PERFECTING EVERY SAINT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL
Let us consider this matter according to the way revealed in the Bible. If a certain locality already has some saints meeting together, they need to first love the Lord; second, they need to offer themselves to the Lord; third, they need to be revived within; and fourth, they need to be perfected. These saints need to be perfected in the truths of the gospel, such as knowing the difference between justification and sanctification, the relationship between redemption through the precious blood and salvation in life, and other matters. After this, they need to be perfected in the experience of the gospel. Through such perfecting they will know that their sins have been forgiven, that they have been justified by God, reconciled to God, and joined to the Lord. In this way they are thoroughly regenerated in their spirit and have the Holy Spirit indwelling their spirit. Then they have to walk according to the indwelling Spirit that they may be justified subjectively, sanctified, and transformed in life. After they have been fully perfected in truth and in experience concerning the gospel, they still need to be perfected in the skills of gospel preaching. Not only in gospel preaching but even in playing the piano or playing ball, we need to learn and receive instruction from a teacher. In anything we do, we get to know how to do it not by birth but by learning. First we learn, and then we know. If we do not learn or practice, we can never know how to do something. If we always preach the gospel by holding big meetings, most of the saints will just sit with the guests, have a little contact with them after the meeting, and record their names. Then when they meet someone who has a question concerning the gospel truth, they have to bring him to a handful of evangelists, since they themselves are not clear or competent enough to explain such things. This proves that the old way of gospel preaching has annulled our faculties for gospel preaching.
PREACHING THE GOSPEL MORE TO BECOME MORE ABLE TO PREACH THE GOSPEL
If we were to cover our eyes with a black cloth so that we could not see anything, after a period of time our eyes would become blind. The reason for our blindness would be that we have not used our eyes. Why is it that the saints cannot preach the gospel? The reason is that they do not preach the gospel. We cannot speak, so we do not speak, and the more we do not speak, the more we cannot speak. This produces a vicious cycle that results in poverty. Conversely, although we cannot speak, we still should speak. Then, the more we speak, the more we can speak, and the more we can speak, the more we like to speak. The physical strength of an elderly man diminishes over the years. As a result, he does not like to walk. The less he walks, the slower he walks, and the slower he walks, the less he likes to walk. If this cycle continues, it will not be long before he is not able to rise up again after sitting down. For this reason he must struggle to walk, and the more he walks, the more he can walk. Consider the gospel preaching among us. Is our condition one of “the more we walk, the more we can walk,” or is it a condition of “the slower we walk, the less we like to walk?” Do we strive and struggle, or do we simply let the fallen nature take its course? Probably many of us no longer preach the gospel and have no desire to preach the gospel, considering ourselves as old branches that can no longer bear fruit. The most we may do is pray for the gospel when the Holy Spirit moves us.
In Colossians 1:28-29 the apostle Paul said, “Whom [Christ] we announce, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man full-grown in Christ; for which also I labor, struggling according to His operation which operates in me in power.” Paul stayed in Ephesus for three years, where he taught the saints publicly and from house to house and did not cease to admonish each one with tears, night and day (Acts 20:31, 20). Paul labored in this way not by himself but according to the power which Christ operated in him. This operation of power, as the heavenly “motor,” supplied him continuously with the power of the resurrection life that he might carry out and fulfill his priestly ministry of the gospel.
(The Church Life in the Lord's Recovery Today, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)