THE LORD HAVING CHOSEN US TO GO FORTH AND BEAR FRUIT
Today I want to give you two verses. The first one is in John 15:16: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and I appointed you that you should go forth and bear fruit.” If you have an inexplicable sensation within that you have been touched by the Lord, it is a proof that the Lord has chosen you. I have the faith and confidence that from the time I first began to serve the Lord, He has been in me as my motivating power. This has been true even until today.
While I was walking on the road on the evening that I was saved, I was touched by the Lord within. At that time I did not know what it meant to be touched; nor did I know what it was to be chosen. But I lifted up my eyes to heaven and said to God, “O God, from this day on, even if the whole earth is offered to me, I will not take it. I will take the Bible and go to the villages house by house to tell people to believe in Jesus.” At the time I did not feel that that was a prayer. I only uttered those few words to God. I did not realize that by those few words I had sealed myself for God. Later, after I graduated from school, the Lord said to me, “Did you not say that you wanted to go to the villages with your Bible?” I tried to find reasons for retracting. But after some time, the Lord reminded me again, “Did you not say that you wanted to go to the villages with your Bible?” For eight years, from 1925 until 1933, I was unhappy. There was something within that could not be shaken away. Later I found out that it was the Lord’s choosing.
Do you have this something within the depth of your being today? If you do, it means that the Lord has found you. Although the universe is vast, the Lord did not go to other planets. Rather, He came to the earth, even to the shores of the sea of Galilee. He did not enter into other boats but went onto the boat of Peter to seek him out. In the same way, though the world is so big, the Lord did not go elsewhere. He came rather to your boat to seek you out. Outwardly speaking, it was the church preaching the gospel and your classmates inviting you to attend which resulted in your receiving the Lord. Actually there was another story within; you knew that the Lord Jesus had sought you out. Although you realized that you were over twenty years old and that you had to make plans for yourself, your parents, and your family, something within made you unconcerned about all the earthly things. Some drop everything readily to preach Jesus; but most are like myself, not being so quick and ready. However, the Lord Jesus continues to bother you day and night. You can no longer be as free as the others are. Others can easily look for jobs, go abroad, or get married. But for you, wherever you go, the Lord Jesus is there bothering and tormenting you. He does not let you go.
In John 15 when the Lord said that the disciples had not chosen the Lord but that the Lord had chosen them, Peter had already been following the Lord for three and a half years. The Lord reminded Peter that it was not he who had dropped the net and forsaken the boat to seek the Lord in Nazareth; rather, it was while Peter was busy casting the net and fishing in the sea that the Lord had sought him out. It was the Lord who had chosen Peter and had appointed him to go forth to bear fruit. When the Lord called Peter, He said, “I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). After three and a half years, the Lord sent Peter forth to bear fruit (John 15:16). To be a fisher of men may still be an outward activity; but to bear fruit is an outflow of the inward life. It is a transmission, an expression, and a dispensing of life. For this, the Lord charged Peter to abide in Him (John 15:4). Peter was not the tree. The unique, true vine is the Lord. Peter was only a branch on the tree. If the branch does not abide in the tree, it cannot bear fruit of itself.
In God’s garden we see only one tree. In the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth, there is also only one tree, the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). This tree is Christ. Today God is cultivating only this tree, which is the Lord Jesus. We are all branches which are grafted into this tree. For this reason we cannot be separated from Him. We must live together with Him. He is our life within, and we are His expression without, living Him out in our life. It is in this condition that we bear fruit one by one. Hence fruit-bearing is not a movement in work but a result in life through man living before the Lord and being joined to Him.
Outwardly speaking, our spread to the countryside does have some organization and arrangement. But these are not what we are after. What we are after are the things of life behind all these arrangements, activities, and moves. For this reason, you receive the full-time training as your preparation. After you are trained and have passed through much experience in life, you will be able to live Christ when you go out for the spread of the gospel. This is to bear fruit. It is to dispense the Christ who lives in you to others through door-knocking, visiting people, and contacting people.
This can be seen from the case of Paul. Others reviled him as being “a pest” (Acts 24:5). Paul was full of the “Christ-germ.” Whoever touched him or spoke with him received Christ. I hope that every one of you would be like Paul. When you go to the villages next year, you should all carry the “Christ-germ.” Regardless to which city, town, village, or hamlet you go, as soon as you knock on others’ doors and enter into their homes, preaching to them for fifteen minutes and contacting them in this way, they will be infected. I have been infected with the “Christ-germ” for over sixty years. Sometimes this “sickness” gets a little less severe. At other times the “sickness” is so severe that others catch it also.
(Messages in Preparation for the Spread of the Gospel, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)