There is a significant covenantal reason that Jesus instituted the sacrament among the Nephites.
In my last post I explained the covenantal reason why Jesus repeated the Sermon on the Mount to the Nephites. In summary, the Law of Moses was the covenantal instructions for the Israelites to show fidelity to God. When Jesus was on the earth, He provided updated instructions, the Sermon on the Mount, for how to show covenantal love, loyalty, and fidelity to God. As keepers of the Law of Moses (the old instructions), the Nephites deserved to receive the updated instructions for how God now wanted His people to be loyal to Him.
How does sacrament fit into the Law of Moses / Sermon on the Mount?
The sacrament is a covenantal ritual where we are given the opportunity to verbalize our covenantal commitment to God.
That covenant is renewed each week.
Each week at sacrament we promise to remember Jesus Christ and to keep the commandments of God. The commandments are the covenantal instructions for how to show loving loyalty to God. Each week we can express our commitment to be loyal to God. Each week we can express our desire to stay within the covenantal relationship God has revealed.
In return, we are offered the promise of God’s presence to be with us. As I have written elsewhere [What Does It Really Mean to Prosper] having God’s spirit with us is one of the most significant, meaningful, and powerful ways for us to prosper, for us to have the fulfilment of God’s covenants in our lives.
So why did Jesus institute the sacrament?
Having delivered the updated covenantal instructions to the people (i.e., the Sermon at the Temple) he wanted a way for the people to regularly declare their covenantal commitment to God and to be reminded of the covenantal blessings they’ll receive for being loyal to God. The major blessing of this covenant? Having the Spirit of God in our lives.
Finally, we end the sacrament prayer with the word amen. That is a Hebrew word that means “faith, faithful, belief, believing, agreement.” In fact, amen is a covenantal word!
In scripture, amen is used to confirm the covenantal commitment.
Amen is used to identify someone who is in covenant with God.
Amen is used to describe the characteristics of an individual who is covenantally loyal to God. Such a person has faith and belief. Such a person is faithful and believing. Such a person makes and keeps sacred agreements.
All of these beautiful covenantal truths are summed up in the word amen which concludes the sacramental prayers.
The next time you have an opportunity to participate in the sacrament, take the time to reflect on your covenantal commitments to God and the covenantal promises He has made to you (beginning with Father Abraham). And when you say amen remember that this is a pronouncement of your covenantal intent to be loyal and faithful to God.
By doing these things, the expansive joy of a covenantal relationship with God will be felt deeply, empowering you to endure to the end.
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