Review November - December 2013

References of Theocratic Ministry School Review November - December 2013

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Theocratic Ministry School Review

The following questions will be considered at the Theocratic Ministry School during the week beginning December 30, 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 will help us to exhibit mildness when dealing with secular authorities? (Titus 3:2) [Nov. 4, w03 4/1 p. 25 pars. 18-19]

(Titus 3:2) 2 to speak injuriously of no one, not to be belligerent, to be reasonable, exhibiting all mildness toward all men.
*** w03 4/1 p. 25 pars. 18-19 Exhibit “All Mildness Toward All Men” ***
18 One area where many find it difficult to exhibit mildness is in dealing with secular authorities. Admittedly, the way some in authority act betrays harshness and a lack of fellow feeling. (Ecclesiastes 4:1; 8:9) However, our love for Jehovah will help us recognize his supreme authority and give governmental authorities the relative subjection that they are due. (Romans 13:1, 4; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2) Even when those in high station seek to limit the public expression of our worship of Jehovah, we gladly look for ways that are still open to offer our sacrifice of praise.—Hebrews 13:15.
19 Under no circumstances do we resort to belligerence. We strive to be reasonable while never compromising righteous principles. In this way, our brothers succeed in pursuing their ministry in 234 lands around the world. We heed Paul’s counsel to “be in subjection and be obedient to governments and authorities as rulers, to be ready for every good work, to speak injuriously of no one, not to be belligerent, to be reasonable, exhibiting all mildness toward all men.”—Titus 3:1, 2.

2. What can we learn from Paul’s words to Philemon as recorded at Philemon 4, 5, and 7? [Nov. 4, w08 10/15 p. 31 pars. 1, 2; w92 4/15 p. 25 par. 2]

(Philemon 4-7) 4 I always thank my God when I make mention of you in my prayers, 5 as I keep hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the holy ones; 6 in order that the sharing of your faith may go into action by your acknowledging of every good thing among us as related to Christ. 7 For I got much joy and comfort over your love, because the tender affections of the holy ones have been refreshed through you, brother.
*** w08 10/15 p. 31 pars. 1-2 Highlights From the Letters to Titus, to Philemon, and to the Hebrews ***
Philemon is commended for being an example in “love and faith.” His being a source of refreshment to fellow Christians has given Paul “much joy and comfort.”—Philem. 4, 5, 7.
Setting an example for all overseers, Paul handles the sensitive matter about Onesimus by giving, not an order, but exhortation “on the basis of love.” He tells Philemon: “Trusting in your compliance, I am writing you, knowing you will even do more than the things I say.”—Philem. 8, 9, 21.
*** w92 4/15 p. 25 ‘Exhorting on the Basis of Love’ ***
Paul’s letter further reminds elders of the value of commendation and tact. He begins by acknowledging that ‘the tender affections of the holy ones were refreshed through’ Philemon. (Verse 7) This sincere commendation no doubt put Philemon in a more receptive frame of mind. Similarly today, counsel or advice can often be cushioned with sincere, warm commendation. And such counsel should be, not blunt or tactless, but generously “seasoned with salt” so as to be more palatable to the listener.—Colossians 4:6.

3. How do we enter into God’s rest? (Heb. 4:9-11) [Nov. 11, w11 7/15 p. 28 pars. 16, 17]

(Hebrews 4:9-11) 9 So there remains a sabbath resting for the people of God. 10 For the man that has entered into [God’s] rest has also himself rested from his own works, just as God did from his own. 11 Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest, for fear anyone should fall in the same pattern of disobedience.
*** w11 7/15 p. 28 pars. 16-17 God’s Rest—What Is It? ***
16 Few Christians today would insist on observing some aspect of the Mosaic Law in order to obtain salvation. Paul’s inspired words to the Ephesians are perfectly clear: “By this undeserved kindness, indeed, you have been saved through faith; and this not owing to you, it is God’s gift. No, it is not owing to works, in order that no man should have ground for boasting.” (Eph. 2:8, 9) What, then, does it mean for Christians to enter into God’s rest? Jehovah set aside the seventh day—his rest day—in order to bring his purpose respecting the earth to a glorious fulfillment. We can enter into Jehovah’s rest—or join him in his rest—by obediently working in harmony with his advancing purpose as it is revealed to us through his organization.
17 On the other hand, if we minimized the Bible-based counsel that we receive through the faithful and discreet slave class, choosing to follow an independent course, we would be placing ourselves at odds with God’s unfolding purpose. This could endanger our peaceful relationship with Jehovah. In the next article, we will consider a few common situations that can affect God’s people and discuss how the decisions we make, whether to obey or to take an independent course, can determine if we have truly entered into God’s rest.

4. What can we learn from Samuel and the faithful judges and prophets who effected “righteousness”? (Heb. 11:32, 33) [Nov. 18, w11 1/1 p. 25 pars. 5, 6]

(Hebrews 11:32, 33) 32 And what more shall I say? For the time will fail me if I go on to relate about Gid′e•on, Ba′rak, Samson, Jeph′thah, David as well as Samuel and the [other] prophets, 33 who through faith defeated kingdoms in conflict, effected righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
*** w11 1/1 pp. 25-26 He Endured Despite Disappointments ***
Many centuries later, the apostle Paul listed Samuel among the faithful judges and prophets who “effected righteousness.” (Hebrews 11:32, 33) Samuel did indeed help to bring about what was good and right in God’s eyes. He remained effective because he waited patiently on Jehovah, faithfully keeping at his work in spite of disappointments. He also showed an appreciative spirit. After the victory at Mizpah, Samuel had a monument erected to commemorate the way that Jehovah had helped his people.—1 Samuel 7:12.
Do you want to ‘effect righteousness’ yourself? If so, you do well to learn from Samuel’s patience and his humble, appreciative spirit. Who of us does not need those qualities? It was good for Samuel to acquire and display such traits when relatively young, for he faced deeper disappointments in his later years.

5. Why did James write that “the wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable”? (Jas. 3:17) [Nov. 25, w11 8/15 pp. 30-31 par. 15]

(James 3:17) 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, not making partial distinctions, not hypocritical.
*** w11 8/15 pp. 30-31 par. 15 Pursue Peace ***
15 As Christians, we are exhorted to pursue peace. However, the Bible also states: “The wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable.” (Jas. 3:17) Being peaceable is secondary to chasteness, that is, upholding God’s clean moral standards and meeting his righteous requirements. If a Christian becomes aware of a serious sin on the part of a fellow believer, he should encourage that one to confess the sin to the elders. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Jas. 5:14-16) If the wrongdoer does not do so, the Christian who has come to know about the sin should report it. Failure to do this in a mistaken effort to maintain peace with the sinner makes one a party to the wrongdoing.—Lev. 5:1; read Proverbs 29:24.

6. Who were “the dead” to whom “the good news was declared”? (1 Pet. 4:6) [Dec. 2, w08 11/15 p. 21 par. 8]

(1 Peter 4:6) 6 In fact, for this purpose the good news was declared also to the dead, that they might be judged as to the flesh from the standpoint of men but might live as to the spirit from the standpoint of God.
*** w08 11/15 p. 21 par. 8 Highlights From the Letters of James and of Peter ***
4:6—Who were “the dead” to whom “the good news was declared”? These were ones who were ‘dead in their trespasses and sins,’ or who were spiritually dead, before they heard the good news. (Eph. 2:1) After putting faith in the good news, though, they began to “live” spiritually.

7. According to 1 John 2:7, 8, what commandment is John speaking of as being “old” as well as “new”? [Dec. 9, w08 12/15 p. 27 par. 6]

(1 John 2:7, 8) 7 Beloved ones, I am writing YOU, not a new commandment, but an old commandment which YOU have had from [the] beginning. This old commandment is the word which YOU heard. 8 Again, I am writing YOU a new commandment, a fact that is true in his case and in YOURS, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
*** w08 12/15 p. 27 Highlights From the Letters of John and of Jude ***
2:7, 8—What commandment is John speaking of as “old” as well as “new”? John is speaking about the commandment regarding self-sacrificing brotherly love. (John 13:34) He refers to it as “old” because Jesus gave it over 60 years before John penned his first inspired letter. Thus, the believers have had it “from the beginning” of their lives as Christians. The commandment is also “new” in that it goes beyond ‘loving one’s fellow as oneself’ and calls for self-sacrificing love.—Lev. 19:18; John 15:12, 13.

8. To whom do the titles “the Alpha and the Omega” and “the First and the Last” refer? (Rev. 1:8, 17) [Dec. 16, w09 1/15 p. 30 par. 6]

(Revelation 1:8) 8 “I am the Al′pha and the O•me′ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:17) 17 And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last,
*** w09 1/15 p. 30 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Revelation—I ***
1:8, 17—To whom do the titles “the Alpha and the Omega” and “the First and the Last” refer? The title “the Alpha and the Omega” applies to Jehovah, stressing that there was no almighty God before him and that there will be none after him. He is “the beginning and the end.” (Rev. 21:6; 22:13) Although Jehovah is referred to as “the first and the last” at Revelation 22:13, in that there is none before or after him, the context in the first chapter of Revelation shows that the title “the First and the Last” there applies to Jesus Christ. He was the first human to be resurrected to immortal spirit life and the last one to be so resurrected by Jehovah personally.—Col. 1:18.

9. In what two ways are anointed Christians “sealed”? (Rev. 7:3) [Dec. 23, w07 1/1 p. 31 par. 2]

(Revelation 7:3) 3 saying: “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads.”
*** w07 1/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
However, there are two phases in the sealing of anointed ones. The initial sealing differs from the final sealing (1) in purpose and (2) in time. The sealing in an initial sense serves to select a new member who is added to the number of anointed Christians. The sealing in a final sense serves to confirm that this chosen and sealed individual has fully demonstrated his loyalty. Only then, at the final sealing, will the seal be permanently placed ‘in the forehead’ of the anointed one, identifying him conclusively as a tried and faithful ‘slave of our God.’ The sealing mentioned in Revelation chapter 7 refers to this final phase of the sealing.—Revelation 7:3.

10. Why can we be absolutely certain that foretold blessings under Kingdom rule will become a reality, and how should we be affected by this knowledge? (Rev. 21:5, 6) [Dec. 30, re p. 304 par. 9]

(Revelation 21:5-7) 5 And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new.” Also, he says: “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” 6 And he said to me: “They have come to pass! I am the Al′pha and the O•me′ga, the beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the fountain of the water of life free. 7 Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I shall be his God and he will be my son.
*** re chap. 42 p. 304 par. 9 A New Heaven and a New Earth ***
9 It is as though Jehovah himself were signing for faithful mankind a guarantee, or title deed, to these future blessings. Who would dare question such a Guarantor? Why, so certain are these promises of Jehovah that he speaks as though they were already fulfilled: “They have come to pass!” Is not Jehovah “the Alpha and the Omega . . . , the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty”? (Revelation 1:8) Indeed he is! He himself declares: “I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6) As such, he can inspire prophecies and fulfill them in every detail. How faith strengthening! So he promises: “Look! I am making all things new”! Rather than questioning whether these marvels will really happen, surely we should be wondering: ‘What do I personally have to do to inherit such blessings?’

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 Review November - December 2013