Eric Culbert - Thailand Convention - 2003

I believe we are sitting in one of the richest places in Thailand. As we look around this room, it might not look like the richest place in Thailand, but it is, and we are sitting amongst the richest people, because we are sitting at the feet of Jesus. That is why it is one of the richest places in the world. We ate sitting with men and women to whom God has given His spirit to. It is the Holy Spirit that makes men and women rich in this world. Earlier this year, I was in Britain to visit my parents, and one evening, I picked up the newspaper and the title of one page got my attention. It said, "The 100 richest people in the world." I read down this list of names, and this is the way in which the world counts riches. God counts riches in a different way. On top of the list was Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft. These have palaces, and lands and islands, and big businesses, and gold and silver. I remember that evening reading in my Bible, when Jesus was talking to men and women, and He spoke about the true riches. Who is going to give you true riches? I began to try to think of the true riches, and that is why I saw we are sitting amongst rich people this evening. I didn't see any of your names in the list of 100 richest people. If God made a list of the 100 riches people in Thailand, maybe your names would be on that list. You are the true gold of this country. I don't know when workers first came to Thailand, but if they had worked for 50 years here and only one soul had been won for the Lord, it would have been worth it. If they had worked for 100 years, and just found one lost sheep, it would have been worth it.

 

Where I am working at the moment, it is a poor country (Armenia). Most people have to live on 40 to 50 US$ per month. Most people are poor. These people love gold. Many of their traits and characteristics are like the Jewish people, and they are very shrewd in business. Gold and jewelry are passed on down form the grandmother to the mother and daughter and so on. They have a little gold market in the capital city, and I have sometimes walked around this gold market. In that country, we just have one friend, and there have been many Sunday mornings when I have stood on the balcony and watched her coming up the hill to the Sunday morning meeting. Many times the thought has come into my mind, "This is the true gold of this country." It is not the gold in the gold market, but it is this one soul that is God's child. You are the gold of this country of Thailand.

 

I wanted to speak about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes us precious to God. It is not easy to speak about the Holy Spirit. I don't know very much, or enough about it. Jesus said some very clear and simple things about the Holy Spirit. It is so important what Paul said, “If any man have not the Spirit of God, he is not of Christ." There is a chapter in Corinthians that speaks about the ministering of the spirit. The Holy Spirit is sent to minister or help or aid people. The spirit is helping God's people. We want to speak of how it helps God's people.

 

The Spirit of God, Jesus said, convicts us and helps us to understand what sin is. There was a man that we worked with a little bit in the work in Switzerland, when he was a little boy, his mother took him to various churches to worship. This lady, (his mother), was seeking for God's way. She decided her little boy should go to Sunday school and learn about God, so the Sunday school teacher was teaching about 10 children about God, or she thought she was. After about two weeks, she said, "Everybody that understands what I am saying and is ready to be baptized, put your hand up." Everybody put their hand up except this one little boy. We don't believe in baptizing children, so the teacher looked at this little boy and said, "What is wrong?" He said, "I don't feel any different inside, although you have been teaching me." He was kind of crying, so she said, "Don't cry. What you need is two more weeks of tuition. You come to my home at night, and I will give you more tuition." Two or three more weeks went by and she taught him, and then she asked him if he was ready to be baptized. He started to cry again and said, "I don't feel any different." It was soon after that his mother took him to another church one morning and as they were leaving the service, one of God's servants was there and he had been watching this woman and her two boys in the church service, and he decided to follow this woman. He and his co-worker were having gospel meetings in that town, and he invited her to come to those meetings. She went along and listened, and the Holy Spirit very quickly showed this woman that this is God's true way. She had been searching in many places and finally she came to the place where she met God's servants, and the Holy Spirit was with those men, and it convicted this woman of right and wrong. She has been a very true woman and she is still alive in Switzerland, and that young boy is in God's work now, all because the Holy Spirit convicted them of right and wrong and true and false. I don't think anything else in this world can show me true and false and right and wrong, except the Holy Spirit.

 

I like the way Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit. Just in very simple words, it says a man came to Jesus by night to talk to Him and Jesus said, "Except a man is born of water and the Spirit, he shall never see the kingdom of Heaven." This is something that the Holy Spirit does. A man has to be born of water and the Spirit together. What does that mean? Water is like God's word, and this word of God is used all over the world and all kinds of men and women and religious denominations in the so called Christian world use this word of God. It is only when the Holy Spirit comes to this word and quickens it, and it effects us. This word is good and it is just like water, and it remains like water until the Spirit quickens it. That is why the water was turned into wine, because the wine is quickened. That is how Jesus talked about the Spirit. It is not how long we can speak in meetings, it is whether the Spirit quickens the water or the word.

 

Jesus said also about the Holy Ghost, another simple story. The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven that a woman takes and mixes it in the flour and water. Why does she put the leaven in the dough? So it is going to leaven not just one little piece but all the dough. That is what God wants the Spirit to do in your life and mine. This Spirit has to affect more and more of my life. If the leaven is working through more and more of my life, I will be a true Christian. It says the woman mixes it in three measures of meal. Three things that the Spirit has to leaven in my life - three very personal things. My thoughts, my words and my actions. This Holy Spirit has to leaven my thoughts, and as we go on in God's way, we realise there are things we should not be thinking about. Maybe I have a disagreement with someone and I can't think any thoughts of vengeance, because that man is my brother. We are all different and have different characters and different personalities, and maybe we approach problems from different angles, and we agree on doctrine. We might think another man's way of doing things it total stupidity. That is the way I am inclined to think sometimes, but the Holy Spirit tries to leaven our thoughts. It is to encourage softness and understanding between brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

The Spirit of God wants to leaven our words. As I try to continue, I recognise more and more the danger of words. James talks about the tongue. He says that the tongue, nobody can control it. I used to think that he was exaggerating, and I couldn't understand why he was speaking so strongly about the tongue, but we know the tongue can do a lot of damage. I have said things in just a few seconds that it has taken years to build the bridge again. So the Spirit of God wants to leaven our words. I remember a man in England that worked in one of the factories that make submarines, and one day, his workmates were laughing at him and saying, "This faith, how does it affect your life?" I can still hear him saying in the Sunday morning meeting, "I thought for a few moments, and then said, 'My faith affects every aspect of my life.'" He said, "It is not just what I do on Sundays, but what I do every day of my life." This Holy Spirit was leavening more and more of his life. That is true Christianity.

 

I like to think of King David and the Spirit of God was many times teaching David. Some of his last words he talked about how the Spirit of God had anointed him. I just wonder sometimes when he was a young man looking after the sheep, there would be lots of work as he looked after the sheep. There would be times when the sheep would be resting quietly and maybe David was sitting on the hill watching them, and sometimes he had a harp. Maybe that was where he learnt to play the harp. Maybe on those hills of Judea, his thoughts would turn to God and to eternity. In his heart, he was speaking to God. I believe on those hills of Judea, the Holy Spirit was able to come near to David. He couldn't see it, but he would feel that presence coming near to him. Maybe that is when words started to come to his mind that the Lord is my shepherd and I shall never want, and the Holy Spirit was sweetening his words. Out of that union came those beautiful songs, We couldn't write Psalms like David has done. In our own little ways, the Holy Spirit has drawn near to us, and it has sweetened our days and sweetened our cares. That is like the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

 

There are many things that the Holy Spirit wants to do for you and I, but I will mention one more. One of the works of the Holy Ghost is to sanctify or separate us. It separates us from the men and women of this world and we might not always like that. Some of you that are working, you will understand that the Holy Spirit will separate you from others that you are working with. It is like the Holy Spirit saying, "This like is mine." Maybe you live in a little or town, and this Holy Spirit separated you from people you were brought up with. It doesn't mean to say that you don't have anything to say to them, but it separates you from their ways. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, and it tells us about the day that all the world will stand before God's throne, and it says that God is going to separate the sheep from the goats. The difference that will be between the sheep and the goats is those that have God's spirit and those that don't. It will be just so simple and so easy for God to separate the sheep from the goats.

 

We had a telephone call from our overseer in Russia and he said, "Do you think you can go to a city in southern Russia as there are some people there that might want to listen to what you have to tell them from the Bible?" We are busy where we are working, and our overseer said, "They were busy also, but could we go, please?" We work in the little country of Armenia, and our overseer said, "There is an Armenian lady in this city in Russia, that is why we are asking you to go." So a week or two later, we got a little old plane and flew to the city near where these people lived. We arrived at the airport and it is not far from Chechnya where the Russians are fighting, so security is very high in those areas, and a lot of the terrorist group is training in this area. So we were coming through the Russian immigration and our documents were in order. I was being questioned by one of the immigration officials and he was looking at my Russian visa. Finally he said, "You go and speak to that officer over there." So I went and this man said, "I am from the KGB and I want to speak to you about your visa. Why are you coming here to this area?" I said, "We are going to visit friends." I should have said that the lady that is meeting us is one of our friends, but we had never met them before or heard of them before, so he said, "You are meeting Russian friends?" "Yes," I said. He said, "How long will you stay with these people?" I said, "Five days." He said, "Are those people going to meet you at the airport here?" and I said, "Yes." We try to be careful how we answer them sometimes. I said, "Yes, they will be here." He was standing in front of the door, and he just reached behind and opened the door. Very politely he said, "Show me those people." We had never seen each other before in our lives, and there may have been 100 people watching us waiting for the plane. Just quickly looked on those people and in the front row there was a woman and her husband. I said to this officer, "It is those two over there." This Russian lady started to wave. The officer thanked me and said, "Go ahead." It was so easy to recognise those people. Even I could see, these are God's people. It is very difficult to explain that, but it helps me to understand that it will be so easy for God to separate the sheep from the goats on that day. This Spirit of God had changed those children so much and this is the ministry of the Spirit, the help of the Spirit. I have to learn to submit more to the discipline of the Spirit.

 

Hymn 138, "When the King comes in." This is a Kingdom here in Thailand. What can we bring before the king? Appearance, cleanliness, and our Spirit. Willingness and obedience.