Lovers of God’s Name
1. To what extent have Jehovah’s witnesses shared the good news from God’s Word with others during the past year?
JEHOVAH appreciates the great love Christians show for his name. “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work,” and true Christians are happy to be called Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, declaring his name in 200 lands, even to the ends of the earth. The service year of 1968 proves they are not sluggish but truly industrious, because 1,221,504 publishers spent 208,666,762 hours preaching the good news of God’s established kingdom. How many members of Christendom’s denominations go from house to house as do Jehovah’s witnesses, to aid people in their private study of the Bible? Very, very few! But Jehovah’s Christian witnesses conducted 977,503 home Bible studies every week for twelve months during 1968. What a joy this has been for these ministers! They are imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises, showing their faith by their works. Look at Abraham, look at Isaac and Jacob. Consider Moses, David, Gideon. These men worked industriously at God’s work, and God has remembered them and we find a good report about them in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.
2. (a) Why should twentieth-century Christians show even greater faith than did the faithful men of ancient times? (b) How can true Christians follow the advice of Luke 21:28?
2 If those ancient men had such faith and “did not get the fulfillment of the promises,” Christians today should show a greater faith. (Heb. 11:13) Why? Because we are at the threshold of what those faithful men of ancient time were looking for. We can recognize the physical facts marking the end of this system of things. Read Luke the twenty-first chapter. Look! Check history since 1914! There were two world wars, distress of nations, the pestilences, famines and earthquakes. All these things Jesus foretold would happen and a lot more; and when these things are seen by Christians, Jesus said, “raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.” (Luke 21:28) A person with head lifted up, standing erect, is a person looking ahead. He is not sluggish. He appreciates it is time to be on the move and that there is still something more to do. Christians today are not downhearted because of the terrible things occurring in the earth. This all proves God’s Word is true! Flee—Be on the move! There is work to do, namely, the preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom everywhere, discipling as many people as Jehovah’s witnesses can from all nations and baptizing them. These new disciples will be quite anxious to make a public declaration to Jehovah’s name, too, and use their lips to praise his name. They, along with all true Christians, will do just as Paul says: “Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name. Moreover, do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”—Heb. 13:15, 16.
3, 4. Why are Jehovah’s witnesses not silent about their beliefs, and what invitation is extended to others?
3 Christians have to be talkers and teachers. They have the truth. They may not be silent! They may “not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others,” the things that they have learned from God’s Word. Jehovah’s witnesses have something wonderful to share. They have the life-giving good news of God’s kingdom to share, and when they do this “God is well pleased.” Are you doing that? If you are a Christian, you should be sharing with others the things you know. If you are not a Christian, would you like to be one? If yes, then get better acquainted with the Word of God and Jehovah’s witnesses. Meet with them at their Kingdom Hall. Jehovah’s Christian witnesses will certainly be happy to help you.
4 Millions of people are studying with Jehovah’s witnesses. Why not you? James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, made a very fine observation about people. He said: “Know this, my beloved brothers. Every man must be swift about hearing, slow about speaking, slow about wrath; for man’s wrath does not work out God’s righteousness.”—Jas. 1:19, 20.
5. Contrast the view of many in the world today with the counsel of the disciple James.
5 The world is full of wrath today, arguments no end, and faultfinding. But there are not many persons listening to the Word of God. In fact, most people who do listen to the Word of God and who take it seriously and who try to live by its teachings are considered a little bit “off” in the head. The general feeling of most people is, ‘Get everything out of life you can. Do not get serious. Just keep eating, drinking, being merry, for tomorrow you may die.’ James, a man of God, says there is more to life than that. He writes: “Become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, and off he goes and immediately forgets what sort of man he is. But he who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists in it, this man, because he has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, will be happy in his doing it.”—Jas. 1:22-25.
PEERING INTO THE MIRROR OF GOD’S WORD
6. Why is a forgetful hearer of God’s Word like a person looking into a mirror?
6 How many times have you looked into a mirror? Quite often during the day? A check is made to see that the hair is combed just right, teeth are sparkling, clothes are attractive and well arranged. But after this a person turns away from the mirror and forgets what he looks like. That is the way it is with most people who are just hearers of the Word of God and not doers. James is trying to impress upon the minds of those reading his letter that to be a Christian the man must peer into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and persist in it. If he does that, then what will he see?
7. What question might we ask of ourselves after looking into the mirror of God’s Word?
7 Have you ever peered into the Word of God so as to see yourself? Have you seen how bad you look when your mirror is the Holy Scriptures? Are there some changes you think you should make? If the apostle Paul looked at you in the Bible mirror, would he say: “Put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires; but . . . be made new in the force actuating your mind, and . . . put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty”? (Eph. 4:22-24) Looking into the mirror of the Word of God, you will see what kind of personality you have, whether it conforms to God’s righteous ways or not. Do you see a thief, an adulterer, a fornicator, a glutton, a drunkard? Just what do you see?
8. Who did the apostle Paul say would not inherit God’s Kingdom, and so what is necessary if one has been a practicer of such things?
8 The apostle Paul saw many kinds of people in the various congregations. He knew what some of them were before the truth changed them, and that is why he said: “What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicator, 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.” The people here described saw what they were like sometime earlier in their lives. When they looked into God’s mirror, they knew a change had to take place. What they saw with their honest hearts they did not like. They did something about it, and, because they did, Paul said: “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) They certainly had had a filthy personality. They turned to the Word of God and saw themselves for what they really were. They accepted Christ Jesus as their Redeemer and were washed clean and sanctified by the Word of God. They studied God’s Word and really peered into it. They saw themselves as they never did before. A change was necessary. As a result they “put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.”—Eph. 4:24.
9, 10. Besides peering into the Word of God, what else should a person desiring God’s approval do?
9 Have you really peered into the Word of God so as to see your real self, not the outside veneer? Remember, your life is still at stake and you can change it from a bad course to a good one. As you peer into the Word of God you will see that there is another way to live, the right way, the way that is in harmony with God’s laws and commandments and statutes. Why not let that new force in God’s Word actuate your mind? That new force comes from study, from really peering into the Word of God. Then, while looking, why not let God’s Word be the force actuating your mind? If you do, you will “put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” This new personality will become more interesting as the old personality disappears, the one that used to conform itself to your former course of conduct. God knows how he wants you to live, and if you persist in peering into his perfect law you can change; something will happen.
10 Do you want to make that change? If you want it to happen, if you want to change, then persist in the study of God’s Word, the real mirror that will reflect your true image. Eventually you will see a new personality created and it will be according to the will of God in true righteousness. It will take time, but if you will be, “not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, [you] will be happy” in your doing it.
11. What blessing did Paul know would be his if he put on a new personality?
11 The apostle Paul was a real fighter. He was willing to put on a new personality and did. In God’s Word he saw something wonderful that he could possess and he worked hard to get it. He believed what Jesus said: “I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be.” (John 14:2, 3) Jesus through John informed his faithful followers that there would be a heavenly place for 144,000 called ones and they would be joined with him as his bride, and that they would rule as kings and priests with him for a thousand years.
12. What things did Paul have to forget in order to get the prize for which he was working?
12 Paul ran for this high calling, but to do so he had to put on a new personality. It had to be according to God’s will, and so he had to keep on peering into God’s Word. He was not just a hearer but a doer of the word of God. He said: “Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on it; but there is one thing about it: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13, 14) Paul was seeking everlasting life, a crown of glory; and he knew that just as long as he had his life at stake, he had to control that life of his so as to be in full harmony with the will of God. While he did not then have this everlasting life with Christ Jesus, there was one thing he was going to do: Forget the things that were behind, that old personality and the way he lived. He had had a bad personality. He said of himself that of all the sinners he was the worst. He persecuted Christians. He was standing nearby when Stephen the Christian was stoned to death, and he was proud of it at that time. Paul had a lot to live down, a lot of forgetting of the things behind to do. But when he peered into the perfect Word of God, he saw himself as he really was. He repented. He changed his course of action. He became a Christian, worthy of our study. If he could make the change in his personality and become a Christian, why cannot we?
13. Toward what blessing are the “other sheep” pressing forward, and so what must they not forget?
13 According to the Scriptures there are only 144,000 who are invited to this “upward call,” to be associated with Christ Jesus in heavenly glory. But the Bible shows that there is a “great crowd” of people today who will survive the battle of Armageddon into the new order of things wherein mankind will receive life everlasting in perfection, and under Christ Jesus’ direction man will be able to bring this earth to a paradise condition. So this “great crowd” is not stretching forward to the “upward call” but is stretching forward to a prize offered to them, eternal life here upon the earth. Are you reaching out for a prize, heavenly or earthly? If you are, then you should show a fondness for God’s Word and let this new force actuate your mind. You should feel like the psalmist: “For your statutes I shall show a fondness. I shall not forget your word.” True Christians today are just that way. They love God’s Word, peer into it and see the day of salvation that Jehovah has in store for those who love him. They want to tell it to all mankind, and they do. This is how they did it in 1968.
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES HAD A BUSY YEAR
14, 15. What shows that Jehovah’s witnesses did not forget the doing of good during 1968?
14 Jehovah’s witnesses did not “forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Heb. 13:16) During the 1968 service year they were very busy in 200 lands, preaching the good news of God’s kingdom, and comforting millions of people in this chaotic world. Happily 1,221,504 witnesses of Jehovah spent 208,666,762 hours preaching God’s Word and teaching people who were hungry for truth. Not only have Jehovah’s witnesses gone from house to house preaching, as Jesus commanded, but they have spent millions of hours in private homes of people studying their Bibles with them. The false religious organizations of Christendom have been discouraging the study of the Bible. The clergy are responsible for weakening the faith of people in the teachings of the Bible. On the other hand Jehovah’s witnesses are doing everything within their power, and with Jehovah’s blessing, to rekindle the faith of men in God and his Kingdom arrangement for them under the King, Christ Jesus.
15 In the house-to-house ministry during 1968 Jehovah’s witnesses have found tens of thousands of persons interested in the Bible. Therefore it was necessary for them to make 89,903,578 return visits on such interested persons. Are the clergy of Christendom making such calls? During the past year Jehovah’s witnesses averaged 977,503 home Bible studies. These were conducted weekly with interested persons in 165 languages, and the Watch Tower Society also prints Bible-study helps in that many different tongues.
16. (a) What new peak of Kingdom proclaimers was reached in 1968? (b) Give some statistics on literature placements.
16 So great has been the interest in earning and doing God’s will that many of these new students have joined with Jehovah’s witnesses in their ministerial activity. They want to proclaim the “good news” too. During the past year there were, on the average, 1,155,826 different individuals who regularly each month spent some time in the preaching and teaching of God’s Word to others. But, in view of the fact that others started preaching God’s Word with them, now we find 1,221,504 individuals who either are Jehovah’s witnesses or are their associates and who have an active part in declaring the good news of God’s kingdom world wide. By the time the 1968 service year came to a close these hardworking ministers had placed 8,702,594 Bibles and bound books explaining the Bible in the hands of the reading public the world around, and 12,971,585 booklets were also distributed. Added to that, 157,511,892 copies of The Watchtower in 72 languages and of the Awake! in 26 languages were distributed world wide. That certainly means much helpful reading material was placed in the homes of millions of people. People everywhere want to know what the Bible teaches. That is the reason for the tremendous distribution of Bible-study helps by Jehovah’s witnesses. It is evident, too, that many persons desired to have a regular flow of Bible truth coming into their homes weekly. That is why 1,974,923 new subscriptions for the Watchtower and Awake! magazines were obtained. This is an increase of more than 160,000 new subscriptions over the previous year’s total. Many people, indeed, want to know what the Bible’s message is. Do you?
17. How many persons were baptized in 1968, and how do Paul’s word’s at 1 Corinthians 9:16 apply to these also?
17 It is evident from the report that tens of thousands have found the Word of God to be true and accurate, and with all diligence they want to tell others about God’s truth. What a joy it has been to see 82,842 persons with whom Bible studies have been conducted in 1968 go on to dedicate their lives to Jehovah and be baptized in water in public symbol of their dedication to the doing of God’s will henceforth! These 82,842 newly baptized individuals are not joining a religious organization just to be members, as many of them were when they went to “church” in Christendom. Their days of going to “church” once a week to be a hearer and not a doer of God’s work are gone forever. These newly baptized persons have heard the call, “Get out of her, my people,” and they have gotten out of false religion, 82,842 of them, and have now become ministers of God, and they feel like the apostle Paul, who said: “Really, woe is me if I did not declare the good news!” (1 Cor. 9:16) These newly ordained ministers have associated with the more than one million others of Jehovah’s witnesses around the world, and together they find great joy in preaching to others and teaching them to know the Bible.
18. Give evidence to show there was worldwide interest in the celebration of the Lord’s evening meal.
18 Interesting, too, is the fact that 2,493,519 assembled at the Lord’s evening meal, Friday evening, April 12, 1968, to keep in memory the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. They all knew that the death of Jesus Christ was the means of their salvation because Jesus paid the full ransom in behalf of dying mankind, and it meant redemption for the believing ones. It was observed that only 10,619 individuals partook of the Memorial emblems of wine and unleavened bread, indicating that they were of the anointed class, the remnant of the bride of Christ yet on earth. This number of partakers continues to get smaller and smaller each year.
19. What confidence do Jehovah’s witnesses have about many who are associating with them, and what words of Jesus will ring in their ears during 1969 as they continue declaring the Kingdom good news?
19 Jehovah’s witnesses have great confidence that many among the nearly two and one-half million people who associated with them at the Memorial of Christ’s death, and are studying with them in God’s Word the Bible, will soon share with them in declaring the good news of God’s kingdom. Jehovah’s witnesses have not forgotten their responsibilities, and they want to help others see theirs. They believe Jesus when he said, “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations.” (Matt. 28:19) They have made 1968 their busiest year of service in behalf of Jehovah’s name and Word. Everyone who has dedicated his life to the doing of Jehovah’s will wants to be, not a forgetful hearer, but rather “a doer of the work,” and wants to be happy in doing it. (Jas. 1:25) Jehovah’s witnesses are; and as they look around and see the troubles, distress of nations and perplexity rampant in the earth, and the work they still have to do, they are glad for Jesus’ words: “Raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.” (Luke 21:28) So, on with the work of declaring the “good news” far and wide!
[Chart on page 22-25]
1968 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLD WIDE
(See bound volume)
[Pictures on page 19]
When you look into a mirror, what do you see?
When you look into the Word of God, what do you see?