“Jehovah founded the earth in wisdom. He solidly established the heavens in discernment.”—PROV. 3:19.
1, 2. (a) How do some react to the thought that God has an organization? (b) What will we discuss in this article?
DOES God have an organization? “You don’t need an organization to direct you,” some may say. “All you need is a personal relationship with God.” Is that viewpoint correct? What do the facts indicate?
2 In this article, we will discuss evidence that Jehovah, the God of order, is the incomparable Organizer. We will also consider how we should respond to the direction we receive from Jehovah’s organization. (1 Cor. 14:33, 40) In the first century C.E. and in our day, the Scriptures have helped the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization to do the far-reaching work of preaching the good news. Because we stick to the Bible and comply with organizational instructions, we promote the cleanness, peace, and unity of the entire congregation.
JEHOVAH, THE INCOMPARABLE ORGANIZER
3. What convinces you that Jehovah is the incomparable Organizer?
3 Creation proves that God is the incomparable Organizer. “Jehovah founded the earth in wisdom,” says the Bible. “He solidly established the heavens in discernment.” (Prov. 3:19) We know only “the fringes of [God’s] ways,” and “only a faint whisper has been heard of him.” (Job 26:14) Yet, the little we know about planets, stars, and galaxies moves us to acknowledge that these celestial bodies are superbly organized. (Ps. 8:3, 4) Galaxies consist of millions of stars, all moving in space in an orderly way. Why, planets in our solar system travel in orbits around the sun as though they were humbly obeying traffic laws! Surely the mind-boggling order evident in the universe helps us to see that Jehovah, who “skillfully made the heavens” and the earth, deserves our praise, loyalty, and worship.—Ps. 136:1, 5-9.
4. Why has science failed to answer many questions?
4 Science has revealed much about the universe and our earthly home, and it has brought us advantages in various aspects of life. But there are many questions science has not been able to answer. For instance, astronomers cannot tell us exactly how the universe came into existence or why we are on planet Earth with its abundance of life. Also, people in general cannot explain why mankind has a strong desire to live forever. (Eccl. 3:11) Why are there so many important but unanswered questions? Partly because numerous scientists and others tend to promote godless thinking and endorse the theory of evolution. But in his own Book, Jehovah answers questions weighing on the hearts of people everywhere.
5. In what ways are we dependent on the laws of nature?
5 We are dependent on the consistent and reliable laws of nature established by Jehovah. Electricians, plumbers, engineers, pilots, surgeons—all of them depend on these laws in order to do their work. For instance, surgeons count on the fact that the human anatomy is basically consistent. So a surgeon does not have to search for a patient’s heart. And all of us respect the laws of nature. Trying to defy the law of gravity might cost us our life!
ORGANIZED BY GOD
6. Why should we expect Jehovah’s worshippers to be organized?
6 The universe truly is a marvel of organization. Surely, then, we should expect that Jehovah wants his worshippers to be well-organized. In fact, to that end God has provided the Bible for our guidance. Living without the help of God’s organization and his standards would result in unhappiness and misery.
7. What shows that the Bible is a well-organized book?
7 The Bible is no mere collection of unrelated Jewish and Christian literature. Rather, it is a well-organized book—a divinely inspired masterpiece. The individual books of the Bible are interconnected. Interwoven from Genesis to Revelation is the Bible’s central theme—the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty and the fulfillment of his purpose for the earth by means of his Kingdom under Christ, the promised “offspring.”—Read Genesis 3:15; Matthew 6:10; Revelation 11:15.
8. Why can we say that the Israelites were well-organized?
8 The people of ancient Israel were a model of organization. Under the Mosaic Law, for example, there were “women who were organized to serve at the entrance of the tent of meeting.” (Ex. 38:8) The moving of the Israelite camp and the tabernacle took place in an orderly way. Later, King David organized the Levites and the priests into effective divisions. (1 Chron. 23:1-6; 24:1-3) And when they obeyed Jehovah, the Israelites were blessed with order, peace, and unity.—Deut. 11:26, 27; 28:1-14.
9. What shows that the first-century Christian congregation was organized?
9 The first-century Christian congregation was organized, and it benefited from the direction of the governing body, initially made up of the apostles. (Acts 6:1-6) Later, additional brothers were added to that governing body. (Acts 15:6) Counsel and instructions were also provided by means of inspired letters written by men who were members of or closely associated with the first-century governing body. (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9) How did the congregations benefit from following the direction of the governing body?
10. What resulted when the early congregations observed the decrees decided on by the governing body? (See opening picture.)
10 Read Acts 16:4, 5. Brothers traveling on behalf of the governing body shared “the decrees that had been decided on by the apostles and the elders who were in Jerusalem.” As congregations observed those decrees, they “continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number day by day.” Does this Bible account contain a lesson that we are wise to apply within God’s organization today?
DO YOU FOLLOW DIRECTION?
11. How should appointed men respond to the direction they receive from God’s organization?
11 What should members of Branch Committees or Country Committees, circuit overseers, and congregation elders do when they receive direction from God’s organization today? Jehovah’s own Book directs all of us to be obedient and submissive. (Deut. 30:16; Heb. 13:7, 17) A critical or rebellious spirit has no place in God’s organization, for such an attitude could disrupt our loving, peaceful, and united congregations. Of course, no loyal Christian would want to display a disrespectful and disloyal spirit like that of Diotrephes. (Read 3 John 9, 10.) We might well ask ourselves: ‘Do I contribute to the spirituality of those around me? Am I quick to accept and support the direction given by the brothers taking the lead?’
12. What adjustment has been made in how elders and ministerial servants are appointed?
12 Consider a recent decision made by the Governing Body. “Questions From Readers” in The Watchtower of November 15, 2014, outlined an adjustment in how elders and ministerial servants are appointed. The article noted that the first-century governing body authorized traveling overseers to make such appointments. In line with that pattern, since September 1, 2014, circuit overseers have been appointing elders and ministerial servants. The circuit overseer tries to get to know the men who are recommended and to work with them in the field service if possible. He also observes the family of the brother under consideration. (1 Tim. 3:4, 5) The body of elders and the circuit overseer carefully consider the Scriptural qualifications for ministerial servants and elders.—1 Tim. 3:1-10, 12, 13; 1 Pet. 5:1-3.
13. How can we show our support for the direction we receive from the elders?
13 We need to follow the Bible-based direction we receive from the elders. These loyal shepherds within God’s organization are guided by “wholesome,” or “healthful; beneficial,” instruction found in God’s own Book. (1 Tim. 6:3; ftn.) Recall Paul’s counsel regarding disorderly ones in the congregation. Some individuals were ‘not working at all but were meddling with what did not concern them.’ They were evidently admonished by the elders but persisted in disregarding the counsel. How was the congregation to deal with such a person? Paul directed: “Keep this one marked and stop associating with him.” That counsel was balanced with the caution not to treat such a person as an enemy. (2 Thess. 3:11-15) Today, elders may give a warning talk about someone’s persisting in a course that reflects badly on the congregation, such as dating an unbeliever. (1 Cor. 7:39) How do you react when the elders find it necessary to give such a talk? If you are aware of the situation described in the talk, will you take care to avoid socializing with such an individual? Your loving concern and firm stand may move the person to abandon a disorderly course.
MAINTAIN CLEANNESS, PEACE, AND UNITY
14. How can we contribute to the congregation’s cleanness?
14 We can contribute to the spiritual cleanness of the congregation by following the direction found in God’s Word. Consider the situation in ancient Corinth. Paul had poured himself out preaching in that city, and he loved his fellow “holy ones” there. (1 Cor. 1:1, 2) But how troubling it must have been for him to have to address the problem of sexual immorality that was being tolerated in that congregation! Paul directed the elders to hand the immoral man over to Satan—in other words, to disfellowship him. To preserve the congregation’s purity, the elders needed to clear out the “leaven.” (1 Cor. 5:1, 5-7, 12) When we support the elders’ decision to disfellowship an unrepentant wrongdoer, we help to maintain the cleanness of the congregation and perhaps move the person to repent and seek Jehovah’s forgiveness.
15. How can we maintain peace in the congregation?
15 Another problem in Corinth had to be addressed. Some brothers were taking fellow believers to court. Paul asked them a sobering question: “Why not rather let yourselves be wronged?” (1 Cor. 6:1-8) Similar situations have arisen today. At times, peace among spiritual brothers has been disrupted because a failed business venture led to loss of money and perhaps to accusations of fraud. Some have taken their brothers to court, but God’s own Book helps us to see that it is better to suffer loss than to bring reproach on God’s name or disturb the peace of the congregation. To resolve serious problems and disputes, we should of course apply Jesus’ counsel. (Read Matthew 5:23, 24; 18:15-17.) When we do so, we promote unity in the family of Jehovah’s worshippers.
16. Why should we expect God’s people to be united?
16 Jehovah’s own Book shows why we should expect his people to be united. The psalmist sang: “Look! How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1) When they obeyed Jehovah, the Israelites were organized and unified. Foretelling the future condition of his people, God declared: “In unity I will place them, like sheep in the pen.” (Mic. 2:12) Moreover, Jehovah foretold through the prophet Zephaniah: “I will change the language of the peoples to a pure language [of Scriptural truth], so that all of them may call on the name of Jehovah, to serve him shoulder to shoulder [or, “worship him in unity,” ftn.].” (Zeph. 3:9) How grateful we are to have the privilege of worshipping Jehovah in unity!
17. To maintain a congregation’s unity and cleanness, how should the elders handle cases of wrongdoing?
17 If unity and cleanness are to be maintained in a congregation, the elders must care for judicial matters promptly and in a loving way. Paul knew that God’s love is not guided by mere sentiment, and He does not turn a blind eye to wrongdoing. (Prov. 15:3) So Paul did not hold back from writing First Corinthians, a strong yet loving letter. Second Corinthians, written some months later, shows that progress was made because the elders had applied the apostle’s direction. If a Christian takes a false step before he is aware of it, qualified men should try to readjust him in a spirit of mildness.—Gal. 6:1.
18. (a) In what ways did counsel provided in God’s Word help the first-century congregations? (b) What will be discussed in the next article?
18 It is clear that the inspired counsel in God’s own Book helped first-century Christians in Corinth and elsewhere to maintain cleanness, peace, and unity in their congregations. (1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:11-13, ftn.; 1 Pet. 3:8) As a result, our brothers and sisters of that time were able to accomplish much in the ministry. In fact, Paul could say that the good news “was preached in all creation under heaven.” (Col. 1:23) Today, knowledge of God’s wonderful purposes is being spread throughout the earth as a result of the efforts of those who are part of one united preaching organization. The next article will give further proof that these ones highly esteem the Bible and are determined to honor the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.—Ps. 71:15, 16.