There are those who are called disciples of Jesus Christ. In the broadest sense of the definition the dictionary says “all Christians are called his disciples, as they profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts.” Yet, what does it mean to receive the Doctrine of Christ?
1. A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another;
2. A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another. Hence the constant attendants of Christ were called his disciples; and hence all Christians are called his disciples, as they profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts.
In the Book of Mormon there are identifying markers which distinguished the disciples of Jesus from other believers in Christ. Great and marvelous works were wrought by the disciples of Jesus. How did His disciples receive power and authority to work miracles in the name of Jesus?
And there were great and marvellous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear. And all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men, and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus. 4 Nephi 1:6-7
Notice in this next verse there was no contention among all the people but mighty miracles were wrought among the disciples of Jesus. Is there a difference between being a believer in Jesus and being a disciple of Jesus?
And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people in all the land, but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus. [emphasis added] 4 Nephi 1:14
Why couldn't a man do miracles in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity? How can he be cleansed every whit from iniquity? Who has power and authority to forgive sins and cleanse a man?
And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity. 3 Nephi 2:1
What was Jesus doing when he knelt to wash His disciple's feet? When the Lord kneels to wash a man's feet does He cleanse him every whit from his iniquity? Is this when he becomes clean from the blood and sins of the world? What are the sins of the world? What does it mean to become clean from the blood and sins of the world?
So after he had washed their feet and replaced his cloak and sat down again, he said to them, Do you understand the example I have just provided to you? You call me Master and Lord. And that is correct to say, for I am. If I am your Lord and Master, and knelt to wash your feet to cleanse you, you should also labor to make each other clean from the blood and sins of the world. For I have given you the example that you should do as I have done with you. Testimony of John 10:17-21
The claim to be the true Church of Christ, is made by many, but to claim to be Jesus Christ's church, the works of Jesus must be present. What is the power of the word of God in the disciple of Jesus? Would this be the same as Jesus being one in them? Why will the people harden their hearts against the word of the Lord when the markers of true disciples of Jesus are present?
And this church did multiply exceedingly because of iniquity and because of the power of Satan who did get hold upon their hearts. And again, there was another church which denied the Christ, and they did persecute the true church of Christ because of their humility and their belief in Christ. And they did despise them because of the many miracles which were wrought among them, therefore they did exercise power and authority over the disciples of Jesus who did tarry with them. And they did cast them into prison, but by the power of the word of God which was in them the prisons were rent in twain and they went forth doing mighty miracles among them. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding all these miracles, the people did harden their hearts and did seek to kill them even as the Jews at Jerusalem sought to kill Jesus according to his word. And they did cast them into furnaces of fire and they came forth receiving no harm, and they also cast them into dens of wild beasts and they did play with the wild beasts even as a child with a lamb. And they did come forth from among them, receiving no harm. Nevertheless, the people did harden their hearts for they were led by many priests and false prophets to build up many churches and to do all manner of iniquity. And they did smite upon the people of Jesus, but the people of Jesus did not smite again. 4 Nephi1:33-41
Is there a difference between true believers in Christ and disciples of Jesus? Is there a difference in the degree of faith of these two groups of worshipers of Christ?
Therefore the true believers in Christ and the true worshipers of Christ, among whom were the three disciples of Jesus who should tarry, were called Nephites and Jacobites and Josephites and Zoramites. 4 Nephi 1:46
Why was it expedient that Jesus go to the Father? Why was it done for their sake? Why did Jesus touch the disciples whom he had chosen with his hand when he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost? Can power to give the Holy Ghost be given in any other way?
And now I go unto the Father because it is expedient that I should go unto the Father for your sakes. And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of these sayings he touched with his hand the disciples whom he had chosen, one by one, even until he had touched them all and spake unto them as he touched them. And the multitude heard not the words which he spake, therefore they did not bear record, but the disciples bear record that he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost. 3 Nephi 3:285-287
Why were the disciples of Jesus the ones who formed a church of Christ? Why were the disciples of Jesus the ones who gave the gift of the Holy Ghost?
And it came to pass that the thirty and fourth year passed away, and also the thirty and fifth, and behold the disciples of Jesus had formed a church of Christ in all the lands round about. And as many as did come unto them and did truly repent of their sins were baptized in the name of Jesus, and they did also receive the Holy Ghost. 4 Nephi 1:1
What were the works that Jesus did? Why were those that believed on Jesus able to do greater works than Jesus did? Who does Jesus pray for? For what purpose is glory given to those who believe on Jesus? What does it mean to be made perfect in one? How will the world know that Jesus was sent by the Father? When Jesus's disciples are made one with Jesus and the Father, how will they testify of Him?
This clearly sets forth the propriety of the Savior's saying, recorded in John's testimony, 14:12 [John 10]: Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these, because I go unto the Father.- This taken in connection with some of the sayings in the Savior's prayer, recorded in the 17th chapter, gives great clearness to his expressions: He says, in the 20-24 [John 10]: Neither pray I for these alone; but for them also who shall believe on me through their words; that they all may be one, as thou, Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am: that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me; for thou lovedest me before the foundation of the world. Lectures on Faith 7:33-35
What is the state of the glorified saints? Why were the glorified saints able to do greater works than those which Jesus did among them? Why do the saints need to behold Jesus's glory? Why do they need to behold His glory in eternity? Where is eternity? What does it mean to be one with Jesus and the Father?
All these sayings put together, give as clear an account of the state of the glorified saints as language could give- The works that Jesus done they were to do, and greater works than those which he done among them should they do, and that because he went to the Father. He does not say that they should do these works in time; but they should do greater works because he went to the Father. He says, in the 24th verse [John 10]: Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory. These sayings, taken in connection, make it very plain, that the greater works, which those that believed on his name, were to do, were to be done in eternity, where he is going, and where they should behold his glory. He had said, in another part of his prayer, that he desired of his Father, that those who believed on him should be one in him, as he, and the Father were one in each other: Neither pray I for these (the apostles) alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their words; that they all may be one: that is, they who believe on him through the apostles' words, as well as the apostles themselves: that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee: that they also may be one in us. Lectures on Faith 7:36-40
What did the Savior intend His disciples to understand? Why does Jesus need to give His disciples the glory which the Father gave Him? Because the disciples are partakers in Jesus's glory, are they able to do greater works than those which Jesus did among them? How did they obtain this glory?
What language can be plainer than this? The Savior surely intended to be understood by his disciples: and he so spake that they might understand him; for he declares to his Father, in language not to be easily mistaken, that he wanted his disciples, even all of them, to be as himself and the Father: for as he and the Father were one, so they might be one with them. And what is said in the 22nd verse [John 10] is calculated to more firmly establish this belief, if it needs anything to establish it. He says, And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one. As much as to say, that unless they have the glory which the Father had given him, they could not be one with them: For he says he had given them the glory that the Father had given him, that they might be one; or in other words, to make them one. This fills up the measure of information on this subject, and shows most clearly, that the Savior wished his disciples to understand, that they were to be partakers with him in all things: not even his glory excepted. Lectures onFaith 7:41-46
How does the Savior give His glory to others? After Jesus's disciples are made one with the Father and the Son, what will they do? Why does Jesus wish His disciples to do these great works?
It is scarcely necessary here to observe what we have previously noticed: That the glory which the Father and the Son have, is because they are just and holy beings; and that if they were lacking in one attribute or perfection which they have the glory which they have, never could be enjoyed by them; for it requires them to be precisely what they are in order to enjoy it: and if the Savior gives this glory to any others, he must do it in the very way set forth in his prayer to his Father: by making them one with him, as he and the Father are one.- In so doing he would give them the glory which the Father has given him; and when his disciples are made one with the Father and the Son, as the Father and the Son are one, who cannot see the propriety of the Savior's saying, The works which I do, shall they do; and greater works than these shall they do, because I go to the Father? Lectures on Faith 7:47 http://scriptures.info/Scriptures//dc/lecture/7/?hl=47
What does Jesus mean, “all things are possible to him that believeth”? How did the Savior and the Former Day Saints view the plan of salvation? How did they become the children of promise? Will there always be a performance of things told by the Lord if we believe Him?
And Jesus said unto the man who brought his son to him, to get the devil who tormented him, cast out, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Mark 9:23 [Mark 8]. These with a multitude of other scriptures, which might be quoted, plainly set forth the light, in which the Savior, as well as the Former Day Saints, viewed the plan of salvation.- That it was a system of faith- it begins with faith, and continues by faith; and every blessing which is obtained, in relation to it, is the effect of faith, whether it pertains to this life or that which is to come.- To this, all the revelations of God bear witness. If there were children of promise, they were the effects of faith: not even the Savior of the world excepted: Blessed is she that believed, said Elizabeth to Mary, when she went to visit her;- for there shall be a performance of the things which were told her of the Lord; Luke 1:45 [Luke 1]. Nor was the birth of John the Baptist the less a matter of faith; for in order that his father Zacharias might believe he was struck dumb. Lectures on Faith 7:57-61
Why is faith necessary to receive any and all blessings? Why is nothing withheld when faith is sufficient to receive it? What are the fruits of the faith of saints and disciples of Jesus? Are these blessings to be received by both men and women?
And through the whole history of the scheme of life and salvation, it is a matter of faith: every man received according to his faith: according as his faith was, so were his blessings and privileges; and nothing was withheld from him when his faith was sufficient to receive it. He could stop the mouths of lions, quench the violence of fire, escape the edge of the sword, wax valiant in fight, and put to flight the armies of the aliens; women could, by their faith, receive the dead children to life again: in a word, there was nothing impossible with them who had faith. All things were in subjection to the Former Day Saints, according as their faith was- By their faith they could obtain heavenly visions, the ministering of angels, have knowledge of the spirits of just men made perfect, of the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in heaven, of God the judge of all, of Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and become familiar with the third heavens, see and hear things which were not only unutterable, but were unlawful to utter. Peter, in view of the power of faith, 2nd epistle, 1:1-3 [2 Pet 1] says, to the Former Day Saints: grace and peace be multiplied unto you, through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us unto glory and virtue. In the first epistle, 1:3-5 [1 Pet 1] he says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. Lectures on Faith7:62-66
What is the difference between believing in God and knowing Him? How are we to obtain all things that pertain to life and godliness?
These sayings put together, show the Apostle's views, most clearly, so as to admit of no mistake on the mind of any individual. He says that all things that pertain to life and godliness were given unto them through the knowledge of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. And if the question is asked, how were they to obtain the knowledge of God? (for there is a great difference between believing in God and knowing him: knowledge implies more than faith. And notice, that all things that pertain to life and godliness, were given through knowledge of God;) the answer is given, through faith they were to obtain this knowledge; and having power by faith to obtain the knowledge of God, they could with it obtain all other things which pertain to life and godliness. By these sayings of the Apostle we learn, that it was by obtaining a knowledge of God, that men got the all things which pertain to life and godliness; and this knowledge was the effect of faith. So that all things which pertain to life and godliness are the effects of faith. Lectures on Faith 7:67-73 http://scriptures.info/Scriptures//dc/lecture/7/?hl=67-73
Why does faith bring with it apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, gifts, wisdom, knowledge, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretation of tongues? Is it enough to claim these titles and gifts without the attendant miracles that Jesus did? How does faith lead to knowledge? Why are revelations, visions, and dreams, and other necessary things needed in order that we may be perfected and obtain salvation? How do we obtain eternal life?
From this we may extend as far as any circumstances may require whether on earth or in heaven, and we will find it the testimony of all inspired men, or heavenly messengers, that all things that pertain to life and godliness are thc[the] effects of faith and nothing else: all learning, wisdom, and prudence fail, and everything else as a means of salvation but faith. This is the reason that the fishermen of Galilee could teach the world- because they sought by faith and by faith obtained. And this is the reason that Paul counted all things but filth and dross- what he formerly called his gain he called his loss; yea, and he counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord. Philippians 3:7-10 [Phil 1]. Because, to obtain the faith by which he could enjoy the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord, he had to suffer the loss of all things: this is the reason that the Former Day Saints knew more, and understood more of heaven, and of heavenly things than all others beside, because this information is the effect of faith- to be obtained by no other means. And this is the reason, that men, as soon as they lose their faith, run into strifes, contentions, darkness and difficulties; for the knowledge which tends to life disappears with faith, but returns when faith returns; for when faith comes, it brings its train of attendants with it- apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, gifts, wisdom, knowledge, miracles, healings, tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc. All these appear when faith appears on the earth, and disappear when it disappears from the earth. For these are the effects of faith and always have, and always will attend it. For where faith is, there will the knowledge of God be also, with all things which pertain thereto- revelations, visions, and dreams, as well as every other necessary thing in order that the possessors of faith may be perfected and obtain salvation; for God must change, otherwise faith will prevail with him. And he who possesses it will, through it, obtain all necessary knowledge and wisdom, until he shall know God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has sent: whom to know is eternal life: Amen. Lectures on Faith 7:74-83
Miracles follow saints and disciples of Jesus Christ. These blessings are open to all who believe and receive.