COORDINATING AND BEING BLENDED TOGETHER
TO CARE FOR PEOPLE
In the past we learned that preaching the gospel in the church is a very good means for us to be brought together to be fitly framed and blended one with another. Therefore, there is the real need for some brothers and sisters to bear the responsibility for the blending. They have to be the “blenders.” If we coordinate well in the gospel, all the brothers and sisters will be blended together. We are too independent, and we like too much to be private. To be Christians, however, we cannot always keep our privacy. We have to be blended with others. If we are all blended, this will give a very strong impression to the unbelievers and new converts.
A brother may pray for a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or a classmate, preach the gospel to him, and have a certain amount of contact with him. Even in material matters, though, it is not prevailing for someone to do something by himself. It is more prevailing for him to ask one, two, or even five brothers to help him to deal with this person. If in the church there are certain ones who bear some responsibility, the brother can submit the name of his friend or relative to them with particular details. Then these responsible ones can consider this person, and they may realize what his need is. They may realize that this person needs a certain other brother to help take care of him, and they can pass this name on to that brother. Then that brother should take this as a responsibility from the Lord. Spontaneously, he will contact the first brother to fellowship about the new one, and then they will find out what they must do. Then after one or two weeks the responsible ones may look into the situation again and feel that this person can be cared for further by a third brother, and they will pass the burden to him. This is simply an illustration of the principle of blending.
If we take this way, our friends and neighbors will realize that Christians are wonderful people—old and young, high and low, American and Chinese, all working together as one for one goal. This will be a strong testimony to them, and it will be very easy to bring them to the Lord. Then after they are saved, it will be easy to bring them into the church life. From this we can foresee and anticipate that the building of the Body will be realized through this kind of preaching.
The whole church, all the members, must be prevailing to function in preaching the gospel. This is the main part of the church life. The church lives here for the testimony of Jesus, to win people from the usurping hand of the enemy. We are living here day by day for this, and we fight for this. To live for the gospel is the proper way to have the church life. Monthly and yearly, we live for the gospel to win people for Christ. We are not seeking merely to be spiritual. Rather, we are living for Christ to expand and enlarge His kingdom.
We must realize the proper way to carry out the gospel preaching, and we must realize that our purpose as the living Body is to defeat the enemy and to release, to win, the souls who are under his usurping hand. This is carried out simply by the living of the church, by the church life. We do expect that one day the church here will not have any outward preaching meetings, yet each month a certain number of people will still be brought into the church. This is the normal way. A good number of people will be able to stand up to give testimonies telling how they were saved simply through the living testimony of the dear brothers and sisters. We all must agree to learn this way, to abide in the Lord, to live with Him, and to be built up together.
We should submit the names of those we contact to others for fellowship. These persons will then become the material with which we work. When we receive the names of people to care for, we should never do it by ourselves. We should do things in a cooperating way, contacting related brothers or sisters to pray and fellowship with them. It is in this way that we all will be built up together more and more. We will have much fellowship in this matter. How wonderful that will be! This is the flow of the lifeblood in the Body; if we have this flow, the Body will be healthy.
HELPING PEOPLE TO EXPERIENCE THE LORD’S SALVATION
THROUGH REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS
Question: A man of about eighty years old came to our gospel meeting. Coming from a religious background, he likes to visit with us, but he seems satisfied merely to be saved. How should we go on with a person like this?
Answer: With such an aged person, we first must find out whether or not he has been truly saved. Then if he has been saved, we have to find out whether or not he has the assurance of being saved. If we have some doubt about these two matters, we should endeavor to help this person to realize the Lord’s salvation. However, if he has been saved and has the assurance of salvation, we have to praise and thank the Lord. Then if we have more time, and if we have only this one person in our hands, we can help him further and work on him for the Lord. However, if we do not have much time, if we have more persons to take care of, there may be no need to spend more time with him.
Question: A few months ago a certain person came to the United States from Taiwan and is now learning English. He senses the emptiness of this world and was touched by the gospel. He prayed with us, but he needs more help in the confirmation of salvation. He is very busy now. How should we follow up on him?
Answer: This person needs some real help to pray with repentance, to confess his sins. All the brothers who have contacted him need to pray for him, to remember him before the Lord that the Lord would grant him the repentance and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31 speaks of repentance and forgiveness of sins. This indicates that at a certain point this kind of person must not only realize that he needs Christ and must not only believe in Christ, but he must repent before the Lord. We cannot cause people to repent. This requires a work of the mercy of God. More or less, we have passed on the knowledge of the gospel to him, but now we have to pray for him, because there is the need of the real work of the Holy Spirit within him to cause him to repent. Then he will confess his sins and experience the forgiveness of sins. At that time his spirit will be made alive. First, all the brothers who have contacted him need to pray for him. Then the next brother who contacts him needs to help him to realize a real repentance and a living confession. This will require some fellowship with him, some kind of talk to help him to realize his need. Then the Holy Spirit will have the ground to make his spirit alive. No doubt he is busy, but when his spirit is made alive, something will energize him from within, and he will spare some time for coming to the meetings. If we do not do this, we will merely help him to be religious; that does not help much.
TAKING THE PROPER WAY TO PREACH THE GOSPEL
THROUGH THE CHURCH
If we take the way we have fellowshipped here, the Holy Spirit will work wonderful things. What we do will pave the way and open the door for the Holy Spirit to come in, not only to work on the unbelievers but also to work on us. It is in this way that “one stone will kill two birds”—we will have both the gospel preaching and the building up of the church. This will cause us all to be living. We will spend our life, our time, our energy, and our money for the Lord’s kingdom, winning souls for the Lord. This will be very much blessed by the Lord, and it will influence people.
If we love one another and cooperate in coordination, this will influence the people of the world. If we are one in Christ, the world will believe that the Lord Jesus is the Christ, the One sent by God. This will be a real influence on the unbelievers. In this way the doors will gradually open widely and effectively. Therefore, we have to build this up. If we go on in this way, we will see a glorious outcome. We can compare this to an orchard. If we work on it a little to plant and care for it, one day we will have glorious blossoms and bountiful fruit. We are working here to build up an “orchard.” Many “trees” will grow up and will bear fruit. This is the proper way for the preaching of the gospel through the church.
We are now on the right course. The only thing we need now is for all the brothers and sisters to continue to work some more. I hope that we all will work by prayer. We should pray for all the names that come to us, remembering them before the Lord. It is not by us that people are saved; it is by the Lord Himself. We simply pave the way; we open the door. We are the channel, the influence, but the living One must be the Lord Himself. He is the only living One, so He must come in. Therefore, we have to pray whenever we receive the names of new contacts, and we should pass their names on to others for them to pray also. I believe that the Lord will honor this kind of prayer. We work through prayer. We do not have any trust in ourselves, in our doing, or in our working. We trust in the Lord Himself, and we simply do our duty to cooperate with Him.
I look to the Lord and pray that we all will learn to go on in this way, in the way of life and in the way of being built up. Then the Lord will be lived out through us and be ministered to others, and they will receive life. More materials will be added to the church, and the church will be built up in a living way. Brothers and sisters, go on in this way. We will see the glorious result in the long run.
(Preaching the Gospel in the Way of Life, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)