4. Differentiation Between the True and False Ways, and Between True and False Churches
Relevant Words of God:
What is the most basic principle in seeking the true way? You have to look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit in this way, whether or not these words are the expression of the truth, who is testified to, and what it can bring you. Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still the belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way can take man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way. I say these words not to make you accept other ways in your future experiences, nor as a prediction that there will be the work of another new age in the future. I say them so that you may be certain that the way of today is the true way, so that you will not only be half-sure in your belief toward the work of today and unable to gain insight into it. There are even many who, despite being certain, still follow in confusion; such certainty has no principle to it, and they must be eliminated sooner or later. Even those who are especially ardent in their following are three parts sure and five parts unsure, which shows that they have no foundation. Because your caliber is too poor and your foundation is too shallow, you have no understanding of differentiation. God does not repeat His work, He does not do work that is not realistic, He does not make excessive requirements of man, and He does not do work that is beyond the sense of man. All the work He does is within the scope of man’s normal sense, and does not exceed the sense of normal humanity, and His work is according to man’s normal requirements. If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, man becomes ever more normal, and his humanity becomes ever more normal. Man has an increasing knowledge of his satanic corrupt disposition, and of the essence of man, and he has an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes capable of more and more changes—all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the essence of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing him before God or giving him a true understanding of God, and even causes his humanity to become ever more lowly and his sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit.
Excerpted from “Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In each stage of God’s work there are also corresponding requirements of man. All those who are within the stream of the Holy Spirit are possessed of the presence and discipline of the Holy Spirit, and those who are not within the stream of the Holy Spirit are under the command of Satan, and without any of the work of the Holy Spirit. People who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit are those who accept the new work of God, the ones who cooperate in the new work of God. If those who are within this stream are incapable of cooperating, and unable to put into practice the truth required by God during this time, then they will be disciplined, and at worst will be forsaken by the Holy Spirit. Those who accept the new work of the Holy Spirit, will live within the stream of the Holy Spirit, receive the care and protection of the Holy Spirit. Those who are willing to put the truth into practice are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and those who are unwilling to put the truth into practice are disciplined by the Holy Spirit, and may even be punished. Regardless of what kind of person they are, provided that they are within the stream of the Holy Spirit, God will take responsibility for all those who accept His new work for the sake of His name. Those who glorify His name and are willing to put His words into practice will receive His blessings; those who disobey Him and do not put His words into practice will receive His punishment. People who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit are those who accept the new work, and since they have accepted the new work, they should have the appropriate cooperation with God, and should not act as rebels who do not perform their duty. This is God’s only requirement of man. Not so for the people who do not accept the new work: They are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit, and the discipline and reproach of the Holy Spirit do not apply to them. All day, these people live within the flesh, they live within their minds, and all that they do is according to the doctrine produced by the analysis and research of their own brains. It is not the requirements of the Holy Spirit’s new work, much less is it cooperation with God. Those who do not accept the new work of God are bereft of the presence of God, and, moreover, devoid of the blessings and protection of God. Most of their words and actions hold to the past requirements of the Holy Spirit’s work; they are doctrine, not truth. Such doctrine and regulation are sufficient to prove that the only thing that brings them together is religion; they are not the chosen ones, or the objects of God’s work. The assembly of all those among them can only be called a grand congress of religion, and cannot be called a church. This is an unalterable fact. They do not have the Holy Spirit’s new work; what they do seems redolent of religion, what they live out seems replete with religion; they do not possess the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, much less are they eligible to receive the discipline or enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. These people are all lifeless corpses, and maggots that are devoid of spirituality. They have no knowledge of man’s rebelliousness and opposition, have no knowledge of all of man’s evildoing, much less do they know all of God’s work and God’s present will. They are all ignorant, base people, they are scum that are unfit to be called believers! Nothing that they do has a bearing on the management of God, much less can it impair God’s plans. Their words and actions are too disgusting, too pathetic, and simply unworthy of mention. Nothing done by those who are not within the stream of the Holy Spirit has anything to do with the new work of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, no matter what they do, they are without the discipline of the Holy Spirit, and, moreover, without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. For they are all people who have no love for the truth, and have been detested and rejected by the Holy Spirit. They are called evildoers because they walk in the flesh, and do whatever pleases them under the signboard of God. While God works, they are deliberately hostile to Him, and run in the opposite direction to Him. Man’s failure to cooperate with God is supremely rebellious in itself, so won’t those people who deliberately run counter to God particularly receive their just retribution?
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
If the whole of the religious community were not hostile and opposed to it, then this would not be the true way. Remember: The true way will surely be opposed by most people, and even the world. When the Lord Jesus first came to work and preach, did the whole of Judaism not oppose Him? Each time God begins new work, the corrupt mankind has the greatest difficulty in accepting it, for the work of God is at odds with and refutes people’s conceptions; people lack the capacity to understand, and are incapable of penetrating the spiritual realm, and if it were not for the work of the Holy Spirit, they would be unable to accept the true way. If it is believed to be the work of God, but it is not opposed by the religious community, and lacks the opposition and hostility of the world, then this proves that the work of God is false. Why is mankind incapable of accepting the truth? Firstly, man is of the flesh, he is of a physical substance. Physical things are unable to penetrate the spiritual realm. What does it mean to be “unable to penetrate the spiritual realm”? It means being unable to see the spirits, the activities of the spirits and the spiritual realm, being unseeing of what God is doing and saying. People would be blind about what happens in the spiritual realm. In the physical world, people can only see material things. You cannot see which spirit does what work in people, or see what the Spirit of God has come to do and say. Sometimes you can hear His voice, but you do not know from where it comes; you read the words of God from a book, but still you do not know how or when God spoke these words, or know what they mean. People are unable to penetrate the spiritual realm, or grasp the source of God’s words, and thus they require the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and the work of the Holy Spirit, in order to understand the truth. Secondly, mankind has been too profoundly corrupted, and his inside has been filled up with the myriad venom of Satan and myriad knowledge; if he evaluates everything using various satanic philosophies and knowledge, then he will never be able to establish what the truth is. Without the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, man would be incapable of understanding the truth. And thus the true way is inevitably subjected to the persecution and rejection of man. Why is it easy for people to accept the knowledge and philosophies of Satan? Firstly, it is in line with their conceptions and the interests of their flesh, and it is beneficial to their flesh. They say to themselves, “Accepting knowledge such as this helps me: It will get me a promotion, it will make me successful, and allow me to achieve things. With knowledge such as this people will look up to me.” That which benefits people is in line with their conceptions. … Having been corrupted to this extent, and being unable to penetrate the spiritual realm, people can only oppose God, and thus God’s work has met with man’s rejection, opposition, and condemnation. This is normal. If God’s work had not been met with the condemnation and opposition of the world and mankind, then this would prove that it is not the truth. If all that was spoken by God were in line with people’s conceptions, would they condemn it? Would they oppose it? They would surely not.
Excerpted from The Fellowship from the Above
A church is made up of those who have truly been predestined and chosen by God—it is composed of those who love the truth, pursue the truth, and are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit. Only when these people assemble to eat and drink the word of God, lead the life of the church, experience the work of God, and perform their duty as creatures of God can it be a church. If a rabble says it truly believes in God, and prays, and reads the words of God, but does not love or pursue the truth, and is without the work of the Holy Spirit, and performs religious ceremonies, then it is not a church. More precisely, churches without the work of the Holy Spirit are not churches; they are but religious venues and people who perform religious ceremonies. They are not people who truly obey God and experience the work of God. …
… A church is a gathering of people who truly believe in God and pursue the truth, and it absolutely does not contain the wicked—they do not belong to a church. If a group of people who did not pursue the truth and did not do anything to put the truth into practice gathered together, it would not be a church. It would be a religious venue, or a rabble. A church must be made up of people who truly believe in God and pursue the truth, who eat and drink the words of God, and worship God, perform their duty, and experience the work of God and have acquired the work of the Holy Spirit. Only this is a church. Thus, when you evaluate whether it’s a real church, you must first look at what kind of people it has. Secondly, you must look at whether or not they have the work of the Holy Spirit; if their assembly is without the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not a church, and if it is not a gathering of those who pursue the truth, then it is not a church. If a church has no one who truly pursues the truth, then this church is without the work of the Holy Spirit; if there is a person in it who is willing to pursue the truth, and remains in such a church, then that person cannot be saved. They should leave that rabble and look for a church as soon as they can. If, within a church, there are three or five people who pursue the truth, and 30 or 50 people who are but a rabble, then those three or five people who truly believe in God and pursue the truth should come together; if they come together their gathering is still a church, a church with fewest members, but which is pure.
Excerpted from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life
The leaders and pastors of the religious world have not experienced the work of God or been made perfect and built up by the Holy Spirit, but have instead become leaders and pastors in the religious community after graduating from a seminary and being given a diploma. They are without the work and confirmation of the Holy Spirit, they have not the slightest true knowledge of God, and their mouths can speak of nothing but theological knowledge and theories. They have not actually experienced anything. Such people are totally unqualified to be used by God; how could they lead man before God? They hold up graduation from seminary as proof of their own entitlement, they do everything they can to flaunt their knowledge of the Bible, they are insufferably arrogant—and because of this, they are condemned by God, and loathed by God, and have lost the work of the Holy Spirit. Of this there is no doubt. Why the religious community has become the deadly enemy of Christ is a very thought-provoking question. What does it show that, in the Age of Grace, Judaism nailed the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross? In the Age of Kingdom of the last days, the religious community has united and devoted all its efforts to opposing and judging God’s work of the last days, it denies and rejects Christ incarnate of the last days, it has fabricated various rumors about, and attacked, vilified, and blasphemed against God incarnate and the church of God, and it has long since nailed the returned Jesus, Christ of the last days, to the cross. This proves that the religious community has long since degenerated into forces of Satan that oppose and rebel against God. The religious community is not ruled by God, much less is it ruled by the truth; it is totally ruled by the corrupt humans, and moreover, by antichrists.
When people believe in God in a religious venue such as this—one which belongs to Satan and is ruled and controlled by demons and antichrists—they are only capable of understanding religious doctrines, they can only follow religious ceremony and regulation, and they will never understand the truth, will never experience the work of God, and are totally incapable of being saved. For there is nothing of the work of the Holy Spirit in religious venues, and they are places which disgust God, which are loathed by God, and are condemned and cursed by Him. God has never recognized religion, much less has He ever praised it, and from the time of the Lord Jesus the religious community has been condemned by God. Thus, when you believe in God you must find places that contain the work of the Holy Spirit; only these are true churches, and only in true churches will you be able to hear the voice of God, and discover the footprints of the work of God. Such is the means by which God is sought.
Excerpted from The Fellowship from the Above