More Than Just a Name (3 Nephi 27)
3 Nephi 27 is a chapter that's remembered because it's the one where Jesus tells His disciples what to name the church. His logic is impeccable:
- Whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name (verse 7)
- If [the church] be called in the name of a man, then it be the church of a man (verse 8)
- If it be called in my name, then it is my church (verse 8)
Based on the above, it's a no-brainer why our church is called The Church of Jesus Christ. However, it surely has to be more than just a name that defines the Lord's Church. And there is more — Jesus adds the following caveat to the above: "It is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel" (verse 8).
What does it mean to be built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ? Let's go through the characteristics that Jesus lists in this chapter that define what is meant by His gospel:
- Belief that Jesus is the Son of God sent by the Father to do His will (verse 13)
- Belief that Jesus was crucified for our sins (verse 14)
- Belief that Jesus resurrected and thereby enables all people to resurrect (verse 14)
- Belief that all must look to Jesus for salvation (verse 15)
- All must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus (verse 16,19,20)
- The Holy Ghost is given to those who are baptized (verse 20)
- All must endure to the end (verse 16,17,19)
So, is The Church of Jesus Christ built upon the gospel as defined by Jesus Christ in this chapter?
Belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, crucified for our sins? Check
Belief in the resurrection of Christ that provides the avenue for salvation? Check
Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost? Check, Check, Check
Endure to the end? Check
We check all the boxes! OK, that's great to know, but if it's really the Lord's church, it would be reasonable to expect that the Lord is working in it. Jesus says as much:
"And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it" (3 Nephi 27:10)
Or, as Jesus stated to His disciples in Jerusalem:
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:17-18)
Are these signs and wonders part of the church? Yes, they are! When we combine all of our collective testimonies, we see all of these things occurring and more. That's why we encourage our members to share their testimonies — not only for the blessing of seeing how God helps people but also for the encouragement of knowing that the signs are following us as believers and that the Father is showing forth His works in the church.
Based on the above, it's easy to see why we conclude that The Church of Jesus Christ is the Lord's church. However, this conclusion is not something to be worn as a badge of honor or a reason to feel that we're better than anyone else. Rather, it means we should be doing our best to live up to the name, "The Church of Jesus Christ."
The gospel was restored as part of God's plan to offer salvation to as many people as possible — both Israel and Gentiles — before the end comes. We have a great responsibility as representatives of this gospel. Let's pray for even more of the power of God to be made evident such that others will be convinced that this is The Church of Jesus Christ. Let's desire the power of God unto salvation for all who will believe.
Let's show the world that The Church of Jesus Christ is more than just a name!
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.