Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” (V)
Then, are you not a descendant of Satan? Are you not the progeny of the great red dragon? Are you not a devil? Are you not an antichrist? You may say “yes” to all of them. However, do not simply admit it in speech but also admit it in your heart. An admission through words is simply a way to muddle through. If you admit it, you would say in your heart, “Oh God, I admit that this is so, yet how come I am unable to realize such things? How come what I feel tells me that this is not the case? I admit it through words, yet my heart does not comprehend. What should I do to resolve this paradox?” At times, when reading God’s words, some might say, “God’s words are too much, they are full of exaggerations, are overly-critical and do not reflect the reality of the human world. What they say is simply not the case.” After having experienced this for three or five years, what do they now say instead? They say, “This is indeed true. All of God’s words reflect reality and the human condition. I am now thoroughly convinced.” After having experienced them for three or five years, this is now what they say instead. These things are said by the same person. What happened within the three or five years that account for such a big difference? Some say that they have gained certain understandings regarding the essence of their nature. This is a kind of achievement. Sometimes it is not easy to accept God’s words when reading them at a superficial level. But do not deny that God’s words are the truth and are forever facts, for God’s words are always factual. God does not speak empty words, and His words are never impractical or overly-critical. In the beginning, men have conceptions about God’s words, but after having experienced them for three or five years, when they think back to those words that they judged God with, they start to hate themselves, “Was this not opposing God? Was I not reading God’s words with my conceptions? How could I be so ignorant?” They become regretful, they hate themselves. They hate themselves for what they have said. They feel shame and regret. Therefore, while you might look at God’s words at a superficial level and think that they do not fit with men’s conceptions, do not judge and say careless things, lest you might bring shame upon yourself. After three or five years, they will no longer be the same. If you believe in God in a confused manner, then wait eight or ten years, look back again, and things will no longer be the same. When you read God’s words, they appear one way today, but they appear in a different light after a year or two. When you read them one or two years later, they appear to mean one thing and then if you read them again two years later, they seem to mean something more. You can always get different things from reading them at different times. Why is this the case? Why do men feel different things when reading God’s words at different times? Some say that it is because they have grown in life, therefore the depth from which they read God’s words has changed. While this is true, the most important thing is that God’s words are the truth, and they cannot be fathomed by human minds. God’s words are the truth, therefore you should never measure them against human conceptions and imaginings. You may think that your guesswork results in firm conclusions, but you will one day humiliate yourself. You will bring shame and regret upon yourself for your attitude at the time, for the definitions and conclusions that you have made in regard to God’s words. You might even curse yourself: “How could I dare to judge God? What am I? What was I thinking? Why did I lack reason?” You shall be full of regret when that time comes. Why am I able to say such things? Do you know why? For this is from my own experience, as I treated God’s words the same way myself. I had the same thoughts, and communicated my misconceptions to others. After a few years, I was visited by shame, so ashamed that I secretly slapped my own face, and that was how things came to be.
When you see that God’s words do not fit with your conceptions, what do you do? Some say to accept them and reflect upon yourself. And what do you say when you pray to God? You say: “Oh God, I used to read Your words based on my conceptions and imaginings. I have even judged Your words. I have brought shame upon myself. I no longer dare judge Your words based on my conceptions and imaginings. While Your words seem ordinary on a superficial level, yet now I know that they are the truth, and that they are profound.” All of God’s words are profound truths. There is mystery in seemingly ordinary words, and such mysteries cannot be fathomed by men. Pray to God thus: “O God, I read Your words today, and my attitude has been transformed. I am now a little more pious. This is because of Your kindness and Your salvation. Without Your kindness and Your salvation, I would still be judging Your words like I used to, I would still look at Your words based on conceptions and imaginings. As I look back now, I did not have a single shred of truth or reality at that time, and the way that I viewed things was entirely based on conceptions and imaginings. I was, without doubt, someone who resisted God.” Is this a good prayer? Everyone says that it is good. How should we read now God’s words of judgment and chastisement? “O God, please protect my heart, allow me to live devoutly before You, without behaving willfully, without revealing corruptions.” When you are reading God’s words with a mind that creates notions, pray: “O God, please have mercy on me, for I am too corrupt.” Although you have not put into words what this corruption is, you know in your heart that you are conceptualizing again. Simply pray in this way, and God will know your heart. And then, pray: “O God, please enlighten and illuminate me, so that I can understand Your will from Your words, so that I can understand the truth, so that I shall come to know Your disposition. Please give me Your kindness, please save me.” Just pray like this. By reading God’s words in this way, man’s attitude will change, man can now seek the truth, and this is the beginning of experiencing God’s work, of formally experiencing God’s work. Once man has formally experienced God’s words, then he has truly experienced God’s work. Those who cannot experience God’s words will never experience God’s work. Now that I put it this way, do you understand and accept it?
Look at some people who read God’s words. They ponder a little, and then they shed tears. They pray a little later, their spirit released after their prayer. Then they sing a hymn that praises God. That makes them feel good, as if after having a big meal and the enjoyment of attending a feast. Read God’s words in this manner for ten minutes, twenty minutes, half an hour, and there will be real effects. This is like attending a truly enjoyable feast. If you only go through the motions of reading God’s words, after you have finished reading, if you glance over what you have read and think, “There is nothing profound here, I understand it all now, these words only have literal significance. I am done reading them,” then, you are not devout. People like you do not have hearts that fear God, for you are spurning God’s words. You treat God’s words as men’s words, so can you still treat God as God? Impossible. How men should treat God’s words, whether men can resolve their conceptions and imaginings by reading God’s words, whether truth can be found in God’s words, are these things not important? These are the principles in eating and drinking God’s words. After you have finished reading a paragraph or a passage of God’s words, you should always gain some practical things through your pondering; at the very least, you should have gained some illumination regarding the truth, the truth as expressed by those words of God. One cannot expect to understand the essence of truth all at once, but one should obtain some illumination. Once some illumination has been gained, some truths will be understood, and some essence of truth will be grasped. This bit of illumination is the essence of truth. Through your pondering of God’s words, you must gain some illumination, you must gain some reality of the truth, and you must gain some way to practice the truth. If you can be effective in these three areas, then you have been eating and drinking those God’s words to good effect. You really have attended a feast! If you have not gained a single bit of illumination from your pondering, nor have you grasped God’s will, nor grasped God’s expectation of men, if all that you have grasped are some words and theories on the literal level, then you have not attended the feast. That means you have only gone through the mechanics, but you have missed everything. Some might say: “I have put in the work, I read God’s words for over ten minutes, almost twenty minutes. I was putting in the effort, but I wasn’t able to gain anything from my pondering, all that I have gained are literal meanings.” What’s the point of this? Such a person has no idea how to ponder God’s words, isn’t that right? For example, God’s words state: “… for the substance of such work is actually the work of opening up the truth, way, and life of God to all those who have faith in Him.” After reading this, some people say: “Isn’t that the case?” Others ask: “What have you gained from your pondering?” They answer, “That God’s work of judgment is the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life to all those who have faith in God; that the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life to all those who have faith in God is God’s work of judgment; that the work of judgment is the process by which God expresses the truth, the way, and the life. This is my understanding.” Tell me, is this understanding correct? Let me give another example. Christ said “I am the truth, the way, and the life,” and someone asks: “How should I ponder these words?” “Christ said that He is the truth, the way, and the life, therefore Christ is the truth, the way, and the life.” And that someone asks: “And how should these words be understood?” “That is, all that Christ has said and done are the truth, they are the way, and they are the life; all of Christ’s words are the truth, all of them can become a way for man to live, all of them can become man’s life. That’s how I understand it.” Is such an understanding correct? Everyone said that it is not correct. Why is it not correct? Some say that this is empty and has no basis in reality, that it only has literal meaning, without any real understanding. Nothing has been obtained from pondering and only the words have been shuffled around to make some arguments. Can one say that this is a real understanding of God’s words? This is not an understanding of God’s words. Then how should these words of God be pondered? What should be gained from such pondering, for one to have truly pondered the essence of truth, to be illuminated by the truth? What are the true things to be gained from pondering, such that when people see them, they know these things are the reality of the truth? If someone should ponder the truth for half the day and yet is unable to understand anything real, has he gained anything? No. Some men, when they ponder the truth, they become stuck, and are unable to gain anything from their half an hour of pondering, therefore they simply stop, and stay content with merely understanding the literal meaning. They think this is still better than not understanding anything; anyway, they feel good in their heart after having read God’s words. Can such a person gain the truth? Everyone knows that they cannot.
These two passages of God’s words are talking about visions. They are quite deep, and most people are unable to understand them. If this is the case, what words can be understood from pondering? Truths relating to practice are easy to understand, while truths relating to visions are not easy to understand. For example, when you talk about “Christ is the truth, the way, and the life,” how do you talk about your understanding? By saying that Christ is the truth, the way and the life, God is letting us know that God’s incarnation is the truth, the way, and the life, that if you do not follow Him, if you do not accept the work that He performs, if you do not eat or drink His words, then you shall never gain the truth, the way, and the life. If you follow men, if you follow pastors from the religions, or if you engage in religious ceremonies, you will never gain the truth, the way, or the life. Then, why is the truth, the way, and the life mentioned here? Because for man to live, there are three major things: The first is the truth, the second is the way, and the third is the life. A human’s life on earth involves all these things. These are the three major things in life, these are also the three treasures most critical to living properly, and men should seek to gain these three treasures when they believe in God. Who has these three treasures? Only Christ is in possession of these treasures, no one other than Christ is in possession of them. If you understand these things in such a manner, isn’t it much more practical? If we go even deeper, and look at all the truths expressed by God, we can identify that Christ is the truth, that all truths among mankind are expressed by Christ and not expressed by the work that the Holy Spirit performs. They are expressed by Christ, for the Holy Spirit does not express them directly or independently but expresses them through Christ. All these truths are expressed through the words of Christ. If there were no Christ, where would you find the truth? The Spirit of God uttered from the sky, through thunder, out of the whirlwind. He did not express many truths, He only uttered a few words, which were said to one man in that setting and at that time, instead of expressing all truths to mankind. Therefore, only Christ is the embodiment of truth, the One who expresses the truth. All truths among mankind come from Christ, therefore Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. Once this is communicated thus it becomes more practical. Now let me also explain “the way and the life.” Every man lives a life, and regardless of how long each man lives, the way that he is walking can be determined by all that he has done. In life, no one lives blindly with their eyes closed; every man must choose the path that he shall walk. No matter how many paths there are in life, each man must choose his own path, and the path that he has traveled throughout his entire life can be seen from his deeds. Therefore, the path that a man chooses when he is alive is very important. For some, happiness in their life is to eat, to drink, and to enjoy themselves; this is the same as animals. For some, they feel that they must learn to live as man, that they have no other choice but to learn to live as man, and that they must choose a path where they learn to live as man. For some, they say that they cannot live without the truth, they must seek the truth, to ultimately gain the truth, and that they shall follow God, and walk the true path of life. Because they seek the truth, because they follow God, in the end, they will have gained life, and they will have lived out a meaningful life. Who brings this into effect? It is Christ. Therefore, it is indubitable that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. If we understand it in this way, we will gain a better understanding. Some believe in God for their entire life yet have no knowledge that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. This shows that they have neglected the truth, the way, and the life, that they only know of this person who is Christ, but they do not know the essence of Christ, they do not know the work of Christ. Isn’t that pitiful? Others ask them: “Who do you believe in?” “I believe in Almighty God.” “Is Almighty God on earth or in heaven?” In their minds they ponder: “Is Almighty God on earth or in heaven? If I say that He is on earth, then He is only a man; if I say that He is in heaven, then He is a vague God, so what should I say? Why not just say that the God that I believe in is both on earth and in heaven?” But then they get asked: “Well, is He actually on earth or in heaven then?” to which they reply, “His flesh is on earth, while His Spirit is in heaven.” “Then if His Spirit is in heaven, does it not mean that His flesh is an ordinary man? Is there no Spirit of God in that flesh?” They reply: “Of course there is, God’s Spirit has materialized. A part of God’s Spirit has materialized in the flesh, while another part is still in heaven.” Is this correct? Everyone says that it is not correct. Why is it not correct? Who is it that you actually believe in? You can’t really say it clearly, can you? Despite all the rhetoric, you have described the God that you believe in as a vague God. When others ask you “So, which God do you really believe in?” What are you going to say? Will you say “I believe in the incarnate Almighty God, who is Christ of the last days”? And the others ask: “On earth or in heaven?” You reply: “The practical God on earth.” They say, “He has the appearance of a man, you have believed wrong.” You reason, “That is true, that the incarnate Christ on the ground has the appearance of a man, but His essence is God, which you cannot see clearly.” How about this response? Others then ask: “So, where is this God that you believe in?” “He is walking among the churches.” “What does He look like?” You reply, “What meaning is there in seeing His appearance? To really see, you must read God’s words and then you can see what God is from His words.” Is this a good answer? Others ask: “Who is this person who gives you sermons?” You reply: “An ordinary man.” “Is he a good man or a bad man?” “Of course he is a good man.” Then the others say, “That is not right. The Communist Party said that he is a bad man, the Communist Party is even pursuing him!” And so you reply: “What is the Communist Party? Is it not Satan’s regime? The man persecuted by Satan’s regime is most certainly the best kind of man.” Then they say: “You follow and accept the man persecuted by the Communist Party, and the God condemned by the Communist Party, therefore your belief is not right.” “Not right? This is the most correct choice. We believe in the Christ being persecuted and condemned by the Chinese Communist Party, and we submit to the man used by the Holy Spirit, the man used by God. This is not wrong, this is a faith based on God’s words.” Then the others ask: “What is your basis for your faith in this Son of man?” “Based on His words, that which He has expressed. Look at the words that He has expressed: Even if you brought all the pastors and elders from the various religions together, they could not express such words. Tell me, are these not the words of God? If these are indeed the words of God, if they can save and perfect men, then tell me, is this person not God? What else do you have to say?” Once you say such things, there is nothing anyone else can say, they must all be quiet and accept it. Even a judge would have nothing to say.