Although much of what Nephi writes is directed to his people, the House of Israel, he makes the point in 2 Nephi 26 that the gospel is for the Gentiles (everyone else) as well. In verses 25 to 28, he poses the following series of questions (underlines added for emphasis):
- Doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me?
- Hath he commanded any that they should depart…out of the houses of worship?
- Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation?
- Hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness?
For each of the questions above, the answer is the same — Nay!
For those of us called upon to present the gospel today (which is any member of the Church) this guidance still applies. Here are some questions we can ask ourselves as we seek to do the Lord’s will in spreading the gospel:
Is there a certain type of person that we prefer to see as a member of the church?
If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is probably: “Yes, someone who is a lot like me.” If we say we’re only comfortable sharing the Lord with someone who is like us, what do we do when those people are not typically open to the gospel? Give up? What did the Lord do when Israel would not accept Christ? He turned to the Gentiles. We need to be open to sharing the Lord with people who are unlike us (not from our family, circle of friends, etc.) if we want to see the gospel spread.
Is there a certain type of person that we prefer to not see as a member of the church?
If you ever had a “problem member” in your branch, you might be tempted to say, “I don’t ever want a member like that again!” However, shutting our doors (even in our minds) to entire classes of people means we are willing to deny the opportunity for salvation to many people because of the behavior of a few. Even if we think poor people “always want money” or addicts “always go back to drugs” or young people are “not like we were at their age,” we need to do our best to reach people in these groups (and others) in order for the church to grow.
Is there anything about our church that makes us hesitant to extend an invitation to others?
Having a church that is “visitor friendly” is a topic of its own, but clearly if we have concerns that are preventing us from inviting people, those should be raised to the ministry. Our faith is our faith and our beliefs are our beliefs, but there are many aspects of our services that can be conducted in a manner that makes our church attractive to a new person — or not. Those are the things we can examine in order to maximize our ability to effectively present the opportunity for salvation to as many people as possible.
Is there anything about ourselves that makes us hesitant to present ourselves as representatives of Jesus Christ?
It seems like there are many things we do today that are “our business” or “between us and God” — behaviors that others might question as to their appropriateness for a servant of God. One test of how a person feels about his own behavior is whether there is any hesitancy to present himself as a servant of God to people who are aware of the said behavior. Although it’s true that God can forgive us for our transgressions, are we really comfortable with not being able to offer salvation just so we can “do what we want”?
Even in today’s age when many excuses are offered for not presenting the gospel, the Lord’s direction that “aalvation is for all” is still valid. Let’s do the best we can to fulfil that and offer His salvation to a world that needs it so desperately.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.