80. The Principles of Evaluating Potential Gospel Targets
(1) First, it is necessary to ascertain whether a potential gospel target is of good or poor humanity, whether they can accept the truth, and whether an evil spirit is at work in them. After this, establish whether the gospel may be spread to them;
(2) Having confirmed a potential gospel target is good, you must interact with sincerity and find opportunities to fellowship on the truth, thus paving the way for spreading the gospel;
(3) You must understand and perceive the caliber, preferences, vital weaknesses, and notions of a potential gospel target, in order to provide a background for future testimony to them;
(4) If a potential gospel target is found to be too arrogant and self-righteous to accept the truth, yet is gifted at spreading the gospel and is able to render service, you should endeavor to win them over.
Relevant Words of God:
Originally the man made by God was alive, but because of Satan’s corruption man lives amid death and lives under the influence of Satan, and so, in this way, people have become the spiritless dead, they have become enemies who oppose God, they have become the tools of Satan, and they have become the captives of Satan. All the living people created by God have become dead people, and so God has lost His testimony, and He has lost mankind which He created and which is the only thing that has His breath. If God is to take back His testimony and take back those who were made by His own hand but who have been taken captive by Satan, then He must resurrect them so that they become living beings, and He must reclaim them so that they live in His light. The dead are those who have no spirit, those who are numb in the extreme and who oppose God. They are foremost those who do not know God. These people have not the slightest intention of obeying God; they only rebel against Him and oppose Him and have not the slightest loyalty. The living are those whose spirits have been reborn, who know to obey God, and who are loyal to God. They are possessed of the truth, and of testimony, and these people alone are pleasing to God in His house. God saves those who can come to life, who can see God’s salvation, who can be loyal to God and who are willing to seek God. He saves those who believe in God’s incarnation and in His appearance. Some people can come to life, and some people cannot; this depends on whether their nature can be saved or not.
Excerpted from “Are You Someone Who Has Come to Life?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In performing the duty to spread the gospel, you must fulfill your responsibility. How do you understand the term “responsibility”? How do you take that responsibility and accurately apply it in real situations? That is your obligation—to pass on your understanding of the gospel and what you have received of it from God to those to whom He wants you to spread it. So, how do you spread it? It is not something you do in your spare time, and it is not spread according to your own feelings or preferences, nor by changing the menu as you feel each guest merits. Rather, it is spread according to God’s requirements and the principles of God’s house—this is to put it broadly. To put it specifically, it is doing all you can to find every opportunity to share what you have received and what you understand with those whom you are meant to share it. What should you do as you undertake this? Fulfill your responsibility, do all you can, and do not hesitate to pay any price. What does it mean to do all you can? It means that even if you have only been spreading the gospel for a short while and do not have much experience, or you are not a great speaker, or you are uneducated, you have no reason or excuse for not gaining people. You must redouble your efforts in this endeavor, understand the circumstances of those with whom you share the gospel, and look for appropriate means to share the gospel with them. For example, look at what gospel targets understand, what their personality is like, whether they are fond of speaking, and whether they like lively conversation. If they do not like lively conversation, you must speak a little softer and more slowly with them; if their level of education is not high, and their ability to understand is lacking, then you need to speak very methodically, slowly and steadily, line by line, bit by bit; if they have some cultural knowledge and like to listen to more scholarly language, but your level of education is insufficient, then you should prepare some scholarly materials, or find someone educated to partner with in your discussions with them. If a gospel target has great knowledge of the Bible but you have not read the Bible a day in your life, what are you going to do? You must equip yourself and search in the Bible specifically for what the gospel target needs, for relevant prophecies in the Old Testament and relevant verses in the New Testament. When you do not have anything to do, you should read, take notes, or memorize verses. Additionally, you must contemplate how religious people understand these verses in the Bible, and how you can get to a point where you can help these people understand them accurately and purely, so that, later, you can connect with these verses and guide them to understand God’s work in the last days. This is what it is to do homework. You must understand what various types of people need, and then, based on those circumstances, do a bit of homework. This is doing all you can and fulfilling your responsibility.
Excerpted from “Spreading the Gospel Is the Duty to Which All Believers Are Honor-Bound” in Records of Christ’s Talks
There are different types of people, and they are differentiated by what sort of spirit they have. Some people have human spirits, and they are the ones whom God predestined for selection. Some do not have human spirits; they are demons who have tricked their way in. They who were not predestined and chosen by God cannot be saved even if they have gotten in, and ultimately, they will be snatched away by demons. Whether people can accept God’s work, and, after they have accepted it, what path they walk and whether they can transform, all depends on the spirit and nature within them. Some people cannot help but go astray; their spirits determine them to be such people, and they cannot change. In some of them, the Holy Spirit does not work, because they do not walk the right path; if, however, they were to make a turnaround, the Holy Spirit could yet work. If they do not, then it will be all over for them. Every kind of situation exists, but whatever the case, God is righteous in His treatment of every person.
Excerpted from “How to Know God’s Righteous Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
God performs the work of the last days by expressing the truth to judge and cleanse people. As such, only those who are of good humanity, who love the truth, and who are able to comprehend God’s words and accept the truth have hope of salvation. In the course of spreading the gospel, we discover that there are but a handful among corrupt mankind who are of good humanity, who love the truth, and who can be saved; the majority do not meet the conditions for being spread the gospel. So, when spreading the gospel, we must first sound people out and choose those good people who truly believe in God and seek the truth. Only testifying God to those who meet the conditions for being spread the gospel is cooperating with God’s work of saving man and is in line with the will of God. If we are indiscriminate when spreading the gospel, then we are liable to bring into the house of God people who are not God’s chosen ones, such as people who do not understand spiritual things, evil spirits, absurd people, antichrists, wicked people, and false believers who just want to eat their fill of bread. These people are those who have no love for the truth at all and do not truly believe in God, or who are simply incapable of comprehending the truth, or who even run riot and commit many evil deeds. These people are of Satan and they are not chosen to be saved by God. Upon their entry into the house of God, not only will they not be saved, but they will cause interruptions and disturbances to the work of the house of God. And so, we must be discriminating when spreading the gospel, weed out those who do not meet the conditions for being spread the gospel, and bring before God those who accord with the principles by which the gospel is spread. Only this accords with God’s will.
Excerpted from The Fellowship from the Above
One must preach to good people with relatively good humanity who admit deep down that there is a God, are able to seek the true way, and can accept the truth, whether or not they are religious types or unbelievers. One must not preach to people who do not meet these conditions. God’s house now stipulates that, when preaching the gospel, people must do so according to the principles of “five preach” and “five do not preach.” No one may violate these principles.
The specifics of the “five preach” principles are as follows:
1. Only preach to people who truly believe that there is a God within their hearts and are willing to seek and investigate the true way.
2. Regardless of a person’s line of work or level of education, they can be preached to as long as they possess relatively good humanity and can accept the truth.
3. No matter what religious group a person previously belonged to—and this includes people who believe in all kinds of superstitions or have even worshiped evil spirits or false gods—they can be preached to as long as they did not professionally manage the religious group and are not possessed by evil spirits, and they are willing to seek and investigate the true way.
4. With regard to famous people in society from various walks of life, they can be preached to as long as they acknowledge that there is a God, can accept the truth, and it is assured that their comprehension is not absurd and that they do not perform all manner of wickedness.
5. With regard to religious leaders, they can be preached to as long as they acknowledge the true way and accept the truth, their reputation is not too bad, they are not wicked, and they are not absurd or unable to understand spiritual matters.
The specifics of the “five do not preach” principles are as follows:
1. Never preach to people who have been possessed by evil spirits for a certain period of time or who have the grave work of evil spirits.
2. Never preach to people with extremely poor humanity, who have bad reputations, who are capable of committing all sorts of wicked deeds, and who are evil people.
3. Never preach to people who look ferocious, ugly, and strange, like demons, and who make you feel uneasy or even horrified.
4. Never preach to people with various severe disabilities, whose minds are twisted, and who do not accept the truth easily.
5. Never preach to people of extremely low caliber who are of weak intellect and incapable of understanding God’s word the truth.
God’s chosen people must strictly abide by the above “five preach” and “five do not preach” principles. Anyone who preaches to one of the five types of people who must not be preached to is a person who disrupts and disturbs the gospel work. They will be regarded as someone who makes trouble out of nothing, a person who willfully misbehaves, and they must be given a warning. Such people must be stopped from fulfilling their duty if they do not repent. There can be flexibility in some special circumstances, and one must not adopt a “one rule fits all” approach. For instance, if a person is able to accept the truth but there is a suspicion that they fall into one of the “five do not preach” categories, they can be preached to as long as the following can be guaranteed: One, they are not possessed by demons; two, they are not a wicked person; and three, they are not a spy. If someone who can be preached to has some problems—perhaps they once spoke in tongues, or joined an evil spirit group, etc.—they can still be preached to if it can be guaranteed that they are at the very least able to contribute to spreading the gospel. If that person cannot contribute to spreading the gospel and might even cause damage or disruption, then they must certainly not be preached to. This is a special principle. Additionally, if a disabled person has a good reputation, and if it can be guaranteed that this person has good humanity, can accept the truth, and can contribute to spreading the gospel, then they can also be preached to. If an uncertain situation arises, the recommendations of the majority should be adopted through fellowship. In the past, churches everywhere were all constrained by certain rules in preaching the gospel, such as not preaching to people with birthmarks on their faces, people who have once contracted odd illnesses, people involved in pyramid schemes, people who have vitiligo, people with various kinds of disabilities, people who can see things with their eyes closed, people who have supernatural powers, people who can see strange phenomena, people who always have strange dreams, and so forth. All of this is wrong and absurd, and must be banned. A person can be preached to as long as they believe in their heart that there is a God, they have good humanity, can love the truth, accept the truth, is not a wicked person, is not possessed by demons, and is not someone who obviously has evil spirits working in them. This is the most elementary and simplest principle. Those who still cannot understand or grasp this are muddle-headed people.
Excerpted from Work Arrangements
Satan remains in power over this evil world and the great red dragon is still in its death throes, and so when one preaches the gospel, one must ascertain the principles of practice and a way to do it wisely according to the actual situation, and we can preach only to those who believe there is a God and seek the true way. It is therefore first necessary to learn how to identify people when preaching the gospel. We can converse with and feel out those who seem like good, dignified and decent people, and then preach to them only when we are sure they conform to the principles of preaching the gospel. Do not preach to those who seem like evil or foolish people or people with poor caliber; this is wisdom. Some demons may appear civilized, courteous and have a good temperament, but they are not necessarily good people who love the truth, and they could actually be truth-hating atheists. It is like how some officials may seem rather dignified, but the moment one mentions God, they grow fierce, and such people are truth-hating demons. Preaching the gospel to such people is looking for trouble and could easily bring problems. If you discover that someone is decent and guileless, then you must make contact with them when it is guaranteed that it is safe to do so. Once you can be sure that the person is a gospel target, you should first talk about some experiential testimonies of believing in God, observe their response to see if they are interested in the truth, and then decide whether or not to bear witness to God. This way of practice is safer. If two people are working together in preaching the gospel, they should also learn how to cooperate to first feel out people and then fellowship on the truth. Furthermore, they must also constantly observe the reaction of the gospel target in case of an unexpected situation. Only by working together in this way to preach the gospel will it be safe. It not only makes it easier to gain people but also guarantees safety at the same time. Those who preach the gospel and testify to God must pray to God with one heart and mind in order to properly fulfill their duty. That way, they will be able to live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is the most important principle of practice of spreading the gospel.
Excerpted from Work Arrangements