Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God Perfects Those After His Heart”
Question 3: Brother, sometimes when you analyze and expose us, and ask us whether we have any thoughts or whether we can accept your analysis, while I certainly have my own ideas and arguments, a conflict in my heart keeps me silent. Even when you ask us repeatedly, my answer is often, “No opinions, I accept,” which means I am covering up my true state and not speaking the truth. Afterward I blame myself, because I feel like this is hypocrisy, disguise, and deceit, but the next time it happens, I still can’t stop myself from lying and deceiving. What should I do about this?
Answer: I’ve asked you all to raise questions, and look, everyone is saying what’s in their heart. No matter if it’s out loud or on paper, these are words from the heart! Now, how should we address this problem? If you think you can’t say what’s in your heart, keep it in, hold it inside as long as you can, and if keeping it in really gets too painful, and you say, “No, I can’t hold it in, I have to get it out and solve this pain at the root,” then you can tell me, and we’ll fellowship about it, alright? To solve this problem, what is the first thing you need to understand? First, ask yourself if holding it in feels good, that’s the first thing we have to know. Second, “If I say it, I don’t know if the brother will accuse me, or if he’ll be able to help me, or if he’ll scold me. If he’s going to scold me, I’d better hold it in.” Tell me, if you decide to tell me what’s in your heart, will I scold you for it? Some say no, but something’s wrong here. If this person didn’t think I might scold him, would he be holding in what he has to say? If he didn’t think I might scold him, he wouldn’t hold it in. There are people who know I won’t, but the ones who hold in their words think I might, “That must be what happens, I can’t let this out no matter what. I’d rather hold it in than say it and be served his dealing.” Do people like that exist? You still don’t understand who I am. Do you know anything about the kind of person I am? “A holy man, a man who speaks with the weight of holy writ.” Is that viewpoint correct? Some say no, but then what kind of a man am I? Tell the truth. Are you afraid to speak again? “A petty, despicable man who holds a grudge against any who offend him, I’m sure about this.” Is this correct? Others say no. This is wrong, that’s wrong, so what kind of a person am I? I’m just someone with a sharp tongue and a soft heart, I’m actually very soft-hearted. Sometimes harsh words may come out of my mouth, but I regret them after I say them. I’m not calculating when I deal with anyone, and after the incident passes, I forget. If you have viewpoints or opinions that clash with mine, and you share them, I won’t hate you, and I won’t scold you, absolutely not. I promise. Have you ever seen me deal with someone with vicious or merciless punishment, or belittle and abuse someone? Have you? Some say, “You’ve really never punished anyone?” You caught me. How could I not have? How could God’s house expel so many antichrists without punishing people? “Then have you ever hated anyone?” Yes, who do I hate? Antichrists and evildoers. They disturb the work of God’s house and harm God’s chosen people, those are the kind of people I hate. Those I hate are antichrists. I don’t especially hate false leaders, but some false leaders are poor in caliber, focus purely on their desire to do work. They wish to work, and they are driven by enthusiasm, but they are poor in caliber, they have no entry into the truth, and they only speak letters and doctrines. These people can be saved, so they should be given a chance, shouldn’t they? Does God’s house expel false leaders? We only expel antichrists, we don’t expel false leaders. False leaders can be dismissed, given other duties to perform and the chance to repent, and then the issue is forgotten.
For questions like this, I think you should say it if you feel you’ve been restricted. If you tell me, I won’t deal with you, nor will I take you as an enemy, I’ll simply fellowship about the truth to you, and help you solve your problem. If you don’t tell me, I can’t help you solve it. This is an easy question to answer, isn’t it?
Question 4: How can I have a heart-to-heart exchange? When my brothers and sisters share words from the heart with me, I can often share what’s in my heart as well. I feel like I can open up and share my true state. But when others don’t open up to me, I often can’t open up on my own, and sometimes I even go tit-for-tat with them, “If you won’t open up to me, I won’t share my true state with you either.” I know such a state is wrong, but I don’t have the strength to forsake the flesh.
Answer: That’s a child’s pettiness, the reaction of someone with no knowledge or experience. His principle for opening up and sharing words from the heart is that his listener has to open up to him first, only then will he open up. “If you don’t open up to me, I won’t open up to you.” But is there not something wicked in the principle by which he practices the truth? Some married couples are like that, “If you don’t love me, I won’t love you, but I will love you if you love me. Give me a pound of respect and I’ll give you an ounce, but hate me and I’ll hate you ten times more, hit me once and I’ll return the blow ten times.” Something is wrong with this disposition. Isn’t such a disposition just a little unreasonable? He makes a demand in his practice of the truth, which means you have to open up to him before he opens up to you, and if you don’t open up to him, he won’t open up to you. Is this someone practicing the truth? If he truly loved the truth, would he live by such a wicked principle? Impossible. If he were to be obedient in his practice, what demands would he make? “You have to obey me before I obey you.” Is he in a position to make that demand? If he were to obey God’s work, he would say, “God’s work has to be compatible with my notions before I’ll obey it, and if it isn’t compatible with my notions, I won’t obey it.” Wouldn’t he say such rebellious things? People with such wickedness inside are capable of any evil thing you can imagine, and they’ll spout all varieties of false, ridiculous reasoning, are such people practicing the truth? No, they aren’t practicing the truth. People who practice the truth don’t make unreasonable demands on others, “Practicing the truth is my duty, it’s my responsibility, I don’t seek anything from you for my practice of the truth, nor will I make any demands of you.” It requires no demands to love God, and even less are their own intentions a part of loyalty and obedience to God. They do these things for no other purpose than to satisfy and honor God, simply because they feel these things are what a man should do. But the asker of this question makes demands of others in his practice of the truth, “Before I entirely open up to you, you have to open up to me, and if you don’t, I won’t open up to you.” This is his demand with everyone else when he practices the truth, this is his bottom line, and if others don’t practice the truth with him, he won’t practice the truth with them. Then I’m curious, when a devil lies to you, you lie to the devil, a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye, and this is right. But if, when your brothers and sisters lie to you, you lie to your brothers and sisters, or when your brothers and sisters deceive you, you deceive your brothers and sisters, or when your brothers and sisters don’t love you, you don’t love them, then when will you be able to practice the truth? Can you make demands like that of God in your practice of truth? You demand God be obedient to you before you are obedient to God, you demand God’s obedience before you give yours, this is the logic by which you practice the truth! If we practice the truth with such satanic reasoning, are we really people who love the truth? Is my analysis a bit over the top, considering the question? No, this analysis is exactly right. He says that when his brothers and sisters fellowship, they have to open up to him before he’ll open up to them. That’s the demand he makes in his practice of truth. He demands that others do it first, and that kind of intent is wrong.
Here he says, “I don’t have the strength to forsake the flesh,” so what’s the problem here? He also knows he can’t do it, and that these kinds of demands aren’t right, but he’s not strong enough to forsake them. Does it sound like he needs God’s judgment and chastisement? Sometimes, when we experience God’s judgment, we find strength. We start to hate ourselves and slap our own faces, sometimes so hard it hurts, so do we lack the strength to forsake the flesh? If he lacks penetration into the truth of corruption by Satan, if he understands nothing of the essence of the principles, bottom lines, and requirements for practicing the truth, will he have the strength to forsake the flesh like that? He has conditions for practicing the truth, he can’t simply practice it, he requires others to practice the truth toward him a certain way before he is willing to do so with others, is there still truth in this person? Does he have truth but not practice it? Or does he lack the truth and the ability to practice it? Does he need to watch how others practice the truth and follow their paths and examples before he can practice the truth? What’s at the root of the problem here? He says he doesn’t have the strength to forsake the flesh, and that he actually understands and wants to practice the truth, but the fact is, he only understands the external forms of one way of practicing this truth. He doesn’t understand the real essence of this truth, nor does he understand the intentions required by this truth, nor does he understand that practice of this truth is an inherent part of normal humanity. He merely understands a few methods of practicing the truth. Does this count as real understanding of the truth? If he were someone who really understands the truth, wouldn’t he be able to forsake the obstructions, interruptions, and disturbances of the flesh? Could someone with a real understanding of the truth possibly lack the will to forsake the flesh? Could he lack the strength to practice the truth? No. So where is the root of his problem? He doesn’t understand the truth, and he lacks the penetration to understand his own intentions, demands, bottom line for practicing the truth, and the essence of this question. This person is somewhat despicable, he’s selfish, and he regards practicing the truth like doing good deeds, “If you are good to me, and give me benefits, I can give you benefits in return; if you are unkind to me, and don’t give me benefits, then I certainly won’t give you benefits either.” He takes practicing the truth as a tool to repay others, he considers it a form of restitution or reward for others. Isn’t that his problem? How is his attitude toward the truth? He regards it merely as a tool, just a token of exchange, “If you practice the truth with me, I’ll practice the truth with you. I’ll use my practice of the truth to repay you, and if you don’t practice the truth with me, I won’t practice the truth with you. I won’t practice the truth with anyone but those who practice the truth with me, I’ll repay those people by practicing the truth with them, because I consider practicing the truth as a tool for exchange, a gift to be given to others, a gift ordinary people are unworthy to receive.” Isn’t this his attitude toward the truth? Have we found the root of the problem now? His attitude toward the truth is wrong, he thinks practicing the truth is just a way to repay others, and ordinary people aren’t worthy of it. He doesn’t know that the truth can be man’s life, and that the pursuit of truth is to solve man’s satanic disposition and banish all things of the flesh. He doesn’t know pursuing the truth is the way to forsake and transcend the flesh, live out the truth, and repay God’s love. He doesn’t realize that. Now we understand how to answer his question, don’t we?
Question 5: In my duties I often need my superiors to push me and supervise me, otherwise I become lazy in my duties, and often otherwise I feel no compulsion or drive. I know such a state is wrong, and that this is tricking and deceiving God, but I can’t seem to change, I need to be pruned and dealt with before I can perform well for a time, but it never lasts long. What should I do about this kind of state?
Answer: This is just like a child who hasn’t grown up. If your demands are too high, he can’t reach them, so you have to guide him this way until he grows up and can solve problems on his own. First, his spiritual stature is too small, and second, he lacks the penetration to understand what the truth is and why he should pursue it, and that lack proves his spiritual stature is small. So how do we deal with the problem of a small spiritual stature? We should take time to experience things, and if we’re pruned and dealt with a little bit more, we’ll make a little bit more progress. If the pruning is frequent, lessons are frequent, and as we experience failures, setbacks, and suffering, slowly, we’ll grow. Is this a problem we can solve right away? Killing the sprout with overfeeding won’t work, that won’t do any good. Some people believe for a decade, and what do they say? “I look back on some of the things I did and wonder how I could have been so childish. How could I have been such a fool? How could I have put myself in that situation, acted like that, said those things, done those things?” The very idea astounds them. If you ask them, “Would you still do those things now?” “No,” they will say. So what’s the problem we’re looking at? Isn’t it a matter of spiritual stature? To talk about this problem, to solve this state, we have to see that this is a kind of natural law. There are several situations here, and we need to understand them. Some people are new in their faith, they have believed at most for eight or ten years, they haven’t been pruned or dealt with enough, so their corrupt dispositions, perfunctoriness, deception, laziness, and cheating are slow to change, but for those with real love for the truth and true faith in God, every time they are pruned and dealt with becomes a lesson, and every time changes them a little bit. This is a normal man’s state, and most are this way when they first believe. But there’s another type of state, one very different. Some believe for twenty or thirty years and are pruned and dealt with countless times, but they never change, is this a problem of spiritual stature? No. This kind of person never loves the truth and never pursues the truth, so they could believe for centuries and it would still be useless. The existence of these problems after believing for a short time is a matter of spiritual stature, but if these problems still exist even after believing for a long time, it shows that this is a person who doesn’t pursue the truth, he doesn’t accept the truth, and even if you deal with him eight times a day, he won’t pursue the truth. He might think, “I was wrong, I’m sorry” in the moment, but after he repents, he won’t change. That’s why, much of the time, if he says things you want to hear, you shouldn’t believe him, because he’s been through this many times, and he won’t change. Is the problem with people like that a small spiritual stature and too little experience? Some say no. Then what kind of a state does he have? He doesn’t pursue the truth, he’s a wrong person, and he won’t ever change, so he isn’t after God’s heart, he can’t be perfected by God, and he will be the same until the day he dies, do you understand? If someone asks me, “Do you think I can change?” My response is, “If you think you are someone who pursues truth, you can change, but if you think there is no way you’ll ever pursue the truth, then you won’t change.” That’s my answer.