Messages in Preparation for the Spread of the Gospelby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The main burden for this term of the training is to prepare for the spread of the gospel to the countryside that will start in January of next year. We hope that by January of next year, we will have one hundred brothers and sisters to be the pioneers. Thereafter, every two months we will have thirty more to follow them. In March, May, July, September, and November, we will add thirty more people each time. Then in the following year we will do the same thing by sending thirty brothers and sisters out every two months. In all there will be twelve waves with a total of three hundred sixty people. After the start of this move, the training center will produce fifteen people every month. If we cannot send out thirty people every two months, all of us will have to fast and pray because this is an important matter.
The work of the Lord on the earth was never a movement. The Gospels show us that when the Lord Jesus was working for God on the earth, He did not advertise or gather huge gatherings; He did not solicit any contacts for the sake of the work. All social activities in human society are basically movements. As such, they need advertisements and huge gatherings. There is also the need for soliciting contacts as a kind of work. But the Lord was not promoting a movement on the earth. Hence, the disciples whom the Lord called were mostly humble people of little education. The first pair of brothers whom the Lord called, Peter and Andrew, were both fishermen (Matt. 4:18). The second pair of brothers, James and John, were also fishermen (v. 21). A fisherman did not have a high education or refined culture; he would not have been that eloquent, much less would he have known how to advertise, how to organize huge congregations, or how to do other things of that nature. If the Lord Jesus were to gain the refined ones, He would have had to go to Judea to find them. All the talented ones were gathered in Jerusalem, close to the city of David. But the Lord began His work in Galilee, the fishing land. Of the twelve apostles whom Jesus called, eleven were Galileans. Only one was a Judean. It is so strange that in the end he was the very one who betrayed the Lord. This proves that the Lord was not spreading a movement on the earth.
This was true not only with the Lord Jesus; with the apostles it was the same. Acts 4 tells us that when the Jewish Sanhedrin interrogated Peter and John, they realized that these ones were uneducated and unlearned men. This proves that the apostles were not promoting a movement either.
Next we come to Paul. According to his background, Paul was much more refined than the Galilean fishermen. But neither was his labor for God a work. He was born in the then highly cultured city of Tarsus (22:3). Academically speaking, doubtless he was educated in the highest school of learning there. Religiously speaking, he was taught by Gamaliel, the most knowledgeable rabbi of Judaism at the time. But after Paul was saved, he did not promote a movement either. We only see him preaching Christ Jesus everywhere. The Jews were jealous of him; they tried their best to catch him. He was forced to go to Antioch, a place not much noticed by the Jews (13:1).
In Antioch Paul did not promote any movement. Acts 13 tells us that while a few prophets and teachers were there fasting and praying, the Holy Spirit separated Paul and Barnabas and sent them out (vv. 2-3). This sending was not a movement; there was no formality. Only a few laid their hands on them. When Paul and Barnabas went out to preach the gospel, there was no organization or arrangement. They preached this way until they reached the west and north coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. Everywhere they went, they set up churches. Hence, from the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles, we cannot detect any flavor of a movement in the works of the Lord Jesus or of the apostles. This is because what they did was not a movement but an activity in life. They were a group of people constituted by life. They knew nothing except to act according to life.
After Paul met the Lord on the way to Damascus, he was completely changed. The former Saul of Tarsus had been a persecutor of those who believed in the Lord. Now he became a saved Paul speaking to everyone about Jesus, even entering into the synagogues of the Jews to preach there. Everywhere he went, he lived this way. For Paul, preaching Jesus was not a work; rather, it was his living. You have to know that, outwardly speaking, going to the countryside for the spread of the gospel is a work. Actually, it has to be your living. Some have misunderstood; they thought, “Brother Lee has gone to Taiwan to promote a great movement.” But I must tell you soberly that we are not after a movement. To go to the countryside for the spread of the gospel is not a movement but a living. When you go to the countryside, you are bringing the Lord Jesus and His gospel to people and sharing with them the truth in the Bible. This move of dispensing is not a movement but a living.
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