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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Lessons

Sometimes when I prepare my Sunday School lesson, I am overwhelmed by the spirit and the power of the scriptures. Today's lesson preparation was one of those times. I am posting my lesson outline below, feel free to read, study and feel the spirit in your own lives.

Gospel Doctrine Lesson – November 8, 2015
“I Can Do All Things Through Christ”
Philippians, Colossians, Philemon

Write on the chalkboard several key words from the thirteenth article of faith, such as true, honest, virtuous, and praiseworthy.
·        Which article of faith contains these words?
When class members have answered correctly, ask a class member to recite or read the thirteenth article of faith. Then have the class member again recite the first half of the article of faith, through “the admonition of Paul.”
·        What is “the admonition of Paul”?
·        Where is it found?
Read: Philippians 4:8
When Joseph Smith mentioned the admonition of Paul in the thirteenth article of faith, he was referring to Philippians 4:8, which is part of a letter that Paul wrote to the Saints in Philippi. 
Today’s lesson will cover Paul’s letter to the Philippians as well as Paul’s letters to the Colossians and to Philemon, all of which were written during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. These epistles are consistently positive and optimistic, and they contain some of Paul’s clearest and most earnest teachings about Jesus Christ. Paul taught that if we live in faith and gratitude, the Lord can further the gospel cause through us—no matter what circumstances we might be in—and that by building upon the foundation of Jesus Christ we can avoid being led astray by worldly philosophies and traditions. He discusses attributes we should seek to develop as faithful followers of Jesus Christ. – Think about those attributes as we study this lesson.
1. Paul encourages the Philippian Saints to follow Jesus Christ.
Read: Philippians 1:12-18
·        How did other members of the Church react to Paul’s imprisonment? 
·        Why did Paul’s imprisonment empower others to preach of Christ?
·        How have you been helped by seeing or hearing about others who were courageous in serving the Lord?
Read: Philippians 2:2-3
·        What did Paul exhort the Church members to do?
·        In what ways should Church members be “of one mind”? 
Read: Philippians 2:14-15 (refers to previous question)
·        Why do we sometimes do things for “vainglory”?
·        Why do you think Paul counseled against this?
·        Why is it important that we not think we are better than other people? (see D&C 38:24-26) – Is it just to think one person is better than the other?
Read: Philippians 2:5-8
·        What did Paul teach about Jesus in these verses?
·         How did Jesus set the perfect example of being humble and submissive to the will of his Father? (See John 8:29.) Did always those things that pleased God.
·         How can we become more humble and submissive to Heavenly Father’s will?
Read: Philippians 2:12
·        What do you think Paul meant when he told the Philippians, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”? 

Read: President David O. McKay
President David O. McKay explained:
 “‘Work out your own salvation’ is an exhortation to demonstrate by activity, by thoughtful, obedient effort the reality of faith. But this must be done with a consciousness that absolute dependence upon self may produce pride and weakness that will bring failure. With ‘fear and trembling’ we should seek the strength and grace of God for inspiration to obtain the final victory” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1957, 7).

Paul repeatedly counseled the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1; 4:4).
·        How can we rejoice in the Lord?
Read: Philippians 3:7-8
Paul told the Philippians that he had sacrificed all things for Christ.
·        What had Paul sacrificed?
Read: Philippians 3:9-12
·        Why is it important that we make sacrifices for Christ? – develops fatih

Read: Joseph Smith
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things” (Lectures on Faith [1985], 69).

Read: Philippians 4:6-7 (JST changes “careful” to “afflicted”)
·        How can we obtain the “peace of God” mentioned in Philippians 4:7?
·        When have you felt the peace of God?
Read: Philippians 4:8
·        How can we apply Paul’s counsel in Philippians 4:8?
·        How are we blessed when we follow this admonition?
In Philippians 4:13, Paul testified, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.
·        How do you think Paul gained this testimony of Christ?
·        How have you seen that you can “do all things through Christ”?

2. Paul reminds the Colossians that redemption comes only through Christ.

The Saints in Colosse, a small city east of Ephesus, were being influenced by teachings that minimized the importance of the Savior and focused on attaining perfection by observing ordinances and worshiping angels.
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul warned against these teachings, exhorting the Saints to continue to be “grounded and settled” in the knowledge that redemption comes only through Jesus Christ.
Read: Colossians 1:12-22 
·        What truths about Jesus Christ did Paul teach the Colossians? 
·        Why was it important for the Colossians to understand these truths?
·        How does your knowledge and testimony of Jesus Christ affect the way you live?
·        What is the “inheritance of the saints” that we may receive from our Father in Heaven?
·        Who makes this inheritance possible? (See Colossians 1:12–14.) -CHRIST
·        What must we do to receive this inheritance? (See Colossians 1:10–12; 2 Nephi 9:18; Alma 5:51; D&C 50:5.) - repent
Read: Colossians 1:23
·        What did Paul mean when he exhorted the Colossians to be “grounded and settled” in the gospel?
·        What causes some people to be “moved away from the hope of the gospel”?
·        What can we do to strengthen our testimonies?

3. Paul teaches the Colossians what they should do as the elect of God.

Read: Colossians 2:2-3
Paul wanted the Saints to have their hearts “knit together in love” and in the knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
·        How can we accomplish this in our own ward?
Read: Colossians 2:7
·        What does it mean to be “rooted and built up” in Christ?
·        How can we become rooted in Christ?
·        How can being “rooted and built up” in Christ help us in times of trial? (You may want to compare a tree with short, shallow roots to one with long, deep roots. Discuss which tree is more likely to survive trials such as storms or droughts.)
Read: Colossians 3:12-15 – Looking for the attributes of the elect of God.
·        What attributes of “the elect of God” are listed in Colossians 3:12–15? (List class members’ answers on the chalkboard.)
·        How has Jesus Christ set an example in these attributes? (Ask class members to think of specific instances in which Jesus exemplified each attribute.)
·        How can we more fully develop these attributes?
Read: Colossians 3:16-17
·        How can we let the word of Christ dwell in us, as Paul admonished?
·        How can hymns strengthen our understanding and testimony of the word of Christ?
·        How can we make better use of hymns and other sacred music?

Read: Dallin H. Oaks
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said: “We need to make more use of our hymns to put us in tune with the Spirit of the Lord, to unify us, and to help us teach and learn our doctrine. We need to make better use of our hymns in missionary teaching, in gospel classes, in quorum meetings, in home evenings, and in home teaching visits. Music is an effective way to worship our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. We should use hymns when we need spiritual strength and inspiration” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 13; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 12).

Paul repeatedly emphasized the importance of being thankful (Colossians 2:7; 3:15, 17).
·        Why is it important that we be thankful?
·        How can we show gratitude to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in all circumstances?

4. Paul encourages Philemon to be forgiving toward Onesimus.

Paul wrote a personal letter to Philemon, a member of the Church in Colosse, regarding Philemon’s slave Onesimus. Onesimus had robbed Philemon and run away to Rome, where he met Paul and was converted to the Church. Paul asked Philemon to forgive Onesimus and accept him as a brother in the gospel.
·        What can we learn about Paul from his letter to Philemon?
Read: Philemon 1:14
·        How did Paul show respect for Philemon’s agency? (See Philemon 1:14.)
·         How did Paul show his commitment to Onesimus’s welfare?
Read: Philemon 1:16
·        What can we learn from this epistle about the gospel’s power to transform human relationships?
·        How does the gospel affect your relationships with the people around you?
The fellowship between Saints should be reason for them to forgive one another.


Testify of the importance of developing attributes that help us become more like Jesus Christ, such as those mentioned in Paul’s letters to the Philippians, the Colossians, and Philemon.
Invite class members to read Philippians 4:8 and Colossians 3:12–15 and choose one attribute from those verses to work on developing this week.

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