Love Builds Up the New World Society
1, 2. (a) Why can the Christian witnesses of Jehovah properly be termed a New World society? (b) What facts and scriptures show that it is love that builds up the New World society?
THE Christian witnesses of Jehovah are known as a New World society because they make known God’s new world and conduct themselves as fitting ambassadors of the new world. They are motivated by the New World principle of love, love for Jehovah and for their neighbor. This is so obviously true that time and again the public press commented upon it when reporting on their Triumphant Kingdom assemblies that were held in North America and Europe during 1955.
2 This is exactly as it should be, for their Leader, Jesus Christ, laid the greatest emphasis on love, even stating that by it his true followers could be identified. “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” Love is the “perfect bond of union,” that binds the members of the New World society together, making them strong, able to present a united front against the whole world and defeating Satan’s two-pronged attack of persecution and materialism. “Two are better than one,” and “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” What love accomplishes in building up the family circle it also accomplishes with the New World society and for the same reasons.—John 13:34, 35; Col. 3:14, NW; Eccl. 4:9, 12, RS.
LOVE BUILDS UP AT MEETINGS
3, 4. How does love view gathering with God’s people, and so what does it do toward that end?
3 Love builds up the New World society because it draws us to the various meetings and assemblies of dedicated Christians, where we receive increased light on God’s Word, spiritual strength and encouragement to continue serving Jehovah. Not only that, but love makes us view all such gatherings as opportunities to build up others. Love makes us want to come early and to extend a warm welcome to our brothers and the good-will stranger. Love causes us to be keenly interested in what is said from the platform, for by paying close attention we build up the speaker. Love will also make us want to linger after the meeting is over to exchange experiences and to give a helpful and encouraging word or gesture to one who may be oppressed. And in doing so we also build up ourselves, for it never fails that “one who waters will himself be watered.”—Prov. 11:25, RS.
4 And love will seek to build up others by taking an active part at such gatherings as opportunity affords. It is not only a matter of “not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom,” but also of ‘holding fast the public declaration of our hope,’ of ‘considering one another to incite to love and right works,’ and of ‘encouraging one another, and all the more as we see the day drawing near.’ As Paul wrote to the Romans: “I am longing to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you in order for you to be made firm; or, rather, that there may be an interchange of encouragement among you, by each one through the other’s faith, both yours and mine.”—Heb. 10:23-25; Rom. 1:11, 12, NW.
5. To build each other up effectively at meetings what must we do beforehand?
5 Love for our brothers will also spur us to prepare our lessons, so that we can build up our brothers. Particularly when given platform assignments will we do so, thereby letting our progress be manifest to all to their upbuilding, even as we are commanded: “Let all things take place for upbuilding. . . . that all may learn and all be encouraged.” Strange as it may seem, it is easy for servants in the congregation to neglect their privileges along this line. They become so absorbed in preparing for their own particular meetings or program assignments that they neglect, at times, advance preparation for meetings conducted by others, so that there too they might contribute to the upbuilding of the rest. So let each minister at every meeting heed Paul’s counsel: “But speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ. From him all the body, by being harmoniously joined together and being made to cooperate through every joint which gives what is needed, according to the functioning of each respective member in due measure, makes for the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”—1 Cor. 14:26, 31; Eph. 4:15, 16, NW.
LOVE SHARES IN THE TRAINING PROGRAM
6, 7. (a) What examples show the obligation to share in training others? (b) Why do servants have special obligations in this regard, and how should they discharge them?
6 Love further builds up the New World society because it makes us take part in the ministerial training program, either helping or being helped. Regardless of what his duties may be, no mature minister is too busy to share in this program. Certainly none of us have more to do than Jesus Christ had and yet he had time to train others. As “he went journeying from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God. . . . the twelve were with him.” And what many duties Paul had! Yet he also trained others. Yes, “we though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong, and not to be pleasing ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor in what is good for his upbuilding. For even Christ did not please himself.” Incidentally, here again note that love is not sentimentalism. Sentimentalism is content with merely pleasing one’s neighbor, perhaps humoring him in his weaknesses. But love pleases its neighbor “in what is good for his upbuilding.”—Luke 8:1; Rom. 15:1-3, NW.
7 Of course, the appointed servants in the congregation having greater gifts and correspondingly greater opportunities for building up their brothers are required to give more: “Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him, and the one whom people put in charge of much, they will demand more than usual of him.” That is the very reason why Jehovah has made provision for special servants in the congregation, as Paul shows: “And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as missionaries, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the training of the holy ones for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ [as well as the other sheep], until we all attain to the oneness in the faith and in the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of growth that belongs to the fullness of the Christ.” And how is this training for ministerial work to be done? With joy, eagerly, unselfishly and in humility, even as Peter shows: “Shepherd the flock of God in your care, not under compulsion, but willingly, neither for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly, neither as lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, but becoming examples to the flock.”—Luke 12:48; Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Pet. 5:2, 3, NW.
8. For the sake of whom should those needing help accept it?
8 On the other hand, should you be among those lacking in ability to give effective sermons at the doorstep or on return visits, love for Jehovah, for men of good will and for your brother will make you ready to accept his offered help, thus building you up. Only pride would cause you to reject that help and this is no time for pride, for the eternal destiny of men of good will is at stake and what that destiny will be in certain cases may depend upon how effectively we “preach the word.” If it takes humility to accept help offered, remember that it also takes humility to extend help to others. So let love for Jehovah, for the “stranger” and for one another make each minister in the New World society either extend help to others or accept offers of help, all gladly submitting to one another.—1 Pet. 5:5.
WOMAN’S PRIVILEGES TO BUILD UP
9, 10. (a) What privileges do sisters have to build up others, and how can they make the most of them? (b) Upon what does woman’s Scriptural position place a premium, as illustrated by whom?
9 While Christian women do not have all the various opportunities to build up their brothers that Christian men have, love and heavenly wisdom will make them appreciate the privileges they do have and to make the most of them. By thorough advance preparation the sisters in the congregation will be able to choose their words well, make pointed ‘public declarations’ with confidence, thereby also letting as many as possible express themselves for the mutual upbuilding of all present. This includes the theocratic ministry school, at which there could be far more audience participation by the sisters than there usually is. Additionally, by becoming proficient in the field ministry they will be able to give interesting demonstrations showing how to present the Kingdom message effectively at the doors and how to overcome objections, and will also have interesting experiences to relate. In such ways they can have a vital part in building up their brothers, even though not having the privilege of telling their brothers what to do. And do not all mature sisters have the privilege of training other sisters? Certainly!
10 This same principle applies in other respects. Sisters can greatly help to build up their brothers simply by being theocratic, by showing “godly devotion along with self-sufficiency.” By humbly and sincerely doing that which is being preached from the platform they illustrate and underscore the value of such preaching. Surely closest to our hearts is the bringing of honor to Jehovah’s name and building up our brothers, and woman’s Scripturally circumscribed role does not deny her these but simply puts a premium on her patience, tact and wisdom. Thus we note that Deborah, although an anointed prophetess, did not bluntly command Barak but used the question form in advising him of Jehovah’s instructions: “Has not Jehovah the God of Israel given the command?” And again: “Is it not Jehovah that has gone out before you?” As though simply reminding him. A fine approach for sisters today! And note also that Queen Esther’s desire to save her people could not have been more successful had she been able to command her husband King Ahasuerus. Unquestionably sisters can do much to help build up the New World society without going outside of their theocratic relative freedom, in fact, cannot help build up unless they do remain within it.—1 Tim. 6:6; Judg. 4:6, 14, NW.
OTHER WAYS IN WHICH LOVE BUILDS UP
11. As regards offenses, what obligations do we have?
11 Love also builds up our brothers because it makes us forgiving, merciful and long-suffering. If we lack love we are easily offended, are quick to punish the offender, which, however, may only make him weaker and so discourage him that he finally loses out on eternal life. But by lovingly forgiving our brother we strengthen him, build him up, help him to overcome his weakness, and he thereby becomes “like a fortified city; he holds firm as the bar of a castle.” Regardless of what a brother may do to us, we may not bear him a grudge. If we cannot dismiss the offense, “skip it,” we must go to him in keeping with Jesus’ command at Matthew 18:15-17. Nor may we dismiss a matter when it becomes apparent that we have offended another, merely because we do not cherish resentment. No, we must humbly go to the offended brother and try to win him back. (Matt. 5:23, 24) So let us clothe ourselves “with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave” us, let us do also. And here again we build up ourselves, since the merciful “will be shown mercy.”—Prov. 18:19, AT; Col. 3:12, 13; Matt. 5:7, NW.
12. So as not to stumble others, what Scriptural obligation does love remember?
12 Love further builds up the New World society because it is more concerned with the welfare of others than its own “rights.” Love is thoughtful and considerate lest it stumble others; it pursues “the things making for peace and the things that are upbuilding to one another.” It does not tear down the work of God for the sake of some personal preference. It was in this very connection that Paul wrote: “Love builds up.” Yes, “all things are lawful; but not all things build up. Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.” By thus ‘carrying the burdens of one another we fulfill the law of the Christ,’ building each other up.—Rom. 14:19, 20; 1 Cor. 8:1; 10:23, 24; Gal. 6:2, NW.
13. How can material means be used for upbuilding?
13 We can also build up our brothers by showing love in material ways, by ‘sharing with the holy ones according to their needs, by following the course of hospitality.’ As the beloved apostle John so well points out: “Whoever has this world’s means for supporting life and beholds his brother having need and yet shuts the door of his tender compassions upon him, in what way does the love of God remain in him? Little children, let us love, neither in word nor with the tongue [only], but in deed and truth.” And since the maintaining of a Kingdom Hall, as a local headquarters of the New World society, as well as the world-wide activity of preaching the good news in 162 lands, entails expenses, love also builds up by making fiscal contributions, thereby honoring Jehovah with our substance.—Rom. 12:13; 1 John 3:17, 18, NW; Prov. 3:9.
14. Also, by not doing what things will love build up?
14 By reason of what it does not do love also builds up. Love does not destroy the unity of the organization by jealous competition: “Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up.” Nor does love embarrass others or tempt them to do wrong by unbecoming conduct, it “does not behave indecently.” Nor does it lose its temper, ‘fly off the handle.’ Love “does not become provoked.” Neither does love stoop to lying, it does not gloat over injustices, “it does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.” Yes, to build up others we must not only love and do what is right but hate and avoid what is wrong.—1 Cor. 13:4-6, NW.
LOVE BUILDS UP THE “STRANGER”
15. Love for the stranger will cause us to engage in what activities, to what extent and under what circumstances?
15 Just as love builds up the family circle and the New World society it also builds up the good-will “stranger.” Love makes us appreciate his hunger and thirst for righteousness and causes us to do something about it, to hunt and fish for him by regularly going from house to house and taking our position on the street corners, offering the message of the Kingdom, and doing so in both good and bad weather. It will cause us to preach in both favorable season and where the work is banned, ‘in unfavorable season,’ and will make us alert to do incidental witnessing whenever opportunity affords (not “out of season” preaching), at home, at one’s place of secular employment, when shopping or traveling. And love will make us persevere, ‘from morning to night,’ never giving up in doing what is right.—2 Tim. 4:2, NW; Eccl. 11:6; 2 Thess. 3:13.
16. What is our goal in preaching to others?
16 However, if we would build up the “stranger,” we must never lose sight of our goal. While hours and literature placements are important, these are only various means to our goal, that of helping the stranger to become a member of the New World society, share in the vindication of Jehovah’s name and gain life in the new world. We must have a real interest and concern for these, even as Jesus had: “On seeing the crowds he felt tender affection for them, because they were skinned and knocked about like sheep without a shepherd.” We may be ever so efficient in wielding the “sword of the spirit” and buying out the opportune time in favorable and troublesome season, but unless we, like Jesus, have that tender affection for the ones to whom we minister, and show it by our words and actions, the good-will strangers will not be built up.—Matt. 9:36; 23:37; John 11:35, NW.
17. Love will cause us to preach in what manner?
17 Love will make our presentation at the doorstep and on return visits sincere, friendly and warm. Should we not find the good-will stranger at home on the first or second attempt to call back on him, love will make us try a third and even a fourth time. Remember, love does not become discouraged, it perseveres. By taking a loving interest in the stranger we shall be more likely to start a home Bible study with him.
18. Why the great difference between the number with whom home Bible studies were conducted and the number baptized during 1955?
18 So we are regularly conducting a Bible study with the good-will stranger. Does that mean we are certain of reaching our goal with him? Not by any means! The Society’s 1956 Yearbook shows that each month during the 1955 service year 337,456 home Bible studies were conducted. However, only about one fifth of that number symbolized their dedication by being immersed. Since we do not conduct such studies for an average of five years it follows that many of these were discontinued. Why? Jesus’ illustration of the sower and his seed tells us: Some of Satan’s “birds” or agents plucked up some of the seed; the thorns of this world, its cares and deceitful pleasures and riches, choked out more of it; and the hot sun of persecution did the rest. To counteract these destructive factors we must keep on manifesting a genuine interest in the welfare of the “stranger,” we must persevere in showing love.—Luke 8:4-15.
PERSEVERING LOVE BUILDS UP
19, 20. (a) Love will prompt us to conduct our Bible studies in what upbuilding manner? (b) How does Paul’s experience with the Thessalonians illustrate the foregoing?
19 In conducting our home Bible studies, therefore, let us never become mechanical, making them “cut and dried” affairs, so that we do not even note whether the stranger is getting the sense of it or not. Unless he really is getting the sense of it he cannot be built up. Remember, in the illustration of the sower those who brought forth fruit first of all ‘got the sense of it.’ And just as seed needs regular sunshine and rain, so let us be regular, punctual and dependable, setting the right example. Haphazardness does not show much love; it will not cultivate appreciation in the good-will stranger. We cannot escape it, we must show the stranger love, must become for him “as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as streams of water in a dry place, as the shade of a great rock in a weary land,” if he is to become strong enough to resist religious opposition, discount the temptations of the world and bear up under the stress that comes upon him by reason of his associating with the New World society.—Matt. 13:19-23, NW; Isa. 32:1, 2, AS.
20 The apostle Paul manifested this love for those to whom he had brought the truth. He remembered them in his prayers, and when unable to visit them he wrote them encouraging letters. (Do you mention in your prayers those with whom you study?) Note, for example, how he showed love to those interested in the truth at Thessalonica: “We became gentle in the midst of you, as when a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, having a tender affection for you, we were pleased to impart to you, not only the good news of God, but also our own souls, because you became beloved to us.” No sooner had these Thessalonians accepted the truth and taken their stand than violent persecution broke out and Paul had to leave them. He became so concerned about their spiritual welfare that when he could stand it no longer he sent Timothy (valuable as his assistance was to Paul) so that he might learn how they were progressing. Paul rejoiced to learn that, having built them up by love, as a nursing mother cherishes her child, and having kept on ‘exhorting them as a father does his children,’ they were able to stand so firm that their faith became noteworthy. There we have it! For the good-will strangers to be built up so that they will become mature ministers of the New World society, we not only must feed them with Kingdom truths but must impart to them also of our own souls, our love.—1 Thess. 2:7, 8, 11, NW.
21. So love builds up whom? and why?
21 Truly love builds up the members of the theocratic family circle, those of the New World society and the good-will strangers. Love builds up because God is love, because love keeps God’s commandments, and because we all need to give and to receive love. Love builds up because love hears and sees the good qualities in others, their needs, and its opportunities to supply those needs; it builds up because it does things and gives, unselfishly and generously, and because it is gentle, warm and tender. And love builds up because it does not become discouraged, it perseveres, is long-suffering, bears, hopes and endures all things. Yes, love builds up because “love never fails.”