Your Decision to Serve God
1. What reasons do we have for giving thanks and praise to Jehovah God?
THERE is so much for which to thank and praise Jehovah God. He has mercifully made provision for us to enjoy eternal life. Already he has arranged to erase the death-dealing effects of sin by providing his own Son as a ransom sacrifice. God’s purpose to have his earthly children enjoy a paradise home forever will soon be realized! Does not this loving provision of God cause your heart to overflow with thankfulness to Him?—John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-11.
2. (a) On the basis of what you now know, what is your attitude toward Jehovah? (b) If we truly love Jehovah, what will we be moved to do?
2 True, none of us know everything about Jehovah and his ways. He is so great that humans will always be learning new things concerning him. (Romans 11:33) But on the basis of what you already know, have you not come to appreciate that everything he does is right and that there is every reason to put full confidence in him? Are you not convinced that he truly loves his creatures, that he is merciful and gracious, yet, at the same time, perfect in justice and wisdom? (Psalm 86:5, 10, 15 [85:5, 10, 15, Dy]) If this is the way you feel about Jehovah God, you will be moved to serve Him, and nothing will hold you back.
3. (a) What two courses are open to all persons? (b) What choice will lead to the greatest happiness?
3 Two courses are open to all humans. One leads to death and the other to eternal life. (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20) Which one will you take? Making the choice to serve Jehovah will lead to your greatest possible happiness, both now and forever. As the psalmist said: “Happy is the man in fear of Jehovah, in whose commandments he has taken very much delight.”—Psalm 112:1 [111:1, Dy].
DEDICATION AND BAPTISM
4. When a person decides that he really wants to do God’s will, what is it appropriate that he do?
4 When love for God moves you so that you want to do his will, then it is proper that you go to him in prayer through Jesus Christ and express your desire to be one of his servants, walking in the footsteps of his Son. It is appropriate that you tell Jehovah that you want to belong to him and that you want to do his will both now and for all time to come. (Psalm 104:33 [103:33, Dy]) In this way you dedicate yourself to God. This is a personal, private matter. No one else can do it for you.
5. (a) After you make your dedication to God, what does he expect you to do? (b) What help is available to you in living up to your dedication?
5 After you have made your dedication to Jehovah to do his will, he will expect you to keep it. It is no light matter. Prove that you are a person of your word by faithfully sticking to this decision or dedication as long as you live. (Psalm 50:14 [49:14, Dy]) The Devil will use every possible means to make you break faith with Jehovah. But Jehovah himself will be with you. You can always turn to him in prayer, and he will support you. Also, as you have learned, God has an organization here on earth, and here you will find mature Christians who will gladly give you loving encouragement and support.—1 Peter 5:8, 9; 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
6. Why did Jesus go to John the Baptist at the Jordan River, and what do we learn from this?
6 Deciding personally to serve Jehovah and expressing this determination in prayer is important. But there is something more. This was shown by Jesus Christ, who provided a pattern for us to follow. Remember, Jesus did more than just tell his Father that he had come to do His will. (Hebrews 10:7) When he began his service as a preacher of God’s kingdom Jesus went to John the Baptist, at the Jordan River, and was baptized in water.—Matthew 3:13-15.
7. (a) How does the Bible show that God approved of Jesus’ baptism? (b) Why is the baptism commanded by Jesus not for infants?
7 The Bible reveals that Jehovah God approved of Jesus’ baptism. It says that, on that important occasion, “the heaven was opened up and the holy spirit in bodily shape like a dove came down upon him, and a voice came out of heaven: ‘You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.’” (Luke 3:21, 22) Since Jesus set the pattern, dedicated Christians today also should be baptized. In fact, Jesus commanded his followers to make disciples of people of all nations and then to baptize these new disciples. This is no baptizing of infants. It is baptism of persons who have become believers, having made up their minds to serve Jehovah.—Matthew 28:19; Acts 8:12.
8. Explain the significance of Christian baptism.
8 What, then, does Christian baptism signify? It is not a washing away of one’s sins, because cleansing from sin comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:7) Rather, it is a public demonstration, testifying that one has made a solemn dedication to Jehovah God and is presenting himself to do His will. Thus, baptism is not to be viewed as of little importance. It is a requirement for all who obediently walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
9. (a) In view of the way Jesus was baptized, how is proper Christian baptism accomplished? (b) If you want to be baptized, to whom in the congregation should you make this known?
9 The Bible says that, after his baptism, Jesus “came up from the water.” He had been actually down in the water so that John could completely immerse him. (Matthew 3:16; John 3:23) So, it was no mere sprinkling with water. Proper Christian baptism is accomplished by having a devoted servant of God—a male, as John the Baptist was—completely immerse the person in water and then raise him up again. If you have made up your mind to serve Jehovah and want to be baptized, then make this known to the overseer of the congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses with which you are associated. He will gladly assist you, without any charge for the baptism.
THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
10. (a) What attitude of Jesus should a Christian have? (b) When Jesus was on earth, what was God’s will for him?
10 Of course, dedication and baptism are not the end of one’s doing God’s will. They are only the beginning. They mark the start of a happy life of serving Jehovah, with the prospect of continuing alive forever, doing his will. A dedicated Christian should always have the attitude of Jesus Christ, who said: “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34) A principal part of God’s work for Jesus on earth was to preach the kingdom of God, and to lay the foundation for a preaching organization to carry on this activity after his death. That was God’s will for him, and Jesus faithfully did it.—Luke 4:43; John 17:4.
11. (a) According to Jesus’ words at Matthew 24:14, what is God’s will for Christians today? (b) Why is this work urgent?
11 What is God’s will for Christians today? It is for them to do a similar preaching work, and one of great urgency. Bible prophecy reveals unmistakably that we are living now during “the conclusion of the system of things.” And Jesus foretold regarding this time: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:3, 14) It is God’s will that this preaching work be done now. The warning concerning the end of this wicked system must be sounded. Meek ones need to be shown the place of safety. Will you share in this work?—Zephaniah 2:2, 3;* Proverbs 24:11, 12.
12. (a) How is the preaching work to be done? (b) Does Jesus’ command to “make disciples” apply to all Christians?
12 Jesus Christ set the example in performing the ministry. He preached everywhere, in the cities and villages, in homes and in public places—even to a woman at a wellside. (John 4:7, 21-24) A true Christian today will follow Jesus’ example. He will preach at every opportunity. He will not simply wait for people to come to him, but he will endeavor to seek out persons with a listening ear. “Go,” Jesus commanded, “make disciples of people of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:19; see also 10:11-13.) This command applies to all Christians—laborers and housewives, elderly persons and youths—even as it did in the first century.—Acts 4:13; Romans 16:1.
13. Where is much of the preaching work done?
13 Early Christians followed Jesus’ instruction and example, making a special effort to call on people in their homes. (Luke 8:1; 10:1-6; Acts 5:42) The apostle Paul said: “I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20) This is still the principal way that true Christians carry on their ministry in our day.
14. How does God help us in the ministry?
14 Those who share in this grand work do not do so in their own strength. Jehovah God backs them up. By his spirit he qualifies and empowers them for the ministry. (2 Corinthians 3:5, 6; 2 Timothy 4:17) Through his visible organization he provides training and assistance, at no financial cost, for all his witnesses. You, too, can enjoy the benefits of this provision, at your local Kingdom Hall.
15. When a person decides to serve God, what rich blessings are in store for him?
15 When you make your wholehearted decision to serve Jehovah God, you will experience rich blessings. The happiness that you have had in learning the truth about Jehovah and his purpose will be greatly enlarged as you share it with others and see the fine changes that it brings in their lives. (Acts 20:35; John 13:17) As you more fully apply God’s Word in your own life you will be drawn closer to your Creator. You will enjoy his loving care in ways that you have never experienced before. (Revelation 7:9-17) Indeed, your wise course will make God’s own heart rejoice. (Proverbs 27:11) And what joy will be yours as you experience fulfillment of the psalmist’s words: “Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!”—Psalm 144:15 [143:15, Dy].
Sophonias 2:2, 3, Dy.