Come Follow Me - New Testament
“Ye Must Be Born Again”
- Our lives are changed as we follow Jesus Christ.
- We can defend sacred places and things.
- We must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.
- Jesus Christ offers us living water and the “meat” of doing
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the Scriptures at LDS.org.
Lesson Handout (PDF)
Our Lives Are Changed As We Follow Jesus Christ
We read in John 2 about
Jesus going up to the marriage feast at Cana accompanied by his disciples.
- Cana was a small village a few miles west of the sea of Galilee.
- By this time, Jesus had gathered at least five disciples: Andrew, John,
Simon, Phillip, and Nathanael (see John
- Jesus' mother, Mary, was assisting with the marriage feast. She was
concerned about the wine running out and asked for his assistance.
- There is no mention of Joseph being at this feast, nor at any subsequent
event, which leads us to believe that he has passed on by this time.
- Jesus gave instructions to the servants to fill six water pots with water.
The water, miraculously transformed to wine, was poured from the pots
and served first to the governor of the feast. The governor of the feast
tasted the wine and found it to be the finest.
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "We can well imagine
the sense of reverential awe that came into the hearts of the revelers as the
servants let it be known what Mary's Son had done. And we can suppose that all
the villagers wondered and asked, as they heard the account, 'What manner of
man is this? We thought he was a carpenter of Nazareth; can he be the Messiah,
as some say?' John says that by this act, Jesus 'manifested forth his glory;
and his disciples believed on him.' Miracles follow faith, and miracles
strengthen faith." (The Mortal Messiah, 1:453-454)
- Elder McConkie concludes his account of this great event with these words,
"Ought we not also to turn the ordinary waters of
life—the ritualistic and mundane washings and performances that go with
mortality—into the wine of righteousness and joy that dwells in the hearts of
those whose lives are purified?" (The Mortal Messiah, 1:454)
- Elder Sterling W. Sill: "One of the most
inspiring lines in all of the scripture was spoken by the mother of Jesus at
the marriage feast at Cana. She said to the servants, 'Whatsoever he saith
unto you, do it' (John 2:5)." (General Conference, October 1959)
- Elder L. Whitney Clayton: "When we decide to
do 'whatsoever [God] saith unto' us, we earnestly commit to align our
everyday behavior with God’s will. Such simple acts of faith as studying the
scriptures daily, fasting regularly, and praying with real intent deepen our
well of spiritual capacity to meet the demands of mortality. Over time,
simple habits of belief lead to miraculous results. They transform our faith
from a seedling into a dynamic power for good in our lives. Then, when
challenges come our way, our rootedness in Christ provides steadfastness for
our souls. God shores up our weaknesses, increases our joys, and causes 'all
things [to] work together for [our] good'." (General Conference,
- We are filled with "righteousness and joy" as we seek to follow the
Master and "do" as he has asked.
- This is the first recorded miracle of Jesus.
After the wedding feast, Jesus went to Capernaum (along the north coast
- Jesus seems to have chosen Capernaum as a home or base from where to carry
forth his ministry.
- We know that this was the home of Peter, Andrew, John, and James.
- We also know that this was where Matthew sat as a tax collector.
- Capernaum was among the more prosperous areas of Galilee.
We Can Defend Sacred Places and Things
After a brief stay in Capernaum, Jesus, his disciples, and
his family went down to Jerusalem for Passover and
the feast of Unleavened Bread.
While in Jerusalem, Jesus cleansed the temple (see John
- Consider the scene that Jesus may have viewed at the temple as described
by Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Having passed through
the vendor-crowded streets where hawkers of wares sought to profit from the
traveling worshippers; having been enticed to buy salt and oil and wine and
all else for sacrifices; having been offered clay dishes and ovens for the
Passover lamb; having faced the higher prices made possible by the tourist
trade, Jesus and his group came into the outer court, the Court of the
Gentiles. There they looked upon a scene of unholy merchandising that
desecrated the temple and testified against those who were engaged in its
money-grubbing practices. There they saw the moneychangers, those who examined
sacrificial animals for a fee, the sellers of sheep, and the hawkers of oxen
and doves. The noise and the haggling destroyed every vestige of reverence;
the lowing of cattle and the bleating of sheep drowned out the priestly
performances nearby; and the filth and stench of the barnyard so overpowered
the senses that arriving pilgrims soon lost the desire to worship the Lord in
Spirit and in truth. It was a scene of desecration, of physical filth, and of
spiritual degeneracy." (The Mortal Messiah, 1:458-459)
- HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU ENCOUNTERED A SIMILAR SCENE NEAR ONE OF OUR HOLY
PLACES, SUCH AS AROUND A TEMPLE?
- It is easy to understand why "he drove them all
out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers'
money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take
these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise"
- Part of our baptismal covenant is to "stand as
witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places" (Mosiah
- WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO WHEN SACRED THINGS AND SACRED PLACES ARE DEFILED?
- One often sees in the comments section of news stories about the
Church, or on social media, things that make light of sacred things. I
have often seen Church members make a stand, in a diplomatic way,
regarding those comments. It is not always easy, and sometimes we may
endure criticism, but we have agreed to "stand as witnesses."
- We are reminded of this often told story about President Kimball and
his experience following his surgery, "At St. Mark's
Hospital in Salt Lake City he was put under total anaesthesia and operated
on, then wheeled on a table back toward his room. Still drugged, Spencer
sensed his table stop by an elevator and heard the orderly, angry at
something, profaning the Lord's name. Half-conscious, he pleaded with
labored sounds: 'Please don't say that. I love Him more than anything in
this world. Please.' An absolute silence. Then the orderly answered
softly: 'I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry'." (Spencer W.
Kimball, p. 264)
- Parley P. Pratt told this story about Joseph Smith after he was jailed
in Missouri: "In one of those tedious nights we had lain as if in
sleep till the hour of midnight had passed, and our ears and hearts had
been pained, while we had listened for hours to the obscene jests, the
horrid oaths, the dreadful blasphemies and filthy language of our guards,
Colonel Price at their head, as they recounted to each other their deeds
of rapine, murder, robbery, etc., which they had committed among the
'Mormons' while at Far West and vicinity. They even boasted of defiling by
force wives, daughters and virgins, and of shooting or dashing out the
brains of men, women and children.
"I had listened till I became so disgusted, shocked,
horrified, and so filled with the spirit of indignant justice that I could
scarcely refrain from rising upon my feet and rebuking the guards; but had
said nothing to Joseph, or any one else, although I lay next to him and
knew he was awake. On a sudden he arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice
of thunder, or as the roaring lion, uttering, as near as I can recollect,
the following words:
"'SILENCE, ye fiends of the infernal pit. In the name
of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live
another minute and bear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die
"He ceased to speak. He stood erect in terrible
majesty. Chained, and without a weapon; calm, unruffled and dignified as
an angel, he looked upon the quailing guards, whose weapons were lowered
or dropped to the ground; whose knees smote together, and who, shrinking
into a corner, or crouching at his feet, begged his pardon, and remained
quiet till a change of guards.
"I have seen the ministers of justice, clothed in
magisterial robes, and criminals arraigned before them, while life was
suspended on a breath, in the Courts of England; I have witnessed a
Congress in solemn session to give laws to nations; I have tried to
conceive of kings, of royal courts, of thrones and crowns; and of emperors
assembled to decide the fate of kingdoms; but dignity and majesty have I
seen but once, as it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon in an
obscure village of Missouri." (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp.
- DO WE HAVE THE KIND OF COURAGE DISPLAYED BY PRESIDENT'S SMITH AND
We have a responsibility to keep our own lives pure.
- President Brigham Young: "If Jesus could not
lay his head in an unholy, polluted temple, how can the Latter-day Saints
expect that the Holy Spirit will take and abide its residence with them, in
their tabernacles and temples of clay, unless they keep themselves pure,
spotless, and undefiled?" (Journal of Discourses, 2:29)
We Must Be Born Again to Enter the Kingdom of God
3:1-12. Nicodemus comes to Jesus.
- WHO WAS NICODEMUS?
- A Pharisee, a ruler among the Jews, and a member of the Sanhedrin.
- WHAT WAS THE SANHEDRIN?
- The Jewish senate and the highest native court in both civil and
- Under the high priest it regulated the internal affairs of the Jewish
- At the time of Jesus, the extent of its legal jurisdiction was
restricted to Judea. Its decisions were considered morally binding over all
the Jewish world.
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE NICODEMUS WAITED UNTIL DARK TO VISIT JESUS?
- Nicodemus had been touched by the teachings of Jesus and
came to learn more. It would appear that he felt it necessary to make his
visit at night to protect
- WHAT DID JESUS FIRST TEACH NICODEMUS THAT HE MUST DO TO ENTER THE KINGDOM
- "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God" (v3).
- It appears that Nicodemus had no comprehension of things spiritual. When
Jesus spoke of being "born again," Nicodemus could only relate it to a
physical birth and was puzzled. "How can a man be born
when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be
- Jesus clarified his earlier statement, "Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he
cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (v5).
- IN THE CHRISTIAN WORLD, WE HEAR MUCH ABOUT BEING BORN AGAIN. WHAT DID
- Born of water: baptism by immersion by one having proper authority.
- Born of the Spirit: to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- Nicodemus did not understand what the Lord was teaching about this
rebirth and asked how a man could be reborn by his mother. Though Nicodemus
did not understand, the analogy is perfect. When we enter this world, we are
born from water. Sometime between conception and birth, a spirit enters our
physical body. This is only the beginning and the rest of our life is
determined by the actions we take after our birth.
- Jesus said that we must be born again, meaning that we come forth from
the waters of baptism and take on a new spirit, the spirit of the Holy
Ghost. The success of this rebirth is determined by the actions we take
from that day forward.
- Alma helps us to better understand the meaning of being born again by
asking us some penetrating questions (see Alma
- And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the
church, have ye spiritually been born of God?
- Have ye received his image in your countenances?
- Have ye experienced this mighty change in your
- Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him
who created you?
- Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and
view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in
incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds
which have been done in the mortal body?
- I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves
that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come
unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of
righteousness upon the face of the earth?
- Later Alma asks: "And now behold, I say unto you,
my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt
to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" (Alma
- Being born again does not take place in an instant, but is an ongoing
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "Relying upon the
totality of Bible teachings and upon clarifications received through modern
revelation, we testify that being cleansed from sin through Christ’s
Atonement is conditioned upon the individual sinner’s faith, which must be
manifested by obedience to the Lord’s command to repent, be baptized, and
receive the Holy Ghost. 'Verily, verily, I say unto thee,' Jesus
taught, 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter
into the kingdom of God.' Believers who have had this required rebirth at
the hands of those having authority have already been saved from sin
conditionally, but they will not be saved finally until they have completed
their mortal probation with the required continuing repentance,
faithfulness, service, and enduring to the end." (General Conference,
- Elder LeGrand Richards: "If anybody who
wants to know the truth would go out into these missions and interview those
men and women who have left the teachings of their parents and joined this
Church, he would find that they will testify that their membership in this
Church has literally changed their lives. One convert put it in words like
this: 'When I think of who I was when the gospel found me and what I am
today, I cannot believe I am the same man. I do not think the same thoughts.
I do not have the same habits. I do not have the same ambitions and desires
in life.' Membership in this Church will make bad men good and good men
better. That is what the Lord meant when he said we were to be born again."
(General Conference, April 1958)
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "We are born again when
we die as pertaining to unrighteousness and when we live as pertaining to
the things of the Spirit. But that doesn't happen in an instant, suddenly.
That...is a process. Being born again is a gradual thing, except in a few
isolated instances that are so miraculous that they get written up in the
scriptures. As far as the generality of the members of the Church are
concerned, we are born again by degrees, and we are born again to added
light and added knowledge and added desires for righteousness as we keep the
commandments." (BYU Devotional Speeches of the Year, 1976)
- Elder David A. Bednar: "As members of the
Lord’s restored Church, we are blessed both by our initial cleansing from
sin associated with baptism and by the potential for an ongoing cleansing
from sin made possible through the companionship and power of the Holy
Ghost—even the third member of the Godhead." (General Conference,
- WHAT CAN WE DO TO CONTINUE THIS PROCESS THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES?
- As I have read the Book of Mormon, I have been impressed with Lehi's
dream and the images he saw. Lehi said that there arose "an
exceedingly great mist of darkness" (1 Nephi 8:23). Those that were
desirous to partake of the tree "caught
hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the
mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron" (1 Nephi 8:24).
- In today's world we often find ourselves caught up in a "mist of
darkness." By clinging to "the rod" we can find our way through the
challenges, the lies, the deceptions that would lead us astray. As Nephi
tells us, the iron rod is "the the word of God; and
whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they
would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the
adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction" (1
- Immersing ourselves in the scriptures and the words of the living
prophets will enable us to successful continue this process of rebirth and
3:13-17. Jesus testifies of his mission.
- Elder Charles A. Callis: "The power to suffer and
the will to sacrifice is always encased in great love, and surely only God
could have suffered as he did in sending his Only Begotten Son into the world
to be slain for the sins of the world.
"The Lord Jesus Christ suffered so much, that he, the greatest of all,
even God, sweat great drops of blood, that men might not suffer if they would
repent. If the Savior had not come into the world and endured the suffering of
death there would have been no redemption for mankind." (General
- President Russell M. Nelson: "Under the
Father’s great eternal plan, it is the Savior who suffered. It is the Savior
who broke the bands of death. It is the Savior who paid the price for our sins
and transgressions and blots them out on condition of our repentance. It is
the Savior who delivers us from physical and spiritual death.
There is no amorphous entity called 'the Atonement'
upon which we may call for succor, healing, forgiveness, or power. Jesus
Christ is the source. Sacred terms such as Atonement and Resurrection describe
what the Savior did, according to the Father’s plan, so that we may live with
hope in this life and gain eternal life in the world to come. The Savior’s
atoning sacrifice—the central act of all human history—is best understood and
appreciated when we expressly and clearly connect it to Him." (General
Conference, April 2017)
3:19-21. He that lives by truth comes to the light.
- THERE SEEMS TO BE GREAT DARKNESS IN THE WORLD TODAY. WHY DO SO MANY NOT
SEE THE LIGHT?
- This light of the gospel of Christ has been restored to the earth in our
day. Why do so few see it?
- The wickedness in the world must be so great that, as the Savior says, "every
one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his
deeds should be reproved" (v20).
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "Jesus warned us that
evildoers hate light that illuminates their iniquity. Some foolishly think
that if they merely cover their eyes, they can cover their sins." (Notwithstanding
My Weakness, p80)
- WHY DO OTHERS SEE THE LIGHT?
- WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO WITH THE LIGHT WE HAVE RECEIVED?
Jesus Christ Offers Us Living Water and the “Meat” of Doing
"After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the
land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized them." (John
- According to this verse, Jesus went out and ministered to the people of
Judea following his sojourn in Jerusalem.
- According to Elder McConkie (The Mortal Messiah, volume 1):
- This ministry in Judea lasted until December (9 months).
- He ministered to towns and cities throughout Judea.
- The mission: To preach the gospel and baptize souls.
"He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he
must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a
city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob
gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there.
Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it
was about the sixth hour." (John 4:3-6)
- The village Sychar appears to be about half way between Jerusalem and
- Why did Jesus go through Samaria? The route through Samaria was more
dangerous and robber-infested. It was the Jewish custom to take the long way
around through Perea. The Samaritans were hated for their customs and
- Some suggest that Jesus avoided Perea, where Antipas governed, due to
the recent imprisonment of John the Baptist.
- More likely is the fact the Jesus chose to preach the gospel and testify
of his divinity to these people, who were part Israelite.
Review John 4:6-26.
- HOW DID THE SAMARITAN WOMAN'S UNDERSTANDING OF THE SAVIOR CHANGE WHILE SHE
SPOKE WITH HIM?
- WHAT CAUSED THIS CHANGE?
- He taught at her level of understanding.
- Robert J. Matthews: "Sitting at a well where
people came to draw water and utilizing this setting to make a comparison
between earthly water and the 'living water,' Jesus taught the woman that
he was the Messiah. He said that if someone drank the water drawn from the
well, that person would thirst again; but a person who drank the water He
had to give would never thirst again. The woman doubted he could provide
such water, because he had neither rope nor bucket and the well was deep.
She also asked him if he thought he was greater than Jacob himself, who
gave them the well. The whole episode compares secular things to
spiritual. The woman was engrossed in the worldly things-the flesh, the
natural water, the rope, the bucket. She could hardly grasp the idea of
the 'living water,' and even when she began to believe, her response was
that she would like some of that special kind of water so that she would
never have to come again to the well to draw. She was still thinking in
physical terms. It took some time before she could appreciate that the
'living water' Jesus could give would be like a flowing well
'springing up unto everlasting life'." (A Bible! A
Bible!, p 225)
- He showed compassion.
- She stood in the Light and the Spirit bore witness.
- WHAT DID JESUS MEAN BY THE LIVING WATER?
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Living water is the
words of eternal life, the message of salvation, the truths about God and
his kingdom; it is the doctrines of the gospel. Those who thirst are invited
to come unto Christ and drink. Where there are prophets of God, there will
be found rivers of living water, wells filled with eternal truths, springs
bubbling forth their life-giving draughts that save from spiritual death."(Mortal
- The Master used a wonderful comparison when he spoke of living water.
- How important is water to life?
- What did much of the American west look like before water was used to irrigate?
- The gospel is "living water" to a thirsty soul.
- There are a lot of thirsty souls out there.
- What does this say about our responsibility towards sharing the
- HOW CAN WE ASSURE OURSELVES CONSTANT ACCESS TO THIS "LIVING WATER"?
- Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin: "The Savior’s
promise to that woman extends to all of our Heavenly Father's children. By
living the gospel of Jesus Christ, we develop within ourselves a living spring
that will quench eternally our thirst for happiness, peace, and everlasting
life. The Lord explains clearly in the Doctrine and Covenants that only
faithful obedience can tap the well of living water that refreshes and
enlivens our souls: 'But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the
mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water,
springing up unto everlasting life'." (General Conference, April 1995)
- Go to the "well" frequently.
- Attend church meetings and conferences.
- Go to the temple.
- Study the scriptures.
- Get on your knees and speak to the source of living water.
"The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into
the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that
ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went
out of the city, and came unto him....
"And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of
the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the
Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them:
and he abode there two days. And many more believed
because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of
thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the
Christ, the Saviour of the world." (John 4:28-30, 39-42)
- Jesus' introduction to the Samaritans of Sychar came through a woman who
had five different husbands during the course of her life and was living with
a man to whom she was not married.
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS ABOUT THE LORD?
- WHAT DOES THIS INCIDENT TEACH US ABOUT SHARING THE GOSPEL WITH OTHER
- Joseph B. Wirthlin: "These latter days are a
time of great spiritual thirst. Many in the world are searching, often
intensely, for a source of refreshment that will quench their yearning for
meaning and direction in their lives. They crave a cool, satisfying drink of
insight and knowledge that will soothe their parched souls. Their spirits
cry out for life-sustaining experiences of peace and calm to nourish and
enliven their withering hearts. ...
"The Lord provides the living water that can quench the
burning thirst of those whose lives are parched by a drought of truth. He
expects us to supply to them the fulness of the gospel by giving them the
scriptures and the words of the prophets and to bear personal testimony as
to the truth of the restored gospel to alleviate their thirst. When they
drink from the cup of gospel knowledge, their thirst is satisfied as they
come to understand our Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness."
(General Conference, April 1995)
4:31-36. Those that do the work of the Lord will receive wages.
- WHAT DID THE LORD TEACH ABOUT MISSIONARY WORK?
- It is the will of the Father.
- Elder Sterling W. Sill: "We should lift up
our eyes to see our duty and to understand our opportunities; to accept our
responsibilities and to put truth in force in our lives. We should lift up
our eyes to worship God and to serve our fellow men as the Lord has
commanded." (General Conference, April 1961)
- Elder Bernard P. Brockbank: "Upon no other
group of men in the world rests greater responsibility than upon the
priesthood holders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And
every member of the Lord’s church should live and prepare himself to be a
savior of men. By preaching the gospel of salvation to the world, the Saints
become saviors of men." (General Conference, April 1975)
- The fields of the Lord were ripe for the harvest.
- He that works in the fields and reaps is gathering fruit unto eternal
- "And if it so be that you should labor all your
days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul
unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought
unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you
should bring many souls unto me!" (D&C 18:15-16)
- HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED WHEN YOU HAVE SHARED THE GOSPEL WITH OTHERS?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
To be born again is not so much an event as it is a process. We
should continually seek to renew ourselves, to be reborn time and time again as
we worship and partake of the sacrament on a weekly basis, as we strive to keep
the commandments, and as we frequently go to the well of living water. As we do
so, we will be blessed with peace in this life and eternal joy in the life to
Record your thoughts on Jesus' encounters with Nicodemus and the Samaritan
woman. What principles from these stories can you apply in your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
A Bible! A Bible! by Robert J. Matthews
BYU Devotional Speeches of the Year
Notwithstanding My Weakness by Neal A. Maxwell
Spencer W. Kimball by Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Volume 1, by Bruce R. McConkie
This outline is provided as supplementary material and is not
intended to replace the official lesson manual. It is not endorsed by The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am wholly responsible for the content.
I do my best to see that the content is in
harmony with the teachings and doctrine of the Church.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
25 December 2018