Congregation Book Study:
Chapter 2, par. 1-11
This week’s theme is “friendship with God”. James 4:8 is quoted in paragraph 2, “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” Paragraphs 3 and 4 speak of obtaining an intimate relationship with God, but always in the context of friends rather than sons and daughters. Paragraphs 5 thru 7 explain how the way for this friendship has been opened to us by the ransom of Christ. Romans 5:8 is quoted, as is 1 John 4:19 in support of this. However, if you read the context of those two references, you find no mention of friendship with God. What Paul and John are speaking of is the relationship of sons with a Father.
(1 John 3:1, 2) . . .See what sort of love the Father has given us, so that we should be called children of God; and such we are. That is why the world does not have a knowledge of us, because it has not come to know him. 2 Beloved ones, now we are children of God, but as yet it has not been made manifest what we shall be. . . .
No mention of friendship here! And how about this?
(1 John 3:10) . . .The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: . . .
Only two opposing classes are mentioned. What the millions of God’s friends? Why no mention? As God’s children, we can also be his friends, but friends alone have no inheritance—so being sons is far more to be desired.
Theocratic Ministry School
Bible Reading: Genesis 17—20
(Genesis 17:5) . . .And your name will not be called A′bram anymore, and your name must become Abraham, because a father of a crowd of nations I will make you.
Jehovah changed the man’s name, because of his role in the outworking of God’s purpose as regards the seed. This illustrates who very important names were back then—not as designations, but as representations of character and quality. We overuse Jehovah’s name in the Organization like it was some good-luck incantation. This is particularly noticeable in public prayers. But do we really understand what it represents?
(Genesis 17:10) . . .This is my covenant that YOU men will keep, between me and YOU men, even your seed after you: Every male of YOURS must get circumcised.
I wonder what the reaction was like in the camp when Abraham broke the news to his servants.
“You want to do WHAT?!”
Remember, this was before there were anesthetics. I imagine the wine flowed freely for several days.
(Genesis 18:20, 21) . . .Consequently Jehovah said: “The cry of complaint about Sod′om and Go·mor′rah, yes, it is loud, and their sin, yes, it is very heavy. 21 I am quite determined to go down that I may see whether they act altogether according to the outcry over it that has come to me, and, if not, I can get to know it.”
This doesn’t paint the picture of an all-knowing God who micromanages his servants, but rather of a God who trusts his people to do their jobs. Of course, Jehovah can choose to know anything he wishes, but he’s no slave to his abilities, and he can choose not to know as well. Whether He knew everything that was going on in Sodom or not, the fact is these angels did not know all and so had to go to investigate.
Genesis 18:22-32 has Abraham bargaining with God. Jehovah bends because of his love for his servant. Can you imagine trying to do something like this with your local branch office? Are your local elders this willing to be questioned and second guessed? Will they react as Jehovah did here, or put you down for impertinence or “running ahead”?
No. 1: Genesis 17:18—18:8
No. 2: Jesus Did Not Go to Heaven in a Physical Body – rs p. 334 par. 1-3
No. 3: Abba—How Is the Term “Abba” Used in the Scriptures, and How Have Men Misused It?—it-1 p. 13-14
The ironic element to this last talk is that we will not be mentioning in any of our 100,000+ congregations, one of the key ways that we have misused the term “Abba”. For we have certainly misused it by restricting its use to a tiny minority of Jehovah’s Witnesses, claiming that the millions of other sheep have no right to use it in the fashion it is expressed in Scripture.
5 min: Start a Bible Study on the First Saturday.
15 min: What Are Your Spiritual Goals?
10 min: “Magazine Routes—Useful for Starting Bible Studies.”
On this last topic, we are known for distributing magazines, principally, The Watchtower. This comes up in TV shows all the time. We are not known for speaking about the Bible. We have become magazine delivery people.
Just a little more on the Bible reading, although didn’t actually get to say it out loud, remember there was over 300 slaves in addition to all of Abraham’s household (referencing when they saved Lot and his family when captive by the kings attacking Sodom and Gomorrah, even the call for Abraham to have all men circumcised was pretty extreme considering there weren’t a lot of powerful works to back up such a painful command. I was also impressed by Abimelech’s ‘honest heart’ as told in Genesis 20 that Abraham and Sarah feared was so wicked that they had to… Read more »
Samaritan Woman-That is a beautiful and comforting thought. I feel like Simeon . Remember God told him by means of Holy spirit that he would not die before he seen the Christ? Luke 2:25-32:  Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the… Read more »
I know what you mean GWIT, ever since i was a little person, when people asked me what i looked forward to in the New System it was never animals or the normal things people expect. It was always ” I want to speak to God” and people patted me on the head and said ” Oh, haha, she wants to “talk” to God isn’t that cute.”
Now I have come to be proud of what people said i shouldn’t.
“Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God. Happy are the peaceable since they will be called sons of God.” (Matt 5:8,9)
I was reading the material for the book study this morning when I got to paragraph 5 which states the following: Jehovah Has Opened the Way 5 Left on our own, we as sinners could never be close to God. (Psalm 5:4) “But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” wrote the apostle Paul. (Romans 5:8) Yes, Jehovah arranged for Jesus “to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Matthew20:28)Our faith in that ransom sacrifice makes it possible for us to be close to God. Since God… Read more »
Wow! That was truly a eureka moment. Thank you so much for sharing that with us all. It’s so simple and clear and it makes a mockery of this week’s Bible study lesson. You’re right. Abraham was already God’s friend. He didn’t need Jesus’ ransom to achieve that. He only needed faith. What Jesus provided was a restoration of what Adam lost, which was far more than friendship. A true reconciliation with God. Abraham was never called God’s son, because prior to the ransom, that was not possible. To say that Jesus died so that we could be called God’s… Read more »
I think you are being altogether too generous to say that we are encouraged to think Jesus died so that we could be called God’s friends. We are often reminded that by far and away the principal purpose of Jesus’ death was to vindicate God’s sovereignty. Any by-products of that involving our salvation, friendship or sonship, should not be promoted as key purposes of the ransom, lest we should think too much of our place in the universe. Note this early example from Consolation magazine (sorry I don’t know the year, but if it’s Consolation it must be 30’s or… Read more »
Was Jesus physical body resurrected? I believe so. Of course he was changed before going to heaven. But what evidence do we have that he was not resurrected physically? Remember, even as a physical man he had great power. For example at the transfiguration, he was still a man.
I really enjoyed that account too Alex specfically Genesis 18:16-21 ” When the men got up to leave and looked down toward Sod′om,+ Abraham was walking with them to escort them. 17 Jehovah said: “Am I keeping hidden from Abraham what I am going to do?+ 18 Why, Abraham is surely going to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed* by means of him.+ 19 For I have come to know him in order that he may command his sons and his household after him to keep Jehovah’s way by doing… Read more »
I think Meleti made some very fine points about confidentiality in his recent article. But the fact is that there are many cases in the congregation where the accused would not want a public hearing. Putting aside for the moment whether the objectives of the JC itself are scriptural or not, it seems to me that the only fair way to protect confidentiality and allow for accountability would be for the accused to decide if they would want some observers to be present.
I can certainly see multiple downsides of literally presenting every case before the congregation.
Abraham was allowed by Jehovah to question him because he was learning about divine Justice. He learned that it only required one righteous man for God not to destroy a city. Abraham may even have understood that his offspring would include such righteous man.
Re: Abba. [For we have certainly misused it by restricting its use to a tiny minority of Jehovah’s Witnesses, claiming that the millions of other sheep have no right to use it in the fashion it is expressed in Scripture.] When I saw the title to this talk I was reminded of last week’s discussion with GWiT and others about the fulfillment of “Immanuel”. When the first (and sometimes only) reasoning raised about a Bible passage is in the negative, it can be a red flag. Just as the statement “there is no evidence that Jesus was ever addressed as… Read more »
I agree with you Apollos . The part in the Reasoning book stood out to me this week as well. “Abba” and “Father” are both terms that intimately address God. It seems that JW’s ( including me) have attached some supernatural experience that anointed ones have that cause them to cry out “Abba” thus “confirming” their spiritual adoption . I am not sure that using the Arabic word has “extraordinary” significance over the English word as the w/09 p. 13 implies. ( again, translation is not my area so I can be wrong.) If I referred to my God as… Read more »
Gods word is truth you say that spirit anionting does not bring with it any extraordinary understanding was that a qoute from the magazines if so I would love to hear an explanation of 1 john 2 v26 27 i am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray as for you the anionting you received from him remains in you and you do not need anyone to teach you but as his anionting teaches you about all things and that anionting is real not counterfeit just as it has taught you remain in… Read more »
Kev C Let me clarify… “But spirit anointing does not bring extraordinary understanding, for Paul had to instruct and counsel certain anointed ones.” I was quoting the words in the W03 2/15 pp. 17-22. In the context of the article that I presented/read the GB believes that they (8 persons) and only 136,000 persons are anointed with God’s spirit (that is not my view). Looking at the scripture at 1 John you quoted with a fresh look does directly discredit that passage. We live in a world of competing voices and many of them are deceptive ( intentionally or unintentionally).… Read more »
Thank you for your reply sister i didnt think you actually believed that .I was just making a point about it thats all sorry i think its me that needs to be a bit more clear with my comments .The truth is it just amazes me now how much i see the publications condradict the bible itself kev ps your comments are very much appreciated
No need for apologies at all 🙂 Texting is a challenge for me. You can’t see other people’s faces or hear them speak. The subtle voice and body language cues are lost in written communication.
I’m amazed everyday Kev C at how much I am learning. It saddens me that the WT/GB uses fear and intimidation to threaten us from reading the Bible without their input.The Bible is a personal and beautiful message . Lately, I’ve been turned off by institutionalized spirituality (religion) . I’m praying to God to help me find a balance.
I enjoyed your whole comment, but the last part was very nicely put. “I have been spoiled with the preparation of my spiritual food from the Bible all my life and ate it because I was told it was nutritious.” What I have found is that when I mention to someone I accepted teachings of the organisation because I really believed that everything checked out and I had proved it to myself, but now realise that I was mistaken because I didn’t have all the facts or the right questions, or even the will to question, I tend to get… Read more »
Kev C – No need for apologies at all! 🙂 Texting/blogging is a challenge for me. Texting takes out the context of a conversation.Body language, tone of voice, and eye contact are all lost in written communication. My first thought was that you were making an overall point but I wasn’t sure so I thought it was best that I clarified that it was a quote. The scripture you quoted is what I needed today. I was battling thoughts of whether or not God has leaders in charge of leading his people today. It angers me and saddens me at… Read more »
Gave this talk tonight and I tried to convey, that we are all Gods children and how we can address him as Father, just as Jesus did in Gethsemane and just as he did in the model prayer. Mentioned how the title Father had been abused and how men try to insert themselves between us and God. Then I quoted the 2 scriptures in Romans 8:15 and Galations 4:6 to show how Christians are adopted as sons.
I concluded on 1 Cor 15:28, showing that God wants to become all things to everyone.