Lesson 11: Faith Sufficient to Obtain Eternal Life

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, (1995), 38–41


Objective

Each young man will understand that his faith in Jesus Christ should lead him to rely on the Lord in all circumstances.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Matthew 11:28–30; Hebrews 11:32–40; 1 Nephi 3:31–4:1; 2 Nephi 9:18; 31:19–20; Alma 5:12–14; Moroni 6:4; and Doctrine and Covenants 75:5; 98:11–13.

  2. 2.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

Suggested Lesson Development

We Must Rely on the Lord

Chalkboard discussion

Before the quorum meeting, write the following chart on the chalkboard:

believe to hope

Ask the young men to interpret the chart for you. Help them bring out that accepting the Lord’s teachings as true is the beginning of faith. Belief in Christ helps us develop faith in Christ as the only one who can save us. Help the young men understand that having faith in Christ means that we rely on him and on his promises to us. Such faith gives us the confidence to face any challenge or situation in life. If we are true to him, we can have hope for a glorious future.

Scriptures and discussion

Have the young men read, mark, and cross-reference 2 Nephi 31:19–20 and Moroni 6:4. Write both references on the chalkboard. Ask the following questions to help them understand 2 Nephi 31:19–20.

  • What does it mean to have unshaken faith in Christ?

Explain that each of us needs to develop an absolute trust in Christ and an awareness that we are not sufficient by ourselves. To gain eternal life, we must have his help, and we can receive it if we repent, pray always, and keep our thoughts pure and clean.

  • What must we do after getting on the straight and narrow path to obtain eternal life?

Bring out that to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ means to not waver or change. We must constantly keep him foremost in our thoughts. We can do this by daily reading the scriptures, thinking about them, and praying about them. Then we must work to live as Jesus Christ would want us to live.

Ask the following questions to help the young men understand Moroni 6:4.

  • After these people came into the Church, what things were done for them? (They were remembered and nourished by the good word of God.)

  • What is one way priesthood bearers watch over Church members and strengthen them? (By doing home teaching [see D&C 20:46–57].)

  • What must believers in Jesus Christ rely on? (On the merits of Christ alone.)

Explain that we must rely on the merits of Jesus Christ alone to gain eternal life, not on our own merits or the merits of our friends or family.

Scripture and discussion

Explain that Alma teaches that faith produces a mighty change of heart. Have the young men read and mark Alma 5:12–14. Explain that all of us need to ask ourselves the question Alma asks: “Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?” (Alma 5:14). Do we really trust Jesus Christ and rely on him? Point out that the mighty change comes by having the companionship of the Holy Ghost when we live righteously.

True Faith Requires Trust and Confidence

Adviser presentation

Explain that once we obtain a trust in Jesus Christ, we can then face life with confidence no matter what our circumstances. Early Christians were burned to death or were torn apart by wild beasts and died in perfect peace because they had confidence in Christ and their future. Although we will probably never face such circumstances, we still must rely on Jesus Christ to help us no matter what life brings us.

Tell the young men that once when George A. Smith was ill, his cousin the Prophet Joseph Smith came to visit him. President George A. Smith related what the Prophet told him:

“He told me I should never get discouraged, whatever difficulties might surround me. If I were sunk into the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged, but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I should come out on the top of the heap” (Ancestry, Biography, and Family of George A. Smith, comp. Zora Smith Jarvis [Provo: Zora Smith Jarvis, 1962], p. 55).

  • Where did Joseph Smith’s confidence come from? (His faith in Christ.)

Scriptures, story, and discussion

Invite the young men to read and mark 1 Nephi 3:31 and 1 Nephi 4:1.

  • Where did Nephi get the courage displayed in these verses? (Through faith in the Lord, which produced absolute confidence in him.)

The following story told by Matthew Cowley illustrates the confidence that can come when we live by faith:

“I was asked to administer to a baby in New Zealand. I was asked to bless it. The father came up to me with this child, fourteen months old, and he said, ‘Our child has not been blessed yet, so I want you to give it a name.’ I said, ‘All right. What is the name?’ He gave me the name of the child, and then he said in a matter-of-fact way, ‘While you are giving it its name, give it its sight.’ The child was born blind. He said, ‘We have had it to the specialists in Wellington. They said it was born blind and they cannot do anything for it. So while you are giving it a name, by the same authority you use to give it a name, give it its vision.’ Just as simple as that!

“Well, I was scared. I never had that faith. The thing came to me just suddenly like lightning out of the blue. But I went on and blessed the baby with a name. It was the longest blessing, I think, I have ever given. I was using all the words I could think of and had ever thought of. I was trying to get enough inspiration—enough nerve, if you want to call it that, to bless that child with its vision. I finally did.

“Eight months later I saw the child, and the child saw me. … Never let this simple faith get away from your life, never let it get away from you. It is the most precious thing you have in life” (quoted by Henry A. Smith, Matthew Cowley: Man of Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954], pp. 138–39).

Scriptures and discussion

Explain that sometimes our faith in Jesus Christ is not rewarded with immediate blessings. Have the young men read Hebrews 11:32–40 to illustrate what has happened to some people who have had faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Explain that verses 38 and 39 indicate that the world was not worthy of these men and women. Verse 39 indicates that they suffered willingly to receive a good report through faith, but in mortality they received not the promise. Their reward was waiting for them in a better world.

Have the young men read and mark Matthew 11:28–30.

  • What did the Savior mean when he said that his yoke is easy and his burden light?

  • How could this apply to the people mentioned in Hebrews 11?

Help the young men understand that Jesus’ statement in Matthew 11 has meaning only in terms of faith. If our faith is sufficient to trust him even if we are tortured and ridiculed, then our faith is sufficient to obtain eternal life with him. No matter what others do to us, our confidence in him makes our yokes easy and our burdens light. Torture and death are not the worst things that can happen to us. Loss of faith and confidence would be much worse, because then we would lose eternal life with the Lord.

The Faithful Are Promised Eternal Life

Scripture and chalkboard discussion

Explain that we act differently when we have faith in the Lord. We have hope in the Lord, and we trust his promises for the future.

Have the young men read and mark Doctrine and Covenants 75:5 and D&C 98:11–13. Point out the promises to the faithful of honor, glory, and eternal life.

  • Why should we be willing to give our lives for the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

The Lord has repeatedly promised eternal life to the faithful. Read 2 Nephi 9:18. This verse outlines what we must do and the reward we receive. List the main points of the scripture on the chalkboard:

What We Must Do

  1. 1.

    Believe in the Holy One of Israel.

  2. 2.

    Endure the crosses of the world.

  3. 3.

    Despise the shame of the world.

What Blessings We Will Receive

  1. 1.

    Inherit the kingdom of God.

  2. 2.

    Receive a fulness of joy forever.

Conclusion

Challenge

Challenge the young men to show that they have faith in Jesus Christ and trust him. Have them consider the following suggestions and try them this week:

  1. 1.

    Try to emulate the Savior. Strive to be worthy to have the Holy Ghost as your constant companion. Meet challenges and difficulties optimistically, knowing that the Lord will help you.

  2. 2.

    Choose a weakness or habit you would like to improve, and seek the Lord’s help to change, with confidence that he will help you.

Have the young men report their experiences next week.