TAKING PREACHING AS OUR LIVING
We need the proper preaching as the very living of the church. This is not a work; it is a living. We are living here for this. We must do it not just once for our whole life; rather, it must be a regular matter. I do not like to speak much about the church in Taipei, but I can testify that after many years of building up, the church there has been brought to this normal condition. They are living there for this purpose. Day by day they are growing, day by day they are being built up, and month after month a good number of people are brought into the church.
From now on, we all have to learn that to preach the gospel is our living. It is for this very purpose that we are living here. We have to labor on people. As a student, you have to work on your classmate and your roommate. As a man working in a business, you have to work on your colleague. You have to work on your neighbors, your relatives, and the persons whom you know. This is our living. We must always live for this.
This prevailing preaching depends on life, truth, the church, and service. If you have these four items, then you will have a strong standing and a prevailing preaching. Do not think that our preaching was only in the past. Rather, that was only a start. From now on, we must take preaching as our living. Week after week, month after month, and year after year we are living here for this—to win the world for Christ and win souls for Christ. In order to do this, we have to be filled with Christ, we have to have light, we have to be in the church, and we have to be functioning members. Then we will be prevailing in our preaching.
This is the third time that I have been in this country, and I have been here for more than three years. Many Christian friends told me that I should not and cannot compare the situation here in the United States with that of Taiwan. In a sense I agree with this, but in another sense I do not agree. It depends on how much the church lives for preaching and labors for it. If we brothers and sisters all will work in this way, we will see the difference. We have seen some difference already, but I believe that this is just a small start. We have to fight the battle to create the atmosphere of gospel preaching in the church. We should let the community know that we are a group of people living here for people’s souls. I say again, this is our living. This is the basic understanding of preaching the gospel.
THE NEED TO COORDINATE IN OUR WORK WITH PEOPLE
We should keep a record of the persons who are interested in receiving the Lord or already have made a decision for Christ. These are the materials we have to work on. This is the opportunity for us to be coordinated practically, like a team that plays ball. We have to work on these dear ones in a coordinated way. A young sister in school may have two or three classmates who have the desire to believe in Christ. For her to work with them by herself is not adequate; it will not be powerful and prevailing. She needs to coordinate with one or two other sisters. Then the three can work together on these classmates, and within two weeks they all will be saved. They will be saved thoroughly, not only to know Christ but also to know the church. In turn, these three sisters may have some relatives who also are close to believing. It may be hard for them to work with their relatives, so a brother may have to coordinate with them. When these four coordinate together, it will be easy to bring in all those relatives. To keep your relatives and friends in your own hands will be hard for you, and to keep my relatives and friends in my own hands will be hard for me. However, if we coordinate, it will be easy to fight the battle in the Body in a coordinated way.
Learn the lesson to coordinate. There is no need to be proud. To be proud is the most foolish way to do things. You may say, “I can do everything. I do not need these poor sisters to help me. I know everything from Genesis to Revelation, and I know how to save souls. I have been trained.” However, if you go to play ball by yourself without a team, how can you win the game? You need the coordination. Learn to be coordinated. Trust in the Lord, and trust in the Body. Whatever you cannot get through, bring this matter to the Body. When you cannot fight the battle, ask the brothers and sisters to come and help. Learn to ask people to come in to coordinate. Then you will see the effect. This is a spiritual law. When you throw something into the air, it falls again because of the law of gravity. You cannot get around a law. If you ask others to come in, you will be right. Try this. The devil and the evil spirits know the secret. They are not afraid of you as an individual, but if you call one or two brothers to come along with you, the evil spirits will be afraid. Always work two by two, not one by one. Learn to be coordinated together.
Two brothers can keep the records on file for the men who are new ones, and two sisters can keep the records for the women. These two brothers must be diligent. They have to read and study the records with prayer to know their situation. They may consider that a certain brother should coordinate with the one who contacted a new one. This will be a great help. Then that brother can report on his contact with the new one, and if there is a certain difficult situation, a third brother can be brought in to reinforce the other two. Now instead of two, these three will go to work on this person. Those who coordinate in this way will study the situations of the new ones. Then they may call on other brothers and sisters to coordinate with them. Do not say that you do not know how to do this. I know that you do not know how to do it, but do it by learning. It is by doing it that you learn how. If you never do it, you will never know how to do it. Take the assignment and limitation given to you. Just like a member of a ball team, you cannot say, “Don’t give me the ball.” Whether or not you are ready, the ball will come to you. You have to play, because you all are in the game. Do not say you are too busy. Learn to accept the responsibility. Then I assure you that you will receive the blessing—not only the blessing in others’ salvation, but also in your own growth of life.
PRODUCING A HARVEST
BY PREACHING THE GOSPEL IN LIFE
The new ones who come in will bring in more new ones. The situation with the old members is too settled. Consider the fruit trees. It is not the old branches that bear the fruit; it is the new branches. This is why growers cut off the old branches; it is to produce new branches. With the new branches there is more possibility of bearing fruit. If the new ones bring in more new ones, the work of preaching will always be spreading. Then we will have a farm and a garden, something we have grown, and it will constantly produce. It is in this way, the way of the church preaching the gospel, that people will be brought in. Then after they are brought in, they will do the same thing we do in the same way. I am happy for our small start. I cannot predict how far this will go, but a living grain of wheat that falls into the earth reproduces thirty, sixty, or a hundred grains. Then the second harvest will be bigger, and the third harvest will be even bigger.
On the one hand, the responsible brothers and sisters may ask you to coordinate with certain ones, but on the other hand, there is no need for you to wait. Do not say you have not been assigned yet. Forget about this. If you have some relatives, you may right away ask another brother to help you work on them. Do not make anything a legality. There is only one legality, that is, to save people. As long as we are living here for the Lord to subdue the enemy and plunder his goods for the Lord, we are right, and we will receive the blessing.
The primary matter is not preaching; it is the building up. The primary issue of preaching the gospel is the building up of the Body; the secondary issue is the preaching itself. It is in this way that we will be built up as a building and in the Spirit be formed as an army to fight the battle. The Lord has given us a small but living start. We will see harvest after harvest; we will see many times of producing. This is a matter of life. It is not merely an activity or a movement. Rather, it is something living.
TAKING THE POWER FROM ON HIGH
ON THE STANDING OF THE BODY
In order to be prevailing, each one of us must deal with the Lord and be dealt with by Him. You must have a thorough dealing with the Lord to consecrate yourselves once again and to claim the Lord’s richness and fullness. Day by day, whenever you contact people, you have to say, “Lord, I am a member standing on the ground of the Body.” You must not only claim the power from on high but take it. There is no need merely to claim it. Take it! It is yours. Hold it, and share in it. Every day when you are going out to contact people, have this kind of prevailing prayer. There is no need to pray behind closed doors. While you are on your way driving, you can say, “Lord, I am going out as a member on the ground of the Body. I take the power from on high by faith.” The Lord always honors faith. The more you do not have any evidence, yet still believe, the more the Lord will honor you and honor your faith. You will see the blessing of power in the result, and even you yourselves will be surprised. You will hardly be able to believe what happens.
We all have to learn to live, work, and act in faith. Before you believe, however, you have to be dealt with. Your conscience has to be cleansed and purged. You have to deal with the Lord and be dealt with by Him. If there is something accusing your conscience, faith will not work. Learn this lesson. Put all these things into practice, and you will see the results. This will produce more and more fruit.
(Preaching the Gospel in the Way of Life, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)