References of Theocratic Ministry School Review July - August 2013
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Theocratic Ministry School Review
The following questions will be considered at the Theocratic Ministry School during the week beginning August 26, 2013. The date when each point is scheduled for discussion is included so that research can be done when preparing for the school each week.
1. What very important lesson can we learn from King Herod’s willing acceptance of undue praise and glory from men? (Acts 12:21-23) [July 1, w08 5/15 p. 32 par. 7]
(Acts 12:21-23) 21 But on a set day Herod clothed himself with royal raiment and sat down upon the judgment seat and began giving them a public address. 22 In turn the assembled people began shouting: “A god’s voice, and not a man’s!” 23 Instantly the angel of Jehovah struck him, because he did not give the glory to God; and he became eaten up with worms and expired.
*** w08 5/15 p. 32 par. 7 Highlights From the Book of Acts ***
Herod readily accepted glory that should be given only to God. How that differed from the immediate and emphatic rejection of undue praise and honor by Paul and Barnabas! We should not desire glory for whatever accomplishments we may have in Jehovah’s service.
2. How can Christian youths benefit themselves by analyzing and following Timothy’s example? (Acts 16:1, 2) [July 8, w08 5/15 p. 32 par. 10]
(Acts 16:1, 2) 16 So he arrived at Der′be and also at Lys′tra. And, look! a certain disciple was there by the name of Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman but of a Greek father, 2 and he was well reported on by the brothers in Lys′tra and I•co′ni•um.
*** w08 5/15 p. 32 par. 10 Highlights From the Book of Acts ***
Christian youths should apply themselves spiritually and seek Jehovah’s help to build up a good reputation.
3. After hearing Apollos “speak boldly” in the synagogue in Ephesus, how did Aquila and Priscilla lovingly assist him? (Acts 18:24-26) [July 15, w10 6/15 p. 11 par. 4]
(Acts 18:24-26) 24 Now a certain Jew named A•pol′los, a native of Alexandria, an eloquent man, arrived in Eph′e•sus; and he was well versed in the Scriptures. 25 This [man] had been orally instructed in the way of Jehovah and, as he was aglow with the spirit, he went speaking and teaching with correctness the things about Jesus, but being acquainted with only the baptism of John. 26 And this [man] started to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Pris•cil′la and Aq′ui•la heard him, they took him into their company and expounded the way of God more correctly to him.
*** w10 6/15 p. 11 par. 4 Keep Building Up the Congregation ***
4 The Christian couple Aquila and Priscilla heard Apollos speaking boldly in the synagogue, took him into their company, and taught him further. (Read Acts 18:24-26.) This was the loving thing to do. Of course, Aquila and Priscilla would have approached Apollos in a tactful and helpful manner, not making him feel that he was being criticized. It was simply a matter of his not being aware of the history of the early Christian congregation. And Apollos was no doubt grateful to his new companions for sharing these important details with him. Equipped with this information, Apollos “greatly helped” his brothers in Achaia and gave a powerful witness.—Acts 18:27, 28.
4. What Scriptural basis is there for Jehovah’s Witnesses to utilize the courts of the land to protect their right to preach? (Acts 25:10-12) [July 22, bt p. 198 par. 6]
(Acts 25:10-12) 10 But Paul said: “I am standing before the judgment seat of Caesar, where I ought to be judged. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also are finding out quite well. 11 If, on the one hand, I am really a wrongdoer and have committed anything deserving of death, I do not beg off from dying; if, on the other hand, none of those things exists of which these [men] accuse me, no man can hand me over to them as a favor. I appeal to Caesar!” 12 Then Festus, after speaking with the assembly of counselors, replied: “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.”
*** bt chap. 25 p. 198 par. 6 “I Appeal to Caesar!” ***
6 Festus’ desire to indulge the Jews could have put Paul in mortal danger. Therefore, Paul used a right he possessed as a Roman citizen. He told Festus: “I am standing before the judgment seat of Caesar, where I ought to be judged. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also are finding out quite well. . . . I appeal to Caesar!” Once made, such an appeal was usually irrevocable. Festus emphasized this, saying: “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.” (Acts 25:10-12) By appealing to a higher legal authority, Paul set a precedent for true Christians today. When opposers try to frame “trouble by decree,” Jehovah’s Witnesses avail themselves of legal provisions to defend the good news.—Ps. 94:20.
5. How did the apostle Paul continue to find ways to witness even while imprisoned in Rome, and how do Jehovah’s servants today follow his example? (Acts 28:17, 23, 30, 31) [July 29, bt pp. 215-217 pars. 19-23]
(Acts 28:17) However, three days later he called together those who were the principal men of the Jews. When they had assembled, he proceeded to say to them: “Men, brothers, although I had done nothing contrary to the people or the customs of our forefathers, I was delivered over as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.
(Acts 28:23) They now arranged for a day with him, and they came in greater numbers to him in his lodging place. And he explained the matter to them by bearing thorough witness concerning the kingdom of God and by using persuasion with them concerning Jesus from both the law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.
(Acts 28:30, 31) So he remained for an entire two years in his own hired house, and he would kindly receive all those who came in to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God to them and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with the greatest freeness of speech, without hindrance.
*** bt chap. 27 pp. 215-217 “Bearing Thorough Witness” ***
“Preaching the Kingdom of God” (Acts 28:30, 31)
19 Luke concludes his narrative on a truly positive and warm note, saying: “[Paul] remained for an entire two years in his own hired house, and he would kindly receive all those who came in to him, preaching the kingdom of God to them and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with the greatest freeness of speech, without hindrance.” (Acts 28:30, 31) What an outstanding example of hospitality, faith, and zeal!
20 One of those whom Paul kindly received was a man named Onesimus, a runaway slave from Colossae. Paul helped Onesimus to become a Christian, and Onesimus, in turn, became a “faithful and beloved brother” to Paul. In fact, Paul described him as “my child, to whom I became a father.” (Col. 4:9; Philem. 10-12) How Onesimus must have lifted Paul’s spirits!
21 Others too benefited from Paul’s fine example. To the Philippians, he wrote: “My affairs have turned out for the advancement of the good news rather than otherwise, so that my bonds have become public knowledge in association with Christ among all the Praetorian Guard and all the rest; and most of the brothers in the Lord, feeling confidence by reason of my prison bonds, are showing all the more courage to speak the word of God fearlessly.”—Phil. 1:12-14.
22 Paul took advantage of his confinement in Rome to write important letters that are now part of the Christian Greek Scriptures. Interestingly, in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul used Roman armor to illustrate a Christian’s spiritual armor. (Eph. 6:11-17) Perhaps the idea came to him while he was looking at his soldier guard. (Acts 28:16) What is the lesson for us? If we are observant, we can often find good illustrations in our surroundings.
23 By the time of his release, which is not mentioned in Acts, Paul had been in custody for some four years—two in Caesarea and two in Rome. (Acts 23:35; 24:27) But he maintained a positive outlook, doing all that he could in God’s service. Likewise, many of Jehovah’s servants today, though unjustly imprisoned because of their faith, have retained their joy and kept preaching. Consider the example of Adolfo, who was imprisoned in Spain because of his Christian neutrality. “We are amazed at you,” said one officer. “We have been making life impossible for you, and the worse we made it, the more you smiled and had a kind word.”
6. Why does the Bible denounce homosexual acts as unnatural and obscene? (Rom.1:26, 27) [Aug. 5, g 1/12 p. 28 par. 7]
(Romans 1:26, 27) 26 That is why God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; 27 and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error.
Why does the Bible describe homosexual acts as unnatural and obscene? Because they involve sexual activity that was not intended by our Creator. Homosexual acts cannot produce offspring. The Bible compares homosexual activity to the sexual relations that rebellious angels, who came to be known as demons, had with women before the Deluge of Noah’s day. (Genesis 6:4; 19:4, 5; Jude 6, 7) God views both acts as unnatural.
7. How could “the ransom paid by Christ Jesus” in 33 C.E. cover “the sins that occurred” before it was paid? (Rom. 3:24, 25) [Aug. 5, w08 6/15 p. 29 par. 6]
(Romans 3:24, 25) 24 and it is as a free gift that they are being declared righteous by his undeserved kindness through the release by the ransom [paid] by Christ Jesus. 25 God set him forth as an offering for propitiation through faith in his blood. This was in order to exhibit his own righteousness, because he was forgiving the sins that occurred in the past while God was exercising forbearance;
*** w08 6/15 p. 29 par. 6 Highlights From the Letter to the Romans ***
3:24, 25—How could “the ransom paid by Christ Jesus” cover “the sins that occurred in the past” before it was paid? The first Messianic prophecy, recorded at Genesis 3:15, found fulfillment in 33 C.E. when Jesus was put to death on a torture stake. (Gal. 3:13, 16) The moment Jehovah uttered that prophecy, however, the ransom price was as good as paid from his viewpoint, for nothing can prevent God from fulfilling what he purposes. So on the basis of the future sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Jehovah could forgive the sins of descendants of Adam who exercised faith in that promise. The ransom also makes possible a resurrection of those of pre-Christian times.—Acts 24:15.
8. What loving provision has Jehovah made for the times when we find ourselves facing extremely perplexing situations and do not know exactly what to pray for? (Rom. 8:26, 27) [Aug. 12, w08 6/15 p. 30 par. 10]
(Romans 8:26, 27) 26 In like manner the spirit also joins in with help for our weakness; for the [problem of] what we should pray for as we need to we do not know, but the spirit itself pleads for us with groanings unuttered. 27 Yet he who searches the hearts knows what the meaning of the spirit is, because it is pleading in accord with God for holy ones.
*** w08 6/15 p. 30 par. 10 Highlights From the Letter to the Romans ***
When we are faced with situations so perplexing that we do not know what to pray for, “the spirit itself pleads for us.” Then Jehovah, the “Hearer of prayer,” accepts appropriate prayers recorded in his Word as coming from us.—Ps. 65:2.
9. What is implied by the admonition to “follow the course of hospitality”? (Rom. 12:13) [Aug. 19, w09 10/15 pp. 5-6 pars. 12-13]
(Romans 12:13) 13 Share with the holy ones according to their needs. Follow the course of hospitality.
*** w09 10/15 pp. 5-6 “Be Aglow With the Spirit” ***
The Course of Hospitality
12 Read Romans 12:13. Our love for our brothers will move us to “share with the holy ones according to their needs” and according to our ability. Even if we have few of this world’s goods, we can share what we have. Writing of Christians in Macedonia, Paul stated: “During a great test under affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty made the riches of their generosity abound. For according to their actual ability, yes, I testify, beyond their actual ability this was, while they of their own accord kept begging us with much entreaty for the privilege of kindly giving and for a share in the ministry destined for the holy ones [in Judea].” (2 Cor. 8:2-4) Although poor themselves, Christians in Macedonia were very generous. They considered it a privilege to share with their needy brothers in Judea.
13 The phrase “follow the course of hospitality” translates a Greek expression that implies showing initiative. The New Jerusalem Bible renders the expression “look for opportunities to be hospitable.” Hospitality is sometimes expressed by inviting someone for a meal, and when this is done in love, it is commendable. But if we show initiative, we will discover many other ways of being hospitable. For one thing, if our means or our strength do not allow us to invite others for a meal, sharing a cup of coffee, tea, or some other beverage is also a way of showing hospitality.
10. How do we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” as the apostle Paul advises? (Rom. 13:14) [Aug. 26, w05 1/1 pp. 11-12 pars. 20-22]
(Romans 13:14) 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not be planning ahead for the desires of the flesh.
*** w05 1/1 pp. 11-12 Hold to the Pattern Jesus Set ***
“Put On the Lord Jesus Christ”
20 Paul wrote to the congregation in Rome: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not be planning ahead for the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:14) Christians wear Jesus, as it were, like a garment. They strive to imitate his qualities and actions to such an extent that they become a reflection—even if imperfect—of their Master.—1 Thessalonians 1:6.
21 We can successfully “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” if we become familiar with the Master’s life and strive to live as he lived. We imitate his humility, his love of righteousness, his hatred of lawlessness, his love for his brothers, his being no part of the world, and his patient endurance of suffering. We do not ‘plan ahead for the desires of the flesh’—that is, we do not make our chief purpose in life the reaching of secular goals or the satisfying of fleshly desires. Rather, when making a decision or handling a problem, we ask: ‘What would Jesus do in this situation? What would he want me to do?’
22 Finally, we imitate Jesus in keeping busy “preaching the good news.” (Matthew 4:23; 1 Corinthians 15:58) In that way too, Christians follow the pattern that Jesus set, and the following article will discuss how.