Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement”
Suppose someone says, “Today I feel I’ve been enlightened some. The way the brothers and sisters have communicated with me really has accomplished something for me. I really feel I’ve gained something. I understand a little of the truth, have a bit of light, some genuine understanding. But it’s too little. How great it would be if there truly were a person who understands the truth and could communicate it clearly all at once, so I could understand the truth thoroughly! “Is this a valid statement? It’s not valid. Why is it invalid? In experiencing the work of God, no one achieves a thorough understanding of God’s words and the truth. I do not have such an understanding at all. I am like you, just a step ahead, with only some of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination to guide me. It’s not that I all of a sudden entered into reality and experienced very deeply, no such thing. God’s work is realistic. So I say while we are experiencing the work of God and live our lives in the church, there is no one who can thoroughly communicate the truth, we can just communicate some light at most. That genuine understanding is already something quite good. So don’t always think of this process based on the notions and imaginations that corrupted people have. Even what I’m telling you now about knowledge of the truth is so limited, we can say it’s too shallow. If you don’t believe me, just wait ten years and then look back on what I am communicating to you now. You’ll think, “Oh, looking back on it now, all that communication then was so inadequate, so superficial.” So I say, do not imagine God’s words and the truth in such a simple way, as if someone after believing in God for many years will fellowship about the truth so clearly all at once. Who can genuinely understand truth with perfect clarity? No one can achieve this. Even though I have a lifetime of experience, I wouldn’t dare say my experience of any truth is absolutely complete, that my understanding is perfect, not at all. Even though I’ve had a lifetime of experience I am still just an infant, just someone with a stature that’s none too big. God’s demands on people are not the loftiest, but practical and realistic. If you imagine that what God demands of people is so far above us, then it becomes impossible for people ever to meet these demands. In that case, you have misunderstood God, for God is a practical God. Whatever God demands of people, is as realistic and genuine as it can be. His demands on people are not too lofty; so long as you try with all your might, you can meet these demands. What is the problem if people imagine God’s demands to be too high? What is the mistake they are making? Such people certainly have no understanding of God’s work, no understanding of how practical God’s work is. Beyond that, God is the Lord of creation, God is thoroughly familiar with the corrupted human race, knows all too well what level of achievement humans can attain, and is completely aware how high humans are capable of reaching. So God’s demands on people are quite reasonable and absolutely not so high that they are beyond reach as people imagine them to be.
I’ve said this in the past. I’ve said that we should have some entry into every truth and that is meeting God’s demands. But it’s not okay if you don’t have any; you must gain some entry and have some basic likeness of a real man. To be absolutely holy, to be without imperfections or flaws is just people’s imagination, and God has no such demands of people! Then there are other people who say, “In the Bible, God says, ‘you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.’” They speak based on this sentence in the Bible, what they say is also true. God’s words testify to that. So how do you explain this, what do you think? True, God spoke these words, but is the standard for the holiness in “you shall be holy” the same as the standard for God’s holiness? They could never possibly be the same. If you attained God’s holiness, the same as God, then you would become God! Then just what are God’s demands on people? To make you into a real man, to be able to obey God, no longer resist God or judge God, but be able to have true love for God and a God-fearing heart, that’s all. You may consider those things to be meeting the standard for the demands that God makes on humans, and this is the standard for humans achieving holiness that God spoke of. Fear God and shun evil: that is what is considered holiness. Just as when Job feared God and shunned evil, and God said he was a perfect and upright man. Consider whether he was as perfect and upright as people imagine. He was not. What the conceptual imagination of people demands of humans, people will never attain. But then why did God say that Job was a perfect and upright man? It was precisely to demonstrate that God’s demands on people are realistic, reasonable demands that people can meet. In the Age of Law, a person like Job met God’s demands, and in the Age of Grace Peter met the demands of God. God made these two models to set an example for people experiencing God’s work in the last days, and through these models to give people experiencing God’s work in the last days a true standard. Can one rely on human notions and imagination to understand God’s words? If that is how you understand God’s words, then you are absurd. You understand neither God’s words nor God’s will. If we can achieve some results in God’s word, in all that God demands of people, in all that He demands people to achieve, demands people to do, and demands people to know and understand, we will then meet God’s demands, we can be saved and completely able to survive. Is that a correct understanding?
If we have some practical experience, some genuine understanding of each truth that God has expressed, then no matter what the depth of the understanding is, we have entered a bit into the truth, and that proves that we have some reality of the truth. For example, when some people experience the truth of being honest, the lies they tell are much fewer and only under special circumstances they may still lie just a bit. Would we consider such people to have the experience and the entry? We would consider that having some entry and reality. You see such a person is not the same as before. Before, when he spoke, ninety times out of a hundred he lied, and now at most it’s only one or two times out of a hundred. That’s a good entry! So are there any lies in what you’ve heard me say? Think carefully whether there are. Some say there aren’t, but in fact I can’t say there are absolutely none. There are very few times when I’ve said something that is somewhat doctrinal, and not very practical. Still, I did not lie intentionally. It’s an issue of my stature. Now whether according to God’s words or according to the standard humans imagine, did I achieve true holiness? I don’t think so! If I told the satans and devils some things that were not true, and did not tell them the truth, would you say that is lying? You cannot tell satans and devils the truth about some things. That’s not considered lying. Now what does God think about this aspect of our lying? God’s demands on us are according to our stature. If we do not tell the truth to satans and devils, we are being wise, and God has not said we are lying, nor will God condemn us for it. But in our ordinary lives, we lie many times out of our corruptness. Lies told out of corruptness are numerous, for some people it can be as much as one-tenth or two-tenths, two out of every ten words. And now I’ve discovered a new question: Is it lying to speak letters and doctrines? This is a new discovery. I feel it comes from the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, because this has so much benefit to our entry into life. Accept this if you can, for it benefits your entering into life. If you cannot accept this, no one is forcing you to. Pursuing the truth is something for each person to choose freely. God’s disposition is holy and righteous, and God does not like falsehood. So I say not to speak letters and doctrines, empty words, or imposing pretentious words. God detests that, God will not accept it, and if you speak them often enough it can infuriate God!
So you see that as we experience God’s work, there are times when the Holy Spirit unconsciously enlightens us, makes us discover new light in the course of our experience, and discover new questions. Is this not the work of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit guides us to experience God’s words, and achieve understanding truth and knowing God. The more we experience these, then truly the greater the results, and the more we understand God’s purpose, and know God’s work. Therefore, God accomplishes His own work. This saying is absolutely true. Someone then says, “So now when I see God’s words made known, isn’t it entirely the man used by the Holy Spirit who is leading us? What we see is that this person is working and speaking! So why don’t we go experience God’s work for ourselves directly? If we don’t accept this person’s guidance, wouldn’t we make the same progress if we go experience God’s work, read God’s words, and communicate God’s words for ourselves?” Is that right? No, it’s not right. Why not? After hearing my words someone says, “That’s right! Why should we listen to you? Why should we obey you? We obey God. It is God we believe in, not you. What you just said makes me think.” You see that these people are also in the dark and have no discernment.