Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” (V)
Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth
The work of the last days is to separate all according to their kind, and to conclude the management plan of God, for the time is near and the day of God has come. God brings all who enter His kingdom—all who are loyal to Him to the very end—into the age of God Himself. Yet prior to the arrival of the age of God Himself, God’s work is not to observe the deeds of man, or to inquire into the life of man, but to judge man’s disobedience, for God shall purify all those who come before His throne. All who have followed the footsteps of God to this day are those who come before the throne of God, and this being so, every single person who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s purification. In other words, everyone who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s judgment.
In the judgment beginning at the house of God spoken of in times past, the “judgment” of these words refers to the judgment that God today passes on those who come before His throne in the last days. There are, perhaps, those who believe in such supernatural imaginings as that, when the last days have arrived, God will erect a big table in the heavens, upon which a white tablecloth will be spread, and then, sitting upon a great throne with all men kneeling on the ground, He will reveal the sins of each man and thereby determine whether they are to ascend to heaven or be sent down to the lake of fire and brimstone. No matter what man imagines, it cannot alter the substance of God’s work. The imaginings of man are nothing but the constructs of man’s thoughts; they come from the brain of man, summed up and pieced together from what man has seen and heard. Therefore I say, however brilliant the images conceived, they are but depictions, and are incapable of substituting the plan of God’s work. Man, after all, has been corrupted by Satan, so how could he fathom the thoughts of God? Man conceives God’s work of judgment as something fantastic. He believes that since it is God Himself who does the work of judgment, then this work must be of the most tremendous scale, and incomprehensible to mortals, and must resound throughout the heavens and shake the earth; if not, how could it be the work of judgment by God? He believes that, as this is the work of judgment, then God must be particularly imposing and majestic as He works, and those being judged must be howling with tears and on their knees begging for mercy. Such scenes would surely be spectacular, and deeply affecting…. Everyone imagines God’s work of judgment to be miraculous. Do you know, however, that, at the time when God has long since begun His work of judgment among man, you remain nestled in peaceful oblivion? That at the time when you think God’s work of judgment has formally begun, God will have already made heaven and earth anew? At that time, perhaps, you will have only just come to understand the meaning of life, but God’s merciless work of punishment shall bring you, still deep in sleep, into hell. Only then will you suddenly realize that God’s work of judgment has already concluded.
Let us not waste our precious time, and talk no more of these abhorrent and detestable topics. Let us speak instead of what constitutes judgment. At the mention of the word “judgment,” you are likely to think of the words that Jehovah spoke to all the places and the words of rebuke that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees. For all their severity, these words were not God’s judgment of man; they were but words spoken by God within different environments, that is, in different contexts. These words are unlike the words spoken by Christ as He judges man during the last days. In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God. If you do not regard these truths as important, if you think of nothing but how to avoid them, or how to find a new way out that does not involve them, then I say you are a grievous sinner. If you have faith in God, yet seek not the truth or the will of God, nor love the way that brings you closer to God, then I say that you are one who is trying to evade judgment, and that you are a puppet and a traitor who flees from the great white throne. God will not spare any of the rebellious who escape from under His eyes. Such men shall receive even more severe punishment. Those who come before God to be judged, and have moreover been purified, shall forever live in the kingdom of God. Of course, this is something that belongs to the future.
The work of judgment is God’s own work, so it must naturally be carried out by God Himself; it cannot be done by man in His stead. Because judgment is the use of the truth to conquer humankind, there is no question that God would still appear in the incarnate image to perform this work among man. That is to say, in the last days, Christ shall use the truth to teach people across the world and make all truths known to them. This is God’s work of judgment. Many have a bad feeling about the second incarnation of God, for people find it difficult to believe that God would become flesh to do the work of judgment. Nevertheless, I must tell you that the work of God often goes far beyond the expectations of man, and is difficult for human minds to accept. For people are but maggots upon the earth, while God is the supreme One who fills the universe; the mind of man is like a pit of foul water that breeds only maggots, whereas each stage of the work directed by the thoughts of God is the distillation of God’s wisdom. People are always trying to contend with God, to which I say it is self-evident who will lose out in the end. I exhort you all not to think yourselves more valuable than gold. If others can accept the judgment of God, why can’t you? How much higher do you stand above others? If others can bow their heads before the truth, why can’t you, too? God’s work has an unstoppable momentum. He will not repeat the work of judgment again just because of the “contribution” you have made, and you will be overcome with regret at letting such a good opportunity slip by. If you do not believe My words, then just wait for that great white throne in the sky to pass judgment upon you! You must know that all of the Israelites spurned and denied Jesus, and yet the fact of Jesus’ redemption of mankind still spread to the ends of the universe. Isn’t this a reality that God made long ago? If you are still waiting for Jesus to take you up to heaven, then I say that you are an obstinate piece of deadwood.[a] Jesus will not acknowledge a false believer such as you, who is disloyal to the truth and seeks only blessings. On the contrary, He will show no mercy in casting you into the lake of fire to burn for tens of thousands of years.
Do you understand now what is judgment and what is truth? If you do, then I exhort you to submit obediently to being judged, otherwise you shall never have the opportunity to be commended by God or to be brought by Him into His kingdom. Those who only accept judgment but can never be purified, that is, those who flee amidst the work of judgment, shall forever be detested and rejected by God. Their sins are more numerous, and more grievous, than those of the Pharisees, for they have betrayed God and are rebels against God. Such people who are not worthy even to do service shall receive more severe punishment, a punishment that is, moreover, everlasting. God shall not spare any traitor who once evinced loyalty with words but then betrayed Him. People such as these shall receive retribution through punishment of the spirit, soul, and body. Is this not precisely a revelation of the righteous disposition of God? Is this not God’s purpose in judging man, and revealing him? God consigns all who perform all kinds of wicked deeds during the time of judgment to a place infested with evil spirits, and lets these evil spirits destroy their fleshly bodies as they wish, and those people’s bodies emit the stench of corpses. Such is their fitting retribution. God writes down in their record books each and every one of the sins of those disloyal false believers, false apostles, and false workers; then, when the time is right, He casts them amidst the unclean spirits, letting these unclean spirits defile their entire bodies at will, so that they may never be reincarnated and never again see the light. Those hypocrites who do service for a time but are incapable of remaining loyal to the end are numbered by God among the wicked, so that they walk in the counsel of the wicked and become part of their disorderly rabble; in the end, God shall annihilate them. God casts aside and takes no notice of those who have never been loyal to Christ or have never contributed anything of their strength, and at the changing of the age He shall annihilate them all. They shall no longer exist on earth, much less gain passage into the kingdom of God. Those who have never been sincere to God, but are forced by circumstance into dealing with Him perfunctorily, are numbered among those who do service for His people. Only a small number of such people will survive, while the majority shall perish along with those who are not qualified even to do service. Ultimately, God shall bring into His kingdom all those who are of the same mind as God, the people and the sons of God, and those predestined by God to be priests. They will be the distillation of God’s work. As for those who cannot be classed in any of the categories set by God, they shall be numbered among the unbelievers—and you can surely imagine what their outcome shall be. I have already said to you all that I should say; the road that you select is your choice alone. What you should understand is this: The work of God never waits for any that cannot keep pace with Him, and the righteous disposition of God shows no mercy to any man.
We have read this passage of God’s word for five times. Is that a lot of times? Not to us. Why not? Because this passage of God’s word is crucial. It needs to be read repeatedly, over and over. After reading it for five times, shouldn’t we have gained something? When we read God’s word, we need to strive for the biggest gain, not just content ourselves with some gain. What does it need to be done to strive for the maximum gain? Questions need to be raised for communication. If no questions were raised after reading God’s word, could that be counted as gaining something? No, it couldn’t. In that case, what are the biggest difficulties you have after reading this passage? Which parts of the truth do you not understand? How much do you know about God’s judgment and chastisement? The fundamental question is why God wants to do judgment work in the last days. Have you figured it out? Why does God want to do judgment work in the last days? In the past, many people said that the disaster was about to come. Ultimately, the disaster didn’t happen but the judgment of the last days began. God is doing the work of judgment of the last days among a group of people. What is that all about? What is God doing now? What are the dynamics of the Holy Spirit’s work? Where are God’s footsteps? What is God doing in the last days? Did you find the answers for these questions? Perhaps someone would say, “I found them! We all see them in this passage of God’s word. God has accomplished great things on earth. He has made known all the truth that needs to be expressed for the judgment of the last days. Humanity heard it. Everyone saw it. These words were posted on the Internet. Anyone who searches, seeks, and examines it can see.” Are these the great things that God has accomplished on earth?
God has accomplished great things on earth. Did you all see it? Someone says, “I didn’t see God do any big thing. It was only several passages of His word and some expressions of the truth, wasn’t it? It was the work of judgment in the last days, performed in The Church of Almighty God, wasn’t it? How can you say that God has accomplished great things?” How can this question be explained? Tell me, is it true that God has accomplished a great thing? It is true regardless of how many people have heard, seen or experienced it, and regardless of how many people have ignored, dismissed or overlooked it. However, God has actually done a very great thing on earth. How great is this thing? What is the result? The result is God has cleansed and saved a group of people. God will bring these people into the kingdom of God. Isn’t it a great thing? It is the conquest and salvation of a group of people. The existence of this group of people on earth signifies the emergence of the kingdom of Christ on earth. Isn’t it a great thing? The truth expressed by God in the last days resulted in the emergence of the kingdom of Christ. Isn’t it a great thing? Upon the conclusion of God’s judgment in the last days, all the catastrophes begotten by God will start appearing. Isn’t it a great thing? It can be said that God’s judgment in the last days has brought this dark and evil epoch to an end. Isn’t it a great thing? God’s judgment in the last days has ushered in the Age of Kingdom, the Age of Millennial Kingdom. Isn’t it a great thing? As such, it is true that God has accomplished a great thing on earth. Only the blind have not seen it. The unbelieving devils saw but didn’t recognize it. Only the chosen people of God knew it. You see the fact clearly now, don’t you? You need to understand God’s word. If you have seen God’s word and still don’t understand it, what is the reason? That’s because you didn’t take God’s word to heart. You didn’t know why God said this. Sometimes you merely look at God’s word with very shallow understanding. But the intended result, the fact to be accomplished by this word, is a very great thing. It ended an old age and ushered in a new one. It fulfilled the emergence of the kingdom of Christ. It is too great a matter. It is an earthshaking matter, a regime-changing matter. Do you see the fact clearly now?
How did God achieve the emergence of the kingdom of Christ? The people of the kingdom of Christ are those cleansed and perfected through God’s judgment and chastisement. It is the judgment and chastisement that has made the people of the kingdom of Christ, and achieved the emergence of the kingdom of Christ. Isn’t it true? How will the disaster in the last days come about? What is God’s criterion for condemning this evil mankind, this evil epoch? It is through the truth that God exposes, judges and condemns this evil, dark epoch before the great disaster could arrive. God is too orderly, well-founded, and principled in His work. If God didn’t go through the work of judgment in the last days by revealing the entire mankind’s corrupt essence and the fact of their resisting God, could the disaster occur? People would say God is unreasonable. God will not do anything that is unreasonable. Before God destroys this world, destroys this evil mankind, He would state the reason clearly. God would first clearly state the reason and basis for destroying this evil epoch and then unleash disasters to let man perish therein. In colloquialism, it is called “let demise befall this evil mankind with transparency.” Therefore, when the judgment of this epoch is concluded, the great disaster will ensue. It is justifiable and reasonable. God is too principled in His work! It is so true that God is the truth and righteousness. This is how God acts to let man die knowingly. If the great disaster came too abruptly, man wouldn’t know what happened when he died suddenly. If man died suddenly without knowing why, would that produce any good result? Would that demonstrate God’s righteousness? No. God must speak out first. In the Old Testament times, when God wanted to save Israel, He would first speak about it. When God was about to punish a nation or people, He had the prophets presage the dreadful events. When God was about to destroy Sodom, there were also prophets who presaged it in advance. God’s judgment on Nineveh was announced first. God always speaks before He acts. In the past, there used to be prophecies, warnings, admonitions, reminders, and exhortation. God acts so clearly, so much in line with the truth and principle. Do you see it clearly in this event? Isn’t God righteous, merciful and loving? Where do you see God’s mercy and love? God gave many forewarnings to people through natural disasters, calamities, earthquakes and wars. God gave them numerous warnings and enough time to prepare. That is the mercy of God. God has mercy on man. He lets you repent, lets you understand, and lets you wake up. If He destroyed mankind outright, that would only be righteous but not merciful. However, by issuing so many messages, reminders, exhortation, admonitions, and warnings to let you understand, and give you enough time, that is the mercy of God. When the mercy of God has been shown, but man still has not repented, God’s righteousness will manifest, and disasters ensue. Now, do you have a way to know about God’s mercy and righteousness? God’s judgment in the last days is first made before the great disaster arrives. This is what we often say according to the Bible, “[J]udgment must begin at the house of God” (1Pe 4:17). Since judgment begins with the family of God, could it be seen that God is full of grace and mercy for His chosen people? Yes. This is God’s mercy. Destruction does not directly follow judgment. This is a kind of God’s love. Have you ever seen someone being killed as he was reading the word of God? Was there any such thing? No, there wasn’t. Isn’t it mercy? Yes, it is. After reading God’s word, if you still don’t understand the truth and really repent, God then deals with you and prunes you. Isn’t it mercy? Despite the severity of the word of dealing and pruning, is it curse? Is there any curse? No, there isn’t. Only the severe word, dealing and pruning, is it mercy? Is such severe word righteous judgment and chastisement? Can you see God’s mercy in His righteous judgment and chastisement? You all say yes. It is accurate to know God’s disposition this way.
As we experience the judgment and chastisement, should we pursue the truth? Some people have more than ten years of experience but they still don’t understand the truth. They have no grasp on the reality of the truth. Other people have twenty years of experience but still don’t know God. They only know how to recite certain letters and doctrines. What is the problem? The way a man looks at judgment and chastisement determines if he can receive cleansing and perfection through God’s judgment and chastisement! Some people get a headache when they look at the words of God’s judgment and chastisement. They show no interest, only resentment. What is the problem? Someone says these people dislike the truth, so they naturally generate notions and resentment toward God’s judgment and chastisement. Those people who dislike the truth, even after accepting the name of Almighty God and believing in Him for several years, are they considered to be actually obeying God’s judgment and chastisement? No, they are escaping. They are people who evade God’s judgment and chastisement. They are hypocrites, and there are so many of them. Then what is the kind of experience of God’s judgment and chastisement that can attain the result of not only actually knowing God, but also generating the fear of God in their heart? When man has fear of God in his heart, it is easy for him to obey God in doing his duty, easy to implement the truth, and not act perfunctorily. Then he will be principled in his acts, and he will meet the criterion in doing his duty. By way of what does a creature meet the criterion in doing his duty? He must understand the truth, gain a true knowledge of God, and ultimately develop a heart that fears God. How does such a God-fearing heart come into being? It comes into being through real knowledge of God’s disposition and essence. Let me ask you another question. What does it mean to have received life by believing in God? What does that life refer to? Unbelievers don’t understand the meaning. They say man has life as long as he lives. There is no life after he dies. Only the corpse remains. When we say receiving life by believing in God, we refer to a life whose nature is different from that of the physical life. This is the spiritual life, the real life, a new life bestowed by God in His work. When man receives a new life from God, the word of Jesus Christ will come true, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jhn 3:3). When one receives this new life, he is born again, and a second life is generated. It is a spiritual life, a life that fears, loves and obeys God. If man receives this life, his place in the kingdom of Christ is reserved.
What does man ultimately gain from experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement? What does God want to fulfill? Someone says it is for man to gain the truth and life. What kind of life does he gain? This new life is essentially a life that obeys God, a life that loves God, and a life that fears God. It is a new life. With this new life, you are willing to obey God as you understand the truth. With this new life, you will fear God no matter what happens to you or whatever choices you encounter. You wouldn’t dare to offend or defy God. With this new life, you will never go against the truth or defy God’s will. If you committed a transgression, you would be tormented by your conscience. You would feel uneasy and indebted to God. You would slap yourself in the face, hate yourself and curse at yourself. All of these are true behaviors of your new life. With this new life, if man were to sin again, his reaction would be drastically different from that before receiving the new life. How did this new life come about? It came from knowing God, from understanding many truths. Some people say, “Understanding the truth doesn’t do me any good. I feel so exploited and humiliated when I practice the truth. There is nothing in it for me.” Is there really nothing in it for you? You don’t see it because you are blind. This is a new life. This is how a new life comes about. When you have this new life, try hanging out in a ballroom, gambling in a casino, beating someone up or cursing at someone, see how it acts up inside. Having life is a far cry from not having life. It is so different!
Someone says, “You don’t lie when you speak. Why do I speak with all these lies? Why can’t I do away with all these lies?” What is this all about? Getting to the bottom of it, the problem is the lack of life. Putting it more frankly, the question is whether one likes the truth or not, practices the truth or not. Someone says, “How come you understand the word of God and I don’t, no matter how much I try to read it? When I speak about it, I only speak of the literal meaning but have no words from experience. What is it all about?” What is it all about? How would you be able to speak from experience if you had never experienced God’s word? How would you be able to speak in depth when your experience is so shallow? You can’t communicate God’s word when you don’t understand the truth. Even if you do it, you could only communicate the literal meaning of the word. Just like those religious figures who only speak of the literal meaning of the Bible when they preach. Is this what it is all about? How does the word of experience come about? It mainly comes from experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s word. Some people assume, “When we congregate every day like this to communicate God’s word, wouldn’t the experience of God’s word rub off on us and allow us to have more experience and knowledge to share?” Is it simple like that? There needs to be a process within, the process of tears, the process of regret, and the process of self-knowledge. Could this be a thoughtful process? Without thinking, how would there be tears and regret? You need to go through so much hardship. Whatever event that involves tears invariably involves hardship! The word of God is sometimes a direct dealing and pruning that makes you feel embarrassed and uncomfortable, more uncomfortable than being slapped in public. It makes you unable to raise your head among people. In the past, when I was being judged and chastised by God, I felt like burrowing in the ground. In front of so many brothers and sisters, God’s word directly dealt with me and pruned me. How could I lift my head in front of people? Where could I hide my face? There was an awkward expression on my face. I put on a poker face, acting calmly while shedding tears in private. Other than me, who could understand the bitterness in my heart? Under such circumstance, wasn’t it a thought-provoking experience? On one hand, I was reflecting upon myself. “After believing for so many years, why was I so benighted in the past? Look at this corruption and rebellion exposed by God’s word, the truth is so vividly clear here! Why did I do it? I wasn’t young then. How could I do it? It was shameless!” After these thoughts, do you know what followed? “Once revealed by God, the truth is quite understandable, isn’t it? It is so simple. I should just obey without thinking about myself and the flesh, live for God, and testify to God. Why was I unable to do that? What was it all about?” I kept asking myself. “What was it all about? Why didn’t I do it this way before?” I pondered, “What was dominating me and governing me? What I did on the outside was brazen. I wanted blessing and power to rule as king with God. Wasn’t it the disposition of Satan? Wasn’t I dominated by my satanic nature?” This was the result of my long introspection. How was this result? Was it effective? This was the effectiveness of judgment and chastisement. There was no room for my pride after so many rounds of dealing and pruning. I was bracing myself and toughing it out while people frequently watched to see how I would react. It was how I came along in those two or three years. I sometimes spoke with people and they didn’t pay much attention to me. I said, “It served me right! It was just natural retribution.” By then no one wanted to listen to my chatter. When I preached to them before, they showered me with admiration and praises, holding me in high esteem. But now, they showed me nothing but contempt, dismissiveness and disdain. This kind of scene and background was transformative to one’s heart, mind and soul. Man could not help but reflect on himself. Would you be able to control your heart if you didn’t want to reflect? It wasn’t up to you. You kept pondering. You pondered when you couldn’t fall asleep. You pondered after you woke up. You pondered in front of people. You lived in that mood anyway. Days passed by in pondering like this. Some result was figured out and some effectiveness was seen. What did I say in the end? “Don’t do those things any more. When blessings and crowns are in the offer, turn them down! Doing my part to do service for God is good enough. Never accept blessings or crowns. Be sensible, don’t accept them. Keep a low profile. Turn down positions and crowns. Just do my part to do service. That’s correct. That’s much more rational!”
If you experience God’s judgment and chastisement by simply reading God’s word, would you undergo great suffering? How do you experience it? For example, when you read God’s word, you come across some stern words of exposure like, “Aren’t you resisting God this way? What good ends will such people meet? I shall eliminate them one by one, forsake them one by one!” What do you think about them? Someone may say, “Eliminating us one by one, can I be eliminated too? No way, it couldn’t be me. It refers to other people, like that sister whose humanity is bad. My humanity is good. Nothing will happen to me.” Is that how you read God’s word? Considering the cursing words, severe words are all directed at others, and separating yourself from others, you can then get away with suffering. Is it a smart thing to do? Someone says it isn’t. How many people here are doing this “not so smart” thing? Do you have the courage to raise your hands? There really are a lot of people who practice like this. Honestly speaking, it was how I thought at that time. I considered that all the words of elimination and condemnation were directed at the wicked people, the false leaders and workers in the church, the people who speak of letters and doctrines, especially those deceitful people. All the blessing words were aimed at me, not at them. That was how I used to read God’s word too. Later, after experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, my way of thinking was changed. Do you still read the word of God like that now? Did you change your way of thinking? You all say you did. If you did, that’s correct. Not all the cursing words and judging words are addressed to others. Are there such corrupt dispositions within us? Yes, indeed. There is such a statement in God’s word like: The corruptions of mankind are all the same. Their corrupt essence is all the same. The manifestation of their corruptions is all the same. Someone then says, “If this is what God says, since we are all corrupted in the same ways, then we should all go to hell and there can be no salvation for us.” Is there anyone who thinks like that? Since the corruptions of mankind are all the same, it should either be elimination for all or salvation for all. Why are some people saved and others eliminated? It is unfair! Is this a correct idea? Obviously not. Where is the mistake? Despite the same corruptions, there are those who pursue the truth and others who don’t. For instance, whether other people are lying or we are lying, isn’t it the same nature? Doesn’t it describe the corruption of mankind? The corrupt disposition is all the same. Isn’t it the same corrupt essence? But there are differences among people. Some people pursue the truth while others don’t. The humanities of some people are good while those of other people are bad. Some people love the truth while others detest it. Some people are able to obey God while others aren’t. People make different choices when facing the truth. Their wills in pursuing the truth are also different. So the degrees of cleansing and salvation they receive are different too. Isn’t this what it is all about? What are the differences between religious figures and us? Are they corrupted differently than us? Are their notions about God different than ours? Do they resist God differently than us? It’s all the same. Then what is the difference between those religious figures and us? They didn’t accept the true way but we did. They didn’t hear God’s voice, and they denied having heard God’s voice even when they had. When we heard God’s voice, we recognized it and accepted it. They didn’t acknowledge God’s judgment and chastisement as God’s work in the last days, but we did and accepted it. This is the difference between religious figures and us. Now they are still reading the Bible and listening to the preaching of pastors. As for us, we are eating and drinking God’s present word. Whose preaching do we listen to? We listen to the preaching of the man whom the Holy Spirit uses. What is the difference between the man used by the Holy Spirit and the pastors and elders? Someone says the man used by the Holy Spirit has experienced God’s judgment and chastisement. He is a perfected person with the reality of the truth and the work of the Holy Spirit. Is it a simple feat to be used by the Holy Spirit? When the Holy Spirit uses this person to preach to God’s chosen people, the Holy Spirit’s work he has is evident. That is, he has real experience. Without real experience, without the work of the Holy Spirit, the preaching is no different than that of religious pastors and elders. When the Holy Spirit uses this person and works on him, there is a huge difference in his identity and status. We said this before, if there is no change in a person’s life disposition, he cannot be formally used by God. Why do we say that the apostles and prophets of the Age of Grace were doing service for God? Because there were no changes in their dispositions, they were unqualified to be used by God. They were merely doing service and having a bit of work of the Holy Spirit. We are talking about being “used by the Holy Spirit” here. This term only appeared in the Age of Kingdom. It was not present in the Age of Grace or the Age of Law. Therefore, when we are brought before God today, we are directly listening to the personal utterances of God on one hand, and we are listening to the preaching of the man used by the Holy Spirit on the other. Is this an exceptionally exaltation of God? Nowadays, there are some people who don’t realize it. They would say, “I don’t hear any difference between the preaching of the man used by the Holy Spirit and the religious pastors. It is just someone there talking about different things.” One day you will understand how principled God is. God never says the religious elders and pastors are used by the Holy Spirit. Is this what it is about? During the Age of Grace, were Paul and Peter used by the Holy Spirit? The Lord Jesus did not bear witness for them, right? As for Paul, the Lord Jesus only dispatched him to spread the gospel. And as to Peter, the Lord Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of Jonas, love you Me?” Peter said, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love You.” The Lord Jesus said, “Feed My sheep” (see Jhn 21:16). The Lord didn’t speak about him being formally used by God. He only allowed Peter to feed His sheep. It was not until the Age of Kingdom that “being used by the Holy Spirit” was said. God is very precise with His word. Man cannot interpret it willfully. In the Age of Kingdom, man directly eats and drinks the truth expressed by God in the last days. What is the difference between the truth expressed in the last days and that in the Age of Grace? This truth is based on the expression of God’s judgment and chastisement. It is very different from the way of speaking in the Age of Grace. In addition, the word of the truth is not the same. The word in the Age of Grace was limited, too limited. It was confined to the Age of Grace. It was only about God’s requirements of man, how man should act. It is very different in the Age of Kingdom. God demonstrates His righteous disposition for His chosen people to completely rid themselves of corruptions and accept the truth, to get to know God and become those who fear God and shun evil. The word in the Age of Kingdom is to perfect man, cleansing man on one hand while perfecting him on the other to let him receive the truth, to live out the true likeness of man and a meaningful life. So the word of God in the Age of Kingdom is the word that can truly save man and perfect man while that in the Age of Grace was only about the requirements on man, with no cleansing and perfecting effects for man. Therefore, it was impossible for man to transform his life disposition during the Age of Grace no matter how he pursued. No matter how well man understood and spoke the word of the Bible, he was unable to know God. What is the reason? It is because God’s work is not the same, isn’t it?
In what we have just read of the word of God, it is said: “At the mention of the word ‘judgment,’ you are likely to think of the words that Jehovah spoke to all the places and the words of rebuke that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees. For all their severity, these words were not God’s judgment of man; they were but words spoken by God within different environments, that is, in different contexts.” In the age of grace, the Lord Jesus spoke these words in accordance with different environments and settings. These words in their outward appearance were a rebuke and also quite stern and were also very thorough in what they exposed, so why are they not words of judgment of man? Why? Can you understand this? Some say it’s because He did not bring forth the truth in all its aspects to elucidate it to man. This is the case. He did not deliver the truth, and only spoke to rebuke. He only spoke some stern words of rebuke, which did not reveal the truth, nor expose the substance of people’s corrupt nature. These words did not achieve the result of cleansing or saving people, so it is not called judgment. Looking at it on the surface, they are also words of judgment, and all the words of God bear the fruit of judgment. However, looking at it from God’s perspective, this is not the case, for if the truth has not been delivered then it cannot be called judgment. Rather, only the words that express the truth and can purify and perfect man can be considered words of judgment. Do you understand now? When we bear witness to God’s work of judgment in the last days for religious people, those religious people say, “We too have experienced the judgment of God. You see that the words spoken by the Lord Jesus are all very strict, and especially the words rebuking the Pharisees; we have also experienced them, so we have already experienced God’s judgment, and thus we are qualified to be lifted up into the heavenly kingdom!” Religious people hold onto this kind of talk, and try to refute us, and they do not accept our bearing of witness. If we were to communicate to them with crystal clarity what real judgment is, then it would be easy for them to investigate the true way. Isn’t that so? If this truth isn’t communicated with crystal clarity, that is not acceptable! We will speak of what is called judgment on the basis of the word of God, and we will not explain it relying arbitrarily on people’s notions and imagination. We should accept what God’s word says about it. God says, “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God.” Only words such as these can genuinely be the judgment of God. Do you now understand what judgment is? In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus also said some words that were in rebuke of the Pharisees or were relatively severe. Why were those words not judgment, why are only the words spoken by Christ in the last days judgment? You must see this matter clearly. Furthermore, when Christ in the last days expresses the truth to do the work of judgment, in what aspects does it attain results? One must also look at it on the basis of its results.
Let us look again at God’s word: “In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment.” What kind of words are the words of judgment? They “cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment.” How is this truth delivered? It is when exposing humanity’s corruption and the essence of humanity’s nature that God issues forth the truth. So, the truth of God’s word is only issued at the time of judging humanity, and at a time of not judging humanity the truth is not issued. One point is that the words of judgment are substituted with the truth that people fundamentally do not have, and only the words that express the truth are called judgment. Only the words that express the truth are the words of judgment, and this is one aspect. Furthermore, one must also rely on the result reached by God in doing the work of judgment to determine what, after all, judgment is. In everything God does, there is a result. Since these words have come out of God’s mouth, they must all be fulfilled, they must all be honored, they must all reach their result. So, ultimately God’s work of judgment is completely fulfilled and honored upon a group of people who have genuinely attained cleansing and have been perfected. This is the result that God’s work reaches. If this result is achieved, then it proves that the work done by God is the work of judgment and chastisement, for only the work of judgment and chastisement can genuinely save and perfect people. Now, there are many people who accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and they all understand something of the truth. There is a group of people who have begun to have a change in their life disposition, and what is this change? They do not come up with notions about anything God does. However God prunes and deals with them, however He judges and chastises them, or even if He asks them to die, they see this all without any complaint, without any notions, and without any resistance. Isn’t this the initial change? You see there are some people whom brothers and sisters blame and prune and deal with, and they have not resisted. Even though their knowledge is not thorough and in their hearts they have some feeling of being wronged, they do not speak words of resistance nor utter complaints. Isn’t this a little bit of a change? In doing their duty, they will obey any arrangement, they do not discuss their own reasoning. Isn’t this also a bit of a change? You see that there is a small number of people who speak the truth a lot when they talk and their lies are getting fewer and fewer. Unless it’s a special context they wouldn’t lie. Isn’t this a change? All this is the beginning of change. Additionally, when I touch upon some important points and key words when preaching a sermon, there are some people who pay particular attention to them and hurry to make note of them, saying, “These words are really edifying for me, and when I hear them I gain benefit, and I must record them down, I can’t just hear it and then forget all about it!” They place relatively greater importance on seeking the truth. Once anyone communicates a bit of the reality of the truth they hurry to record it; aren’t they beginning to exert themselves toward the truth? These are all changes, they are all different results achieved by experiencing the judgment and chastisement. It’s just that most people are a bit lacking in caliber, and their understanding of the truth is still shallow. If a person whose caliber is good has gained a lot of experience and suffered a great amount, then what he gains will be much and his change will be great; for one whose caliber is lacking, even though they have suffered much hardship, yet what they obtain will still be little, and their change will not be great. Why is this? To understand the truth, one must have caliber, and it will not work if he lacks caliber. This is like Peter and Paul. Peter was perfected, he was equipped with the caliber that God requires; as for Paul, God dispatched him to spread the gospel, and he was also equipped with the caliber God requires. Only such people can complete things, and it is easy for the Holy Spirit to work upon and guide them. Without the caliber God requires, first, God will not make use of you, and second, God will not dispatch you. When God dispatches a person, no matter if he’s perfected or is serving, if he does not have the caliber, he cannot accomplish what God has entrusted. Can one’s caliber be heightened? It can be heightened a little; it’s not that it can’t be heightened at all. For example, there is some essential knowledge that must be understood. This is the key to heightening one’s caliber and one must understand some necessary knowledge. Whatever duty you do, if you don’t understand any knowledge then it won’t work. For example, you need to bear witness to God, but if you are uneducated, will this work or not? You have to at least be equipped with some cultural knowledge, right? If you have some cultural knowledge, and speak with decent grammatical accuracy, then people will be able to understand. If you have cultural knowledge, then you can write, you can write some articles. If you have cultural knowledge, you can convey things accurately, then you can find some suitable phrases and terminology to express things in an appropriate way. Without cultural knowledge, you will be unable to use words properly and you won’t understand terminology. You will use vulgar words to speak and there will be some people who will not understand, so the result will be bad. It will not work to accept the judgment and chastisement of God without having some caliber. So, how can one heighten his caliber? You must understand some knowledge, and afterward understanding the truth will be much easier. In practicing the truth, you will also have wisdom. There is some knowledge which is the key to heightening one’s caliber, and there are some people whose caliber is quite lacking, and that is mainly caused by lacking some specialized knowledge. There are some people who aren’t very eloquent or good with words, wouldn’t it be good for them to study some cultural knowledge? Through studying language, studying grammar, studying how to write, one will naturally be able to speak properly. There are some people who have no knowledge of how to live, but if you teach them and they study, then won’t they cease to be ignorant? If you have no dress sense, then find a person who has it to teach you and give you some advice. Some people who have a good caliber learn as soon as they see something, and some people are unable to do so even if there’s another person who leads them by the hand; this is the difference between one whose caliber is good and one whose caliber is lacking. There are some people who hear the word of God and understand it immediately, and there are some people for whom you have no choice but to communicate the word of God again after they have heard it. If you speak about one phrase they will understand one phrase; speak about two phrases and they will understand two phrases. If you don’t speak about one phrase, then they won’t understand even one phrase. If you ask them, “What are you reading?” they will read God’s word verbatim, and say, “Just reading this part.” “After reading it, what benefit do you receive?” They cannot say. Isn’t this having a caliber that is too deficient?
So how can you be able to understand God’s word? This matter is key. First figure out in what context God speaks the words, and what God’s intention is in the words He speaks, and what result He wants to achieve; take time to ponder these questions. What result does God want to achieve in speaking these words? Why does God speak these words? Is God speaking with His eyes closed? Is He speaking unconsciously? Impossible. When God does a thing He has a principle. The essence of God is truth, it is righteousness, so when God speaks He absolutely has some principle. If you can be certain that there are principles by which God speaks, then in what context is God speaking these words, and by speaking them what is the result that God wants to attain, what goal does He want to reach? If you can figure out the two aspects of the issue, then it will be easy for you to understand the words of God. When you thoroughly understand the intention and goal of God in speaking these words, then you genuinely understand the meaning of God in speaking these words. Isn’t this the principle in understanding the word of God? There are many people who finish reading God’s word and say, “On the surface this is what it means. I understand, I have reached awareness in my mind. The meaning of what God says is just this literal meaning of the words; that’s it, I understand.” After understanding, they read on without reflection on the meaning, and afterward they think themselves to have understood all of the matter. Can one have any gain in reading the word of God in this way? Is it acceptable to read the word of God without pondering it? Without pondering it, how did he read it? He has recited it, and in his brain he has a kind of idea, and feels that there isn’t anything difficult to understand, saying, “I understand the meaning of God’s word, it’s not that I can’t understand it, it’s just the literal meaning,” and that’s all. So, is this pondering the word of God? This is reading the word of God without pondering it, and is only having some awareness in your brain: “These words are pretty simple, and easy to understand, I can understand these words,” and that’s all. You feel that after you have finished reading it you have this awareness, and this is just called reading the word of God. Is this reading the word of God? At the very least, reading the word of God in this way is not reading the word of God in its true meaning. This is because you have not pondered it, and not thought about it; you’ve just given it a cursory look without considering it, and without having truly understood the context in which God spoke, or what the intention was when God spoke. So can people who read the word of God like this genuinely understand the truth? They cannot understand the truth.
Now, let me ask a question: When people read the word of God, why are they content to feel like they understand it on a conscious level and that if there are no difficulties in doing that, they think it’s all done and they’ve gotten through? Why are they able to produce these kinds of notions? How do these notions come to be? Isn’t this the root of the problem? Do you think that reading the word of God is the same as reading a novel? When you are reading the words of a human, as soon as your eyes pass over the text you have some awareness in your brain, and you’re done. You might say, “I understand, that’s what it means,” but is reading the word of God that simple? The word of God is entirely the truth delivered by God, and this truth is by no means as simple as the speech of an ordinary man! If you truly have this notion in your brain, what does that show? It shows that you don’t know that God is the truth, that you don’t know God’s word, and that you treat God’s word as if it were the words of a man. Isn’t this the case? There are many people who read the word of God without pondering it, with the result that even though they have read for ten or twenty years, they have not understood what the truth in God’s word is. In all that time they have not obtained a great gain from within the word of God, and have only obtained a gain of some words and letters. Can this be considered reading the word of God? With respect to reading the word of God, if you cannot attain the results of experiencing God’s work, then that is not reading the word of God. In everything you read in the word of God, you must understand why God wanted to say those words, what is the goal and significance of God speaking those words, and what result He wanted to reach. No matter if your understanding is deep or shallow, you must have somewhat of an understanding, and only then can you be said to have gained something. What mistake are you making if you merely gain the literal meaning, and once you understand the literal meaning you move on and just walk away? What mistake is it if you think that there are no mysteries to be found in a certain passage and that there’s no truth there, just a very simple statement, and after that you just move on? You are scorning the word of God, the truth! This is being irreverent to God’s word, can I say this? What kind of disposition is it to be irreverent toward God’s word? Isn’t it arrogant and conceited? Isn’t this the disposition of Satan? This is the disposition of Satan. Satan does not know God at all, so it is irreverent toward the word of God, and can misinterpret God’s word however it wants; in the end it has committed the sin of resisting God. Now, there are many people who treat the truth in this way, and read the word of God in this way; isn’t this the attitude people have in how they treat the truth? Isn’t this the attitude people have in how they treat God? These kinds of people do not have hearts that revere God! So, in reading the word of God we must be diligent, for devout people have hearts that revere God. If they have no reverence they do not have piety. If you have a heart that reveres God, then when you read the word of God you will be godly, you will be able to calmly ponder the word of God and to pray-read the word of God. In the word of God there are some transitional phrases, because there are some words that cannot directly express the truth by themselves and must have some transitional phrases. As for some problems that are present in people, and some notions about God’s judgment, God has to simply demonstrate and explain them. Afterward, it then transitions to what judgment is after all, and what results judgment is able to attain, and finally it mentions that after the judgment ends all people will follow their own kind, and what will be the destination and outcome of every kind of person, and these outcomes of people are all determined after judgment. You see that God’s word says that people’s outcomes are determined after judgment—which people will be extinguished, and which people will suffer punishment, and you only accept it with words such as: “Right, after judgment God’s work comes to an end, and there is a group of people who receive salvation, there’s a group of people who suffer punishment, and there’s a group of people who are extinguished.” You merely understand some empty theories, but what it contains in concrete terms—as in what kind of people are extinguished, what kind of people suffer punishment, what kind of people receive salvation—can you speak clearly about these? You are only able to say something vague and broad without any usefulness, and that doesn’t count as you knowing God’s word. So, if in believing in God, a person isn’t able to be earnest in pondering the word of God, can’t be earnest about reflecting on himself, and can’t be earnest about seeking and prayer, he will never be able to understand the truth. You see that those religious pastors, when they speak about the Bible, only talk about the literal aspects. No one listens, and in the end they themselves aren’t able to continue to talk about it. What is going on here? It’s simply because they don’t put the truth into practice. In the Age of Grace, if you put the truth into practice, the words you speak will also be practical. People will also gain benefit from listening to them, and this is because the truth doesn’t favor any person. Isn’t this the case?
You see that there are some people who exert great effort in seeking knowledge, but when they seek the truth, they shrivel up and are devoid of energy. Is this kind of person, in the end, smart or stupid? He’s stupid. What is it that the truth brings to people? What is it that the truth accomplishes? The benefits it conveys to people are far better, higher, and more meaningful than knowledge, isn’t that right? Is it easier to seek knowledge, or the truth? Some people say that it’s easier to seek knowledge. Why is it easier to seek knowledge? Some people say it’s because it conforms to people’s notions. Being in accord with people’s notions is one aspect, but what else is there? Knowledge is an external thing. It is superficial and lacking any depth, and is without significance. Once a person practices, they will see directly and be able to feel it. It is easy to experience and practice, and it’s quite simple. As for seeking the truth, it is not easy. In seeking the truth you must do it by means of effort over some amount of time before attaining any results, it must be done with much labor to understand even a little, and you can only enter into the reality of the truth through the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It will not work for a person to merely rely on himself. For example, as for the truth about being an honest person, would you say that it is easier to be a person who has knowledge or an honest person? Being a cultured person, being a gifted musician, being a person with knowledge, and being a laborer are all easy, and all can be attained in a few years. But being an honest person is not easy! Why is it not easy? Even if you completely exert your strength and ability, you are unable to attain any result, unless God does work on you, unless you have the work of the Holy Spirit! If being an honest person were easy to attain, then having experienced the two thousand years of redemption of the Age of Grace, people would all have changed into honest people through confessing their sins and repenting. Then there would be no need for the judgment of the last days. It is not easy to be attained! Do you dare to say that among the many people who believed in God in the Age of Grace there were no benevolent people with high aspirations? High-minded people are not few, and people with brains and caliber are also not few, so why have they all not become honest men? This explains that it is not easy to enter into the truth! For the sake of mastering knowledge or learning to be a cultured or learned person, several years of experience would be sufficient. Say, for example, when a rustic person has studied culture for ten years and devoted himself to the work for ten years, he has mastered all the aspects of the culture of China and the West, and has become a learned man; through ten years of effort he can succeed in becoming a learned man. So can twenty years of effort produce an honest man? It can’t. Is it easier to enter the truth or enter knowledge? You can say that there is some knowledge that doesn’t need to be studied and that you will understand on your own after experiencing it for several years, right? It will be acquired unconsciously. Just by using a little diligence, you will acquire it in due course. There are not few women in households who experience this incidental matter of course, like when they have been making food in the kitchen for 20 or 30 years with the result that they cook even better than some chef. And who taught them to cook? Where did they graduate from? What professional standing have they reached? None at all, they just gained experience in due course and developed this knowledge.
Entering the truth cannot be reached without experiencing the work of God. Without the work of the Holy Spirit this cannot be completed, and no one can lead you into the truth. Even if someone who has the reality of the truth guides people, what they can enter into will still be limited. Isn’t this the case? How many words have I spoken in preaching for so many years? Countless words. In the end, what result has been attained? On the surface, there are a lot of people who have enthusiasm and have not given up, and this can be considered a kind of result. But actually, how many people have entered into the reality of the truth? I have not figured it out. I have spoken so many words, but the result obtained is very limited; if the Holy Spirit does not perfect people and perform work on people, however much a person does it is still limited. What does this show? It is not possible for people to succeed if they believe in God and experience the work of God but do not seek the truth. If you do not exert yourself in the truth, you will not succeed; no matter if you have a good guide, you will certainly not succeed if you don’t seek the truth, and you will not attain any results. I have cultivated quite a few people, but how many people are there who are able to communicate the reality of the truth? I have been watering people for twenty or thirty years, and haven’t seen many people who are genuinely able to speak about the practical truth. There are many people who speak too many words of doctrine when they preach—of course, they are better than religious pastors, and this is certain. Those religious pastors cannot even speak clearly about the spiritual terminology used by God’s house, and everything they preach about is merely the literal meaning of the Scripture. When many people of God’s house preach, the words are all correct, but they are too superficial, and the composition of the rationale in the words is also too overbearing. So, if you do not seek the truth, no matter who waters you, it will not work, and this is for certain.
In seeking the truth, how does one seek? The key is in how one reads the word of God, how one eats and drinks the word of God. This is the most important part, this is fundamental! Some people follow a certain rule every day, saying, “Every day I’ll read a section of the word of God.” In the past, I also persevered in this for a time, every day reading a section of the word of God. After reading for a certain number of days, I pondered this, and what did I gain from it? It was completely forgotten. Afterward, I saw that this path also would not work, so every day I simply pondered one part of the truth, pondered one short passage, and tried to figure out one practical problem. In this way, at first I achieved some results and after some time had passed, there were some words of God that I had pondered but had not experienced, and I forgot them. In the end, what is the most effective way to practice? Every day when doing my duty, I sought to use the truth to solve practical problems, and in the end this method yielded the best results. Take the words you eat and drink every day and use them in practice. See what truths in the word of God to use to solve your deficiencies and revelation of corruption in doing your duty every day, and reflect on yourself. In this way you will sometimes be able to solve some practical problems. But for key fundamental problems, you won’t be able to solve them all at once, and it will take one or two years. There are some corruptions that you can’t say will not arise again. Even if you’ve solved them one time, you might commit them again. Tell me, how can the problem of perfunctoriness be solved? You might say, “I will deal with my being perfunctory—I will slap my own face!” It doesn’t need to be said that nothing will be solved by hitting yourself. When you have finished hitting yourself, you tell me, can it be solved? You all say it can’t. What does this show? There are some problems that involve one’s nature and which you must solve by dealing with your own nature, and it will not work just to solve them superficially. This is the problem. So, in seeking the truth, how do you seek it? Is there any principle in seeking the truth? There is a principle that can be found here, and if you grasp the principle, your progress in life will be very quick. So what is the principle? In reading the word of God you must seek the truth and try to figure out the truth, and this is the most important. Furthermore, particularly in treating the words of the judgment and chastisement of God, you must check them against yourself. Don’t ascribe this responsibility or this problem to another person, thinking, “I don’t have this problem, only evil people are possessed of this problem. These words of God are for judging evil people, not for judging me.” If you think this way, you are wrong. To be precise, God reveals people’s corruption, and who dares to say that they themselves have none at all? Are there people who dare to say this? There are not. What if He reveals a person’s thieving nature? Do you have it? You say, “I have never stolen”; you have never stolen, but have you ever had thoughts of thievery? In a special circumstance could you have the expression of a thieving disposition? Do you dare to say you do not? I don’t dare to say this, for if I was so hungry I was feeling faint, and if there were another person’s food that he hadn’t eaten, I might go over and just eat a bite or two. This is in the realm of possibility! If someone died in his house and happened to have something to eat there, could I survive if I didn’t eat it? Since I’m starving, hurry up and eat it. He’s dead, so we should go ahead and eat it. If someone has any money that has fallen on the floor which he had forgotten, and in the moment I happened to need some money, I might pick it up and spend it. Do you dare to say that you wouldn’t do this? Do you dare to say that? When someone had his money in his pocket, you didn’t snatch it or grapple for it, but if he threw it on the ground and walked away, would you not dare to pick it up? This is not easy to say. It’s dependent on context, isn’t that right? Some people wouldn’t pick it up if they see there are people around, as other people will report them to the police and cause trouble for them; but they would go ahead and pick it up when they see there is no one around. Look, it’s different if there are people around or not. Afterward they will have some reason, “I picked it up because he threw it away, he didn’t want it, and only then did I pick it up. If he hadn’t thrown it I certainly would not have picked it up. I’m not that stupid.” That is to say, there are some crimes we have not committed, but we can’t say that we do not have that disposition within ourselves. For example, I have never embezzled, but if I had not passed through the judgment and chastisement of God, and were also employed as an accountant in factory, can you dare say that I wouldn’t embezzle? In the first one or two years maybe I wouldn’t do it, but in three or five years, in eight or ten years, I can’t guarantee it, isn’t that right? Man’s corrupt disposition is all the same, corrupt essence is the same. Even though the context in which it’s revealed is not the same, everyone still has a corrupt disposition, isn’t that the case? If you haven’t committed a sin, but you have committed sins in your mind, this is the same as committing the sin. This also proves that you have a corrupt disposition. With God, it is according to corrupt dispositions that He judges and condemns people, and in the end He determines your outcome in accordance with your corrupt disposition. You are convicted of a crime based on what you have done by the laws of the country you are in, but when God’s final judgment concludes the age, everyone will be condemned on the basis of his corrupt disposition. You will be condemned on the basis of whether you have obtained cleansing or not, or whether you have accepted the judgment and chastisement of God. Even monks and nuns cannot run away from God’s judgment in the last days, and will all be extinguished! Do you think monks and nuns have committed the sin of fornication? Have they committed robbery? On the surface they have not committed any sins, and the law cannot determine their crime, but they cannot escape the judgment of God. So in seeking the truth, how do you seek it? Do not go about it on the basis of whether you have done a thing or not. You should go about it on the basis of the expression of your disposition and thereby come to accept the judgment and chastisement of God. This is the principle of obeying God’s work, right? This is also the principle of God doing work. So now, when you read again the words about God revealing and judging people, how should you treat this? Can you again exclude yourself from this, and think it has nothing to do with you? Isn’t that something an idiot would do? “These words are for judging others. I have not committed that sin, it isn’t directed at me. I shouldn’t be foolish, I shouldn’t force these things on myself.” What kind of ridiculous talk is this? All people have corrupt dispositions. As long as you have a corrupt disposition in this respect, even if you haven’t done a certain thing, you should also accept God’s judgment. Only this is the choice of a wise person.
Then, are you not a descendant of Satan? Are you not the progeny of the great red dragon? Are you not a devil? Are you not an antichrist? You may say “yes” to all of them. However, do not simply admit it in speech but also admit it in your heart. An admission through words is simply a way to muddle through. If you admit it, you would say in your heart, “Oh God, I admit that this is so, yet how come I am unable to realize such things? How come what I feel tells me that this is not the case? I admit it through words, yet my heart does not comprehend. What should I do to resolve this paradox?” At times, when reading God’s words, some might say, “God’s words are too much, they are full of exaggerations, are overly-critical and do not reflect the reality of the human world. What they say is simply not the case.” After having experienced this for three or five years, what do they now say instead? They say, “This is indeed true. All of God’s words reflect reality and the human condition. I am now thoroughly convinced.” After having experienced them for three or five years, this is now what they say instead. These things are said by the same person. What happened within the three or five years that account for such a big difference? Some say that they have gained certain understandings regarding the essence of their nature. This is a kind of achievement. Sometimes it is not easy to accept God’s words when reading them at a superficial level. But do not deny that God’s words are the truth and are forever facts, for God’s words are always factual. God does not speak empty words, and His words are never impractical or overly-critical. In the beginning, men have conceptions about God’s words, but after having experienced them for three or five years, when they think back to those words that they judged God with, they start to hate themselves, “Was this not opposing God? Was I not reading God’s words with my conceptions? How could I be so ignorant?” They become regretful, they hate themselves. They hate themselves for what they have said. They feel shame and regret. Therefore, while you might look at God’s words at a superficial level and think that they do not fit with men’s conceptions, do not judge and say careless things, lest you might bring shame upon yourself. After three or five years, they will no longer be the same. If you believe in God in a confused manner, then wait eight or ten years, look back again, and things will no longer be the same. When you read God’s words, they appear one way today, but they appear in a different light after a year or two. When you read them one or two years later, they appear to mean one thing and then if you read them again two years later, they seem to mean something more. You can always get different things from reading them at different times. Why is this the case? Why do men feel different things when reading God’s words at different times? Some say that it is because they have grown in life, therefore the depth from which they read God’s words has changed. While this is true, the most important thing is that God’s words are the truth, and they cannot be fathomed by human minds. God’s words are the truth, therefore you should never measure them against human conceptions and imaginings. You may think that your guesswork results in firm conclusions, but you will one day humiliate yourself. You will bring shame and regret upon yourself for your attitude at the time, for the definitions and conclusions that you have made in regard to God’s words. You might even curse yourself: “How could I dare to judge God? What am I? What was I thinking? Why did I lack reason?” You shall be full of regret when that time comes. Why am I able to say such things? Do you know why? For this is from my own experience, as I treated God’s words the same way myself. I had the same thoughts, and communicated my misconceptions to others. After a few years, I was visited by shame, so ashamed that I secretly slapped my own face, and that was how things came to be.
When you see that God’s words do not fit with your conceptions, what do you do? Some say to accept them and reflect upon yourself. And what do you say when you pray to God? You say: “Oh God, I used to read Your words based on my conceptions and imaginings. I have even judged Your words. I have brought shame upon myself. I no longer dare judge Your words based on my conceptions and imaginings. While Your words seem ordinary on a superficial level, yet now I know that they are the truth, and that they are profound.” All of God’s words are profound truths. There is mystery in seemingly ordinary words, and such mysteries cannot be fathomed by men. Pray to God thus: “O God, I read Your words today, and my attitude has been transformed. I am now a little more pious. This is because of Your kindness and Your salvation. Without Your kindness and Your salvation, I would still be judging Your words like I used to, I would still look at Your words based on conceptions and imaginings. As I look back now, I did not have a single shred of truth or reality at that time, and the way that I viewed things was entirely based on conceptions and imaginings. I was, without doubt, someone who resisted God.” Is this a good prayer? Everyone says that it is good. How should we read now God’s words of judgment and chastisement? “O God, please protect my heart, allow me to live devoutly before You, without behaving willfully, without revealing corruptions.” When you are reading God’s words with a mind that creates notions, pray: “O God, please have mercy on me, for I am too corrupt.” Although you have not put into words what this corruption is, you know in your heart that you are conceptualizing again. Simply pray in this way, and God will know your heart. And then, pray: “O God, please enlighten and illuminate me, so that I can understand Your will from Your words, so that I can understand the truth, so that I shall come to know Your disposition. Please give me Your kindness, please save me.” Just pray like this. By reading God’s words in this way, man’s attitude will change, man can now seek the truth, and this is the beginning of experiencing God’s work, of formally experiencing God’s work. Once man has formally experienced God’s words, then he has truly experienced God’s work. Those who cannot experience God’s words will never experience God’s work. Now that I put it this way, do you understand and accept it?
Look at some people who read God’s words. They ponder a little, and then they shed tears. They pray a little later, their spirit released after their prayer. Then they sing a hymn that praises God. That makes them feel good, as if they had eaten a big meal. It’s really like the enjoyment of attending a feast. Read God’s words in this manner for ten minutes, twenty minutes, half an hour, and there will be real effects. This is what attending a feast means. If you only go through the motions of reading God’s words, after you have finished reading, if you glance over what you have read and think, “There is nothing profound here, I understand it all now, these words only have literal significance. I am done reading them,” then, you are not devout. People like you do not have hearts that fear God, for you are spurning God’s words. You treat God’s words as men’s words, so can you still treat God as God? Impossible. How men should treat God’s words, whether men can resolve their conceptions and imaginings by reading God’s words, whether truth can be found in God’s words, are these things not important? These are the principles in eating and drinking God’s words. After you have finished reading a paragraph or a passage of God’s words, you should always gain some practical things through your pondering; at the very least, you should have gained some illumination regarding the truth, the truth as expressed by those words of God. One cannot expect to understand the essence of truth all at once, but one should obtain some illumination. Once some illumination has been gained, some truths will be understood, and some essence of truth will be grasped. This bit of illumination is the essence of truth. Through your pondering of God’s words, you must gain some illumination, you must gain some reality of the truth, and you must gain some way to practice the truth. If you can be effective in these three areas, then you have been eating and drinking those God’s words to good effect. You really have attended a feast! If you have not gained a single bit of illumination from your pondering, nor have you grasped God’s will, nor grasped God’s expectation of men, if all that you have grasped are some words and theories on the literal level, then you have not attended the feast. That means you have only gone through the mechanics, but you have missed everything. Some might say: “I have put in the work, I read God’s words for over ten minutes, almost twenty minutes. I was putting in the effort, but I wasn’t able to gain anything from my pondering, all that I have gained are literal meanings.” What’s the point of this? Such a person has no idea how to ponder God’s words, isn’t that right? For example, God’s words state: “[F]or the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him.” After reading this, some people say: “Isn’t that the case?” Others ask: “What have you gained from your pondering?” They answer, “That God’s work of judgment is the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life to all those who have faith in God; that the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life to all those who have faith in God is God’s work of judgment; that the work of judgment is the process by which God expresses the truth, the way, and the life. This is my understanding.” Tell me, is this understanding correct? Let me give another example. Christ said “I am the truth, the way, and the life,” and someone asks: “How should I ponder these words?” “Christ said that He is the truth, the way, and the life, therefore Christ is the truth, the way, and the life.” And that someone asks: “And how should these words be understood?” “That is, all that Christ has said and done are the truth, they are the way, and they are the life; all of Christ’s words are the truth, all of them can become a way for man to live, all of them can become man’s life. That’s how I understand it.” Is such an understanding correct? Everyone said that it is not correct. Why is it not correct? Some say that this is empty and has no basis in reality, that it only has literal meaning, without any real understanding. Nothing has been obtained from pondering and only the words have been shuffled around to make some arguments. Can one say that this is a real understanding of God’s words? This is not an understanding of God’s words. Then how should these words of God be pondered? What should be gained from such pondering, for one to have truly pondered the essence of truth, to be illuminated by the truth? What are the true things to be gained from pondering, such that when people see them, they know these things are the reality of the truth? If someone should ponder the truth for half the day and yet is unable to understand anything real, has he gained anything? No. Some men, when they ponder the truth, they become stuck, and are unable to gain anything from their half an hour of pondering, therefore they simply stop, and stay content with merely understanding the literal meaning. They think this is still better than not understanding anything; anyway, they feel good in their heart after having read God’s words. Can such a person gain the truth? Everyone knows that they cannot.
These two passages of God’s words are talking about visions. They are quite deep, and most people are unable to understand them. If this is the case, what words can be understood from pondering? Truths relating to practice are easy to understand, while truths relating to visions are not easy to understand. For example, when you talk about “Christ is the truth, the way, and the life,” how do you talk about your understanding? By saying that Christ is the truth, the way and the life, God is letting us know that God’s incarnation is the truth, the way, and the life, that if you do not follow Him, if you do not accept the work that He performs, if you do not eat or drink His words, then you shall never gain the truth, the way, and the life. If you follow men, if you follow pastors from the religions, or if you engage in religious ceremonies, you will never gain the truth, the way, or the life. Then, why are the truth, the way, and the life mentioned here? Because for man to live, there are three major things: The first is the truth, the second is the way, and the third is the life. A human’s life on earth involves all these things. These are the three major things in life, these are also the three treasures most critical to living properly, and men should seek to gain these three treasures when they believe in God. Who has these three treasures? Only Christ is in possession of these treasures, no one other than Christ is in possession of them. If you understand these things in such a manner, isn’t it much more practical? If we go even deeper, and look at all the truths expressed by God, we can identify that Christ is the truth, that all truths among mankind are expressed by Christ and not expressed by the work that the Holy Spirit performs. They are expressed by Christ, for the Holy Spirit does not express them directly or independently but expresses them through Christ. All these truths are expressed through the words of Christ. If there were no Christ, where would you find the truth? The Spirit of God uttered from the sky, through thunder, out of the whirlwind. He did not express many truths, He only uttered a few words, which were said to one man in that setting and at that time, instead of expressing all truths to mankind. Therefore, only Christ is the embodiment of truth, the One who expresses the truth. All truths among mankind come from Christ, therefore Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. Once this is communicated thus it becomes more practical. Now let me also explain “the way and the life.” Every man lives a life, and regardless of how long each man lives, the way that he is walking can be determined by all that he has done. In life, no one lives blindly with their eyes closed; every man must choose the path that he shall walk. No matter how many paths there are in life, each man must choose his own path, and the path that he has traveled throughout his entire life can be seen from his deeds. Therefore, the path that a man chooses when he is alive is very important. For some, happiness in their life is to eat, to drink, and to enjoy themselves; this is the same as animals. For some, they feel that they must learn to live as man, that they have no other choice but to learn to live as man, and that they must choose a path where they learn to live as man. For some, they say that they cannot live without the truth, they must seek the truth, to ultimately gain the truth, and that they shall follow God, and walk the true path of life. Because they seek the truth, because they follow God, in the end, they will have gained life, and they will have lived out a meaningful life. Who brings this into effect? It is Christ. Therefore, it is indubitable that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. If we understand it in this way, we will gain a better understanding. Some believe in God for their entire life yet have no knowledge that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. This shows that they have neglected the truth, the way, and the life, that they only know of this person who is Christ, but they do not know the essence of Christ, they do not know the work of Christ. Isn’t that pitiful? Others ask them: “Who do you believe in?” “I believe in Almighty God.” “Is Almighty God on earth or in heaven?” In their minds they ponder: “Is Almighty God on earth or in heaven? If I say that He is on earth, then He is only a man; if I say that He is in heaven, then He is a vague God, so what should I say? Why not just say that the God that I believe in is both on earth and in heaven?” But then they get asked: “Well, is He actually on earth or in heaven then?” to which they reply, “His flesh is on earth, while His Spirit is in heaven.” “Then if His Spirit is in heaven, does it not mean that His flesh is an ordinary man? Is there no Spirit of God in that flesh?” They reply: “Of course there is, God’s Spirit has materialized. A part of God’s Spirit has materialized in the flesh, while another part is still in heaven.” Is this correct? Everyone says that it is not correct. Why is it not correct? Who is it that you actually believe in? You can’t really say it clearly, can you? Despite all the rhetoric, you have described the God that you believe in as a vague God. When others ask you “So, which God do you really believe in?” What are you going to say? Will you say “I believe in the incarnate Almighty God, who is Christ of the last days”? And the others ask: “On earth or in heaven?” You reply: “The practical God on earth.” They say, “He has the appearance of a man, you have believed wrong.” You reason, “That is true, that the incarnate Christ on the ground has the appearance of a man, but His essence is God, which you cannot see clearly.” How about this response? Others then ask: “So, where is this God that you believe in?” “He is walking among the churches.” “What does He look like?” You reply, “What meaning is there in seeing His appearance? To really see, you must read God’s words and then you can see what God is from His words.” Is this a good answer? Others ask: “Who is this person who gives you sermons?” You reply: “An ordinary man.” “Is he a good man or a bad man?” “Of course he is a good man.” Then the others say, “That is not right. The Communist Party said that he is a bad man, the Communist Party is even pursuing him!” And so you reply: “What is the Communist Party? Is it not Satan’s regime? The man persecuted by Satan’s regime is most certainly the best kind of man.” Then they say: “You follow and accept the man persecuted by the Communist Party, and the God condemned by the Communist Party, therefore your belief is not right.” “Not right? This is the most correct choice. We believe in the Christ being persecuted and condemned by the Chinese Communist Party, and we submit to the man used by the Holy Spirit, the man used by God. This is not wrong, this is a faith based on God’s words.” Then the others ask: “What is your basis for your faith in this Son of man?” “Based on His words, that which He has expressed. Look at the words that He has expressed: Even if you brought all the pastors and elders from the various religions together, they could not express such words. Tell me, are these not the words of God? If these are indeed the words of God, if they can save and perfect men, then tell me, is this person not God? What else do you have to say?” Once you say such things, there is nothing anyone else can say, they must all be quiet and accept it. Even a judge would have nothing to say.
What do we gain by submitting to God’s judgment and chastisement? We gain the truth expressed by God, we see the complete revelation of God’s disposition; we see all that God has and is being displayed, revealed in Christ. So, if we experience the work of Christ of the last days, and by the end we come to know the practical God incarnate, then we will have seen the disposition of the God in heaven, all that the God in heaven has and is, in other words, His essence. All these things are revealed in the incarnate God and the words that He has expressed, and these are the fruits and effects that we gain from our faith in the practical God. Aren’t these rewards tremendous? They are tremendous. If you believe in the practical God and experience His work, if you believe in Him for two, three decades, and you gain the truth, the way, and the life, if you live out a meaningful life and become a witness for Christ of the last days, then this is the greatest honor in life. It is even more honorable and meaningful than being a president or a scientist. Is that not the case? As I fellowship and chat with you here today, many of you have become somewhat edified in your lives, and is this not something meaningful? What do I feel in my heart? That I have not lived in vain, that I am somewhat useful, that I have contributed my insignificant part in the work of God and therefore I have not lived in vain. This is what I feel in this regard. Also, we see that so many people are able to gather together to eat and drink God’s words in this way, and if this is not the work of the Holy Spirit, who else has this ability to have all of you listen, with such concentration and seriousness, to someone like me chatting? Could a president’s speech get so many people to listen to it with such seriousness? No, it could not, for people would only listen to such a speech on a superficial level. Today, God’s chosen people have gathered together like this, listening to the fellowship about God’s words with such earnestness to gain some practical edification. Is this not the work performed by the Holy Spirit? This is the enlightenment and illumination from the Holy Spirit, this is the result achieved by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has led me, this man, and trained this man so many years to achieve this. Of course I am not satisfied with that which I have gained. I want to gain even more, to strive to edify God’s chosen people even more. Isn’t that even better? We cannot compare ourselves with Christ, for Christ is God while we are human beings. But we must strive for better results. There are now many who have put a lot of effort into seeking the truth. These people are quite young, in their twenties, thirties, or forties. These people are eating and drinking God’s words as if they are dying of thirst and hunger, seeking the truth. After eight or ten years, the words that they speak and the duties that they fulfill will have different effects. Some of them might be as good as I am, while some might even be better than I am. If they have good qualities and do not go down the wrong path, then of course they will progress faster than me. Therefore, keep striving thus, do not rush, keep on striving every day, keep on seeking every day, keep on working hard every day, and slowly you will enter into the reality of the truth. Unwittingly, you will become principled in all things, you will no longer make the same mistakes again and again, you will overcome such mistakes. This is the way to progress quickly. Gradually, you will be able to communicate some reality of the truth. After a decade has passed, there will not be only a few people giving sermons and fellowshiping like I am doing now, there will be at least several dozens. And what will that look like? There will be at least several dozens, and wouldn’t it be great if there were several hundred? Do you have faith in this?
What characteristics do my sermons and fellowship have? First, my words are simple, I use vernacular, everyday language. Second, everything I say is words of real experience, they always contain reality, and they are never empty. Third, none of what I say uses grandiloquent words or phrases to compose a grand oration. What does the sermon of someone without truth focus on? Such a man always considers if what he says is grammatical, thinking of ways to gain the admiration of others through his splendid and lively language. Once he focuses on such things, then he ceases to be practical, is that not the case? Whenever you speak with the language of everyday life and real experience, you will have the reality of the truth. Remember this. If you have this reality, then you can be a witness for God. To speak is not to make an oration, to speak is to fellowship the truth; when you speak you must emphasize the reality. This is how one fulfills one’s duty, this is how one becomes God’s witness. And what about the experience of God’s work? You must always seek the truth, always fellowship your understanding of God’s words with words coming from your heart, and in this way, you will unwittingly understand many truths, rid yourself of much corruption, and gain clarity about many truths. Once you gain this clarity, that which you say will hold more weight, will no longer sound hollow, and will contain much less theorizing. Is this not the process? Once you are quite clear about the truth, the words you speak will also be more specific and complete, and your expression more accurate; if the truths that you understand are too shallow, you won’t be able to make your words more specific, or more complete, or more practical, even if you want to. Therefore, the depth of meaning of the words that you speak is directly related to the amount and depth of the truths that you have understood.
In order to edify and benefit others with your words, in order to give weight to your words, what problem must you first overcome? You must first overcome the problem of understanding the truth. If you do not understand the truth, then this wish and this desire of yours will never be realized. Some might say: “Even though I have understood the truth, yet I am still arrogant and self-conceited.” Pay no heed to that. Once you have understood the truth, whenever you reveal any arrogance and self-conceit, you will feel guilty in your heart, you will hate yourself, you will despise yourself, and gradually you will reveal less and less arrogance and self-conceit, until it disappears altogether. This is the way it goes. In short, once you have truly understood the truth, then your corruption will peel off and lessen bit by bit. Before you have understood the truth, that is, when all that you understand are theories, your corruption will not lessen, and you continue to reveal what you have revealed in the past. And when does the corruption that you reveal begin to lessen? When you have truly understood the truth, your heart will demand that “This time around, I must act according to the truth, for the truth is great.” Once your heart is clear, once your understanding of the truth is clear, the path to practice the truth will also be clear, and you will know how to practice. Once you truly understand the truth, you will feel bliss, excitement, peace, and joy in your heart when you practice the truth, and you will feel guilt, unease, pain, and regret in your heart when you go against the truth. This will be determined by your heart’s attitude toward the truth. You see, if you are a good person, and you kill someone, what do you feel afterward? Fear, pain, torment, which shows that you are a good person, that your committing murder is the transgression of a basically good person. What about when a devil kills someone? If he kills one person, then it is just one person who died; if he kills a hundred people, to him that is just another number, and it is no different from killing one person, for he feels nothing in his heart. If he has finished off all of his enemies, he would even feel joy, “Finally I have reached my goal!” How come the state of mind of a devil who has killed many people is so different from that of a truly good man who has killed only one person? Who can explain this? For there is a difference between their nature and essence. Some people have a good nature, they can feel their conscience, their conscience has not been buried, it has not completely disappeared, and therefore their conscience is doing its job. Once they are haunted by their conscience, they have no peace in their heart, it is filled with unease, fear, and pain, and these things turn into torment. Yet a devil is not affected by conscience. If you ask him about conscience, he will ask you how much a pound of conscience costs. That is why he feels no fear or guilt no matter how many people he has killed. He might even celebrate his misdeeds by making a toast. Look at those in the army, once they have won in battle, and the officer arrives, they say: “Let us feast! We have won!” They brag to each other how many enemies they have killed, making a sport out of who has killed more enemies. Such men are devils. After they gain power they show no magnanimity toward their enemies. They are all devils.
Some might also say: “While I do reveal corruption, how come I do not feel any guilt in my heart? I do not feel any guilt in my heart even though I have sinned.” Why is this? It shows that such a person does not like the truth, that the truth has not taken root in his heart, that it has no place in his heart. This shows that his nature is corrupt, for he feels nothing even when he has sinned. If he has truly understood the truth, if the truth has a place in his heart, then if he doesn’t act according to the truth again, he won’t be able to overcome his conscience. When a man feels his conscience very strongly, is that a good thing or a bad thing? That’s a good thing, for if you have a conscience, you can enter into the reality of the truth. If you have no conscience, your whole life is done for, for you shall never pursue the truth. Can we say that those without conscience have no humanity? The lack of conscience is the lack of humanity. What is conscience? It is man’s spirit. Some people have no conscience, because they have no spirit of man. A man who has conscience also has humanity, so a man without conscience has no humanity. Therefore, for many, once they have sinned, once they act against the truth, they are haunted by their conscience, they feel unease, they pray to God and they repent. These are the people that can be saved. When a man does not feel anything from his conscience, then this man is done for, he is a dead man, a living corpse, a man that cannot be saved. Is this not the case? Some are moved after reading God’s words of judgment. They shed tears, which shows that these people have the spirit of man, and the Holy Spirit is performing work on them. For some, regardless of how much they read God’s word they are not enlightened or illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and they are not moved and shed no tears regardless of what they read; that’s the trouble. Some are able to ponder in their heart regardless of what words of God they are reading and gain results from that. Some of God’s words are the truth regarding visions, and once they heard that these are the truth regarding visions, they ponder these words and they are illuminated and enlightened. When they read a certain passage of God’s words, they are able to know which aspect of the truth this passage relates to, and after some pondering, they are again illuminated and enlightened. They are able to gain results and be illuminated whenever they read God’s words. Such people will certainly receive salvation and be perfected, for their spiritual condition is normal. Some read God’s words and these words appear to be no more than black script on white paper to them. They have no understanding after reading such words, they are not moved, they are not illuminated, and they have not gained anything. Such people are the same as those new believers, for their heart is not quiet before God, their heart has yet to live in God’s words, it has yet to enter into God’s words. These people are still outside of God’s words, and they are still very far from entering into God’s words. When you read God’s words, if you were to say: “These are the words spoken to me by the God that I believe in. Ah, it is so wonderful that I got to read these words today; I have gained so much, I have been enlightened and illuminated. Today, when I was reading God’s words, I truly saw God performing His work on me. God has not abandoned me. I am indeed attending a feast.” Once you have such feelings it shows that you are someone who is living inside God’s words, that you are one of God’s chosen people. If your heart has yet to enter into God’s words, if you have yet to live inside God’s words, and if you always feel like you are reading an ordinary book when reading God’s words, and that it is no different from reading man’s words, then this is very troublesome indeed! You have not been quiet before God for a long time, and your heart is still in the mundane world.
For some, once I have fellowshiped about God’s words, they become weary: “Why am I not able to understand? I am not listening to this any longer, this is not interesting. I might as well listen to secular songs and music.” What kind of a person is this? They belong to the mundane world, their heart is not in God’s house. They do not hear any of these most practical words and most practical things that are being fellowshiped by God’s family. None of such things have penetrated their heart, and this shall not end well for them, for it is difficult to say whether or not they can be saved. Their heart remains in the mundane world, it has yet to return to God’s house, it has not returned to the presence of God. Aren’t such men like homeless drifters? They are drifters, with hearts that drift. Some people, once they listen to my fellowship of the truth, become resistant. They say: “I am not listening to this! This is not interesting, I am not listening to this!” Who are these people? They have yet to enter the stream of work performed by the Holy Spirit, they are appalled by the fellowship of the truth, and that is troublesome. These people are also living outside God’s words, they are devils. If they are unable to receive anything after listening to several years of sermons, then that is the end for them, they shall be eliminated. Look at those in God’s house who can be saved, they are able to gain entrance through the sermons and fellowship from above. These sermons and fellowship have entered their heart, they are thirsty and hungry for more, and these are people who have entered the stream of work performed by the Holy Spirit. If some are unable to gain entrance by listening to the sermons and fellowship from above, if these sermons and fellowship cannot enter their hearts, if they become resistant and produce conceptions, if they don’t feel any interest, then what are they? Even though they believe in Almighty God, they have yet to enter the stream of work performed by the Holy Spirit, therefore they are living outside God’s words. Is that not the case? Those living outside of God’s words, while they are in The Church of Almighty God in name they are cheating themselves, and they do not count. Therefore, in any church or any gathering, those who have accepted the sermons into their hearts, who also fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities, these people will be saved, these people will be protected when catastrophe arrives, and they will survive. If someone has not accepted the sermons into their hearts and has not entered into the stream of the Holy Spirit’s work, they are outside God’s word and the work performed by the Holy Spirit. They are only in The Church of Almighty God in name. God calls them unbelievers who are outside of God’s words. These people belong with the unbelievers. Therefore, if you were asked how many people in your church can be saved, simply take a look. Those who have accepted the sermons into their hearts and entered into the stream, regardless of what sermons they listen to, they submit, and they agree with them, they have complete understanding of the sermons, they share a common language with God’s chosen people from God’s house. These are the people that shall be saved, these are the people that have received the work performed by the Holy Spirit. Some might then say: “That is not for certain. Although I am weary of listening to the sermons, and I have conceptions and do not obey, yet I read God’s words as if I am dying of thirst and hunger. I am serious in reading God’s words.” Does this make sense? If you are unable to understand the sermons, how are you able to understand God’s words? Who are you trying to fool? Do you think that others are totally ignorant? Sermons and fellowship are based on God’s words, they come from the experience of God’s words, and they fit with God’s words. God’s words are profound truths, while the man’s words are spoken in everyday language derived from everyday experiences. The everyday language is the language that the man uses to translate God’s words, the language of witnessing, the language of experiencing. If you can’t even understand these words spoken in everyday language, it is impossible that you will understand God’s words. And so could you really understand God’s words? If God’s words are like grain, then my sermons and fellowship are milk, milk for babies to suckle. If you cannot even drink milk, how can you eat grain? Who are you trying to fool? You are lying through your teeth. If you are really saying that you read God’s words as if you are dying of thirst and hunger, why don’t you give us a short fellowship so that we can all hear what you are able to reveal? Do you really hunger and thirst for God’s words? Are there nonbelievers in God’s house? What are the manifestations of nonbelievers? First, being unable to take God’s word to heart. They do not read it. Look at that book of God’s words that they own, always sitting there, gathering dust, rarely opened. Second, not listening to the sermons and fellowship, becoming weary and resisting whenever they are listening to them, even releasing their own conceptions, “I do not listen to the man, I only listen to God,” or even giving lofty speeches loaded with theories, filled with official-sounding words. Aren’t these people who deceive others? You are unable to accept man’s fellowship, fellowship from the man used by the Holy Spirit, but you are able to directly ingest God’s words?! Are you not lying through your teeth? Therefore, have both feet on the ground when experiencing God’s words. You should be able to gain some illumination from pondering God’s words; you should quiet your heart praying and seeking the truth before God. From reading God’s words, you should be able to understand the background from which God has spoken such words, the purpose of God in saying such words, the meanings behind such words, what is to be gained and understood by men from such words. If you have gained results from all this then you have been illuminated from reading God’s words, you have understood the truth, and you have attained real results.
What results can be achieved from reading God’s words? Regardless of what God’s words relate to, remember, you must at the very least achieve results in four aspects: First, knowing the truth of your own corrupt essence; second, understanding God’s will and how to deal with God’s requirements, that is, understanding what God’s will is and what God requires of mankind; third, understand the reality of truth in God’s words; fourth, from within God’s words, understand the principles of practicing them, as well as the paths to practicing the truth. If you have achieved results in these four aspects, then you have truly understood the truth. You can get results in these four aspects from understanding any truth. Therefore, during the process of eating and drinking God’s words, if someone is able to understand the truth, then that is truly the process of experiencing God’s work. Precisely speaking, the process of man’s experience of God’s judgment and chastisement is the process of them learning the truth of their corrupt essence. It is also the process of understanding the truth and entering into reality. Moreover, it is the process of man ridding himself of his corrupt disposition and attaining true repentance. Lastly, for one who has attained true understanding of the truth, it is the process of their being cleansed and perfected from the truth of God’s words. If someone can achieve results in these four aspects after experiencing judgment and chastisement, as well as come to the knowledge that the process of experiencing judgment and chastisement is also in these four aspects, then hasn’t that person been cleansed and perfected through God’s judgment and chastisement? This is absolutely correct. Some say: “I experienced such things for a year or two in the beginning, then I went back to work. Have I achieved any result from the two years of experience?” At the time, some positive results were probably got from those two years, but since you returned to work and put a few years to waste, those achievements have now been handed back and you will have to start over once again. Once you have to start over, it is not easy to say for certain if the Holy Spirit will still work on you. You will have to double your effort, you will have to pay a huge price, then maybe the Holy Spirit might work on you again. Regarding the path to seeking the truth, one must strike while the iron is hot and go all the way. If you stop in the middle and leave for a few years, then it is all over, and you must start from the beginning again. Some women believed in God for a few years, and the Holy Spirit performed work on them, but then they found a partner, and once that happened, they got pregnant and had to take care of the baby. Such a delay cost them three years, and for these three years, they had no time nor energy to eat and drink God’s words, and the Holy Spirit did not do any work on them. Once their child is several years of age, they once again renew their belief. Aren’t they now starting all over? Tell me, isn’t this woe to these women who became pregnant and had to take care of their child? It is reasonable to say that getting pregnant and taking care of children is not sinning or committing a crime, yet why does God say that they have gotten into trouble? Where is the trouble? It is in that they have given up on the opportunity to receive salvation, therefore they will not be admitted into a wonderful destination, and in the end there will only be destruction and annihilation for them. Isn’t that trouble? Those pastors in the religion do not allow you to investigate the true way, they do not let you accept the work performed by Almighty God. Simply by following this one thing that your pastor has told you, you ended up in trouble. What kind of trouble? Just because you followed this one thing that your pastor told you, you missed the opportunity of being perfected by God during the last days; is this not trouble? You may say that you have not sinned by following what he told you, but in turn, you have missed the opportunity to be saved and perfected, and what shall become of you in the end? You’ll go to hell. Is that not trouble? This is trouble indeed. By saying such a thing, what is the treacherous intention and purpose of your pastor or your elder? To fight with God over God’s chosen people. They would rather you perish, they would rather you end up in hell than let you receive God’s work. They would rather you perish with them and be buried with them. Therefore, with all the things that the pastors and elders from the religions are doing, are they not fighting with God over God’s chosen people? Are they not devils who are causing harm to people and devouring their souls? Everyone says that they are. Therefore, have these pastors and elders sinned? They have sinned grievously. Before God was performing the work of the last days, they were hypocrites; now that God’s work of the last days has begun, they are fighting with God over God’s chosen people. This is no longer merely an issue of hypocrisy, now they have become antichrists. The sin of antichrists is that they are fighting with God over God’s chosen people. Not only are they not bringing the believers before God, but they instead keep control of these chosen people of God, in order to establish their individual fiefdoms. They would rather let these people go to hell than let them follow God. Such is the treacherous intention of the antichrists.
Look at all the pastors and elders from the religions nowadays, aren’t they all sealing off their churches? We attempted to go into those churches and spread our gospel, we tried many clever ways to enter the churches, yet we were thrown out in the end. What are these pastors and elders doing? They are fighting with God over God’s chosen people. They are doing all that they can to control God’s chosen people, not allowing them to enter the kingdom. They would rather go to hell and have God’s chosen people follow them to their deaths. While they live another day, they want you to live another day with them, to offer them food and drink. Is this not drinking the blood of saints and devouring the soul of men? The religious people have to make offerings to them every day. These offerings are made to God in name, but in actuality they are accepted and enjoyed by these evil servants. Look for yourself, who is benefiting from the offerings being made to God’s house? The offerings made to God’s house have all been spent on the expansion of the kingdom. Those who spend all their time fulfilling their duties, are they not being taken care of by God’s house? Furthermore, all those books and materials that God’s chosen people require, to eat and drink God’s words, are they not procured and provided freely by God’s house? Hasn’t God’s house paid for all the expenses for God’s chosen people who run around? Those pastors from the religions keep all those offerings made by the believers to God for themselves, and they wouldn’t even let them enter the kingdom of heaven after enjoying all those offerings. Therefore, all those offerings that you have made to God have all been in vain, for God has never gotten to enjoy any of them. Those pastors and elders are bewitching you, controlling you, not letting you accept Christ of the last days, and you listen to what they have to say. If you say you have made your offerings to God, yet God has shown you no kindness, is this right? Who told you to listen to those pastors and elders? Who told you to be bewitched and controlled by them? Who told you not to investigate the true way? Who told you to not see through the true nature of the devil? You are perishing and being annihilated as a result of your own ignorance, isn’t that so?
The most critical thing when experiencing God’s work is how to treat God’s words, how to seek the truth, for these are the fundamentals. Tell me, what are the different approaches to experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, what are the paths? Who can give me a summary? Someone said, first, to accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, this is the first approach to practicing. This is correct, and this is undeniable. Second, to accept pruning and dealing is also to experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, which is also the more practical judgment and chastisement. What is the third approach? After experiencing some trials and refinements, after some suffering, one has also attained understanding of the truth of God’s words, come to know God’s disposition, therefore this is also experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, and this is the third approach. Is there yet another approach? Speak up, any one of you who has experience of this. Someone says that it is the discipline from the Holy Spirit. The discipline and punishment from encountering facts, now this is potent. Some have already experienced this, such as those who have been expelled, those who simply got ill, were punished, disciplined, or abandoned by others. The discipline and punishment from encountering facts is very potent, and most who have experienced this step would certainly have cried and shed tears. These are the four major ways to experience God’s judgment and chastisement. You can also say that these are the four approaches. So tell me, which approach have you experienced the most? Tell me, which approach is the most important, the most critical? Of these four approaches, which one results in the least suffering? The least suffering results from experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, but those who suffer little usually gain little as well. They read God’s words, but they just go through the motions and do not put their heart into it. They have neither accepted nor sought the truth, and they have not compared God’s words with themselves. What have these people suffered? They push all those words of condemnation and revelation onto others, while embracing all those words of blessing for themselves. What have they suffered? They only seek enjoyment of the flesh and have not suffered much pain from the words of God. Some who seek the truth have suffered from God’s words, and how did they suffer? Their corruption was revealed, therefore they seek God’s words for self-reflection; when encountering dealing and pruning, they seek God’s words to write their repentance letters. After such ponderings, they shed real tears, praying in tears, and that is when they have really suffered from God’s words, while they have never truly suffered before this. Having received severe pruning, dealing, and discipline, they sought several passages of God’s words when writing their repentance letters, they shed tears, and they suffered. Most people experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words through this approach, which is passive. They only compare themselves with God’s words when encountering failures, setbacks, or when encountering dealing and pruning, and this is when they suffer a little. When reading God’s words as usual, especially during times of peace, without dealing and pruning, without trials and refinements, without failures and setbacks, people just go through the motions. They ponder God’s words a little and feel that they’ve done all there is to do and they are satisfied after having gained some small illumination. Therefore, most people have suffered very little when reading God’s words. And in what way do they suffer? First, suffering when being pruned and dealt with; second, suffering when not having a path at times of encountering trials; third, encountering disciplines, encountering sickness, being punished, and thereby suffering. When catastrophe suddenly arrives and someone in their family dies, or their assets disappear or their house collapses, those without the truth would now wail and cry their eyes out. If the suffering from God’s words is small, then there will certainly be suffering when one encounters trials, is that not the case? In short, if someone has not suffered all that is his due, he will not understand the truth, and he will not attain transformations in life disposition. Look at the judgment that David suffered, how many tears must he have shed for him to finally attain true repentance? Some, after only shedding two or three tears, think that they have suffered, think that their disposition has been transformed. Who are they trying to fool?
Tell me, is it important to suffer from God’s words? Everyone knows that it is important. Some only accept the judgment and chastisement from God’s words, and to them pruning and dealing are from men, therefore they do not accept it. How should one look at being pruned and dealt with? If such pruning and dealing is administered by the Holy Spirit, but attained through the hands of men, has it originated from God? In many instances, the Holy Spirit would prune, discipline and deal with us through individuals and things around us, or sometimes even through unbelievers. Such things do happen, and I have experienced them all. Sometimes, when being willful and careless among the unbelievers, saying the wrong things, one is taught a lesson by others; sometimes, we do things with a lack of wisdom, and when preaching the gospel we ran into a brick wall. This is a lack of wisdom, not carrying things out according to God’s will. During the Age of Grace, I also did many foolish things by relying on my passion which ultimately failed. So why am I stating certain things and rules in black and white, during the Age of Kingdom? These are all my conclusions from the failures that I have experienced. How certain evil spirits perform their work, I have learned from the Age of Grace. Those who speak in tongues and translate them are all evil spirits. Look at all those prophets in the religions, they are all false prophets and evil spirits. Someone might say: “I’ve seen Jesus revealing Himself to me, pointing out to me which place on the map is going to have an earthquake.” This is an evil spirit, so don’t listen to its nonsense. All those prophets walking in the religions are all false, they are all evil spirits. Some people do not agree, and while they might not say it out loud, they think: “Once the God which that prophet was speaking of should fulfill his prophecies, you are going to bring shame upon yourself.” These people are even betting against me in secret. Go on, place your bets! If I dare say such words, could they be empty words? Of course, I had to look at what they said. Would I have dared say empty words if I had not looked at what they had said? Regarding the experience of God’s judgment and chastisement, let me honestly tell you this: If you do not put effort into understanding God’s words, if you do not suffer much with God’s words, you will certainly encounter many trials and refinements that will cause you suffering. No one can lessen this suffering. It can be said that the sufferings and pains that each man must go through are preordained by God, and there is no escape. Therefore, you better put in more effort into God’s words, you better put in more effort in seeking the truth, then you might not need to receive the disciplines and punishments from encountering facts. Let’s submit to God’s work thus and experience God’s judgment and chastisement.
For many, especially new believers, once they have read some of God’s words and they have seen some words of judgment, chastisement, and condemnation, they begin to doubt God’s words, they begin to have conceptions, and they say: “Could God condemn mankind thus? Could God say such harsh and severe words? Could they possibly be spoken by man?” Then they begin to doubt God’s words. What’s the mistake they’ve made? It’s called doubting God, resisting God, right? Are there people who worry what might happen if some of these words are not God’s words? Are there people who worry like this? Those who have such worries are the most foolish of people. There are some absurd people, and they have done a foolish thing. What foolish thing? Some small changes have been made to certain of God’s words, and while the meaning has not changed some of the grammar has been revised so that they can be better understood. These men then said that this was changing God’s words. In particular, “Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning” and “The Words of the Son of Man Incarnate as He Walked in the Churches” have been arranged according to recordings, and they were slightly changed and abridged when they were being arranged. These men said that this was changing God’s words. Is what they say correct? Those who understand the spirit say that this is wrong, while those who do not understand the spirit and abide by rules kept their silence. They think that: “If these words have been changed, then they are no longer God’s words.” Couldn’t the literal form of God’s words be changed? While the literal form can be changed, the truths have not been changed, therefore the truths have not changed. Among all of God’s words, which ones can have their literal form changed, and which ones cannot have their literal form changed? We see two languages used in God’s words, one of them is the language of divinity. The language of divinity was directly written by the hand of Christ, and so was expressed directly from the administration of the Holy Spirit. Those words are completely unchanged. The portion of “God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe” is unchanged, while the discourses at the end were also directly written by Christ, so those words are also completely unchanged. They are not allowed to be changed. If Christ does not allow a single word to be changed, none of those words can be changed. God’s sermons and recordings are communicated through human languages, and those can be changed, they can be streamlined, refined, and abridged. Therefore, the most critical discourses written in the language of divinity regarding God’s work of the last days are completely unchanged. The sermons and seminars given by the Son of man in the church, these have been abridged and refined. And what of the truths? Have they been changed? They have not been changed one bit, but the language is now more refined. Do not always become stuck with rules. God’s words are God’s words. God’s words are alive. It does not mean that they are no longer God’s words once some words have been changed, because the meanings of God’s words have not changed. Let me be earnest with you. Do you think that it is possible to remain completely accurate when translating the Bible? How many mistakes must there be when translating the Bible? No one knows. Many meanings have been changed, and the language is no longer the same. Isn’t that the case? Let us take the Chinese Union Version Holy Bible, which was translated by those who do not believe in God. How many mistakes must there be? Yet we still must treat God’s words as accurate. Furthermore, those words spoken by the Lord Jesus in the New Testament were recorded by the apostles, working from memory. They summed up God’s words through recollection, therefore when these apostles were writing the Four Gospels in the Bible, were there any discrepancies? There were discrepancies, but can you say that those are not God’s words? You see, there were discrepancies even among those words that they learned straight from the Lord Jesus. There might be a word that’s different here, or a few words that are different there, but the truth behind these words has not changed, has it? Therefore, do not hold onto words and sentences with a death grip, and say: “God’s words must be complete and exact! God’s utterances, who recorded them? Were they accurately recorded? Is there proof? They must be accurately recorded to be God’s words, and if there should be one word of difference, then they are no longer God’s words!” If this is the way that you believe in God’s words, then go to heaven to believe in God’s words. Don’t stay on earth, for such is the environment on earth, this is the way that the Christ on earth operates, and these are the words spoken by Him. This is the way you are told to believe, and if you believe in this way, then the Holy Spirit shall perform work on you, and the Holy Spirit shall enlighten you. If you do not believe in God’s words, and say that they are no longer God’s words once they have been slightly changed, then go to heaven to believe in God. Don’t believe in Christ, and then watch yourself going down to hell in the end. Those who believe will eventually be perfected and enter the kingdom, and you who do not believe shall go to hell. Who caused this? Is it not man’s absurdity that caused this? It is caused by absurdity. This is the way that you must believe, without doubt, one hundred percent. Submit like this, accept it like this, and you shall be on the right path. Christ is God incarnate. He has not changed, He is not wrong, and He has not been impersonated. The man used by the Holy Spirit has not been falsified; he is there talking to you just like this. This is how I talk, and after my talk, it is typed out and arranged and my ramblings are taken out, those meaningless words are taken out. After my talk has been abridged, everyone looks at it and says, “Ah, quite good, now it reads fluent and well.” Isn’t that good? These are man’s sermons and fellowships, and have there been changes compared to the original recording? There have been no changes in most places, but some small things have been taken out here and there. What of the sermons by Christ? What of His fellowships and seminars when He walked in the churches? Those were changed in the same way, they were refined in the same way. The truth will always be the truth. No matter which way you tell it, the truth is always the truth. It can be expressed in different forms, there is not a predetermined set of words from which the truth can be expressed, whereby the truth is no longer faithfully expressed because of one misplaced word. Therefore, do not have conceptions when reading God’s words, do not doubt God’s words, for every one of God’s words is the truth. In the end, all shall come to be in accordance with God’s words, the end of mankind shall be determined based on His words, whether one is condemned or rewarded is based on His words. These are God’s words, these words count, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these words. There is no need for men to be oversensitive, for it serves no purpose.