Four Points of Exercise to Produce A Sweet Fragrance
Let’s turn to 2 Corinthians.
Well, yesterday we went quite fast through chapter 3. I do feel the spirit of revelation was in the meeting. That’s why something was so easy to be made so clear. So, we have to continue today to another major point: A Ministry and Not a Work. You have to remember all eight points. The first four points are how you exercise to produce this fragrance. If you don’t exercise the first four points, no matter how you understand the letter, the Spirit, the ministry, the work, the Christ, the self, the faith, and the sight, it will make no difference because you’re just flat. These four points are: first, you have to exercise all the time to be covered with the Lord’s presence. Second, you must experience Christ subjectively on all practical matters. Third, you have to learn to attach yourself to some brothers, or to some sisters, who are with you. Then, fourthly, you have to live for those who are with you in your locality.
You see, brothers, I do advise you and in a strong way, don’t take this kind of word lightly. They are very simple, but they are also very practical. I am not a newcomer. I’m not someone who just touched the Lord a couple of days ago, or even a couple of years ago. I’ve been in the recovery for quite a long time, and I have been in many churches. I’ve seen the rise and fall of many people in the recovery and basically, you can always examine the brothers with these four things. Who are the ones that can have the subsisting glory? Who are the ones that can remain for the Lord’s testimony? They are those who always practice these four things: Firstly, to be covered with the Lord’s presence. And secondly experience Christ subjectively on all practical matters. And thirdly, attach ourselves to some brothers. And fourthly, to live for those who are with us in our localities.
You see with the whole thing, there’s no self, there’s no flesh, and there’s no work. The whole thing is purely a godly exercise. You do know what is the mystery of godliness. That is God manifest in the flesh. Paul said very strongly that this is a great mystery. Great is the mystery of godliness that God was manifested in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).
Then, in 1 Timothy chapter 4, Paul began to admonish us: exercise unto godliness. He said, bodily exercise profiteth little, but godly exercise is profitable unto all things (1 Timothy 4:8). It is good for your spirit, it is good for your soul, it is good for your body, it is good for the church life, it is good for family life. It is good for your studies, it is good for your career, it is good for your relationship with your colleagues. It is good for the gospel, it is good for edifying the saints, it is good for raising up the new ones, it is good for functioning. Everything is included, just in one thing: godly exercise. This is not my word, this is the apostle Paul’s word. He said Godly exercise is profitable unto all things (1 Timothy 4:8). Not just some things, but all things. It’s good for hair cuts, it’s good for eyeglasses, it’s good for the food you eat, it’s good for sleep. Don’t think I’m joking! Let me tell you, in your haircut, there must be God. In your eyeglasses, there must be God. In your sleeping, eating, there must be God! Do you believe beer has God? Therefore don’t drink beer. Do you think movies have God? Therefore, don’t go to the movies. Don’t say, “We are not under the law!” We are not under the law of the Old Testament for the weakness, but we are under the law of Life, for the law of Life has set us free (Romans 8:2). Therefore, we are under the law—we’re under the law of Life!
So, brothers, how do you have godly exercise? You just try these four things. You will see, when you pick up a cigarette, try to smoke something, then what do you need to do? You need to exercise a little bit of godliness. You pick up the cigarette, “Oh Lord Jesus! Amen!” You know what’s going to happen? It “is profitable unto all things.” I can assure you, the cigarette wouldn’t get into your mouth. Why? Because you exercise to be covered with the Lord’s presence. You exercise to experience Christ on your weakness of smoking. On this very subjective matter, you experience Christ. Then, you learn to attach yourself to the brothers, you learn to live for the saints.
Brother, I couldn’t tell you how profitable these things are. That is why in this wonderful book, 2nd Corinthians, which is basically Paul’s autobiography, he begins with the secret of his victory. Why is Paul such a prevailing apostle? Mainly because he exercises these four things. By exercising these four things, he was made a fragrance. A Fragrance is composed of four items.
First, it is of spirit and not of letter. Second, it is a ministry and not a work. Third, it is to preach Christ and not self. Fourth, it is to walk by faith and not by sight. Isn’t that good? Isn’t that poetic? But these are all very realistic, aren’t they? Today we come to the important part: it is a ministry and not a work.
2 Corinthians 3:5 reads: “Not that we are competent of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our competency is of God.” Here, in this simple verse, it tells us the competency of the able minister is produced not of self, but of God. Let’s abide in this concept for a few minutes, until we are clear.
The Common Way in the Church: Seeking A Work
Please allow me to say a few things sarcastically. You may already realize that I’m a very rough person, even though I try not to be. So, I will explain to you, without any hesitation, exactly where you are. But, be restful and grant me some liberty with saying these sarcastic things.
Position and Promotions
You know, when you first come into the recovery, you are “little potatoes,” at the bottom of the totem pole. I believe in this room there are many such little potatoes. These little potatoes have one function: to be ordered around; to be told what to do. Anyone can come to you and tell you to do anything. A brother comes to you and asks, “Why don’t you go clean the restroom?” Then you, the little potato, clean the restroom. Then another brother comes, “Brother, it’s your turn—why don’t you drive to the Greyhound bus station? Brother so-and-so just arrived. Would you go pick him up?” So you go pick him up. Then you will be told: “Brother, don’t you know that you have to open up your house for hospitality? There is a difficult couple and we don’t know where to put them, so we put them in your house. Why your house? Because when we put a couple in a “giant’s” house, the “giant’s” wife usually has opinions, but little potatoes don’t have much to say. Both husband and wife just say, ‘Okay, okay, okay.’” Next, the brothers will tell you, “You know, brother, these young people have a meeting across town and they’re hungry now. They need some pizza. Can you go buy them some pizza?”
You see, the little potato has one very good function: to be ordered. But be patient, because the “promotion” is at hand. Blessed are those who are patient, for the promotion is theirs. So you see, gradually, you’re promoted. You’re promoted from a little potato, to become a little director of a team of three or four. Now you are a pizza director, a Greyhound bus director, a restroom director, or a taking-care-of-naughty-couples director. When something begins to come into your hand you don’t feel so bad. Your feeling is, even though Joe told me to do a lot, I can also tell somebody to do something. So now, you get a little bit relieved.
So brothers, be patient. Even if you have been here for just a short little while, you will be promoted. Then after you are promoted to be somebody, you look at the coordinators. The coordinators are quite big, you know. They coordinate something. Even their names: coordinators. You pray, “Oh Lord Jesus. I love you so much. I would like to function properly. Lord, give me the proper growth, so I can be a coordinator.” So you get another promotion. Most likely you’ve been in the church life for about two years already, and now the brothers approve of you. So you coordinate the purchasing of the toilet paper, and you’re coordinating to make sure this and that happens.
But anyway, in the church there are a lot of coordinators. After you’re a coordinator, then you see, you can begin to be specialized. Because now, you go through the major training, basic training in the church life, so blessed are the coordinators for the specialization is theirs. So now, some become specialized into the service office–they are service office deacons. Isn’t that wonderful? Now they sit in that office, they’re quite responsible and respected. And brothers would go to him: “hey, brother so-and-so, would you please help me, tell me…” “Oh, it’s over there.” “And would you please tell me…” “That’s over there.” “And I am looking for…” “It’s over there.” You see? You’re quite somebody! You tell everybody, “it’s over there.” Then, of course, they promote some into a young people’s leading one for the coordination of young people. That is even more glorious. It’s not subsisting glory, but it sure has a false glory. So blessed are the coordinators, for the false glory is theirs.
Brothers, please forgive me. They have all the false glory and so they take the lead, and they make sure the Lord’s move continues. They make sure we take the campus, they make sure we take the park, they even make sure we take the boat in the lake, and make sure all these things. Of course on top of this, you have the earnest prayer: “Lord, I just want to be one of the elders.” Isn’t that according to Timothy? It says to desire the eldership. So, “I just want to be one of the elders.” Of course, once you become the elder, you begin to realize: my church is too small, so you want to be an elder of a big church. Once you become an elder of a big church, then you wait. Well, maybe I will be a regional worker. Isn’t that good? Regional worker means “there’s a number of churches which are under my influence and effectiveness.” Then, from being a regional worker, you want to be a “Brother Lee junior.” And, of course, after you are the Brother Lee junior, you just hope you are “the Brother Lee.”
The Dangers of Seeking A Work
Competition in the Body
This is our “career” in the recovery. Well, brothers, I know it bothers you, but I’m sorry–isn’t it true of us? Cleveland and Seattle and whatever other place, we are all in the same boat. We’re building a wonderful pyramid. We are waiting to be Brother Lee someday. But there’s only one Brother Lee, so what’s going to happen? So you have to knock others off! You see, look here are 50 people, then 40 people here–10 were knocked off! Is that clear? 40 are here, and 30 here, so 20 were knocked off. That is why, after 80 years in the recovery, you find out this one has left, that one disappeared, this other one took off, still another one was defeated. Why? All because of one thing: they cannot be Brother Lee. Do you agree with me? Have you seen a lot of dropouts in the church life?
You know, sometimes, the brothers say: “there is a separation!” I say, “what?” “There’s a division!” I say, “what?” “Don’t you know, there is a separation between so-and-so and so-and-so?” I say, “what? The recovery is one. There is no separation, but there’s a lot of dropouts.” Watch, maybe I will be the drop out! If the Lord does not have mercy on me, if I get ambitious and I try to be “Brother Lee junior,” then I try to be “the Brother Lee,” then I will be a dropout! You see, gradually, so many ones drop out. Under this concept, no doubt I am afraid. Suppose we have 500 people in this room, I am afraid that 499 would drop out, because only one can “be Brother Lee.” To be honest with you, I doubt there would be even one. The age has changed, so everybody would become a dropout because nobody can be another Brother Lee anyway. Honestly, I don’t believe the Lord will raise up another spiritual giant like Watchman Nee or Brother Lee before the Lord comes back. I don’t believe this is the Lord’s commitment to us, though, so even this is to drop out; even if you remain here, you may be a “dropout.” Then naturally, everybody becomes a drop out.
Becoming a Church-Goer
Then do you know what’s going to happen? Some will say, “Well, brother, I love the recovery so much, I hate to drop out.” So you don’t drop out, but you do become a church-goer. You always feel “I’m no use, the ball is in the hand of the young people, and all the action is on the campuses, and so on and so on…” The result is that, just as a Baptist is faithful to being a Baptist, we are faithful to the Local Churches. Don’t think I’m joking. Brother, this is a scary thing.
Once you see this, you will be scared to death. You would go to the Lord: Lord, be merciful to me. I’d rather be a fresh, fervent potato. I don’t want to become a dropout. I don’t care how little my potato is, but I just want to be in the recovery in a strong and fervent way. But no matter how pure you begin, for some reason Satan will creep in by simply telling you: “Do you see that? That brother, John, came into the church life at the same time as you, but the elder told him to sit in the second row! Meanwhile, you are still sitting in the fifth row! Do you see that?” Then you would pray, “Oh, Lord, I love you so much, I don’t think I’m very hopeful. I don’t know what to do, but I love you. Oh, Lord Jesus.” You begin to have self-pity. Then, after you have self-pity, you begin to establish your way: I’m gonna fight! I’m gonna fight for the manifestation of my part! So you go to a sister: “Sister, I love the Lord! This morning I read Romans 8 and I found out, ‘no longer I, but Christ.’” That sister says these words are not so bad. So you sit in the second row, then you get so happy and look at John smugly. Then you fight more: “Dexter, hallelujah, oh amen!” Dexter says: ooh, this is a good brother. You should come to the first row. You look at John, “Who has grown like me? Praise the Lord, I was in the recovery for only a year-and-a-half and already I’m the most manifested, appreciated, hopeful, potential-ed, young person in Seattle and in the whole recovery!” Oh, Lord Jesus–do I bother you? I should bother you. Blessed are those who are bothered, for the light is theirs. Do you agree with me? You surely need some light. Not only do you need light, but I need it too for I also wanted to be Brother Lee.
A Personal Story
This is a very shameful story, but since I put you on the spot, I might as well put myself on the spot as well. When I was in high school, Brother Lee lived right beside the meeting hall. I would regularly ride my bicycle through the alleyway near his house. One time I told myself: “Lord, I will never be Watchman Nee, but I will be Witness Lee the second.” This is a young man’s ambition, never satisfied with being a “small potato.”
At that time I went to the meetings at the meeting hall a lot. One day I went to the meeting hall and all of my spiritual buddies were gone. These really good brothers who had been with me, including Benjamin and a few other brothers, had all disappeared. I looked around and wondered “Were they all raptured? They all disappeared! Where are they?” Then, because we were usually at either hall one or at hall three, I went to check for them at hall three, but they were not there, either. The next day I went to the hall and again, they were not there. The third day, they were not there. The fourth day, they were not there. I started to get very anxious. How come all my dear brothers disappeared? Where are they? After about a week, finally I found Benjamin. I said, “Oh, praise the Lord! Benjamin, here you are! Where have you been?”
He said, “I was in the retreat.”
“In the what?”
He said, “The retreat!”
“What kind of retreat?”
“The selected retreat.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well, you know, the church had selected the potential good ones to have a retreat in order to train us.”
I said, “What???!” I was about to faint! That means I wasn’t potentialed because I was not selected. I wasn’t hopeful, therefore I had no right to participate. Yet I had fully given myself to the recovery, I had no more future, I had no more career, I didn’t care about anything, I just loved the church, and now, I’m hopeless. Then, I looked at him and said, “Brother, do you mean…”
He said, “Yeah, you know, the brothers asked those who they felt that, you know, they’re functional. They’re useful.” And the more he said, the more I said, “Oh yeah, oh yeah?”
Brothers, I’m so thankful for that experience. That was 20-some years ago. I wasn’t selected, I wasn’t hopeful, I wasn’t useful, and my buddies all got to be selected. But I still remember, I was pure by the Lord’s mercy. I sat down immediately. I said, “Brother, I wasn’t in the training. Now you tell me what the brothers covered. Tell me everything.” Then Benjamin had a long orientation with me to review all that was covered during that time–everything–and I learned from him. I wouldn’t let it go.
Spiritual Organization is From Ourselves
You see, brothers, our concept was just like this. We rebuke pyramids; We attack pyramids. But we are in the pyramids. Isn’t that peculiar? This is not right. We don’t practice what we say. We rebuke denominations: that is an organization! But we have a spiritual organization of our own. I don’t mean from elders, I mean from us. Within us, there is a kind of spiritual organization.
God’s Way: A Ministry, and Not a Work
Brother, let me ask you, what is this? This is a work, is that clear? Now, let’s see, what is a ministry, or what is God’s way? This point is so rich, we need two meetings to cover it.
Now I want you to read one more verse, a few more verses with me. Could you all turn to 1 Corinthians, chapter 12, verses 4 through 6. These are the three very good verses. Can we read verse 4 through 6?
“Now there are differences of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are differences of operation, but it is the same God who operates all things in all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
These are three very interesting verses. In these three verses, it mentions a Spirit, it mentions the Lord, and it mentions God. So actually, it mentions the Triune God. And the Triune God is dispensing Himself for the Body life in three ways. The Spirit gives us the gifts and the Lord produces the ministry. And God operates for – maybe I just put in a word – for His economy.
Gifts are From the Spirit
You see here, in these three simple verses, it tells us how to have a healthy church life. It doesn’t go in this way:: I get promoted, I get promoted, I get promoted. No! It goes in this way: You first have to realize, are you born again? Are you born again? Okay, so you have the Spirit, don’t you? When the Spirit came into you, do you know what you received? You received a gift. Every one of us is gifted. No one can say, I’m useless, I’m useless. This is the religious humbleness, religious humiliation. Everyone should be so bold: Praise the Lord! I have the Spirit! And I am gifted! Everyone should have this kind of boldness. I am a gifted brother in the recovery. But not to coordinate toilet paper. I have some gift because I do have the Spirit. There are “differences of gifts, but the same Spirit.” This very Spirit that comes to you, and comes to me, and comes to many brothers and sisters, immediately produces all kinds of gifts. And not all the gifts are alike.
You have heard many brothers share with you already, haven’t you? You have heard Brother Lee, you have heard John Ingles, you have heard Bill Freeman, you may have even heard Bill Mallen, and you have heard many brothers. Benson Phillips told me he was here. In fact, he was a strong one, he told me “You got to go to Seattle this time.” He was the one who told me through the phone, “You have to go, brother, you have to go.”
Anyway, you see, you do realize we are all different. Not one is the same. Who is better, you tell me? Let me put you on the spot. Who is better? Bill Freeman? That’s the brother you love the most, who you have to love the most. Is he better than me? Oh Lord. Everybody’s put on the spot, you see? And, do you think Benson is better than Bill? Or better than John? Huh? Do you think John is better than Bill?
I tell you, you have to say: praise the Lord, from the very beginning, the Lord never put us in that kind of standard. From the very beginning, the Spirit came in. When the Spirit comes in, everyone becomes gifted. No one should say: I’m not gifted. Even if you can say, I’m not gifted, that proves you are gifted. Everyone’s gifted! Everyone receives a gift from the Lord. And maybe even more than one gift from the Lord. Everyone, when they are born again, they become gifted.
Producing a Ministry by Being Under the Lord’s Lordship
Gifted doesn’t mean much in itself because as long as you are saved, you’re gifted, am I. You need the Lordship. Why? Because the gifts need to produce ministry. The Spirit comes from the Lord. How do you make the gift to be a ministry? For instance, look at Bill Freeman, John Ingles, Benson, and–Lord cover me–even you look at me, as this poor brother. In each case, you should realize, these brothers have something. I’m not Brother Lee; I’m not a great giant. But I have something: I have a ministry. I don’t have THE ministry, but I have A ministry. I can’t be as bold as Brother Lee: “This ministry, this ministry.” I have to say “My ministry; my little ministry.” I do have a ministry! How can your ministry be produced? You have to shift from merely a gift to being under the Lord’s lordship.
I will give you an illustration. I was born in China, so I didn’t have many chances to play soccer. I had thought about soccer, I’d heard about soccer, and I’d even thought, if I could play soccer, that would be wonderful! But I never had the chance. Then, one day I met a brother in Brazil. When he was 14 years old a professional soccer team was already trying to recruit him. At just 14 years old! One day, he played with the soccer ball in front of me. He got it up, he got it down, and the whole time the ball never left his foot! Up and down, behind and front–I looked at it, and said, “Wow, surely, how long have you been under this ‘soccer-ship’?” Do you know what I’m talking about? You see, you don’t just say: “Oh look, I can play soccer, see?!” Then go there *bong!* the ball’s already away–No! you have to be under the “soccer-ship” for years! You have to be under the discipline of soccer-ship. You have to play with it, you have to carry it, you have to take it to school, you have to take it home. When it’s your break time, you have to go to the field and play. Then, soccer controls you. When you are under the soccer-ship for a number of years, if you are gifted–if you are not gift then it doesn’t work–but if you are gifted at soccer, then that soccer-ship will become a profession. It will make you a professional soccer player.
Is there any baseball player, any football player, who isn’t like this? Can you testify to me, isn’t that your case? Anything you really know well is this way. Any pianist must be under the piano-ship for years. In the morning they play the piano; they are not tired. Even those around them get tired of hearing the piano all the time. You ask, “What is this?” They will tell you, “Piano-ship.” They have the piano-ship with the idea that someday, they can really play piano. Then you can be under a football-ship, or under a baseball-ship, or under a soccer-ship. I tell you, some sisters are under beauty-ship, so they always pay attention to what kind of perfume they have and to what kind of lipstick they wear. Everyone has to live under a certain “-ship.” Some Christians are under a career-ship; their whole being is given just to their career: “I could work 60 hours! I want a promotion!”
Here the Bible tells us: now that you have the Spirit, you are gifted (1 Corinthians 12:4). But gifts in themselves will never build up the church. Don’t ever trust your gift. Even though you are able to preach, even though you have a loud voice, even though you have a strong spirit, they will never build up the church. What builds up the church? Ministries. Ministries build up the church. The gift is natural; the ministry comes out of the discipline and the feeding of the Lordship. Are you saved? Amen. So are you gifted? Yes. Are you useful? I’m not quite sure. Why are you not quite sure? It all depends on how much you are under the Lordship.
Diversity of Gifts; Diversity of Ministries
Okay, firstly, you have the Spirit. Then, secondly, you must be under the Lordship to produce the ministry. These are hard words. They are not exciting words, but they are very realistic. Young people, would you like to be used by the Lord? Do you want your gift to be used? Do you want to be useful in the sight of – in the hand of – the Lord? I tell you, don’t aim at “I will knock down these 10 brothers so I can be in the 40, then I’ll knock down another 10 so I’ll be in the 30, then more so that I’ll be in the 20–” You know, what kind of thing this is? This is just a political purging. How poor, how cheap is that? The highest thing is not in this way. The highest thing is, we are just born different.
Perfecting One Another
We’re all born different. I can never be you, and you can never be me. You may say, “This brother looks so weighty! He is not as I am; I just can’t be that weighty.” Some brothers, even when they stand up you realize, when you go to him, you will have a kind of safety. But, if you come to me, you’re not quite sure what will come out of my mouth! Brother, you cannot be me and I cannot be you. We all are different. Why? We all are saved; we all are gifted. Therefore, according to our gift, the Lord is producing the ministry. We are all gifted differently. Therefore, when we develop our ministry, then all ministries will be different. There is no comparing them and no competition between them. One helps the other. One supports the other. One strengthens the other. One stands with the other. One perfects the other.
For instance I realize Benson was with you last year. Then, I heard John was with you a couple of weeks ago. Do we come here knocking at each other? Do I have to say, “Brothers, now it’s my turn! Now let me make a show to you!” No! I am standing with John. John is standing with Benson. Benson is standing with Bill. We are all just standing with one another. Why? Because every ministry is supporting the other ministries. This is very beautiful. This is building.
The Same God Operates All Things in All
So now, do you know the problem with many ministries? Once they get a ministry, they begin to say “my ministry, my ministry.” There are a lot of ministries. We in Ohio, have Rex Humbard’s ministry. There are many people who proclaim, “I have a ministry.” Oral Roberts says, “I have a ministry.” Billy Graham says, I have a ministry. Rex Humbard says, “I have a ministry.” Everyone is quick to proclaim they have a ministry, yet very few realize that God is the one who operates. It is not the ministry which operates. You have a ministry, but you don’t operate. God operates.
Now when you read that verse: “And there are differences of operation but it’s the same God who operates all things in all,” you should realize who operates: God operates. We don’t operate. There’s a song which says,
“Every moment, every member,
Girded, waiting Thy command;
Underneath the yoke to labor
Or be laid aside as planned.”
I read this song, but I didn’t understand it. What do you mean, laid aside? What do you mean by this? Later I began to realize: no ministry can function according to its ministry. All ministries have to function according to God’s operation. How many operations does God have in the whole universe? There’s only ONE operation! What is that operation today? The recovery of the testimony of the churches. No doubt, this is God’s one operation! Should any operation divide the body, any operation divide the church, any operation damage the body, it is not God. Is it a ministry? Yes, it can be a ministry. It could be, or it may not be; we are not the judge, God is the judge. But one thing is for sure: even if we have a ministry, we cannot assume the ministry–I have a ministry, therefore let me do this, let me do that—No, God only has one operation. It’s up to how God operates us together to accomplish His purpose.
This is a hard portion, but I hope now you see the two pictures here. Does it make sense to you? Don’t you see how poor this is? Nothing–Nothing but a display of ambition, of ability, of career, of the desire of a career. Nothing. So the whole thing has to go. But here, everything is precious. The Triune God dispenses Himself to us in such a wonderful way. First, we need to be saved. When we are saved, the Spirit comes to us. When the Spirit comes to us, we all can boast, “Hallelujah, I am a gifted brother!” Then, don’t just say “I’m gifted.” You need to learn, you need to be trained. How are you trained? You need to be under the Lordship. For instance, suppose I can sing a song. But in order to sing a song I have to sing! I got to do it every day. If I don’t exercise, I just cannot sing! I must be under the voice-ship. You brothers have to pick up all my peculiar illustrations just for your sake I do this, so I can really impress you.
You must realize, if you are a soccer player then you have a soccer-ship, a football player has a football-ship, a pianist has a piano-ship, a career person has a career-ship, and for us who love the Lord, who love the recovery, what do we have? We have the Lordship! Hallelujah! With this Lordship the gift can be transformed into a ministry. Then, after the ministry you need to be under God ship. You have to realize you don’t just operate that easy. Your operation must be for God’s operation. Actually, it is only this one God who operates the whole thing. Is this clear now?
The Function of Position
Now, we need to realize that everything relates to the functioning of position. There are two functions. In the work you have the function of position. Here you have the function of ministry. You see, here you have two functions. In the world, what do you have? That is, if I would be an elder then I would do this. That is why the young people are so anxious to get the ball into their hands. Do you know why they say such things? Because they have the function of position. Isn’t that clear? You say: The elders control me! What do they control? Let me tell you, no elder can control your prayer. I believe Joe is here, but brothers you be frank in his presence, it doesn’t matter. Young brother, do you believe Joe ever told you that you pray too much, or you exercise your spirit too much, or you’re too much in the presence of the Lord, or you read the word too much? No elder is in control. The real control is when you want to be the elder because when you can get it, then you can control. Do you agree with me? You just want to do something according to your desire yet you don’t have a chance. So what do you say? I’m controlled. Why? Because you are under the work. Everyone that is under the work needs the function of position. That’s why in denominations you either have to be the pastor or you have to be on the board to do something, otherwise you’re useless. I either have to be a minister or a pastor or to be on the board to vote him out so you can do something. You must have a position; without the position you can do nothing.
The Functions of the Elders
But, brothers, the real function should be the function of a ministry. Sometimes, the function of a position is not bad. You cannot condemn it. For example, we have elders, which is right. We should have elders. The Bible tells us we should have elders. We also have deacons, which is right since the Bible tells us we should have deacons. It is easy for us to accept elders and deacons, only it is not easy because if we only have the function of a position then we are still limited. Don’t say, “Once I’m an elder then I have the function of position. Once I’m not an elder then I have the function of ministry.” That’s not right. If I’m an elder then I am supposed — or at least am learning to be — an elder. So what? So I have a function of position. But the real thing that gets me going is not the position but is the ministry.
When I am with the churches here or with the church in Cleveland, the real thing that helps the saints is not me (Titus) walking in and saying, “I’m Titus, don’t you know? I have come here to get you started. You are my disciples and my children and…” No! What helps the saints is the function of my ministry. If one day I began to have an argument with them, “brother you got to listen to me because I am an elder!” You see, I’m already quite shameful because I’m only in the function of position. But you don’t say this. You say, ohh all the elders are in the function of position. No, the elders also have a ministry.
Position and Ministry Are Not Exclusive
But not everyone who has a ministry can have a position. But if things are healthy, everyone who has a position should have a ministry. Without a ministry that position will not last very long. Let me be very frank. Why do we young people get wild? Because we don’t see these ministries, and we are under the function of position. Because we are under the function position, we grasp at the position. We will do anything, including knocking somebody down, or propagating among the churches. Why? Because of the functioning of position you feel you have to make sure you are known, to make sure you are displayed, to make sure you’re wonderful. You have to make sure you are somebody. You have to make sure that you’re a coordinator. You have to make sure you are coordinating the campus, or coordinating the working young people, or are coordinating the toilet paper, or all these things. You just make sure you hold a position. Once you hold a position you feel “I got it.”
Functioning in Ministry in Any Position
Brothers, no! These are of the work. A proper function is a function of a ministry. Once you have a ministry nobody can limit you. Let me give an illustration. All of a sudden, the Lord leads me — it’s not true but suppose it is — to move to Seattle. So I come to Seattle and the brothers say, “Oh here comes Titus. He’s a troublemaker. We don’t know what to do with him. We better take him, assign him to wash the restrooms.” Then when I come here the elders get me and say, “Titus, you know we’re so glad you are here. We realize you have some function in the body, therefore we all feel that you should clean the restroom.” Let me tell you, if I have the function of a ministry this shouldn’t bother me at all! But if I have the function of position I’ll be “What?! Say it again! I’m going to call brother Lee.”
If I have the function of a ministry then I should say, “Brothers, thanks. I’m thankful to the Lord that you brothers care for me,” and go clean the restroom. While I’m cleaning the restroom, you walk in and you might say, “Hey how come you’re here, Titus?” “Well,” I would say, “the Lord gave me the burden to move to Seattle and I just love the church in Seattle and the elders told me the best function for me is to clean the toilet. How about you? Are you here to clean also?” Then we begin to clean the toilet together. While cleaning the toilet I can share a lot. I can say, “Brother, how about we pray? O Lord! How about we be covered with the Lord’s presence? Amen. Let us experience Christ objectively. Amen. How about from now on we just be attached to each other. Brother where do you live? I’d like to go to your home to have a sandwich with you.” Isn’t this good? Then pretty soon many brothers would have a reaction, “You just shouldn’t put Titus on cleaning the restroom. That is not his function.”
There is No Limiting the Function of the Ministry
You see? Brothers, it is so natural that even the body, even the membrane in the body, begins to react — in a good way, not at all in the rebellious way, not at all in the resisting way. Even elders will begin to feel, Lord, we did something not too wise, we put that brother in the restroom. O Lord Jesus, rescue him out of the restroom and put him to the front line. Let him fight. You see, it’s very natural.Why? Because I shouldn’t have any concern. If the Lord would lead me to Seattle I shouldn’t have any concern, wondering “If I go there will I have be an elder or not? Will Joe be happy? Will Dexter be happy? Will Russ get real mad at me? Oh, how about the young people?” Brothers, my only concern should be, “Do I have a ministry?” “Do I have a ministry?” If I don’t, then I should go to the restroom. I should learn something under the Lordship. If I do have a ministry, then people will get me out of the restroom. The saints in the church life will get me out of it. Of course I’m just using the restroom service as an illustration. Do you see how the function of the ministry is unlimited? There is no way to limit it. No one can limit those who have a function of the ministry.
Each One Has A Gift
Let’s say that I got saved, but I don’t read much. I didn’t graduate from high school. I feel as though I’m a useless brother and I can never be wherever the action is. I’m always where the action is not. It seems I don’t have anything. But! I do have a gift. No one can say, “Titus, you don’t have a gift.” As long as I’m saved, I have a gift! I would fight real loud and declare, “I have a gift!” Brothers, you all have to learn to shout like this. “I have a gift!” Then I give myself to the Lord. “Lord, I love you. I love your recovery.”
A Gift Becomes a Ministry
Cultivating the Gift
Let’s say that my function is to pray. So what if all the young people are on the front line? So what if all the brothers are where the action is, and all these other brothers know how to offer money, how to arrange the chairs, and I don’t know anything about these? For I do know one thing: I know how to kneel down. I know how to pray. When I pray, I pray for the young people. I pray for the older ones. I pray for the church. I pray for the gospel. I pray for the recovery. I continue to pray and after just two or three years under the Lordship, prayer becomes my ministry.
Formerly it was just a practice of prayer because I just prayed. Then later after two or three years, prayer becomes my ministry. I walk into the meeting, I look around, and immediately I know so-and-so needs intercession, because that is my ministry. Immediately I can discern, you know, if I don’t pray for the church, next month the church will be in trouble. You know, then what? Once I have a ministry, I become a real help to the body. I am not in any position — I’m still a “little potato.” I’m still told to go around, to clean the restroom, to take care of the toilet paper. But at the same time, my prayer becomes such a life imparting thing to the church. When I pray for the saints, the saints become strong. When I pray for the saints, the saints are spiritual. When I pray for the church, the church is prevailing. Why? Because my prayer is not religious. It’s under the Lordship. I was dealt with by the Lord, l go through things through the Lord. Day by day, the Lord has dealt with me and is dealing with me on many things: my habit, my food, my eating, my sleeping, my dressing — in everything, the Lord deals with me. My hair, my eyeglasses, my shoes, and even my thoughts, my mind, my taste, my hobbies. The Lord is dealing with me. He is dealing with me. The more I pray, the more the Lord deals with me. Finally, I’m a person who is just saturated with the Lord.
Ministry Builds the Body
According to James, the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (cf. James 5:16). When I pray, the Lord listens immediately. Even when the whole church comes together, “Lord we bind the strong man!” the strong man still moves quite mightily. But when I begin to pray, “Lord get that little guy out of here, we don’t want that strong man,” the strong man will go. Why? Because with me it is a ministry. Am I known? I’m not. Am I appreciated? I’m not. Am I building the church? Amen! I am! Surely, I build up the church with my ministry. Then, after some time, I can assure you, surrounding churches will hear about it. There’s a brother who knows how to pray. He can kneel down for three hours. Don’t you believe that, in the recovery, we need somebody who knows how to kneel down for three hours? Someone who can even help the elders to kneel down for three hours? At least me, I need somebody who has such a ministry, who can get me to kneel down for three hours because I stand up too fast.
Pretty soon, Moses Lake will hear about it, then most likely they will invite the brother, “Brother, would you please come and help us just to pray?” You go there, and it is not a conference; it is nothing special. There is no announcement about it because your ministry is not to stand up. Once you stand up you struggle to say “Praise the Lord.” You don’t know what to do! But once you pray, saying, “O, Lord Jesus!, Amen! A prevailing one, amen, hallelujah! Your Lordship, Your Kingship—” all the brothers, the whole church, all the gospel, all the recovery, a lot of things will come out. Why? Because the Lord has had the Lordship with you for years. Whether two years, three years, or four years. That’s why your person was so geared with prayer. Just after your visitation to Moses Lake, everyone in Moses Lake will have learned how to pray. Then Spokane hears about it, so then Spokane will naturally say, “Brother, would you come?” Then you go over there, and you do nothing but pray with the brothers: You pray with the elders, you pray with the youth coordinator, you pray with a brother, you pray with a sister. Pretty soon, many will have a burden to pray. Then what? Then you hear more about the Northwest region: Eugene, Roseburg, Portland. Then, eventually, even Ohio hears about your prayer ministry. Then I would say, “Brother would you please come and help us? We are just short on a ministry of prayer. Would you please?” Then, you would say, “What? Ohio?! It’s so far away!” Well, brother, we don’t care. Why? Because the usefulness of a ministry is unlimited.
Ministry Effective Beyond Position
Now, suppose I say “You are the elder here. You are the elder of a big church. You are elder John. John is the elder of a big church with three thousand brothers. What is his effectiveness? Just three thousand people. At worst, he spiritually kills everybody. But here, here is a small brother. He’s a potato — Potato James. Here is the elder John, killing three thousand, and messing it all up. And here is Potato James, praying for Elder John, “Oh Lord Jesus, strengthen John, amen!” And no one complains. Don’t complain! “Oh Lord Jesus in all your authority, give him wisdom,” and pretty soon, elder John is not killing anybody! Rather, he is giving life. And then I tell you, this potato James, his effectiveness is not three thousand. It’s a whole recovery. Every local church will be affected by his prayer. Did I wake you up, young people? Now drop your ball under the Lordship. Is that clear? Don’t you realize it was such a pitiful thing to think about position?
Lord has no intention. The Lord says there are differences of gifts but the same spirit. There are differences of ministry but the same Lord. There are differences of operations but the same God who operates all things in all. You see? Then I tell you, this potato James, he may never be famous. He may never be glorious in a sense, holding a conference and all the young people look at them “I wish I just could be like that someday. I wish I could be like that someday, so wonderful.” You know, nobody appreciates you. You’re old. You’re uneducated. You are even a high school dropout. But, when people touch you, they begin to pray. When you see people, you begin to pray. Your prayer ministry becomes a real blessing to the churches.
The Churches’ Need Today
Let me ask you brothers, what does the recovery need today? Does the recovery need more elders? No, the recovery needs more ministry. Do you agree with me? We even need a ministry from those who know how to read the Life Studies. We need a brother who can travel around and wherever he goes, he gets everybody to read the life study, because he knows how to read it, he got help from it, and he really enjoys it. Let me tell you, brother Lee was so dynamic we couldn’t cope with him. All these books come out, all the videotapes, all the audio tapes, and we just don’t know what to do with all the riches. We need a ministry to help us to know how to digest it. And you don’t need to be a big guy to know how to read the Life Study. Do you know how to read the Life Study? Can you read it? If you can read it, then maybe you’ve got a ministry. Then our little brother will travel around, and everywhere he goes, “Praise the Lord! Read the Life Study!” Don’t think I’m saying this kind of thing lightly. This is not a small thing. Everybody for sure can have a ministry. If many brothers could have a ministry, some know how to pray, some know how to read and study the Life Studies, some know how to reap in new ones, some know how to preach the gospel, some know how to fellowship and speak with unsaved ones and get them saved, some know how to deal with widows, and so on. I tell you brothers, You don’t know how rich the recovery is! And there is no competition. There is no frustration. Everyone has his portion, according to the gift the Lord has given to them.
Realizing the Function of All Members Requires Us to be Under the Lordship
I tell you brothers, for years we have talked about something so pretty: all the members function in the building of the Church; everyone is a joint of supply. But we don’t quite see it. Therefore, we got into ball games. We got into cheesecakes. Because we don’t quite see that. Why don’t we quite see that? Because in the recovery we neglect being under the Lord’s Lordship. The Lordship will produce the ministries. And the ministries will become the real blessing to the recovery. You know, brothers, I can testify out of my heart, I was waiting in these years, waiting, to see more ministries. More ministries. You have to take my word in the right way. If we are not cautious, our way will become too narrow. We just develop two lines. One line is a working line, one line is a business line. Do you know what I’m talking about? The working line belongs to the young people. They carry, they go, they fight, they plan, they prepare the gospel tracts. And the business line goes to the service office. We don’t have the concept that the gift I have must be developed into a ministry.
O Lord Jesus, this is a heavy word. Do you appreciate it? Are you a gifted brother? Are you gifted? We all have to say, are you gifted? Can you be like me? “I am gifted!” Can you do this? You should be so bold: “I am gifted!” Can we say it together? I am gifted! We shouldn’t look at ourselves and say, “I am useless.” You are gifted, that is wonderful. So give yourself to the Lord; give yourself to the church. That way, you can be under the Lordship and allow the gift to develop into a ministry. Then, from the ministry, there will be the proper operation.
Contrasting the Ministry and the Work
Let me read some verses with you, that are very interesting. Can we read 2 Corinthians chapter two, verse seventeen? You can see all these are the contrast between the ministry and the work. Here it says, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God, but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ.” Now, “corrupt the word of God,” the word corrupt, we better translate as, “which make a trade out of the Word of God.” Make the word of God into a trade. You have to realize this morning there are many places making the Word of God a trade — that means a career. For instance, I go to seminary and I learn something, just like people go to a certain Chemistry department and learn something. Then after I learned, I use what I learn to make a living. What is that? That is to make a trade. Make a trade of the Word of God.
Dishonesty and Craftiness
Then chapter 4 verse 1: “Therefore seeing we have this ministry as we have received mercy we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness.” Now you see these are the workers. “The hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness” — that shows that if you are for the work, do you know what’s going to happen? You will walk in craftiness. You have to use some of your means to meet the goal. Like the brother testifying how he was inviting someone to his home for dinner. On the way he asked him, “Do you drink?” The man says, “Yeah.” Therefore, he bought a bottle of wine and they drank together. What is this? This is a craftiness. Try to make cheesecake a means to gain people to Christ. Try to make candy, or ball games, or to make any such activities as a means to gain Christ. Paul says do you know? I have a ministry! Therefore, I fear not. I’m not afraid, because I know I have a ministry. I don’t care how people deal with me. Then he said, “but I have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty.” You must realize anyone that is involved in work will be filled with dishonesty. Why? Because the work would give us gain. I will cover this tonight. The work will only bring us to gain, so naturally we would have hidden things of dishonesty and the walking craftiness.
Handling the Word of God Deceitfully
Then Paul says “nor handling the Word of God deceitfully.” We even have to handle the Word of God deceitfully. It just gives you the illustration of a golden heaven. The very thought of a golden heaven was generated from the Catholics. From this they deceive the people and therefore they give them the doctrine: if you believe in the Lord you will go to heaven. If you don’t, then you’ll go through purgatory or these kinds of things. All these are deceitful things. It’s just like when I was in Brazil and I realized they have the carnival. You know, carnival means “carnal festival.” Carnival: the festival for your carnal, that is, for your flesh. In those seven days you can do everything. One brother told me, Lord cover me, and maybe even it’s kind of filthy — He said how before he was saved for seven days he would date seven girls. Every day he said they can do anything. All that you needed to do was on the eighth day go to repent. When the eighth day came the Catholic Church had a long line of people. It was so full of people you wouldn’t even have the chance to see the father. Do you see what this is? This is the handling of the Word of God deceitfully.
Keeping the Family Tradition
I feel I should just say a few words out of the word in my heart to you. I hope you brothers can take my word. You just read these verses you realize when Paul was on this earth he was confronting another group of people also preaching Christ. They were also exalting the name of Jesus, but they made trade out of the Word of God and they handled the Word of God deceitfully, and they used dishonesty, and craftiness. But with Paul it’s very simple. He says, “of sincerity as of God” (2 Co 2:17). Then he says, “commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Co 4:2) .
Allow me to say a word about my concern for the Recovery. I’m 42. I’m kind of old. You must realize the Recovery was started not cheaply. It was started with a great price paid by Miss Barber. Then through Miss Barber Watchman Nee was helped. Then through Watchman Nee, brother Lee was helped. Then through the riches of these people we got help. From the very beginning it is something absolute. It is something high. It is something up to the heart of God himself. Do you know what this is? These are our family traditions. We have a family tradition. This family tradition is the absoluteness. This family tradition is the highest standard, living in the presence of God. You know, in the United States there are many big families. The Kennedys are a big family, the Tafts are a big family. They have many senators, maybe even have Presidents, until recently their family tradition was broken. Once the family tradition was broken, do you know what happened? This family is falling apart. As long as you hold the family tradition you are prevailing. Even the United States has a family tradition. Ten, fifteen years ago seemingly that family tradition was broken. When that family tradition was broken a little country like Vietnam defeated us. Why? Because we lost our family tradition.
Experiencing Our Family Tradition
I was saved in 1953, that’s about 20 years already that I was saved. When I was saved into the church life I know what kind of church life I was saved into. It was high. It was godly. It was glorious. It was absolute. Let me tell you, when I first got saved, I feel the whole church was so godly that me, if I can give my whole being to the recovery this is more than a glory, more than an honor. Many times I was laying there crying out, “Lord don’t give me up, because I’m not worthy. I’m so poor, I’m so disqualified, but be merciful to me, allow me to go on with you.” Why? The recovery to me was so high and so revealing, so glorious.
At that time, I liked to go to the meeting hall. When I walked into the meeting hall I just felt the Lord’s presence. I don’t care if people ask me, I’m religious, I’m non-religious. I feel this is a healthy presence. I would go to the meeting hall, I would walk around to the hall and nobody could be there but I like to go, I like to walk around, and I tell you, at that time I fasted often. When I was fasting I would always go to the meeting and fast because in the back of the hall there were two small rooms, that were usually empty. I went there, why? Because when I fasted, when I prayed, the Lord was always so close, so present. This, people may say, “Titus isn’t the Lord everywhere?” Yes I know, don’t argue with me. I know the truth. “Isn’t the Lord’s presence with you where you pray at home?” Yes I know, but that’s not the point. The point is, to the whole church I have a kind of godly fear. I can testify to you, when I saw the elders, I just had a sense, literally I’m seeing Christ. If the elder were to speak with me, I never dared to slouch in my seat. Every time I was sitting upright. Everything they said, I said yes. That is why at that time when the Lord gained me, I was absolute. I was positive. I was definite. And I feel it is the highest honor to give my whole being to the recovery of this wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.
Defining Our Family Tradition
This is our family tradition. The Lord has raised us up. Among us there has always been this kind of godliness. Among us there has always been this kind of godly fear whenever we see the older ones, immediately there’s respect. We never, never dare to be loose. We never dare to just do things according to what we think or what we like. Even when we see something in the meeting hall, within us there is a feeling, this is the meeting hall. Say things carefully. And I, at that time I carried the services, and one of the things I did was clean the floor. They didn’t have carpet, they had cement floors. When you clean the cement floor, there is a lot of dirt. I can testify to you brothers with a pure conscience, when I was cleaning the floor even the dirt is something precious. Why? Because these are the dirts from the saints. Do you know what I’m saying? Because the saints walk through these dirts. Therefore even the dirt was precious to me.
You know brothers, this is our family tradition. The Lord has raised up brother Nee in this way. The Lord has raised up brother Lee in this way. The Lord has raised up the work in the Far East in this way, and the Lord has raised up the work in this country in this way also. Therefore the people gained by the Lord, they never play around. They know what they are doing. They know what their life is for. Their whole being was given to this wonderful Christ through this wonderful Christ in such an absolute and positive way, and with no regret. Why? This whole thing is too godly. The whole thing is too wonderful.
Damage of Losing Our Family Tradition
I will tell you a story. Around 1969 brother Lee and I were walking together. All of a sudden he said, “brother, I can never forgive those six brothers.” (He means a few brothers who became quite rebellious.) I looked at him and thought to myself, “What’s wrong with you?” These brothers have left the recovery, they become the dropouts, why are you bothered? Just forgive them. Why do you say you can never forgive them? Of course brother Lee, seeing my face, realized that I was puzzled so he told me a word that impressed me to this day. That is, he said “These brothers have damaged our family tradition.” Brother, I still don’t know what he was talking about, but I realized it was something very serious, because for brother Lee to be bothered like this is not a small thing. Especially after the brothers left recovery for a number of years already. Brother Lee would still be bothered like this? This is not a small thing. I was confused until in 1972 when I went back to the Far East, where I wept more than once in my sharing. I wept day, I wept night, I wept in prayer, I wept in meetings, I wept.
You know, brothers, I don’t like to get into it, but when I went back to the Far East, I was shocked. What? What is this? What is this? Lord, cover me, I will say this to you: there were at least 1,000 young people raised up about my age. They loved the Lord more than you do, or at least the same as you do. They loved the Lord, they gave themselves to the Lord. They are fully for the Lord. Brother, they all disappeared. Lord cover me, if you don’t believe it, check with sister Mary. Most of them, where are they? There’s a 20-year gap when I went back. I can’t believe it. Either they are over 45 or they are under 25. What kind of thing is this? You know what ruined the whole thing? The family tradition was broken by those six men. They brought in gossip. They brought in craftiness. They brought in dishonesty. They brought in deceitfulness. They made a trade of the word and they did everything for their self-gain. I heard they have a group even in Seattle and in Vancouver. I heard they have groups here. I can testify in my conscience, they do everything to damage brother Lee, to damage the recovery, to damage the church. Then the young people are all spoiled. One thousand, at least one thousand. I said conservatively, at least one thousand. One thousand young people all died in the wilderness.
When I read Exodus in the early days I never understood. In 1972 when I went back, I had a deep feeling, “Lord is this your recovery? How come the recovery has come to this point?” I went to hall eight. That’s where I used to meet before I came to the United States. I was there for three years. Same brother, same seat. Do you know what I’m talking about? Same behavior. Lord, cover me, I’m not exposing anything. The church in the Far East is going on prevailingly today. That gives me the liberty to say this. You know, the churches in Taiwan are very prevalent today. That gives me the liberty to say this. Brothers, those who sit in the front row, I left in 1963. That would be nine years before my return. Those who sit in the front row, nine years ago still sit in the front row. Those who sit in the second row nine years ago still sit in the second row. A brother had a habit, all the time had a habit, every meeting in the middle of the meeting he stood up, he looked around. In that meeting, after nine years, stand up again and look around. Don’t laugh, you know brother, I was weeping. I was weeping in my spirit. Lord, is this your recovery? I realize why? I realize the thing really hurt the churches there. It’s not because the young people didn’t love the Lord. It’s not because they don’t have good teaching. It’s not because they are not fervent, or because they’re not zealous. The real thing was they have spoiled, they have damaged the family tradition.
Our Family Tradition is Crucial for Raising Up Young People
Once a family tradition is damaged, you can never raise children right. I say this to you, brothers: early this year, within me I had so much anxiety. I was burdened for this family tradition. I heard the news, there were some places where many were saved. They go to certain places and do a certain thing and many are saved. And they are excited with a certain thing, how many saved. Within me I just say, Lord, no no, that’s not the way, that’s not the way. I have seen 1,000 people grow up with me. Where are they today? I’m not a young person just brought into the recovery talking about things theoretically. I know the experience. There are 20 some years experience backing me. Where are the young people today? Go check with Benjamin Chen, he knows what I’m talking about. Benjamin Chen in New York, you go check with him. Out of 1000, maybe just 50 are in the church life. Out of 50, maybe 5 are giving themselves to the recovery. Out of 5, maybe 1 or 2, even may not be 1 or 2 are used by the Lord. What is this? We all expect young people, we train young people, we hope in our young people, we love young people, we realize young people are the future of the recovery. But if the young people are not raised up in the family tradition, they will be useless. Sooner or later they’ll go away.
Brother, I’m thankful. I’m very thankful now, Lord give us some light. Now we begin to realize, Lord, cover us. We’ve been away. Now we come back. We shouldn’t regret learning something. We all learned something, we shouldn’t regret. We should repent. We should take a turn. We should go on positively.
But I will emphasize: we should pay attention to the family tradition. If we cannot give the new ones, the young ones, the godliness, the godly fear, the fervency, the absoluteness, the Lordship, we never can bear the healthy proper fruit. The fruit from your cheesecake will be cheesecakes. The fruit from your candy bar will be candy bars. They can never be used by the Lord. The Lord can only use those who are gained by seeing a vision. Realize this is the Lord’s testimony. This is where the Lord is. We are not afraid of less people. We are afraid of too many people with too low a standard. There are enough big congregations. There’s one church in Akron which is just beside Cleveland boasting that they have the world’s largest Sunday school. Every Sunday morning there are over 20,000 in that congregation just in the small city Akron. What are we boasting about? Numbers. We don’t care about a number, what we care is, do we carry the burden of Jesus Christ? Do we carry the testimony of Jesus Christ? Do we carry the economy of the eternal God? If not, we failed completely. If we do, praise the Lord, we have a way to go on.
Brothers, I’m burdened to tell you these things. Don’t you realize what we did last year? The craftiness, the deceitfulness. All the human means and ways. All the methods, just under the name of increase. Under the name of increase, but where is the increase? In reality, it damaged the family tradition. Brother, we are not committed to a work, praise the Lord. We have never been committed to the work. If we have been committed to work we’ll never go this way. Why should we be so narrow? Why should we be so bothered by others, who call us names just because we are so faithful to what the Lord has given to us.
Brother, treasure your family tradition. Treasure this. I beg you brothers. I admonish you brothers, ask you brothers, please treasure the family tradition. Look at brother Lee. In this brother, do you see any deceitfulness? Do you see any craftiness? Do you see any dishonesty? Did you ever see that he is making a trade of anything? The whole person lives in such a simple way for God and for God’s economy. Can we give ourselves to the Lord? Brothers, can we give ourselves to the Lord? Can we be before the Lord and say, “Lord, I want even to sacrifice my life just to keep your family tradition.” What You have raised us up, that thing we will never forsake. We will never give up, will never abandon. Brother, only by this, the recovery still has a way. Only by this, the Lord can still have a way.