Take Courage to Preach God’s Nearby Kingdom
TODAY Jehovah God’s true ministers are under the obligation to obey the prophetic command: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” Fulfillment of Bible prophecy shows that Kingdom to be nearby.—Matt. 24:14.*
To obey that command takes courage. Why? Because of the opposition to this Kingdom preaching by this old world that is under the control of Satan the Devil. (1 John 5:19) Jesus Christ was persecuted because of preaching this kingdom, so were his early followers, and so will all today who preach it be persecuted. This persecution has been particularly severe in totalitarian lands such as Spain and those behind the Iron Curtain. Yes, there is no escaping it, “all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.”—2 Tim. 3:12.
What will help you to take courage to preach God’s kingdom? First of all, strong faith. To get that strong faith you must go to the Bible, the Word of God. Therein you will find many express commands to take courage as well as many fine examples of it. Among its many commands is Psalm 31:24: “Be courageous, and may your heart be strong, all you who are waiting for Jehovah.” As for examples, the most outstanding one of all is that of Jesus Christ. Throughout his ministry he displayed confidence and poise, calmness and strength, these qualities being especially in evidence when an armed mob came to take him on the last night of his earthly ministry. Among the many other Scriptural examples that might be mentioned are Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh, David facing Goliath and the apostle Paul when threatened by mobs.
The possession of God’s holy spirit is also a great aid to taking courage to preach God’s nearby kingdom. What courage it instilled in the apostles! They kept on preaching even though imprisoned and commanded not to preach. Courageously they replied: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” Yes, the spirit that God gives his people by means of his Word and his organization and in answer to prayer is not one of cowardice but of power.—Acts 5:29; 2 Tim. 1:7.
Another aid in taking courage is the association of fellow Christians. Paul, when reaching Rome, took courage upon seeing the brothers who had come out to meet him. In the congregation all are in need of encouragement, including the overseers, and all can have a part in giving encouragement to others.—Acts 28:15; Rom. 1:11, 12; Heb. 10:25.
Among other aids in taking courage are the fear of God and a clear conscience. The fear of God dispels the fear of man, which is a snare and robs one of courage: “Trembling at men is what lays a snare, but he that is trusting in Jehovah will be protected.” “The wicked do flee when there is no pursuer, but the righteous are like a young lion that is confident.”—Prov. 29:25; 28:1.
Nor should the part that love plays in taking courage be overlooked. Love for Jehovah God and for neighbor will make you courageous, for as the apostle John shows: “This is how love has been made perfect with us, that we may have freeness of speech in the day of judgment, because, just as that one is, so are we ourselves in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love throws fear outside, because fear exercises a restraint. Indeed, he that is under fear has not been made perfect in love.”—1 John 4:17, 18.
It does indeed take courage to preach the nearby kingdom of God, for one cannot preach it without arousing opposition, be it in the form of angry looks and ridicule or violence and imprisonment. The record that the Christian witnesses of Jehovah make as annually noted in their Yearbook shows that they do indeed take courage to preach God’s nearby kingdom. Did you know that in Spain, where they have been carrying on underground for many years in the face of bitter opposition, their numbers have increased in ten years from some 120 to more than 2,000?
During the month of October there will be many ways that the ministers of Jehovah can show that they have the courage it takes to preach God’s kingdom. One is by offering to all persons, as they have opportunity, the companion to The Watchtower, the Awake! magazine, on a subscription basis. Another way is to make return visits upon all who have shown a consciousness of their spiritual need and study the Bible with them. And still another way is for all who are not full-time preachers to endeavor to devote at least ten hours to preaching God’s nearby kingdom.
For details see The Watchtower, January 1, 1962.