Once you have shown the Witnesses that the new birth is an inner transformation and that all Christians are in the new covenant, I recommend that you direct their attention to Scriptures which show that Jesus’ invitation and promises are for everyone who will receive him, not just a select group of 144,000.
John 17:20, 24
Have one of the Witnesses read aloud John 17:24, where Jesus prayed, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
If they claim that he was just referring to his 12 disciples or to his first century followers, take them back to verse 20: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message…” The point is that Jesus wants all Christians to be with him where he is, not just 144,000 of them.
Ask them to read aloud John 12:26: “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me….”
- What does Jesus mean by “whoever” and “my servant”?
- Are those words restricted to a limited group of 144,000?
Have one of them read aloud Ephesians 4:4-6: “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Ask, “Does this passage speak of two hopes or just one?”
They may say that the one hope is of your calling and that means there is a heavenly calling and an earthly calling. But the phrase is defined by the context of the passage—one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. That’s not consistent with there being two different hopes and two destinies. Nor is it consistent with there being a born-again way and a non-born-again way of salvation.
Don’t allow the discussion to turn into mere wrangling about what will or won’t happen in the end times or which Christians will end up in what location. Stay focused on the objective and end with a positive note of witness, asking them if they see why you believe that all of the invitations and promises of Jesus are available to them and that the key to salvation for any of us is to receive the inner transformation of the new birth that Jesus described to Nicodemus.
Please read the following scriptures. How might you use them to show Jehovah’s Witnesses that the new birth is available to everyone and necessary in order to be a Christ follower? (pp. 136-138)
- John 17:20, 24
- John 12:26
- Ephesians 4:4-6