Never Forget You Are a Witness!
“‘You are my witnesses,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I am God.’”—ISAIAH 43:12.
1. (a) What is the greatest privilege that any person on earth can have? (b) How is the word “witness” defined?
THERE is no greater privilege on earth than that of being a witness for the true God, Jehovah. A witness is “one who testifies in a cause or before a judicial tribunal.” (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary) It was Jesus Christ who testified for the greatest cause in all the universe—that of Jehovah God. “As a witness,” says the Bible, Jesus “made the fine public declaration before Pontius Pilate.” (1 Timothy 6:13) And when on trial, what did he tell this Roman governor?
2. To what did Jesus Christ bear witness?
2 In answer to a question then put to him, Jesus declared: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) Yes, Jesus made it clear that he had come into the world to bear witness to God’s truth. In part, that meant bearing witness to his position as Messianic King. Jesus also bore witness to God’s name, Jehovah. Thus, in prayer to his heavenly Father, Jesus could say: “I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world.” (John 17:6) To the day of his death as a human, Jesus was aware of his obligation to be a witness for Jehovah. Indeed, Jesus never forgot that he was a witness.
Example of “the Faithful and True Witness”
3. (a) Who is “the faithful and true witness”? (b) What had happened to the congregation at Laodicea, and what counsel did Jesus give to it?
3 Jesus faithfully and zealously carried out his assignment as a witness for Jehovah. And in this regard he sets dedicated Christians a superb example. Noteworthy, too, is Jesus’ counsel to the congregation in Laodicea. Evidently because of being distracted by materialistic desires, this congregation had become “lukewarm” in witnessing for Jehovah and the Messianic Kingdom. So Jesus urged them to “be zealous and repent.” He prefaced his counsel to this congregation with the words: “These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness.”—Revelation 3:14-19.
4. (a) Why did Jesus call himself the “Amen”? (b) Jesus wanted the Laodicean Christians never to forget what?
4 First, Jesus calls himself the “Amen.” Why? Because Jehovah sent him as the “Amen” (meaning, “so be it”) to all the divine promises. Jesus is the one who effectuates the promises of God. (2 Corinthians 1:20) Next, Jesus identifies himself as “the faithful and true witness.” Why? So that the congregation would look to him as their Exemplar and thus receive an incentive to repent of their shortcomings and “be zealous” again in witnessing for Jehovah. The Son of God wanted those Christians in Laodicea never to forget that they should be witnesses of God and of the Messianic Kingdom.
5. How was Jesus an example for Jehovah’s Witnesses today?
5 Jesus wants all his disciples to be faithful, zealous witnesses right down to the very end of this wicked system of things. “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations,” said Jesus, “and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14; Acts 1:6-8) In both what he did and what he said, “the faithful and true witness” was an encouraging example for true Christian witnesses of Jehovah today. They recognize their grand privilege as upholders of the divine name and loyal servants of Jehovah who take to heart his words: “You are my witnesses . . . and I am God.”—Isaiah 43:10-12.
Why the Need Never to Forget
6. (a) Regarding spiritual light, what privilege do witnesses of Jehovah have? (b) What questions might we ask ourselves?
6 If you are a dedicated, baptized witness of Jehovah, be ever alert to your great privilege of serving the highest Personage in the universe. Remember that “the Faithful Witness” was “the light of the world.” (Revelation 1:5; John 8:12) Hence, all of Jehovah’s Witnesses must beam out the light concerning God’s purposes. Just as it would be inappropriate to put a lamp under a basket rather than on a lampstand, so it is unreasonable for a true Christian to hide his light. He must shine so that all who come in contact with him get the benefit of the spiritual light that he himself enjoys. Accordingly, Jesus urged his disciples: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.” (Matthew 5:14-16) As an organization, Jehovah’s Witnesses today are prominent around the globe—they are just like a mountaintop city that beams out light far and wide. But are you personally beaming out your light at all times? Are you always aware of your privilege as a witness of Jehovah?
7. What is a main reason not to forget that we are witnesses of Jehovah?
7 Why must we never forget that we are witnesses of Jehovah? One main reason is that we live in a world in which the pressures of daily living, the anxieties of life and the abundance of diversions could easily distract us from speaking about the true God and his purposes. For our benefit and warning, Jesus urged: “Keep on the watch, . . . prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming.” (Matthew 24:42-44) Why this sound warning? Because distraction can lead to destruction—yes, destruction for those distracted when Jesus comes for the execution of judgment upon this system of things.—Revelation 19:11-21.
8, 9. How can we benefit from considering the distracted people of Noah’s day?
8 Think of what happened in Noah’s day. Why, there were so many distractions then that the people attached no significance to Noah’s preaching and ark building! They “took no note,” were caught off guard because of distractions and were destroyed.—Matthew 24:36-39.
9 Are we, then, going to be distracted by today’s world and its many diversions? Since being totally distracted from fulfilling our obligation as followers of Jesus can result in destruction, let us prove ourselves ever alert. By our being continually ready, never asleep to our responsibilities, we will not be destroyed with the distracted ones of this world.—Luke 17:26-30; 21:34-36.
10. What vital assignment do all true Christians have?
10 So we must never forget that we have the vital assignment to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom. (Mark 13:10) No matter who we are or what duties we perform in Jehovah’s organization, we have the responsibility to declare our hope to others. (Romans 10:10; 1 Corinthians 9:16) In many lands we can freely go from house to house with the Kingdom message. But in countries where there is this freedom to preach, people may be indifferent to religion, and you may have few conversations at the doors. If so, you need to be especially alert to avail yourself of other opportunities to let your light shine.
11. The fact that Jesus’ followers belonged to “The Way” indicates what about service to Jehovah?
11 Even though you may have specific times set aside to share in certain features of the witnessing work, a dedicated servant of Jehovah should be praising him in word and deed at all times. Are you doing this? Jesus’ early followers were spoken of as belonging to “The Way.” (Acts 9:1, 2) So they were not serving God only a few hours a month. Their service was a way of life! Are we like the first-century Christians if we are irregular Kingdom publishers who rarely engage in witnessing activity? Can we rightly call ourselves Jehovah’s Witnesses if we say little or nothing to others about our hope?
Using Our Time to Help Others
12, 13. (a) How can we fortify ourselves spiritually? (b) Why should we keep a record of interest found in the field ministry?
12 We need to use our time wisely if we are to help others on the way to eternal life in God’s righteous New Order. But to help others we must fortify ourselves. We have to take in spiritual food regularly and build ourselves up in the faith. Not being content to be “babes,” we must “press on to maturity.” (Ephesians 4:14; Hebrews 6:1) In our regular witnessing from house to house, have we taken on the added responsibility of keeping track of sheeplike persons? When people listen to our Bible message or show interest in God’s Word and his Kingdom, what do we do? Are we concerned enough to keep a record of the name and address and the subject we discussed, and then follow up the interest?
13 If we are spiritually alert, we can make opportunities to preach God’s Word anytime, anywhere. May we do so with joy, our hearts overflowing with what we have learned from our Grand Instructor, Jehovah.—Isaiah 30:20, 21.
Be Alert to Informal Witnessing
14. (a) Through what kind of witnessing have some learned God’s truth? (b) Should informal witnessing replace your regular field ministry?
14 Some are becoming acquainted with God’s truth because of contacts with relatives, friends, workmates, neighbors, and so forth. For instance, in one group of 238 baptized Witnesses, 40 percent had learned the Bible’s truth through informal witnessing. Of course, this should not replace the field ministry, your regular activity in witnessing from house to house or on return visits, and the like.—Acts 5:42; 20:20.
15. What kind of example did Jesus set as regards informal witnessing?
15 Yet Jesus, “the faithful and true witness,” set us a fine example in informal witnessing. For example, “while passing along,” Jesus saw “a man named Matthew seated at the tax office” and spoke to him with good results. (Matthew 9:9) Moreover, on another occasion, though Jesus was tired he seized the opportunity to speak the truth to a woman who came to draw water at a well in Sychar. That conversation resulted in many Samaritans’ putting faith in Jesus as the Messiah.—John 4:5-30, 39-42.
16. What fine example did the apostle Paul set in witnessing?
16 The apostle Paul also took advantage of every opportunity to speak about Jehovah’s Word. When in Athens, Paul did so “every day in the marketplace with those who happened to be on hand.” (Acts 17:17) And when he was under house arrest in Rome, the apostle “would kindly receive all those who came in to him, preaching the kingdom of God to them and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with the greatest freeness of speech.” (Acts 28:30, 31) How all of this should move us never to overlook any witnessing opportunities!
17. Besides regular field ministry, what opportunities are there to witness to others?
17 Besides our regular field ministry, there are many other opportunities to bear witness. Our workmates, schoolmates, relatives and acquaintances all need to hear about Jehovah and his purposes. When traveling by bus, plane or train, we may be able to strike up a conversation that leads to a Kingdom witness. We may also be able to share the “good news” with hotel and motel managers, service station attendants, restaurant workers or taxi drivers. While at home we may witness to salesmen or deliverymen. Why, even if we are hospitalized, we may be able to witness to nurses, doctors and patients! While recuperating in a hospital, many witnesses of Jehovah have helped other patients to learn about God’s New Order in which people will enjoy radiant health.
18. (a) What is recommended if you are hesitant about taking advantage of opportunities to give a witness? (b) In witnessing to relatives and acquaintances, what qualities should we manifest?
18 How vital it is, then, that as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses you declare the Kingdom message at every opportunity! In other words, never forget you are a witness! But what if you are hesitant when you see an opportunity to witness? Then pray for courage to speak the truth. You will reap rich blessings that otherwise would have been missed. (Compare Acts 4:29-31.) Of course, witnessing to relatives and acquaintances may be somewhat easier. But be tactful, kind and patient with them, not taking liberties because of knowing them so well. Have a long-range view and gradually build up in them an appreciation for Bible truth.
Fine Conduct—Part of the Way We Witness
19. What relationship is there between our witnessing and our conduct?
19 Not all our witnessing is verbal. The apostle Paul linked fine conduct with light-bearing. He urged Philippian Christians to ‘keep doing all things free from murmurings and arguments, that they might come to be blameless and innocent, children of God without a blemish in among a crooked and twisted generation, among whom they were shining as illuminators in the world.’ (Philippians 2:14, 15) In a world that is morally corrupt and dark, the witness of Jehovah must stand out brilliantly as an illuminator. Indeed, the faithful Christian reflects the word of truth by witnessing verbally and shines by reason of his fine moral conduct. May all of Jehovah’s Witnesses show themselves to be loyal light-bearers by the way they live and by the words of Scriptural truth they speak!
20. How may our fine conduct affect others?
20 Stressing the same point, the apostle Peter wrote: “Maintain your conduct fine among the nations, that . . . they may as a result of your fine works of which they are eyewitnesses glorify God in the day for his inspection.” (1 Peter 2:12) Of course, not all will glorify God and become Jehovah’s Witnesses in the day of his inspection. Most will not come onto the side of God’s Messianic Kingdom and maintain its high standards of conduct. But there will be some sheeplike eyewitnesses who will see that we represent true Christianity. Our fine conduct will impress them, and they will join us in preaching “this good news of the kingdom.” (Matthew 24:14) What joy we have when these people glorify Jehovah along with us as his witnesses!
21. With what attitude should Jehovah’s Witnesses do God’s will?
21 So, then, be wholehearted in doing Jehovah’s work and will. (Matthew 22:37) Realize that one of Jehovah’s Witnesses should be praising God all the time. “Praise Jah, you people! Praise Jehovah, O my soul. I will praise Jehovah during my lifetime.” (Psalm 146:1, 2) Yes, ‘praise Jehovah during your lifetime.’ And that lifetime can be eternal, if you never forget you are a witness.
How Would You Answer?
□ What is the greatest privilege that any person on earth can enjoy?
□ How was Jesus Christ an example for witnesses of Jehovah today?
□ What vital assignment do all of Jehovah’s Witnesses have?
□ Should your regular field ministry be replaced by informal witnessing?
□ What relationship is there between our conduct and our witnessing?
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Jesus never forgot he was a witness for Jehovah
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Zealously witness in regular field ministry and informally