The Implanting of the Word
“Accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.”—Jas. 1:21.
1. How has the “new morality” caused many to lose confidence in the Bible?
A FEW decades ago mankind in general gave good attention to religion. But times are changing! Most people in Christendom seem quite pleased with the new sophisticated attitude that the clergy have taken toward the changing world. The “new morality” idea is generally accepted as old standards become passé, and many religious leaders support the “God is dead” theory. Logically this raises in the minds of the parishioners of Christendom’s churches the question: If God is dead, God’s law is null and void too, is it not? So why follow the counsel set forth in the Bible? “Live the way YOU want to live,” is the thinking of most people in the world today.
2. Yet how do others feel about the Bible, and how is their attitude like that of Jesus Christ?
2 On the other hand, there are great crowds of people from many nations who are very much interested in the Bible and in the God it tells us about. Such ones still want to cling to Bible teachings, though their faith may have been shaken by their religious teachers. They know things are bad because of the way people are conducting themselves today, in adultery, fornication, homosexuality, thievery, extortion and almost every other wicked act. These things are looked upon by many persons as not out of line with the normal procedure of life. “If you can get away with it, who cares?” is the attitude of the majority. However, Jehovah’s witnesses hold that the Bible is the Word of God and that the moral code set out in the Holy Scriptures is the proper and right one to follow. Nineteen centuries ago Jesus Christ lived according to God’s perfect law, and his teachings and actions showed that there was the implanting of Jehovah’s written word in his heart and mind.
3. (a) How do Jehovah’s witnesses feel about Jesus Christ and his reason for coming to earth? (b) What is the hope Jehovah’s witnesses have as to the future?
3 Jehovah’s witnesses believe that Jesus is the Son of God as the Bible says, and is therefore the One that God, his Father, sent into this world “in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jehovah’s witnesses believe that Christ Jesus will take away the sin of the world during his peaceful reign of one thousand years. Worldly-wise men will say that Christians with such faith are naive or that Jehovah’s witnesses are strange people. However, it did not sound strange to the followers of Christ Jesus who lived at the time when Jesus was walking in the flesh here upon the earth. His faithful followers preached his message through much opposition. For some of these it even meant losing their lives for the sake of Christ. Nor has it seemed strange to millions of persons who have lived during the nineteen hundred years since the days of Christ Jesus’ earthly sojourn. But in these days in which we now live, and which are described in the Bible as the “last days” or the “critical times” of this system of things, there are relatively few people who truly accept the teachings of the Bible and who have the hope of living eternally because of the redeeming value of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for mankind. This is a strange teaching indeed to some, but it is nevertheless true. Jesus said: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—2 Tim. 3:1; John 17:3.
4. How only can one who wants to teach others the truth of God’s Word conduct himself in regard to the counsel of James 1:21?
4 Due to believing that “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching,” Jehovah’s witnesses follow the advice of James 1:21, where it says: “Put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.” (2 Tim. 3:16) There is much said in the Bible about moral badness. The Bible writer James, the half brother of Jesus, was fully convinced that, if a teacher expects to sound down the truth successfully into the heart and the mind of an individual, then there must be a putting away of that which is bad, wrong, contrary to God’s Word; the individual must take the time and accept with mildness the implanting of the Word of God. When God’s Word is really implanted in one’s heart and mind it is able to save one’s soul or very life. As Jesus said to the Tempter: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.” (Matt. 4:4; Prov. 3:13-18) Can you accept that saying?
5 Jesus had some comments on the real food on which man must live. One day after talking with the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said of them: “Let them be. Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Continuing, in conversation with Peter, Jesus next said: “Are you not aware that everything entering into the mouth passes along into the intestines and is discharged into the sewer? However, the things proceeding out of the mouth come out of the heart, and those things defile a man. For example, out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things defiling a man; but to take a meal with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”—Matt. 15:14-20.
6 If a man’s heart is not right, but is filled with moral badness, then his reasoning will be wholly out of line with that which is decent, upright and righteous. Therefore his thinking ability will be of no benefit to him or to his fellowman. Due to his moral badness his reasoning will be absolutely contrary to the laws of Jehovah. Accordingly, the wise man, in Proverbs 18:7, said: “The mouth of the stupid one is the ruin of him, and his lips are a snare for his soul.” Just as Jesus said, it is not what goes into the mouth that is important, for that is disposed of easily through the digestive organs, but it is what comes out of the mouth, what one says, that shows what the individual really is! Usually one says what one is going to do. So Proverbs 6:12 records: “A good-for-nothing man, a man of hurtfulness, is walking with crookedness of speech.” When men discard God’s Word and think that they can work out life’s problems without God’s help, they are all wrong. Listen to the wise man, Solomon: “My son, to my wisdom O do pay attention. To my discernment incline your ears, so as to guard thinking abilities; and may your own lips safeguard knowledge itself.”—Prov. 5:1, 2.
7. How does an individual safeguard his thinking ability?
7 The best thing any individual can do is to go to the highest authority so as to get a proper understanding of a matter. Therefore we should listen to the One who has all wisdom, namely, Jehovah God. Pay attention to what this one has to say and enjoy the benefits of adherence to such counsel. What God wants us to know now He has had recorded in his written Word. A reasonable person will incline his ear toward Jehovah’s expressions and try to discern exactly what God wants him to do. That is the way to guard one’s thinking abilities. Knowing the right course and thinking about it is a fine safeguard to protect one from letting one’s thinking abilities turn toward wicked reasonings, fornication, adultery, thievery and other wrong things. A wise person will keep his heart and mind on the high principles of truth and righteousness. When one’s thinking ability is correctly directed then one’s lips will say the right things, the things that are upbuilding, righteous and pure.
NEED FOR MENTAL CLEANSING
8. In order to think properly, what must a person put away from himself?
8 It is evident, therefore, that there must be a cleaning out of the mind if there is to be an implanting of right thinking. There must be a putting away of all filthiness of the flesh, and that superfluous thing, moral badness, so one can give one’s time and energies to accepting the implanting of the Word of God in one’s mind. One just cannot do both things at the same time. Sweet water and bitter water cannot come out of the same spring. (Jas. 3:11) It is absolutely necessary for one to change one’s ways of thinking and doing things if the truth of God’s Word is going to be implanted in one and grow.
9. What illustration of Jesus are we now concerned with, and who could best explain this illustration?
9 Some nineteen hundred years ago when Jesus was sitting by the Sea of Galilee, great crowds came to hear his words of wisdom. He spoke differently from the way anyone else had ever spoken. As the crowd grew in numbers, Jesus went aboard a boat and rowed offshore. Then, using the surface of the water as a sounding board, he addressed a great crowd of people on the seashore. Very often Jesus used illustrations to make his points, and it is recorded in Matthew, chapter thirteen, that this was the method he used on this occasion. One of several illustrations that Jesus presented to the crowd concerned a sower of seed. In quite some detail he told of the sower dropping some seed along the roadside, also in rocky places and among thorns. He went on to say that other seed fell on some fine soil and began to yield much fruit. The persons listening to this parable, of course, could draw conclusions as to its meaning if they wanted to use their thinking ability. But if Jesus would explain the illustration, telling what he had in mind, the true meaning could be grasped by his hearers.
10. How were the disciples of Jesus different from the Jewish people in general in their desire for knowledge of Jesus’ teachings?
10 The disciples of Jesus were curious as to just what he meant, and so they questioned him: “Why is it you speak to them by the use of illustrations?” In reply Jesus said: “To you it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted. For whoever has, more will be given him and he will be made to abound; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (Matt. 13:10-12) The twelve disciples of Jesus had already gained much good information, but they wanted more. They used their thinking abilities to get the understanding of “the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens.” The apostles already had knowledge, and ‘more would be given so as to make them abound’ in knowledge. But as for the rest of the Jewish race, the indifferent ones, the unappreciative ones, even what they had as to knowledge about God and his Word would be taken away from them. By the year 70 C.E. they even lost their holy city Jerusalem, their temple, and any favor they thought they had with Jehovah God. How true that “whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”
11. What similarity exists today among people when it comes to using thinking ability?
11 Similar to the people in Christendom today, probably the greater number of those who were on the seashore listening to Jesus did not have great respect for his words even though they were in a covenant relationship with God. That is why Jesus went on to say: “For the heart of this people has grown thick, and with their ears they have heard with annoyance, and they have shut their eyes; that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back, and I heal them.” (Matt. 13:15) It certainly was not the fault of Christ Jesus that the people’s hearts had grown thick so that they would not listen. People today do not want to listen to God’s word either. They do not want to get the sense of it in their hearts. However, in Jesus’ day his disciples wanted to get the sense of Jesus’ words. Do you want to? Then listen to what he said: “Happy are your eyes because they behold, and your ears because they hear. For I truly say to you, Many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things you are beholding and did not see them, and to hear the things you are hearing and did not hear them. You, then, listen to the illustration of the man that sowed.”—Matt. 13:16-18.
12. What is required of us if we are to get the sense of Jesus’ illustration?
12 How kind and merciful it was of Jesus Christ to go into detail and explain to his disciples just what this illustration of the sower meant. You, too, if you are truly interested in the Word of God, can open your Bible and read it and get the sense of it. If you have discernment you will be able to see just what Jesus meant by the parable. Today we are in a very favored position, just as favored as Jesus’ first disciples were, because we can read, not only the illustration, but also Jesus’ explanation of it. We must take the time, though, to study the Word of God, using our thinking abilities. Let us see how Jesus explained the parable.
13. (a) With what theme was Jesus’ illustration of the sower concerned? (b) Why do so many not get the sense of the illustrations of Jesus?
13 Persons who have taken the time to read the Christian Greek Scriptures, commonly called the “New Testament,” know that Jesus continually proclaimed the message concerning God’s kingdom. So this parable of the sower had something to do with the Kingdom. That is why in the 19th verse of Matthew 13 Jesus said: “Where anyone hears the word of the kingdom but does not get the sense of it, the wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart; this is the one sown alongside the road.” Millions upon millions of people throughout the world, both inside and outside of Christendom, have heard the proclamation of God’s kingdom, but they did not get the sense of it. The reason is quite simple. “The wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown.” Who is that wicked one? The Bible clearly points out that Satan is the god of this wicked system of things, and that he “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” (2 Cor. 4:4) So the wicked one, Satan the Devil, the god of this system of things, is going to keep in darkness everyone that he possibly can. Are you going to let Satan do that to you? If you never read and study your Bible, Satan will keep you in his darkness. He is not going to let this good word of the Kingdom sink down into a person’s heart if he has a chance to stop it. Satan is at work snatching away what has been sown. He is determined to keep the peoples of all nations in darkness. Even in Christendom he has his clergy and priests degrading God’s Word. They say it is a myth, just a story written by men, not by God.
14. For what reasons is the Devil extremely active in these days?
14 There is no question about the Devil and his demons as being very active at this time during the “last days” of this system of things. He does not want to have anyone getting the sense of the Kingdom message. Therefore, as the “god of this system of things,” he promotes nationalism. He does not want mankind to appreciate what God’s kingdom is. He tries to keep all peoples busy glorifying and worshiping the rulers and nations, being involved in the “establishment,” rather than looking to the Supreme One of all the universe, Jehovah God. It can be clearly seen that people are kept busy on the broad road leading to destruction with little time to get the sense or meaning of God’s Word. Even though Jehovah’s witnesses call often each year at the homes of the people, the people do not want to get the sense of the message being brought to them. Have you listened and gotten the sense of what Jehovah’s witnesses are saying?
15. Explain what happens to seed sown on rocky soil.
15 Jesus went on to explain about the seed “sown upon the rocky places.” He says: “This is the one hearing the word and at once accepting it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself but continues for a time, and after tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word he is at once stumbled.” (Matt. 13:20, 21) How often have you as a Christian witness of Jehovah found individuals who hear the word, get the sense of it, and at once accept it with joy? They say, “Here is the answer to all of the world’s problems,’ and they start telling everyone they know about what they have learned. The truth from God’s Word brings light and understanding to them, and it appears that they will be learners and become disciples. But there was no place for the seed to take root in the rocky places. It is just as Jesus said: “After tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word he is at once stumbled.” Many have encountered the burning heat of opposition over the truth, just as Jesus foretold. In his prophecy about the time of the end, at Luke 21:16, 17, he declared: “Moreover, you will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death; and you will be objects of hatred by all people because of my name.” It is this intense opposition to the truth even from relatives and friends that stumbles some.
16. In what ways are those stumbled who are like seed sown on rocky soil?
16 As the Bible shows, the one hearing the word is full of joy, but he has no root in himself due to being sown on rocky places. He tells his relatives, friends and neighbors—everyone he can, about his newly found hope. Then the persecution and tribulation begin, and they do not stop until he gives up his belief in the truth from God’s Word. Every possible obstacle is put in his way. Even if he goes to a clergyman and tells him what joy he has found in the Word of God, he most likely will find that he will be discouraged from studying the Bible. He may be told, “You had better be very careful with those Jehovah’s witnesses. They will lead you astray.” So from relatives, friends and religious sources the opposition grows. The hard underlying self-interest will not let the seed of truth take root. At once the individual is stumbled, with no deep implanting of the Word. The rocky places are much too rough and hard for roots and for growth.
17. Explain what happens to seed sown among thorns.
17 Then Jesus went on to say: “As for the one sown among the thorns, this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:22) Even though the seed took root and sprouted, there were just too many thorns around to allow for its maturing. Perhaps for a short period of time in the individual’s life he was able to hear the word and get the sense of it, but he keeps himself so involved with this system of things and its anxieties, and in particular with the deceptive power of riches, which seem to be the things that everyone is taught to reach out for, that these things, like thorns, just choke out the word, and the individual never produces fruit. Remember, we are in a system of things today that is wicked, selfish and unloving. It is true that each man’s hand is against his neighbor, and the love of the greater number of professed Christian persons has grown cold. So it does not take long to choke out the words of truth in one when the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches get a stranglehold on a person. So this one too is unproductive. There was no room in the person’s life for the real “implanting of the word”; he is choked to death spiritually.
THE ONES LIKE FINE SOIL
18. (a) Explain the results of seed sown on fine soil. (b) How have many been aided to get the sense of God’s Word during the past year?
18 However, Jesus went on to say: “A for the one sown upon the fine soil, this is the one hearing the word and getting the sense of it, who really does bear fruit and produces, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty, the other thirty.” (Matt. 13:23) It is quite evident that there must be a ‘hearing of the word and getting the sense of it.’ There must be personal study in order for one to get the sense of God’s Word. In order to promote personal study Jehovah’s witnesses did conduct 1,097,237 home Bible studies every week during 1969, where it appeared that they had found fine soil. A great number of these private home Bible studies brought results. Jehovah’s witnesses help people to hear the word of the Kingdom. They spent 239,769,076 hours talking to people of all nations and started tens of thousands of home Bible studies with interested persons. Not all persons continue with weekly Bible studies, but the 1969 field service report shows that over one million Bible studies were conducted regularly every week. These studies in God’s Word are necessary because they help to clean out the wicked reasonings of the heart. This will allow the truth to grow. One certainly cannot grow, figuratively speaking, on the busy roadside or on rocky places or in among thorns. There has to be good soil for fine growth. What kind of soil are you? We hope you are an individual who will accept with mildness the implanting of the Word and “put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness.” If the seed of truth is going to sprout, there has to be good soil, something for the roots of the plant to go down into.
19. (a) How can one prove oneself to be like good soil? (b) What proof have we that many have been like good soil during the 1969 service year? (c) How do baptism figures for the past four years compare?
19 You can prove yourself good soil by getting rid of the wicked reasonings in the heart, like murders, adulteries, fornications, thievery, and so forth. (Matt. 15:19) God’s Word implanted in one will send up a strong plant, there to bear fruit. Are you growing as a Christian? Is the truth, the word of the Kingdom, deep down in you? Are the roots taking hold and sending up a plant that will bear fruit? In encouragement of all this, Jesus finished his illustration by saying: “This is the one hearing the word and getting the sense of it, who really does bear fruit and produces, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty, the other thirty.” (Matt. 13:23) Many of the interested people that Jehovah’s witnesses talked to and then studied with proved themselves to be fine soil. They dedicated their lives to Jehovah and in 1969 alone 120,905 persons were baptized and became Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. Can we say the dedicated, baptized persons known as Jehovah’s witnesses are bearing fruit, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty and the other thirty? Admittedly someone is producing fruit! Just look back over the past few years: in 1966 there were 58,904 baptized; 1967 produced 74,981 baptized; in 1968 the number was 82,842; and now in 1969 the fruitage came to be 120,905 dedicated, baptized Christians taking up the preaching of “the word of the kingdom.” Marvelous! And we thank Jehovah for his rich blessing.
20. (a) What is meant by the word “implant”? (b) How can we apply this to our teaching work?
20 To implant something, whether a seed or the Word of God, means, first of all, to plant or set securely or deeply. The word “implant” literally means to plant in the soil so that the seed will take root and grow. Similarly, teaching is what makes for one’s performance of that which is learned. When the truth is implanted in good soil the learner is going to produce something, and this product is due to learning. Centuries ago when the Jews were so well protected by Jehovah and they were his chosen people, he gave the parents of all Israelite children instruction, namely, that they should inculcate the truth of God’s Word into their children’s minds. Jehovah wanted them to have knowledge and understanding. His command to parents was: “And these words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart; and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.”—Deut. 6:6, 7.
21. (a) What failure on the part of the Jewish nation of Jesus’ day is noted in Christendom today? (b) Can the claim be made in Christendom today that it has not had the opportunity to hear?
21 However, the Jews as a nation failed to accept the sound counsel that was given to them by their fathers, and so they went astray, and the anxieties of the nations and the deceptive power of riches choked out the word and they lost their relationship with God. In that respect there is no difference today with Christendom. Her church members do not accept God’s Word either. Most people do not want to be real Christians. The apostle Paul was cognizant of this matter in his day when he wrote: “For we have had the good news declared to us also, even as they also had; but the word which was heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who did hear.” (Heb. 4:2) From what Paul says it is evident that many Hebrews had the word of God declared to them; in fact, he describes two kinds of people, those who heard and did nothing about the good news, and others who heard and were united by faith with those who were declaring the good news. Today in Christendom, Jehovah’s witnesses keep going from house to house declaring good news, but most of the people have hearts that have “grown thick, and with their ears they have heard with annoyance.” (Matt. 13:15) It is not as though the people of the earth have not been given the opportunity of hearing the truth. They have! Why, for the past fifty years the good news of God’s kingdom has been preached, and with greater intensity world wide, especially in the last twenty-five years. But relatively few have responded. Yet, what must those persons do that do hear and get the sense of the word of the Kingdom?
22. (a) What fruitage of the spirit is needed in order for God’s Word to be implanted in an individual? (b) What type of persons does this thus eliminate?
22 Jesus’ half brother James very likely was well acquainted with Jesus’ parable of the sower, and as he commented on this matter of planting he may have had in mind that which Jesus spoke about. He really epitomizes the entire illustration by saying: “Put away all filthiness and that superfluous thing, moral badness, and accept with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.” We want to keep in mind that the implanting of the word must be accepted with mildness. It is not going to be sounded down orally by Christian teachers into the minds of haughty and high-minded individuals. A person who has a know-it-all attitude cannot show humility. The soil must not be so hard that it is like a rock, impenetrable. When the Bible truth enters a mind that is searching for knowledge and understanding and it settles into the heart and mind of a person that has deep respect for the great Creator, then the seed will sprout and grow, and there will in due season be a coming to maturity. As Jesus said: ‘It will really bear fruit.’ Some persons produce a hundredfold, others sixty and still others thirty. How very true this is! When we see the accomplishments of individuals who have the truth and spend time preaching from door to door and conducting Bible studies we know that these persons are doing just what they should do. Did not Jesus say: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them”? (Matt. 28:19) In their lifetime Jehovah’s witnesses individually may bring as many as thirty persons to a knowledge of the truth, others sixty and still others a hundred. If “the word of the kingdom” is sown in good soil it will bring forth good fruit in time. Have you tried to be a Bible teacher? Have you responded to Jesus’ command, “Go . . . make disciples . . . baptizing them”?
23, 24. As regards personality changes, what have over one million Christian witnesses of Jehovah done?
23 There are more than a million Christian witnesses of Jehovah today that have taken the proper steps to save their lives by putting away the superfluous thing, moral badness, and all filthiness of the flesh. They believe Paul when he said: “You should put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires; but . . . you should be made new in the force actuating your mind, and should put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Eph. 4:22-24) The only way that one could put on this new personality, “which was created according to God’s will,” would be by first getting rid of the old personality. Then a change can begin to take place. That new force actuating your mind would result from your accepting “with mildness the implanting of the word which is able to save your souls.” Paul was very interested in putting on this new personality, and that was why he said at 1 Corinthians 9:27: “I browbeat my body and lead it as a slave, that, after I have preached to others, I myself should not become disapproved somehow.”
24 The “word of the kingdom” was planted in this Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul. He proved himself to be good soil. He wanted to bear much fruit. He went—he preached—he baptized. In all this he was a good example for us today.
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The preaching of God’s word is like the sowing of seed
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The wicked one snatches it away from some
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Others give way under the heat of persecution
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Some allow the anxieties of life to choke its growth
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Those who get the sense of it bear much fruit