Seek First the Kingdom of God, Lesson 45: Sections 115, 117, 119–20

“Seek First the Kingdom of God, Lesson 45: Sections 115, 117, 119–20,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324–325 (1981), 89–90

“Lesson 45,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide, 89–90

Seek First the Kingdom of God

Lesson 45

Sections 115, 117, 119–20


As the Saints seek first to build the kingdom of God, they become a standard to all the nations.

Theme Analysis

  1. These sections of the Doctrine and Covenants reveal several important concepts about the kingdom and the Church and its functioning in the last days.

  2. The Church of Jesus Christ is established in these last days.

    1. The name of the Church is revealed.

    2. The Church is to become a standard to the nations.

    3. The Saints are to build up the stakes of Zion.

  3. The earth and all things thereon belong to the Lord.

  4. Tithing is a standing law unto the Saints forever.

  5. Council for the disposition of tithes is established by revelation.

Study Sources

Student Manual

Sections 115, 117, 119–20

Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach each revelation in its historical context.

Standard Works

  • D&C 115, 117, 119–20. Keeping in mind the theme of this lesson, read and ponder these sections.

  • D&C 45:9. Why was the gospel restored in this dispensation?

  • D&C 127:12; 128:21. Why is the name of the Church a significant declaration to the world?

  • 3 Nephi 27:5, 18. How important is the name of the Church?

  • D&C 38:18–19. In what manner are the Saints to seek to establish Zion?

  • D&C 64:23. What special promise of the last days applies to those who are tithed?

  • D&C 97:12. The fulfillment of the law of tithing is the practice of what other gospel principle?

  • Matthew 6:19–21. What should be a member’s most important treasure?

  • Matthew 13:45–46. To what does the Savior liken the kingdom? Why?

  • Mark 8:36–37. What caution should be remembered while seeking earthly things?

  • Malachi 3:8–10. How important is the law of tithing?

Basic Library

  • Discourses, pp. 174–78. The principles of tithing are detailed.

  • Gos. Doc, pp. 232–33. How are the tithes accounted for and dispersed?

  • DS, 1:240–41. Will the majority of the Latter-day Saints remain faithful or will they be overcome by the things of the world?

  • DS, 3:254–55. What is the ensign spoken of by Isaiah?

  • DS, 3:279–80. How can members of the Church overcome the world?

  • Marion G. Romney, in CR, Apr. 1979, pp. 58–59. What are some of the promised blessings of paying tithing?

  • Marion G. Romney, in CR, Apr. 1979, pp. 71–75. What is the significance of the name of Christ’s church?

Additional Sources

  • Spencer W. Kimball, “The Law of Tithing,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, pp. 77–78. Is the payment of tithing an optional opportunity for Church members?

  • Marion G. Romney, “Concerning Tithing,” Ensign, June 1980, pp. 2–3. Describes tithing as a legal obligation and the promises for obedience.

  • N. Eldon Tanner, Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, pp. 1–6. President Tanner explains the importance of this motto in all that we do in life.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Standard to the Nations (Chalkboard Illustration)

In what ways are Latter-day Saints a standard to the nations? Following are a few ways. You may want to list these and other ideas on the chalkboard as you discuss them.

  1. We understand and can teach the true nature of the Godhead.

  2. We know and can exemplify our true realtionship to God as his spirit sons and daughters.

  3. We have a standard of honesty and morality which can be a blessing to all who will follow it.

  4. We look to God and his prophets as a constant guide in our lives.

  5. We respect authority, whether it be ecclesiastical, political, or patriarchal.

  6. We recognize the true roles of men and women and uphold the family as the basic unit of a righteous society.

  7. We advocate moderation, temperance, and modesty in dress and conduct.

  8. We recognize the divine nature of mankind and have great respect for ourselves and for our fellowman.

  9. We know of our accountablity to God and are thereby strengthened in our resolve to live properly.

  10. We have a law of temporal well being (the Word of Wisdom) by which we maintain health, vigor, and vitality.

  11. We seek after that which is true, virtuous, and uplifting wherever it may be found.

Love God More Than the Things of the World (Scripture Analysis, Discussion)

There are many members of the Church who love the creation more than the Creator (see D&C 121:35). If we are to be a standard to the nations we must learn to seek first the kingdom of God (see JST, Matthew 6:38). The teacher may want to read and discuss the following scriptures with the students.

  1. D&C 117:6. To whom does the earth and its fulness belong?

  2. D&C 117:10. What promise is given to those who seek to build the Lord’s kingdom?

  3. D&C 119:4–6. How does tithing relate to “seeking first the kingdom of God”?

After working through the scriptures, the teacher may want to read the following statements and discuss them.

“Tithing is a fundamental principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To those who observe it fully there comes a deeper love of the gospel. It is just as essential to our growth and development in this Church as are repentance, baptism, or any other fundamental laws. It will develop in men and women a deeper devotion to the truth and greater willingness to serve their fellowmen; and, above all, it will increase their testimony of the gospel.

“I picked up an old Journal of Discourses a few days ago. It was forty years old. I opened it casually and found there a very fine discourse given in Provo, in 1855, by Brother Franklin D. Richards, in which he urged obedience to the principle of tithing. He said: ‛In the receipt which the Prophet Joseph Smith gave to me in Nauvoo, signed by himself and the tithing clerk, he stated that having paid my tithing in full to date, I was entitled to the benefits of the baptismal font, which had just been dedicated in the basement of the temple.’ So, evidently in those days it was understood that those who paid their tithing in full had the privilege of the House of the Lord. Twenty years later President Joseph F. Smith, from this very pulpit, spoke these words:

“ ‛By the principle of tithing the loyalty of the people of this Church shall be put to the test. By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. By this principle it shall be seen whose hearts are set on doing the will of God and keeping his commandments, thereby sanctifying the land of Zion unto God; and who are opposed to this principle and have cut themselves off from the blessings of Zion. There is a great deal of importance connected with this principle, for by it it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful. In this respect it is as essential as faith in God, as repentance of sin, as baptism for the remission of sin, or as the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.’” (John Wells, in Conference Report, Apr. 1926, p. 121.)

“Anything we have upon this earth we only seem to have, for in reality we own nothing. No person on the earth can truly call anything his own, and never will until he has passed the ordeals we are all now passing, and has received his body again in a glorious resurrection, to be crowned by him who will be ordained and set apart to set a crown upon our heads. Then will be given to us that which we now only seem to own, and we will be forever one with the Father and the Son, and not until then.” (Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 9:106.)