Influenced by the Spirit—How?… Part 2

•22/06/2017 • Leave a Comment

Not that we of ourselves are adequately qualified to consider that anything comes from us, but our being adequately qualified comes from God.

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This vital work is now being accomplished under the guidance of holy spirit. We read how the holy spirit was involved in the first century in opening up new territories for missionaries. The apostle Paul and his companions were “forbidden by the holy spirit to speak the word in the district of Asia”; nor were they permitted to go into Bithynia. We do not know exactly how the spirit prevented their going into those places, yet it is clear that the spirit led Paul into the vast field of Europe. He received a vision of a Macedonian man pleading for help.

Today, Jehovah’s spirit is likewise directing the worldwide preaching. No miraculous visions are being used to give direction; instead, Jehovah guides the anointed by holy spirit. And the spirit motivates brothers and sisters to do all they can in preaching and teaching. You no doubt have been participating in this vital work. Can you increase your joy in this exciting activity?

You can submit to the direction of holy spirit by applying the information provided for God’s people. Consider young Mihoko from Japan. As a new pioneer, she felt unqualified to make return visits; she felt that she did not know how to capture the householder’s interest. About that time, practical suggestions on how to make brief return visits were provided in Our Kingdom Ministry.

Then the brochure A Satisfying Life How to Attain It was published. It proved to be especially useful in the Japanese field. Mihoko applied the suggestions given on how to use the brochure, especially on how to make brief return visits. Soon she was starting Bible studies with those who might previously have declined a study. She says, “I had so many studies as many as 12 at one time that I had to put some on a waiting list!” Indeed, when you walk by spirit, applying the direction given to Jehovah’s servants, you can reap bountifully.

Influenced by the Spirit—How?…Part 1…

•06/05/2017 • Leave a Comment

The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to Jehovah, But the prayer of the upright is a pleasure to Him.

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It is not a matter of simply studying the Scriptures and meditating. You need to keep asking for Jehovah’s help and guidance. He can “do more than superabundantly beyond all the things we ask or conceive.”  How would you answer, though, if someone inquired, “Why should I continue to ask if God already knows ‘what things I am needing before ever I ask him’?”  Well, for one thing, by praying for holy spirit, you acknowledge your reliance on Jehovah. For example, if someone came to you for aid, you would do whatever you could to help him, one reason being that he asked you to assist him, showing trust in you.  Likewise, Jehovah finds pleasure in your asking him for his spirit, and he will give it to you.

You can well appreciate that another way to come under the influence of God’s spirit involves our meetings, assemblies, and conventions. Making an effort to be in attendance and paying attention to the program is very important. Doing so helps you to understand “the deep things of God.” There are also benefits from regularly making comments. Think back on the meetings you attended in the last four weeks. How often did you raise your hand, offering to answer, to make an expression of your faith? Do you see room for improvement in this area? If you do, resolve what you will do in the weeks ahead. Jehovah will see your willingness to participate and will provide his holy spirit, which will help you to get even more out of the meetings you attend.

Walking by spirit includes responding to the invitation we read at Revelation 22:17: “The spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’ And let anyone hearing say: ‘Come!’ And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.” The spirit, working through the anointed bride class, is extending this invitation regarding life’s water. If you have accepted the call to “come!” are you determined to say, “Come!”? What a privilege it is to be able to share in this lifesaving work!

What “Walking by Spirit” Means…

•28/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

For the flesh is against the spirit in its desire, and the spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you do not do the very things you want to do. Furthermore, if you are being led by spirit, you are not under law.

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Walking by spirit” involves accepting the action of the holy spirit upon you, allowing the holy spirit to influence you. You might say that it means to be governed by the holy spirit in your daily activities. Galatians chapter 5 brings out the contrast between being under the influence of the holy spirit and that of the flesh.

If you are under the influence of the holy spirit, you seek to refrain from the works of the flesh. Those include such things as “fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism, enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries.”  In a sense, you “put the practices of the body to death by the spirit.”  It will help to set your mind on the things of the spirit and cooperate with its leadings, rather than let yourself be controlled by fleshly desires.

As holy spirit operates upon you, you manifest godly qualities, “the fruitage of the spirit.”  You realize, though, that this calls for effort on your part. To illustrate: A farmer cultivates the land. Of course, sunshine and water are necessary; without such he cannot expect any harvest. We might compare holy spirit to sunshine. Holy spirit is needed for us to manifest the fruitage of the spirit. Yet, what would be produced without the farmer’s hard work?  Yes, how you cultivate the soil of your heart makes a difference in the quality and quantity of the fruitage of the holy spirit in you. So ask yourself, ‘Am I permitting holy spirit to produce its fruitage by working along with it?

To obtain a good harvest, farmers also need to water their crops. In order to cultivate the fruitage of the spirit, you need the waters of truth found in the Bible and available through the Christian congregation today. You have likely pointed out to many people that the Holy Scriptures are a product of holy spirit.  Also, the faithful and discreet slave class provides much-needed understanding of the pure waters of Bible truth. The implication is clear. In order to come under the influence of the holy spirit, we must read and meditate on God’s Word. If you are doing that, you are imitating the fine examples of the prophets who made “a diligent inquiry and a careful search” of information that was provided. It is noteworthy that even the angels have shown deep interest in spiritual truths regarding the promised Seed and the anointed Christian congregation.

Walk by Spirit and Live Up to Your Dedication…

•26/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

But I say, Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire at all.

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WHEN Jesus’ followers spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., it was after they had been baptized with holy spirit. They manifested a miraculous gift of the spirit. What was the effect of this gift and the discourse that the apostle Peter gave? Many “were stabbed to the heart.” At Peter’s urging, they repented and were baptized. The historical record says: “Those who embraced his word heartily were baptized, and on that day about three thousand souls were added.”  As Jesus had instructed, they would have been baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit.

However, is there any difference between being baptized with holy spirit and being baptized in the name of the holy spirit? Yes. Those who are baptized with holy spirit are born again as spirit-begotten sons of God.  They are anointed to be future associate kings and underpriests in God’s heavenly Kingdom, and they are part of the spiritual body of Christ.  So this baptism being baptized with holy spirit—was what Jehovah performed when, on the day of Pentecost and thereafter, he chose individuals to become joint heirs with Christ. But what of water baptism in the name of the holy spirit, something that regularly occurs at assemblies and conventions of Jehovah’s people in our day?

Water baptism is a step that true Christians undertake in symbol of their unreserved dedication to Jehovah God. That is so of those who received the heavenly calling. But water baptism is also a necessary step for millions of men and women in modern times who now have the hope of living forever on earth. Regardless of a person’s hope, being baptized in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit is a necessary step that one must take in order to be acceptable to God. All Christians who are thus baptized are expected to “keep walking by spirit.” Are you walking by spirit and thus living up to your dedication?

Emblems, not literal flesh and blood…

•16/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

This was not done to offer himself often, as when the high priest enters into the holy place from year to year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, he would have to suffer often from the founding of the world. But now he has manifested himself once for all time at the conclusion of the systems of things to do away with sin through the sacrifice of himself.

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The unleavened bread and red wine served at the Memorial are emblems, or symbols, of Christ’s flesh and blood. They are not miraculously changed into or mixed with his literal flesh and blood, as some feel. Consider the Scriptural basis for this understanding.

If Jesus had commanded his disciples to drink his blood, he would have been telling them to break God’s law against consuming blood.  Yet this could not be, for Jesus would never instruct others to violate God’s law regarding the sacredness of blood.

If the apostles had been literally drinking Jesus’ blood, he would not have said that his blood “is to be poured out,” indicating that his sacrifice was yet to occur.

Jesus’ sacrifice took place “once for all time.”  However, if the bread and wine were changed into his flesh and blood during the Lord’s Evening Meal, then those partaking would be repeating that sacrifice.

Jesus said: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me,” not “in sacrifice of me.”

Those who believe in transubstantiation, that the bread and wine become Jesus’ literal body and blood, base this doctrine on the wording of certain Bible verses. For example, in many Bible translations, Jesus is recorded as saying of the wine: “This is my blood.”  However, Jesus’ words can also be translated as: “This means my blood,” “This represents my blood,” or “This signifies my blood.”  As he had often done, Jesus was teaching by using a metaphor.

Lord’s Supper Part 2

•13/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

As they continued eating, Jesus took a loaf, and after saying a blessing, he broke it, and giving it to the disciples, he said: “Take, eat. This means my body.”

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Date and time

The pattern established by Jesus helps determine not only the frequency but also the date and time of the Memorial. He introduced the observance after sundown on Nisan 14, 33 C.E., according to the Bible’s lunar calendar.  We continue to observe the Memorial on this date each year, following the practice of early Christians.

Although Nisan 14, 33 C.E. was a Friday, the anniversary of that date might fall on a different day of the week each year. We determine the date that Nisan 14 falls each year using the same method as was used in the time of Jesus, rather than applying the method used for the modern Jewish calendar.

Bread and wine

Unleavened bread and red wine…

For the new observance, Jesus used unleavened bread and red wine that were left over from the Passover meal.  Following his example, we use bread without leaven or added ingredients and plain red wine, not grape juice or wine that has been sweetened, fortified, or spiced.

Some denominations use bread with leavening or yeast, but leaven is often used in the Bible as a symbol of sin and corruption.  Thus, only bread free from leaven and other additives can be a fitting symbol for Christ’s sinless body.  Another practice not supported by the Bible is that of substituting unfermented grape juice for wine. Some churches do so because of their unscriptural prohibition against consuming alcohol.

 

Lord’s Supper…..

•12/04/2017 • Leave a Comment

When you come together in one place, it is not really to eat the Lord’s Evening Meal.

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We adhere strictly to the Bible in our observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal, which is also known as “the Lord’s supper,” the Last Supper, and the Memorial of Jesus’ death. In contrast, many beliefs and practices of other denominations in connection with this observance are not based on the Bible.

Purpose

The purpose of the Lord’s Evening Meal is to remember Jesus, showing our gratitude for his sacrifice in our behalf. The observance is not a sacrament, or a religious practice that imparts merit such as grace or the forgiveness of sins.  The Bible teaches that our sins can be forgiven, not by a religious rite, but only through faith in Jesus.

How often?

Jesus commanded his disciples to commemorate the Lord’s Evening Meal, but he did not specifically say how often. Some feel that it should be observed monthly, while others observe it weekly, daily, several times each day, or as often as a person feels is appropriate.  However, here are some factors that should be considered.

Jesus instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal on the date of the Jewish Passover, and he died later that same day.  This was no coincidence. The Scriptures compare Jesus’ sacrifice to that of the Passover lamb.  The Passover was observed once each year.  Likewise, the Memorial of Jesus’ death was observed once each year by the early Christians, and Jehovah’s Witnesses follow that Bible-based pattern.