Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part One)
Supplement: What the Truth Is
Today we will continue fellowshiping on the content from last time. What was the topic that we fellowshiped on last time? (“Sleeping on brushwood and licking gall” is not the truth.) So did you use to think that it was the truth? People used to subconsciously think that it was the truth, or at the very least, that it was fairly positive, inspirational, and could potentially encourage people to be proactive and upward-looking. Looking at it from this level of meaning, people thought that it was fairly close to the truth and fairly close to positive things. Therefore, many people subconsciously believed that this saying “sleeping on brushwood and licking gall” was a fairly positive expression, or at the very least, that it had positive rather than negative connotations, and had a role in assisting people’s lives and comportment. But after fellowshiping on it, we saw that it’s nothing of the sort, and that there are major problems with it. Have you looked further for expressions that are similar or related to this expression, or that have a similar role, and that people subconsciously think are fairly positive or fairly good, and dissected them? (No.) Tell Me, is the expression “Drawing many inferences from one instance” appropriate here? (Yes.) It should be said that this expression has practical applications when it comes to seeking the truth and practicing the truth. Last time we fellowshiped about “sleeping on brushwood and licking gall.” What other expressions of a similar type are there? What other expressions have roughly the same meaning, or can play the same role? There is no harm in you dissecting expressions like “sleeping on brushwood and licking gall” according to My way, fellowshiping on them with each other, and gaining some new understandings. When you are able to see through their fallaciousness, you’ll discard such expressions and thereafter take the road of practicing the truth and pursuing the truth based completely on God’s words.
Let us continue the topic that we fellowshiped on the previous two times. What topic was that? (What the truth is.) That’s right, what the truth is. So what exactly is the truth? (The truth is the criterion for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God.) It seems that you have memorized this sentence in terms of theory and definition. So, following our previous two fellowships, is there any difference in your definition, knowledge, and comprehension of the truth deep in your hearts now, compared with before? (Yes, there is.) What exactly is this difference? Although in the short term you may not have the knowledge of real experience, at the very least you have some perceptual knowledge. Tell Me based on your own experience, knowledge, and understanding. (I previously knew that I must practice according to the truth of God’s words whenever matters befall me, but I could never put it into practice. It’s like, I usually have a tendency to reveal impetuousness, and although I know from God’s words that it’s wrong to reveal impetuousness, and I know God’s requirements for people, I still do it, and I’ve never been able to find the root cause. Only after listening to God’s fellowship last time did I realize that, oftentimes, people reveal corruption because they are controlled by satanic thoughts, and that I reveal impetuousness because within me there is the satanic logic that “I will not attack unless I am attacked; if I am attacked, I will certainly counterattack.” I think this saying is right, and that I act this way as a means of self-defense. Influenced by this satanic thinking and view, I am incapable of practicing the truth. But actually, although these satanic things outwardly appear to be right, in reality the meanings they convey run counter to what God’s words require, and they are wrong. Only God’s words are the truth, and only acting in accordance with God’s words is completely correct.) Really good. Who can add anything to that? (I would like to add something. I previously also knew that I must seek and practice the truth whenever matters befall me, but I was still a little confused about how to practice. Having listened to God’s fellowship, I feel that the truth is very realistic and relates to every aspect of life. Take some of the examples mentioned by God. Chinese people also learn to drink coffee after arriving in Western countries. This is not a problem with the way one acts, but a problem of people’s thoughts and views, and this relates to the truth. Also, following God’s dissection of some common sayings and idioms that people think are right, I have come to think that I should reflect on my own behaviors and practices that seem to be correct, and on the intentions, thoughts, and views behind these behaviors, and on what exactly I am living out by relying on these things. I now have a more concrete and not-so-abstract feeling about how to seek and practice the truth whenever matters befall me.) It seems that through these two fellowships, most people have gained a basic understanding of what the truth is and of some topics that relate to the truth and that, from the bottom of their hearts, they have already begun to reflect on whether their conduct and actions relate to the truth, as well as on exactly which of the things they adhere to and hear in their belief in God are the truth and which are not the truth, and whether the things that they think are right are actually the truth, and what the relationship of such things to the truth is. After reflecting, people can then determine what exactly is the truth, as well as precisely which things are the truth, and which things aren’t the truth. After listening to sermons for so many years and eating and drinking God’s words for so many years, most people have gained some things and can clearly see one fact: God’s words are indeed the truth, God’s requirements are the truth, and everything that comes from God is the truth. People who truly believe in God have already acknowledged and accepted this fact from the heart, but in real life they may often unconsciously say things that have nothing to do with the truth or that run counter to the truth. Some people can still treat things that they think are right and good as the truth, and in particular have not discerned the specious fallacies and nonsense that come from Satan, and which they have not only long since accepted in their hearts, but even treat as positive things. For example, many satanic philosophies such as “A tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye,” “Here’s a taste of your own medicine,” “Sensible people are good at self-protection, seeking only to avoid making mistakes,” and “I will not attack unless I am attacked,” and so on, are regarded by people as the truth and as mottos for life, and people even feel especially pleased with themselves for upholding these satanic philosophies, and not until after reading God’s words do they realize that these things from Satan are not actually the truth, but rather specious heresies and fallacies that deceive people. Where do these things come from? Some come from school education and are from textbooks, some come from family education, and some come from social conditioning. In short, they all come from traditional culture and originate from Satan’s education. Do these things have anything to do with truth? They have nothing at all to do with it. But people cannot discern these things for what they are, and still consider them as the truth. Has this problem become too serious? What are the consequences of considering these things from Satan as the truth? Can people cast off their corrupt dispositions by adhering to these things? Can people manage to live out normal humanity by adhering to them? Can people live according to conscience and reason by adhering to them? Can they rise to the standards of conscience and reason by adhering to them? Can people gain God’s approval by adhering to them? They cannot do any of this. Since they cannot do any of this, are these things that people adhere to the truth? Can they serve as a person’s life? What are the consequences of people considering these negative things—such as what they think are right and good philosophies for worldly dealings, paths for existence, laws of survival, and even traditional culture—as the truth and adhering to them? Humankind has been adhering to these things for thousands of years. Has there been even the slightest change? Has the current situation of humankind changed at all? Isn’t the corrupt human race becoming more and more wicked and more and more resistant to God? God expresses many truths every time He does His work, and people can see that these truths have authority and power, so how is it that humans are still able to deny and resist God? Why can they still not accept and obey God? This is sufficient to show that humankind has been too deeply corrupted by Satan, that corrupted humankind is full of satanic dispositions, and that people are all sick of the truth, hate it, and do not accept it at all. The root of this problem is that human beings have accepted too many satanic philosophies and too much satanic knowledge. Deep down in their hearts, people have been saturated by all manner of satanic thoughts and views, and thus they have developed a disposition of being sick of the truth and hating the truth. We can see from very many people who believe in God that, though they acknowledge that God’s words have authority and power, they do not accept the truth. That is to say, when people eat and drink God’s words, although they admit with their mouths that “God’s words are the truth, there is nothing above the truth, the truth is in our hearts, and we take pursuing the truth as the aim of existence,” in real life they still live by well-known satanic sayings and satanic philosophies, and put God’s words and the truth aside, and adhere to and practice things such as human theological knowledge and spiritual doctrine as if they were the truth. Is this the real state of most people who believe in God? (Yes.) If you continue to adhere in this way and do not dissect and understand these deep-rooted things from satanic traditional culture based on God’s words, and if you cannot discern them at the root, or gain a thorough understanding of them, or abandon them, what will be the result? There is one result that is certain, which is that people believe in God for many years and yet do not know what the truth is or what path to take, and ultimately they all have a set of spiritual doctrines and theological theories on their tongues, and everything they say sounds nice and is all doctrine that accords with the truth. But in fact, these people are very much hypocritical Pharisees in terms of what they practice and live out. What are the consequences of this? Unquestionably, they are condemned by God and cursed by Him. Those who believe in God but do not accept the truth are Pharisees and can never gain God’s approval.
For example, on the issue of educating children, some fathers see their children being disobedient and not attending to their proper duties, and say: “The ancients got it right when they said, ‘To feed without teaching is the father’s fault.’” Such fathers don’t treat this matter based on God’s words. They only have the words of people in their heart, rather than the words of God. So do they have the truth reality? No, they don’t. Although they believe in God and understand some truths, and should know how to educate their children using the truth in order to fulfill their paternal responsibilities, they do not practice in this way. When they see their children going down the wrong path, they sigh and say, “To feed without teaching is the father’s fault.” What sort of expression is this? Whose well-known saying is it? (Satan’s well-known saying.) Has God ever said this expression? (No.) So where does this expression come from? (Satan.) It comes from Satan, from this world. People “pursue” the truth so much, and “love” the truth so much, and “exalt” the truth so much, then why do they say satanic expressions like this when such matters befall them? They even feel that it is a just and dignified thing to say. They say, “Look at how much reverence and esteem I have for the truth and for God. I open my mouth and say ‘To feed without teaching is the father’s fault’—what a great truth this is! Could I say this expression if I didn’t believe in God?” Is that not passing it off as the truth? (Yes.) So is this expression the truth? (No.) What sort of expression is “To feed without teaching is the father’s fault”? In what way is it wrong? What this expression means is that if children are disobedient or immature, it is the father’s responsibility, which is to say that the parents didn’t educate them well. But is this actually the case? (No.) Some parents comport themselves in a proper manner, and yet their sons are hoodlums and their daughters are prostitutes. The man playing the father’s role gets so angry and says: “To feed without teaching is the father’s fault. I have spoiled them!” Is this the right thing to say or not? (No, it’s wrong.) In what way is it wrong? If you can understand what is wrong with this expression, it proves that you understand the truth and that you understand what is wrong about the problem that lies within this expression. If you do not understand the truth in this matter, then you cannot explain this matter clearly. Now that you have listened to the explanation and definition of the truth, you may have some feelings about this expression. “This expression is wrong,” you may say, “this is a worldly expression. We who believe in God don’t say things like that.” But this is just saying it in a different way. It doesn’t mean that you understand the truth—in fact, you don’t know what is wrong with the expression “To feed without teaching is the father’s fault.” When faced with matters like this, what should you say that is consistent with the truth? How should you act according to the truth principles? Let’s first talk about how to understand and explain such matters correctly. What does God say about this? Do God’s words have anything specific to say about such matters? God has expressed so many truths, all so that people accept them and make them their life. So when educating their children, shouldn’t people use God’s words to teach them? God’s words are spoken to all humankind. Whether you are an adult or child, man or woman, old or young, everyone should accept God’s words. Only God’s words are the truth and can become people’s life. Only God’s words can lead people onto the right path in life. People who believe in God should be able to gain a thorough understanding of this matter. How do you explain the expression “To feed without teaching is the father’s fault”? (The path a person takes is determined by their nature essence. In addition, the punishment they will be subjected to or the blessings they will receive in this life are connected to their previous life. Therefore, the statement “Children don’t follow the right path because their parents didn’t educate them well” doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, and completely denies the fact that God holds sovereignty over the destiny of humankind.) According to what you say, does children not following the right path have anything to do with God’s sovereignty? God allows people to make their own choices and to choose to take the right path. However, people have satanic natures, and all make their own choices, and all choose their own preferred path, and are unwilling to submit to God’s sovereignty. If what you say accords with the truth, then you should explain it clearly so that people can be convinced of it.
Next we will fellowship on the expression “To feed without teaching is the father’s fault.” The first thing to make clear is that it’s wrong to say, “Children’s failure to follow the right path is to do with their parents.” Whoever it is, if they are a certain kind of person, they will walk a certain path. Is this not certain? (Yes.) The path a person takes determines what they are. The path they take and the kind of person they become are up to them. These are things that are predestined, innate, and are to do with the person’s nature. So what’s the use of parental education? Can it govern a person’s nature? (No.) Parental education cannot govern human nature and cannot solve the problem of which path a person takes. What is the only education that parents can provide? Some simple behaviors in their children’s daily life, some fairly superficial thoughts and rules of comportment—these are things that have something to do with parents. Before their children reach adulthood, parents should fulfill their due responsibility, which is to educate their children to follow the right path, study hard, and strive to be able to rise above the rest after they grow up, not to do bad things or to become bad people. Parents should also regulate their children’s behavior, teach them to be polite and to greet their elders whenever they see them, and teach them other things relating to behavior—this is the responsibility that parents ought to fulfill. Taking care of their child’s life and educating them with some basic rules of comportment—that is what parental influence amounts to. As for their child’s character, parents cannot teach this. Some parents are laid-back and do everything at a leisurely pace, whereas their children are very impatient and can’t stay still even for a short while. They go off on their own to make a living when they are 14 or 15 years old, they make their own decisions in everything, they don’t need their parents, and they are very independent. Is this taught by their parents? No. Therefore, a person’s character, disposition, and even their essence, as well as the path they choose in the future, have nothing whatsoever to do with their parents. There are some who refute this by saying, “So how can it have nothing whatsoever to do with them? Some people come from a scholarly family or a family with generations of expertise in a particular vocation. For example, one generation studies painting, the next generation also studies painting, and so does the following generation. This confirms the correctness of the expression ‘To feed without teaching is the father’s fault.’” Is it right or wrong to say this? (It’s wrong.) It’s wrong and inaccurate to use this example to illustrate this problem, because they are two different things. The family with generations of expertise only influences skills in one aspect, and it may be that this family environment results in everyone learning the same thing. On the surface of it, the child also chooses this same thing, but at the root of it, this is all God’s preordination. How did the person get reincarnated into this family? Isn’t that also something that God has sovereignty over? Parents are only responsible for raising their children to adulthood. Children are only influenced by their parents in terms of their outward behavior and lifestyle habits. But once they are grown up, the goals they pursue in life and their destiny in life have nothing whatsoever to do with their parents. Some parents are just ordinary farmers who live life according to their station, but their children are able to become officials and do great things. Then there are children whose parents are a lawyer and a doctor, each of them capable, and yet the children are good-for-nothings who can’t get a job no matter where they go. Is this what their parents taught them to be? When the father is a lawyer, is he likely to educate and influence his children less? Absolutely not. No father says, “I’ve been so prosperous in my life, I hope my children won’t be as prosperous as me in future, that would be too tiring. It’s enough for them to just be cowherds in future.” He must surely educate his children to learn from him and be like him in future. What will happen to his children after he finishes educating them? The children will become whatever they are meant to become, and their destinies will be whatever they’re meant to be, and no one can change that. What fact do you perceive here? The path a child takes has nothing whatsoever to do with their parents. Some parents believe in God and educate their children to believe in God, but whatever they say, their children do not believe, and there is nothing the parents can do about it. Some parents don’t believe in God, whereas their children believe in God. Once their children start believing in God, they follow Him, expend themselves for Him, are able to accept the truth, and gain God’s approval, and their destiny thus changes. Is this the result of parental education? Not at all, it has to do with God’s predestination and selection. There is a problem with the expression “To feed without teaching is the father’s fault.” Although parents have a responsibility to educate their children, a child’s destiny is not determined by their parents, but by the child’s nature. Can education resolve the problem of a child’s nature? It cannot resolve it at all. The path a person takes in life is not determined by their parents, but is preordained by God. It is said that “Man’s fate is determined by Heaven,” and this saying is summed up by human experience. Before a person reaches adulthood, you cannot tell what path they will take. Once they become an adult, and have thoughts and can reflect on problems, they will choose what to do in this community of people they live among. Some people say they want to be senior officials, others say they want to be lawyers, and still others say they want to be writers. Everyone has their own choices and their own ideas. No one says, “I’ll just wait for my parents to educate me. I’ll become whatever my parents educate me to become.” No one is as foolish as this. After reaching adulthood, people’s ideas begin to stir and gradually mature, and thus the path and goals ahead of them become increasingly clear. At this time, little by little it becomes obvious and apparent what type of person they are, and which group they are part of. From this point onward, each person’s character gradually becomes clearly defined, as does their disposition, as well as the path they are pursuing, their direction in life, and the group they belong to. What is all this based upon? Ultimately, this is what God has preordained—it has nothing to do with one’s parents. Do you see this clearly now? So, what things have anything to do with parents? One’s appearance, height, genes, and some family diseases have a small amount to do with one’s parents. Why do I say a small amount? Because it’s not so in 100% of cases. In some families, each generation is afflicted by a disease, but then one child is born without it. How can this be? There are some who say: “That’s because this child is of good character.” This is an opinion of humankind, but where does the matter originate from? (God’s preordination.) That’s exactly the case. So is the expression “To feed without teaching is the father’s fault” actually right or wrong? (It’s wrong.) You are clear about that now, right? It won’t do if you don’t know how to discern. Without the truth, you cannot see any matter clearly.
In daily life, each person has quite a few of these specious views from Satan in their mind. They remain deposited and stored up inside, and are revealed whenever something happens. Some people say: “A good man doesn’t fight women. Look how noble I am. I’m a manly, virile man, whereas you’re a shrinking violet, so I won’t fight with you.” What do they treat this expression as? (The truth.) They treat it as the truth and as a principle for practicing the truth. There are also people who see someone with really handsome features and who looks like an upstanding gentleman, but who is sneaky and always disguising himself, and who is especially cunning and insidious when interacting with others, and many people cannot figure him out, so they say: “I believe in God just in order to comport myself as an upright and kind-hearted person, and friendly to others, rather than hostile. It’s like the saying goes, ‘Better to be a true villain than a fake gentleman.’ Some of God’s words also have this meaning.” What do you think about this saying? “Better to be a true villain than a fake gentleman.” You see, as soon as something happens to people, all these common sayings, proverbs, and idioms that are inside them come out and pour forth all at once, and there isn’t a word of truth in any of them. In the end, those people even say, “Thank God for enlightening me.” Is the saying “Better to be a true villain than a fake gentleman” right or wrong? (It’s wrong.) You all know it’s wrong, but what’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with fake gentlemen is that they are fake. No one wishes to be a fake gentleman, they wish to be a true villain. What is it about true villains that people approve of? It’s just because they are genuine that they win everyone’s approval, even though they are villains. So what do you wish to be, a true villain or a fake gentleman? (Neither.) Why not be these two types of people? (Neither of them accords with the truth, there is nothing said about this in God’s words.) Can you find the relevant basis for claiming that God has not told people to be fake gentlemen or true villains? (God wants people to be honest people.) God wants people to be honest people. What, then, is the difference between honest people and true villains? The word “villains” is not good, but they are pretty genuine. Why are true villains not good? Can you explain clearly? What is the basis for claiming that neither true villains nor fake gentlemen are good people? What are villains? What word is usually associated with villains? (Despicable.) That’s right. How is this term “despicable” described and defined in God’s words? In God’s words, is “despicable” defined as a good word or a bad word? (A bad word.) A bad word, one that is condemned by God. People with despicable conduct and despicable views are villains. How else is a villain’s disposition and essence defined? Selfish, is it not? (Yes.) This kind of person is selfish and despicable. Even if what they reveal is genuine and is their true temperament, they are still very much a villain. A fake gentleman is cunning and wicked, and always disguising himself and giving others a false impression, letting others see his impressive and friendly side. He keeps his true disposition, opinions, and views under wraps so that no one can see or comprehend them. What disposition do such people have? (Deceitful and wicked.) They are simply wicked people. Thus, whether someone is a fake gentleman or a villain, neither of these types of people is good. One is bad on the inside and the other is bad on the outside. Their dispositions are actually the same—they are both extremely wicked, selfish, and deceitful. Do these two types of extremely wicked and deceitful people seek to be honest people? (No.) That is why, no matter which of these two types of people you become, you are not the good or honest person that God requires. You are a person that God loathes, and you are not the person that God requires you to be. So tell Me, is the expression “Better to be a true villain than a fake gentleman” the truth? (No.) Looking at it from this point of view, this expression is not the truth. Many people, with the aim of attacking and condemning fake gentlemen so that they can pass themselves off as good people, say “Better to be a true villain than a fake gentleman,” as if the “villainy” of these villains makes them especially just and genuine, like some force of justice. How can you, as a villain, claim to be just? You are the one who deserves to be condemned.
In everyone’s mind, there are quite a few expressions and things of this type, and so numerous people hold this type of view. Whether it be traditional culture, folk proverbs, family mottos, family rules, or a country’s legal system, people often use these things that have been circulated for a long time and widely in society, and that have even been proclaimed and promoted as positive things in society and among humankind for a long time, to educate generation after generation of people. Some expressions are regarded deep down in people’s hearts as principles of practice and principles of human existence. Some are expressions which convey a point of view that people only agree with, but don’t necessarily wish to implement. Whether you wish to implement them or not, deep down in your heart, you actually take these expressions as principles of practice for your comportment. In short, these things are a great hindrance to people’s belief in God and pursuit of the truth. They only do harm, rather than benefiting people. For example, a topic often talked about by modern people is “Life is precious of all, but love is indeed valuable more. If, for the sake of freedom, I must pay, I would give these two things away.” This expression is a well-known saying advocated and revered by people in the East and West who have lofty ideals and who pursue freedom and want to get rid of the traditional feudal system. What is the focus that people are pursuing here? Is it life? Or love? (No, it’s freedom.) That’s right, it’s freedom. So is this expression the truth? The meaning of this expression is that in order to pursue freedom, life can be thrown away, and love can also be given up—that is, the person you love can also be abandoned—so as to run toward that beautiful freedom. What does this freedom look like to worldly people? How to explain this thing that they think of as freedom? Breaking through tradition is a kind of freedom, breaking through old customs is a kind of freedom, and breaking through the feudal monarchy is also a kind of freedom. What else? (Not being controlled by some political regime.) Another is not being controlled by power or politics. What they pursue is this kind of freedom. So is the freedom they speak of true freedom? (No.) Does it have similarities to the freedom that people who believe in God talk about? (No.) Some people who believe in God may also have this view in their hearts: “Believing in God is wonderful, it frees and liberates you. You don’t have to follow any customs or traditional formalities, you don’t have to worry about organizing or attending weddings and funerals, you let go of all worldly things. You truly are so free!” Is that the case? (No.) So what exactly is freedom? Are you free now? (A little bit.) So how did you get this little bit of freedom? What does this freedom mean? (Understanding the truth and breaking through Satan’s dark influence.) After breaking through Satan’s dark influence, you feel a little bit of a release and some degree of freedom. However, if I didn’t dissect it, you would think that you are truly free, whereas in fact you are not. True freedom is not the kind of freedom and release of the body in spatial and material terms that people think it is. Rather, it is that, once people understand the truth, they will have correct views about various people, events, things, and about the world, and can pursue the correct goals and direction in life, and when people are not subject to Satan’s influence and satanic ideas and views, their heart and soul are released—this is true freedom.
There is a young person, an unbeliever, who thinks that he likes freedom, flying all over the place like a bird, and living an uninhibited life, so he despises those lousy rules and sayings in his family. He often tells his friends: “Although I was born into a most traditional family, and a very large one, with a whole lot of rules and traditions, and which even now still has an ancestral shrine with memorial tablets arranged inside it for each successive generation, I myself have broken through these traditions and am not influenced by these family rules, family conventions, and common customs. Don’t you see that I am a highly untraditional person?” His friends say: “We’ve noticed that you are highly untraditional.” How did they notice that? He has a tongue piercing, a nose ring, four or five piercings in both ears, a navel piercing, and a snake tattoo on his arm. Chinese people consider snakes to be inauspicious, but he insisted on having one tattooed on his body, and people are afraid when they see it. This is untraditional, is it not? (Yes.) It is very untraditional, and what’s more, he also speaks with the air of an avant-garde person. Everyone who sees him says, “This guy is awesome! He’s untraditional, truly untraditional!” He believes that he cannot just express being untraditional in these ways, but must make it a bit more tangible and make people more able to notice the signs of how untraditional he is. He sees that others generally have yellow-skinned, Chinese girlfriends and deliberately gets himself a foreign, white girlfriend so that everyone is more convinced that he really is untraditional. Afterward, he mimics his girlfriend in every situation, doing whatever his girlfriend says and however she asks him to do it. When his birthday comes around, his girlfriend buys him a mystery gift packaged in a big box, and he delightedly starts unwrapping the gift. After peeling back all the layers of wrapping, he sees a green hat inside. All Chinese people know the allusion of “green hats,” don’t they? This is certainly a very traditional thing. As soon as he sees it, he becomes angry and says, “What kind of gift is this? Who did you buy this gift for?” His girlfriend thought he would be happy—how come he’s so angry about it? She can’t think of why and can’t work it out, so she says: “This green hat wasn’t easy to find. I guarantee it’ll look good on you.” He says, “Do you know what this hat represents?” The girlfriend says: “Isn’t it just a hat? Green hats just look nice.” And she still insists on making him wear it. He says he won’t wear it no matter what. Do Westerners know the allusion of “green hats”? (No, they don’t.) So shouldn’t this matter be explained clearly and laid bare? None of you can answer that—why don’t you dare to explain it clearly? This is not a big deal, surely? You are just like this guy—waving the banner of being untraditional, and of letting go of tradition and casting off the notions of satanic traditional culture in your pursuit of truth and freedom, and yet you are deeply caught up on this green hat. That young guy’s girlfriend asks him to wear it, and he won’t wear it no matter what, in the end saying: “You insist on making me wear it. If I wear it, I have to suffer humiliation from others!” This is the crux of the issue and where the problem lies—that is to say, tradition. This tradition is not about what color something is or what kind of thing it is, but rather, it is about the symbol and view that this thing evokes in people. What exactly does this thing—a green hat—symbolize? What does it represent? People label hats of this color as bad, so they reject hats that are this color. Why do people reject them? Why can’t they accept such a thing? Because there is a kind of traditional thinking inside them. This traditional thinking itself is not the truth; it is like a material thing, but this society and this race of people have imperceptibly turned it into something negative. For example, people turn white into a symbol of holiness, black into a symbol of darkness and wickedness, and red into a symbol of festivity, bloodiness, and passion. In the past, Chinese people wore red clothes when they got married, believing it was festive. When Westerners get married, they wear white clothes that are beautiful and clean, symbolizing holiness. The two cultures’ understandings of marriage are different. In one, it is represented by red and in the other, it is represented by white. Both of these colors represent an attitude of blessing toward matters of marriage. Various ethnic groups and races use the same things for different purposes, and this is how their cultural backgrounds come into being. After these cultural backgrounds arise, cultural traditions are generated along with them. In this way, different societies and different races develop different customs, and such customs influence the people of these respective races. Thus, Chinese people are influenced by this allusion of green hats. What kind of result of this being instilled into them? Men cannot wear green hats, and women don’t wear them either. Do you see any women wearing them? In fact, this cultural tradition is only aimed at men, meaning that men wearing green hats is a bad sign, and it is not related to women. However, once this cultural tradition comes into being, it engenders a kind of discrimination toward this thing by every person of this race, irrespective of the context. After such discrimination occurs, this thing unconsciously changes from a very innocent, material thing to a negative thing. In actuality, it is innocent and has no positive or negative attributes at all. It is just a material thing, a color, and an object with a shape. However, after being interpreted and influenced by traditional culture in this way, what does the final result become? (Negative.) It becomes negative. After it becomes negative, people cannot treat or use this thing properly. Think about it—there are hats of various colors on the Chinese market, such as red, pink, yellow, and so on, but there are no green ones. People are constrained and influenced by this traditional thinking. This is the effect that one particular matter of traditional culture has on people.
Although some people come overseas and come into contact with some of the cultures, traditions, rules, and such material things as the basic necessities of life in Europe and other Asian countries, and become familiar with some of the laws and common knowledge of other countries, those traditions of their own country are hard to shake off. Though you have left your native land and accepted the everyday aspects of life in another country, and even its laws and systems, you don’t know what you are thinking about every day, or how you face issues when something befalls you, or what your point of view and the perspective you adopt are. Some people think, “I’m in the West, so am I a Westerner?” or “I’m in Japan, so am I Japanese?” Is this the case? (No.) Japanese people say: “We love eating sushi and udon noodles the most. Does that not make us noble?” South Koreans say: “We like eating rice and kimchi. Is our great South Korean nation not noble? You Chinese say that your culture is ancient and thousands of years older than ours, but do you show filial piety to your elders as well as we do? Are you as traditional as we are? Do you have as many rules as we do? You don’t talk about these things nowadays, you’ve fallen behind; we are the truly traditional people, and our culture is true culture!” They think that their traditional culture is elevated, and then clamor to declare lots of things as World Heritage. Why all this clamoring? Every country, every race, and even every small ethnic group believe that the things, rules, traditions, customs, and conventions left behind by their own ancestors are good and positive, and can be disseminated by the human race. Does this idea and view of theirs not imply that these are truths, that they are good and positive things, and that they should be passed down by this human race? So, do these things that are passed on conflict with freedom? I just gave the example of a young man who has broken free from his family’s shackles, is covered in piercings and rings and has tattoos all over his body, and even has a foreign girlfriend. In terms of his outward appearance and flesh, he seemingly does not abide by family rules and has cast off tradition. Outwardly and in his behavior, and even in terms of his subjective will, he has cast off such things as family, tradition, and customs. But a birthday gift exposes him, debunking and condemning his belief that he is “very untraditional.” So is this person actually traditional or not? (He is traditional.) Is tradition good or bad? (Bad.) That is why, no matter whether you consider yourself traditional or untraditional, and no matter your race—be it a so-called noble race or an ordinary race—your inner thoughts are confined. No matter how much you pursue and advocate freedom, no matter how great your determination, desire, and ambition to break free from the forces of tradition and from traditional family conventions, or how inspiring and powerful your actual actions are, if you don’t understand the truth, you can only twist and turn amid the teachings and fallacies that Satan instills in you, unable to emerge. Some people are influenced by traditional culture, some are influenced by an ideological education, others are influenced by position and status, and still others are influenced by an ideological system of some kind. Take people engaged in politics, for example, like the gang of people that advocated communism. They started out as a group of proletarians, accepted the communist manifesto and theories, broke with tradition, broke with the feudal monarchy, broke with some old customs, and then accepted Marxism-Leninism and communism. After accepting these things, were they free, or were they restricted all along? (They were restricted all along.) They thought that by switching from an old thing to a new thing, they would gain freedom. Is this idea not mistaken? (Yes, it is.) It is mistaken. People can turn from an old thing to any new thing, but as long as it is not the truth, they will forever be trapped in Satan’s net—this is not true freedom. Some people devote themselves to communism or to a certain cause, some devote themselves to an oath, while others devote themselves to a theory and still others abide by sayings such as “I’d take a bullet for a friend,” or “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings,” or “When the nation is in trouble, everyone has a responsibility to do their part.” Do these belong to traditional culture? (Yes.) On the surface, these things may seem like some very positive, very proper, and particularly lofty and noble things among humankind, but in fact, from another perspective and using different means, they bind people’s souls, restrict people, and prevent them from achieving true freedom. However, before humans understand the truth, they can only aimlessly accept these things, which are considered among humankind to be relatively positive, as their way of existing. Therefore, these so-called traditional cultures—these things that humans think are fairly good in the world—are naturally accepted by people. After accepting them, people feel that they are living with capital, with confidence, and with motivation. For example, some people have accepted an orientation of this society and this human race with regard to knowledge and credentials. What is this orientation? (Knowledge can change your fate.) (Other pursuits are small, books excel them all.) Deep down in their hearts, people agree with and also accept and approve of these things. At the same time as accepting and approving of them, the longer people experience adversity in this society, the more they treasure these things. Why is that? People all rely on this knowledge in life. Without this knowledge and these credentials, you feel unable to establish a foothold in society. Others will bully you and discriminate against you, and so you desperately chase after these things. The higher your credentials, the higher your social status in society or among your race or community, and people’s admiration of you, and treatment of you, and various other things will be greater and better. In a sense, a person’s credentials have come to determine their social status.
In the past, a group of seven or eight university professors went to Beijing for further studies. In those days, pickup or chauffeur services may not yet have been available, so they had to take a bus after arriving in Beijing. In fact, professors like them were to be found everywhere in Beijing. They were not regarded as anything special, just ordinary people. But they themselves didn’t know that, and therein lay the seriousness of the problem—this matter occurred on the basis of this problem. What was it that happened? This group of professors was waiting for the bus at the bus stop. As they waited, more and more people congregated and as the crowd grew, everyone became anxious. Then when the bus arrived, they all swarmed onto it without waiting for the passengers inside to get off, pushing and elbowing each other and making a big commotion. It was a very chaotic scene. These professors thought about it and said: “Clearly our fellow citizens in Beijing don’t have it easy, taking the bus to and from work every day. As university professors, we should be considerate of the people’s circumstances. Being high-level intellectuals, we cannot sink to the level of ordinary folk. We must show the selfless spirit of Lei Feng by letting them get on this bus first, so let’s not squeeze onto it.” They all silently agreed on this and decided to wait for the next bus. But as it turned out, when the next bus came along there were just as many people, and once again they crowded onto it in a disorderly mob. The professors were dumbstruck. They watched the bus fill up and drive away, and once again they hadn’t managed to squeeze onto it. They discussed it again and said, “We’re in no hurry. We are high-level intellectuals after all, we cannot fight with ordinary people to get on buses. Let’s take our time, there might not be so many people waiting for the next bus.” While waiting for the third bus, these professors were getting a little anxious. Some of them clenched their fists and said, “If there are just as many people for this bus, shall we squeeze our way on? If we don’t squeeze on, I reckon we might not be able to get on the fifth bus, or even the sixth bus, so we may as well squeeze on!” Others said: “Can high-level intellectuals squeeze onto buses? That would harm our image! How shameful it will be if one day, people find out that we high-level intellectuals have even squeezed onto buses!” Their opinions were divided. While they were discussing, another crowd of waiting people gathered. By this point, the professors had become very nervous and stopped discussing. When the bus arrived, as soon as the doors opened and even before everyone had alighted, the professors copied the last mob of people by pushing their way in with all their strength. Some of them managed to squeeze their way in, whereas a few refined intellectuals—refined scholars—didn’t manage to squeeze their way in, because they lacked that drive and combative spirit. Let’s leave this matter at that. Tell Me, is this not fact? (Yes.) This crowding onto buses is all too commonplace, and these intellectuals were all too capable of putting up a pretense! Tell Me, what was the problem here? Let’s first talk about these intellectuals, who received a higher level of education and became professors who teach and educate people, and who became high-level intellectuals. That is, the education they received and the knowledge they possessed were higher than the level achieved by average people, and their knowledge was sufficient for them to be teachers and tutors of people, educate people, and impart knowledge to them—hence they are called high-level intellectuals. Were there any problems with the ideas and views of these high-level intellectuals? There certainly were problems. So where did their problems lie? Let’s analyze this matter. Having received so much knowledge and such a high level of education, was their thinking rigid or free? (Rigid.) How do you know that it was rigid? Where did their problems lie? First of all, they proclaimed themselves to be high-level intellectuals. Was there anything wrong with this claim? (Yes.) There was a problem with this claim. Next, they said, “When we high-level intellectuals get on the bus, we shouldn’t fight and jostle with other people to get on it.” Was there a problem with this sentence? (Yes.) This was the second problem. The third problem was when they said “We high-level intellectuals can wait for the next bus”—was there any problem with this point? (Yes.) There was a problem with all these points. Go ahead and dissect the matter through these three points, to see what the inherent problems were. If you gain a thorough understanding of the inherent problems, then firstly, you will no longer idolize high-level intellectuals, and secondly, you will no longer want to be some high-level intellectual.
What was the first point? That they proclaimed themselves to be high-level intellectuals. Was there any problem with this claim? (Yes.) There is nothing wrong with self-proclamation, that is to say, with styling oneself. So, is there a problem with the phrase “as high-level intellectuals”? The fact is that university professors are high-level intellectuals in society. Since this is a fact, why was there a problem with them saying this? (They thought that having acquired knowledge, they were higher than others.) Higher than others—there was definitely a disposition behind this. (They thought that because they had acquired more knowledge, they were higher than others. In reality, these things cannot change a person’s disposition.) This is partly correct, but doesn’t explain it clearly. Who can add anything? (God, weren’t they lofty and self-important?) This is correct, but you haven’t explained the essence clearly, explain in a bit more detail. (Once they had acquired some knowledge, they felt that they were loftier and more noble than others, so they couldn’t regard themselves as ordinary people. For normal people living in this society, having to squeeze onto buses is dictated by their real-life environment and is a normal thing. However, once these intellectuals came to regard themselves as very lofty and noble, they could no longer act like normal people, and thought that the activities of normal people were harmful to their identity, so I feel that they were abnormal.) They were abnormal. The meaning implied in them proclaiming themselves to be high-level intellectuals was abnormal. That is, there was something twisted in their humanity. They felt that they were loftier and more worthy than others. What was their basis for this? It’s that they had received so much education, and had a bellyful of knowledge, and whomever they met, they never ran out of things to say, and could teach things to others. What did they regard knowledge as? They regarded it as a criterion for one’s comportment and actions, as well as for one’s morals. They believed that now they had knowledge, their integrity, character, and identity were noble, precious and valuable, the implication being that high-level intellectuals are saints. Is this not the case? (Yes.) This is what being high-level was to them, so when they had to squeeze onto a bus, they wouldn’t do it. Why wouldn’t they squeeze on? What were they governed by? What constraints and restrictions were they subjected to? They felt that squeezing onto a bus would harm their identity and image. They believed that their identity and image had been bestowed on them by knowledge, so they proclaimed themselves as high-level intellectuals. Based on this analysis, is what they said not revolting? It is quite revolting. Yet they went around boasting by saying “we high-level intellectuals.” In fact, others thought that they were just intellectuals, with their impoverished and pedantic manner which people even look down upon, but they themselves still thought that they were particularly noble. Was this not problematic? They believed that they were very noble and of lofty identity, even to the point of styling themselves as saints. Was this view a constraint on them somehow? What was their position on knowledge? It was that, once people have knowledge, their integrity is higher, they become distinguished and noble, and they should be respected. Therefore, some relatively normal actions that ordinary folks do were despised and condemned by them. For example, when intellectuals sneeze, they look at the people around them and hurriedly say sorry, whereas when ordinary people sneeze they think nothing of it. In fact, burping and sneezing are normal things in life, but in the eyes of those intellectuals, these are vulgar and uncouth behaviors, so they despise them and view them with contempt, saying, “Look at these ill-mannered commoners, the way they sneeze, and sit, and stand is so unseemly, and when buses come along they crowd onto them, and they know nothing about politely making way!” When it comes to knowledge, their position is: Knowledge is a symbol of identity, and knowledge can change people’s destiny, as well as their identity and worth.
What was the second point? (That high-level intellectuals cannot jostle with others to get on buses.) They cannot jostle with others to get on buses. Squeezing onto a bus is just one small thing that they encounter in their lives. What does this thing represent? Namely, they believe that the speech and deportment of people who have a certain amount of knowledge must be refined, and must match their identity. For example, one must walk softly, and when coming into contact with people, one must make them feel that one is amiable, approachable, and deserving of respect, and one’s speech and deportment must be refined. They cannot be the same as common people, they must make people notice the difference between themselves and common people—only in this way can they show off that their identity is distinguished and different from the rest. Deep down in their hearts, they believe that things like squeezing onto buses are things done by people at the lower tiers of society and by those who have not received a high level of education, and also they are things that are done by those who do not have advanced knowledge or an identity such as that of a high-level intellectual. So what things do these high-level intellectuals do? Stand at the lectern preaching doctrines, imparting knowledge, and resolving people’s doubts—these are their duties, which are representative of their identity, image, and their profession. They can only do these things. Everyday necessities of ordinary people should have nothing to do with them, who are a class of people detached from these “vulgar, lowly tastes.” How do they label the everyday necessities of ordinary people, and even actions such as crowding onto buses? (Vulgar.) That’s right, vulgar and uncouth. This is a definition from deep within their hearts for common, ordinary people who are of a lower level than them.
Let’s talk about the third point—“We high-level intellectuals can wait for the next bus”—what kind of spirit is this? Is this not the spirit of Kong Rong giving up the larger pears, as recounted in traditional culture? The influence of traditional culture on intellectuals is particularly profound. Not only do they accept traditional culture, but they also accept many ideas and views from traditional culture into their hearts and treat them as positive things, even to the point of regarding some well-known sayings as mottos, and in doing so they embark down the wrong path in life. Traditional culture is represented by Confucianist doctrine. Confucianist doctrine has a whole set of ideological theories, it mainly promotes traditional moral culture, and it was revered by the ruling classes of dynasties throughout history, who venerated Confucius and Mencius as saints. Confucianist doctrine advocates that a person should uphold the values of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, learn to first be calm, collected and forbearing whenever things happen, keep cool and talk things out, not fight over or scramble for things, and learn to be politely accommodating, and earn respect from everyone—this is comporting oneself with decorum. These intellectuals placed themselves in a higher position than the hoi polloi, and in their eyes, all people were objects of their forbearance and tolerance. The “effects” of knowledge are pretty great! These people resemble fake gentlemen, did they not? People who acquire too much knowledge become fake gentlemen. If this group of refined scholars is described in one phrase, it is refined scholarly elegance. What are the principles by which these refined scholars interact with each other? What is their approach to worldly dealings? For example, the ordinary populace refer to men whose surname is Li as “Lao Li”[a] or “Xiao Li.” Would intellectuals refer to them this way? (No.) How would they refer to them? (Mr. Li.) If they saw a woman, they would refer to her as Ms. So-and-so, and would be especially respectful and elegant, just like gentlemen. They specialize in learning and imitating the refined elegance displayed by gentlemen. In what tone and way do they talk and discuss things together? Their facial expressions are especially gentle, and they speak politely and reservedly. They only express their own views and even if they know that others’ views are wrong, they don’t say anything. No one hurts anyone’s feelings, and their words are extremely soft, as if wrapped in cotton wool so they won’t hurt or irritate anyone, which makes one feel nauseous, anxious or angry just listening to them. The fact is that no one’s views are clear-cut, and no one gives into anyone else. These kinds of people are so good at disguising. When encountering even the most trivial matter, they will disguise and enshroud themselves, and none of them will give a clear explanation. In front of ordinary people, what kind of posture do they want to adopt, and what kind of image do they want to put on? Namely, to let ordinary people see that they are modest gentlemen. Gentlemen are a cut above others and are objects of people’s veneration. People think that they have greater insights than average people, and that they have a better understanding of things compared with average people, so everyone consults them whenever they have an issue. This is exactly the outcome that these intellectuals want, they all hope to be venerated as saints.
Looking at it from the three points we just dissected, once these professors received the title of “high-level intellectual,” was their thinking freer or more confined? (Confined.) It must have been confined. Confined by what? (Knowledge.) Knowledge is something within their profession. In fact, knowledge didn’t truly confine them. What did confine them? It was their attitude toward knowledge, and the influences that knowledge had on their thinking, as well as the views that it instilled—this is the problem. Therefore, the higher the level of knowledge they acquired, the more they felt that their identity and status were different from the rest, and the more they felt that they were noble and great, and the more their thinking became confined at the same time. Looking at it from this point of view, have people who have acquired more knowledge gained freedom, or lost freedom? (Lost freedom.) They have actually lost freedom. Knowledge has an influence on people’s thinking and on their status in society, and the influence that it exerts on people is not positive. It is never the case that the more knowledge you acquire, the better you will understand the principles, direction, and goals that you should have as regards your comportment. On the contrary, the more you chase after knowledge, and the more thorough the knowledge you acquire, the further you will stray from the thoughts and views that people with normal humanity should have. It is just like that group of intellectuals who had received a lot of knowledge and education, and who didn’t even understand a basic matter of common sense. What common sense is that? When there are lots of people, you have to squeeze in to get on the bus. If you don’t squeeze in, you will never get on the bus—they didn’t even know this simplest of rules. Tell Me, had they become smart or foolish? (They had become foolish.) In fact, they were a bunch of fools. Ordinary people have not received such advanced knowledge or high-level education, and do not have this status, but they understand this point and say, “When getting on a bus and there are lots of people, you have to squeeze in, and you have to put your back into it, because if you ease off in the slightest, and your brain reacts a step slower, you may end up at the back of the crowd and have to take the next bus.” This is a basic matter of common sense in life, one which ordinary people are familiar with, but which these intellectuals didn’t understand, so they waited for bus after bus. What were they restricted by? They were firmly bound by the claim that “we are high-level intellectuals.” That’s how it was. They didn’t even know how to face or deal with such a simple real-life problem. They were a bunch of fools! What did knowledge bring to them? What it brought them was that it made them out of touch with the rest of the population, they didn’t know how to live, and they didn’t know how to deal with the things that happen in real life. They used some lofty theory to deal with one of the most common problems that ordinary people encounter in real life, and they didn’t know what the consequences would be after dealing with it in this way—perhaps they still don’t understand to this day. Perhaps they can only think this matter through when they reach old age. At which time, they will no longer have as much of an aura, and will have pretty much had enough of enjoying the honorable reputation of a high-level intellectual throughout their lifetime. One day, they may remember what a sorry figure they cut that time on the bus, and they will suddenly realize that they are no longer so noble and high-level, and they will suddenly realize, “Can my scholarly refinement put food on the table? Don’t I still need three meals a day like ordinary people? I’m no different from other people. In my old age, don’t I also walk with a stoop? And don’t I also tremble with fear and feel afraid whenever I encounter danger? And when faced with the death of a loved one or a joyful event, am I not also sad or happy as one ought to be? Am I not just living like ordinary people? I am no different from the rest!” By then this knowledge will come too late for them. These are the various kinds of ugliness displayed by people who accept a few so-called positive sayings and views when they do not understand the truth. When people don’t know whether these views are correct or not, they often regard these views and sayings as truths to be adhered to and applied, and when they do apply them, they tend to suffer all manner of consequences, and all manner of awkwardness occurs. What are the consequences of this for people? While people are constantly pursuing freedom, they are also constantly lurching from one vortex into another, and from one kind of bondage to another kind of bondage. Is this not the case? Therefore, when you don’t understand the truth—no matter whether what you hold fast to is a view, a traditional culture, or some kind of rule, system, or theory, and whether these things are relatively outdated in society, or quite avant-garde and fashionable—these things can never replace the truth, because they are not the truth. No matter how well you adhere to them, or how well you apply them, in the end they will only cause you to stray from the truth, rather than gain the truth. The more you adhere to these things, the further you will stray from the truth and the further you will deviate from God’s way and from the way of truth. On the other hand, if you can actively take the initiative to let go of these so-called positive things, theories, and false truths, then you can enter into the truth relatively quickly. This way, people will not use these so-called traditional cultures and these false truths as principles of practice in their everyday lives, in place of the truth and God’s words, and this awkwardness will gradually be alleviated and gradually be resolved.
Some people think that they have obtained the truth by casting off the traditional culture of a family and a country, and by accepting a foreign traditional culture from abroad; some people think that they have obtained the truth by casting off of an old, traditional culture and old ideas and views, and by accepting slightly more advanced and slightly more modern ideas. Looking at it now, are these people right or wrong? (Wrong.) They are all wrong. People think that just by casting off old things, they will gain freedom. What is the implication of gaining freedom? It means that one has obtained the truth and the real way of living that one should have. People think that the true way is obtained like this. Is this actually true? Is this right? No. Irrespective of what modern and advanced culture humankind accepts, in the end it is still traditional culture, and its essence does not change. Traditional culture will still be traditional culture until whenever. No matter whether it can withstand the test of time or withstand the test of facts, or whether it is revered by humankind, in the end it is still traditional culture. Why aren’t these traditional cultures the truth? What it all boils down to is that these things are ideas that came about after humankind was corrupted by Satan. They do not come from God. They are adulterated with some of people’s imaginings and notions, and moreover, they are the consequences achieved by Satan’s corruption of humankind. Satan exploits the ideas, views, and all manner of sayings and arguments of corrupt humankind in order to bind people’s thinking and corrupt people’s thinking. If Satan used some things that were obviously absurd, preposterous, and wrong to deceive people, then people would have discernment, and would be able to use their ability to distinguish truth from lies, black from white, and right from wrong in order to deny and condemn those things. Thus, these teachings would not stand up to scrutiny. However, when Satan, in order to condition, influence, and inculcate people, uses some ideas and theories that conform to people’s notions and imaginings, and which they think stand up to scrutiny when spoken aloud, humankind is easily deceived, and these sayings are also easily accepted and spread by people, and so these sayings endure from generation to generation, right up until the present. Take some stories about Chinese heroes, for example, such as the patriotic stories about Yue Fei, the generals of the Yang family, and Wen Tianxiang. How come these ideas have been passed down to the present day? If we look at it from the aspect of people, in every age there is a type of person or a type of ruler who constantly uses these examples and uses the ideas and the spirit of these personages to teach generation after generation of people, so that generation after generation of people compliantly and meekly accept their rule, and they can easily govern generation after generation of people, and make their reign more stable. By talking about the apish devotion of Yue Fei and the generals of the Yang family, as well as the patriotic spirit of Wen Tianxiang and Qu Yuan, they educate their subjects and let them know one rule, which is that one must comport oneself with loyalty—this is what a person of noble moral character should possess. Loyalty to what extent? To the extent that “When the emperor commands his officials to die, they have no choice but to die,” and “A loyal subject cannot serve two kings”—this is another saying that they revere. They also revere those who love their country. Loving one’s country means loving what, or whom? Loving the land? Loving the people in it? And what is a country? (The rulers.) The rulers are the country’s mouthpiece. If you say, “My love for my country is actually love for my hometown and my parents. I don’t love you, the rulers!” then they will get angry. If you say, “My love for my country is love for the rulers, from the innermost depths of my heart,” they will accept it and approve of such love; if you make them understand and make it clear that it is not they whom you love, then they will not approve. Who do rulers through the ages represent? (Satan.) They represent Satan, they are members of Satan’s gang, and they are devils. They cannot possibly educate the people to worship God, to worship the Creator. They cannot possibly do this. Instead, they tell the people that the ruler is the son of Heaven. What does “son of Heaven” mean? It means that Heaven grants power to someone, and this person is then called the “son of Heaven” and has the power to reign over all people under heaven. Is this an idea instilled into the people by rulers? (Yes.) When a person becomes the son of Heaven, it is determined by Heaven, and the will of Heaven is with them, so the people should accept that person’s rule unconditionally, whatever kind of rule it be. What they instill into people is this idea, which makes you acknowledge that there is a Heaven, and at the same time makes you accept that person as the son of Heaven. What is the purpose of making you accept that person as the son of Heaven? It is not to make you acknowledge that there is a Heaven, or that there is a God, or that there is a Creator, but to make you accept the very fact that this person is the son of Heaven, and that because they are the son of Heaven, brought about by the existence of the will of Heaven, the people should accept their rule—these are the kind of ideas they instill. Behind all of these ideas that have developed from the beginning of humankind to the present day—whether we dissect every phrase or idiom that contains allusions, or every folk proverb or common saying that is completely devoid of allusions—lie Satan’s bonds and deception of humankind, as well as corrupted humankind’s fallacious definition of these ideas themselves. What influence does this fallacious definition have on humankind in later periods? Is it good, positive or negative? (Negative.) It is fundamentally negative. Take, for example, the sayings “sleeping on brushwood and licking gall,” and “conceal one’s light and gather strength in the dark,” and “endure humiliation and bear heavy burden,” and “never say die,” as well as “feign one thing while doing another”—what influence do these sayings have on humankind in future periods? Namely, that once people accept these ideas from traditional culture, each successive generation of people strays further and further from God, and further and further from God’s work of creating and saving people, and from His work of management plan. Once people accept these mistaken views from traditional culture, they increasingly feel that human destiny should be in their own hands, and that happiness has to be created with their own hands, and that opportunities are reserved for those who are prepared, which leads humankind to increasingly deny God, deny God’s sovereignty, and live under Satan’s power. If you compare what people in the modern age like to talk about and what people two thousand years ago liked to talk about, the meaning of the thinking behind these things is actually the same. It’s just that people nowadays talk about those things more specifically and are more outspoken about them. Not only do they deny the existence and sovereignty of God, but they also resist and condemn God to an increasingly serious degree.
For example, people in ancient times said that “When the nation is in trouble, everyone has a responsibility to do their part,” a saying which has been passed down to this day. People treasure this saying, especially patriots, who regard it as their motto. Now that you have come overseas, if another person says that some incident occurred in China, does it have anything to do with you? (No.) Why do you say it has nothing to do with you? There are some who say, “I hate that country. Right now the Communists are in power, that evil political party. The Communist Party is the devil Satan, it’s a totalitarian regime, and has nothing to do with me. It persecutes us and prevents us from believing in God. I hate it.” Supposing that one day, that country is about to perish—you may not feel anything in your heart, but when you hear that the province you originally came from has been invaded and occupied by foreign groups, you will feel as if you have become a refugee, a vagrant with no home to go to, and you will be upset and feel that you cannot return to your roots like the falling leaves. Returning to one’s roots like the falling leaves—this is another traditional idea. And supposing that, one day thereafter, you suddenly hear that your hometown—the land where you were born and raised—has been invaded and occupied by foreign groups, the path you took to school every day has been occupied by foreign groups, and your house and your family’s land have been appropriated by foreign groups. What was once yours is gone—that small plot of land which is deeply etched in your mind, the plot of land that you have the closest bond with is gone, and all your relatives there are gone. At that time, you will think, “How can I have a home if I have no country? Now I really have become a refugee, I really am homeless, I’ve become a vagrant. It appears that the saying ‘When the nation is in trouble, everyone has a responsibility to do their part’ is correct!” When that time comes, you will change. So why don’t you think now that this saying is correct? There is a background and a premise to this, because that country persecutes you and causes you too much anguish, and it doesn’t accept you, and you hate it. The fact is that what you really hate is not that land. What you hate is the satanic regime that persecutes you. You don’t recognize it as your country, so at this time, whenever others say, “When the nation is in trouble, everyone has a responsibility to do their part,” you say, “It has nothing to do with me.” But when one day the land where you were born and raised no longer belongs to you, and you no longer have a hometown, you will feel that you are a vagrant and a person with no nationality, and that you have truly lost your country. At that time you will feel a pang in your heart. What will you have a pang in your heart for? It may be that you don’t yet feel it deeply right now, but one day it will touch you deeply. Under what circumstances will it touch you deeply? It’s not scary if your country dies and you become a member of a conquered nation. What is scary? When you become a member of a conquered nation and are bullied, reviled, discriminated against, trampled on, and have no place to live in peace, at that time you will think, “To have a country is so precious. Without a country people have no real home. People have a family on the basis of having a country, so the saying puts it well—‘When the nation is in trouble, everyone has a responsibility to do their part.’” In the phrase “everyone has a responsibility to do their part,” what is this “responsibility” for? For the peacefulness of your own home, to be able to protect your own home. When you think about this, when you are discriminated against by foreign groups or in a foreign land, when you need a place to belong, and when you need a country behind you propping up your dignity, face, identity, and status, how will you feel? You will think, “When a person is in a foreign country, behind them is the powerful support of their great motherland!” Will your state of mind be different then, compared with now? (Yes.) Now you are just in a fit of indignation, so you say that whatever happens in your country is none of your business. If you can still say such things when that time comes, what kind of stature must you have? There is a fact in this world that everyone may know, which is that, without the backing of a powerful motherland, you will definitely be discriminated against and bullied in foreign countries. When the time comes for you to actually experience that, what will you ask for first of all? Some will say: “It would be great if I were Jewish or Japanese. No one would dare to bully me. I would be highly regarded by people in any country I go to. How come I was born in China? The country is incompetent and Chinese people get bullied wherever they go.” What will you think of first when something like this happens? (We have faith in God and submit to God’s orchestration and arrangements.) This is right. But how many truths must a person understand, what experience must they have had, and how much experiential understanding should they possess in order to be able to say such a thing and turn it into their own stature? When something like this happens, what kind of ideas, understanding and practical experience must you have in order to not be weak, and to not feel upset, even if someone spits on you and calls you a member of a conquered nation? What kind of stature must you have to not feel upset and to not suffer these constraints? Do you have this kind of stature now? (No.) You don’t have it now, but might you have it one day? What truths must you be equipped with? What truths must you understand? Nowadays, as soon as some people hear that their family members in mainland China have been arrested for believing in God, what they understand in their hearts—which is that everything is in God’s hands—becomes doctrine to them, and they are constrained by the fact that their family members have been arrested, and they don’t have the inclination to perform their duties. If they hear that a relative is dead, they might faint on the spot. How would you feel if that land was destroyed and all the people in it died? How much weight do traditional things hold deep in your hearts, things such as country, family, hometown, and motherland, as well as some traditional ideas and culture associated with these words? In your life, do they still dominate all your actions, and all your thoughts and behaviors? If your heart is still occupied by all of these traditional things that you have a connection with, such as country, race, nation, family, hometown, land, and so on—that is to say, these things still have a certain color of traditional culture in your heart—then the sermons you listen to and the truths you understand are all doctrines to you. If you have listened to so many sermons, but cannot let go of even the most basic things that people should let go of and separate themselves from, and you cannot treat them correctly, exactly what problems do those truths that you understand resolve?
After many Chinese people come to the West, they want to instill their traditional culture and the things which they think are right and good into Westerners. Likewise, Westerners won’t be outdone and believe that their traditional cultures go back a long way too. For example, ancient Rome, ancient Egypt, and ancient Greece all have the word “ancient” in them, and their cultures are more than three thousand years old. Looking at it based on this number, there is indeed a certain cultural heritage here, and the things produced by this cultural heritage are considered among humankind to be the quintessence of all human life, and the summation of the most quintessential things to come out of the life, existence, and comportment of humankind. What are the most quintessential things passed down by humankind called? Traditional culture. Generation after generation of people have passed down this traditional culture, and everyone thinks in their hearts that this is the best thing. No matter whether people can adhere to it or not, generally speaking, people of all races regard it as something that is above all else and regard it as the truth. Therefore, every race of people has some traditional things that stand up to scrutiny and which have a particularly profound influence on them, and they use these things to contend and compare with each other, and even to try and outdo each other. For instance, Chinese people say: “Our Chinese baijiu liquor is good, it has a really high alcohol content!” Westerners say: “What’s so great about your liquor? The alcohol content is so high that you get intoxicated after drinking it, and what’s more, it’s really bad for the liver. The red wine that we Westerners drink has a low alcohol content, it does little damage to the liver and it also promotes blood circulation.” Chinese people say: “Our baijiu promotes blood circulation too, and does a very good job of it. As soon as you drink it, it goes to your head and your face glows all over. That red wine of yours isn’t strong enough, you don’t get drunk on it no matter how much you drink. You see, we have an alcohol culture for drinking alcohol, and a tea culture for drinking tea.” Westerners say: “We also have a tea culture for drinking tea, and a coffee culture for drinking coffee, an alcohol culture for drinking alcohol, and nowadays we even have a fast-food culture.” In comparing with each other, no one gives in to anyone else, and no one accepts anything from anyone else. They all think that their own things are the truth, but in fact none of them are the truth. Leaving aside unbelievers, the most lamentable thing is that not even those who believe in God—and worse still, those who have accepted this stage of work for 20 or 30 years—realize that these things are not the truth at all. There are some who say, “Is it okay to say that it’s related to the truth?” It is not even okay to say that it’s related. It is not the truth, it has no association or connection whatsoever with the truth, they are not alike, and they are not the same thing. Just like copper is still copper no matter how well plated with gold or polished it is, whereas gold that is not polished, shiny, or lustrous is still gold—they are not the same thing.
There are some who ask: “Is it easy for people who have received a fairly good traditional cultural education and conditioning to accept the truth?” No, these are two separate matters. It’s only their lifestyles that are somewhat different, but people’s attitudes toward accepting the truth, their various thoughts and views, and the extent of the entire human race’s corruption are the same. When God started speaking in this stage of His work, that of the last days, He was talking in the context of Chinese people, and addressing His words to them. Thirty years passed, and when these words spread to all the various races in other parts of Asia, and in places such as Europe and America, and so on, after people read them, no matter whether the people are black, white, brown or yellow, they all say, “These words are talking about us.” God’s words expose the corrupt dispositions of all human beings. Few people say, “These words are all addressed to you Chinese. They are talking about the corrupt dispositions of you Chinese, which we don’t have.” Only a very small number of people, those who do not have spiritual understanding, would say such things. In the past, South Koreans had this kind of misunderstanding. They believed that the South Korean people lived under a democratic and free social system and were influenced by Christian culture, as well as thousands of years of Korean culture, so their race was more distinguished and more noble than that of Chinese people. Why did they think that? Because after many Chinese people arrived in South Korea, they made the places they went to unhygienic and noisier, theft and crime increased, and this had some adverse effects on the social climate. Therefore, brothers and sisters in South Korea believed that “the Chinese are offspring of the great red dragon and descendants of Moab. We South Koreans have not been corrupted by the great red dragon.” What were they implying by saying that? It was that “we have not been corrupted by the great red dragon, so we are not as corrupt as the Chinese. The Chinese are more corrupt than us. We are better than the Chinese.” What did they mean by “better”? (Better behaved.) In one sense, it is about behavior. In another sense, they believe from the bottom of their hearts that the traditional culture which the South Korean nation has produced and accepted since the beginning of history is noble, more so than the culture and traditions of the Chinese nation, and that the people and races conditioned by this kind of traditional culture are nobler than those conditioned by Chinese traditional culture. Therefore, when they read God’s words and see God saying, “You cheap trash,” they think He is talking about Chinese people. Chinese brothers and sisters say: “The ‘you’ that God speaks of refers to humankind.” South Koreans say, “That’s not correct, God is talking about ‘you,’ not us. What God is implying doesn’t include South Koreans.” That’s what they think. That is to say, no matter from which aspect they look at things, their viewpoints and perspectives are not from the perspective of truth, let alone from an objective and fair perspective. Instead, they look at things from the context of a race and a traditional culture. Therefore, no matter how they look at things, the subsequent results are at odds with the truth. Because no matter how they look at things, their starting point is always, “Everything about our great South Korean nation is right, everything about it is the standard, and everything about it is correct.” They view everything and measure everything from a wrong perspective and starting point, so are the results they see right or wrong? (Wrong.) They are certainly wrong. So what should be the standard by which everything is measured? (The truth.) It should be the truth—this is the standard. Their standard is in itself wrong. They measure all things and all matters from the wrong perspective and viewpoint, so the measured results are definitely wrong, not fair, not correct, and much less are they objective. Therefore, it is difficult for them to accept some foreign things, and what’s more, their thinking is very extreme, closed off, narrow-minded, and prone to impetuousness. Where does their impetuousness come from? It is that no matter what they say, they have to mention “our great South Korean nation,” and they insist on adding the word “great.” What does “great” mean? Does this word “great” not represent arrogance? If you travel around the world or look at an atlas, how big is South Korea? If it really was bigger than other countries and could really be called great, then okay, call it “great.” But compared with other countries on Earth, South Korea is not a big place, so why do they insist on calling it “great”? In addition, no matter whether a country is big or small, the rules and traditional culture it produces do not come from God, and they absolutely do not come from the truth. This is because before a person accepts the truth and accepts God’s salvation, all the ideas they accept come from Satan. What do all the ideas, views, and traditional culture generated by Satan bring to people? What they bring is deceit, corruption, bondage, and restraints, with the result that corrupt humankind has thoughts that are narrow-minded and extreme, and views on things that are one-sided and biased, even to the point of being preposterous and absurd—these are the consequence of Satan’s corruption of humankind. So, when people in many countries and even some races hear the words “God became flesh in China,” what is their first reaction? One word—impossible! Where do they think that place might have been? (Israel.) That’s right, Israel. People most like to follow regulations and adhere to notions. They think that Israel is the place where God has done work, and that God should appear in Israel, or in some powerful empire that they revere, or, in their notions and imaginings, they think that God should appear in a country that was once an ancient civilization. China is precisely not such a country, so it is difficult for them to accept testimony that God became flesh in China, and this alone is enough to make them lose this opportunity to be saved. Who caused this? (They did themselves.) Because they harbor such a notion, and have become rebellious, and don’t seek the truth in order to resolve the problem at all, they have done terrible harm to themselves and ruined this one and only chance of attaining salvation.
Many of the imaginings and notions that people have when they don’t understand the truth, and even some of the things that people worship, are very ridiculous and absurd. A South Korean lady, who is in the United States and who likes the country, comes into contact with Americans and one of them asks her: “Spring Festival is just around the corner. What do Chinese people eat during Spring Festival?” She says: “I’m not Chinese, I’m South Korean.” The American replies, “So don’t South Koreans also celebrate Spring Festival?” To which she says, “We South Koreans don’t celebrate Spring Festival.” The American says: “I thought South Koreans celebrate Spring Festival just like the Chinese do.” She replies in an extremely abrupt tone: “We are not the same as the Chinese! Is it right that you think we celebrate Spring Festival? This seriously insults the dignity of us South Koreans!” Do South Koreans really not celebrate Spring Festival? (They do celebrate it.) In fact, South Koreans do also celebrate Spring Festival. So, why did she say that South Koreans don’t celebrate it? Let’s discuss this matter. Is it right to celebrate Spring Festival or not? Can you explain this matter clearly? For foreigners, celebrating Spring Festival is not a shameful thing in itself. It’s a special ritual that commemorates an important day in people’s lives. For humans living in this world of traditional culture, celebrating Spring Festival is not a wrong thing or a shameful thing, so why doesn’t the woman dare admit to celebrating Spring Festival? Because as soon as she admits to celebrating Spring Festival she is no longer Westernized, and she will be labeled as a very traditional East Asian person, and she doesn’t want people to think that she is a traditional East Asian woman. She wants people to think that she has no East Asian traditions, and that she doesn’t understand East Asian traditions, or that she even knows nothing about them. She also wants them to know that she speaks fluent English, dyes her hair blonde, wears blue contact lenses, dresses like a Westerner, and is as bold and unconstrained, liberated, independent, and insightful as Western women—that is how she wants people to regard her. Therefore, under the sway of this thinking, whenever something befalls her, the way she acts will accord with this thinking. Whenever someone asks her whether South Koreans celebrate Spring Festival, she replies, “We South Koreans don’t celebrate Spring Festival.” If those close to her said, “We obviously celebrate Spring Festival, why do you say that we don’t celebrate it?” what would she reply? “You are stupid. If I say that we celebrate Spring Festival, wouldn’t they know that I’m a traditional South Korean?” She wants people to think she was born and raised in the United States. If you asked her, “You were born here, but how many generations has your family been here?” she would say: “Our ancestors grew up here.” She thinks this is a symbol of identity and status, so she goes so far as to tell this lie, and isn’t afraid of being found out by others. What kind of thinking is this? Is this matter worth lying about? Is it worth the risk? No, it isn’t. Even such a small matter can expose a person’s thoughts and views. What kind of thoughts and views are exposed? Some Chinese girls are really pretty, but they have to dye their hair blonde, perm it into curls, wear various shades of contact lens that change their eye color, and pass themselves off as foreigners—it’s really awkward to witness. Why do they have to comport themselves like that? Did their lineage change after they started dressing like that? Even if their lineage has changed, and in their next life they are reincarnated as a white person, or a person of a race they think highly of—what then? Can you see this matter clearly? If someone insists on comporting themselves with a certain style and a certain temperament, and passing themselves off as a member of a nation or race that they revere, why is this? Is there some underlying thinking that governs this? What is the thinking that governs it? It’s like that South Korean woman; when Americans ask her if she can play table tennis, she says, “What’s table tennis? Only Chinese people play that. We play tennis and golf.” What kind of person is it that can comport themselves and speak like this? Isn’t it somewhat fake? When everything is faked, it makes life so tiring! Would you comport yourselves like this? Some Chinese people who have lived in the West for decades can no longer speak Chinese when they return to their hometowns. Is this a bad thing? (Yes.) Some people say: “We mustn’t forget our roots. God also says that people shouldn’t forget their roots. God is the root of people. People were created by God, and everything about people originates from God, so as created beings, people must worship God—this is what it means to not forget one’s roots.” Is this not the case? There is truth to be sought in every situation, but people don’t seek the truth, and they adhere entirely to traditional culture. Why is that? Some people say: “We never forget our roots. Wherever we go, we acknowledge that we are Chinese, and we acknowledge that our country is poor and backward. We will never, ever forget our roots.” Is this right? All these problems, in one respect, are due to the excessively profound influence and education of these so-called traditional cultures on humankind. Another aspect is that even after people have listened to sermons for so many years, they don’t carefully contemplate and seek what the truth is. Instead, they often use the traditional culture and decadent things that they already have, that they have already learned and which are therefore firmly entrenched, and pass them off as truths. This is the second aspect. Thirdly, after listening to sermons, people don’t search for the truth in God’s words. Instead, they use traditional perspectives and the knowledge and learnings in human notions that they already know of to measure God’s words by. So up to now, although people have listened to many sermons, the so-called principles of conduct and the so-called principles of performing one’s duty and serving God that people pass on by word of mouth are also often based on some knowledge, proverbs, and common sayings that they hold to be correct. For example, if some people do something wrong and the church leaders or brothers and sisters deal with them, they will think: “Humph, ‘Execution does nothing but make heads roll’ and ‘Don’t raise a hand against a smiling face.’ When it comes to this shortcoming of mine being dealt with, I have patiently accepted it with a smile—why do you keep on exposing me?” Outwardly they listen and submit obediently, but actually, deep within their heart they are using traditional notions to contradict and defy the church leaders or the brothers and sisters. What is the reason for their defiance? It’s that they think the sayings “Execution does nothing but make heads roll” and “Don’t raise a hand against a smiling face” are veritable truths and are right, and that it’s wrong for anyone to keep incessantly dealing with and exposing them without the slightest hint of feeling, and that is not the truth.
Have you gained a deeper understanding of the truth from the content we have just fellowshiped on? (Yes.) Some may say: “Now that You’ve told us this, we don’t know what principles we should abide by in practicing. Without these traditional cultures and these notions and knowledge, how should we live? How should we act? Without these things to govern us, how can we open our mouths and preach God’s words? Without these things, isn’t the basis for us to preach God’s words gone? So then what else are we left with?” Well, what I say to them is that if you really don’t have these things, it will be easier to seek the truth, and it will be easier to accept the truth and return to God. Previously when you opened your mouth, all that came out were satanic philosophies and cultural knowledge such as “A wise man submits to circumstances,” “Don’t raise a hand against a smiling face,” “Execution does nothing but make heads roll,” and so on. Now you ponder and think, “I can’t say that, these sayings are all wrong, they’ve been repudiated and condemned, so what should I say? Get on with reading God’s words meekly and properly, and find the basis from God’s words.” People perform their duty and follow God, but whenever they open their mouths, all that comes out are these proverbs, sayings, and some things and views that they get from traditional culture. No one, whenever something befalls them, can fully exalt or testify to God, and say, “God says this” or “God says that.” No one speaks like that, no one opens their mouth and reels off God’s words. You cannot reel off God’s words, but you can reel off those common sayings, so what is your heart filled with, exactly? All those things that come from Satan. Some people, when their team leader checks up on their work, say: “What are you checking up on? If you use a man, do not be suspicious of him; if you suspect him, do not use him. If you always doubt me, then why do you use me? Just find someone else to do it.” They think this is the right way to act, and when they do things wrong they don’t allow others to uphold the truth. There are also people who have suffered a great deal in performing their duties, but because they didn’t seek the principles and caused disruption and disturbance to the church’s work, they are eventually replaced, and dealt with on top of it. After listening to some condemnatory remarks, they are defiant and think, “There’s a saying that goes, ‘I might not have earned any credit, but I’ve tried and toiled nonetheless.’ I just made this small mistake, what does it matter?” Because they learned this common saying first and it is therefore firmly entrenched in them, governing and influencing their thoughts, it prompts them to use this saying—in this environment and after this situation happened—as a basis for defying and not submitting to their treatment by God’s house. That being the case, can they still submit? Is it still easy for them to accept the truth? Even if outwardly they submit, it is because they have no alternative and it’s a last resort. Although outwardly they do not resist, there is still resistance in their heart. Is this true submission? (No.) This is going through the motions, it is not true submission. There is no submission here, only rationalization, negativity, and opposition. How did this rationalization, negativity, and opposition arise? They arose from this saying “I might not have earned any credit, but I’ve tried and toiled nonetheless.” What kind of disposition did this saying give rise to in these people? Disobedience, intransigence, opposition, and rationalization. Have you gained a further understanding of the truth from this fellowship? Once you have dissected and discerned these negative things and dug them out of your heart, you will be able to seek the truth and practice the truth whenever something befalls you, because the old things have been renounced, and can no longer induce you to rely on them in performing your duties, and serving God, and following God. Those things are no longer the principles of your comportment, they are no longer the principles you should abide by when performing your duties, and they have already been criticized and condemned. If you take them and use them again, what will happen deep within your heart? Will you still be as happy? Will you still be so assured that you are in the right? Clearly that’s unlikely. If these things inside you really are stripped away, then you should seek in God’s words what exactly the true principles are and what exactly God’s requirements are. Some people often say, “Do as your master commands, or you won’t gain anything from even your most painstaking efforts.” Is this saying right or wrong? It’s definitely wrong. How is it wrong? Who does “master” refer to in the phrase “Do as your master commands”? Your employer, your boss, your superior. This word “master” is itself wrong. God is not your employer, nor your boss, nor your manager. God is your God. Managers, bosses, and superiors are all of the same kind and on the same level as people. Essentially they are alike; they are all corrupt human beings. You listen to them, receive a wage from them, and do whatever they ask you to do. They pay you for whatever amount of work you do, and nothing more. What does “gain” mean in the phrase “or you won’t gain anything from even your most painstaking efforts”? (Credit.) Credit and remuneration. The impetus for your actions is to get paid. This does not call for loyalty or obedience, and does not require truth-seeking and worship—there is none of this, it is just a transaction. This is precisely something that is criticized and condemned in the course of your believing in God, performing your duty, and pursuing the truth. If you regard the saying “Do as your master commands, or you won’t gain anything from even your most painstaking efforts” as a truth, then this is a grave mistake. When you try to get some people to understand the truth, their reactions will be slow and sluggish, and however much they eat and drink God’s words, they will not be able to understand even one or two truths, nor will they be able to remember even one or two phrases of God’s words. But when it comes to the catchphrases, proverbs, and common sayings that are often spread among the population, and these things that ordinary people often say, they accept them extremely quickly. No matter how stupid someone is, even they accept these things extremely quickly. How can this be? Whatever race or color you are, in the final analysis you are all human beings and you are all of the same kind. It is only God and human beings that are two different kinds. Human beings will forever be of the same kind as other human beings. Therefore, whenever God does something, it is not easy for all of humankind to accept it, whereas, whenever someone among humankind does something, no matter who or how lowly the person who does it is, if it conforms to everyone’s notions, everyone will quickly accept it, because people’s ideas, views, ways of thinking, levels of understanding, and paths, are basically all the same, differing only in small degrees. Therefore, as soon as someone says something that is of a notional nature and inconsistent with the truth, some people will quickly accept it, and that’s just how it is.
Have you more or less understood what the truth is, and what things are not the truth but which purport to be the truth? What other such things are there in your minds? You cannot yet say them right now, off the top of your heads, because they do not count as knowledge, they are not like something in a book that you can just flip to by leafing through the pages. Rather, they are things that you cannot stop yourselves saying out loud whenever something happens, in an extremely natural way that you can’t control. This proves that those things have become your life and taken root deep in your bones. You cannot recall them when asked to recall them, but neither can you resist saying them when you’re asked not to say them. Whenever something happens, those distorted views will come out—this is a fact. Take your time to experience. From now on you should pay attention to those things that people often say and which they think are right. We previously mentioned some of the great red dragon’s poisons and Satan’s philosophies for worldly dealings. Those things may be easy to discern from the perspective of their literal meaning, that is, people can work out straight away that they are definitely not the truth, and can clearly tell that they are the great red dragon’s poison, and that there are cunning schemes behind them. Those things are easy to discern, and I reckon that you can more or less pick them apart when asked to dissect them. You have cast off those things that are obviously satanic, but there are still many sayings in your hearts such as “enduring humiliation and bearing a heavy burden,” and “sleeping on brushwood and licking gall,” and “Don’t raise a hand against a smiling face,” and “A just cause attracts abundant support while an unjust one finds little,” and “A gentleman does not eat insulting handouts.” Deep in your hearts, you may still put a check mark next to these sayings and think, “These are precious. Everything decent about how I should comport myself in this life is all in these sayings,” and these things still have not been unearthed. Once they have been thoroughly unearthed and you have discernment of them, in future when these traditional cultural things come out, whether it be a natural reaction, or a reflection of objective conditions, you will immediately realize that these things are wrong and definitely not the truth. At that time, your level of knowledge and recognition of the truth will be higher than now. What do I mean by “higher than now”? I mean that you will have reached a certain stature, your ability to discern will have improved, your experience and understanding of the truth will be more profound than now, and you will feel what the truth actually is. Now you may think, “All the traditional cultures that come from Satan and which developed out of the cultural background of all the ethnic groups of this world are wrong.” This is a general way of putting it, but you may not yet know which ones are wrong and how they are wrong. So, you must dissect and understand each one in turn, and then reach the point where you can let go of it, condemn it, completely separate yourself from it, and live not by it but by God’s words. Right now, you may only know in terms of your subjective will that those proverbs, common sayings, famous maxims, and those words that are often bandied around have nothing whatsoever to do with God’s words and are not the truth, but whenever something happens, you still unconsciously use these words as a basis for condemning others, constraining yourself and guiding your behavior. They restrict and manipulate your thoughts and views, which can spell trouble, and will affect your entry into the truth. Although these things from Satan may still appear in your heart, if one day you are able to discern them, live without relying on them, and practice according to the truth principles, you will truly have stature. Do you have this stature now? Not yet. If there is a saying that you all recognize to be correct, and if similar statements can perhaps be found in God’s words—though they are not expressed in entirely the same way—you may mistakenly believe that this saying is also the truth, and that it is the same as God’s words. If you still cannot see these matters clearly, and you still cling to the words of man and are unwilling to give them up, then this saying will influence your entry into the truth, because it is not God’s words. It cannot replace the truth.
Nowadays I am constantly fellowshiping about what the truth is. That means I am being serious with you. In order for you to understand the truth, we must take people’s various ideas and views, their good deeds and their good intentions, and some correct sayings and commonsense practices that people rely on to live, as well as some ideas and views from traditional culture, and dissect and discern them all to see whether they really accord with the truth, and whether they really have anything to do with the truth. If you believe them to be the truth, what is your basis for this assertion? If you determine them to be the truth based on satanic theories and teachings, then you belong to Satan. If these things do not accord with the truth, then they come from Satan, so you need to dissect what exactly their essence is. In particular, one should have a correct understanding of and a correct attitude toward the many sayings and views in traditional culture that have been passed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next. Only in this way can people truly understand and recognize what the truth really is, and understand exactly what God requires of people, and understand what the phrase “Everything God says is the truth” really means. At the same time, this also enables people to know why—given that humans have these views and sayings that supposedly accord with moral ethics, humanity, and worldly wisdom, and given that they have these ideas, views, and opinions that they rely on to live—God still expresses truths in order to save people, and moreover, why God says that only the truth can save people and only the truth can change people. Clearly there are truths to be found herein. At the very least, one point is that the ideas, views, and sayings that people rely on in life come from corrupt humankind, are summated by corrupt humankind, and are people’s notions and imaginings, and they have nothing whatsoever to do with the truth. Furthermore, these things are essentially in conflict with and hostile to the truth. They cannot replace the truth, they certainly are not the truth, and nor will they ever be the truth. From God’s perspective, these things are defined as wrong and condemned. They are not the truth at all, and God’s actions and the truth that God expresses have nothing whatsoever to do with these things. That is to say, the truth that God expresses has nothing to do in the slightest with the worldly wisdom of corrupt humankind, or people’s traditional cultures, their ideas, views and good deeds, or with their definitions of morality, dignity, and positive things. In His expression of the truth, God expresses His disposition and essence; His expression of the truth is not based on humankind’s summation of the various positive things and statements that they recognize. God’s words are God’s words; God’s words are truth. They are the sole foundation and law by which humankind exists, and all those so-called tenets that originate from man are wrong, absurd, and condemned by God. They do not meet with His approval, and less still are they the origin or basis of His utterances. God expresses His disposition and His essence through His words. All the words brought forth by God’s expression are truth, for He has the essence of God, and He is the reality of all positive things. No matter how this corrupt humankind positions or defines God’s words, nor how they view them or understand them, God’s words are eternally the truth, and this is a fact that never alters. No matter how many words of God have been spoken, and no matter how much this corrupt, evil humankind condemns and rejects them, there remains a fact that is forever unchanging: God’s words will always be the truth, and man can never change this. In the end, man must admit that God’s words are the truth, and that humankind’s esteemed traditional culture and scientific knowledge can never become positive things, and that they can never become the truth. This is absolute. Humankind’s traditional culture and way of existence will not become truth because of the changes or passage of time, and neither will the words of God become the words of man due to humankind’s condemnation or forgetfulness. Truth is always truth; this essence will never change. What fact exists herein? It is that these common sayings which humankind has summated find their source in Satan, they are human imaginings and notions, or they arise from human hot-headedness and the corrupt dispositions of humans, and they have nothing at all to do with positive things. The words of God, on the other hand, are expressions of God’s essence and identity. For what reason does He express these words? Why do I say they are truth? The reason is that God rules over all the laws, rules, roots, essences, actualities, and mysteries of all things. They are grasped in His hand. Therefore, only God knows the rules, actualities, facts, and mysteries of all things. God knows the origin of all things, and God knows what exactly the root of all things is. Only the definitions for all things presented in God’s words are the most accurate, and only God’s words are the standards and principles for the life of human beings and are the truths and criteria by which human beings can rely on to live, whereas the satanic laws and theories which man has relied on to live since being corrupted by Satan are at once contrary to the fact that God is sovereign over all things, and to the fact that He is sovereign over all thing’s laws and rules. All of man’s satanic theories arise from man’s notions and imaginings, and they are from Satan. What sort of role does Satan play? First, it presents itself as the truth; next, it disturbs, destroys, and tramples on all the laws and rules with which God created all things. Therefore, that which comes from Satan matches Satan’s essence all too well, and it is filled with Satan’s evil purpose, with counterfeit and falsity, and with Satan’s ever-unchanging ambition. No matter whether corrupt humans can discern these philosophies and theories from Satan, and no matter how many people tout, promote, and follow these things, and no matter for how many years and ages corrupt humankind has admired, worshiped, and preached about them, they will not become truth. Because their essence, origin, and source is Satan, and they are hostile to God and hostile to the truth, these things will therefore never become truth—they will always be negative things. When there is no truth to compare with, they may pass for good and positive things, but when the truth is used to expose and dissect them, they are not infallible, they cannot stand up to scrutiny, and are things that are quickly condemned and rejected. The truth expressed by God precisely coincides with the needs of the normal humanity of humankind that God created, whereas the things that Satan instills into people are precisely contrary to the needs of the normal humanity of humankind. They make a normal person become abnormal, and become extreme, narrow-minded, arrogant, foolish, wicked, intransigent, vicious, and even unbearably haughty. There is a point at which it gets so serious that people become deranged and don’t even know who they are. They don’t want to be normal or ordinary people, and instead insist on being superhumans, people with special powers, or high-level human beings—these things have warped people’s humanity and warped their instinct. The truth makes people able to exist more instinctively according to the rules and laws of normal humanity and all these rules established by God, whereas these so-called common adages and deceptive sayings precisely make people turn against human instinct and evade the laws ordained and formulated by God, even to the point of making people deviate from the track of normal humanity and do some extreme things that normal people should not do or think about. These satanic laws not only warp people’s humanity, but also make people lose their normal humanity and normal humanity instinct. For example, satanic laws say, “One’s destiny is in his own hand,” and “Happiness is created by one’s own two hands.” This is contrary to God’s sovereignty and contrary to human instinct. When people’s body and instinct reach the limit, or when their destiny is at a critical juncture, people who depend on these laws from Satan are unable to bear up. Most feel that the pressure has exceeded their limit and gone beyond what their mind can endure, and in the end they suffer a nervous breakdown. People taking the college entrance examinations right now are suffering from the immense pressure that those exams bring. People’s physical condition and mental qualities are different; some can adapt to such a regime, while others cannot. In the end, some people become depressed, while others have a nervous breakdown, and even jump off buildings and commit suicide—all sorts of things happen. How are these consequences caused? The reason is that Satan deceives people by making them pursue fame and gain, which harms people. If people can live naturally according to the rules set by God, and live according to the way God has ordained for people, and read God’s words, and live before God, will they become deranged? Will they withstand so much pressure? They absolutely will not. God does His work in order for people to understand the truth, cast off their corrupt dispositions, and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements. In this way, people can live before God, without pressure, and gain only freedom and release. Humankind was created by God, and only God knows human instinct and everything about people. God uses the rules He formulated to guide people and provide for their needs, whereas Satan precisely does not do that. It turns people against all this, and compels people to be superhumans and hotshots. Is this not playing tricks on people? People are actually normal and ordinary people—how can they be superhumans or people with special powers? Is this not ruining people? No matter how much you struggle, no matter how great your ambitions and desires, you cannot become superhuman or a person with special powers. Even if you ruin yourself to the point that you lose all semblance of humanity, you cannot become superhuman or a person with special powers. Whatever career a person should have in life is preordained by God. If you don’t live according to the laws and rules formulated by God, but instead choose Satan’s deceitful nonsense and pursue being a superhuman or a person with special powers, you will have to suffer torment and die. That is to say, if you choose to accept being ruined, trampled on, and corrupted by Satan, then all that you endure is the consequence of your own actions, it is what you deserve, and it is of your own volition. Some people take the college entrance examination, fail it two or three times, and end up going crazy from never managing to pass it. Is this something they brought upon themselves? Why do you want to take the college entrance exam? Is it not just to rise above the rest and bring honor to your family? If you abandon these two goals of rising above the rest and bringing honor to your family, and don’t chase after these things, but instead switch to a correct goal, won’t the pressure then disappear? If you accept corruption from Satan, and if you accept all these ideas and views from it, then your body will have to endure all kinds of pain, and it will be no less than you deserve! This consequence is your own choice and of your own making. It is not preordained by God. God doesn’t make you live like that. God’s words have already made things very clear, and it is you who does not practice according to God’s words. There is a limit to what a person’s body, willpower, and mental caliber can endure, but people themselves don’t realize that and think otherwise, and even say that their destiny is in their own hands, yet in the end they don’t manage to seize their destiny, and instead die a miserable and tragic death. How is this grasping one’s own destiny? This is how Satan uses all kinds of fallacious ideas and all kinds of heresies and fallacies to corrupt people. People themselves don’t know this, and even feel fine about them, thinking, “Society is constantly progressing, we should keep pace with the times and accept all that positive energy.” This is complete nonsense. How can there be any positive energy in a world of unbelievers and devils? It is all negative energy, it is all cancer, and it is all a time bomb. If you accept these things, you will have to bear their consequences, and you will have to be tortured and devastated by Satan. This is what comes of not pursuing the truth. What good end can there be if you follow Satan? Satan will do everything it can to poison you and instill poison into you. God saves you; Satan harms you. God cures your ills; Satan instills poison into you to make you ill. The more poison you accept from Satan, the more strenuous it becomes for you to accept the truth. That’s just how it is. Here ends our fellowship on the topic of what the truth is. Next, we will fellowship on another topic.
A Dissection of Antichrists Doing Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions, Never Considering the Interests of God’s House, and Even Selling Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory
I. What God’s Interests Are and What People’s Interests Are
This time we will fellowship on item nine of the various manifestations of antichrists—they do their duty only to distinguish themselves and feed their own interests and ambitions; they never consider the interests of God’s house, and even sell those interests out in exchange for personal glory. In our everyday lives, we often emphasize the interests of God and of God’s house. However, some people often tend not to consider the interests of God’s house, instead placing their own interests front and center in all things. These people are particularly selfish. Furthermore, in their handling of affairs, they frequently safeguard their own interests to the detriment of the interests of God’s house, to the extent that they will even make oblique requests of God’s house in order to satisfy their own desires. What is the keyword here? What is principally being spoken about? (Interests.) What is meant by “interests”? What is included within this term? What does one consider to be the interests of people? What is encompassed by the interests of people? Status, reputation, and things that relate to material interests. For instance, when a person misleads others into admiring and worshiping them, they are pursuing their own psychological interests; there are also material interests, which people pursue by taking advantage of others, reaping benefits for themselves, or stealing the property of God’s house, to give a few examples. Antichrists always seek nothing but profit. No matter if they are pursuing psychological or material interests, antichrists are avaricious and insatiable, and they will try to take these things all for themselves. Matters concerning a person’s interests reveal them most of all. Interests are intimately linked to every person’s life, and everything a person comes into contact with every single day involves their interests. For example, when you say something or talk about a matter, what interests are involved? When two people discuss some issue, it is a matter of who is articulate and who isn’t articulate, who is highly regarded by other people and who is looked down upon by other people, and it is also a matter of the differing consequences of their different ways of speaking. Is it not a matter of interests? So, what do people do when issues of this type befall them? People try their best to show off, racking their brains to organize their words so as to explain the matter clearly, and so that the words are expressed more elegantly, and sound more agreeable, and also have a sense of structure, and leave a lasting impression on people. Using this approach, using one’s eloquence, brain and knowledge to win people’s favor and make a deep impression on them—this is a kind of interest. What other aspects do the interests that people pursue also involve? When going about their business, people constantly weigh things up, calculate, and ponder in their minds, racking their brains to think what actions are in their interest, what actions aren’t in their interest, what actions can further their interests, what actions at the very least don’t harm their interests, and what actions can earn them the most glory and the greatest material gains, and turn them into the biggest beneficiary. These are the two interests that people fight for whenever issues befall them. The interests that people pursue are focused on these two aspects and nothing more: in the one sense, that of obtaining material benefits, or at the very least not losing out, and taking advantage of others; in addition, on a psychological level, getting people to look up to and admire them, and winning people’s hearts. Sometimes, in order to gain power and status, people can even forgo material interests—that is, incur a small loss—in order to subsequently gain a greater advantage over others. In short, these things related to people’s reputation, status, glory and material things all fall within the category of people’s interests, and are all interests that people pursue.
What is the nature of people’s pursuit of these interests? Why do people pursue these things? Is it legitimate to pursue them? Is it reasonable? Does it accord with God’s requirements for people? Is this the standard that God demands of created beings? In God’s words, does He mention that “you should pursue your own interests and maximize your own interests. Do not sacrifice your own interests just because you believe in God and do a duty. You should treasure your status, reputation, and power, and protect these things at all costs. If God gives you status, you should treasure it and turn it into your glory rather than your shame. This is God’s commission to you”—has God ever said this? (No.) Since there is nothing of the sort in God’s words, what then does God require of created beings in His heart? How does God require people to regard interests? In one sense, God wants people to forgo their interests—this is putting it in general terms; in addition, God gives people appropriate paths of practice in even more aspects, telling people how to comport themselves so that they follow the path they ought to take, how to practice as a created being should do, what views and attitudes people should have toward material things, fame and gain, and how they should choose. It goes without saying that although God’s words do not directly tell people how to regard interests, between the lines His words also express exactly what God’s views are on the interests of corrupted humankind, and make it very clear that people should put aside their own views, act in accordance with the truth principles, comport themselves according to their station as created beings, and keep to their own place. In God’s heart, is He intentionally depriving people of their interests by requiring them to act this way? Absolutely not. Some people say, “In the church, there is always talk about the interests of God’s house and the interests of the church, but how come no one talks about the interests of us people? Who is looking after our interests? Shouldn’t we also have some human rights? We must be given some small gains too. Why aren’t we given a little something? How come all interests belong to God? Is God not selfish too?” To say this is rebellious and treacherous in the extreme. This is obviously the wrong thing to say. A person with humanity certainly cannot say this, only devils dare to say all manner of rebellious things. Others say: “God always tells people not to consider their personal interests. He always says not to scheme for one’s own sake. People want to stand out by doing something or achieving something that makes everyone worship them. God says this is an ambition. People want to fight for their own interests, eat nice food, enjoy life, covet the comforts of the flesh, and live respectably among humankind. God says that people are only feeding their own interests this way, and must put them aside. If we put all these interests aside, how can we live better?” If people do not understand God’s will, they will always be in conflict with God’s requirements, and they will always be in dispute with God on these matters. It’s just like some parents who have worked hard for half their life to raise their children and are so tired that they have all manner of ailments. The parents are worried that their bodies will fail them and that their children will then have no one to support them, so they buy some healthcare products. The children don’t know any better and on seeing these products they say: “I haven’t even bought any new clothes for several years, how come you can still buy healthcare products? You should be saving that money for me to go to college.” Does this remark hurt the parents’ feelings? Parents do all this not for their own interests, and not because they want to enjoy the comforts of the flesh, or because they want to live a bit longer and in a bit more comfort and share in their children’s good fortune in the future. It isn’t for these reasons. What are they doing it for? They are doing it for the sake of their children. The children don’t understand this and even blame their parents—is this not treacherous? (Yes.) If the children don’t understand their parents’ intentions, they may come into conflict with their parents, even to the point of causing disputes, and hurting their parents’ feelings. So, do you understand God’s heart? This is a matter of understanding the truth. Why are people’s practices of feeding their own interests and ambitions condemned by God? Is it that God is selfish? Is it that God tells people not to pursue personal interests just to make them poor and pitiful? (No.) It’s certainly not that. God wants people to be good, and God comes to do His work of saving people in order to bestow blessings on humankind and bring people to a beautiful destination. Everything that God does is for people to gain the truth and to gain life, so that they can be qualified to receive God’s promise and blessings. However, people have been deeply corrupted by Satan and have corrupt dispositions, and must suffer a great deal in order to gain the truth and life. If everyone pursues personal interests and wants to live a good life to satisfy the extravagant desires of the flesh, but doesn’t put effort into pursuing the truth, what will be the consequences? They will be unable to obtain the truth, and unable to be purified and saved. What are the consequences of them not being saved? They must all die in the disasters. Is this the time to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh? No. Whoever doesn’t obtain the truth must die. Therefore, God requires people to forgo their fleshly interests and pursue the truth. This is for the sake of people, this is for the sake of their lives, and for the sake of their salvation. Once people obtain the truth and are saved, God’s promise and blessings will come at any time. The blessings that God bestows on people are who knows how many hundreds or thousands of times greater than the pleasures of the flesh that people imagine. How come people can’t see them? Are people all blind to them? Why, then, does God always require people to put aside their own interests and defend God’s interests and the interests of God’s house? Who can explain this matter? (God requires people to forgo personal interests because people have been corrupted by Satan, and their interests are not in line with the truth. In requiring people to defend the interests of God’s house, God is teaching people how to comport themselves. It is also because all the work that God does is in order to save people, and if someone doesn’t know to defend the interests of God’s house, they are not worthy of being called human.) There are some practical points in what you say. (I would like to add something. I was obsessed with fame, gain, and status. I felt that I had some gifts and should be promoted to supervisor. However, every time an election came along, I lost it, and in my heart I blamed God—why didn’t God grant me this one little wish? Later, having experienced some failures, I then read God’s words and reflected on myself, and recognized that I often engaged in envy and strife because of my pursuit of fame, gain, and status, and didn’t cooperate in harmony with my brothers and sisters. Not only had I not made any progress in my life, but I had also caused some losses to the work of God’s house. I came to realize that pursuing fame, gain, and personal interests is not a correct outlook on life or a correct goal to pursue, it’s a mistaken view that Satan instills into people in order to mislead them, and such a pursuit is very dangerous. God tells people not to pursue fame, gain, and status not because He wants to make trouble for them, nor because He wants to be hard on them, but because this is a very dangerous path, and such pursuits can only lead one to ultimately end up empty-handed.) By “empty-handed” and “very dangerous,” what do you think is the danger he speaks of? Is it really just a matter of ending up empty-handed and nothing more? What sort of path is this? (The path to destruction.) This pursuit is a path of resisting God. It is not pursuing the truth, but rather pursuing status and prestige. It is walking the path of antichrists. No matter how legitimate you think your wishes and aspirations are, what God wants isn’t this, it’s not this kind of pursuit. God doesn’t want you to pursue this way. If you insist on sticking to your own course, then your final outcome will not only be that you end up empty-handed, but that you will embark upon a path of resisting God. What is the danger in this? You will resist God, lash out at God and oppose Him, and stand in opposition to Him, and the outcome will be destruction. Is there anything to add? (God, I would like to add something. Just now God asked, why doesn’t God want people to defend their own interests, but rather to defend the interests of God’s house? As I understand it, God created everything, and everything comes from God. Every single thing that God created is for people. Whatever God does—including Him becoming flesh twice in order to do all this work, and including all this work now of establishing the church—it is actually all for the sake of saving people. Once people believe in God, start living the church life, and can do their duties, they have a path of salvation. Therefore, God asking us to put aside our personal interests is not deprivation, because it is we ourselves who ultimately benefit from defending God’s interests and the interests of God’s house.) Really good. The general meaning of what you have fellowshiped is basically correct. Some people talk about their own personal experiences, and others talk about it from a theoretical perspective. Basically what you understand is along the lines that God’s interests are legitimate and people’s interests are not legitimate. Only God’s interests can be called interests, whereas people’s interests should not exist. In particular, “people’s interests”—this phrase, this expression, this fact—are not something that people should enjoy. God’s interests come before all else and should be defended. This is basically what you understand. That is to say, people should have the responsibility to defend God’s interests and should regard God’s interests correctly, whereas people’s interests should be regarded with contempt and stripped away, because people’s interests are not so glorious. From a human viewpoint—because at root people have corrupt dispositions, and inside they are adulterated with corrupt dispositions—all of people’s interests, whichever way you look at them, and whether they are perceptible or imperceptible, fall within the category of illegitimate. Therefore, whether people can put them aside or not, they have already subjectively realized that people’s interests should be put aside, and that it is God’s interests that should be fought for and defended. There is a consensus on this point. Now that we have reached a consensus, let’s fellowship on what exactly God’s interests are.
What exactly are God’s interests? Can the interests of God, the interests of God’s house, and the interests of the church all be equated? It can be said that “God” is a title, and also a synonym for God’s essence. What about “God’s house” and “the church”? God’s house is rather broad in scope, whereas the church is more specific. Can the interests of God, the interests of God’s house, and the interests of the church be equated? (No, they can’t.) Some people say that they can’t, but actually can they? Are the administrative decrees of God’s house, the administrative decrees of the church, and the administrative decrees promulgated by God the same thing? (Yes.) They are the same thing. Speaking from this perspective, the interests of all three can be equated. God’s house only comes into being with God and His chosen people, and the church only comes into being with these chosen people of God’s house. The church is a more specific “subordinate unit” of God’s house. God’s house is a broader term, whereas the church is more specific. Can the interests of God, the interests of God’s house, and the interests of the church be equated? Do you think they should be equated? You don’t know? Then let’s first try equating them in order to analyze them. For example, the glory of God is God’s interest. Would it be okay to say that it’s the glory of God’s house? (No.) That wouldn’t be okay. God’s house is a name, it doesn’t represent the essence of God. Would it be okay to say that the glory of God is the glory of the church? (No.) Obviously that wouldn’t be okay either. The glory of the church is the glory of all brothers and sisters. Equating it with the glory of God would be outrageous. People cannot shoulder this glory, and neither can God’s house nor the church. Speaking from this perspective, can the interests of God, the interests of God’s house, and the interests of the church be equated? (No, they can’t.) No, they can’t. From another perspective, can part of the work that God does, part of the work of God’s house, and part of the church’s work be equated? For example, God tells people to preach the gospel and to spread God’s words. This is God’s will, and it is also what God commissions to people. When this commission is issued to God’s house, can this work be equated with the work that God plans to do? What God commissions is also a part of His work, and this specific part can be equated with the work that God plans to do. When this commission is then issued to the church, can it be equated with the work of God? (Yes.) Yes, it can. One of these two examples involves something of God’s essence, in which case God, God’s house, and the church cannot be equated. The other example involves the work that God does, God’s commission, and more specifically God’s requirements for everyone—these things can be equated. When it comes to things that involve God’s glory, God’s identity, God’s essence, and God’s testimony, can God, God’s house, and the church be equated? (No.) God’s house and the church cannot possess this testimony and glory, and cannot be equated with God, but when it’s a matter of a specific job or a certain commission, they can be equated. We previously fellowshiped on the interests of God’s house and the church, which we talked a great deal about. Today we will focus on fellowshiping about what exactly God’s interests are, and what exactly are the things that are unknown to people, that people have never thought of, and that are closely associated with God and count as God’s interests. Whether it be a noun, a saying, or something associated with God’s essence and identity, which things are God’s interests? (The glory of God.) The glory of God definitely is, the testimony that God obtains from people. What else is there? God’s work, God’s management plan, God’s name, God’s testimony, God’s identity, and God’s status—these are all His interests. As far as God is concerned, what is the most precious thing that He wants to protect? Is it God’s name, God’s glory, God’s testimony, or God’s identity and status? What is it exactly? God’s management plan to save humankind is the most precious thing that God wants to protect. God’s 6,000-year management plan is all the work that God plans to do within this 6,000-year period. To God, this is the most important thing. It can be said that this should be the interest of God that can be seen in the eyes of created human beings. What people can more or less understand about God’s interests, and what people should understand, can basically stop at that. Next, let’s talk about the interests of God’s house. When it comes to the interests of God’s house, in addition to defending God’s name, God’s glory, and God’s testimony, what else has God commissioned to humankind that people should defend? (God’s management plan.) That’s right, God’s greatest commission to humankind is the greatest interest of God’s house. So what is this interest? It is for God’s 6,000-year management plan to be carried out among humankind, and this of course includes all sorts of aspects. So what does it include? It includes for the church to be established and formed, and for leaders and workers at all levels of the church to be produced, so that the various tasks of the church and the work of spreading the gospel can proceed unhindered—all of this involves the interests of the church. These are the most important things in the interests of God, God’s house, and the church, which we often speak of. For God’s work to spread, for God’s management plan to proceed without impediment, for God’s intention and God’s will to be done without impediment among humankind, and for God’s words to be spread, disseminated, and proclaimed more widely among people, so that more people come before God—these are the objectives and the core of all God’s work. As such, whatever involves the interests of God’s house and the interests of the church must certainly involve God’s will and God’s management plan. Specifically, it is a matter of whether, in every age and at every stage, God’s work is able to proceed without impediment and able to spread, and whether it is being smoothly carried out and smoothly progressing among humankind. If all of this is proceeding normally, then the interests of God’s house and the church will be protected, and God’s glory and God’s testimony will be protected. If God’s work in God’s house and in the church is obstructed and cannot proceed without impediment, and God’s will and the work that God plans to do are impeded, then the interests of God’s house and of the church are certain to be greatly harmed—these things are connected. That is to say, when the interests of God’s house and of the church are greatly harmed or impeded, then God’s management plan is certain to be seriously thwarted, and God’s interests will also be greatly harmed.
Having finished fellowshiping about what God’s interests are, next let’s talk about what people’s interests are. We just talked a little about people’s interests, now let’s talk about the nature of people’s interests in terms of their definition, and determine their nature. Why does God require people to put aside their interests? Don’t people have this right? Doesn’t God give people this right? Don’t people deserve such rights? Is it not so? Looking at it from those several aspects of people’s interests that we just talked about, what do people pursue interests for? (Themselves.) “For themselves” is a generalization. Who is themselves? (Satan.) If people understand the truth and can live by the truth, and they achieve a change in disposition and are saved, and they pursue what they want, won’t this pursuit be compatible with God? But prior to changing and being saved, the only things people pursue are fame and gain, the myriad aspects related to the flesh; these are utterly hostile and contradictory to the truth, a very violation of the truth, they are the very opposite of the truth. If someone says they love the truth and that they pursue the truth, but in essence, the goal they pursue is to distinguish themselves, to show off, to make people think highly of them, to achieve their own interests, and the performing of their duty is not to obey or satisfy God, and instead is to achieve fame, gain, and status, then their pursuit is illegitimate. That being the case, when it comes to the work of the church, are their actions an obstacle, or do they help move it forward? They are clearly an obstacle; they do not move it forward. Some people wave the banner of doing the work of the church yet pursue their own personal fame, gain, and status, run their own operation, create their own little group, their own little kingdom—is this kind of person doing their duty? All the work they do essentially disrupts, disturbs, and impairs the work of the church. What is the consequence of their pursuit of fame, gain, and status? First, this affects how God’s chosen people eat and drink God’s word normally and understand the truth, it hinders their life entry, stops them from entering the right track of faith in God, and leads them onto the wrong path—which harms the chosen ones, and brings them to ruin. And what does it ultimately do to the work of the church? It is disturbance, impairment, and dismantlement. This is the consequence brought about by people’s pursuit of fame, gain, and status. When they do their duty in this way, can this not be defined as walking the path of an antichrist? When God asks that people put aside fame, gain, and status, it is not that He is depriving people of the right to choose; rather, it is because, while pursuing fame, gain, and status, people disrupt and disturb the work of the church and the life entry of God’s chosen people, and can even have an influence on more people’s eating and drinking God’s words, understanding the truth, and thus achieving God’s salvation. This is an indisputable fact. When people pursue their own fame, gain, and status, it is certain that they will not pursue the truth and that they will not faithfully fulfill their duty. They will only speak and act for the sake of fame, gain, and status, and all the work they do, without the least exception, is for those things’ sake. To behave and act in such a way is, without question, to walk the path of antichrists; it is a disruption and disturbance of God’s work, and all its various consequences are hindering the spread of the kingdom gospel and the free flow of God’s will within the church. So, one may say with certainty that the path walked by those who pursue fame, gain, and status is the path of resistance against God. It is intentional resistance against Him, naysaying Him—it is to cooperate with Satan in resisting God and standing in opposition to Him. This is the nature of people’s pursuit of fame, gain, and status. The problem with people pursuing their own interests is that the goals they pursue are the goals of Satan—they are goals that are wicked and unjust. When people pursue personal interests such as fame, gain, and status, they unwittingly become a tool of Satan, they become an outlet for Satan, and, moreover, they become an embodiment of Satan. They play a negative role in the church; toward the work of the church, and toward the normal church life and normal pursuit of God’s chosen people, the effect they have is to disturb and impair; they have an adverse and negative effect. When someone pursues the truth, they are able to be considerate of God’s will, and are mindful of God’s burden. When they do their duty, they uphold the work of the church in every regard. They are able to exalt God and testify to God, they bring benefit to the brothers and sisters, and support them, and provide for them, and God gains glory and testimony, which brings shame upon Satan. As a result of their pursuit, God gains a created being that is truly capable of fearing God and shunning evil, that is able to worship God. As a result of their pursuit, too, God’s will is carried out, and the work of God is able to progress. In the eyes of God, such pursuit is positive, it is aboveboard. Such pursuit is of tremendous benefit to God’s chosen ones, as well as being wholly beneficial to the work of the church, it helps push things forward, and is approved by God.
We will fellowship next about the interests of God, the interests of God’s house, and the interests of the church. Let’s not talk right now about whether there can be something in common between these three interests, that is, when talking about one interest, whether it can be equated to the others. Let’s talk first about God’s interests. I just mentioned that God’s interests include God’s glory, God’s testimony, God’s name, and most importantly, God’s management plan and the spread of God’s work, which are the biggest and most important things as far as God is concerned. For now, let us not mention God’s glory, God’s name, and God’s testimony, which are quite far removed from people. Let us first talk about God’s work. What work is God actually doing? What is the content of God’s work? What is the nature of God’s work? What does God’s work bring to humankind? What exactly is its impact on humankind? Let’s talk about these things first. So what exactly is God’s work? (Saving humankind.) This subject cannot change, the purpose of the work cannot change, that is, to save humankind, which is under Satan’s power and has been deeply corrupted by Satan. This work is to save one group of people who have been corrupted by Satan to the point of lacking all human semblance, one group of people who are filled with Satan’s corrupt dispositions, and filled with dispositions that resist God, in order to get them to change so that they have human likeness, and to get them to understand the truth, and understand and comprehend what is just and what is unjust, and what are positive things and what are negative things, and how people should live in order to live out the likeness of genuine people, and what position they should stand so that they are in the position that God has preordained for people to stand in. These are the basic contents of God’s work, and you all know them on a theoretical level. If you truly understand God’s will, you should know whether God judges people in order to condemn and destroy them, or in order to purify and perfect them, and whether God judges and chastises people in order to push them into a pit of fire, or in order to save them and bring them into the light. We can all see that God expresses so many truths, exposes people’s various corrupt states, corrects people’s deviations in their faith and their notions about faith, and leads people to understand the truth and live by God’s words, and to live out the likeness of genuine human beings, and that some results have already been achieved among God’s chosen ones. God exposes people’s arrogant dispositions and prevents them from becoming superhuman or great people, allowing them to become true created beings and people with conscience and reason; God exposes the hypocritical essence of Pharisees, allowing people to see the hypocritical faces of Pharisees, and bringing people into the truth reality of God’s words; God exposes the absurdity of traditional culture and the shackles that it places on people and the harm it does them, so that people can break away from the shackles of traditional culture and be able to accept the truth and live by God’s words…. All of this can be summed up as follows: God’s work of saving people is to bring people from the trends of the wicked world back to God’s house, and then to assiduously teach them and provide them with truth and life, so that they can understand and know what the true principles of comportment are and how people should comport themselves, so as to escape from the harm that the wicked trends of Satan and the various satanic philosophies and satanic poisons do to people. From the beginning to the present, God has done all manner of work, from His work in the Age of Law, to His work in the Age of Grace, to the work of judgment that He is now doing in the last days. Now that you are clear about these three stages of God’s work, what exactly is the nature of God’s work in His 6,000-year management plan? How should it be defined? (This is the most just cause among humankind.) That’s right. God’s work of managing and saving humankind has been going on for 6,000 years, and during these 6,000 years, God has tirelessly endured, waited, and spoken, leading humankind until now. God has not given up, and this work that God does is the most just cause among humankind. Looking at it from the nature of God’s work, are God’s interests the most just and most legitimate? (Yes.) If God’s interests are safeguarded, what will happen to humankind? Humankind can continue to survive well, live out the likeness of people, live within the laws of all things that God formulated, and enjoy everything God has bestowed upon humankind, and human beings will thus become the true masters of all things. You ought to see that God’s management work is ultimately in people’s greatest interests. So then, is not God’s work of saving humankind the most just cause among humankind? This is undeniable and beyond doubt—it is the most just cause. Therefore, if someone, for their own interests, would go so far as to harm the interests of God’s house and go so far as to hinder the spread of God’s work, what person is this? This is obviously a wicked rascal and a devil. God only provides to humankind, without demanding anything in return. While God is doing the work that is of greatest benefit to humankind and undertaking the most just cause, people not only don’t appreciate or thank God and don’t think to repay God, but on the contrary, they disrupt, disturb, and impair God’s work and pursue their own personal interests. Such people have no conscience or reason at all. Do they still deserve to be called people? These are very much devils and Satan! Even if, despite doing all this, God cannot move people, do they still have hearts? No, they don’t. Having no heart means having no conscience. Such people have no sense of conscience. When one’s humanity lacks conscience, one is no longer human, but an animal, a devil, and Satan. This is very obvious. In order for people to be saved, God is determined to pay any price and works tirelessly. No matter how people misunderstand or doubt, God has always been patient and continues to provide for people, telling them various aspects of truth over and over again, making them understand bit by bit, making them reflect and examine, and enabling them to understand God’s heart and comprehend God’s heart. And when people hear these words of God, they are moved and shed a few tears. But when they turn around, not only are they not considerate of God’s will, but they still pursue their own interests and still pursue blessings. Tell Me, do such people have no conscience and reason? What do such people lack most? They most lack conscience and reason, they most lack humanity. God endures all kinds of pain with the utmost patience to work and save people, but people still misunderstand God, constantly pit themselves against Him, constantly protect their own interests with no concern for the interests of God’s house, and always want to live a grand life, but do not want to contribute to the glory of God—in all this, is there any humanity to speak of? Although people proclaim testimony to God out loud, in their hearts they say: “This is the work I have done, which has achieved results. I too have exerted myself, I too have paid a price. Why not testify to me?” They always want to have a share in God’s glory and testimony. Are people worthy of these things? The word “glory” does not belong to humans. It can only belong to God, to the Creator, and has nothing to do with created human beings. Even if people exert themselves and cooperate, they are still under the leadership of the Holy Spirit’s work. If there is no work of the Holy Spirit, what can people do? The word “testimony” does not belong to humans either. Whether it be the noun “testimony” or the verb “testify,” both these words themselves have nothing to do with created human beings. Only the Creator is worthy of being testified to and worthy of people’s testimony. This is determined by God’s identity, status, and essence, and it is also because everything God does comes from God’s efforts, and God is worthy of having it. What people can do is decidedly limited, and is all the result of the enlightenment, leadership, and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As for human nature, people become arrogant once they understand some truths and can do a little bit of work. If they have no judgment and chastisement from God to accompany them, no one can achieve submission to God and testify to Him. As a result of God’s preordination, people may have some gifts or special talents, have learned some profession or skills, or have a bit of cleverness, and so they become insufferably arrogant, and constantly want God to share His glory and His testimony with them. Is this not unreasonable? This is unreasonable in the extreme. This shows they are standing in the wrong position. They regard themselves not as human beings, but as a breed apart, as superhumans. People who don’t know their own identity, essence, and what position they should stand in have no self-awareness. The humility of people is not something that comes from abasement—people are humble and lowly to start with. God’s humility is something that comes from abasement. To say that people are humble is to exalt them—in fact they are lowly. People always want to compete for fame, gain, and status, and compete with God for His chosen ones. In this way, they play the role of Satan, and this is the nature of Satan. They truly are descendants of Satan, without the slightest bit of difference. Supposing God gives people a little bit of authority and power, and supposing they can display miraculous signs and wonders and do some extraordinary things, and let’s assume that they do everything according to God’s requirements and do it to the letter. But can they surpass God? No, never. Are the abilities of Satan, the archangel, not greater than those of humans? It always wants to surpass God, but what is the end result? In the end, it must descend into the bottomless pit. God will forever be the embodiment of justice, whereas Satan the devil, the archangel, will forever be the embodiment of wickedness, and the representative of the forces of wickedness. God will forever be just, and this fact cannot be changed. This is the exceptional and extraordinary side of God. Even if human beings gain all of God’s truths from Him, they are only tiny created beings and cannot surpass God. This is the difference between humankind and God. People can only exist in an orderly manner within all the rules and laws formulated by God, and can only manage everything created by God within these rules and laws. People cannot create any living things, nor can they change the fate of humankind—this is a fact. What does this fact indicate? It is that no matter how much authority and ability God gives to humankind, in the end no one can transcend God’s authority. However many years, or however many generations, or however many humans there are, humans can only ever exist under God’s authority and sovereignty. This is a fact that is forever immutable, one that will never, ever change!
What do you feel after hearing these things? Some people say: “I used to think about these things in my consciousness, but unwittingly I came to feel that my abilities were growing. As I grew older, my thoughts also matured, and I could think about lots of issues more comprehensively, and as I listened to more of God’s words, I could understand some of His intentions, so I felt that I was strong and didn’t need God to hold sovereignty over me. Unconsciously, I came to feel that I was capable, and that I had gained God.” Is this a good feeling? (No.) How isn’t it good? This is not a good sign. So what is a good sign? The longer people live, the more they feel, “Human beings are like dust, and inferior to ants. No matter how strong or dignified people are, or how much doctrine they understand, or how mature their thoughts are, they cannot transcend God’s sovereignty.” The longer people live, the more they feel the greatness of God’s authority and the almightiness of God’s authority. The longer people live, the more they feel the insignificance of people. The longer they live, the more they feel the unfathomableness of God. Such a state of mind is normal. Do you have this kind of state now? Not yet, right? You are still often in the midst of a struggle, teetering on the edge of interests, and sometimes even sending out some tiny signals, saying, “How come God doesn’t share a little of His interests with me? Why doesn’t God pay me compliments? Why doesn’t God make people around me think highly of me? Why doesn’t God make people bear testimony to me? I’ve paid a price and made contributions. How will God reward me?” You still often wallow in a smug, self-satisfied mindset. You often don’t know who you are, and you often feel that you are capable. This situation is abnormal. This is not progress in life. What is this called? Corrupt dispositions inflating yet again. Some people are a bit more unassuming and low-key when they haven’t made any contributions. Once they do something important and make some contributions, and feel that they have capital, when they see the people around them, they wonder: “Why don’t you report on my contributions? You all bear testimony to God’s name and to God’s essence, so why not give a presentation about me? Even if you don’t bear testimony to me, you can just give a presentation about me. I, Sister So-and-so, have believed in God for 25 years. I am now 45 years old, still unmarried and single, and have pursued devoutly and enthusiastically to this day. Because I am a mainstay of the church, many times I have been placed on the Chinese Communist government’s wanted list, hunted down, and have gone into hiding in all sorts of places, drifting between more than ten provinces before moving overseas. After all that, I have continued to serve as a person in charge of important work of God’s house, during which time I have put forward many constructive suggestions, ideas and concepts for certain jobs of God’s house, making an indelible contribution to advancing the church’s work and spreading the kingdom gospel of God. Why don’t you present me like that? Why doesn’t God give me some environments and occasions to display my talents so that everyone can learn about me and know about me? Why does God always stifle us? In God’s house we aren’t that free, nor are we that relaxed, liberated, or happy!” She even wants to be relaxed, liberated, and happy. How can we make you relaxed, liberated, and happy? By putting you at the top of the ranking? Then, after putting you at the top of the pile, by giving a presentation on you: Out in the world this person was a famous doctor, who won the first prize for famous doctors of the nation, and her name was subsequently included in the “Encyclopedia of World-Famous Doctors.” She has completed many papers, and after coming into God’s house, she has continued to be a mainstay and a person of talent, and she has now become a senior leader. Will she not then be happy? She will think, “I am a person of talent. I was a celebrity before, and after coming into God’s house I’m still a celebrity. I am like gold that shines wherever you put it, and no one can contain its glow. These abilities of mine are there for all to see! Although God doesn’t bear testimony, these facts bear resounding testimony to me.” What do you think about this opinion? If you can’t let go of your pursuit of fame and gain for one day, then you are still bound by fame, gain, and status, and you cannot truly be relaxed and happy. As long as you are bound, restricted and yoked by the shackles of fame and gain, you will not move forward in your pursuit of the truth, but can only remain stuck where you are. Some people may ask: “Will I backslide?” The fact is that as long as you don’t move forward, you are stuck on the spot or backsliding. This shows that your nature essence is this thing, and no matter how many years you believe in God for, you will never make any progress, and even to the end you may still do a great deal of evil. It can be said with all certainty that you will be revealed. Once such a person has the right environment, once they have gained status, their ambition will be exposed. In fact, without this environment and status, would they have no ambition? They still would have it. They just are this thing and this essence, and their ambition cannot be contained. Once they have the right environment, they will “explode” all of a sudden, and no constraints will be able to hold them back, and they will start doing evil, and their ugly face of a devil will be completely exposed. This is a case of being revealed. You should understand the word “reveal” in this way: God didn’t intend to reveal you, God meant to give you an opportunity to practice. But you didn’t know a good thing when you saw one, and even made a real show of yourself. Doesn’t being revealed serve you right? This is your own choice. It is not that God deliberately intended to reveal you and cast you out. It was your motives and ambitions that revealed you. Who else can you put the blame on?
In terms of people’s interests and God’s interests, have we more or less fellowshiped enough about the truth in this regard? What are people’s personal interests? They are the things that people pursue, including fame, gain and status, the ambition and desire to receive blessings, as well as people’s vanity and pride, family, relatives, material interests, and so on. The essence of people’s interests is selfish and despicable, it is wicked and satanic, it is contrary to the truth, and it disrupts, disturbs, and destroys the work of God’s house, whereas God’s interests are the most just cause of saving humankind, and represent God’s love, God’s work, and God’s holiness and righteousness. Therefore, God is justified in defending His interests. He is defending a just cause. This is not because God is selfish and wants to defend His own dignity. This is just and legitimate, and it is of immeasurable benefit to the human race that God saves. Only when God defends His interests can humankind be saved as a result, and gain greater benefits as a result, obtain the truth, the way, and the life, and only then can people finally become true created beings, and live within all the laws and rules established by God, and live among all the things God has created for them, and only then can humankind obtain joyfulness and a truly beautiful life. Is all this which God does a just cause? It is just in the extreme! This work and this management by God, as well as all the jobs in the church that involve God’s salvation of mankind—such as spreading the gospel, shooting movies, writing testimony articles, making videos, translating God’s words, and maintaining the normal order of church life—these jobs are important and must be guaranteed. There is also the aspect of guaranteeing the life of all God’s chosen people who do their duties. Although this is a most basic job, similar to support services, and doesn’t seem to have much to do with the main work of God’s house, it is also very important, and it is necessary to mention it here. Normal things like food, clothing, accommodation, and transport—this is what God furnishes for people, and they are also the most legitimate physical needs that people with normal humanity should possess. God will not deprive people of these needs, but rather, He must defend them. If you always disturb, disrupt, and undermine things that God wants to defend, if you always show contempt toward such things, and always have notions and opinions about them, then you are naysaying God and standing against Him. If you don’t regard the work of God’s house and the interests of God’s house as important, and always want to undermine them, and always want to cause destruction, or always want to profit from them, cheat, or embezzle, then will God be angry with you? (Yes.) What are the consequences of God’s anger? (We will be punished.) This is for certain. God will not forgive you, absolutely not! Because what you are doing is tearing down and destroying the church’s work, and this is in conflict with the work and interests of God’s house. This is a great evil, it is entering into a rivalry with God, and it is something that directly offends God’s disposition. How can God not be angry with you? If some people, because they are of poor caliber, aren’t competent in their work and unintentionally do things that cause disruption and disturbance, this is excusable. However, if due to your own personal interests you engage in jealousy and strife and intentionally do things that disrupt, disturb, and destroy the work of God’s house, this counts as deliberate violation, and this is a matter of offending God’s disposition. Will God forgive you? God is doing the work of His 6,000-year management plan, and all of His painstaking effort goes into it. If someone opposes God, deliberately harms the interests of God’s house, and deliberately pursues their personal interests and their personal prestige and status at the expense of harming the interests of God’s house, and doesn’t hesitate to tear down the church’s work, causing the work of God’s house to be obstructed and destroyed, and even doing tremendous material and financial damage to God’s house, do you think that such people should be forgiven? (No, they shouldn’t.) You all say that they cannot be forgiven, so is God angry with such people? For sure, He is. God has done such a great job of expressing the truth and saving people, and put all His painstaking effort into it. God takes this most just cause so seriously; all His painstaking effort has been exerted for these people whom He wants to save, all of His expectations are also placed on these people, and the final results and glory that He wants to obtain from His 6,000-year management plan will all be realized on these people. If someone enters into rivalry against God, opposes, disturbs, or destroys the result of this cause, will God forgive them? (No.) Does this offend God’s disposition? If you keep saying that you follow God, pursue salvation, accept God’s scrutiny and guidance, and accept and submit to God’s judgment and chastisement, but all the while you are saying these words, you are nevertheless disrupting, disturbing, and destroying the church’s various work, and because of your disturbance, disruption, and destruction, because of your negligence or dereliction of duty, or because of your selfish desires and for the sake of pursuing your own interests, the interests of God’s house, the church’s interests, and a multitude of other aspects have been harmed, even to the point that the work of God’s house has been seriously disturbed and destroyed, how, then, should God weigh up your outcome in your book of life? How should you be labeled? In all fairness, you should be punished. This is called getting your just deserts. What do you understand now? What are people’s interests? (They are wicked.) People’s interests are actually all their extravagant desires. To put it bluntly, they are all temptations, they are all falsehoods, and they are all bait used by Satan to tempt people. Pursuing fame, gain, and status, and pursuing one’s own interests—this is cooperating with Satan in doing evil, and it is opposing God. In order to hinder God’s work, Satan raises up various environments to tempt, disturb, and mislead people, and to prevent people from following God, and to prevent them from being able to submit to God. Instead, they cooperate with Satan and follow it, deliberately rising up to disturb and destroy God’s work. No matter how much God fellowships on the truth, they still don’t come to their senses. No matter how much God’s house prunes and deals with them, they still don’t accept the truth. They don’t submit to God at all, instead they insist on having things their own way and doing as they please. As a result, they disturb and destroy the church’s work, seriously affect the progress of the church’s various work, and cause enormous harm to the life entry of God’s chosen people. This sin is too great, and such people will certainly be punished by God.
Right now, in your minds, which jobs in the church are the most important and involve the expansion of God’s management plan? (Spreading the gospel.) Gospel work is a major job. God’s work is work as God sees it, but to people it is their duty. In addition to gospel work, there is also video production work, translation work, hymns and various text-based work. Nowadays most people who do their duty full-time are engaged in activities relating to these jobs. Tell Me, which of these jobs can be dispensed with? Some people say, “Music is just a matter of a few notes, which I don’t think are important. God’s words can still be proclaimed and spread just the same without all those melodies, and can bring people before God just the same.” Is it right to say that? (No, it’s wrong.) Why is it wrong? Would the various types of video production be any good without music? (No.) In addition to being needed for singing hymns within the church, all the films, music videos, choruses, and stage plays, as well as video recitals of God’s words and so on, also require music. Although on the face of it, music is indeed just a matter of notes, once people get to hear this music it is more effective in proclaiming God’s words, and it can play a role in pushing forward the spreading of the gospel, so it is indispensable. Even if you are just casually talking here and there is background music, the effect will be different, will it not? So this duty is very important. Some people say: “Is our video production work important, then?” You tell Me, is video production work important? (Yes.) For example, a large portion of the images produced using special effects technology couldn’t be substituted with any raw video footage, nor could they be filmed—this is modern art. There are those who say: “God’s house even talks of modern art. Isn’t this a case of keeping pace with the times?” How is this keeping pace with the times? This is called taking advantage of Satan to do one’s bidding. Of course, it is not taking advantage of brothers and sisters to do one’s bidding. By that I mean, if you can learn some technical and artistic professions and use this professional knowledge in the work of spreading the gospel and proclaiming God’s words, then what you have learned is useful. If you can learn it, it is God’s grace, and you can then do the related duty, and you will be blessed. Is this not a blessing for you? (Yes.) So, what you learn isn’t what matters, what matters is whether you use it for your duty. There are others who say: “We do text-based work, but no one ever gets to know about us, no one mentions us, and many people don’t even get to see us. We’ve become dispensable.” This is not looking at the matter clearly. People can’t see you, but God can see you, God is scrutinizing you, God is guiding you, God is blessing you, why can’t you feel it? Does it matter whether or not people see you or mention you? Which truth has not been provided to you? Which sermons and fellowships did you get left out of? In all actuality, the technical content of text-based work is not very high, and the professional aspects don’t need to be strengthened that much. However, one thing is indispensable. You must understand the truth. If you do not understand the truth, you will not be able to write anything. You have knowledge of writing, you can standardize language, organize language, and you can set out a structure and ideas in a piece of writing. However, the structure itself is not the article. It needs to be filled with content. What exactly should be written by way of content, and how exactly it should be written to achieve the result of testifying to God—this is what you should enter into. If you only linger on this foundation, that of testifying to God’s words and proclaiming this stage of God’s work, then your stature will never grow. If, in addition to testifying to God’s new work, countering people’s notions, and fellowshiping about some truths of visions, you can also fellowship on some truths about life entry, and use some facts, stories, and some quite finely described details to express all of the various states deep in people’s hearts, so that people recognize their corruption, and so that they understand what God’s requirements are for humankind and what God’s will is, and furthermore recognize the most critical issues—what exactly the truth is, what the path is that people should take, where the error lies in the wrong paths that people are taking now, what kind of people God requires human beings to be, and what the path is that God requires people to take—if you can progress step by step toward this, then the duty you do will be extremely valuable. But this is the hard part, this is the hardest thing. People’s entry into life does not happen in the space of one or two days. Many things take one or two years from the beginning to when a person has consciousness. It takes two to three years, or even three to five years from having a vague consciousness to having a clear consciousness, it takes two or three years from one’s consciousness becoming clear to realizing the nature of this matter, and then it takes another two or three years to know the seriousness of this problem. People who are numb and have poor caliber can only reach this point. People who are of better caliber and sharp of spirit know to actively seek out what the truth is, which takes another two or three years…. Before they know it, their whole life has gone by. This is how slow life entry is! People’s understanding and remembrance of the truth far exceed the speed with which people experience and comprehend the truth. What do I mean by this? I mean that experiencing and comprehending are always slow, because this is life, whereas understanding and remembering only require the mind. People with a good memory, strong understanding ability, some caliber and some educational grounding can achieve these things quickly. But after understanding, does one then have knowledge? No. After understanding, one just stops at knowing what this matter is about, and nothing more, but that still won’t do when taking action. Why won’t it do? Oftentimes, the doctrine you understand cannot be applied or linked to the matters that befall you. As a result, it is only after failing multiple times, suffering quite a few losses, making a fair few detours, and receiving many judgments, chastisements, prunings, and dealings that you finally understand the truth, and are able to practice and experience God’s words in all the various things that befall you. By then, so many years will have flashed by that your face may be covered with wrinkles—is this not very slow? People’s lives progress very slowly, because the truth that people understand involves people’s nature essence, people’s existence, and the things that people live by, and this involves the transformation of one’s disposition as well as changes in one’s life. How can it be so easy for your life to change into another life? In one respect, it requires God’s work, and at the same time, it also needs people to actively cooperate; on top of that, there are the trials of the external environment, as well as your personal pursuit; in addition, you must have sufficient caliber and perceptiveness, and God will then give you additional enlightenment and guidance; what’s more, God will mete out some chastisements, judgments, prunings and dealings to you, and your brothers and sisters will criticize you, and still you must pursue upward, so that those things which belong to Satan can be eliminated—only then can the positive things that belong to the truth enter in little by little. Some people say, “When people understand the truth, their lives change.” Is it right or wrong to say this? (It’s wrong.) How is it wrong? Understanding the truth does not equate to having the truth, and once you understand it, neither is it your life. Once you hear the truth, comprehend it, and understand what you hear, how long can it exist in your heart? It may be that a month later, those words that you thought at the time were most important have completely disappeared, and when you hear them again, you feel as if you have never heard them before. However, if you do possess such a life stature, you don’t have to listen to them over and over again. If you don’t, you must keep listening, and if you don’t listen, then what you understand will gradually dwindle and disappear until you become just like unbelievers. Therefore, God’s words and the truth must be listened to and read constantly. Reading or listening to them too little will not do. You all have a deep realization of this, right? (Yes.) Sometimes after not singing hymns or praying to God for two or three days, you feel empty in your heart and cannot grasp God, so you wonder where to go for a walk to relax. As a result, the more you relax, the more undisciplined you become, and when you go to church to fellowship with your brothers and sisters about the truth, you feel unaccustomed to it, and as soon as church work is mentioned you feel somewhat awkward. Within the space of two or three days you have changed and become like a different person, so that you feel you don’t even recognize yourself anymore. How can this be? Don’t think that since you have listened to a lot of sermons, the truth has become your life, and you have obtained the truth. You are still far from that! Don’t think that just because you have written a testimony article or had that kind of experience, you are already saved. You are not there yet! That is just a small fragment in your long life experience. This fragment may be just a momentary mood, a momentary feeling, a momentary wish or ambition, and nothing more. When one day you are weak and you look back and listen to the testimonies you once gave, the oaths you once made, and the understandings you once came to, they will feel unfamiliar to you, and you will say, “Was that me? Did I have such great stature? How come I don’t know? That wasn’t me, surely?” At this point you will realize that your life still hasn’t changed. What does it indicate if your life hasn’t changed? It is that your disposition still hasn’t transformed. How will you feel when you discover that—despite having given testimonies and having thought at the time that you were already of great stature—you can still become as negative as you are now? Would you not think that transforming one’s disposition is too hard? The truth is not something that can be wrought into people overnight. If people really gain the truth as their life, they will be blessed, and their lives will be different. They will no longer be like they are now, often revealing corrupt dispositions, but will be able to submit absolutely to God and do their duty loyally, and they will be completely transformed.
Because humankind is so corrupted, accepting the truth is no easy matter, and because the truth is so precious, it is even less easy for God to work the truth into people. The value and meaning of the truth and all the multifarious aspects of the truth are so valuable and meaningful for humans. But because humans have been corrupted so profoundly by Satan and have so many things belonging to Satan inside them, it is not that easy to work the truth into people so that it becomes their life. Does this mean, then, that the truth cannot be wrought into people? No, it doesn’t. It can be wrought into them, but people must have a correct attitude and view, and they must follow the right path. Difficult to do doesn’t mean that it can’t be done, just like the first two stages of God’s work, when God didn’t do perfection work, nor did He express these truths or say these words, but some people were perfected, and some came to know God all the same. Looking at it from this fact, it is achievable and not unfeasible for the truth to be wrought into people, it just depends on whether people pursue the truth. So how should one pursue? The simplest way is to read God’s words every day, memorize essential words of God, contemplate a passage of God’s words every day, and pray-read and fellowship on those words over and over again. Once you have pray-read these views and sayings—as well as the attitudes toward various people, events, and things—that God’s words are meant to teach you, so that you understand them and they have entered your heart, then before you know it, positive thoughts and views, and principles of practice will be lived out whenever various matters befall you. You haven’t reached this level yet. Did you read what Job did? What was Job doing while his children were making merry? He came before God to pray and offer sacrifices for his children. He never strayed from God. That is to say, steer clear of anything that might cause your heart to stray from God; don’t say anything that might cause your heart to stray from God; avoid looking at things that might cause you to stray from God or develop notions or doubts about Him; don’t come into contact with people who might make you negative, degenerate, and self-indulgent, or who might make you suspect, defy, or stray from God, but instead give such people a wide berth; stay close to whomever you can gain edification, help, and provision from; and don’t do things that might make you spurn, dislike, or be disgusted by the truth. You must have some idea of these things in your own mind. Don’t muddle through life, thinking, “I don’t care how long I live for, or how my life pans out, I’ll leave everything to nature and God’s orchestrations.” God has arranged environments for you and given you free will to choose, but if you do not cooperate, and constantly take it upon yourself to come into contact with those people who are fond of worldly things, and who always indulge in the flesh, and who aren’t devoted to their duties, and who are irresponsible, and if you constantly mix with those people, what is the final result and outcome? When those people have nothing to do, they talk about eating, drinking and having fun, and often tell tales and gossip. If you encounter such temptations and don’t stay away from them and even become obsessed with these things and deliberately hang out with such people, then you are in danger, for temptation is all around you! When wise people see such temptation, they stay away. They are clear in their hearts, “I don’t have that stature, I won’t listen, and neither do I want to pay them any attention. These people don’t pursue the truth or love the truth. I’ll stay away and find a quiet place to read God’s words by myself, quiet down my heart and contemplate for a while, and come before God.” All these principles and objectives are: First, do not stray from God’s words; and second, do not stray from God in your heart. In this way, you can constantly live before God upon the foundation of understanding what the truth is. In one sense, God will protect you from being plunged into temptation. In another sense, God will treat you extremely graciously, enabling you to understand what you should do to practice the truth, and enabling you to be illuminated and enlightened about all the various truths. When it comes to your duty, God will guide you to try not to make mistakes, to always get things right, and to know the principles. In this way, will you not be protected? Of course, this is not the biggest and ultimate goal. So what is the ultimate goal? It is that you can learn lessons from various people, events, and things, understand God’s will, know God’s work, and practice according to the principles required by God. In this way, your life and stature can continue to progress instead of stagnating. If you are always busy going about affairs and don’t focus on practicing the truth in performing your duties and resolving the difficulties of life entry, then you will not make progress in your life. Life entry is achieved by performing one’s duty. If one departs from performing one’s duty and departs from God’s words, there will be no progress in life. Some people see others idly chatting and so they get involved and stick their nose in, constantly being a busybody and constantly fond of gossip—God does not like such people. What kind of people does God like? People who can quiet their hearts. Quiet themselves down to do what? To be a puppet that thinks of nothing? No, to pray quietly before God, seek God’s will, ask God to protect you, and ask God to enlighten you. Also, to seek to be enlightened and illuminated about some aspect of the truth that you don’t understand so as to achieve understanding and clarity on this aspect of the truth, or to seek to resolve whichever aspect of your work is beset by problems, and obtain God’s guidance. There are so many tasks that need to be undertaken and things that need to be done when one is quiet before God. It is not a case of coming to God to check in whenever you have an idle moment and saying, “God, I’m here, I have You in my heart, be with me, don’t let me fall into temptation!” If you go through the motions like this and are offhanded with God, then you are not a true believer, and God will not bestow the truth upon such people. What must people first possess in order for God to bestow the truth upon them? They must have a heart that hungers and thirsts for righteousness, a sincere heart. What does it represent if your heart is sincere? It represents that you really love the truth. If you are always offhanded with God and are not sincere at all, and always want to make your own decisions on everything, and always want to come before God to check in, say hello, and then call the shots and go do things by yourself, then although God has commissioned His work to you, you end up having nothing to do with God or the truth. What is this called? This is called resisting God and conducting your own business. Can God enlighten you this way? No. Have you all grasped the way to pursue the truth and understand the truth? You must come before God often, quiet your heart to seek the truth and pray to God, and you must learn to quiet yourself. Quieting yourself does not mean having an empty mind, but having requests, thoughts, and burdens in your heart, coming before God with a sincere and yearning heart, having a yearning for the truth and God’s will, and bearing a burden for the duty you perform and for the work you do—this is what you should have when you come before God and quiet yourself.
I just fellowshiped that all the church’s work is directly related to the work of spreading God’s kingdom gospel. In particular, the work of spreading the gospel and all jobs that relate to professions have an important and inseparable connection with the work of spreading the gospel. Therefore, whatever involves the work of spreading the gospel involves the interests of God and the interests of God’s house. If people can correctly understand the work of spreading the gospel, they should correctly approach the duties they do and the duties done by others. How to approach them correctly? Put in your best effort and do them in accordance with God’s requirements. At the very least, don’t engage in behaviors and practices that deliberately cause damage or disturbance, and don’t intentionally do things that you know to be wrong. If someone insists on doing something even though they know it disrupts and disturbs the church’s work, and no one can dissuade them from it, then they are doing evil, courting death, and showing their true colors as a devil. Hurry and make the brothers and sisters discern them for what they are, then clear the evil person out of the church. If the evildoer is in a moment of folly and isn’t deliberately doing evil, how should such a matter be treated? Should the person be educated and helped? What if they are educated and still don’t listen? The brothers and sisters come together to criticize them. What if the person is competent at their job yet doesn’t try their best to do it, but for the time being there’s no one to replace them, and everyone still wants the person to do it? Everyone comes together to prune and deal with the person and to warn them, “God has exalted you and asked you to do this duty. If you don’t try your best to do it, and continue to cause a disturbance, and continue to throw in the towel, then you patently have no conscience and are not suitable to do your duty.” Is this way good or not? If someone can replace them, then let them go. Would you dare to do that? Most people wouldn’t dare. When it comes to defending the church’s work, many people daren’t stand up and uphold justice. Isn’t this a case of not daring to adhere to the truth? Some people bury their heads in the sand and are indifferent when they see the church’s work being disrupted or disturbed, as if it has nothing to do with them, and their attitude is to turn a blind eye to it. But if someone criticizes them by saying that they shouldn’t be like this, or despises them or looks down on them, they become irritated and think to themselves: “Who do you think you are? Who are you to criticize me? Who are you to look down on me? We must talk this matter through.” They take this matter to heart and treat it seriously, and they can’t do without saying something and declaring where they stand. They felt nothing when the church’s work was obstructed, disturbed, and damaged, but instead turned a blind eye to it. What kind of people are these? (Selfish and despicable people.) Is this just selfishness and despicableness? This problem is so serious that it cannot be summed up in just one sentence. It can only be said that such people have no humanity and are absolutely not good people. In fact, this is what antichrists do, and of course, false leaders are no exception. Antichrists have no idea what the interests of God’s house are. When the church’s work is being obstructed they cannot see it. Some people cause a complete mess by disturbing the church’s work, but when antichrists see this, they don’t take it seriously. They downplay it and limply scold the perpetrator with a few simple remarks, admonishing them briefly and nothing more, without the merest hint of indignation. Do such people have a sense of justice? What kind of people are these? Such people bite the hand that feeds them, they are traitors! They are scum!
I just gave a general overview of what people’s interests are, what the essence of people’s interests is, why people pursue personal interests, what the nature of people’s pursuit of personal interests is, and also what the nature of God’s interests is, and how they are defined. God’s interests are the most just cause and should be regarded as such. It is absolutely not selfish for God to defend His interests, nor is it only for the sake of defending His dignity and glory. Rather, He wants to defend the progress and results of His work, and defend a just cause. This is a most just and legitimate behavior and course of action, and this is an act of God. Created human beings should not harbor any notions about this act of God, let alone harbor any accusations or judgments. Can we say that God’s interests are above all else? (Yes.) Is it selfish to say this? (No.) People understand this aspect of the truth, and on this basis, this statement holds water. It is not intentionally biased, it is impartial and legitimate. “They never consider the interests of God’s house, and even sell those interests out in exchange for personal glory”—this is the essence of antichrists. Their attitude and approach toward interests are of this nature, and they never consider the interests of God’s house. What does “never” mean? Namely, that they don’t think about God’s interests at all, nor do they have any such concept, they only consider their own interests—that is what it means. Just how serious is it? Selling out the interests of God’s house in exchange for personal glory and personal interests. Their interests are paramount and can replace God’s interests. They will fight for their interests no matter how wicked, illegitimate, or negative these interests are, and in order to seize their interests and fight for them they would go so far as to sacrifice anyone, at any cost. What kind of behavior is this? (That of antichrists.) The behavior of antichrists—this is what Satan does. Satan dominates this human race, dominates a country, dominates a race, and would go so far as to sacrifice any number of lives in exchange for the stability of its dominion. What are its interests? Power and a position of dominance. So how does it gain a position of dominance and how does it stabilize this dominance? (At all costs.) At all costs. That is, it doesn’t care whether its practices and methods appear legitimate or illegitimate to the public, and it uses everything from slaughter and suppression, to soft and hard tactics, coercion and inducement, and would go so far as to sacrifice anyone’s life or any number of lives in exchange for the stability of its position and the power in its hands—this is the behavior of Satan. Antichrists do things this way, too.
Do these words in today’s fellowship accord with your taste? (I gained a lot after listening today, and in particular, the dissection of knowledge and intellectuals greatly touched me. In the past, I didn’t quite agree with the idea that intellectuals lack spiritual understanding, but during this period, through God’s dissection of knowledge, I have gradually been able to draw comparisons and see that, on many occasions, I myself cannot comprehend God’s words, I don’t understand them when I hear them, and when viewing people and events, I look at them and analyze them from an intellectual viewpoint, which leads to a distorted comprehension—this is a lack of spiritual understanding. Now I can see more clearly the essence of intellectuals.) In talking about intellectuals today, I am absolutely not targeting any one person, but if you can hold yourselves up for comparison against My words, that is a good thing, and there is hope that you can turn things around and enter in. You should pursue diligently, from the point of not understanding or comprehending the truth, to slowly reaching the point where you can understand some simple, stand-alone, less profound truths one after another, so that what you understand is the truth rather than words and doctrines. In this way, little by little, you will have spiritual understanding. If you figure things out by focusing on truth and reality, you will gradually understand the truth; if you constantly analyze things by focusing on doctrine, using logic and using your mind, then what you understand will be just doctrine or theory, which will never become the truth, and you will never go any further than the foundation of doctrine. Is this not the case? (Yes.) Some people say, “Why can’t I understand some of the words of God that I read? How come they aren’t that easy for people to understand and accept when measured using grammar and based on essay structure?” How do you explain this problem? Can you understand it now? I’ll explain it to you. God has been speaking to humans ever since humankind came into existence, and every word and paragraph of what He says is just language, rather than essays. As I speak here today, am I delivering an essay, giving a report, or just conversing? (Conversing.) I am chatting with you, telling the truth, and talking about the subjects that you need. I am speaking, not delivering an essay. Therefore, you have to understand what an essay is and what speaking is—there are differences between the two. The several elements that essays require are aspects of knowledge that come from humankind, and God does not need to abide by this knowledge when speaking. He only needs to plainly and clearly speak the truths that He means to speak of, and as long as people can understand the truths they hear, that is enough, and there is no need to even use punctuation marks. Humankind invented punctuation marks and essays, and it also invented grammar and the elements that essays require. These things all fall within the category of knowledge, and God does not need to abide by them. In addition, language comes from God, and this is a positive thing. Therefore, no matter what God says, it is right. There is no need for you to inspect it for grammatical issues, or compare or dissect the grammatical issues. You only need to understand in a given piece, in a given paragraph, and in a given sentence, what God’s will is, what the truth is, what the truth principles are that God requires of people, and what the path of practice is that God tells people, and that is enough. This is reason that created beings—people—should possess. God’s words and actions do not need to abide by all these conventions and frameworks formulated by people, and also these regulations and purely intellectual things inherent in knowledge, which do not need to be adhered to. God has said many things, and no matter what He says, it is the truth. The more that people with spiritual understanding and people with experience read God’s words, the more they feel that God’s words are the truth. What the truth is that these words contain is something that people need to figure out, seek, and experience. God speaks to humankind—remember, what God does is speak, and “speaking” is known in slang terms as chitchat, or talking about stuff. What is the essence contained in what God wants to say here? It is God’s will, the truth, and God’s requirements for people—this is the content. The nature of speaking is to talk plainly and clearly in a chatty way, heart to heart and face to face, sometimes using some colloquial language and dialect, and sometimes using some literary words. To write an essay, you need to have an opening in the first paragraph, develop and expound on the issue in the middle, and then arrive at a climax and an ending. It must be written exactly according to this format in order to be considered an essay, and only once you submit it can the teacher then read through it and grade it as average, good, or excellent. Can you grade God’s words in this way? Supposing you said, “This piece is good, it has good grammar, it’s spoken in divine language, and it completely conforms to the structure of an essay; that piece is not so good, it’s a bit disorganized, and the structure isn’t so good. Some of the words aren’t that grammatical, and there are even some words that don’t seem to be used in the right places.” Is it okay to read God’s words in this way? (No.) It would be distorted to read them in this way, and you will never gain the truth. You must learn to read between the lines of God’s words in order to see what God requires of you and what the truth is that these words contain—that’s the smart thing to do. You don’t even know how to look at these things, and you keep saying all day long: “How come God’s words aren’t even essays? God’s words should be like speeches, and God should speak with polished language.” I don’t do that. It would be so tiring, and you would get tired of listening, and the person speaking would get tired too. Think about God speaking in heaven, speaking to Job, speaking to Peter, speaking to Moses and Jonah—were God’s words not simple and clear? You cannot see at all how extraordinary, abstract, or great they are, or how rigorous the wording is. Look at when Satan tempted Job, God said to Satan, “Have you examined My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil?” (Job 1:8), and “Behold, he is in your hand; but save his life” (Job 2:6). God’s words were both simple and concise, and explained the matter very clearly. This is God’s disposition and God’s essence. God does not deliberately use mystifying double-talk, and His greatness, extraordinariness, honorableness, authority, and power are not faked. Why do I say they are not faked? When He talks to a person, He does not put on a pretense, camouflage Himself with a lofty image, or say things that people cannot understand—it is Satan that does that, God does not do that—and since God is saying it, He will make you understand it. If you are a child, He will speak to you in words that children can understand. If you are an elderly person, He will speak to you in the language of elderly people. If you are a man, He will speak to you in language that men are accustomed to using. If you are a corrupt human being, He will speak to you in a way and with a structure to His language that corrupt humans can understand. God speaks in a multitude of ways. Sometimes He makes jokes, sometimes He makes ironic remarks, sometimes He is sarcastic, sometimes He dissects, sometimes He is sterner, sometimes He is gentler, sometimes He makes you feel touched, and sometimes He comforts you after dealing with you…. All this work that God does and these truths He expresses are not rigid, they are fluid. God is the spring of living water, and the source of truth is God. Whatever God says is okay, there is truth in it, and it doesn’t matter in what way He says it. If someone always has notions about God’s ways of speaking, the structure of His language, and so on, and constantly scrutinizes and doubts them, and always feels upset about these things and thinks, “The God I believe in doesn’t really seem like God, why is He like that? So I don’t want to accept Him, it would be too embarrassing if I accepted Him, I may as well believe So-and-so,” what kind of person is this? (A nonbeliever.) This is a nonbeliever. What kind of people are the majority of nonbelievers? People who lack spiritual understanding. When people who lack spiritual understanding read God’s words, they scrutinize them intently, with the result that they still cannot completely figure them out, so they wonder, “Since this is the true way, is it possible to actually gain blessings by believing this way? So many people believe. If I don’t believe, won’t I go to hell?” They even harbor petty schemes. They don’t wonder, “They say there is truth in God’s words, so what is the truth? How come I haven’t seen it? I must read and listen!” One day they finally “understand what they hear” and think, “What these words reveal is the true situation, it’s the truth. But the language is too ordinary and commonplace, it’s very run-of-the-mill, and might be scorned and discriminated against by the intelligentsia, and regarded as the most ordinary talk, and even prosaic in the case of some words, and some words which high-level intellectuals in knowledge industries wouldn’t condescend to use are actually spoken from the mouth of God—it’s so inconceivable and it shouldn’t be like that, surely?” What are the consequences of this constant scrutinizing? You will feel that you are better than God, and that God should believe in you and exalt you. Is this not problematic? These are people who lack spiritual understanding. Their attitude toward God is always to stand against God and scrutinize Him. At the same time as scrutinizing God, they are defying Him, and at the same time as defying Him, they are thinking, “It’s better that You aren’t God, because You are so insignificant, You aren’t like God. If You were God, I wouldn’t feel at ease. If I despise You and scrutinize You, analyzing You to the point that You are no longer God, and no one believes in You, then I will be happy, and if I look for a great God to believe in, I will feel at peace.” Such people are nonbelievers. Most nonbelievers lack spiritual understanding. They will never understand or obtain the truth from these most ordinary utterances of God. They merely scrutinize them over and over again, not only failing to obtain the truth, but also ruining the important matter of their own salvation, and also revealing themselves and casting themselves out. Let us end today’s fellowship here. (Thanks be to God!) Goodbye!
January 17, 2020
a. “Lao” and “xiao” are prefixes added before surnames in the Chinese language as a term of address expressing a sense of familiarity or casualness that is shared between the speaker and listener.