Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement”
The Lord Jesus has promised that in the last days He will come again. What does it mean that the Lord Jesus has promised that He will come again? Was it the Holy Spirit that said He will come again, or purely the Spirit of God saying He will come again? It was the Lord Jesus who has promised to come again, wasn’t it? What does it mean that the Lord Jesus promised to come again? It is that He will once again be incarnated to come into the world as the Son of man. If it had been the Holy Spirit saying that He would come again, then He would come again in the form of the Spirit, it would be purely the Holy Spirit at work, and invisible to humans. But it was the incarnate Lord Jesus who stated that the Lord shall come again, so the second coming of the Lord must still be incarnated, and similar to the way that the Lord Jesus first appeared and worked in Judea, He will appear among humans in the last days in the form of the Son of man. Now Almighty God has come and it has fulfilled two statements: “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27). “But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:25). Look now in the present how Almighty God has been condemned by political authorities, by the Communist Party of China, and by the entire religious community. Isn’t that being rejected by this generation? That is being rejected by this generation. What the Lord Jesus Himself prophesied has come true and is being fulfilled. If you bear witness for Almighty God in front of the religious community, they say, “You are wrong. The Chinese Communist Party government absolutely does not condemn the true way, and what the religious community condemns is certainly not the true way.” How can they put so much trust in the Chinese Communist Party government? How can they put so much trust in the religious community? Why do they not have any belief in “religious Babylon” and the “religious whore”? Why don’t they believe the prophecies of the Book of Revelation? Why don’t they believe God’s words? Why, instead, do they believe that the condemnations of the Chinese Communist Party government and the religious community are truthful? Are those people absurd? All too absurd. Is it easy to bring such absurd people before God? It is all too difficult. Therefore, preaching the gospel and bearing witness for God among religious people are simply too difficult, and also run serious risks.
Do any of our brothers and sisters new to our faith have the courage to go into the religious houses of worship to preach the gospel? Going into houses of worship to preach the gospel is quite dangerous. They will come at you from all sides, say slanderous things about you, condemn you, take photographs of you, and run you out. Those things are bound to happen for certain. There are people who say, “Most people in the religious community are reasonable, human, and love the Lord. If you preach the gospel to them I don’t believe they would oppose it or condemn you, nor would you encounter any great difficulty with them.” Is there anyone who says this? If you do then go to the houses of worship of the religious community and try, see how these religious people treat you. Once you see for yourself, you’ll know what kind of people these people of the religious community are. Actually, in God’s words condemning the religious community is condemning the religious community in its entirety, and most importantly, is condemning the leaders of the religious community—the evil forces of antichrists controlling the religious community. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not at work in the religious community, and those who believe in such religion shall not be saved. If you never come out from the religious community, then you will share the same fate as the religious community and be destroyed together with them. If people of the religious community want to be saved, they absolutely must come away from the religious community and accept Almighty God’s work in the last days. Some ask, “Are these your words or God’s?” It is I who say this, but based on God’s words, and if you search for the answer in God’s words, you are guaranteed to be able to find it. Can people who have not left the religious community be saved? They absolutely cannot be saved, and that is one hundred percent certain. If what I say doesn’t persuade you, then go look up the answer in God’s own words. If people want to be saved, they must come away from religion and must accept Almighty God’s work in the last days: That is absolute. Know this! For if you only uphold the name of the Lord Jesus, you absolutely will not be saved and you will surely go to perish in hell. So then someone asks, “What about those people who have martyred themselves for the Lord Jesus?” God has said that the souls of those people who have been martyred for the sake of the Lord will be saved. Some people say, “What about those people who believed in the Lord but died before God’s work in the last days? Can they be saved? They never heard the gospel of Almighty God.” God has determined the outcomes for people living in the Age of Grace according to the standards of that age. There are standards that applied to the Age of Grace, and standards that applied to the Age of Law. Trust that God is righteous. Tell me, have the majority of people in the church during the Age of Grace gone to heaven after they died, or have only a minority gone to heaven? Would you go so far as to say that all those who died believing in the Lord Jesus went to heaven? Not so, for it is God who determines people’s fates, it is God who determines people’s outcomes! Don’t think of God’s work according to people’s notions and imaginations. That’s mistaken. In the Age of Grace the souls of those in whom the Holy Spirit had been at work when they died are not in hell but in another place in the spiritual realm. Those who have eaten their fill but never walked in the way of the Lord and in whom the Holy Spirit is not at work, once they have died, have gone to hell just like the unbelievers. Is that understood? But those souls that have not gone to hell, will they in the last days return to accept the work of Almighty God? In the last days God will give them the opportunity, but they must still be reincarnated. Therefore, when the last days come many people must be reincarnated to accept the test of Almighty God’s work—and the work of Almighty God at this stage is truly to decide the final outcomes and destinations of the human race in its entirety. Know this!
Today the reading of God’s words in “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement” reveals an important truth. Can all those who have glanced at God’s words and just acknowledged they are the voice of God see the appearance of God? Can they go so far as to know God? Even though you acknowledge it is the voice of God, you cannot see the appearance of God. Sometimes when it comes to something you feel some doubt, and sometimes when it comes to something in particular you don’t believe God. “Are these God’s words? Is what God said right? Is God’s word accurate? Is that so?” You can’t help doubting. Therefore, to reach a genuine knowledge of God, to be able to understand His purpose in all things, you must experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words for several years. If you do not personally experience how God shows His righteousness, majesty, and wrath, to what degree He can pierce your soul, you will never truly know God. If you do not undergo God’s judgment and chastisement, then even if you acknowledge Him as God, it will not amount to truly seeing the appearance of God, still less truly understanding God. It is not easy to know God, and there is some distance between seeing God’s appearance and knowing God. Can you accept my saying so? That’s not just my own individual experience; it is the conclusion that the majority of those whom God has selected to experience God’s work have reached collectively.
Some people have asked me, “How can we know that God has perfected you?” When you have undergone the judgment and chastisement of God for several years and understand the righteous disposition of God, then you will know whether the man used by the Holy Spirit has been perfected by God. Until you’ve had that experience, there’s no use in anyone telling you. If God told you, you still would not believe it. Do you believe what I’m telling you? It’s hard for people to believe it. No one can put these things clearly in few words. But to tell you the truth, even though someone has been perfected, that only means that they no longer disobey God, or dare to resist God, but are truly obedient to God. Given that God has entrusted them they can fulfill their duties loyally and bear love for God. They have enough stature to have some understanding of God, but it’s not the highest. This is the minimum standard for being perfected. “Perfected by God” takes more than we could bear, more than I could bear. Do you understand? If you ask me, “Would you go so far as to say you have been perfected?” I would have to say, “No, I would not. I don’t measure up to that. I’m not worthy of it.” If you ask me, then that is what I would say. I have to say that in all fairness because I want to be objective and take responsibility for these words. If God says someone has been perfected, then we can only take that to mean the minimum standard for being perfected. What do I mean by minimum standard? We are all people deeply corrupted by Satan. Even if we undergo judgment and chastisement before the seat of Christ and gain purification, would that amount to truly achieving holiness? It’s not my place to say. I do not have genuine holiness, just gaining purification. I no longer disobey God or resist God, I have some understanding of God and some reverence for God, so that I am able to avoid doing some evil. Even people with greater purity wouldn’t dare speak of “holiness.” So when someone asks, “Are you holy?” “I am not.” I have absolutely not achieved holiness, and I would never dare say so. “So then, are you still sinful and corrupt?” “I am. I’m not capable of major evils or obvious, open evil. Robbery, rape, murder, arson, things that are punishable by law, I’m not capable of.” Nor did I do any of these things when I believed in Jesus. But is there holiness in my thoughts? No, it is too early, when my thoughts are still filthy sometimes, and are still a bit corrupted. But these thoughts cannot take root, and I’m able to suppress them with the truth, able to refute them with the truth, so they can’t take over. I have just this bit of experience, and I’ve achieved no more than these results. If this means that I have been perfected, then I can only say that God’s demands on those to be perfected in the last days are not too lofty, not something unattainable. As long as you pursue the truth, after ten or twenty years you can also attain it. If you idealize me and imagine God perfecting people to be so lofty, then in the end who will reach perfection? How many people could attain that? No one would have any chance of attaining it, because you have set it up so high in your imagination, isn’t that so?
All those who have seen me fulfill my duties here over time will know what sort of person I am. You see how I fulfill my duties, how I communicate knowledge of God, my viewpoints about things, my outlook on life, my values, my humanity, what things there are about me that are exposed as corrupted, and what things are my better points. And when you’ve seen all that, you weigh these in your mind as the minimum standard for God perfecting people. If you can meet these, you also will be someone who is perfected. Is this standard a realistic standard for a corrupt human race? This is a realistic standard. God’s demands on people are not as people imagine them. If they were, no one could meet those standards. That would not be a realistic way of thinking. Then there are people who say, “If you have not attained true holiness, are you entitled to see God? How can you say that you have been perfected?” How can I explain this? It is not false to say we can be cleansed and purified, nor is it false to say we can be saved. But genuine holiness is something the corrupted humankind is not worthy of, it is beyond us, and only God is holy. No matter how much purity the corrupted humankind gains, no matter how much truth we understand, you can’t say we can reach holiness. This word “holiness” means something that humankind can’t attain, not only now but also hereafter, possibly never. Someone says, “Given what you have just said, I wouldn’t acknowledge that you have been perfected by God.” If you won’t acknowledge this, then that’s your point of view, and there’s nothing I can say. It is pointless whether people acknowledge this or not. What is the most crucial thing? Search hard for the truth. If you experience several years of God’s judgment and chastisement, have an understanding of God’s righteous disposition, forge a God-fearing heart, keep your distance from evil, and fulfill your duties loyally, you will know what it is to be saved, and at that point you will know whether you are a person who has been perfected. So, those people who have just accepted God’s work recently can’t get a clear picture of these things no matter what I say. They still are wrapped up in the imagination of their own notions and only after a few years have passed will they know that what I am saying is comparatively realistic. If I put it this way, can you understand? This is why I say that even if today we attained purity and were saved, do not crown any human with the laurels of holiness, for people are forever unworthy of wearing them. Can I put it that way? That is the way that God’s words have put it. But what does this holiness refer to? It is a certain standard, a minimum standard that God has for it. In God’s words we find the sentence, “I do not ask much of humanity.” Is there such a sentence? Then you can consider this sentence in which God says, “you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). What does this “holiness” refer to? Is it the same as God’s holiness? If it were the same as God’s holiness, wouldn’t people become Gods? It will never be possible. It is not that God’s words are wrong, but that human language is incomplete and there are some things spiritual that, when translated into language, do not have words that fit appropriately. Therefore, for the time being we can only use such a word. As people who translate know from experience, human language is lacking and imperfect, so when you search for something that matches people’s imaginations, the right word doesn’t exist, and so there are problems with the translation, isn’t that a fact? Translators especially feel that languages everywhere are meager, and in particular when it comes to the language of spiritual life, they are all too lacking, so it is difficult to find the right words. So sometimes when God writes down words even the Chinese language is not rich enough in its vocabulary and it takes a long time to decide on some words. In such cases, there are words we cannot use literally, but by understanding through context and associations that are spiritual, we will be all right and get the meaning with genuine accuracy. Know this! So then we won’t argue over what we can call being perfected. If you say that a perfected person is one who has undergone God’s judgment and chastisement, been conquered by God, had some result in attaining purity and being saved, can bear witness for God relatively speaking, and has some humanity, then this is an understanding that is adequate.
At this point we will conclude our meeting for today in silent prayer.