THE OPENING WORDS BEING THE MOST CRUCIAL IN GOSPEL PREACHING
We all have to pick up an attitude, spirit, and atmosphere of learning. Suppose you come to my home, and I welcome you and invite you to come in and be seated. Now, how would you start the conversation? To me, this is the most difficult point. The first few sentences are the most crucial. To know how to begin, you have to pray, “Lord, what would I say?” You cannot simply go to all the people that you visit and tell them that you would like to speak with them about the mystery of human life. This is too common.
Sometimes you have to begin in a very gentle, normal way. Your speaking should give the impression that you are a normal person. This kind of impression will always be welcomed by people and will also invite people’s openness to you. They will be happy to talk to you. You may speak in this way: “I am a Christian. May I ask you, sir, are you a Christian?” This kind of opening is very broad and allows room to pursue almost any direction with him. When you open with, “Here is a book on the mystery of human life,” you have really limited yourself. From that point forward you will have to talk about the mystery of human life. After speaking for just a short time, you may find out that this person is not suited to such a subject, but it will be hard for you to change directions at that point. You will be limited. You may open in a general way by saying, “I am a Christian. Are you a Christian brother?” Then you can deal with the person in many directions.
BUILDING UP A GOSPEL PREACHING CUSTOM
I have definitely found out that the most difficult thing for Christians to carry out is the gospel preaching. If you are going to be successful in this matter, you must realize that this is the most difficult point. It is not so easy to be successful in gospel preaching. I do not expect that you would be a big success. I only expect that you would go out regularly, preferably once a week. Do not go too often. Do it regularly, continually, and persistently. If you do this your whole life, once a week, I am fully confident that you will gain two remaining fruit yearly.
To do this you have to be willing to learn. Do not regard it lightly. Do not hold to a kind of understanding that everyone can preach the gospel. None of us can preach the gospel in a prevailing way unless we are trained. We have to be discipled in order to preach the gospel. If we will be discipled, we will surely gain fruit.
We should feel shameful that we have been barren for so many years. We have been barren because we have not had the spirit to learn to be trained, to be discipled. My burden is to stir up your heart and your spirit so that you can see that this is a big problem. After the Lord comes back, it will be hard for us to face Him if we have not borne any fruit. I hope you would be stirred up to pick up the burden for this in a normal way.
When people reach their twenties, it is normal for them to get married. Later, they will have children and rear them. This is the way ordained by God for man’s multiplication. In this way of propagation, the whole earth is replenished by man. The divine life is propagated in the same principle.
We should not expect a big revival. History has already proven that such revivals do not work. What is needed is a practical preaching of the gospel. All of us who love the Lord’s interest need to learn how to practice such preaching. Then we can bear a year-round burden of preaching the gospel, going out once a week. If we will get ourselves prepared, we will be successful. But for us to go to do this, much learning is needed. I hope this learning can be established in the Lord’s recovery and that such a gospel custom can gradually be built up.
This is similar to the way a language is picked up by a race of people. Eventually, a foundation with a certain custom becomes established. Those who are born in an American family speak American English spontaneously because the speaking of American English has been laid as a foundation and as a custom in American society. When the immigrants first came to this country, it was very hard for them to learn English. But after two centuries of their living in America, American English has penetrated nearly every family. I expect that a foundation and a custom of preaching the gospel will be built up in the Lord’s recovery. When such a custom has been built up, it will be easy for all the brothers and sisters in the Lord’s recovery to bear fruit. If we are to see a gospel-preaching custom built up among us, we must rise up and take this word and practice it week by week, trying our best to learn in every aspect. This will require our building up ourselves with the knowledge of the Bible and with the practical, proper speaking.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)