“Prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
1. What have Catholic and Protestant religious leaders done during times of war?
DOES God want Christians to go to war and kill people from other countries? In the past 100 years, many who have called themselves Christians have killed one another in war. Catholics have killed Catholics, and Protestants have killed Protestants. Catholic and Protestant religious leaders have even blessed armies and weapons. During World War II, this brutality among people who called themselves Christians happened over and over again.
2, 3. What did Jehovah’s Witnesses do during the second world war and other wars after that? Why?
2 What did Jehovah’s Witnesses do during World War II? They kept their neutrality. They did not get involved in that war between nations. Why? Because they wanted to obey the teachings of Jesus and imitate the way he loved others. Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples
3 True Christians use the Bible as a guide for what is right and what is wrong, so their conscience does not allow them to go to war or learn to fight. Because Jehovah’s Witnesses try to live as true Christians, thousands of them have been persecuted. Young and old, male and female, have suffered in prisons and forced-labor camps. In the second world war when the Nazis ruled Germany, some were even murdered. During all the persecution in Europe, Jehovah’s Witnesses never forgot their responsibility to preach the good news of Jehovah’s Kingdom. They kept preaching whenever possible, even when they were put in prisons and concentration camps and when they were exiled. * (See footnote.) Years later, in 1994, Witnesses did not participate in the mass murder in Rwanda. They also remained neutral in the war that broke up the former Yugoslavia.
Many people around the world say that Jehovah’s Witnesses really love God and their neighbor
4. When people see that Jehovah’s Witnesses are neutral, what do they often say?
4 Because Jehovah’s Witnesses have been neutral during times of war, many people around the world say that the Witnesses really love God and their neighbor and that they are true Christians. What are some other reasons why people believe that Jehovah’s Witnesses are true Christians?
THE GREATEST EDUCATIONAL WORK IN HISTORY
5. What change did Jesus’ disciples have to adjust to?
5 Jesus made it clear to others that preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom is the most important work on earth. Soon after he started his ministry, he chose 12 disciples to begin this preaching work that would later be done in all the earth. After that, Jesus trained another 70 disciples. (Luke 6:13; 10:1) Jesus taught his disciples how to be teachers. He first instructed them to teach other Jews, but he later told them to begin preaching the good news to people of other nations. For Jewish disciples, preaching to people who were not Jews was a big change!
6. What helped Peter to understand that God does not feel that one race is better than another?
6 The first uncircumcised non-Jew who became a Christian was Cornelius. The apostle Peter was sent by Jehovah to preach to Cornelius in his home. Then Peter understood that God does not feel that one race is better than another. It was Jehovah’s will that people of the nations hear the truth and accept it. So Peter commanded that Cornelius and his family be baptized. (Acts 10:9-48) From that day on, Peter and the rest of Jesus’ disciples preached to people of all nations.
7, 8. What have Jehovah’s Witnesses done to help people hear the good news? (See opening picture.)
7 In our day, those who take the lead in Jehovah’s organization zealously support and organize the preaching and teaching of the good news around the world. There are now almost eight million of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide. They zealously preach in over 600 languages, and this number continues to grow. They preach from house to house and on the street. In their witnessing, they sometimes use tables and carts to display literature in many languages. People can recognize Jehovah’s Witnesses because they are the only ones who preach in all these ways.
8 Jehovah’s organization has trained more than 2,900 brothers and sisters to translate the Bible and Bible literature. This literature is even translated into languages that are not well-known. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Spain now translate Bible literature in the Catalan language. Not long ago, many more people began to use Catalan in the cities of Valencia and Alicante, in the Balearic Islands, and also in the country of Andorra. Today there are millions of people who speak Catalan. Because of the translation work done by Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Catalonian people have literature and meetings in the language that touches their heart.
9, 10. What examples prove that Jehovah’s organization wants all people to learn the truth?
9 This work of translating Bible literature and teaching people in their own language is being done all around the world. For example, in Mexico most people speak Spanish, but many grow up speaking another language at home. Maya is one of these languages. The Maya translation team was assigned to live in a part of the country where Maya is spoken. Because the translators can hear and speak Maya every day, the publications are translated in a way that the Maya people can easily understand. Another example is Nepal. In that country, about 120 different languages are spoken. Nepal has a population of over 29 million. More than 10 million people there speak Nepali as their first language, and many others speak Nepali as a second language. Our brothers translate Bible literature into Nepali.
10 The translation work being done today in many languages proves that Jehovah’s organization takes seriously its responsibility to preach the good news worldwide. Jehovah’s Witnesses have distributed millions of tracts, brochures, and magazines, but they do not sell this literature. Instead, the Witnesses support this work with their voluntary donations. They follow Jesus’ instruction: “You received free, give free.”
11, 12. Because we preach and teach around the world, what do many people say?
11 Jehovah’s Witnesses are so convinced that they have the truth that they personally make great sacrifices in order to preach to people of all nations and cultures. Many Witnesses have simplified their life, learned another language, and adapted to a different culture. Because we preach and teach around the world, many people say that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the true followers of Jesus Christ.
12 Witnesses do all of this because they are convinced that they have found the truth. But what specifically convinces our brothers and sisters that they have the truth?
WHY THEY ARE CONVINCED THAT THEY HAVE THE TRUTH
13. How do the Witnesses keep their organization clean?
13 Our brothers and sisters give many different reasons why they are convinced that they have the truth. One brother who has been serving Jehovah for a long time said: “Every effort is made to keep Jehovah’s organization morally clean and undefiled, regardless of who has to be counseled or disciplined.” How do Jehovah’s people keep this high standard? Each one of them does his best to obey what God says in the Bible and to imitate Jesus and his disciples. Only a relatively small number of Witnesses have refused to follow God’s standards of right and wrong and have had to be disfellowshipped, that is, removed from the congregation. The majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses live in a way that is clean in Jehovah’s eyes. Many who in the past did things that God does not approve of have changed and now follow God’s standards.
14. What changes have many people made after they were removed from the congregation? What has been the result?
14 The Bible directs Christians to remove from the congregation those who refuse to obey God. Happily, thousands later have felt very sorry for their actions and have come back. (Read 2 Corinthians 2:6-8.) Because the Witnesses always use the Bible as a guide for their behavior, the congregations are kept clean. This assures them that their organization is the one that God approves. Although many churches allow their members to do whatever they want, the Witnesses live according to Jehovah’s standards. This has convinced many people that Jehovah’s Witnesses have the truth.
Although many churches allow their members to do whatever they want, the Witnesses live according to Jehovah’s standards
15. What convinces one brother that he has the truth?
15 Why do other Witnesses believe that they have the truth? One brother who is 54 years old has been serving Jehovah since he was a teenager. He says that his faith is based on three important beliefs, or pillars: (1) that God exists, (2) that the Bible is from God, and (3) that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the ones doing God’s will on earth today. He says: “As I have studied over the years, I have always tried to test those pillars and have asked myself if they were on truly solid ground. The evidence for each has grown substantially year after year, strengthening my faith and deepening my conviction that we do, indeed, have the truth.”
16. Why is one sister convinced that she has the truth?
16 A married sister who works at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York commented about what convinces her that she has the truth. She says that Jehovah’s organization is the only one that tells others about Jehovah’s name, which is in the Bible about 7,000 times. She is also encouraged by the scripture at 2 Chronicles 16:9, which says: “The eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.” She comments: “The truth has shown me how to have a complete heart so that Jehovah can freely show his strength toward me. My relationship with Jehovah is most precious to me. And I appreciate Jesus’ role in providing intimate knowledge of God that sustains me.”
17. What is one brother who used to be an atheist convinced of, and why?
17 One brother who used to be an atheist said: “The creation convinces me that God wants mankind to enjoy life and therefore he will not allow suffering to go on forever. Also, as the world descends further into ungodliness, Jehovah’s people are progressing in faith, zeal, and love. Only Jehovah’s spirit could produce this modern-day miracle.”
18. Why do two brothers believe that they have the truth? How do you feel about that?
18 Another brother who has been in the truth a long time gives reasons why he believes that he has the truth: “My study over the years has convinced me that the Witnesses have made serious efforts to return to the model of first-century Christianity. I have seen for myself the global unity of Jehovah’s Witnesses as I have traveled the world. The truth from the Bible has given me satisfaction and happiness.” A brother who is over 60 years old commented that Jehovah’s Witnesses truly put faith in Jesus. He explained: “We have carefully studied the life and ministry of Jesus and have come to appreciate his example. We have made adjustments in our lifestyle to draw nearer to God through Christ Jesus. We have recognized Christ’s ransom sacrifice as the basis for salvation. And we know that he was resurrected from the dead. We have the testimony of reliable eyewitnesses to that fact.”
TELL OTHERS ABOUT THE TRUTH
19, 20. (a) What responsibility did Paul mention in his letter to the congregation in Rome? (b) What do all servants of Jehovah need to do?
19 True Christians really love people. That is why we must tell others about the truth we have learned. Paul told the congregation in Rome that true followers of Jesus have the responsibility to preach. He wrote: “If you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.”
20 Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced that they have the truth and know that it is an honor to teach others about the good news of God’s Kingdom. So make it your goal not only to teach others about the Bible but also to show them by the way you live that you are convinced that you have the truth.
^ par. 3 See Jehovah’s Witnesses