The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) and the Sermon at the Temple (3 Nephi 12-14) is the blue-print for how to achieve salvation; how to obtain faith, spiritual gifts and gain an assurance of our exaltation by revelation. In other words it is how we become like the Savior.
It contains commandments to pray for our enemies, those who maliciously hurt and abuse us. If someone brings a lawsuit against us, we are to give what is asked an more. When sued, we are often not asked for our coat, but a substantial financial amount that may impoverish us. Perhaps this is one reason he said “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
Joseph Smith reiterated that this kind of sacrifice is necessary to obtain faith.
“Let us here observe that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. For from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It is through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life. And it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do His Will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering and that he has not sought nor will he seek His face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.
“It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.
“It was in offering sacrifices that Abel, the first martyr, obtained knowledge that he was accepted of God. And from the days of righteous Abel to the present time, the knowledge that men have that they are accepted in the sight of God is obtained by offering sacrifice….
“Those, then, who make the sacrifice will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God. And those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life…But those who do not make the sacrifice cannot enjoy this faith, because men are dependent upon this sacrifice in order to obtain this faith. Therefore, they cannot lay hold upon eternal life, because the revelations of God do not guarantee unto them the authority so to do; and without this guarantee faith could not exist.
“All the Saints of whom we have account in all the revelations of God which are extant obtained the knowledge which they had of their acceptance in his sight through the sacrifice which they offered unto him. And through the knowledge thus obtained, their faith became sufficiently strong to lay hold upon the promise of eternal life and to endure 'as seeing him who is invisible' (Heb 11 :27). They were enabled through faith to combat the powers of darkness, contend against the wiles of the adversary, overcome the world, and obtain the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.
“But those who have not made this sacrifice to God do not know that the course which they pursue is well pleasing in his sight. For whatever may be their belief or their opinion, it is a matter of doubt and uncertainty in their mind; and where doubt and uncertainty are, there faith is not, nor can it be. For doubt and faith do not exist in the same person at the same time. So persons whose minds are under doubts and fears cannot have unshaken confidence, and where unshaken confidence is not, there faith is weak. And where faith is weak, the persons will not be able to contend against all the opposition, tribulations, and afflictions which they will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ Jesus. But they will grow weary in their minds, and the adversary will have power over them and destroy them.” (Lectures on Faith, Lecture 6)
"If I had a wife and ten children, I would give all my money to build the Temple and Nauvoo House, and I would trust in God for their support. Yet I will be richer for it; for God would prosper me in business....
"Sacrifice your gods for the building up of Zion. Administer of your substance. Send our missionaries to the islands of the seas. Don't be afraid of a dollar, or a hundred dollars, or even a thousand dollars. I would not. I have made a sacrifice of all I possessed a good many times. I am richer the more I give; for the Lord has promised and does reward me a hundredfold; and if I sacrifice all for the cause of God, no good thing will be withheld from me. I have taken this course to get rich. I have given all I had, and God has given many blessings in consequence." (Joseph Smith, HC 6:1)
"Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again. And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple." (D&C 103:27-28)
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:28-33)
Gathering should not be in haste. This has do do with counting the cost of being a disciple. He who is not prepared to sacrifice all, or is not currently sacrificing all, or he that looks back, cannot enter in.
"For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward." (2 Nephi 15:19)
"Wo unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope; That say: Let him make speed, hasten his work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it. Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Wo unto the wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight! Wo unto the mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink; Who justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!" (2 Nephi 15:18-23, Isaiah 5:18-23)
"For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward." (3 Nephi 20:42)
"And let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight; but let it be done as it shall be counseled by the elders of the church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time." (D&C 58:56)
"And let the residue take their journey from St. Louis, two by two, and preach the word, not in haste, among the congregations of the wicked, until they return to the churches from whence they came....And after thou hast come up unto the land of Zion, and hast proclaimed my word, thou shalt speedily return, proclaiming my word among the congregations of the wicked, not in haste, neither in wrath nor with strife." (D&C 60:8-14)
"And now, behold, this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence." (D&C 63:24)
"Therefore, a commandment I give unto all the churches, that they shall continue to gather together unto the places which I have appointed. Nevertheless, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, let not your gathering be in haste, nor by flight; but let all things be prepared before you....All the land which can be purchased in Jackson county, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand. Now, verily I say unto you, let all the churches gather together all their moneys; let these things be done in their time, but not in haste; and observe to have all things prepared before you." (D&C 101:71-72)
"But verily, thus saith the Lord, let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you; and he that goeth, let him not look back lest sudden destruction shall come upon him." (D&C 133:15)
"...when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light;" (Luke 11:34)
"And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. Remember the great and last promise which I have made unto you; cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you." (D&C 88:67-69)
Sacrifice to Be Part of Restoration
"It will be necessary here to make a few observations on the doctrine set forth in the above quotation [D&C 13:1], and it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice [i.e.,] the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of sacrifice in future; but those who assert this are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the Priesthood, or with the Prophets.
"The offering of sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the Priesthood. It began with the Priesthood, and will be continued until after the coming of Christ, from generation to generation. We frequently have mention made of the offering of sacrifice by the servants of the Most High in ancient days, prior to the law of Moses; which ordinances will be continued when the priesthood is restored with all its authority, power and blessings." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 172)
"And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall." (2 Nephi 28:21)
To have your eyes opened to an unpleasant truth, to which you don't have all the answers is a difficult thing. Something you once took for granted is suddenly in question. The sandy foundation that one stands on won't support such truths. The hearer has two options. 1. Ignore and continue where you are, returning to those things that are comfortable. 2. Go through a long and painful process, the dark night of the soul and toil to find that sure foundation, that rod of iron.
I don't fault anyone who chooses the first, nor envy anyone who chooses the second. I have gone through, what seemed like hell, to find that foundation. I know it's not over and I'll have many more trials to go. How can I recommend that to anyone? To me however, it has been worth it.
When the Savior faced His trials, he set His face like a flint, he did not fear man's judgements, but pressed forward, knowing he would not be ashamed if he would prove faithful.
We can stay where we are, but a wo is pronounced up on all those who will not come; who will not make the sacrifice in the similitude of the Only Begotten, who was counted as no one and worthy of death.