Teachers of God’s Word Urged to Fulfill Their Commission
HUNDREDS of thousands of teachers convened for instruction in recent months. Starting last May, they gathered at hundreds of “Teachers of God’s Word” District Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the world. The delegates were urged to teach themselves, to become even better qualified, and to fulfill their commission as teachers.
Did you attend one of these conventions? If so, you no doubt appreciated the fine spiritual food that was dispensed at these gatherings for worship of the true God, Jehovah. Why not join us now in reviewing the instructive program of the convention?
Day One—Inspired Scriptures Beneficial for Teaching
The convention chairman warmly welcomed the delegates with the talk “Be Instructed, You Teachers of God’s Word.” Learning from Jehovah, the “Grand Instructor,” Jesus Christ became the Great Teacher. (Isaiah 30:20; Matthew 19:16) If we are to progress as teachers of God’s Word, we too must be instructed by Jehovah.
Next came the part “Kingdom Teaching Bears Fine Fruitage.” Through interviews with experienced teachers of God’s Word, the joys and blessings of disciple-making were highlighted.
A motivating talk entitled “Stirred by ‘the Magnificent Things of God’” followed. In the first century, “magnificent things” involving God’s Kingdom roused people to action. (Acts 2:11) We too can stir people to action by declaring such “magnificent things” as Scriptural teachings about the ransom, the resurrection, and the new covenant.
The next talk encouraged all to “Find Delight in Jehovah’s Righteousness.” (Psalm 35:27) We are helped to pursue righteousness by learning to love what is righteous and hate what is bad, by studying the Bible, by actively resisting spiritually harmful influences, and by cultivating humility. Such steps will help to protect us from unwholesome associations, from the world’s materialistic values, and from immoral and violent entertainment.
The keynote address, entitled “Completely Equipped as Teachers of God’s Word,” reminded us that Jehovah makes us his qualified ministers by means of his Word, his holy spirit, and his earthly organization. With regard to the use of God’s Word, the speaker admonished us: “Our goal is to lift the Bible’s message off the printed page and impress it upon the hearts of our listeners.”
The first symposium of the convention was entitled “Teaching Ourselves While Teaching Others.” The opening part stressed that we should observe the same high standard of Christian morality that we teach to others. The next part admonished us to ‘handle the word of the truth aright.’ (2 Timothy 2:15) To teach ourselves, regular and diligent personal study of the Bible is vital, no matter how long we have served God. The final part of the symposium showed that the Devil is watching us, looking for such attitudes as pride, an independent spirit, a sense of self-importance, jealousy, envy, bitterness, resentment, and faultfinding. However, if we vigorously oppose the Devil, he will flee from us. In order to oppose him, we need to draw close to God.—James 4:7, 8.
The timely talk “Abhor the Worldly Plague of Pornography” showed us how to cope with that debasing threat to our spirituality. The prophet Habakkuk said of Jehovah: “You are too pure in eyes to see what is bad; and to look on trouble you are not able.” (Habakkuk 1:13) We should “abhor what is wicked.” (Romans 12:9) Parents were admonished to monitor their children’s Internet use and television viewing. Those who are drawn to pornography, the speaker said, should get help from a spiritually mature friend. It would also be helpful to meditate on and commit to memory such scriptures as Psalm 97:10; Matthew 5:28; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Ephesians 5:3, 12; Colossians 3:5; and 1 Thessalonians 4:4, 5.
The next talk, “Let the Peace of God Safeguard You,” comforted us with the assurance that when we are weighed down by anxiety, we can throw our burden upon Jehovah. (Psalm 55:22) If we pour our hearts out in prayer, Jehovah will give us “the peace of God,” the calmness and inner tranquillity that result from our precious relationship with him.—Philippians 4:6, 7.
The first day ended on an especially happy note with the talk “Jehovah Beautifies His People With Light,” which explained the fulfillment of Isaiah chapter 60. Amid the world’s present darkness, “foreigners”—the emerging great crowd of sheeplike ones—enjoy Jehovah’s light together with the anointed Christians. Referring to verses 19 and 20, the speaker explained: “Jehovah will not ‘set’ like the sun or ‘wane’ like the moon. He will continue to beautify his people by shedding light upon them. What a wonderful assurance that is for us as we live through the last days of this bedarkened world!” At the conclusion of the talk, the speaker announced the release of the book Isaiah’s Prophecy—Light for All Mankind, Volume Two. Have you finished reading this new publication?
Day Two—Adequately Qualified to Teach Others
Following the discussion of the day’s text on the second day, we listened with keen interest to the convention’s second symposium, “Ministers Through Whom Others Become Believers.” The speakers on this three-part symposium highlighted each of the three stages involved in helping people to become believers—spreading the Kingdom message, cultivating interest found, and teaching interested ones to observe what Christ commanded. With the help of interviews and reenactments, we were able to see specifically how we can teach others to become disciples.
The next part was on the theme “Add to Your Endurance Godly Devotion.” The speaker showed that what ultimately counts is our ‘enduring to the end.’ (Matthew 24:13) We should use all of God’s provisions—prayer, personal study, meetings, and the ministry—to build godly devotion. We need to prevent worldly desires and activities from encroaching on or destroying our godly devotion.
How can people who are toiling and loaded down find refreshment today? The talk “Finding Refreshment Under Christ’s Yoke” answered that question. Jesus kindly invited his followers to come under his yoke and to learn from him. (Matthew 11:28-30) We can come under Jesus’ yoke by closely following his example of living a simple, balanced life. The main points of this presentation were enhanced by interviews with those who have simplified their lives.
One of the highlights of large gatherings of Jehovah’s Witnesses is the baptism of newly dedicated servants of God. The brother delivering the discourse “Baptism Leads to Greater Teaching Privileges” warmly welcomed the baptismal candidates and invited them to have a share in greater privileges of service. Newly baptized teachers of God’s Word who meet Scriptural qualifications can reach out for various responsibilities in the congregation.
“Imitate the Great Teacher” was the title of the first talk that afternoon. For aeons in heaven, Jesus carefully observed and imitated his Father, thus becoming the Great Teacher. While on earth, he used effective teaching techniques, such as penetrating questions and simple but vivid illustrations. Jesus based his teaching on God’s Word and spoke with enthusiasm, warmth, and authority. Were we not moved to imitate the Great Teacher?
Another stirring talk, “Are You Willing to Serve Others?,” encouraged us to imitate Jesus’ example in serving other people. (John 13:12-15) The speaker directly urged qualified men to be like Timothy in seizing opportunities to assist others. (Philippians 2:20, 21) Parents were encouraged to imitate Elkanah and Hannah in helping their children to pursue the full-time ministry. And young ones were admonished to imitate the examples of Jesus Christ and young Timothy by willingly giving of themselves. (1 Peter 2:21) We were also moved by the words of those who have taken advantage of opportunities to serve others.
The theme of the third symposium was “Benefit More Fully From Theocratic Education.” The first speaker emphasized the importance of increasing our attention span. To accomplish that goal, we can start with short personal study sessions and try to lengthen them. He also encouraged the audience to look up scriptures and to take notes during the meetings. The second speaker alerted us to the need for holding fast to “the pattern of healthful words.” (2 Timothy 1:13, 14) To protect ourselves from immoral media presentations, human philosophies, higher criticism, and apostate teachings, we must buy out time for personal study and for meeting attendance. (Ephesians 5:15, 16) The final speaker of the symposium highlighted the need for practicing the things learned so that we can benefit fully from theocratic education.—Philippians 4:9.
How excited we were to hear the talk “New Provisions for Our Spiritual Advancement”! We rejoiced to learn that a new book entitled Benefit From Theocratic Ministry School Education will be published soon. Our expectations ran high as the speaker outlined its contents. Regarding the book’s section containing a number of speech counsel points, he said: “This new textbook does not take a secular approach to presenting the 53 aspects of good reading, speaking, and teaching. The approach is based on Scriptural principles.” The book will show how the prophets, Jesus, and his disciples demonstrated good teaching skills. Yes, this textbook and new features of the Theocratic Ministry School will certainly assist us to be better teachers of God’s Word.
Day Three—Be Teachers in View of the Time
After a discussion of the day’s text on the final day, all paid keen attention to the convention’s last symposium, “Malachi’s Prophecy Prepares Us for Jehovah’s Day.” Malachi prophesied approximately a hundred years after the Jews returned from Babylon. They had again drifted into apostasy and wickedness, dishonoring Jehovah’s name by ignoring his righteous laws and by bringing blind, lame, and sick animals for sacrifice. Moreover, they were divorcing the wives of their youth, possibly to marry foreign women.
The first chapter of Malachi’s prophecy assures us of Jehovah’s love for his people. It highlights the need for having reverential fear of God as well as appreciation for sacred things. Jehovah expects us to give him our best, worshiping him out of unselfish love. Our sacred service should not be a mere formality, and we must render an account to God.
Applying the second chapter of Malachi to our day, the second symposium speaker asked: “Are we personally alert that ‘no unrighteousness be found on our lips’?” (Malachi 2:6) Those taking the lead in teaching should be sure that what they say is soundly based on God’s Word. We should hate such treachery as obtaining unjust divorces.—Malachi 2:14-16.
Speaking on the theme “Who Will Survive the Day of Jehovah?” the final speaker of the symposium helped to prepare us for Jehovah’s day. “How comforting it is for Jehovah’s servants to know that Malachi chapter 3, verse 17, is finding its major fulfillment upon them!” exclaimed the speaker. “It says: ‘“They will certainly become mine,” Jehovah of armies has said, “at the day when I am producing a special property. And I will show compassion upon them, just as a man shows compassion upon his son who is serving him.”’”
Another highlight of the convention was the full-costume drama “Respect Jehovah’s Authority,” which portrayed the sons of Korah. Despite their father’s rebellious attitude toward Moses and Aaron, they remained loyal to Jehovah and his representatives. While Korah and his followers perished, Korah’s sons survived. The following talk, “Loyally Submit to Godly Authority,” applied the content of the drama to each of us. The speaker warned of six areas wherein Korah and his followers failed: not loyally supporting Jehovah’s authority; letting pride, ambition, and jealousy get the best of them; focusing on the imperfections of those appointed by Jehovah; developing a complaining attitude; becoming dissatisfied with their privileges of service; and letting friendship or family ties take precedence over loyalty to Jehovah.
“Who Are Teaching All Nations the Truth?” was the theme of the public address. The truth that was discussed was, not truth in general, but the truth about Jehovah’s purpose to which Jesus Christ bore witness. The speaker considered the truth relating to beliefs, the truth pertaining to manner of worship, and the truth respecting personal conduct. By this comparison of the first-century Christians with Jehovah’s Witnesses today, our conviction that ‘God is really among us’ was indeed strengthened.—1 Corinthians 14:25.
After a summary of the Watchtower study article for the week, all teachers of God’s word in attendance were moved to action through the concluding talk, “Urgently Fulfilling Our Teaching Commission.” A brief review of the program emphasized the importance of using the Scriptures in teaching, the ways in which we can become qualified teachers, and the need to have confidence in the truth that we teach others. The speaker admonished us to make ‘our advancement manifest’ and to ‘pay constant attention to ourselves and to our teaching.’—1 Timothy 4:15, 16.
What a spiritual feast we enjoyed at the “Teachers of God’s Word” District Convention! May we imitate our Grand Instructor, Jehovah, and our Great Teacher, Jesus Christ, in teaching others the word of God.
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New Publications To Meet Special Needs
Delegates to the “Teachers of God’s Word” District Convention enthusiastically received two publications that should be very helpful in teaching Scriptural truth to people in certain parts of the world. The tract entitled Do You Have an Immortal Spirit? will be a handy tool in striking up conversations with those who live in lands where local languages make no distinction between “soul” and “spirit.” The new tract clearly shows that a spirit force is different from a spirit creature and that people do not become spirit creatures when they die.
The brochure A Satisfying Life—How to Attain It was released at the end of the convention’s second day. This brochure was prepared for the purpose of starting Bible studies with those who have no concept of a Creator having personality and of a divinely inspired book. Have you been able to use these new publications in your ministry?
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In Milan, Italy, and at conventions around the world, hundreds were baptized
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Audiences were moved by the drama “Respect Jehovah’s Authority”