---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 8/10/2018
“Thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God; the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people” (Deuteronomy 7:6-7). “. . . it is because of their belief (faith) in me that I have chosen them out of the world” (3 Nephi 9:20).
We are a chosen people of God inasmuch as we are a people of great faith. “. . . many are called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:15). In reality, we must choose to be a chosen people. We must choose to be a people of faith in a faithless and perverse generation! Jesus asked: “When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith? (Luke 18:8). “ . . . the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). A perfect heart is one that relies upon God in faith and trust.
Faith has been defined as “the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The reality of things unseen such as the Lord’s second coming, the marriage supper and the establishment of his millennial kingdom here on earth requires faith. These things unseen by the natural eye are foolishness to the unbeliever of which there are many today.
Paul wrote: “Now the just (righteous) shall live by faith; but if any man draw back (in unbelief) my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who drew back unto perdition (destruction by fire); but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:38-39).
Paul wrote of many throughout history who have lived by faith. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, . . . prepared an ark to the saving of his house . . . and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7). By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8). He trusted and obeyed! His faith “was imputed to him for righteousness” (Romans 4; 5, 22). “Now it was not for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4:23-24). “By faith Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).
Will we become the chosen people of God in this “faithless and perverse generation?” Will we, like Moses, be willing to forsake the pleasures of the world for a season, enduring; trusting and obeying him who is invisible? Which will we choose? The pleasures of this world or the joy of eternity?
The chosen people of God will be a people of faith. They will be motivated by their faith, knowing that God is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:1) and that in heaven they “have a better and an enduring substance” (Hebrews 10:34). “Cast not away your confidence (faith), which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:35-36).
The chosen, faithful people of God will also be blessed in this temporal world. “Lord give us such a faith as this, and then, what-e’er may come, we’ll taste e’en here, the hallowed bliss of an (our) eternal home” (Oh, For a Faith That Will Not Shrink, Hymns of the Restoration #278). After the ascension and visitation of Jesus to his other sheep; the descendants of Joseph, who had migrated to the area known to them as “the narrow neck of land,” lived in peace for two hundred years. It is written of them that “surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God” (4 Nephi 1:19). They “ . . . were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them” (4 Nephi 1:12).
Love to All,
A Chosen People
Peter’s message to the members of the first century church should be repeated to the church of the twenty first century: “ye are a chosen generation . . . a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims (see Hebrews 11:13), abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul . . . submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake; whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors . . . for so is the will of God, that with well doing ye have put to silence the ignorance of foolish men . . . Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants be subject to your masters with all fear (respect); not only to the good, but also to the forward (opposition) . . . if when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps . . .” (1 Peter 2:9-21).
What a challenge it is to “follow his steps.” We are called to be the body of Christ in a faithless and perverse generation, even as it was in the days of Jesus. Due to the deficiency of their faith the disciples of Jesus were unable to heal a certain man’s son. The father came saying “Lord, have mercy on my son; for he is lunatic, and sore vexed; for oft times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him” (Matthew 17:15-16).
Jesus was upset by the faithlessness of his disciples. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation! How long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer (put up with) you? Bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil, and he departed out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief; for verily, I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit, this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:17-21).
Would Jesus be pleased with the level of our faith today? Would he be as disappointed with us as he was with the disciples who followed him during his earthly ministry? It is true; “without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
In fulfillment of his words; “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold (Judah), them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16), Jesus appeared (after his ascension) to some of the descendants of Joseph who had migrated to the Western hemisphere about 600 B.C. Jesus was pleased with their faith. He said: So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews” (3 Nephi 9:35). “. . . it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world” (3 Nephi 9:20).