Thursday, March 22, 2007

Talk on Hope in Christ

Hope in Christ
An Anchor to the Soul, Sure and Steadfast


I was asked to help put together some of my thoughts on Hope in Christ because my wife's uncle was giving a talk. As I thought about hope in Christ I thought of many different ways that hope plays a role in our spiritual lives. So I will express some of my thoughts and findings on hope but there are many other aspects of hope in Christ.

4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with asurety bhope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which chope cometh of dfaith, maketh an eanchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in fgood works, being led to gglorify God. (Ether 12:4)
I feel that this scripture in and of itself explains hope in Christ in its truest form. There is so much in this scripture and so I would like to further analyze this scripture.

First, belief in God brings a hope of a better world.

I believe that all men have a desire within him to return to that being that gave him life. Satan is trying his hardest to prevent the human family from being acquainted with our Father in Heaven. Joseph Smith said,

"What is the object of our coming into existence then dying and falling away to be here no more? This is a subject we ought to study more than any other, which we ought to study day and night... If we have any claim on our heavenly father for any thing it is for knowledge on this important subject (Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph)."
We have a right to know for ourselves that God exists and that he is our Father. Once we know Him and are more acquainted with Him then we have a right to know why we are here, and where we are going after this life. As our relationship with our Father in Heaven and His only begotten son even Jesus Christ grows, than our hope for a better life is greater and greater.

Second, Hope cometh of faith

David A Bednar teaches us in his talk, Seek Learning by Faith:
Faith in Christ is inextricably tied to and results in hope in Christ for our redemption and exaltation. And assurance and hope make it possible for us to walk to the edge of the light and take a few steps into the darkness—expecting and trusting the light to move and illuminate the way (see Boyd K. Packer, "The Candle of the Lord, " Ensign, Jan. 1983, 54). The combination of assurance and hope initiates action in the present.
Faith as the evidence of things not seen looks to the past and confirms our trust in God and our confidence in the truthfulness of things not seen. We stepped into the darkness with assurance and hope, and we received evidence and confirmation as the light in fact moved and provided the illumination we needed. The witness we obtained after the trial of our faith (see Ether 12:6) is evidence that enlarges and strengthens our assurance.
Assurance, action, and evidence influence each other in an ongoing process. This helix is like a coil, and as it spirals upward it expands and grows wider. These three elements of faith—assurance, action, and evidence—are not separate and discrete; rather, they are interrelated and continuous and cycle upward. And the faith that fuels this ongoing process develops and evolves and changes. As we again turn and face forward toward an uncertain future, assurance leads to action and produces evidence, which further increases assurance. Our confidence waxes stronger, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little… (Seek Learning by Faith, February 3, 2006)"
I love how Bednar explains hope and faith tied to action and evidence.

Moroni continues to instruct us on hope and faith in Ether 12:6:

6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that afaith is things which are bhoped for and cnot seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no dwitness until after the etrial of your faith.
This hope and faith requires action on our parts. I remember when I was in 8th grade and I wanted to make the 9th basketball team and so that summer I would go to YMCA practically from open to close and practice. I knew that just hoping would not get me on the team, but my hope of making the team caused me to take actions that would allow me the opportunity to make the team. I did make the team but I worked my tail off in the meantime. Hope and faith work the same way. We must be willing to take action and progress and then our hope and faith will be sufficient to be tried of the Lord and if we endure it well we will gain a witness even like unto Nephi:

15 But behold, the Lord hath aredeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his bglory, and I am encircled about eternally in the carms of his dlove (2 Nephi 1:15).

Third, Hope maketh an anchor to our souls, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in fgood works, being led to gglorify God.

I feel that this is the crowning effect of great hope. I love the use of the word, anchor. defines it as, “any of various devices dropped by a chain, cable, or rope to the bottom of a body of water for preventing or restricting the motion of a vessel or other floating object, typically having broad, hooklike arms that bury themselves in the bottom to provide a firm hold.” Our hope can literally become an anchor that prevents us from moving one way or another.
Joseph Smith tells us about this hope that acts as an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast.
Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heirs with Him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. (Teachings, pp. 149-151.)
Robert D. Hales in Conference Oct 2000 talks about true conversion which leads to such faith as has been mentioned.
"The scriptures confirm that the truly converted do more than just forsake the enticements of the world. They love God and their fellowmen. Their minds and hearts are centered on the Savior's atoning sacrifice. From the moment of their respective conversions, Enos, Alma the Younger, Paul, and others turned wholeheartedly to the task of bringing themselves and their fellowmen to God. Worldly power and possessions lost their former significance. The sons of Mosiah refused an earthly kingdom and risked their lives for the sake of others. These faithful sons were driven by the hope that they might be able to help save even one soul--thus winning for themselves and their brethren a place in God's eternal kingdom.
Joseph Smith said, “Never cease striving till you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief, and nothing can prevent you from coming to God (Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph)."
If this is not enough, Spencer W Kimball said,
“Why will only a few reach exaltation in the celestial kingdom? Not because it was not available to them, not because they did not know of its availability, not because the testimony was not given to them, but because they would not put forth the effort to pattern their lives and make them like the Savior's life and establish them so well that there would be no deviation until the end.
There are … many members of the Church who are lax and careless and who continually procrastinate. They live the gospel casually but not devoutly. They have complied with some requirements but are not valiant. They do no major crime but merely fail to do the things required-things like paying tithing, living the Word of Wisdom, having family prayers, fasting, attending meetings, serving. …
… The Lord will not translate one's good hopes and desires and intentions into works. Each of us must do that for himself. …
Only the valiant will be exalted and receive the highest degree of glory, hence "many are called, but few are chosen."
We must do better, we must draw closer to our Savior, even Jesus Christ, and continue in the faith until we have obtained the faith and hope sufficient unto salvation. I testify that we can follow these teachings and if we do the blessings and powers of heaven will rest upon you and you will have greater hope in Christ than ever before. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.