Determined to Follow God’s Way of Life
The “God’s Way of Life” Conventions had so much to offer to those wanting to serve God! One delegate described the convention as “a wonderful period of instruction, encouragement, and enlightenment.”
ANOTHER delegate said that “there was so much to enjoy, to ponder, to take in.” Let us now consider the program itself.
Jesus Christ—The Way, the Truth, and the Life
This was the theme of the first day of the convention. (John 14:6) The first talk set out the purpose of our gathering together at the convention: to be further taught about the best possible way of life, God’s way of life. Jehovah teaches his people how to walk in his ways. He does this through the Bible, “the faithful and discreet slave,” and the holy spirit. (Matthew 24:45-47; Luke 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:16) What a privilege it is to be instructed by the Sovereign of the universe!
In keeping with the theme for the day, the keynote address was “Christ’s Ransom—God’s Way of Salvation.” In conforming to God’s way of life, it is vital to recognize the role of Jesus Christ in Jehovah’s purpose. The speaker said: “Without the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ, no man, regardless of his beliefs or works, could receive everlasting life from God.” He then quoted John 3:16, which states: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” Exercising faith in Christ’s ransom sacrifice requires that we come to an accurate knowledge of truth. It also involves dedicating our lives to Jehovah, symbolizing this by water baptism, and living in accord with the example that Jesus Christ provided.—1 Peter 2:21.
The afternoon session began with a talk entitled “The Way of Love Never Fails.” This included a verse-by-verse discussion of Paul’s stirring description of love, recorded at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. The audience was reminded that self-sacrificing love is an identifying feature of Christianity and that love of God and neighbor are essential features of worship approved by Jehovah.
Next came a three-part symposium entitled “Parents—Inculcate God’s Way in Your Children.” Parents can help their children to serve God by setting a good example in reading and studying his Word. They can inculcate the truth in their children through regular family study, tailoring it to meet the needs of the family. It is also important to help children become involved in congregation activities and the field ministry. Although raising God-fearing children in this wicked world is a challenge, doing so brings great rewards.
Following this symposium was the talk “Let Jehovah Shape You for Honorable Use.” Just as a potter shapes a clay vessel, so God shapes those who wish to serve him. (Romans 9:20, 21) He does this by providing counsel in his Word and through his organization. Jehovah will help us to use our abilities to the full if we make ourselves available, respond to opportunities, and are willing to let him direct our steps.
An exciting portion of the program now followed—“Service in the Missionary Field.” Currently serving throughout the earth in 148 countries are 2,390 Christian ministers who are considered to have missionary status. They set a splendid example of loyalty and zeal and are deeply grateful for their privilege of serving in foreign fields. During this part of the program at the international conventions, missionaries spoke of the challenges and joys of missionary life.
The final talk on the first day was entitled “Is There Life After Death?” This question has perplexed mankind for millenniums. People in every society have grappled with the subject. There is no shortage of supposed answers. They are as diverse as the customs and religions of those offering them. Yet, people need to learn the truth.
Consequently, the speaker announced the release of the colorful new 32-page brochure What Happens to Us When We Die? This brochure explains the origin of the teaching of the immortality of the soul and shows how the concept has become central to nearly all religions of the world today. In a clear and appealing way, it examines what the Bible says about the soul, why we die, and what happens to us at death. The brochure also explains what hope there is for the dead and for the living. What a blessing this publication will be to truth seekers everywhere!
Keep Strict Watch on How You Walk
What an appropriate theme this was for the convention’s second day! (Ephesians 5:15) The morning program focused on the preaching and disciple-making work. Following a discussion of the daily text, the program continued with the talk “Helping People Get on the Way to Life.” In carrying out this urgent work, it is important to have a positive attitude, recognizing that sharing the truth with others is both a privilege and a duty. In the first century C.E., most people rejected the Word of God. Despite opposition, however, there were those ‘who were rightly disposed for everlasting life and became believers.’ (Acts 13:48, 50; 14:1-5) The situation is similar today. Though many reject Bible truth, we continue to search for those who will respond favorably.—Matthew 10:11-13.
The next talk discussed the challenge of reaching others with the message of life. Since it is now harder to find people at home, we need to be thorough and resourceful if we are to reach as many as possible with the Kingdom message. In many lands, publishers of the good news achieve fine results through telephone witnessing and by preaching in business territory, thus reaching those who are otherwise difficult to contact.
The talk entitled “Teaching Disciples All That Christ Commanded” focused on the importance of becoming skillful in our ministry. Our teaching skills are sharpened as we learn from others and apply the excellent training received at congregation meetings. As we become skillful in our teaching, we find increased joy and satisfaction in our work of helping people to learn Bible truth.
The morning session ended with a talk on the meaning of dedication and baptism. One of the points made by the speaker was that if we trust in God completely and we earnestly endeavor to do his will, he will bless and sustain us. The wise man wrote: “In all your ways take notice of [God], and he himself will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6) The joyful baptism itself was a convention highlight demonstrating that many had started to conform to God’s way of life.
Following a lunch break, the afternoon session started with the talk “Serving With Endless Life in View.” God’s purpose to have obedient humans serve him forever on earth will be fulfilled. How fitting it is, then, that we focus our thinking, plans, and hopes on serving Jehovah with eternity in view! While we want to keep “the day of Jehovah” close in mind, it is vital to remember that our goal is to serve for eternity. (2 Peter 3:12) Not knowing the exact time when Jesus will execute God’s vengeance keeps us vigilant and gives us daily opportunities to prove that we serve Jehovah with unselfish motives.
The two talks that followed examined the 4th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Among the things considered was the blessing we have in “gifts in men,” spiritually qualified men who are appointed by holy spirit. These elders provide counsel and direction for our spiritual benefit. Paul’s inspired letter also urges Christians to put on “the new personality.” (Ephesians 4:8, 24) A godly personality includes such qualities as compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, long-suffering, and love.—Colossians 3:12-14.
Keeping strict watch on how we walk involves keeping ourselves unspotted from the world—the subject of the next talk. Balance is needed in choice of entertainment, social activities, and material pursuits. By applying the counsel at James 1:27 to keep unspotted from the world, we enjoy a clean standing with God and a good conscience. We can also live purposeful lives and will be blessed with peace, spiritual prosperity, and wonderful associates.
Then came a three-part symposium entitled “Youths—Follow God’s Way.” Knowing that God loves them and appreciates their efforts to uphold pure worship, young people should train their perceptive powers to serve him faithfully. One way to develop perceptive powers is to read God’s Word daily and meditate on it. If we do this, we can come to know Jehovah’s ways. (Psalm 119:9-11) Perceptive powers are also developed by accepting mature counsel from parents, elders, and the Society’s publications. Through the use of their perceptive powers in the right way, youths resist the preoccupation with material possessions, unclean speech, and excesses in recreation that characterize this world alienated from God. By following God’s way of life, young and old alike can enjoy true success.
The final talk of the day was “The Creator—His Personality and His Ways.” After pointing out that billions of people do not know the Creator, the speaker said: “Real meaning in life relates to knowing the Creator, our personal God; recognizing his personality; and cooperating with his ways. . . . There are facts about our world and about us that you can use to help people to accept the Creator and to find meaning in connection with him.” The speaker then discussed evidence pointing to the existence of a wise and loving Creator. The talk climaxed with the release of a new book—Is There a Creator Who Cares About You?
“This Is the Way. Walk in It”
This was the theme of the convention’s third day. (Isaiah 30:21) The program began with an exciting symposium of three talks, focusing on Ezekiel’s temple vision. This vision has great meaning for God’s people today, since it relates to pure worship in our time. A key to understanding the vision is this: Jehovah’s great spiritual temple represents his arrangement for pure worship. As the features of the vision were discussed, listeners pondered their activity in support of the work done by loving overseers of the anointed remnant and by the prospective members of the chieftain class.
Later in the morning, there was a colorful Bible drama with a cast of costumed participants. The drama was entitled “Families—Make Daily Bible Reading Your Way of Life!” It portrayed the faith and courage of the three Hebrews who refused to bow down to the golden image erected by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The object of the drama was to demonstrate that not only is the Bible a book of ancient history but its counsel is truly beneficial to both young ones and adults today.
The afternoon session was the time for the public talk “The Only Way to Everlasting Life.” After tracing the history of mankind’s fall into sin and death, the speaker concluded with these thought-provoking words: “The Bible theme text for this convention day has been Isaiah chapter 30, verse 21, which says: ‘Your own ears will hear a word behind you saying: “This is the way. Walk in it, you people,” in case you people should go to the right or in case you should go to the left.’ How do we hear this voice? It is by listening to God’s Word, the Holy Bible, and by following the direction that our Grand Instructor, Jehovah God, provides through it and through his modern-day Christian organization. Indeed, to do this is the only way to everlasting life.”
Following a summary of the Watchtower study article for the week came the final talk, entitled “Keep On Walking in Jehovah’s Way.” In part, it reviewed the main points of the program. The speaker then presented a resolution expressing determination to continue living in God’s way.
The resolution concluded with these stirring words: “We are convinced that living by Scriptural principles, counsel, and admonition makes for the best way of life today and lays a fine foundation for the future, so that we may get a firm hold on the real life. Above all, we make this resolution because we love Jehovah God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength!” All in attendance affirmed their agreement with a resounding aye!
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Is There a Creator Who Cares About You?
The new book bearing this title presents convincing evidence of the existence of the Creator, Jehovah, and discusses his qualities. It is designed particularly for those who are well educated in secular matters but who do not believe in God. This 192-page book will also enhance the faith of individuals who already believe in God, building appreciation for his personality and ways.
Is There a Creator Who Cares About You? does not assume that the reader believes in God. Rather, it discusses how recent scientific discoveries and concepts testify to the existence of the Creator. Among the chapters are those entitled “What Can Add Meaning to Your Life?,” “How Did Our Universe Get Here?—The Controversy,” and “How Unique You Are!” Other chapters consider why we can be sure that the Bible is divinely inspired. The new book also gives an overall view of the Bible, which reveals the Creator’s personality and ways. Not only does the book discuss why God has allowed so much suffering but it also explains how he will end it forever.
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Many were baptized
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The new brochure was released by A. D. Schroeder, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses
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A thrilling drama encouraged daily Bible reading