II. THE UNIVERSAL PRIESTHOOD OF THE GOSPEL
As we have mentioned previously, the first item in the practice of the God-ordained way is the universal priesthood of the gospel (Rom. 15:16; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9). In the Bible the priesthood is the priesthood of the gospel, and the priesthood is also universal. That the priesthood is universal means that every believer shares in the priesthood. We have no clergy, nor do we have any laymen. We have only priests. Every brother and every sister is a priest to serve God. However, because of age or physical weakness or some other circumstances, many saints are unable to go out regularly to contact sinners. So, generally speaking, at least thirty percent of the saints in a local church are able to go out for the gospel. For this the elders must work on the saints and stir them up. The elders should not merely announce that one-third of the church members should go out to preach the gospel. The elders themselves must go out. Then they should contact all the saints who have the capacity to go out. These still may not have the heart to go out, so the elders need to fan their hearts into flame. They can ask some to be their partners in preaching the gospel. There must be such a beginning among us for the gospel preaching.
After begetting the new believers through the gospel, the next step is to feed them. For this we need to learn how to warm people up by cherishing them. If we do not know how to cherish people, we could never nourish them. When a nursing mother feeds her baby, she first does something to make the baby happy. Many children are naughty and refuse to take their food, but if the mother dances with them and gives them something to play with, they will be happy; their hearts will be warmed. In such a situation, whatever the mother gives them, they will eat. Like a nursing mother (1 Thes. 2:7), we need to exercise our patience, our endurance, and our love to feed the newly saved ones. Then, after a period of time we can group the new ones with other believers for mutual teaching and perfecting, and we can also help them to practice prophesying in the Lord’s Day meetings.
III. NEEDING WISDOM IN EVERY WAY
The practice of the God-ordained way requires wisdom in every way. As we have pointed out, in Colossians 1:28-29 Paul told us that he labored, struggling according to God’s operation in all wisdom, to present every man to God full-grown in Christ. That indicates that to bring one sinner to God perfected in Christ is not a simple thing. For this we need to labor and struggle, not foolishly but with the exercise of all wisdom.
Wisdom is needed to find out the secrets in every step of the God-ordained way. For this we need to study. A number of saints can spend time to come together to study the situation and the need and to find out the secrets. They can practice, and then they can go to teach others and help others to practice. It is not wise to promote or to merely make a general announcement. What is needed is a definite step with a definite, wise beginning.
In contacting people, we need to exercise wisdom in every way. We need wisdom to discern whether we should speak to them quickly or slowly, or whether we should be stern or mild in our tone. We need to learn by studying every detail. None of us can do this by ourselves. We need two or three to help us by correcting us, adjusting us, and balancing us. Otherwise, without others’ correcting, adjusting, and balancing, we may be laboring in vain.
IV. NEEDING COORDINATION WITH ONE ACCORD
To carry out any step of the God-ordained way, there is a need for coordination with one accord (Acts 2:46-47; 4:24; 5:12). If a group of saints are coordinating together, they all must be one. When they lose the one accord, they also lose the impact. We do not need to stress the power of the Holy Spirit. Instead, we should pay attention to the coordination with one accord.
V. NEEDING MUCH PRAYER
Finally, the practice of the God-ordained way in its definite steps needs much prayer (Acts 6:4). To pray is not only to entreat the Lord to do things for us but also to cause our spirit to be exercised and strengthened. Hence, prayer should precede every step in our practice of the God-ordained way. Without such prayer our practice will not be enlivened and empowered.
I would encourage and even entreat all the saints to pick up one item of the four steps of the God-ordained way and to practice it with others in a definite and specific way according to what has been presented in this message.
(The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)