TALK – week beginning
21 January 2013
If someone says: “Pray with me first, then give me your message”.
Setting No.2. Overcoming a potential conversation stopper
And I am working on the use of illustrations - so I hope you note my two illustrations.
Sue. Thanks for asking me in. I’m Sue.
Lara. I’m Lara. I see its not easy for you to stand for too long. Besides, if I am going to hear your message, we need to pray together first, and I don’t think we can pray on the doorstep. When I mentioned the Witnesses were calling on me, I was told by my minister that you refused to pray with him when you came to his door to talk to him. I wanted to find out why.
Sue. Thanks for much for giving us the chance to explain. Because it must seem odd, wouldn’t praying be the first thing we would do, before we started to talk about the Bible?
Lara. Yes, that is what I think. So why don’t you?
Sue. The answer lies in these words of Jesus, here at Matthew 10:12,13. Would you like to read them?
Lara. (Reads Matthew 10:12-13) "When you are entering into the house, greet the household; and if the house is deserving, let the peace you wish it come upon it; but if it is not deserving, let the peace from you return upon you."
Sue. The context here is that Jesus is teaching his disciples how to do the Christian preaching work. And do you notice that he says they are to greet the householder as they call at the door? But he doesn’t say that they are to pray together.
Lara. Not there, no. But Jesus did teach us to pray.
Sue. Yes, he did. And prayer is of vital importance. But so is paying close attention to what Jehovah, our Creator, has had recorded in his inspired word. And in fact the Bible uses a very simple illustration to show us how important that is. Its here at 1 Peter 2:21. I will read it for you. "In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely."
Do you see how it says we are to follow Jesus’ steps closely? Imagine, for example, if you were following a guide through a minefield, you would not go wandering off would you? You would put your feet exactly where he put his feet. Or to bring it much closer to home, think of the way you want your children to follow your instructions closely. When you tell them never to go near the railway lines for instance, do you want them reasoning that its OK when they are with a gang of more streetwise children who say they know all the timetables and when the trains are due?
Lara. Of course not, children don’t necessarily see what the danger is, or who is a safe guide and who is not.
Sue. . Yes, but parents do. And they love their children and want to keep them safe. And that is what our Creator, Jehovah, wants for us. He wants to keep us safe. He knows that we live in a world full of spiritual dangers – a spiritual minefield, if you like - and he wants to guide us safely through it. And he has given us a reliable guide in his Messiah. So we try to follow in Jesus footsteps exactly, not taking anything away from what he taught, but also not adding anything. And, had Jesus wanted his disciples to pray with those they called on, wouldn’t he have said so clearly?
Lara. I suppose so. And yet it was Jesus who left us the Lord’s Prayer.
Sue. He did Lara. And that is so important, because one of the first things Jesus taught us to pray for was the coming of God’s Kingdom. And we do pray for its coming. And if you read Matthew chapter 10, you will find how Jesus instructed his disciples to tell people that the Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near. In harmony with that, I am here at your door now to tell you all about it. This is a beautiful summary of what that Kingdom will do. Reads Revelation 21:4: "And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” God's kingdom, which is a heavenly government, will wipe out every tear from our eyes. All causes for suffering will be gone. What human government could achieve such a thing? Yet God’s Kingdom can. If you can spare me a bit more time, I would like to show you chapter 8 in the book “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” - “What is God’s Kingdom?”. It will explain more about the Kingdom whose coming Jesus asked us to pray for when he taught us the Lord's Prayer.