Talk About the Glory of God’s Kingship
“About the glory of your kingship they will talk, and about your mightiness they will speak.”—PSALM 145:11.
1. Chiefly, why has Jehovah endowed us with speech?
JEHOVAH had a purpose in endowing us with speech. (Exodus 4:11) Chiefly, it was that our lips might “bubble forth praise” to him. (Psalm 119:171, 172) As the psalmist David said: “All your works will laud you, O Jehovah, and your loyal ones will bless you. About the glory of your kingship they will talk, and about your mightiness they will speak, to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts and the glory of the splendor of his kingship. Your kingship is a kingship for all times indefinite, and your dominion is throughout all successive generations.”—Psalm 145:10-13.
2. We are impelled to “bubble forth praise” to God in what ways?
2 Anointed followers of Jesus Christ and their companions of the “great crowd” are eager to praise Jehovah, the “King of eternity.” (Revelation 7:9; 15:3) Through diligent study of the Bible with The Watchtower and other Christian publications as aids, we can acquire accurate knowledge about God that is like a spring of pure, refreshing, life-giving water. Thus, in our case ‘the well of wisdom becomes a torrent bubbling forth.’ (Proverbs 18:4) We are impelled to “bubble forth praise” in house-to-house witnessing and other forms of the field ministry. But there is also a Scriptural reason for informal witnessing.
3. Please cite an example of informal witnessing on the part of Jesus Christ.
3 The first preaching Jesus did after being anointed with holy spirit was at his lodging place, to which he invited John, Andrew, and apparently Peter. They spent the day there, obviously receiving quite a witness in that informal setting. (John 1:35-42) It was also under informal circumstances—“while passing along”—that Jesus saw Matthew at the tax office and got positive results when He said: “Be my follower.”—Matthew 9:9.
4. What did Jesus say when witnessing to a Samaritan woman, and this led to what?
4 Jesus was the best example of ‘a torrent of wisdom bubbling forth.’ Although he sat hungry and weary by Jacob’s fountain near Sychar, he witnessed to a Samaritan woman who came along to draw water. “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all,” said Jesus, “but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.” This informal witnessing led to Jesus’ preaching to a group that the woman stirred up to come together and hear what he had to say.—John 4:6-42.
5. Philip the evangelizer and the apostle Paul furnish what examples of informal witnessing?
5 Philip the evangelizer hailed a passing chariot and witnessed informally to its occupant, who was reading Isaiah’s prophecy. Invited up into the chariot, Philip explained “the good news about Jesus” to that Ethiopian eunuch, whose appreciative response resulted in his baptism. (Acts 8:26-38) When the apostle Paul’s prison bonds were loosed in a great earthquake at Philippi, he witnessed informally to the jailer. The result? “One and all, he and his were baptized without delay.”—Acts 16:19-34.
6. Informal witnessing likely played a part in what activities of Jesus’ disciples after Stephen was stoned?
6 Today, informal witnessing is one means of declaring the good news where our Christian work is under restrictions. Even though we are persecuted, however, our hearts impel us to talk about the glory of God’s kingship. After Stephen was stoned to death, most of the persecuted disciples were dispersed. Yet, they kept on declaring the good news, and doubtless informal witnessing was included in their Kingdom-preaching endeavors.—Acts 8:4-8; 11:19-21.
7. When confined, what did Paul do, this raising what question?
7 Informal witnessing is one way to talk about the glory of God’s kingship if we are imprisoned or are confined to our homes because of illness or infirmity. Paul was confined for two years under Roman guard. But instead of pining away, he sent for an audience and “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 28:16-31) What a fine example! If you are a shut-in witness of Jehovah, could you do something similar?
8. How effective was Paul’s informal witnessing?
8 As Paul’s guards shifted from time to time, different ones heard him talk to others about the glory of God’s kingship. We can be sure, though, that he also witnessed directly to those guards. So effective was this informal witnessing that Paul could write: “My affairs have turned out for the advancement of the good news rather than otherwise, so that my bonds have become public knowledge in association with Christ among all the Praetorian Guard and all the rest; and most of the brothers in the Lord, feeling confidence by reason of my prison bonds, are showing all the more courage to speak the word of God fearlessly.” (Philippians 1:12-14) Like Paul, if we should be imprisoned and deprived of opportunities for formal witnessing, we can still talk about God’s kingship. And what courage this will instill in our brothers!
9, 10. What secular evidence is there that early Christians witnessed informally?
9 Informal witnessing was so common among early Christians that even of later years it could be said: “From a Christian writer, probably in Carthage about 200, we get a picture . . . [that] concerns people who were highly educated. Three young lawyers, close friends, spend a day’s holiday at the seaside. Two are Christians, the third pagan. Their talk soon turns to religion . . . The account of the long argument ends, ‘We went home happy, all three. One was happy because he had come to the Christian faith, the others because they had led him to it.’ The writing does not pretend to be actual history; it is an Apology, by Minucius Felix. But it does represent the sort of thing that happened among the more privileged people.” (Church History 1—The First Advance: AD 29—500, by John Foster, pages 46, 48) Yes, and this account shows that informal witnessing had not died out among professing Christians of that time.
10 Concerning the early Christians, it has also been stated: “There was simply a constantly increasing number of individual Christian believers, who, wherever they went, whether on their regular business or driven by persecution, preached Christ . . . Of those who made their trade, their profession, their every-day occupation, of whatever sort, the means of extending their faith, there was a multitude.” (The Missionary Enterprise, by Edwin Munsell Bliss, page 14) Yes, early Kingdom proclaimers witnessed formally and informally.
Forethought and Preparation
11. What can we learn from Jesus about focusing attention on God’s truth?
11 Like Jesus and his early followers, we should witness both formally and informally. Doing so effectively requires forethought and preparation. To witness informally or give instruction, Jesus referred to children, food, clothing, birds, flowers, weather conditions, and occupations. (Matthew 4:18, 19; 6:25-34; 11:16-19; 13:3-8; 16:1-4) We too can use nearly any subject as a basis for focusing attention on God’s truth.
12. When planning a trip, how can one prepare for informal witnessing?
12 We can witness informally to people sitting in parks, standing in lines at shopping centers, and so forth. In Athens, Paul reasoned “every day in the marketplace with those who happened to be on hand.” (Acts 17:17) But we need to prepare for informal witnessing. For instance, are you planning a trip by plane, train, or bus? Then take along a Bible and some tracts, magazines, or brochures. Reading Christian publications on public transportation or elsewhere often sparks a conversation.
13. Illustrate how you might start witnessing to an elderly person while traveling.
13 A friendly introduction obviously comes first. The handbook Reasoning From the Scriptures suggests introductions for use in the field ministry, but some of these can be modified for use when witnessing informally. For example, if while traveling you are seated next to an elderly person, you might say: “My name is——. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about the purpose of life. Many people are so busy making a living that they hardly have time to think about life’s purpose. As we get up in years, though, we realize that life is rather short and may wonder: ‘Is this all that life is meant to be?’ Do you think that God has a purpose for our existence?” Allow for a response. Then you might speak about God’s purpose for mankind and comment on the grand things promised at Revelation 21:3, 4. For effective informal witnessing, you can also apply other fine points learned at congregation meetings and in Christian publications.
Good Results Can Be Expected
14. What success did one brother have in witnessing informally during a trip?
14 Like Jesus and his early followers, we can have success when witnessing informally. To illustrate: During a plane trip, one Witness spoke to a military officer who had been married for 20 years. That man’s wife was on drugs, had attempted suicide several times, and was about to leave him for a younger man. When the Witness spoke of the Scriptural help that he was receiving from The Watchtower and its companion journal Awake!, the officer subscribed and wanted to have the magazines sent to his wife. Other passengers heard what the Witness said. The result? Why, because of witnessing on that occasion, he obtained 22 subscriptions and placed 45 magazines and 21 books!
15, 16. (a) Give examples of successful informal witnessing to fellow workers. (b) What do these results suggest to you?
15 What about witnessing informally to fellow workers? One brother left copies of our journals in the washroom at his place of employment. A workmate read the magazines, contacted the brother, and subscribed for them. The man also accepted a Bible study and abandoned his debauched life, but his wife left the house every time God’s name was mentioned. When the man wanted to resign from the local church, the minister came to discuss this, finding only the man’s wife home. The minister’s lack of faith and his lies about Jehovah’s Witnesses shocked her, for she had seen her husband change for the better. She told the minister: “You can write a certificate of resignation for me and the children too!” In time, this man and his wife became baptized Witnesses.
16 Years ago, a brother now living in the United States witnessed informally to a coworker in England and took the young man to a film showing arranged by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Thirty-one years later, the brother received this letter: “I would like to tell you now that the witness you gave [the young man] paid off, for about two years later another brother spoke to him, placed magazines, and took him along to the local Kingdom Hall . . . He became a Witness, was baptized in 1959, and now is an elder in his congregation . . . After some 14 years his wife became a Witness and was baptized also. Two years later his daughter was baptized and is now a regular pioneer in North Derbyshire . . . From that bit of witnessing you did way back there in Ashford, that chap, his wife and daughter, a cousin and her daughter, husband and five children, and one child of the cousin’s other daughter all became Witnesses. . . . I would like to thank you, Ted, very much indeed, for I am the steel erector, and the story I have just related is my own story of your witness to me and how it all turned out.”
17. What opportunities for informal witnessing do younger servants of Jehovah have?
17 You younger servants of Jehovah also have a fine witnessing territory—your schoolmates and teachers. Do you give an informal witness in essays, oral reviews, and so forth? As source material for an essay, an Ecuadorean high school student with whom a Bible study was being conducted used the August 22, 1985, Awake! cover series “Hiroshima—Has Its Lesson Been Lost?” Her composition won the commendation of judges in an international contest and resulted in a free trip to Japan. Of course, the winning of contests is not the purpose of Christian publications. But this illustrates the value of such literature and the effectiveness of giving a witness to God’s praise in school.
18. What resulted from giving a brief witness to a person seeking to rent a room?
18 For financial reasons, a sister had to rent out a room. Upon receiving a telephone inquiry about it, she told the female caller that she was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and could not permit promiscuity in her home. Visitors would have to leave at an early hour, and male visitors would have to be visible at all times. The caller hesitated, then said: “I studied when I was a teenager, but it didn’t impress me. So I went to college.” Asked if she wished to resume her Bible study, she replied, “Yes.” In time, the caller, her mother, and her sister became dedicated servants of Jehovah—all because a sister witnessed informally.
19. How did informal witnessing turn out in the case of a woman in the Bahamas?
19 In the Bahamas a certain Catholic woman’s conscience bothered her because she had not been to church for five years. So one rainy Sunday morning, she set out on the road to church. Along came three Witnesses, who gave her a car ride—and a witness. When they got to the church, she wanted to hear more and remained with them as they drove on to pick up a Bible student. They again passed the church, yet she wanted to hear more and so went on to the Kingdom Hall. The public talk was on the very subject discussed in the car. A Bible study was started with the woman, who dismissed the man with whom she was living (the father of her four children), and she was baptized during a convention in Nassau in 1986. How happy she was that someone witnessed to her informally!
Keep Talking About God’s Kingship!
20. (a) How should informal witnessing be viewed in relation to the field ministry? (b) What is suggested if one is reluctant to witness informally?
20 Witnessing informally is no substitute for the regular field ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Preaching from house to house clearly is both Scriptural and effective. (Acts 5:42; 20:20, 21) Nevertheless, informal witnessing is fruitful, and Jehovah’s servants should share in it. Wherever there are people—relatives, fellow students, workmates, others—there are opportunities to talk about the glory of God’s kingship. So let neither fear nor timidity hinder you. (Proverbs 29:25; 2 Timothy 1:6-8) If you are reluctant to witness informally, why not pray as did Jesus’ persecuted disciples? They pleaded: “Jehovah, . . . grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness.” Was their prayer answered? Yes, for “the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were one and all filled with the holy spirit and were speaking the word of God with boldness.”—Acts 4:23-31.
21. What will motivate a person to give a witness under all circumstances?
21 So, then, cultivate a positive attitude toward informal witnessing. Let love for God move you to give a witness under all kinds of circumstances. Be enthusiastic, virtually bubbling with the truth at every opportunity. Indeed, keep talking about the glory of God’s kingship.
What Are Your Answers?
□ Informal witnessing has what Scriptural basis?
□ What are some ways to prepare for informal witnessing?
□ If we witness informally, what results may we expect?
□ How should we view informal witnessing in relation to regular field ministry?
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If you are a shut-in, do you witness as Paul did while in confinement?
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Advance preparation will enable us to witness informally in an effective way