The Gospel of Jesus Christ

I suppose there is no better way to share my purpose as a missionary than sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So, I have decided to share a series of posts on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is central to the Gospel.

The word ‘gospel’ is derived from the Old English word ‘godspel’; ‘god’ meaning good, ‘spel’ meaning story, or message.  The Gospel literally means the good message of Jesus Christ’s birth, ministry, atonement, death, and resurrection.  The good message extends to our lives.  The Gospel means our own death (that of the natural man, Mosiah 3:19), re-birth (Spiritual birth in Christ, John 3:5-7), physical death, and eventual resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:39-42).  The Atonement (or payment) of Jesus Christ is central to the Gospel.

Each of us go through two types of death: Spiritual, and physical.  Physical death is easy to identify, as it marks the end of our time on this Earth.  The Spirit is separated from the body for a time.  The former is more subtle and perhaps not so absolute.  Spiritual death is separation of the spirit from Deity. The primary wedge that creates this gap is sin.  As  normal human beings, we sin often, even daily.  It is a part of the ordinary, worldly life.  But with every sin, that wedge grows bigger and the gap between us and God expands.  Because of our own mistakes, we are made unclean and unworthy to stand in the presence of a perfect and just God.  My God, however, is also a loving and merciful God.  He has extended his hand of mercy through His son, Jesus Christ.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good story of how Christ gave himself to pay that great eternal debt.  His loving sacrifice allows us to be clean of sin, removing the wedge and allowing us to stand in the presence of God without guilt or regret.

His loving sacrifice allows us to be clean of sin, removing the wedge and allowing us to stand in the presence of God without guilt or regret.

As the hymn goes, ‘God will force no man to heaven.’  In order for our sins to be forgiven, and to be able to come into complete unity with God, we must accept the Atonement.  The process by which we accept this gift is the process which we, as Latter-Day Saints, often also call the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  These steps are: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.

Christ commanded His servants to ‘go… into all the world‘ to share this message of the Gospel.  He himself taught it to those who would listen.  I know that, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed from sin.  I invite you to learn more about Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and His Gospel.  Here is a link to a simple website where you can learn more, or you can ask me questions you have through comments on my blog, or on my Facebook page here.

Life in Winnipeg

I began my mission twenty months ago in the east side of Winnipeg – an area called London Ward.  I spent six months serving there before I was transferred to Saskatchewan, where I spent the next twelve months.  I worked, walked, wept, and finally won a few victories in those twelve months.  They were good times.  Two months ago I was transferred back to Winnipeg with a unique assignment – That as an assistant to the mission president.

This new assignment has been a challenge to me in ways that I’ve never been challenged before as a missionary.  I have had the privilege of travelling with President and Sister Thomas throughout the mission to provide training for the entire mission.  I have spoken in front of more people and driven more kilometres (or miles, for those south of the border…) in the past two months than I have my entire mission.  Maybe not quite, but it certainly feels like it.  There have been a lot of benefits from being able to serve in this capacity – Spending time with President and his wife, being able to see the mission, spending time with the senior missionaries who work in the office, working with all of the missionaries in the mission, etc.  Unfortunately, as is often the case, there has been a cost associated with the calling.

I’ll try to sum it up for you non-missionaries briefly:  When you are on the road three out of six weeks, and dealing with transfer and travel planning for the fourth and six, you don’t have much time to spend in your area.  My purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, and that is done primarily by teaching others the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Over the six weeks that we spent training, that calling was perhaps neglected too much. I can’t explain the joy that comes when you teach somebody the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has perhaps never heard it before, when it just ‘clicks’ with them, or when they decide to be baptised and accept Christ as their Saviour and Redeemer.  On the flip side, you can tell a difference in your life when you’re not involved in that process any more.

Last night we were at a members home with the YSA sisters, who shared a great spiritual thought on reading the scriptures.  I took the opportunity to share a simple testimony of the power of the scriptures, and how the Spirit will guide your life when you read the scriptures.  Just those few minutes of being able to testify reminded me of the joy that comes when you testify of a truth, and play a role in someone’s conversion to Christ.  Fortunately, President Thomas has worked things out so that we will have time to work and fulfil our purpose as missionaries over this next six weeks, for which I am extremely grateful.  As it says in Doctrine and Covenants 50:16-17, you teach by the Spirit.  When you teach, you definitely feel the Spirit, and that Spirit brings great joy.  I invite you to take an opportunity to testify of a simple truth to a friend today, so that you can feel of that simple and peaceful Spirit as you do so.