THE LORD APPOINTING US
TO GO FORTH AND BEAR FRUIT
AND THAT OUR FRUIT SHOULD REMAIN
John 15:16 says, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and I appointed you that you should go forth and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain." In this verse there are some words which are quite crucial. The first word is "appointed." We did not choose ourselves, but He chose us. We have no choice in the matter of being a branch of Christ, the vine, because He caught us. He chose us and appointed us to bear fruit. To bear fruit is the Lord’s appointment, His assignment. He did not assign us to do anything else. He appointed us to bear fruit. The Lord charged us to go forth and bear fruit. Can a branch go? The branches of a physical tree do not go. But we are not only living branches, but also movable branches. We have to go. This indicates that we have to reach people.
Our mistake in the past was that we did not go, yet we asked people to come. We took the wrong way. We asked people to come to our love feasts (Jude 12) instead of going to people. It is very hard for many to come to us, but when we go, we can reach people everywhere. In Luke 10 the Lord told us He sent us as lambs in the midst of wolves, yet among the wolves there are some sons of peace (vv. 3-6). By going to them, knocking on doors, eventually we find out who are the sons of peace. God chose and predestinated them before the foundation of the world, yet today they were born into the flock of wolves. Who knows who is a son of God, a son of peace? The only way to know them is to knock on doors. By your knocking on doors, you will discover who is a son of peace, a son of God. We have to go because we have been appointed to go.
The Lord says that we should go forth and bear fruit and that our fruit should remain. In the past we took the wrong way. Occasionally people came to us and they believed and were baptized, but they did not remain because nobody took care of them. This is like a mother delivering a child, and then leaving her newborn baby without any care. How could she expect this baby to remain? The Lord has shown us the way for our fruit to remain. We do not just go out to reach people by knocking on their doors and bringing them into the Triune God through their believing and baptism. After this, we immediately set up a home meeting in their home. To set up a home meeting is to set up a shelter to protect this new babe. The farmers protect the fruit in their orchard. Peaches that are ripe and have just been picked need to be covered. Otherwise, the birds may eat them. This covering helps the fruit to remain. Likewise, to set up a meeting in a baptized one’s home is to set up a shelter. Then under the shelter you go back to them regularly to feed them. Surely they will be protected, they will be fed, and they will remain. This is the secret of having remaining fruit.
The picture the Lord has shown us concerning the church life is not to ask people to come to attend our meetings. But, the picture as revealed in the Bible is that we all have to go. To knock on doors really means to visit people in a practical way. Knocking on doors really means visiting. The Lord Jesus took the lead. He came down from the heavens to visit people. He did a great deal of visitation, so we should follow Him to visit people. We should go to bring forth fruit, go to disciple the nations, and go to preach the gospel. After we bring people to the Lord through baptism, we immediately set up a meeting in their home, so we continue to go. The first time we go to baptize them, the second time we go to feed them, the third time we go to teach them, and the fourth time we go to nourish them. Your going will always be a sheltering, feeding, teaching, and nourishing. By our going again and again to these new ones, they will grow.
(Being Desperate and Living Uniquely for the Gospel, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)