THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AND OUR WORK
Let me also say a few words to those brothers and sisters who are co-workers. No one can work for God without knowing God. Many people who believe in the clergy-laity system think that as long as they go to the seminary to study the Bible, they can preach the gospel. I would like to ask this: when we preach the gospel to others, are we merely giving them some Bible expositions, or are we giving them the Savior? Is this merely Bible exposition, or are we telling others the good news? Even if the seminary is as good as you think, it can only teach you to understand the Bible; it cannot teach you to know God. Today many people understand the Bible, many can even systematize the Bible in a very good order, but how many of them can minister God and know God? We have to learn to know God before we can work for God. Some people say that they want to do a personal preaching work. They hope that they can preach, but they have nothing to say when they come before the crowd. They are uncertain as to what they should say. Indeed, a man can only preach what he is touched by in the Word; he can only help others in the areas that God has touched him. What can we preach if we do not know God?
Suppose you have not dealt with a certain sin, and God’s hand is always touching you concerning this point. Whenever you pray, God always points to this sin and says, "You have not dealt with this sin." He will not let you go. Next time when you see a brother in a similar situation, you will know that Bible knowledge alone cannot help him get through and that he has to deal with his sins. If you carelessly allow your sin to get by, and if you see a brother committing a similar sin, you will excuse him in your heart because you have been excusing yourself. If you do this, you cannot help him at all.
If a brother has a hard time rising up early, and if he has been caught and dealt with by God in this matter, when he sees another brother doing the same thing, he will lay hold of this brother and will tell him, "Brother, get up quickly; otherwise, the manna will be melted." He can help this brother because he has been dealt with by God.
Preaching the word is preaching what we have been dealt with by God. If this is not the case, even though we may preach something, we cannot lead others to what we preach. Today we have so much preaching with so little result because we have not been dealt with by God nor taught by God. If we only preach a Bible sermon that we have prepared in two or three hours, it will be merely a teaching, and it would be better for us not to preach it at all. We must have three to five years of experiencing God’s dealing before we can preach something to others. New wine and aged wine are both useful, yet most people prefer aged wine because it is more tasteful. If we deal with everything that we run into every day, one by one, we can help those who encounter the same thing. Many of us do not know how to help young believers and sinners because we do not know what is within their hearts and what their backgrounds are. Under these circumstances, we cannot offer any help to them.
Do you know the difference between a discourse and a report? A discourse cannot render any help to people, but a report can. The discourse that you expound may make others feel that you are very logical. But you cannot help others go on the way, because your discourse does not have any base to it. This is like an elementary school student composing a travelogue; he writes of sceneries which he has never seen. What about a report? A report means you have something in hand and can describe it point by point. You can only give a poor description; you can never give a wrong description. This is because what is described is real, something that can be touched and seen. Whether you are working on believers or unbelievers, the most important thing is that you have to be dealt with by God. After you are dealt with, you will speak the reality, and others will touch it.
Brothers and sisters, we have to deal with hundreds and thousands of events before God. Unfortunately, to this day we have neglected so many things that need to be dealt with by God. Day after day if we learn to be dealt with by God, we will know God in the long run. Many believers run around asking people questions, but they themselves never seek to know God. They may have been saved for many years, but they still do not know God. What a pitiful situation this is! We should ask God what we should do in this or that matter, and we should not stop asking until we know God. Do not pray just once and think that it is over. Again I say it would be better for those who only want to pray once to not pray at all.
Finally, I have to say that no lazy person can know God. I would also tell the co-workers that if something does not cause us to feel pained, we will never cause others to feel pained. I hope we learn to deal with God daily, and I hope that we are dealt with by Him daily. This kind of experience and condition is most precious. It is more precious to know God than to have mere Bible knowledge. May God bless us.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), Chapter 13, by Watchman Nee)