May 22, 2014

Atonement (FHE)

This week's lesson was based on the Gospel Principles manual, Chapter 12, The Atonement.  The Atonement is the most important doctrine of any Christian belief.  It is the foundation of the Gospel.  Everything that is taught in the Church is an appendage of this critical doctrine.

Song: We sang song #65 from the Primary Children's Songbook, He Died That We Might Live Again.  It goes as follows:

He died that we might live again,
Lord Jesus, our Redeemer true.
He died on Calv'ry's lonely hill.
His life he gave for me and you.
He rose from the grave on Easter morn,
Our Savior and our King.
He showed his love for all mankind.
For his great love, give thanks and sing.
Rejoice! Rejoice! and sing, sing, sing.

Lesson:  The Atonement is necessary for our salvation.  Jesus Christ "came into the be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; that through Him all might be saved" (D&C 76:41-42).  The great sacrifice He made to pay for our sins and overcome death is called the Atonement.  It is the most important event that has ever occurred in the history of mankind (Alma 34:9).  Since the Fall of Adam and Eve brought two kinds of death, physical death (separation of body and spirit) and spiritual death (separation from God), a Savior was need to overcome these so that we all can return to our Heavenly Father (2 Nephi 9:7-9).  Jesus Christ was the only one who could Atone for our sins.  He was chosen by the Father for this calling, He was the Only Begotten Son of the Father giving Him power over death, He is the only person who lived on the earth who has never sinned (John 10:17-18).

Christ suffered and died to Atone for our sins.  The Savior's Atonement included suffering in Gethsemane and giving His life on the cross.  We can never understand the magnitude of His suffering.  How Jesus loves us, to suffer such spiritual and physical agony for our sake!  How Heavenly Father loves us to send His Son to do so (John 3:16).

The Atonement and Resurrection bring Resurrection to all.  Christ took up His body and was the first to be Resurrected and thus He overcame physical death (Matthew 28:6).  Because of His Atonement, everyone born on this earth will be resurrected thus overcoming physical death (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

The Atonement makes it possible for those who have faith in Christ to be saved from their sins, thus making it possible for us to overcome spiritual death.  Although all people will be resurrected, only those who accept the Atonement will be saved spiritually (Articles of Faith 1:3).  We accept Chris's Atonement by:

1) Placing our faith in Him
2) Repenting of our sins
3) Being baptized
4) Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost
5) Obeying His commandments

This helps us to become faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.  Christ did His part to atone for our sins (D&C 19:16-17).  To make His Atonement fully effective in our lives we must strive to obey Him and repent of our sins.

Activity: I got the idea for this activity from Family Home Evenings.  I had June put on an empty backpack.  Then I asked her to name off different things that she or others could to that makes others or Heavenly Father sad.  With each thing she named, I placed a book in her backpack.  Here are the acts she listed:
- Push someone
- Say something mean
- Talk back to Mommy
- Refuse to do chores
- Say bad words
- Be mean to Penny

As I added books to her backpack, she said, "Mommy, I don't like it!  It's too heavy! I want to take it off!"  I told her that this is the way sin burdens us.  It wears us down and is extremely heavy to carry.  It's uncomfortable and is damaging to our spirits.  I told her that because we aren't perfect, Heavenly Father sent Jesus Christ to atone for all our sins.  He took upon the burden of our sins so we would be free from the bondage of sin.  I told her that all we had to do to have our burden lightened was to feel sorry for our sins and repent.  So, I went back through the list, but this time I asked her "Do you feel sorry when you..." and repeated each item of her list.  As she responded yes to the questions, I took a book out until she had no more weight in her backpack.  I told her that as we repent, we accept the Atonement into our lives which lightens our burden and makes us clean.

This activity was very effective in teaching June about sin and repentance.  She really did not like the books in her backpack at all, even though it really wasn't that heavy.  I feel her responses complimented the intent of the lesson.

On a side note, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most important event that has ever happened in the history of mankind.  Because of the Atonement, we can all have the opportunity to reach exhalation and live with our Father in Heaven again.  Because of the Atonement, we can have the opportunity to be a forever family in the eternities.  The Atonement is absolutely essential to our happiness, eternally and temporally.  Because of the magnitude and eternal reaching blessings of Christ's Atonement, I believe it would behoove all of us to truly study and learn as much as we can about it through scripture study, searching the words of the living prophets, reading truthful material, and mostly heartfelt prayer.  We can never fully comprehend the Atonement, but with our salvation depending on this great and wonderful gift, we should learn as much as we can about it, for the more we understand about the Atonement, the better we can apply it in our own lives and bless the lives of others.

In my own personal study of the Atonement, I utilize scripture study alongside books and talks about this sacred topic.  The first book I read was Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.  This is an in depth study of the life of Christ from His premortal life (what we know about) up to present day.  It is a long book, but a thoughtful read will surely strengthen your testimony of the life and mission of our Savior.  The book I'm currently reading is The Infinite Atonement by Tad R.Callister.  This book is an in-depth study of the Atonement, its importance, and how we can continue to learn to apply it ourselves.  I recommend letting the Spirit guide you as you study the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Ghost is the best teacher, especially of this incredible gift from our Savior.  He will testify to you of all truth, and of the truth of the Atonement.  This I know.

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