Lesson 11: Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 47–50


Purpose

To help class members understand the doctrine of Christ and have an increased desire to press forward, feasting on His words.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      2 Nephi 31:1–18. Nephi teaches of the doctrine of Christ. He teaches that Jesus was baptized to “fulfil all righteousness” and that we must be baptized and follow Him. He also teaches about the blessings and power of the Holy Ghost.

    2. b.

      2 Nephi 31:19–21. Nephi teaches that we must press forward and endure to the end.

    3. c.

      2 Nephi 32. Nephi speaks of the importance of feasting on the words of Christ and praying always.

    4. d.

      2 Nephi 33. Nephi declares that people will believe his words if they believe in Christ. He warns that we will be judged according to our acceptance or rejection of his words.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Moroni 7:13–17; Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, 71–74.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Ask class members to describe a feast. What kinds of foods would be on the table? How is a feast different from an ordinary meal? After you have had a few moments to discuss this, ask a class member to read 2 Nephi 32:3, beginning with “Wherefore, I said unto you.” Tell the class that the Lord has invited us to a feast—one that will give us eternal life. This lesson discusses Nephi’s teachings on how to live the doctrine of Christ and feast on His words.

Scripture Discussion and Application

Nephi stands as one of the most valiant of all the sons of God. Though he experienced family strife, warfare, and other trials, he loved the Lord with all his heart. He was full of faith, zeal, and integrity, and he never wavered in his obedience. As you study the assigned chapters, remember that these words are among Nephi’s last.

1. Nephi teaches of the doctrine of Christ.

Read and discuss selected verses from 2 Nephi 31:1–18. Point out that Nephi began his final writings by saying that he would “speak concerning the doctrine of Christ” (2 Nephi 31:2). Ask class members to ponder this phrase and what it might mean as they discuss chapter 31. Explain that later in the lesson you will ask for their thoughts on what the “doctrine of Christ” is.

  • Nephi began by reminding the people that he had previously spoken about Jesus’ baptism (2 Nephi 31:4). Why was Jesus baptized? (See 2 Nephi 31:5.) How did He “fulfil all righteousness” by being baptized? (See 2 Nephi 31:6–7. You may want to point out that President Joseph F. Smith said that to fulfil all righteousness is “to fulfil the law” [in Conference Report, Apr. 1912, 9].)

  • According to 2 Nephi 31:9, for what other reason was Jesus baptized? Why do we need baptism? (Have class members read 2 Nephi 31:13, 17 and Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, 71–74 to find answers to this question. Summarize their answers on the chalkboard. Some answers are listed below.)

    1. a.

      To receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:13).

    2. b.

      To receive a remission of sins (2 Nephi 31:17).

    3. c.

      To enter the gate for the path to eternal life (2 Nephi 31:17).

    4. d.

      To receive membership in the Lord’s Church (D&C 20:37, 71–74).

  • Nephi exhorted his people to “follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God” (2 Nephi 31:13). What do you think it means to act without hypocrisy or deception before God? How can following the Son “with full purpose of heart” help us avoid hypocrisy and deception?

  • What gift will we receive when we show our willingness “to follow [the] Savior down into the water” through baptism? (2 Nephi 31:13). How did Nephi describe the way a person could speak after being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost? (See 2 Nephi 31:13.) What does it mean to “speak with the tongue of angels”? (See 2 Nephi 32:2–3. It means to speak the words of Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost.) In what situations might we be blessed to speak with the “tongue of angels”? (Answers may include when we are teaching or testifying to friends and family, during a talk in church, or when we pray.)

  • Nephi also taught that after baptism we receive a remission of sins “by fire and by the Holy Ghost” (2 Nephi 31:17). Why do you think Nephi used the word “fire” in describing this process? (Just as fire purifies and cleanses, the Holy Ghost cleanses from sin those who sincerely repent and are baptized.)

  • Nephi taught that the Holy Ghost “witnesses of the Father and the Son” (2 Nephi 31:18). Why is it essential for us to receive a testimony of the Father and the Son through the Holy Ghost?

  • In what ways can a witness from the Holy Ghost come to us? (See D&C 8:2 and the following quotation.) Why is it important to understand how the Holy Ghost speaks to us? (See 2 Nephi 32:5.)

    President Boyd K. Packer taught: “The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. It is described as a ‘still small voice’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 77; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).

Note: Many times members of the Church feel the influence of the Spirit but are not aware that the feelings they are experiencing are from the Holy Ghost. On occasion throughout the year, when you feel the influence of the Spirit during the lesson, you may want to stop and share your feelings with class members. Explain that they may not feel the influence of the Spirit in exactly the same way you do, but that the influence of the Spirit brings peace and joy.

2. Nephi teaches that we must press forward and endure to the end.

Read and discuss 2 Nephi 31:19–21. Explain to class members that Nephi taught that baptism is the gate to enter the strait and narrow path to eternal life. He also taught what it means to walk in this path.

  • What question did Nephi ask in 2 Nephi 31:19? What is the answer to this question? (See 2 Nephi 31:19–20.) What do you think it means to “press forward”? (To move forward with determination, regardless of adversity or distraction.) What are some things that might distract us from pressing forward? Why is pressing forward an important part of enduring to the end?

  • What does it mean to have “a steadfastness in Christ”? (2 Nephi 31:20). How can following Christ help us have a “perfect brightness of hope”? What are some ways we can help one another in our efforts to press forward? What can we do to help new members of the Church as they begin their journeys along the path?

    President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “With the ever increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4). It is our duty and opportunity to provide these things” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 66; or Ensign, May 1997, 47).

  • Based on Nephi’s teachings in 2 Nephi 31, how would you define “the doctrine of Christ”? (See 2 Nephi 31:13, 15; see also 3 Nephi 11:31–40. Answers should include believing in Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.)

3. Nephi speaks of the importance of feasting on the words of Christ.

Read and discuss selected verses from 2 Nephi 32.

  • In 2 Nephi 32, Nephi gave additional instructions about what we must do after we have entered in the path to eternal life (2 Nephi 32:1–3). What specific instruction is given in verse three? What sources do we have for receiving the words of Christ?

  • What do you think it means to feast on these words? (See the quotation below.) How is “feasting” different from reading or even studying? How can we help others feast?

    Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “We need to feast upon the words of Christ in the scriptures and as these words come to us from living prophets. Just nibbling occasionally will not do. (See 2 Nephi 31:20 and 32:3.) Feasting means partaking with relish and delight and savoring—not gorging episodically in heedless hunger, but partaking gratefully, dining with delight, at a sumptuous spread carefully and lovingly prepared … over the centuries” (Wherefore Ye Must Press Forward [1977], 28).

  • What promise did Nephi give regarding the words of Christ? (See 2 Nephi 32:3.) How have you found this to be true?

  • Nephi taught that the Spirit teaches, or encourages, a person to pray (2 Nephi 32:8). Why is it important that we pray before we perform “any thing unto the Lord”? (2 Nephi 32:9). How have you been blessed as you have followed this counsel?

4. Nephi declares that people will believe his words if they believe in Christ.

Read and discuss selected verses from 2 Nephi 33. Explain that this chapter contains Nephi’s testimony of the truth of his words and of their importance to all people.

  • Why are Nephi’s words “of great worth”? (See 2 Nephi 33:3–5.) How can we learn of the worth of these words? How can we know that the words of Nephi are true? (See 2 Nephi 33:10; see also Moroni 7:13–17.)

  • Nephi said that we will meet him “face to face” at the judgment bar (2 Nephi 33:11). How could Nephi’s words “condemn [us] at the last day”? (See 2 Nephi 33:14. If we choose to reject these words or disobey the principles they teach, we will be cut off from the presence of the Lord.)

  • Among Nephi’s last written words is the declaration “For thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey” (2 Nephi 33:15). Why is this a fitting end to Nephi’s writings? What have you learned from Nephi’s example that can help you as you strive to be more obedient?

Conclusion

Summarize again the doctrine of Christ, which includes believing in Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or both of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. Hymn

With class members, sing or read the words to “Press Forward, Saints” (Hymns, no. 81).

2. Overcoming barriers to understanding

  • Read and discuss 2 Nephi 32:7. Why did the Spirit stop Nephi from speaking? How are the problems mentioned in these verses still prevalent today? How can we help each other avoid these pitfalls?