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  1. Memorial Talk, video, link, transcript https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LV-85EyVJX9n3hyc0E8zENsuHzSbd9PC/view?usp=share_link Memorial talk.mp4 "Well this is a very special occasion and it's nice to be together. You could be doing other things this evening, but you decided to be here with us on this special occasion, and we welcome you. Perhaps this is the first time you've been to a meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses. Maybe a friend or a family member invited you. Maybe you received a personal invitation to come. Welcome. Or perhaps you came because your parents came, and you wanted to be with them. Or perhaps you're a witness of Jehovah. You have faithfully attended the Memorial the last five, ten, twenty or more years. You would risk your life to be here. Well for whatever reason that you're here this evening, we welcome you. There is absolutely no better place that you could be then to be here this evening. This is the most important event that you will attend all year. Why is that? It's because Jesus, nearly 2,000 years ago today, gave his life so that we would have the opportunity to gain everlasting life. And so that his faithful companions would not forget the significance of what he did, he arranged for it to be remembered in a very simple ceremony. Let's open our Bibles to Luke chapter 22. And let's look in on this event and what Jesus said. Luke chapter 22. Now here's the scene. Maybe you can picture it there. Jesus, with his faithful followers. It's Nisan 14. The year is 33 CE, and they're there celebrating the Passover. Now, in front of his eleven faithful apostles, Jesus introduces something new. Notice what that is, Luke chapter 22, and let's look at verses 19 and 20. Luke 22:19,20 it says: "Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them saying, 'This means my body, which is to be given in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.' Also, he did the same with the cup after they had the evening meal, saying, 'This cup means the new covenant, by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.'" What Jesus instituted here was the first Lord's Evening Meal. And did you notice the phrase there at the end of verse 19? He says "keep doing this in remembrance of me." Jesus did not want us to forget the significance of what was taking place. So he arranged for it to be remembered in a very simple ceremony. And so in obedience to this command millions of people around the earth will observe the Lord's Evening Meal just like we are. See this is a global event. For within a 24 hour period, people all over the earth, from the villages of Africa to the arctic of Greenland, to the outback in Australia to deep into the Amazon forest, will be gathered together in settings just like we are to remember the significance of what Jesus did for us. In fact, last year 20,919,041 observed the Lord's Evening Meal worldwide [note, this talk is from several years prior so the actual numbers for last year were higher] so you can see this is not our usual meeting of instruction from the Bible that we as Jehovah's Witnesses hold. This is a special meeting, a Memorial meal, commemorating the death of Jesus. And just as Jesus wanted to, it's going to help us call to mind the loving provision that Jehovah and Jesus has given us so we can gain everlasting life. And in order for us to really capture the significance of what Jesus did and what Jehovah arranged, we're going to briefly answer four questions. Here's the four questions: one, how does Jesus' death open the way to everlasting life; two, who benefit from Jesus' loving ransom sacrifice; three, who partake of the bread and the wine; and four, besides attending this meeting, what else can we do to show our appreciation? So let's consider that first one: why did someone need to open the way for us to gain everlasting life? Why did Jesus' death open the way for everlasting life? Well the answer is found for us in Romans chapter five. Let's go there. Romans chapter five. And notice the situation that man has found themselves in, and why it was necessary for Jesus' death, or how Jesus' death opens the way for everlasting life. Romans chapter five, notice verse twelve: "That is why just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they all had sinned." Do you see the situation that mankind is in and why? Because of the sin, or the disobedience, of one man, Adam, all are affected by it. And just as Adam lost the prospect for everlasting life because he disobeyed God, he passed on to us, his children, the only thing he could: sin and death. You see, it's like we're confined to prison, and the eventuality of death because of a crime someone else committed. Adam had the prospect, with his wife Eve, to fill the earth with the perfect human family in paradise conditions. But because he sinned, or disobeyed Jehovah, he lost the opportunity to live forever. Now, as we see from the scripture, none of us can get around this. All of us are born, we grow old, and we die. We cannot reverse the situation. And that's where the loving provision of Jehovah and Jesus come in. You see the question is, can anyone, any one of Adam's descendants, including you and I, ever hope to be delivered from this situation? Yes. You see, Jehovah, because of His intense love for us, arranged for His son, His firstborn, Jesus, to come to earth as a perfect human. And then Jesus willingly surrendered his perfect life to counterbalance what Adam had lost, and to give us the opportunity to gain everlasting life. Notice how that's described in Romans chapter five. Look at verse 19. Romans five, and notice verse 19. It says: "For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one person many will be made righteous." Adam set his descendants on the path of destruction when he sinned and disobeyed. Jesus, because of his obedience to death, gives us the opportunity to gain everlasting life back. Now we might wonder, though, why was it necessary for Jesus, who was perfect, to die. Why did he have to surrender his life? Well, let's go over to Hebrews chapter two and verse nine, and we're going to see what that death allows for mankind, for you and I. Hebrews chapter two, notice verse nine. It says: "But we do see Jesus, who was made a little lower than angels, now crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death. So that by God's undeserved kindness he might taste death for everyone." Jesus, giving his perfect life, tasted death for everyone. See, go back to our illustration of being confined in prison, and being basically put on death row. Nothing we can do to change our circumstances. Well, how would we feel if someone came in and took our place and freed us. We'd be grateful, wouldn't we. Well that's exactly what Jesus has done. Jesus has died for all of us, so that we could have the opportunity, not to eventually die and go out of existence, but to gain everlasting life. Doesn't it warm our heart to think of the intense love that Jehovah and Jesus have for us? Doesn't it make us want to appreciate what they've done for us? But life where? Where is this everlasting life to be? Is it in heaven? Or is it on earth? Well that brings us to our second question: who benefit from Jesus' loving sacrifice? Well the Bible describes two distinct hopes for those who will gain everlasting life to take advantage of the sacrifice that Jesus gave in our behalf. The first one is described at Revelation 14. Let's turn our Bibles there to Revelation chapter 14. And let's consider verse one. It says: "Then I saw, and look, the Lamb," Jesus, "standing on Mount Zion," or in heaven, and notice, "with him 144,000 who have his name and the name of his father written on their foreheads." So there is a limited group, 144,000, who will join Jesus in heaven with everlasting life so they can rule with Jesus. And just as a government has a set number, the Bible describes this ruling class joined with Jesus as a set number: 144,000. So the Bible describes a very small group, an anointed group, 144,000, gaining everlasting life in heaven. Well, what's the second hope? The second hope is for the majority of mankind who take advantage of this ransom sacrifice. They will enjoy a beautiful paradise earth, living forever on it, just as Jehovah originally purposed. So the vast majority here this evening attending the Lord's Evening Meal are not of the heavenly hope. They're of the earthly hope. And really it's exciting to contemplate the blessings that's going to come to those who are going to live forever here on earth. The Bible holds out a beautiful future, the real life, for those who will live forever. For example, open our Bibles to Isaiah, chapter 35. And notice how it describes our physical condition. Isaiah chapter 35, notice verses five and six. It says: "At that time, the eyes of blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. At that time the lame will leap like the deer, and the tongue of the speechless will shout for joy, for waters will burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert plain." Can you picture that? All our infirmities gone. All our ailments cured. And really, isn't that what Jesus did when he was on earth? He gave a fore gleam of that by curing ones of their ailments. Isaiah gives a promise from Jehovah that that will be our permanent health condition. Perfect, without these ailments. And it doesn't end there. The Bible's filled with promises regarding this future paradise earth. You know Isaiah describes it as a paradise condition where man will be in harmony with the environment and at peace with the animals. It also describes that we will be able to build our own homes, and us and our families to occupy them and to be able to worship Jehovah together as a family. What a beautiful hope Jehovah gives to those who will gain everlasting life on earth. Now, the Bible gave a very definite number of who go to heaven. But for earth, it's open to all who gain everlasting life by means of God's undeserved kindness, because of their taking advantage of Jehovah's provision and following his requirements. So it's up to us whether we want to take advantage of this provision, show appreciation for what Jehovah and Jesus have done for us. We decide whether we want to serve Jehovah forever, and whether we want to gain everlasting life. But it's Jehovah who decides where each of his servants will serve. Jehovah decides whether one has the heavenly calling, anointed, and will gain everlasting life in heaven. It's Jehovah who decides who will live here forever on earth. And just as we can't decide where we're going to be born, it's only Jehovah who decides who will be born again with the heavenly hope. Well now that takes us to our third question: who should partake of the bread and wine. Now it's clear from the scriptures that both those who have the heavenly hope and the earthly hope have a very special place in Jehovah's arrangement. But who is it that partakes of this bread and wine? Well those with the earthly hope who make up the vast majority in attendance do not partake of the emblems. Well, why not? Well go back to the scripture we read in Luke. Remember the scene? Jesus was there with his eleven faithful apostles. And what did he institute? A covenant for a heavenly kingdom. So it's only those who are going to gain everlasting life in heaven who would partake of the emblems here. Now for the majority of us then, we're not going to partake. But it's very fitting that we're here. It's much like attending a wedding. See, the bride and the groom are the ones who share in the vows. But we're in attendance to show our support and share in the joyful occasion. Now how does someone know, though, if they have the heavenly calling? Let's go to Romans chapter eight. And Jehovah has given us an indication of how this calling works, and how one can determine if he's received it. Notice in Romans chapter eight, and let's focus in on verse 15. We're going to read verses 15, 16 and 17. It says: "For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you've received a spirit of adoption as sons by which spirit we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" Now how did they receive this? Verse 16: "The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God's children. If we are children, we are also heirs, heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, provided we suffer together so that we may also be glorified together." So did you notice in verse 16? Who is it that tells ones whether they have this heavenly calling? It's Jehovah's spirit, the most powerful force in the universe. It is the one who indicates to an individual whether they have the heavenly hope. So it's not an emotional decision. It's not something that someone else tells us we have. But it's an unmistakable assurance from God's spirit. Now we can understand that, can't we, how the spirit would bear witness, would get the attention, of those who have this calling. Don't we know how to get the attention of individuals? See, if you want to get someone's attention in a crowd, what do you do? You may call out their name. You may point to them. You may gesture in a way to get their attention so that you can convey something important. Well likewise Jehovah, the most powerful personage in the universe, through His spirit, the most powerful force, can make it unmistakably sure to individuals that they have this calling, that they are going to leave this earth and the paradise that's promised and to enjoy everlasting life in heaven. Now how would Jehovah feel though if those who have not received this invitation from Him, from His spirit, would partake of the emblems? Well it would displease Him if someone would pretend, or if someone would partake of the emblems even though they have not received that invitation. So we're very thankful that Jehovah gives it very clear, unmistakable proof, through His spirit, on who will have this heavenly hope. Now how long will we commemorate Jesus' death? The answer is found for us in First Corinthians chapter 11. First Corinthians chapter 11, and notice verse 26: "For whenever you eat this loaf and drink this cup you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord until he comes." So you see that there is a time frame for when the Memorial commemoration of Christ's Death, the Lord's Evening Meal, would be celebrated, and there's an end time to it. Did you notice? "Until he comes." So during the great tribulation, when Jesus calls the rest of the anointed remnant here on earth with him, then the commemoration of the Lord's Evening Meal will cease. And just as those who have the earthly hope do not need to partake now to have everlasting life, they don't need to partake then to have everlasting life. What a beautiful arrangement by Jehovah and Jesus. Now let's just take a moment and review what we've discussed so far. First of all, how does Jesus' death open the way to everlasting life? Remember, Jehovah through his intense love for us arranged for His son to come to earth, and Jesus was willing as a perfect man to surrender his life in exchange for what Adam lost so that faithful followers would have the opportunity to gain everlasting life. And who benefit from this loving sacrifice? Well remember, there's two distinct hopes described in the Bible. There's 144,000 who will gain everlasting life in heaven, and there's a vast majority, a large group, who will gain everlasting life here on paradise earth. And do you remember who partake of the bread and wine? It's only those who have the heavenly calling. So now we're ready. We're ready to observe the Lord's Evening Meal. [Pause to pray and pass emblems.] Well this takes us now to our fourth and final question. Besides attending this meeting, what else can we do to show appreciation for what God and Christ have done for us? Well from what we've discussed, it's evident that Jehovah wants us to be a member of His family. He's gone to great lengths so that we could gain everlasting life, to be able to worship Him forever. This has opened up a way for a special relationship with Him. So He's willing to help us to gain this everlasting life. He has by providing the ransom. He will as we continue to try to meet up and strive to fulfill His requirements. Yes, just as any household we join, there's requirements. Jehovah's family of worshippers also follow His requirements. And if you ever feel that you can't measure up to Jehovah's requirements, it's too difficult, remember Jehovah is ready to help you. He's ready to help you obey, and to support you. If you ever feel overwhelmed or discouraged, go to Jehovah in earnest prayer. He will listen. He loves you very much, and He wants you to enjoy everlasting life forever. So maybe you're here for the first time this evening. It certainly important that you came. And we're glad you did. Be assured that Jehovah God and Jesus have taken note of the effort you put forth to be here in attendance. We encourage you to take further action. Learn more about Jehovah's promises, and the beautiful future that He has in store for you and your family. Now if you've been studying the Bible but you're not yet baptized, continue working toward that goal. Build faith in His promises. Build faith in the ransom sacrifice that makes it possible to take in this knowledge of God. And as your faith grows you will have the strength to fulfill the other requirements of repentance, conversion, dedication and baptism. A dedicated life to Jehovah God. Now perhaps there are some of you who have associated with Jehovah's people in the past. And we'd like to say to you, for whatever reason you left in the past, Jehovah can right any wrong. You see, what matters now is Jehovah wants you back. And really, the world has nothing to offer compared to the intense love that Jehovah and Jesus have for us. We encourage you to take the steps to return to Jehovah so you will enjoy worshipping Him forever. And then there's those of us who are active, baptized servants of Jehovah. Be determined to remain faithful to your dedication to God. Continue to take in the knowledge from your daily Bible reading, your attendance at the meetings weekly, regularly, not just on special occasions such as this. As you do so, your love for Jehovah is going to grow, and the more you love Jehovah, the more you love Jesus, the more you are willing to do for them. It will motivate you to continue in your faithful service. Yes, it's heartwarming for us to consider what Jehovah and Jesus have done for us. And in just a few minutes we're all going to walk out these doors tonight, and we're going to go back to our life. Remember, this is not the life that God intended for you. The life where we're born under sin and our eventuality is death is not what Jehovah wants you to experience in the future. Jehovah has shown us that He loves us, and He's willing to help us continue to serve Him. And if you ever feel like you don't measure up, and if you need the motivation to be able to meet up to His requirements, keep close in mind the beautiful scripture at Second Corinthians chapter five. Let's go there together. Second Corinthians, chapter five, notice verses 14 and 15. It says: "For the love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we've concluded, that one man died for all, so then all had died, and he died for all so that those who live should live no longer for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised up." Do you notice there in verse 14? "For the love the Christ has compels us." When we meditate and think about the intense love that Jehovah and Jesus have for us, what they've done for us, how they saw our condition and the great effort they put forth to give us life, it compels us to live our life for them, to want to serve them, and to be a part of their family. Yes, Jehovah and Jesus love you. They want you to worship Jehovah forever. They want you to be a part of this universal, beautiful family that's going to enjoy life forever. They want you a part of it. Therefore, let all of us choose life, and keep showing our appreciation for what God and Christ have done for us."
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