4.Guidlelines for the Propagation of the Lord's Recovery

CHAPTER FOUR BEING FERVENT FOR THE GOSPEL BY PREACHING IN THE HOMES AND BY SPREADING THROUGH MIGRATION OUTLINE 1. The commission...


CHAPTER FOUR

BEING FERVENT FOR THE GOSPEL BY PREACHING IN THE HOMES AND BY SPREADING THROUGH MIGRATION

OUTLINE

1. The commission of the gospel—Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47.
2. The responsibility for the gospel—Rom. 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:16-17.
3. The endeavor for the gospel—2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Cor. 9:19-22; Rom. 1:15-16.
4. The power of the gospel:
1. Prayer—Acts 6:4.
2. The Word of God—4:31.
3. The Holy Spirit—v. 8.
4. The Lord’s name—3:6; 4:10, 12, 17-18.
5. The Lord’s authority—Matt. 28:18-19.
5. The channel of the gospel:
1. Preaching from house to house—Acts 5:42; 10:22-27; 11:12-14.
2. Spreading through migration—8:4-5; 11:19-21.

In this chapter we will consider the matter of being fervent for the gospel by preaching in the homes and by spreading through migration. There are several hymns in our hymnal that stir up and encourage us to preach the gospel. For example, Hymns, #921 is a simple and effective hymn. Stanza 1 and the chorus say, “Rescue the perishing, / Care for the dying, / Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; / Weep o’er the erring one, / Lift up the fallen, / Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save. / Rescue the perishing, / Care for the dying; / Jesus is merciful, / Jesus will save.” This hymn was written by an American sister, Fanny J. Crosby.
PREREQUISITES FOR PREACHING THE GOSPEL

There are two prerequisites for preaching the gospel. The first prerequisite is to be crazy for the gospel. Whoever preaches the gospel must be crazy. A person who is not crazy cannot preach the gospel. It is difficult for a person who is very rational to lead people to salvation. Preaching the gospel requires us to be crazy. The second prerequisite is to be thick-skinned. The countenance or expression of a person who preaches the gospel should not change; otherwise, he cannot preach the gospel. A gospel preacher must be crazy and not self-conscious; that is, he must be thick-skinned. These are requirements for preaching the gospel.

When I was young, I was embarrassed to meet people or converse with them. I avoided guests, and I did not visit people in their homes. After I was called by the Lord, I practiced contacting and speaking with people. Initially this was difficult for me, but after practicing for many years, there was some progress. If we want to preach the gospel, we need to be crazy, and we cannot be self-conscious. We should not become angry when we are rebuked, and we should not be elated when we are welcomed. We need to be thick-skinned so that our countenance remains unchanged regardless of the environment.

Furthermore, a crazy gospel preacher must learn to sing gospel songs. It is not easy for a calm and rational person to sing. The more we sing the gospel songs, the crazier we will be. Before I stand at the podium to preach the gospel, I have a time of thorough prayer. This is my secret. I also exercise to be crazy, but I am not irrational. The more rational a person is, the more he is self-conscious. It is difficult for a person who is too self-conscious to speak. When he sees a relative or a person who has a doctorate degree in the audience, he becomes timid and cannot speak to them. This is wrong. A crazy person can say even to the president, “We all need salvation.” Only a crazy person has the boldness to preach the gospel to the president.

Dear young brothers and sisters, you should not make plans to go to Africa or India for the gospel. Rather, you need to be crazy and preach the gospel in Taiwan first. This applies especially to those who have consecrated themselves to serve full time. The young people need to learn to contact people at school. There are about 120,000 college students, 50,000 high school students, and 50,000 junior high school students in Taipei. This is a total of 220,000 students. The young full-time serving ones need to go to the various campuses to contact the students. You should not be crazy the first time you contact a student. Rather, you need to be proper, but you should not feel ashamed. Gradually, after you have preached the gospel to a certain extent, you will need to be crazy.

We need to learn to be crazy and thick-skinned because we were not born this way. Before we go to a campus, we need to have an adequate time of prayer to pray ourselves into the spirit. After we pray thoroughly, we will be crazy. Our spirit will be burning, and our skin will be thickened. We also need to sing hymns in a released way. We can sing short gospel songs, such as “Rescue the perishing” (Hymns, #921) and then “You’ve fallen into sins” (Chinese Hymns, #715). “Rescue the perishing” is concerning our need to preach the gospel, and “You’ve fallen into sins” is about the sinner’s need to be saved. Furthermore, we should be expressive when we sing the hymns, especially the gospel hymns. “Rescue the perishing” should be sung with a strong voice. “You’ve fallen into sins” should be sung softly, but the chorus—“He longs to save you! / He’s waiting for you! / Won’t you let Him save you / While it’s today?”—should be sung with a strong voice.

Beginning from 1940 I led the brothers and sisters in northern China to preach the gospel. It was in Chefoo that we first used the term the gospel preaching of the church. At that time, every year we had a four-day gospel campaign of eight sessions. We used the first four days of the Chinese Lunar New Year and had one session in the morning and another session in the evening. During those four days I was crazy. I gave myself fully to preaching the gospel. The only other things that I did were to eat and to sleep. I was so exhausted after every meeting that I could only sleep until the next meeting. My whole being was spent on the gospel.

Formerly I did not know how to sing, neither could I speak well, but whenever I preached the gospel, I was crazy. There are several gospel hymns that we sang often in northern China, for example, Hymns, #1044, “Are you ready God to meet?” and #1080, “What profit all the labor here?” After singing these hymns, we felt that everything is vain, including our spouses and children. This was the result of our singing with expression. Another hymn we sang often is #309: “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought / Since Jesus came into my heart!” The chorus of this hymn is very releasing; it says, “Since Jesus came into my heart! / Since Jesus came into my heart! / Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll, / Since Jesus came into my heart!” We sang the chorus until it seemed as if our entire being was “rolling.” Other hymns we often sang include #930, “Must I go, and empty-handed” and #918, “Christians, make haste, your mission high fulfilling.”

The brothers need to learn how to properly lead the singing during the gospel-preaching meetings. A meeting can be killed or enlivened by the way we lead the saints to sing the hymns.

THE COMMISSION OF THE GOSPEL

We need to see the commission of the gospel. Preaching the gospel is the greatest commission in the Bible, and it is the Lord’s greatest charge to us. This charge is found in three portions of the New Testament: the last chapter of Matthew, the last chapter of Mark, and the last chapter of Luke. According to these three portions, after the Lord Jesus resurrected, He left us with a commission. This commission was His final charge. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Mark 16:15 says, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all the creation.” We need to proclaim the gospel not only to all the nations but also to all the creation. Luke 24:47 says, “That repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” These three verses show that preaching the gospel is the Lord’s commission to us.

After a person is saved, he does not need to be encouraged to preach the gospel, because there is a spontaneous desire within him to preach the gospel to others. When he preaches the gospel, he is full of joy. Preaching the gospel revives us. We are burning within when we preach the gospel to people. The presence of opinions and disputes in the church is proof that the church has lost the burden of the gospel. The best way to eliminate opinions is to preach the gospel. When we preach the gospel, we are in one accord. Preaching the gospel is truly the Lord’s commission. The Lord lives in us because He wants us to preach the gospel to others. Every believer has a desire to lead others to salvation and has the spirit of the gospel within him. Preaching the gospel is the Lord’s commission to us.

THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE GOSPEL

Paul said, “I am debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to foolish” (Rom. 1:14). The debt that Paul owed was the debt of the gospel. In 1 Corinthians he said, “If I preach the gospel, I have no boast, for necessity is laid upon me; for woe to me if I do not preach the gospel. If I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a stewardship” (9:16-17). This shows that we bear responsibility for the gospel.

This applied to Paul, and it also applies to every believer. Whenever a believer draws near to the Lord, he has the sense that he owes people the gospel, that he is a debtor of the gospel. Even though he is not hired, he bears responsibility and feels that he has the debt to preach the gospel. He also feels that it is an offense to the Lord if he does not preach the gospel and that the Lord will judge him for not preaching the gospel. If we have a heart for the Lord, we will sense the distress of not preaching the gospel. However, if we are willing to preach the gospel, we will receive a reward from the Lord. Therefore, we not only need to receive a commission from the Lord, but we also need to take care of the inner feeling of responsibility. Preaching the gospel is our responsibility.

THE ENDEAVOR FOR THE GOSPEL

We also need to endeavor in the gospel (1 Cor. 9:19-22; Rom. 1:15-16). Paul said to his younger co-worker Timothy, “Proclaim the word; be ready in season and out of season; convict, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). It is wrong for us to say that it is not convenient to preach the gospel or that it is not the right time. It is also wrong for us to excuse ourselves and say that we are too busy. Paul said that we need to preach the gospel in season and out of season.

THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
Prayer

In order to preach the gospel, we must have the power of the gospel, which comes through prayer (Acts 6:4). If we want to preach the gospel in a fresh, living, effectual, and powerful way, we must pray thoroughly. We need to pray until we are saved. Sometimes we are not saved when we go to preach the gospel. If we are thin-skinned, we need to pray in order to be saved from our shyness and bashfulness when we want to preach the gospel. When we preach the gospel in this way, we experience salvation. For example, we may want to preach the gospel, but we still love the world and are not completely separated from it. Unless we are delivered from the world, it will be difficult for us to preach the gospel with authority. Hence, we need to pray until we are saved from the world. Here is another example. Friction is unavoidable between family members. Sometimes there is friction with our parents or with our children or with our spouse. Such friction makes us unhappy and causes us to blame others. How can we preach the gospel in this condition? We need to pray until the Lord saves us from our anger and from blaming others.

Here is yet another example. Suppose a student, who has so much homework that he needs to study during the day and at night, receives a burden to preach the gospel. If he does not pray himself out of his studies, he will be powerless when he preaches the gospel. He will be like a deflated tire. This does not mean that the students who want to preach the gospel should neglect their studies. They need to study diligently, but when they go to preach the gospel, they need to pray and be saved from their studies. Only then can they preach the gospel with power.

Since we are very weak and fragile, even a piece of clothing can occupy us. A sister may feel that she needs to wear something presentable when she goes to preach the gospel. But the more she considers her clothing, the more her spirit sinks. It may be that her children are naughty and soil her dress. In this situation the sister needs to pray herself out of being occupied with her clothing. In order to preach the gospel, we need to be crazy and not care for or be concerned with anything else.

In conclusion, we must pray before we preach the gospel. We need to first pray for our deliverance, not for the salvation of others. We are able to save others when we pray until we are clear and transparent. If our condition is not that of a saved person, how can we save others? In order to preach the gospel, we must not be usurped by any person or thing. We can release others only when we are released. We must not be occupied by any person or thing. Therefore, we need to pray much so that we may be delivered from any form of pre-occupation. When we are released, we will be able to release others.

When we preach the gospel, we should also pray for people’s salvation. However, we first need to pray until we are released. Then we need to pray to receive power. We need to pray for the economical Spirit to fill us and be with us. We should pray, “Lord, today I apply the economical Spirit that You have poured out upon Your Body. Clothe me with Yourself as a mantle. I am going out to speak today. Open the heart of those whom I speak to, and demolish the stronghold of Satan within them while I am speaking.” We need this kind of prayer. It is better to have thorough prayer before we preach the gospel.

The Word of God

In order to preach the gospel, we also need to be soaked with the Word of God through prayer and fellowship with the Lord (4:31). If we have the burden to preach John 3:16, we should spend at least half an hour to absorb this verse. This verse says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes into Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.” We need to be soaked with every word. First, God, then so, then loved, and then the world; that is, God so loved the world. Then we should continue with that He gave, and then His only begotten Son, and so forth. We need to be soaked with this verse until it becomes our feeling, and we can express it from within. Then when we use this verse to preach, we will not speak empty doctrine or dead letter; rather, we will utter the words with which we have been saturated. This kind of speaking will be full of power and will touch people.

The Holy Spirit

Christians say that we need the power of God in order to preach the gospel (Acts 4:8). But where is the power of God? The power of the gospel depends on our being released. If we are not released, we will not have power. The power of God is already upon us. Hence, unless we are released, the power of God will not be manifested. This applies to preaching the gospel and to ministering the word.

Here is a negative example of what it means to be released. When we are not angry, it is likely that we are not released when we speak with others. Even though we utter words that are audible, we are not released. When we are angry, however, it is easy for us to be released when we speak. Anger requires energy. The angrier we are, the more energy we use, and our entire being is released. However, the Spirit does not come out when we are angry, even though we are released. Hence, when we speak for the Lord, we need to use our whole being to speak His word. Then the Spirit will be released. This is the secret.

When believers in Christian seminaries learn to preach the gospel, they are instructed how to maintain a proper demeanor, to look directly at the audience, and when to raise or lower their voice. Seminaries do not teach people the secret of being released. It is insufficient to merely utter words. We also need to push out our person.

The Lord raised up Brother John Sung as an evangelist in China. He preached the gospel in a powerful way. When he preached the gospel, he did not care about proper demeanor or grammar. He jumped about on the platform as if he was crazy. He only cared to release his burden; he did not care about anything else. Once as he was preaching in a Lutheran Church near Hankow, he suddenly picked up the song-leader’s baton, pointed at a woman in the audience, and said, “You, a concubine.” It turned out that the woman was actually a concubine. That night she was unable to sleep but was enlightened and repented, because the Spirit convicted her. The following day she gave her testimony in the meeting.

Sometimes we cannot be too mild or proper when we preach the gospel. Some believers with a theological training are able to preach in a systematic and logical way. They have the right tone and attitude and do everything in a proper way, but no one is saved. In 1933 I heard Brother John Sung preach in Chefoo. The topic was the woman in Mark 5 who suffered from a flow of blood. He drew a big heart on the blackboard and then said, “Brother John Sung comes to preach, and everyone repents. As soon as you repent, the precious blood of Jesus washes your heart and cleanses it thoroughly...Then Brother John Sung goes away, and two weeks later the precious blood begins to leak out, leak out...” He did not say anything else. He merely used the drawing on the blackboard to illustrate his words a few times. Incredibly, the audience was moved, and many wept bitterly and repented. As far as the truth is concerned, I could not accept his message, but because I saw the result of the meeting, I respected him.

We need to be crazy when we preach the gospel. If we are too proper in our demeanor, we will be dead. Before John Sung preached the gospel, he spent half a day to pray on his knees and immerse himself in the message. This was his secret. Then when he spoke from the platform, his whole being came out with his words. We should not merely speak without being released. After listening to John Sung preach the gospel, I came to the conclusion that his preaching was questionable in relation to the truth, but his way of gospel preaching was right. When he preached the gospel, his spirit came forth. There is life in our spirit; hence, when our spirit comes out, life comes out. When life comes out, people will touch the Lord, repent, and believe in the Lord.

One year as I was preaching the gospel in Chefoo during the Chinese New Year holidays, I pointed at a lady in the audience and said, “You are a wicked woman.” I had no reason to say this. Then I said that her husband worked hard to support her, but she still insisted on wasting money. I thought that I was just giving an example; I did not know that that was her situation. The lady, who was a gospel friend of one of the sisters, was very angry and asked the sister how I knew her personal affairs. However, I did not know anything about her. That night the Holy Spirit worked in her, and she repented and was saved. When she came to be baptized, she gave her testimony.

On another occasion when I was preaching the gospel, I took a stick, pointed at a student in junior high school, and said, “You stole a few pieces of chalk from school and drew circles with them on the ground at home.” The student was the son of a sister in the church, and he was not yet saved. After the meeting he said, “I must believe in the Lord; Jesus is real. My mother did not tell Brother Lee about this matter, but I did exactly what he said.” Before this, his mother had preached the gospel to him, but he would not believe. This time, however, he believed in the Lord.

When we are released, the Holy Spirit is present. Hence, we cannot be a gentleman when we preach the gospel. This is the reason that the gospel is preached in a dead way in Christianity, not in a living way. We need to be released so that the gospel can come out. Today the Spirit is in and upon the believers. The essential Spirit is within us, and the economical Spirit is upon us. The question is whether we will be released. When we are released, the essential Spirit within and the economical Spirit without come forth. This is the power of the gospel.

On the day of Pentecost Peter, who was a fisherman from Galilee, stood up and spoke in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish nation. He forgot that he was merely an uneducated fisherman. He became crazy. He did not become crazy intentionally; the Spirit was upon him. He was released, and the Spirit came out.


The Lord’s Name

When we preach the gospel, we must proclaim the Lord’s name and lead people to call on the Lord’s name. The opposers say that calling on the name of the Lord is an erroneous doctrine. However, in Acts 3 Peter spoke to the lame man who asked for alms at the door of the temple which was called Beautiful, and said, “Silver and gold I do not possess, but what I have, this I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene rise up and walk” (v. 6). That man stood up and began to walk. He entered with the apostles into the temple, and was walking, leaping, and praising God (v. 8). After this incident the Jewish rulers, elders, and scribes threatened the apostles and “charged them not to utter anything at all nor teach based upon the name of Jesus” (4:17-18). We need to teach people to call on the name of the Lord, because the Lord’s name is all-powerful, and it is in this name that we are saved (vv. 10, 12).

The Lord’s Authority

When we go out to preach the gospel, we should not think that we are small and insignificant. We are not insignificant. In Matthew 28 the Lord Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and disciple all the nations” (vv. 18-19). When we preach the gospel, we represent the authority in heaven and on earth. Our believing this depends on our exercise. We do not need to shout and yell and say to people that we represent an authority. Our faith should confirm this. We do not need to say this to people, but we need to say to the devil, “Satan, you need to know that Jesus Christ has obtained all authority in heaven and on earth; He is the Lord of heaven and earth, and I am His representative.”

In conclusion, in order to have the power to preach the gospel, we need to pray, enter into the Lord’s word, and be released. In addition, we need to be in the Lord’s name and apply the Lord’s authority.

THE CHANNEL OF THE GOSPEL
Preaching from House to House

What is the channel of the gospel? Human beings are the mouthpiece of the gospel, and the homes are the channel of the gospel. Every saint should open his home to preach the gospel. Acts 2 and 5 show clearly that the early believers first opened their homes for meetings (2:46), and then preached the gospel from house to house (5:42). After Cornelius was instructed by an angel to send for Peter, he invited his relatives and intimate friends to his home (10:22-24). Then Peter spoke to the household of Cornelius and also to his relatives and intimate friends (11:12-14).

In order to preach the gospel and gain people, we must open our homes. Every family has relatives, neighbors, friends, classmates, and colleagues. We need to invite them to our homes. We do not need to invite them all at one time, but we can invite three to five people at a time in a consistent way. The saints, who have a burden, should invite their relatives and friends for a “gospel dinner” at least once a week. The mealtime can be used to share the gospel. Just as people in the world have social engagements to do business and solicit clients, we should invite people for meals in order to preach the gospel. Every saint should invite people to his home for the purpose of preaching the gospel. Human beings do not have a heart of iron; they have emotions. When we invite someone to our home for a meal, his heart will open, and the Lord Jesus can enter into him. We can be assured that if we invite two people for a meal, we will gain at least one.

There are five thousand saints in the church in Taipei. If we are all willing to endeavor to lead one person to salvation every year, there will be ten thousand saints by next year. If we continue to increase in this way every year, there will be five million people in ten years. The Lord is leading us to attain our goal in many areas. Some saints are involved in the campus work, others are involved in the children’s work, and still others are preaching the gospel in the communities. By laboring in these areas and opening our homes, it will be easy for us to double our number every year.

When we lead a person to salvation, we do not gain only one person. Every person is a new branch that can bear fruit; he can lead his relatives and friends to salvation. In the past we only had old branches; we did not use this capital. Hence, year after year there has not been much increase. We need to seriously consider these words. We should immerse ourselves in the Lord’s word through prayer, push out the Spirit by being released when we speak, receive the Lord’s name, and exercise His authority. Then we will have the power to preach the gospel. Finally, we should open our homes as an outlet for the gospel.
Spreading through Migration

Another channel of the gospel is to spread through migration. Initially the church in Jerusalem had at least ten thousand believers, but they were all concentrated in Jerusalem. Therefore, God allowed persecution to scatter them. When they left Jerusalem, they went to various places as immigrants and spread the gospel (8:4-5; 11:19-21). It is good that some of the saints have the burden and are prepared to migrate. However, we need to take care of the testimony in “Jerusalem,” and then we can spread to other places—to other cities and to other countries—and deliver the gospel to them. This is the way we should take today. We must receive this burden to rise up and preach the gospel and save souls.



Bible verses are taken from the Recovery Version of the Bible and Words of Ministry from Witness Lee and Watchman Nee.published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA.

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