“One Jehovah” Gathers His Family
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?
What is the purpose of God’s administration?
How do we “observe the oneness of the spirit”?
What will help us to “become kind to one another”?
1, 2. What is Jehovah’s purpose for the earth and humans?
FAMILY. What do you think of when you hear that word? Do you think of love and happiness? Do you think of working together with your family to reach a certain goal? Or do you think of a safe place to grow up, learn, and talk about your thoughts? You probably think of these things if you have a caring family. Jehovah created the family. (Ephesians 3:14, 15) And God’s purpose was that all who lived in heaven and on earth would be one family and that they would feel safe, trust one another, and be united.
2 After Adam and Eve sinned, humans were no longer part of God’s family. But that did not change God’s purpose. He will still make sure that the earth will be a paradise filled with the children of Adam and Eve. (Genesis 1:28; Isaiah 45:18) He has prepared everything needed to make sure his purpose is fulfilled. Much of the Bible book of Ephesians is about unity. In that book we can also read about what Jehovah has prepared. We will now discuss some verses from that book and learn how we can cooperate with Jehovah’s purpose to unite everyone who lives in heaven and on earth as one family.
THE ADMINISTRATION AND WHAT IT DOES
3. What is God’s administration that is mentioned at Ephesians 1:10? When did the first part of the preparations start?
3 Moses told the Israelites: “Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) Everything Jehovah does supports his purpose. At his chosen time, God began to prepare all those in heaven and on earth to be united as one family. He called these preparations “an administration.” (Read Ephesians 1:8-10.) There are two parts to this administration. First, God prepares the anointed ones to live in heaven, where they will continue to work under the authority of Jesus Christ. This started at Pentecost of the year 33, when Jehovah started to gather those who would rule with Christ in heaven by anointing them. (Acts 2:1-4) Because of Christ’s ransom sacrifice, God declares, or views, the anointed as righteous and worthy of life. The anointed know that they have been adopted as “God’s children.”—Romans 3:23, 24; 5:1; 8:15-17.
4, 5. What is the second part of the preparations of the administration?
4 Second, God prepares those who will live in Paradise on earth. They accept the authority of the Messianic Kingdom, which includes Christ and the anointed in heaven. The “great crowd” will be the first ones to live in Paradise. (Revelation 7:9, 13-17; 21:1-5) Then, during the thousand years of Christ’s reign, billions of people will be resurrected to live on earth with the great crowd. (Revelation 20:12, 13) Imagine how many opportunities we will have to show that we are united! Together, the great crowd and those who are resurrected will be “the things on the earth.” At the end of the thousand years, they will be tested. All the faithful ones will be adopted as “children of God” on earth.—Romans 8:21; Revelation 20:7, 8.
5 Today, Jehovah is preparing the anointed to live in heaven and the other sheep to live in Paradise on earth. But how does each one of us cooperate with God’s administration?
“OBSERVE THE ONENESS OF THE SPIRIT”
6. What scriptures show that Christians must meet together?
6 The Bible says that Christians must meet together. (1 Corinthians 14:23; Hebrews 10:24, 25) But to be united, we must do much more than just meet together in the same place, as do people who go to a market or to a sports stadium. We become united when we apply what Jehovah teaches us and allow God’s holy spirit to help us to be better people.
7. How do we apply the counsel “to observe the oneness of the spirit”?
7 Because we have faith in Christ’s ransom sacrifice, Jehovah views us as righteous people, either as his sons if we are of the anointed or as his friends if we are of the other sheep. But while we are living in this system, there will always be times when we have a problem with other people. (Romans 5:9; James 2:23) That is why the Bible tells us to be patient with one another. But what must we do to be united with our brothers and sisters? We need to learn “complete lowliness of mind and mildness,” that is, we should be humble and gentle. Paul said that we must work hard for peace and unity when he told us “to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.” (Read Ephesians 4:1-3.) One way that we apply this counsel is to allow God’s spirit to change the way we act and to help us to show the fruitage of the spirit, or the qualities that result from having God’s spirit. Also, we do not practice the works of the flesh, or things that God hates. The fruitage of the spirit helps us to solve problems with others. It unites us. But the works of the flesh separate us.
8. How do the works of the flesh separate people?
8 How do “the works of the flesh” separate people? (Read Galatians 5:19-21.) Fornication separates a person from Jehovah and the congregation. Adultery causes families great pain and can separate children from their parents and innocent mates from their husband or wife. Uncleanness makes it difficult to have unity with God and with those who love him. If you want to glue two things together, they must both be clean in order for them to stick to each other. Brazen conduct shows that a person disobeys God’s laws and has absolutely no respect for them. The other works of the flesh also separate people from one another and from God. These are actions that Jehovah hates.
9. What questions can we ask ourselves to know whether we are working hard to keep peace and unity?
9 So each of us needs to ask himself: ‘How hard am I working to keep peace and unity with my brothers and sisters? What do I do when I have a problem with another person? Do I tell many of my friends about it to try to get them to agree with me? Do I expect the elders to solve the problem for me so that I do not have to talk to the person myself to make peace with him? And if I know that another person has something against me, do I avoid him so that we do not have to discuss the problem?’ If we did any of these things, would we be showing that we are cooperating with Jehovah’s purpose to unite everyone as one family ruled by Christ?
10, 11. (a) How important is it to have peace with our brothers? (b) What can we do to keep peace and to have Jehovah’s blessing?
10 Jesus said: “If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and you there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away; first make your peace with your brother, and then, when you have come back, offer up your gift. Be about settling matters quickly.” (Matthew 5:23-25) James wrote that “the fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace.” (James 3:17, 18) This means that we cannot continue doing what is right if we do not have peace with others.
11 For example, in some countries where there have been wars, one third more of the land could be used by farmers if there were no land mines. When a mine explodes, farmers do not use the land, and it becomes difficult for people to find jobs in the villages and to get food in the cities. In a similar way, it becomes difficult for us to continue to improve our Christian qualities if our personality makes it difficult for us to be peaceful with others. That would make us like land mines. If that is the case, we need to change our personality. If we quickly forgive others and do good things for them, we can all have peace and Jehovah’s blessing.
12. How can elders help us to be united?
12 “Gifts in men” also help us to “attain to the oneness in the faith.” (Ephesians 4:8, 13) This means that elders help the congregation to stay united. They help us to improve our Christian personality when they work along with us in our service to Jehovah and when they come to us and give us counsel from the Bible. (Ephesians 4:22-24) When the elders give you counsel, remember that Jehovah is using them to prepare you to live in the new world. And elders, make sure that you correct others in a way that shows them you want to help them.—Galatians 6:1.
“BECOME KIND TO ONE ANOTHER”
13. What would we be doing if we did not obey the counsel at Ephesians 4:25-32?
13 Ephesians 4:25-29 mentions some things we should not do. We should not lie, become very angry, be lazy, and say bad things. Instead, we should talk about things that are good and encouraging. Anyone who does not obey this counsel separates people. He would be “grieving God’s holy spirit,” and it is His spirit that unites people. (Ephesians 4:30) To have peace and unity, we also need to apply what Paul wrote next: “Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from you along with all badness. But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.”—Ephesians 4:31, 32.
14. (a) What do the words “become kind” mean? (b) What will help us to be kind to others?
14 The words “become kind” mean that we may not always have been kind and that we may need to learn to be more kind. We need to learn to think that the feelings of others are more important than our own. (Philippians 2:4) Sometimes we may want to say something that would make others laugh or make us seem intelligent. But if it is not kind, we should not say it. If we remember to think before we speak, it will help us to be kind to others.
LEARN TO HAVE LOVE AND RESPECT IN THE FAMILY
15. How does Ephesians 5:28 help husbands to understand how they should imitate Christ?
15 The Bible compares Christ’s relationship with the congregation to the relationship that a husband has with his wife. Christ’s example helps a husband to understand that he should guide and love his wife and care for her. Christ’s example also helps a wife to understand that she should be in subjection to her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33) When Paul wrote: “In this way husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies,” about which “way” was he speaking? (Ephesians 5:28) What he said about Christ and the congregation helps us to answer that question. He said that Christ loved the congregation and gave his life for it and cleansed it “with the bath of water by means of the word.” So a husband has the responsibility to help each member of his family to have a good relationship with Jehovah. By doing this, he cooperates with Jehovah’s purpose to unite everyone as one family ruled by Christ.
16. What will be the result if parents care for the responsibility that Jehovah gave them?
16 Parents need to remember that Jehovah gave them the responsibility to care for their children. It is very sad that many in the world today have “no natural affection.” (2 Timothy 3:1, 3) Many fathers ignore their responsibility, and this has a bad effect on their children and makes them sad. But Paul told Christian fathers: “Do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” (Ephesians 6:4) It is in the family that children first learn how to show love and how to respect authority. Parents who teach their children these things cooperate with Jehovah’s purpose to unite everyone. Parents should make their children feel loved in the family. So they need to control their anger and should not shout at their children or say hurtful things to them. In this way, they teach their children important lessons about how to show love and how to respect authority. This will prepare the children to live in God’s new world.
17. What do we need to do to fight against the Devil?
17 We need to realize that the Devil has always wanted to stop others from serving God and that he will do everything he can to do that to us. Many people in the world are doing just what the Devil wants them to do when they get divorced, live together without getting married, and accept marriages between homosexuals. But we do not imitate the conduct that is becoming acceptable in the world today. We imitate Christ. (Ephesians 4:17-21) So to fight against the Devil and his demons, we need to “put on the complete suit of armor from God.”—Read Ephesians 6:10-13.
“GO ON WALKING IN LOVE”
18. What do we need to have so that we can be united?
18 We need to have love if we want to be united. Our hearts are full of love for our “one Lord,” Jesus Christ; for our “one God,” Jehovah; and for one another. That is why we are determined to keep our peace and unity. (Ephesians 4:3-6) Jesus prayed about such love: “I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word; in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us.” He also said: “I have made your name known to them and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them.”—John 17:20, 21, 26.
19. What are you determined to do?
19 There may be something in our personality that is hard for us to change, but love should make us pray as the psalmist did: “Unify my heart to fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11) We must be determined to fight against the Devil when he tries to separate us from our loving Father and our brothers and sisters. And we should work hard to “become imitators of God, as beloved children, and go on walking in love” in the family, in our ministry, and in the congregation.—Ephesians 5:1, 2.
SOME EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED
Anointed ones: Those who have been selected by means of holy spirit to be kings and priests with Jesus Christ in the heavens
God’s friends: The other sheep are God’s friends. They will become part of God’s united family at the end of the thousand years when they become his children
Unity: A group of people who think and act in the same way for the same purpose have unity
God’s children: All who are part of God’s family. The anointed have already been gathered into this family, so they are now children of God. At the end of the thousand years, all people on earth will also be God’s children
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He leaves his gift at the altar and goes to make peace with his brother
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Parents, teach your children how to show respect