THE PRACTICAL LIVING OF A CHRISTIAN
A. Concerning the Reading of the Bible
Today I will ask you some practical questions. Are you a Christian in a practical way? Is your reading of the Bible a practical one? You may say that you do read the Bible. But I have to ask you, how much of the Bible have you read? I will ask the sisters if they have read the Gospel of Matthew once. What do Matthew 2, 3, and 4 talk about? Can you tell me the main points in each chapter? The young people should familiarize themselves with every chapter of the New Testament and should be able to tell others the main points in each chapter. How many chapters are there in each book of the New Testament? Some brothers and sisters cannot answer me right away. If I were to ask how many coats they have at home, or how many buttons on their dress, they would be able to tell me right away. One brother has been a believer for three years already. When I asked him what is the first book of the New Testament, he first said that it is the Gospel of John and then corrected himself and said that it is the Gospel of Matthew. I asked him, "Brother, do you ever get confused about your surname? If you can remember your surname, you should know what the first book of the New Testament is."
I know that I am giving you a hard time here tonight. I am doing this to revolutionize you. If you can answer my question, I will pray for you. If you cannot answer my question, I will not pray for you. Even if I were to pray for you, my prayer would be useless. Some people are too muddled. If you tell them that there are twenty-three chapters in the Gospel of John, they will say, "That is right." If you tell them that hell is in heaven, they will readily believe it. Such people are too muddled. In order for you to understand the things of God, first you have to study the Bible well. You do not have to try to understand, and you do not have to look up the reference books. All you have to do is to study thoroughly. One elderly brother does not know how many books there are in the Old Testament. He has been a Christian for many years, but still does not know the number of books in the Old Testament. This is really a shame. If a man does not want to study the Bible properly, but desires only to be zealous and to listen to messages, whatever he does will be useless.
Tomorrow I will leave Swatow. You do not have to go to see me off. If you do not know the Bible well, everything else is useless. The Lord willing, I will come back again. When I come back again, the first thing I will ask you is how many times you have read through the Bible. I will not ask if you understand what you are reading. I will ask how many times you have read through the Bible. Perhaps I will write to Brother Mak and ask him how many times have the brothers and sisters read through the Bible. Perhaps I will ask one of you brothers to write me a letter three months from now and tell me how you are doing in your reading of the Bible. I can pay for the stamps. If you do not write to me, I will write to Brother Mak. I do not want to offend you, and that is why I am talking to you in a smiling way. Actually, my words are like a knife sticking into you. What I am saying to you is very polite already. In Tsingtao I was not so polite when I spoke with the brothers and sisters. I could speak to them in not so polite a way because they were begotten of me, and I treated them as my own children. Today we have to be a practical person. We cannot be lazy, and we cannot gloss over matters. Otherwise, we can listen to message after message, and it still will do us no good.
B. Concerning the Dealing with Our Conscience
Has our conscience been thoroughly dealt with? Some brothers answered that they have not thoroughly dealt with their conscience. If we have not thoroughly dealt with our conscience, what is the use of coming and listening to more messages? Do you know God’s will? I am not here giving you some beautiful thoughts; rather, I am here giving you "hot ginger soup." I am your brother. That is why I am talking to you like talking to the family. Please do not be angry with me. I am giving you such a hard time in order that you may gain the pearl. When the Lord comes back, He will ask you the same questions. By that time, it will be a greater suffering and a greater loss of face to you. If you need to repent, it is better for you to repent today.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 37, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)