This message is a part of the 1978 Labor Day Weekend Conference held in Seattle, WA.
Acts 25:23–26:29, 2 Timothy 4:6–13, 2 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 1:19–20
The Apostle Paul Was a Very Peculiar Brother
This morning, I was considering a very interesting thing. I shared with the leading ones concerning a peculiar person in the Bible. You must realize that there are many peculiar people in the Bible. It seems like everyone that follows the Lord is a peculiar person. Noah was very peculiar—he built the ark. Enoch was so peculiar that he would walk with the Lord for three hundred years. Abel was so peculiar—he was so lazy that he didn’t want to make a living, he only cared for taking care of the sheep! The Bible is filled with all kinds of peculiar people. Even the Lord Jesus was kind of peculiar. He shouldn’t have gone to Galilee, he shouldn’t have grown up there. He should have stayed in Bethlehem and proclaimed His Kingship. Then He would have had much less problems in His life. Of course, the Lord was too peculiar, it is beyond our imagination. But surely, there is another person in the Bible who I just feel it’s hard for us to understand: the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul was a very peculiar brother. This brother had a lot of peculiar experiences, he made a lot of peculiar efforts, and if you look at his life, you just wonder what kind of person is this? He’s just too peculiar. I was wondering, this morning, about at least two to three things I’d like to share with you.
Paul before King Agrippa
Not Disobedient to the Heavenly Vision
First, I was considering, in Acts chapter 26, how Paul was brought to the judge under the authority of King Agrippa. Here, Acts chapter 25 verse 23:
“And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus’ commandment Paul was brought forth.”
Now, you think about this peculiar man. He was a prisoner. Here there was a big judgement seat, seated on by King Agrippa, and with a lot of people present: Bernice, the chief captains, and the principal men of the city. Then, there is another guy. His name is Festus. He just said a simple word: take Paul over. Then the little prisoner was brought to the presence of all these giants.
Everyone here is a giant. You see King Agrippa—he’s wonderful, right? And Bernice is wonderful. I tell you, that must be a threatening case. Suppose you were that little prisoner, and you were brought there. I think you would just call on the Lord Jesus and say, “Lord, keep me from fainting! I am just scared to death.” And no doubt, that was a place Paul was brought under the exposure of King Agrippa. A word could come on that day to say “You shall be killed. You shall be executed,” or a word may come saying, “There is nothing with you; just go home.” So, it was very crucial to the apostle Paul.
But look at this peculiar person. He said some peculiar things right in that judgment. In chapter 26 he gives a whole testimony of how he was converted. He didn’t stand up saying anything—he just says, “Now let me come to you. Let me come to you and tell you what I have done and what was in my life.” Then he comes to the place and says, “The Lord has appeared unto me, and the Lord has promised me that I should be a minister and a witness to the things I have seen.” Then in verse 17, Paul begins to say, “Do you know what the Lord has told me to do? The Lord said ‘to deliver thee from the people or from the Gentiles unto whom I now send thee.’” Do you know what that means? That means, “King, don’t you know you are a Gentile? The Lord has delivered me already. I am not afraid of you.”
Then, in verse 18, he says even more. He says, “Do you know what I am doing? ‘To open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.’” Then he says, “Whereupon, oh King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” I am sure these statements in verse 19 are statements we’d all like to make. But, we all like to make it in the meeting halls. When we are in the meetings, we all like to stand up and say, “Brothers, let me assure you, I am never disobedient to the heavenly vision.” But when you go home, you don’t like to say it. When you are at school or when you are at the bus station or when you are in the cafeteria, you just forget about the heavenly vision. So, you are going to enjoy the steak, you can enjoy the worldly things, and you don’t have to be put on the spot. You are so prevailing—and me, too—we are so prevailing, but only in the meeting hall. Aren’t you like this? At least I am like this. If you are not like this, I say, “Praise the Lord” to you. Surely, you are a wonderful brother in the recovery.
But I realize, for me to be in the presence of someone who is going to cut my head off and say, “Oh, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision,” that’s not a small thing.
Paul, You Are Beside Thyself
Then, he began to preach the gospel. Verse 24:
“And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice ‘Paul, you are beside thyself.’”
Don’t you know, a healthy Christian should always, or often, be beside themselves? But, not in the meeting hall. In the meeting hall, everything should be orderly. They should be beside themselves in the court. They should be beside themselves in the campus president’s office, in the presence of the professors. You see, that is what Paul did! Paul was beside himself. Then Festus said, “Much learning doth make thee mad.” You are a crazy guy; you are too crazy. There must be something wrong with you. But Paul said, “I am not mad! I am not mad! Most noble Festus. Just this statement proves I am not mad. I know who you are. You are an honorable man. You are a man of high status. Most noble Festus, but I speak forth the words of truth and soberness. Listen to what I say. I mean what I say. I am not mad. When I tell you ‘you are under the power of Satan,’ I mean you are under the power of Satan. When I say ‘you are in darkness,’ I mean you are in darkness. I am not mad. I know exactly what I am doing.”
Can you believe a man like this, right in the presence of all these guys? The kings, the captains, or chief man, whatever they are – all these noble guys. Right in the presence of the judging in the court he was crazy! Yet, he says “I am not mad. I know exactly what I am talking about.” Then, verse 26 says, “if you don’t believe me, then check with Agrippa. For the King knows something, don’t you? For the king, Agrippa, knows of these things, before whom also I speak freely. For I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him.” This means, “King Agrippa, within your conscience, you know what I am talking about. Now you try to hide. You try to be a king, you try to be noble, but don’t realize—within you, you know—you are in darkness. You know you are under the power of Satan. You know you don’t have any light. And you know Jesus Christ is the Savior. The king, you know these things!”
And then, verse 27: “King Agrippa believest thou the prophets?” Then, he even asks him a question. Don’t you want to repent now? You want to stand up, I’ll pray with you. He even asks a question. He says, “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.” In your heart, you know. You know the prophet, don’t you? You see, he was ready to get him to stand up and lead him to pray. And then, verse 28, “And then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. Paul, you are too strong. Now, I am almost convinced, but let me think it over tonight. I couldn’t repent right in the court, but let me think it over tonight. Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
Not Only You
Now, verse 29 is peculiar: “And Paul said, I would to God, not only you. Don’t say you get to be a Christian. I didn’t pray for you only! Not only you, but also all that heard me this day. All the chief men, all the centurions, all the noble guys, even the most noble Festus, all you guys listen! Listen! I want every one of you to believe in Jesus Christ!” Where was Paul when he said that? He was in the place that his head was ready to be cut off.
Then he said, “That all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.” Do you see this? That is why I say, this man is peculiar. Peter could never do things like this—at least, in the Bible, you just can’t find Peter doing things like this. And you have to realize no man can do things like this. No human being, according to their human strength, can behave, can live on this earth, with this kind of life. He was put in prison. He was on the verge of being executed. Yet, he was so burdened. He was so strong. Even his words, he said, “Not only you, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am.”
Now you know the statement behind this. This means, “Don’t you know, King Agrippa, when I heard about the court, I was so happy. Now I know you are coming—and when I know you are coming, I know other guys will be with you: Festus will be with you, the chief men, the noble men, all these nobles from the city, they will all come. I was crazy for the last week. I prayed day and night for this gospel meeting, don’t you know this? Therefore, when I had come here, I was so bold; I tell you, every one of you has to be saved now! Don’t you realize I have been burdened with this gospel for weeks?” Don’t you realize the spirit in this portion? Is that true? Do you agree with me? Surely he said, “Don’t you know? I prayed ever since I heard I was going to be under your judgment. I was so happy, I realized: Well, hallelujah, a big wonderful gospel meeting is coming. President Carter will be here and senator so-and-so and they all will be here. Now it is time for me to fully release the burden of the heavenly vision!”
You would ask him: “Paul, don’t you know the Lord is answering your prayer right now? You say: ‘Be fearful, and with supplication release everything to the Lord.’ Paul, you know, you shouldn’t preach the gospel. You should pray, ‘Oh Lord, release me, discharge me, soften the heart of the King so when he hears what I say, he will be moved. Then, he will say: “Poor Paul, I found out you didn’t do anything wrong; you are discharged and from now on, go home.”’ If we were all there as consultants, every one of us would tell him, and we would even promise him: “We, the church in Seattle, we, the church in Cleveland, would fast for you that you can be delivered.” Don’t you do this? Wouldn’t you like to pray for him to be delivered? For sure, I would. I would promise him: Paul, I would fast for you three days. I would do nothing but pray for you for three days and nights until the Lord answers and discharges you from the prison through King Agrippa.
But Paul would say “Shut up. What are you talking about? King Agrippa, who is he? What are you talking about, ‘King Agrippa’?” You would say, “Don’t you know King Agrippa is coming in?” And he says, “Oh, yeah?! I never had a chance to preach the gospel to the king, you know! I was travelling from city to city; I only preached to the common people. Now, what, you mean, the king is coming here?! To hear my gospel?!” “No, no, he is going to judge you.” “Who will judge me? What are you talking about?” “You know he is going to execute you, no? Don’t you know the king is the one who has the authority—.” “What? What are you talking about? I don’t know what you are talking about. I thought that was a good chance to preach the gospel. I only have one king, that is King Jesus. King Jesus is doing everything. What are you talking about, there is a King Agrippa, and he is going to cut my head off? I don’t know these kinds of things; I only know King Jesus. And you mean that he is coming to see me? Praise the Lord! I’ll preach the gospel! I’ll get him saved!” Could you believe that there is this kind of man? Could you believe a man like this exists? This man was burdened. This man was very peculiar. Brothers, every time I think of this man, I just have a thought, “Lord Jesus, I am so thankful that you got such a peculiar man. That is why we all are here.”
From the Transformation of God Himself
Without him, I doubt any one of us can be here. He is the one who fully unveiled the Lord’s mystery. He is the one who fully brought the gospel to the Gentiles. He even brought the gospel to Rome and to Spain. He was so burdened and was such a wonderful person, but with this wonderful person, there was something constituted in him. You cannot imitate Paul. You cannot say “Paul was like this, therefore we should be like this.” When you get into him, you find out this man has something very special. And that very element which is so special with this man must not have come from any man. It must have come from God Himself. Or, I’ll use another word: from the transformation of God Himself.
He was so burdened: If the King comes, I will get the King saved. If the slave comes, I will get the slave saved. If the most noble man comes, then I will get the most noble man saved. If an uneducated man comes, then I will get this uneducated man saved. This is why he wrote that book, Philemon. That book is concerning a slave, Onesimus. He said “You know my dear brother Onesimus that I sent to you? You know that he has served me, Philemon? Take care of him. Even though he is a runaway slave from your house, don’t you know that he was running away for your sake? He served me so that you don’t have to come serve me.” You see, a slave and a king to him—no difference. Everyone is wonderful, important, and needs to be brought to the recovery. His whole life was given to this by realizing who is this Christ. He was peculiar.
Paul, Having Finished His Course
A Crown of Righteousness
Then we read another verse in 2 Timothy that also surprised me. 2 Timothy chapter 4 verse 6, he said “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” Then verse 7, he concluded, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” That is to say, verse 8: “Henceforth, there is laid out for me a crown of righteousness.” That means, according to the righteousness of God, there could be no more requirement. This is not according to His grace and mercy. We can say “from now on there is a crown of mercy reserved for me.” Why? Because I messed up this whole life, but the Lord is merciful. But he says “No, no, no, I’ve got a crown of righteousness. I know I have done everything. The Lord cannot ask any more of me. I hope my whole life has done exactly according to what God has asked.”
He said, “I am ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand.” He didn’t say “Poor me, I’ve served the Lord my whole life, and my head will be cut off.” No! He said, “Don’t you know, I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid out for me a crown of righteousness.” Wouldn’t you like to say this before you go to see the Lord? Surely, I’d like to. I’m just afraid I am not qualified. But surely, if the Lord is merciful, I would like to, at my end, say, “Lord, I am so thankful. I have done everything.” Then I would say, “Lord, I am so old. Before I go to see you, let there be three or four more days that I may take my retirement.” Why? Because I finished everything. I have finished my course; I have done whatever I ought to do. Even according to the righteousness of God there is no more demand.”
If I Have One Day
Another verse that’s very peculiar, verse 11: “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” It looks like he still wants to preach a little bit. He’s finished his course already. He’s ready to go even tomorrow. He said clearly, “The time of my departure is at hand.” But the old Paul still has some burden, he wants to do some work.
And more than that, he said in verse 13, “The cloak that I left, I Troas with Corpas when thou comest, bring we thee, and the books, but especially the parchment.” Parchment is the Old Testament. You would ask him “Paul, what are you talking about? Didn’t you say the departure is at hand, you finished your course, and the crown of righteousness was ready for you? What are you talking about? You still need Mark to come to help your ministry? And more than that, you still want to read some books, and especially the parchment?” You know, parchment is heavy stuff. Paul, what’s wrong with you? Don’t you know how to retire and don’t you know how to rest? Even according to God, God has no more to say. Even if he should be so lazy for the rest of his days, God would have to say, “My good servant, I will give you a very big crown of righteousness.”
But, if you say, “Paul, didn’t you say you are ready to go?” Paul would say “What?” You would say, “Didn’t you say, your departure is at hand?”
“Oh yeah, yeah I said it.”
“Then didn’t you say, you finished your course?”
“Oh yeah, yeah I said it.”
“And didn’t you say, you fought a good fight?”
“Oh sure, sure I said it.”
“Then, why should you want Mark? And especially, aren’t you old enough? Don’t you need eyeglasses already? And you mean you still need the books and the parchment?”
Paul would surely turn back and say, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! Don’t you know, maybe the Lord will preserve me for another month. And in this coming month, maybe I’ll get more revelation! I will write another epistle to another church and be a blessing to all the churches to come in the coming ages! Don’t you know this? You stupid guy! All you care about is right or wrong, crown or no crown. Don’t you realize, in the sight of God, I don’t even care about these kinds of things?! If I have one day, then this one day is to fight for the Lord! If I have one day, this one day is a day to prepare myself for more light, for more revelation, for more enlightenment—for a deeper, higher vision so that I can render more life and more help to the churches! I’m burdened. I’m not as you said. I’m a burdened person. I’m so burdened that I cannot be healthy, normal, as you guys think you should be. Yes, people retire at sixty-five, but with me, there’s no retirement. Yes, people are brought to the court to be judged, but with me, there’s only one judge. I’m so special, I’m so burdened, that if I see a person, then I want to bring him to the Lord. Concerning myself, I want to labor before the Lord all the time.”
Don’t you realize that this is a peculiar person? Surely brothers, I would like to testify that to you many times when I think of him. I just think, “Lord, I worship you, I worship you.”
Some Honest Words
Where Is the Basket?
Many times, we think we have something, but I don’t know what we have. Maybe we get dumb and we hold it—praise the Lord! If you allow me to say a few good words, please don’t be offended:
Praise the Lord, the ball is in my hand! And I say, “where is the basket?” “What? You need a basket to play ball?” I say this to some young people. When the young are so excited, “Oh, now the ball is in my hand!” I say, “What, the ball is in your hand? Oh good, I’d like to join you. Where is the basket?” “What do you mean by that?” “Well, you play ball, you need a basket, right? Otherwise, what are you doing? Show me, where is the basket?” “No we just play ball, we just play ball! We don’t care about the basket. We have cheesecake, candy bars, we have all the stuff!”
Well, brothers, I love you so I’m honest. Please don’t be offended. You look at Paul, he’s not the kind of guy who doesn’t know the ball is in whose hand. He only cares, “Am I okay with the Lord? Am I in the Lord’s presence? Am I able to preach the gospel?”
A Spiritual Realm
Nobody Can Control Your Spirit
And then some young people told me, “You know, Titus, you can’t blame the young people, because the elders control too much.” I said, “Wow, elders control? Control what? Control your soul? Control your spirit? Do you know the only control that the elders can do is to not put you into leadership? And if you’re not in leadership and you think you’re controlled then you just shouldn’t be in the leadership anyway. So, the elder did the right job!”
Nobody can control your spirit. Do you believe anyone can control your spirit? When you want to say “Oh Lord Jesus,” is there someone saying: “Don’t call on the name of the Lord, it’s blasphemy”? Have you ever heard elders say things like this? Nobody can control your preaching the gospel. Look at Paul. Paul says, “Who can control me? In my retirement I want to write more letters. I want to have more of my ministry. When I am in court I want the gospel to be preached.”
I know it’s the first time that I’m here and I don’t know you brothers too well, and you don’t know me too well. Maybe you will say, “This guy is wild. In the first two minutes he has begun to put us on the spot already.” Brothers, isn’t it good that you have a brother to put you on the spot? Suppose I came here, so polite, “Brothers, let’s not touch anything touchy. I just want to study the Bible with you.” Don’t think I don’t know how to do it like that—I’ve been saved quite long! I know how to do it. But so what? Afterwards, you would eat your cake and I would eat my rice, but nobody has helped anybody. Do you agree with me? Do you brothers give me the liberty to just be quite free to share whatever the Lord has led me?
You must realize, according to the Word, the apostle Paul was a proper (I don’t like to use the word example) model for us to see. You look at this man, you begin to realize, “Wow, the spiritual things are not like what we think.” Even jail cannot control him. Do you believe the elders are worse than jail? If you do, raise up your hand. I’m afraid none of us dare to say this. We all have to say, well at least the elders let us go home and eat. Then, on the way home, could you get three saved? Why can’t you? Paul could get King Agrippa saved. Do we know whether he is saved or not? Nobody knows, right? But at least Paul had the assurance. To Paul, King Agrippa said, “almost,” so Paul took that as quite real and says, “You’re right, you’re right, you are almost saved. Wait until tonight, the light will come to you. There is no one that can limit anyone. Why? Because we are in a spiritual realm. We’re not dealing with anything material. We’re not dealing with anything in organization. We are fully dealing with a spiritual realm. In this spiritual realm, there’s only perfecting; there’s no way to control.
Blessed Are Those Who Are Under Control
If I were to go to dear brother Lee and say “Brother Lee, would you please control me? Do your best to control me. I realized I’m so sloppy; I realized I didn’t do a good job. Would you please control me?” He would push me out of his house and throw me on the street because he doesn’t know how to do it. But if I would tell him, “Brother Lee, I think you control me too much—you know all these years I’m just in Ohio. Only once in a while do I visit other places. Brother, don’t you know I’m just apostle Paul the second?” Then he would say, “I control you a little bit! You need to be controlled!”
If I go to him, “Brother Lee, would you please control me?” He would say, “No!” Even recently, I visited a number of churches. Even coming to Seattle, I didn’t talk with him. I just called Joe. “The Lord has told me to come.” Then I met brother Lee in Austin. I said, “Brother Lee, I’m going to Seattle.” “Good, good.” Then I said afterward, “I may go to Vancouver.” “Good good.” Why doesn’t he try to control me a little bit? Why doesn’t he say, “Why don’t you check with me first? Don’t you know we’re coworkers together? Why don’t you check with me?” Even once one place invited me, I was a little bit concerned whether I should go, so I called him because I was not clear. I said, “Brother Lee, a certain place invited me to go two times already. If I don’t go, the feeling is not so good. How do you feel?” He said, “You pray. You pray.”
Brothers, let me tell you a word: Blessed are those who are under control, for the discipline is there. I mean this! I have been in the recovery for twenty-some years. Since I was young, I would always appreciate some older ones controlling me. You say, “You’re Chinese.” Don’t say this. I’m a human being. It’s an insult to say I’m Chinese. It just proves that you don’t know the church. In the church, there’s no Chinese, there’s no Caucasian; every human being is a human being. We all need transformation, and we all need to grow.
Living Fully in the Spiritual Realm
Well, let’s come back. Brothers you must realize, today, Paul in these two instances shows us he is living fully in the spiritual realm. When you touch this man, you don’t touch anything that is material. You don’t touch anything that is merely human. You always touch something mixed or intermingled with divine. He’s divine. There is a king going to judge him, and he could come to the king: “King, I want you to be saved.” And when he told the people, “I finished everything. It’s over, praise the Lord. I’m going to see the Lord. But don’t forget I still have ministry. And I still like to read more books—especially I like to read the parchment! Surely I want to have more revelation; I want to have more light so I may be able to write more epistles, and I may be able to help more churches. Don’t you know I’m so burdened about God’s economy, and I would never let it go as long as I have one breath!”
Isn’t that wonderful? Now, you look at this brother, you begin to realize, Oh Lord be merciful to us. Many times, we were so low. We are not even in jail yet, but we shout a lot, “We’re being controlled, controlled, controlled!” We’re not even in jail yet. If one day the elders get mad and lock everyone in the room—see if you will be controlled. Then, when I come to help you, you preach to me, and get me saved.
You must realize, today the recovery is in a spiritual realm. It has nothing to do with the worldly or the Christian organizations. It has nothing to do with anything in concept or in accordance with the human mind. It is totally a field—a realm—that is spiritual. As long as it is spiritual, no one can keep anything from anyone. It’s all dependent on how you are living before the Lord. If you are exercised, if you are living in the Lord’s presence, for sure your spirit will be so free, so strong, so dynamic, so life-imparting, so helpful to the church. And when you are so saturated with the spirit, for sure you will be so burdened with the gospel; you will be so burdened with weaker and younger ones; you will be so burdened with carrying the practical church life with other saints. Why? Because you are properly in your spirit.
Triumph in the Christ
That is why Paul calls himself a very peculiar word in 2 Corinthians. Now he says, “Who am I? Don’t you know I am an apostle?” But he also said a very peculiar word in chapter 2, verse 14: “Now thanks be unto God who always leads us in triumph in the Christ.” “In the Christ” means Christ, a person, plus what Christ has accomplished. Our victory must be in the Christ with Christ, a person, plus all that He has done. So, “Always lead us in triumph in the Christ,” then here is a very special word: “and make manifest the savor,” or the odor, the fragrance, “of his knowledge by us in every place.”
You know, brother, it was very peculiar—what is triumph? What is victory? The victory has nothing to do with, “Now we got one! Now we got one!” Don’t you know, if we have cheesecake [at a gospel meeting], we usually get one right? It has nothing to do with this. Paul says, “Don’t you know what triumph is? Triumph is an odor. The victory itself is an odor.” He uses the word savor. What is triumph? Thanks be unto God, always leading us in triumph in the Christ. Then, in this triumph, we begin to manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.
Paul Is a Savor
Paul basically says, don’t you know who I am? I’m a savor. Don’t you know why I’m so special? Because I’m a savor. Don’t you know why I can be so crazy, I can study and study and study without end? Because I am a savor.
What is the most convenient thing on this Earth? A savor. You know, many are blind—they cannot see. They are born blind. Many are born deaf, they cannot hear. But nobody was born who cannot smell. Have you ever seen one? Everybody can smell. That means if I’m a savor, the deaf ones will get saved, the blind ones will get saved; educated, not educated, slave, noble, I don’t care, for I’m a savor. Whosoever meets me, there will be some effectiveness. There’s no limitation. And secondly, anytime you need to do something, for instance, if you want somebody to hear, you need to speak. If you want somebody to see, you need to show, display. But if you want somebody to smell, you just stand there. You don’t need to do anything. You yourself, the presence of you yourself, becomes a great thing.
Paul said, “Don’t you know who I am? You want to know the mystery? Let me tell you, I am just a fragrance. I am always in the triumph of the Christ, and what is a triumph? This triumph is a manifestation of the savor. Of what? Of the knowledge—of His knowledge—by us in every place, wherever I go.” You know, brothers, some of you in the church life don’t take a shower much, do you? Unless the church is so prevailing. I know in Cleveland, we have one member, he just doesn’t like to take a shower. And there are some times, in some meetings, I usually sit in the back—I don’t sit in the front because I don’t want people to say I control—so our Lord at some time was merciful to put me beside him. You sit beside him, you say “Something’s wrong. What’s going on? You know, here!” Oh, I tell you brother, he doesn’t even need to give a testimony, “Brothers, I didn’t take a shower, hallelujah, for seven days!” Everybody knows! Why? Just the fragrance or the odor from that person preaches the gospel already! The non-shower gospel. Preach the gospel: “Seven days, no shower!” You just sit beside him. Oh, I tell you brothers, afterward I told the leading brother, I said, “Brother, it’s okay because I sat there, but if a new one sat there, for sure, he will not come back anymore.” I said, “You better have a talk with him and tell him to take a shower before he comes to the meeting.”
You know, brothers, odor is the most convenient thing. Don’t you realize that? You sisters, you girls. Possibly not so much sisters, but girls like to put a little perfume here or there. Anyway, you always realize it’s there, right? You look around, “Hm? Here’s a girl, for sure, there’s a girl.” Why? You just smell the perfume. She never has to say, “Smell me, I have Paris perfume,” or something. She never has to say this! She just has to walk around!
You know, Paul says, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m a person saturated with the knowledge of this wonderful Christ! Wherever I am, I don’t have to preach, I don’t have to talk, I don’t have to make cheesecake, I don’t have to build up a ball game! You see, people just smell me, ‘Oh!’
A Sweet Savor unto God
You know what’s going to happen – either they go to heaven or they go to hell!’” I’m not joking, read the next verse. Very interesting, right? Verse 15, he said, “For we,”—that means apostle Paul and Titus – “for we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ.” He said, “Don’t you know, I’m never responsible to anybody. I’m just responsible to God. I am unto God a sweet savor of Christ. Within me, there’s a sweet savor. When people see me, they smell something, but this smell is not for them; this smell is for God.” I am, and we are, unto God a sweet savor of Christ.
I don’t know, brothers, do you like this verse? I really like this verse! I tell you, anyone who can love this verse can be redeemed from the corruption of works. Because in here, there’s nobody involved. Paul doesn’t even care about anybody. He doesn’t care whether the work is prevailing, he doesn’t care if she stood up and repented, he doesn’t care if in the ballgame somebody got in the basket, he doesn’t care if the cheesecake fills somebody’s belly. He only cares about one thing, and that’s “Lord, am I okay? Lord, You smell me okay?” If the Lord says “Yeah, you’re okay,” then he says, “Hallelujah, hallelujah, I’m okay, I’m in the triumph!”
You say, “Paul, don’t you know you’re not so prevailing? Don’t you know you got in a lot of trouble? We brothers are together, we never get into this. We brothers in Cleveland, we never get into this kind of thing. You get into a lot of trouble: you have a shipwreck, you have people stoning you, you have people beating you, and you’re just unlucky.”
He would say, “No, no, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know what’s what. I only know one thing, and every time, all the time I ask God, ‘God, do You smell me? Isn’t that good, that smell of Christ? Do You smell me? Through me, do You smell the sweet savor of Christ?’ If God says, ‘Oh yes,’ I’m okay.”
“Hey Paul, don’t you know that you must form a basketball game? Why don’t you form one?” I know some people formed one. But anyway, none of my business, right? “You must have a cheesecake party and play chess plus something, then you know…’” Paul says, “What? Cheesecake? What is cheesecake? What? Basketball? What is basketball? I don’t know these things, and I preached a lot of gospel. I went to a lot of places and I gained the victory. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Maybe those brothers are more advanced than I am! Maybe you should write the Bible and not me.”
Don’t think I’m too strong. Brothers, I’m burdened. If I was not burdened, I would never preach like this. Brother Philip knows me, I’m not a mocking person. If I’m burdened about something, and I do everything from all angles just to get you offended, get mad at me and go to the Lord. Go to the Lord and take some savor and say, “Lord, praise the Lord! God, do You smell me today?” Charlie, I know, he was in Milwaukee right? I charge you, does God smell you today? Maybe God comes there, “Oh good, a lot of Christ!” Then he’s okay. Whether he got people saved or didn’t get people saved, whether he was in the coordination or out of coordination, it doesn’t make any difference. But, if God hears this, “I didn’t smell Christ, I smell a lot of cheesecake!” Oh Lord Jesus!
Death unto Death, Life unto Life
Then you see, Paul was even stronger than this. In verse 15, he says, “We are unto God a sweet savor of Christ in them that are saved and in them that perish.” Number 16, this verse offended everybody—people don’t like this verse. But he says, “To the one we are the savor of death unto death.” Don’t you know what my function is? My function is to send people to hell. When I walk around, many people smell me. After they smell me, they go to hell, hallelujah. You say, “Paul, how can you do this?” He says, “I don’t play God. God is God. I have my portion, God has His portion. My portion is to take care of myself before God. God’s portion is to take care of who should be saved, who should not be saved. None of my business, right?” So he said clearly, “To the one we are the savor of death unto death.” In other words, to the one our fragrance would send them to hell, right? And to the other, he said, “And to the other the savor of life unto life.” If someone smells me, immediately they say, “I got it, I’m giving my whole life to it!” Some will say, “Oh I can’t take it.” So, some come to life and some go to hell. Am I right? Did he do anything? He didn’t. Is he working? No, he isn’t. Does he try anything? No, he didn’t plan anything, he didn’t do anything, he’s only responsible for one thing: that he lived in the presence of God. He’s only responsible for one thing: for God to smell him. When God smelled him, He began to realize, here’s a lot of Christ. When Christ comes out from this person, you know what is gonna happen? Some will die, and some will live.
Then, Paul gives a very strong conclusion when he says, “And who is competent for these things” (2 Cor. 2:16) You know, people can touch our cheesecake and have no feelings, but if people can touch our spirit, then they realize something is serious. Sometimes, people come to the church meeting and it just makes no difference to them: I can come tomorrow or I can come next week, but this is just one of my groups. But some meetings, right when people walk in they have the realization: don’t touch this group of people. This group of people will either gain your whole life, or they will ruin it.
Don’t you realize what I’m talking about? Seattle is a prevailing church, so I do believe you have a lot of experiences like this. When people walk into the meeting, when people confront you, they begin to realize, “Wow, here is some savor! I will either live or I will die.” Brothers, this is gospel preaching. If you were to ask Paul, “Apostle Paul, how do you preach the gospel? Would you give us some training?” He would say, “Training? Simple. Go live in the Lord’s presence and make yourself a savor and let God smell you all the time with the wonderful fragrance of Christ! Then what? Then, forget about the rest. Forget about the rest.”
I know, brothers, this is against our human concept. No human being would take this. I tell you, Christianity would be bothered if you began to preach to some the savor of death unto death. They’d say, “What are you talking about? Didn’t God want everybody saved and not one fallen? Don’t you know that?” And when you say, “We’re just a savor,” they’d say, “Don’t you know, Romans told us, if you don’t have a preacher, then who can hear whatever?” Even your food is so pretty. so you have to run to the South Pole to get the fish saved, and go to South Africa to get the lion saved. Don’t you know your food is so pretty?
Look at the Person, Not the Work
Brothers, I don’t argue. I realize there are all these verses, but you must look at the person and not look at the work. When you are a proper savor, I’m pretty sure you preach; you open your mouth, but when you open your mouth, that is different with our soulish way of opening our mouth. We begin to realize, Lord there’s nothing more important than us being in the Lord’s presence. The most important thing in the whole universe is how our way is before the Lord in the Lord’s presence. If the Lord, if God, can smell us, and He smells a lot of Christ, then brother, there’s nothing you need to worry.
So I don’t know the work in Washington, in the University at Washington, whatever that is, University of Washington, I don’t know but brother you know many times we try too hard. So people come in, they smell a lot of things: they smell scorpions, turtles, you know all the, right, I’m not just speaking to you brother. When I was in other places, I say the same thing. Up to now nobody’s told me yet by Lord’s mercy; this shows the church is the church.
I say this very frankly to the saints: brothers, wake up and wake up. Don’t you know how Paul preached the gospel? Paul preached the gospel in such a simple way: I am living in the Lord’s presence, I’m a sweet savor, I’m reflecting the knowledge of the glory. I don’t care about whatever I do; I only care about if God smells me. Then how about others? The others don’t worry about it.
You know, I know some who have served the Lord a lot longer because I’ve been in the church life that long. For instance, I watch Brother Lee. He had some blows in his life—Lord cover me— some problems. Sometimes he went through problems but never, when I saw him in a problem, was he bothered. Not once he was sitting there, “Oh TItus it’s over. Titus, I think the thing to do now is to make a lot of cheesecakes. Oh Titus, I don’t know what we should do.” Never! Every time you see him he was in the Lord’s presence. Fresh, sweet, ready to go up and—sometimes you know, you were just talking to him about the problems—from “oh yeah yeah too bad too bad oh yeah it’s time for meeting,” then he comes up, he gives a message, and it seems he hasn’t heard your word at all!” Brother, doesn’t it bother you with all the problems in the recovery and, what, you didn’t hear a word?” Then he would tell you, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
You see, brothers we never realize who the apostle Paul is. The apostle Paul testified, “Do You know who I am? I am just a sweet savor. I’m a sweet savor in the presence of God for God to smell. And do you know, wherever I go, a lot of things happen.” Even he got the nickname “The One Who Turned the World (or The Earth) Upside Down” (Acts 17:6). That’s his name! Every place he goes a lot of things happen, but not through the use of any games or cakes. It’s just himself. He goes everywhere and things happen because he always goes to the brothers and stands there, then walks and stands there. When he walks by then everybody goes “*Sniff*, hmm?” Then some followed him. Then some will go to hell. And Paul says “I’m not responsible. I don’t look back, ‘Oh how many follow me tonight?’ that’s not my business. My business is I walk in the Lord’s presence.”
This is a hard message for the first meeting! And especially you brothers don’t even know me too well. You would say how come this wild guy, the first meeting all the things come up? Brother that’s because I’m Titus. I am who I am. I can’t help. This is my savor, but I do pray this savor the Lord says “A lot of Christ in here”. You know brothers we just couldn’t take this.
A Worker, Not a Fragrance
One day I shared a message like this, something in this line but not these verses. That was on Thursday, and then on Friday we had a gospel meeting. At that time, by the Lord’s mercy, we used to have a number of new ones who would come. But by the Lord’s mercy that night just one came. When I saw that just one came, I just had a feeling “Lord, thank you that you answered my prayer and my fellowship.” So then that one sat in the back row and was helped by his two relatives or friends sitting beside him. Then the brother began to preach the gospel and looked around and it seemed nobody there was not saved. So he said, “Is there anyone not saved?” That one person raised up his hand. I thought, here, this one’s going to be on the altar pretty soon. So the brother preached. After the brother preached the gospel, the brother asked him, “Do you believe in the Lord?”
“Would you like to stand up and pray with me?”
“Would you like to try?”
“Do you want to open your heart?”
So the brother preached a little bit more. He preached, then asked, “Now are you ready?”
Don’t you think the Lord is humorous? The Lord was very humorous, right? So just after I gave that message, on the second day the brother got beat and he sat down. Another brother who sat beside him stood up, pointed at him, “You need to be saved! You need to be born again! Don’t you know Jesus said—”
Everything’s right but the fragrance is wrong. So after some words, he sat down and that man was still saying, “No.” Then I hear that the whole church got burdened. One after another they stood up. Even some who sat in the last row. Even some who sat in the front went to the back “You know? Don’t you know?!” Oh Lord Jesus, I began to realize, wow, there are so many workers in the recovery and so few fragrances. Everyone’s trying to do something. Everyone is so burdened. Oh that poor guy, the poor new one, because everyone is rebuking him and rebuking him. Lord’s mercy, right when the brother said, “The meeting stops here,” he stood up and walked out. Praise the Lord, hallelujah—He got saved the second day.
Sowing and Reaping
The Lord was very humorous to teach us a lesson: Look, we are all workers. We just like to see things. We never realized the Bible told us, the one who sows, this one never reaps; the other reaps. I don’t see many people saved through one man. Most are saved through many people or even through a length of years. People very seldom get saved directly—where the person had never heard the gospel, and someone preaches to him then he gets saved.
The principle in the Bible is sow and reap through a stage of time, but we cannot tolerate the time. We want to see the fruit. We want to see what comes out. Why? Because we were born with the constitution of doing something for the work and for the Lord; to work and to have success in the recovery. We were born with this tendency, therefore we try very hard. But look at the apostle Paul—how restful he is. He said, “Do you know who I am? I’m just a savor. I’m just a savor. When I walk around, everybody smells me. I have some who, after they smell me, praise the Lord they got eternal life! Some, after they smell me, well also praise the Lord, they go to hell. Who am I? I am just the vessel. Let the treasure, let the sweet fragrance come out of me. All the rest I’m not responsible. I’m not responsible for who should be saved; I’m not responsible for who should love the Lord; I’m not responsible for who should follow Christ; I’m not responsible for who should be in the recovery; I am only responsible to one thing: that I live in the Lord’s presence properly. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord. Now let me ask you one thing: are you tired? You see, the savor comes from some practice.
Four Spiritual Practices to Produce a Savor
I like to go a little bit fast because it’s not my burden, but I like to go fast just for you to know the practice in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1 and 2. In these two chapters there are some spiritual practices that, through these practices, produce the savor. Now, there are four practices. Let me tell you brothers, please, all through your life treasure these four practices. I have treasured this for years and still treasure this. First that you need to be covered with the Lord’s presence. And second you need to experience Christ subjectively on all practical matters. And third, we need to attach ourselves to some brothers or sisters. Sisters attached to sisters, brothers attached to brothers. And fourth, we need to live for those who are with us in our locality.
Now these four things. These four things are in chapter 1 and chapter 2. These are the four basic practices to produce that fragrance. If you don’t have these four things I can assure you, you will never have the triumph in Christ. Even short of any one of them—you just practice three items or you just practice two items—you will never experience the triumph in the Christ, and you will never be the sweet savor in Christ and to God. You will never be. This savor comes out from the daily practice of the four things. First, to be covered with the Lord’s presence. Secondly, to experience Christ subjectively on all practical matters. And thirdly, to attach yourself to some brothers (or sisters to some sisters). And fourthly, to live for the brothers who are with you. They are very simple. You all know this but the problem is that even in the whole recovery not many people practice this. We get caught up with a kind of routine thing.
Be Covered by the Lord’s Presence
We get up in the morning. Then we, good brothers, go to morning watch; weak brothers go to breakfast, am I right? And then we carry our whole day and our life is very routine. We seldom check: “Is the Lord here?” Even now, brothers, is the Lord here? Now this is what I mean by “covered with the Lord’s presence.” Wherever you are you must realize somebody’s with you. You need to be covered with His presence. Our Lord is not objective. Our Lord is not abstract—our Lord is more than realistic. Even though He is the only reality. So He is with us all the time, all the day, and on all the practical matters. Wherever you are He’s with you. But, suppose the presence of the Lord is gone? So what should you do? Be covered with His presence. You see, His presence will never go. His presence will never go because He is the pneuma. The pneuma is in every place. Where is there no air? You cannot go to the mountain to avoid Him, and you cannot go to the valley. You cannot get away from Him. He is there all the time and you just walk. Even where I’m walking now, brother—look at me—I never walk out of Christ. You see, I’m just walking here, right? I’m walking around. It doesn’t mean when I’m in a certain spot I have Christ and when I move out of that spot Christ disappears. No! Christ was there all the time. What we need to exercise, to learn, is to be covered with the presence.
Suppose I was in this spot at 7:30 in the morning. I had morning watch with these brothers. We prayed together and we enjoyed the Lord, then they just walked out. Now, it’s 8:30 and I’m in the classroom by myself. (Surely in the meeting hall there’s more of the Lord’s presence. I realize this. You say Titus that is a fairy tale. You know the meeting hall has more of the Lord’s presence. Brother, I don’t like to argue—I just tell you the meeting hall has more of the Lord’s presence. You take my word. If you don’t believe me then go ahead and you don’t enjoy the presence in the meeting hall anyway.) But anyway I was in the classroom. And of course surrounding me there was cigarettes, beer, and talk of dirty things, and there was a stupid professor in front. I know all these things are surrounding me and nothing’s right. The professor gives all the lectures, but nobody knows what he’s talking about, and everyone is wondering how could he get a PhD through a certain University? And here are the ones surrounding you and beside you, but the Lord never changes. The only thing is I don’t feel Him. At 7:30 I was with these brothers—“Oh Lord, amen. Lord, we love you, amen. We are river crosses, amen.” Now you come here at 8:30 to this room with smokes in the right hand, beer in the left hand, dirty talk in the back and you take my word rightly, the things don’t make much sense in the front. And you say, “What is this? What is this? Oh Lord Jesus!” You don’t have to shout real loud. You just have to exercise to be covered with the Lord’s presence. All of a sudden you say, what, what? I’m trying to hear. They are talking about Kool or Camel. These are two cigarettes, right? They’re talking about Kool and Camel and you are neither Camel nor Kool. So what would you do? What do you do? “Oh Lord Jesus. Oh Lord Jesus. Oh Lord Jesus. Oh Lord Jesus. Oh Lord Jesus, amen. Jesus Lord, amen, Jesus.” Just ten seconds. Oh, the Lord’s presence was rich. Kool is gone. Camel is gone. Beer is gone. Dirty talk is gone. Even the things that don’t make sense begin to make sense to you. You realize, “Hey everything’s ok.” Why? Because just ten seconds and you are covered with the Lord’s presence.
But don’t be so happy—don’t say, “Praise the Lord I made it!” You didn’t make it. 9:30 comes and you are brought into another environment. Maybe that is the laboratory. Some kind of element here, this kind of element there—they smell stinky and make your head ache. And at any time there could be an explosion. So what would you do? “Oh Lord Jesus.” Brother, you all know this. You say Titus, we know; we heard this. I know you heard this but you don’t do it! Do you do it? I know you heard it. Everybody’s heard it in the recovery. The problem is that none of us do it!
Experience Christ Subjectively on All Practical Matters
You know, brother, you first must be covered with the Lord’s presence. Suppose you say, Titus, I goofed, I goofed. You goofed? Then be covered with the Lord’s presence now. Don’t you know in the Bible there is only repentance—there is no regretting? Any healthy Christian doesn’t regret. They don’t regret, “Oh, oh we made cheesecakes.” Go make more. If you make it the right way. Don’t regret, just repent: “Lord, sorry. Lord, I feel sorry I did it. Forgive me, cleanse me with Your precious blood. Oh Lord Jesus.” They say, “Titus, you know I did something worse than what you said. Don’t you know that was awful? I lost my temper to my dear wife and she’s such a tender person and you know just before I lift up my voice a little bit her tears came out and I just continued and got so mad at her so she went to her room. And when I was yelling and breaking the glass outside she was weeping. She was weeping inside in the bedroom and I just, I’m so guilty, I feel so bad.” You feel so bad? Experience Christ subjectively on all the practical matters, including breaking the glass. Take care of Christ.
You shouldn’t have so much self-pity, “Oh poor me I’m not victorious.” I don’t believe you repent; you just love yourself too much. You overly love yourself. A lot of repentance is just pity—self-pity, “Oh Lord, I’m so poor I’m not victorious.” The Lord says, “I never wanted you to be victorious, I want you to smell good.” But we think, “Oh you know, you know brother, a potential brother, a future apostle like me gets mad at his wife, what is this?” The Lord says, “I never said you will be a future apostle.” Please, don’t laugh. I’m afraid many would agree with me. Don’t you think you are a future apostle? Maybe you cannot be brother Witness Lee, but you may at least be Bill Freeman the second, right? At least that was my experience. I used to think I could be the second of a certain brother. Then, I found out I wasn’t even the third of that certain brother. I am just what I am. A naughty boy. Even though I am forty-two, I am still quite naughty. Just look at the way I share with you. But brother, in all the naughtiness I share with you, do you think I’m joking at all? Do you think I’m in my flesh? I really mean what I say.
You should experience Christ, you shouldn’t experience yourself. You should not experience self pity. You know, when you lose your temper, the way is not to say, “Oh why should I lose my temper? I’m so bad.” The way is, “Lord Jesus, I come to you. Cover me, cleanse me, refresh me, nourish me, feed me, stand me up.” Then what? Then you will knock at the door, “Honey, I apologize.” And you just feel so genuine, so natural.
More than this, but in everything that happens in your life. You go to the bus station and the bus takes off and you see it take off. Don’t get mad, “Oh I’m unlucky! Those thirty seconds—” There’s no thirty seconds in the sight of the Lord. The Lord says, “I don’t know what time is. Don’t you know? I arranged it for you to turn to me because you are too busy running around. So I gave you five minutes to stand over there to call on my name.” Don’t you believe this? Do you have an amen in your spirit about this? I do believe we all have some experience like this. It seems everybody else is lucky, but we who love the Lord are just always put on the spot. Everybody else drives their car and gets all the green lights all the time but when you drive the car, it’s one red light, another red light, another red light. First red light, “Oh Lord Jesus.” Then the second light is red, and the third light is red and you say “What is this?! The city doesn’t know how to take care of the traffic lights! What is this?” This is for you to turn to Christ. Don’t get mad at the city; don’t get mad at the red lights. Get mad at your temper and just say, “Lord Jesus I’m a fast goer, I want the whole world to be with me. I’m so thankful I’m just part of your creation.”
You just think, “I’m very sure I’m gonna get an A!” You got a B. Don’t go, “uh I got a B.” Don’t say this, “The professor is not fair!” The professor is more than fair. Christ is always fair and every professor is in the hand of Christ. Right? So what should you do? Just say, “Oh Lord, thank you for the B. Amen! Thank you for B. I was so anxious for the A, I am so very anxious for grades. From now on, I just want to love you more than my studies.” Isn’t that wonderful? I couldn’t tell you how many things, but I will tell you everything that happens in your life—in your daily life—you need to realize this is a good chance for me to experience Christ subjectively. It’s a good chance. Hallelujah, Christ is available.
Attach Yourself to Some Brothers or Sisters
And thirdly, attach yourself to the brothers. Don’t be by yourself. Don’t live a single life just by yourself. In your church life if you want to be that sweet savor, you have to learn to attach yourself to the brothers. Anyone who is attached to the brothers, he is a blessed one. What does that mean? That means there are some brothers, they are your life. You know for instance, brother, what’s your name?
Titus: So I attach myself to Trev. Come on. I attach myself to him. You know formerly I was a wild guy, I was in the Recovery. “Hallelujah, praise Lord!” Oh! One day I touch him. Hallelujah once I am attached to him, he becomes my life supply.
It’s very peculiar. If any saint says: the Lord is my life supply! I would say they are fifty percent right. You must realize the other fifty percent of your life supply is from the brothers and sisters in the church life. How do I know? This is a brother with whom I share about everything.
You know brother, you know, Trev, you know this morning, who is that guy from Ohio you know? What he’s talking about? I just don’t know what he’s talking about. He said that we don’t preach gospel? Didn’t he say that we don’t go preach gospel anymore or something?!
Brother Trev: Yeah he said that.
Titus: What does he mean by this?
Brother Trev: I don’t know.
Titus: I’m bothered. So if the two of us don’t know then we should get Charles. We’ll attach to Charles. What does he mean by it, we both don’t know. What did wild guy from Ohio mean by “We don’t preach gospel, we are just a smell,” what is that?
You know brothers, I tell you, you get life from this.
Brother Trev: Yeah.
Titus: You know, brother let me tell you, this morning something very peculiar happened. When I was driving I was trying to pass a car, you know? When I was trying to pass a car something within me told me, “Slow down.”
Brother Trev: Right.
Titus: What is that, brother? I never know this, within me there’s something say, “Slow down.”
Brother Trev: Yeah.
Titus: What is that?
Brother Trev: That’s Christ
Titus: That’s Christ?! You mean Christ within me?
You never know how much help you get from this—and you can even fellowship even more deeply: Brothers, don’t you know I really have a problem? I love my hair. I just love my hair. You know, I hate having to go to the barber to cut my hair short. I don’t know what to do. I realize it’s kind of a peculiar style but I just love it.
You know these are all peculiar things but these are also realistic. These are very, very practical in your daily life. You need some brothers who can help you. The brothers who can share with me a lot of things, they become my life. They become my enlightenment. Thank you, brothers.
In my early days, I can testify to you—and I like to testify to you—I’m proud I got at least one with whom I attached quite closely. His name is Benjamin Chen in New York. I attached myself to him quite closely. Why? We were baptized the same day and then he was going on prevailingly, but I became a backslider after about a half-year and I backslid for a whole year. When I came back, I was about a year and a half behind him. So he got all this training from brother Lee on dealing with conscience, dealing with the world, clearing your past, consecration and what is anointing. He got all these things and I didn’t even know a thing. He knew what is the local ground, he knows what is a church, he knows what is oneness. So I tell you, in the early days, he picked up a burden for me. Praise Lord for this. He was three years younger than I. So brother, don’t feel bad—even the younger ones, as long as your attachment is not soulish, can render you spiritual help. I can testify to you that I learned every lesson from him, from the clearing of the past, dealing with sin, dealing with the world, dealing with self, prayer, praying life, and the anointing—all these things and the ground of the church, even the seven churches in Revelation, I believe I learned from him all through fellowship. I just attached myself to him.
By the Lord’s mercy—and he is a sweetheart master. He’s very sweet. He’s short and always smiling and you don’t believe he’s tough, but he could be quite tough. One day all of a sudden he came to me, he said, “Titus, what is anointing?” “Huh? What? What is anointing?” “Just don’t you know, in 1 John 2:27 it says anointing that abides in you and teaches everything?” Yeah I said I know, I know that verse. “What is anointing?” I sat there and said, “Yeah, I believe that is a warm feeling in my spirit.” He said, “It is not a warm feeling!” He was tough. “It is not warm, it is not warm.” Then what is it? Then he spent a long time fellowshipping with me how the anointing is an ointment. The ointment moves within us just like we put ointment on our skin. You know he spent a long time with me. Since then I learned how to abide in anointing.
You need some brother you are attached to. Don’t just come together to talk about how to make cheesecake or how to grab our friends to come over and get them saved. Brother, don’t worry about it. Haven’t you had a good increase in these years? What are you worrying about? I’m afraid cheesecake has stopped your increase. Haven’t you had a wonderful increase in the past? Don’t worry about these things; just take care of yourself before the Lord. And one day, after the meeting, after school, we were in the same year in high school. I was a stupid student so I didn’t graduate at the right time and he says, “Titus, let’s go to pray.” I said, “What?” “Let’s go to pray.” So I said, “Okay, let’s go to pray.” I followed him and he took me right to the football game. People are playing the ball and so he says, “Kneel down.” I say, “What?” “Kneel down.” So I kneel down, and we two prayed fervently for the gospel. That’s how my gospel was opened. I wasn’t ashamed from the very beginning because I was brought to the football ground and prayed right in the presence of others. And people surrounding us looked at us—isn’t that wonderful? If you, the time you spend on cheesecake, you all would spend on a football field, knelt down in prayer, you just see how many new ones you will bring in. Surely that smells good—better than cheesecake.
I tell you, the attachment to the brothers is such a blessing to us. It’s beyond our realization. In the early days of my Christian life I was so close to him. Then, brother, I can testify to you, many times after a meeting he never pushed me with the law, lawful things—things like you have to be this and that—he didn’t. But many times after a meeting he would say, “Titus, I’ll walk you home.” My home was far away, about a thirty to forty minute walk. I say, “Okay.” So he walked home with me. On the way he shared a lot of things with me. “Oh, this brother Nee said this, and this is what happened and—.” Then, you know, he was just seventeen years old. So brothers, I tell you don’t look down at young people. Don’t say the high schoolers are too young, they only know how to pray—it’s a disgrace to them. At that time Benjamin told me every day he prayed two hours—one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, every day. And as he walked me home he taught me everything. He would say, “Brother do you know what is ‘Clearing of the past.’” I would say, “What is that?” Then he would begin to explain to me, “Do you know, before you were saved, you had a lot of accumulations. You may have idols, you may have improper books, or you may have the things that you steal and come to you not in the proper way, you know what I mean?” Then he explained to me all this. Then I went home to really clear my past. Then, deal with sin; how to deal with my sin. All of these things, I got through this kind of proper attachment. Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that wonderful? My growth comes from that little brother. In the early year more than anything else. I wasn’t isolated, I wasn’t alone because I was attached to brothers who knew how to help me.
Then he walked to my house and I would say, “I still have some time, how about I walk you home?” So I walk him home and we keep on fellowshipping. We never talked about worldly things. I can testify to you, we never talked about the movie, we never talked about the worldly things, we never even talked about our studies. We both were just in the presence. Confronting the university entrance examination? We never talked about it. All we talked about was spiritual things. Pray, spiritually, pray, preaching gospel, spiritual things. Isn’t that wonderful?
Live for Those with You in Your Locality
And more, at the end you have to learn to live for those who are with you in your locality. This is not an easy thing. You know brothers, could I put one brother on the spot? How about Charles, how about you? You are a nice brother, right? You know me so you won’t be too offended. Just stand up, now let me examine this brother a little bit.
Do you love the church? Are you for the recovery? Do you love these brothers? Are you living for them? Why should you have your hair like this? What, what you feel, why should you have these golden eyeglasses? Why should you have a silver eyeglass? [That’s just the way, that’s my taste.] That’s your taste. Why should you have a shirt like this? Why should you have a pen like this? How about your shoes? So he is here, that is very clear he lives for his wife. You know every one of us should be brought to the place, why should you have hair like this? Because of the church. Why should you have eyeglass? Because of the church. Why should you buy this shirt? Because of the church. Why should you have a pen like this? Because of the church. I do everything, before I do it I have the church in view. Have the brothers and sisters in view. When I do this will this be a blessing to the church? When I do this will this be a help to the church? When I do this will this encourage the saints to go on? If not, I will not do it. Thank you, brother.
I tell you, if in the church life we are just filled with brothers who are giving themselves to the Lord like this—what kind of fragrance before the Lord! A Strong fragrance before the Lord to realize, “Wow, the Lord will be so happy.” This is a group of people that, when they say they live for Christ, they mean business. To live for Christ is theoretical. Even denominational people say they live for Christ. But to live for the church is more than practical. Once you say, “I’m going to live for the church!” Okay, let me check with you a little bit. How about your hair? How about what you ate last night? What did you eat for breakfast? Cereal? You do, did you eat any bread? Why must you eat cereal for breakfast? Toast that’s not too bad. You know even over a piece of bread you should have the church in view.
I can testify to you brothers that I exercise this. When I eat a piece of bread I have to realize, is this good for the church? And I can fully testify for the few older ones I know like brother Lee. If you check with him everything he does is for the church. Why does he sleep? For the church. Why does he eat? For the church. How much does he eat? For the church. Why does he labor? For the church. Why does he dress like this? For the church. Why does he behave like this? For the church. The church to him is not a theoretical thing. The church to him is not an enjoyable place only. The church to him is more than realistic.
Oh Lord Jesus, now could we all read these four points?
- To be covered with the Lord’s presence.
- To experience Christ subjectively on all practical matters.
- To attach ourselves to some brothers.
- To live for those who are with us in our locality.
Repent, Not Regret
Now, brother, I’ll say a word. Suppose after hearing this kind of word you get bothered. I know some of you may get bothered. You know, “Could he say something a little bit tender, sweet?” Brother, I just say this: there is no need to be bothered. I repeat to you: in the Christian life we shouldn’t regret. I’ve been saved for twenty-some years. If anytime I begin to sit down to think about the past I have too much to regret. I don’t believe I would even have the strength to stand up because I was more than awful, more than sinful, more than worldly, right? We all are not so healthy but in the church life we should learn to repent. What does repent mean? Repent means a change of mind, a turning. We need to have a turning or turn from what we used to be to a new position, right? A change of attitude. When we make this turn, hallelujah everything is OK. Have you been covered with the Lord’s presence? No. So cover with the Lord’s presence now. So you say, “Brother, I can’t do it tomorrow.” Fine, do it the day after tomorrow. You just have to know this and practice this and the more you practice this brother I assure you the healthier your Christian life will be.
Yea and Nay
We don’t have time to go to the verses because there are so many verses in chapter 1 and 2 related to these four points. And you believe me these four points are the cream in first and second Corinthians chapters one and two. Anyway, brothers, I just want to say one word to you before we close the meeting. Could we all turn to chapter 1 and just read a few verses? Could we read verse 19?
At the end, “but in Him was Yea.” Could we change to “but Yea became to pass in him.” Is that English? “Yea,” “but in him was Yea.” Could you cross out – or not cross out, maybe put a parentheses and read in this way, “but Yea has come,” not became, “has come to pass in him.” “Yea has come to pass in Him.” Is that clear? “Yea has come to pass in him.” How about we read verse 19. “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ who was preached among you by us even by me, and Silvanus, and Timothius was not Yea and Nay but Yea has come to pass in Him.” This is strong, Yea; We preach, what we preach was not Yea and Nay.
You know what is a sign of the soulish person? The sign of the soulish person is always Yea and Nay. “Do you want to come to my home for dinner?” “Ummm I’m not sure.” You see? No spirit. “How about let’s go preach the gospel?” “Yeah, I’m burdened but…” You see? We—all the human beings—are living in the realm of Yea and Nay and Yea and Nay all the time. But Paul says now listen to me he says the Christ I preached there’s not Yea and Nay. And Yay has come to pass in him. Then he gives an explanation in verse 20. Can I read it to you? It says, “How many so ever the promises, or be the promises. How many so ever be the promises of God in him is the Yea, therefore also through Him is the Amen—” this is a change. Then, “unto the glory of God by us.” The whole line says “for all the promises of God in Him are Yea and in Him, Amen.” This doesn’t make the meaning fully conveyed. It says: “how many so ever the promises of God in Him is the Yea wherefore also through Him is the Amen unto the glory of God.” Then he says “now he who firmly attached us with you and to the Anointed One and has anointed us is God.”
You see here it points to two things. First, it points to how the person’s covered with the Lord’s presence and experiences Christ subjectively. How did he do it? He said, “Don’t you know there are many things in Christ—they all are Yea.” With Christ there’s no Yea Yea and Nay Nay. You just watch brother Lee you just hardly will find out he was Yea or Nay. He was always very sure what he was doing. Did you watch him? Maybe you just watch, even you leading ones, don’t you realize those who are in the church life long enough, once he marks them, they’re always quite sure. They are sure what they are talking about. They’re sure how they behave. Why? Because they know they got the secret of abiding, of living in the Lord’s presence and experiencing Christ on all things. Then here Paul says, “Don’t you know Yea has become in Him.” Then he says, “How many so ever promises of God in Him is a Yea.” The promises in the Bible are in two kinds, right? One kind is conditional promises and another kind, unconditional promises. The conditional promises are in the Old Testament if you do a certain thing you will live. And unconditional means Lord has given to you; that is, the Lord has promised you. Here he says, “Don’t you know, no matter how many promises in the Bible it has all been given to us? Then he says, “in Him is a Yea.” All the promise is in Him the Yea.
Yea and Amen
For instance, there is a promise: “I will be with you.” Isn’t there such a promise? “I will not leave you orphans” something like this, right? “I’m coming to you.” This is a promise but you have to realize you’ll never know these promises unless you realize it is in Him. Without Christ, if you just hold on to this promise then it doesn’t work. You have to realize this is in Christ. In Christ there is nothing to fear. In Christ there’s no weakness. In Christ there’s nothing to be bothered by. In Christ you can be bold, you can be strong, you can always be in the Lord’s presence. This is, “in Him was Yea.” But Paul added something very interesting. He said, “Through him, therefore, also through Him is the Amen.” Do you know whenever you have a Yea what do you need? You need an amen to follow. Let me ask you, “Is the Lord with you all the time?” If some say Yea, some say amen. Yea is doctrinal, amen is experiential. Is Christ with you now? You all can say, “Amen.” Why? Because you experience the meeting, you experience Christ. Is Christ with you all the time? Some dare not say, some would say Yea. Why? Because the Bible said it. In Him is a Yea.
So Paul here says, “Now brothers you got to learn to go through Him. You got to be covered with Him and experience Him. You have to go through Him.” Once you go through Him what did you get? You got amen, right? The Bible says, “Fear not.” Then, your parents are going to visit you and they don’t believe in the Lord and they are bothered with the Recovery. So what? So you get scared, right? My dad and mom are coming to see me, I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to offend them, and I don’t know how I cannot offend them. Don’t you have this experience? And the Lord says, “Fear not. Fear not for I am with you. Fear not.” But you know “Fear not” you know the Yay but you cannot amen. So what do you need to do? You need to experience Christ subjectively. “Oh Lord Jesus, on this matter I need Christ. Lord, my parents are coming to me. I need you! Lord, my parents are coming to see me. I need you! Oh Lord, I need you!” When you say, “I need you, amen.” Oh the amen comes out. When the amen comes out, praise the Lord – no fear. Everything’s okay. Don’t you have this experience? Can you amen me? [Amen.] Can you amen me? [Amen!]
You all have this experience. Many things before it happens, “Oh, if it happens what am I going to do, I don’t know what to do.” You all know that is in Christ, right? In Christ is everything. So what? Go to Christ and experience Him subjectively. “Oh Lord, I come to you for this matter. Now I’m going to flunk now. I don’t know what to do if I flunk. I’m gonna flunk! I don’t know what to do. Lord Jesus, amen! Amen, I know what to do with my flunk. I don’t even care. I got a big Amen.” You know, in the Christian life if you don’t experience Christ subjectively you have no amen. You only have the Yea objectively. You preach to everyone about the riches but you don’t have them. You tell people “if you believe in Jesus you will be peaceful, you will be restful, you have no more problems, you are no more under the bondage of sin” but you still commit sin. Why? You say, “No, but I have to take the Lord’s promise.” I agree with you. Take the Lord’s promise and the preaching this way, but how about you produce a few Amens? Don’t just say Yay in the church life, say a lot of Amens in the church life. Go through Him. Every time you go through Christ the end result will always be a big Amen. Always, never fail. I can testify to you. In my life—in these twenty-some years—the Lord has never failed this Amen. You know, brother you must experience Christ in this way. And then he said, “Do you know the Lord has firmly attached us with you unto the Anointed One.” Do you want to attach to the Anointed One? You better attach to the brothers. Is that clear? I just share this to you. May the Lord be merciful to us. I think our time has come up. Could we still have some time for some testimony?