Conversations with a JW: The purpose of life

(This one is very long, mostly because of the commands of Christ section.)

What is the purpose of the life of a believer?

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

  • Go and make disciples of all the nations
  • Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit
  • Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you

What does it mean to make a disciple?   Bible.org has the definition of the Greek word used for “disciple”:  The Greek term μαθητής (mathētēs) refers generally to any “student,” “pupil,” “apprentice,” or “adherent,” as opposed to a “teacher.” In the ancient world, however, it is most often associated, with people who were devoted followers of a great religious leader or teacher of philosophy.

So, what are we supposed to be teaching people??

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

We’re supposed to teach people the Gospel.

What is the gospel?  εὐαγγέλιον euaggelion yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on

From the same as G2097; a good message, that is, the gospel: – gospel.

Simply put, it’s the “good news”

Paul gives us an excellent synopsis:

1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Jesus told Nicodemus:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

What does “believe in” mean?  It doesn’t mean an intellectual acknowledgement, because even the demons “believe and tremble” (James 2:19).

The word that Jesus used was: Πιστεύω pisteuō pist-yoo’-o From G4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): – believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.

So, we are to teach others to believe in the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day.   We are to encourage them to have faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

There is redemption for all who trust in Christ Jesus, what does redemption mean? ἀπολύτρωσις apolutrōsis ap-ol-oo’-tro-sis From a compound of G575 and G3083; (the act) ransom in full, that is, (figuratively) riddance, or (specifically) Christian salvation: – deliverance, redemption.

Having trusted Christ Jesus with our redemption completely, we are justified by God.

This is very good news.

 

So, what are the commands of Christ?  (Returning to the Great Commission, aka Matthew 28)

  • Repent

“From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,'” (Matthew 4:17).

  • Follow Him

“And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,” (Matthew 4:19).

  • Let your light shine

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16).

 

  • Be reconciled

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering,” (Matthew 5:23–24).

  • Don’t Lust

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’, 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell,” (Matthew 5:27–30).

  • Make no oaths

“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God . . . 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil,” (Matthew 5:3437).

  • Don’t resist evil with evil

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you,” (Matthew 5:39-42).

  • Love and pray for your enemies

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:44–46).

  • Be perfect

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Matthew 5:48).

  • Seek God’s Kingdom first

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” (Matthew 6:33).

  • Don’t Judge

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” (Matthew 7:1).

  • Don’t give what is holy to dogs

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces,” (Matthew 7:6).

  • Treat people as you want to be treated

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets,” (Matthew 7:12).

  • Enter (heaven) through the narrow gate

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it,” (Matthew 7:13-14).

  • Beware of false prophets

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves,” (Matthew 7:15–16).

  • Follow Jesus

“Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead,” (Matthew 8:22).

  • Ask God to send out workers

“Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest,” (Matthew 9:37–38).

  • Don’t fear those who can kill the body

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” (Matthew 10:28).

  • Come to Jesus for rest

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28).

  • Confront brothers in private first

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother,” (Matthew 18:15–17).

  • Forgive Seven times Seventy

“Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven,'” (Matthew 18:21–22).

  • Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s

“They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s,” (Matthew 22:21).

  • Love God

“And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND,” (Matthew 22:37–38).

  • Love your Neighbor

“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,'” (Matthew 22:39).

  • Partake of Communion

While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body. 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you,” (Matthew 26:26–27).

  • Keep guard against sin

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” (Matthew 26:41).

  • Make Disciples

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:19-20).

  • Preach the Gospel

“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” (Mark 16:15).

  • Be on guard against greed

“Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions,” (Luke 12:15).

  • Invite the poor

“And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 “But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous,” (Luke 14:12–14).

  • Love one another

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another,” (John 13:34).

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you,” (John 15:12).

“This I command you, that you love one another,” (John 15:17). (This list from CARM – I didn’t have time to compile my own, although that sounds like good fun).

(A few more– I edited out the overlap)

  • “You must be born again”

“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.” (John 3:7 KJV)

  • “Remain in Me and I will remain in you”

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” ( John 15:4 NIV)

  • “Let your light shine before men”

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. ” In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven,” (Matt 5:14;16 NIV).

  • “Settle matters quickly with your adversary”

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.” (Matt 5:25 NIV)

  • “Get rid of whatever causes you to sin”

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matt 5:29-30 NIV)

  • “Give to Please God, Not to be Seen”

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven,” (Matt 6:1 NIV).

  • “Pray Privately, Not to be Seen of Men”

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words,”
(Matt 6:5-7 NIV).

  • “This, then, is how you should pray”

“This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins,” (Matt 6:9-15 NIV).

  • “Fast Without Fanfare”

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full,” (Matt 6:16 NIV).

  • “Do not Store up Treasures on Earth”

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,”
(Matt 6:19-21 NIV).

  • “Do not Worry about Your Needs”

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt 6:25-26 NIV), Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” (Matt 6:34 NIV).

  • “Ask, Seek, and Knock”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,”
(Matt 7:7 NIV).

  • “Care for Those in Distress”

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me,”
(Matt 25:34-36 NIV).

  • “Have Complete Faith in God”

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours,” (Mark 11:22-24 NIV).

  • “Be Merciful”

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,”
(Luke 6:36 NIV).

(This list from http://www.trusting-in-jesus.com/Commandments-of-Jesus.html)

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13 thoughts on “Conversations with a JW: The purpose of life

  1. sarahsdaughter2

    If you notice traffic on your oldests posts, that’s me. I’m reading this from the beginning. I set out to do it to get to know you better, but what is happening is I’m getting a message and it is really fantastic – and a bit challenging. 🙂 I wonder if your writing calms and inspires you as it does me, your reader. What a gift you have.

    Oh, and there is a Sarah’s Daughter in word press already and since I had to sign up to have access to your other blog that means I’m sarahsdaughter2 – I kind of like that…2 as in also.

    Reply
    1. hearthie Post author

      Oh gracious, I don’t pay attention to my traffic, except to occasionally sigh over the lack of readers. But I’m glad you are taking the time to read – and to get to know me. 🙂 Do feel free to chat away to me, I don’t bite.

      Reply
  2. Ace

    Hi Hearthie. Been reading you all these years. Love your stuff. Keep going!
    By the way, regarding your verse on taking communion. That was Yeshua doing a Passover seder. We are supposed to celebrate Passover and the other feasts. But Passover in particular is in remberence of his going to the cross. Maybe because I have so many Catholics in my family I never understood why so many American Christian churches are basically Catholic light.
    Anyhoo. May Yahweh bless you;)

    Reply
    1. hearthie Post author

      I agree with that. The JW just … watch the bread and wine go ’round. Very sad. Glad you’re still around, I’ve wondered what you’ve been up to. 🙂 May the Lord bless you and keep you.

      Reply
      1. Ace

        Thank you Sister. I have been up to amazing things, watching Yahweh move mountains. I miss writing though and soon I think I can do it again. I am not the girl I used to be…..no soldier comes home from war the same.

        My best to you and Elspeth 🙂

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