3 Nephi, Chapter 18

What is the proper way to administer the sacrament?

“And it came to pass that Jesus commanded his Disciples that they should bring forth some bread and wine unto him (v. 1).  And while they were gone for bread and wine, he commanded the multitude that they should sit themselves down upon the earth (v. 2).  And when the Disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the Disciples and commanded that they should eat (v. 3).  And when they had eaten and were filled, he commanded that they should give unto the multitude (v. 4).  And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the Disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name (v. 5).  And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you (v. 6).  And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you (v. 7).  And it came to pass that when he said these words, he commanded his Disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude that they might drink of it (v. 8 ).  And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it and were filled; and they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled (v. 9).  And when the Disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you (v. 10).”

When the sacrament is administered each week, we should be thinking of the Savior and the sacrifice that he made to take away our sins and give us the opportunity to live with God again.  Sometimes it can be difficult to keep our minds focused on this.  Sometimes our children can disrupt our reverence and focus, as well as our own thoughts turning to other things in our lives.  It would be a lot easier, if the Savior was passing the Sacrament to each of us.  The members of the priesthood, who pass the sacrament, are doing it in the place of the Savior.  If we can imagine that the Savior is giving the bread and water to us himself, then maybe we will be able to keep our thoughts on Him during the sacrament.  The reverence that is necessary during the sacrament, takes an active role by those taking it and administering it.  It is important to do our best to keep our focus in the right place, so that we can truly worship the Lord and partake of the ordinance of the sacrament in the proper way.  Also, those who administer it, should do it in a way that does not take away the reverence of those who are taking it.  They do this by dressing appropriately, speaking deliberately and clearly when they bless it, and behaving reverently as they pass it.

Why must we remember the Savior while partaking of the Sacrament?

The Savior taught the people that the bread of the Sacrament, is to keep us in remembrance of Him, so that we can have His Spirit with us (see verse 7 above).  “And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you (v. 11).  And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock (v. 12).  But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them (v. 13).  Therefore blessed are ye if ye shall keep my commandments, which the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you (v. 14).”  The Savior teaches us that it is important that we keep the sacrament strictly to what he taught the Nephites.  If we make more or less of the sacrament, we change His ordinance and are not following His commandments.  I am so grateful for the sacrament and the chance it gives me to reflect on how I can be more like the Savior.

Jesus teaches the Nephites how to pray

Things that I pray for regularly are things such as asking for the spirit to influence myself and others, safety for myself and my family, the ability to hear the inspirations of the spirit and the willingness to act on them, health and strength, and so on.  I typically pray at morning and night (personal and family), at meals, and for things such as family night.  The Savior taught the Nephites what to pray for and when to pray.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him (v. 15).  And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you (v. 16).  And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto his Disciples, he turned again unto the multitude and said unto them (v. 17):  Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat (v. 18 ).  Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name (v. 19); And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you (v. 20).  Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed (v. 21).  And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not (v. 22); But ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in my name (v. 23).”

Jesus taught them that we should pray always, pray with our families, and pray in church.  When He says pray always, I think it means to be constantly thinking in communication with God.  Then when we are faced with any challenges, immediately turn to Him in prayer so that we can be protected from the temptations of Satan.  We should pray for the help to watch for Satan’s deceptions.  He repeats that we need to pray always for help with the adversary, because it is the most important reason for our prayers.  We need the strength and guidance of His Spirit, because we are weak on our own and cannot do it alone.

The Savior led by example.  He showed the Nephites how to pray, by praying to God for them (see previous post).  We need to follow His example as well.  We need to pray in the name of Jesus Christ and if we believe it, we can receive it.

We should pray for those who do not have the spirit and the gospel in their lives, so that they may come unto Him through our faith.  When we ask in faith for the strength to overcome adversity and for those things that we stand in need of, the Lord will bless us.  In the Bible Dictionary we read, “As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7: 7-11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”  I love this explanation.  We are God’s children and prayer helps us to shape our will to the will of our Father in Heaven.  When we actively ask for things that are good, we are showing our faith in Him and we will receive blessings for it.

How should we treat those who are new to our church?

When I have attended a new ward for the first time, I have felt nervous and have looked for welcoming faces to help me.  I have been raised in the church, so I have not had the experience of attending as an investigator.  I imagine it is a lot more nerve-wracking and uncomfortable to do.  It can be particularly hard to step out of the comfort zone and attend a church meeting where you are new.  The Savior taught the Nephites how they should treat those new people who come to church.

As members of the church, we need to welcome anyone new who would like to come to church (see v. 22 above).  The Savior taught that if they show interest by coming often, we need to pray for them as well (see v. 23 above).  We need to invite others to come to church, so that they can feel the spirit and learn of Christ.  “Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed (v. 24).   And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation (v. 25).”

Why should we partake of the sacrament worthily?

I can imagine that there have been people who take the sacrament, but who have no desire to remember the Lord or keep His commandments.  I am sure that when this happens, the Lord feels sad for the choice to give up the blessings that he wants to give them.  I sure that it does not feel good to feel disrespected in such a way as this disrespects Him.  Plus, the sacrament is an ordinance that involves making sacred covenants with the Lord to remember Him and keep His commandments.  It must be saddening to see some enter into this covenant with no intentions for keeping it.

“And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he turned his eyes again upon the Disciples whom he had chosen, and said unto them (v. 26):  Behold verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you another commandment, and then I must go unto my Father that I may fulfil other commandments which he hath given me (v. 27).  And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it (v. 28 ); For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him (v. 29).”

Those who take the sacrament without the desire to keep the covenants renewed in it, do it unworthily.  The Savior taught the Nephites that this will bring “damnation to [their] souls.  It was so important to avoid, that those who are the leaders of the church need to keep others from doing this if they know they are not worthy.  This is why, those who confess particular sins to their Bishops, are told not to partake of the Sacrament.  Sin makes us unworthy to partake and therefore will lead to our own damnation.  This is why it is so important to prepare for the sacrament by reflecting on our lives and determining if we are worthy to do so.

“Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood (v. 30).  But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered (v. 31).  Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them (v. 32).  Therefore, keep these sayings which I have commanded you that ye come not under condemnation; for wo unto him whom the Father condemneth (v. 33).”

Those who are not worthy, should be ministered to.  We need to help others find their way back to Christ.  We as worthy members, need to pray for those who are not worthy.  Then it is up to them, whether or not they will repent and return to Him.  Our duty is to continue to minister to them, even if they do not show any signs of repenting, because we never know when they may decide to do it.  If we willing shut others out, we will be condemned for it.

” And I give you these commandments because of the disputations which have been among you. And blessed are ye if ye have no disputations among you (v. 34).  And now I go unto the Father, because it is expedient that I should go unto the Father for your sakes (v. 35).  And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of these sayings, he touched with his hand the Disciples whom he had chosen, one by one, even until he had touched them all, and spake unto them as he touched them (v. 36).  And the multitude heard not the words which he spake, therefore they did not bear record; but the Disciples bare record that he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost. And I will show unto you hereafter that this record is true (v. 37).  And it came to pass that when Jesus had touched them all, there came a cloud and overshadowed the multitude that they could not see Jesus (v. 38 ).  And while they were overshadowed he departed from them, and ascended into heaven. And the Disciples saw and did bear record that he ascended again into heaven (v. 39).”

What a wonderful experience for those who were there at the Nephite temple.  How awesome it would have been to witness the Savior come, teach, and bless the people.  What a blessing it would be to know by seeing the Savior and witnessing these things, that all the gospel is true.  I am so glad to have the blessing of the spirit, which bears witness in my heart and mind that these things are true.  I may not have been there to witness that awesome event, but I know it is truth, because the spirit has told me so.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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