Introduction: Good Morning, my name is Samuel Allen. I was called to serve in the Madagascar, Antananarivo mission speaking Malagasy. A few things that I have learned about Madagascar, it is situated off the southeast coast of Africa. It is the world’s fourth largest island, and is about the size of Texas. 80 percent of the islands animals are found only in Madagascar. 60 percent of the worlds vanilla is produced in Madagascar. Even though I will be teaching the gospel in the language Malagasy, French is also spoken by most of the people in the main cities. I will probably be eating rice with every meal. It is the furthest mission away from church headquarters in Salt Lake City. there are 22 million people in Madagascar and 10 thousand of them are members of the church. I will be leaving this Wednesday to the Provo MTC.
Topic: I was asked to speak to you today on how faith and repentance prepares us for baptism.
The first thing that came to my mind on this topic was the Fourth Article of Faith, it reads, “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
One important thing to take in account from this verse is the order of each step, first you must have faith in the lord Jesus Christ and in his atonement before, second repentance. If you don’t have a testimony of a god the father the events that took place in the Garden and upon the cross, then how can repentance be a true and as meaningful of an experience as it should be. Not having faith in the teachings and doctrines of the gospel makes the actions and ordinances lose purpose.
But most people would say that they can’t just rely on faith in their lives. That it is too much of an open ended response without an answer to the real question asked. Well that is somewhat true…
Dieter F. Uchtdorfs thoughts on this topic were, and I quote, “If you cannot muster faith right now, begin with hope. If you cannot say you know God is there, you can hope he is. You can desire to believe. That is enough to start. Then, acting on that hope, reach out to Heavenly Father. God will extend his love toward you, and his work of rescue and transformation will begin. Over time, you will recognize his hand in your life. You will feel his love. And desire to walk in his light and follow his way will grow with every step of faith you take.” end quote.
Maybe faith can be good enough. How would you know without trying it? But faith is a seed; you cannot just plant it. You need to give it some attention, and make the effort to see what it has to offer. If you do it will grow, your mind will open up, and you will start to understand. You won’t be able to describe it but you will feel it. The love and wisdom of Christ will come to you if you are willing to seek it out. Then faith will become something that you can rely on in your life.
Uchtdorf also said, and I quote, “We call the steps of faith obedience. We are created by the almighty God. He is our heavenly father. We are literally his spirit children, and thus we carry within ourselves the substance of divinity. Here on earth however it is hard to be obedient. Our thoughts and actions become encumbered with that which is corrupt, unholy, and impure. The dust and filth of the world stain our souls, making it difficult to recognize and remember our birthright and purpose. But all this cannot change who we truly are. The moment we choose to incline our hearts to our beloved Savior and set foot upon the path of discipleship, something miraculous happens. the love of God fills our hearts, the light of truth fills our minds, we start to lose the desire to sin, and we do not want to walk any longer in darkness.” end quote.
The power of sin is great. To become free from it, we must turn to our Heavenly Father, pray in faith, and act as He asks us to. Satan may try to convince us that we are not worthy to pray—that our Father in Heaven is so displeased with us that He will never hear our prayers. This is a lie. Our Father in Heaven is always ready to help if we will come to Him with a repentant heart. He has the power to heal us and to help us triumph over sin.
Repentance is an act of faith in Jesus Christ—an acknowledgment of the power of His Atonement. We can be forgiven only on His terms. As we gratefully recognize His Atonement and His power to cleanse us from sin, we are able to “exercise [our] faith unto repentance”
Repentance is one of the first principles of the gospel and is essential to our temporal and eternal happiness. It is much more than just acknowledging wrongdoings. It is a change of mind and heart that gives us a fresh view about God, about ourselves, and about the world. It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness. It is motivated by love for God and the sincere desire to obey His commandments.
There is an analogy about refining silver and how Jesus Christ is compared to a refiner’s fire. It is an interesting way to look at the role Christ has in our repentance process. It Reads, “The process of refining silver. A silversmith, holds a piece of silver over the fire and lets it heat up. He explains that in refining silver, one needs to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are hottest so as to burn away all the worthless dross, which are the impurities found in the metal.
This can relate to the things that God expects us to endure, we are all held in the hottest part of the fire sometimes, this is when life seems most tough and hard to handle but in reality it is the best way for us to learn and grow. The silversmith has to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver is being refined. He not only has to sit there holding the silver, but he has to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. Sometimes we don’t have a choice to how long a trial will last in our lives. Trials and temptations are good for us to experience but if we linger in the flames too long without changing our attitude and course, we can be destroyed just like the silver. Having faith that the lord knows how much we can endure is what allows us to be refined. If we follow his plan and use his atonement in our lives we can eliminate the impurities, we all have.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, and I quote, “The Savior is like a refiner. His mission is to cleanse, purify, and refine the human soul so that it can return to his father’s kingdom in purity, free from dross.” end quote.
How do we know when the silver is fully refined? A silversmith would answer, “when I see my image reflected in it." How do we know when we are fully repented and purified? Christ would answer the same as the silversmith, “when he can see his reflection in us.”
Baptism is a sacred ordinance that pushes us one step further towards eternal happiness with our father in heaven. Going back to the fourth article of faith you must have first faith in the lord Jesus Christ and second repentance; before third, becoming baptized.
25 And the first fruit of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling of the commandments; and the fulfilling of the commandments bringeth remission of sins;
26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which is a Comforter filled with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.
Baptism is an important part in the plan, it is the key through the gate. If we promise to stay true to our covenant and try our best to be reflections of Christ, then we will be blessed. Baptism prepares us to receive the gift of the holy ghost also known as the spirit, who is a comforter, a testifier of truth, and a companion that helps us endure to the end.
I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to study, prepare, and talk about this topic with you today, I can’t wait to do this on my mission. It is definitely the best way for someone to understand a topic. I will be living in Madagascar for two years, it will be a completely different place with people that live completely different lifestyles then we do here.
There are so many different cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles in the world. They are all full of great people with amazing personalities. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to gain relationships with people that have different thoughts on life then me and the directions to take in it. It has helped me gain a wider perspective and an open mind. That is one thing that I love about the gospel. It doesn’t detract from your personality or interests it only enhances the good. It fills in gaps, it adds the missing pieces of the puzzle we all lack, and answers the questions that we all want to know. I am grateful and excited that I get to go to Madagascar and serve the people there. I know that missionary work is not a plan to change the little things in people that make us all unique. It is a plan to bring together people of all backgrounds and personalities. I can feel that there are people in Madagascar that I am meant to meet, and gain eternal relationships with. I have a testimony and a love for the gospel. (Short Thanks) I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.
Jessica Allen and Kenz Hall practice run
I Will Not Be Still
accompanied by Mike Anderson