“Not Ashamed of the Good News”
“I am not ashamed of the good news; it is, in fact, God’s power for salvation to everyone having faith.”—ROMANS 1:16.
1. How is good news usually received, but how would faithless people of the world view the good news of God’s Kingdom?
WHAT appears to one person to be good news may not be viewed as good news by another. Ordinarily, a bearer of good news is received with a hearty welcome, and an ear eager to hear the news would be turned toward him. However, the Bible foretold that faithless people of the world would not view the good news of God’s Kingdom and its message of salvation as delightsome.—Compare 2 Corinthians 2:15, 16.
2. What did the apostle Paul say about the good news he declared, and why is the message he declared still good news today?
2 The apostle Paul was one sent to bear good news to the public. How did he feel about his commission? He said: “There is eagerness on my part to declare the good news also to you there in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the good news.” (Romans 1:15, 16) For news to be still good today, nearly 2,000 years after the apostle Paul wrote the Christians back there in Rome, it would really have to be long-lasting good news. It is, in fact, “everlasting good news.”—Revelation 14:6.
3, 4. Why did the apostle Paul say that he was not ashamed of the good news?
3 Why did the apostle Paul say that he was not ashamed of the good news? Why could he have been ashamed of it? Because it was not a popular message, for it had to do with a man who had been impaled on a torture stake in the manner of a despised criminal, to all outward appearances putting him in a very bad light indeed. For three and a half years, this man had gone up and down Palestine with the good news and had met up with stiff opposition from the Jews, especially the religious leaders. And now Paul, bearing the name of that scorned man, was facing similar hostility.—Matthew 9:35; John 11:46-48, 53; Acts 9:15, 20, 23.
4 Because of such opposition, Paul and his fellow disciples of Jesus Christ might have been viewed as having something of which to be ashamed. Indeed, Paul now adhered to something that he himself formerly looked upon as being shameful. He had personally shared in heaping reproach upon the followers of Jesus Christ. (Acts 26:9-11) But he had ceased that course of action. As a result, he, along with others who became Christians, suffered violent persecution.—Acts 11:26.
5. How did Paul explain his statement about not being ashamed of the good news?
5 If a person allowed himself to feel shame at being a follower of Jesus Christ, he would be taking a human viewpoint of things. The apostle Paul was not like that. Rather, in explanation of his not feeling ashamed of the good news that he preached, he said: “It is, in fact, God’s power for salvation to everyone having faith.” (Romans 1:16) The power of God is no cause for shame if it is operative through a disciple of Jesus for the accomplishing of the praiseworthy purpose of the glorious God of whom Jesus Christ himself was a worshiper and a praiser.—Compare 1 Corinthians 1:18; 9:22, 23.
Good News Proclaimed Worldwide
6, 7. (a) What responsibility regarding the good news are Jehovah’s Witnesses endeavoring to live up to, and with what result? (b) Though we never want to let fear hold us back from giving a witness, what may be necessary at times? (See footnote.)
6 Like Paul, the Witnesses of Jehovah today are disciples of His glorified Son, Jesus Christ. To these Witnesses of his, Jehovah has entrusted this treasure of “the glorious good news.” (1 Timothy 1:11) Jehovah’s Witnesses have not failed to live up to this heavy responsibility, and they are urged not to be ashamed of it. (2 Timothy 1:8) It is vital never to let fear or timidity hold us back from giving a witness and identifying ourselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses.*
7 Such bold and fearless witnessing has resulted in the name of the Most High God being proclaimed throughout the earth and in the preaching of the good news of his Kingdom on a worldwide scale. The Son of God said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come,” and never could his prediction be allowed to experience failure. (Matthew 24:14) The good news is now being preached in over 210 lands, and the end of this preaching work has not yet been reached. Unashamed of the good news and facing the future with courage, we pray as did the early disciples of Jesus Christ: “And now, Jehovah, . . . grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness.”—Acts 4:29.
8. Why should Jehovah’s Witnesses not be discouraged by opposition in all the nations of the earth?
8 While it is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses are hated and opposed in all the nations of the earth, this is in fulfillment of what was foretold to be an identifying mark of genuine worshipers of the one living and true God. (John 15:20, 21; 2 Timothy 3:12) So instead of being discouraged and disheartened by this, proclaimers of the good news are reassured that they have divine approval and belong to the approved organization of the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah.
9. Why does it not matter that we have the whole world against us?
9 Never forget: We have the backing of the Most High God of all the universe. So, what does it matter if the world with all its religious sects and political parties is against us? God’s only-begotten Son had the whole world against him, and we are not ashamed to be found in the same situation. As he said to his apostles: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on this account the world hates you.”—John 15:18, 19.
10. From what source has come much of the persecution of the Witnesses, and why are they not ashamed of it?
10 Jehovah’s Witnesses have thus endured persecution all around the world but most prominently in those nations that make up so-called Christendom. Such persecution by Christendom does not prove the Witnesses to be non-Christians. Rather, it substantiates their claim to being true Christians, Witnesses of the God and Father of Jesus Christ, namely, Jehovah. Because they are God’s Witnesses, they are not ashamed when they suffer persecution on such religious grounds. Therefore, the admonition of the apostle Paul to the first-century Christians not to be ashamed aptly applies to Jehovah’s Witnesses now.—See Philippians 1:27-29.
Best News That Could Be Proclaimed
11. By taking the name Jehovah’s Witnesses, why do we not cease to be followers of Jesus Christ?
11 Jehovah’s Witnesses have courageously accepted their name in fulfillment of Jehovah’s promise to his covenant people at Isaiah 43:10. This does not mean, however, that they no longer follow Jesus Christ. Jesus is their Leader, the one whose pattern they follow. He is himself one of Jehovah’s witnesses. In fact, he is the leading Witness of Jehovah.—1 Timothy 6:13; Revelation 1:5.
12. What kind of news do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach worldwide, and why?
12 The message that these Witnesses of Jehovah preach worldwide is the best news that could ever be proclaimed. No government could be better for mankind than the Messianic Kingdom that Jehovah has established to rule over the world of humankind, to redeem which he sent his only-begotten Son. (Isaiah 9:6, 7) The inhabitants of the earth to whom the Kingdom good news is being preached are being given the opportunity to accept it and to prove worthy of the gift of everlasting life in human perfection on a paradise earth.
13. Why can we be certain that the Messianic Kingdom government will be the very best, and what do the Witnesses unashamedly recommend?
13 Surely, if Jesus was willing to undergo a cruel death in order to redeem those who were to become his subjects, he would be certain to give them no other government than the very best. We recommend to every human creature on earth: Become a faithful, obedient subject of that government. We are not ashamed of the government that we sincerely recommend to all mankind. We do not shrink back from preaching the Kingdom, though this course may bring us persecution. Like the apostle Paul, each one of us says: “I am not ashamed of the good news.”
14. According to Jesus, how widespread would Kingdom preaching be in our day?
14 Jesus predicted that the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom would be on a worldwide scale, and this broad, sweeping prophecy was fitting for such a message. (Mark 13:10) He was not reluctant to foretell the preaching of Jehovah’s Kingdom to the farthest extent—yes, to the very ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Jesus knew that anywhere people could be found, his faithful followers would make a sincere effort to reach them with the good news of the Kingdom.
15, 16. (a) Who deserve to be reached with the good news? (b) Why will the preaching work be accomplished despite persecution by the Devil’s organization?
15 The inhabitants of the earth today number into the thousands of millions and are spread over all the continents and major islands of the oceans. Yet, no part of the inhabited earth has been too far off for Jehovah’s Witnesses to make an endeavor to reach it with the good news. All the inhabited earth is the symbolic footstool of Jehovah God. (Isaiah 66:1) Human creatures occupying any part of his footstool deserve to be reached by this message of salvation.
16 The good news today is happifying news of a royal government that has already been established in the hands of the Messiah. Jesus knew that in spite of the most vicious persecution on the part of the Devil’s organization, God’s spirit would motivate the true followers of the Messiah to go to the very limit in order that “this good news of the kingdom” as an established fact might be “preached in all the inhabited earth.”—Matthew 24:14.
Unashamed of Jesus Christ and Jehovah
17. (a) Of what are true worshipers not ashamed? (b) What rule did Jesus set forth at Mark 8:38, and what is its significance?
17 The Most High God was not reluctant to give himself a name, Jehovah; nor should his faithful worshipers be ashamed of that name. True worshipers are happy to be known and recognized as those who give undivided worship and obedience to him. Concerning himself, Jesus set forth the rule, or principle, at Mark 8:38: “Whoever becomes ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man will also be ashamed of him when he arrives in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Similarly, whoever would become ashamed of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah would rightly be ashamed of such one. And any creature of whom Jehovah would become ashamed because of his unfaithful course of action would not deserve to enjoy existence in any part of God’s realm in heaven or on earth.—Luke 9:26.
18. (a) Why should Jesus’ words at Matthew 10:32, 33 be ingrained in our hearts and minds? (b) What happens to those who disown Jesus and Jehovah out of fear of men? (Give examples based on footnote.)
18 Let the following words of Jesus Christ be ingrained in our hearts and minds: “Everyone, then, that confesses union with me before men, I will also confess union with him before my Father who is in the heavens; but whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens.” (Matthew 10:32, 33; Luke 12:8, 9) On the same basis, whoever would disown the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ would be disowned by Him. He would not be counted worthy to be a member of the household of which Jesus Christ is the chief Son. He would therefore be destroyed at God’s appointed time.*
19, 20. (a) Why will those who have prayed for Jehovah’s name to be sanctified have nothing of which to be ashamed? (b) What have the fearless Kingdom proclaimers accomplished, and with what backing?
19 The model prayer that Jesus taught his disciples will be answered: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) When that happens, Jesus’ loving disciples will have nothing of which to be ashamed. Jehovah’s name will be revered, sanctified, not only by millions now living who need never die but also by thousands of millions of humankind whom he will call forth from their graves during his thousand-year Kingdom rule. They will have the opportunity of living on a paradise earth forever.
20 Without shame, these fearless proclaimers of the good news of the Kingdom have been able to accomplish a global witness despite worldwide opposition because they have superhuman power behind them—the backing of the heavenly angels. Hence, Jehovah’s Witnesses “fear God and give him glory.”—Revelation 14:6, 7.
Unashamed to Fear God and Give Him Glory
21. What have Jehovah’s Witnesses not been ashamed to do, and with what result?
21 Jehovah’s Witnesses have proved themselves to be unashamed to fear God and give him glory, even using his own personal name, Jehovah. This has resulted in unspeakable blessings for them. These blessings have come in faithful fulfillment of the promises of the Most High God. What a vindication this has been of him as the one living and true God, the Sovereign of the universe!
22. Why will Jehovah’s Witnesses face vicious persecution, but what joy will be theirs?
22 In the oncoming future, the secular governments will turn against religious rulerships and will wipe all of them—including Christendom—out of existence. (Revelation 17:16, 17) Consequently, Jehovah’s Witnesses will face a period of vicious persecution by the worldly elements. They would not be able to endure and survive if the everlasting God was not with them. But he is, and so they will have the joy of seeing all such anti-Christian, anti-Jehovah enemies wiped out of existence by the God whom the Witnesses undeviatingly worship. They will not suffer the shame of being exposed and destroyed as enemies of true theocracy but will experience unspeakable joy at singing to Jehovah: “Even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God.”—Psalm 90:2.
23. Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses have nothing of which to be ashamed, and what will result?
23 They will glory in God, the Father of Jesus Christ, by means of whom the human family is redeemed to enjoy everlasting life in human perfection and happiness on a paradise earth. How powerful a God Jehovah has shown himself to be by means of Christ Jesus! How beautifully Jehovah has displayed himself to be a wise and loving user, not abuser, of his almighty power! Accordingly, we have nothing of which to be ashamed in connection with him or his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We are not ashamed to be proclaimers of the glorious good news, which sets forth the all-conquering power of Jehovah God by means of Christ Jesus, who said in the closing hours of his earthly life: “Take courage! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33) In taking this course, let us always follow the example of the apostle Paul, who was never ashamed of the good news. If we do that, Almighty God will not become ashamed of us.
Though we do not want to be ashamed to own up to the fact that we are Witnesses, there are times when we have to be “cautious as serpents.” (Matthew 10:16) The Witnesses in Nazi Germany knew that there was a time to identify themselves and a time not to do so.—Compare Acts 9:23-25.
Time and again, those who disowned Jesus and Jehovah out of fear of men have found no favor from the world. For example, see The Watchtower of May 1, 1989, page 12; 1982 Yearbook, page 168; 1977 Yearbook, pages 174-6; 1974 Yearbook, pages 149-50, 177-8. On the other hand, even determined opposers of the good news anticipate that the Witnesses will not disown Jesus and Jehovah. (1989 Yearbook, pages 116-18) See also Matthew 10:39 and Luke 12:4.
Questions in Summary
□ Like the apostle Paul, what attitude should we have with respect to declaring the good news, and why?
□ Why is the message that Jehovah’s Witnesses proclaim the best news ever?
□ What warning did Jesus give about anyone who would become ashamed of him upon his arrival in Kingdom glory?
□ What happens to those who disown Jesus and Jehovah?
□ What have the proclaimers of the good news been able to accomplish without shame, and why?