"The spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrine of demons" (1 Tim. 4.1). In the light of this solemn word from Paul, therefore, a good minister of Christ Jesus ought, as the apostle had charged Timothy, to "put the brethren in mind of these things, . . . for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee" (vv.6,16). At the time of the two lengthy Workers Training Sessions that were held in 1948 and 1949 at Kuling Mountain (near Foochow, China), brother Watchman Nee felt the need not only of equipping young workers to better serve the Lord but also of helping them in their spiritual life and knowledge. On the one hand, he gave talks on many weighty subjects such as Spiritual Authority, the Ministry of God's Word, etc. But on the other hand, he in addition touched on some quite elementary and yet fundamental matters such as are found in the Basic Lesson Series he gave that are instructions for new believers; and he gave many other basic presentations. For brother Nee realized that Christians can only build the weighty things upon the elementary things. If the foundation is rock-like, the building will stand; if, though, the foundation is sandy, the superstructure will collapse. How tempted we Christians are to hotly pursue after the weighty yet woefully neglect the fundamental. New believers need instruction not only in what are the truths; they likewise need it in what are not. The latter instruction is to keep us from falling, even as the former is to keep us growing and maturing.
This present volume deals exclusively with the elementary though nonetheless quite fundamental issues of the Christian life. Part One of the book, entitled "Warning and Encouragement," includes messages on the following variety of subjects: A change in Valuation, A Change of Behavior, How to Distribute Tracts, Forgive One Another, Our Attitude Towards Our Earthly Country, Waiting for the Coming of the Lord, Martyrdom, Idol Worship, and The Judaizers. All nine of these subjects were presented as messages by the author at the aforementioned Workers Training Session that was held in 1949. Notes were taken down in Chinese by a brother in the Lord, and are now being translated and published in English for the first time. To round out Part One further, two other messages, originally appearing as published articles, and entitled (1) Walk in the Will of God and (2) How to Know the Will of God, have been added. These two articles, too, are being translated and published in English for the first time. All matters need to be understood and to become settled issues in the early years of our Christian life. Otherwise we will not be able to make much progress spiritually. They are given here with the sole purpose of helping new believers to walk in truth and love, without any intention on the part of the author to be negative in his presentation of them. May they serve as both warning and encouragement.
Finally, to complete the teaching of the present volume, twenty-seven short articles written in Chinese by Watchman Nee during 1925 and 1926 have been brought together to form Part Two, "Admonition and Discipline." They, like the contents of Part One, are being translated and published in English for the very first time as well. Though set down and published long ago in China, their value has nevertheless increased rather than decreased with the passage of time. Indeed, these articles can be invaluable to new believers at all times, they being the very admonition and discipline of the Lord. Such practical exhortations as are found in these short writings by the author are crucial to Christian growth. May the blessed Lord use them to guide His children in their heavenly pilgrimage on earth.