Steps in Preparation For His Coming
A Part-II Message by Pastor Eric Chang Delivered on December 19, 1999 at the Singapore Christmas Camp
Popular Topics Examined
Yesterday we tried to look at an outline of the events leading up to the Lord’s coming. For those of you who have spent a little time studying this subject, you will notice that I have omitted a lot of things. That was deliberate for various reasons. For example, what is very popular in North America is to talk about something from Ezekiel as referring to Russia coming down from the North invading Israel and that general area. And these events are said to be in the near future. Russia is going to be in alliance with countries like Turkey and Syria and they will invade and attack Israel, and maybe even in an alliance with Iran and Iraq and all these powers.
I made no reference to these things, you will have noticed. And all this is supposed to lead up to the Battle of Armageddon. And this Battle of Armageddon, of course, will be fought, according to them, in the plains of Jezreel. Now any of you who have been to Israel will have had a chance to look at these plains. It is a very impressive sight especially if you stand on Mount Carmel and look across towards the Lake of Galilee (I mean in the direction of Galilee). Of course you cannot see the Lake of Galilee, because it is below sea level, so you cannot see it from that direction. But what you will see is a vast plain - an ideal place to fight a conventional land battle. In fact, this is the sort of ground on which tank battles would be fought.
I am somewhat reserved about these interpretations, and that is why I left them out, because I am not so sure that this is the way to understand these passages. That is the reason why I told you that the details are much harder to sort out than the general picture. I am even more skeptical about another popular view in North America which says that China will send an enormous army towards the Middle East. And this is supposed to be an interpretation of a passage in the Book of Revelation [Rev. 9:16] where it is said that 200 million - that is, “myriad upon myriad” which is then interpreted as being 200 million - will invade the Middle East from China. That is an enormous figure. I mean, the whole of Singapore has how many people? Three-and-a-half million? Can you imagine an army of 200 million people? What kind of military logistics would be involved in such an operation? I had a little bit of interest in military things but I wonder if anybody had thought about how you would move an army of 200 million right across 2 continents, because this army is supposed to go through the Middle East right into Africa. I cannot imagine what a Chinese army wants to do in Africa. Is it to hunt the last of the rhinoceros or elephants or something?
I am sorry to say that many of these interpretations - when we come to these ‘last days’ - begin to border a little bit on the fantastic. From the point of view of the strict principles of exegesis, to interpret the Greek words ‘myriad upon myriad’ as literally 200 million, I think, is a possible translation but not at all a certain translation. (Anyone who wants to pursue the matter is encouraged to look at the original Greek). So I just say these things so that you are cautious when coming to Biblical interpretation of the last days and the coming of the Lord and that we do not make an important subject into something quite silly to some of us, I am sorry to put it this way.
Again you will notice that I avoided referring to the European Union and the 10 states as the New Roman Empire. After all the European Union has well exceeded 10 nations by now. And lately even Turkey has been considered for membership. By now, I have lost count as to how many [states there are in the Union]. But in my early days as a Bible student, there is a lot of talk about this New Roman Empire emerging in Europe. And out of this union of 10 states which are supposed to be the 10 horns of Revelation, there comes the Antichrist. So I mention these things so that you are aware that I am fully aware of these subjects.
Further, you will notice that I made no mention of Daniel, particularly Daniel 7 and so on, and the calculations based on the 7 years and the 3&1/2 years, etc. I do not normally speak on any subject that I am not reasonably well acquainted with. So just to let you know that I have deliberately left these things out so that we can concentrate on the clear general outline.
Now even in that outline, I would say that there are points which I have made which are subject to possible revision when better evidence comes to light. In other words, when we think of and speak of this kind of important subject, it is not the right place for being dogmatic. We must come with much humility, understanding that our knowledge, no matter how good it is of the Scripture, is always rather inadequate. And I would like to continue to proceed with this attitude - trying to proceed on those passages of the Word of God of which we can be quite or relatively sure.
When Jesus Comes, Will He Find Faith?
So I begin today by referring to Lk. 18:8, where the Lord Jesus says, “When the Son of man comes (i.e., when He comes and that is what we are looking for - His coming), will He find faith...?” Now He would not say something like this unless He expects that faith will be hard to find. Now this point is very important for us to start with today. Because clearly everything depends on whether or not you believe what we have talked about this far.
Now obviously if all we have talked about so far is to you nothing much more than fairy tales, there is nothing really to believe. And if you do not believe these things are about to happen, then obviously you are not going to bother with preparing. So talking about preparing for anything is meaningless unless you believe that these events are going to take place. I would like to ask you as you have been through this far in this camp: how much of this do you really believe? Jesus is really coming? Let us not assume too many things, because you might not even really believe this. And so this camp is a complete waste of time; you can just take it as an opportunity to play some badminton, maybe. After all you have the likes of Pastor Steven here to give you a bit of challenge. So you can upgrade your standard a little bit. So maybe it is not a total waste. But as for Jesus’ coming, “Come on! Give us a break! I mean we are not kids. We are not talking about Grimm’s Fairy Tales anymore, are we? I mean we are reasonably intelligent people, or so we think anyway. And you are telling us something about Jesus - the One born in the manger 2000 years ago, the little baby - coming again? You go through here and you see people celebrating, hanging bells around there, that is OK. For a bit of fun, that is all right. But talk about something serious! Here is a bunch of religious nuts, sitting in this room, saying that Jesus is coming again. Come on, we are not children. We are grown-ups. Do you know what we are?”
Well, maybe I am talking out frankly what may be hidden in the heart. You are too polite to say so. I am the kind of person impolite enough to bring this out to the surface. So, you say, “You believe this? That’s OK. There are lots of nuts in the world. But, OK, if you want to believe this, that’s OK with you.” So to talk about prepare, prepare what? “And yesterday this religious nut, this pastor was talking something about dying and preparing for [Jesus’ second] coming - I mean what are you talking about?” So if there is no faith, then all this talk is a complete waste of time. And if there is only partial faith, you are actually in a jam because you do not really know whether to believe or not to believe. Maybe, you say. You look at Pastor Caleb and he is so serious about this thing. He is so serious; maybe there is a bit of truth in this then. But can it all be true? And so you are not very sure to believe or not to believe, right? I am sure many of you are in that position, let us be honest.
I think if I were to ask you to raise your hands, how many of you really are not too sure, maybe you believe, some believe 20% to be true and some believe as much as 80%, but to believe this whole package is a bit much. Therefore when you are not sure to believe or not to believe, what happens? You are in a kind of an inner deadlock, you are in a jam and you do not know what to do now. By the time I finish today with this, you do not even want to believe. I mean if you believed 80%, by the end of this, you might say, “Even that I don’t want to believe; it is too hard to swallow.” Whether you believe a thing to be true or not does not change any facts. Faith only changes you. It does not change any facts. If somebody came in here and said, “This building is on fire” and if you do not believe him, you would not take the least action. You would say, “Come on, that’s nonsense. I don’t see any fire. I don’t smell any smoke. This guy is a little bit off-balanced here. It is no big deal and he is yelling, ‘Fire, Fire.’” Whether you believe or not, does not change the fact whether there is a fire or not. It only changes the course of action you are going to take in relation to this information. Whether you believe there is a God or not, does not change the fact whether there is a God or not. So, your faith changes you, but it does not change any facts.
If Jesus is coming and you do not believe in His coming, it will not stop Him from coming. The only difference is whether you will prepare or not prepare for His coming. And so Jesus says, “When I come again, will I find faith?” That is a rhetorical question which expects the answer, “No”. He knows us very, very well. And He knows that most people believe in a sort of vague sense but not in the way He expects. Are you in that category? And if you are in that category, am I wasting my time talking about how to prepare for His coming? And so maybe I am talking to a very few who really do believe He is coming - the very few that the Lord Jesus expects to be waiting for Him when He comes. I am very realistic. I know how the mind works. And so I am no dreamer about the reality of these things.
Why would I believe in this amazing event? I share this with you so that you might see a way by which you will also truly believe in His coming. Now, I am still by nature, as you will see, a very skeptical person. I do not just accept that somebody said something. I like to be very sure of the truth of anything. How can I be sure of the truth of God? I think those of you who have read my testimony will know that even as a very young person, I was very rationalistic; I analyzed everything. And that made believing very, very difficult. Because anybody knows that there are many things in this world that are not accessible to our rational powers. Even in the area of science, there are lots of things which we still do not know and may not know for a long time and may never know. Any scientist worth his name will humbly acknowledge that what he really knows is very, very little. And if this is true in the material world, I can tell you it is far more true in the spiritual world. Spiritual things are not accessible to your rational powers, no matter how great they are. A lot of things have to be made known to you through a process called revelation. Without that, it is not possible for you to know. If you look at the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, that book is called Revelation. There is nothing in that book that could be known except by revelation. On top of that, you cannot even understand it without revelation. No matter how smart you are, try reading that book and you will be a bit more humble afterwards, because you will soon discover that you cannot understand much of anything in there. So you will see that the only way to understand it is according to the measure that the Lord reveals to you. The same is true of the Lord’s coming. There is almost nothing on this subject that can be analyzed. It is either a matter of revelation or nothing.
Fundamental Point of the Christian Life - Be Led by the Spirit
For many of us who are used to being rational, that is a whole new experience of learning to be taught by the Lord. And is that possible? Of course it is. Now, preparing for the Lord’s coming, the first thing I want to say is precisely on this point. Because the first point, the most basic point of the Christian life can be summed up from Rom. 8:14 which says that, “As many as are the sons of God, these are led by the Spirit.” A very mysterious statement, isn’t it? It is very mysterious to a rational person, because he does not know what it means to be led by the Spirit. There is nothing you can do with all your mind to grasp this statement except to let yourself be led by the Spirit. There is no use to say, “Do I believe this statement or do I not believe this statement?” Of course you can say it but you would not get to the meaning of the statement by that question. If you have been led by the Spirit, if you know what it means to be led by the Spirit in your experience, then of course you believe the statement. But if you have never been led by the Spirit, you do not know what that statement means, no matter how you analyze it. Now have you been led by the Spirit or not?
Now somebody may refer to some incident here and some incident there and say, “Yes, I think I have had that experience.” You will need a lot more than this kind of vague ideas where you think you had an experience of the leading of the Spirit but you are not very sure. But obviously the level and strength of your faith will depend on the level and depth of that experience. And the more you are led by the Spirit, the more certain you are of the truth of this statement. But if you look back at Rom. 8:14, you will discover one thing. And that thing is: according to the apostle Paul, this experience and this reality of being led by the Spirit is something basic to every Christian life. It is so basic that if you have not had that experience, Paul says, you are not even a son of God, a child of God. According to Paul - not according to me, but according to Paul - every true believer, every true disciple, every true Christian knows this ongoing experience of being led by the Spirit. Now, by this standard, are you a Christian? We make standards according to what suits us. You are a Christian if you believe in this and that. You are a Christian if you got baptized. According to these definitions of Christians, we are Christians. But Paul says - I emphasize again not me, but Paul says - a child of God is one who is led by the Spirit. By that standard and definition of a Christian, are you still a Christian?
Why is this important? Because if you do not know what it is to be led by the Spirit, obviously you cannot believe in the reality of God. Because where do you have any first-hand experience of God except in His leading you? Now you can believe in God as an intellectual idea. Your belief in God will be the belief that a philosopher has: he believes in an idea. There are many Christians today who believe in God in that sense. They would say, “Yes, I believe there is a God” but under close examination, it turns out that his belief in God is not based on any experience or fact, but on an idea. The problem with this theoretical kind of belief is that if it is established on theory, it can be destroyed on the basis of theory. In other words, if I can pull your theory apart, your faith collapses. It is usually not very difficult to pull this kind of theories apart.
For this reason there were people, for example, who even go into a theological seminary for training and they lose their faith in the process. Because one of the things we have to do is to study the philosophy of those who disbelieve or want to prove that God does not exist. And because their faith is not rooted in a living experience of God, they found it difficult to defend their theory. It does not mean that any philosopher can really prove the non-existence of God. In fact there is no philosophy that can demonstrate the non-existence of God. Some of us who studied philosophy know that philosophy cannot prove the non-existence of God. But what they can do is to throw enough doubts into your mind as to leave you as an agnostic, that is, one who does not know whether there is or is not a God. Are you in that situation, that you are not very sure whether God exists or not?
Well, if you do not have faith, you cannot really go on in the Christian life. That is why I am spending time talking about the basics, never mind the coming of the Lord. If you do not believe in Jesus as the One who died and rose again, why waste time talking about His coming again. The only kind of person that has no doubt of the spiritual reality of what we are talking about are those people who know day by day what it is to be led by the Spirit. And I remind you that according to the apostle Paul those are the only true Christians there are. So if you want to prepare for the coming of the Lord practically, start right here. Learn to be led by the Spirit. It is about time to start if you have not started to do so already.
It says, “Let us prepare for the coming of the King.” Is He your King? We have already put in so many things into that sentence. It is not just saying to prepare for the coming of Jesus but it is talking about coming of the King. So, now we are talking about Jesus as King, not just Jesus as Jesus. Are you sure you want to meet the King? I am not so sure. I told you yesterday about the sins of omission and we have problems enough dealing with the sins of commission. And I am going to come back to this point a little bit later on.
But “led by the Spirit” implies what? Well, the word ‘led’ implies that somebody is leading. And the one leading in this case is the Holy Spirit. And leading implies that you obey the one who leads, that is, you are following after Him. You are a disciple. If you are a follower, you are a disciple. A disciple of Jesus is somebody who follows Jesus. Everybody knows this kind of elementary definition.
How do you follow Jesus in this day and age? Because we have already said that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father and we are waiting for Him to come. You cannot follow Jesus when He is in heaven. So what discipleship are we talking about? Here is the answer: His Spirit, the Holy Spirit in the NT is also called the Spirit of Christ. And to follow Jesus today means following His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. It is no use talking about some Disciples Church when nobody is following Jesus. I am afraid the Disciples Church is full of non-disciples, I am going to be as frank as that, because you have not learned or we have not fully learned to follow the leading of the Spirit.
Now anyone who has the experience of following the leading of the Spirit has absolutely no doubt about His reality. His understanding is based on the solid foundation of experience, in fact, daily experience. Now if there is no Holy Spirit, there is nobody to lead you. You do not have to be very smart to understand that. Therefore if there is no Holy Spirit, there is no such thing as being led by the Spirit. And if there is no Holy Spirit to lead you, you will soon discover that there is no leading. A car cannot drive anywhere without a driver. In order to be able to move, there must be somebody there who not only puts his foot on the accelerator but also actually guides the car forward.
Now if somebody asked me, “How do you know you really got here this morning?” And I said, “I reasoned my way all the way here.” You must think this guy is really a nut. “Well, I followed the person because I do not know how to get here; so somebody led me here, and did more than that, got into the car and drove me here.” So if you ask me, “Do you really believe that, say, Brother Ching Soon or John is real? Are these people figments of your imagination?” The very fact that I am standing here should be all the evidence I need because it is they who led me here, who brought me here. I do not need to go into a rational argument to prove this point to you. Now you should see that if anyone who has been led by the Spirit knows the reality of the Spirit. I do not need to invent a piece of philosophy to prove that to you. But to somebody who has no experience of being led by the Spirit, all this is airy-fairy. And so we are talking on the basic level simply of being led. But what has that got to do with Kingship? Well, He does not impose His Kingship upon us. We accept it voluntarily. Brothers Soon and John did not bring me here at gunpoint. I came happily with them in the car to here. Neither does the Holy Spirit force us to follow Him, so that when you got out of bed this morning, suddenly you felt some arm grab you at the back of the neck and drag you kicking and shouting out of the room. And suddenly you end up here in this meeting. Certainly not! You could have refused to come to the meeting.
So to speak of Jesus as King is, first of all, to yield in our hearts the allegiance to Him to follow Him. Is your life under His Kingship? Do you live your life moment by moment under His Lordship? If not, we need not waste our time talking about being led by the Spirit. He only leads those who joyfully and humbly yield their lives to His Kingship. If you have not even done that step, no wonder you have no experience of being led by Him. But if at some point in your life, you have humbled yourself before the Lord, you knelt down before Him and you said, “Lord, from this moment, I repent of all my past rebelliousness and sins, and I yield my life to your Kingship to start on the road to being a true Christian” - but that is only a start - then there would be the constant yielding of the will to being led by Him. I can tell you this, the road gets harder and harder as you go on. I wonder how far - if any of you have already started on this road - I wonder how far advanced you are now? For many, the challenge is too great, the cost too high and many fall by the roadside. Though they have experienced something of the reality of the leading of the Spirit, the cost of the reality is too much, and they turn back. That is what the Lord says, “If any man puts his hand to the plough and turns back, he is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” [Lk. 9:62] Where are you now?
1. Start Living Under His Kingship Now
The first thing about preparing for the coming of the King is to start living under His Kingship now. And if you are not willing to live under His Kingship now, I do not believe a word you are telling me if you say that you are ready to welcome the coming of the King. Stop fooling yourself; do not fool me. The truth is that you do not want to see Him at all, never mind to prepare for His coming. I can think of one way you could prepare for His coming, and that is build an atomic bomb-proof shelter under your house and hope that when He comes you can hide yourself in there and lock yourself in there because you do not want to see His face. I promise you, I think a large number of Christians, as the Scripture says, will be trying to hide themselves from the face of the Lamb [Rev. 6:16]. And at this point, I wonder if it is even worth continuing, because the more I go on, the less you would like to hear about it.
Yesterday, I gave you a few hints about this, because you do not want to know where the Spirit of the Lord is going to lead you. It is very interesting that even those who had joined the full-time training and towards the end of the training, I say to them, “Well, you can now make your proposals as to where you would like to serve the Lord. ‘You can propose’ does not mean you will go there,” and they start worrying. “I wonder if we are going to be sent to Iceland? The North Pole? Maybe the jungles of Congo or somewhere?” We want to be led, but not led too much. At least lead us in the way we particularly would like to go, where the weather is quite good, where the people are relatively polite - this kind of place we can consider. But what if the Spirit of the Lord does not want to lead you there? “No, no. This picture does not look too good anymore.” You would say, “Surely, those who go to full-time training never worry about such things.” They will tell you honestly that they do. So you see, ‘led by the Spirit’ sounds nice: “I can experience the reality of God.” That sounds wonderful, right? Until you discover that the Holy Spirit might lead you where you do not want to go. Did you say the Lord is King? “Ah yeah, I said so.” So the King wants you to go! “Ah! Why did I get myself into this?” [Remember] what the Lord said to Peter, “Now you go wherever you want to go, but a day is coming where you will be taken to where you do not want to go.” [Jn. 21:18] What do you think? Do you still want to be led by the Spirit? Shall we close the discussion at this point? And then you suspect, “Yeah, I know what he is going to talk about, because he is mentioning Peter.” You know the Scripture a bit, you know where this discussion is going. Yes, you understand. Peter was led to where he did not particularly want to go; he was led to be crucified. I would not expect that all of you will be clapping your hands to say, “Oh, really? I am going to be crucified? Well, that’s beautiful.”
2. Preach the Gospel to the Ends of the Earth
Before you get crucified, there are still other things which you might not want to do. For example, the Lord did say, “You are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” You! Not just me! Do you think the Lord said those words only to apostle Peter? Peter is not here to preach the Gospel in our 20th century. Neither are the 12 apostles around. Neither are the 70 disciples. Who is going to preach today? You say, “You! You are the one who is going to preach.” Well, I am sorry, my power is a little bit limited; I cannot preach to the whole world, at least not yet at this moment.
The task of bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth is for the Church to carry out. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “You! You are the light of the world” - the light that will go out to the whole world. [Mt. 5:14] The ‘you’ is referring to all His disciples. So important is the preaching of the Gospel in the teaching of the Lord Jesus, that it outranks some of the most important human duties. That is what the Lord Jesus said in Lk. 9:60 where, as you recall, a certain person wanted to be a disciple of the Lord and he said, “Let me first go and bury my father.” That is one of the most important human duties and responsibilities. The Lord Jesus would never deny how important it is. But something is even more important: you go out and preach the Gospel! So urgent is this task of preaching the Gospel in the light of the Lord’s return that nothing else has precedence. How to prepare for the coming of the King? Go and preach the Gospel! That is what the Lord Jesus says in Mt. 24:14: “This Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached to the ends of the earth and then shall come the end.” This must first be accomplished. And you have that responsibility given to you. Though there are important responsibilities such as burying one’s father, responsibility to one’s family and so forth, in view of the urgency of the present situation, according to Scriptural teaching and not according to our opinion, preaching the Gospel takes precedence over everything else.
You can see that this mentality does not exist anymore. Among Christians today, family takes precedence over church - my children, my wife, my family interests - they are first. If I have any bit of time left, I will give a bit of my spare time to the Church, or even a lot of my spare time, but it is not the priority, and certainly not preaching the Gospel. I think for most of you, none are engaged in this activity at all. Am I mistaken? How many of you are involved in preaching the Gospel at this point in time? No matter what form it takes, even in personal witness, how many of you will have this as a priority? I do not mean that you do not witness to somebody in your place of work, or in the college, but is this the priority in your thinking and in your life? I think not.
Now if you are led by the Spirit, would you not do what the Lord requires? How would the Spirit of the Lord lead you except in accordance with His own instructions and commands? If you dare to let Him lead you - if you dare - He will lead you into witnessing - who knows where in the world. But you may not want to hear this, because as I said, He might send you to Congo or somewhere. At least, you are afraid He might do that. So OK, you will witness on your terms. “Lord, You don’t need to lead me. I already understand Your teaching. You don’t need to lead me to go somewhere, to Congo or who knows where; that is too far away. You have to be practical - the next-door neighbor. My neighbor also needs the Gospel! So, You leave it to me. I will take care of this.” So you see, don’t we do this all the time? I have heard it so often. “Why go off elsewhere? My neighbor needs the Gospel, too.” I am not arguing about the importance of the neighbor. I am not at all denying that he has his needs. We are on the subject of being led by the Spirit. The question is: are you the right person to witness to your neighbor? Maybe you are the wrong person to do that! The only person who knows who is the right person is the Spirit of the Lord. And He did not appoint you to decide who to witness to or not. This is the matter of being led by the Spirit. And because we keep insisting to fulfill - as we think is the Scriptural teaching - by our own standards, we do not experience the Lord.
Let me summarize the 2 points I have made so far. The fundamental point is being led by the Spirit. And when He leads you, He will lead in such a way as to fulfill His own commands to us; and that command is to bring the Gospel to the ends of the world, to let your light shine to the ends of the world, and to be willing to so yield your life that He will lead you to where you are supposed to go.
I can tell you exciting stories on how the Lord has led me to witness to people that I have never seen and never known before - to be so led by the Spirit that you go where He takes you - for which there are no human explanations, as in the case when I was a student in London. I was about to sit down at my table to study and I still remember the humor of the Lord that He talked to me when I was half way down (notice that, half way down) into my seat. He said, “Get up! (In other words, ‘Don’t sit down; get up!’) I am sending you to the Central YMCA.” That is in London. I was living then in the north of London. I looked at my watch; it seemed to me rather late. If I remember correctly, it was approaching 9:00 p.m. The Lord said, “Go to the Central YMCA.” And of course I started arguing. You know, we are very good at arguing with the Lord. I said, “It is a bit late, Lord. I have my studies. It is a long way down to Central London. It will take me maybe 50 minutes on my motorcycle. If you count the return trip, it will be more than an hour and a half.” We will soon learn to stop arguing with the Lord, but we always try. So finally I said, “OK, OK.” I have been walking with the Lord long enough to know that these arguments are futile so I got on my motorcycle and off I went. And so on the way down, I was saying, “Lord, who am I supposed to see anyway?” I suddenly realized that I had no idea who I was supposed to see in the YMCA. And all the way the thought was in my mind: “So, what do I do when I get to the YMCA?” So I started reasoning. Those of us who like to reason too much give ourselves a hard time. So I began to think, “Yes, we have from our church 2 or 3 people living in the YMCA and maybe one of them is having some kind of spiritual problem that the Lord wants me to help out.” When I got to the YMCA, that was what was on my mind. I do not recall whether one or two of them were not in when I arrived, and one of them I located, and so I said, “You are having some spiritual problem?” He said, “No.” And I said, “Lord, what did You send me here for?” Here I am having driven all this way down from the north of London into the center of London and here this guy does not even have a problem. And so while I was talking with him, the Lord said to me, “Look to the door.” I turned to the revolving door of the Central YMCA and somebody was walking through the door. He said, “Talk to that man.” I have never seen him before. I am not in the habit of stopping people I do not know. In fact, I do not even know what to say to him. So anyway when the Lord tells you to go, you go. So I went up to this man who just came in through the door, and I said to Him, “Lord, what am I supposed to say now?” So I said to him, “Do you need any help?” And I thought he would say, “No, I am fine.” To my surprise, he said, “Yes.” I thought, “Uh-oh! What kind of help does he need?”
Well, the amazing thing was he came to the Lord the next day. It is a long [story] but just to keep it brief, I was led by the Lord. He was a much older person than myself and I saw that I was not the right person to help him but I was the right person to put him in touch with the person who could help him. So after the conversation, I realized that what he needed was something spiritual. So I introduced him to the pastor of the church. Ours is a Chinese church, of course, and this man was also a Chinese from Taiwan. And he came to the Lord! He was on his way to the United Nations in Geneva. He was in London just for those two days. The timing had to be absolutely perfect! Had I not listened to the leading of the Spirit, how would he have come to the Lord? And when I told him how I had come to the YMCA, he said, “I know, I know. The Lord, He is the one who prepared all this for me to come to Him.” Two days later he went off to Geneva rejoicing in the Lord. If I had not been led by the Spirit and he had not been saved, what would be the outcome for me, that is, for having disobeyed the Lord? Have you ever thought how many people may not have come to the Lord because you were not listening to the leading of the Spirit?
Now I can go on with these kinds of examples. And this is not because I am some kind of a super Christian. It is nothing more than Rom. 8:14: “being led by the Spirit”, a common experience. Of course, when you listen to what I am sharing with you, it reminds you of something in Acts, doesn’t it? About how the Ethiopian eunuch was brought to the Lord [Acts 8:26-40]. Think about this. For someone with this kind of experience as being normal, do you not think God is real to him? Of course God is real to me. I could not deny it even if I tried. If one day somebody holds a gun to my head and says, “Do you believe in Jesus? Is Jesus real to you? If He is real to you, I am going to pull this trigger.” I would still have to say, “Go ahead. Pull the trigger”, because I cannot deny what I know to be true. In other words, I am ready to stake my life on it because it is something which I have experienced over and over again. I am serving the Lord today not because I thought it was such a great job and a well-paid job. When I served the Lord in England in Liverpool, I served without charge. I refused to take a salary. For five years, I preached without receiving one cent in salary, because I refused to accept it, not because the church did not want to give it. In fact, most of the people in the church did not even know I was not accepting a salary. There were some people who gave freewill offerings but most did not because they did not realize that the money they put into the offering did not come to me. Five years later, when I left to go to a new work in Canada, some of them discovered that I never received a salary. Initially I had to teach in order to maintain ourselves, because in the beginning, the church was just a handful of people. But as the church grew, I still kept the matter as it was. There were some freewill gifts, as I said, but I took no salary. When I went to Canada, I had hoped to continue not accepting a salary but it could not be done because I was an immigrant and I had to be paid by law. And so I received minimum wage, that is, right at the bottom, the lowest wage possible. And to me that was my glory because I want to preach the Gospel, not for any profit. Why do we do these things? Because God is real to us! If God is not real to you, you would not do these kinds of things. So the second thing was to go out to preach the Gospel - led by the Spirit, not according to the way we want to do it.
3. Build Up His Church
The third thing that we are led to do by the Spirit is to build up His Church in preparation for His coming. We are all involved - not just the full-time workers - we are all involved in building up His Church. So in 1 Cor. 12 -14 in particular, Paul has a lot to say to the Corinthian church, about how to build one another up, that is, how to build up His Church. It is a wonderful mission entrusted to us! If you go out somewhere to preach the Gospel, a church will start to form. Then you need to build it up person by person. And you have to encourage them to build each other up; it is not just your job. Every Christian is involved in this because you are part of that body, of that church. Are you involved in this? Now, by building up the Church, I am not talking about various activities in the church. All those activities are all useful and valuable. Some of you I heard in Singapore are wonderful cooks. Ah, so you can cook beautiful meals for special occasions. That does a lot of good to various people in more than one way, I suppose. But when Paul speaks about building up the Church, he did not say among the gifts that you should become excellent cooks. The problem with Paul is that he was too otherworldly; he does not think about food, you see. You might say, “Paul, you got to come down to our level a little bit; food is very important for us.” How come among the gifts of the Spirit, he does not mention about cooking. To me, cooking is very important. Paul is at a higher level; apparently he does not think about food.
The point is that while these things are valuable and important, and nobody will deny that (and I do not think that even Paul will deny the value of cooking even though he does not mention it), but what we need to learn is to encourage, to build up one another spiritually: to encourage the other when he is down, to provide him with friendship and counsel where it is possible to do so. We are to build up the Church until it shines as a light - what a beautiful goal! But that requires giving of our time to others, to care for them, physically, yes, but also and above all, spiritually. So often we just compromise and say, “I don’t know how to help somebody spiritually, so I just give him some presents.” That is also good, but not enough. You have to learn how to build the other person up spiritually, and one of the things most needed in the spiritual life is encouragement. The road is so difficult and we are very poor at this ministry of encouraging. Try just learning to encourage. You do not have to be a Bible expert to encourage anybody. Even if externally he does not look so depressed, you would be surprised what is in his heart.
I have so far kept to the more acceptable subjects of being led by the Spirit. And so with much hesitation I go to the less acceptable subjects before I close. So my popularity will go further and further down as I go on in this message. But I have to tell you what the Lord says (not what I say): the kind of thing that few preachers want to talk about. How to prepare for His coming? Do you really want to hear? As I said, from the beginning, I am not so sure. Maybe some brave souls here will say, “Yes, yes, yes! I am ready to hear.” But by the time I got through the point, they will say, “Sorry, I spoke too fast.”
4. Remain Single in View of the Present Crisis
Most of you are quite young people to whom marriage means something. You may say, “Ah, talk about every aspect of life but let’s leave the marriage business out.” Especially if I tell you that if you are serious about carrying out the things that I have talked about such as preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth, then marriage is part of the subject. You would say, “Oh yes, yes, I need a good wife (or a good husband) then we can go and preach the Gospel together.” Well, sorry to disappoint you. That is not the Scriptural statement. You see, we like to be led by the Lord provided that we can make our own conditions along the way. So reasonable, isn’t it? “Two are better than one”, right? And how many wedding [messages] I have heard that said “One will chase a thousand and two will chase ten thousand”. [Deut. 32:30] I am not quite sure chasing what one thousand or what ten thousand. Ten thousand of what? Sometimes they seem to have chased the wrong objectives here.
Now so as not entirely to lose what little popularity I have left, let me start quoting Scripture here. 1 Cor. 7:26, 27 says, “I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress - that it is good for a man to remain as he is: Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.” “Don’t seek a wife? I knew I came to the wrong camp. I thought I came here to seek a wife (or to seek a husband), and here the preacher says, ‘Don’t seek a wife.’” Sorry, I did not say it; it was Paul who said it, remember? How come Paul’s thinking is so different from our wisdom? It is so reasonable to have two working together, it being more effective. And what does Paul say? “In view of the present crisis...” [NRSV uses the word crisis]. What present crisis? In case you do not know what Paul refers to, the period between the 1st coming of the Lord Jesus and the 2nd coming of the Lord Jesus is the period of crisis - the crisis of this present age in rebellion against the Lord. Most Christians are not even aware that there is some kind of crisis spiritually. We are so out of touch with spiritual things. We are not sensitive to the spiritual realities of this age. We live as though we live in perfectly normal times. The Lord Jesus said in Mt. 24:37 that before His coming, it will be as in the days of Noah. People were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage as though these were very normal times. We do not understand that we are not living, spiritually speaking, in normal times.
You will remember that among the long list of things that I did not mention yesterday, I also did not mention earthquakes and famines and all these kinds of things. I did not mention any of these, did I? Not because I was not aware of the Scriptural teaching of these things, but first because the Lord Jesus says that these kinds of things are normal in this present period of time. These are crises but these are crises external to us. And these earthquakes and these famines will increase in intensity. But why we can not use these very much as a measure for our present age is because we do not know at what point the intensity has reached the level which indicates the Lord’s coming is near.
So for example, there was a massive earthquake in China in Tangshan, as you know, some years ago. There were more than 400,000 casualties (including those who were seriously wounded). It was just an amazing destruction. But then more recently, there were earthquakes in Taiwan and Turkey and elsewhere, but not of the same magnitude. So it is very hard to use these to measure anything. There are wars and rumors of wars - there is a war being fought in Chechnya at the moment. Wars have been going on for a long time in this present age. Famines. All these things. But the Lord Jesus says that these are just the beginning. All they do is to remind us that we live in the present crisis. But the crisis Paul refers to is spiritual. For that reason again, you notice that I did not make much reference to the signs in the heavens, the moon turning to blood and so forth. Because in the exegesis of these verses, I am not so sure whether these are to be treated as physical phenomena, or in fact, figurative for spiritual occurrences. I am more inclined to think that these are figurative of very serious spiritual occurrences in the heavenly places. You remember that there was a time when all the planets lined up in one line and everybody got very excited, but then the event passed and nothing much happened. They thought there would be high tides and things like that; there might have been a somewhat higher tide but nothing too significant.
But for those who have eyes to see, the spiritual crisis is of the most astonishing proportions. One of the most significant is the almost pervasive blindness, spiritual blindness that has engulfed the world. And that includes the Church. I look around in the Church and I see a level of spiritual blindness that is absolutely astonishing: total inability to see spiritual things. That is the crisis that we are talking about because this is an eternal life-and-death matter. The devotion to the Lord is at so low a level as to be absolutely pitiful. And Paul does not want anything to affect that already very minimal devotion to the Lord. Unfortunately marriage is one of those things that could affect it. If we think of evangelism as some kind of a human effort and so we can organize a team, or even husband-and-wife teams, then we do this our way. Humanly speaking that makes sense, but God’s way is very different from ours. And what Paul is saying is this: if you get married, your focus upon the Lord will be, to a probably significant level, affected. Paul says that the person who is single, focuses his whole devotion on the Lord alone. But the married person must think also about pleasing his wife or her husband, so that that low level of devotion is further weakened.
If you look at this passage, he goes on to make other astonishing statements. He says of course that if you are married, he no way suggests that you should dismiss your wife or leave your husband. But if you are not yet married, then just stay free. This whole passage actually is concerned about the coming of the Lord. And he goes on to say, for example in 1 Cor. 7:29, “But I say, brethren, the time has grown short....” The Lord’s coming is near. In 1 Cor. 7:31, it says, “For the present form of this world is passing away.” Can you swallow any of these? Do you really want me to go on talking about preparing for the coming of the Lord? Have you not had enough by now? This is hard to swallow! These are sort of normal, natural desires or needs, right? To be able to marry. Paul says, “No, no, no. I prefer you don’t do that.” He goes on to other things, for example, like you will have problems or distress in the flesh (in the same passage) if you marry. Now if you marry and you have a child, that is normal again, isn’t it? Or maybe more than one child. But any of you taking care of children, especially babies, will understand; you do not even need to sleep at night. You get up every 3 or 4 hours to feed the baby. Your whole life and energy revolves around looking after the dear little ones. Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not, it is natural. But in view of the present distress, where should our energy go?
Well, many have spent a large part of their lives bringing up the family. Humanly speaking, there is nothing wrong with that. It is a question of priorities, that is what Paul is talking about - not whether it is right or wrong, but what are your priorities? Are you willing to be led by the Spirit? Are you willing to be led by the Spirit if He says, “I want you to remain single”? And there you see this beautiful girl and the Spirit says, “No, no, you just remain single.” Ah, it is so hard to be a Christian. And the sister says, “I am determined to be single.” I have heard many a sister say that to me. “I make a vow to serve the Lord as a single person.” I say, “Sister, please do not make any vows.” Then I say, “Are you sure?” “Yeah, yeah, I am sure.” “Fine, if you are sure you want to remain single and you are sure you are led by the Spirit, but you still do not need to make a vow. Nobody asked you to make a vow.” And you know some of these sisters go on and make a vow anyway. I say to you, “That is foolishness”, I’m sorry to make it as plain as that. Because afterwards when they find out they cannot keep the vow, they live in a sense of guilt for the rest of their lives. Because I am certain that the Lord never led them to make any vow. It is human dedication of the moment.
The Lord may want you to remain single now, but it does not mean He wants you to remain single for the rest of your life. Maybe later on, He wants you to get married for some reason, as you might discover. One very obvious reason is because if, finally, you have to lead a church, it is not appropriate in most cases for a single person to be the leader of a church, because there are sisters in the church, too. Therefore it is often not only important but is necessary for a church leader to be married, so that there will be somebody to help the sisters. So even if initially the Spirit might not lead you to be married, there comes a time when He may say, “Now is the time to get married.” But the point here is simply this: that we must be willing to be led by the Spirit, whether to be married or not to be married. And in view of the present crisis, it is likely - not absolutely necessary - but it is likely that He may lead you to remain single.
I myself was very happy to remain single. But then when you become the pastor of a church, it turns out that it is not suitable for you to remain single because all kinds of problems could arise. And therefore it becomes necessary to marry, to keep your witness pure, and so that there is someone who can help the sisters when it is not appropriate for you to help them as a brother.
5. Go and Sell All You Have
Let me come to the last point and we need to begin to wind up. It is equally unpalatable, hard to swallow, and what is that point? I almost hesitate to mention it. Go and sell all you have! “Uh-oh! Here we come. We heard a little bit about this in Commitment Training or somewhere but it was put in a less radical manner.” And this bothers even people who actually do not have anything to sell. Maybe they are thinking, “One day I am going to inherit a million dollars or a great amount of property and I have to dispose of it all.” You want to call Him King? Who said “go and sell”? Me? Not me! Jesus said so. He said it in more than one place so that we do not think that it was just a slip of the tongue at the moment.
You can look at a passage in Lk. 12. This passage is interesting because the word ‘coming’ occurs many times. And so it is very relevant to our camp. I will leave you to count the number of times of the word ‘come’ or ‘coming’ occur in this passage. From Lk. 12:32, the Lord says, “Do not be afraid.” It really means do not be anxious about your material needs because God wants to give you the Kingdom. That sounds very good. You are going to get something. You are going to get the Kingdom. But before you get too happy, look at the next verse. “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven.”[NASB] The point is quite simple here. Let go of all your earthly possessions and translate them into spiritual treasures. Put away the treasures that are going to pass away, the kind that will wear out, the kind that will rust, and the kind that will be eaten up by worms. Are you willing, under the leading of the Spirit (now it is very important, I stress again, the leading of the Spirit), to dispose of earthly possessions and turn them into eternal ones? I come back to the key words, “led by the Spirit”. This selling of the possessions must not be an act of fanaticism. It must not be an act in which we just decide, “OK, we will do it in some rash and foolish manner.” It must be a calm, a carefully-considered, a well-planned move under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Under the leading of the Holy Spirit!
Again, you see, these are the key things. Because unless we are prepared to let the Kingship of the Lord apply to our possessions, then to say that He is King of our lives is sheer nonsense. It is absolutely hypocrisy. If I said, “Lord, you are King of my life but don’t touch my bank account” we are condemned as hypocrites on that Day when we see Him.” When we meet the Lord Jesus, He will say, “Did you say I am the King of your life? But you never let Me touch your bank account. What kind of hypocrite are you anyway?” That is the point. He tests us at the point where it hurts. But nothing of this has to do with your just going and throwing away your possessions. It is not suggested that you go and sell your house and you put a tent on the road, which anyway would not be permitted. It does not mean you will sell your possessions and then you have no more money, so you sit by the side street and beg for money. You become one of those holy beggars of which India is full. It seems to be particularly holy to be able to beg. That would hardly be honoring the Lord, would it? And if you are going to the ends of the earth to preach, presumably you have to finance some of these.
What is behind this command to sell? There are several things involved here. The first is that our possessions are what cuts out our mobility: our house, our land, our car, our this and that. We do not want to leave these behind so we are no longer mobile. We do not want to move. To preach the Gospel wherever the Spirit of the Lord sends you, you have to be completely mobile. But if you are tied down by all your possessions, you are totally immobile, you cannot move. That is the reason why so many brothers and sisters are not able to go anywhere, and therefore unable to fulfill this command, and therefore begin to rationalize and justify themselves by saying, “I just preach to the neighbor” as though the Lord has sent them to the neighbor. You are going to spend the whole of the rest of your life preaching to your neighbor? At what point in time have you finished preaching to your neighbor? It will be interesting to check on these people who talk about preaching to the neighbor whether they ever did preach to the neighbor, and if so, how frequently. We are truly good at fooling ourselves.
Again the rationale behind selling one’s possessions has to do with this present age and the crisis in it. When Hong Kong was about to be taken over by the Communist in 1997, do you know what happened in the years preceding the takeover? The Hong Kong people in multitudes were selling their possessions. Jesus did not have to tell them to do that. They were in a hurry to sell their houses and their lands. You would have thought they all of a sudden became disciples of the Lord. Many of them had big houses, beautiful cars and lands and so forth. They sold all this in order to go to Canada, in particular, as their first choice, for it was the number one country in the world, as you know according to the United Nations. Six years in a row, Canada was number one. It has the best living conditions in all the world. So get rid of your possessions in this place and move to a new world, a new life. Canada only required that you bring in a quarter of a million dollars for your immigration purposes, provided you use the money for business, and lots of Hong Kong people could afford a lot more than that. And so they were going to Canada in droves, because of the crisis. But of course, like so many Christians, they wanted to have the best of both worlds, too. What if things would not turn out so bad as so they feared in Hong Kong? It is still good to keep a foothold in Hong Kong. So they keep a business there, or at least a smaller house; the big money has gone over to Canada and the small money stays in Hong Kong. This sounds familiar to most of us. We want to have a portion in the Kingdom of God, but we want to make sure that, as we say, our foot remains on solid ground in this world. So we can see how we still function, not according to the leading of the Spirit but according to our worldly wisdom.
Now notice the connection of this with the coming of the Lord. In Scripture you cannot take the thing out of context. Therefore you see in Lk. 12:33 about selling possessions, it is tied up with the Lord’s coming as it precedes verse 35. And then the Lord goes on to say, “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit.” Be like those who are waiting for the Master to return. Waiting for the Master, that is the way to do it! Do you want to wait for His return? That is how He tells you to do it. So are you willing to listen to His leading? Are you sure you want to listen? Are you willing to say, “Lord, all my possessions are Yours? I am waiting for You to tell me what to do with it.” You might discover that for one or two years, He does not tell you a thing. So you say, “Lord, the money is still in my bank account, what do You want me to do?” He does not tell you anything. But one day, He suddenly tells you, “I want part of this money to go there and some of that money to go here.” When it says, “Sell all your possessions”, He does not necessarily tell you to dispose of it all at one go.
There is one final important reason for this teaching. What does a person do when he knows that he is about to die? He writes his will, doesn’t he? To dispose of all his possessions. Because he knows that he cannot take it with him so he might as well dispose of it. Yesterday I told you that preparing for the Lord’s coming involves being prepared to die. If you have not written your will, it is a pretty risky business to die. Every lawyer will know the kind of risks involved. You have to get your will ready. And the Lord is basically telling us, “Write your will. Because anyone who wants to be My disciple must deny himself, take up his cross (i.e. the instrument of his own death), then follow Me.” Led by the Spirit. Are you prepared to write your will? To tell how you are going to dispose of all your possessions? A lawyer will say it is wise for you to write your will. Do not think you are so young that you are not going to die for another 50 years. I remember my doctor in Canada - the surprise on his face, the shock on his face when he talked to Helen and myself - and he said, “My friend was only 36 years old and he dropped dead of a heart attack! One day he was fine and in good shape, and the next day, he was dead.” What happens if you do not write your will?
In preparing for the Lord’s coming, let us get our will ready. Let Him lead us as to how to dispose of our possessions. It does not matter if it is not a vast amount of possessions. The question is: “Are you prepared to dispose of it?” The widow only had 2 mites (Mk. 12:43; Lk. 21:3). That was her total possession. She offered it all to the Lord, and the Lord said, “She has given more than all those rich people put together, because they gave of their surplus, but she gave of her substance.” The call to sell is the call to give our substance. And I stress again, not as an act of fanaticism, but a calm and calculated move, and one that is led by the Spirit.
6. Be Prepared to Die as Martyrs, as in Revelation
Finally, since we are talking about writing our wills, we are talking about dying. In the book of Revelation, I counted the number of times the word ‘blood’ occurs. It occurs 17x, more than anywhere else in the NT, if I am not mistaken. 17x the word ‘blood’ occurs.
Let us look at just one example of this so that you will see the point - Rev. 17:5&6. Look carefully at it. Rev 17:5,6 says: “and upon her forehead a name was written, a mystery, ‘Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and the abominations of the earth.’ And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered greatly.” Did you hear the message of Revelation? The blood in Revelation in these instances refer to the blood of the believers. Someone has observed that in the book of Revelation, the only Christians that the book of Revelation knows about are the martyrs, those who have died for Christ. Every true believer in Revelation appears to be a martyr. And in this verse, what you see is this: ‘Babylon.’ Babylon represents the world; it is a picture of the world, like Egypt. And this picture of Babylon portrays her as being utterly drunk with the blood of the saints, drunk with the blood also of the witnesses of Jesus. How much blood must the world drink before it is drunk? Write your will if you want to prepare for the coming of the King.
Babylon is going to drink our blood. We do not say this as a matter of a dramatic thing but it is simply talking about a cool fact of reality: that “the world (as the Lord Jesus says) will hate you”. In John it is very interesting. There are 2 passages: one in which the Lord Jesus says, “The world does not hate you but it hates Me.” [Jn. 7:7] But later on in John, after some time that they have learned to follow Jesus, He says something totally different. He says, “They will hate you because they hate Me.” [Jn. 15:19] So formerly, they did not hate the disciples. Does the world hate you? Probably not! If you are one of them, why should they hate you? They only hate you if you are no longer one of them. And only at that point in time will you know what it is that the world will hate you to the extent that it will kill you. But do not think, please do not think, that the world refers to non-Christians exclusively. Did you notice what it says concerning Babylon? Look carefully. It does not say that Babylon is the world in the sense that it is a secular state. It says, “Babylon, the whore, i.e., the prostitute.” Do you know what that means? If you are somewhat familiar with the OT, you will know what that means. When Israel became unfaithful to God, it was declared to be an adulteress and a whore. In other words, and this is the shocking part of it, Babylon is scarcely the world in Revelation. It is the people of God who have turned unfaithful to God. Those are going to be the enemies. Who crucified Jesus? Who persecuted Him to the end? Who persuaded the Romans to have Him crucified because they did not have the power to crucify Him under Roman law? The people of God! The chosen people - the Israelites! We do not say this as an act of anti-Semitism. As Christians we are not anti-Semitic. I love the Jews; I study their writings; I am reasonably familiar with Judaism even in the modern days. We love them. And in the end age, they are not going to be our enemies but it is those Christians who refuse to live under the Kingship of Christ, who give lip service to Christ as King but whose life is a denial of everything He taught. Watch and see. They are the ones who will deal with you.
Counting as Privilege to Suffer for Jesus’ Sake
So brothers and sisters, I have to wind up my message here. I hope that these points are clear to you. We have a very high calling, a calling to be faithful to Him as we find in the book of Revelation “unto death”. The book of Revelation says, “Be faithful unto death and you will be given the crown of life.” [2:10] Are we prepared for His coming?
Let us start at the beginning and with that we must close. If you have not understood what it is to be led by the Spirit, begin there. All the rest you do not even have to worry about for now. Learn day by day, moment by moment, to listen to Him, to be sensitive to His voice, and you will discover whether He is real or not. Until you have settled that point, all the other four points I mentioned you need not even concern yourself about. By the time the Lord is truly real to you because of your being led by Him, by that time whether you are married or not married, it does not bother you anymore. By that time when he tells you to sell everything you will not even find it burdensome. And by that time, when you can lay down your life for the Lord, you will not find it terrifying.
I always remember as a young Christian, I heard Wang Ming Tao preaching in Beijing, which left a very deep impression on my mind. He knew the Communists were about to arrest him back in 1955. I remember him standing on the platform saying this. He knew his time was going to be very short. He was not mistaken; two weeks later he was arrested and he was not seen again for he was in prison for some 20 years. But he said, “If I am granted the privilege - the privilege! - to suffer for Him, I consider that the highest honor.” You see, to somebody who does not know the Lord, not led by the Spirit, to suffer for the Lord all sounds so terrible. But for a servant of the Lord like Wang Ming Tao, it was a sheer privilege.
It was a privilege for me to be there as a very young believer to see this man of great spiritual stature speaking forth the Word. Helen and I were also granted the privilege to see him in 1990, to visit him in his home at that time in Shanghai, and to see that at 90 years old his faithfulness and commitment to the Lord had not changed nor wavered in the least. He died the next year. But at 90, his mind was sharp and clear. He was a person who had known what it is to be led by the Spirit all his life and remained faithful unto death. I pray that you too may have this experience of the reality of God in being led by His Spirit. Pursue this first and foremost and all the other steps will follow naturally by the leading of the Spirit. And then you will be prepared for His coming!
(c) 2012 Christian Disciples Church