - all the rest of the beatitudes that follow assume that the individual is a member.
Blessed are they that...
3 Nephi 12:3-9, Compared to Mathew 5:3-9 Notice the subtle differences in between them
Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven
They shall inherit the earth
They shall be filled with the Holy Ghost
they shall see god
They shall be called the children of God
Based upon the Chiasmatic structure there are some relations that may be of interest:
How do you think a person who comes unto Christ and a peacemaker relate?
How do you think those that moun and are pure in heart relate?
How do you think those that are meek and the merciful relate?
The central point of this is that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled with the Holy Ghost?
How does one hunger and thirst after righteousness? and why do you think they will be filled with the Holy Ghost? (How is one filled with the Holy Ghost? what must they do before they get that gift :))
What change to the individual is being requested/required of these verses?
Do the blessings promised match the required change in the individual? If so... why/how?
Persecution and Revile - Salt and light
3 Nephi 12:10-16, Compared to Mathew 5:10-16 Notice the subtle differences in between them
Blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name's sake
Why do you think this was added as a beatitude? - what persecutions do individuals have when they come unto Christ?1 Nephi 8:26-28
How can persecutions bring rewards to us in heaven?
Why do you think he is relating an individual who comes unto Christ and the prophets before them.
Be the salt of the earth
And glorify your father in heaven.
Notice how he is relating Salt/Light to the individual who has come unto Christ.
What characteristics attributes do they have that is similar to salt/light as described here?
How can salt lose its savor/taste? How can the light of a candle be hid?
Why do you think he uses two different senses - sight/taste to relate to the influence an individual can have?
The sermon changes from here on out - it is no longer talking about how blessed an individual is if they do this or that but rather it becomes a comparison of the old and the new law.
As we read some of these verses notice the difference in tone and behavior required of the convert in the new law.
Consider why this is important as we review these things.
3 Nephi 12:17-20 Compared to Mathew 5:17-20 Notice the differences in between them in some ways totally different.
Think not I have come to destroy the law or prophets
What is being emphasized in these verses?
What happens if we do not actually obey the commandments?
What type of change is required of the person to receive a remission of their sins?
How is this different than the Old testament law?
We'll talk more about the fulfillment of the law at the end of this lesson - and chapter 15
3 Nephi 12:21-26 Compare to Mathew 5:21-26 Notice the subtle difference in these verses
Ye have heard that it hath been said - thou shalt not kill
Why would he relate being angry with your brother to feeling that your brother is worthless or stupid?
Notice the phrase come unto me - or desire to come unto me.
Do you think that even before we desire to come unto him we need to reconcile ourselves to those who have offended/hurt us?
What does that teach us of the concept of forgiving all men?
Why do you think he added the portion about prison in this? Can we make money in prison to pay our debts? How is that like forgiving others who offend us?
3 Nephi 12:27-32 Compare to Mathew 5:27-32
In what way is this pertinent to our day and age? In what way do we look at individuals to lust after them? Is it only men?
How can we take up your cross and deny yourself of these things?
What is this doctrine of divorce? does it apply to us today?
By emulating the Master, who endured temptations but “gave no heed unto them,” D&C 20:22 we, too, can live in a world filled with temptations “such as [are] common to man” 1 Cor. 10:13 Of course Jesus noticed the tremendous temptations that came to him, but He did not process and reprocess them. Instead, He rejected them promptly. If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us! Tuning these unwanted lodgers away at the doorstep of the mind is one way of giving “no heed.” Besides, these would-be lodgers are actually barbarians who, if admitted, can be evicted only with great trauma. In a decaying environment, the mind is the last redoubt of righteousness, and it must be preserved even amid bombardment by evil stimuli. Christ is competent to see us through, “for in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted” Heb 2:18
Neal A Maxwell, 1987 Overcome... Evan as I also Overcame
“Nurture and cultivate your marriage. Guard it and work to keep it solid and beautiful. Divorce is becoming so common, even rampant, that studies show in a few years half of those now married will be divorced. It is happening, I regret to say, even among some who are sealed in the house of the Lord. Marriage is a contract, it is a compact, it is a union between a man and a woman under the plan of the Almighty. It can be fragile. It requires nurture and very much effort. I regret to acknowledge that some husbands are abusive, some are unkind, some are thoughtless, some are evil. They indulge in ponography and bring about situations which destroy them, destroy their families, and destroy the most sacred of all relationships.
Etenal Marriage student Manual
President James E. Faust
“What, then, might be ‘just cause’ for breaking the covenants of marriage? Over a lifetime of dealing with human problems, I have struggled to understand what might be considered ‘just cause’ for breaking of covenants. I confess I do not claim the wisdom or authority to definitively state what is ‘just cause.’ Only the parties to the marriage can determine this. They must bear the responsibility for the train of consequences which inevitably follows if these covenants are not honored. In my opinion, ‘just cause’ should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship which is destructive of a person’s dignity as a human being.
“At the same time, I have strong feelings about what is not provocation for breaking the sacred covenants of marriage. Surely it is not simply ‘mental distress’ or ‘personality differences’ or having ‘grown apart’ or having ‘fallen out of love.’ This is especially so where there are children” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 46; or Ensign, May 1993, 36–37).
Etenal Marriage student Manual
How does this fit with being a covenant people?
To Forswear is to: swear falsely, to commit perjury, to agree to do something without actually doing it.
Thus it is to covenant and not fulfill that covenant. Thus it supports the idea that we should be a covenant people :)
Furthermore, there was a tradition that if a lie was told without swearing that it was true it was ok to lie. This is of course incorrect. Should we need an oath to confirm that we are not lieing... no. we should be truthful in our communications one to another. Thus the idea that we don't need to swear at all to confirm that what we are saying is true.
Blood-Oath - by my life
The phrase used here is a life oath - as I live I will never retun without them - it was one of the strongest oaths in old testament times and was used to confirm a users words as true.
The Lord uses this type of oath in scriptures: Ezek 17:16,17:19, Jer 46:18, Num 14:28, Ezek 20:33, Rom 14:11, Zeph 2:9, D&C 32:1, Moses 7:60,
This was used again when speaking and talking with Zoram - 1 Nephi 4:32-33 - Zoram makes an Oath with them 1 Nephi 4:37
You will remember that at this time there was a law that a roman could force a jew to carry their pack for a mile.
this allowed a Roman soldier to conscript a Jewish native to carry his equipment for one Roman mile (milion = 1,000 paces, about 1,611 yards or 1,473 metres) no easy task considering a Roman soldier's backpack could weigh upwards of 100 pounds (45.4 kg).
Why are we to resist not evil? This does not mean that we shouldn't resist the temptations to do evil - but rather not react in vengeance against evil done to us! (Mormon 8:20-21
Should we not fight in wars?
“… When, therefore, constitutional law, obedient to these principles, calls the manhood of the Church into the armed service of any country to which they owe allegiance, their highest civic duty requires that they meet that call. If, hearkening to that call, and obeying those in command over them, they shall take the lives of those who fight against them, that will not make of them murderers” (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., and David O. McKay, in Conference Report, Apr. 1942, 92–94; also cited in Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, Apr. 1968, 34–35). First Presidency Statement on War.
Nephi did this as his brothers had just attempted to kill him (1 Nephi 7:21
) - how do we develop that type of forgiveness?
How can we overcome our own hatred and anger and let our offenses go and forgiven when they have purposefully been evil/mean/offensive/persecuted us etc.?
How much we have need of the application of this God-given principle and its companion principle, repentance, of which President Romney has so persuasively spoken. We see the need for it in the homes of the people, where tiny molehills of misunderstanding are fanned into mountains of argument. We see it among neighbors, where insignificant differences lead to undying bitteness. We see it in business associates who quarrel and refuse to compromise and forgive when, in most instances, if there were a willingness to sit down together and speak quietly one to another, the matter could be resolved to the blessing of all. Rather, they spend their days nurturing grudges and planning retribution.
I know of no more beautiful story in all literature than that found in the fifteenth chapter of Luke. It is the story of a repentant son and a forgiving father. It is the story of the son who wasted his inheritance in riotous living, rejecting his father’s counsel, spuning those who loved him. When he had spent all, he was hungry and friendless, and “when he came to himself” (Luke 15:17), he tuned back to his father, who, on seeing him afar off, “ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
Of you it is required to forgive - Ensign 1980 - Spencer W. Kimball
3 Nephi 12:46-48, 3 Nephi 15:1-10 Compare to Mathew 5:48
Therefore those things which were of old under the law
Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I
See chapter 15 for the saviors explanation of how/why the law has been fulfilled.
He is the one who gave the law to his people and covenanted with them in him it is fulfilled.
What is this covenant that he made with them? (The promise of etenal life)1 John 2:25
What is the covenant that he makes with us? (The promise of etenal life)D&C 88:4
,2 Nephi 31:18
To be Perfect is not to be Sinless, nor is it to never make mistakes the word perfect here is complete, fully formed, finished, completely converted:
Brothers Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert L. Millet: "We are perfect when we are whole, fully formed, finished. The word finished is most important here. We cannot through discipline and self-will be perfect in the sense that we are finished. We cannot conquer the flesh, overcome the trials and tribulations and sins of this world, on our own. We become finished only in and through Christ. Moroni explained that the Saints of God are ‘continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith’ (Moroni 6:4, italics added). In short, we become perfect, fully formed, finished, in Christ (Moroni 10:32). His grace is a divinely given enabling power, a sacred source of strength which enables us to accomplish what we could never accomplish, worlds without end, on our own. We become perfect in Christ to the degree that we trust perfectly in his infinite ability to make of us, now unworthy creatures, persons capable of and comfortable with celestial society. In speaking of that celestial glory, the revelation attests: ‘These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood’ (D&C 76:69, italics added)." (Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 4:78)
The teachings of Jesus Christ in the sermon on the mount and the initial discourse given to the people in the America's is a blueprint/patten for an individual to be perfected in Christ. It is the path by which an individual accepts Jesus Christ, is Baptized by one having authority, receives the Holy Ghost and begins the process of sanctification and justification. Wherein the individual is changed/converted and becomes a son/daughter of God having no disposition to do evil but rather to do good continually. These qualities as enumerated in these verses are the qualities that all true disciples of Jesus Christ will strive to obtain, that they may be like their master and receive a remission of their sins.