A FEW PROPOSALS CONCERNING THE MEETING ON THE LORD’S DAY
For this kind of practice we have a few proposals. First, we should have a meeting to take care of those who want to listen to messages. Throughout the world people have the custom of going to church and listening to sermons. No matter how much we stand against the traditions and old habits of Christianity, there will still be some people who want to go to a meeting hall on the Lord’s Day to worship God and listen to sermons. We cannot condemn people who have this habit, because the Lord Himself went to preach in the synagogues on the Sabbath. He went not to keep the Sabbath, nor to read the Scriptures; He went into the synagogues to take the opportunity to release the truth. Therefore, we should keep this principle. Regardless of what we do, on the Lord’s Day we should have a meeting in the meeting hall for people to worship God and listen to a sermon. We need to take care of this category of people. The messages should cover topics of general interest and should be neither too shallow nor too deep. Every church should have this kind of provision.
Second, we should teach the truth on the Lord’s Day, and we should separate into different levels. More than thirty years ago in Taiwan we brought in many young people within one or two years, and almost all of them were college graduates. Now their children have graduated from college, and some have even obtained doctorate degrees. Yet, spiritually, the parents have not yet graduated from elementary school. Although they have been listening to messages at the meeting hall every Lord’s Day for more than thirty years, they have not yet graduated from spiritual elementary school; this is a great problem. The reason for this is that although they have been listening to “famous preachers” for thirty years, they have not attended classes on the fundamental lessons. This is our situation, and it is the same everywhere.
In recent years we have surely advanced in the truth. We not only know spiritual addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, we have even learned algebra and calculus. We can see that we are of a learned family, especially in the prayers of the saints. However, we have to go one step further and ask ourselves if we could teach others the truth, such as the meaning of justification by faith. Perhaps all we can say is that to be justified by faith is to be saved without paying a price, that it is to obtain salvation freely and not by works, and that as long as we believe in the Lord Jesus, we are justified by faith. This kind of speaking will not easily convince people.
If we would study addition and subtraction in today’s elementary schools, we would discover that now there are special methods of teaching and learning. Those of us in the older generation may know how to add and subtract, but if we were to learn them in today’s schools, they might be different from what we learned before. Consider justification by faith for example. Perhaps we can only say that to be justified by faith is to receive salvation without paying a price, not having to rely on our works but relying only on our faith, and that as long as we call “O Lord Jesus,” we will be saved and justified. It is hard to convince others with this kind of speaking. We must be able to explain in a logical and clear way the matter of justification by faith according to its proper meaning and line of thought in the Bible. Then people will be convinced and believe.
The young people in particular must learn the truth. First Timothy 2:4 says, “[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the full knowledge of the truth.” The Greek word rendered full knowledge means “a thorough and complete understanding”; it is not just to understand a little but to understand thoroughly. Suppose you are an eighteen-year-old sister. After being saved, you want very much to preach the gospel to your relatives, including your grandfather and grandmother who are against Christianity. When you go home, no matter how much they oppose, they cannot completely refuse to listen since you are their granddaughter. Therefore, you have to speak to them, telling them how the Lord Jesus accomplished redemption for us so that we could obtain forgiveness through Him and be justified before God. When you speak to them in such a logical way, outwardly your grandparents may still oppose you, but within they will feel that you are brilliant and will wonder where you learned such logical things. If necessary, you could also open the Bible and quote some verses to support your explanation. If you take this way, people cannot help but be convinced and believe.
After a period of time, when you go home and see your grandparents again, you can speak to them about the God of glory, the unique God. After listening to your speaking, they may feel that you are really marvelous. Your grandmother, who previously opposed you, may “run out of steam” and may not oppose you that much any more. Your grandfather may feel that what you are speaking about really makes sense. Then after another two weeks you can go home and speak again. In this way your previously unbelieving grandparents will eventually believe in the Lord.
We must believe that the truth can subdue people and that the truth will eventually prevail. The problem is that we, the saved ones, only go to church every week and listen to “famous preachers” but do not properly attend classes. Suppose there were a school today that had no classes, no teachers, and no textbooks. For six years the principal only arranged for famous speakers to give lectures every day. We can imagine that the students who graduated from this school would have surely heard a lot, but probably they would have no real abilities. Therefore, we have to change our system; instead of listening to “famous speakers,” we must properly attend classes and seriously learn the truth.
(Speaking for God, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)