I. BEING A PERSON IN THE INTIMATE AND THOROUGH FELLOWSHIP WITH THE LORD
In order to be vital, we should be ones who are in the intimate and thorough fellowship with the Lord, without anything between the Lord and us. If we are not such persons, we are not qualified to contact people for God’s economy. Many in Christianity promote soul-winning. They may gain people, but most of the ones they gain are dying spiritually. We do not want to bring dead and dying people into the recovery. We must have the vitality to vitalize those whom we contact. The vitality is hidden in our intimate, thorough fellowship with the Lord, with nothing between us and the Lord. This makes us absolutely one with the Lord.
II. HAVING A THOROUGH CONFESSION
We must have a thorough confession all the time of our failures, defects, wrongdoings, practices of the flesh and of our natural man, our offenses toward God and men, and our sins. We want to remain in and be conformed to Christ’s death (Phil. 3:10). We must confess that we have not been fully conformed to His death, especially in the way that we speak to our spouse. First John 1 says that if we say we do not have sin, we are lying (vv. 8, 10). If we say we have no sin, this means we are blind. We are full of sins, so we must make a thorough confession of our sins. Because our hands become dirty throughout the day, we have to wash them many times. In the same way, we must confess our sins to the Lord throughout the day to receive the continual cleansing of His blood.
III. PRAYING THOROUGHLY FOR THOSE WHOM WE VISIT
We should pray thoroughly for our visiting of people and for those whom we visit and contact. We should not contact someone without praying for him. We should pray adequately and desperately for the people whom we contact. In the past I encouraged the saints to visit people by knocking on their doors once a week for about three hours. Those who go out should be able to stand on the thorough prayer they have had throughout the week. We should pray desperately that the Lord would make us fruitful. If each of us cannot gain one person for the Lord within a year, this is a shame. The Lord charged us to go and bear much fruit for the Father to be glorified (John 15:8, 16). We must keep the Lord’s word to bear fruit, but we have not done this absolutely.
IV. BECOMING FAMILIAR WITH ALL THE OUTLINES OF THE RECENT MESSAGES CONCERNING THE PERSON OF CHRIST AND HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS
We must be so familiar with all the outlines of the recent messages concerning the person of Christ and His accomplishments in the three stages of His full ministry. We can memorize them and use them spontaneously in our visiting and contacting of people. The churches in Taiwan have entered into the way of pray-reading, studying, reciting, and prophesying all the items of the outlines. If we practice this, we will be saturated and soaked with all these points, and we will have much of the truth to speak to others. If we take this way, we can become very useful in going out to speak to people. What we speak concerning the person of Christ according to the new light we have received will be very attractive to people, because they have never heard such things.
I have spent over ten years to help the churches enter into a vital situation. Recently, I received a testimony from someone which shows that at least one church has become vital. The contents of this testimony are printed below, and we have numbered the crucial points in it.
The church life here has been very sweet. Up until now, we have been in localities where the church was small or had some difficult situations. This is the first time we feel like we ourselves are being (1) shepherded by the saints. (2) The saints here are genuinely pursuing Christ and building up the church according to the New Testament ministry. It is refreshing. It has also been exposing. I realize I have gotten somewhat old and cold. But I am getting warmed up again! (3) Many of the saints are actively shepherding new ones at various stages. Also (4) at least half the saints still go out door-knocking each week. (5)They have been practicing this for the last ten years! (6) New ones (mostly Caucasians) steadily come into the church life through door-knocking, and (7) contacting of neighbors, co-workers, and relatives. (8) In the meetings there has never been a gap in between the testimonies. It is hard to testify because there are so many who want to testify. (9)My own appetite has been stimulated by (10)the saints’ intense and serious appetite for the ministry.
The person who wrote the above testimony said that he was shepherded by the saints, not by the elders or co-workers. This means that they practice the shepherding which the ministry teaches. We need to pay attention to the phrase by the saints in the above testimony.
The saints in this locality are pursuing Christ according to the New Testament ministry, not according to different teachings. Revelation 2 speaks of the teaching of Balaam (v.14), the teaching of the Nicolaitans (v. 15), the teaching by Jezebel (v. 20), and the teaching of the deep things of Satan (v. 24). In today’s Christianity, there are many different teachings, but we should have only one teaching, the New Testament teaching, which is called the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). The unique teaching in the New Testament is the teaching of the apostles concerning God’s eternal economy to produce the church for the Body that consummates the New Jerusalem. When we pursue Christ and build up the church according to the apostles’ teaching, the New Testament ministry, we will be under the Lord’s blessing. We may say that it is difficult to gain Caucasians, but in the place mentioned above, at least half of the saints have faithfully practiced door-knocking for the past ten years, and the new ones they have gained have been mostly Caucasians. The contents of the above testimony are according to what I have been teaching for the past ten years. This testimony confirms that the God-ordained way to practice and build up the church life according to the New Testament ministry really works.
(The Vital Groups, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)