----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 3/13/2020
“. . . he had this testimony that he pleased God.”
“Enoch and all his people walked with God” (Genesis 7:77 IV) and they were taken, without tasting of death, into the heavenly realms. Enoch and his people pleased God because they walked with God in all his ways, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)
Enoch and his city are a type and shadow of those who will be caught up to meet the Lord at the time of his imminent Second Coming and the First Resurrection. “For the Lord himself shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then they who are alive, shall be caught up together into the clouds . . . to meet the Lord [and the ten thousands with him] in the air; and so shall we be ever with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). What a glorious reunion that will be for those who are worthy to be caught up to meet the Lord when he comes to establish his kingdom.
The message today is that we have very little time to prepare ourselves to be the latter day city of Enoch! We must be like Jesus, to be worthy to dwell with him and Enoch’s city. John wrote: “. . . we know that, when he shall appear we shall be like him . . . and every man that has this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). How are we purified? Jesus said: “I pray for them . . . that they may be purified in me” (3 Nephi 9:29). We need to ask the Lord to pray for us!
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony that he pleased God. But 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 11:5-6).
It seems reasonable to believe that those who will be worthy to be caught up to meet the Lord when he comes, can also be blessed with the testimony that they please God. One of the best evidences that a person is pleasing God is when the gifts of the Spirit are manifested in their lives.
Paul admonished the Corinthian saints to covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31). He was speaking of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He begins by saying, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:4). In other words, there are many and various kinds of spiritual gifts, too numerous to mention. He then proceeds to list some of the more notable ones, such as faith, wisdom, knowledge, healing, prophecy, discerning of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues. He mentions the gift of “helps” in 1 Corinthians 12:28. The Holy Spirit is very creative in the ways he helps the saints in their efforts to be like him in their thoughts, words and deeds.
Jesus calls us to be perfect. “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 5:92). “Therefore, what manner of men had ye ought to be? Verily, I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 13:5). “Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:50).
God, the Father introduced Jesus on several occasions using the same, or very similar words: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.”: At his baptism (Matthew 3:46), at his transfiguration (Matthew 17:4), at the temple, in the land called Bountiful, in Meso-America (3 Nephi 5:8), and in the Sacred Grove, near Palmyia, New York. (Church History, Vol. 1, p. 9).
Jesus said, “As my Father hath taught me, I speak these things, . . . for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:28-29). Jesus had this testimony that he pleased God. We can also have this testimony!
How then shall we receive the testimony that we please God. First, we must have faith, because as it is written: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). We know we have attained faith when by the power of the Spirit we have “the assurance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
I believe the testimony that we are pleasing God becomes most apparent to us when we are blessed with the presence, power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance . . .” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
As Paul said; I say, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after . . .” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). We need to covet earnestly the best gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have experienced the gift of “helps” on several occasions during the most recent month. I will list some of these.
On February 4, 2020, at 5:45 A.M., I went to my den, preparing to leave for work and I noticed the time on the CD player was 3:33. As I watched the clock, I began to think it had stopped at that time. When it changed to 3:34 my heart was filled with gratitude and joy. I thanked the Lord for the blessed assurance I was given by this experience. Later, I read the words of the hymn: “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, O what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation. Purchase of God. Born of his Spirit, washed in his blood. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.” I rejoiced in the sacred nearness of the Savior. At that moment I was given a testimony that I pleased God.
John testified: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:16). Whenever we are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin “to feel a desire for the welfare” of our brethren and pray for them as fervently as we pray for ourselves, we know the Lord is pleased.
On February 15, 2020, as I traveled toward Dunlap, Iowa, where I would be presenting a funeral message, I prayed that the power of the Holy Ghost would carry my words into the hearts of the bereaved family. As I started to speak, the notes I had prepared were not needed, I spoke as I was led by the Spirit and my prayer was answered. My words were carried into the softened hearts of the hearers.
I promised one of the daughters of the deceased, who was in a wheelchair due to a debilitating disease, that she would walk again as promised by the prophet Isaiah: “then shall the lame . . . leap as a hart” (Isaiah 35:6). The Spirit touched their hearts, made apparent by their tear-filled eyes. The Lord God had given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season . . .” (Isaiah 50:4). At that moment I was given a testimony that I had pleased the Lord.
On February 7, 2020, 20 year old Sara Smith came for a two hour conversation related to her walk with the Lord. She also had questions about the conference of 1984. Two days later on February 9, 2020, 24 year old Josh Vander Zwaag called and stopped for a 5-6 hour visit on topics related to the work of the Lord. He was ordained to the priesthood; office of priest, in September of 2019. These visits pleased the Lord. “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:16-17).
I can say, as Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:36). Those who are “anxiously engaged” in the good cause of building Zion will receive “this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).
My Love to All,
High Priest Francis Harper