GospelEssentials

Gospel essentials is a compilation of lessons and scripture taught at the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, now also known as the Community of Christ.


Class NotesClassnotesImage

Since many have missed class and asked.....here it is!  Direct and unedited from my word processor.......click here for an unabridged look at the teachers notes from week to week.  The files are named by date. Several weeks' classes may be contained in one set of notes--the date indicates the day these notes were started. 

Best of all, you can Now Listen to Each Class over the Internet.   Just click on the 'Class Notes' link to read notes and hear class at the same time.

 

Class Notes from Graceland Missionary Reunion 2003

This list provides the powerpoint presentation as well as notes from the two-day class on Grace and Works.


Former Study Topic

We studied the Entire Book of Mormon, cover to cover over the last year.  

Class notes cover the discussion, with many of them also available via internet audio.  See class notes to study the Book of Mormon as we did this year. (Click here to read the Entire RLDS 1908 Book of Mormon on-line).

Book of  Mormon Summary 

Improve your Study Skills

Book of Mormon Assignment Sections

Book of Mormon Plates and Their Sources


The True Plan of Salvation

The Plan of Salvation...In Two Minutes!

A summary of the essence of the plan of salvation.  

Read this and in two minutes you'll know more than 90% of the rest of the world about the True Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Saved By...What?????

What does salvation 'by Grace' really mean?  What did Paul really mean when he compared grace and works?  It might not mean what you've been hearing on the radio...

...Then why does 'Alone' still appear in Romans 3:28?

Reading the paper 'Saved By..." we learn that  Martin Luther added the word 'alone' to Romans 3:28 (German Bible), implying that we are saved by only the element of faith.  But Joseph Smith included this word 'alone' in the Inspired Version of the Bible too.  What the world misses is that the text does not say that 'salvation' comes by faith (alone), but 'justification' comes by faith alone. 

What is spiritual justification, and how does 'faith alone' fit in? 

Grace and....Works?

Why all the contention about 'Grace and Works.' Was this really a conflict in Paul's day? What did the scriptures really mean by 'Grace' and what did they mean by 'Works.' Some say Paul continued to keep the Mosaic Law after his conversion to Christianity. Is this true? This paper helps shed some scriptural light on these questions and more.

 

Can a person 'fall from Grace'?

Can a person who makes a covenant with Christ fall away from it?  Many modernists say one can not.  What did the writers of scripture say?

 

Why do I have to be Baptized?

Adam asked the question. God gave a straight forward response. Jesus gave commandment.  Paul taught it. Here it is.

RLDSQuickClickRepent, bapt (Reveals how baptism and repentance are linked)

 

All Things New

What did Jesus mean when He said 'All things have become new?'  For one, It points to the difference between valid and invalid baptism.  If you don't know the difference, read on....

 

Further Study on Baptism

A brief restoration perspective on the covenant of Baptism, added as an addendum to earlier class notes. Are little children under this commandment?  Do I have to know and understand everything before I can be baptized?

 

The King James Version and Baptism

Isn't it just the Inspired Version of the Bible that teaches we must follow Christ and be baptized by immersion?  Find out here what the King James version has to say about baptism.

 

The King James Version and Works

The King James Bible doesn't couple works with salvation, does it?  Why would so many radio preachers say works don't matter?  What does the King James say about our works in this life?  Read on.

 

Twenty Facts about Grace and Works

A few key points to remember and clarify regarding the the issue of Grace and Works

 

Summary of Grace and Works

This paper was the summary from a two-day class on Grace and Works at Graceland's family missionary reunion during June 2003.  The whole series of notes from the classes can be obtained here.


The Restoration

Why a "Restoration?"  The Gospel of Jesus Christ was the plan of Salvation from the beginning of time.  The gospel and bible was changed in the hands of men through the ages, but God's plan would not leave the world in darkness.  These handouts  help show how and why the Restoration occurred.

 If you ever wonder why 'Restoration' was needed...

Get a wide glimpse of just what happened a few years into Catholicism in the 16th century....... See a Picture.

 

What did the Reformers Say?

Prior to the restoration of the Gospel, many famous torch-bearers for Christ lived to teach Christianity to mankind.  Did these 'reformers' claim to have restored the Gospel?  Did they preach that no more light and truth would come to mankind?  Read a short summary here.

 

 What did the Prophets Say?

The primary message of all the prophets was this:  God's plan from the beginning was that Christ would come and be the sacrifice for the sin of mankind.  While some Christians miss this important understanding, the scriptures are clear that Jesus was known of and preached by all the prophets since Adam.  Find out just what they had to say. 

See also Did the Old Testament Prophesy of Jesus?

 

 Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story

In Joseph Smiths own words.  A wonderful account of his visions, and the restoration of the Gospel, and the re-establishment of the Church in the Last Days. 

 

The Grove Experience....and Critics' Logic

While critics have attempted to cast a shadow on Joseph Smith's grove experience, applying their reasoning to Christian history causes the fallacies of their arguments to quickly fade.

 

 What was 'Restored' by the 'Restoration'?

Not an exhaustive list, but some spiritual food for thought illustrating many plain and precious truths of the plan of salvation, made clear in the restoration.  The plan put forth in the latter days was simply the plan from the day Adam took his first breath. 


The Church

 Ten Book of Mormon Facts about Jesus' Church

What is the Church?  The Body of Christ.  How do we know the body of Christ, or the members of His church?

Ten concise points, each supported by clearly stated scripture, define in no uncertain terms, who and what Jesus church is... 

WordsFromTheDustImage

The Church--(by Jim Robbins)

A handout prepared by a spiritual mentor to many, this is one of the late Jim Robbin's handouts on the Restored church, known among men as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

 

Jesus' Priesthood

Jesus established His church, and a priesthood structure to maintain its purpose and existence on earth.  What was the structure in Jesus day?  Does it exist today?  Read here to find out.

 

The Priesthood and Genetics

Little did the world know in the 1830's, how Joseph Smith's words regarding the transfer of priesthood would be verified in the 20th century....by genetics! 


Doctrine

Was the Inspired Version a Revision or Revelation?

A few simple comparisons of the Inspired Version of the Bible and the King James, showing that perhaps the Inspired Version is everything it claims to be--written by inspiration from God. 

 RAPTURE....What is the REAL 'Rapture' discussed by the Bible?

It has been said that 50% of the world's Christians subscribe to some type of belief in a latter-day 'Rapture'--the literal whisking away of the good people from the earth to heaven, sparing them the earth's tribulation of the last days.   

Does the Bible really teach this?  Read here to learn the simple truth about the real 'gathering' of God's elect in the latter days....and find out who's really gonna be 'Left Behind.'

More Rapture Problems...

Did The Old Testament Prophesy of Jesus?

Critics have condemned the Book of Mormon for its teaching of Jesus and the Plan of Salvation prior to Jesus birth.

This paper is for them....and anyone else w ho hasn't read about Jesus in the Old Testament.  An expanded look at the previous paper What did the Prophets Say? , this study reveals over 50 Old Testament references to Jesus, His doctrine, and Plan of Salvation.

Was Doctrine and Covenants Section 76 Describing Eternity.....or The Millenium?

For over a generation, Saints have perhaps been to quick to assume DC 76 describes conditions and places of Eternity. But the revelation came because of a key question: "Tell us concerning the Resurrection of the Just and the Resurrection of the UnJust."

The revelation answered that question, but upon deeper study, the answer may suprise you, and not be what you have always 'heard.'


Covenants and Judgments

Granted According to our.....Desires!

The plain message of Christ--you ultimately get what you want!  If you desire good--you're rewarded for good.  If you desire evil...well, you get what you desire.  Read more in this class handout.

Desires, Heart

 

Judged According to our.....Works!

Another plain message of Christ--judgment comes from works done in this body, salvation comes by Jesus laying down his life (the meaning of Grace).   Some say that Grace and Works conflict.   Is that what Jesus said?  Read more in this class handout. 

Judge, Work

 

If people tell me that all I have to do is believe, then why do the scriptures teach us to DO so many things?

If believing is 'all there is to it for salvation...' then why did James say that '...The devils believe...and tremble!...'?  

Read here how the scriptures teach that truly believing requires the believer to truly DO.

 

What Happens When I STILL do......Stupid Things?

An honest question in class one day prompted the following handout.  God's arm is extended to those who repent.  Find how forgiving our Heavenly Father is, and how He offers forgiveness and longs to welcome us back. 

 

 What is the Holy Ghost?

This handout presents a topical study of the Holy Ghost--the most important gift a human can have in this life.  What is it?  How does one get it?  Why was it given?  What can we do with it?  Why is it necessary?  What happens to those who have it and follow it?  What happens to those who have it and deny it? 


The Atonement

Who Does the Atonement Cover?

While the Hebrew meaning of the word "Atone" literally means "to cover", we find that scripture teaches the Christ's blood literally covered our sins.  The sacrifices under the Law of Moses symbolized the ultimate Sacrifice that only the Son of God could fulfill.  

But if God is a "just" God, why do so many churches teach that if you never heard of Jesus, you'll die and be away from God forever?  Is this justice?  Use this handout to find one of the most beautiful parts of God's original gospel, whose meaning has been made clear in the latter days.  There is hope for those who've never heard...

Atone


Life Applications

Simple scriptural summaries showing how to simply live better! 

Two Paths to Obedience

Two vivid Book of Mormon examples point out the choice and consequence that faces us all:  obedience through submission or obedience through suffering. Read on to determine which path you are on...

Attitudes make an Eternal Difference

A pointed contrast between two famous biblical people:  Enoch and Cain.  See how profoundly a little thing like "attitude" can profoundly affect ones destiny.

 

Things that Covenant People Do…

In his speech at the Feast of Tabernacles, King Benjamin clearly and poignantly describes the attributes of truly born again covenant people.

 

How to Make Your Life Perfectly......Miserable

For Teens......Good advice you DON'T want to take....

 

 The gospel is like a map to the ocean....

A personal tribute to God...and some close friends, whose roads all crossed recently....

 

 40 Qualities of Godly Men

Writers within the Book of Mormon describe not only heroic mens' actions, but also their values.  Skim a snapshot of a few values these men possessed.  It's a good guide for personal self-improvement. 

 

And Speaking of 'Life,' just when does life begin ? 

In the act of neo-natal surgery, on an unborn infant reaches from its mother's womb, and tells the world (and its surgeon) with a 'Hand of Hope' that God had already blessed it with Life.  Click here to read a story and view a photograph that sings the blessed praises of God.

 

You Say...God Says...

What God says He'll do when we say 'we can't.'  (Author unknown)


BookOfMormonTemple

Book of Mormon

(Almost) Everything on

(Under initial construction).

Historical, archeological, spiritual proof of the Book of Mormon's authenticity.  Also, a collection of study helps, including summaries and timelines.  

This link will open a new page full of truth which also counters objections purported by anti-Book of Mormon critics.  Rebuttals and responses dispelling false and shallow accusations.  

WordsFromTheDust


Life After Death

What Happens When I Die?

The ultimate purpose of God sending the Messiah was to thwart the ultimate consequence of sin--permanent spiritual death for mankind.  

Death, whether temporal or spiritual is a separation:  temporal death is the separation of our spirit from our body, spiritual death is the separation of our spirit from God.  The scriptures provide the answers to this compelling question:  "What happens when I die?"  The Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants are in agreement regarding the answer, and an outline of much of what they say is in this handout. 


Priesthood Helps

Public Ministry

30 Sermon Do's and Don'ts

While we are always to be 'led by the Spirit' in preaching, there are many things the human in us can do (or not do), to allow God's Spirit to direct us to the fullest when providing public ministry.

 

Home Ministry

Home ministry is not 'cold call' missionary door knocking, but the basic spiritual maintenance of the congregation.  Read some testimonies, facts, and other information designed to bolster our efforts at meeting the spiritual, emotional and even social needs of God's church. 

 

When You Feel Like Shrinking from your Duty...

Read a real testimony of a Teacher in the 1830's who lived up to his priesthood calling and made a home visit...to Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma.  This quick story teaches an enduring lesson to remember when you feel like shrinking from your duty...

 

Comparing Home Ministry to Communion

What would a communion service be like if the priesthood didn't serve anyone in the congregation the sacrament until 'he received inspiration from Heaven..', or what if there wasn't an orderly method to make sure every member was served during the service--priesthood would just wander through the congregation at will serving people, hoping (or not caring) that everyone else also received the sacrament...

Sounds strange, doesn't it?  We wouldn't ever allow such a thing in our sacrament services, right?  But that is nearly the parallel that exists if we don't have order to our home visiting ministry.  The following is not a handout, but portions of a letter that helped bring this need into focus.

A Few Points to Ponder

Nephi was commended in his work for being 'unwearying' in his endeavor for the Lord.  Are we worthy of the same commendation?    Read a few points that can encourage us to the same life of service for Him.

 

Ten Rules Governing Home Ministry

Keeping these in your mind will keep His Spirit in your heart when you go to witness for Him.

 

Seven Things Home Ministers should Never Do...

The title says it all.....

 

Eight Keys to Effective Communication During Home Ministry (...and always)

More truth...

 

A Parting Thought on Home Ministry

One more excerpt from a letter encouraging those who met challenges in reaching their home ministry goals.. 


The Law of Moses

God made a covenant with Abraham that the Messiah would be born to his lineage, via descendants known as the House of Israel.  The House of Israel were God's people according to the covenant, but in the days of Moses were very disobedient and lost sight of the truth of the Messiah to come.  Since these Israelites hand become stiffnecked and idolatrous, and since God was still depending upon them to be around many generations later to actually give birth to this Messiah (Jesus), they were appointed a law of 613 do's and dont's, called the Law of Moses, to govern every aspect of their lives.  What was the point of the Law?  It was an entire type and shadow of Jesus himself--every aspect of the Law was a symbol of Christ.  

Did the Israelites understand this?  For the most part, no.  In fact, not then or now.  Back then, they didn't realize that when Christ died on the cross, the Law was fulfilled and over--not required to be followed any more.  Many today still stumble at this understanding.  The following handouts serve as an introduction to the subject from the Book of Mormon and New Testament's perspective.

The handouts below parallel each other and should be studied together.

 

The New Testament and the Law of Moses.

Learn what New Testament writers said about this Law, the Law of Moses, that their people had heeded for generations.  Even while Jesus was alive, they didn't understand that the passover lambs they had slain for generations (required by the Law) were just pointers to Christ.  It started to make sense to them after Jesus was gone, but for this understanding, most paid the price with their lives.  The Jews of the day just would not hear that the Law was done away and accomplished.  In the New Testament, Paul & others often refer to the Law of Moses as simple "The Law" because is was so common place in their day.  

Also, references to "works" in the New Testament were usually referring to requirements of the old law of Moses (613 do's & dont's), which was done away.  In our haste to usually skip over the Old Testament, modern Christianity has overlooked that most New Testament references to "works" are dealing with the obsolete Law of Moses--they have nothing to do with the WORKS done in the body by which we will be judged.  Many Christians today stumble at these scriptures, incorrectly concluding that "there's nothing I have to do, because 'works' don't count.....".  An in-depth treatise will be provided here eventually, but this handout is for starters. 

The Law  ;  Law, Moses

The Book of Mormon and the Law of Moses

Of all the plain and precious facts the Book of Mormon makes crystal clear, none are spoken so clearly and concisely as it's message on the Law of Moses.  The message can not be misunderstood--the Law of Moses was abolished by Christ himself--he even says so in the Book of  Mormon.  This paper does not deal with every scripture on the Law of Moses in the Book of Mormon (please feel free to use the scripture search program to study it in more detail:  start with a Book of Mormon scripture search on the words "Law, Moses."), but it gives a solid understanding of this important message.

As a sidebar, remember that the important role of the Book of Mormon will be to bring people of the Original House of Israel (Jews and others) to a knowledge of the truth about Jesus Christ.  What better way to do this than to help them understand clearly, as the Book of Mormon does, that the purpose of the Law has been accomplished, and they they need not look any more for another Messiah to come.

Law, Moses  (See what the B.o.M. had to say on 'The Law")

 

Did Paul REALLY Practice the Law of Moses in the New Testament?

A mistaken claim in Christianity states that Paul kept the Law of Moses in the New Testament.  What was the real story?  What did this mean regarding 'Grace' and 'Works' and the plan of salvation?

 

The Law and 'Nomos'

A list of scriptures (King James) where the phrase 'The Law' which means (greek) 'nomos' or the Mosaic Law, specifically. Most of these scriptures are mis-applied by Christians who think that we are no longer under laws or will not be judged by how we respond to Christ's commandments.


Latter Day Events

While the plan of salvation is a personal covenant between God and a person, God has made plans to bring masses of His covenant people (from ancient days) to a knowledge of the truth in the latter days.  In addition to Jesus dying on the cross, the scriptures contain many prophecies and covenants that will be fulfilled in the last days, describing how these people will come back to the truth.

 

The Parable of the Olive Tree --The Jews will come to know Christ in the Last Days

An old testament prophet Zenos foretold that the Jews would reject Christ, and come to know him in the last days.  He tells how this process will occur in a parable of an Olive Tree.  

Undoubtedly, Paul had Zenos' writings because he refers to them in Romans 11. The prophecy was also part of the Brass plates brought from Jerusalem to America by Nephi.  

This paper provides an analysis of the history, prophecy, and covenants to be fulfilled in the latter-day  restoration of the House of Israel, all within this parable of the Olive Tree.

Olive

The Old Man and The Tree

A modern synopsis of the prophecy of Zenos, 'The Parable of the Olive Tree' (above).  Read in conjunction with the handout above.

 

 Ten Facts about Zion, Gathering and Endowment

The Parable of the Olive tree, above, reveals many facts regarding our hope for Zion, gathering, and the endowment.  Here are ten, as magnified by the parable and related scripture.

The Covenant with Joseph is a Type and Shadow of the Purpose and People of the Book of Mormon

If you had a choice to get up in front of your congregation and explain one of two topics, and the two topics were these:  Topic #1, the way in which God is going to restore the Jews to a knowledge of Jesus Christ in the Last days; or Topic 2, the story of Joseph and Egypt--which would you choose?  A recently class survey showed 95% of people chose the story of Joseph and avoided the restoration of the Jews.  So how does this relate?

Ready for some good news?  If you know the story of Joseph, you already know the pattern by which God is going to bring the House of Israel back to a true knowledge of Him.  Read on... 

 

Events at the Lord's Coming in Glory!

Section 85 of the Doctrine and Covenants gives an outstanding description of events that will transpire at the coming of our Lord in His Glory!  Find out what happens when each trumpet sounds.

 

Times of the Gentiles

Find out how the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants all teach about the Gospel coming to the Gentiles (non-Jews).  What happens to them if they obey it?  What happens if they reject it?  What happens to those who have the fullness of the Gospel?  

Times, Gentiles  ;  Fullness, Gospel (B.o.M. only), Fullness, Gentiles (B.o.M. only)


Our Liberty, Freedom and Heritage

And the Presidents said...

Some politicians today suggest that the United States' constitution should not allow expression of religion anywhere the government has influence.  What's worse, is that some Americans believe them.

Don't be confused by the media in our day. The founding fathers and great leaders of our nation new that political freedom was linked not to spiritual absence, but God's presence. And that by the power of living by His Word.

Read what just a few of the first Presidents had to say about the role of God & Christianity should have in our government...

And the Founding Fathers said...

Not only the presidents, but all the framers of our U.S. constitution  realized one eternal principle:  freedom is not a law given by man but a right bestowed by God.  Freedom and Christianity were inseparable:  a nation could not possess the former without the latter.  

Read many quotations from these American leaders sent from God...

 

The Thanksgiving Proclamation

Words of of a President...or prophet?  Read Abraham Lincoln's God-inspired proclamation stating the need for a day of Thanksgiving.  Did Mr. Lincoln see our day? 

A Land of Liberty

Did you know that God's plan for this nation's freedom was foretold over 4000 years ago?  Read about God's plan for our nation's liberty: serve Him and prosper; reject Him and perish.  Also, see how much One Vote--YOUR vote--counts. 

To War or Not to War?

Does God ever Justify His people in going to war?  Under what circumstances?  When?  How can we judge when War is justified?  Read on to learn more.... 

 

Can't use the 10 Commandments as a basis for U.S. Law??

Don't be fooled by the liberal socialist mantra that the 10 commandments can't be used as a basis for law in the United States. This historical document summarizes the actions of our nations framers and justices up to the present time, in applying the Decalogue to our nation's judicial process .... 


Current Events

Terrorists brought down...Ancient America

Historians claim September 11, 2001 events were the first time Terrorists attacked Americans on American soil.  Is this true?

Read and understand  that the fall of two ancient American civilizations was caused by none other than terrorists.  Learn how similar modern America's plight was compared to Ancient America's.  Find an express warning to the people of the Latter day....

“…We wage a war to save civilization itself."

-Words to the Nation from President George W. Bush November 8, 2001

 

Searching for Scriptures regarding Sexuality?

Searching for scriptures regarding sexuality and homosexuality? It is a popular search topic, and with good reason: people want to know what God's word says about it.

While our culture has produced new words in our day describing issues of sexuality, the spiritual and moral issues regarding sexuality are are age-old, and are dealt with directly in scripture. Click Here To Find The Words Used in Scripture Regarding Sexuality

The topic of Sexuality and Homosexuality has faced the Christian Church in New ways. What does the world teach? What does the Word of God teach? There is a pattern given in all things. Does what the world says fit the pattern?

Read About Homosexuality and Scripture and the Pattern In All Things

 

 


Study Helps

Guide to Using  

A brief guide to how to use this great study tool.  

(Also, Click Here to use an 'Electronic" Strong's Concordance and other Bible concordances On-Line at BibleStudyTools.com) 

Photographs of the Land where Jesus Walked 

A nice collection of photos of the Holy Land of Israel.  (Viawww.LDS.org website)

 

Bible Maps 

High quality maps of Biblical Lands during Old and New Testament Events   (Via www.LDS.org website)


An invitation to make your covenant!  

Alma 3:57 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men; for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith, Repent, and I will receive you;

Alma 3:108 I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church, I speak by way of invitation, saying, Come, and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.

Alma 5:27 Yea, come and go forth, and shew unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins, and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day, by going into the waters of baptism;

Confused about Marriage?

What the Culture isn't Telling You about Marriage...

God designed marriage to symbolically teach humanity about His relationship with the church.

Learn the truth about God's intention for marriage--a message conveniently distorted by the culture...and mis-understood by the church.


 

The Most Beautiful Invitation

The Book of Mormon contains the most beautiful message--all are called and welcomed to come unto Christ.


Searching for Truth? Read 'The Story'

When God's People Strayed...

Despite God's manifold blessings, history, reveals many times where God's people fell away from Him.Bible

What was their story? How did it happen? Could it ever happen again? Is there a pattern? Does God forsake these people? Does He ever promise to bring them back to Him?

Find the answers to these questions and more in this new series called:

When God's People Strayed...

Read The Entire Series:

 


Searching for Scriptures regarding Sexuality?

Searching for scriptures regarding sexuality and homosexuality? It is a popular search topic, and with good reason: people want to know what God's word says about it.

While our culture has produced new words in our day describing issues of sexuality, the spiritual and moral issues regarding sexuality are are age-old, and are dealt with directly in scripture. Click Here To Find The Words Used in Scripture Regarding Sexuality

The topic of Sexuality and Homosexuality has faced the Christian Church in New ways. What does the world teach? What does the Word of God teach?

Read About Homosexuality and Scripture and the Pattern In All Things

 


Watch your Thoughts,
  They become Words...
 
Watch your Words,
  They become Habits...
 
Watch your Habits
  They become Character...
 
Watch your Character,
  It becomes your Destiny.