Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Discussing Church Life and Real Life”
Imitate Christ and Live out the Reality of God’s Word to Be Perfected by God
How does God perfect people? It is in real life. If you earnestly pursue truth, you will be able to be perfected by God. If you don’t pursue truth in your real life, and fail to practice and enter into truth, it will never be possible for you to be perfected by God. Therefore, people’s pursuit of truth is mainly in real life. When in everything that they encounter, they can attain truth, and can discover truth, and ultimately are able to live in this truth, achieving this sort of outcome means that they are perfected by God. The meaning of God perfecting people is that all of the truths expressed by God are worked into them, and become their life. This person is one whom God has perfected. Therefore, only people who attain truth are people who are genuinely perfected. Only people who attain truth are genuinely useful people and can do God’s will. What do God’s words say about those who do not have truth? They are “fluttering snow.” When snow flies, it’s beautiful. It disappears when it touches the ground, however. There is nothing there, just emptiness. Some people, when they fellowship in meetings, are full of excellent talk, and go on and on. But they do not have God in their real life. They do not have truth, and are no different from an unbeliever. He may preach very well, but has nothing when it comes to reality. The things he has been preaching appear to have evaporated. Isn’t this like “fluttering snow?” If you live with this kind of person, you will discover that he is not the same in real life as he is in church life. It is as if he is two different people. He is one person in church, and another person altogether in real life. One of these is a disguise. Isn’t this a two-faced person? Why would you say that people are not able to talk about reality? It is because they do not have God in real life. He certainly does not seek truth, and does not put God’s word into practice. He therefore does not have life experience, and therefore can’t talk effectively about any reality at all in his church life. If you discover that someone does not have reality in his preaching, you will know that this person has not brought God into real life. He is not a person who pursues truth. He is a swindler.
Let us take a look at how Jesus put truth into practice: When Jesus entered the temple to rebuke the wicked conduct of the Pharisees, and saw the money-changers and sellers of pigeons, and overturned the tables, He appeared to have no regard for human feelings nor to have any sense. He did not show consideration for anyone’s face, and put aside philosophies of social conduct. This is putting truth into practice. Someone said to Him: “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside, hoping to speak with You.” He replied to that person: “Who is My mother? and who are My brothers?” (Mat 12:48). “For whoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother” (Mat 12:50). See how He did not concern Himself with the fleshly emotions, and treated His own mother and brothers in this way. From this incident we see that everything uttered by Jesus was truth. No matter what event happened, everything He revealed was truth. He could express truth about various kinds of things, and approached all things with truth, using truth to explain them, and using truth to reveal people. This is putting truth into practice. Jesus did not accept the devil’s temptation. The devil said that it would give glory, riches, and the kingdoms in the world to Jesus, but Jesus did not accept it. Jesus was able to surmount the temptation of Satan. He did not even want wealth and high position, and continued to worship and to serve God. This is an obvious sign that Jesus had defeated Satan, and had triumphed over the world. This is putting truth into practice. Satan asked Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus was hungry at that moment, but He rebuked Satan, saying: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4). He upheld the word of God, and persisted in truth. This is putting truth into practice. In response to Peter’s kindly gesture, Jesus said, “Get you behind Me, Satan: for you mind not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men” (Mak 8:33). The man might as well not have tried to stop Him from doing God’s will. Jesus took him to be Satan, and asked him to get behind Him. Jesus did not accept kindly suggestions from people; He was especially resolute in following God’s will. No person could obstruct Him, not even His beloved. This is putting truth into practice. When Jesus was only twelve years old, He said, “Knew you not that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luk 2:49). These words show that God was in His heart, and that His heart was full of the matters of God. He bore in mind constantly all of the things that God had entrusted to Him and all of the things that God wanted to do. No one could stop Him. He had this kind of heart as young as age twelve. To take God’s heart as His own heart; this is putting truth into practice. Jesus did not treat people according to their status. No matter what status a person possessed, as long as they came to Him seeking help, He would help them and solve their problems. He was not like us people who look at a person in terms of influence. Jesus made no distinctions of poverty or wealth in His treatment of people. As long as someone pursued truth, He loved them. All of the people whom He befriended were seekers of truth. Regardless whether the seeker of truth was a fisherman, a tax collector, or an official, He treated them all as His brothers, and made no distinctions between rich or poor. This kind of character is most rare. An ordinary person always pays attention to those with status and to wealthy people, and scorns poor people. Jesus was not like this, however. He was fair to all people; this is putting truth into practice. Jesus looked at people with the vision of potential development. To a prostitute, He said, “Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more” (Jhn 8:11). Though He did not lightly declare anyone guilty, He was able to expose the corruption of another woman, however: “For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband” (Jhn 4:18). He dared to speak about even this thing, and even spoke bluntly, hitting the nail on the head. This is putting truth into practice. To His disciples and to those who followed Him, Jesus preached as soon as He opened His mouth. On the one hand He reproached, on the other, He guided, and on yet another side He enlightened them, helping them to understand truth. He continuously bore witness for God, and exalted God. Everything He did from start to finish was to bear witness for God, and to exalt God, helping people to worship God. He did not exalt Himself or bear witness for Himself. He always bore witness for God the Father, for God, and for the Father. When Philip asked that the Father be shown to them, the Lord Jesus said, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me” (Jhn 14:10). He did not bear witness for Himself; He bore witness for the Father, and for God. What Jesus did to the Pharisees shows so clearly God’s righteousness, and represents God’s righteous disposition. In everything that He did in His life, Jesus bore witness for God, and exalted God. Everything He did was to bring people before God, helping them to worship God and submit to God. Furthermore, everything that He revealed and expressed was truth. From Him people understood many truths, and in His words people saw that everything He said had great authority, and all was truth, and saw that what He said had great power. Then would you say that God was in the practical aspects of the life of Jesus? His actual life contained God, and in this practical life of Jesus, He was doing God’s will, and was doing the work that God entrusted Him to do. There was no individual choice in His doing God’s will; after He knew what God entrusted Him, He was duty-bound to walk the path that led to crucifixion. There was no one to push Him there, and no one forced Him to go; He went there Himself. No one could impede Him. Never did He show concern for His own life. He knew what God had entrusted Him to do, so whatever Jesus did, and in all He did, He truly lived out the image of God! This is putting truth into practice. Everything that Almighty God has done during the last days is even more like this. In order to express truth, to gain people, to save people and change people’s dispositions, He endured immense humiliation without complaint, and endured so much man’s resistance and rebelliousness. God has seen so much unbearable and senseless rebelliousness and arrogance from people. Insatiable greed, complete lack of humanity—God has seen it all, and simply endures it. In order to do the will of the heavenly Father, He endures extreme hardship, and personally experiences various suffering for the sake of the human race. It is therefore true that Christ of the last days endures greater hardship. Do some people say that crucifixion must have been greater suffering? That was six hours, and how many years has this been? The Chinese have a saying: “Long-term pain does not beat short-term pain.” Every time that God is incarnated, therefore, He endures extreme hardship. For the purpose of doing God’s will, He has no other choice. He does not complain in the least, and completely submits to God. He never demanded anything for Himself. In Christ we have seen a model for putting truth into practice, and even more have we seen the image of God.
How should we believers follow the example of Christ and live out the likeness of a genuine person? This is God’s will, and it is God’s requirement. God requires us to believe in God, pray to God, and be close to God not only in the life of the church. What’s even more fundamental is that you eat and drink the words of God in your real life, and that you pursue truth, know yourself, achieve change in yourself, bring to strength where you are lacking, so as to attain truth and be fit for God’s use. What is the purpose of being fit for God’s use? To do God’s will, just like Christ did. Look at current religious circles, and see how so many people who sincerely believe in God live under the influence of darkness. They are controlled by antichrists, deceivers, and religious swindlers. Should these people be saved? If we are unable to do this sort of work, and cannot fulfill this sort of entrustment from God, then there is no value to the lives we live. We would owe God too great a debt. Do you feel this sense of responsibility? Should you treat God’s entrustment as your most fundamental mission? What then should we pay attention to in real life now? To know ourselves and be equipped with truth. We first change our point of view of things, be distinct from the world and from unbelievers, and live out the likeness of a true person to fulfill God’s entrustment. This is the most important. If one just goes through the motions in church life, is it possible to achieve being perfected? Is it possible to achieve change of disposition? Can one obtain truth? Can one be fit for God’s use? If you don’t pursue truth in real life, your belief in God is perfunctory and slipshod. You are being deceitful, and you are duping God with words. You are not satisfying God with reality. Some people don’t even want to come to meetings; there is no guarantee of their presence. What is this problem? Is it so simple for a person to pursue achievement of salvation, and perfection? Can perfection and change be gotten by doing some religious ceremonies? People think too naively. You are not even willing to spend such a short time in eating and drinking God’s word at gatherings, yet you expect to attain truth; isn’t that a fantasy? You want to give all of yourself to Satan, and live for the flesh. Isn’t this ultimately no more than being a victim of Satan? What use would any improvement of the life of the flesh be? When the flesh lives well, and comfortably, is happy, and has enjoyment, has life disposition changed? Are you fit for use by God? Can you submit to God? No matter how well your flesh lives, you are still a demon, and even more must you be destroyed, even more must you be punished. No matter how good the life of your flesh is, there is no meaning to it. Don’t always pursue the life of satisfying the flesh; it is of no use. Eat and drink more of God’s word, and ponder truth more. Furthermore, consider what weaknesses and Achilles’ heel you have, and consider in what matters you might still forsake God, in what matters you might still offend God, or might still cast judgment on God, and resist God. Seek out the source of these fatal flaws and problems, and solve them with truth, ensuring that in whatever trial you face, you can still stand firm, and can bear good witness always. This is a good thing. The more proper something is, the less seriously some people take it. The less meaning something has, the more they take it seriously. Is this sort of person intelligent or stupid? It is truly difficult to get some people to do their duty. Talking it over does not work. In doing their duty they must still follow their own will. If there is something with which they are dissatisfied, they complain, and they want to go back home. To what extent is it difficult to get some people to do their duty? First, their task cannot be too tiring. Second, the time spent working cannot be too long. Third, he must be assigned a partner whom he likes. Fourth, everything must go smoothly. Whenever they travel, it must go without a hitch. Wherever they meet people, it must go smoothly. If everything goes smoothly, they are happy to do their part. But if there is a setback, or a little difficulty, they don’t do their duty. They grumble, and complain. Isn’t he a person who is selfish, base, and caring only for the flesh? When it comes to eating something tasty, why would you not want that to go smoothly? No matter how difficult, you still try everything possible to eat it. When you see a fine article of clothing, no matter what, you want to purchase it for yourself. You can do what it takes to satisfy the flesh, but don’t feel like suffering even a little hardship in doing our duty. How can this be called humanity? Is it such a simple thing to do one’s duty effectively? How can it be as easy and smooth as people imagine it to be? That would be impossible. How do some people approach preaching the gospel? They don’t go if it happens to be a cloudy day or a rainy day. They wait for good weather to go. If in doing their duty they become unhappy, they say: “I am not in a good mood, and will not go today.” If they feel well, they are willing to do anything. If they don’t feel well, they sit at home, and get something good to eat. What kind of person is this? This is a three-year-old child. In doing his duty, he acts childishly. Bringing God into real life is something that ought to be done without conditions, and with no need for justification. It is a duty that all of creation should do; it is a responsibility that cannot be shirked. As a living person you must have God in your heart, must accept the word of God, and must put God’s word into practice. This is the natural law of things, and nothing at all should change your resolution. God asked the Lord Jesus to go to the cross, and the Lord Jesus did as He was asked. He even prayed to the heavenly Father, saying, “Do not act according to My desire; but according to Your wish. Whatever way You have ordered, let that be accomplished. I submit, and have nothing to discuss. God has willed that I be crucified, and I will not live. I must therefore be crucified.” If God had you die, would you dare to die? You are asked to do your duty, and you still talk of this condition, and that condition. If a person were asked to die, he would have to submit. It is all the more so when doing a bit of one’s duty! Some people, when asked to serve as a leader or as a worker, are unwilling. They say: “You will have to pay me, meet my conditions, and treat me very well. Otherwise, I won’t do it.” They continually talk of conditions. If conditions are poor, they are dissatisfied, and regret. Some people are given basic life conditions, but they are insatiable, and say this is not enough, that is not enough. What is this person? This is making deals with God. He is selfish and mean to the extent that they strike bargains with God. How would you say this person gets along with others? Does he have humanity? He bargains even with God, so he has even more trouble getting along with people. This kind of person absolutely does not have humanity. He is completely of a devilish nature. To be made a leader or to be a worker is God’s uplifting and God’s love. What conditions are there to talk about? He does not work very well, yet he still always pursues status, and pursues enjoyment. Is that doing duty? You do a good job of your work, and learn how to submit to God’s orchestrations. If God’s family has us be a leader today, then we do a good job of leading. If the next day we’re asked to be a worker, we do not ask, “Why have I become a worker now?” It’s because we did not do well at leadership. We should keep working hard. The next day we are asked to be an average follower, we do a good job of being a follower. There is no complaint even if we fall from status to our death. There is nothing to say in obeying God’s orchestrations. People always have their own alternative: “If you will not have me be a leader, then I don’t want to be a worker either. If you don’t have me be a worker or a leader, I will no longer be a believer.” Would you say that this is a selfish and mean person? What thing are you! For whom are you believing in God? You are believing in God for yourself. If so, is there anything to say regarding how others treat you? As for how the leaders are to you, and how I am to you, what is there to be said? Will you still make excuses and conditions? I appoint some people, saying: “You will be a leader.” And later he does not do well, and I say: “You are returned to being an ordinary believer.” Is there any wrong in this? I did not see you clearly. For the time being, there was no one appropriate, so I used you as a leader. You were put into service, but you did not do well, and you were pulled out of service. This is neither right nor wrong. You must earnestly submit, and comply with God’s orchestration without complaint. Some people simply don’t submit. If something agrees with their opinions, they submit. They do not submit if it disagrees with their opinions. Is this a person who authentically submits to God? Does this sort of person have truth? What do some people say when I deal with them? “You speak too directly, too harshly, too unpleasantly, and too excessively. I can’t accept it.” No matter what is said, it must be accepted. No matter whether or not the words are sharp, one should be direct and straightforward in speech. Let me ask you, how did the Lord Jesus speak? He said, woe to the Pharisees. Is this putting it too strongly? If you said to everyone that woe to them, they would lose their temper. Did the Lord Jesus have emotions? No, He didn’t. If the Lord Jesus were to say to you now: “Woe to you,” what would you say? Would you say: “I don’t want to listen”? Is it OK that you don’t want to listen? Even if you don’t want to listen to this, it is a fact. Some people judge me, and say that I am not loving. Do you know what it means to be loving? Having believed for just a short time, do you think that you possess truth, and that you are loving? Are you someone who loves God? Will you bring your love out and show me? You love the demon Satan; how can you be a person who loves God? You love your wives (or husbands) and children. But you don’t love truth in the least. You are not able to see through anything. Your way of looking at things is too absurd, always using some fallacies to judge and evaluate the work of God. This kind of person is clearly a person who resists God, and is someone incompatible with God.
To bring God into real life, everything must be practical. Do not act from imagination, and do not act on people’s notions. That stuff will not work. For example, the brothers and sisters should love each other. These words are easy to say. But if you go to church, isn’t it difficult to love some people? He does not pursue truth, and persistently resists, causes trouble, does evil, and gathers accomplices to form factions. Who can love such a person? When it has become very difficult to practice loving this kind of person, what would you do? You must have principles, and you must have discernment, and look to see which people are first offenders. If his nature, his original quality, is not evil, and what he has done is just corruption, because corruption may show forth in everyone before they have attained truth, we must forgive, tolerate, and be patient with this kind of person, and continue to fellowship with him and to eat and drink God’s word with him, and patiently support him. This, itself, is simply being loving. Acting from huge patience, and being able to pardon and forgive people--this is being loving. If a period of time passes and that person still does not pursue truth, despite having heard all truths, listened to many sermons, and read a lot of God’s word, and he still does not know himself, and simply does not pursue truth, it is evident that this sort of person is not a brother or sister. He or she is an unbeliever and a nonbeliever. It is therefore not necessary to make the effort to practice mutual love with this person. He must be treated as an unbeliever, and cast aside. Don’t practice mutual love with that person as you would with a brother or sister. This is what practicing truth is. This is the way to put truth into practice in real life. Some people are zealous believers at the beginning and want to do their duty. After having believed for a few years, they follow antichrists, and do not bear God’s witness. They bear witness for antichrists, and bear witness for Satan. So, can you have mutual love with this kind of “brother or sister”? What kind of relationship has it become now? He is a demon, while we believe in God. So, we are irreconcilable with him, and have an antagonistic relationship. Therefore we cannot treat them with love. Instead, we must adopt an attitude of discernment, exposure, attack, and rejection toward them. If you practice this way, some people who don’t have truth may evaluate you based on their notions, and may judge you, and say that you are not loving. So what would you do? Were someone to judge you, saying that you didn’t treat false Christs and antichrists lovingly, would you be able to accept their statement? At such a time we must insist on truth, because we know that acting this way conforms to God’s will. Therefore, if any person judges us or if any person opposes us, we do not mind. This is the principle of putting truth into practice. It is a responsibility that must not be shirked. We see that when the Lord Jesus practiced truth, no one could block Him. Even Peter was not able to block Him. Jesus said, “Get you behind Me, Satan!” Once He had firm belief that doing so is practicing truth, no one could change His mind. He wouldn’t be restrained by any person, event, or thing. It was duty-bound, and He would carry on until the end. Only this kind of person is someone who submits to God absolutely and who thoroughly follows God. Suppose you know plainly that you are practicing truth, but cannot withstand attacks or judgment. As soon as someone objects you, your heart vacillates, and you become befuddled and flustered, and don’t know what to practice. In this case, you are not a person who genuinely practices truth. This kind of person is conditional in his practice of truth, who requires that others approve, and that no one opposes. He goes forward only if there are no difficulties. As soon as anything negative comes up, as soon as there is obstruction, as soon as there is difficulty, he immediately gives up, betrays God, and follows Satan. This kind of person is not one who practices truth. He practices truth conditionally and according to the situation. He employs a worldly philosophy, so as not to offend anyone. Not only is he not on God’s side, he furthermore stands on the side of Satan. So this kind of person is one who does not thoroughly submit to God. If Satan were to rise and oppose him, he would very easily betray God and follow Satan. This kind of person is troublesome. Would you say that this is the kind of person whom God would perfect? This kind of person would never be perfected by God. God does not perfect this kind of person. This is an opportunistic person, a double-faced person. It is imperative to be clear about the principles for practicing truth. One should be duty-bound to practice the truth once he makes sure it’s the truth, and should not accept restraint by any person, event, or thing. It is useless for anyone to oppose him; it is useless for even his wife (or husband) or children to oppose him. One must have this kind of resolve. Only this person is one whom God perfects. What is the person whom God will perfect like, in the words of the non-believers? “If this person sets his mind on a thing, ten oxen will not be able to pull him from it.” If this kind of person pursues truth, he can definitely be perfected by God. What kind of person is perfected by God with the greatest difficulty? One who takes no positions, one who shilly-shallies, one who can’t make up his mind. Though he may be certain about something, and knows that he should do right things, as soon as he meets with opposition, he vacillates, becomes fearful, and does not dare to persist. This kind of person cannot be perfected by God. God does not perfect this kind of person. The person whom God perfects is one who can’t even be pulled away by ten oxen once he firmly believes it is the way of truth. Even if the earth were to turn upside down, he would not change, and would not give up even at death. This kind of person is the best. In real life, therefore, how should we pursue truth to be able to comply with God’s will and be loved by God? Only such a person is a role model; only this is an authentic person who makes enough serious effort in striving for God’s requirements. He discovers his own shortcomings, and immediately equips himself with truth. If this kind of person pursues truth in real life in this way, he certainly will be able to comply with God’s will. Do you know how to pursue truth in real life? For example, suppose you put truth into practice, pursue truth, and do your duty. Your family opposes and blocks you, your friends and relations all ridicule you, slander you, and reject you. What do you do? Should you retreat? Should you persist? We must pray to God, and seek what action would accord with God’s will, and then practice it according to God’s wishes after seeing this thing clearly. This is proper. There is a matter about which your family’s point of view is different from yours. If your point of view is correct and your family’s point of view is wrong, but this erroneous point of view is of benefit to your family, what would you do? If you are the only believer in your family and the others do not believe in God, and their point of view about many family matters differs from yours, and none of them listen to you, what would you do? If you persist in belief in God and doing your duty, and your husband (or wife) wants to reject you, your children want to reject you, and your parents want to reject you, what would you do? If you discover that many of your viewpoints about worldly events are the same as those of unbelievers, what would you do at such a time? If you see that the unbelievers in the television drama say this is happiness and that is happiness, and you say, “Right! This interpretation is to my liking,” what does this reveal? This reveals that you do not have truth. In your heart you actually still approve of the viewpoints of unbelievers. You see how some movie star or celebrity acts, and you say: “This is the right way to do it. If I were him, I would do it this way, too.” What should you do at times like this? You must realize that you are the same as they are. They are your idols. Your viewpoints are the same as theirs. This proves that you really do not possess truth. If you like to read a book written by an unbeliever, and can even endorse and accept some opinions in this book, what does this reveal? This reveals that you do not have truth about this matter, the same as an unbeliever. So, all the opinions of yours that are the same as those of unbelievers prove that you don’t have truth, because all of the opinions of unbelievers are not truth. The opinions of people throughout the world are not truth, including scientists; none have truth. Whenever your point of view is identical to that of any unbeliever, it proves that you don’t have truth and that your opinion is not in accord with truth. This is certain. This time certainly is a good opportunity to know yourself. You will discover that your opinions about things have not changed, which shows that you do not possess truth. If you are able to engage in self-examination concerning every matter, then you will become aware that you lack truth, and that you do not have truth. At this time you should lose no time in seeking truth, and immediately make note of your shortcomings, insufficiencies, inadequacies, absurdness, and corruption, so as to avoid forgetting them later. Therefore, whenever you discover the expression of your corruption in real life, write it immediately in your notebook. Lose no time in making note of all opinions that are identical to those of unbelievers. Discover in which you are lacking or are corrupt, or discover your Achilles’ heel, write it in your notebook immediately. An especially good time for you to seek truth is when you see that you lack truth. Lose no time in writing the truths that you have understood in your notebook. After you have written them in your book, and you really have obtained truth in these matters, your way of looking at things will have changed. After your way of looking at things has changed, you will know how to apply truth, how to put truth into practice, how to practice truth to submit to God and be after God’s heart. In this way your corruption will be resolved. If you always use this method of seeking truth to make up any deficiency you might have, and discover your own corruption, your corrupt disposition will keep on shrinking, your shortcomings will be amended, and you will progress faster in life. If you obtain truth in all aspects, and you know always how to put truth into practice, then you are a person who has been perfected by God. A person whom God has perfected is someone who sees clearly all things of the whole world, the affairs of unbelievers, the life patterns of unbelievers, and the views that unbelievers have on things. He is able to see clearly various problems, disadvantageous practices, and fallacies that exist in society. He sees clearly the sources and all problems of unbelievers and their difficulties. He sees clearly the wrong paths that unbelievers have taken, and sees clearly the darkness inside the hearts of unbelievers. In particular, he understands fully all problems in religious circles, their ways of practice, how they use people, their ways of working, and their methods of service. He is able to dissect all viewpoints that they may speak, and can discover the problems in all of them. At this point, he is a person who has completely obtained truth. He doesn’t understand only a few aspects of truth; instead, he understands something of all aspects of truth, and is therefore able to see everything clearly. So, would you all say that this sort of person is one whom God has perfected? Certainly this is a person whom God has perfected.