what is a churchTHE LOCAL NEW-TESTAMENT CHURCH

written by  on the topic of Articles by Pastor Trieber on December, 2008

Today, I have the privilege to draw to your attention the New Testament local church. The church is under attack in this day in which we live. It is certainly under attack by the world and the flesh, but I also find that it is under attack from within. We have diluted our position and have become very worldly, unfruitful, and self-centered hearers of the Word of God.

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
– Acts 20:29-30

Therefore, because of the apostasy that is so prevalent in our churches today, I am desirous to come to you as the book of Jude says in vs. 3-4:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we consider the New Testament local church, I want to remind you of the importance of our name. We are not a—

  • Fellowship
  • Center
  • Association

We are a church. That means we are a called-out body of saved, baptized Christians.

Jesus did not give His life for the association, center, or the fellowship; but rather, He gave Himself for the church. Let us not become weak concerning our name.

In addition, I want you to remember our Leader.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. (emphasis mine)
– Ephesians 5:23

Our Leader is neither a charismatic and persuasive individual nor a denominational headsuch as an organization, a Bible college, etc. Our Leader is the Lord Jesus Christ.

I also want to remind you of our responsibility.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
– Ephesians 5:26-27

We are not to be a worldly church, but rather a sanctified church—a glorious church without any spot, wrinkle, or blemish. We are to be holy. May I remind you what the Bible says:

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
– Ephesians 5:3-4

Our purpose is to take the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
– Acts 1:8

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
– Matthew 28:18-20

Our financial program is that of tithes and offerings.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
– I Corinthians 16:1-2

I am so burdened for the New Testament local church. I see us wavering on so many fronts. In addition, I am very concerned with the philosophy that has invaded our churches.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
– Colossians 2:8

Somewhere along the line, we developed the idea that we can listen, read, and study neo-evangelicals and separate the bad from the good. It is not possible.

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
– Acts 4:20

Many of us are witnessing the influence of user-friendly preaching, music, terminology, dress, and appearance that is not becoming of saints. May I remind my readers that we will never reach this world and rescue a nation for Christ by becoming like the world, but rather by being separate from the world. Why in the world would anyone want to be like the world? If a Christian were going to be just like the world, what would be the reason for leaving the flesh to come to a compromising church?

My prayer is that we will fall in love again with God’s institution, the church. We need to protect it and realize that, according to the book of Jude, the historic doctrines of the faith have been deposited into our care.

FOR A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH FROM THE TIMES OF CHRIST – The Trail of Blood

THE TRAIL OF BLOOD CHART THAT GOES WITH THE BOOK ABOVEThe Chart 

Read THE CHURCH ONLINE by my childhood hero

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2

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CONFESSION WITH THE MOUTH

Scripture Reading: Rom. 10:10; Prov. 29:25; Matt. 10:32-33

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  (Romans 10:10)

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.  (Proverbs 29:25)

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.  (Matthew 10:32-33)

 

I. THE IMPORTANCE OF CONFESSING WITH THE MOUTH

Once a person has believed in the Lord, he should not keep the matter a secret; he has to confess the Lord with his mouth. Confessing the Lord with our mouth is a very important matter.

A. Opening the Mouth as Soon as One Believes

As soon as one believes in the Lord, he should confess the Lord before men. Suppose a person gives birth to a child. What would we think if the child could not speak by the age of one or two, or even three? Would we say only that he is slow in speech development? Is it possible for such a person to begin saying, “one, two, three, four,” at the age of thirty and then learn to say “daddy” and “mommy” at fifty years of age? No. If a person is dumb in his infancy, he probably will be dumb for the rest of his life. If he cannot say “daddy” and “mommy” when he is young, he probably will not be able to say it for the rest of his life. Likewise, if a new believer does not confess the Lord immediately after he believes in the Lord, I am afraid he will be dumb for the rest of his life. If he cannot speak when he is young, he probably will not be able to speak when he grows up.

Some have been Christians for ten or even twenty years. Yet they remain dumb. This is because they did not open their mouth during the first and second week of their Christian life. They will continue to be dumb until they die. Confessing the Lord begins at the time a person believes. If you open your mouth the day you believe in the Lord, the way of confession will be opened to you. If a person is dumb in the first weeks, months, or year, he is likely to remain dumb for the rest of his life. Therefore, as soon as a person believes in the Lord, he should endeavor to speak to others about the Lord. Even if he finds it hard to speak and even if he dislikes speaking, he still must speak. He must speak to his relatives and friends. If he does not learn to speak openly, I am afraid he will be a dumb man before God for the rest of his life. We do not wish to see dumb believers. This is why we must learn to open our mouth from the very beginning. If a person fails to do this in the beginning, he will find it more difficult to do it later. Unless God grants special mercy or there is a revival, these ones will never open their mouth. It will take a great effort for them to open their mouth at a later date. Every new believer should seek the opportunity to confess the Lord before men. Such a confession is a great matter and reaps much profit.

B. Confession with the Mouth unto Salvation

Romans 10:10 says, ” For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” ” For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” This is something before God. “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” This speaks of salvation before man. Whether or not you have believed is something before God; no one can see it. If you have sincerely believed, you are justified before God. However, if you only believe in your heart, but do not speak with your mouth, others will not recognize you as a saved person; they will still consider you an unbeliever. They will not see any difference between you and them. This is why the Bible strongly stresses the need to confess with the mouth in addition to believing in the heart. We must speak with our mouth.

Every new believer must look for opportunities to confess the Lord. Among our classmates, colleagues, friends, relatives, and all those who come into contact with us, as soon as an opportunity arises, we should say to them, “I have believed in the Lord Jesus.” The sooner we open our mouth, the better it is. Once we open our mouth, others will immediately know that we have believed in the Lord Jesus. In this way, we will be delivered from the company of unbelievers.

We have seen some people who hesitated in their acceptance of the Lord, but once they stood up and proclaimed, “I believe in Jesus,” they became sure. The worst thing that can happen to a Christian is for him to keep his mouth shut. Once he speaks, he takes a firm step forward and becomes secure. Many believers hesitate initially, but as soon as they say, “I believe,” they become certain.

C. Confession Saving Much Trouble

There is great profit when one confesses with his mouth after he has believed in his heart. It saves him much trouble in the future.

Suppose you do not open your mouth and say, “I have decided to follow the Lord Jesus; I am His now.” Others will still consider you the same as they. When they sin or indulge in lustful things, they will consider you to be one of them. In your heart you realize that you are a Christian and that it is wrong for you to be among them. But you cannot reject them, because you want to please them. You may come up with an excuse to turn them down. But the next time they will still drag you along, and you will have to think of another excuse to refuse them. You may come up with excuses once or twice, but the pressure will always come back. So why not put the signboard out from the very first day and confess that you are a believer? You only need to confess once or twice, and others will give up trying to persuade you.

If you do not confess with your mouth, that is, if you are a Christian secretly, you will experience much more difficulty than those who are Christians openly. Your temptation will be many times greater than the temptation of those who openly confess the Lord. You will be bound by human affections and past relationships. You cannot excuse yourself from others every time by saying that you have a headache or that you are busy. You cannot use excuses every time. This is why you must declare from the first day, “I have believed in the Lord Jesus. I have accepted Him.” Once you put out this signboard, your colleagues, classmates, relatives, and family will know the kind of person you are. This will save you much trouble. Otherwise, you will have all kinds of frustrations. If a person confesses the Lord with his mouth, he will be saved from much trouble.

D. Not Confessing the Lord
Leading to Accusations in the Conscience

There is another serious problem for a person who does not confess the Lord with his mouth. Many of the Lord’s believers experienced this when the Lord was on the earth.

The Lord Jesus was rejected by the Jews. They vehemently opposed and rejected Him. In John 9 the Jews made a decision: Whoever confessed Jesus to be the Christ would be put out of the synagogue (v. 22). In chapter twelve the Bible says that many Jewish rulers believed in the Lord Jesus secretly, but they dared not confess Him because they were afraid of being put out of the synagogue (v. 42). Do you think that these people had peace in their hearts? Perhaps they felt uneasy about confessing the Lord, but they felt even more uneasy about not confessing the Lord. What kind of place was the synagogue? It was a place where people opposed the Lord Jesus. They plotted, conspired, and discussed plans to trap the Lord there. Such were the dark things that went on in the synagogue. What should a genuine believer do among such people? How much strength would he need to keep his mouth shut? Under such circumstances it would be difficult for anyone to confess the Lord with his mouth, but it would be even harder for him to not confess the Lord with his mouth.

The Jewish synagogue is a picture of the world’s opposition to the Lord. The world always criticizes the Lord Jesus. It always considers Jesus of Nazareth a problem. It has all kinds of things to say against our Lord. In a place like this, can you listen to the people and pretend to be like one of them? To pretend is painful; to pretend is also difficult. You have to muster enough strength to control and repress yourself before you can pretend. Under such circumstances, is it not true that something within you will want to cry out, “This man is the Son of God; I believe in Him”? Is there not something within you that wants to proclaim, “This man is my Savior, and I have already believed in Him,” or, “This man can deliver me from my sins. You may not believe in Him, but I do”? Is there not something within you that wants to make such a declaration?

Are you going to force yourself to be quiet just because you want man’s respect and position? It seems to me it would have been easier for the Jewish rulers in John 12 to simply be put out of the synagogue. They would have felt much better if they had confessed the Lord. If you are a false believer, it probably will make no difference whether or not you confess. But as a genuine believer, you will surely offend your conscience if you pretend and sympathize with the Lord’s opposers. When others oppose the Lord, you have no peace in your heart, yet you must force yourself to say, “What you are saying is interesting.” Is this not the most painful thing to do as a human being?

There is nothing more painful than not confessing the Lord. The greatest suffering is to refuse to confess the Lord before men. I would not want to trade places with those rulers. Their suffering was too great! If you are not a believer, there is nothing to say. But if you have believed, the easier and more joyful and happy thing to do is come out of the synagogue. You may feel that there are many obstacles, but past experience indicates that the obstacles will be greater and your heart will suffer more if you do not go this way.

Suppose you hear someone maliciously slander your parents, saying this and that about them. Suppose that you try to sit still and listen to them or, worse still, pretend to sympathize with them. If you do this, I would wonder what kind of a person you were. Our Lord has given His life to save us. If we do not say something for the very Lord whom we worship and serve, how much more timid are we? We must be bold to stand up and proclaim for the Lord, “I belong to Him!”

II. COMMON MISTAKES

A. Replacing Confession with Good Behavior

Some new believers are influenced by traditional teachings. They think that having good behavior is the most important thing for a Christian and that confession with the mouth is not that crucial. They think that a change in what one says is not important, but that a change in what one does is important. We must correct this wrong concept. We are not saying that it is not necessary to change our conduct. If one’s conduct is not changed, it is useless to confess with the mouth. But changing what one does without confessing with one’s mouth is equally futile. A change in conduct can never take the place of confession with the mouth. After one’s conduct is changed, his mouth still has to confess.

Every new believer must seize the earliest opportunity to tell others about his faith in the Lord Jesus. If you do not confess with your mouth, others will make many conjectures about you. They will try to explain your behavior with speculation. They will say all kinds of things about you, but they will not touch the Lord Jesus. Therefore, you must tell them the reason for the change in your conduct. No good conduct can take the place of verbal confession. It is necessary to have good conduct, but it is equally necessary to confess with the mouth. You must tell others, “Jesus is my Lord; I want to serve Him.” No matter how good your conduct is, these words must come out of your mouth.

We have heard people say that if they have good outward conduct, there is no need for them to say anything with their mouth. Please remember that no one will bother to criticize those who say this if they fail slightly in their personal conduct. But if a man stands up to proclaim that he is a Christian, others will immediately criticize and rebuke him when there is any slip in his conduct. Hence, those who say that good conduct is enough and that there is no need to confess with the mouth are in reality giving themselves an excuse to fail in their conduct. They are leaving a back door for themselves to escape from the judgment of others. Never believe that just a change in conduct is sufficient. Confession with the mouth is needed; in fact, it is absolutely indispensable.

B. Being Afraid of Failing to Persevere to the End

Some people think, “If I confess with my mouth and then fail to persevere in my Christian conviction, will this not become a joke to others? Suppose I can no longer make it as a Christian after three or five years, what should I do then? It is better for me not to say anything now. Let me wait for several years, until I find out whether or not I can make it.” We can tell such ones that if they do not confess because they are afraid of stumbling or failing, they will surely fail. They have already opened a back door and are trying to avoid the front door. They have already made preparations to back out of their own confession. They want to wait to have assurance before they confess. We are sure that such ones will fail. It is better to stand up and say, “I am for the Lord.” If you close the back door first, it will become much harder for you to back out or backslide later. Consequently, you will have a much better chance of going forward than of sliding backward. In fact, this is the only possible way for you to go forward.

If you want to wait until you have good behavior before you confess, your mouth will never open up. You will always be dumb. Even after you have good conduct, you will still be dumb. If you do not open your mouth at the beginning, it will be much harder to open your mouth later. If you open your mouth, the chance of having good conduct will be greater. If you want to wait until your behavior is good before you confess, you will lose both your chance of opening your mouth as well as your chance of having good behavior; both will be lost, and you will fail in both.

One assuring thought is that God is not only the God who redeems us but also the God who preserves us. What should we liken redemption to? Redemption is like buying something. What then is preservation? Preservation is like putting the purchased object in one’s own hand. How many people in this world buy things with the view of throwing them away? When we buy a watch, we want to use it for five or ten years; no one buys a watch with the view of throwing it away. God is saving people everywhere. He does not save them and then throw them away. He wants to preserve what He has saved. Since God has saved us, He will preserve us. Since God has redeemed us, He will preserve us until that day. God loves us so much that He was willing to forsake His Son to redeem us. If He had no intention of preserving us, He would not have paid such a great price. It is God’s purpose as well as His plan to preserve us. Do not be afraid to stand up and say, “I believe in the Lord.” You may say, “What happens if I fail in a few days?” Do not worry about this; God will be responsible for it. It is better for you to stand up and say, “I belong to God.” Commit yourself to God. God knows that you need support, comfort, and protection. We have the assurance to say that God preserves man’s salvation. This preservation makes redemption meaningful.

C. Fear of Men

Some people dare not confess because they are afraid of men. Many people can honestly say that they have no other reservation in their heart; they are willing to stand up and confess, but when they see the faces of others, they become afraid. When they look at their parents’ faces or their friends’ faces, they feel too shy to speak up. This is where many people are stumbled; they are afraid of men and do not have any boldness to open their mouth. Some people are naturally timid; they are timid not only in confessing the Lord but also in other things. If you want them to tell others about their faith, you are asking them for their life. They simply dare not open their mouth.

However, this kind of person needs to hear what God has to say. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare.” If you are afraid when you see someone, you will fall into a “snare.” As soon as you become afraid, you fall into a snare. Your fear becomes your snare. Whenever your heart is afraid of men, you are creating a snare for yourself. Once you are afraid, you fall into a snare. This snare is created by your own fear. Actually, the person you fear may be very willing to listen to you. Even if he is not inclined to listen, he may not be as fearsome as you think.

There is a story about two persons who were colleagues. One was a believer and the other was not. The one who believed was very timid; the one who did not believe was also very timid. The timid believer did not dare tell his colleague that he was saved. The one who did not believe was puzzled by the great changes that were happening to his colleague. His colleague used to have a quick temper but had now changed. He dared not ask his colleague the reason. The two of them shared a table and sat face-to-face every day. One was too timid to speak, and the other was too timid to ask. Every day they just looked at each other. One was afraid to speak, and the other was afraid to ask. One day the believer could not hold back any longer. After praying about it, he went to the other one and shook his hand tightly and said, “I am a very timid person. For at least three months I have been struggling to tell you something. Now I am going to tell you. I have believed in Jesus.” After saying these words, his face turned pale. The other one said, “I too have waited for three months. I wanted to ask why you have become so different, but I was too afraid to ask.” The believer mustered enough courage to open his mouth. From that time on, the opportunity opened up, and he was able to bring his friend to the Lord.

Those who are fearful of men will fall into a snare. Please remember that while you are afraid of others, others may be afraid of you too. We must never have a fear of men. We who follow God should not fear men. If you have a fear of men, you cannot be a good Christian and you cannot serve God. A Christian must be bold to speak to his relatives and friends. He must be bold to confess the Lord both in private and in public. We must take this way from the beginning.

D. Being Shy

Some people are shy. They feel that it is a shameful thing to be a Christian. It is true that this kind of shame may exist when we face unbelievers. If you tell others that you are engaged in technical research, they will congratulate you for having a good future. If you say that you are studying a certain philosophy, others will also say that you are a thoughtful person. You are not ashamed to talk about doing many things. But if you say that you are a Christian, many will say that you are too simple-minded or not intellectual enough. They will not esteem you highly. You are not ashamed to talk about other things, but as soon as you confess your Christian faith, you feel ashamed within. It is unavoidable for a new believer to feel shameful when he opens his mouth to confess his faith. However, we must overcome this feeling. It is true that the world feels shameful about someone becoming a Christian, but we must overcome this feeling.

How can we overcome this feeling of shame? We must deal with it from two aspects:

On the one hand, we have to realize that when the Lord Jesus was crucified on the cross, He bore our sins as well as our shame. When our Lord bore our sins, He suffered great humiliation. Today, in the eyes of God, it is only proper that we suffer humiliation from men. The humiliation we suffer before man can never be compared with the humiliation our Lord suffered on the cross for us. Therefore, we should not be surprised at humiliation. We should know that we belong to the Lord.

On the other hand, there is a good hymn which says, “Our shyness is like the early morning sky disowning the sun! But the Lord radiates the divine light which illuminates our consciences which are as dark as the night.” Since the Lord has been gracious to us and has redeemed us, being ashamed of confessing Him is like the early morning sky being ashamed of the illumination of the sun. Today the Lord has graced us. He has redeemed us and preserved us. He will even bring us to the heavens. Yet we consider it a shame to confess Him! If that is a shame, then all the grace we have received should also be considered a shame to us, and we should deny it all! The Lord has done so much for us, and yet we feel ashamed of confessing Him! How can this be?

We should feel shameful for such things as carousing, drunkenness, unrestrained dissipation, works of darkness, sinning, and evil works. The Lord has delivered us from all these. We should feel glorious. How can we have a sense of shame? It is not shameful for us to confess the Lord; it is glorious and joyous for us to confess Him! We are those who will never perish, who will never be condemned or judged by God, and who will never have to depart from the glorious face of God. We are those who follow the Lamb and who will always be with Him (Rev. 14:4). It is altogether wrong for others to plant the seed of shame in us. We should stand up boldly and say that we belong to God. We should rejoice and glory in Him.

By nature Peter was a strong-willed person. He wanted to distinguish himself among the disciples and to be ahead of others in everything. But one day he denied the Lord and became like a little mouse. When he was questioned, he was afraid. Humanly speaking, Peter was a “hero” and a born leader among the disciples. Yet he trembled even before others tried to take his life. He trembled and swore when all that was said to him was, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene.” This was indeed too poor. All those who refuse to confess the Lord are poor. Peter was most shameful; it was a shame for him to deny the Lord (Matt. 26:69-75).

All those who are too shy to open their mouths are full of shame. The really noble ones are the ones who confess their allegiance to Jesus of Nazareth, even at the point of being burned at the stake or thrown into the sea. They may be beaten, burned alive, or thrown into the lions’ den, but they still proclaim, “I belong to Jesus the Nazarene.” This is the most glorious thing in the whole world. The most shameful ones are those who are ashamed to confess the Lord. This kind of people are useless. They will even loathe themselves and be ashamed of themselves! The most shameful thing is for a person to despise himself and be ashamed of what he has.

Therefore, we should not have any fear or shame. All those who learn to follow the Lord should learn to confess Him boldly before man. If light is shameful and darkness glorious, if holiness is shameful and sin glorious, if spirituality is shameful and carnality glorious, and if following the Lord is shameful and following man glorious, then we would rather choose shame. We would rather suffer humiliation with Christ as Moses did, which humiliation is far better than the glories of men (“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”  Heb. 11:26).

E. Love of Man’s Glory

Why did the rulers in John 12 not confess the Lord? They did not confess the Lord because they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God. Many people dare not confess because they want both; they want Christ, and they also want the synagogue. They want Christ; this is why they believe. But they also want the synagogue; this is why they will not confess Him. If a person wants both, he will not be absolute in either.

If you want to serve the Lord, you must make a choice between the Lord and the synagogue. Otherwise, you can never be a good Christian. You must make a choice between the Lord and man. The rulers were afraid of losing men’s favor. They were afraid that if they confessed the Lord they would be put out of the synagogue. But a person who chooses the Lord in an absolute way will not be afraid of being put out of the synagogue.

If people do not persecute you after you have believed in the Lord, you should say, “Lord, I thank You.” If people persecute you after you have confessed the Lord with your mouth, you should also say, “Lord, I thank You.” What is so strange about this? We cannot be like those rulers who, for the sake of their love for the synagogue, refused to confess their faith in the Lord Jesus. If everyone in the church had been like them, there would be no church on earth today. If Peter had returned home and remained silent after he believed in the Lord, if Paul, Luke, Darby, and the rest had remained silent after they believed, and if everyone in the church had remained silent and dared not confess the Lord, their troubles definitely would have been less, but there would be no church on earth today!

One characteristic of the church is that it dares to believe in the Lord. Another characteristic is that it dares to confess its faith in Him. To be saved is not just to believe in the Lord Jesus; it is to believe and to confess that one is a believer. The confession is important. Christianity is not only manifested in one’s conduct but also in one’s mouth. The mouth must confess. One must confess, “I am a Christian.” It is not enough for a Christian to just have good conduct; he must also confess with his mouth. If you take away the mouth, there will be no Christianity. The Scripture is very clear. The heart believes unto righteousness and the mouth confesses unto salvation. Christianity is believing in the heart and confessing with the mouth.

III. CONFESSING THE LORD
AND THE LORD’S CONFESSION

The Lord said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32). Thank the Lord that if we confess the Lord today, on that day He will also confess us. The Lord also said, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (v. 33). “But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12:9). What a great contrast! All we have to do is confess that this excellent One, this chiefest among ten thousand, is the Son of God. He will then confess us before the heavenly Father and the angels of God. If you think it is difficult to confess such a Lord before men, the Lord will find it difficult to confess such a person as you when He descends in the glory of the Father. Today we must not shrink back from confessing the Lord through fear of men (“I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;”

Isa. 51:12). If today we find it difficult to confess Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, then on that day, when our Lord comes back, He will find it difficult to confess us before His Father and all the glorious angels. What a serious thing this is!

In reality, it is not difficult for us to confess the Lord. It is especially easy when we compare our confession with His confession of us. It is difficult for Him to confess us because we are prodigal sons who have come home, and there is nothing good in us. Since He will confess us in the future, let us also confess Him well before men today.

May all the newly-saved brothers and sisters be bold to confess the Lord from the beginning. We should never try to be Christians in secret.

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Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  The illustration in the first lesson was created by me after a study of the Greek word “eis” which means “into.”  David Williams – site Admin.

WITNESSING

Scripture Reading: Acts 9:19-21; 22:15; 1 John 4:14; John 1:40-45; 4:29; Mark 5:19

And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? (Acts 9:19-21)

 

For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.  (Acts 22:15)

 

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.  (1 John 4:14)

 

One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. (John 1:40-45)

Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?  (John 4:29)

 

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.  (Mark 5:19)

I. THE MEANING OF WITNESSING

How long will the light of a candle last? Of course, the light will go out when the candle burns out. But if we light another candle with this one, the light will double in intensity. Will the light of the first candle diminish because it has lit the second? No. If we use the second to light a third, will the light of the second diminish? No. The light of each candle will last until the candle burns out. But when the first light goes out, the second will still be burning. When the second light goes out, the third will still go on shining. If we keep on lighting more candles—ten, a hundred, or a thousand candles—the light will never go out. This explains the testimony of the church. When the Son of God was on earth, He lit the first candle. After that, more candles were lit one after another. For the past nineteen centuries, the church has been like candles; when one candle burns out, it is continued by another one. This goes on and on even today. The church has never ceased shining on this earth, just as salvation has never stopped. Some have lit ten candles; some have lit a hundred. Candle after candle has been lit, and the light continues on.

Brothers and sisters, do you want your light to continue, or do you want to see it end when your candle is extinguished? You have been lit by someone. He does not expect the light to end with you. Every Christian must try his best to bring salvation to others. He must do his best to testify to others and lead others to the Lord so that the testimony may continue on this earth from generation to generation. It is unfortunate that with some people their light ends and their testimony ceases. This is most pitiful! The church has been propagating itself for generations. Some people find their testimony continuing, while others have unfortunately gone without posterity. The light of a candle can only shine while it is still burning. Likewise, a man’s testimony continues only while he is still alive. In order for the light of a candle to go on, other candles must be lit before the first one burns out. In this way the second, the third, the hundredth, the thousandth, and even the ten thousandth candle will carry on the light. This light will continue forever and spread to all parts of the world. Such spreading will not diminish the light of each candle. We suffer no loss when we witness. But by witnessing, the testimony goes on.

What is witnessing? In Acts 22:15 the Lord sent Ananias to speak to Paul: “For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.” From this we see that the basis of witnessing is what we have seen and heard. You cannot be a witness to what you have not seen with your own eyes or heard with your own ears. Paul saw something with his own eyes and heard something with his own ears. God charged him to be a witness of what he had seen with his own eyes and heard with his own ears. First John 4:14 tells us what witnessing is: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” A person is a witness to what he has seen. Thank God, you have believed in the Lord. You have met Him, believed in Him, received Him, and gained Him. You are saved. You have been delivered from sins, received forgiveness, and obtained peace. Now that you have believed in the Lord, what joy you possess. This joy is something which you did not have before. Formerly, how heavy was the load of sin upon you! But now, thank God, this load of sin is gone. You have seen and heard something. What should you do today? You should testify of your experience. This does not mean that you have to leave your job to be a preacher. It means that you should witness to your friends, relatives, and acquaintances of what you have seen and heard, and bring them to the Lord.

The gospel will stop with you if your testimony does not continue. It is true that you are saved; you have the life of the Lord and you are lit. But if you do not light others, you will be finished when your candle burns out. You should not meet the Lord empty-handed. You should bring many with you when you meet the Lord. New believers must learn from the very beginning to witness to people and bring them to the Lord. Never be lazy in this matter. If a believer does not open his mouth from the very beginning, after a few days he will form a habit of keeping his mouth closed, and then it will take much effort to turn the matter around. You have believed in the Lord. For the first time you have tasted so great a love, received so great a Savior, obtained so great a salvation, and experienced so great an emancipation. Yet you do not testify for the Lord or light others with your light! You really owe the Lord something!

II. EXAMPLES OF WITNESSING

Let us consider four portions of the Word. They are good examples of witnessing.

A. Going into the City to Tell Others

In John 4 the Lord told the Samaritan woman about the living water. By this she realized that no one on earth can find satisfaction without the living water. Everyone who drinks of the water from the well will thirst again. No matter how many times man drinks of that water, he will thirst again; he is never satisfied. Only by drinking the Lord’s water will we not thirst again, because there is a spring that will flow out of us and satisfy us continuously. Only this inner satisfaction can give us true satisfaction. The Samaritan woman had been married five times. She married one man after another; she had changed her husband five times, yet she was still not satisfied. She was a person who drank again and again but was never satisfied. Even the man who was with her at that time was not her husband. She, undoubtedly, was not a satisfied person. But the Lord had the living water that could satisfy her. When the Lord showed her who He was, and when she had Him, she left her waterpot and went away into the city, saying, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (v. 29). Her first reaction was to testify to others. What did she testify? She testified Christ. Perhaps the people in the city knew something about her, but there were probably many things which they did not know. Yet the Lord told her everything. She testified to others, saying, “Is this not the Christ?” The moment she saw the Lord, she opened her mouth to invite others to find out whether He was the Christ. As a result of the woman’s word, many believed in the Lord.

Every Christian has an obligation to be a witness and to introduce the Lord to others. The Lord has saved a great sinner such as me. If He is not the Christ, who else can He be? If He is not the Son of God, who else can He be? I have no choice but to open my mouth. I have to open my mouth to testify. Although I may not know how to give a message, at least I know that He is Christ. I know He is the Son of God, the God-appointed Savior. I have seen that I am a sinner, and I know that the Lord has saved me. I cannot explain what has happened to me, but I can ask others to come and see what a great change has occurred in me. I do not know how it came about. Formerly, I considered myself a good man. Now I see myself as a sinner. The Lord has shown me my sins, things which I did not realize were sins. Now I know the kind of person I am. I committed many sins in the past which others did not know about and which even I myself may not have known about. I committed many sins, yet I did not realize that they were sins. Here is a man who told me everything I have done. He told me what I already knew, and He also told me what I did not know. I can only confess that I have touched Christ and have met the Savior. Here is a man who told me that the “husband” I had was not my husband. He told me that if I drank of this water, I would thirst again and come back for more. How true were those words! Come and see. Is He not the Savior? Is He not the Christ? Is He not the only One who can save us?

All those who have seen that they are sinners surely have a testimony to give. Those who have seen the Savior also have a testimony to give. This woman gave her testimony within a few hours after she had met the Lord. It was something that happened on the same day, not something that happened a few years later when she returned from a revival meeting. She witnessed to others immediately after she returned to the city. Once a person is saved, he should tell others what he has seen and understood immediately. Do not speak what you do not know, and do not give a long discourse. Just tell them what you know. This is all you need to testify; you only have to tell others how you feel. Some can say, “I was so depressed before I believed in the Lord. But now that I have believed in the Lord, I have become so happy. In the past I pursued many things but was never satisfied. Now there is an unspeakable sweetness within. Before I believed in the Lord I could not sleep at night. But now I can sleep well. I used to be full of anxiety and bitterness. But now I feel peace and joy wherever I go.” You can tell others what you have experienced. You do not need to tell them what you cannot say. You do not need to tell them what you do not know. Do not speak anything beyond what you know or beyond your present situation. That may stir up arguments. Present yourself to others as a living witness. They will have nothing to say.

B. Going Home to Tell Others

In Mark 5:1-20 we see a person who was demon possessed. It is the most severe case of demon possession recorded in the Bible. A legion of demons was within this man. He dwelt among the tombs, and no one was able to bind him, not even with a chain. Night and day, he would cry out among the tombs and in the mountains and gash himself with stones. When the Lord commanded the demons to come out from him, they did and entered into about two thousand hogs. They all rushed down the steep slope into the sea and drowned. After the demon possessed man was saved, the Lord said to him, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” (v. 19).

After you are saved, the Lord wants you to tell your family, neighbors, relatives, friends, and colleagues that you are now a saved person. You should tell them not only that you have believed in Jesus but also what great things the Lord has done for you. The Lord wants you to tell others what He has done for you. He wants you to confess and witness to others what has happened to you. Others will be lit when you do this, and salvation will continue on; it will not stop with you.

What a pity that many souls in Christian families are on the way to eternal perdition. Some of our parents, children, relatives, and friends have not heard the gospel of Christ from our own mouths. They have only the blessing and happiness of the present age, without the hope of the coming age. Why should we withhold from telling them what the Lord has done for us? These are the ones who are right next to us. If they cannot hear the gospel from us, who else can?

In order to witness to our family, we must show them the great change in our conduct. We must show our family what a wonderful change has been wrought in our lives since we believed in the Lord. Only then will they listen to us. They will not have confidence in anything less than this. We must be more righteous, more self-sacrificing, more loving, more diligent, and more joyful than before. They will not believe us if there is no change in our conduct. At the same time, we need to witness to them the reason for this change.

C. Proclaiming in the Synagogue

Acts 9:19-21 says, “And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” (Acts 9:19-21)

Saul was on his way to Damascus to bind the believers of the Lord. But he met the Lord on the way and the Lord spoke to him. The moment light came, he fell on his face and became blind. The men who journeyed with him led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. He was there three days without seeing, eating, or drinking. The Lord sent Ananias to lay his hands upon him, and he received sight, rose up, and was baptized. After he had taken food, he was strengthened. After a few days he immediately went into the synagogues to proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God and to witness to others. It was obviously difficult for him to do this because he had been persecuting the Lord’s disciples all along. He could have been a member of the Sanhedrin. The Jewish Sanhedrin was comprised of seventy-one persons, and he could have been one among the seventy-one. He had secured a letter from the high priest and was on his way to bind the believers of the Lord and to bring them before the high priest. What should he do now that he had believed in the Lord? Originally, he was going to bind those who believed in the Lord. Now he himself was in danger of being bound. Humanly speaking, he should have escaped or hidden. Instead, he went into the synagogues, not just one but many, to prove that Jesus is the Son of God. This shows us that the first thing a person should do upon receiving the Lord is testify for Him. After Paul received his sight, he went at the first opportunity to testify that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. Every believer of the Lord should do the same thing.

Everyone in this world knows that there is a Jesus. But they only know Jesus as one among millions of men in this world. In other words, Jesus is considered merely as one man among many. Although they regard Him as being a little more special than others, He is still an ordinary man to them. But one day light and revelation came to you; the eyes of your heart were enlightened, and you discovered something. You discovered that this Jesus is the Son of God. You discovered that God has a Son! Jesus is the Son of God! What a great discovery! You discovered that there is one man among all men who is the Son of God. This is truly tremendous! When a person receives the Lord Jesus as his Savior and confesses Him as the Son of God, he is doing a great thing, a tremendous thing. He cannot let the occasion pass by lightly, because it is a momentous event. Of the millions of men in this world, he has discovered One who is the Son of God. What a great and tremendous discovery this is! Among the billions of men throughout history, he has suddenly found out that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. This is indeed a great matter. We would marvel if someone were to discover an angel among us. How much more marvelous is it when someone discovers the Son of God? We do not know how many million times more superior the Lord is than the angels. There is no comparison between the two. The angels are far, far inferior to our Lord.

Here was a man on his way to bind all those who believed in the Lord’s name. But after he fell and rose up, he went into the synagogues and proclaimed that Jesus is the Son of God. He either was mad or had received a revelation. He was not mad. Indeed, he had received a revelation. He actually had met the One among millions of men who is the Son of God. Like Paul, you also have met this Man among men, the One who is the Son of God. If you realize how great the discovery you have made is and how important and wonderful your discovery is, you surely will tell others immediately, “I have met the Son of God.” You surely will proclaim aloud, “Jesus is the Son of God!” How can a person sit still and act as if nothing has happened when he has believed in the Lord Jesus and is saved? If a person has believed in the Lord Jesus and yet does not feel anything, if he considers this to be nothing marvelous or special, we doubt whether he has believed at all. Here is something great, marvelous, extra- ordinary, special, beyond all imagination—Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. This is too crucial a matter! It is not too much for a man who has seen such an important matter to knock on the door of his friends’ house after midnight to tell them of his discovery. A marvelous thing has happened in the universe—Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God!

Here was a man who had just recovered from his illness; he had just had his sight restored. We see him running immediately into the synagogues and proclaiming, “Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God!” Every believer who has seen the same should go to the synagogues and shout, “Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God!” Every time we consider how Jesus of Nazareth can be the Son of God, we feel that this is the greatest discovery in the whole world. No discovery can be more amazing and more crucial than this. What a tremendous thing for us to discover that this man is the Son of God! When Peter told the Lord, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the Lord Jesus told him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 16:16-17). While He was among us in disguise, no one knew Him except those who had the Father’s revelation.

Brothers and sisters, never consider your faith to be a small thing. You need to realize that your faith is a wonderful thing. Saul had to go into the synagogues to speak because he knew that his discovery was too wonderful. You will do the same if you realize how wonderful the things you have seen are. Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. This is a most wonderful and glorious fact.

D. One on One

A person needs not only to go to the city, to his home, and to the synagogues to witness to others about his faith in the Lord, but also to bear a special testimony—to lead others to the Lord one on one. Such is the testimony in John 1:40-45. The moment Andrew believed in the Lord, he led his brother Peter to the Lord. Although Peter later became more gifted than Andrew, Andrew was the one who led Peter to the Lord. Philip and Nathanael were friends; Philip first believed in the Lord and later led his friend to receive the Lord. Andrew led his brother to the Lord, and Philip sought out his friend. Both are examples of leading men to the Lord one on one.

About a hundred years ago, there was a believer named Harvey Page. Although he did not have any special gift and did not know how to lead many people to the Lord, the Lord was gracious to him and opened his eyes to realize that he could lead at least one person to the Lord. He could not do many great works, but he could concentrate on one person. He could only say, “I am saved. You also need to be saved.” Once he laid hold of one, he would not let go. He would pray and talk to his friend until he was saved. Through this practice he solidly gained more than one hundred persons for the Lord by the time he died.

In a certain country there was a believer named Todd, who was very good at leading people to salvation. He was sixteen when he was saved. It was a holiday and he was in a village. An older couple from a church took him in for hospitality. They were experienced workers, and they led him to the Lord. The young man had lived a wanton life, but on that day he knelt down to pray and was saved. In the course of their conversation, the young man found out that the gospel could not prevail in that place because a certain Mr. Dickens would not repent. When Todd heard this, he asked, “Who is this Mr. Dickens?” They told him that he was a retired soldier over sixty years old. He kept a gun at home and vowed to shoot whoever came to preach the gospel to him. He regarded every Christian in the world as a hypocrite, and he called them all by such a name. Whenever he came across a Christian, he would behave in a violent way. No Christian dared to preach the gospel to him or even walk past the street where he lived. If he knew that a Christian was walking past his street, he would curse vehemently and fiercely. When Todd heard this, he prayed, “O Lord! I have received Your grace today. You have saved me. I must go and testify to Mr. Dickens.” Even before he finished his tea, he said, “I am going.” He had been saved less than two hours earlier, yet he wanted to witness to Mr. Dickens. The older couple advised him, saying, “Do not go. Many of us have failed. He has chased some away with a rod. Others fled when he threatened them at gunpoint. Even though he has beaten up so many people, we do not want to take him to court because we want to maintain a proper gospel testimony. This has given him the excuse to become more fierce.” Todd said, “I feel that I should go.”

He arrived at Mr. Dickens’s door. As soon as he knocked, the man came to the door. He had a stick in his hands, and he asked, “Young man, what do you want?” Todd said, “Is it all right for me to speak a few words to you?” The man nodded, and both of them went into the house. The moment they were in the house, Todd said, “I would like you to receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior.” Mr. Dickens lifted up his rod and said, “I suppose you are new here. I will let you go and not beat you up. But have you not heard that no one is allowed to speak the name of Jesus here? Get out! Get out right away!” Todd said again, “I would like you to believe in Jesus.” Mr. Dickens became furious. He ran upstairs and returned with a gun in his hand. He shouted at him, saying, “Get out or I will shoot!” Todd responded, “I am asking you to believe in Jesus. If you want to shoot, you can shoot. But just let me pray before you shoot.” He immediately knelt down in front of Mr. Dickens and prayed, “O God! This man does not know you. Please save him.” Then he prayed again, “O God! This man does not know you. Please have mercy on him. Have mercy on Mr. Dickens.” Todd knelt there and would not rise up. He continued praying, “O God! Please have mercy on Mr. Dickens! Please have mercy on Mr. Dickens!” After praying five or six times, he heard a groaning near him. A little while later, he heard Mr. Dickens lay down his gun. Soon Mr. Dickens was on his knees next to Todd, praying, “O God! Please have mercy on me.” Within a few minutes, that man had accepted the Lord. He took the young man by the hand and said, “In the past I have only heard the gospel. Today I have seen the gospel.” Later, the young man told others, “The first time I saw his face, it was truly a face of sin. Every wrinkle spoke of sin and evil. Later, light shone through the wrinkles, and every wrinkle seemed to be saying, `God is merciful to me.'” The next Lord’s Day, Mr. Dickens went to church, and later he led dozens of people to salvation.

In the first two hours after his salvation, Todd led a notoriously difficult person to the Lord. The sooner a new believer opens his mouth, the better it is. We should not waste any time in leading others to Christ.

III. THE IMPORTANCE OF WITNESSING

A. Being a Great Joy

The two happiest days in every believer’s life are the day he believes in the Lord and the day when, for the first time, he leads another person to Christ. The first one, of course, is a particularly happy day. However, the joy of leading another person to the Lord for the first time may be greater than the joy experienced on the day of his own salvation. Many Christians do not have much joy because they have never spoken anything for the Lord; they have never led a person to the Lord.

B. Learning to Be Wise

Proverbs 11:30 says, “He that winneth souls is wise.” From the very beginning of our Christian life, we should learn to win souls by various means. We should learn to be wise. This will make us useful persons in the church. I am not talking about delivering a gospel message on the platform. Platform preaching can never replace the personal work of leading people to the Lord. A person who knows only to preach from the platform may not know how to lead people to the Lord. We are not exhorting you to give a message on the platform. We are asking you to save men. Many people are good at preaching, but not at saving men. They do not know what to do when a person is brought to them. They are of little use. The really useful ones are the ones who can lead men to Christ one by one.

C. Begetting Life

No tree will sprout without further growth. Likewise, no one can have God’s life without begetting more life. Those who never witness to sinners are probably in need of others witnessing to them. Those who have no desire or interest in leading others to repentance unto the Lord are probably in need of repentance themselves. Those who are silent for the Lord in front of others probably need to listen again to the voice of God’s gospel. No one can be so advanced that he no longer needs to save others. No one can advance to the degree that he no longer needs to witness to others. New believers need to learn to witness to others from the very beginning. This is something we have to do for the rest of our lives.

When you become a little more advanced in the spiritual life, others may tell you, “You have to be a channel of living water. You should be one with the Holy Spirit so that the living water—the Holy Spirit—can flow into you.” However, a channel has two ends. This channel of the Holy Spirit, this channel of life, also has two ends. One end is toward the Holy Spirit, toward life, and toward the Lord, while the other end is toward man. The living water will never flow if the end toward man is closed. No one can be so wrong as to assume that just opening to the Lord is enough. The living water does not flow through those who are opened just to the Lord. One end must be opened to the Lord, and the other end must be opened to man. The living water will flow out only when both ends are opened. Many people are powerless before God because the end toward the Lord is not open. But many more people are powerless because the end for witnessing and leading others to Christ is closed.

D. Experiencing the Misery of Eternal Separation

Many people have not heard the gospel because you have not yet testified to them. The consequence of this is eternal separation; it is not merely temporal parting. This is too crucial. A brother was once invited to another person’s home for dinner. As he was very learned and eloquent, he spoke quite much on intellectual subjects. Another elderly friend who lived nearby was also present at the dinner. Since both were very intellectual, they talked for a long time. It was getting late, and the host invited them to stay overnight. The elderly friend’s room was directly opposite to this brother’s room. Not long after they retired to their rooms, the brother heard the sound of something falling to the floor. When he went to the other room, he saw the friend lying on the floor, dead. Other people started rushing into the room. The brother said sadly, “If I had known that this was going to happen, I would not have spoken what I spoke two hours ago! I would have pointed out eternal matters. I did not spend even five minutes speaking to him about salvation. I did not give him an opportunity. If I knew what I now know, I would have tried my best to tell him about the Lord’s crucifixion for him. But it is too late! If I had told him these words at dinner time, you would have laughed at me for speaking at an inopportune time. But it is too late for him. I hope that you will listen now. Every person needs to believe in the Lord Jesus and in His cross!” There is an eternal separation; this separation is not just temporary. What a tragedy! Once the opportunity is gone, a man will be eternally barred from heaven! We must seek out every opportunity to testify to others.

D. L. Moody was very good at leading men to salvation. He once made up his mind to preach the gospel to at least one person a day, whether or not he was giving a message on that day. One day he went to bed, and then he remembered that he had not preached the gospel to anyone yet. What should he do? He changed his clothes and went out again to look for someone he could speak to. It was already midnight when he looked at his watch; the streets were empty. Where could he find anyone at such an hour? The only person he could speak to was a policeman who was on duty: “You must believe in the Lord.” The policeman was in a bad mood over something at that moment, and he scolded Moody angrily, saying, “Do you not have something better to do than persuade me to believe in Jesus in the middle of the night?” Moody went home after sharing a brief word with him. But the policeman was touched by Moody’s word. A few days later he visited Moody and was saved.

As soon as a person believes in the Lord, he should make a resolution before the Lord to lead men to the Lord. Everyone should have a record of how many souls he will save in a year. He may resolve to save ten or twenty a year. He should then begin to pray for them. General prayers are useless prayers. If you go to the Lord and say, “O Lord! Please save sinners,” it is too general a prayer. You must have a specific goal in mind. If you want ten, aim for ten. If you want twenty, aim for twenty. You can prepare a book in which you write down the names of the ones you have gained for the Lord. As you gain one, write his name down. At the end of the year, you can count the number of those who were saved and the number who remain unsaved. Continue to pray for those who are not yet saved. Every brother and sister should practice this. It is not too much to gain thirty or fifty souls a year; ten or twenty is common. We must ask the Lord for a specific number in our prayer. The Lord wants to hear our specific prayers. We should pray to the Lord every day and should testify whenever there is opportunity. If all of us preach the gospel and lead people to the Lord this way, our spiritual life will advance quickly in a few years.

We must uphold the torchlight of the gospel and must light everyone around us. Let every Christian go forth to light others. The testimony of the gospel needs to go out from us until the Lord’s return. We should not be lit ourselves without lighting others. We should light more and more candles. So many souls before our eyes are in need of salvation. We must try our best to testify to them and lead them to Christ.

Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  The illustration was created by me after a study of the Greek word “eis” which means “into.”  David Williams – site Admin.

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