(WDGR Lesson 15: “Helping Others to Do God’s Will”)
Who did Jesus say we must go to in order to have eternal life? Is it proper to pray to Jesus?1.
CINDY: Karen, “By now” in our study of the Watchtower brochure What Does God Require of Us?, “you have learned many good things from the Bible. This knowledge should lead to your cultivating a Christian personality.”2. Just as John 17:3 states: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”3. “Such knowledge is essential in order for you to gain eternal life.”4.
KAREN: Cindy, if I take in all the knowledge I can about Jehovah God and believe in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t really matter what church I belong to, does it? As long as I have Jesus, wouldn’t I be assured of everlasting life?
CINDY: Well, no, Karen. Jehovah requires that we act in harmony with the knowledge we are taking in. While “belief in Jesus is vital, no doubt you have observed, as I have, that many who say they are Christians really do not live up to what that name represents.”5. “Let us read Matthew 7:21-23 and see if we can isolate a critical factor that determines whether all worship is acceptable to God. Jesus said: ‘Not everyone saying to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons…in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?” And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord is essential in true worship. But something would be missing in the worship of many of those claiming to be Jesus’ disciples. He said that some would perform ‘powerful works,’.…However, they would fail to do what Jesus said is vital. They would not be ‘doing the will of [his] Father.’ If we want to please God, we must learn what the will of the Father is and then do it.”6.
KAREN: Cindy according to John 5:39-40, what did Jesus say we must do in order to please God and to have everlasting life?
CINDY: Well let me see. John 5:39-40: “You are searching the Scriptures, because YOU think that by means of them YOU will have everlasting life; and these are the very ones that bear witness about me. And yet YOU do not want to come to me that YOU may have life.”
KAREN: Cindy, who did Jesus say we must go to in order to have eternal life?
CINDY: Well, Karen, it says we must “come” to Him—to Jesus.
KAREN: That’s right, Cindy. Have you done that? Have you come to Jesus by asking Him to forgive your sins and to give you eternal life?
CINDY: What! Karen? You mean “pray” to Jesus? Oh, no, we don’t do that! Who did Jesus tell us to pray to? He told us to pray to Jehovah God—in Jesus’ Name—but he did not teach us to pray directly to him. Just as the December 15, 1994 issue of The Watchtower notes: “On one occasion Jesus said: ‘It is written, “It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.” ’ [Since] every prayer is a form of worship.…that belongs exclusively to Almighty God, by addressing all our prayers to Jehovah God, we indicate that we have taken to heart Jesus’ direction to pray: ‘Our Father in the heavens.’ ”7.
KAREN: Cindy, who did Jesus make that statement to? He made it to his disciples who—according to John 13—were already clean.8. They already had their sins forgiven, and because of this, they were able to call God their Father. But you haven’t gone to Jesus, so you don’t have your sins forgiven. You see, Cindy, when Jesus was on earth, people prayed directly to the Father, but once Jesus went to heaven, there was a change in God’s arrangement. Now its OK to pray to Jesus. Before it wasn’t. And you Witnesses need to understand the change in God’s arrangement. You need to come to Jesus.
CINDY: But, Karen, where do you see that in the Bible? Where do you see people praying to Jesus? At John 14:6, Jesus said “…No one comes to the Father except through me.’…Thus, we should present our prayers to God through Jesus and not directly to Jesus himself.”9.
KAREN: Cindy, one place Jesus told us to pray to Him is here at John 14:14 where Jesus says “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”10.
CINDY: Wait a minute, Karen! My Bible doesn’t say “ask Me anything.…” It says “…ask anything in My name.” Even the Society notes regarding this verse that “…the asking is addressed to Jehovah God—but in Jesus’ name.…We petition God that His Son, Jesus, apply his great power and authority in our behalf.”11.
KAREN: Cindy, what does the Watchtower Society’s Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek text say regarding the original manuscript of this passage?
CINDY: Well, let me look it up, Karen. John 14:14: “If ever anything you should ask me in the name of me this I shall do.” Oh dear! The “ask me” is in the Greek text of the verse, but it’s left out of the Watchtower’s New World Translation. I wonder why?
KAREN: Cindy, do you think the translators of the New World Translation, left the “ask Me” out of their translation of this passage, because this verse contradicts the Watchtower teaching about prayers to Jesus? Notice in this passage, not only does Jesus encourage his followers to pray directly to Him, but He is the one who answers the prayers. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” You see, Cindy, just as Jesus said “No one comes to the Father except through Me,” He said we must go to Jesus and deal directly with Him before we can go to God. Have you done this? Have you “come” to Jesus—asking Him to give you eternal life? At John 10:28, Jesus says “…I give… eternal life” to my sheep. He doesn’t say the Father gives eternal life through me. He says “I give eternal life.…” Don’t you want to have eternal life? Don’t you want to survive Armageddon into God’s new order? Then, you’ve got to comply with Jehovah’s arrangement for life and the forgiveness of sins! You’ve got to go to Jesus.
CINDY: But, Karen, we believe in Jesus and we exercise faith in the ransom sacrifice, but we pray to Jehovah God! We don’t pray to Jesus.
KAREN: Cindy, Jesus said at John 6:45 “…Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.” Why do you think Jehovah God asks you to do that? Why does He want you to come to Jesus?…It’s because Jesus actually forgives your sins. At Mark 2:10-11, Jesus said to those who were questioning Him: “‘But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—He said to the paralytic—‘I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.’ ” Jesus actually has the authority to forgive your sins. He actually has the authority to give you eternal life.
CINDY: But Karen, who gave Jesus that “authority”?
KAREN: Jehovah God did.
CINDY: You see then. There He is. You see, Jehovah God is really the one with the authority!
KAREN: But Cindy, why did Jehovah God do that? Why did He give Jesus that authority? So He could forgive your sins. He gave Jesus the authority to forgive your sins, so that you could experience the forgiveness of sins. That’s why we go to Jesus, and this is God’s arrangement. Cindy, did you know that Jesus never spoke any words except the words that the Father gave him to speak? He didn’t speak out from Himself—but He said only what His Father told Him to say.12. And in Matthew 17 when Jesus was on the mountain of transfiguration, what did Jehovah God say? “This is my beloved Son…listen to Him!”13. That is a command! So when Jesus said “Come to Me,” He was expressing the exact will of Jehovah God for your life—stating exactly what God wants you, Cindy, to do. Why do you think I go to Jesus? Why do you think I pray to Him? Because I want to obey Jehovah God! Don’t you? If Jehovah says “Go to my Son, I have given Him authority to forgive your sins,” then I go to Jesus because I want to obey Jehovah God. Otherwise, I wouldn’t. If it pleases Jehovah that I deal directly with the Son; then that’s the way I want it, because I want to comply with God’s arrangement. I want to do His will. Have you done that, Cindy? Have you obeyed Jehovah God by complying with His arrangement? Have you come to Jesus? Prayed to Jesus? Asking Him to forgive you of your sins?
CINDY: Unh-uh! No, Karen. We honor Jesus, but we don’t pray to him.
KAREN: Well then, I’m concerned you don’t have eternal life. You don’t have your sins forgiven. You’re in danger of being wiped out in Armageddon, because you haven’t complied with His arrangement. You see, not everyone that says “Lord, Lord,” “Jehovah, Jehovah” will enter the Kingdom of God, but He that does the will of Jehovah God—and you haven’t, Cindy. You haven’t had your sins forgiven, and when Armageddon comes—why you’re going to be annihilated in Armageddon in spite of all your theocratic activity and your theocratic works.
CINDY: Karen, who made you a judge? How do you know? The Bible says “Stop judging that you may not be judged.”14.
KAREN: Wait a minute, Cindy! Why do you think I said that to you?…Because I want to see you saved—one who’s experienced the forgiveness of sins. I love you! I don’t want to see you wiped out at Armageddon. That’s why I told you these things. That’s why I’m concerned about it. And of the words out of your own mouth, you have condemned yourself! You have told me you haven’t come to Jesus. You haven’t complied with God’s arrangement. And on the basis of the words out of your mouth, I say to you “You will be annihilated.” You see, Cindy, at one time I was religiously active—going about doing street work and preaching about God’s Kingdom—but I didn’t have peace. I didn’t have joy. I didn’t have satisfaction in my life. I didn’t have a sense of Jehovah’s approval on my life. And then God showed me the ransom provision. I was under the conviction of sins and God showed me what Jesus did for me on the torture stake. I saw my sins being transferred to Him. I saw Him dying for my sins—paying the penalty for my sins and you know, Cindy? I went to Jesus. I asked Him to forgive my sins and do you know what happened to me at that moment when I complied with Jehovah’s arrangement?
CINDY: No, what happened?
KAREN: One moment I was under the conviction of sins. The very next moment, I was free from that, clean, I had a sense of joy, sense of peace, my sins were forgiven. One moment I was under that feeling that I hadn’t done enough for Jehovah God. I hadn’t met his approval. The very next moment, I had a God-given sense of Jehovah’s approval and you know what? Jehovah God became a personal Father to me for the very first time in my life. Before He was way up there in heaven — a thousand miles away. I was taking in knowledge of Him, learning about Him, but I didn’t know Him. I didn’t have a close relationship to Him. Something was missing and I didn’t know what it was. But the moment I complied with God’s arrangement. The moment I obeyed Jehovah God, immediately I had a sense of God’s presence, a sense He was a Father to me for the first time. Now I want you to know I didn’t hear voices or see visions. I want you to know it was really a very quiet affair, but I want you to know it was a genuine supernatural, instantaneous event that took place in my heart. And I want you to know it wasn’t demonism.
CINDY: How do you know it wasn’t demonism?! I go door-to-door…I’ve seen people go down there saying “I got saved! I got saved!” but boy you’ve got to be careful! The “devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.”15. How do you know it wasn’t demonism?
KAREN: I know it wasn’t demonism because I did EXACTLY what Jehovah God told me to do! He told me to go to Jesus, I went to Jesus. He asked me to pray to Him, to come to Him, and I did it. I obeyed God! And because I obeyed God, my experience was genuine. It is not counterfeit.
Friends, how well would you know your best friend if all you did was read books and “take in knowledge” about your friend, but never spent time talking to your friend and getting to know him personally? At Matthew 7:23, Jesus told those individuals who failed to do God’s will that He never knew them—not because He didn’t know about them—but because they failed to do God’s will by getting to know Jesus personally. They failed to come into an intimate relationship with Him by asking Him to forgive their sins, and as a result He cast them away saying: “I never knew you!” This is why Jesus said at John 17:3 “…this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”16. How can you know Jesus if you do not talk to Him and have never met Him personally? 1 Corinthians 1:9 states “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”17. How can a person have fellowship with someone he never talks to?
1. The false Jehovah’s Witness beliefs that Christ died upon a torture stake instead of a cross and that the wicked are annihilated instead of being tormented in a fiery hell is not discussed in this dialogue because the focus is simply upon presenting the gospel. Since this false Jehovah’s Witness belief is not essential to salvation, it remain unchallenged in this dialogue between Karen and Cindy. Note: Most of the content of this dialogue was taken from an audio message entitled, A Few Effective Methods of Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses, by Arnold Hoffman.
2.What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p. 30:1
3. New World Translation
4.What Does God Require of Us?, p. 30:1
5. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, 1989ed, p. 332
6. Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life, 1995, p. 46
7. The Watchtower, December 15, 1994, pp. 24, 23, 25
8. See John 13:10
9.The Watchtower, December 15, 1994, p. 24
10. New American Standard Bible
11.The Watchtower, December 15, 1994, p. 25
13.Matthew 17:5, New American Standard Bible
14.Matthew 7:1, New World Translation
15.1 Peter 5:8, New World Translation
16. New International Version
17.New American Standard Bible