Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “It Is Very Important to Establish a Proper Relationship With God” (II)
Regarding the matter of entering into life, this is the most important matter for God’s elect. If man is unable to see through the matter of entering into life, he shall have no paths. It will then be very difficult for such a man to attain the understanding of truth and the knowledge of God. Why? Life entry is not based on man’s notions and imagination; it is not something that man can make it whichever way he thinks. It must be done in accordance with God’s words and God’s demands of man in order to achieve results. The passage of God’s words that we have just read, “It Is Very Important to Establish a Proper Relationship With God,” is the foundation for entering into life. Why do we say that this passage of God’s words is the foundation for entering into life? During our last meeting, we made a comparison between the prayers of those within religion and the prayers of those earnestly seeking the truth. I gave some examples regarding how those in religion pray and how those seeking the truth pray. Many of you were able to understand what I said, and felt that “It is too important to have true prayers, to speak your heart to God, and to seek the truth with God. Such things are too important.” How come so many men, after believing in the Lord for so many years, were unable to gain the truth and life? What are they lacking? This is something worth pondering. After we have finished reading this passage of God’s words, we should be able to see through this matter, to see that which is lacking is the establishment of a proper relationship between man and God, the sincere giving of their heart to God, and the true communion with God. Is this not the case? Some are unable to see through this matter, and they are wondering: “Is it really the case?” This matter requires some pondering. This is not something that you can understand simply from me repeating the question. You must put in the effort. If man has no true communion with God, it is very difficult for him to establish a proper relationship with God. If a proper relationship with God is lacking, then is he a right man? Is he someone who truly believes in God? The Book of Isaiah said: “For as much as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me …” (Isaiah 29:13). What are these words referring to? If man has believed in God for many years yet has not established a proper relationship with God, does he truly believe in God? Does God recognize him? The Lord will say: “You come near Me with your mouth, you believe in Me with your mouth, instead of believing in Me with your heart. I do not recognize your belief.” Just like the communication between two people, who only say nice words to each other, yet their hearts do not walk on the same path. Would they still be true friends? Wouldn’t such people be deceitful? Could you call such people your true friends? If a man does not open up his heart when communing with other men, is he able to open up his heart when communing with God? A crafty man does not even open up his heart to his parents, how is he able to open up his heart when believing in God? Can you now see through this matter? When people have made many fair-weather friends, duplicitous friends, they may not be able to see through them. But God inspects man’s heart and mind, and is God able to clearly see those who truly believe in Him? Would God know the ones who give their true hearts to Him? Would God know the ones who always obey the words and the way of the Lord? He knows all these things very clearly, therefore do not deceive God. Let us now reflect on the words that the Lord Jesus has said: “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). Now, when we read these words of the Lord once again, aren’t they much easier to understand? Why did the Lord say “depart from me, you that work iniquity”? These men prophesied in the Lord’s name, cast out devils in the Lord’s name, and did many wonderful works in the Lord’s name, yet the Lord said “depart from me, you that work iniquity.” Who are the men that work iniquity? What are the men that work iniquity? Is this easy to understand? We have just fellowshiped on this matter. If man does not have true communion with God and has not established a proper relationship with God, does such a man truly believe in God? Has he given his heart to God? Such a man has not given his heart to God. He has only given his mouth to God, praying to God with his mouth, going near God with his mouth, yet his heart is far away from God. How does such a person seem to God? A person that works iniquity. To go near God with his mouth yet have his heart far away from God, what is the essence of this matter? This is deceiving God with his eyes wide open, this is trifling with God. Isn’t such a man a hypocrite? Isn’t he someone who resists God? Isn’t he a man that works iniquity? First, to go near God with his mouth yet have his heart far away from God, this is called deceiving God and being trifling with God. Second, not giving his heart to God, this is not believing in God, not obeying God; his heart is still doing things in accordance with his own will; his heart is still rebelling against God, moving away from God; his heart is still living in sin, enjoying the pleasures of sin. Isn’t such a person someone who works iniquity? This is a person who works iniquity. Therefore, the Lord Jesus said: “I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.” Do you now understand these words? This is now easy to understand once I have fellowshiped thus, is this not the case? If I have not fellowshiped thus, would you still be able to understand? No. Now you see, it doesn’t work to merely read God’s words with no one to fellowship with you. If someone only reads God’s words by himself, once he has reached this point, “Why is it said here that they are someone who works iniquity? Oh, I don’t understand this. They prophesied in the Lord’s name, cast out devils in the Lord’s name, and did many wonderful works in the Lord’s name, yet in the end they are called men who worked iniquity. This is incredible.” If man is left to himself to read God’s words, isn’t it easy to misunderstand God? It is too easy to misunderstand God. Therefore, one must have others to fellowship with them in addition to reading God’s words. One needs the enlightenment and illumination from the Holy Spirit, one also needs real experience and understanding. Now, can you see clearly this matter?
I have said that Paul was not someone who truly loved God. He was someone who resisted God. The nature and essence of Paul was too vicious. Many don’t understand and don’t accept this, so they think that I am judging Paul. However, some understand: “After hearing you fellowship in this way, we started to ponder. Paul indeed resisted God, and he indeed did not have a heart that loves God. Look at all the letters that he has written, he never said ‘Lord Jesus, I love You.’ ‘The Lord Jesus is so loveable, the Lord Jesus saved me, the Lord Jesus has not been treating me based on my past transgressions.’” Have Paul’s letters said any such things? Look at those words by Paul, are they witnessing for himself or are they witnessing for the Lord Jesus? Carefully read these words of Paul; he was completely witnessing for himself, showing off himself. He was not someone who loves the Lord Jesus. He talked himself up to such heights; to what height did he elevate himself? He said that he knew a man who was caught up to the third heaven and heard unspeakable words. He was beating around the bush with these words. He said that he knew someone, but in fact, he was talking about himself. Was this not lying? Paul, the ringleader of all evil who opposed the Lord Jesus, was also the vanguard of Judaism which resisted the Lord Jesus. How could he be qualified to be caught up to the third heaven? The third heaven is where God resides. These words of Paul are of a deceitful and deceptive nature. These words are witnessing for himself, witnessing the blessings that he received before God and the height to which he was elevated by God, up to the third heaven. In this way, men viewed Paul as more exalted than any of the other apostles. He was only slightly lower than the Lord Jesus, yet much more exalted than everyone else. That is, he was under only the Lord but above millions. The status of the Lord Jesus never entered Paul’s heart, can we not say that?
Why do we say that God is righteous? God’s judgment is righteous, and God treats everyone with righteousness. Consider how Paul resisted and persecuted the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus did not sin and did not say anything wrong. He spoke with authority and power, He had the authority to perform those miracles and wonders. He is the truth, the way, the life. He was sent by God, He was also God incarnate; therefore, He had the ability to express the truth. Then, why did men resist and convict Him? Consider a normal man, and let us not consider whether he fears God and has a heart that reveres God. If the man is normal, with a heart and a spirit, and if he should have resisted and convicted someone who is innocent, someone who spoke the truth with authority and power, how would such a man feel in his conscience? Would he not feel guilt in his conscience? Of course he would feel guilt. Yet did Paul feel any guilt regarding his resisting and convicting the Lord Jesus? Have you read such things in Paul’s letters? “Initially, when I was resisting and convicting the Lord Jesus, I felt guilt inside of me. However, I didn’t understand, I didn’t understand that this guilt came from the Holy Spirit. Subsequently, I was spurred on by the Pharisees, so I listened to what they said, and I continued to fiercely resist the Lord Jesus.” Did Paul say any such words? He did not say any such words, which shows that Paul did not feel one ounce of guilt for resisting and convicting the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus expressed the truth, and He was innocent. Was He not a good and righteous man? He was such a good and righteous man, yet people, without any previous knowledge of Him, were able to convict, insult and persecute Him, for no good reason. Do such people have any humanity? Such people have no humanity. Did Paul have any humanity? From the way that Paul did his best to convict and resist the Lord Jesus, as well as arrest Him, we can see that he was someone without any humanity, is that not the case? This has been fixed. Let us now think in broader terms. Even though Paul did not blame himself when he resisted and convicted the Lord Jesus, yet he was someone who believed in God in Judaism. This is undeniable. He also studied the Bible under Gamaliel. Gamaliel was a renowned expert in the law. That is, he was an expert in studying the Bible, and Paul was his student. When discussing the work of the Lord Jesus, Gamaliel said: “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing: But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest haply you be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39). Gamaliel said such words, meaning that: “I am not able to see through this matter. If Jesus has been sent by God, then if we should resist and convict Him, that would be resisting God. If He is of men, if He should come from men, then we need not resist Him, for He will self-destruct.” What are your thoughts regarding these words? Is this something that a normal person would say? For a man who has no knowledge that the Lord Jesus is God incarnate, to treat the Lord Jesus as Gamaliel outlined here, this would be all too normal, and this is the way that a normal person should react to this matter. Yet did Paul react in such a way? No, he did not. What Gamaliel meant was that: “I am worried that it could be wrong to resist. If resisting should be wrong, then I would have offended God. Therefore, I shall not pass any judgment, I shall not convict, and I shall not resist.” Judging from these words of Gamaliel, did he revere God? The fact that Gamaliel was able to say such words showed that he revered God. Yet Paul, with his frenzied and brazen arrest and conviction of the Lord Jesus, did he revere God? From this matter, we can see that Paul did not revere God. Also, Paul’s disposition was too arrogant, insidious, and vicious. He was not a right man.
After looking at these two matters, let us then see, if someone was normal and truly believed in God, after the Lord Jesus was crucified and then resurrected, what should such a man think? At this point, if a man had conscience and sense, then he should reflect: “This is not an ordinary person, resurrection is a major miracle of God. Oh, Jesus has been resurrected, have we been wrong in convicting Him? We antagonized Him, were we wrong?” I believe that most people should have reflected on this matter, that they should have come to realize the truth. Can we not say that? Did Paul come to realize the truth? Did he reflect? No, he did not reflect. I feel that most men, men who believed in God, once they have seen the Lord Jesus resurrected from death, they would be terrified, they would be unable to eat or sleep when they returned home. “We have erred in this matter. Jesus said that He was sent by God, He said that the Father was in Him and that He was in the Father, that He and the Father were one. Could that be true? Otherwise, how was He able to be resurrected? If He were an ordinary man, then if He died, He would have stayed dead, He couldn’t have lived. Now Jesus has been resurrected from death, this is a major miracle of God. Could it be that He was truly sent by God? Oh, maybe we have been wrong in resisting Him. We must reflect. We cannot continue to resist.” If man has a little bit of conscience, if he has a spirit, then he would certainly be afraid, and this incident should have halted his tendency to do evil. Isn’t that right? Yet did Paul halt? Paul was not afraid, and he didn’t halt. He continued to persecute the Lord Jesus. Is that not fact? What is this problem? Can we see the essence and nature of Paul? Take some time to analyze this matter.