Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”
Let’s read an article of God’s words, “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind.”
God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind
As members of the human race and devout Christians, it is the responsibility and obligation of us all to offer up our minds and bodies for the fulfillment of God’s commission, for our entire being came from God, and it exists thanks to the sovereignty of God. If our minds and bodies are not for God’s commission and not for the righteous cause of mankind, then our souls will be unworthy of those who were martyred for God’s commission, and much more unworthy of God, who has provided us with everything.
God created this world, He created this mankind and, moreover, He was the architect of ancient Greek culture and human civilization. Only God consoles this mankind, and only God cares for this mankind night and day. Human development and progress are inseparable from the sovereignty of God, and the history and future of mankind are inextricable from the designs of God. If you are a true Christian, then you will surely believe that the rise and fall of any country or nation occurs according to the designs of God. God alone knows the fate of a country or nation, and God alone controls the course of this mankind. If mankind wishes to have a good fate, if a country wishes to have a good fate, then man must bow down to God in worship, repent and confess before God, or else the fate and destination of man will be an unavoidable catastrophe.
Look back to the time when Noah built the ark: Mankind was deeply corrupt, people had strayed from the blessing of God, were no longer cared for by God, and had lost the promises of God. They lived in darkness, without the light of God. Then they became licentious by nature and abandoned themselves to hideous depravity. Such people could no longer receive the promise of God; they were unfit to witness the face of God or to hear the voice of God, for they had abandoned God, had cast aside all that He had bestowed upon them, and had forgotten the teachings of God. Their heart strayed farther and farther from God and, as it did, they became depraved beyond all reason and humanity and became increasingly evil. Then they walked ever closer to death and fell under the wrath and punishment of God. Only Noah worshiped God and shunned evil, and so he was able to hear the voice of God and hear His instructions. He built the ark according to the instructions of God’s word, and there assembled all manner of living creatures. And in this way, once everything had been prepared, God unleashed His destruction upon the world. Only Noah and the seven other members of his family survived the destruction, for Noah worshiped Jehovah and shunned evil.
Now look upon the present age: Such righteous men as Noah, who could worship God and shun evil, have ceased to exist. Yet God is still gracious toward this mankind and still absolves them during this final era. God seeks those who long for Him to appear. He seeks those who are able to hear His words, those who have not forgotten His commission and offer up their hearts and bodies to Him. He seeks those who are as obedient as babes before Him and do not resist Him. If you devote yourself to God, unimpeded by any power or force, then God shall look upon you with favor and shall bestow His blessings upon you. If you are of high station, of honorable reputation, possessed of abundant knowledge, the owner of plentiful assets, and supported by many people, yet these things do not prevent you from coming before God to accept His calling and His commission and to do what God asks of you, then all that you do shall be the most meaningful cause on earth and the most righteous undertaking of mankind. If you reject the call of God for the sake of status and your own goals, all that you do shall be cursed and even despised by God. Perhaps you are a president, a scientist, a pastor, or an elder, but no matter how high your office, if you rely on your knowledge and ability in your undertakings, then you shall always be a failure and shall always be bereft of the blessings of God, because God accepts nothing that you do, and He does not grant that your undertaking is a righteous one, or accept that you are working for the benefit of mankind. He will say that everything you do is done to use the knowledge and strength of mankind to divest man of the protection of God and to deny the blessings of God. He will say that you are leading mankind toward darkness, toward death, and toward the start of a limitless existence in which man has lost God and His blessing.
Since mankind’s contrivance of the social sciences, the mind of man has become occupied by science and knowledge. Science and knowledge then have become tools for the ruling of mankind, and there is no longer sufficient room for man to worship God, and no more favorable conditions for the worship of God. The position of God has sunk ever lower in the heart of man. Without God in his heart, man’s inner world is dark, hopeless and empty. Subsequently many social scientists, historians, and politicians have come to the fore to express theories of social science, the theory of human evolution, and other theories that contradict the truth that God created man, to fill the hearts and minds of mankind. And in this way, those who believe that God created everything have become ever fewer, and those who believe in the theory of evolution have become ever greater in number. More and more people treat the records of the work of God and His words during the age of the Old Testament as myths and legends. In their hearts, people become indifferent to the dignity and greatness of God, to the tenet that God exists and holds dominion over all things. The survival of mankind and the fate of countries and nations are no longer important to them, and man lives in a hollow world concerned only with eating, drinking, and the pursuit of pleasure. … Few people take it upon themselves to seek out where God does His work today, or to look for how He presides over and arranges the destination of man. And in this way, unbeknownst to man, human civilization becomes less and less able to hew to man’s wishes, and there are even many people who feel that, living in such a world, they are less happy than those who have already passed away. Even people of countries that used to be highly civilized air such grievances. For without the guidance of God, no matter how much rulers and sociologists wrack their brains to preserve human civilization, it is to no avail. No one can fill the emptiness in man’s heart, for no one can be the life of man, and no social theory can free man from the emptiness with which he is afflicted. Science, knowledge, freedom, democracy, leisure, comfort: these bring man only a temporary consolation. Even with these things, man will inevitably sin and bemoan the injustices of society. These things cannot restrain man’s craving and desire to explore. This is because man was made by God and the senseless sacrifices and explorations of man can only lead to more distress and can only cause man to exist in a constant state of fear, not knowing how to face the future of mankind or how to face the path that lies ahead. Man will even come to fear science and knowledge, and fear even more the feeling of emptiness. In this world, regardless of whether you live in a free country or one without human rights, you are utterly incapable of escaping the fate of mankind. Whether you are the ruler or the ruled, you are utterly incapable of escaping the desire to explore the fate, mysteries, and destination of mankind, much less are you capable of escaping the bewildering sense of emptiness. Such phenomena, which are common to all of mankind, are called social phenomena by sociologists, yet no great man can come forth to solve such problems. Man, after all, is man, and the position and life of God cannot be replaced by any man. Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free; what mankind needs is the salvation of God and His provision of life to them. Only when man receives God’s provision of life and His salvation can the needs, the yearning to explore, and the spiritual emptiness of man be resolved. If the people of a country or a nation are unable to receive the salvation and care of God, then such a country or nation will tread the road to ruin, toward darkness, and shall be annihilated by God.
Perhaps your country currently prospers, but if you allow your people to stray from God, then it shall find itself increasingly bereft of the blessings of God. The civilization of your country shall be increasingly trampled underfoot and, before long, the people shall rise up against God and curse Heaven. And so, unbeknownst to man, the fate of a country shall be ruined. God shall raise up powerful countries to deal with those countries that have been cursed by God, and may even wipe them from the face of the earth. The rise and fall of a country or nation is predicated upon whether its rulers worship God, and whether they lead their people to become closer to God and to worship Him. And yet, in this final era, because those who truly seek and worship God are increasingly scarce, God bestows special favor upon countries in which Christianity is the state religion. He gathers those countries together to form the world’s relatively righteous camp, while the atheistic countries and those that do not worship the true God become the opponents of the righteous camp. In this way, God not only has a place among mankind in which to conduct His work, but also gains countries that can exercise righteous authority, allowing sanctions and restrictions to be imposed on those countries that resist Him. Yet despite this, still no more people come forward to worship God, because man has strayed too far from Him, and man has forgotten God for too long. There remain on earth only countries that exercise righteousness and resist unrighteousness. But this is far from the wishes of God, for no country’s rulers will allow God to preside over their people, and no political party will gather together its people to worship God; God has lost His rightful place in the heart of every country, nation, ruling party, and even in the heart of every person. Although righteous forces do exist in this world, theirs is a fragile kind of rule in which God holds no place in the heart of man. Without the blessing of God, the political arena shall fall into disarray and become vulnerable to attack. For mankind, being without the blessing of God is like being without sunshine. Regardless of how assiduously rulers work for their people, regardless of how many righteous conferences mankind holds together, none of this shall change the course of events or alter the fate of mankind. Man believes that a country in which people are fed and clothed, in which they live together peacefully, is a good country, and one with good leadership. But God does not think so. He believes that a country in which no one worships Him is one that He shall annihilate. Man’s way of thinking is too much at odds with that of God. So, if the head of a country does not worship God, then the fate of this country shall be a tragic one, and the country shall have no destination.
God does not partake in the politics of man, yet the fate of a country or nation is controlled by God. God controls this world and the entire universe. The fate of man and the plan of God are intimately connected, and no man, country or nation is exempt from the sovereignty of God. If man wishes to know his fate, then he must come before God. God shall cause those who follow and worship Him to prosper and shall bring decline and extinction upon those who resist and reject Him.
Recall the scene in the Bible when God wrought destruction upon Sodom and think also of how Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt. Think back to how the people of Nineveh repented their sins in sackcloth and ashes and recall what followed after the Jews nailed Jesus to the cross 2,000 years ago. The Jews were expelled from Israel and fled to countries around the world. Many were killed, and the entire Jewish nation was subjected to unprecedented destruction. They had nailed God to the cross—committed a heinous sin—and provoked the disposition of God. They were made to pay for what they did and were made to bear all the consequences of their actions. They condemned God, rejected God, and so they had but one fate: to be punished by God. This was the bitter consequence and disaster that their rulers brought upon their country and nation.
Today, God has returned to the world to do His work. His first stop is the grand assemblage of dictatorial rulers: China, the staunch bastion of atheism. God has gained a group of people by His wisdom and power. During this period, He has been hunted by China’s ruling party by every means and subjected to great suffering, with no place to rest His head, unable to find shelter. Despite this, God still continues the work He intends to do: He utters His voice and spreads the gospel. None can fathom the almightiness of God. In China, a country that regards God as an enemy, God has never ceased His work. Instead, more people have accepted His work and word, for God does all He can to save each and every member of mankind. We trust that no country or power can stand in the way of what God wishes to achieve. Those who obstruct God’s work, resist the word of God and disturb and impair the plan of God shall ultimately be punished by God. He who defies the work of God shall be sent to hell; any country that defies the work of God shall be destroyed; any nation that rises up to oppose the work of God shall be wiped from this earth and shall cease to exist. I urge the people of all nations, of all countries, and even of all industries to listen to the voice of God, to behold the work of God and to pay attention to the fate of mankind, to make God the most holy, the most honorable, the highest, and the only object of worship among mankind, and to allow the whole of mankind to live under the blessing of God, just as the descendants of Abraham lived under the promise of Jehovah, and just as Adam and Eve, whom God created first, lived in the Garden of Eden.
The work of God surges onward like a mighty wave. No one can detain Him, and no one can halt His march. Only those who listen carefully to His words, and who seek and thirst for Him, can follow His footsteps and receive His promise. Those who do not shall be subjected to overwhelming disaster and well-deserved punishment.
Just now we read “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind.” These words of God have expounded many truths, and these are all truths that we, the created, should understand and should be equipped with. These are all truths that we must be equipped with to know God. “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind,” this title itself is the truth, it is also a fact. No one can avoid this fact, and no one can escape from this fact. How should we understand this truth? Some people say: “I fully acknowledge that these God’s words are the truth, because it is a fact that God rules over the fate of all mankind.” Regardless of whether you acknowledge it or not, or whether you see it or not, this is the fact. Many people have begun to like the truth, and they are all attempting different ways to practice their pursuit of the truth. Regarding the truth of “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind,” how should we fathom this truth? If someone should say that “I acknowledge that these words are the truth, I thoroughly believe that these words of God are the truth, that this is fact,” is this real understanding of the truth? Why is it not? This is something that we must ponder, is this not? You think that just because you acknowledge God’s words are the truth, it means you are also equipped with the truth? This is not the case. None of those who truly believe in God would fail to acknowledge that God’s words are the truth, but have you gained this truth? You have not gained the truth. What is the proof that you have not gained the truth? First, there is no truth in your point of view, it is not based in truth; second, your duties have not been fulfilled in accordance with principles, you have no idea how to apply principles; third, you have not lived out the truth in your everyday life, and others are unable to see you living out any value of the truth. These are sufficient to prove that, while you have acknowledged that God’s words are the truth, it does not mean that you understand, know, or have gained the truth. Is this not the case? Do not think that you have an understanding simply because of your acknowledgement? Acknowledgement of the truth does not equate understanding of the truth, while understanding of the truth also does not equate having gained the truth. You must have a good grasp regarding this matter. Someone says: “I understand, I can even talk about it some.” That which you say are merely words and theories, that which you understood are merely shallow thoughts and concepts. Can you call this understanding? Have you attained an understanding of the essence of things? Understanding and grasp of things within the subconscious are useless. If your thoughts and your understanding are only within the subconscious, it doesn’t mean that you have an actual understanding of things. Therefore, to read God’s words is to seek the truth. Regardless of whether you acknowledge that God’s words are the truth, you must still seek the truth, as well as understand some of these truths through your seeking, then attain true understanding through experiences. And then, through many experiences, years of experience, many years of experience, you shall truly understand the essence of truth, and only then will you have truly gained the truth. After many years of experience, that which you have understood will no longer reside only within the subconscious, but you shall be able to grasp the reality and essence of truth. At this point, the truth will naturally become your life, and naturally you shall be able to see things based in the truth. Your actions, your choices, and the paths that you go down shall also be naturally governed by the truth, affected by the truth, and thereby they shall achieve results. After reading God’s words, those arrogant and conceited people would say: “I understand this is the truth. There is no need to ponder such things, I have understood them long ago.” What kind of people are these? Are arrogant and conceited people able to understand the truth? No. They think that they have a sharp mind, that because they can talk about some doctrines and letters, they know better than anyone else. Things that are understood from the literal level do not represent the understanding from real experiences. Only understandings from experience are real understandings; understandings from the literal level of God’s words are merely within the subconscious, those are not true understandings. Therefore, to truly understand God’s words, we must experience, we must fellowship, we must constantly ponder and think on those words, to eventually be enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. It is of the utmost importance to be enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Once a person has been enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit, he begins to understand the reality of truths, he begins to understand the core and essence of these truths; without the enlightenment and illumination from the Holy Spirit, that which have been understood are merely shallow things on the literal level. Is this not the case? Look at the many people who, it can be said, don’t understand the truths, yet once you fellowship with them the reality of truths, they can feel it, and they would say: “Oh yes, your fellowship is practical and I am willing to listen to it.” Some might talk to them about some letters and doctrines, and they would say: “No, you are talking about the letters and doctrines, these things are useless, I am not listening to such things. I have all these things that you are talking about, I understand them all.” Therefore, everyone has a clear picture in their heart regarding whether or not you truly understand the truths, they all know it in their guts. Isn’t that right?
In pondering this article of God’s words, what should we ponder first? First finish reading these God’s words, and look at what these words of God are talking about. These words all revolve around the fact that “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind,” and the meaning of every passage of God’s words is directly related to this topic. Which is to say, God said these words to achieve a certain result. What result is this? To let man know that God does indeed rule over the fate of the entire mankind. When mankind has learned that God’s rule over the fate of the entire mankind is fact, when no one is able to deny this fact, when we are utterly convinced of this fact, what result will this engender? The entirety of mankind will naturally acknowledge the existence of this true God, while also acknowledging that this true God does indeed rule over the fate of the entire mankind, and subsequently learn that no one can escape the rule of God. Should anyone fail to acknowledge God, should anyone resist God, regardless of who you are, which people you are, which nation you are, you will eventually be destroyed by God, and this is fact. During the Age of Law, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and up until now, God has destroyed all individuals who resisted God, including presidents, kings, and leaders. These facts have been clearly recorded in history. Once man looks back, he will realize that these historical facts are all true. So tell me, all the facts that are recorded in these God’s words, now that God has written them out, what result is He achieving? It is to let you see that God is indeed ruling over the fate of the entire mankind. If some do not know, and say “We are not clear about God’s existence. Does God really exist?” Then study the history of man, and look at why all those who have resisted God have been destroyed. If God does not exist, how has this fact come to be? Those who resisted God and have been destroyed, they were destroyed by whom? They resisted God, and naturally God has destroyed them. Can man destroy them? Is man capable? Only the Creator rules over the fate of mankind, and thus, only He can accomplish such things. Once man has made the distinction based on this fact, he will understand that the reality of God’s rule has been proven.
During God’s first incarnation to perform the work of redemption, the Roman government and Judaism resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, they crucified the Lord Jesus, and they were eventually destroyed by God. The nation of Israel was destroyed. Yet God has given them a promise, that Israel shall be restored during the last days. God has not forgiven Israel’s sin in resisting God, destroying their nation as punishment. They have been punished for close to two thousand years, Israel has been made to suffer the loss of its nation, and thus they have seen that God’s disposition cannot be offended. Let us then look at the end of the other nations that resisted God. The ancient Roman Empire resisted God, brutally persecuted Christians for three hundred years, and in the end God destroyed it. The entire empire was visited by a major plague, the vast majority of people in the Roman Empire died from this plague, with the streets strewn with those who had died. God’s rule over the fate of the entire mankind has once again been proven based on just these facts. Whoever resists God is looking for punishment, whoever resists God shall be destroyed by God. Once we look at these facts, we have enough evidence to prove that God rules over the fate of the entire mankind. Those unbelievers will always say that man is the product of nature, that all things are the product of nature. Nature has no ruler, therefore everything arises from itself. Does this make sense? Is there anything that arises out of itself? There is not one thing that arises naturally. Some say that the mud breeds insects, yet where does the mud come from? It was created by God. Could man create mud himself? Man cannot create mud himself, is that not the case? Later on, scientists made cloned sheep and cloned cows, and in the end the scientists smugly said: “After cloned sheep and cloned cows have been realized, we shall clone man.” What happens now? Are there still cloned sheep and cloned cows? They have failed. All things are created by God, all things are ruled by God, no one can deny this. After we can clearly see this, what is the result that the truth of “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” will accomplish for us? What result will we accomplish once we have understood this truth? Man has been through many struggles and attempts, and in the end, man sees that his fate is not in his own hands, but in God’s hands. No matter what goal man desires to accomplish, if it has not been destined by God, man will never achieve it, for it must be destined by God. Therefore, the fate of everyone is destined by God and ruled over by God. If God destined you to work in a certain profession, you can never escape it. Some might say “I am choosing what I like when I go into university.” Someone might choose to study medicine: “Medicine is not bad, I can make a living, and I can also save people by healing them.” Later on, after graduating from medical school, his thoughts changed, “Medicine can save someone’s body, but it cannot save someone’s soul, thus I would have to deal with politics instead.” Look at how it changes. “I must dabble in literature, I have to write papers,” and just like that he began to write. Did he plan this fate for himself? Such things are out of man’s control. You might think that you hold the decision in what you study, but your thoughts have changed after graduation, and your plan did not come as quick as the changes. What does this say? Man does not choose his own destiny. If God has arranged this life for you, arranged this mission for you, you shall have no escape. Some people naturally like to sing, and all they do is sing. Even when they have failed, they continue to sing. And what happened in the end? After singing for so many years, and being disheartened for so many years, yet they were not able to part from singing. They said to themselves: “This is my destiny, there is nothing I can do about it,” and, in the end, they finally made it. Is this not fate? Some like to write. They got tired of writing and wanted to quit, “I can’t, I cannot stop writing. I still have so much that I want to say, I must continue to write!” Therefore, they kept writing. Look! Some people teach, they continue to teach no matter how many years they have taught, they continue to teach even though they are bored with teaching; regardless of all the people that are against it, yet they continue to teach. This is the mission that God has destined man with. Each man has been entrusted with a mission when entering to this world, he has arrived to carry it out, and he shall not leave before he has accomplished his mission. There are also those who have been destined to accomplish great things. Some have arrived to be kings, prime ministers, presidents. When one of these people has arrived, God prepared a group of people for him. When it comes time for him to step down, this group of people begins to die out: one dies in a few years, and then another dies in another few years. Once this group of people have all died, now it is time for him to step down. This group of people have accomplished their missions, therefore he should also step down now. Hence the saying that “The courtiers come and go with the emperor.” All these things have been destined by God. Some people became husband and wife, and no matter how they fight, they cannot leave each other. In the end, they say: “This is fate!” This is fate. It is the same for those who believe in God. Once you believe in God, you feel this bliss in your heart and your spirit. What is this steadfast feeling? When facing failures, facing persecution and suffering, you say: “Why is it so difficult to believe in God? What troubled world is this! What nation is this? Why does it persecute those who believe in God to such a degree? It is so wonderful to believe in God.” How many times you have been weak, how many times you have been discouraged, yet you remained. Every time, with the first thought of quitting, you start having this insufferable churning in your heart, as if blood were going to pour forth from your throat. Finally, you say: “I believe. No matter how much suffering, no matter how many difficulties, I still believe,” and alas, your heart is at peace, and you finally understand: This has always been destined by God, and no one can escape. Even if you should escape, you shall return in the end. Some have returned to the mundane world, “I am going to do business, but I am not saying that I will stop believing,” yet in the end they have lost money, failure has followed them everywhere, and they ultimately returned after they have failed, asking: “What happened?” God rules over the fate of mankind, and no one can escape. Is that not the case? Unbelievers say: “How are these people so foolish?” Is this foolish? This has nothing to do with being foolish or smart, this is something destined by God. What is foolish? You think that while these people are being persecuted, yet they continue to believe, so this is foolish? In the end, when all the persecution has been endured, and all the suffering has come to an end, when they have been perfected and brought into the kingdom by God, is this still foolish? This is supreme cleverness, do you not see? Therefore, you must determine what is foolish and what is smart based on the results and the ending. Do not pass judgment based on the temporary sufferings that the flesh must withstand and the shame that has to be endured. Those do not count, those have no consequence on the result. Is that not the case?
After man knows the fact that “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind,” what results will be achieved? The first result is, man will come before God, return to His presence, and bow down to Him in worship; the second result is, man will cease to fight for his own fame or his own selfish interests, and no longer lust after the pleasures of the flesh, but will obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement; the third result is, man will find his place in the household of God, and perform his duty within God’s management, walking the right way of human life. Do you see that these three results are what we can achieve once we realize the truth that, “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”? When someone has read this article of God’s words, they might say, “I know, I understand, it’s as plain as day, it’s easy to comprehend,” but does that really mean they understand? No. And why not? If their knowledge has not produced the three results, then it means they do not have true understanding. The truth can change people. The truth can be man’s life. The truth can cleanse and perfect people. If you say you understand the truth, but the fruits of the truth are missing from your life, then do you truly understand the truth? No, you don’t. Understanding of the literal meaning of the truth is not real understanding of the truth. It is not true understanding. This is what’s called understanding the surface of the truth, the letters and doctrines. It does not mean you have true experiential knowledge. So, there are many pastors who interpret the Bible very convincingly, yet at the end of the day you don’t see their transformation, don’t see any change in their life disposition, and don’t see the most basic fear of God in their hearts that would enable them to turn from evil. So do they understand the truth? No. If you say that what they understand is the truth, then you are perverting the truth, demeaning the truth and desecrating the truth. Understanding the truth will bear fruit. The truth can be people’s life. It can change them, and cleanse them. You say you understand the truth, but you don’t change even one iota, you’re still the same old you, with the same old views, and the same old Satan’s logic; there is no obedience to God, no true worship of God—you say you understand His truth, yet you recognize God in name only. This is what’s called deception. This is called hypocrisy! Many believers who understand some letters and doctrines flaunt their ostensible understanding everywhere they go, but are ultimately condemned and lose the work of the Holy Spirit. Some of them become false leaders and false shepherds, and are thus eliminated. What is it that causes them to be eliminated? It’s their contempt for the truth, their spite of the truth, their desecration of the truth, their flirtation with the truth, and their oversimplification of the truth. Do you really think that the truth is something that you can scan your eyes over and understand in a glance or two? Is this the truth? Do you think this is like comprehending the knowledge of the mortal world? Do you think that it’s something you can grasp by just reading a few books?
After reading this article of God’s words, you can understand a bit about the truth that “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind,” but if you want to truly understand the fullness of it, then how many years of experience would you need? It’s impossible to determine exactly how many years of experience are necessary, but at least to what extent should you experience it? You have to experience such that you feel your destiny is not in your own hands, but in God’s hands. You realize through your own experience, that God truly does preside over the fate of all mankind! After you have gained this understanding of the truth and seen the fact ultimately, you will have been conquered, “I am convinced. I completely obey God, and submit to His presence. I submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement! I won’t plan for my own fame and fortune, my own status or my own future prospects; but I will simply follow God, I will let Him lead the way! I will do well the duties I should do, so I can receive happiness and peace of mind for it; this is the responsibility of any human being. Now I can keep a low profile in all my deeds, and ultimately I can be obedient before God.” At this point can we say this person really understands the truth, and has really changed? You have to take it to this far to really understand this truth. If you think you can get it all by understanding a few letters and doctrines, then all I have to say is, you shouldn’t be so shallow. How many years must you experience this truth before you can say that you understand it in all its fullness? How many years before you will be able to bear the fruits I have spoken about? Only when you become obedient before God, only when you give up your ambitions, your desires, and aspirations will there be the fruits and the transformation that understanding the truth brings. Yet, if people are somewhat brash and unconvinced, and say, “I don’t know if it’s really like what you say, I think I’ll just keep on fighting for my own interests; I guess if I fail again, then I’ll admit that God presides over the fate of all mankind,” then should we say that such a person really understands the truth? This person chooses to fight on alone, and is defiant and disobedient. This is a person who knows nothing of the truth! And how many such recalcitrant people like this are out there in the world?
In the past we have said that in real life, especially when faced with difficulties, we should search for the truth. Is this practical? Some people might say: “Will you search for the truth regardless of what difficulties befall you? Suppose you were in a famine, what kind of truth would you search for then? There would only be one truth, that without food to eat you feel like you are starving, that without food to eat you cannot get anything done, and that without eating for several days you could starve to death. This is the truth you would understand, but could you understand other truths? What other truths would you say you would look for?” Would this kind of person understand what it means to search for the truth? A lot of people don’t know how to search for the truth, so they might say: “Would you still search for the truth even when things befall you? How could I not know what that means? Search for what truth? Some people did not pass the university entrance examination, because they did not try hard enough. For this matter, if they had tried harder would they have not passed? They did not try hard so they did not pass, this is a fact, and this is the truth.” How do you feel about what this person said? What kind of person is this? This is an ignorant person. They only know that if they eat they won’t starve. Even animals know that! Do you understand? If you do not understand God, then are you unable to say disobedient things? People who do not understand God are all like this, and here we have come together to fellowship about a fact: For all the things that befall a man, when all is said and done, is there a truth they are able to seek, and ultimately does the truth exist? It’s like being an honest person. Everyone has experienced being an honest person, but eventually something happens to you and when you open your mouth a lie comes out. Afterward you reflect upon yourself and think, “That’s no good, I told a lie,” and you quickly go apologize to that person you lied to, saying, “The thing I just told you was a lie, what I actually wanted to tell you is this … I need to make up for that.” Some people say: “What is good about being an honest person? If you are an honest person, are you not going to die? If you are an honest person, will you not starve if you do not eat? I don’t believe that.” This is what unbelievers say. But some foolish person might say: “What these unbelievers say is really practical, is being an honest person an aspect of the truth? Is this really the truth? Does this truth ultimately exist or not? If I really am an honest person, will my outcome be good in the end? Will I ultimately be rewarded? I don’t know the answers to these questions.” So when all is said and done, should you be this kind of honest person? You’d have no strength, you’d be defeated. What is wrong with this? “Does truth ultimately exist or not? Does God ultimately exist or not? Does God ultimately rule over the fate of all mankind? If people live by the word of God and according to the truth, what will be their ultimate outcome? How will God treat them? Will the commitment of the word of God be honored?” When many people first start practicing the truth, this kind of perplexity and test will befall them, and most often as a result they fall by the wayside and will be unable to continue practicing the truth. If you truly feel these kinds of tests and perplexities when practicing the truth, what is the cause of it? What is it that causes you to be unable to practice the truth? This is what we are going to fellowship about. Who would like to say something? Where does the root of this problem lie? Ultimately, it lies within the phrase “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind.” This truth, this fact is something that people cannot see, so they do not have any faith in practicing the truth. If this truth is not something you can come to understand, then you will not have the strength to practice the truth and you will be unable to submit yourself to God. This will be a huge problem, because no matter what you have to do, in your head you will always be thinking of the result, “If this is how I do it, what will be obtained? If I do it this way, how will that benefit me? If I cannot think through this issue clearly, then I won’t act in that way.” Is this not the satanic logic of man?
Nowadays the house of God requires that everyone fellowship about the truth after reading the word of God, and then practice the truth after fellowshiping about it. Will some people then be likely to say the following? “How does it benefit me if I practice the truth? What will I obtain after I’m done practicing it? Can you guarantee this? Can you sign off on it? If you can give me your signature, will you compensate me or make up for it in another way if I don’t obtain the benefits when the time comes? Right now I cannot see the benefits, so after I’m done practicing it I’m afraid I will lose out, so I’m not going to practice it.” Do these kinds of people exist? Some people have been captured by the great red dragon. When the great red dragon first interrogates them they do not submit. “I will not listen to you!” “You won’t listen? Then you will be tortured!” And after being submitted to torture they will yell out, “Ow, ow! Okay! I will submit, I will submit, I’ll talk!” They will confess everything in full detail, but why are they confessing? “My flesh is in so much pain, I can’t take it anymore. It’s not okay if I don’t confess, I can no longer hold my own!” Some people might pray to God: “Oh, God! Please protect me, my flesh will soon no longer hold up; in these next few days, if You do not perform a miracle of some kind, then I will become like Judas. God, please save me! Do not let me become like Judas!” But after waiting several days, God does not do anything, and as a result this person says: “That settles it, I prayed and God You did not do anything. You did not perform any supernatural act. You did not stop Satan from torturing me, so I will be like Judas.” Is this someone who practices the truth? Some people might say: “Alas! Is this the price you have to pay to practice the truth? I never imagined there would be this big of a price to pay. If there’s this big of a price, where you might have to even pay with your life, then there’s nothing I can do! I cannot follow God, for this is too big of a price to follow God and practice the truth. The price is your life. Who is able to accept that!” What kind of words are these? These are disobedient and absurd words from an ignorant person, aren’t they? Some people might respond: “That’s not true, you don’t have to pay that kind of price to be an honest person. At most others will shame you, or call you a fool.” But the truth isn’t merely about being an honest person, God requires you to do many things. You must also submit to God, fear God and shun evil, understand God, follow God, cast away everything and stand in witness. You must also bear witness to God and spread the gospel. These are the most crucial points. These are the bare minimum conditions you must be able to fulfill in order to be saved. If people truly practice these aspects of the truth, they will necessarily suffer many hardships and pay a great price. No one can deny this! In China you put your life in danger when you follow Christ, and sometimes the price you pay might even be your life! If you believe in some vague God in a democratic nation you won’t have any problems, but in China even believing in a vague God is not okay. So long as it is the true way or the word of God, then it will be condemned and declared an evil cult. Isn’t this how it is? If this was during the Cultural Revolution then you would be immediately declared a counter-revolutionary for believing in God, which would be extremely dreadful. After the reforms and opening up to the world in the 1980s, they stopped putting a political label on you, but what did they accuse you of being? A “cult follower,” a “disturber of social order,” someone “attempting to overthrow the government.” They accuse you of being all sorts of things. Any one of these charges could put you in jail with a sentence of several years, and put together these charges could put you in jail for life. So, would you all say that there is no price to pay to follow God and to practice the truth? If you do not have true faith, would you really be able to keep up? You might want to follow God, but do you have that kind of faith? Do you have that kind of courage and insight? If you don’t have faith or courage and insight, do you still deserve to follow God? Do you think that believing in God is a simple matter? Do you think you are in a democratic nation where you can practice your faith in a church without anyone watching you or questioning you? If you truly do seek the truth there, they will interfere with you and question you all the same, right? So it can be said that the first thing someone comes into contact with after believing in God is the word of God. They are coming into contact with the truth, but people cannot see the true face of God. They are only able to see the words that come from God, the word and the disposition of God as issued forth by God incarnate, that is, the truth. This is what man has come into contact with. Some people might say: “You believe in God but can you see Him?” “I cannot see Him.” “Then what can you see?” “I can see what God issues forth, I can see the word of God, and that is the truth.” “So are you able to practice it?” “That’s hard to say. Through many years of experience, I have realized that, to practice the truth one must have an understanding of God and true faith in God! Because if you really practice the truth, stand witness to God, lift up God, spread the word of God and practice being an honest person, you have to suffer hardships, suffer persecutions, and have mankind forsake you and ridicule you. That is really challenging!” People feel it is very difficult to come into contact with the truth like that, without ever seeing the face of God, only the word of God and all the truth that is issued forth by God. God has you eat and drink these words, He has you understand these words, and if you eat and drink these words and come to understand them and live by them, then you will be able to enter into the kingdom of God. Then you will be able to see the appearance of God, this is how it is. This is true, this is what we will see with our own eyes, and this is what we will personally experience.
We have believed in God up until now, so what feelings have we started to have about God? Some people might preach the gospel to their families, “Believe in God, God is real. After believing in God for many years, I see that God truly does exist!” “How do you know that God really exists?” “God has spoken words, making known everything He has done in the past, as well as all of the things that the entire human race did not understand. These are things that God did.” “Oh, this proves the existence of God.” “There’s more! This is God’s utterance, come look at the words of God.” But the other person might respond: “This is something a person said.” “A person said this? Then you say something to me to test this out, can you speak one word? Go find someone and have them say something to test this out; even if you got the whole human race and tied them all up together, you couldn’t get them to say these words. This is the voice of God. If you take a look then you will know whether or not they are the words of God!” “Wow! Now that you have seen God’s utterances and the facts of His Work, this proves the existence of God. How true! This really is reliable! This is testimony! Could it be that this is all you gain from your faith in God? If this is all you gain, then that is troublesome.” “There’s more, from the words spoken by God I see that the disposition of God is not only merciful and loving but it truly is righteous and majestic! Even more importantly, the disposition of God must not be offended, this is the truth, if you offend it you will meet your death, undoubtedly you must die!” “Wow, so you have an understanding of the disposition and essence of God, your faith is not simple, you have a very deep faith.” To which this person responds: “Through my experiences in these many years past, I feel I have a clear understanding of what kind of attitude God has toward different kinds of people and which kinds of people God will save. I believe firmly that I know what kind of people God will perfect. And I believe I can see clearly what kind of people God will eliminate and destroy.” “So have you seen the face of God?” “No, but understanding these things is much more important than seeing the face of God. If you do not understand these things it will be of no use for you to see the face of God. That will not come close to the amount that I have gained. You see that some people have been raised to heaven by the Lord Jesus, they have finished traveling through heaven and hell, and they have spoken some words with the Lord. But do these people have a true understanding of the Lord? They have no understanding.” “How could they have no understanding after meeting Him?” “Because these people have never experienced the work of God! They have only witnessed the Lord, acknowledged that the Lord is real and said a few words with the Lord, but to understand the disposition of the Lord is easier said than done! To understand the disposition of the Lord, the disposition of God is certainly not an easy matter, for that is obtained through experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God, and through the revelation of many trials and refinements.” If you have this kind of understanding, would you then have a true understanding of God? “You say that you have this understanding of God, but that you have not yet seen the true face of God, so in the end where do you think God actually is?” “This is something that is easy to explain: God is the Spirit, God is everywhere, God permeates every corner of the cosmos. Furthermore, God has appeared in the flesh and walks among men, speaking and doing work in a practical way. All of this is directly issued forth from the Spirit of God.” “Wow, then your connection with God truly is so close, it almost seems that you have come face to face with God.” “That’s right, these are the results attained from experiencing the work of God in the last days. Although I have not seen the true face of God, I have a true understanding of the disposition and essence of God. Through eating and drinking the word of God, practicing the truth and experiencing the word of God, I have already thrown off many corrupt dispositions and satanic philosophies, logic and life codes. The truth has already started to find a place in my heart, it has taken root. Some of the truth has already become a part of my life, and nobody will be able to suppress it.” Are these words the results attained from experiencing the work of God in the last days? If this is the stage you have gotten to through experiencing the work of God, then what kind of understanding do you have of the phrase “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”? You must have a lot you need to say and a lot of testimony that you need to make, right?
Through the word of God we can see the fact that God presides over the fate of all mankind. In addition, we can also see through the word of God that regardless of the individual, regardless of their race or nationality, so long as they resist God and are combative with God, they will certainly be destroyed. There is no other path for them! The great red dragon wholly resists God, disrupts the work of God and abuses God’s chosen people. Now, according to these words of God, and based on the fact that God presides over the fate of all mankind, we can see how God will treat the great red dragon. With the great red dragon resisting God in this way, what will be its end? Can you see it clearly? If you can really see it clearly, then you really have some understanding of the truth. If you can really see it clearly, then will you still lose your faith in this current time with the great red dragon so cruelly suppressing and so frantically persecuting people? You are a person of faith, so when the great red dragon is frantically persecuting people, covering the world in a foul black atmosphere and hiding the light of day, you say, “Great red dragon, you will soon be destroyed, your end will come, you shall be destroyed by God!” So, you pay no attention to it, isn’t that how it goes? There are a lot of people who cannot see clearly that God presides over the fate of all mankind since they do not understand this truth. “Does God really preside over it? If He really does, then how come the great red dragon is so fanatical, how come God doesn’t punish it? God should personally pull out the teeth from the mouth of the great red dragon. God should personally cast away the weapons in its hands. God should personally smash in its skull. Then and only then could you say that God presides over the fate of all mankind.” What do you think about this idea? That sounds like something a child would do, would God be able to do such a mindless thing? God says: “My wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s schemes.” The great red dragon is doing these things, but God long ago saw this coming. Through all ages past He knew this day would come, so beforehand God issued forth a prophecy, foretelling what would later come. It was at least 2,000 years ago when John the apostle saw this vision on the island of Patmos. God had him issue it forth, to tell of these facts before they took place, and then when they would become true as predicted, man would see that all the words of God would one day become fulfilled. So what is the first truth that you would admit? That “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind,” that the fate of the entire human race is arranged and presided over by God. You are able to confirm this, are you not?
If someone sees that many of God’s prophecies become true but they still do not know God, then what kind of person are they? Are they not muddle-headed? Wouldn’t you be muddle-headed, a son of disobedience, if you see that all of God’s prophesies have become true yet you still do not praise and admire God, and still do not admit that God presides over the fate of all mankind? Some people acknowledge these facts. They acknowledge the work of God and the words of God that are recorded in the Bible. But the great red dragon has come and is cruelly persecuting God’s chosen people, and they don’t see this clearly. They acknowledge all of the things in the Bible, but they are not aware of the things that are not written down in the Bible, the things that are currently taking place right now. What is wrong with this? Is this a person that understands the truth? They only understand letters and doctrines in the Bible, but they do not perceive reality clearly. These kinds of people do not understand the Bible, they do not understand the truth. It is useless to only understand letters and doctrines. When some people look at the fact that Sodom was destroyed they might say: “The country of the great red dragon—China—deserves to be destroyed in this way.” How do you feel about this? Does this kind of person have understanding? They understand a little bit, isn’t their understanding far better than that of the religious Pharisees? So what kind of situation would you all say the world is in today? The end of the last days, where the great disasters are soon at hand, right? How many years will the great disasters take? How many years will it take for the human race to come to its complete end and for the Millennial Kingdom to emerge? If you could see these things, then you certainly would have a strong vision. Are you all able to understand this? Even though we cannot see these things clearly, we still have faith and understanding in the words of God. This is a different thing, this is something that people can attain. How long would you say it would take from the start of the great disasters to the complete ruin of the human race? We cannot understand this thoroughly, because God has not spoken of it. We cannot measure it with certainty, only God knows. So what people ought to pursue is their knowledge and faith in the word of God. If you truly pursue this then your understanding will grow, if you truly pursue this then you will obtain more, for there is such little difference between men, isn’t that so? It is said that the great disasters will take seven years, then how long would the minor disasters take before these final seven years? We do not know. The great disasters will soon arrive, but how many years will go by before those final seven years? We do not know. In short, the disasters have started, we do not know how many years they will last. At least how many years will they take? It ought to be at least more than ten. Because the end of the great disasters is seven years, so what about before those seven years? Is that not also the time of disasters? Right? Now that shows that for the seven-year great disasters, those days will not just be seven years, but I do not dare say how many years it will be, at least more than ten. So we can say that in the future the disasters will get worse and worse, there will be no good days in those final ten or so years. Some people might say: “Simply let the seven years of great disasters completely destroy this corrupt world!” Is this the right thing to say? God does things in a principled way, but why is that? God is wise and almighty. We say that God is wise, so in between the arrival of all different kinds of disasters God will also save some people, refine some people and perfect some people, so that those of the human race that remain can attain a knowledge of God and have true faith in God. This is the reason that God brings down disasters on man, it is not just to bring down disasters to finish directly destroying unbelievers and evil-doers. In this way, the disasters are not a simple matter. The disasters carry a double-sided mission meant to attain many different types of results, and because of this it has to persist for an extended period of time. If we look at the word of God, can we see the context in which God’s people are perfected? They are perfected during the disasters! Before the disasters a group of overcomers are made complete, but during the disasters God’s people will be made perfect. Could it be possible that God’s people can be made perfect just through a few disasters? They will have to go through many years of disasters, they will have to come close to death many times. Come close to death many times! What do we mean by coming close to death many times? In simple terms, we can say it means you have almost died many times but have found a way to continue living, how lucky! If you come close to death many times but in the end are able to continue on living, then what would you be like? Knowing God, being able to worship God, being able to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements and completely discard your corruption of the flesh, these are the results you attain from coming close to death many times. During the disasters, those who do not have faith in God will be taught a lesson, during the disasters some people from religious circles will return to the presence of God. God’s people will be perfected during the disasters, but before the disasters a group of overcomers will be made complete. Isn’t this all stuff we can see from the word of God? This has all been said in the word of God, this is how it is. So, the truth included in the phrase “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” includes how God will save man, refine man, and perfect man during the disasters. In the end, all unbelievers that do not have faith in God, that resist God or that do evil will be completely wiped out through the disasters! How will God preside over the fate of all mankind? This is a fact that we can see very clearly!
There are many people who do not recognize God’s sovereignty or God’s arrangements. They cannot see the fact that God has dominion over humankind. So they find it difficult to put the truth into practice. With little confidence, they often plunge into temptations, even to the extent of being trapped inside them. Such is the reason many people never put the truth into practice. In the fellowship of God’s house, what is a person who pursues the truth? What must he possess in order to pursue the truth? Seek the truth in everything. Only if you put it into practice and possess this reality can you be considered a person in pursuit of truth. In regard to pursuing the truth in all things, some people say: “I can’t seek the truth in everything. Once I am about to perform my duty, I have difficulties, what am I to do? I am at a loss to understand. There are principles for singing songs, dancing, and spreading the gospel…. Just spread it! What do you mean, principles? What’s more, we have to spread the gospel to people who recognize God’s existence and have good humanity. Those things aren’t stamped on people’s foreheads! How could I tell? Once I see someone, I spread the gospel. It’s that simple!” Would such person go in search of truth? Such low caliber! What is the foundation that seeking the truth is based on? It must be based on facts, existing problems, and difficulties. Only then look for truth in God’s word. If you have no real difficulties and directly read God’s words, contemplating just the words, would you be able to understand truth? That’s just armchair pontification. Without combining words with reality you cannot possibly understand the truth.
Some people say: “Why is the gospel spread to people who recognize God’s existence? Why spread the gospel to people of good humanity? Can’t God change people, save people? God can make something out of nothing, God is almighty!” Is that right? How to seek the truth in this? Most important is that you need to know God’s will when spreading the gospel, whom God will save. God does not save the wicked; God saves only good people, those with good reputations, a conscience, reason, those who can accept the truth. God will save these people. So you can spread it to these people, they will be easily gained by God. This kind of person is more obedient, and follows the rules. It will be easy for them to accept the truth and enter onto the right track of believing in God. They won’t come into the church and kick up a bunch of trouble. If you follow this kind of principle in your evangelism, then the people you spread the gospel to for the most part can be saved by God, and none of them are demons and Satan, who only bring trouble to God’s work and will be eliminated in the end. You see, some people are saying, “Right, this principle of God’s house is completely in line with God’s word, because those whom God saves are people who in their hearts acknowledge God’s existence and can accept the truth. Spreading the gospel to such people is completely after God’s heart.” Some people say: “Will you go so far as to guarantee that the people God saves are good people? Are there really any truly good people? People who don’t believe in God are those who are truly wicked. They only become better after they believe.” Some people are just absurd. They don’t understand. Everything is relative. You say that corrupted humans are base. That’s not wrong. But is there a difference between good and bad people? Is there a difference between recognizing and refusing God? Is there a difference between a love of truth and its opposite? Is there a difference between accepting truth and rejecting truth? Since there are these differences, then we have to evangelize according to God’s requirements, to those who can love truth, accept it, and achieve God’s salvation. These people meet God’s standard. If you act to fulfill God’s will, then this is principled work. If you work according to principles, and bring the people before God who meet God’s will and who shall be saved by Him, then this is doing your duty up to the standard, which is doing good. And it will receive God’s commendation and blessings! For example, if you have evangelized to a lot of people who love the truth, accept the truth, and acknowledge God, eight of the ten can be saved. In the end, two or three years after they enter into the faith, they all become seekers after the truth, and finally they will say, “Thank you for spreading the gospel to me. If you hadn’t spread it, would I have been able to come in? Would I be able to obtain such great salvation?” Your heart warms, “Thanks be to God! God gave me grace so I could see clearly. The Holy Spirit led me to such a person as this. Good fish, good sheep were placed in my path. He let me bring them in, thank God, this is God’s work.” Will you not receive God’s blessing? Once some people start to evangelize they bring in a despicable person, a demon, an evil spirit, who disrupts the work of the church. As a result, God’s chosen people suffer, and they hate them. They say: “He brought all this misery on us! He is the one who’s given us so much trouble!” So, you did this work—you worked so hard at spreading the gospel, and in the end did you do well? God didn’t bless it! You disobeyed the principles, and did not obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You blindly spread the gospel, and finally it became a sin, an evil! Sin!
In the quest for truth, when spreading the gospel what sort of person after all fits God’s purpose? Is there truth to be sought in this matter? Yes. In God’s word we can see which people God saves: We preach to them. Some people say: “Oh. I understand when you say that. If you didn’t say it then how would I not know?” You haven’t pondered this matter. If your heart doesn’t have these things in it, then how would you know? If you always had these things in your heart, prayed, contemplated, and sought the truth in these things before God, then the Holy Spirit would have enlightened you, and you would have already understood the truth in these things, right? Is what we say about seeking truth in all things genuine? Truth exists in all things. If you seek more, you will obtain more. If you seek less, you will have less. In all difficulties, in all things, there is truth to be sought. Truth is real. If you do not look for it, it will not look for you. If you search for it, it will show itself to you. The truth is not biased.
Look at those people who never seek the truth. Where is the root of their disease? They do not believe truth exists. They say: “Is there truth in this? It is just what it appears to be.” They do not believe that the truth exists, so they do not search for it. When being told to seek the truth in some matter, they will reply: “I’ve sought it. Books say so, folks say so, intellectuals say so, and famous quotations say so. These are the truth; these are facts.” Is that right? What kind of person would it take to spout this garbage? Can you see through it? Only nonbelievers can say this sort of thing. Would you dare to say that there is no truth to seek from these things? It is a fact that God dominates the fate of mankind. Moreover, what manner of people are blessed, and what manner of people are cursed, is spoken clearly in the word of God. Some people say: “What about the matters that follow the trends in the world? Tell us the truth. What are we to do? If the trend in the world is not correct, then how could it become the trend? How would so many follow it? What is this all about? Explain it to me!” Where is the truth? Can you search for it? Some people say: “How can the great red dragon resist God? How is it that it has so much power? Where is the truth? Tell me!” Is this easy to fellowship? People who understand truth can easily respond. So, there is truth to seek in everything, it is a fact that the truth does exist. It depends on whether you seek it; if you really seek it, and work hard, it will show you, let you see, make you understand. The truth is not biased. Is this not real?
Regarding “whether the great red dragon’s political power truly comes from God,” some people say: “It is part of God’s plan.” “Should we obey it?” After searching for several years, they did not find the answer. You don’t obey it, but then it really persecutes you. Obey it, and then you are farther away from God, and one’s soul grows darker. In the end what can you do? Is there an answer? Seek the truth now to solve this problem. Some people say: “My parents are very traditional, are unambitious people, have brains and knowledge. They do not let me believe in God. What can I do? I must honor my parents even if I believe in God.” Is there truth to seek in this? If so, how to seek it? For believers, the most important thing is to obey God. Honoring your parents is fine, but God did not say to have us submit to our parents. Is this truth? Then what is an appropriate way to treat our parents? Fulfill your responsibilities toward them and that is all. Because they are not the truth, they are corrupted by Satan. If they don’t believe in God, then they belong to Satan. You may not be obedient to those who belong to Satan, whether it’s Satan or your parents, or the ancestors of your parents—even less, worship them. Is this not the truth? Because the words of God say, “Of the human beings within the universe, all those belonging to the devil will be exterminated; all who worship Satan will be laid low by My burning fire—that is, except for those now within the stream, the rest will be turned to ashes.” The words of God will bear witness. When you fellowship it in this manner, they say: “Oh! You don’t say, there is really truth to seek from it. Following what you say, in all things there is truth to seek.” That’s right! There is truth to seek in all things. Some people say: “I met a bookseller on the street. He asked the passersby, ‘Do you believe in Almighty God? I have books of Almighty God here.’” Is there truth to seek in this? Yes, Satan was trying to get in, he was fishing, trying to see who believes in Almighty God. There is truth to be sought in all things. So in all things, if you seek the truth, you can have the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, which lets you see the existence of truth, so that you have the right choice in front of you. You will be able to walk in the right path, with God to show you the way. When looking for a life partner is there truth to seek out? When educating children? Things such as whether fate exists or the difference between truth and superstition all contain truth that we can seek, isn’t that so? We don’t need to say too much about it, and we already admit this fact.
What advantage is there really in seeking the truth? What all are the results and benefits that are given to us from the truth? Is this an important matter? This is an extremely important matter! Some people say: “Seeking the truth is easy, it’s really just fact. If you really put your mind to seeking the truth, you will be able to understand the truth. However, knowing the truth is easy, but putting it into practice is difficult. After finding it I will not be able to put it into practice. So what use is there for us to still seek out the truth? Do we really have to seek out the truth?” What do you think about these words? Are there people that think like this? So we can see deep down the reason why many people have never sought out the truth, for they say: “After finding it I will not be able to put it into practice, I am afraid to practice the truth. Believing in God is okay, expending myself for God is okay, and exerting myself is also okay, but don’t always have me seek the truth, is that okay? I feel the most embarrassed about practicing the truth. As soon as you talk about practicing the truth, my head starts to swell, it feels like I have a headache!” This person likes to perform actions for God, but they don’t like to practice the truth. It’s no wonder that God says He mobilizes everything to serve God, and that all those in service to God have come.
Let’s talk about this! You’ve always been enthusiastic and willing to expend yourselves in service to God, but now do you have any interest in the truth? Have you made any progress in this regard? Isn’t it a lot better than when you first started believing? This is what is called progress. When you first started believing in God you delighted in performing actions, but now you have gone through some sort of change, and you say: “When you believe in God you cannot only rely on your enthusiasm, you also must have a real understanding of the truth. Otherwise, it would be easy to go down the wrong path or to do evil deeds! It’s better to have an understanding of the truth, the fellowship of God’s house is correct.” Now you have some understanding, but what does this mean? That the child has grown up a little, that they understand things a little better, right? So then what stage of life is your stature in? Are you like a 15-year-old or an 18-year-old? Or are you in your 20s? Some people might say: “I might be 3 or 5!” And others might say: “I’m the same as a 15 or 16 years old, I understand basic things, and in any case I have some interest in the truth, practicing the truth and seeking the truth, but I’m not that interested. If I am told to do something and my flesh will suffer a little bit, that is okay, I will still be willing to do it. I will not run away from it.” So how old do you think the person is who talks like this? Are they 17, 18 or in their 20s? What stage of life are they in? Some say they are 15, 16. Have they made some progress from before? They have gotten the will to suffer, and if they are able to get onto the right track when seeking the truth, then they will have grown up to be an adult. Do not worry that your stature does not grow higher, so long as you try to reach higher in this way you will progress quickly.
Look around now, each and every one of you who delights in listening to the fellowship in God’s house is interested in the truth. If someone wasn’t really interested, they would not listen. The words would be spoken, and they would start to drift off and fall asleep. The words would be spoken, but instead of listening they would want to chat with those around them, and after listening several times they would say, “I will not listen to this.” Then, to whomever tried to get them to come listen again, they would say, “Oh yeah, I have something to do, you guys go ahead.” They do not listen! But now, for anyone who is willing to listen, they will take more delight in the sermons the more they listen to them. “Hey! This sounds practical, this is something I’ve gone through, I’ve experienced a little bit of this myself!” Then they are interested. All the words are practical, so they are willing to listen. What is this called? How can you explain whatever this is? That’s not easy. How many years do you have to believe in God before you are willing to listen to this kind of fellowship? The words I am preaching are not humorous and they do not have any literary character, they are just plain spoken words. So why are people willing to listen? It’s that they are interested in the truth, they feel the words I am preaching are honest and true. So we can say that whoever is willing to listen to the fellowship are people that are beginning to delight in the word of God. If someone is able to listen to the fellowship and is able to have a full understanding of it, then would you say that these people have any difficulties when they read the word of God? You could say that they don’t face much difficulty in this, they are able to grasp most aspects of the word of God. At first glance they can say, “I see, I know what God is saying with these words.” They are able to understand. Is this not progress? Entry is gained from listening to the fellowship. Entry is further gained from reading and contemplating the word of God. Is this not entering the right track of having faith in God? Wait until one day when you don’t participate in church life anymore, but on your own you are still able to read the word of God, contemplate the word of God and communicate with God through prayer. What stage of life are you experiencing here? You are starting to be able to eat solid foods. You are no longer an infant feeding on breast milk. You are able to eat and drink the word of God on your own. You are able to directly communicate with God through the word of God. Is this not growing up? Is this not entering the right track of having faith in God? Do not overlook listening to the fellowship from the above. “Is it not just about concentrating your attention, and being willing to congregate, willing to listen? This doesn’t illustrate anything.” That’s wrong. This is most capable of being able to illustrate the issue! But some people might say: “Even though I do not listen to the fellowship from the above, I am still able to read and understand the word of God the same as before. I too can eat and drink the word of God.” This is the way the antichrists would speak. After saying these words do they really have an understanding? Are they really able to do this? They are deceivers. They know nothing of the reality of the truth, for if they really had the reality of the truth they would not be expelled from God’s house. If it was spoken from the above that they should be expelled, God’s chosen people would not agree. Instead they would say: “This person really has the reality of the truth, and they really have repented. We do not agree that we should expel them. We do not raise our hands for this in support of you.” Is that so? It is. It is the truth that rules in God’s house, it is the word of God that rules, it is Christ that rules. Even more so, it is the Holy Spirit presiding over everything.
Now, what lessons have we learned from practicing seeking the truth in everything we do? We have recognized that the truth exists. That is the first step, right? We have indeed found the truth in many things. Indeed, the truth can be sought out in everything. For every time someone has to make a decision, I guarantee that the truth can be sought out. For every time someone is facing a difficult situation or living in darkness, I guarantee that the truth can be sought out, for the truth is omnipresent! So, the saying “seek the truth in all things” is tenable. It’s feasible, and it’s also one of the principles of believing in God and experiencing the work of God. Since the truth really exists, after we seek out an understanding of the truth we must then also understand the intention of God and the demands God has for people. In this way we will be able to find the path of practicing the truth. If all you do is admit that the truth exists in theory, that the words of truth exist, but you do not grasp the intention of God and do not seek the way of practice, then will you be able to practice the truth? You will not be able to practice it. If all you do is admit that the truth exists in something, and you say, “All we have to do is not violate the truth and not do evil deeds,” is that so? Is it really that simple? For some things if you say you will not do an evil deed then it seems as though you can accomplish this, but other things are not of your own volition. If, when you are under the domain of the great red dragon, you are captured by it and you say, “I will not sell out, I will not do evil deeds. Everything will be okay.” Are these words reliable? If the great red dragon pries out your teeth or smashes in your bones, then you will not have the freedom to act independently. So we can say that sometimes you have to pay a price to practice the truth. People have to pay a price for one thing or another. Some pay a price for fame, some pay a price for profit, some pay a price for vanity, and some pay a price for reputation. Others pay a price for their children, others pay a price for one single object, their idol or their treasured darling. But are there any that pay a price for the truth? Just for obtaining the truth, not for obtaining the blessing of God or some other reward. The paying of a price is just for the truth, just for what’s righteous. Is there anyone like that? Very few. But these are the kind of people that God places great stock in.
Let’s think back on something that Abraham often did during the Age of Law. He would never take possession of something that others could have. Wherever he would go, when he would settle down, there would sometimes be others that would also come to settle there, and they would want to take over the land. Abraham would look around and say, “If you want to take this land, that’s fine, I will give it to you and we will go.” Abraham would not lower himself to their level, and he would walk away. So how would the people he was leading speak of him? “Our master is so weak, he is always being pushed around by others.” There was someone that had a lot of property stolen away from them, they found Abraham and asked him: “Can you help me take these things back?” “Okay, I will help you.” Then he went there and took those things back. That person said: “You have helped me take these things back, let me reward you with something.” To which Abraham responded: “I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is yours, lest you should say, I have made Abram rich.” These are two different matters. There is also another matter. God said to Abraham: “Offer Me Isaac your only son.” To which Abraham responded: “This child was bestowed upon me by God, I have lived my whole life to obtain this child, but if God has asked me to offer him, then I will offer him.” Did Abraham ask what would happen if he did not offer his son and what benefits there would be if he offered his son? He did not. “In any case, God has asked me to offer him, so I will offer him. I will not seek any benefits. My son was given to me by God so he can also be taken away by God. Isn’t this how it should be? I will offer him!” That is all that God said, He did not say anything else, and Abraham made the offering. The result of this offering was unexpected, for God said He would bestow Abraham with many blessings. To which Abraham responded: “I never thought this would happen, this was not the reason I made my offering, but my word! God has blessed me.” So would you say that Abraham performed any action in order to obtain rewards or to obtain the blessing of God? What did he do it for? He felt people should be this way. He felt that people with humanity, a conscience and reason ought to act in this way. This was the bottom line, the principle by which he conducted himself. People wanted to fight with him over land, but he would respond: “You say that this is yours, you do not speak with reason, but I will not fight with you, I will give it to you and I will move to some other place.” “You want me to help you, so I will help you. Do not reward me, for I fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I have my dignity, I will acquire on my own what I eat and what I use. I have no use for your charity. I will help you, but I will not ask for your rewards.” What is it that he was ultimately doing these things for? Did he have any hidden intentions or mixed up reasons? This was his bottom line, the principle by which he conducted himself. If he had a bottom line by which he conducted himself, then that shows that he conducted himself in a principled way. But what did he think this principle is? It is the truth! Based on what he understood of the truth, he felt he ought to conduct himself in this way. Conducting oneself like this is the true way, it is the truth. It is guaranteed that this fits in with the intention of God. So, this is how he conducted himself, even though he would suffer and even though no price would be spared for what he had to pay.
Nowadays, for those of us that believe in God in the last days, when we practice the truth we will first feel like we need to make a deal. “What advantage will I have if I act in this way?” Isn’t this like a person that seeks nothing but profit? People who always ask how something will benefit them or that always ask what good fortune they will be able to obtain, people who say, “If there’s no advantage, and if I won’t obtain any good fortune, then I won’t act in this way because it is not easy to act in this way and I have to suffer hardships,” are there a lot of people like this? You see that nowadays some people have temp jobs, and they might say: “I am not able to perform my duty, I have to do this temp job, and then in my spare time you want me to look for gospel targets, I will not listen to this! Since I have found this job, I will do it until it is done, I will not bother myself with anything else. I will not perform my duty. I will work and make enough money to begin thinking about looking for a partner, or perhaps I will marry a foreigner, and it is even better to give birth to foreign babies!” How do you feel about this way of thinking? Do they have a bottom line for conducting themselves as a person? Do they conduct themselves as a person in a principled way? People must submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement. Today He may have you do a temp job, tomorrow He may have you go perform your duty, and the following day He may again have you go do some dangerous thing. Whatever role befalls you, the church will dispatch you to go do it. So are you willing to do it? “Oh, I’m not going to do it, I have to think about it for a while.” Okay, then don’t do it, we don’t need you. We’ll send someone else to do it. It’s a done deal. You see that on the outside this is a very simple matter, but what is actually taking place? This guy is not being obedient, it feels like they are resisting and trying to make a deal with God. This is not someone who submits to God, they are being a son of disobedience, they are revolting and being immoral! This kind of person will be abandoned by God. God will eliminate them. Now you are abroad. Since God’s family doesn’t need many people to perform duties, you have to do temp jobs, and in your spare time they want you to look for gospel targets, but you are not able to obey this. This reveals what your character is like. These things make known the kind of person you are! If someone does not seek the truth, if they do not grasp the intention of God, but instead take rash actions and follow their own path, then doesn’t this show that they are betraying God? If someone truly reveres God, then they ought to seek the truth in all things. As soon as they seek the truth they will say, “I understand the desire of God, if I act in this way it will be in line with the truth. Okay, so I will practice the truth in this way. I will not betray the desire of God. I will submit to God.” That’s how simple this matter is. From this can we see what kind of person this is? This is a person that is able to submit to God. Some things are this way, today you have to do a temp job, tomorrow you will be told to perform your duty, and the following day you will again have to do a temp job. Let’s see how you will respond. “Ten thousand deaths will not prevent me from submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. No matter the arrangement, no matter the changes, I will carry no complaints, I will obey!” Yes! It is through this work and deployment that doesn’t conform to the concepts of man, this is what makes known whether or not a person is sincere in their obedience to God! Some things are like this. Such a simple thing can reveal who a person is, right?
Sometimes I deal with people in a very severe matter, telling them “You are a demon!” When I do, some of these people’s eyes will begin to water and they will feel pain in their hearts, as if a knife has been twisted into their heart. All through the day and into the night they think about it: “It was my brother that said this? Yeah, it was. So was this on behalf of God? Was this coming from God? If this came from God that would be very bad, then I’m a demon! Can I still be saved? If only these words were coming from the heart of my brother, if this is how he looks at me, and not on behalf of God, that would be better, then there would be hope.” Is this searching for the truth? This person is constantly wanting to figure out the real situation. “If this really is coming from God, and God sees me as a demon, then I’m finished. Right now I am worried about my fate and my outcome!” This person’s reason for doing things is incorrect. He wants to know in his heart what his outcome will be, and to try to find out if this is ultimately coming from God or coming from a person. So, this is not searching for the truth. If he really wanted to find the truth, then how should he go about searching for it? He would say: “I don’t care if these words from the brother above came from his own heart or if they came from the Holy Spirit. Regardless of whatever context it was in which he called me a demon, I ought to look into whatever it was that I did that made him speak of me in this way, and to see whether or not this thing I did actually makes me a demon. If whatever it is I did looks like a normal thing on the outside, but in actuality it seriously resisted God, then it is correct for the brother to speak in this way. That would conform to the facts. In that case, I ought to quickly accept and submit to this! I shall curse myself and betray my flesh. I ought to submit myself to the judgment of God!” If this person were to search in this way, then would they be seeking out the truth? This kind of search is seeking out the truth, can you distinguish it now? Then is it okay to say “The truth can be sought out in all things”? Some people say: “God’s family deemed someone to be an antichrist and expelled them even though on the outside they looked like a capable person able to perform their actions, and they haven’t been seen to kill anyone, create any disturbances or do any other bad things. Is there any truth in this? Does this conform to the truth?” Should the truth be sought out in this matter? The truth ought to be sought out. “There is someone who carelessly spoke some misconceptions, and as a result he was deemed to be an evil spirit and was expelled, doesn’t it seem like this is something that shouldn’t have happened? Whenever someone gets drunk their words are usually nonsense, and sometimes when people are waking up it’s as if they’re talking in their sleep. It’s hard to tell the difference, but how could that person who carelessly said confusing things be deemed as an evil spirit? How could he be expelled? If by chance he has been expelled in error then what should be done?” Should the truth be sought out in this matter? The truth can be sought out in all things. Some people say: “Should I search for a partner? Should I get married and raise children?” Is there any truth that can be sought out in this? How do you seek it? “When men and women come of age, they must marry. When people grow up they should raise a family. This is a matter of course!” But some people decide to never get married in their entire lives, instead they seek the truth and serve God. Does this conform to the truth? “Does God require this? I must search for the truth.” Should the truth be sought out in this matter? Some people are not suitable for marriage, their flesh is too strong, and when they get married they do not want God. They go around happily without a partner, and they have strong faith in God. But as soon as they get a partner they might stop believing in God and just go along through the days of their life. For others, their faith grows stronger the more hardships they endure, and when they have good days that are easy and comfortable then they stop loving the truth. People are different from one another. There are all kinds of people! Different people necessarily make different decisions, isn’t that so? Isn’t that how things go about? You see that for some people when they don’t have a partner they have a really hard time. Their family pushes them and other people laugh at them, so in the end they search for a partner. Then all things turn well, people pay no attention to them, the husband and wife just perform their duties together. So think about this kind of situation and ask yourself, do you dare say that finding a partner is detrimental to your faith in God? Do you dare say that without finding a partner you can grow up and be perfected? Who dares to stipulate such things? Are you daring to stipulate this? Since everyone’s situation and background is different, how could there be a set of rules to cover them all? If you don’t understand the truth and just use a set of rules to deal with it, then you will never obtain the truth, so do not make the rules. Someone got divorced and later they had a lover. These two loved each other very much, they both have good humanity, and they both believe in God. But they never dared to get married, for if they did they feared their brothers and sisters would judge them, so they decided to just hold on to their secretive relationship. Do you all think it would be okay for these people to get married publicly? Should the church suppress them or restrict them? We must properly understand and deal with this situation, we shouldn’t always use sets of rules to control people. Their love is not improper nor do they sneak around with lots of other partners, but rather they are in a normal relationship, they should not be prohibited from marrying if that suits them. They should not be convicted of a crime. The truth can be sought out in all things, but you cannot rely on your own conceptions to blindly judge people and make sets of rules. Someone that always uses sets of rules to deal with things and who relies on their own conceptions to make judgments, do they possess the truth? This kind of person doesn’t understand the truth! So what should this kind of person do? They ought to learn how to seek the truth, that way they can break away from the restrictions of their own conceptions and rules, and eventually they will be liberated by attaining the truth. This is the result you attain by seeking the truth. If someone is able to be liberated by the truth, then they are living in the presence of God, and they shall receive the praise of God.
Through practicing the truth, our relationship with God will get more and more intimate. People who never seek the truth or practice the truth will always live in uncertainty when it comes to their faith in God. Even if they accept that God has become flesh and carried out His work among us, they still will not have an ordinary relationship with God. Why is that? Because they don’t have true faith in God, and they still live in uncertainty. You see that for each and every person who does not seek the truth they believe that their understanding of doctrines and letters is an understanding of the truth. They believe that their conceptions and imagination all conform to the truth, that all of them are the truth. They believe that so long as something does not conform to their conceptions and imagination, then it is not the truth. Do these kinds of people have God in their hearts? Do they have an understanding of God? These people are Pharisees posing as good people. They are hypocritical! All that these people have in their hearts are doctrines and letters, they do not possess the slightest bit of the reality of the truth. People that really possess the truth do not control others when they perform actions, they give others freedom of choice. People that always control others and that always tell others to act in this way or that way, or do something in this way or that way, they always fiddle with people until they become utterly confused. These people do not possess the truth, they are all Pharisees. If you really possess the truth, why would you not communicate it? How come you can’t lead people out of rules and their conceptions? You cannot attain this result from performing your duties, and you cannot do this kind of work. That is further proof that you do not possess the truth. Now we have determined that the truth certainly exists, so where does it come from? The truth comes from the word of God. So the word of God really exists, it’s all the truth, so doesn’t this show that God exists? We have been shown the fact that God presides over the fate of all mankind. This allows people to realize that everything they see has the truth in it, it all proves the existence of the truth, the reality of the truth. Ultimately, this allows people to see that the truth is the life of God, it is everything that God has and is. The truth is the revelation of the disposition of God, it is the testimony to the work of God! The words issued forth by God guide the chosen people of God on the earth, everything that God has and is and every truth issued forth by God truly exists on the earth. They are here for people to experience, know and enjoy. These are all results attained through the work of God. When people completely enter the reality of the truth of the word of God, they will come face to face with God. Nowadays some experienced people say: “How is it that the more we believe in God the closer we get to Him? How is it that the more we believe in God the more it feels like He is real! How did we not have this kind of feeling before? How is it that previously no matter how we tried to believe in God we always felt uncertain, that we couldn’t touch anything? Now I have touched something, I have touched the truth and reality. I see a fact that is contained within the truth: The truth really is the life of God, it is the reality of the life of God! Every truth comes from what God has and is, every truth is an expression of the disposition of God, and every truth is an expression of the life of God!” Now that we understand the reality and existence of these truths, isn’t this the same as seeing God? Isn’t this the same as coming face to face with God? Isn’t this the result that we have attained? That’s how it is.
The unbelievers said: “The Old Man in the Sky truly exists! I acknowledge Him.” “Have you seen Him?” “I have not seen Him, but I have seen Him bring rain. When we need rain, it rains. When we need wind, the wind blows. When we need sunlight He gives us sunlight, or when we need clouds it is cloudy. When we need warmth the days are warm, and cold when we need cold. He is all together real and true! That is how real and true He is. People can’t see His true appearance, but in every way He gives people that sense that He is real, real in every way, nothing less.” So the unbelievers came to the conclusion that “Those who obey Heaven will prosper, while those who defy it will perish”; “Man proposes, but God disposes.” In our time we believe in the practical God, with the result that our understanding is deeper and more realistic than the unbelievers’ understanding of the Old Man in the Sky. The unbelievers said that they enjoyed the wind and rain, the thunder and lightning, and the sunshine and the dew that the Old Man in the Sky provided. So what is it that we enjoy from God? It is the provision and the watering of all the truth. God gives us all the truths that we need, and that is more practical! So our chance to experience the work of God is the greatest blessing that God has given humanity, the greatest blessing of God to humanity since the creation of the world, enjoyed by us, and gained by us. Do you see clearly now just what can result from searching for truth and gaining truth? Tell me, should we stick to searching for truth in everything we encounter? If we search for truth in everything, mistakes are fewer; if we search for truth in everything, there are fewer detours; if we search for truth in everything, we are able to gain God’s blessing; and if we search for truth in everything, we are able to gain more truth, understand more truth, and enter more truth. Searching for truth in all things ultimately guarantees gaining God’s perfection and receiving God’s promise, and that is fact!
Questions & Answers
Question 1: I heard in the past the statement, “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth.” Is that correct? Brother, please fellowship about this.
Answer: The statement “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth” is indeed correct, but can we say it is truth? No, we cannot! For only God’s words are truth. Yet for unbelievers to be able to say that when they did not understand truth is something we should consider quite realistic, really remarkable! Why? Humans cannot understand truth directly, so they find it nearly impossible to figure out many points, many arguments, and many theories based on notions and imagination. Once the imagination of their notions confirms them, there are many things said to be “truth,” yet before a few years have passed, the sense is that they are not the truth. Science is used to conclude that some things are the “truth,” yet after a few decades or centuries science refutes them. Are there many things like this? All too many. The theories of scientists like Einstein and Newton were originally declared to be truth, but now? They have been rejected. This fact is quite clear. So taking the statement “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth,” is it enough to test truth only through practice? Is your practice so complete? Is it so thorough? Are there principles for your practice? How large is the scope of your practice? It is not easy to say. The “truth” that some people established after several decades of practice, people coming after them finally refute after practicing it for another century. So tell me whose practice was the accurate one? Which of these practices can confirm real truth? Is it adequate simply to say so? These things are all relative. We can’t say this statement is truth, only that it is correct, not that it is truth. So, the statement “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth” holds up, but there are many truths, and some truths are so deep that even after a lifetime of practice you cannot finish testing them or confirm them. How do you explain them?
For six thousand years now Satan has been corrupting humanity, but do people understand Satan? Is what Satan has said after all just erroneous or is there truth in it? Has humanity reached a conclusion about this? Haven’t you said that “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth,” so why don’t you test whether you are doing the right thing? Therefore, I say that this statement is correct only according to people’s conceptual imagination. This formula is correct and we need to put truth into practice. But how large is the scope of this practice, and how many years will be necessary? What kind of truth are you able to verify in experience? Can you test and verify Satan’s corruption and the erroneous things from it? For so many years you practiced things Confucius advocated—have you verified them? Are they right or wrong after all? There has been no conclusion. Theoretically and literally, the statement on practice sounds as though it holds up, but getting results from it isn’t easy, right? Some people have said, “If we haven’t had the experience of putting into practice all those truths expressed by God, then we can’t reach understanding or knowledge.” Based on that point we are also able to say, the statement “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth” still holds up. But if you did not have the work of the Holy Spirit, could you acknowledge those truths? Could you achieve any results? Just like in China for over a thousand years women’s feet were bound, but did practicing this for over a thousand years demonstrate that it was after all right or wrong? Did people reach a conclusion? Humans have practiced so many absurd things for so many years without anyone understanding that, isn’t that true? So can we witness truth solely based on humans using a method such as practice? “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth” sounds right, and it is a fine statement any way you think about it, but it does not produce any results. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, people could continue with their experience and go on with their beliefs but never be able to gain truth. In the Age of Grace many people study the Bible, and they surely, more or less, have knowledge gained through experience with the words of the Bible, but have they gained truth? Without the work of the Holy Spirit your experience will get you nowhere, for what human experience and human practice can attain is so limited! Isn’t that so? Therefore, while believing in God people must still have the work of the Holy Spirit before they can understand truth, before they can gain truth. Can people know God by practicing something for generations, for one or two thousand years, without the work of the Holy Spirit? No. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, all is lost, all fails, hollow and unreal. When I put it this way, can you accept it? In sum, I feel the statement on practice seems correct, but practicing it does not bring results and cannot reach any results. Of course, to experience the work of God we must experience the words of God, and if we have the work and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in our experience of God’s words, then we can understand truth and gain truth. Without the Holy Spirit’s work everything is wasted effort, for humans do not have such power, nor can relying on practice settle all questions.
Question 2: At our meetings now a lot of the time one person talks about themselves, so you quote one passage from God’s words to talk about an experience, and I quote another passage from God’s words to talk about something else. We don’t know how to ponder and fellowship about God’s words, and we don’t know how to respond to each other in order to help convey the topic, to achieve some pure understanding of the truth and have some direction to go in. Instead I feel that after the meeting has ended I have nothing to show for it. I don’t know what to do to get more out of the meetings.
Answer: Can you gain truth out of such experience? Relying only on blind experience won’t work. The Holy Spirit must be at work and other people must lead you before you can achieve any results. So when you have finished listening to my fellowship, do you know how to practice? Is there any need for me to come to your place myself and show you by going into particulars for each thing you come to? How to achieve results in the meeting, do I need to say more? Where is the stature in that, where is the capacity to understand for yourself? Is that acceptable? So where does the problem lie with the previous failures? Searching for truth is not simply a matter of whether you are satisfied with how well people speak at the meeting. What is most important is how you try to figure things out after you finish listening to a person’s fellowship. You can get something out of that only after you have thought about it more when you go home. Do not rely on thinking “if people at the meeting fellowship clearly about truth I’ll get something out of it, but if they don’t fellowship clearly I won’t get anything out of it.” Most people are short in stature, and what can be achieved at a meeting is limited, so I say you won’t gain anything if you do not work at it yourself as an individual. But if you pursue truth as an individual, work on just your individual experience, and do not go to meetings, do you think it is all right? Why isn’t that all right? During a meeting there is some result as long as everyone truly fellowships about God’s words and speaks about reality, not letters and doctrines. Can I put it that way? As for someone in search of truth, he can get some results. It is like the way that some people cast a little light on truth when they speak, and some people are very realistic in how they speak, so if a person in search of truth combines that bit of light with that bit of the realistic, and then adds their own knowledge, they can get quite a bit out of it. But if you think, “His talk was shallow. I have as much light as he does. What he said was realistic, but no more so than what I know. If you can’t discuss things comprehensively and thoroughly, I won’t listen!” If that is the attitude you have, can you get anything out of the meeting? Some people enjoy listening to lofty doctrine fellowshiped by speakers with the prestige, but if it is ordinary brothers and sisters they already know, speaking their local language, in the language of everyday life, and rambling so they’re not clear, then they think, “I can’t figure out where there is much of any light or reality to what they’re saying.” If it is a speaker with prestige, then they think, “It’s well-spoken, clear and insightful, I immediately liked what he said and agree with it.” Is it possible in this state of mind to gain any benefit from a meeting? This is arrogance! Don’t judge your brothers and sisters by whether some of them are not well educated, don’t judge them by whether they’re not well spoken. It is that bit of reality and light that benefits us. If that’s not the way you go to meetings, not the way you listen, or the way you judge others, then you won’t gain much in return.