Love and Boldness Lead to Life
1. How does a disciple of Jesus observe the commandments of that one?
IF YOU believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that “there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved,” then you must certainly believe the words of Jesus and his apostles. Jesus said: “If you love me, you will observe my commandments.” (John 14:15) The logical conclusion, then, is as stated by Jesus: “He that has my commandments and observes them, that one is he who loves me. In turn he that loves me will be loved by my Father.” (John 14:21) So, when a disciple keeps Jesus’ commandments he shows love. But what do these commandments of Jesus involve? For one thing, Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) For Jesus’ followers to convince people to become disciples of Jesus it would take some talking, preaching, persuasion.
2. (a) Is our work only to preach and make disciples, and what searching questions on the matter of evangelism did Time magazine report one religious person as asking? (b) What additional queries might be made of one claiming to be a Christian?
2 It was not only a matter of making disciples but there was Jesus’ instruction to teach the new disciples and show them how to observe all the things Jesus commanded. To travel, preach and teach, that is, put the truth in the other person’s mind, is a lot of work for any Christian. Have you tried it? Does the “church” you belong to urge you to do all that? Or is your religion more like the one described in Time magazine of October 25, 1963, in its religious section on page 86? It makes this statement: “President [of the Disciples of Christ Church] Dr. Robert W. Burns of Atlanta warned that the flames of a faith built on evangelism seemed to be dying into embers. ‘Our evangelism has lagged because many of us lack a deep concern for the salvation of our neighbor’s soul,’ he said. ‘How long since you were the means through which God added a soul to the church? How long since you even tried?’” These are good questions for everyone claiming to be a Christian to ponder. Every person belonging to any religious organization of Christendom should examine himself. Why? Well, if you claim to be a Christian, do you “go,” “disciple,” “baptize” and “teach”? What proof do you have that you are a Christian if you do not preach and teach pure Christianity? When did you last try to persuade anyone to take up Christian activity, like preaching the good news of God’s kingdom to others? Or, when did you even direct someone’s attention to God’s written Word the Bible so that he could take a firm stand for right principles? But you say: ‘The way I live my moral life proves I am a Christian. I do not have to talk it.’
3. (a) How all-inclusive are the words “observe all the things I have commanded you”? (b) Where did Jesus show wrong acts got their start?
3 Interestingly, “all the things I have commanded you” takes in the high moral standard of God too. Do you join in the spirit of this world, which revolts against the teachings of Christ on sex morality? Do you in your church close your eyes to adultery, fornication and sodomy by your members? Paul the Christian did not! He spoke out, saying: “You, the one preaching ‘Do not steal,’ do you steal? You, the one saying ‘Do not commit adultery,’ do you commit adultery?” After pointing out the “disgraceful sexual appetites” of both the males and females of his day, he said: “These know full well the righteous decree of God, that those practicing such things are deserving of death.” (Rom. 2:21, 22; 1:24-32) Practicing wrong morals surely will not get you life! Paul believed what Jesus said on morals and bad habits. Remember Jesus’ words, “From inside, out of the heart of men, injurious reasonings issue forth: fornications, thieveries, murders, adulteries, covetings, acts of wickedness, deceit, loose conduct, an envious eye, blasphemy, haughtiness, unreasonableness. All these wicked things issue forth from within and defile a man.”—Mark 7:21-23.
4, 5. (a) What was Jesus against, and so how should Christians question themselves? (b) Contrast Jesus’ words at John 12:48-50 with the comment reported in Time magazine of October 25, 1963.
4 It was with straightforward words that Jesus answered the scribes and Pharisees when they complained about Jesus’ disciples eating with unwashed hands. He reached into God’s written Word to reply authoritatively, saying: “Isaiah aptly prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me.’” It is what is in a man’s heart that makes him what he is, for out of his heart a man speaks. If he is like the Pharisees, he has lost sight of the real issue and is not following God’s or Jesus’ commandments. (Mark 7:6) Jesus was preaching the truth and was against any sort of hypocritical practice. Which side are you on when it comes to morals in a so-called Christian community? Do you express yourself or just let people look at you and wonder what you do stand for? Do you have the love of neighbor and the boldness to stand up and talk for what Jesus said on moral issues? Do you agree that “he that disregards me [Jesus] and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him”? Jesus said: “The word that I have spoken is what will judge him in the last day; because I have not spoken out of my own impulse, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak. Also, I know that his commandment means everlasting life. Therefore the things I speak, just as the Father has told me them, so I speak them.” (John 12:48-50) Think! Just when did you read and understand the full meaning of the words Jesus spoke?
5 It is easy to see that a Christian cannot just arrive at his own conclusions and decide how he should live. He must take into account what is written in God’s Word. If he loves Jesus he must obey the commandments of Jesus Christ too. How strange it sounds to a Christian’s ears to hear a member of a modern-day “church” say: “Ever since the beginning, we’ve been scared to death that we’d arrive at a theology everyone would have to subscribe to.” So said industrialist J. Irwin Miller, a lay disciple and president of the National Council of Churches. “The heart of the movement is this great concern to preserve the freedom to arrive at one’s own conclusions.” (Time magazine, Oct. 25, 1963, page 86) Does he mean to say the people of his religion do not on every occasion want to agree with the conclusions of Jesus and God?
6. Why do we have many so-called Christian church organizations in our day?
6 The twelve apostles of Christ Jesus did not want or have twelve different conclusions when they expressed the teachings of Christ. There was only one conclusion at which to arrive. The truth! Why is it that today there are more than a thousand so-called Christian church organizations throughout the world? It is because they want to teach their own conclusions, present their own ideas, and not God’s or those of Jesus. Is there not just one faith, one baptism, one Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Well, then, why not get back to simple Christianity and have real love for one another and get understanding of God? Because there are too many persons wanting their ‘own conclusion,’ not truth. Even within the many different religious denominations themselves the individuals do not love their neighbors as they do themselves. Did not Jesus say: “Just as I have loved you . . . you also love one another”? Yes! All true Christians must show love for Jehovah God and for God’s Son Christ Jesus. To try to help people, showing love by explaining the Bible so all persons will learn the truth in this day and age, takes boldness.
PAUL’S EXAMPLE OF BOLDNESS
7. (a) What kind of man was Paul? (b) What attitude did the Jews take toward Paul, and so how did he answer them?
7 The apostle Paul had that kind of boldness and showed love by the way he served his brothers. First of all, he was not afraid to preach. The Bible records that Paul was “walking in and out at Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord; and he was talking and disputing with the Greek-speaking Jews. But these made attempts to do away with him.” (Acts 9:28, 29) Do you who claim to be Christians go in and out and about your city, discussing your faith with others? Jesus did. The apostles did. Early Christians did. When Paul was in Antioch, he did. He wanted to aid the “lost sheep” of the children of Israel to understand that the Word of God pointed to the promised Messiah, namely, Christ Jesus. On sabbath days Paul would go into the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia, and the people of the city would gather together to hear the words of Jehovah. However, when the Jews caught sight of the crowds they were filled with jealousy and began blaspheming and contradicting the things that were spoken by Paul: “And so, talking with boldness, Paul and Barnabas said: ‘It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken first to you. Since you are thrusting it away from you and do not judge yourselves worthy of everlasting life, look! we turn to the nations. In fact, Jehovah has laid commandment upon us in these words, “I have appointed you as a light of nations, for you to be a salvation to the extremity of the earth.”’ When those of the nations heard this, they began to rejoice and to glorify the word of Jehovah, and all those who were rightly disposed for everlasting life became believers. Furthermore, the word of Jehovah went on being carried throughout the whole country.” (Acts 13:44-49) That message that Paul spoke back there reached many of your ancestors by means of the Bible. But has it reached you? Or are you like many millions today, just born into your religion? Have you made a personal decision to be a footstep follower of Christ Jesus? If you have, can you endure what Paul did and keep going in the Christian way?
8. How did Paul show his boldness in Iconium, giving rise to what timely questions calling for our personal answer?
8 Just because Paul was preaching the word of God the people of the city raised up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and threw them outside their boundaries. So what did these two men do? “These shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium.” (Acts 13:51) Paul showed love for Jehovah God and his Son, Christ Jesus, by boldly speaking to the Jews in the synagogue in Iconium. In this way Paul proved he was a Christian. He loved Jesus. He observed Jesus’ commandments. Paul made “disciples of people of all nations” and taught them to observe the things Jesus commanded all his followers to do. What is your method of preaching? Do you teach too? Do you uphold the real Christian standard for proper morals, not the watered-down kind? The teachings of Christ and his way of doing things are still right. Are yours?
9. What can one who takes a firm, uncompromising stand as a Christian expect?
9 Do not think that all the people in Christendom are Christians. They could not be, because they do not show the love of Christ and keep his commandments. Be honest with yourself about the question. Do the people belonging to Christendom’s churches in all their various religious denominations really act like Christians? You can say, ‘They have a religion,’ but surely you cannot say they are walking in the footsteps of Christ Jesus. If the people were doing so, this system of things would be different. Christendom’s religious leaders do not want to follow Christ any more than the Jewish religious leaders of Paul’s day did. Take a firm stand for righteousness, no compromise, and speak up in behalf of your faith in Christ Jesus and the kingdom of God and you can expect the same kind of treatment as Paul got at Iconium. Here “a violent attempt took place . . . to treat them insolently and pelt them with stones.” When Paul and Barnabas were informed of what the people and rulers were going to do, they fled the city.—Acts 14:5-7.
10. How did Paul show his concern for those really wanting to be disciples of Christ?
10 On another occasion Paul was speaking in a synagogue in Ephesus and “he spoke with boldness for three months, giving talks and using persuasion concerning the kingdom of God.” When some began “speaking injuriously about The Way before the multitude, he withdrew from them and separated the disciples from them, daily giving talks in the school auditorium of Tyrannus.” (Acts 19:8, 9) Paul truly was a Christian missionary. He went to places and did preaching. He showed love for his brothers and was bold in teaching all sorts of people the way to everlasting life. You will find that to be a real Christian you will have to do the same thing.
BOLDNESS IN OUR DAY
11. Who today are making an effort to lay hold on everlasting life, and how are they doing so?
11 If anyone is going to lay hold on everlasting life, he must do the same thing that Jesus Christ, Peter, John, Paul and all the rest of the apostles and disciples of Christ did. They all boldly declared the good news of God’s kingdom. The modern-day witnesses of Jehovah are trying hard to do the work Jesus said must be done “for a witness to all the nations.” (Matt. 24:14) Despite the opposition that they meet up with, as related in the 1964 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they boldly move ahead. They must declare the “everlasting good news” in all the inhabited earth again and again. That is God’s will. (See chart of countries, pages 24-27.)
12. To what extent did Jehovah’s witnesses speak with boldness during 1963, and how did this method differ from that of Christendom’s clergy?
12 Looking back, we see that the joy of Jehovah’s witnesses was great in the year 1963, because 1,040,836 different publishers were boldly preaching the message of God’s kingdom in 194 lands. These Christians were associated with 22,761 congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. These men and women love to teach God’s Word, and proved it by spending 151,251,242 hours going from house to house, conducting Bible studies and speaking from the public platform. They actually made 51,994,915 return visits on people who had shown interest in Christ’s message and wanted to know more about God’s promises. These millions of people called on did not come to Jehovah’s witnesses’ Kingdom Halls, but the million Kingdom publishers went to the peoples’ homes. Quite a different method than Christendom uses, but the original one introduced by Jesus and his apostles.
13, 14. To what extent did Jehovah’s witnesses prove that the study of the Bible is not waning as far as they are concerned, and who besides the presiding “minister” shared in that work?
13 Some people ask: ‘Is Bible study waning?’ Not with Jehovah’s witnesses. The fact is that every week of the year Jehovah’s witnesses conducted 702,470 home Bible studies. Think of the time spent too in going to and from these Bible studies on the part of these Christians. Would you call that a demonstration of love? How many times has your clergyman visited you in your home in 1963?
14 This conducting of home Bible studies was not being carried on by just the presiding “minister” of Jehovah’s witnesses’ congregations, but this work was being done by those who make up the congregation. All witnesses of Jehovah are ordained Christian ministers. In the apostles’ days any dedicated, baptized man or woman was commanded to ‘go and disciple the people of all nations.’ There is no difference in Christian work today. Neither God’s Bible nor the commandments in it have changed. But people’s conclusions as to what Christian religion should be have changed. Why not make your religion like what Jesus taught his to be, Christian?
15. What other ministerial activity did Jehovah’s witnesses engage in during the past year?
15 In addition to these 702,470 home Bible studies held in the private homes of people Jehovah’s Christian witnesses conducted 843,205 public meetings, usually on Sundays, in their Kingdom Halls. There are other weekly meetings too, such as the theocratic ministry school, a Bible school where Jehovah’s witnesses receive training to express themselves better. They have “service meetings” each week, where they learn how to improve their house-to-house ministry. Then there is the weekly study of the Watchtower magazine and the congregation book study. All these meetings are Bible study meetings. Jehovah’s witnesses keep on preparing themselves so as to be better ministers.
16. How do witnesses of Jehovah feel about reaching their own conclusions, and why?
16 The outstanding thing about Jehovah’s witnesses is that they believe alike and preach the same things Jesus preached. They do not encourage conclusions of their own originality. God’s Word is their teacher. Who is man that he can determine by himself the way of everlasting life? He needs a guide. That guide is the written Word of God. Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) And where is the truth Jesus taught? In the Holy Bible! Study it with others.
17. Why is it evident that there are yet many people who want to be followers of Christ?
17 There are many people of all nations yet to be discipled, and after learning the commandments of Christ Jesus they will dedicate their lives to the service of Jehovah and be baptized by total immersion in water. During the year 1963 Jehovah’s witnesses baptized 62,798 individuals from all nations, people and tongues. They not only baptized these individuals but they taught them to observe all the things Jesus commanded. These, too, became Christian ministers.
18. Since printed Bible sermons are of great value in appreciating God’s promises, what distribution of them did Jehovah’s witnesses carry on in 1963?
18 To help people, in their preaching work Jehovah’s witnesses placed with the people many Bible-study aids in 162 different languages. In the year 1963 they distributed 4,221,772 Bibles and bound books and 14,805,483 booklets. One of the best ways to keep your faith strong is to read regularly the Scriptures and good publications on the Holy Bible. All of Jehovah’s witnesses around the world read the Watchtower and Awake! magazines and so do millions of other persons. Jehovah’s witnesses obtained 1,433,542 new subscriptions for the Watchtower magazine, printed in sixty-six languages, and the Awake! magazine, printed in twenty-five languages. They also placed individual copies of these two journals to the total number of 116,845,928. What an aid these printed Bible sermons are to Jehovah’s witnesses! They cannot spend all their time in the homes of the people talking, but they can leave literature with them so that the people can read until the publishers of the good news can make a return visit.
19. How did the Watch Tower Society’s printing plants meet the demand for printed Bible sermons?
19 The Society has its own printing plants where Bibles, books, booklets, tracts and magazines are printed. To meet the demand for Bible literature ministers of Jehovah’s witnesses, all volunteer workers, produced 6,722,239 Bibles and bound books, 26,057,581 booklets, 103,763,470 copies of the Watchtower magazine and 95,100,307 copies of the Awake! magazine. They also printed 487,116,545 handbills, tracts and letters, as well as other office supplies.
20. While Jehovah’s witnesses today use the same method of preaching that Jesus and the apostles used, what advantage do they have today, and why is this an advantage?
20 The method Jehovah’s witnesses use to reach the people is exactly like the method employed by Christ Jesus and his disciples. They went preaching from house to house and publicly. Jehovah’s witnesses today do the same. Today, though, the printed page helps Christian Witnesses of Jehovah to speed up their work. It is not just left to the memory of the person who has heard what is said about everlasting life, but leaving Bible literature helps him to learn the truth in his private study of God’s Word.
21. Outline the ministerial work done by Jehovah’s witnesses as congregation publishers, special pioneers and regular pioneers.
21 In addition to attending meetings at Kingdom Halls regularly five times a week, and taking part in the discussions there, did you know that Jehovah’s witnesses spend about ten hours each month going from house to house preaching and teaching the good news of God’s kingdom? Some spend more time, others less. Many special representatives devote much more time to this ministry work each month. There are 7,475 special pioneers who go into territory where there are often no congregations and spend at least 150 hours a month preaching from house to house, conducting Bible studies and organizing new congregations. Then there is another group of 31,098 pioneers who devote approximately 100 hours each month to the field service. They work generally in large cities, but may choose any field territory that is not assigned to someone else, and in such they carry on their ministerial service under the supervision of the Society.
22. Why does the Society use circuit and district servants?
22 Society representatives called circuit and district servants visit all pioneers and congregations to give organizational assistance and Scriptural counsel. These spend one week with each congregation, helping with the local problems. There are 1,983 such circuit and district servants assigned to overseers’ duties.
23. (a) What part do those serving in branch offices of the Society have in spreading the Word of God boldly? (b) How does the “organization chart” show much has been accomplished since 1938?
23 The ninety branch offices of the Watch Tower Society around the world supervise the work of the circuit and district servants. There are 1,461 dedicated ministers of God that live in what the Society calls Bethel homes attached to branch offices. The branch office staff is keenly interested in the activity of all pioneers and congregations, and these all receive uniform instructions every month from the branch office under which they serve. This develops unity, oneness of thought and action, because all the instructions sent out are based on the Word of God. All the activity performed by Jehovah’s witnesses conforms to the principles of truth and righteousness and results in a showing of love by these witnesses toward their neighbors. Jehovah’s witnesses everywhere really feel the urgency of preaching the good news of God’s kingdom. Through this kind of organization much is accomplished worldwide.
ORGANIZATION CHART SHOWING INCREASE AT FIVE-YEAR INTERVALS
Average Peak Bible Congre- Coun-
Year Pubs. Pubs. Hours Studies gations tries
1938 47,143 59,047 10,572,086 3,633 52
1943 109,794 126,329 28,726,524 66,493 6,310 54
1948 230,532 260,756 49,832,205 130,281 11,714 96
1953 468,106 519,982 72,344,728 281,219 14,163 143
1958 717,088 798,326 110,390,944 508,320 17,878 175
1963 956,648 1,040,836 151,251,242 702,470 22,761 194
24. (a) What great gathering took place on April 8, 1963, and how many assembled at that time? (b) What hope lies before the remnant of anointed ones? the great crowd of others?
24 There is one day in the year that Jehovah’s witnesses commemorate, that is, the day of Christ’s death. That day, Nisan 14 according to the Jewish calendar, Jesus commanded to be remembered because of its significance. Last year Nisan 14 began on the evening of April 8, 1963, and there were 1,693,752 witnesses of Jehovah and persons of goodwill assembled in Kingdom Halls around the world to celebrate this occasion with gladness because they rejoiced that Christ Jesus died according to the will of God in their behalf. Of this number, 12,292 professed to be of the remnant of the body of Christ, anointed by holy spirit to be joint heirs with Christ Jesus in heavenly glory, and they anticipate being part of the bride of Christ. The hope of all the rest assembled that night is everlasting life in a new system of things here upon the earth along with all those dead ones who loved righteousness and showed it by their works too. These will be resurrected in God’s due time during the one-thousand-year reign of Christ. It was Jesus who said: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28, 29) What a day or period of time that will be! What love one can show now to tell such truths to mankind!
25. Besides praying for God’s kingdom, how else does one show forth his faith in such kingdom?
25 The strong sense of responsibility Jehovah’s witnesses have causes them to continue to preach this good news about the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus and the ransom sacrifice that he provided. They believe in God’s kingdom as mankind’s only hope. They not only pray for this kingdom to come but work for it now. Have you ever earnestly prayed the Lord’s prayer, “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth”? (Matt. 6:9, 10) If you have, work for it too by being a real Christian minister.
26. To whom must love be shown in order to speak boldly the word of truth?
26 To do this great work of declaring the “everlasting good news” that Jehovah’s witnesses feel they must perform requires real love on their part for their fellowman of every nation, tribe, tongue and people. But to do this they must first of all have love for their Father in heaven. Jehovah’s witnesses love Christ Jesus too and they know they are his disciples. They are truly Jehovah’s Christian witnesses because they love not only Jehovah, but his Son, Christ Jesus, and they are doing the will of God and following the commandments of Christ. Doing this in a world with the spirit it has against truth certainly takes love and boldness, but it certainly will lead to life and eternal happiness.
27. (a) Despite the good work of the witnesses of Jehovah, how do many religious organizations view them in our day? (b) What closing encouragement do Jehovah’s witnesses give to all who want life?
27 Even with all the teachings of the Bible that Jehovah’s witnesses carry on, some religious organizations of the world today claim that the Witnesses are not Christians, but that is because the religious organizations are jealous, even as were the Jewish priests. Jehovah’s witnesses are walking in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, and the false religionists know it! Jesus said: “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.” (John 13:34, 35) This love Jehovah’s witnesses do have and they proved it again in their Around-the-World Assembly in the summer of 1963. They must maintain that love even while in this present evil system of things in order to receive the blessing of Jehovah God and everlasting life. If you have the love and the boldness of the early Christians, then get out of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, and serve Jehovah God and obey the commandments of Christ Jesus with Jehovah’s witnesses and have their joy in preaching the “everlasting good news.”
[Chart on page 24-27]
1963 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLD WIDE
(See bound volume)
[Picture on page 29]
“Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Not Christians,” says sign on St. Andrew’s Catholic church in Milan, Italy, July, 1963. But the facts do not agree.