THE GOSPEL-PREACHING MEETING
There is a big misconception among the brothers and sisters about the gospel-preaching meeting. I ask you to pardon me for bringing this up. Brothers often call and ask whether there is a gospel meeting in the morning or afternoon. What they mean is that if there is a gospel meeting, they will not come, because they are saved. This is wrong. Whether or not it is a gospel meeting is not the question. The question is whether or not you should go to the meeting to strengthen the hand of the brothers so that the brothers will not have to fight alone. Helping the brothers and coming to the meeting are not for our personal gain. Please remember that even though there is not an exciting and new gospel for one to listen to in the meeting, the gospel that is preached every time is a glorious gospel. A saved person should never feel tired of hearing the gospel. As long as you are sitting in the meeting, you are helping and strengthening the hand of the preaching one. If you have never had the experience of preaching, you will not realize the importance of this matter. If you have ever preached before, you will realize the comfort of seeing a brother sitting there. Therefore, in the gospel meetings, we do not expect to hear exciting, new truths. You may be familiar and well acquainted with many truths, but your presence helps and strengthens your brother. You are rendering help to the meeting and working together with God.
Once I met a brother who asked me whether or not there would be a gospel meeting in the afternoon. I said, "Yes." Immediately he said, "Ah!" That "ah" tells us a great deal. In the gospel meeting, the main thing is not to satisfy ourselves; it is not for us to receive the benefit. The main thing is for the brothers and sisters to receive the benefit and for the meeting to advance.
What is the expression on the faces of many brothers and sisters when they come to the gospel meeting? If there is some new truth concerning the gospel, their countenance is lifted up as they listen. But if there is nothing new, they may not say anything with their mouth, but they seem to be saying in their heart that they regret coming to the meeting, and their countenance is down. I am amazed that such a problem could exist in our gospel meeting. If it is God’s gospel, we should feel that it is new even after hearing it the hundredth time. It is precious every time we mention God and His salvation! We should forever praise the gospel story.
Some brothers and sisters never show any expression on their faces. They are quiet; they neither laugh nor smile, and they are always cool and quiet. This kind of attitude does not render any help to the preaching brothers. On the contrary, it makes them feel very ill at ease. They do not know whether they have said something wrong to make the other brothers feel this way. If you have ever preached before, you will feel all these things. Many times, when brothers come to the meetings, they just sit and spread death. Even the expression on their faces makes the meeting cold. When you come to the meeting, it will not hurt if you say "amen" once in a while to show your sympathy. You may also nod your head or smile a little to indicate that you have received help from the word. If you do this, you are rendering the speaker some spiritual help. You will make him feel that the brothers are holding up his hands, keeping them from becoming tired, and that he is not standing alone. These are very important matters. The kind of attitude you have while sitting in the meeting directly affects the one who is speaking. Presently, the situation among us has much improved.
When some word from the preaching one touches you, it is most appropriate to say an "amen." I will not object to an even louder response. It is not just human beings who are saying "amen" within the house; the angels are saying "amen" also. This is similar to what is described in Acts 2 when Peter stood up to preach. I like that portion of the Scripture because it not only shows Peter standing to preach to the crowd; it also shows the eleven apostles standing with him. Even though only Peter opened his mouth, the eleven stood with him and were one with him. Therefore, in the gospel meeting, it is not a question of whether one lives a good personal life but whether his meeting life is proper. Please remember that we should not consider whether we have received anything or whether we are good or bad. If our meeting life is proper, our personal life will also be proper.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 22: The Assembly Life & The Prayer Ministry of the Church, Chapter 6, by Watchman Nee)