Lesson 27: Faith in Jesus Christ

Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A, (2000), 198–206


The purpose of this lesson is to help us strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ.

Introduction

Show visual 27-a, “Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel.”

Jesus Christ(click to view larger)

27-a, Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel. If we have faith in Jesus Christ, we have confidence in Him; we trust Him and accept Him and His teachings. The Apostle Paul wrote that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is spiritual proof that things we cannot see or hear do exist and are true. For example, we did not see Jesus die for us or suffer for our sins, but we know through faith that He did. Alma said, “Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21).

Faith in Jesus Christ

Having faith in Jesus Christ enables us to make sacrifices or to do difficult tasks. Because of their faith, for example, Abraham was willing to offer his son as a sacrifice, Enoch was translated, and Noah was saved from the flood (see Hebrews 11). These and many other miracles were accomplished by faith in Jesus Christ, “for it is by faith that miracles are wrought” (Moroni 7:37).

Faith also enables us to endure suffering, trials, and afflictions. Job was able to endure his great sufferings, for example, because he had faith in Christ. The Lord strengthened Job because the Lord knows and helps those who trust Him. (See Nahum 1:7.)

Although Job suffered more than most of us will ever suffer, he never denied his testimony or turned against God. His children were all killed when his house was destroyed by a great wind. His body was covered with boils. His friends and even his wife mocked him, telling him that he was suffering because he was wicked. But because of his faith, Job endured his trials. At the height of his suffering, he was able to praise God and testify:

“I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

“And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25–26). His faith was finally rewarded: his sufferings ended and he was blessed abundantly by the Lord.

The story of Job shows how faith, like an anchor, can help us hold steadfastly to our testimonies when trials come (see Ether 12:4). We may suffer from sickness, poverty, death, or temptation, but as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, we will be strengthened and blessed.

  • What are some other examples from the scriptures about the power of faith? How have you been blessed by your faith in Jesus Christ?

Strengthening Our Faith in Christ

We should always seek to strengthen our faith. As we do so, we will receive the joy of being close to the Lord and receiving His blessings. Alma tells us that developing faith in Christ is like planting, cultivating, and harvesting the fruit of a tree.

  • Show visual 27-b, “Faith begins with the planting of a single seed.”

    father, son working in garden (click to view larger)

    27-b, Faith begins with the planting of a single seed.

The first step in developing faith can be compared to planting a seed. Alma said, “Experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you … that a seed may be planted” (Alma 32:27–28).

  • How can we plant a seed of faith in our hearts?

One of the ways faith begins is when we hear or read the word of God and desire to believe. As we experiment with what we have heard or read, making an effort to believe and to live the principles we have been taught, we begin to feel in our hearts that what we have been taught is true. (See John 7:16–17.)

  • Show visual 27-c, “Just as a plant needs sunlight, air, and water, faith needs constant nourishment.”

The second step is similar to caring for a plant. Just as a plant needs sunlight, air, and water to grow, our faith needs nourishment if it is to grow.

  • How can we nourish or increase our faith in Jesus Christ?

We can nourish our faith by reading and pondering the scriptures, fasting and praying, serving the Lord, sustaining our Church leaders, and obeying God’s commandments. Just as a plant without water will die, faith without action will die. We must constantly nourish our faith through righteous works. (See James 2:14–26.)

  • Show visual 27-d, “The harvest of faith is peace and joy and eternal life.”

    family working in garden(click to view larger)

    27-d, The harvest of faith is peace and joy and eternal life.

Through our diligence in nourishing our faith, we will be able to enjoy great blessings, just as caring for a plant will allow us to enjoy its fruit.

  • What are the blessings, or fruits, of faith in Jesus Christ?

Faith enables us to:

  • “Cleave unto every good thing” (see Moroni 7:28).

  • Enjoy peace and happiness without fearing the future.

  • Receive answers to our prayers.

  • Have our burdens lightened by God (see Matthew 11:28–29).

  • Be forgiven of our sins as we repent of them.

  • Exercise the power of the priesthood.

  • Have the Holy Ghost with us (see Moroni 7:32).

  • Experience miracles in our lives (see 2 Nephi 26:13).

  • Return to live with our Heavenly Father after the Resurrection.

The Bible tells of a woman who had been very ill for 12 years. She had spent all she had trying to be cured by the doctors, but they were unable to cure her. One day Jesus came to her village. She had heard of Jesus and had faith that she would be healed even if she could only touch His robe. And so, exercising her faith, she touched the Savior as He walked by her. Upon touching His robe, she was immediately healed, and Jesus turned to her and said, “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (See Luke 8:43–48.)

The woman in this story nourished her faith in Christ by putting her belief into action. She touched the Savior’s robe and thus received the blessings of her faith by being cured.

  • Why is it important to exercise faith in Jesus Christ when blessing the sick and when being blessed?

  • Share the following story:

Randall Ellsworth was a missionary who exercised great faith after being seriously hurt by an earthquake in Guatemala. At the time of the earthquake, he was in a building and the building collapsed on him. A General Authority described his experience this way:

“[He was] pinned for, I think, twelve hours. Found himself totally paralyzed from the waist down. Kidney functions, not present. No hope to ever walk again. …

“He was flown to … Maryland and … interviewed in the hospital by a television reporter. The television reporter said to him, ‘The doctors say you will not walk again. What do you think, Elder Ellsworth?’ He said, ‘I’ll not only walk again, but I have a call from a prophet to serve a mission in Guatemala, and I shall go back to Guatemala and finish that mission. …’

“He exercised [two times the amount] outlined by the doctors. He exerted his faith. He received a blessing from the priesthood and his recovery was miraculous. It astounded the physicians and the specialists. He began to be able to stand on his feet. Then he could walk with crutches, and then the doctors said to him, ‘You may return to the mission field if the Church will permit you to go.’ He went. We sent him to Guatemala. He returned to the land to which he had been called, to the people whom he dearly loved.

“While there he was walking, proselyting a full schedule with a cane in each hand. [One day his mission president] looked at him and said, ‘Elder Ellsworth, with the faith that you have, why don’t you throw those canes away and walk?’ … He put down the canes and has never used them since” (Thomas S. Monson, quoted by Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, 61–62; or Ensign, Nov. 1977, 42).

  • Have a previously assigned quorum member describe a time in his life when he had to live by faith during a personal crisis or trial.

Conclusion

In order for our faith to grow, we must nourish it constantly. It is a gift and blessing that we need at all times and in all places. Everything we do in the Church requires faith in Jesus Christ. For example, paying tithing, serving in the Church, or saving enough money to go to the temple all require faith. As we nourish our faith in Jesus Christ by obeying Him, studying His gospel, praying, fasting, attending our meetings, and serving in the Church, we will receive many wonderful blessings. The greatest blessing of developing our faith is that we, along with our families, can be worthy to return to our Father in Heaven.

Challenges

Exercise your faith in Jesus Christ when you are called to perform a priesthood ordinance, such as administering to the sick.

Apply the principle of faith in meeting personal problems.

Additional Scriptures

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Read Gospel Principles chapter 18, “Faith in Jesus Christ.”

  2. 2.

    Study Hebrews, chapter 11.

  3. 3.

    Assign a class member to describe a time in his life when he had to live by faith during a personal crisis or trial.

  4. 4.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.