“Bear thorough witness to the good news of the undeserved kindness of God.”
SONGS: 101, 84
1, 2. How did the apostle Paul show that he was grateful for God’s undeserved kindness?
THE apostle Paul could honestly say: “[God’s] undeserved kindness to me was not in vain.” (Read 1 Corinthians 15:9, 10.) Paul clearly knew that he had not earned or deserved God’s great mercy. He had been a persecutor of Christians.
2 Toward the end of his life, Paul wrote to Timothy: “I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who imparted power to me, because he considered me faithful by assigning me to a ministry.” (1 Timothy 1:12-14) What ministry was that? Paul told the elders of the congregation in Ephesus: “I do not consider my own life of any importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear thorough witness to the good news of the undeserved kindness of God.”
3. What special ministry was Paul given? (See opening picture.)
3 What “good news” did Paul preach, and how did it show Jehovah’s undeserved kindness? Paul said to the Christians in Ephesus: “You have heard about the stewardship of God’s undeserved kindness that was given to me for your sakes.” (Ephesians 3:1, 2) Jesus had told Paul to preach the good news to those who were not Jews. Now it was possible for people from the nations to be part of the Kingdom government ruled by the Messiah. (Read Ephesians 3:5-8.) Paul preached with zeal and set a good example for Christians today. He showed that God’s undeserved kindness was not “in vain,” or wasted on him.
DOES GOD’S UNDESERVED KINDNESS MOTIVATE YOU?
4, 5. Why can we say that the “good news of the Kingdom” is the same as the good news of “the undeserved kindness of God”?
4 In this time of the end, Jehovah’s people have the assignment to preach the “good news of the Kingdom . . . in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14) The good news of the Kingdom is also “the good news of the undeserved kindness of God.” How is that so? All the blessings we will receive from God’s Kingdom will be the result of Jehovah’s kindness. (Ephesians 1:3) Paul showed gratitude for Jehovah’s undeserved kindness by zealously preaching. Are we imitating Paul’s example?
5 In the previous article, we learned how we as sinners benefit from Jehovah’s undeserved kindness in many ways. Because we have benefited so much, we have the responsibility to teach others how Jehovah is showing his love and how they can benefit from it. In what ways can we help others to be grateful for God’s undeserved kindness?
SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS OF THE RANSOM SACRIFICE
6, 7. When we explain the ransom to people, how are we spreading the good news of God’s undeserved kindness?
6 Today, many people do not feel guilty when they sin, so they do not understand why humans need the ransom. At the same time, more and more people realize that their lifestyle does not make them happy. And until they talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses, many people do not know what sin is, how it affects us, and what we need to do to be freed from slavery to sin. Once they understand what sin is, sincere people are grateful to learn that Jehovah sent his Son to the earth to free us from sin and death. Jehovah did that because of his great love and undeserved kindness.
7 Notice what Paul said about Jehovah’s beloved Son: “By means of him we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one, yes, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his [Jehovah’s] undeserved kindness.” (Ephesians 1:7) Christ’s ransom sacrifice is the greatest proof of God’s love for us and shows how great His undeserved kindness is. It is such a relief to learn that if we show faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, our sins will be forgiven and we will have a clean conscience! (Hebrews 9:14) This is certainly good news to share with others!
HELP PEOPLE TO BECOME FRIENDS OF GOD
8. Why do sinful humans need to be reconciled to God?
8 If people do not show faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, God views them as enemies. Therefore, we have the responsibility to tell them that they can become friends of God. The apostle John wrote: “The one who exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life; the one who disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” (John 3:36) We can be happy that Christ’s sacrifice makes it possible for us to become God’s friends. Paul described it this way: “You who were once alienated and enemies because your minds were on the works that were wicked, he has now reconciled by means of that one’s fleshly body through his death.”
We have the responsibility to tell people that they can become friends of God
9, 10. (a) What responsibility did Christ give to his anointed brothers? (b) How do the “other sheep” help the anointed?
9 Christ has given his anointed brothers on earth “the ministry of the reconciliation.” Paul told them: “All things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of the reconciliation, namely, that God was by means of Christ reconciling a world to himself, not counting their offenses against them, and he entrusted to us the message of the reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us. As substitutes for Christ, we beg: ‘Become reconciled to God.’”
10 It is a privilege for the “other sheep” to help the anointed in this ministry. (John 10:16) As Christ’s “envoys,” or messengers, the “other sheep” are doing the biggest part of the preaching work, teaching people the truth and helping them to have a close relationship with Jehovah. This is an important part of preaching the good news of the undeserved kindness of God.
TEACH PEOPLE THAT GOD HEARS PRAYERS
11, 12. Why is it good news for people to learn that they can pray to Jehovah?
11 Many people pray because it makes them feel good, but they do not really believe that God hears their prayers. They need to know that Jehovah is the “Hearer of prayer.” The psalmist David wrote: “O Hearer of prayer, to you people of all sorts will come. My errors have overwhelmed me, but you cover over our transgressions.”
When we teach people how to pray, we help them to become Jehovah’s friends
12 Jesus told his disciples: “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14) This means that we can pray for “anything” that is in harmony with Jehovah’s will. John wrote: “This is the confidence that we have toward him, that no matter what we ask according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) How good it is to help people understand that prayer is not just something that makes them feel good but is a way to approach Jehovah’s “throne of undeserved kindness”! (Hebrews 4:16) When we teach people how to pray in the right way, to the right Person, and for the right things, we help them to become Jehovah’s friends and to find comfort when they suffer.
UNDESERVED KINDNESS IN THE NEW SYSTEM OF THINGS
13, 14. (a) What marvelous privileges will the anointed have in the future? (b) What wonderful work will the anointed do for mankind?
13 Jehovah will show his undeserved kindness even more “in the coming systems of things.” How so? God will give the 144,000 who will rule with Christ in heaven an amazing privilege. Paul explained what that privilege will be when he wrote: “God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, made us alive together with the Christ, even when we were dead in trespasses
14 It is difficult to imagine the wonderful things that Jehovah has prepared for anointed Christians when they rule with Christ in heaven. (Luke 22:28-30; Philippians 3:20, 21; 1 John 3:2) Jehovah will “demonstrate the surpassing riches of his undeserved kindness” toward them in a special way. They will be “the New Jerusalem,” the bride of Christ. (Revelation 3:12; 17:14; 21:2, 9, 10) They will work with Jesus in “the healing of the nations.” They will help humans to become free from the burden of sin and death and will help them to become perfect.
15, 16. How will Jehovah show his undeserved kindness toward the “other sheep” in the future?
15 Ephesians 2:7 says that God will show undeserved kindness “in the coming systems of things.” At that time, everyone on earth will certainly experience “the surpassing riches of his undeserved kindness.” (Luke 18:29, 30) One of the greatest ways that Jehovah will show his undeserved kindness on earth will be the resurrection of humans from “the Grave.” (Job 14:13-15; John 5:28, 29) Who will be resurrected? Faithful men and women who died before Christ’s death and those of the “other sheep” who die faithful to Jehovah during the last days. All these faithful ones will be brought back to life to continue serving Jehovah.
16 Millions of humans who died without knowing God will also be resurrected. John wrote: “I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. The dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead in it, and death and the Grave gave up the dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12, 13) The resurrected ones will have an opportunity to learn about Jehovah and to accept his rule. They will have to learn and apply Bible principles and new instructions found in “the scrolls.” Those new instructions will be another way Jehovah will show his undeserved kindness.
KEEP PREACHING THE GOOD NEWS
17. What should we keep in mind when sharing in our witnessing work?
17 It is more important than ever before that we preach the good news of the Kingdom, because the end is near! (Mark 13:10) We need to remember that our goal when we preach is to honor Jehovah. How can we do this? We need to tell people that all the blessings we will enjoy in the new world are possible only because of Jehovah’s wonderful kindness.
18, 19. How do we glorify Jehovah’s undeserved kindness?
18 When we preach to people, we can explain that when Christ’s Kingdom rules, humans will receive all the benefits of the ransom and will gradually become perfect. The Bible says: “The creation itself will also be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) This will be possible only through Jehovah’s undeserved kindness.
19 We have the privilege of telling all people about the thrilling promise that is found at Revelation 21:4, 5: “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” And Jehovah, the one seated on the throne, says: “Look! I am making all things new.” He also says: “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” When we zealously preach this good news to others, we truly glorify Jehovah’s undeserved kindness!