FOLLOWING THE PATTERN OF THE LORD JESUS
Brothers and sisters, we must see that what has been passed down by today’s Christianity is half right and half wrong. On the one hand, it has accomplished something by saving sinners; on the other hand, it has spoiled something by annulling the saints’ function for gospel preaching. The New Testament tells us that we all are priests of the gospel and must personally go forth to save sinners. We all need to struggle for this. The God-ordained way for gospel preaching is not for us to invite people to come and listen but for us to go and bring salvation to people. In the Gospels, the Lord Jesus Himself was such a pattern. He desired to preach the gospel to us, the sinners, but, instead of sitting in heaven and bidding us to go there, He came down from heaven to us. He came first to seek and then to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). He also sent out twelve disciples to pass through village after village to announce the gospel and heal the sick everywhere (9:1-6). Afterward, He also appointed seventy disciples and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to come, to find the sons of peace and reap His harvest (10:1-6).
One day He purposely went to the city of Jericho to seek a God-chosen yet fallen sinner, Zaccheus, and to bring salvation to his whole house (19:1-9). He also went to Samaria and sat by the well of Jacob, waiting for an immoral woman that He might give her the living water to quench the thirst deep within her (John 4:3-14). It was in this way that He went to different places to seek and save sinners. Therefore, after His death and resurrection, He charged His disciples before He ascended to the heavens that they should go and disciple all the nations (Matt. 28:19) and that, after they had received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and had been clothed with power from on high, they should go everywhere to be His witnesses, beginning from Jerusalem, then to the surrounding cities in the entire land of Judea, passing through Samaria, and spreading unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).
BEGINNING THE PREACHING FROM OUR “JERUSALEM”
In preaching the gospel we should keep the principle of beginning from our center, our “Jerusalem.” Our Jerusalem is our family and our relatives. Every one of us has our close relatives, distant relatives, colleagues, schoolmates, friends, and neighbors. These are people who are more intimate and acquainted with us. Many of them not only are not yet saved but may not even have heard the name of Jesus. Actually, when we go out to preach the gospel, there is no need to knock on new doors; it is enough to just knock on familiar doors. Our acquaintances—our family members, close relatives, distant relatives, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and schoolmates—are more than enough persons to whom we can go to preach the gospel. When we save one person or one family, that person or that family in turn has his or their acquaintances; then the gospel can spread out little by little. Whoever is saved through us will be also perfected to be like us. Those who are saved through us will go and save others by the same way they were saved. This is the proper way for us to preach the gospel. If we are willing to be faithful to this practice, we will surely bear fruit.
After hearing these messages, every one of us should get a notebook and write in a list the names of all the candidates for our gospel. Then we should pray for them before the Lord one by one and look to the Lord’s leading to go and preach the gospel to them. If we all are willing to do this, it is not difficult; to be sure, we can have one person saved in three to four months. This requires us to knock on the doors, not of strangers, but of our close or distant relatives, our older or younger schoolmates, our neighbors, our friends, and our colleagues. These doors are more than enough for us to knock on. Moreover, it is very easy to do this. Recently, the Jehovah’s Witnesses published statistics saying that they have 120,000 members in Japan, and they have gone out to visit people and have gained ten thousand people a year. They spent an average of over six thousand hours to gain one person. I am convinced that, according to the Bible, if we preach the gospel to the acquaintances around us, we do not need to spend even sixty hours; perhaps six hours are enough to bring one of them to be saved. This is not something so difficult that we cannot do it.
RISING UP TO PREACH THE GOSPEL AND BEAR FRUIT
The Lord’s recovery has been in Japan for thirty years, since 1959. The total number of saints in the whole of Japan is under two thousand five hundred. This indicates that we have not done much in our move for the gospel. From today on, brothers and sisters, we must all be priests of the gospel of God to preach the gospel to our acquaintances. If only fifty of those hearing this message gain one person to be saved every three to four months, after one year they will become two hundred and fifty. If we carry this out, the result will be considerably great. According to statistics and the present situation, our preaching the gospel in the old way has been “losing money,” and we have been making many mistakes. Therefore, I have a heavy burden to stir you up to preach the gospel. Do not consider that you are here merely to receive the supply; rather, rise up and go to preach the gospel. In this way, you will be a living person and will always bear fruit. If you bring one person to be saved in one month, yielding new fruit every month (Rev. 22:2), you will be the happiest person in the entire country. May our Christian life be a life of going forth to bear fruit. We should always preach the gospel, and preaching the gospel can never be wrong.
(The Church Life in the Lord's Recovery Today, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)