It's definitely been a little bit since I've been up here. I think it's been two years. A little over two years since I talked to this ward. So, because I know there's new people, I'm doing the same as Ellie, Im taking a little bit of time to introduce myself. So I'm Luke Wells and Bishop Wells is my dad. Unfortunately, that means that when I'm here for three months over summer, I get to squeeze in everything. An opening prayer and I also get to give a talk. Im pretty stoked about that, Not really.
But, you know, I am grateful I was given the topic of studying Christ and seeking Christ in our lives. Which kind of are very broad topics so, this might kind of just sound very scattered and all over the place. But something hopefully is in here, will be good for all of you at some point I hope. So, I'm going to start off with the definition of studying. And the dictionary says that it's devoting time and attention to acquiring knowledge on an academic subject, especially by means of books. So when we apply it to studying Christ it means that we're gonna devote time & attention to acquiring knowledge about Jesus Christ.
So really in the end this kind of brings us back to our very basic primary commandments of going to church, reading our scriptures and saying our prayers to study Christ. So I want to break down each of these three subjects or each of these three topics of praying, reading our scriptures and going to church. And what that means and how we can apply it to the study of Jesus Christ. So, It said in the definition of studying, it mentions particularly using books and that's what the scriptures are. They're exactly that. And President Nelson said in a devotional to the young adults. It's a quote "consecrate a portion of your time each week to study everything Jesus said and did, as recorded in the Old Testament, for he is the Jehovah of the Old Testament, study his laws as recorded in the New Testament, for he is its Christ, study his doctrine as recorded in the Book of Mormon. There is no book of Scripture in which his mission and ministry are more clearly revealed. And study his words as recorded in the Doctrine & Covenants, for he continues to teach his people in this dispensation. So they dedicate this time to reading the stories of Christ, gaining more of an understanding of his personality and these things put together. The Old Testament shows us part of his personality and how just he is, and how he cannot tolerate any sin at any time. We learn this in what we're reading in the Old Testament now, when the Israelites would mess up, they were prolonged in the wilderness and ended up being stuck there for 40 years, wandering, because they weren't able to get their act together and figure themselves out. And he needed to teach them to be obedient and he couldn't tolerate any sin. And then in the New Testament, we learned with love and mercy. He sent his son Jesus Christ to us. And through His example, we're able to see the mercy that God extends to us through his son and the stories that he taught us. And then also, of course, his perfect atonement. That sacrifice that he gave for us. And not only Christ's sacrifice, but the father's sacrifice in giving up his only son to die for us. Thats something that I never will be able to understand how he could do. But he did it for ud. And in the Book of Mormon, he shows us both of this justice and mercy. And the stories of the Nephites when they were becoming prideful, they were reproved and they were chastised and made low again. And then also Christ visits them. And in the Doctrine & Covenants were able to learn about his knowledge and how he has a plan for us. How he continues to move that plan forward, no matter what happens. Even when we think that there are problems that come around, he still has time for us.
Then we go to prayer. Prayer is the way for us to deepen the understanding that we learn in the scriptures. This is beautiful. The most perfect example I can think of is the story of Joseph Smith. When Joseph Smith was the seeking knowledge he started in the scriptures, he read the Bible, and he was reading the New Testament and then eventually he came to James 1:5. And most of us know this scripture pretty well. It Says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all man liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." So Joseph read this scripture. He decided he needed to go pray about what he had read and asked for knowledge. As he did that, most of us know his story. He was able to see God The Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him with the knowledge that he was seeking was given to him. And not all at once, but he was given little by little until he was able to understand more. So as we are able to pray, we're able to gain more knowledge of what we have read and more understanding of what we've read.
And then lastly, we're going to church. And we're all here today so that's good. Sometimes church may not seem like it's a big deal. I kind of have fallen to that a little bit, but it seems difficult because of issues that come up. When I was serving my mission in the Philippines I had so many experiences going to less active members or people that had issues with members in the ward. I know that sometimes people aren't perfect and sometimes we have issues and conflicts with people that we interact with. So much especially here at church and we think that the church is supposed to be perfect and then someone isn't perfect. And so we kind of get upset and that leads to people leaving. But really the church isn't perfect and people aren't perfect. The gospel is perfect, but the church and the people in it aren't perfect. So we can't fall into letting ourselves think that. But as we go to church, we learn some of the most important things and deepen our knowledge. We will never be able to deepen it with just praying and just scriptures.
There are two reasons for this. One of them is the communication that happens at church. The sharing of insights and ideas and also teaching that some of us will be able to be a part of. Hearing from Sunday school teachers or youth teachers helps us to deepen our understanding. They also brings up different ideas and insights that we may not be able to pick up ourselves.
There are countless times in my life where I had missionary companions or just people those talking with in seminary or any other kind of church activity that they brought up an Insight and it gave me new understandings. So as we continue to receive these new insights, we are able to deepen our knowledge and then we're also able to go back into the scriptures and understand that even better. And then also it gives us a new perspective of the atonement, in a way that we will never be able to get from just reading our scriptures and just saying our prayers.
As we come to church the biggest and most important thing is partaking of the sacrament. And that is the most perfect way for us to understand it. Each and every day we're able to have a visual representation of Jesus Christ on the table and we were able to partake of his flesh and his blood, and be cleansed of our sins. There's no better way for us to deepen our understanding of this sacrifice that Jesus gave us. And understand who He is and what He is for us. We can do this best by coming to church and partaking of the sacrament. I want to bear my testimony that I know that even though it's difficult to dedicate time in our day, we all have very busy schedules. I know that even when I was very young and really had nothing going on, I always thought I had something going on and thought I was too busy to do scriptures or whatever. But as we dedicate part of our day to understanding Jesus Christ and reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, and of course give our time on Sundays for a couple hours to come to church. We will be able to receive spiritual knowledge, And we will be able to draw closer to the Savior than we ever have before. And I know this church is true and Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He is our brother. He is everything to us and I love this gospel. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.