Chapter 4. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Knowing God Is the Path to Fearing God and Shunning Evil” (IV)
Having True Communion With God Is the Only Way to Have a Genuine Experience of Life
“However intent man may be on following God, if he has never had genuine communion with God, or had a genuine experience of God’s words, then his knowledge of God would be no more than a sheer blank or an endless reverie.” This passage is even deeper. No matter how devotedly people follow God, if they have never had genuine communion with God or a genuine experience of God’s words, then it is all for naught! It would be meaningless. Some people might say: “We cannot see God. Isn’t what we are doing now believing in God? Because we cannot see Him, it is by faith that we follow Him. Then what is this about having genuine communion with God?” Spiritually unenlightened people do not understand this communion. They say: “Communion is holding hands, it is speaking, and you can only have communion when face to face with another. We cannot see God’s face, so how are we to have communion with Him?” Is this rational? These people’s notions and thoughts are not tenable, and they are spiritually unenlightened people. Communion with God does not depend on whether we know God or whether we see Him externally. It is not based on our vision, but rather on our spirit. Sometimes, when God does something, people know. How do they know? For example, once when somebody is about to go out to do something, he suddenly feels panicked and anxious inside. Then, he feels: “Ah, God is obstructing me.” He can clearly feel that God is obstructing him. Sometimes, after doing something, he feels confused inside and do not know if he did the right thing. Then, after being disciplined, he understands and prays to God: “O God, I understand Your will. I did wrong in this matter. I rebelled against You. I have been reckless and irresponsible. I regret and admit my mistakes, I would never do such matters again. This matter saddens You too much.” Is this not having true communion with God? This is a kind of communion. Haven’t most people had this kind of communion? Some people have communion with God like this, and others have it in other ways. Some people have very deep communion with God. To what degree? “O God! I see Your love. I must devote everything to You! I have devoted too little in the past. I was too selfish! This time, I will devote my time, my whole being, and my energy all to You.” After praying, they put it into practice. This is true communion. Some people also make prayers like this, but in their heart they are not honestly having fellowship with God, but rather they make prayers by going through the process of religious ceremony. They also devote themselves, but afterward they are regretful. Is this communion with God? (No.) Some is and some isn’t, but both look similar on the outside. Then can’t we distinguish between true and false communion here? Now do you know what is having genuine communion with God? (Yes.) If you really understand, then think back on whether you have had true communion with God over your many years of faith. Be introspective. This is very important, very crucial. The more true your communion with God is, the more you will come to know God. If your prayers to God are religious prayers, that does not match the requirements of genuine communion with God. That kind of false communion will not produce knowledge of God.
Job had an experience once that God spoke to him from the whirlwind. He said, “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). Some of God’s chosen people say, “When I was suffering heavy torture after arrest, I felt that God was by my side, I felt that God was looking at me, and I felt that God was watching over me and protecting me.” Have people like this had true communion with God? They have seen God face to face. Did they see Him with their eyes? They knew clearly in their heart, “God is by my side, granting me strength.” All people with these experiences have had communion with God and have been face to face with God. They did not see Him with their eyes, but with their spirits. Their spirits clearly sensed Him. No matter who tells them that they did not see God, they would not admit it, “I did see God. My spirit has sensed Him too clearly. It is more reliable than my eyes. What my eyes see are false, they are not true. My spirit’s feeling is the truest.” Have you had such communion with God? How many times? If you have experienced this many times, then you surely have knowledge of God. This knowledge is a separate matter from seeing God’s existence. When some people experienced cruel tortures, they felt that God was by their side. What have they come to know of God? If it is just that “I saw the existence of God, my faith greatly increased,” is it accurate? (No.) They said, “I clearly felt that God was by my side, granting me strength.” Then what did they come to know of God through this feeling? Can you say it clearly? God is the God who saves humanity, He does not abandon people! Isn’t this true? “When we face temptations, God does not abandon us. As long as we people do not betray God, God does not abandon us.” Have you had these feelings and this kind of knowledge? “God’s love to people is true and real, it is too true! God saves those who believe in Him until the end. He would never abandon them. God is too trustworthy. God sees people as His own flesh and blood. God loves people as if loving His own flesh and blood!” Is this proven? Also, “When people are in peril, God is always by their side.” This is all true. There is knowledge of God in several aspects here. Is this true communion with God? This is communion from deep within the spirit. It is not visible, yet it is more true and practical than vision. Could this be said? (Yes.) Then is people’s communion with God just empty words? (No.) If someone has believed in God for many years yet has never had such communion with God, what does this explain? This means that he is a disbeliever. His heart is not true toward God. His belief is vague. If someone has truly had many times of real communion with God, it is impossible for him not to know God, unless his caliber is too poor. If he truly has caliber and has heart and spirit, then he would definitely have knowledge of God, become more reverent toward God, become truer in his submissiveness to God, and become truer in his love for God. This is definite. If someone has had a few times of true communion with God, it would be strange if he did not love God. It would be even stranger if he did not revere God. That is impossible. We see that when some people are preaching, they speak wonderfully, they exaggerate and boast with the utmost eloquence. But we cannot see that they love God inside their heart or that they are somewhat reverent toward God. What is the problem here? They do not have knowledge of God. All that they preach are empty theories. This kind of faith is meaningless. God does not approve.
Then what should we focus on in our pursuit of the knowledge of God? Having true communion with God. Reaching true communion with God is having true experience of life. Then how should we enter into true communion with God? That is simple. Commune with God with a true heart! If your heart is not true, you cannot move God. For example, some people say: “I have devoted myself to God and expended for Him; is this not true?” You could devote yourself at the time, and you were also indeed able to expend yourself. But it cannot be seen that you have had communion with God. What is the problem here? You are testing God and doubting God. This is problematic. Some people have had a heart true to God, but why have they not reached true communion with God? That is because their true heart sometimes carries doubts and an idea of testing God, so they do not have the work of the Holy Spirit. Some people say: “Before I left my work, I was troubled and considered for a long time, ‘Should I leave it, or not? Should I expend myself for God, or go to work?’ After considering for a time, in the end I steeled my resolve, ‘I’ll leave it! I’ll expend myself for God.’ I gritted my teeth and abandoned my job. After a while I suffered a bit and met some difficulties, then I became suspicious again, ‘Did I do the right thing in leaving my job? Should I have left it? What will become of me in the future?’” Their testing and doubting God causes a problem! Their communion with God is for naught. Why do they fail by abandoning and expending like this? Their sincerity is mixed with something. They are always doubting and testing God, always in two minds. If they are truly sincere to God, then should they have regrets after leaving things behind? Should they be doubtful? Should they make special demands of God? (They shouldn’t.) If they don’t make these demands, if they have this kind of faith: “No matter what I have left and how much God disapproves of me, I must continue pursuing, I must continue expending myself for God, and I have no regrets,” then it would be alright. They always want to take out something and get something in return and want to receive God’s blessing. But, in the end, when they do not see God’s blessing nor God’s repayment, they want to take it back. They become doubtful and regretful. In the end, they fail. Do some people not fail here? Do their abandonment and expenditure not carry the characteristics of bargaining? Are they willingly expending themselves for God? This is where they fail. The root of the problem is found. They are different from those honest people who expend themselves and abandon everything for God. When honest men suffer setbacks and failures after having expended for God for many years, and other people ask them, “Do you regret leaving everything behind?” they would reply, “I would never regret it! I do not bargain with God. I will pursue in this way. Now, I have not pursued the truth enough. In the future, I will properly pursue the truth, but my abandonment was correct. I do not doubt. Even if I gain nothing at the end I will not regret!” The abandonment and expenditure of honest men have no bargaining. Also, if you truly expend everything and abandon everything for God, you should focus on walking the path of pursuing the truth, for it will not do if you do not walk on the right path. Some people have left everything behind but walk on the path of the antichrist, the path of battling for personal fame and position. In the end, they do not attain God’s blessing. It’s pretty pitiful to fail here too. Have you found the root of the problem? After you have had true abandonment and paid a true price, what should you mainly do to resolve the problems? For the first problem, do not mix in personal motivations, and do not bargain with God. After leaving some things behind and paying the price, don’t calculate, “Why did God not bless me? How is it I have not seen grace?” That is problematic. That is bargaining. For the second problem, when you leave everything behind and expend everything, you have to walk on the path of pursuing the truth. You must walk on the right path, you can’t walk on the wrong path. There are many antichrists and false leaders who have also abandoned everything, but where have they failed? They are on the wrong path. They pursue fame and position, always want to trap and control God’s chosen people, and have become enemies of God. They are walking on the path of resisting God. So no matter how much they suffer or how great a price they pay, they cannot attain God’s approval. If they commit many evil deeds, they have to meet with God’s punishment. Now we ought to introspect on ourselves: Are our abandonment of everything and our expenditures up to standard? Are there any impurities in them? Are we on the right path? Shouldn’t we be clear about these things? Some people say: “It has been several years since I abandoned everything. How is it I haven’t been blessed by God? Why do I not have the work of the Holy Spirit?” What is the problem here? Then you should ask yourself, “Since I left everything behind, have I been pursuing the truth? Have I been walking on the path of pursuing the truth?” This is crucial. This decides everything. If you have walked on the wrong path, it’s pointless! No matter how many things you have left behind, it’s useless! Now we have all seen clearly. Is it easy to attain knowledge of God? Is it enough to only abandon and expend something? The main thing is to walk on the path of pursuing the truth. To walk on the path of pursuing truth requires you not to have anything impure, not to have personal motivations, not to bargain with God, but to devote your true heart to God. By doing so, you can have true communion with God. Once people truly walk on the path of fellowship with God, then God’s love would never leave them. God would never abandon them and would always be with them, always be by their side, until they have been perfected. God saves and perfects people in this way. Do you see this clearly now? Some people have believed in God for many years, yet why do they not have true communion with God? Is the problem with God or with them? Now, you have seen clearly. God’s heart has never changed. God’s disposition and God’s substance never change. The key problem is that people are so tainted that they always want to walk on their own paths and they never pursue the truth, they focus on enjoying God’s grace, and they focus on bargaining with God. When they suffer just a little bit or pay a little price, they want to be blessed by God, to enjoy God’s grace. When they suffer a bit, they complain. As a result, they cannot walk on the path of pursuing the truth, so they rarely see God’s appearance. Is this the situation? (Yes.) Now you have totally understood! If some people say: “I’ve believed in God for many years, but now I see I have so many problems within me! If you didn’t tell me I wouldn’t understand. I would think I am pretty good in my faith! I’ve suffered like this, I’ve abandoned like this, and my family and the world have rejected me. Now I don’t even have a path to go back. If I return to the world, I would die! I haven’t gained God here. What should I do?” Can this problem be resolved? Quickly pursue the truth! Without pursuing the truth, you cannot solve any problems. Put down your personal intentions, put down personal bargaining. Do not always seek to gain blessings or graces. It is useless. The more you suffer the better. The more you suffer, the more lessons you will learn. Don’t think “Suffering is not enjoying God’s blessing. God doesn’t like me, that is why I suffer.” This is wrong, this is human conception. Suffering is good, luxury is not good. Too much luxury is bad. Enjoying God’s grace is not necessarily beneficial to entry into life. Suffering too much is good for entry into life.
Now as we experience the work of God, we have to get rid of the human impurities in us, and we should not rely on human notions and imaginations to look at things. Also, we absolutely mustn’t bargain with God, or always want God’s blessing, approval, or want God to give evidence after we suffer a bit or pay some price. “God, do You approve of me? I’ve left behind so many things and suffered so much for You! Can You give me a proof?” Is it good to always test God? What does it mean? It means that you don’t have confidence in God, you do not trust God, so you always test God and always want God’s oral proof, meaning “God, can You give me a definitive answer?” Is this called faith? Is this testimony? Do people like this have integrity? Do they have dignity? What oral proof could they need? For people who truly have faith, they believe, “It is fine if I gain nothing. Creatures of God ought to spend for God in this way. It is the natural way of things. However God treats me, it is guaranteed to be God’s righteousness. The problem is with me, I have failed.” Can you believe like this? The less feeling you have, the more you must rely on faith. The less feeling you have, the more it reveals you, right? As you are not facing any special circumstances, nor are you suffering through any desperate circumstances, why should God reveal Himself to you? Do you always live relying on feeling? You are not living relying on the truth or on God’s word. You have no faith. Do people like this have testimony? Do they have loyalty to God? I have believed in God for so many years. There are many times when I do not have feeling. What do I do when I face various kinds of difficulties and pressures? Even with my head to the ground I’d have to keep going. Isn’t the pressure from the great red dragon significant? They have made frenzied attack again and again. The pressure is not insignificant! Can I fall? I cannot fall. Even with my head to the ground I have to keep moving forward, I have to resist. I must quickly arrange and do whatever job that needs to be done. There must be corresponding deployments and arrangements for how to protect and conceal God’s chosen people. Can I stop? Can I leave things behind? I must be loyal unto death. No matter how great the pressure, I must resist. As long as I live, I will fight until the end! As long as I have breath, I have to fight for the realization of the kingdom. What feelings can I speak of? If when there are some difficulties God reveals Himself to you and speaks to you, then you become energized? If God does not reveal Himself nor speak, then you have no energy? We do what we must do. When we must stand, we do not sit. When we must move forward, we cannot stop even if we are reduced to crawling. As long as we have breath we must move forward. This is faith, this is what people who revere God should do. If our teeth get knocked out we swallow them. We cannot blame God. Only with this spirit can we be called good soldiers of Christ! Experiencing God’s work and having true communion with God in this way, you will attain God’s blessing, God will like and approve of you. God says: “I have never revealed Myself to some people, but they keep walking forward by faith and are loyal to God unto death. I approve of people like this. There are many people to whom I have to always reveal Myself, always have to give them some feeling for them to move forward. If I do not give them feelings or reveal Myself to them, they will not move forward, they will lie down or fall backward. I hate and detest people like this.” This is God’s disposition. This is God’s will and how God treats these people. Understood? (Yes.) Sometimes communing with God relies on faith, not on feeling. Show your true heart, your faith. “As long as we live, we will fight until the end!” Having a few times of communion is enough. As for the rest, rely on your faith to go forward. Rely on God’s word and the truth to go forward. This is true communion. Is this kind of understanding correct? Some people stand up when they have a feeling, they stand and walk proud. When they do not have feeling they walk with bent backs. When they do not have any feelings at all, they lie down and stop walking. This is a coward, not a hero. It is wrong to walk relying on feelings. Rely on the truth and God’s word with faith. This is right. This is how you ought to commune with God. Some people walk through relying on others pulling them or dragging them. Some people even need others to coax them. How do they coax them? “When you leave things behind for God you can be blessed!” “Really?” “Really!” “Then great, I’ll leave them.” “Are you stupid? Don’t you want to walk on the path of being blessed? Do you want to become blessed without any suffering? Do you want to become blessed without paying any price?” “That’s right. Then I will pay a bit of price and suffer a bit.” They walk another step. Isn’t this walking by relying on being coaxed? Then how do people who know God walk? By relying on the truth and on God’s word. No matter how much they suffer, they walk forward. Nobody could stop their footsteps. People like this are people who know God! People who know God rely on God’s word and the truth. God leads them using His word, without needing to reveal Himself to them, without needing to give them feelings. He leads them through His words. People like this have the reality of the truth. Then how is God leading you now? You are still walking forward relying on a bit of faith, and not on God’s word and on the truth. If you rely on faith, when you have little faith and when you despair you will have to rely on others to coax, drag, pull, and hit you. Then you do not have the reality of the truth. Some people, if they are not pruned and dealt with, are perfunctory, unwilling to perform duties, and can even run away. Do people like this have true faith? They do not even have true faith, much less do they have knowledge of God. What do people who truly know God rely on to walk forward? God’s word and the truth. God leads them with His word. Every day, when eating and drinking God’s word they attain enlightenment and illumination, then they have a path, they have strength, and they walk forward without stopping. God’s word is always leading them. People like this can walk on the path of being perfected, and in the end can be perfected by God.