“September 21–27. 3 Nephi 12–16: ‘I Am the Law, and the Light,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“September 21–27. 3 Nephi 12–16,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
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Like Jesus’s disciples who gathered at the mount in Galilee, the people who gathered at the temple at Bountiful had lived under the law of Moses. They had followed it because it pointed their souls to Christ (see Jacob 4:5), and now Christ stood before them, declaring a higher law. But even those of us who have never lived the law of Moses can recognize that the standard Jesus set for His disciples is a much higher law. “I would that ye should be perfect,” He declared (3 Nephi 12:48). If this makes you feel inadequate, remember that Jesus also said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (3 Nephi 12:3). This higher law is an invitation—another way of saying “Come unto me and be ye saved” (3 Nephi 12:20). Like the law of Moses, this law points us to Christ—the only One who can save and perfect us. “Behold,” He said, “I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live” (3 Nephi 15:9).
There are many truths, words of counsel, and warnings in 3 Nephi 12–14. Here’s one way to study and apply what the Savior taught in these chapters: Pick a group of verses, and see if you can summarize what the verses teach in one sentence that begins with “True disciples of Jesus Christ …” For example, a summary of 3 Nephi 14:1–5 might be “True disciples of Jesus Christ are not judgmental.” You might want to choose a verse from these chapters that is especially meaningful to you and memorize it or copy it and place it where you will see it often. Ponder how you can apply what you learn to your personal efforts to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ.
Compared to the total number of God’s children, very few have seen the Savior and heard His voice, as the people at Bountiful did. Most of us are more like the people described in 3 Nephi 12:2; 15:23; and 16:4–6. What promises are made to such people in these verses? How have these promises been fulfilled in your life?
One theme you might notice in these chapters is the Savior’s invitation to live a higher law—to be righteous not only in our outward actions but also in our hearts. Look for this theme when the Savior speaks of contention (3 Nephi 12:21–26), immorality (3 Nephi 12:27–30), prayer (3 Nephi 13:5–8), and fasting (3 Nephi 13:16–18). What other examples can you find? What can you do to purify the desires of your heart rather than focus on outward actions only?
President Russell M. Nelson said: “Does God really want to speak to you? Yes! … Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know” (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 95). As you read the Lord’s invitation in 3 Nephi 14:7–11 to ask, seek, and knock, ponder what “good things” He might want you to ask for. The following additional scriptures may help you understand how to ask, seek, and knock. They may also help explain why some prayers are not answered the way you expect: Isaiah 55:8–9; Helaman 10:5; Moroni 7:26–27, 33, 37; and Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–9.
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some ideas.
How does Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s message “Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 40–42) help us understand the Savior’s words in this verse? You could also find help in Moroni 10:32–33.
How do these verses apply to interactions among family members? Perhaps your family could set some goals together to live by these principles more faithfully.
These verses could prompt a discussion about what your family treasures. Are there some treasures on earth that are keeping you from laying up treasures in heaven? You could reinforce this point by leading the family on a treasure hunt to find things in your home that remind your family members of treasures with eternal value.
Younger children might enjoy a game, inspired by 3 Nephi 14:8–9, in which they ask for something and receive something entirely different. What did the Savior want us to know about our Father in Heaven when He shared this example?
What “good fruit” helps us know that Joseph Smith, or the current President of the Church, is a true prophet?
Think of ways you could help your family visualize the parable in these verses. Perhaps family members could draw pictures, do actions, or build things on solid and sandy foundations.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man,” Children’s Songbook, 281.