PREACHING THE HIGH GOSPEL
Today the educational standard in Taiwan is high. If you preach the gospel only of going to heaven and not going to hell, people will not be interested. This kind of preaching can only frighten the very old and the very young. In this age you cannot preach this kind of low gospel. This does not mean that the Bible does not speak of heaven and hell, but that people today do not need this. They are thirsty for the high gospel. You must tell them that the Triune God entered into humanity, not only to be our Savior, but also to be our life, and even to become the meaning of our life. Anyone who is even a little philosophical in his thinking will welcome and receive this. Therefore, brothers and sisters, today if we do not have a considerable amount of education in the truth, our service cannot meet the demand of the present age. As a result of the diligent labor of the brothers, the number attending the Chinese-speaking meeting in Anaheim has increased. Among those who attend this meeting are some who have worked in the Chinese society. They are intellectual and philosophical people, and they are all over sixty years of age. When we speak to them about the gospel of life, they feel that it is very meaningful, and they are interested.
LABORING IN THE BIBLE
I hope that you can all see that this is a new age. We must change the system. It would be ridiculous if we still used an old oxcart to travel around the world. I thank the Lord that you all love the Lord. Some of you are even full-timers. Six months ago I charged you to spend four hours, from eight o’clock until noon, on Monday through Saturday mornings to study the Bible. In this message we have said that God desires all men not only to be saved but also to come to the full knowledge of the truth. What is the truth? The Word of God, the Bible, is the truth (John 17:17). Therefore, we all must labor to get into the Word of God. First Timothy 5:17 says that the elders must do two things: take the lead well and labor in the Word of God. Those who labor in the Word of God will be counted worthy of double honor.
Let me ask all of you, is it difficult to study? Last night I saw from my window some children who were studying until eleven o’clock. I want to ask you who love the Lord, do you labor in the Word of the Lord and study it as carefully as those children were studying? Is your lack of study because the church does not put you under pressure or give you examinations? Is it because the church does not give you a grade and a degree? As in the past, we may still think that it is sufficient if we merely come to the meetings, be a little zealous, and, once we become full-time, do nothing else but pick up our Bible bag every day, with no examinations and no passing or failing. We may still think that the co-workers have a lifelong tenure. Such a condition is abominable to the Lord.
TRUTH EDUCATION REQUIRING TEXTBOOKS AND A LARGE MEETING HALL
Therefore, I charge you: in order for the Lord’s work, the Lord’s recovery, the Lord’s church, to have a way, there must be a group of people who labor in the Word of the Lord. The industries in Taiwan are so prosperous because thirty years ago the young people, who were then in their twenties, labored diligently in their studies. Today they have many accomplishments in science and industry. It is for this reason that the country has a future. These people who work in Taiwan are now in their forties and fifties. They have received the higher education provided by the government, and thus they have become useful and talented people. This is a very clear example. Today in the church our effort is not sufficient. We have been here in Taiwan for thirty-six years, but the results of our work cannot be compared to the results achieved in the industries of Taiwan. I gave a training here in 1952, and within a year over one hundred full-timers were raised up. After I left Taiwan in 1960, there was no training, and not many full-timers were produced.
Praise the Lord that now you young people are rising up. I am concerned that you need teaching materials and textbooks. After you have the textbooks, you still need to work hard. Now I am concerned about two matters. The first matter is that we do not have any textbooks. After coming back to Taiwan this time, I have a strong burden to write textbooks. After the textbooks are written, you can all attend classes. My second concern is that we need to build a large meeting hall.
We must change the system. We cannot put together on the Lord’s Day those who were saved thirty years ago and those who are saved today and give them the same message. If we were to preach week after week and year after year for thirty years, the Lord would still have no way. But if we change the system, if there are six hundred people coming to the meeting, we will need six rooms that can each hold one hundred people. We will need to divide the people into classes and give them different teaching materials. We cannot follow the denominations to build a meeting place, hire a resident pastor, then hire two more preachers and some janitors, train some members to sing in the choir, and have the Sunday service. If the Lord has mercy on us, in two or three years the large meeting hall can be built; then we can do many things. We must work hard to build up our spiritual education.
In the eight years of the Sino-Japanese War all the universities moved to inland China. There were no campus buildings; all the cottages and shacks became campus buildings. The notebooks were even made from toilet paper. Although the situation was like this, the university education was established. That is why China is so advanced today. In the same way, even though we are not well equipped today, having too little space and not enough manpower, we still must do our best. I hope that you brothers and sisters understand the real situation. What the Lord’s church and the Lord’s recovery need today is a group of people who know the truth. Not only a few co-workers and elders, but the majority of the brothers and sisters, must know the truth.
(The Full Knowledge of the Word of God, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)