The Treasure of a Christian Heart
“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.
1. To whom and of what is Luke 6:45 an assurance?
A CHRISTIAN heart, the heart of a “good man,” holds a treasure of eternal riches. This treasure of a Christian heart is constantly replenished and increased, overflowing in abundance yet never exhausted or even diminished. Such treasure is assured to you if desiring to be ever a “good man” by Jesus’ words: “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of his wicked treasure; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.”—Luke 6:45.
2. (a) Of what kind of riches is the heart’s treasure? (b) What does accurate Bible knowledge bring to a Christian? (c) What did Jesus demonstrate? (d) What proves the reality of the heart’s treasure?
2 Of what does this heart’s treasure consist? In view of the fact that from its abundance “his mouth speaks,” it follows that the treasure consists of the good riches of mind, heart and spirit—spiritual riches. Accurate knowledge of the Word of Jehovah brings to a Christian a share of those spiritual qualities and abilities possessed by the One whose words are in the sixth chapter of Luke, the Teacher, Christ Jesus. His life and his utterances demonstrated that in his heart were love, truth, understanding, wisdom, joy, peace, faith, hope, confidence, assurance, appreciation of Jehovah God; these are real riches. They are in evidence today. They are derived from the Word of God, from faith in and devotion to him, and are overflowing in Christian hearts. Christlike qualities, Christlike abilities manifest in the lives and conduct of Christians, prove the reality of the heart’s treasure. The abundance of the heart enables the mouth to speak. To this ability so to speak good things, all the spiritual riches comprising the heart’s treasure contribute, and perform their part.
3, 4. What is to be observed in view of verse 40 of Luke chapter 6?
3 In defining and identifying this treasure of a Christian heart there is more to be said, in view of what the Teacher of Christianity had stated in Luke, chapter six, verse forty, in connection with teaching. The following is to be observed:
4 From the abundance of his heart devoted to Jehovah, Christ Jesus brought forth instruction to the praise of God and the blessing of those whom he taught. That he instructed them perfectly and that they received his teaching completely was evidenced in a specific way, in harmony with his words: “A pupil is not above his teacher, but everyone that is perfectly instructed will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) The evidence on the part of those instructed was in their being like the instructor. By this we see what it is that Jesus shows to be the evidence of the success of teaching: teaching thoroughly given and thoroughly received is manifest by the one who is taught being like the one who does the teaching. The fact of successful teaching is established by what the pupil says and does in being like the teacher. From Luke 6:45 we learned that the evidence of the treasure of the Christian heart is manifested through what the mouth speaks from the heart’s abundance.
5. (a) How is the heart’s treasure manifested? (b) Why is it an “art” treasure?
5 Therefore, the treasure of a Christian heart is manifested by the possessor in being like his teacher in demonstrating the active quality and ability of teaching. The treasure includes this active quality and ability of teaching, and so is an art treasure, of the very highest art, the “art of teaching.”—2 Tim. 4:1, 2, NW; Parkhurst.
6. In what two activities does a “good man” engage?
6 A “good man” is always a pupil, always learning. At the same time, like his teacher, he himself is always teaching. Jehovah’s witnesses realize the importance of being teachers, taking notice of Scriptural references to Jesus’ teaching, such as at Matthew 5:2, where it is recorded that Jesus “opened his mouth and began teaching them.” Jesus “took up teaching beside the sea . . . he began to teach them many things with illustrations and to say to them in his teaching.” (Mark 4:1, 2) Mark 9:31 states “he was teaching his disciples and telling them.”
7. What command is here noted?
7 This loving Teacher gave direct commands to Christians that they should teach, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—Matt. 28:19, 20.
8. Give some facts relative to the apostles’ teaching.
8 Among those who were taught by Jesus were his apostles, and they considered their personal participation in teaching others as imperative. They preached, and “every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus.” (Acts 5:42) The apostle Paul made his treasure of teaching stand out from the more general expression of preaching when he said: “I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher.”—2 Tim. 1:11.
9. State your understanding of Paul’s evaluation of the ministry.
9 This heart’s beautiful treasure of the ministry, the ability for preaching and teaching, is to be valued by Christians above all things. Paul expresses it: “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. 1:13, 14) Where is this “beautiful trust”? Is it not in the Christian heart?
10. Differentiate between preaching and teaching.
10 For some time we have realized a difference between preaching and teaching. More and more we appreciate the fact that while Christians are preachers, they also must be teachers, as were Paul and the other apostles and, outstandingly, Christ Jesus himself. Preaching the truth means informing other persons concerning the Word of God, and of Jehovah, and of his wonderful qualities and purpose. Teaching people these things means to put into their own hearts and minds knowledge and understanding, so that these persons can, in turn, speak from the heart’s abundance.
11. (a) When has a person been taught? (b) How does he show that he has been taught successfully? (c) Explain how learners become like teachers.
11 A person has been taught when he himself can say to his teacher, or to another, things that are in his heart and mind which are in accord with Jehovah God’s Word and principles. You can express yourself on these things, can you not? As you understand truths from the Holy Scriptures, you can share them with others. When you do so in such a way that another person can, in turn, understand and believe these Scriptural truths and can speak them back to you and make expression of them to others, then you have become like your teacher and, to an extent, your pupil has become like you.
12. What does a Christian teacher do?
12 Therefore the teacher explains things to the student and has a real interest in the student of God’s Word whom the teacher is assisting. This reminds us of the way Paul taught, as recorded in Acts 17:3, where we learn that he was “explaining and proving by references” concerning Christ Jesus.
THE STUDENT’S PART
13. (a) What must the student recognize? (b) What follows this recognition?
13 You must have air, water and food to sustain life. These are physical needs that we recognize. We have them in common with all other persons. Also, you have spiritual needs, just as have all other men. If you recognize your need for spiritual food, you can take the proper steps to fill the need, even as you can take the proper steps to fill the need for material food, realizing that such is required constantly.
14. (a) State the first essential toward filling the spiritual need. (b) What other things must the student do?
14 To fill the spiritual need a person first must realize and admit that the need is there and then proceed to study God’s Word for spiritual nourishment. In the study the student sets his mind upon the subject under consideration. He concentrates to get the thoughts into the mind, which brings him understanding. Out of this comprehension of the truth from the Bible that he had studied in private, with another teacher, or in a congregation of Christians, there is something else the student must do in order to make the good things that he has acquired through study of value to him. This requirement is a Bible rule, a God-given principle. It is not difficult. It is easy to conform to. Its good results are certain when it has been complied with. It is essential.
15. Express your conviction as to the meaning of Galatians 6:6.
15 What is the additional requirement to be met by the student? This: Now, having gained knowledge and believing the truth which he recognizes from God’s Word, he must make an expression of his conviction. “Moreover, let anyone who is being orally taught the word share in all good things with the one who gives such oral teaching.” (Gal. 6:6) This means he must state in his own language, his own words, in his own way, what he recognizes from the Bible to be true. He must share with his personal teacher the things he had learned, also telling others.
16. When Galatians 6:6 is obeyed, what progress is demonstrated?
16 When the student makes an expression of truth that he has learned from God’s Word, the student is teaching to some extent. When the student makes expression to another person, he is becoming like the teacher. It is not a matter of a Christian’s just preaching and stopping there. No. The teacher helps the student make a responsive expression that the teacher can hear. This is a statement of conviction on the part of the student. To an extent it is teaching by the student, because it is expressing truths that come from Jehovah God, through his appointed teacher, Christ Jesus, through his Word, the Bible, through his channel, the New World society.
17. (a) What is the teacher’s privilege? (b) What is the student’s privilege? (c) To whom does Galatians 6:6 apply? (d) Of what are you convinced as to preserving the treasure of truth, blessing and maturity?
17 So then, you, as a Christian teacher, help the student express himself. Or you, as a Christian student, express yourself. Share with your teacher and with the congregation at the congregation studies. Make opportunities to state your convictions as to what you have learned from the Bible. Jehovah’s witnesses do this, even calling at the homes of strangers in their house-to-house ministry. Are you of those who have been Christian ministers for many years? Or, have you been a dedicated servant of God for a shorter period of time? Perhaps you are just beginning your study of God’s Word and your association with the New World society. All, however, are actually being taught by Jehovah, through Christ Jesus and through the New World society and ministers therein. All, “anyone,” regardless of origin or present service privileges, follow the Scriptural rule: “Share in all good things with the one who gives such oral teaching.” (Gal. 6:6) Share. That is an essential way of stating conviction. This we must do to strengthen and maintain faith in the truths that we have learned. It is by thus sharing of the abundance of our heart through our word spoken from the heart’s treasure that we preserve and increase the treasure of truth, blessing and maturity which Christians must have.
ART INHERENT IN TEACHING
18. May we properly term the teaching of God’s Word an “art”?
18 The apostle Paul begged his fellow Christians to value properly the treasure of teaching, stating: “I earnestly beg you before God and Christ Jesus . . . and [I beg you] by his manifestation and his kingdom [to do what?], Preach the word, be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season, reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all long-suffering and art of teaching.” (2 Tim. 4:1, 2) Of the things herein mentioned, which has the sense of being an “art”? Preaching? Reproving? Reprimanding? Exhorting? Various translations show that teaching is an art; it is an art to “be like his teacher.”—NW; AT; Fenton; Parkhurst; Crampon; etc.
19. What is your conviction as to saving lives?
19 Christian teaching is the highest of arts for many reasons, one of which is that upon it life depends. Whose life? Life of both the teacher and the taught, as is expressed in 1 Timothy 4:16: “Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Stay by these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” In what way does life of both teacher and student depend upon the art of teaching?
20. What must we have in order to gain life?
20 Since Jehovah God is the Source of life, in order for us to gain everlasting life we must have his approval. Does not Revelation 7:15-17 show Jehovah’s approval of the great crowd of persons there referred to? “That is why they are before the throne of God, and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will hunger no more nor thirst any more, neither will the sun beat down upon them nor any scorching heat, because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.” This shows shepherding by the Lamb Christ Jesus. This shows God himself wiping away tears of those who have been guided to his fountain of life. This approval of Jehovah God we need.
21. What is required of us for God’s approval?
21 In order to have God’s approval we must take a stand for him, supporting his worship. The student’s being the same as the teacher includes his taking a firm stand on God’s side: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple to become as his teacher, and the slave as his master. If people have called the householder Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household so? Therefore do not fear them; for there is nothing covered over that will not become uncovered, and secret that will not become known. What I tell you in the darkness, say in the light; and what you hear whispered, preach from the housetops. And do not become fearful of those who kill the body but can not kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Do not two sparrows sell for a coin of small value? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore have no fear: you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:24-31) A fearless stand for Jehovah is here shown to be necessary. Can we take this stand without being devoted to God? No.
22. To take a stand for Jehovah requires what?
22 Out of our gratitude toward Jehovah because of his blessing of faith and knowledge, we must have devotion to God in order to take a firm stand for him. “Therefore, as you have accepted Christ Jesus the Lord, go on walking in union with him, rooted and being built up in him and being stabilized in the faith just as you were taught, overflowing with thanksgiving.” (Col. 2:6, 7) If we really overflow with thanksgiving to God we will be led to devotion to him and thus be spiritually strong to take a stand firmly for him.
23. What part does knowledge play respecting devotion to God?
23 According to the foregoing words of Colossians 2:6, 7, from where did the faith come by which a Christian ought to be stabilized? It came from being taught. Knowledge of the truth is the basis. This means, not just any kind of knowledge concerning any truth or fact, but it has reference to what the apostle Paul spoke of at Romans 10:2, 3: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge; for, because of not knowing the righteousness of God but seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Those to whom Paul made reference here could not be devoted to God in spite of their misguided religious zeal, because they did not have accurate knowledge, and therefore did not know God’s righteousness. In that condition they could not be devoted to God and to his righteousness, nor could they be subject in devotion to God’s righteousness. Paul is saying that accurate knowledge is necessary. What do we need in order to receive accurate knowledge of God’s truth?
24. (a) For knowledge, what is required? (b) How does 2 Peter 3:15-18 convince us of this? (c) So, our conviction finds expression in what statement of Jesus?
24 To have the knowledge that is necessary to lead us to devotion to God with all of its resultant blessings, we must have a teacher. For other persons to have this required knowledge they must be taught. For us to be like our teacher, from whom we have learned, we in turn must teach. There is no other way for persons to be led to the worship of Jehovah God and everlasting life. Second Peter 3:15-18 certainly shows that a man cannot safely rely on his own wisdom for understanding God’s Word. Peter states: “Consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote you, speaking about these things as he does also in all his other letters. In them, however, are some things hard to understand, the meaning of which the untaught and unsteady are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You, therefore, beloved ones, having this advance knowledge, be on your guard that you may not be led away with them by the error of the law-defying people and fall from your own steadfastness. No, but go on growing in the undeserved kindness and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” How true are the words of Christ Jesus: “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.
25. (a) In respect to spiritual needs, what does every person require? (b) How valuable is inspired Scripture?
25 No man on earth can receive this knowledge all by himself. Every individual requires God’s Word, his spirit and also his organization of Christian teachers. In this way, by staying by these things “both yourself and those who listen to you” are saved. (1 Tim. 4:16) This means not merely the hearing of the Word of God, but the proper response to it. This includes a declaration of our conviction, helping others to appreciate that Word as much as we do. With this in mind, do you not feel a warmth of appreciation toward those men and women who lovingly go from house to house, calling at the homes of all people, doubtless calling at your home, unselfishly participating in the teaching work that began with Christ Jesus our Lord? Know without a doubt that, “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Tim. 3:16, 17.
26. (a) One who hears Jesus’ words and does them is like whom? (b) What is your evaluation of the teaching work of Jehovah’s witnesses?
26 “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, . . . for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks. . . . 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,” said Jesus. (Luke 6:45-48) Allow Jehovah’s witnesses to help you to apply yourself to the Word of God, and your heart will be enriched beyond measure.