The Exercise and Practice of the God-ordained Wayby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Prayer: O Lord, we come back to You again. We believe we have been gathered by You into Your name. Lord, we have seen Your beauty and have been captivated. We love You, so we love the sinners. Because we love You, we have an interest in the sinners. Lord, You loved the world and came here to save the sinners. We also would have this same love and burden. We look unto You for this. Lord, attract us that we may run after You. Lord, defeat the enemy and rescue us from his usurping hand and from the deceiving world. Lord, we are here because You have been with us. We know You, and we love You. Amen.
In this message I will continue to share concerning the New Testament priesthood of the gospel. In John 15:5 the Lord said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit.” We must pay close attention to the words much fruit. Here the Lord does not refer just to fruit but much fruit. To bear only fruit is not adequate; we must bear much fruit. In verse 8 the Lord said, “In this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit.” To bear one fruit is not sufficient to glorify, or express, the Father. To express the Father, to glorify Him, we must bear much fruit.
This can be illustrated by a carnation plant. Before it blossoms, its beauty, its glory, is not expressed. But when it blossoms, the carnation is glorified, and its beauty is expressed. When Christ was crucified on the cross, all the opposing ones despised Him. He was put to death, but after three days He rose from the dead. In resurrection He appeared to Mary at the tomb and said, “Go to My brothers and say to them, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” (20:17). Through His death and in His resurrection He was glorified; and in the Son’s glorification the Father also was glorified. In His death and resurrection He bore much fruit; He brought forth His disciples as His many brothers to express and glorify the Father.
Today by choosing us and setting us, He is sending us to go forth and bear fruit. Yet to bear fruit requires the process of death and resurrection. The Lord Jesus went through this process; He cut the way. Today we should follow Him by letting ourselves be put to death. We cannot practice the New Testament priesthood of the gospel in a natural way; instead, we need to pass through the process of death and resurrection. When we hear about knocking on people’s doors for gospel preaching, we may consider that this is something easy or common and that anyone can do it. However, if we keep going out to visit people week after week, we will eventually have to pass through death.
To go out just once or twice, or even thirty or forty times, will not work. A fruit tree that bears much fruit has gone through many dealings and sufferings. It is not a simple or easy thing to go out to knock on people’s doors and tell them about the Lord Jesus. On the one hand, it is easy for a tree to bear fruit because the life within it produces fruit. On the other hand, a tree can produce fruit only once a year. For you to go out to knock on people’s doors for the gospel for three months might be easy. But for you to go out consistently for years might exhaust you. I do not believe that the Lord would charge you to go out every day; once a week would be enough. Also, you do not need to go out every month; ten months a year would be adequate. You may go out for five months and then rest for one month. Then you could go out again for five months. Even if you did this consistently, you might eventually get tired out and disappointed.
To bear fruit is not so easy. This is why the Lord compares our preaching of Him to fruit-bearing. Preaching is easy, but bearing fruit is not that easy. We should keep going out to preach the gospel for a complete year regardless of whether we bear fruit or not. We may go out for five months in the first half of the year and gain no one. Then in the second half of the year, after going out for four and a half months and gaining no one, we may feel hopeless and give up. We may say, “This way does not work. Forget about it. I have been wasting my time.” I have seen this happen many times.
I was saved in the spring of 1925. That year I began to go to the countryside with tracts that I had written myself. I did this again and again, yet I gained no fruit. Then my patience and endurance came to an end, and I simply gave up. I have encouraged you to go out to visit people and to find many different ways to do it. But what will you do if you go out for a whole year and still gain no fruit? I am afraid you may stay home and stop going out. You may lose your interest and confidence and say, “This way does not work.” However, if you go out for one year and gain nothing and still go out the next year, I am quite sure you will gain some fruit in the second year. Even if you would not gain anything the second year, you still have to go out for a third year. I am very concerned that some of you may become disappointed and stop going out.
I do not expect that you will gain one person every year, but I expect and have the full assurance that within three years you will gain at least one. If everyone will gain one within three years, we will have a thirty-three percent increase each year. This means that if we have ninety meeting together, after one year they will increase to one hundred twenty. Then after another year, this one hundred twenty will increase to one hundred sixty. According to Christian history, there has never been a church that has had a thirty-three percent increase every year. This may seem slow, but for each of us to gain one person every three years is really quite fast. If we do this for ten years, we will have the highest rate of increase in all of Christian history. If a church of two hundred fifty would increase by one-third each year, the entire population of the earth would be gained in less than sixty years.
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