Jesus taught his followers only one religion, the true religion. It is like a road leading to everlasting life. Jesus said: “Few are finding” that road. (Matthew 7:14) God accepts only worship based on his Word of truth. All true worshippers are united in one faith. —Read John 4:23, 24; 14:6; Ephesians 4:4, 5.
(Watchtower Bible links are all to the NWT. Under THE BIBLE TEACHES I am providing links to Bible Hub so that readers may read other translations. I encourage reading each verse in context.)
Concerning religion- Religion is mentioned only four times in the Bible.
Jesus did not establish a religion.
The word ‘Religion’ is only found four times in the Bible. Three of the mentions of religion concerns an already established religion of the Jews. Acts 26:5, Galatians 1:13-14, James 1:26. The only other mention of religion, and the definition, is found in James 1:27 where we are taught that:
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Christ and the apostles taught there is one faith rather than one religion.
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Ephesians 1:5…And it was He (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
A study of scripture verifies there is one faith.
The just shall live by faith. Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38
This faith is in YHWH, the God of the Bible as revealed by the Father(John 6:27), the Son(John 1:1), and the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). We are to believe and know that the Father sent His Son Who has redeemed mankind by becoming our propitiation for sin. Christ Jesus the Messiah came into the world to redeem and save that which was lost and ascended back into heaven where He sits at the RIGHT HAND of the Father. The Holy Spirit is now on earth directing and conforming God’s people to become like Christ.The entire New Testament teaches that we are to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. Paul describes this faith in Ephesians chapter one. https://biblehub.com/bsb/ephesians/1.htm
There are many religions, but only those who are justified and redeemed by Christ are in the family of God. See Romans 5:9
“They publicly declare that they know God, but they disown him by their works.” —TITUS 1:16.
Jesus warned that false prophets would corrupt Christianity. Outwardly, they seem like true worshippers. Their churches claim to be Christian. But you can recognize such people for what they really are. How? Only true worship produces genuine Christians with recognizable qualities and ways. —Read Matthew 7:13-23.
THE BIBLE TEACHES
Jesus never spoke of false Christians! He often spoke of false prophets and of false witness.
Verses 1 & 2 of Titus 1, applies to people who publicly declare they know God, but they have not been born or baptized by the Spirit of God. They have not been purified or cleansed by the precious blood of Christ.
To the pure, all things are pure; but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. Indeed, both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good deed. Titus 1:15-16
These are not necessarily false prophets, although those who prophesy falsely prove they are not led by the true Spirit of God as prophecy comes through the Spirit. This is taught in the Old Testament and in Acts and Ephesians.
The Bible does NOT say of those who appear outwardly to worship, that ‘their churches’ only claim to be Christian. Jesus taught there will be tares found among the wheat and goats among the sheep. Christ will separate these at judgement.
While we know that many groups, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics and all Protestants take the name of Christ Jesus, not nearly all teach the Truth of the gospel and hold to sound doctrine. Many disobey by adding to or taking away from God’s words, by using human reasoning rather than the pure word of God, or by choosing men’s teachings over the Holy Bible. Paul, Also addressed the problem of teaching false doctrine in this first chapter of Titus:
”For many are rebellious and full of empty talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced. For the sake of dishonorable gain, they undermine entire households and teach things they should not…”Titus 1:10-11
As for the passage in Matthew, Christ definitely teaches that the gate or way to life is narrow. In another passage Christ said, “I am the gate…”
The gate is narrow as there is only one way and one Gate – Jesus
Jesus is THE WAY .
Those who attempt to enter the kingdom another way will be declared thieves and robbers. Our works will not gain us an entrance into God’s Kingdom (Ephesians 2:9). Belonging to a church, an organization, or a special group will not gain us admittance (John 3:5). Not even living according to doctrines that appear righteous will make us a way into the Kingdom (Titus 3:5). We must go in through the narrow gate – Jesus(John 10). It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all unrighteousness that makes us acceptable to God. Therefore, just as Jesus said...
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:22-23
Watchtower teaches in the passage that true worship produces “genuine Christians with recognizable qualities and ways.”The Bible teaches, however, that true worship is a result of being a genuine Christian and of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
(BECAUSE THE PERSON WHO WRITES THE WATCHTOWER LESSON ANSWERED IN FIVE “IDENTIFYING MARKS” WE WILL LOOK AT EACH ONE SEPARATELY.)
3. How can you recognize true worshippers?
Consider these five identifying marks:
True worshippers respect the Bible as God’s Word. They strive to live by its principles. So true religion differs from religion that is based on men’s ideas. (Matthew 15:7-9) True worshippers do not preach one thing and practice another. —Read John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
THE BIBLE TEACHES
True worshippers worship in Spirit and inTruth. Recognizing worship is what God does. Christians recognize fellow Christians by their fruits.
The Pharisees lived by their religion, and were not justified by faith in Christ.
Jesus, in Matthew 15:7-9 was referring to the Pharisees. These were the most religious people living at the time. They made a great pretense of being the only people who kept God’s laws, however, much of what they did was actually keeping men’s laws. They had added their own words and ideas to what God has said. They actually did practice what they preached, it was just that what they preached was wrong. They relied upon their own righteousness, not God’s. They took great pride in their position and their works. They did not live by faith in the Son of God, Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-16 Christ called them whitewashed sepulchers full of dead men’s bones.
Jesus’ true followers honor God’s name, Jehovah. Jesus honored God’s name by making it known. He helped people to know God and taught them to pray that God’s name be sanctified. (Matthew 6:9) Where you live, which religion makes God’s name known? —Read John 17:26; Romans 10:13, 14.
THE BIBLE TEACHES
No where is it written in God’s Word that Christ’s followers will preach the name Jehovah.
Jehovah may or may not be an acceptable way to call on God, but the word Jehovah wasn’t even known when the New Testament was written. God’s name is YHWH (pronunciation was lost) and translated, by Him,as I Am… It is true we are to honor God’s name. Many Bible translations translated YHWH as LORD. Some (Primarily Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses) use Jehovah. Some translate God’s name as Yahweh. The idea that true followers of Jesus use Jehovah is not written ANYWHERE in the Bible. What is written is that true followers of Jesus are saved by calling on the name of Jesus. His name is the one name the Bible teaches a true Christian must know and honor in order to be saved – the name of Jesus. God has given Christ the name above all names and only by His name are we saved. Philippians 2:8-10,Acts 4:10-12,John 17:25-26, Romans 10
(Christ Jesus)Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:6-11
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
True Christians preach about God’s Kingdom. God sent Jesus to preach the good news of the Kingdom. God’s Kingdom is the only hope for mankind. Jesus continued speaking about it until his dying day. (Luke 4:43; 8:1; 23:42, 43) He said that his followers would preach about it. If someone approaches you to speak about God’s Kingdom, to which religion does he likely belong? —Read Matthew 24:14.
THE BIBLE TEACHES
Christians preach the word – Jesus Christ. He is our hope!
Preach the word! Be ready inseasonandout of season…2 Timothy 4:2
The Bible teaches that Jesus is our hope. The Father sent Jesus into the world to be our Savior. (1 John 4:14) Without Christ there is no hope for eternal life or living in the Kingdom of God. Jesus came into the world to redeem sinners and give abundant life to all who trust Him. (John 10:10) He came to seek and save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)He came to die for sinners. (Romans 5:8), (Romans 4:25), It is true that Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom, however, Christ came to save a lost and dying world. Preaching the Kingdom means sharing this gospel.
Jesus taught us about His kingdom and while preaching the gospel also means preaching the kingdom of God, we are told to preach the gospel. (Mark 16:15, Romans 1:15, Romans 10:15)
Jesus’ followers are no part of this wicked world. You can recognize them by the way they take no part in politics or social conflicts. (John 17:16; 18:36) Also, they do not imitate the world’s harmful practices and attitudes. —Read James 4:4.
This is part of a prayer Jesus prayed to the Father. He isn’t suggesting that we take no part in government actions. We are told to pray for our government officials. He places rulers and authority figures in their positions. This shows there is a purpose in earthly governments. If God forbade people to participate in these activities, why would He asks us to pray for our leaders? Why would God not want His people to be involved in an institution He ordains and that has power over His people? Nowhere are we commanded to stay out of politics. While no one should want war, the Bible teaches there will be wars. No where in the scriptures did Jesus command Christians to avoid serving in the military. We are commanded to pray without ceasing and to:
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
True Christians have outstanding love for one another. From God’s Word, they learn to respect all ethnic groups. Although false religions have often strongly supported the wars of the nations, true worshippers refuse to do so. (Micah 4:1-3) Rather, true Christians unselfishly use their time and resources to help and encourage others. —Read John 13:34, 35; 1 John 4:20.
THE BIBLE TEACHES
Micah was an Old Testament prophet. He prophesied about the millennial reign of Christ when there will be no war. Watchtower is using this prophesy to say it is unChristian to fight in a war against evil. Jesus did not say that. Today, in this fallen world, Christians are known for their love and for caring for the needs of others, but the time Micah spoke of is a future event.
4. Can you identify the true religion?
Which religion bases all its teachings on God’s Word, honors God’s name, and proclaims God’s Kingdom as mankind’s only hope? Which group practices love and shuns war? What do you think? —Read 1 John 3:10-12.
While Christians do love the brethren and thereby we know who belongs to Christ, true Christians also proclaim Christ as mankind’s only hope. This is expressed many times and in many ways in the New Testament. Here is how Paul puts it in his letters to Timothy and Titus.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope…1 Timothy 1:1
“…as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.Titus 2:13
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, and we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and we should love one another just as He commanded us. Whoever keeps His commandments remains in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He remains in us: by the Spirit He has given us. 1 John 3:21-24
I do not know of any ‘religion’ that bases all their teachings on God’s Word. Christians are warned against following doctrines of men. It is only when a person trusts in God, in Christ, and is filled with the Spirit of God that they are able to be taught correctly because the Holy Spirit is the only accurate Teacher. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and the Bible is our guide. Jesus did come preaching about the Kingdom of God, but Christians are instructed to preach the gospel.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark: 16:15
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Matthew 28:19
Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.” Then they inquired, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent…For it is My Father’s will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” ”John 6:27-29,40
The question should be,”Which churches are preaching the true gospel and doing what Christ actually commanded?”