2018 Labor Day Conference. Message 3.
God’s Creation and Salvation
Let me start with a picture. What is God’s creation and salvation? Suppose I say, here is heaven and here is earth. God made man in His image after His likeness, but what that man fell. In the heavens, there’s a throne. Christ came down, God the Son became a man just to live in a corrupted, sinful world like us. But because of who we were here, we were dead in sins and offenses. In other words, we don’t care and we don’t even realize that this can be saved. We take it as very common. We all ought to be like this. This is human life.
For instance, with me, what’s my problem? When I was young, speeding was my problem. One day, I was driving at 70mph speed limit, and it was funny. I saw another car that was driving at 70mph, but when I got to him, I felt that he was driving too slow, so I drove past him, and all of a sudden that same car turned on its police siren. How interesting! The policeman said, “Sir, did you know that you were speeding?” I said, “Maybe a little bit. I don’t think I was really speeding.” He said “I was driving 70, so whoever passes me is speeding.” He said, “What’s your profession?” I said, “I serve the Lord.” “You serve the Lord? It’s okay. I’ll give your registration back to you.” Because he was also a Christian. So Christians bribe Christians with a good conscience.
I didn’t ask him for a favor, I just said, “What’s wrong with me? I got myself into trouble because I had a feeling.” I didn’t realize I was really driving fast already. That’s why I felt that he was going slowly. We have no feelings about all the sins and offenses. Sins are the things related to our living. Offenses are life without God. Today it is common that we live a life without God. We think it ought to be.
So, He came and became a man, and lived in the fallen human race. For a little over 33 years. Then, He died on the cross. He was buried. Then He was resurrected, then He was ascended. He came down and He went up. But when He went up, it was different. Is it different – God the Son? What’s the difference? Humanity. An experience of humanity was brought with Him to the heavenlies. Formally, God was a creator. Now, creator and creation become one. Man is His creation. Now, God’s creation – man – and God Himself became one and ascended together.
Whenever people say, “as the Lord leads,” it doesn’t mean that much. Because we’re very offensive to God. We use the Lord’s name to do whatever we want. For example, Do you love that sister and brother? Yes I do. Will you visit him? Yes I will. When you visit him? Whenever the Lord leads. What does that mean? That means I’m not going to visit. That’s offensive to God.
Christ―A Spiritual Realm
Anyway, here is Christ. Christ became a realm – a spiritual realm. He came to save us, take away our sins, and cleanse us judicially, so we have a very good beginning. Then, dispense to us in life organically. He brings you not only to be saved judicially, He also brings you up in resurrection, up in ascension, then eventually we sit together with Him in this marvelous realm. When you get in, you say, “Where are you? I’m sitting in the heavenlies with the Lord.”
Paul said it very clearly. He made us resurrected with Him and made us sit with Him in the heavenlies. Then, the bountiful grace is manifested. It’s not just you; it’s all kinds of Christians. After 20 centuries, now in this realm, joining the kingship of Christ. Paul enjoyed it for a little less than 70 years. Peter enjoyed it maybe a little bit longer than Paul. But, most Christians enjoy the Lord for a period of time. Then they sleep. They sleep waiting to wake up, to enjoy this spiritual realm together with all of the Christians. That will be a marvelous awakening.
Think about your alarm clock, and how troublesome it is. You appreciate it because you have it; you hate it because you have it. You appreciate it because you wake up; you don’t waste your time; you don’t waste your life. But, you really dislike it, because everytime, it wakes you up again. Generation after generation, for 20 centuries, we don’t know how many billions of Jesus lovers slept. One day there is an awakening of all those who slept. We all rise up together. Then, we’ll be participating in the reality of hallelujahs.
All the songs we sang this morning are related to hallelujah, hallelujah. I’m very happy that we called that song. That song is actually not for the Lord’s table, but that song fits today, that we love Jesus. After we praise Him so much, we want to tell Him, Lord, we really love You. Then, we’ll have Christ as our head. And then there is one new man.
In this new creation, there is a divine realm. A real, mystic, heavenly realm. A realm with all the riches of God as it’s substance, when we are saved and then resurrected. Then, we sit in the heavenlies with Christ in this realm and at the same time, bearing testimony. This realm is spiritual. But the testimony can become physical. This is why the body has two sides. The body has one side that has an inner substance – Christ Himself in the heavenly realm. Then, the body has another side that is living on this earth like we are today. On this side, we become God’s testimony.
Christ Is Your Person
Sometimes people ask, what does a person mean? Christ is your person. What does the person mean? It’s very hard to explain. We always say, I love so-and-so with all my heart. Brother, do you love your wife? Do you love her with all your heart, with all your person? Stand together. One is handsome, one is beautiful. One is hopeful, the other, you can see, if she overly develops her career, they will have a good family. When you overly develop your career, then your family life will be limited. Anyway, how do you tell your wife, “I love you”? The real way to say “I love you” is “I love you with all my heart”, “I love you with all my being.”
I really believed that love is in the heart, unless there is a heart transplant. If a man has a heart transplant, after he wakes up and sees his wife he’ll say, “I know you, but I can’t love you. My heart is in love with someone else.” Because he loves someone with all his heart. But then I found out, nobody loves with their whole heart. The sensation is in the heart, but it’s actually your person. What is your person? Your wisdom comes from this part (ed: this part = your head). Your logic comes from this part. Your reason for living comes from this part. The way you see things comes from this part. Eventually, when you really touch something of the Lord, in your spirit, your saying “I’m for Christ!” will be this part, not your heart. Otherwise, a non-Christian could transplant a heart that loves Jesus into him. When he wakes up, he’ll say, “I love Jesus.” Then people will ask, “What are you talking about, ‘I love Jesus.’ Who is Jesus?” “I don’t know, but in my heart there is a love for Jesus.” No! That is just a sensation.
When you feel sad, you feel it here (Ed: your heart). When you’re hurt, you feel it here. But which part is actually hurt? Here (Ed: your head). Why is your person here? Everything else is organs, but here is a person. So we can say, in the body of Christ, the person is Christ Himself. In other words, the “brain” is Christ Himself. That doesn’t mean the rest of the body is chopped off and gone. The “brain” means what is inward. Inside the body, there is a person. Where is that person? The reason we should be human today is in His brain. This brain is your person. So Christ should be your might, your logic, the reason for your living, and why you’re here fighting for His interest. Because He is a person of the body of Jesus Christ. So no one can add anything in. In this resurrection, we see that all the marvelous things, mostly in existence, are heavenly. The substance is heavenly. You’re resurrected, you’re ascended. But manifestation is earthly – you’re still on this earth. There are two sides of this body.
Two Sides of the Body: Inner Content and Expression
For instance, I heard a brother is dating a sister. So there are two sides. On one side, love is in this part – his head, not here – his heart. If it’s in his heart, then the love can be transplanted and that could be very serious. Love is in his head. So here, this inner content of a deep love to a sister. That is a testimony of insight. If you ask an older brother, of course, their emotional affection can gradually decline a bit. But the reality of love can increase a lot with an old marriage. So usually they’re not that excited like this young man. Why is he happy? It’s in his expression. Expression is through his face.
The expression is here. Christ is a person. And the body, I can’t say, Dave! David is a person. There’s a body. The body is the expression of Dave.
Here is a good brother, but I don’t think people know how to help him. Now, there is a training going on. With a little prayer, a little encouragement, he could join in. It would be a lifelong profit. The brothers who serve him, they don’t realize that he’s graduating. Because they don’t know how to handle the saints, how to be with them, they don’t know how to raise them up. So, the saints are wasted. They have been with you for 4-5 years. They’re wasted, because you don’t know how to properly work with them.
Sorry, I know you love all the elders there. We have all of these young people, but you don’t even know them. You have a good person and a terrible testimony. What does it mean that Christ is a person of the body? There’s a unique part that you don’t even see. You think it’s the hand – no. It’s this – the head. That’s a person. Eventually, the body becomes the expression of that person. So he expresses the person, his own person.
Brothers, do you realize this is a person? A person decides how the body is. Christ is the person of the body of Christ. The spiritual body of Christ. See, this young brother loves the sister that much, it’s hard for him not to smile. This is real joy. Real joy coming out. Actually, you have to realize that a heart can be transplanted. So, if you love Jesus in your heart, once it’s transplanted, then whatever heart you get can be a pretty evil heart. That could be very dangerous. But no. It’s a person here. I’m happy.
I’m happy to see this young man. But I am very concerned. All of our young generation goes nowhere now. Our leadership is so weak in general, they don’t even know how to encourage the young ones to grow properly. We need the Lord’s mercy. Brother, are you coming to the training? God will never ask anybody to give Him something in return. God never wants to owe you anything. This is one of the assurances I have in following the Lord. “Lord, You never want to owe me anything. With everything I do, You know how to reward me properly. Whether the rewards are liked or not is another thing, but You reward.” Brother, I can assure you that if you give yourself to the Lord, the Lord will never owe you. This is my experience. This is my observation. With so many Jesus lovers’ experiences given to the Lord, the Lord says, “I repay.” I don’t want to come to eternity to the judgment seat and say, “Lord Jesus, sorry, You owe me.” Just trust in the Lord.
Now with this, you understand. The head is here. And we are His body. The Body is extended out to us still on the earth, so people could know the testimony of the body of Christ. We are heavenly if we live on earth. We’re heavenly so we are in resurrection, we are in ascension. We are sitting with Christ in the heavenlies. At the same time, we live on this earth to bear the testimony of God.
Oh! Marvelous! The Christ Is Not Divided!
Let’s go on with the message. Oh! Marvelous! Christ is not divided! When I say this, each of you will say, “I’m of this” and “I’m of that.” He says, “Is Christ divided?” When I was very young, I read these verses and I was very frustrated. When somebody says, “You say you’re of Paul, you say you’re of Apollos, you say you’re of Cephas, that’s wrong. I am of Christ!” Paul’s response is very strong. He says, “Is Christ divided?” In other words, it doesn’t matter what you say. “I am a Baptist,” Christ says you are a member of the body. “I am an evangelist,” you are a member of the body. Because Christ cannot be divided. Then the many members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. If Christ is one, the body is one. When Christ was on this earth, He was the operator carrying out God’s economy. Then in ascension, he brought us all into the ascension with Him. Sitting with Him in the heavenlies, God’s economy is carried out by Christ but THE corporate Christ. We also are part of Christ. Because we’re a body of Christ. So we are the body of Christ and His body, we are His testimony carrying out His economy.
Putting on the New Man
Then here is the 3rd verse, but you have to put on the new man. The new man has 2 different Greek words. One new man, Kaenos, which means “new in nature.” So creating in him one new man, that’s new in nature. But here, put on the new man, that is Naos, which is “new in time.” The new man by nature is forever new. The new man we need to put on is new in time. Today, when we’re living, we need to learn to live in time to follow the Lord. Now, you have to put on the new man.
The sad thing is not that you are in a denomination. The sad thing is that you are in the local church, operating just like a denomination. I really believe that. It’s very sad. Because there’s not even a chance to put on the new man. What you put on indicates what you are. I came with a suit, but when I walked in, it was too hot, so I took it off. Then quickly, the air came in, and I realized I was cold so I put it on. I began to realize how come we put this on? Because we’re Chinese. Americans are strong for some reason. Those who grow up with milk are stronger than those who grew up with rice. Those who grew up with meat are stronger than those who grew up with vegetables. What I put on indicates my condition. If I am weak, I put on more clothes.
This one thing, your condition. For your condition, for your healthiness, you should put on the church life. Secondly, put on the new man for your commitment. Why do I wear a suit? Because I’m giving you a message. If I’m giving a message, I have to dress properly. I need a tie. I don’t like a tie. The way this brother dresses, and the way I dress is very different right? Do you realize we are committing to different things? He’s very relaxed, sitting there enjoying the meeting. I have to be very sober, because when I put on something, that means that this is the manner of my exercise, this is the manner of my doing.
So putting on the new man is crucial. Number one, if you desire to be healthy, you need to put on the new man. Number two, if you desire to carry out God’s economy, you need to put on the new man. You cannot go to the church or your choice. You cannot just make the meetings. You need to put on the church life.
Is Christ Divided?
Then let’s come to this: “Is Christ divided? When the apostle Paul confronted the unhealthy situation at Corinth, some saints were of this and of that. Then Paul asked, “Is Christ divided?” This is a great statement indicating that Christ cannot be divided.” Is Christ divided? In other words, you say, “I’m of Paul. I’m more spiritual than you.” “What do you mean you are of Paul? I am of Christ!” Isn’t that really an overcomer’s statement? “I am in the local church. You’re in a denomination.” This is the same principle. Be very careful. Then Paul’s answer is, hey, wait a minute. You say you’re of Christ, so you mean that they’re not of Christ. When you say to people, “Oh, you are in a division. Where do you go for meetings?” He says, “I go to Corner Baptist Church on that street corner. Where do you go?” “Oh I’m of the local church.” Isn’t that the same as a Baptist? Be very careful.
Watchman Nee was very wise. When people asked him which church he went to, he said the church I go to includes you! Because there’s only one church. The church you go to does not include me, because if I don’t go to the Baptist church, then I’m not a Baptist. The church I go to includes you. So when you say you’re with the local church, local includes all the believers in that locality. Anything less than that realization is a denomination or sect itself, because you made an issue of it. Just like saying, “You are of Paul, I’m of Christ!” Paul’s answer is, “Is Christ divided?” Christ cannot be divided. It doesn’t matter what you declare, you are of Christ.
So Also Is The Christ
The thing is what, “In the universe, there is one unique body, the body of Christ, which bears His unique testimony.” That is very heavenly. But something was still on this earth, as a testimony of that heavenly body. Here it says that there’s one unique body, the body of Christ, which bears a unique testimony. There’s one testimony. This testimony is a testimony of Christ himself. The body of Christ is Christ himself.
“Paul concluded, for this body is one for it’s many members, so also is Christ.” In a gospel time or before the resurrection and ascension of Christ, God’s operation is uniquely through Jesus Christ. So God the Son accomplished everything. That’s why Peter said “You are THE Christ.” THE Christ means THE anointed. You are THE anointed. God anointed you as the unique one to carry out God’s economy. But then He continues on.
Today as the body is one with many members, so also is the Christ. In other words, the body and Christ become one. God’s economy is no longer just carried by Jesus Christ alone. It is also carried by the body of Christ, because the body of Christ is a testimony of Christ. So you can say that God’s economy is here in the last 4 or 5 lines of Peter. Peter saw his master Jesus as a unique one, the anointed one, THE Christ to carry out God’s economy. So you are THE Christ. You are the unique one to carry out God’s economy. Then Paul saw that the way he carried out God’s economy is with the universal body. So how does God carry out what He is doing? Through Christ. THE Christ. And through us, also THE Christ. The body of Christ. After ascension, when Christ is enthroned, God’s work is through His body, the body of Christ. And apostle Paul continues in Colossians.
Neither Greek or Jew
In Colossians, “and having put on the new man, who’s renewed in knowledge and in the image of Him, who created Him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew.” Paul is a Jew. I can’t imagine Paul going to Israel to the Wailing Wall saying, “Oh God, oh God.” I think most honorable Jews would do this. But one day, he got saved. Just like he was a Jew, you know who are we? We’re dogs. All the Gentiles are dogs.
Remember how a Gentile woman went to the Lord to take care of her daughter’s sickness. You know what the Lord answered? I cannot give the food that is for my children the Israelites to the dogs. He told her, you are a Gentile dog. And that young lady was very bright. She replied, “Yes, I’m just a dog. But dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table.” You are Jesus. You made a mistake, by coming to the Gentile realm. So you become the crumb. I’m a dog, I want to eat you. Do you get my point or not? You got to take care of my daughter.
So just from the story, we can see that the Jews and the Gentiles are very far apart. They don’t like us. They treat us like Gentile dogs. I remember when I was young, the first time a brother gave a message, I was in the meeting. I heard that it was a young people’s gathering. He said, “We are Gentile dogs.” Then he prayed, “Lord, we’re Gentile dogs.” Nobody dared to say amen, because in the US, dogs have a high status. In China, dogs are really base. “We are Gentile dogs.” I’m the only one who said amen. You know why? We refuse to be dogs. But praise the Lord, today there’s neither Greek or Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised. So there’s no religion. There’s no race. There’s no religion. Barbarian, Sicilian, no education, slave or free, no social status. There are four monster things in the church life.
Sister, this morning you were praying in Chinese. And Paul called a song. After he called it, he realized you were praying. Let me repeat what he said. He said, “I’m sorry, sister.” In other words, he didn’t hear your prayer. I felt really bad – why didn’t you let the sister finish her prayer? Eventually, we realize it’s because English is dominating. It’s good, because it’s the United States. When you go to China, you better let Chinese dominate. On the other-hand, we don’t have any racial problems.
These two brothers, come here and pray with your two different languages. How do you say Jesus? Ye-sooh. See, exactly like Chinese. Hallelujah! There’s no Greek or Jew. Isn’t that good? At least it’s Jesus Christ, Ye-sooh Christo. Even if you don’t understand Christo, at least you understand Yee-sooh. And for those Americans who don’t understand Yee-sooh, at least they understand Christo. Praise the Lord. This is the preciousness of the body.
Whether a brother is poor, rich, a slave, a master – it makes no difference. In the church life, to say “I’m Chinese, you are American,” is not healthy. To say, “We are the United States, we are Americans, and the Chinese people must join in,” that’s not healthy either. Because there is no Greek or Jew, no religion or religious practice, no circumcised, no uncircumcised. We don’t talk about it. No barbarian, no Scythian. Whether you are educated, or whatever you are. There is no slave and no free, but Christ is all and in all. In other words: only Christ. We’re in here, only Christ. Christ is all and in all. It’s so marvelous! Christ, the body of Christ, and the one new man are the unique focus of God’s economy. And Christ cannot be divided. The body cannot be divided. The new man cannot be divided. This is a masterpiece of the work of the everlasting.
There are four monster things in the church life. Everlasting duration. Omnipresence: Wherever you are, His presence is there. Omniscient: Full knowledge of all things. Omnipotent: All powerful. All wise, everlasting, forever, everywhere, He’s present. And He is all powerful. This very God produced such a marvelous body to exhibit His wisdom. You should love the church. You should learn to put on the new man.
A Great Tragedy: The Divided Testimony of the Body of Christ
This body is so marvelous! It is from the hands of this mighty God. He’s the everlasting, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God. But there is a great tragedy. The divided testimony of the body of Christ: “Alas, Christ cannot be divided, the body cannot be divided, and the new man cannot be divided, but the testimony, the manifestation of the body of Christ, is not only divided, but divided to its extreme. “
Now it’s so messy, the testimony. Everyone bears the name of Christ in a certain way. So free. You can open up a church much easier than you can open up a grocery store. You can do whatever you want to do! So the body of Christ, the testimony is divided.
For some reason, the testimony in China is divided. If Americans keep on borrowing money, you eventually are going to sell a certain state! Because you can’t pay it off. At that time, the testimony will also be divided. They cannot be divided. The Chinese are the Chinese. They can never be divided. But for some reason, there are two testimonies. Both declare that they are Chinese. They both declare that they have the constitutional law. According to the constitution. We are China. Mainland China says, “Constitutionally, we are China.” Taiwan says, “Constitutionally we are China.” This is why many Taiwanese people try to make Taiwan a nation, so that they won’t be divided. That way, they can just totally separate.
You know brothers, Christ only has one body. How good is it that all Christians can be together just as one? But, all kinds of division came into being. But you say, “Oh you are divided!” Brother, if you can point your finger so strong and say, “You are divided,” remember, you are also divided. Because they are one with you. If a brother says, “I’m Baptist,” just like an eye says, “I’m not a hand so I’m not of the body,” then Paul’s word is, “You cannot be ‘not of the body’. You say you are Baptist; God says you are my children. You say you are Baptist; God says you are my redeemed one. You are a member of the body of Christ. You cannot be!” But the expression is so divided today. Christ cannot be divided, the body cannot be divided, and the new man cannot be divided. But the testimony, the manifesting of the body of Christ, is not only divided, but divided to its extreme today.
“Today, most Christians have no respect for the crucialness of the oneness of Christ, the body of Christ, the testimony of the body of Christ, and the one new man. They proudly declare their belonging.” When I was in Texas in theological school, I was there for two weeks. It was very helpful to me to understand a little of a certain part of Christianity. I saw a bumper sticker: “Go to Detroit” and “Go to the church of your choice.” At that time I was actually quite impressed – that is preaching the gospel in such a nice way. Do you see anything wrong with it? Well, if they can be saved, you should praise the Lord. But if the body of the testimony is divided, it is not that healthy.
I went to Ghana once. At that time, their pastor was very young. His name was brother Immanuel. Today, he’s a senator in the government. A brother came with me, and he served us breakfast. Brother Immanuel said, “Can you eat eggs?” The brother with me said, “I can’t eat eggs, I’m allergic to eggs.” Then he comes to me, “Can you eat eggs?” I said, “Yeah, I can eat eggs.” I should have said, “I can eat everything.” I made a mistake by just saying, “I can eat eggs.” So this young brother Immanuel – he was very lovely – he brings a big piece of ham for the brother with me, and two eggs for me. I ate my two eggs and looked at the ham. I never said I couldn’t eat ham! You can say that the brother was very simple, his logic was very simple. But today, he’s really mature.
The first time I went to Accra in Ghana, I got out of the airport and it was hot. There, you had to go through a long line where the official sat very high and looked down at you as you showed your passport. After I finally got through that, I was shocked! I saw that all of the buses there had verses on the outside. One said “Immanuel”, one said “I shall return”, one said “God the Lord is my shepherd.” Every car had a spiritual verse. I talked with the brother. “Brother, I don’t think I need to be here, it looks like the whole country is Christian. Why do I need to come?” He said, “No, no you don’t understand. ‘I shall return’ means I’ll drive the car out and back. What does ‘Immanuel’ mean? God is with me, and if God is with me, I cannot have a car accident.” I found out that superstition had saturated the community and very few people were really related to Christ.
When I got to Kampala, I realized just from being there that so many pastors are not saved. It was just a good job. If you were a pastor, it looked like you were very well-respected. So I told the brother, “You should start a class and inform the pastors that I will teach you how to really be saved, how to help people be saved, and how to be assured that you are saved.” Those are the basics! Christianity has been really degraded.
“Most Christians are brought to the redemptive work of Christ with little understanding of their organic salvation and regenerated spirit.” In the early days in China, there was a brother named Jong Song. He was a famous preacher. When he preached, all the pastors sat behind him, and he stood in front giving a message. He’d say, “Now let’s shout slogans!” Then they would all follow: “I’m not a pastor! I’m not saved! If you give me money, I will serve you. If you don’t give me money, I won’t serve you.” Could you believe there was such a price to be paid? All those people were in the back saying those things. Brothers, it was quite rough.
Many who were especially burdened served the Lord through gospel preaching. In the early days, many Chinese people were pastors as a profession. It was a job, but it was not a good job. The foreign missionaries had a lead follower, and you were considered a second lead. You took their money and did whatever they told you to do. Those missionaries needed the Chinese people to do this. Otherwise, they could not even get food. The Chinese people basically didn’t want them. So some of those without a job just attached to the missionary to make a living. They had no idea what salvation was. Even those who are regenerated, they have very little understanding of the fact that “their soul life ought to be lost and self-life ought to be denied.”
A Proper Testimony of the Lord Is Always Christ Centered
Do you know the difference between a brother in a proper testimony as a local church and a brother in a denomination? When you are in a proper testimony of the Lord, it’s always Christ centered. We are not just for your satisfaction. We are not just for you to be happy. We want you to really see Christ, be for Christ, stand for the testimony of Christ. But so easily, if you want to gain members and you want to have more people in the meeting, your spiritual standard can be lost. Many come to congregations and very few understand spiritual things. They don’t talk about why the soul life and self life ought to be denied.
“The culture of Christianity has fallen to the point that Christians are advised to go to the church of their choice with no understanding of the crucialness of God’s economy.”
We are here as a church. Why are we here as a church? Because there is Christ. The first thing in Christ is Jesus Christ. The second thing in Christ is the body of Christ. Together, they carry out God’s economy, bear the testimony of God, and prepare the Bride for the Lord to come back. This is why these things become very crucial. We are not just Christians having a good time. We are Christians fighting, standing for what God is after.
One brother told me, “Brother, you should really have live translation for the meetings.” I said, “Maybe we should ask how many need it to see if we really need it.” The brother said, “If you ask, they won’t raise their hands.” That’s because Chinese people are sort of bashful. They don’t want to say that they don’t understand English. My consideration is that live translation takes a lot of time and we don’t have enough time. With live translation, I would speak a sentence and they translate. We don’t have time. So, try your best to understand. Try your best to listen to the translation, even if you understand 30-40%, that is better than nothing. God is trying to do something.
Let me ask you, brother, what is your life for? Church? Christ? Brother, don’t lie. You say you are for the church but you insist on going to college and finishing it. You say you are for Christ, but you have a plan for the future already, don’t you? That’s why I said you’re lying. Or, you say, I will have a job and play the church. Or, I will be for the church and play the university. Then quit it! Why are you insisting on finishing it? Just finish it next year. This is the problem. This brother has a plan. You want to get a degree, a profession. Then you want to get married, get a house, and have some kids. Then you want to have a good retirement. Isn’t that typical of someone from Cleveland?
People from Cleveland are interesting. It’s a very lovely city though. You have to love Cleveland. There was a report that said the most depressed city in the United States is Detroit. So Cleveland isn’t that bad. We are only the second most depressed city. I don’t agree. I say that as long as I am here, Cleveland is not depressed, because I am not depressed. I mean, people from Cleveland live very happily. They are born, want to get a job, drink beer, get married, and they buy a little house. They watch the Indians get beat up while drinking beer, and that’s their life!
Don’t Live a Common Life
Brother, your human life has problems. Why don’t you try to improve it? Quit school for one year, and you will improve it. Brother, I love you, I don’t want to put you on the spot. I am just saying what I think is the best for you. What do you want? Finish university, get a good job, marry a good sister, buy a good house, drive a good car, have two good kids, watch them grow up. Then, what else? Well, eventually you’ll be like all the other guys and die. No one can bypass that unless the Lord comes back early. You will realize that you didn’t do a thing with your life. Your life will become very meaningless. God will refuse.
If I ask God, “God, what did you do?” “I just made man.” “How did you make man?” He would tell me, “I regret it to the uttermost. That day, I slept well. When I woke up I said, ‘Let there be man!’ Man stood up there, and I was scared to death.” NO! This is not what God would say. He would say, “I am very clear regarding what I am doing. I am very clear on producing things, producing elements, producing entities that match who I am, God. I refuse to take anything that is less than God, I refuse to have anything that is less than God. That’s why I made man in my image, in my likeness. Even after man failed, I come to be a man, to be their savior, to accomplish judicial redemption and organic salvation. Man can be my body, my testimony. I want you to live for that. Your life is just for that.”
Brother, I am very happy that my life is for that. You do not know how much I tell the Lord, “Lord, I owe brother Nee. I owe the brothers ahead of me.” They brought me into what is at the top of what God desires. This is a meaningful life. You have to find the best and fight to gain the best of what God is after. What God is after should become your preeminence and preoccupy you. Firstly, I only care for what God cares for. I don’t want to live a common life.
Yale once asked George Bush to give the commencement speech at graduation. He was a Yale graduate. His statement was very sarcastic. He said “You are all graduates from Yale. If your grade is an A, I congratulate you. If your grade average is a C, you will become the President of the United States.” All of a sudden, you realize, the whole thing is very fake. A or C – none of it has any value. There is one thing that has true value: I am one with Christ. I live for Christ. I am in the Body life. I put on the new man. I bear the testimony of the Lord with all the churches, with all the other saints. Here, God will gain His satisfaction.
Brother, are you satisfying God? Is God your satisfaction? Are you God’s satisfaction? When God looks at you, will He be satisfied? There is nothing wrong with dating a girl because God said Himself, man alone is not good. God wants you to get married. If you get married, you and your wife will satisfy God together. That is the highest meaning of human existence. I am for the body, I bear the testimony of the Lord – this is why I live on the earth and my life is so meaningful. Brother, I hope that day comes soon. I hope one day you can bring that sister to see me, and says, “Brother Titus, hallelujah, we are engaged. Hallelujah, we are married.” This is a sober matter. Can we be with the brothers as one, as the body of Christ? Can we all together say, “Lord, we are not divided. We are not here for ourselves. We are here together to bear Your testimony, to satisfy You. Our existence is for Your satisfaction. The meaning of our lives is to match You for Your satisfaction.” That would be the best living you could ever get. May the Lord have mercy. The Body cannot be divided and we say, “Lord, we want to deny our soul life. We want to live a spiritual life. We want to understand spiritual things. We want to come into the deep things of Christ. We want to be so one with You, so we can bear the testimony of Christ.” Can we have some prayer and close the meeting? Amen.