Have you ever gone on a long trip? How did you know which direction to go in to reach your destination? Did you follow a road map? Did you follow the road signs? These things can help us find our way when we travel here on earth.
All of us are on a very important journey—a journey back to our heavenly home. Our destination is the celestial kingdom, where we can live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father has provided a “map” to guide us as we travel back to Him. It is called the Plan of Salvation, or the Plan of Happiness. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Lord’s commandments are like road signs to help us reach our destination.
Heavenly Father trusts us to follow His plan on our journey through life. He planned that each of us would come to earth, gain a body, show that we would obey His commandments, and follow the example of His Son, Jesus Christ.
When we are baptized, we open the gate to the path back to Heavenly Father. We must be baptized to enter the celestial kingdom. And we must be baptized before we can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will help us choose the right and stay on the path.
When we are baptized, we are following the example of Jesus Christ: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:16–17).
Heavenly Father is pleased when we are baptized, because we are on the path that leads back to Him. The Savior said that He did it to “fulfil all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). He was baptized to show that He would obey Heavenly Father’s commandments.
As we travel here on earth, we must watch carefully all along the road for the signs that tell us where to turn, when to stop, and when to be extra cautious.
When we obey the commandment to be baptized, we are making an agreement—a sacred promise called a covenant—with Heavenly Father. We promise to keep all of His commandments. Pray daily, study the scriptures, follow the teachings of the living prophet, remember the Savior, pay tithing, treat others kindly, obey our parents—these are some of the important “gospel road signs.” If we obey them, they will help us stay on the path to the celestial kingdom.
When we are baptized, we are on the right path, the path that leads to our heavenly home.
Discover some of the “gospel road signs” by looking up each reference. Fill in the blanks on each road sign with the correct words found in the scripture referred to. Then write down one thing you will do to follow that sign.
As you study the scriptures, watch for other gospel road signs that will help you stay on the path. Perhaps you would like to make a small road-sign symbol in the margin by the scriptures you find.
As I pass through the gateway of baptism, I enter the path to eternal life (see 2 Nephi 31:17–18). The commandments are like road signs to help me stay on the path.
Repent and ________________
Receive the ________________
Honor my ________________
3 Nephi 24:10
Keep the ________________
Speak the ________________
Continue in ________________ and ________________
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook)
1. For older children: Give each child a paper and pencil. Using picture #208 from the Gospel Art Picture Kit, or the cover of the 2000 Outline for Sharing Time, ask the children to pretend that they had been at the River Jordan on the day this event took place. Have them write down all that they know about what happened. Invite several children to share what they wrote so that you have a complete record. Help the children compare the accounts of Matt. 3:13–17, Mark 1:9–11, and Luke 3:21–22. Can they discover something in Matthew’s and Mark’s accounts that isn’t in Luke’s? Have them listen to the first two phrases of “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” (CS, p. 102) for a clue to one thing not in Luke’s account (“Down in the River Jordan”). Have the children sing those two phrases, then ask them to listen and discover who was there when Jesus Christ was baptized. Sing the third and fourth phrases. Have the children respond, then sing the last four phrases. Ask: How can we tell from these scriptures that there are three members of the Godhead? Help them identify the exact words in the scriptural accounts. Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote their testimonies about the baptism of Jesus Christ. Because of this beautiful song, we can sing our testimonies of Him. Sing the entire song. Discuss the principles of obedience, pointing out that we are obedient when we are baptized. We are following the example of Jesus Christ. While the pianist continues to play the song, have the children use the other side of their papers to write down what they remember about their own baptisms. Suggest that they insert their pages in their journals at home. You might share your feelings about your own baptism, and conclude by bearing your testimony. Sing the song again.
For younger children: Show the picture of Jesus Christ’s baptism. Help them talk about what is happening in the picture. Using pictures from the meetinghouse library or those accompanying Primary manuals, invite the children to share or to act out the things they are doing to prepare to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (e.g., praying, studying scriptures, attending church, paying tithing, being kind to others, learning about Jesus). Sing “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” two phrases at a time, asking questions that are answered in the phrases. Have the pianist play the song as the children draw something they will do in the coming week to help prepare to be baptized. Sing the song again.
2. Remind the children that baptism is an important step along the path to the celestial kingdom. Divide the children into small groups, giving each group one or two of the following scripture references. Ask each group to identify some of the “road signs” found in the scriptures that help us stay on the path. The children could make road signs in the margins of their own scriptures. As each guiding principle (road sign) is identified, sing a song that corresponds to it (use the Topics index in the CS). •Alma 32:27 (faith) •Ps. 38:18 (repentance) •Matt. 6:14–15 (forgiveness) •Mark 1:9–11 (baptism) •D&C 8:2 (listen to the Holy Ghost) •2 Ne. 4:15 (search the scriptures) •D&C 124:45 (follow the prophets) •John 13:34–35 (love one another). Add variety and movement to the singing (sign language; hand motions; stand up/sit down; girls sing/ boys sing/all sing; etc.).
For younger children: Sing the song first, then help them identify the road sign that will help us stay on the path. They could then draw and color their own set of road signs—pictures that will remind them to prepare for baptism, forgive others, search the scriptures, etc. (See Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 166–167.)
3. The Savior’s life and His teachings provide wonderful examples for us to follow. Write scripture references on slips of paper. Let each class pantomime one incident or teaching. Possibilities: •Mark 1:35 (prayer) •Matt. 3:13–17 (baptism) •John 13:34–35 (love others) •Mark 12:41–44 (widow’s mite) •Luke 8:4–15 (parable of the sower) •Luke 10:29–37 (Good Samaritan). Have the other children identify the example we should follow to stay on the path to the celestial kingdom, and discuss ways in which they can follow that example. Then teach/practice the second verse of “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” (CS, p. 102). Younger children might enjoy using simple props as they act out the scriptures.
4. On separate slips of paper, write the names of Primary songs from the CS that support the theme, “Why is it important for me to be baptized?” Song possibilities: “I Am a Child of God” (pp. 2–3); “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (pp. 78–79); “I Lived in Heaven” (p. 4); “Baptism” (pp. 100–101); “I Will Follow God’s Plan” (pp. 164–165); “Choose the Right Way” (pp 160–161); “I Want to Live the Gospel” (p. 148); “Keep the Commandments” (pp. 146–147); “The Fourth Article of Faith” (p. 124); “When I Am Baptized” (p. 103). Choose one child to be It and to leave the room while the other children select a place to hide one of the slips of paper. When It returns, the children begin singing “I Am a Child of God” to direct It to where the paper is hidden. (Sing softer and softer as It gets closer and closer.) When It discovers the name of the next song, choose another It and repeat the activity, only this time, the children begin by standing up and singing the new song. As It gets closer to the hidden paper, the children sing at the same volume but get closer to sitting on their chairs. All sit down when the paper is found. Use a different way to sing each song to guide It to each different slip of paper. Remember—never sing louder than is beautiful!
5. Other Friend resources on “Why is it important for me to be baptized?”: “In His Footsteps,” Apr. 1998, p. 48–IBC; “Walking on Hallowed Ground,” May 1998, pp. 8–10; “Our Prophets’ Places of Baptism,” Aug. 1997, pp. 42–43; “Come unto Christ,” Jan. 1999, IFC.