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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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THE WATCHTOWER (SIMPLIFIED EDITION) NOVEMBER 2016

Organized in Harmony With God’s Own Book

Organized in Harmony With God’s Own Book

“Jehovah founded the earth in wisdom. He solidly established the heavens in discernment.”PROVERBS 3:19.

SONGS: 6, 24

1, 2. (a) What do some people say about the idea that God has an organization? (b) What will we discuss in this article?

SOME people say: “You don’t need an organization to direct you. All you need is a relationship with God.” Is this true? What do the facts show?

2 In this article, we will see that Jehovah does things in an orderly way and that he organizes his people. We will also discuss what we need to do when Jehovah’s organization gives us direction. (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40) In the first century, Jehovah’s people followed the direction in the Scriptures and were able to preach the good news in many places. Like them, we let the Bible guide us today. And we obey the instructions we receive from God’s organization. As a result, we are able to preach the good news worldwide. We also keep the congregation clean, peaceful, and united.

JEHOVAH IS THE GOD OF ORDER

3. What convinces you that Jehovah is the God of order?

3 When we look at the things Jehovah created, we  clearly see that he is the God of order. He “founded the earth in wisdom. He solidly established the heavens in discernment.” (Proverbs 3:19) There is much we do not know about the things Jehovah made. In fact, “only a faint whisper has been heard of him.” (Job 26:14) But it is clear from the little we do know about our universe that it is very well-organized. (Psalm 8:3, 4) Millions of stars move through space in an orderly way. And think of the way the planets in our solar system move around the sun. This amazing order is possible only because Jehovah organized the way the planets and stars move. When we think of how he has “skillfully made the heavens” and the earth, we want to praise him, worship him, and be loyal to him.Psalm 136:1, 5-9.

4. Why have scientists not been able to answer many important questions?

4 Scientists have used many of the things they have learned about the universe and our earth to make our lives better. But they have not been able to answer many important questions. For example, astronomers cannot tell us exactly how the universe began or why humans, animals, and plants exist on earth. And most people cannot explain why humans have a strong desire to live forever. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) One reason why people do not have the answers to these questions is that scientists and others say there is no God and promote evolution. But God gives us the answers in his own Book, the Bible.

5. In what ways do humans rely on the laws of nature?

5 Jehovah created the many laws of nature. These laws do not change. Electricians, plumbers, engineers, pilots, surgeons, and others rely on these laws to do their work. For example, the human heart is normally located in the same part of the body, so a surgeon knows where to find it in each of his patients. And everyone knows that if a person jumps off a high place, he will fall and could die. We obey the laws of nature, such as gravity, because we want to stay alive.

WHAT GOD HAS ORGANIZED

6. How do we know that Jehovah wants people to worship him in an organized way?

6 Jehovah organized the universe in a truly wonderful way. Surely, then, he wants his people to worship him in an organized manner. In fact, Jehovah has provided the Bible to teach us how to worship him. Only by following the guidance he gives us by means of the Bible and his organization will we be able to live a happy and satisfying life.

7. What can we learn from the way the Bible was written?

7 The Bible is a truly unique gift from God. Some scholars say that the Bible is just a group of Jewish and Christian books put together by humans. But God decided who would write the books, when they would write them, and what they would write. That is why all the books in the Bible help us to understand God’s message. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible shows  that there would be an “offspring” who would make the earth a paradise again. And we have learned that this “offspring” is Christ Jesus and that his Kingdom will prove that Jehovah has the right to rule over everyone.Read Genesis 3:15; Matthew 6:10; Revelation 11:15.

8. In what ways were the Israelites organized well?

8 The Israelites followed the Law that God gave them and were organized very well. For example, there were “women who were organized to serve at the entrance of the tent of meeting.” (Exodus 38:8) The Israelites also had instructions on how to move their camp and the tabernacle in an orderly way. Later, King David organized the priests and Levites to do specific work at the temple. (1 Chronicles 23:1-6; 24:1-3) When the Israelites obeyed Jehovah, he blessed them. They were organized and had peace and unity.Deuteronomy 11:26, 27; 28:1-14.

9. How were the congregations in the first century organized?

9 The congregations in the first century were organized too. There was a governing body, that is, a group of men who gave the congregations direction. At first, this group was made up of the apostles. Later, other elders were added to it. (Acts 6:1-6; 15:6) Jehovah guided members of the governing body and others who worked closely with them to write letters with counsel and instruction to the congregations. (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9) How did the congregations benefit from following the direction of the governing body?

10. What happened when congregations in the first century followed the instructions of the governing body? (See opening picture.)

10 Read Acts 16:4, 5. In the first century, some brothers visited the congregations to tell them “the decrees that had been decided on by the apostles and the elders who were in Jerusalem,” that is, by the governing body. The congregations followed these instructions and “continued to be made firm in the faith and to increase in number day by day.” What can we learn from their example that will help us in our congregation today?

DO YOU FOLLOW DIRECTION?

11. What should elders and ministerial servants do when they receive direction from God’s organization?

11 Members of Branch Committees or Country Committees, circuit overseers, and elders need to obey the direction they receive from God’s organization. In fact, Jehovah’s own Book tells all of us to obey those who are taking the lead. (Deuteronomy 30:16; Hebrews 13:7, 17) Those who are loyal to Jehovah are not rebellious, and they do not complain about the direction they receive. We would not want to be like Diotrephes, who had no respect for the brothers taking the lead. (Read 3 John 9, 10.) When we follow the direction we are given, we help to keep peace and unity in the congregation. So we can ask ourselves:  ‘Do I encourage my brothers and sisters to be loyal to Jehovah? Am I quick to follow the direction I receive from God’s organization?’

12. How are elders and ministerial servants appointed?

12 Recently, the Governing Body changed how elders and ministerial servants in each congregation are appointed. “Questions From Readers” in The Watchtower of November 15, 2014, explained that in the first century, the governing body gave traveling overseers the authority to appoint elders and ministerial servants. Thus, since September 2014, circuit overseers have been making these appointments. When the elders of a congregation recommend that a brother serve as an elder or a ministerial servant, the circuit overseer tries to get to know him and his family. For example, he might work with the brother in field service. (1 Timothy 3:4, 5) Then the circuit overseer and the elders meet. They carefully look at the Scriptures that describe the qualities of an elder or a ministerial servant.1 Timothy 3:1-10, 12, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-3.

The elders give us direction from the Bible because they want to protect and take care of the congregation

13. How can we show that we cooperate with the direction we receive from the elders?

13 The elders give us direction from the Bible because they want to protect and take care of the congregation. We need to cooperate with them because this instruction is for our own benefit. (1 Timothy 6:3) In the first century, some individuals were being “disorderly.” They were not working at all but were getting involved in things that did not concern them. The elders tried to correct them, but they refused to change. Paul told the congregation how they should treat someone like that. He said: “Keep this one marked and stop associating with him.” They needed to stop socializing with that person but not treat him as an enemy. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-15) Elders today also try to help a person who ignores God’s standards, for example, one who dates an unbeliever. (1 Corinthians 7:39) If the person refuses to change his behavior, the elders may decide to give a talk explaining how such behavior could cause others to speak badly about the congregation. If the elders give such a talk in your congregation, how will you react? If you know who the person is, will you avoid socializing with him? In this way, you may help him realize that his behavior is harmful to himself and displeasing to Jehovah, and he may change his attitude. [1]—See endnote.

 KEEP THE CONGREGATION CLEAN, PEACEFUL, AND UNITED

14. How can we help to keep the congregation clean?

14 God’s Word tells us what all of us should do so that we do not allow wickedness in our congregations. Consider what happened in Corinth. Paul loved the brothers and sisters there. He had helped many of them to learn the truth. (1 Corinthians 1:1, 2) So imagine how he felt when he found out that one of them was living a sexually immoral life and that the brothers had allowed this person to stay in the congregation! Paul told the elders to “hand such a man over to Satan.” They needed to remove that person from the congregation, that is, to disfellowship him. (1 Corinthians 5:1, 5-7, 12) Today, the elders may decide that someone has to be disfellowshipped because he has sinned seriously and has not repented. In that case, will we treat the disfellowshipped person as the Scriptures direct us to? If we do, we help to keep the congregation clean. And we may help the person to realize that he needs to repent and ask Jehovah to forgive him.

15. How can we keep peace in the congregation?

15 There was another problem in Corinth. Some were taking their brothers to court. Paul asked them: “Why not rather let yourselves be wronged?” (1 Corinthians 6:1-8) Today, some in the congregation have made business agreements with their brothers but have then lost money or felt that their brothers committed fraud. So they have taken their brothers to court. But when this happens, it may cause people to speak badly about Jehovah and his people. And it may cause trouble in the congregation. God’s own Book helps us to see that we must keep peace with our brothers, even if it means that we lose money. [2] (See endnote.) In fact, Jesus taught us how to solve serious problems and disagreements. (Read Matthew 5:23, 24; 18:15-17.) When we obey his direction, we keep peace and unity in the congregation.

16. Why are God’s people united?

16 Jehovah’s own Book tells us: “Look! How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) When they obeyed Jehovah, the Israelites were organized and united. God foretold about his people: “In unity I will place them, like sheep in the pen.” (Micah 2:12) Jehovah also foretold that his people would  learn the truth from the Scriptures and would serve him unitedly. He said: “I will change the language of the peoples to a pure language, so that all of them may call on the name of Jehovah, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.” (Zephaniah 3:9) How grateful we are that we can worship Jehovah in unity!

Elders help someone who “takes a false step” (See paragraph 17)

17. What should the elders do when someone in the congregation commits a serious sin?

17 If someone commits a serious sin, the elders must be quick to correct him in a loving way. They know that Jehovah wants them to protect the congregation from any bad influence and to keep it clean and united. (Proverbs 15:3) Paul deeply loved his brothers in Corinth and corrected them when they needed it, as we read in his first letter to them. We know that the elders there were quick to follow Paul’s direction because some months later, he commended them in the second letter he wrote to them. If a brother “takes a false step before he is aware of it,” the elders should correct him in a kind way.Galatians 6:1.

18. (a) How did the guidance in God’s Word help the congregations in the first century? (b) What will we discuss in the next article?

18 It is clear that when the Christians in the first century followed the guidance in God’s own Book, their congregations were clean, peaceful, and united. (1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Peter 3:8) As a result, those brothers and sisters were able to preach the good news “in all creation under heaven.” (Colossians 1:23) Today, too, Jehovah’s people are united and organized, and they are preaching the good news in all the earth. The next article will give more proof that their greatest desire is to honor the Sovereign Lord Jehovah and obey the guidance in his own Book, the Bible.Psalm 71:15, 16.

^ [1] (paragraph 13) See Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will, pages 134-136.

^ [2] (paragraph 15) For information about situations in which one Christian might decide to take legal action against another Christian, see “Keep Yourselves in God’s Love,” page 223, footnote.