PREACHING BRINGING A REVIVAL TO THE CHURCH
If we have this practice in the preaching of the gospel, our life will be much improved. We will grow. For many years we may not have had much growth in life, but if we preach the gospel in this way, we will see the growth in life. Then the church will be increased both in quantity and in quality. The number of members is the quantity, and the growth of life is the quality. In the churches in the past, we learned the secret. For a long time many taught, preached, and built up, but there was no improvement. There was no result, and the brothers and sisters became tired of all those things. However, if we seek the Lord’s mind, He will impress upon us that we have to do the work of preaching; we must burden the brothers and sisters with the preaching of the gospel. Simply by preaching the gospel, the church will be revived. By preaching, the church comes into life. It truly helps.
FINISHING THE WORK WITH THE UNBELIEVERS
IN ONE DAY
In order to do the work of inviting people in an effective way, we have to care for the matters above. We need to command the Lord, contact people, and pray and fast; then on the day of preaching we have to go to bring people, spending what we have to, even at a cost.
If possible, after the preaching we should also have lunch with the friend we invited. Many brothers and sisters were saved through this kind of lunch. During a preaching meeting the unbelievers are worked on, but sometimes the work is not finished. It is by having lunch with them that they will be saved. We need more time with them. We should not invite them the next day; we should do it right away after the meeting. When we start to cook something, we should finish cooking it. We should not allow it to remain raw and finish cooking it the next day. We will never finish in this way. We should do these things continuously in one day. If we say that the person for whom we are burdened should be saved on a definite day, the Lord will honor us. Do not be sloppy or indifferent; be diligent and compelling. In other things we have to be more patient to wait on the Lord, but in preaching we should not be as patient. We should tell the Lord, “Lord, I do not have the time to wait. You must do this for me quickly.” Learn to do this, and try it. I am not speaking something I have not seen. Twenty years ago I did much preaching work, not only from the podium but also by invitations and visitations.
STANDING WITH THE ONE WHO SPEAKS THE GOSPEL
If we do not have an adequate hall to meet in, the meeting for preaching may be crowded. We need to learn how to seat ourselves properly. We should give the seats to our friends, but we need at least one brother or sister to accompany two new ones. If there are one hundred unbelievers in the meeting, there should be fifty brothers and sisters with them. This makes a big difference. If the room is full of unbelievers, and all the brothers and sisters stand outside, leaving only one to give the message, the one who speaks will be stripped by the enemy. When a brother stands to speak, the other brothers should sit in the front or stand up with him. On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up, and the eleven stood with him (Acts 2:14). When the brother says, “Friends, you have to believe in Jesus,” the other brothers can say Amen. This gives him weight; weight is added to the word. If a brother speaks and at least five or six stand with him, we will see the impact.
We have learned this lesson in casting out demons. The more brothers and sisters we have with us, the more impact we have. When I would go to cast out demons, I dared not do it by myself. I always brought as many brothers and sisters as possible to be with me. Then I was encouraged and strengthened, and I had the impact.
We need some brothers to accompany the speaker, and we also need many brothers and sisters to be present in the seats. Then there will be the impact. When a brother speaks, the brothers standing with him say Amen, and the rest of the congregation also can say Amen. This subdues the unbelievers, and it chases away the false, lying, and cheating spirit in their hearts. This can be compared to a ball game in which a team has more impact if more supporters attend the game.
FIGHTING THE BATTLE BY OBSERVING THE UNBELIEVERS
We also need to learn to watch the unbelievers. If we see four unbelievers together, we have to make an adjustment by sitting with them to accompany them. In the process of the meeting, we can help them in prayer, singing, and the speaking. The preaching work is a real fight. We can help the speaking by cooperating with the speaker and by watching the unbelievers. There is a secret here. We may realize that a person is very inspired and moved by the Spirit. Then we can pray inwardly, “Lord, give him the secret to believing and being saved.” If we pray like this, many times we will see that the person’s face changes. At other times we may realize that a person is stubborn, shaking his head in disagreement. Then we need to pray silently and inwardly, “Lord, bind the strong man, the rebellious one.” By praying, we control the situation. This is the preaching of the church. Everyone is like the muscles of the body. Not only does the mouth speak, but every part of the body exercises. Then we will see the impact. In this way we should take our seat properly to help the preaching.
We need to exercise our whole being. First, of course, we exercise our spirit, and then we exercise our soul, our understanding, to watch people. If we learn to do this, we can even read their faces, and by their faces we can read their heart. There is no need to contact them after the meeting to know if they have been saved; we will know already. In this way, we need to help the unbelievers in prayer, in the hymns, and by watching them.
(Preaching the Gospel in the Way of Life, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)