United Worshipers of the Only True God
“O Jehovah, . . . you are God, you alone.”—Psalm 86:9, 10.
1. (a) What has Jehovah put into operation to bring about unity of worship? (b) What soon resulted from that “administration”?
UNITY of worship—how appealing that is! But the majority of mankind have never experienced it. Nevertheless, unity of worship is not just a dream. It is God’s purpose. Nineteen centuries ago Jehovah put into operation an “administration,” the objective of which is unity—unity similar to what one would find in a close-knit, loving household. The unity that this “administration” produced soon caused Christian Jews to worship in loving association with Samaritans; then uncircumcised Gentiles were welcomed into the congregation. More importantly, all of them were brought into unity with Jehovah God on the basis of their faith in the sin-atoning value of Jesus’ sacrifice. They came to enjoy with him the relationship of sons with a loving Father.
2. (a) What is the “administration,” and when did it go into operation? (b) What is meant by the gathering of “the things in the heavens”?
2 Ephesians 1:9, 10 draws attention to this “administration,” saying: “It is according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration [or, a procedure for managing affairs of the household] at the full limit of the appointed times [from Pentecost of 33 C.E. onward], namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and [later on] the things on the earth.” The gathering of “the things in the heavens,” that is, individuals who would be with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom, was first from among the Jews, next the Samaritans and then the Gentiles.
3. What has the gathering of “the things on the earth” produced?
3 In our day, especially since 1935, we see the gathering of “the things on the earth,” that is, people who would be favored with life on a Paradise earth. Already millions of persons have responded to this second phase of God’s loving “administration.” They are coming from all nations and language groups. The unity that they are finding is not simply a physical gathering of people who continue to hold to former beliefs and practices. Instead, as foretold at Isaiah 2:3, they are learning Jehovah’s ways so that they can “walk in his paths.”
4. (a) To what extent will unity of worship be attained, and how does the Bible describe this? (b) After the final test, what relationship with Jehovah will perfected humans enjoy?
4 What we are seeing today, however, is not the full extent to which unity will be attained. God’s purpose makes it certain that all intelligent creation will be united in true worship. The apostle John was given a preview of the marvelous situation that will exist at the end of Christ’s Millennial Reign, and he describes it at Revelation 5:13, saying: “Every creature that is in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and all the things in them, I heard saying: ‘To the One sitting on the throne [that is, Jehovah] and to the Lamb [Jesus Christ] be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.’” John there saw everyone united under Jesus Christ in worship of Jehovah. Thereafter, when the final test is past and all those then rebelling have been destroyed, Jehovah will lovingly adopt as his sons through Christ all perfected humans who have proved loyal. They will become a part of God’s united universal family, to all of whom Jehovah will forever be the only God, the Universal Sovereign and loving Father. What a heartwarming prospect that is! Is it your earnest desire to be included in that happy family of worshipers?—Romans 8:20, 21.
“You Are God, You Alone”
5, 6. In Psalm 86, what did David write about the One who is the object of our worship?
5 An examination of Psalm 86 can help us to discern what we need to do in order to share in that blessing. David, the writer of this inspired psalm, already had a record of devotion in matters of true worship. But he realized that he personally needed to keep progressing spiritually, and this is reflected in what he wrote.
6 In Ps 86 verses 8-10 he focuses attention on the One who was the object of his worship, saying: “There is none like you among the gods, O Jehovah, neither are there any works like yours. All the nations whom you have made will themselves come, and they will bow down before you, O Jehovah, and will give glory to your name. For you are great and are doing wondrous things; you are God, you alone.”
7. Why is recognition that Jehovah alone is God so important?
7 In David’s day, as today, the nations had many gods. But with genuine appreciation David said to Jehovah: “You are God, you alone.” Jesus Christ emphasized the same truth. On the night before his death he prayed to his Father, addressing him as “the only true God.” (John 17:3) However, Christendom worships a Trinity, millions bow before idols; others have made gods of prominent people, of money, of self and of sex. So, what about you? Do you personally share the conviction that “there is none like . . . Jehovah,” that he is “the only true God”?
8. As indicated at Psalm 86:11, what is required on the part of all who want to worship Jehovah?
8 Looking to the future from his day, David envisioned people out of all nations coming to serve Jehovah. David no doubt realized that when such people came to worship Jehovah, there would be much for them to learn. They would have to make changes in their lives. But David was also realistic in acknowledging that he, too, needed instruction and that further adjustments would be required on his own part. In Psalm 86:11 he said: “Instruct me, O Jehovah, about your way. I shall walk in your truth. Unify my heart to fear your name.” Is that also our desire?
9. Why are we a united people, and what responsibility do we have in this regard?
9 The unity that already exists among Jehovah’s Witnesses is truly outstanding. This is because, as a group, we sincerely feel as David did—we seek Jehovah’s direction and act in harmony with it. We should also desire to contribute to that unity personally by our attitude and conduct. Additionally, we can safeguard our unity and help others to share in it by endeavoring to cultivate in newly interested ones an appreciation of the various things that unite us.
Powerful Unifying Factors
10. What is the first of the factors that unite us?
10 First is the fact that all of us worship Jehovah and acknowledge his right to set the standard as to what is good and what is bad. (Revelation 14:6, 7; Genesis 2:16, 17) What a marvelous effect that has had on Jehovah’s people worldwide! Jehovah is, as the Bible states, “the High and Lofty One, who is residing forever and whose name is holy.” (Isaiah 57:15) When we worship him and conform to his standards, this has an uplifting effect on us. And since those standards apply in all parts of the earth, our conforming to them has drawn us together as one people.
11. How can we help newer ones to share in this unity?
11 But at times individuals who have associated with us get involved in seriously wrong conduct. Why? When questioned about their relationship with God, some have said, ‘God wasn’t real to me.’ So they did not take his requirements seriously either. Can we help those with whom we study so that Jehovah will be real to them? We ought to emphasize to them that true worship is not simply a matter of accepting certain doctrines, going to the Kingdom Hall and perhaps spending a few hours in field service from time to time. Those who want to serve Jehovah need a close personal relationship with him. They should learn to pray to him regularly and personally, seeking his direction in everything that they do. (Philippians 4:6; Proverbs 3:5, 6) Then they will begin to share in the grand unity that we enjoy.
12, 13. (a) How does the second factor listed here have a unifying effect on us? (b) To benefit fully from this, what should a person do?
12 Second is this: We are united because, wherever we are in the world, we have God’s Word, the Bible, to guide us. We recognize the Bible to be inspired, and one of the things that attracted many of us to Jehovah’s Witnesses is the fact that the Witnesses genuinely adhere to the Bible.—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
13 Those with whom we study may agree with us when we say that the Bible is God’s Word. But how much of the Bible have they read? It would be beneficial to encourage each one to read all of it, and as they do so to see how the Bible should affect decisions they make in daily life. Jesus knew his Father’s will so well and had it so deeply impressed on his mind and heart that he could say, “I always do the things pleasing to him.” (John 8:29) What a fine goal that is for all of us!
14. Why is the third factor mentioned here vital, and what might we do to build up appreciation for this in newer ones?
14 A third factor that unites us is that all of us benefit from the same spiritual feeding program. We recognize “the faithful and discreet slave” as the agency that Jehovah is using to provide spiritual food at the proper time. (Matthew 24:45-47) There is no question in our mind that this “slave” is made up of spirit-anointed heirs of the heavenly Kingdom who are found today only among Jehovah’s Witnesses. We appreciate what that “slave” and its Governing Body are doing to care for our spiritual needs. And we thank God for the abundance of fine spiritual provisions we have. (Isaiah 65:13, 14) Are we also taking sufficient time to instill appreciation for this arrangement in persons newly associating with the congregation?
15, 16. (a) To whom do we look as our Leader? (b) How does appreciation of Jesus’ role in our worship affect our attitude toward one another?
15 A fourth unifying factor, indeed a vital one, is that Jesus Christ, and no human, is our Leader and the one through whom we all approach Jehovah in worship. During the final week of his life as a human, Jesus emphasized the importance of this. At Matthew 23:8, 10 he said: “Do not you be called . . . ‘leaders,’ for your Leader is one, the Christ.” Today, no matter where a person might be in the world, if he were to ask one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, ‘Who is your leader?’ he would get the same answer: ‘It is the Lord Jesus Christ.’
16 It is only through Jesus that we can acceptably approach Jehovah in worship. Why? Because we were all born in sin, under condemnation to death. None of us are different from others in this respect. The only way that any of us were accepted as servants of God was on the basis of our faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and it is only through him that any of us can now approach Jehovah in prayer. Heartfelt appreciation of this is a vital factor in true worship.—Romans 3:23; John 14:6.
17. How has our attitude toward God’s Kingdom made us distinct from Christendom but drawn us together as Jehovah’s Witnesses?
17 The fifth factor that draws us together is that no matter where we live, we look to God’s Kingdom as the only hope for humankind. (Matthew 6:9, 10; Daniel 2:44) The clergy of Christendom have not done this. As a result, they are involved in the political affairs of the world and its wars. In sharp contrast, Jehovah’s Witnesses in all lands have taken to heart the fact that Jesus Christ said that his disciples would be “no part of the world.” (John 17:15, 16) In harmony with God’s Word, we have beaten our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning shears. We do not lift up carnal weapons against our fellowman, neither do we learn war anymore. (Micah 4:3) We are firmly convinced that the only solution to the problems of mankind is God’s Kingdom. As a result, we are united with fellow Witnesses worldwide in true international brotherhood.
18. How does the fruitage of God’s spirit unite us? Give examples.
18 As a sixth factor in our unity we point to the fruitage that God’s holy spirit produces in the lives of worshipers of Jehovah. And what appealing fruitage it is—the kind that makes it pleasant for us to be together! Regardless of areas where we personally need to improve, it is true as Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”—John 13:35; Galatians 5:22, 23.
19. With whom do we become united by sharing in the Christian ministry?
19 Added to all the foregoing is this seventh point: All of us as Jehovah’s Witnesses have the responsibility to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom. This is a responsibility, but it is also a privilege. As the apostle Paul explained, by sharing in the Christian ministry we become fellow workers with God. While one of us may plant and another water, Jehovah is the One who causes the growth that produces new disciples.—Matthew 24:14; 1 Corinthians 3:6-9.
Firmly on the Side of True Worship
20. (a) Why do some who may come to the Kingdom Hall not fully enjoy the blessings of such united worship? (b) Why is it urgent for them to take a positive stand on Jehovah’s side now?
20 As those newly associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses personally embrace these truths that draw us together and work in harmony with them, they, too, can experience the joy of sharing in united worship of the only true God. Some, however, content themselves with a superficial knowledge of the truth. They learn something about the blessings of God’s Kingdom, but they do not let the truth take root in their heart. They enjoy being with us, but they do not want to say that they are going to do things Jehovah’s way all the time. In some respects they are like certain people in the days of the prophet Elijah, those to whom Elijah forcefully said: “How long will you be limping upon two different opinions? If Jehovah is the true God, go following him; but if Baal is, go following him.” (1 Kings 18:21) When Jehovah’s appointed time comes to destroy the present wicked system, he will not delay. He is not going to postpone that time or change his standards so as to accommodate those who are still trying to cling to the world, those who are only halfhearted about learning God’s will and doing it. How important it is, therefore, for all who show interest in the truth to take positive action now to establish a real and lasting relationship with Jehovah!
21. We should help our Bible students to make what spiritual progress?
21 Our desire is not merely to study elementary truths with those who are progressing toward baptism but to help them to press on to Christian maturity. This includes cultivating an appetite for solid spiritual food. They need to learn how to enjoy such, drawing strength from it and discerning how it can help them to make sound personal decisions.—Hebrews 5:12-14.
22. Why is our ministry a truly grand privilege?
22 What a grand privilege is ours to benefit from and work in harmony with Jehovah’s arrangement for the unifying of people of all nations with himself through Jesus Christ! The only true God has given us the marvelous privilege of being witnesses to his holy name Jehovah. His own beloved Son, who now rules as King, was and is our exemplar in worship that enables us to enjoy a warm, intimate relationship with Jehovah and unity with one another. So let us share to the full in magnifying Jehovah’s name and in helping others to appreciate how they too can enjoy the blessings that belong exclusively to persons who are united in worship of the only true God.
By Way of Review
□ To what extent will unity of worship be attained, and what can that mean for you?
□ How can we show that we share the sentiments recorded at Psalm 86:11?
□ What are some of the powerful factors that unite us?
□ After they study basic Bible truths, what further advancement should we help students to make?
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‘O Jehovah, you are God, you alone’