Item Eight: They Would Have Others Submit Only to Them, Not the Truth or God (Part One) Section One

Supplements: A Dissection of Problems That Arise When Transcribing Sermons

I heard some people remark that the transcribers removed the stories from the beginning of the last few sermons, leaving only the formal content of the sermons that followed them. Is this really the case? Which stories were separated from the sermons that followed them? (The Story of Dabao and Xiaobao, The Story of Daming and Xiaoming, and A Discussion on Capital: “Just Let It Be!”) These three stories were separated from the sermon content, but why? For what reason? Apparently, the transcribers thought that the preceding stories did not fit with the content of the sermons that followed, so they separated them. Was this justified? This is just what the transcribers did. They were too arrogant and self-righteous, separating the stories into chapters without any sermon content. Would you say the result of doing this was good or bad? Moreover, would you say the story told beforehand must fit and match with the sermon that follows it? Is this really necessary? (No.) Then why did those transcribing the sermons misunderstand the task this way? How could they have such a belief? What is the problem here? They thought to themselves: “The stories You told are off topic. I’ll screen them for You, and when distributing them, I won’t put them together. Sermons are sermons; let them be coherent from one to the next. The content of the preceding stories should not interfere with the content of the sermons. I have to screen them for You because You don’t understand the issue Yourself.” Is this a good intention? Where does this good intention of theirs stem from? Does it stem from human notions? (Yes.) When I preach, do I need to consider everything so comprehensively? Does each story I tell need to match the content that follows? (No.) There is no need for this; this is called a regulation, a notion. What mistakes did the transcribers make? (Doing things based on their notions and imaginings.) What else? (Acting recklessly and arbitrarily.) The nature of this kind of behavior is that it is a little reckless and arbitrary; they lack God-fearing hearts. To say this is reasonable, but it still differs from the essence of the matter. When they transcribed the sermons, what kind of attitude and what kind of viewpoint did they use to look upon everything that God said? Whether it was stories or sermons, what kind of attitude did they adopt, and from what angle did they look upon and listen to these things that were spoken? (From the angle of knowledge and learning.) That’s right. Viewing the stories told and the content of the sermons from the perspective of knowledge will lead to this problem. They believe that when I deliver a sermon, regardless of which section I wish to speak on, the content must follow a sequence; every sentence must be logical, every sentence must conform to everyone’s notions, and every section must have a rigorous aim. They measure My sermons according to this notion. Does this show a lack of spiritual understanding? (Yes.) This is a lack of spiritual understanding indeed! Using logic and inference to treat what I spoke about from a perspective of knowledge is committing a serious mistake. I am fellowshipping the truth, not crafting speeches; you should be clear about this. Those of you who heard the sermons at the gathering and later listened back to these sermons that they transcribed, did you notice any important points or things that were spoken at the time which they removed? Did anything like this occur? For example, maybe you heard a passage at the gathering that was very moving and very edifying, but discovered afterward when listening to the recording of the sermon that the passage was not there; it had been removed. Has this happened to you? If you didn’t listen carefully, you might not have realized, so make sure to listen carefully in future. I listened to a recording once, and where I had just begun to discuss the various manifestations of antichrists, listing them from one to fifteen, they had removed the detailed clarifications and explanations from each one, instead simply listing the first manifestation, the second manifestation, the third manifestation, and so on. Each manifestation was spoken about very quickly, one after another, much faster than a schoolteacher giving a lesson. For most people who hadn’t heard that sermon before and were not familiar with it, they wouldn’t have any space to contemplate when listening to it. If they wanted to listen carefully, they would always have to be pausing, listening to one sentence and then quickly taking notes, then pondering over what this sentence means, and then playing the next sentence. Otherwise, the tempo would be too fast and they couldn’t keep up. This was a serious mistake made by those who edited the sermon recordings. A sermon is a chat, a discussion. What is the content of sermons? They discuss various truths and people’s various states; they all involve the truth. So, are these contents involving the truth easy for people to accept and understand, or do they require consideration, pondering, and mental processing before gradually responding? (They require consideration, pondering, and mental processing.) Based on this situation, then, what kind of speed should the one delivering the sermon maintain? Would it work if they spoke as fast as a machine gun? (No.) Like a teacher giving a lesson? (No.) Like someone giving a speech? (No.) That absolutely would not do. During the sermon there must be questions and answers, space for contemplation, giving people time to respond—this tempo is appropriate. They transcribed the sermons without understanding this principle; does this show a lack of spiritual understanding? (Yes.) They indeed lack spiritual understanding. They thought: “These things You’re talking about, I’ve already heard them. After listening once, I can remember the gist, and I know what You’re talking about. Using my experience and the excellent skills I’ve gained from frequently editing sermon recordings, I’ll do it this way and speed up the pace.” They thought it was okay to speed it up, but what does that do to the transcription of the sermon? It turns it into an essay. Once it gets turned into an essay, it loses the feeling of listening to it in person; can it then achieve the same effect? There is bound to be a difference. Does this difference make it better or worse? (Worse.) It makes it worse. People who lack spiritual understanding act on their own initiative, and think themselves clever. They believe that they are educated, skilled, gifted and bright, but they end up doing unreasonable things. Isn’t this how it is? (Yes.) In My sermons, why do I sometimes ask you questions? Some people say: “Maybe You’re afraid we’ll doze off.” Is that it? Why do I sometimes talk about other matters, go off topic and discuss light and cheerful things? It is to let you relax, to give you some space to contemplate. It also allows you to have a broader understanding of a certain aspect of the truth, so that you don’t limit your understanding to words, literal meaning, doctrines, or grammatical structure—it should not be limited to these. So I sometimes talk about other things; I sometimes tell jokes to lighten the atmosphere, but in fact I mainly do it to achieve a certain result—you should understand this.

You see, when a religious pastor gives a sermon, he stands up at the pulpit and only talks about those tedious topics that haven’t the slightest relation to people’s real lives, their mental states, or their existing problems. It is all dead words and doctrines. They say nothing but a few pleasant-sounding words and shout out some empty slogans. It makes the listeners feel bored, and they gain nothing from it. In the end, it results in a situation where the pastor is speaking from above, and down below nobody is paying attention; there’s no interaction whatsoever. Isn’t the pastor wasting his breath? Pastors give sermons this way just to make a living, for the sake of their own survival; they don’t consider the needs of their congregation. As for us now, our giving sermons isn’t about performing a religious ceremony or merely completing some kind of assignment—it’s about achieving several results. To achieve results, all aspects must be considered—the needs of all kinds of people, their notions, imaginings, and states, and their viewpoints must all be considered. The extent to which people of each social class can accept the language used must also be considered. Some educated people who are quite fond of formal language need to hear some literary words that are relatively grammatical and logical. They are able to understand them. There are also some ordinary people, those in the lower strata of society, who are not familiar with such formal language; so what should I do? I have to speak a little vernacular. In the past, I didn’t use much vernacular, but over the years I have learned a little, and now I sometimes even throw out two-part proverbs or tell jokes. This way, after listening, everyone will feel that everything I talk about is easy to understand, whatever their social class, and that it relates to them more closely. But if it were all vernacular, the content of the sermon would not sound profound enough, so it must be combined with some formal language, all expressed with the language of daily life; only then will it meet the minimum standard. Once vernacular starts getting used, saying things like “just saying,” “like,” “I mean,” and so on, incorporating too many of such expressions can affect the extent to which the truth is conveyed. However, if it were all formal language, all spoken so orderly and formally, following grammatical logic and reasoning step by step, without even the slightest mistake, like reciting an essay or reading a text, as if it were all scripted from beginning to end, word for word, even down to the punctuation marks, do you think that would work? That would be too troublesome, I don’t have the energy for that. This is one aspect. Also, regardless of whether they are educated or uneducated, everyone displays various aspects of their humanity, and these expressions of humanity are related to real life. Real life, in turn, is inseparable from the language of daily life; it is inseparable from your living environment. This living environment is filled with this kind of everyday language, with some vernacular mixed in, plus some simple vocabulary with a somewhat literary flair. This is enough; it basically covers and includes the full scope of concern. Regardless of whether they are old or young, uneducated or possessing some knowledge, essentially everybody can grasp it, everybody can understand it; they will not feel bored, and they will not feel it is beyond them. This is what fellowshipping and delivering sermons must take into account, considering all aspects of people’s needs. If a sermon is to achieve a result, you must consider all of these aspects: speaking tempo, word choice, and manner of expression. In addition, when articulating something and fellowshipping an aspect of the truth, at what point has it been thoroughly conveyed? At what point is it not thorough enough? What aspects should be added? These must all be considered. If you don’t even consider these aspects, then your capacity for thought is severely lacking. Where others imagine in two dimensions, you must be able to think in three. You must see more comprehensively and more accurately than others, be able to view all sorts of issues clearly, and also feel the truth principles involved. In this way, all aspects of corrupt dispositions that people can think of, express, or reveal, as well as the states involved, are basically all covered and will be understood by all. Do the transcribers also have to possess these calibers and ways of thinking? If they do not possess these, instead always relying on the knowledge they’ve learned to summarize the sermon’s main point, its central idea, the gist of every section, it would be like how Chinese students study literary texts. The teacher first makes them preview the entire text, then read through it carefully. In the first formal lesson, the teacher talks about the gist of the first paragraph, introduces new vocabulary, and discusses the grammar involved. When all the sections have been studied, you still have to memorize them, and finally make sentences with the new vocabulary, and understand the text’s central idea and the author’s purpose for writing it. In this way, you will have a full understanding of what the text was trying to convey. Everyone has studied these things, everyone knows them, but if you apply these things to transcribing a sermon, it is too elementary. I’m telling you, if you’re writing an essay you can use these; that’s just basic common sense for writing. But if you apply this thinking, this theory, this method to transcribing a sermon, couldn’t you go wrong? You certainly could. You don’t know why I want to tell this story, you don’t try to understand the truth you’re supposed to understand from this story—this is a mistake. Also, are you able to understand the truth in both the story and the sermon content? If you can’t understand it, then you are lacking in spiritual understanding. What qualifications does someone with no spiritual understanding possibly have to transcribe sermons?

Why do you all think I tell stories? Transcribers of sermons don’t know the reason why, so they add their own viewpoints in. They believe that if I want to tell stories then it must fit with the content that comes afterward—they don’t know why I tell stories. You don’t know either, do you? Since you don’t know, I’ll tell you the reason. From the beginning up to now, I’ve discussed the various manifestations of antichrists about ten times, and I’ve only covered half of them. If I finished talking about this content all the way through in one go, the subject would be quite dull, wouldn’t it? If I talked about things straight away every time we began—first making everyone review what was discussed the last time, and then starting to speak, with you all hurriedly taking notes, writing and writing and struggling to keep your eyelids open—and if I then made everyone summarize once I’d finished, with everyone rubbing their eyes, flipping through and reciting the content fellowshipped today, and, once it seemed like everyone had roughly remembered it, I said, “That’s it for today, let’s wrap up and we’ll continue talking about it next time,” then everyone would be a bit distressed: “Every gathering is always about these things, this same pattern; the content is too lengthy and dry.” What’s more, fellowshipping the truth must be multi-faceted, with people progressing in all aspects of the truth simultaneously. It’s just like man’s life entry: One must grow in terms of their self-knowledge, dispositional change, knowledge of God, awareness of their own various states, and their humanity, insights, and all other aspects—all of these must progress simultaneously. If during this time I only discuss discerning the different manifestations of antichrists, people might put other aspects of the truth aside, and they’d be thinking all day long: “Who seems like an antichrist? Am I an antichrist? How many of them are there around me?” Doing this will affect their entry into other aspects of the truth. So, I think about how the content of the sermon can include one more truth, so that people can understand an additional truth; that is, when discussing the topic “Exposing Antichrists,” people are able to incidentally understand some other aspects as well. The result of such a sermon is better, isn’t it? (Yes.) For example, when you eat a staple food, you’ll sometimes eat an apple along with it. This provides extra nutrition, doesn’t it? (Yes.) Tell Me, then, is it necessary for Me to tell stories? (Yes.) That is certain. If it wasn’t necessary, why would I tell them? Using stories to discuss some light and cheerful topics allows people to acquire and gain something in other aspects of the truth. This is a good thing. When done discussing these light topics, I return to the main topic. Arranging it like this is appropriate. What do you eat before the main course? (An appetizer.) This is an appetizer. Appetizers are usually very tasty and whet the appetite, right? So, when I tell a story, you can gain an aspect of the truth from that story, deepening your knowledge or your understanding. This is all good. Of course, those who lack spiritual understanding hear stories and only hear the surface layer, they don’t see the truth inside that should be understood. They lack spiritual understanding—nothing can be done about this. For example, listening to “The Story of Dabao and Xiaobao,” some people only remember that Dabao was bad and Xiaobao was foolish. They remember Dabao and Xiaobao’s names, but don’t remember in which circumstances the man in the story revealed his corrupt disposition, what kind of disposition was revealed, what this disposition is all about, or what relationship it has to the truth. In what situations would you yourself reveal this kind of disposition? Would you say such words? If you say, “I wouldn’t say such words,” then this is troublesome, as it proves you haven’t understood the truth. Some people say: “I may say such words when I encounter certain situations, it’s a kind of disposition that comes out in a certain state.” Once you know this, you will not have listened to this story in vain. After listening to the story, some people say: “What kind of a person is Dabao? He even bullies and deceives a little child. He’s vile! I wouldn’t deceive children like that.” Is this not lacking spiritual understanding? They are just talking about the matter itself but don’t understand the truth within the story that is being fellowshipped. They can’t connect the situation to themselves; this shows a lack of spiritual understanding, a serious lack of spiritual understanding. Transcribers of sermons encounter this problem. As soon as something involves the truth, some people reveal the views of a disbeliever; as soon as the truth is involved, some people lack spiritual understanding; as soon as the truth is involved, some people become prone to distortions, some become intransigent, some become wicked, and some become averse to it. So what disposition do the sermon transcribers have? At the very least, they are arrogant and conceited, acting on their own initiative, not understanding and not seeking to understand. They did not even ask about it; they just directly separated the stories from the content that followed. They think, “These sermons were given to me to transcribe, so I have the authority to make this decision. With a swing of my axe, I’ll chop the stories clean off. This is just how I’ll treat the sermons You’ve given me. If You don’t like it, then don’t use me.” Isn’t this arrogant and conceited? They cannot take in the truth, they do not understand the truth. They do not know what their duty is or what they should and should not do—they don’t know any of these things. People who lack spiritual understanding can only do unreasonable things, inhuman and undignified things. They also only do things that violate truth principles, thinking themselves clever and lacking submission. Recordings of My sermons were given to them to transcribe, and whatever opinions or thoughts they had about how to handle it, they didn’t ask Me. Isn’t this problem very serious? (Yes.) Serious to what degree? (It has the nature of tampering with the words of God.) It does have a bit of this nature.

I tell a story, discussing a specific aspect of the truth, and then I give sermons on other aspects afterward. Do I consider whether these two things align? I have to consider this at first, but why haven’t I insisted that these two aspects have to align? Am I aware of it? (Yes.) So why has this become a problem for the transcribers of the sermon? I know the story I’m telling has no connection to the sermon that follows it. Are they aware of this? They are not. They haven’t even considered this matter carefully. They think, “You are directed by the Holy Spirit; as long as it sounds like the truth, that’s fine. You told a story that day, and then afterward discussed specific content. What relationship is there between these two things? Why speak in this manner? What benefit can come of it after the speaking is done? You don’t know any of these. This won’t do!” Firstly, what I am to speak about, how I speak, and what specific content I address—tell Me, am I in a clear-headed state while deciding these? (Yes.) I am indeed in a clear-headed state, I am definitely not in a muddled state; My mind has a clear train of thought. If someone is lacking in spiritual understanding, does not know how to seek the truth, and blindly analyzes and blindly categorizes things, thinking it’s quite good, aren’t they a textbook Pharisee? They only like hearing grand empty theories, and don’t like hearing real and practical sermons. The result is that they don’t understand even the shallowest of truths. This shows a serious lack of spiritual understanding! Without a God-fearing heart, people will be arrogant and self-righteous, growing especially audacious; they will dare to judge any matter, thinking they understand it all. Corrupt humankind is precisely this; this is their disposition. Is being bold and acting recklessly a good thing or a bad thing? (A bad thing.) Being bold or timid actually doesn’t matter; what matters is whether there is any fear of God in one’s heart. Later, when you listen to a recording of the sermon, take care to discern whether any key things have been removed from the transcription. These wretches who lack spiritual understanding, sometimes the things they do can inadvertently cause disturbances and damage. They say it is not deliberate—if it is not deliberate, does that mean their disposition is not a corrupt disposition? It is still a corrupt disposition. That is all on this topic for now.

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