An Invitation to Praise Jehovah
WHAT could be a greater privilege than to serve Jehovah God, the Supreme Sovereign of the universe? There is nothing that could compare with it. To all who love him the invitation is extended: “Sing to Jehovah, all you of the earth! Announce from day to day the salvation he gives! Relate among the nations his glory, among all the peoples his wonderful acts.” Have you responded to that invitation to praise Jehovah?—1 Chron. 16:23, 24.
Jehovah is the Author of the provision for the salvation of humankind from sin and death. He “loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” He is also the One who safeguards his servants, holding back the enemy from overwhelming them. So to him his servant David cried out in appreciation: “You have proved to be a refuge for me, a strong tower because of the enemy.” He will continue to be such a refuge and strong tower to his people during the destruction at the battle of Armageddon, now near at hand. To all who would avail themselves of his provisions the command given: “Announce from day to day the salvation he gives!”—John 3:16; Ps. 61:3.
We are living at the time when God is taking action to bring the unrighteous world to an end, to vindicate his own misrepresented name and to shower endless blessings upon those who worship him. These things he will accomplish by his kingdom, which is now in full operation in the heavens under the Kingship of his anointed Son Jesus Christ. In response to the momentous announcement of the Kingdom’s establishment faithful ones in the heavenly courts worshiped God, saying: “We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king.” Having heard the good news that God’s kingdom rules, do we on earth likewise worship God, join in thanking him, and take up the joyous proclamation that “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king for ever and ever”? We are invited to do so, and what a privilege it is to respond to that invitation now!—Rev. 11:15-17.
REASON FOR BIBLE STUDY
When you study the Bible, either alone or with one of Jehovah’s witnesses, keep in mind the reason for such study. It is so that “you may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual discernment, in order to walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him as you go on bearing fruit in every good work.” When we know his will, we should conform to it. It should affect our lives and cause us to make the changes that are needed in order to “walk worthily of Jehovah.” “Hence put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.” If we have thus responded to the word of God, putting away moral badness, and if we have accepted the implanting of the word and really do have faith in God and his promises, then it is our privilege and responsibility to respond to the divine invitation to be witnesses for Jehovah and his kingdom. So doing, we please God, because we offer to him an acceptable “sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name.”—Col. 1:9, 10; Jas. 1:21; Heb. 13:15.
Never should we dismiss from our minds the seriousness of the matter. Our life and the lives of those to whom we are sent depend on our response. (Ezek. 3:17-21) Not just once in a profession of faith, but daily, in proof of our faith, we must advocate God’s way. “For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.” (Rom. 10:10) Just as important as our faith in God, his Son, and the new world of righteousness is our faith in the importance of measuring up to the divine requirements to gain God’s favor, salvation from sin and death, and life in the new world. By applying yourself regularly to doing the divine will by making public declaration of the things that you have learned from the Bible, “you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” (1 Tim. 4:16) Only if men learn God’s righteous requirements and conform to them will they be spared when this old world goes down in destruction at Armageddon.
HOW TO SERVE
The Lord Jesus set the pattern for us in serving God. At the beginning of his earthly ministry he quoted his commission, as recorded in the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. It says, in part: “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, . . . to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.” (Luke 4:18, 19) He studied God’s Word as recorded in the Scriptures, prayed to his Father for his spirit, and followed His direction. While he did not withhold the good news from those who had much of this world’s goods, but preached to men such as rich Zacchaeus and the ruler Nicodemus, yet he was not like the “Pharisees, who were money-lovers” and who treated the rest of mankind as if they were nothing. He had consideration for the lowly and poor. He came “to seek and to save what was lost”—the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He “felt tender affection for them, because they were skinned and knocked about like sheep without a shepherd.” He went to the homes of the people to teach them. Patiently he explained to them the promises in God’s Word. He recognized the urgency of the situation, for that was a time of judgment. It was an acceptable time to respond to Jehovah’s provision for deliverance by recognizing and following his Messiah. Multitudes did follow him for the bread he gave them, for the healing he performed, even to listen to the things he taught, but only a few responded to his invitation: “Be my follower.” But those who did manifest a desire to serve God and share the good news with others he took with him as he preached, so they could acquire experience in the ministry. In all this he set the pattern for us to follow.—Luke 19:10; Matt. 10:6; 9:36; John 1:43.
Jesus instructed his disciples that they were to be his witnesses to the most distant part of the earth, and he gave assurance that he would be with them. In response to his command, there are men, women and children today in 175 lands who have studied God’s Word as Jesus did, who pray to the Father for his spirit as he did, and who walk in his footsteps by serving God as witnesses in the way he did. They are Jehovah’s witnesses. True to his promise, Jesus has been with them. They have his words recorded in the Bible and they pay attention to what he said. They regularly assemble at their Kingdom Halls to study the Bible and to equip themselves as preachers and teachers of the Kingdom message; and, as Jesus promised, where two or three are met together in his name, he is present by means of holy spirit. (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:20; 18:20) Thus equipped, they are workmen with nothing to be ashamed of, able to handle the word of truth aright. When persons of good will express their desire to have a share in teaching God’s Word to others, they are welcome to avail themselves of the same free training and to receive personal instruction from a qualified minister in the actual field service. That is the pattern set by Jesus, and it is the one Jehovah’s witnesses follow today. Every day last year 236 more persons, on an average, in all parts of the world expressed the desire to serve Jehovah and availed themselves of this training to become qualified ministers. Some of them have been able to devote much time to the service, while the circumstances of others make it possible for them to spend only a few hours a month actually visiting others with the Kingdom good news, but the important thing is that they are proving their love for God by responding to his invitation to be his witnesses.
Yet not all who hear the message respond to the divine invitation to service. Why not? The prophet Ezekiel describes them in this way: “They sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but do them not; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their gain. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not.” (Ezek. 33:31, 32, AS) They are like those who listened to Jesus but failed to respond to his invitation, “Be my follower.” What a mistake they are making! How foolish to hear the words spoken at God’s command and fail to act on them! Jehovah requires love, not merely expressed in words, but demonstrated by obedience to his commandments.
Now is the time when, in harmony with Jesus’ prophecy on the time of the end, “this good news of the kingdom” is being preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all nations before the end comes. Take hold of the grand opportunities that this opens up to you. Now, before the accomplished end comes, announce the salvation that God gives, so that you may be one who will receive its benefits. Have a part in proclaiming the establishment of God’s kingdom, so that you may be one of its subjects and receive of its benefits forever.—Matt. 24:14.