“Lesson 123: 3 Nephi 13,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)
“Lesson 123,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
The Savior continued His sermon at the temple in the land of Bountiful. He warned the people against hypocrisy and taught them to do righteous works to please Heavenly Father. He also instructed the multitude to lay up treasures in heaven and directed His disciples to seek the kingdom of God before their own temporal concerns.
To begin the lesson, ask students to complete the self-assessment (either on the handout or in notebooks or study journals) by indicating which phrases best describe their motives or reasons for doing alms, praying, and fasting. Assure students that you will not ask them to share their answers with others. After students finish the self-assessment, point out that the possible responses listed under doing alms, praying, and fasting reflect different motives or reasons we might have for doing these or other gospel-related activities (we might do them, for instance, out of duty or obligation, to impress other people, or to please Heavenly Father).
Does it matter why we do righteous works? Why or why not?
Explain that 3 Nephi 13 recounts how Jesus Christ continued to instruct the Nephite multitude at the temple and taught them about the importance of a person’s motives for doing alms, praying, and fasting.
Write the following topics and accompanying scripture references on the board (you may want to do this before class):
Invite students to choose one of the three topics listed on the board. Ask them to read the related scripture passage silently, looking for answers to the following questions (you may want to write these questions on the board):
What motive did the Lord warn against as we do this activity?
How did the Lord say we should do this activity?
Before students begin, it may be helpful to define hypocrite as someone who puts on a false appearance or who says one thing but does another.
Invite a few students to share the answers they found to the two questions. (From their search, students should discover that the Lord warned against doing righteous works to be seen of men and taught that we should do righteous works to please our Heavenly Father.)
Write the following on the board: If we do righteous works to please Heavenly Father, …
According to 3 Nephi 13:4, 6, 18, what blessing will come to those who do righteous works to please Heavenly Father? (As students respond, complete the statement on the board so that it conveys the following principle: If we do righteous works to please Heavenly Father, He will reward us openly. Invite students to consider writing this principle in their scriptures.)
What does it mean to you that Heavenly Father will reward us openly?
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals one or more examples of times when they have felt blessed as they have sought to do righteous works to please Heavenly Father.
Invite students to briefly review their self-assessments and evaluate their motives for doing alms, praying, or fasting. Encourage them to consider how they might apply the Savior’s teachings to improve their motives for doing these or other activities, such as scripture study, paying tithing, attending church, and partaking of the sacrament.
Point out that along with teaching about the motives we should have when praying, the Savior gave additional instruction on how we should pray. This instruction, given in the form of a prayer, is often referred to as the Lord’s Prayer.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 3 Nephi 13:7–13. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior taught about how to pray. Ask students to report what they find.
Write the following phrases on the board: Treasures on Earth and Treasures in Heaven. Invite students to discuss the following question with a partner:
What are some examples of treasures on earth (or things that do not last) and treasures in heaven (or blessings that can last forever)?
After students have had time to discuss this question in pairs, you might ask a few to share their responses with the class. Consider mentioning an example from your life of a treasure on earth (you could display a precious possession you own) and an example of a treasure in heaven (you might display a picture of your family or mention the importance of your testimony).
Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 13:19–23 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the counsel the Savior gave about seeking treasures on earth and treasures in heaven.
According to 3 Nephi 13:19–20, how are treasures on earth different from treasures in heaven? (You may want to clarify that the Savior did not teach that money or earthly possessions are evil; rather, He emphasized the importance of placing our hearts on heavenly treasures that will endure.)
What do you think the phrase “if … thine eye be single” means in 3 Nephi 13:22?
Invite a student to write the word God on a piece of paper and place it on one side of the classroom. Invite another student to write the word Worldliness on a piece of paper and place it on the opposite side of the classroom. Ask a third student to stand in front of the class and face the paper labeled God. Next, have the student turn and face the paper labeled Worldliness. Invite the student to try to face both papers at the same time.
Ask a student to read 3 Nephi 13:24 aloud. Invite the class to follow along and consider how this verse relates to the student’s attempt to face both papers at once. Explain that the word mammon represents worldliness or riches.
How would you state a truth based on the Savior’s teachings in 3 Nephi 13:24? (Although students may give many correct answers, make sure they identify the following truth: We cannot serve God and mammon. Invite students to consider marking this truth in their scriptures.)
What do you think it means to “serve” mammon? (To set our hearts on worldly things, which leads us away from God.)
How is seeking to serve God and mammon like trying to face both walls at the same time?
What might be some examples of trying to serve God and mammon at the same time?
According to verse 24, what must we do to show God that we want Him as our master? (Help students understand that loving and holding to God means that we love and serve Him above the things of the world.)
Invite the class to stand. Read aloud the following examples, and ask students to face the side of the classroom that represents the master they think the person is serving—God or Worldliness (mammon). Ask students to explain why they chose to turn the way they did. (You may want to adapt these examples to meet the circumstances and interests of the students you teach.)
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 miss his meetings.
A young woman frequently complains to her parents about her need for new clothes. The clothes she desires to purchase cost more than her family can afford.
A young man pays his tithing regularly with the money he receives from his job. However, he uses all of 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.
A young woman frequently uses some of her income to purchase small gifts to show love for others.
Following the activity, invite students to be seated, and then ask them the following questions:
Based on your experience, why might it be difficult to always love and serve God over the things of the world?
Why is it important to love and serve God over the things of the world?
Summarize 3 Nephi 13:25–31 by telling students that Jesus Christ instructed His twelve disciples not to worry about their temporal needs for food and clothing. Point out that although these teachings were specifically given to the twelve disciples, the underlying principles can be applied generally. Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 13:32–33 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior comforted His disciples concerning their temporal needs.
How can realizing that God knows our needs help us?
According to 3 Nephi 13:33, what did Jesus Christ promise those who put God and His kingdom first in their lives? (Although students may answer in different ways, be sure they identify the following principle: If we seek God and His kingdom first, He will help us provide for our needs. You may want to write this principle on the board.)
What do we communicate to Heavenly Father and the Savior when we put Them above our temporal needs and interests?
What are some ways in which we can choose to put Heavenly Father and the Savior above our temporal needs and interests?
When have you or someone you know received God’s help while seeking to put Him and His kingdom first?
You may want to conclude the lesson by bearing testimony of the blessings that you have experienced as you have sought to place God and His kingdom first in your life. Invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals a goal concerning one thing they could do to more fully put God first in their lives.