Power for Life and Service
“With the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.”—Rom. 10:10, NW.
1. Apply to the Bible Jesus’ formula for longevity.
“THE word of God is alive.” (Heb. 4:12, NW) Those who conform to it follow a way that destines them for life if it is continued in in faithfulness to the termination of their earthly Christian careers. Jesus stated this basic formula for longevity: “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, NW) Jesus spoke very forceful truths concerning the receiving of life through him, identifying himself as the bread from heaven, saying: “He that feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:58, NW) Not receiving these words into good and honest hearts, not getting the sense of them, “many of his disciples, when they heard this, said: ‘This speech is shocking; who can listen to it?’” Jesus did not back down, but stated something even more impressive, saying, “Does this stumble you? What, therefore, if you behold the Son of man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that is life-giving; the flesh is of no use at all. The sayings that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” (John 6:60-64, NW) Many of the disciples turned from him then, leaving him, and Jesus asked his twelve close associates if they wanted to go also. Simon Peter made the proper reply, showing that he had received Jesus’ words into a good and honest heart and that he had really gotten their sense: “Master, Whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life.”—John 6:68, NW.
2. Cite operations of God’s word toward the bringing of life to its adherents.
2 As certainly as the word of God enabled Christians to be brought forth as God’s sons, just so certain is it that adherence thereto enables them to receive life as a gift through Christ Jesus from God, in whom they have abiding faith and whom they serve. “Because he willed it, he brought us forth by the word of truth, for us to be a certain firstfruits of his creatures.” (Jas. 1:18, NW) “We are not the kind that shrink back to destruction, but the kind that have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.” (Heb. 10:39, NW) Did not Jehovah’s word preserve alive his servants through the Flood and Israel from Egypt, establishing prophetic shadows?—1 Pet. 3:20, 21; 1 Cor. 10:11, NW.
3. What living hope of life is in the living Word?
3 The present lives of all men are uncertain, and the present lives of Christians are subject to uncertainties too. As servants of God our daily existence is joyful, filled with happiness and with appreciation to Jehovah for his undeserved kindness. We must observe that the lasting life for all Christians is in the future and the lasting life for the majority is upon this earth after Armageddon. In the meantime we have hopes of being carried through Armageddon, and if that is not our lot, nevertheless, through our faithfulness and Jehovah’s loving power, we have hopes of participating in the resurrection from the dead. These hopes are certain. They are born in our hearts and minds through the living Word of God and are real to us because we believe and rely upon Jehovah.
4. How is the book of life declared to be a book of health?
4 His book is a book of life in that it sets out the course that leads to life. It is a book of spiritual health. We are not in doubt concerning this. We are fully aware of the one in whom we believe and trust—the one whose words we have accepted and who has our unqualified confidence. We say: “For I know the one whom I have believed, and I am confident he is able to guard what I have laid up in trust with him until that day. Keep holding the pattern of healthful words which you heard from me with the faith and love that are in connection with Christ Jesus. This beautiful trust guard through the holy spirit which is dwelling in us.” (2 Tim. 1:12-14, NW) Healthful words? Paul was positive in his assurance to young Timothy that such was the case, even saying in his first epistle to his companion in service, “If any man teaches other doctrine and does not assent to healthful words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching that accords with godly devotion, he is puffed up with pride, not understanding anything, but being mentally diseased over questionings and debates about words.”—1 Tim. 6:3, 4, NW.
5. Name one of the most remarkable manifestations of the power of God’s Word, and state if it is present or future.
5 There is something else that God’s Word brings to us that is not merely future. It too is an essential part of our lives, and cannot be dispensed with. It constitutes a proof of our acceptance of God’s Word. Recall what Jesus said about those who receive the word in good hearts, get the sense of it and bring forth fruit in abundance. The bringing forth of fruit is an evidence of the living Word’s acting on our hearts and minds and exerting its power in our lives. It is something that can be seen by both God and man. It is our service. In fact, the faithful service of Jehovah’s witnesses is one of the most remarkable manifestations of the power of God’s Word, as well as an evidence of his protecting active force operating in their behalf and through them. Obviously, it is more than just a matter of intentions when God’s service is involved. In addition to intending to serve God, Christians do it.
6. In what capacity does our ministry serve in Christian warfare?
6 A large share of our part in our Christian warfare is the preaching of the truth to others as ministers of the good news of God’s kingdom. “For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things. For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4, 5, NW) We previously observed Jesus’ words, “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, . . . for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45, NW) Jesus continued, saying: “Why, then, do you call me ‘Master! Master!’ but do not do the things I say?”—Luke 6:46, NW.
7. What is here shown to be insufficient, and why?
7 It is not enough that we hear the words of Jehovah God and Christ Jesus and hear only. It is not sufficient that we merely come to a personal understanding of doctrinal truths. We may learn facts regarding the so-called trinity and that Jehovah alone is God. We may understand the truth that there is no hell-fire torment, and rejoice in the Scriptural teaching that the soul is mortal and that the hope of the dead is through the resurrection. We may know that the established, proved facts of all science corroborate the fundamental truth of the creatorship of Jehovah and also corroborate the Bible account of creation and man’s history upon the earth. We may be thrilled at the findings of archaeology confirming the words of God’s prophets. But that is not enough. If we stop there we use the truth to serve ourselves alone.
8. We are Jehovah’s witnesses if we do what?
8 If we obey the commandments of God and Christ Jesus, follow the example of Christ Jesus, the apostles and the early Christian congregation, we will tell others concerning the things from God’s Word that have so enriched our lives. We will make the activities of the New World society our activities all we possibly can. We will bear fruit; we will speak out of the abundance of a heart filled to overflowing with the truths of God’s Word and the love that his Word instills in us for the great Speaker and Author of the Bible. If we do this, with the approval of God as his Word discerns between our soul and spirit, we are Jehovah’s witnesses. If we do not serve God, worshiping him in spirit and in truth, we are not Jehovah’s witnesses.
9. State a folly to be avoided, showing the Scriptural viewpoint.
9 Why do we serve God? Because we love him, and the power of Jehovah’s Word is manifested through us thereby. It is folly for anyone to deceive himself with the idea that ‘the Kingdom is now thirty-nine years old, I have served God long enough, the complete end may be another thirty-nine years away, and so I should settle back now, take things easy, and prepare comforts and luxuries for myself.’ Jesus, as long ago as when he was here on the earth, long before the Kingdom was born, said, “Everyone that comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug and went down deep and laid a foundation upon the rock-mass. Consequently, when a flood arose, the river dashed against that house, but was not strong enough to shake it, because of its being well built.” (Luke 6:47, 48, NW) As long ago as the apostle Paul’s day service was the worthy pursuit for Christians; and the more so now: “Do this, too, because you know the season, that it is already the hour for you to awake from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than at the time when we became believers. The night is well along; the day has drawn near. Let us therefore put off the works belonging to darkness and let us put on the weapons of the light. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not be planning ahead for the desires of the flesh.”—Rom. 13:11, 12, 14, NW.
10. The discharge of what obligation shows the service power of the truth?
10 All the desires of our selfish natures and the appeal of all the propaganda of the old world are for us to refrain from putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, or, having him on, to put him off, and, instead, to lay plans ahead for fulfillment of personal wishes, disregarding the interest and needs of God’s people, his organization and his work. We owe a debt of love to our brothers. We owe to them to chart a course of personal action that will be helpful spiritually to our associates of the New World society. We owe to our fellow man, and to our God primarily, our service of ministry of praise to Jehovah in behalf of all lovers of righteousness. Repeatedly in the Scriptures we find such expressions as the ‘word of the Lord came’ to God’s servants and they responded, preached and prophesied and otherwise ministered in obedience to the word they heard. Concerning the opening of the mouth in Christian liberty in ministering the apostle wrote to the Ephesians: “Finally, go on acquiring power in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength. Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; because we have a fight, . . . keep awake with all constancy and with supplication in behalf of all the holy ones, also for me, that ability to speak may be given me with the opening of my mouth, with all freeness of speech to make known the sacred secret of the good news, for which I am acting as an ambassador in chains, that I may speak in connection with it with boldness as I ought to speak.” (Eph. 6:10-20, NW) How else can such service power come except from the truth of God’s Word?
11. Prove that in the light of God’s word our ministry cannot be ignored.
11 No, the Word of God cannot be separated from our ministry. Ancient Israel stood as a people for Jehovah’s name, and their service of praise to him was a witness to his Godship. However, something far more grand is the lot of Jehovah’s worshipers in this day of his kingdom. In fact, that has been true since the beginning of the Christian congregation; but in the day of the birth of the Kingdom the statement to the Romans has added weight, wherein we read: “For Moses writes that the man that has done the righteousness of the Law will live by it. But the righteousness resulting from faith speaks in this manner: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” that is, to bring Christ down; or, “Who will descend into the abyss?” that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.’ But what does [Christian faith now say? It says:] ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’; that is, the ‘word’ of faith which we are preaching. For if you publicly declare that ‘word in your mouth’, that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.”—Rom. 10:5-10, NW.
TO THE WORD OF GOD WE TURN
12. Who counsel to turn to God’s Word?
12 Turning to the worship of Jehovah means turning to his Word; turning to his Word means worshiping him. Jehovah’s witnesses admonish one another to turn to God’s Word always. They counsel the people in general to turn to the Bible, inform themselves concerning its true contents and conform to its righteous teachings. The apostle Peter did the same thing, urging his associates to pay attention to the Bible, including its prophecies, stating: “Consequently, we have the prophetic word made more firm, and you are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and a daystar rises, in your hearts. For you know this first, that no prophecy of Scripture springs from any private release. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:19-21, NW) Jehovah God himself backs up that principle of accepting the Word, stating prophetically through Deuteronomy 18:19: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” (AS) The words of God spoken through this Greater Moses, Christ Jesus, are available to us, and we should accept them, as stated: “Also accept the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.”—Eph. 6:17, NW.
PRACTICAL AND PRACTICABLE
13. (a) How does the Bible fit the requirements for being practical and practicable? (b) When men deny the workableness of the Bible what are they demonstrating?
13 If God’s Word is practicable it may be practiced or performed. It is capable of being put into practice. It is feasible and can be used. Its requirements for Jehovah’s service upon earth are capable of being accomplished. It is not impracticable. If this living Word of God is practical it can actually be turned to account and is not merely theoretical, nor merely an impractical idea that sounds nice. It is utilitarian. If it is practical it is valuable in practice and is available, and those who utilize it are actually working with it, being given to action and not merely indulging in speculation. Such result must of necessity follow, in consideration of the facts already observed concerning God’s living Word and its power in the lives of Jehovah’s people. The shoddy contention of self-centered men that God’s Word is neither practical nor practicable falls flat in the light of the internal and external evidence pertaining to the Bible. When men say, “It won’t work,” in referring to the Word of God, they identify themselves as men who have never tried it and never put it to practice, and they are not following its commandments and precepts. When men say, “It is only visionary with its principles of uprightness and its hope for a righteous new world,” they are identifying themselves as men without vision, and persons remaining without vision of those things pertaining to the Creator and his purposes respecting man are going to die. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Prov. 29:18) This is true because those without vision through God’s law “cast off restraint” (AS), the restraining guidance of the counsel of God’s Word.
14. What is the practical course to take?
14 Is it not practical to stay awake in a time of crisis and keep our senses? Is it not practical to have our hearts and heads protected by faith and love and hope of lasting life? Of course it is. “So, then, let us not sleep on as the rest do, but let us stay awake and keep our senses. For those who sleep are accustomed to sleep at night, and those who get drunk are usually drunk at night. But as for us who belong to the day, let us keep our senses and have on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation; because God assigned us, not to wrath, but to the acquiring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:6-9, NW) The passing of time since the recording of God’s Word until the day of decision in which we are privileged to live underscores the foregoing injunction from the fifth chapter of First Thessalonians and supports, in fullness of current application, the words of the same Bible writer in Romans 13:12 (NW), also previously referred to. “The night is well along; the day has drawn near. Let us therefore put off the works belonging to darkness and let us put on the weapons of the light. As in the daytime let us walk in good behavior.”—Rom. 13:12, 13, NW.
15. (a) As to judgment, what shows good judgment on our part? (b) How reliable is man?
15 Alive, exerting power, and sharper than any two-edged sword, with practicability to uncover men’s hearts, God’s Word states: “And there is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting.” (Heb. 4:13, NW) Is it not the part of good judgment to endeavor to have the approval of the great God before whom the accounting is to be made? How else can we possibly win his approval except through the taking of the course outlined in his righteous Word? There is no other way under the sun. Would it be wise to rely on grass that grows in the meadow, to worship flowers that bloom in the fields? “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the breath of Jehovah bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever.” (Isa. 40:6-8, AS) There is nothing practical in following men who are going contrary to God’s Word and who are as important and reliable as weeds.
16. Upon what does Peter insist?
16 The apostle Peter emphasized this point and in doing so quoted from the 40th chapter of Isaiah, saying: “Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth with unhypocritical brotherly love as the result, love one another intensely from the heart. For you have been given a new birth, not by corruptible, but by incorruptible reproductive seed, through the word of the living and enduring God. For ‘all flesh is as vegetation, and all its glory is as a flower of the vegetation; the vegetation becomes withered, and the flower falls off, but the word spoken by Jehovah endures forever’. Well, this is the ‘word spoken’, this which has been declared to you as good news.” (1 Pet. 1:22-25, NW) When the counsel of God’s Word is disregarded by men, the men who go contrary to it get into trouble; so avoid difficulties brought about by untheocratic conduct. As Peter insists, Jehovah’s Word endures, and it is blameless in regard to the difficult conditions that have come about because of disobedience to that Word.
17. Show the solidness of the New World society.
17 The old world, rotten to its heart, is doomed to destruction and will go down even while harping that the Bible won’t work and its contents are outdated and useless. The New World society, however, is founded solidly on the unchanged and unchanging word of a God who is consistent, almighty and completely righteous. Its members recognize the most important thing, a true appreciation of their God and their relationship to him. They glory in this relationship as prospective members of God’s great family. The Word of God is to us inexhaustible, its study always rewarding, adherence to it always beneficial. We thank God for everything in our lives that serves to keep our attention on his Word and increase our love for it and our appreciation of it. In it are found the organization instructions on which the New World society operates. Correct, truthful doctrine, righteous laws, highest and noblest principles, authority to preach, all are contained in the living Word, pointing to and applying in this great day of judgment and of division. Above all, his living Word identifies and exalts the true God, Jehovah, the Source of light. Truly as his spokesman Christ Jesus said: “The sayings that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”—John 6:63, NW.
The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul: the testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring for ever: the ordinances of Jehovah are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: in keeping them there is great reward.—Ps. 19:7-11, AS.