THE PROCEDURE IN THE SERVICE OF THE BODY
Preaching the Gospel to Save the Sinners
Now let us look at the procedure in the service of the Body. The first step is the preaching of the gospel for the saving of sinners (Mark 16:15-16; Luke 10:2-3a, 5-6). In the past we preached the gospel by visiting people at their doors. Now I would strongly recommend the way of preaching the gospel by telephone. You must first study to find out how we should get the telephone numbers. This kind of gospel preaching is easier and faster than preaching the gospel through visiting people. Over the telephone we do not have to force people to come. We can say, “We are believers of the Lord Jesus, and we love the Lord. We like to, number one, preach the gospel to people, number two, introduce the truth, and number three, help people to know the Bible. Which one would you like? If you would tell us, we can arrange a time to come and talk to you. And if you would like to, we can pray together now over the phone.’’ If you do this, and especially if the sisters do this, you will surely meet some willing receivers. You can try this out. Another way is to write gospel letters. With the letters you can enclose a return mail response card. On the response card there can be a few suggestions. For example, one can be, “Can we come to your home to discuss with you the gospel of Jesus Christ?’’ Another may say, “If you have believed in Jesus, we would like to discuss the Bible with you face-to-face.’’ You can add other things as well. The goal is to get an answer to your letter. All three methods are useful. Those of you who do not want to go out to visit people can write gospel letters. Those who do not like to write letters can make telephone calls. Whichever way you take, you can find willing receivers. In short, you have to practice a lot and study a lot. Later on, others may find other ways of gaining people.
Feeding the Lambs as a Nursing Mother
The second step is the feeding of the lambs as a nursing mother. The Lord Jesus asked Peter in John 21, “Do you love Me?’’ If he did, he should feed the lambs (v. 15). Not only do we have to save the sinners, but we also have to feed them, as nursing mothers cherish their own babies (1 Thes. 2:7). I met a couple who brought sixteen people to salvation within a few months after they were baptized. Among them one- third attend meetings regularly. When this couple stands up to give testimonies, they are like a mother to a group of children. Hence, the new way works. But no matter how much it works, it depends on man taking this way. As long as we labor and strive, we can keep people and help them to grow in life.
Perfecting the Saints unto the Building Up of the Body of Christ
The third step is the perfecting of the saints unto the building up of the Body of Christ. This step is the fulfillment of Ephesians 4. There it says that all the gifts are for the perfecting of the saints. The perfected saints will then go out to perfect others. Eventually, everyone will be able to do the work of the ministry, which is the building up of the Body of Christ. In the Body service, we must perfect the saints to be able to do what the gifts, that is, the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the shepherds and teachers, can do. The gifted ones work first for a while. When the saints can work by themselves, they can go away to perfect others. At a certain point, everyone will be able to work and perfect others.
Prophesying for the Lord for the Building Up of the Church
The fourth step is the prophesying for the Lord unto the building up of the church. Concerning prophesying, Paul said clearly in 1 Corinthians 14 that first we all have to desire prophesying (v. 1). To prophesy is not to foretell; rather, it is to speak building up and encouragement and consolation to men (vv. 3-5). Furthermore, this prophesying is something that every one of us can do, so that “all may learn and all be encouraged’’ (v. 31). Prophesying is not only the capability of every believer, it is also the most excellent gift for the Body (v. 12). If there is no prophesying in a local church, there will be no excelling gift. The practice of the old way did not apply this excelling gift. Now for the service of the Body we all have to learn, exercise, and use the excelling gift of prophesying to speak for the Lord, to speak the Lord forth, and to speak the Lord into others for the building up of the church, the Body of Christ.
(The Oneness and the One Accord according to the Lord's Aspiration and the Body Life and Service according to His Pleasure, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)