BEING BUILT UP AS LIVING MEMBERS
OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
The third thing we must practice is to be built up. We must be able to show the whole universe, especially those for whom we are concerned, that we are living members of the Body of Christ. To do this, we should invite the brothers and sisters who are built together with us to help us deal with the unbelievers. If we are not built up together, it is hard to invite brothers to share the preaching with us. Even if we do invite someone, there will be no impact and vitality. If, however, we are built together in love, people will be able to sense it. When we invite the brothers and sisters to help us deal with the unbelievers, they will sense that there is something among us. They will sense the love and that there is something wonderful among us. This is very convincing to people. This kind of building up and oneness paves the way for the Holy Spirit to work something into the unbelievers. If we do not have the oneness, however, even if we all come together, there will be no impact. Satan will laugh at us, and the Holy Spirit will be choked. There will be no way for the Holy Spirit to work something of Christ into people. There is the need of the oneness, the building up.
When we are built up together, it is effective to invite unbelievers to come to our meeting. The meeting of built-up Christians is very prevailing. However, if we are not built up together and we are loose in coming together, there will be no impact. In the early 1940s in my hometown, people were very impressed by our meetings. In their common talk they would say to each other that anyone who went to those meetings would be convinced. There was an impact there.
In the same way, many people who have come to our meetings here were also very impressed. They can forget the message, but they cannot forget the meeting and the atmosphere in the meeting. There is the oneness and the living impact. Suppose, on the other hand, that we are not built up with one another. When we come to the meeting, we come unhappy and disappointed with the brothers. Then when one brother chooses a hymn, someone else just shakes his head, and we sing it in a poor way. In this case, there is no impact. However, suppose that we are built together as one in love. Whenever we come together, we love one another. All the brothers and sisters are happy to see one another, and we feel that it is wonderful to be together. In this case, the Spirit will be released. Whatever hymn anyone calls, we simply sing it right away in the spirit, in love, and in oneness. That kind of meeting will be very convincing.
One brother who came to our meetings went back and told people, “Oh, you do not know what kind of meeting that was! When you come into the meeting, their singing, the oneness, and the anointing are wonderful. The anointing within me kept telling me that this is the answer.” He was impressed in this way not by hearing a message but simply by attending the meeting. Then he asked as many people as he could to come to our conference here. He wanted them to come just to hear our singing. Some who came to our first meeting for the preaching of the gospel went back to their city and reported that heaven came down in that meeting. I have heard many things like this.
We must learn to love the Lord, fellowship with Him, live by Him, and walk in Him, and we must learn how to exercise our spirit to contact the Lord and release Him from our spirit. We must also pray for the sinners, preach the gospel to them, have the testimony of life, come together in love, and be truly built up. Then whenever we come together, there will be the impact. This is the proper and only way to testify the Lord. Other things may be a help, but they are not the main, proper way. The proper way is this kind of life, including the church life.
The unbelievers who are brought into the church life through this way of life will be kept in life. The life will constantly mend and keep them. This life will become the keeping power. The most prevailing way to preach the gospel is the way of life and the way of the Body life. We must not neglect the practical way we come together, but we cannot pretend. If we do not love one another and do not have a daily life in Christ through the Spirit, we may pretend that we have something when we come together. However, the Holy Spirit will never testify to this, and the evil one will laugh at us, regardless of what way we meet. There must be a life as our backing. We must have this life in our daily walk, and we must be truly built up and love one another. Then whenever we come together, we will have the reality, the backing. We will have the atmosphere, the singing in the spirit, the release of the Spirit, and the proper prayer. This will convince people. This is the “warm climate” to warm people up. It is not a matter of teaching, doctrine, or preaching. Many times people are not infused by the teachings, but it is always easy for people to be influenced and convinced by a certain kind of feeling and atmosphere. If we have such a meeting in oneness and in life, full of love and the release of the spirit, this kind of meeting will impress people.
In our hometown an unbeliever was saved in a wedding meeting. This woman did not know the brothers or sisters. She simply was standing on the street and noticed that a meeting was going on. She was a complete Gentile and had never heard the gospel. She came in to sit and watch the wedding. Actually, that was not merely a wedding; it was a Christian meeting full of the Holy Spirit. The singing and the love were inspiring. On that day she said to herself, “I have to find out what kind of people these are. What are they doing here?” In this way, this woman, a widow, was easily saved. In that meeting there was no gospel preaching; it was just a wedding meeting. Even through such a wedding meeting, however, this woman was saved simply by the atmosphere, which was sweet, full of love, and inspiring.
Even if people cannot understand in their mentality, still their heart and spirit can sense that there is something sweet and convincing here. We need to have such a meeting. This depends on our oneness and our being built up. In this oneness and building up there is love, humility, kindness, meekness, and all good things. It is through this oneness that the Holy Spirit is released and the enemy is subdued. Then people are convinced. It is so easy. Moreover, people who are brought into the church life in this way will always be kept by this mending and keeping life.
CONTACTING PEOPLE BY EXERCISING THE SPIRIT
The fourth thing we must practice is always to contact people by exercising the spirit. It is too easy to preach by arguing. We should forget about this kind of preaching and forget about arguing. Before one elderly brother among us was saved, he asked Brother Watchman Nee many questions, but Brother Nee did not answer. Brother Nee simply exercised his spirit to ask him one question: “Did you commit sin?” Do not deal with people’s mentality but with their conscience, their spirit. We can only touch people’s spirit by exercising our spirit. If we exercise our mind, we can only touch people’s mind. Therefore, we need to live and have our daily walk by exercising our spirit. Then we will know how to exercise our spirit. We will be accustomed to it, and whenever we contact people, we will not pay much attention to talking, preaching, or arguing. We will pay attention to dealing with their spirit. If we learn how to exercise in this way, we will pave the way for the Holy Spirit to do many things.
All the foregoing matters are not mere teachings. I do not want to have more teachings. Rather, we need to know, experience, and practice many things. If we would practice the above four matters, we will learn much, not by being taught but by practicing. We must care for others and pray for them, bear the burden, have a life as a real testimony, be built up with others, and learn to exercise the spirit. Then we will be very productive. In a gradual way, monthly and yearly, people will be brought to the Lord. This preaching is not merely a preaching. It is the real increase of Christ. We will see the branches of the vine become fruitful, and the church life will be built up. This is what we need. We must consider this kind of preaching as a part of our human life. We look to the Lord for His strengthening and His help in this regard.
(Preaching the Gospel in the Way of Life, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)