CHRISTIANS SPEAKING FOR GOD TO VARIOUS KINDS OF PEOPLE
Therefore, after much consideration, we feel that we have no alternative but to change the system. The way to carry out this change must be in two aspects. On the one hand, we need to speak for God among ourselves in the meetings of the church, and on the other hand, we need to speak for God to the outsiders outside of the church meetings. In the church meetings there are relatively fewer people to whom we can speak for God, but outside the meetings there are many to whom we can speak. First, we can speak to those who have been baptized but have not yet been brought into the church life. After less than one year since we changed the system, we already have more than 3,000 newly baptized ones in Taipei alone. However, among these 3,000 only about 310 have been brought into the church life. There are over 2,000 who are still outside of the church life; thus, there is the need for us to go and speak to them.
Second, we have to speak to the unsaved ones. Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” Today is your whole family saved? I believe that many family members among you are not yet saved, so you have to go to your relatives and friends and speak the Lord’s word to them. First go to your close relatives, then your distant relatives, and then your friends. The definition of what a friend is, is very broad. It includes your neighbors, your colleagues, and your schoolmates. All your acquaintances are counted as friends. Even the people on the street could become your friends; after you talk to them for three or five minutes, they become your friends. Therefore, the term friend has a very broad definition.
In Acts 1:8, the Lord Jesus says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We may interpret this verse in this way: Jerusalem refers to our close relatives; all Judea, our distant relatives; Samaria, our neighbors; and the uttermost part of the earth, all of our friends. We all have some close relatives, such as our parents and our siblings; these are our Jerusalem. Our distant relatives, such as our cousins, aunts, and uncles, are our Judea. The neighbors and colleagues around us are our Samaria. Besides all these, the friends we see everywhere are our uttermost part of the earth. Therefore, there is no end to preaching the gospel to the unsaved ones.
Third, we have to speak to Christians in general. They are our brothers and sisters, except that they are not meeting with us. In the past we referred to them as Christians in the denominations. From now on I hope that we will avoid using this kind of expression. When we say that they are those who belong to the denominations, it sounds like they are of one sect and we are of another. This is not good; this is not proper. They would not like us to refer to them as such. Since we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord, we should not refer to them in such a discriminating way.
Therefore, we all must be careful not to use phrases such as “denominational Christians.” They are our brothers and sisters because we all have the same Lord and were begotten of the same Father. When we come into contact with them, we have to speak the words of the truth to them. From the aforementioned points we can see that we have a great number of people to whom we can speak for God. Therefore, we need to pursue the truth seriously and be constituted with the words of the truth so that we may all go out and speak for God. This way will keep us from standing idle and afford us the opportunity to fully exercise our function.
SEPARATING INTO THE HOMES TO BRING IN THE INCREASE
In our seeking before the Lord, we feel that the church in Taipei, the church in Singapore, the church in Manila, the church in Hong Kong, and even the church in Jakarta must all aim at having one thousand home meetings. Any locality with a population of more than three million must aim at dividing into one thousand small homes. Every small home should have eight to ten people, so one thousand homes will have eight to ten thousand people. We know that the more we divide into the homes, the more we multiply. Let us use a couple with ten children as an illustration. Suppose the parents keep all the children at home with them, so that the sons never marry and the daughters are never given in marriage. Eventually, the parents will get old, and the children will also become old. This situation is not normal.
If we release our sons and daughters, letting them marry, then there will be increase and propagation. Each additional marriage will afford one additional unit for reproduction. When three get married, there will be three units for reproduction; when seven get married, there will be seven units for reproduction. After a few years they will multiply to over twenty persons. Those who understand gardening know that in planting flowers, shrubs, or trees, it is hard for them to multiply if the farmer plants them close together, but if he separates them into groups, planting them in small groves, then they will multiply rapidly. Therefore, we must separate into homes; this will bring in the increase.
If we want everyone to function by preaching the truth for this kind of multiplication, then we must provide them an education on various levels. Only in this way can we raise up those who can preach the truth. Then in the Lord’s Day morning meetings there will be no fear of having no one to give a message for the ministry of the word. If the elders take the lead to preach the Lord’s word, then the saints will have a pattern to follow. When the saints see such a pattern, they will also go out to speak to others. Once this kind of atmosphere is started, the result will be that all the saints will be able to preach the Lord’s word to those who are outside the church. Whether by proclaiming Christ, by expounding the Holy Scriptures, or by releasing the truth, after three to five years, their preaching will be able to cover all the districts in their locality. This is the Lord’s way.
Satan, who is very cunning, prevents men from seeing the Lord’s way. However, if we read Acts chapters two, four, and five, we can clearly see this principle of separating into homes. In the beginning the saints met from house to house (2:46). Then in chapter eight, due to the great persecution that came upon the church in Jerusalem, “all were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (v. 1). Thus, the disciples were scattered among various towns and villages, and they all announced the word of God as the gospel (v. 4). After the disciples were dispersed, not only did they quickly spread throughout all of Judea, but they also reached Samaria. The record in chapter eight shows that in Samaria there were people who believed in the Lord. Afterward, Philip the evangelist also went there, and a church was raised up immediately.
This shows us that not long after they had been saved, the early believers in Jerusalem all became teachers, evangelists, and prophets. Moreover, when the churches were raised up, the believers also became apostles. If the local churches today would all practice this way, then the gospel would be preached rapidly throughout the entire earth. Whether in Taiwan, Southeast Asia, or the Western world, all would be gospelized rapidly. However, this all depends on whether or not we are willing to practice this and whether or not we do it right. If all of us are willing to practice this and we all do it right, then the result will be a success.
What we have fellowshipped should not be made into rules and regulations to be observed accordingly one by one. What we hope is that you would all bring this fellowship back with you for study and that you would pray much. If someone, after his study and prayer, can find a better way before the Lord, that would be wonderful. In principle, we need to help the saints by every means so that they all can understand the truth. God desires all men to be saved and to come to the full knowledge of the truth. Not only so, we also need to help the saints so that they all could go forth and be prophets speaking for the Lord.
(Speaking for God, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)