Christ’s Sermon at Bountiful
Christ’s Sermon at Bountiful
10 Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you and to be your servants. And unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the holy ghost. Therefore, blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized after that ye have seen me and know that I am. And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility, and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the holy ghost and shall receive a remission of their sins. Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the holy ghost. And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God. And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. And blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake, for ye shall have great joy and be exceeding glad, for great shall be your reward in Heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.
11 Verily, verily I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth, but if the salt shall lose its savor, wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men. Verily, verily I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Therefore, let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill; for verily I say unto you, one jot nor one tittle hath not passed away from the law but in me it hath all been fulfilled.
12 And behold, I have given unto you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you and the law is fulfilled. Therefore, come unto me and be ye saved. For verily I say unto you that except ye shall keep my commandments which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God. But I say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council, and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hellfire. Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, go thy way unto thy brother and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart and I will receive you. Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him, lest at any time he shall get thee and thou shalt be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence until thou hast paid the uttermost senine. And while ye are in prison, can ye pay even one senine? Verily, verily I say unto you, nay.
13 Behold, it is written by them of old time that thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart, for it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell. It hath been written that whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. Verily, verily I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery. And again it is written, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths; but verily, verily I say unto you, swear not at all, neither by Heaven, for it is God’s throne, nor by the earth, for it is his footstool, neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white, but let your communication be, Yea, yea, nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these are evil. And behold, it is written, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and to him that would borrow of thee, turn thou not away. And behold, it is written also that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; but behold, I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father who is in Heaven, for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good. Therefore, those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled. Old things are done away and all things have become new. Therefore, I would that ye should be perfect, even as I or your Father who is in Heaven is perfect.
14 Verily, verily I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor, but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise, ye have no reward of your Father who is in Heaven. Therefore, when ye shall do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not do as the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye, therefore, like unto them, for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him. After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Moreover, when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
15 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness. No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them, Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore, I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat? And the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you if ye are not of little faith. Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take, therefore, no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.
2 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he turned again to the multitude and did open his mouth unto them again, saying, Verily, verily I say unto you, judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye, and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again, and rend you.
3 Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh, receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in Heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.
4 Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat; because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns? Or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.
5 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
6 Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man who built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
The sermon delivered by Christ is the foundation of how man ought to relate to fellow-man. It is the pattern on which it becomes possible to dwell in peace with one another. It is the groundwork for Zion.
We need to look at this sermon as the guideline for changing our internal lives, so we may become a fit and proper resident with others who are Saints. Even Saints will give inadvertent offenses. Even Saints will disappoint one another from time to time. To become “one” in the sense required for redeeming a people and restoring them again to Zion is beyond any person’s reach if they cannot internalize this sermon.
The purpose of this sermon…is designed to change you. You need to become something different, something higher, something more holy. That will require you to reexamine your heart, your motivations, and your thoughts. It will require you to take offenses and deliberately lay them down without retaliation. When you do, you become someone who can live in peace with others. Living in peace with others is the rudimentary beginning of Zion. It will not culminate in a City set on the hilltop until there is a population worthy of dwelling in the high places, in peace, without poor among them. (OC Genesis 4:14; LE Moses 7:17-18.)
Christ’s sermon is not merely a description of what kind of person He is. It is a description of what kind of person will qualify to live with Him. (NC Luke 7:4; LE Luke 9:23.)
The way Christ lived His life gives Him the right to teach us all what we need to do in order to be saved. He understood because He lived these principles.
He “looks upon” each of us because we can all live these teachings. Adding a little at a time, bit by bit, precept by precept, we can all live them. Not in a rush, but deliberately and with appropriately measuring each of life’s events against His teachings as they come to us.
We are capable of much more than we think.
In fact, we are capable doing and being everything He has been teaching us. He hasn’t given this talk to govern the lives of some special, small group of distant icons. They were meant to be the means for healthy living. They are how we are supposed to deal with one another.
Remember them. Then live them. He will “raise you up” not only in the last day, but each day as you have His Spirit to be with you.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
This was a favorite quote from President Kimball. It really puts Christ’s followers on notice that confessing with the lips with no accompanying action to obey Him will not allow anyone into the kingdom of heaven.
Calling Christ “Lord, Lord” will accomplish nothing. There will be those who claim they are “of Christ” but who are no better than the liars, thieves and whoremongers. (D&C 76:99-104.) It is not a “brand name” to associate with. It is a Teacher to follow.
Christ teaches the will of the Father. Conforming to the will of the Father is required to “enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Confession without conformity to His will is worse than meaningless. It is evidence that you are superstitious and foolish. You want Christ as a magic talisman, to be invoked to control the outcome of your life. But you do not want to honor Him by doing as He teaches. You do not want to live as He would want you to live. You do not want to surrender your sins and seek after truth and light.
The simple life which Christ describes in this sermon is how we are to conform to His will. We have taken it bit by bit to examine how living that life should be accomplished. This is the blueprint for understanding the Lord and meeting Him. It is not intended to cause pride, but to provoke repentance. It is the means by which we can know Him.
As the sermon is ending, He reminds those present that calling out to Him and honoring Him with the title of “Lord” will never be enough. You must do as He taught.
There is no other way.
The path is identical for everyone.
The symmetry of Christ’s sermon is astonishing. The closing call to follow Him is unmistakably sobering. It is not enough to sit in an audience honoring Him by showing brief attention to His talk. The talk must become alive in you.
Christ is elevating the Law of Moses by raising the expectation for human conduct. He moves from mere outward conduct into the inner soul of the man. You are not doing as you should if all you do is refrain from killing. Instead, you need to remove anger.
The prior obligation (“said by them of old”) focused only on your conduct, now it is your motivation.
You can judge another based on conduct. They either do or do not do something. The conduct is observable, and therefore capable of being judged. Now, however, Christ moves the battleground inside a person. It is now in the heart. On such terrain as that, man is incapable of knowing, and therefore, of judging.
We are not to be angry with our brother because that is the beginning of a whole sequence of events, the culmination of which may be killing. Before killing, however, there are other troubles and offenses along the way. Anger leads to abuse. It leads to discourtesy, dishonesty, and cheating. It justifies miserable conduct because you think it right to give offenses to another. It corrodes relationships and makes society sick.
If you can prevent this at the heart, you can heal society. Refrain from letting offenses turn into anger. Deal with them inside, showing forgiveness and compassion.
The terms “Raca” and “fool” are derisive names. Christ is saying that applying derisive names to others is wrong, even damning. He is not preventing you from identifying foolishness. He often spoke of fools and foolishness. (See, e.g., Matt. 23: 17, 19; Matt. 25: 2-8; Luke 12: 20; Luke 24: 25-after His resurrection; and 2 Nephi 29: 4,6.) He would even use the term “foolish” in this same sermon. (3 Nephi 14: 26.) So it is not at all inappropriate to use the term “fool” or “foolish” when discussing foolishness. What is wrong it to regard your fellow man with derision and use terms of derision to describe them.
Remember how often great souls have interceded for their fellow man…intercession for your fellow man, including those who give offense to you, is one of the hallmarks of the saved soul.
It is not the difficulty of the teaching, but the difficulty of the implementation which keeps people bound in darkness.
Your relationship with your fellow man defines your relationship with the Father. Your kindness towards others establishes the conditions of His ability to give kindness to you.
This is how the world can be redeemed. This is how Zion will be brought again. It will be the Lord’s doing, because it will be through following His commandments that people can be prepared. Those who will participate will necessarily need to heed His commandments. If they do, there will be no poor among them. They will be of one mind and one heart, because they will share the same vision of how to live. They will give one another what they would like to receive, and the result will be the return of a society that has rarely existed on this earth. Heaven can guide and teach us how it is to be done. But we must do it.
Even if no one else will live this principle, you can. If you do, the Lord is able to “take up His abode with you” and even bring you to the Father. (NC John 9:8; LE John 14:23.) Not in some distant time, nor merely “in your heart.” It is literal. (LE D&C 130:3.)
Devotion to [Christ] requires that what you do, say, and think be aligned with Him. Conversion is a progressive process where you develop to be more like Him throughout life. You can’t just “get a testimony” and then not be completely converted to Him. He expects to completely remake you. This sermon is the blueprint for the new creation you are to become.
This Sermon [at Bountiful] is first a description of Him.
It is also a description of His disciples.
It is a formula for returning to His presence.
It is the basis for the coming Zion.