Are You Thinking of Becoming One of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
IN IMITATION of the early Christian organization, Jehovah’s witnesses go directly to the homes of interested persons and provide free Bible instruction. Last year they conducted an average of 867,009 home Bible studies, in most cases once each week. No doubt you are acquainted with this free home Bible study service. In fact, perhaps you are one of the many persons who are now studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses.
If so, it has undoubtedly brought you much comfort to gain a better understanding of God’s purposes. In fact, you may have come to the conclusion that Jehovah’s witnesses are teaching the truth of God’s Word, and that they are God’s true organization. Perhaps, therefore, you are thinking seriously about becoming one of Jehovah’s witnesses. However, you may be wondering: Just what is involved? How does one go about becoming one of Jehovah’s witnesses? Is it a matter of “joining” something?
EARLY CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATION
To help you to appreciate what is involved, you might consider: How did those persons to whom the early Christians gave home Bible instruction become Christians? Did they simply “join” the Christian organization? Did they ask that their names be put upon a membership roll, and thereby become Christians?
No, the Bible does not indicate that. Rather, as the one being instructed came to appreciate the wonderful truths he was being taught, he associated regularly with Christians in their congregation meetings. (1 Cor. 14:24-26; Heb. 10:24, 25) Moved by gratitude to God for His marvelous provisions, he willingly brought his life into conformity with the moral requirements of God’s Word. (Ps. 15:1-4) He also responded to the invitation to share in the work of instructing others in the Word of God.—Matt. 4:19.
Jesus Christ had commissioned his followers to “make disciples of people of all the nations,” and to serve as “witnesses . . . to the most distant part of the earth.” (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8) To accomplish this tremendous work, provisions were made by the Christian organization to train Christians, and such training would include instruction in performing the ministerial work. The apostle Paul explained: “He [the resurrected Jesus] gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the training of the holy ones.” (Eph. 4:11, 12) Early Christians thus received help from the organization to carry out their Scriptural obligation to preach. They also submitted to water baptism, which symbolized publicly that they had made an unreserved dedication to serve Jehovah God.
By following closely in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who is called in the Bible “the Faithful Witness,” persons who became Christians also became witnesses of Jehovah God.—Rev. 1:5; 1 Pet. 2:21; John 17:6.
CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATION TODAY
It is similar today. An individual does not become a member of the Christian organization of Jehovah’s witnesses simply by asking that his name be put on a membership roll. Rather, it is a matter of active participation. First, a person who appreciates that he is being taught the truth of God’s Word in his home Bible studies spontaneously speaks to others about these good things. Perhaps you have already done this, talking to your neighbors and relatives about the wonderful Bible truths you have been learning.
The next important step is to begin associating with Jehovah’s witnesses in their congregational meetings. There practical instruction and true-to-life demonstrations are provided to assist you to become an active Christian. Perhaps you have already begun regularly to attend these weekly meetings. If so, you can appreciate that here is an organization that is just like the early Christian one. It is made up of modern witnesses of Jehovah.—Isa. 43:10-12.
You can, therefore, see that Jehovah’s witnesses are organized to accomplish a worldwide preaching work. Jesus Christ foretold this would be done in these critical days, saying: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) Will you share with Jehovah’s witnesses in doing this preaching before the end comes? Will you grasp the grand opportunity to participate in giving this final Witness? Do you qualify to call publicly at the homes of people as an associate of Jehovah’s witnesses in preaching this Kingdom good news?
FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED
In order to qualify, it is necessary that you have faith that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and that what it says is invariably true and reliable. (John 17:17; Rom. 3:3, 4) It is also vital that you know what “this good news” is that Christians must preach. You need to understand that the Kingdom is a heavenly government of Jehovah God. You also need to know that God’s kingdom is now established in heaven, that it will soon crush and put an end to all opposing earthly governments, and will usher in righteous conditions earth wide.—Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14.
Do you know and believe this? Are you convinced from your study of the Bible that the kingdom of God will soon rid the earth of wickedness, and under its rule the earth will be cultivated to paradisaic beauty? Do you confidently look forward to the fulfillment of Bible prophecies that promise the end of sickness, suffering and death? (Rev. 21:3, 4) You do? Well, surely, then, you can tell “this good news” to others! You will find real joy in sharing these grand truths with interested persons.
Of course, it is also necessary that you be able to answer basic Bible questions. And you need to give answers that are in harmony with God’s Word, and not according to false religious teachings. For example, if discussing the subject of God, could you point out that God is not part of a “Trinity,” but is the almighty, loving Creator whose name is Jehovah? Would you be able to explain to a questioner that Jesus was not simply “a good man,” but was God’s heavenly Son sent to earth as a human, and that he is now reigning in heaven as king of God’s kingdom? And could you point out that the holy spirit is not a person, but is God’s invisible active force?
These are not difficult Bible questions, are they? Yet they are common ones encountered in the ministry. You probably would have little trouble in providing satisfactory answers to them. But there are other basic questions you should also be able to answer if you are to share with Jehovah’s witnesses in the ministry.
For instance, when discussing what happens to a person when he dies, could you explain that the soul is the person himself, and that it is not an immortal part that separates from the body at death? Could you point out that the dead are unconscious, and are not being tormented in a fiery hell? Also, could you explain that the earth will not be eternally destroyed by fire, but will serve as the everlasting home of obedient mankind? And could you point out that not all righteous persons go to heaven, but that only the 144,000 who are specially selected to rule with Christ go there?
If someone asked you these Bible questions, could you answer them? If so, you have sufficient knowledge to serve as a Christian witness for Jehovah. But you might object: “What if someone asks a more difficult question?” Do not let this prospect discourage you. No human knows all the answers. You can tell the person that you will be happy to do research and bring him back information on the subject. If he is truly sincere he will be glad to have you do this.
Just remember: You have sufficient knowledge to be convinced of the Bible truths that give you the marvelous hope of eternal life in God’s new system of things. If you can convey this information to another person who has an open and honest heart, he, too, can become convinced and enjoy this same wonderful hope. What a thrill to impart this precious hope of everlasting life!
PROPER CONDUCT REQUIRED
However, faith and knowledge alone are not sufficient to qualify you to associate with Jehovah’s witnesses in the ministry. Proper conduct in harmony with Bible principles, too, is required. Therefore, if your course of life is not in keeping with how the Bible says a Christian should live, you do not qualify to share with Jehovah’s witnesses in the ministry.
God’s Word is very explicit as to what is proper and what is improper conduct. For example, it says: “Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.”—1 Cor. 6:9-11.
Jehovah God is not praised, but is dishonored, when those who claim to represent Him are immoral, lawless persons. As the Bible writer explained regarding professed servants of God who practiced immorality: “The name of God is being blasphemed on account of you people among the nations.” (Rom. 2:24) Therefore, the Christian organization of Jehovah’s witnesses does not permit thieves, fornicators, adulterers or any person willfully practicing what the Bible condemns to share in the ministry as an associate of Jehovah’s witnesses.
These high moral requirements perhaps make one feel unworthy to serve as a minister of God because of the bad deeds one may have practiced in the past. But if one has repented and quit doing those things, and asked forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ, such a life seeker can be assured that Jehovah God has forgiven him. (Isa. 55:7) Living in harmony with His laws now is what matters. Remember that even some of the Corinthian Christians were formerly thieves, adulterers, drunkards, and so forth, but they left those practices completely and they were accepted by Jehovah as his Christian witnesses. Jehovah will also accept and bless your efforts to serve Him. So do not hold back.
SEPARATENESS FROM THE WORLD
Yet there are still other requirements to be met in order to qualify as a witness for Jehovah. One of them involves keeping separate from false religious organizations of the world, as the apostle Paul indicated by his questions: “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols?” Then, drawing attention to the prophecy of Isaiah, where the Israelites were warned to avoid contamination with religiously corrupt Babylon, the apostle wrote: “‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing.’”—2 Cor. 6:14-17.
For a person today who desires to represent Jehovah as one of his witnesses, this means that it is necessary to break off membership in all false religious organizations with which one may have been affiliated. When a person who wants to worship God with “spirit and truth” realizes that organizations with which he formerly associated do not stick to the truth of God’s Word, he is going to cease attending their meetings and sharing in their activities. (John 4:23) The Bible identifies the empire of false religion as modern “Babylon the Great,” and urges: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins.” It is vital to heed this command.—Rev. 17:5; 18:4.
Another requirement that must be met in order to qualify to share in the ministry with Jehovah’s witnesses is that one conform to what Jesus said about his followers, namely: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:16) This includes being free from any involvement in the political affairs of the world. As God’s Word makes so clear, such matters are not the business of a true Christian. Jesus Christ did not try to tell political rulers how to run their affairs, nor did he become involved in them. In fact, he rejected attempts of others to make him a worldly ruler. (John 6:15; Luke 4:5-8) And when it comes to the matter of conflicts between worldly nations, one who serves Jehovah certainly must believe and conduct himself in harmony with what the Bible says at Isaiah 2:4.
TRAINING THAT IS PROVIDED
However, you may feel that you could never go from house to house and preach publicly as did the early Christians. (Acts 5:42; 20:20) “How would I approach the people? What would I say?” you may ask. “I am not qualified to do the preaching work. I don’t have the ability to be a minister of God,” you may conclude.
It is not surprising that you may feel this way. Most of God’s servants have at one time or another had similar thoughts, and may have expressed them. Yet, they have learned to trust in God for help, and He has never let them down. By his spirit God has qualified and assisted his servants to perform the ministry. It certainly is not accomplished by one’s own strength or personal aptitude. As the apostle Paul said: “Our being adequately qualified issues from God, who has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers.”—2 Cor. 3:5, 6.
In the first century, you will recall, God provided his people training in the ministerial work. (Eph. 4:11, 12) New ones were assisted by mature members of the Christian organization to perform the house-to-house ministry and other features of Kingdom service. Today God’s Christian organization provides a similar program of instruction. So do not be anxious; you will be given loving encouragement and help. An experienced minister will be happy to accompany you and demonstrate how the ministry can be carried on effectively.
Perhaps you already have been invited to go along in the house-to-house ministry. If you have not yet accepted such an invitation, do so now. You will be so happy that you started in this most rewarding work. If you have not been invited and would like to share in the ministry, make this known to the person who is studying the Bible with you. Not only will he gladly arrange to take you with him in the ministry, but he will help you to get ready a short presentation and practice it with you so that you will be prepared to give a witness at the doors, if you desire to do so.
During the month of April, Jehovah’s witnesses make a special effort to assist new ones to get started in the ministry. So accept the invitation extended to you to share. It is the work that Jesus Christ and the early Christians performed. And Jesus prophesied that the Kingdom preaching would be done on a worldwide scale before the end of this system of things. (Matt. 24:14) What a privilege, therefore, to have a part in this work! Do not hold back. Do not put it off. Begin now to share in the work that will win the approval of your heavenly Father, to your everlasting blessing.