HELPING THEM TO FOLLOW THE INNER CONSCIOUSNESS AND WALK IN THE SPIRIT
After someone consecrates himself, he must learn to follow the inner consciousness, to follow the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. We can say, “Since you have consecrated yourself to the Lord, from now on you must do the Lord’s will. The way to do this is by following the inner feeling, the inner consciousness.” To follow the consciousness deep within us is to walk in the Spirit.
HELPING THEM TO CONTACT THE LORD THROUGH READING AND PRAYING
We also must help the new ones to contact the Lord by reading the Word and praying. Day by day, preferably early in the morning, they need to have a time to contact the Lord. Here there is much to say and to learn.
HELPING THEM TO EXPERIENCE THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND TO BE LIVING MEMBERS IN THE BODY
The foregoing five matters—regeneration, clearance of the past, consecration, following the Spirit according to the inner consciousness, and contacting the Lord in the morning by reading and praying—are very basic. We also should help the newly saved ones to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit with power and release. To help people with these matters is the best way for them to be regenerated. Following this, we should help them to realize that they are living members in the Body. This means that they must function in the church.
OUR NEED TO TAKE A PRACTICAL WAY WITHOUT LEGALITY TO HELP PEOPLE
Question: Over what period of time can we cover the foregoing items with an average new believer?
Answer: With a quicker one, we can cover all these six matters within a few weeks. A person can be regenerated right away. Then on the next day we can help him to have a clearance of his past. Following this, we can help him to consecrate himself, to know how to follow the inner consciousness, to start to have a real touch with the Lord by studying and praying, and to experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I do not say this in a legalistic way. In Taiwan we had a large number of new converts, perhaps two hundred, so we would have a series of meetings after their baptism. In one week we would have six or seven meetings in a series in which we stressed these matters for their realization and experience. However, this does not mean that all new converts can be helped to realize all these items right away. Gradually, most of them will stay in the church meetings and will be helped to experience these things sooner or later, but not later than one year unless they are indifferent or become backsliders. Because of this kind of help, some became elders in the early years in Taiwan after only two or three years.
We must help the new ones in a definite way, not in a general way. I was born and raised in Christianity. I heard many messages and preachings, but not one message told me definitely how to be saved. Many persons were brought into Christianity merely in a general way. If we asked them if they were saved, they would say, “I don’t know.” If we asked if their sins were dealt with, they would say, “It depends.” Everything was general; nothing was definite. This is too poor. We praise the Lord that beginning in 1922 the Lord raised up a testimony in China to make these things very definite and practical. Every light the Lord gave us was very definite concerning certain things. From that time on we could help people in a fast way. We may compare this to cooking. If someone knows the practical way, he can make a cake in a few minutes, and in another few minutes he can make another dish. This is not a general way. If we take a general way, we will have nothing.
Question: Concerning the clearance of our living, there is the need of restitution for things in the past and the clearance of current practices. If we see that a Christian is practicing wrong things, should we try to clear them all up at once?
Answer: Do not do this. Clearance is not a legal matter. We must help people by the working of the Holy Spirit. We do not give people rules. To be a Christian is not a matter of rules but of grace. We help people to realize grace by giving them teaching and instruction. Then the Holy Spirit will work out the matters.
THE NEED FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE MATTERS OF LIFE
In this series of messages we are emphasizing the main matters of life and how to grow. In a large city we can find many Christian stores and libraries with many books. We can find books on justification, forgiveness, and redemption, but it is hard to find a book dealing with regeneration. Books that seem to be on this subject have little content. The many items in God’s salvation, including forgiveness of sins, justification, redemption, cleansing, and sanctification, are not the central item. The very center of God’s salvation is regeneration. Forgiveness, justification, cleansing, redemption, and in one aspect, sanctification, are all for regeneration. That is, all these items are for life.
Justification is not the central thought of God. In the garden of Eden after Adam was created, was there the need for justification? There was no need for justification, but Adam still had to receive life, as signified by the tree of life. At that time Adam did not need forgiveness or redemption, because he was not yet fallen and lost, and he did not need cleansing because he was not yet dirty. Yet he still needed to have life. All the other matters—forgiveness, justification, redemption, cleansing, and sanctification in one aspect—are for restoration so that people may be brought back to the position and standing to receive life. However, regeneration as the very center of God’s salvation is neglected by Christianity today. Christianity pays much attention to these other items, but there is not the adequate teaching concerning life. This is the subtlety of the enemy. For this reason we believe that the Lord must recover this in these last days. Otherwise, we cannot grow, and if we do not grow, we cannot be built up. Then where is the Body? The Body life depends on the building, the building depends on the growth in life, and the growth in life depends on the true realization of life. Today’s Christianity does not have the realization of the matters of life. This is why we must be faithful to the Lord to allow Him to recover these things. If the Lord delays His coming, after a number of years we will see what His way will be. His way will be to recover the matter of life. This is why we are paying our full attention to this.
(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)