PREACHING THE GOSPEL, TEACHING THE TRUTH, AND MINISTERING LIFE
During these last twenty years, the Lord has established His recovery in the United States. The Lord has been continually speaking to us, especially by opening up the New Testament to us, book after book. We must bear the responsibility to spread all these treasures that the Lord has shown us from His holy Word. We need to spread these treasures by preaching the gospel to the unsaved, teaching the truths to the saved ones, and ministering life to the seeking ones. All the saints who have returned to the proper and unique ground of oneness must bear this responsibility. This is why we must train all the saints with the precious truths which we have received from the Lord that each one may be qualified and enabled to spread these truths by preaching the gospel, teaching the truth, and ministering life to people. We not only love the Christians outside of us, but we also love all human beings. The Lord loves the world and we need to be the same. We love the world by preaching the gospel to them and we love our fellow-Christians, even though they are not with us, by teaching the truth and by ministering life to them.
We all need to have a clear view concerning the Lord’s practice in His recovery. Then we can have a proper attitude. We should never be sectarian, and we should always be open to all people. We should not only be open to all the Christians, but also be open to all the unbelievers. Because we have received the Lord’s mercy and we are now a people bearing God’s testimony in His truth and in His life, we must learn to be open at all times to every Christian, teaching the truth and ministering the life supply to them. When you meet other Christians, do not be bothered that they are Christians in the divisions. Do not change your attitude, but still be open to them. Present the truth and minister life to them. Try not to consider, think, or feel that they are different from the saints who are with us because they also are our fellow-believers in Christ.
Finally, we should never try to proselyte Christians from the divisions. We must always do our best, on the other hand, to preach the gospel, teach the truth, and minister life. Let other Christians have their own choice regarding the matter of the church. The Lord’s testimony does not depend upon a big number but upon the reality of His life. Even though we may have a small number, if we live the reality of the life of Christ, this is the testimony of Jesus. Even if we had twenty million saints among us, without the reality of the life of Christ, there would be no testimony; this does not mean anything. This is why I feel that we should not pay that much attention to the numerical increase. I believe that if we really live a life of Christ as our reality, the increase will come. We should live such a testimony. Then all the churches over the whole earth will bear the same testimony and will carry the same New Testament ministry to establish the same New Testament church as the Body of Christ. Then wherever people go, they will see the same thing. They will see different peoples, different races, different ranks, and different societies, meeting together, bearing the same testimony, and always speaking the same thing. They will see people speaking the same thing in many different languages and bearing the genuine testimony of Jesus. Even though we may have a small number, this is still something prevailing in the eyes of God.
I hope this fellowship helps us to have a proper spirit and to hold a right attitude toward all our fellow-believers. We must learn to love them and even to love every man. Our practice should be that we love our neighbors, our schoolmates, our colleagues, and all our friends.
When other Christians ask us where we fellowship, we should not pretend to be someone else. We should be frank and tell them what we are. Whether they would continue to be open to us or whether they would be closed to us is up to them. Regardless of their reaction, we still would love them and not argue with them. We must bear our responsibility. We must learn how to preach the gospel, present the truth, or minister life to them. If we would do these three things, the ones around us will receive something. We do not need to defend ourselves against negative speaking. It is better from the very beginning to let people know that you are meeting in a local church which is very much helped by the ministry of Witness Lee. If they would respond to you with something negative, do not argue with them. You need to present them a clear view of a biblical truth which the Lord has shown us. Maybe you would share John 3:14 with them. You might tell them that the Lord Jesus applied the type of the brass serpent to Himself, showing that when He was in the flesh, He was in “the likeness of the flesh of sin” (Rom. 8:3), which likeness was the form of the brass serpent. Tell them that when Christ, our Redeemer, was on the cross, He was lifted up like the brass serpent in the wilderness. Your presentation of this biblical truth will shock them. If you presented the truth in this way to your colleague every day, he would be subdued and enlightened. Eventually, he would be fully opened to the ministry you receive because he would realize that the truth is there.
This is one of the main factors why I called this urgent training. The ones who bear the responsibility of the churches must realize that we have to change our way in order to bring the saints fully into the truths of God’s New Testament economy. If we train the saints, they will be enabled to preach the gospel, teach the truth, and minister life. We do not need to remain in our old practice where people meet with us for a number of years and still they have not been perfected to minister to others. They may appreciate the meetings and the ministry, but they still are not able to present the truth. May the Lord bring all the saints in all the churches fully into the truth, and may all the saints in the Lord’s recovery be those who are enabled and skilled to preach the gospel, teach the truth, and minister life for the carrying out of God’s New Testament economy unto the building up of the Body of Christ.
(Elders' Training, Book 04: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)