The Way Before Us

Revive Thy Work, CFP, 68-72, Watchman Nee

In order to comply with the work of God, there need to be adjustments made in our future way. Here let me mention a few:

1. The need for training. In training, special attention should be paid to the vessel itself. The vessel must be right before the work to be done by that vessel can be right.

2. The need to strengthen today’s work.

3. The need to learn how to discuss and deal with people. Those workers who have been too harsh towards the believers must be restrained, and those who have been too lenient need to be strengthened. In the future, the Bible tells us, we shall judge the world and the angels (1 Cor. 6.2-3). Hence today we should learn how to judge. However, the first to be judged is our very own self. Unless we judge our selves, our judgment of others is faulty. With self-judgment, though, our judgment elsewhere can be accurate. In this respect, the ministers of God’s word must truly master this lesson.

4. The need to see that money must have no grip upon the lives of fellow workers. Fellow workers must be delivered from the control of money. Money consciousness should be totally broken. We expect that this will lead eventually to the reality of this: “all that believed were together, and had all things common” (Acts 2.44).

5. The need for the local church to pay attention in learning how to help the newly saved. There should be good preparation for the giving of clear instruction. Such instruction comes in two areas. In one area is the preaching of the gospel. The gospel should be preached throughout the year. The other area is the instruction of new believers. Fifty-two basic lessons should be prepared as a basis for giving continuous instruction to new believers. These should be fixed lessons to be used from the year’s beginning to year’s end.* Those who instruct should be well prepared with adequate tools.

* These 52 Lessons for new believers the author himself soon afterwards prepared and then presented in a sequence of spoken ministry before those assembled for the First Workers Training Session that was convened for several months during the summer and early fall of 1948 at Mount Kuling, near Foochow, China. Of these 52 Lessons, 48 of them were translated into English, re-arranged and variously grouped together into six volumes, and published under the general title of the Basic Lesson Series (New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers 1972-75). The six individual volume titles in this series are as follows: A Living Sacrifice (1972), The Good Confession (1973), Assembling Together (1973), Not I But Christ (1974), Do All to the Glory of God (1974), and Love One Another (1975). Of the remaining four Lessons, one of them was translated into English and incorporated into the chapter entitled “Sickness” found in Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man, 3 vols. (New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, 1968), III:179-95. The other three Lessons, also translated into English, appear as Part Two (“Three Basic Lessons”) in Watchman Nee, The Spirit of Judgment (New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, 1984), 55-94.Translator

Concerning this matter of consecration, every saved individual should be a consecrated person. All consecrated brothers and sisters work together with the workers.

The Lord told us that “ye have the poor always with you” (Matt 26.11). It is not right to accumulate things in the house of God. To help the poor is a basic principle in the Bible and is demanded of the believer to do. Whether the one in need is of your household or not, the call of God’s word is for you to give away. Your heart will not expand if you do not care for the poor. But when you give, you learn enlargement of heart as well as expansion of horizon. Few there be today who have enlarged hearts and extended horizon. We are taught by the Scriptures not to be bound up by material things. And all which the Scriptures teach must be kept. We will suffer loss if we fail to keep any of the Bible’s commandments. It is easier to give to the brethren than to the outsiders. Nonetheless, the Bible instructs us to look after the poor—no matter who they be.

Many brothers and sisters are ignorant of the difficult way the fellow workers spend their days. Some workers have not been able to cook any food for five days. Some are not able to take care of their own families’ livelihood or their own children’s education.

Brothers and sisters should be helped in the choosing of a profession. In body coordination, some need to bring in money. But who will go out and earn money for the Lord? Only those who are fully consecrated will do so. Such earning of money is most useful. When the children of Israel left Egypt they brought out the wealth of that land with them (Ex. 12.35-36). Then when they crossed the Red Sea, wealth, too, crossed over. Such wealth would have been unprofitable had it remained in Egypt. Only the people who crossed the Red Sea were able to use the gold and silver to build the tabernacle. So here we see that first of all, men came out; second, wealth must follow out; and third, the tabernacle would be built.

Formerly I dared not say this, but lately I can say that unless people first consecrate themselves, God will not ask for their money. Unfortunately many must see the mistake of the golden calf before they can see the issue of gold. In worshiping the calf idol, the gold which should have gone towards the construction of the tabernacle went instead into the making of the golden calf. Hence, worshiping the golden calf was more than a matter of sin, it also involved a loss to the tabernacle. It was wrong for the gold to go towards the making of the golden calf, but it would have been right for this same gold to have gone towards the making of the tabernacle. Thus we see that the same material could go to either of two diametrically opposite centers: to the idol or to the tabernacle. It is significant that the New Testament places together both covetousness and idolatry, thus showing that they join hands (Col. 3.5). Accordingly, where the deliverance from idolatry is, there also is the deliverance from money and wealth. Today all fellow workers must go forth, bearing all tribulations for the sake of the Lord. But brothers and sisters must also learn to be consecrated people. Saying this does not mean that all should step out to be preachers. It simply means that everyone must be a consecrated person. To be fully consecrated is the need of this day. Not all are preachers, yet all must serve God full time.

Wherever there is a company of people walking in the way of God, there we shall see the appearing of the men of Acts 2. With consecration God finds His way; otherwise, the word of God will suffer and be degraded. The people in Acts 2 are like people arriving at an intersection. They see the way ahead and know how to walk in it; and so they have the boldness to tell others of God’s way. The more we harbor fear of people’s unbelieving, the more we shall beg them to believe. But if we have sufficient spiritual weight, knowing clearly the way to go, we will have courage to speak and people will also dare to believe the full gospel. The reason they dare not believe us today is because we ourselves lack faith. But if we workers are clear, others will follow. Yet should we not be clear, we will tend to lower the word of God. Therefore, today’s problem lies wholly with us.

 

Every Believer Must Receive Spiritual Education

Revive Thy Work, 194-195

In the past we passed up many opportunities to educate the brothers and sisters. They were born in our midst, yet they never came to know why we gathered together. To them our meeting was no different from any other. This is because we had not given them the right education.

Let it be known by all fellow workers that various basic lessons must be taught year round. Some in our midst have been saved for ten years, but they have never once confessed sin or made restitution. Now, though, we are preparing fifty-two subjects as basic lessons to be presented from year to year.

For further information about these lessons and their availability in English translation, see earlier in the present volume, Part Two, Chapter 1 ("Commencement and Continuance of Recovery"), in that chapter’s subsection entitled "The Way before Us."—Translator

 

These subjects need little or no improvement. They only need to be taught year after year. Then, the foundation will be firm.

Teaching the gospel is different from preaching it. In preaching, variation is the norm. But in teaching, consistency is the way. In the preaching of the gospel no two persons use the same approach, just as no two personal testimonies are alike. However, after people get saved, the education they receive should be the same.

The kind of Christian one becomes depends much on the kind of education he receives. If we fail to spend time on this now, people will blame us later on. We need to walk in the same steps before we can have the same testimony.

In the process of presenting these lessons we must teach them in life; otherwise these subjects could turn dead. For we will only create more tradition if we fail to teach them in a living, anointed way. And in consequence we shall simply have one more thing which must be dealt with. But, if we teach these lessons livingly, people will sense life when not only hearing them for the first time but even after ten times.