"Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ"
Lesson 11 - 2 Nephi 31-33
Describe a feast. What kinds of foods would be on the table? How is a feast different from an ordinary meal? Read 2 Nephi 32:3, beginning with "Wherefore, I said unto you." The Lord has invited us to a feast...one that will give us eternal life. This lesson discusses Nephi’s teachings on how to live the doctrine of Christ and feast on His words.
Nephi stands as one of the most valiant of all the sons of God. Though he experienced family strife, warfare, and other trials, he loved the Lord with all his heart. He was full of faith, zeal, and integrity, and he never wavered in his obedience. As you study the assigned chapters, remember that these words are among Nephi’s last.
Nephi taught of the doctrine of Christ.
Nephi began his final writings by saying that he would "speak concerning the doctrine of Christ" (2 Nephi 31:2). Ponder this phrase and what it might mean as we discuss chapter 31.
2 Nephi 31:4 Nephi began by reminding the people that he had previously spoken about Jesus’ baptism.
2 Nephi 31:5 Jesus was baptized to fulfil all righteousness.
2 Nephi 31:6-7 He "fulfil[led] all righteousness" by being baptized because he made covenants with his Father. President Joseph F. Smith said that to fulfil all righteousness is "to fulfil the law" (Conference Report, Apr. 1912, 9].)
According to 2 Nephi 31:9, the other reason Jesus was baptized was to set an example for us.
2 Nephi 31:13, 17 and D&C 20:37, 71-74 These scriptures explain why we need baptism:
a.   To receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:13).
b.   To receive a remission of sins (2 Nephi 31:17).
c.   To enter the gate for the path to eternal life (2 Nephi 31:17).
d.   To receive membership in the Lord’s Church (D&C 20:37, D&C 20:71-74).
2 Nephi 31:13 Nephi exhorted his people to "follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God". Think about acting without hypocrisy or deception before God--being completely faithful and believing. Following the Son "with full purpose of heart" helps us avoid hypocrisy and deception by having real intent, repenting, and being guided by the Spirit as we do what the Savior would do if he were in our place.
2 Nephi 31:13 The gift we will receive when we show our willingness "to follow [the] Savior down into the water" through baptism is the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
2 Nephi 31:13; 2 Nephi 32:2-3 Nephi described the way a person could speak after being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost as being "with the tongue of angels".
To "speak with the tongue of angels" means to speak the words of Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Situations in which we might be blessed to speak with the "tongue of angels" may include when we are teaching or testifying to friends and family, during a talk in church, or when we pray.
2 Nephi 31:17 Nephi also taught that after baptism we receive a remission of sins "by fire and by the Holy Ghost". Nephi used the word "fire" in describing this process because just as fire purifies and cleanses, the Holy Ghost cleanses from sin those who sincerely repent and are baptized.
2 Nephi 31:18 Nephi taught that the Holy Ghost "witnesses of the Father and the Son" . It is essential for us to receive a testimony of the Father and the Son through the Holy Ghost as a witness that we are in the right way--the strait and narrow path.
D&C 8:2 (and see the following quotation from Elder Packer.) A witness from the Holy Ghost can come to us in our heart and our mind.
2 Nephi 32:5 It is important to understand how the Holy Ghost speaks to us because the Holy Ghost will be telling us what to do.
President Boyd K. Packer taught: "The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. It is described as a ‘still small voice’ " (Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).
Note: Many times members of the Church feel the influence of the Spirit but are not aware that the feelings they are experiencing are from the Holy Ghost. On occasion throughout the year, we feel the influence of the Spirit in our Sunday School Class during these lessons, or while we read the lessons in personal study. You may not feel the influence of the Spirit in exactly the same way I do, but the influence of the Spirit brings peace and joy as we study the doctrines of the Savior's gospel.
Nephi taught that we must press forward and endure to the end.
Nephi taught that baptism is the gate to enter the strait and narrow path to eternal life. He also taught what it means to walk in this path.
Review the question Nephi asked in 2 Nephi 31:19--is all done once you're on the path? For the answer to this question, see 2 Nephi 31:19-20. To "press forward" is to move forward with determination, regardless of adversity or distraction.
Ponder some of the things that might distract you from pressing forward and think seriously about why pressing forward is an important part of enduring to the end.
2 Nephi 31:20 To have "a steadfastness in Christ" means that we do not waver or hestitate in following Him.
Following Christ helps us have a "perfect brightness of hope" because we know that if we are faithful and obedient, He will keep his promises to us. Ponder some ways you can help others in their efforts to press forward. It is especially important to help new members of the Church as they begin their journeys along the path...
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: "With the ever increasing number of converts, we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’ (Moroni 6:4). It is our duty and opportunity to provide these things" (Ensign, May 1997, 47).
2 Nephi 31:13, 2 Nephi 31:15; see also 3 Nephi 11:31-40 Based on Nephi’s teachings in these verses, define "the doctrine of Christ". His doctrine includes believing in Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
Nephi spoke of the importance of feasting on the words of Christ.
In 2 Nephi 32, Nephi gave additional instructions about what we must do after we have entered in the path to eternal life.
2 Nephi 32:1-3 Specific instruction is given in verse three for us to feast upon the words of Christ. Sources we have for receiving the words of Christ include the scriptures, the prophets, and answers to our own personal prayers.
As you read the quotation below, think about what it means to feast on these words and how "feasting" is different from reading or even studying.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: "We need to feast upon the words of Christ in the scriptures and as these words come to us from living prophets. Just nibbling occasionally will not do." (See 2 Nephi 31:20 and 2 Nephi 32:3.) Feasting means partaking with relish and delight and savoring...not gorging episodically in heedless hunger, but partaking gratefully, dining with delight, at a sumptuous spread carefully and lovingly prepared...over the centuries" (Wherefore Ye Must Press Forward , 28).
2 Nephi 32:3 Nephi's promise regarding the words of Christ is that they will tell us what to do. Think about how you have found this to be true.
2 Nephi 32:8 Nephi taught that the Spirit teaches, or encourages, a person to pray.
2 Nephi 32:9 It is important that we pray before we perform "any thing unto the Lord" so that our performance will be consecrated for the welfare of our souls. Ponder how you have been blessed as you have followed this counsel.
Nephi declared that people will believe his words if they believe in Christ.
This chapter contains Nephi’s testimony of the truth of his words and of their importance to all people.
2 Nephi 33:3-5 Nephi’s words are "of great worth" because they strengthen us, persuade us to do good, inspire us to believe in Christ, and encourage us to endure to the end. We learn of the worth of these words by following them in daily life.
2 Nephi 33:10; see also Moroni 7:13-17 We can know that the words of Nephi are true because they teach us to do good and draw closer to the Savior.
2 Nephi 33:11 Nephi said that we will meet him "face to face" at the judgment bar.
2 Nephi 33:14 Nephi’s words could "condemn [us] at the last day" if we choose to reject these words or disobey the principles they teach, so then we will be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
2 Nephi 33:15 Among Nephi’s last written words is the declaration "For thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey" . This is a fitting end to Nephi’s writings because we have seen his unflinching obedience throughout his record. Ponder carefully what you have learned from Nephi’s example that can help you as you strive to be more obedient.
In summary, the doctrine of Christ includes believing in Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.