Unit 25: Day 2, 3 Nephi 13

Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, (2012), 252–54


Introduction

As recorded in 3 Nephi 13, the Savior continued His sermon at the temple in the land of Bountiful. He warned the people against hypocrisy and taught them that their righteous works were pleasing to Heavenly Father. He also instructed the multitude to lay up treasures in heaven and then directed His twelve disciples to seek the kingdom of God first before worrying about their own temporal concerns.

3 Nephi 13:1–18

The Savior warns the Nephites against hypocrisy and teaches them to do righteous works that are pleasing to Heavenly Father

Complete the following self-assessment in your mind by choosing which phrase best describes your motivation for doing alms (giving to others), praying, and fasting:

I do alms because:

  1. a.

    I am supposed to.

  2. b.

    I love the Lord and enjoy helping other people.

  3. c.

    I want others to think well of me.

I pray because:

  1. a.

    I don’t want to say “no” in front of other people when I am called on to pray.

  2. b.

    It is just part of my daily routine.

  3. c.

    I want to communicate with my Heavenly Father.

I fast because:

  1. a.

    Fasting helps me draw closer to the Lord.

  2. b.

    Other people will think I’m bad if I don’t.

  3. c.

    My parents don’t let me eat when I should be fasting.

In 3 Nephi 13, Jesus Christ taught the Nephite multitude about the importance of a person’s motives for doing alms, praying, and fasting. The responses listed in this self-assessment reflect different motives we might have for doing these or other acts of religious devotion.

  1. journal icon1.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal: Does it matter why we do righteous works? Why or why not?

  2. journal icon2.

    Copy the following chart into your scripture study journal, and complete it by reading each scripture reference and answering the two questions. As you read, it may be helpful to know that a hypocrite is someone who puts on a false appearance of righteousness or who says one thing and does another.

    Activity

    What motive did the Lord warn against as we do this activity?

    How did the Lord say we should do the activity?

    Do alms (3 Nephi 13:1–4)

      

    Pray (3 Nephi 13:5–6)

      

    Fast (3 Nephi 13:16–18)

      

Consider the following questions:

  • How can our motives for doing righteous works affect the way we do them?

  • What are some righteous motives that might inspire a person to do alms, pray, or fast in secret?

One righteous motive for doing these things is to please Heavenly Father. Read 3 Nephi 13:4, 6, 18, and look for what the Lord promises those who act righteously in private.

An important principle the Savior taught in these verses is: If we act righteously because we love Heavenly Father, He will reward us openly.

  1. journal icon3.

    In your scripture study journal, write about when you have felt blessed for seeking to do something to please Heavenly Father rather than to be seen of others.

Briefly review your self-assessment at the beginning of the lesson and evaluate your motives for doing alms, praying, and fasting. Consider how you might apply the Savior’s teachings to improve your motives for doing these or other acts of devotion to the Lord.

The Savior gave additional instruction to the Nephites about prayer. Read 3 Nephi 13:7, and look for how the Lord described repeated or elaborate phrases that are expressed without sincerity in prayer. The word vain means empty, without thought or feeling. Vain repetition can also mean thoughtlessly repeating the same words or praying without faith.

  1. journal icon4.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Why do you think it is important to avoid vain repetition in our prayers to Heavenly Father?

    2. b.

      What are some things you can do to avoid vain repetition as you pray?

Read 3 Nephi 13:8, and look for a principle Jesus Christ stated about Heavenly Father. You may wish to mark this principle in your scriptures. One object of our prayers is “to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant if we will ask for them in faith” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer”).

young man praying

Read 3 Nephi 13:9–15, and ponder what the Lord would have you learn about your prayers. Think of ways to improve your prayers by applying what you learned from the Savior’s teachings.

3 Nephi 13:19–24

Jesus Christ teaches the multitude to lay up treasures in heaven

Have you ever read or heard a story about lost or buried treasure? Sometimes in these stories the treasure hunters finally reach their goal only to find that the treasure is missing or never existed. Read 3 Nephi 13:19–20, and identify the two kinds of treasure the Lord spoke about. Which of those treasures did He say would always be there for us if we seek it?

  1. journal icon5.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      What is the difference between “treasures upon earth” and “treasures in heaven”?

    2. b.

      From what you learn in 3 Nephi 13:21–24, what are some of the truths the Savior taught about seeking earthly treasures and heavenly treasures? (It may help you better understand these verses to know that the word mammon is a term for worldliness or riches.)

    3. c.

      How can seeking treasures on earth distract us from seeking treasures in heaven?

The Savior did not teach that money or earthly possessions are evil. But He did emphasize the importance of placing our hearts on heavenly treasures that will endure and not on earthly riches.

One principle we can learn from 3 Nephi 13:19–24 is: In order to have God as our master, we must love and serve Him above the things of the world.

What might be some examples of trying to serve God and mammon at the same time? Why may it be difficult to always love and serve God instead of the things of the world? Why is putting God first worth the effort?

  1. journal icon6.

    Read the following examples. In your scripture study journal, indicate which master you think the person is serving: God or mammon (worldliness).

    1. a.

      A young man declines a job that would require him to miss his Sunday meetings and instead chooses a lower-paying job that does not require him to work on Sundays.

    2. b.

      A young woman frequently complains to her parents of her need for new clothes. The clothes she desires cost more than her family can afford.

    3. c.

      A young man pays his tithing regularly with the money he receives from his job. But he uses his remaining income to purchase entertainment items, including some inappropriate movies and songs, and has saved no money to pay for a mission or education.

    4. d.

      A young woman frequently uses some of her income to purchase small gifts to show her love for others.

3 Nephi 13:25–34

The Savior directs the twelve disciples to seek the kingdom of God before their own temporal concerns

Three Nephites

As they went forth to minister among the people, Jesus Christ instructed His twelve Nephite disciples not to worry about their temporal needs for food and clothing (see 3 Nephi 13:25–31). Read 3 Nephi 13:32–33, and look for what the Savior told His disciples concerning their temporal needs. What did He promise those who put God and His kingdom first in their lives?

A principle we can learn from these verses might be: If we seek God’s kingdom first, He will help us provide for our needs.

  1. journal icon7.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      How does a person “seek … first the kingdom of God”? (3 Nephi 13:33).

    2. b.

      In what ways has the Lord taken care of your needs when you have put Him first in your life?

President Ezra Taft Benson testified of the blessings that come from putting God first in our lives (you might want to write this quotation on a paper and keep it in your scriptures to review or share in the future):

President Ezra Taft Benson

“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities. …

“We should give God, the Father of our spirits, an exclusive preeminence in our lives” (“The Great Commandment—Love the Lord,” Ensign, May 1988, 4–5).

Ponder how you or those you know have been blessed for putting God first in your lives.

  1. journal icon8.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied 3 Nephi 13 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: