In testifying of Jesus Christ’s essential role in Heavenly Father’s plan, modern prophets have declared, “We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2). This lesson will help students better understand that Heavenly Father established His plan of salvation in the premortal world and foreordained Jehovah, the premortal Jesus Christ, to be the central figure in that plan. Students will be encouraged to place Jesus Christ at the center of their mortal lives.
Display the following statement by Elder Alexander B. Morrison of the Seventy, and ask a student to read it aloud. Invite the class to follow along and identify what Heavenly Father presented to His children in the premortal world:
“Long ago, before the earth on which we now dwell came into existence, God our Father … established a plan. … [That] plan provided the perfect way for all of God’s children to receive immortality and gain eternal life” (“Life—the Gift Each Is Given,” Ensign, Dec. 1998, 15–16).
What blessings did Elder Morrison say we might eventually receive as part of God’s plan? (Explain that immortality refers to being resurrected—never to die physically again—and that eternal life refers to the type of life that God lives.)
Invite students to read Alma 12:25 silently and identify how Alma referred to God’s plan and when it was prepared. Ask them to report what they find. (Alma taught that God’s “plan of redemption” was established “from the foundation of the world.” After students respond, you may want to point out that other titles of God’s plan include “the merciful plan of the great Creator” [2 Nephi 9:6]; “the plan of salvation” [Alma 24:14]; “the great plan of the Eternal God” [Alma 34:9]; “the great plan of happiness” [Alma 42:8]; and the “everlasting covenant” [D&C 22:1; 45:9; 66:2].)
Then invite students to study Alma 12:22–32 in pairs, looking for reasons why God’s plan is called the plan of redemption. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share their findings with the class. Help students further understand these verses by asking:
According to Alma’s teachings, what would be our eternal plight without the plan of redemption? (Without a plan of redemption, there could be no resurrection of the dead or redemption from sin, leaving mankind lost and fallen and in a state of physical and spiritual death forever [see also 2 Nephi 9:6–13].)
Why was it essential that a way be provided for us to overcome these conditions?
Invite a student to read Alma 12:33–34 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what God provided to redeem His children. Help students state a doctrine or principle taught in these verses by asking:
How would you summarize what Jesus makes available to us in God’s plan? (Answers should include the following: If we repent and harden not our hearts, we will receive mercy and a remission of sins through God’s Only Begotten Son. Only through Jesus Christ may we receive a remission of sins and enter into Heavenly Father’s presence.)
Testify that Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan and that through His Atonement the way is provided for us to receive immortality and eternal life.
Invite students to search Abraham 3:24–27 and 1 Peter 1:19–20, looking for what these passages teach about the Savior’s role in God’s plan. Then ask the following questions. (Note: By asking such questions, you can help students learn how to analyze scripture passages and identify doctrines taught in them.)
In Abraham 3:26, what is meant by the phrases “first estate” and “second estate”? (“First estate” refers to the premortal existence, and “second estate” refers to mortal life.)
Who are the three individuals mentioned in Abraham 3:27, and what did each one do? (Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and Satan. Emphasize that in the premortal world, Heavenly Father foreordained His Firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, to be the central figure in His plan.)
Make sure students understand that Jesus was known as Jehovah in the premortal world. Then ask:
When Jehovah said to the Father, “Here am I, send me,” what was He committing to do in mortality? (Teach His gospel, establish His Church, suffer and die for our sins, and rise from the dead.)
What did Heavenly Father’s selection of Jehovah as our Redeemer do for us, in terms of our future possibilities?
Ask students to study Moses 4:2 silently, looking for other important truths about Heavenly Father’s selection of Jehovah to be our Savior and Redeemer. As students explain what they found, make sure they identify the following truths: Jehovah was chosen from the very beginning. One reason Jehovah was chosen is that He sought to do the Father’s will and to give all glory to the Father. To further emphasize these truths, display and read aloud the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“[Jesus Christ] was apparently the only one sufficiently humble and willing in the premortal council to be foreordained to [bring about the infinite Atonement]” (“The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 35).
Ask students to visualize what it may have been like to be present when Heavenly Father told all of His children that His Firstborn Son, Jehovah, would be our Savior. Then display the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44), and ask a student to read it aloud:
“At the first organization in heaven we were all present and saw the Savior chosen and appointed and the plan of salvation made, and we sanctioned it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 209).
What do you think you knew about Jehovah that would have led you to sustain His call and appointment as our Savior and Redeemer?
Display the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Then give students a few moments to write down any thoughts and feelings they have about the Savior as they ponder the divine truth Elder Maxwell taught:
Consider asking a few students to share with the class what they wrote.
Refer students back to Abraham 3:25, where we learn that Heavenly Father intended mortality to be a time of testing, to see if we would obey His commandments. Display the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask a student to read the statement aloud while the class looks for a choice we must make as part of our mortal test:
“Think of it: in our premortal state we chose to follow the Savior Jesus Christ! And because we did, we were allowed to come to earth. I testify that by making the same choice to follow the Savior now, while we are here on earth, we will obtain an even greater blessing in the eternities. But let it be known: we must continue to choose to follow the Savior. Eternity is at stake, and our wise use of agency and our actions are essential that we might have eternal life” (“Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 25).
To help students identify and understand a principle or truth taught by Elder Hales, ask the following questions:
What do you learn from Elder Hales’s statement about our choices in this life? (After students respond, testify that by choosing to place the Savior at the center of our lives while we are here on earth, we will obtain greater blessings in eternity.)
What do you think Elder Hales meant by the phrase “eternity is at stake”?
What are some attitudes and actions that indicate someone is choosing to follow Jesus Christ? (Write students’ responses on the board.)
Explain that for most of us, it is easy to focus on the Savior on Sundays. But how can we make Him more a part of our lives during the week? Give students time to ponder what they have done today to focus on the Savior. Invite them to write down something they can do today to place the Savior more fully at the center of their lives. Encourage them to silently commit to Heavenly Father that they will do it.
Conclude the lesson by bearing testimony of the truths taught today.