Unity in Worship—What Should It Mean for You?
1, 2. (a) On what basis is true unity of worship being brought about in our day? (b) How does the Bible describe what is taking place?
AROUND the globe there is a thrilling movement toward unity of worship. It is drawing together people of all nations and tribes and languages. Their unity is not a result of any compromising of beliefs. It is not being achieved by their refraining from criticizing life-styles that are in conflict with God’s Word. Then what accounts for it? The fact that people of every background are coming to know Jehovah as the only true God and are willingly bringing their lives into harmony with his righteous ways.—Compare Revelation 15:3, 4.
2 This is in fulfillment of a prophecy that was recorded some 2,700 years ago by the prophet Micah. With reference to “the final part of the days,” he wrote: “Many nations will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’” (Mic. 4:1, 2)* Do you see that taking place?
3, 4. (a) How is it true that “nations” are turning to Jehovah? (b) What questions should we ask ourselves?
3 No entire “nations” are presenting themselves at Jehovah’s spiritual house for worship. But individuals out of such nations are doing so. As they learn about the loving purpose and the appealing personality of Jehovah God, their hearts are deeply moved. Humbly they seek to find out what God requires of them. Their prayer is like that of David, a man of faith who said: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.”—Ps. 143:10.
4 Do you see yourself among that vast crowd of worshipers of Jehovah? Does your response to the instruction received give evidence that you truly appreciate that Jehovah is its source? To what extent are you ‘walking in his paths’?
How It Is Achieved
5. (a) To what extent will unity of worship eventually be achieved? (b) Why is it urgent to become a worshiper of Jehovah now, and how can we help others to do this?
5 Jehovah’s purpose is for all intelligent creation to be united in worship—none being misled by falsehood, none groping because of failure to find the real meaning of life. How we long for the day when all who live will bless the only true God! (Ps. 103:19-22) But before that can be, Jehovah must purge his creation of those who spurn his loving kingship and who insist on spoiling life for others. Mercifully he gives advance notice of what he will do. People everywhere have opportunity to change their course. Thus in our own day this urgent appeal is being made worldwide: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of the judgment by him has arrived, and so worship the One who made the heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:6, 7) Have you accepted that invitation? If so, it is now your privilege to work with Jehovah’s organization to help others to do so.
6. After learning basic teachings of the Bible, what further progress should we earnestly endeavor to make?
6 It is not God’s purpose to bring into his organization people who simply say they believe in Jehovah and that they want to live in Paradise but who at the same time continue to pursue their own selfish interests. He wants people to come to an “accurate knowledge of his will,” and this should be reflected in their lives. (Col. 1:9, 10) After appreciative persons learn the fundamental teachings of the Bible, they want to press on to Christian maturity. Their desire is to get to know Jehovah intimately, to broaden and deepen their understanding of his Word, and to apply it more fully in their lives. They seek to be like their heavenly Father, reflecting his qualities and viewing matters as he does. This moves them to search out ways to share as fully as possible in the work that he is having done in the earth in our day. Is that what you are doing?—Eph. 5:1; Heb. 5:12–6:3; 1 Tim. 4:15.
7. In what ways is true unity possible now, and how is it achieved?
7 The Bible shows that those who serve Jehovah are to be a united people. (Eph. 4:1-3) This unity is to exist now, even though we live in a divided world and are still struggling with our own imperfections. Jesus earnestly prayed that his disciples would all be one, enjoying true unity. What would this mean? That first of all they would have a good relationship with Jehovah and his Son. Also that they would be united with one another. (John 17:20, 21) This is now being achieved as they apply the instruction received at Jehovah’s “house.”
What Factors Contribute to Unity?
8. (a) What do we develop when we personally use the Bible to reason out answers to questions that affect us? (b) By answering the questions listed above, analyze the factors contributing to Christian unity.
8 Some of the key factors contributing to this unity are numbered below. As you answer the questions that follow these, give thought to how each one affects your own relationship with Jehovah and with fellow Christians. Reasoning on these points in the light of the scriptures cited will contribute to your development of God-oriented thinking ability and discernment, which are qualities that all of us need. (Prov. 5:1, 2; Phil. 1:9-11) So consider these factors one at a time:
(1) We all worship Jehovah and acknowledge his right to set the standard as to good and bad.
(2) Wherever we are in the world, we have God’s Word to guide us.
If we do not know what counsel the Bible gives on a certain matter, what should we do? (Prov. 2:3-5)
(3) We all benefit from the same spiritual feeding program.
(4) Jesus Christ, and no human, is our Leader and the one through whom we all approach Jehovah in worship.
(5) No matter where we live, we look to God’s Kingdom as the only hope for humankind.
(6) Holy spirit produces in worshipers of Jehovah qualities that are vital to Christian unity.
How does our having the fruits of the spirit influence our relationship with Jehovah? With our brothers? (Gal. 5:22, 23)
(7) All of us have the responsibility to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom.
9. What is the effect when we really apply these truths in our lives?
9 Acknowledging these facts is one thing. Living in harmony with them requires much more. But when we do so, we are drawn close to Jehovah. Our association with fellow believers also becomes a source of refreshment. As Psalm 133:1 says: “Look! How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” Have not you personally experienced how refreshing it can be to get away from the world, with all its selfishness, and to be present at meetings with others who truly love Jehovah?
Avoid Divisive Influences
10. Why do we need to be careful to avoid an independent spirit?
10 So as not to mar that precious unity, we must avoid divisive influences. One of the foremost among these is the spirit of independence. Jehovah helps us to avoid it by unmasking its originator, Satan the Devil. He is the one who deceived Eve into thinking that it would be to her advantage to ignore what God had said and to make her own decisions. Adam joined her in that rebellious course. The result was calamity for them and for us. (Gen. 2:16, 17; 3:1-6, 17-19) We are living in a world that is saturated with that independent spirit, so it should not surprise us if we need to curb that spirit in ourselves. Lovingly Jehovah helps us to do so by counsel through his organization.
11. What will show whether we are sincerely preparing for life in God’s righteous New Order?
11 Through that organization we have learned of Jehovah’s grand promise to replace the present environment with new heavens and a new earth in which “righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Pet. 3:13) We thrill at the prospect that soon this wicked world will be gone and the earth will be transformed into a Paradise. But does our own life pattern show that we are sincerely preparing for life in a world where righteousness will be the prevailing practice? The Bible plainly tells us: “Do not be loving either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) It is true that there are many things about the world that none of us like. But do we dislike mainly those aspects of the world that infringe on our own immediate enjoyment of life? Or do we also shun its spirit—its independent attitude, its excessive concern for self? Are we genuinely making it a practice to listen to Jehovah and to obey him from our heart, despite any contrary inclinations of the flesh? Our entire life course—no matter where we are, no matter what we are doing—should give evidence that our thinking and our motives are God oriented.—Prov. 3:5, 6.
12. (a) Why is it important to seize the opportunity now to learn Jehovah’s ways and to follow them in our lives? (b) What do the scriptures cited in the paragraph mean to us personally?
12 When Jehovah’s appointed time comes to destroy this wicked system of things and all who love its ways, he will not delay. He is not going to postpone that time or change his standards so as to accommodate those who are still trying to cling to the world, those who are only halfhearted about learning God’s will and doing it. Now is the time for action! (Luke 13:23, 24; 17:32; 21:34-36) How heartwarming it is, therefore, to see the “great crowd” of persons who are taking hold of this precious opportunity, eagerly seeking the instruction that Jehovah provides through his loving organization and then unitedly walking in his paths!
Scripture quotations in this book are from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, 1981 edition.
● What is Jehovah’s purpose as to worship?
● After having learned basic Bible teachings, what further progress should we earnestly seek to make?
● What can we individually do, so that the unifying factors that we have discussed will influence our lives as they should?
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