THE GOOD NEWS FROM GOD TO THE SONS OF THE KINGDOM

WHY DOES GOD HAVE AN ORGANIZATION?

Part 14

February 11, 2013

 

 

    In Part 14 of the “Good News From God” brochure, published by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania, the Society poses four questions: (1) Why did God organize ancient Israel?  (2) Why are true Christians organized? (3) How did the modern day organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses begin? And (4) How are Jehovah’s Witnesses organized? 
    
    These questions focus the reader’s attention on the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  It asserts that because ancient Israel was organized by God, so the Christian congregation would be organized by God.  No one can honestly question the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses are well organized. They are an international body of preachers and teachers of the Bible, and they freely volunteer their time to serve God in this capacity to the best of their ability. 

    But these questions also serve another purpose.  They are designed to lead the reader to conclude that of all institutions, religious and secular, only Jehovah’s Witnesses are approved by God.  Though we have been tutored by Jehovah’s Witnesses for over 30 years, and have benefitted tremendously from their teaching program, the authors of this article cannot assent to this way of thinking as it grossly underestimates the power, the authority, and the will of God.  

    So we encourage all Witnesses of Jehovah to temporarily set aside their preconceived ideas about being the sole representative of God’s sovereignty on earth, and take a fresh, unbiased look at the matter.  We firmly believe that the preachers and teachers among Jehovah’s Witnesses have a far greater destiny than they currently comprehend, as do all who wish to take up the mantle of “ambassadors substituting for Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)  But the idea that they alone are God’s organization is the very idea that will prevent them from realizing this grand destiny for themselves.
 
    To progress though this discussion, we will answer four questions that are different from those posed in the Society’s publication: (1) Does God have an organization? (2) Does God have a representative of His sovereignty on earth? (3) Are the representatives of his sovereignty located in one religion? And (4) What is the purpose of organizing ourselves into a religious group? 

   

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1.     Does God have an organization

    Yes, God does indeed have an organization.  The entire grand Universe is God’s organization!  It is a universal family and every created thing is a part of God’s organization. 

 

“Raise your eyes high up and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name. Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one [of them] is missing.”

– Isaiah 40:26

 

   Outside of God’s creation, there is nothing. There is no rival power or rival god who has created a separate universal organization. There is no one like the Father. 

 

“Jehovah has become high above all the nations; His glory is above the heavens. Who is like Jehovah our God, Him who is making his dwelling on high? He is condescending to look on heaven and earth.”

– Psalms 113:4-6

 

    But what about Satan? Is not Satan called “the god of this system of things?”

 

“If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.”

– 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

 

    Satan is called ‘a god,’ but he is a false god.  He is not true Deity.

                                    

“We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the [power of the] wicked one. But we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us intellectual capacity that we may gain the knowledge of the true one. And we are in union with the true one, by means of his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and life everlasting.”

– 1 John 5:19-20

 

    Satan is a creation.  Since everything in our universe was created by and through Jesus, Satan is also one of Jesus’ children. Though rebellious, he is still a part of the universal family:

 

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him.”

– Colossians 1:15-16

 

    Satan is called ‘a god’ because he has influenced and confused so much of mankind. Rather than being a rival god with his own organization, Satan is more like a disgruntled, disruptive, rebellious older child who is poisoning the younger children.  He is sarcastically called a ‘father’ because he is the originator of the lie, the first child to rebel:

 

“You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of [the lie].”

– John 8:44

 

    Satan rebelled against the Creator and manipulated Adam and Eve to turn against the divine will. As a result, our world has been tainted with error and is spiritually retarded. For an in depth discussion of this fall, see Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering?  But know that this temporary state of retardation is being corrected through the administration of Christ Jesus as discussed below. Also, Satan continues to be subject to the authority of God.  He has limitations on his activities, and soon he will be devoid of activity.

 

“I shall not speak much with you anymore, for the ruler of the world is coming. And he has no hold on me, but, in order for the world to know that I love the Father, even as the Father has given me commandment [to do], so I am doing. Get up, let us go from here.”

– John 14;30-31

         

“Subject yourselves, therefore, to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from You.”

– James 4:7

 

“Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”

– John 12:31

 

“And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; And you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be.”

– Psalms 37:10  

 

    In the days of the prophet Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream which Daniel interpreted. This is the lesson of the dream:

 

“By the decree of watchers the thing is, and [by] the saying of holy ones the request is, to the intent that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind.”

– Daniel 4:17

 

    True to the prophesy, King Nebuchadnezzar learned this lesson and was humbled.  After his period of humility, he acknowledged this truth:

 

“And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up to the heavens my eyes, and my own understanding began to return to me; and I blessed the Most High himself, and the One living to time indefinite I praised and glorified, because his rulership is a rulership to time indefinite and his kingdom is for generation after generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are being considered as merely nothing, and he is doing according to his own will among the army of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth. And there exists no one that can check his hand or that can say to him, ‘What have you been doing?’”

– Daniel 4:34-35

 

    The apostle Paul likewise made this clear:

 

“Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. Therefore he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will receive judgment to themselves. For those ruling are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you, then, want to have no fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear: for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword; for it is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath upon the one practicing what is bad.”

– Romans 13:1-4

 

    So in spite of what appears to the eyes, this entire planet is a part of God’s organization, and is subject to His ultimate authority. Whatever other authorities exist, they are relative authorities – they exist by God’s patience, tolerance or appointment. God retains the authority and ability to remove any and all such authorities at will. This includes all secular and religious authorities. King Nebuchadnezzar learned this the hard way. Many modern day authorities, both religious and secular, may have to learn this the hard way as well.

 

   Though the ‘existing authorities’ are not fully carrying out the divine will, that time will come.  Those relative authorities who allow themselves to be fashioned and molded by the divine will of God will continue.  Those that do not will cease to exist.  As to when these things will occur, we do not know exactly.  But we are counseled:

 

“However, let this one fact not be escaping your notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance. Yet Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered.”

– 2 Peter 3:8-10

 

    God has been exercising patience with mankind.  But not only patience, He provided guidance and direction by means of his prophets. And lastly God sent his Son, Christ Jesus, to effect a gentle but positive change in mankind’s affairs.

 

“God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things.”

– Hebrews 1:1-2

 

    Jesus revealed to mankind its true destiny – eternal life in the heavens – and showed us how get there.

 

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

– John 14:6

 

    He also set up an administration on earth with the purpose of bringing all of mankind back in harmony with the divine will:

 

“This he caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and good sense, in that he made known to us the sacred secret of his will. It is according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth. [Yes,] in him.”

– Ephesians 1:8-10

 

   This administration is religious in nature, but universal in its effect.  In other words, while it originates in religion, its effect can, and will, extend beyond the borders of religion and throughout secular society. This administration is the spearhead of God’s sovereignty and the means by which our planet will settle into its rightful and peaceful place in God’s universal organization.

 

   However, when Jesus left the earth early in the first century, did he leave behind an earthly representative of this divine administration?  And if so, how can we identify it?

 

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2.    Does God have a representative of His sovereignty on earth?     

 

    At the end of his earthly career, Jesus advised his apostles that authority for all matters within our universe had been given to him. 

 

“And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: ‘All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.”

– Matthew 28:18

 

    The Apostle Paul confirmed this when he explained that after Jesus completed the work he came to do on earth, he was exalted to the highest station: 

 

“Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who,although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake. For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every [other] name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

– Philippians 2:5-11

 

    At the same time that Jesus revealed his enhanced sovereignty, he laid upon his disciples this command: 

 

Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”

– Matthew 28:19-20

 

    Again, the Apostle Paul, expounded on this commission:

 

“But all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of the reconciliation, namely, that God was by means of Christ reconciling a world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and he committed the word of the reconciliation to us. “We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: ‘Become reconciled to God.’” 

– 2 Corinthians 5:18-20  

 

    This ministry of reconciliation is the means by which Jesus’ administration will spread throughout the earth.  Those conducting the ministry of reconciliation are called “ambassadors substituting for Christ.”

 

    An ambassador is defined as:      

     

“a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative;”             

 

“a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment;” and 

 

“a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government to another.”  

 

    Each of these definitions carry three common ideas: (1) that an ambassador is of high rank; (2) that he is sent to a foreign sovereign as a representative of his own sovereign government; and (3) that he becomes a resident in that foreign nation, often temporary.  This definition aptly describes the sons and daughters of the Father:    

 

(1) They are sons and daughters of the highest authority in the universe, the Father of All, and heirs to the heavenly kingdom:

 

“For all who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but your received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!” The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, provided we suffer together that we may also be glorified together.”

– Romans 8:14-17

 

(2) They are citizens of a foreign sovereignty, the heavenly government:

 

“As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will refashion our humiliated body to be conformed to his glorious body according to the operation of the power that he has, even to subject all things to himself.”

 – Philippians 3:20-21

 

(3) They are temporary residents on earth, 

 

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the temporary residents scattered about in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, to the ones chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, with sanctification by the spirit, for the purpose of their being obedient and sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ.” 

– 1 Peter 1:1-2

 

“Beloved, I exhort you as aliens and temporary residents to keep abstaining from fleshly desires, which are the very ones that carry on a conflict against the soul.” 

– 1 Peter 2:11

 

    Accordingly, the sons and daughters of God are the ambassadors of the heavenly kingdom and therefore the earthly representatives of God’s sovereignty on earth.  But are all the ambassadors to be found in only one religion? 

 

    (For further discussion, see Ambassadors Substituting for ChristWho is Jesus Christ?,  Christ’s Relation to the Individual, and Feeding the Many.)

 

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3.     Are the representatives of God’s sovereignty located in one religion? 
        
    Without being judgmental and maintaining an open mind, let’s ask some questions about your religion: Is your religion perfect?  Are all of your teachings infallible?  Are all of your teachers infallible?  Are there no members within your religion that are hypocritical and commit gross error?  Is your religion a perfect imitation of Jesus?  An honest hearted person would have to say, “No.”

    In fact, isn’t it true that all religions have a lot right and a lot wrong? For example, one may be known for generosity; one may be known for faithfulness; one may be known for righteous conduct, etc. Think, too, If every religion was Jehovah’s Witness, who would run the hospitals? And if every religion was Catholic, who would preach? Who would feed the homeless? Who would assist those in poverty? One religion cannot do it all!

    Likewise, those who chose to accept their sonship with God and take up the ministry of reconciliation are found throughout Christianity. According to the most recent records of Jehovah’s Witnesses, less than 13,000 worldwide claim to be ambassadors substituting for Christ; whereas the remaining 7 million claim to be witnesses of Jehovah.

    Being a witness of Jehovah is a fine thing. This is what God wanted many centuries ago.  We notice that the prophet Isaiah first published this desire early in the 8th century B.C.E. when he wrote:

 

You are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and have faith in me, and that you may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”

– Isaiah 43:10-11

 

    However, about 800 years later, a savior did appear – Jesus Christ.  He brought with him a new message, an enhanced message, a message that extended and built upon the messages of prophets such as Isaiah:

 

“God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things.”

– Hebrews 1:1-2

 

    The pre-Christian witnesses of Jehovah only had a shimmer of God’s light. They had only “a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things.” (Hebrews 10:1) Jesus brought the substance. And after Jesus had explained as much of his message as was possible at that time (John 16:12), he redirected the office of God’s witnesses.  He said:

 

“You will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.”

– Acts 1:8

 

        Yes, the ambassadors who substitute for Christ are his witnesses – witnesses of Jesus. This is no affront to the Father. The Father authorized this when He gave Christ “all authority in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18; Philippians 2:5-11) But it isan affront to the Christ when we fail to accept his revelation of truth, and instead cling to the teachings of the prophets. As the Father Himself said: 

                   

“This is my Son, the beloved; listen to him.”

– Luke 9:7  

 

    So are Jehovah’s Witnesses the earthly representative of God’s sovereignty on earth?  Not as a whole. But as of 2012, nearly 13,000 within the organization are indeed such! And that number is growing exponentially as a result of their awakening to the original, authentic, plain and open teachings of Christ Jesus. And what about other Christian religions?  Again, not as a whole.  But many members within those religions who accept their sonship with God and promote the kingdom of the heavens as Jesus taught it, they are likewise ambassadors and earthly representatives of God’s sovereignty.

 

    This understanding creates a ‘level playing field,’ so to speak, such that no particular Christian religion is superior to the other. For many, that’s a hard pill to swallow because of the claims of its shepherds that they are the only channel of God.  But if we humble ourselves before the Father, we will be exalted.  Jesus made this clear when he said:

 

“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. Neither be called ‘leaders,’ for your Leader is one, the Christ. But the greatest one among you must be your minister. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

– Matthew 23:8-12

 

    The sons of God are led, not by men, but by spirit.

 

“For all who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons.”

– Romans 8:14

 

   They accept the relative authority of their religious shepherds, but they understand that such men are merely fellow workers, not masters over their faith. Each of us stands alone before the Father on our own faith. 

 

“Not that we are the masters over your faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy, for it is by [your] faith that you are standing.”

– 2 Corinthians 1:24

 

    The Father is not, and has never been, concerned with the earthly status of a person:

 

“At this Peter opened his mouth and said: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”

– Acts 10:34-35

 

You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one [person] in union with Christ Jesus.”

– Galatians 3:26-28

 

    Understanding the unity of Christ’s brothers and the relative position of religious authorities, we can better apply Jesus’ exhortation:     

    

Stop judging that you may not be judged; for with what judgment you are judging, you will be judged; and with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you. Why, then, do you look at the straw in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the rafter in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Allow me to extract the straw from your eye’; when, look! a rafter is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First extract the rafter from your own eye, and then you will see clearly how to extract the straw from your brother’s eye.”

– Matthew 7:1-5

 

        In fact, the days of God requiring formal worship has passed. What is relevant to the Father now are the hearts and minds of the individuals, not a particular religious group. As he said to the Samaritan woman: 

 

“Jesus said to her: “Believe me, woman, The hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you people worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation originates with the Jews. Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him.God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.

– John 4:21-24

 

   Accordingly, in this 21st century, the ambassadors who are substituting for Christ – the earthly representatives of God’s sovereignty – may be located throughout Christianity. No, all roads do not lead to God, but God can be found on any road.  And when you find Him, head toward the heavenly kingdom!

 

    (See also further discussion, see Worshipping with Spirit and Truth, How Can You Recognize True Worship? Fitly United in the Same Mind, Unity Not Uniformity, and Unity Under One Kingdom.

                       

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4.     What is the purpose of organizing ourselves into a religious group?

 

   The real purpose of organizing ourselves in religious groups is not to set ourselves up as a superior religious authority. But to show by example the benefits of godly devotion, to enhance the service of unselfish fellowship, to provide wise counsel and spiritual guidance, and encourage group worship.

 

    Religion is supposed to encourage friendship and morality, not judgment and condemnation.  And primarily at this time, it is supposed to facilitate the spread of the good news of the kingdom as Jesus taught it. As a reminder:

 

• Jesus taught that the time had come when mankind could enter, actually and literally, into the Kingdom of the Heavens:

 

“Repent, you people, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”

– Matthew 4:17

 

“Then he went around throughout the whole of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and curing every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity among the people.”

– Matthew 4:23

 

“Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.  Happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted.  Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth. Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled.  Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy.  Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God.  Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called ‘sons of God.’  Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.  Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake.  Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.”

– Matthew 5:3-11

 

• He taught that God is our Father:

 

“You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.  Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.  Give us today our bread for this day; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’ For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; whereas if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

– Matthew 6:9-15

 

• He taught that we are all brothers:

 

“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One.”

– Matthew 23:8-9

 

• He taught that from the very beginning of time, the Father wanted mankind to have an ownership interest in the heavenly kingdom:

 

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.” – Matthew 25:34

 

• He taught that in order to enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, we must be born again:

 

“In answer Jesus said to him: “Most truly I say to you, Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3

 

• He taught that we must strive to imitate him as he imitated our Father:

 

“You must accordingly be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48

 

• He taught that we must endeavor to know him and the Father: 

 

“This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” – John 17:3

 

• He taught that we only need to keep two ‘commandments’ in order to please God:

 

“[O]ne of them, versed in the Law, asked, testing him: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ He said to him: ‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:35-40

 

• He taught us to seek forgiveness of our sins and to forgive others:

 

“‘Give us today our bread for this day; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’ For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; whereas if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:11-15

 

• He taught us to stop judging others:

 

Stop judging that you may not be judged; for with what judgment you are judging, you will be judged; and with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you. Why then do you look at the straw in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the rafter in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Allow me to extract the straw from your eye’; when, look! a rafter is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First extract the rafter from your own eye, and then you will see clearly how to extract the straw from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5

 

• He taught us the supreme law of fairness:

 

All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them; this, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean.” – Matthew 7:12

 

• And he gave us a work to do:

 

Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”

– Matthew 28:19-20

 

   Representatives of God’s sovereignty should be heralding the same messages and seeking the Kingdom’s increase.     

 

   But when religion becomes institutionalized, its power for good is greatly curtailed, while the possibilities for evil are greatly multiplied. It diverts us from the service of God to the service of the organization. It inclines leaders to become administrators instead of ministers.

 

  Over-organizing tends to establish oppressive ecclesiastical authority, creates the aristocratic “chosen-people” attitudes, and becomes an intolerant judge of its adherents and those who do not adhere.  And it fails to hold the interest of adventurous youth who are the future proclaimers of the good news of salvation, and the hope for continuing Jesus’ work on earth.

 

    A religious organization can give directions in the dark, but the ambassadors who substitute for Christ are light bearers! (Matthew 5:14-16)  Rather than needing men to lead us, ambassadors help the individual to find his own way to the Father.  Ask yourself: would you prefer someone to shout out directions to you in a dark room? Or would you prefer to have a flashlight?

 

    To the extent that we have joined ourselves together into an organization, we must make certain that the organization does not overtake us or usurp the authority of the Christ. We must practice the religion of the spirit, rather than a religion of the mind. (See What is the Good News About Religion? Question 1.) Otherwise, we will become nothing more than institutionalized slaves instead of the free children of God according to the grand purpose that Jesus Christ lived and died for: 

 

“Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.”

– Luke 4:18-19

 

“And so Jesus went on to say to the Jews that had believed him: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

– John 8:31-32

 

“Now this Hagar means Sinai, a mountain in Arabia, and she corresponds with the Jerusalem today, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.

– Galatians 4:25-26

 

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

– Romans 8:20-21

 

_________________________

 

    We welcome your comments.

 

“Elaia Luchnia”

Go to Part 15

Back to - The Good News From God to the Sons of the Kingdom

 

 

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