----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 7/24/2020
Valiant in Testimony
In the beginning, . . . God, said, Let there be light, and there was light. And I, God, saw the light, and that light was good” (Genesis 1).
Without light there would be no life in the world; physical or spiritual, Without the light of the sun everything on the earth would soon perish physically. Likewise, without the spiritual light of the Son of God, we would soon perish spiritually! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish; but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Light is indispensable. Spiritual light is truth.
Jesus said, “. . . I am the light of the world; he that followeth after me shall not walk in darkness” (John 8:12). Abinadi preached of Christ, saying, “He is the light and the life of the world . . .” (Mosiah 8:82).
Light is equated to truth. “The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth . . .” (Doctrine and Covenants 90:6-a). Jesus is the light of the world because as he said:
“I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus said to us: “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of the world; 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 world, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16-18). We are called to be the dispensers of light and truth; by word and deed.
Long ago Isaiah wrote immortal words of truth that are as applicable today, as they were on the day they were written: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee” (Isaiah 60: 1-2).
Before we can be valiant in declaring the Word of God we must be valiant in living the Word of God. We need to be the living epistles of God. “. . . written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3). The word must be seen in our flesh, as it was seen in Jesus. “And the same word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father full of grace and truth . . . And as many as believe on his name shall receive of his fullness (John 1:14-16).
Unless our lives are in order, our spoken testimonies will be “as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). It may be said of us: “Your actions are speaking so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.” I was once told by a U.S. Navy man, who had served on a ship with another seaman who was always preaching Christ to his ship-mates, but often failed to show up for guard duty! “Actions often speak louder than words.”
I must also ask; how can we be valiant in testimony if we do not have an unshakable testimony of Jesus and of his everlasting gospel? If we do not have a strong testimony, who is at fault? We need to have a love and hunger for truth. Paul wrote of those who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Without a love of truth we are vulnerable and apt to be deceived. “. . . Ask of God; ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:12 IV; 7:7 KJV).
Enclosed within a letter I received recently were these words of inspiration which were presented to the Saints at the South Crysler Restoration Branch on June 21, 2020: “There is no better time in history when the news of a restoration of God’s power to the earth can be spread the world over in a matter of minutes. When God endows his people and they perform mighty works in His name the world will know, and the opportunity to hear, see, and know will be given to all men . . .”
The first sentence of the message given at the South Cryler Restoration Branch in June, has already proven to be true. Recently our church service at the Woodbine Restoration Branch was witnessed, via Zoom, by a woman living in Japan. She reported that it had been more than forty years since she had participated in worship with the Saints. She grew up in Lamoni, Iowa. Surely the words of Jesus are being fulfilled: “And again, this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, or the destruction of the wicked” (Matthew 24:32 IV; 24:14 KJV). We are living at the time of the end.
Much shall be required of those who have received a testimony of Jesus and the fullness of his everlasting gospel! “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required” (Luke 12:57 IV; 21:48 KJV). Those of us who are not valiant in testimony will not inherit celestial glory. See Doctrine and Covenants 76:6-a “And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and, behold, and lo;. . . these are they who are not valiant in testimony of Jesus; wherefore they obtained not the crown over the kingdom of our God” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:6-a, g).
If we have a testimony and neglect to warn our neighbors of their need to repent and be baptized, their sins may be upon our heads! “For I, Jacob, and my brother Joseph [brothers of Nephi] had been consecrated priests, and teachers of this people by the hand of Nephi. And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads, if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; Wherefore by laboring with our mights, their blood might not come upon our garments; Otherwise their blood would come upon our garments and we would not be found spotless at the last day” (Jacob 1:18-20).
Another scripture delivers the same message: “If the watchman [Priesthood] see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezekiel 33:6).
“Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned, to warn his neighbor; therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads” (Doctrine and Covenants 85:22-a).
“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; for, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. . . . And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth. Wherefore you are called to cry repentance unto this people. And if it so be that you should labor all your days, in crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy, if you should bring many souls unto me!” (Doctrine and Covenants 16:3-c, e, f).
My Love to All,
High Priest Francis Harper