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.

Service Meeting

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.