Unity of Worship in Our Time—What Does It Mean?
1, 2. (a) What thrilling movement is taking place in our time? (b) What marvelous hope do honesthearted people have?
AROUND the globe there is a thrilling movement toward unity of worship. It is bringing together millions of people of all nations, tribes, and languages. More are being gathered each year. These are identified in the Bible as “witnesses” of Jehovah and are called “a great crowd.” They render God “sacred service day and night.” (Isaiah 43:10-12; Revelation 7:9-15) Why do they do this? Because they have come to know Jehovah as the only true God. This motivates them to bring their lives into harmony with his righteous ways. Also, they have learned that we are living in “the last days” of this present wicked world, that God will soon destroy it, and that he will replace it with his paradisaic new world.—2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13; 2 Peter 3:10-13.
2 God’s Word promises: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more . . . But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:10, 11) “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:29) “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—Revelation 21:4.
3. How is true unity of worship being brought about?
3 Those who are now being unified in true worship make up the first residents of that new world. They have learned what God’s will is and are doing it to the best of their ability. Showing the importance of this, Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) The apostle John wrote: “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.
What It Really Means
4. (a) What does the gathering of so many in united worship in our time really mean? (b) How does the Bible describe this ingathering?
4 What does the gathering of so many to united worship in our time really mean? It is clear evidence that we are very near to the end of this wicked world, with God’s new world to begin right after that. We are eyewitnesses of the fulfillment of Bible prophecies that foretold this momentous ingathering. One such prophecy states: “It must occur in the final part of the days [these last days] that the mountain of the house of Jehovah [his elevated true worship] will become firmly established above the top of the mountains [above any other type of worship], . . . and to it peoples must stream. And 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.’”—Micah 4:1, 2; Psalm 37:34.
5, 6. (a) How is it true that nations are turning to Jehovah? (b) What questions should we ask ourselves?
5 While entire nations are not presenting themselves at Jehovah’s spiritual house for worship, millions of individuals out of all nations are doing so. As they learn about the loving purpose and the appealing personality of Jehovah God, their hearts are deeply moved. They humbly seek to find out what God requires of them. Their prayer is like that of the psalmist who said: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.”—Psalm 143:10.
6 Do you see yourself among the great crowd of people whom Jehovah is now bringing together in unified worship? Does your response to the instruction you have received from his Word show that you truly appreciate that Jehovah is its Source? To what extent will you “walk in his paths”?
How It Is Achieved
7. (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 that?
7 Jehovah’s purpose is for all intelligent creation to be united in true worship. How we long for the day when all who live will worship the only true God! (Psalm 103:19-22) But before that can be, Jehovah must eliminate all who refuse to do his righteous will. Mercifully, he gives advance notice of what he will do, so that people everywhere can have the opportunity to change their course. (Isaiah 55:6, 7) Thus, in our day “to every nation and tribe and tongue and people,” this urgent appeal is being made: “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.” (Revelation 14:6, 7) Have you accepted that invitation? If so, it is your privilege to invite yet others to know and worship the true God.
8. After learning basic Bible teachings, what further progress should we earnestly endeavor to make?
8 It is not Jehovah’s purpose to be worshiped by people who say that they believe in him but who then continue to pursue their own interests. God wants people to come to an “accurate knowledge of his will” and reflect this in their lives. (Colossians 1:9, 10) Thus, appreciative people who learn the basic teachings of the Bible want to press on to Christian maturity. Their desire is to get to know Jehovah more intimately, to broaden and deepen their understanding of his Word, and to apply it more fully in their lives. They seek to reflect the qualities of our heavenly Father and to view matters as he does. This moves them to search out ways to share in the lifesaving work that he is having done in the earth in our day. Is that also your desire?—Mark 13:10; Hebrews 5:12–6:3.
9. In what ways is true unity possible now?
9 The Bible shows that those who serve Jehovah must be a united people. (Ephesians 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 all his disciples be one, enjoying true unity. What would this mean? First, that they would have a good relationship with Jehovah and his Son. Second, that they would be united with one another. (John 17:20, 21) To that end, the Christian congregation serves as the organization through which Jehovah instructs his people.
What Factors Contribute to Unity?
10. (a) What do we develop when we personally use the Bible to reason out answers to questions that affect us? (b) Analyze the factors contributing to Christian unity by answering the questions listed in this paragraph.
10 Seven key factors that contribute to unity of worship are noted below. As you answer the accompanying questions, give thought to how each point affects your relationship with Jehovah and with fellow Christians. Reasoning on these points and looking up the scriptures cited but not quoted will contribute to your development of godly wisdom, thinking ability, and discernment—qualities all of us need. (Proverbs 5:1, 2; Philippians 1:9-11) Consider these factors one at a time.
(1) We acknowledge Jehovah’s right to set the standard as to good and bad. “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5, 6.
Why should we seek Jehovah’s counsel and guidance when making decisions? (Psalm 146:3-5; Isaiah 48:17)
(2) We have God’s Word to guide us. “When you received God’s word, which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God, which is also at work in you believers.”—1 Thessalonians 2:13.
What danger is there in simply doing what we “feel” is right? (Proverbs 14:12; Jeremiah 10:23, 24; 17:9)
If we do not know what counsel the Bible gives on a certain matter, what should we do? (Proverbs 2:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
(3) We all benefit from the same spiritual feeding program. “All your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah.” (Isaiah 54:13) “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day [of destruction] drawing near.”—Hebrews 10:24, 25.
What benefits come to those who take full advantage of Jehovah’s arrangements for spiritual feeding? (Isaiah 65:13, 14)
(4) Jesus Christ, and no human, is our Leader. “Do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. Neither be called ‘leaders,’ for your Leader is one, the Christ.”—Matthew 23:8-10.
Should any of us believe that we are superior to others? (Romans 3:23, 24; 12:3)
(5) We look to God’s Kingdom government as the only hope for humankind. “You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.’ Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness.”—Matthew 6:9, 10, 33.
How does “seeking first the kingdom” help safeguard our unity? (Micah 4:3; 1 John 3:10-12)
(6) Holy spirit produces in worshipers of Jehovah qualities that are vital to Christian unity. “The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”—Galatians 5:22, 23.
What must we do in order for God’s spirit to produce its fruitage in us? (Acts 5:32)
How does having God’s spirit influence our relationship with fellow Christians? (John 13:35; 1 John 4:8, 20, 21)
(7) All of God’s true worshipers share in preaching the good news of his Kingdom. “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 24:14.
What should motivate us to want to have a full share in this preaching activity? (Matthew 22:37-39; Romans 10:10)
11. When we apply Bible truths in our lives, what is the effect?
11 Unitedly worshiping Jehovah draws us closer to him and enables us to enjoy refreshing association with fellow believers. Psalm 133:1 says: “Look! How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” How refreshing it is to get away from the world with all its selfishness, immorality, and violence and to congregate with those who truly love Jehovah and obey his laws!
Avoid Divisive Influences
12. Why do we need to avoid an independent spirit?
12 So as not to mar our precious global unity, we must avoid divisive influences. One of these is the spirit of independence from God and his laws. Jehovah helps us to avoid it by unmasking its originator, Satan the Devil. (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9) Satan is the one who influenced Adam and Eve to ignore what God had said and to make decisions contrary to God’s will. The result was calamity for them and for us. (Genesis 3:1-6, 17-19) This world is saturated with the spirit of independence from God and his laws. So we need to curb that spirit in ourselves.
13. What will show whether we are sincerely preparing for life in God’s righteous new world?
13 For example, consider Jehovah’s thrilling promise to replace the present wicked world with new heavens and a new earth in which “righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13) Should that not move us to begin preparing to live at that time when righteousness will prevail? This means heeding the Bible’s plain counsel: “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) Hence, we shun this world’s spirit—its independent attitude, its excessive concern for self, its immorality and violence. We make it a practice to listen to Jehovah and to obey him from our heart, despite any contrary inclinations of the imperfect flesh. Our entire life course gives evidence that our thinking and our motives are oriented to doing God’s will.—Psalm 40:8.
14. (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?
14 When the appointed time comes for Jehovah to destroy this wicked system of things and all who prefer its ways, he will not delay. He is not going to postpone that time or change his standards to accommodate those who are still trying to cling to the world while halfheartedly 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 taking hold of this precious opportunity, eagerly seeking the instruction that Jehovah provides through his Word and organization and unitedly walking in his paths toward the new world! And the more we learn about Jehovah, the more we will love him and want to serve him.
• What is Jehovah’s purpose as to worship?
• After we have learned basic Bible teachings, what further progress should we earnestly seek to make?
• What can we individually do to be in unity with other worshipers of Jehovah?
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‘The meek ones will possess the earth and find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace’