Chapter 4. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III
Did you go back and listen again to the last couple times of fellowship? (Yes.) After listening to it, what’s your current feeling? Do you have a deeper understanding? (Yes.) Has there been any growth from a month ago? Wasn’t the content of the last couple times of fellowship fresh for you? (It was.) Has there been any transformation in your pursuit in your belief in God? Has it changed your method of pursuing the truth? (It has changed.) What all has it changed? (After hearing God’s sermons I discovered that in the past, what I had believed in was the God of my own notions and I didn’t have a deeper understanding of God. Now I feel I’m one step closer to God and that I understand His disposition a little more deeply. So, now I have a goal and a direction for my seeking and more motivation to press onward, to seek to go up.) It feels more practical, right? (Yes.) (After listening to God’s fellowship, I truly felt that my understanding of God was different from the past. Before I could just say a bit and I knew a bit about God’s almightiness and wisdom, or about what He has and is. But after these few times of listening to God’s fellowship, I recognized that everything that God does has a precise plan and arrangement, that every single thing He does has significance, and His own thoughts are in all of them. Through these times in fellowship, I really felt that what I believed in before truly was a vague God, not the true God Himself. After listening these few times, the feeling it has given me is that God is truly alive and vivid. And what God shared in fellowship were all things that allow us to directly understand Him. These are things that haven’t been easy to receive through reading God’s words in the past. Particularly these few times, God has integrated the Bible to have fellowship with us, I’ve seen that His will is within everything He does, including that God has had this kind of management plan from the creation of the world up until now, that people like Job are the group of people that God wants to gain, and that from the creation of the world God had planned and been determined in His will to gain a group of people who are of one accord with Him. When I felt that God had times of sadness and pain, and times of loneliness, I felt even more that He truly hopes to gain this group of people who can be of one accord with Him. At that time I had a sort of indebtedness in my heart, but at the same time I felt that God is more than worth people getting to know, and more than worth being treasured. And people should have the aspirations to become someone who knows God so that He has a few confidants on earth who can be of one accord with Him. These were my understandings and feelings after listening to the last few times of fellowship, and then after us having fellowship together again. I personally also have some of these kinds of aspirations and views.) Very good—there’s been change. (After listening to God’s fellowship, when these couple of times Adam and Eve, the story of Noah, and Abraham and Job from the Bible were discussed, I felt that I had more understanding of God’s disposition. And the relationship between God and man was also talked about, and that in fact God treats us human beings like family. And Job in particular was mentioned, that he was able to fear God and shun evil, treat God as a confidant, and seek with no motives. In the last fellowship people’s attitude toward God in the last days was talked about, and that people are God’s enemies. It made a deep impression on me. Even though I’ve followed all these years and I shouldn’t have requests or demands of God, and I shouldn’t even seek for my own future or destiny, when facts really come upon me, I am still constrained by these things. I am so far off in comparison to Job. Another aspect is seeing that when God does things He has a yardstick. Even though He handed Job over to Satan, He had a yardstick, that is, He didn’t allow Satan to take away Job’s life. Job was given a trial within the scope of what he was able to withstand, and he stood witness for God so that God’s heart could gain comfort. In the course of my own seeking, the phrase “fear God and shun evil” has always felt very remote for me. This is a goal of mine for future seeking. Another aspect is seeing God’s love and what He has expended for mankind through this process—this feeling has deepened and become more realistic from these two times of fellowship. This is a bit of my own understanding.) There has been some progress in the aspect of personal practice. (After listening to a few times of God’s fellowship, I feel that God doesn’t seem as vague as I had imagined before. I feel that God is closer and closer to us. Fearing God and shunning evil is also something that I lack; I want to strive for, and to truly achieve fearing God and shunning evil.) (Only since I heard God’s fellowship have I understood that a lot was slipping by me, and only then did I know that no matter how great the issues are that come upon me every day, it is all arranged by the hand of God. I saw that in the past I was always believing in God in the midst of vagueness and in prayer I was also going through the motions, but after hearing God’s fellowship nowadays, it felt very authentic and the path became very clear. When I encounter the things that I am unable to do and I am unable to perform my duty, when I pray and seek, then God works on me, and it really comes very easily. So now I feel that God truly is so very close to us. In the past I couldn’t get a handle on God’s will, but after listening to God’s fellowship the path is clear, and speaking for myself, I feel that I have more confidence in my faith in God.) Good, everyone has had some growth. Whether it’s the aspect of understanding or the aspect of practice, most people have some new understanding, and some elevated understanding. You have recognized some mistakes in your previous pursuit—it may be superficiality or things that are not in line with God’s will—but what you know less of are things related to God’s disposition, right? This is something that is really difficult for people to strive for. Most only have a bit of perceptive understanding. This requires gradual deepening and strengthening through experiences.
No matter what, these two times in fellowship have really touched every single person and have created great change for everyone. This is a great display. So are there some people who feel that through these two times of fellowship they have finally truly discovered the existence of God, and finally truly believe that there is a God? Has there been this kind of change? Over the many years of your path of believing in God, you used to have a certain type of belief in your awareness. Now after fellowship, in your awareness and in your heart, you can feel the existence of God with a clear head—has there been this kind of change? (Yes.) How many people have had this kind of change? Raise your hands. Nearly everyone has raised their hand. So is this kind of change a good thing for you, or is it a bad thing? (It’s good.) If it’s a good thing, then in the past you had faith in God and pursued Him on the foundation of not believing in His existence—can it be put this way? (Yes.) It could be said that the majority of you are unbelievers then. You do not believe in the existence of God or you are holding onto imagination and vagueness in your belief, your faith, your following of God. What kind of belief is this? Isn’t this some sort of blind faith? Seeing you raise your hands—I’m shocked! Because all of you raised your hands. If I didn’t have this kind of fellowship, in fact there had been a very clear answer within every one of your hearts and minds. Many people do not believe in the existence of God because they don’t know where He is, what He is like, and what He’s really all about—can’t it be put this way? (Yes.) So if it can be put this way then what really was your previous belief in God? Could it be said that before it was a muddled belief, a vague belief, a lack of belief? Right? (Right.) That’s a problem. If I hadn’t shared this kind of fellowship, if there hadn’t been these two times of fellowship, then most people would not actually believe, would not know of God’s existence, would not believe in God’s existence, for you have said that only after fellowship have you genuinely believed in the existence of God. Isn’t that the case? It’s not easy to say, right? This matter should be put this way—when people don’t have a true understanding of God, subjectively speaking, in their hearts they believe in the existence of God, but what He is really like, what His will is, what His disposition is like, and what kind of attitude He actually has toward mankind—no one truly understands this. Even if you are face-to-face with God’s words or if you have been face-to-face with Him in your experience, you still do not fully understand Him. You don’t know God’s thoughts, what He loves or what He hates, you don’t know what makes Him angry or joyful. You do not have a true understanding. This kind of faith is built on a foundation of vagueness, imagination, subjective and unilateral belief. It is far off from true belief, from true following. The explanation of these cases, these Bible stories, allows people to know God’s heart, every step of work that He does, what He’s thinking, why He does things this way, what His intention was when doing this, what He was thinking when doing it at the time, what His plan is, and how He did it. Through these kinds of stories, we have understood God’s will, His thoughts, and what kind of attitude He has toward humans, as well as what is in God’s heart, what His attitude is, and what disposition He reveals when He faces every sort of thing. This allows every single person to have a better understanding of God, and feel His realness and genuineness more. The goal of telling these stories is not to have people better understand the Bible, the people and the chapters of the Bible, or the background of God’s work at the time of the Age of Law. The goal isn’t in these things themselves—the goal is to have people understand God’s will, His disposition, and every bit of Him so that they have a more genuine and more accurate knowledge and understanding of God. This makes people’s hearts able to open up to God little by little, to get closer to God. If, after I finish sharing these things in fellowship, there are those who feel that God seems to be farther away from them, then isn’t this a wrong state? Did anyone feel that God seems to have more distance after listening to the fellowship—did you feel some reverence, some fear, some apprehension which then developed into a feeling of a respectful distance toward God? Did anyone have that kind of feeling? (No.) Everyone says they didn’t. Then did anyone feel that after understanding God’s thoughts and understanding many aspects of His disposition, the lofty God in your hearts became smaller? (No.) Did anyone feel that the more you recognized God’s genuineness, His humbleness and hiddenness, and His realness, the more you felt that God doesn’t seem like God. That you can’t feel His almightiness anymore? (No.) Once you heard about, after He created mankind, God’s sorrow, His concern for mankind and even that God sheds tears when He’s sad just like people, that He feels bad when He’s sad and when He’s lonely—when you understood these aspects of what God has and is, did anyone feel that God couldn’t be believed in? That He wasn’t worth believing in? (No.) (Not possible.) Not possible, is it? So are you responding that it’s “Not possible,” or is it that you haven’t given any thought to this at all? (We haven’t thought about it.) It’s not right that you haven’t thought about it. This is something that you must seriously ponder over in your hearts. All of these things are worth pondering. It’s not okay to just not think about it—there are many things that must be considered, and only after you’ve thought them through can you have an accurate, clear, and genuine understanding. Only that is your understanding and the foundation of your faith. Are you clear on this? Although now you’re saying “Not possible,” “No way,” and “No,” there will be one day when some special situation occurs, and you can’t guarantee that at that time you will say “Not possible,” “No way,” or “No.” Isn’t that the case? (Yes.) People with a bit of experience probably all think about this: The truth is, fact and theory or people’s desires are often in conflict. It’s something that people cannot control, and it is contrary to the wishes of people. If you think it’s not there, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Of course I’m happy to hear you say “Not ever,” and “No”—this is great. But as for whether you really have or not, you’re not clear on this in your hearts, right? You said “Not ever,” or “No” to these questions I just asked you, but you cannot guarantee if there will be a day or a time when you say “Yes.” Isn’t that so? (Yes.) This should be gradually confirmed, gradually learned through experience.
Overall, an understanding of God’s disposition and what He has and is—all this is something that should play a positive role in people. It should make people have more confidence in God, have a deeper and more genuine understanding of Him, have a more realistic knowledge of Him and not blindly go along, blindly follow, nor blindly worship. God does not need that kind of worship. What God needs is people’s genuine reverence and genuine belief for Him, genuine following and genuine obedience toward Him. God doesn’t need blind following and He doesn’t want addle-headed people, or those who go along with the crowd. He wants those who are able to understand God’s disposition in their hearts, as clear as day; He wants those who follow Him and will not forsake Him because of His loveliness, because of what He has and is, and because of their understanding of Him. God wants a group of people like this. If your understanding of God, if His disposition, if what He has and is is still muddled in your heart, or if it is still ambiguous, it remains unclear, it is confused and cloudy, then God will not praise you or like you in His heart as that kind of follower. God does not like that kind of person following Him and He does not like them coming before Him because not only do they not understand God, but their heart is closed to God. They have not given their heart over to Him. Only someone who has genuine understanding and knowledge of God genuinely obeys and reveres Him. That kind of person has given their heart over to God and has opened it up to Him. God can see their heart and can see their sincerity and reverence for God. What they do and think can pass God’s examination and they are able to bear witness for God. That kind of person is one who God wants. Understand? (Yes.) No matter what is shared in fellowship with people, whether it’s about God’s disposition, what He has and is, or His will and what He thinks in everything He does, regardless of which aspect the fellowship is on or from what angle it’s presented, it is all to have people better understand God and be more certain of His genuineness, His love and care for humans as well as His sincere, genuine will in His management and salvation of mankind. Are you clear on this? (Yes.)
So what was the last topic we had fellowship on again? (God’s disposition, God’s work, and God Himself.) Today’s fellowship is also about God’s thoughts, His ideas, and His every move when He first created man. Why are we still having fellowship on this? There’s a goal, which is to have people better understand God and to more accurately understand and see His every aspect through His every move and His every idea. This will be more beneficial for people being able to genuinely believe in God and see His inner heart.
When God got up from His bed, the first idea He had was that He wanted to create a living man—a real, living man—to be His companion, to accompany Him in everything, and live with Him, who would be able to speak with Him, listen to Him speak, and listen to Him pour out His heart. So for the first time God picked up a fistful of dust with His own hands, and then He created the first person He had imagined in His heart with His hands, and for the first time gave this living being a name: “Adam.” After He had gained this living person, what were God’s feelings? It was the joy of feeling that He had a loved one for the first time, it was the first time He felt the responsibility of being a father, and it was the first time to feel the concern that comes with it. It was that living person who made Him feel joy, and made Him feel comfort for the first time. This is because that was the first time He had created a living being with His own hands, and not with His thoughts and particularly not with His words, but He made a human being, a living being with His hands. That living, breathing person standing in front of God made God feel a bit of comfort. Why was that? That person was flesh and bone with a tangible likeness, and he was able to speak with God. For the first time God felt the joy He had never felt before. When this person stood before Him, He had the thought of gaining even more people like that. So after the first time God did that, He truly felt His own responsibility and His heart was moved and warmed by this living being. This was the series of events that began with this first thought that occurred to God. For God, everything in this series of events was a first, but in these firsts, no matter whether He felt joy, responsibility, or concern for mankind at the time, there was no person for Him to share that with. Starting from that moment, God truly felt the loneliness and sorrow that He had never felt before, because in His heart He felt that there was no way for His love, His concern, and His will for living man to be fully or freely released. So, in His heart He still felt sorrow and pain. Although He completed a series of firsts, although there was a series of things He did for the first time, it was also the first time that He felt a sorrow and loneliness He had never felt before. These were God’s will and thoughts at the time. In doing this series of things, God was sorrowful in His heart but at the same time He was also anxious. He just wanted to increase the pace to allow this person, this human to understand His heart, to understand His will as soon as possible, so they would then be able to be His follower and be someone of one accord with Him, to no longer be someone who listens to Him speak but has nothing to say in return or someone who just stands there staring stupidly when He does things. They particularly would no longer be people who are indifferent when He requires something of them. So, the first series of things that God did in the beginning were very significant, and they were also very valuable. After completing these things His mood was anxious, and He couldn’t wait to unfold His management, nor could He wait to gain the people He liked from among mankind.
Then, not long after God created man, we see the event in the Bible of the flood that destroyed the world. It could be said that Noah was the first person God called on to build the ark. It was also the first time God called on someone to make something, to do something on earth in accordance with God’s command—that person was Noah. After Noah built the ark, God destroyed the world with a flood for the first time. When God used the flood to destroy the world, it was the first time He had such extreme disgust for human beings after creating them, which made Him bitterly resolve to wipe out that human race with a flood. After the flood destroyed the world, God established a covenant with mankind for the first time that He would never again wipe out the world with a flood. And what was the sign of this covenant? (A rainbow.) Yes, He used a rainbow as a sign—He hung it in the sky as a covenant between God and man. This was the first covenant that God established with mankind and it had a physical existence. This physical thing was the rainbow. The more God established this kind of covenant with humans, the less He could wait to continue His next step of management, so He selected Abraham to be His first choice for His work in all of Israel. This was the first time God chose a person and determined to begin His work of saving mankind in him, and to develop His work among the descendants of this man. This was what God did in Abraham. Then another first was that God selected Israel, to develop His work of the Age of Law among the chosen people of Israel. And another first was that God then established in plain writing, explaining in detail the rules and decrees that people should follow. This was also something that God did for the first time. It was the first time to stipulate details and standards for how people should conduct sacrifices, how they should live, what they should do and what they should not do, what feasts or days they should observe, and what principles for doing things they should uphold. It was the first time to establish these rules and principles in such a detailed and standard way. When “the first time” is mentioned, it’s something that there had never been before, a kind of work that God had not done before. And what was all of this work? It’s all related to God’s work of managing mankind—it’s all related to people. It has to do with God’s salvation and management of mankind. You understand this, right? (Yes.) All of these were things done by God for the first time—things done for the first time are things that had never been done before. Even though there were people before, and even though God had created life, living things before, He had never done that kind of work. Understand? (Yes.) And then there was another first, when God selected Job to be someone who was able to bear witness for Him under the law, who could continue to fear Him and shun evil under Satan’s temptation. It was with Job that God allowed Satan to tempt someone for the first time, and it was the first time He made a bet with Satan. The end result was that it was the first time God gained someone who was able to bear witness for Him and to stand witness without dishonoring Him at all in front of Satan. Since He created man, that was the first person God gained who was able to bear witness for Him. After God gained that person, in His will He more urgently wanted to continue His management, to move forward without pausing His steps, to do the next step of work He wanted to do and prepare the people and place for His next step of work. You’ve seen all of this, right?
Now that we’ve communicated about all of this, what kind of genuine understanding do you have of God’s will? God saw this time of managing and saving mankind as more important than anything. He didn’t just do these things using only ideas or words, and He particularly did not do them casually. Rather, He did all of these things with a clear target, a plan, a goal, and a standard, and with His will. It can be seen how weighty this part of His will for mankind is. That is to say, no matter how difficult it is, how great the hindrances are, how weak people are or how deep their rebelliousness is, none of this is a difficulty for God in His heart. He is paying the price of His blood, sweat, and tears, He is busy, He is managing the work that He wants to do, and is also arranging everything and ruling all the people and work He wants to complete—these are all things that have not been before. They are all the first time God has used those kinds of methods and that kind of price to manage and save mankind. So while He is doing His work, He is expressing and revealing His own blood, sweat, and tears, what He has and is, His wisdom and almightiness, and every aspect of His disposition to mankind bit by bit, without reservation. This is also something that has never been before. For in the entire universe, aside from the people that God now wants to manage, there haven’t been any creatures who have been so close to God, who have had such an intimate relationship with Him. In God’s heart, most important are the people He wants to manage and save, and He sees this mankind as more important than anything. Even though He pays a great price, has been harmed and rebelled against by them, He has no complaints or regrets. He has continued to do His work this way without stopping. Maybe after hearing all of this today you feel that it’s very normal because all along, people have felt some of it from God’s words and His work. However, there is always a distance between people’s feelings, the thing that they understand, and what is in God’s heart, what God truly wants to achieve and have people understanding in His heart. Isn’t that the case? (It is.) So, I feel that there’s a need to communicate with everyone why God created man at that time, and what the background is of Him wanting to gain people. It is essential to tell everyone about this so that every single person is clear, and knows this in their heart. Does this count as God’s will? (Yes.) So is it necessary for people to know that God has this kind of will? (It is.) It’s necessary to know. In spite of the fact that these things seem to just be some information for people now, over the course of your experience there will be a day when you may believe that this is not merely one or two pieces of information. Or some people believe that these are just some mysteries and have nothing to do with man’s seeking, but the day that you have progress in your life, when there is a little bit of place for God in your heart or when you understand God’s will more thoroughly, more deeply, you will genuinely feel the necessity of what I’ve said today. Regardless of to what degree you understand this now, these things must be understood. They must be known. When God does things and works, whether He uses His ideas, His own hands, or if it’s the first time it’s done or the last time it’s done, He always has His own objectives, and He always has His own thoughts in it. These thoughts and objectives represent God’s disposition and they express what God has and is. God’s disposition and what He has and is must be understood by every single person. After people have understood these, they can gradually understand why God does things this way, why He says things this way, and they can increase their confidence to seek the truth and a change in disposition, to seek following God. These are inseparable.
Although what people hear and what they understand is God’s disposition and what He has and is, what they gain is life that comes from God. Once this life is wrought into you, you will have more and more reverence for God. This goes without saying, and it is something that is achieved very naturally. But if you don’t want to understand and you don’t want to know, or if you don’t want to try to fathom or place importance on these things, then I can say with certainty that with your current pursuit, with your current method of seeking and believing, you will never be able to achieve satisfying God’s will and you will never have God’s praise or be able to truly achieve salvation. This is the ultimate consequence. If people do not understand God or know His disposition, their hearts cannot truly open up to Him. But after people understand God, they will be very interested or have a lot of confidence in being considerate of and understanding His heart. As you become considerate of and come to understand His heart, your own heart will gradually, bit by bit open up to Him. When your heart opens up to God you will feel that your dealings with God, your requests of Him, and your extravagant desires are not even worth mentioning. When your heart truly opens up to God you will see that His heart is an incomparably vast world, and at the same time it will allow you to go into a realm you have never felt before. These are the things that God reveals to you when you open up your heart to Him. This incomparably vast world is full of God’s wisdom; it’s full of His almightiness and it contains His love and His authority. You will see all aspects of what God has and is, what makes Him joyful or sorrowful, why He is sad or why He is angry…. This is what every single person who has opened up their heart to God and allowed God in is able to see. Only when your heart opens up to God are you able to see His will for you, and at that time you will discover how precious God’s everything is, how worthy of being treasured by people is what God has and is. At that time you will feel that the people, events, and things by your side, and even your dear ones, your partner, and the things that you love are not even worth mentioning to you. For you, no material item will be able to draw you in anymore, and at that time you will feel how paltry people are, and in God’s humility you will see how great He is and His supremacy. You will then be able to see God’s infinite wisdom in something He had done before that you believed to be very small, and you will develop admiration and adoration for Him. You will also be able to see His forbearance, His patience, His tolerance, and His empathy for you. When that day comes, you will feel that mankind is surviving in such a filthy world, and that the events or the people that surround you, and even those you love, their love for you, their so-called “protection” of you or their care for you are not even worth a mention. It is only God who is your beloved, and is your treasure. Are these matters important or not? When that time comes I think that there will be some people who say: God’s love is so great and His heart is so holy. There’s no deceit, no evil, no jealousy, and no conflict in it. There is only righteousness and genuineness. All of these things should be admired by people, and people should also pursue and aspire to them. But what is the foundation that people’s ability to achieve this is built upon? It is built upon the foundation of people’s understanding of God’s disposition, and their understanding of God Himself. Isn’t that true? (It is.) So understanding God’s disposition and what He has and is is a life lesson for every single person and it should act as a lifelong pursuit for everyone. This is critical!
We’ve just talked about a series of things that God did for the first time, and every one of these things are relevant to God’s will, His management plan, as well as to His own disposition. Every single thing that God does is inseparable from His disposition and cannot be separated from His will or what He has and is. Then what are we going to talk about next? This is also very important. After that, God once again did something very important for the first time. Maybe you already know—what was it that He did for the first time? (He became flesh.) Yes, it was the first time He became flesh. So this brings us to the Age of Grace. After God concluded His work in the Age of Law He quickly brought in the following age and began its work. The work of this next age was another new beginning for both God and man. This new beginning was once again a first of new work for God. This new work was something groundbreaking that all people and all beings could never imagine. And what was this? We all know, it was the first time God became flesh, the first time He was incarnated and began His new work in man’s image, with the identity of a person. This new work meant that He had already concluded the work of the Age of Law, that it had come to an end and He would no longer do anything or say anything in the Age of Law, and He would not do or say anything with the form, the principles, or the rules of the law, nor would He follow the form of the law and have people believe that He was still doing that work. Instead, He quickly ended His work of that age and came into the next age. Was this good news or bad news for all people? (Good news.) It was good news. But for some people it wasn’t good news because when God was doing new work, those who didn’t recognize God or understand His disposition were always using His old work to condemn His new work. For that portion of mankind, it was bad news. It’s the same as it is now, right? It can be said that the first of this work, the first time becoming flesh was enormously good news for everyone who pursued the truth, who was willing to accept God’s new work and His salvation. This is because it was the first time God was not standing among mankind in Spirit form since before God created the world or for the several thousand years after creating the world. He lived and worked among mankind in the form of the Son of man who was born of a human, in the image of the Son of man. This first shattered many people’s notions and exceeded everyone’s imaginations because in people’s consciousness and notions, they believed that God was eternally in heaven, in the spiritual world, and He could not possibly become a human being, that if He became a person that would be wrong. They thought that He was just in the sky emitting thunder or uttering His voice to mankind, that people couldn’t see Him—they thought that was God, and that if people could see Him, then that God probably wasn’t God, that it wasn’t God at all. However, what God does is all new work, so today we’re taking a look at what other new work God was doing. In His new work we can once again see what dispositions God has so that we can better understand Him.
VII. The Work of the Age of Grace
1. (Mat 12:1) At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.
2. The Son of man is the Lord of the Sabbath
(Mat 12:6-8) But I say to you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
That first sentence was: “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.” Why was it selected? (Because in the Age of Law people had to observe the Sabbath. They couldn’t eat.) During the Age of Law, it wasn’t allowed to just freely do things or leave the house on the Sabbath day. There were a lot of things people couldn’t do—they were forbidden. So this sentence is used representatively. When the Lord Jesus came, did He have to observe the Sabbath? (He didn’t.) Then why didn’t He observe the Sabbath? Why didn’t He observe the law that He Himself established? (The Sabbath was for people to observe.) It was for people—this isn’t the primary thing. God could observe it or not observe it. Why is that? Once the Age of Grace began there was no need to observe it any longer. You said that the Sabbath was for people to observe—in the Age of Grace did people still need to observe it? They didn’t, right? If people in the Age of Grace didn’t need to observe the Sabbath, why would God observe it? This is very obvious. Putting that sentence in here was to have people see that when Jesus came, when He began working, He had already thrown off the shadow of the Age of Law, and that in Him there was no trace of the rules and principles He had established in the Age of Law as well as what people should observe. He threw off all of that, He didn’t observe them, and He didn’t require people to observe them. So you can see here that He went through the corn on the Sabbath day—what does that prove? He was working outside, He wasn’t keeping the day of rest, He wasn’t resting. Instead, He dealt a blow to people’s notions. He was no longer living under the law, but He appeared in front of people, in the midst of mankind with an entirely new image, and a new way of working. What does this represent? (God was doing new work and a new age had begun.) God was doing new work and when He does new work, He no longer hangs onto the past or has misgivings about anything. Did He say: “I established many laws before and had all of mankind live under the law, and today I have come, mustn’t I be careful? Mustn’t I have people see Me slowly starting new work while I observe My own laws”? Is that what He did? (No.) He didn’t—He just directly worked as usual on the Sabbath day, and when His disciples were hungry they picked ears of corn to eat, as usual. For God, this was very normal. That is, God can have a new beginning in the great amount of work that He has done and words that He has said because He has His own principles. When He wants to do new work, He doesn’t mention the old work again, nor does He do it. If you do that, if you observe it, He won’t commemorate it because He has already brought new work. When He brings new work He appears to everyone with a completely new image, and a completely new perspective and method so that they see another aspect of Him. This is an objective of Him doing things this way. He does not cling to the old, and in His work and His words there aren’t all sorts of taboos as people imagine. In God, all things are emancipated and free, without any taboos. He is the living God, He is the God who really and truly exists. He is neither a figure of wood nor clay. He is entirely different than the idols that people believe in, that they worship. He is fresh and alive. When He starts to do something, while He is working He can allow people to see His more practical side because He has the truth, the life, and the way. He can do all the work He wants to do without being subject to any constraints, no matter what people say or what the outcome is. He does not have misgivings about any person’s notions, nor does He have misgivings about anyone’s standards for His behavior. That is, no one among creation should think of using human doctrine, imagination, knowledge, or human morals and notions to weigh what God does, to define what He does. Do not weigh God with the eyes of a man. There are no taboos in what God does, in the work that He does. You’ve seen this, right? (Yes.) There are no taboos, and He is not constrained by any people, events, or things. This allows you to see the aspect of God’s almightiness and wisdom, and the aspect of God’s holiness. Some people say: “Those who worship idols, those who worship Buddha and burn incense—today this is taboo, tomorrow that will be taboo. What does this represent?” It represents evil! It’s evil, do you understand? Once people worship Buddha, they can’t eat this or that thing, today they can’t go out, tomorrow they can’t do any cooking, the day after that they can’t move to a new house. They have to select a day for getting married, and for giving birth. What is that called? (Evil.) Right, it’s called evil. Is there any of that with God? (No.) When it’s said later that God is holy you should think of this point, that in God there are no taboos—He has principles in His work and His words, but there are no taboos. This is because God Himself is the way, He is the life, and He Himself is the truth. Is this correct? (It is.)
See, next it was said: “But I say to you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” What does the “temple” refer to? To put it in layman’s terms, the temple is a building. The temple refers to a large, lavish building, and in the Age of Law it was a place where priests went to worship God. But He said that there was someone greater than the temple there. Who was He referring to? (The Lord Jesus.) This person was the Lord Jesus, God incarnate at the time. The Lord Jesus was greater than the temple. What does this tell people? (God is the greatest.) God is the greatest—who was that conferred by? (It doesn’t need to be conferred.) If it doesn’t need to be conferred that doesn’t work—people wouldn’t acknowledge it. The words “It doesn’t need to be conferred” are very honest, but I know what your words mean. Take a look at that last sentence: “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Is there a practical side to these words? Are you able to see the practical side? If you were given another time for gathering, you probably still wouldn’t understand the practical side of these words. I tell you, every single thing that God says is expressed from His heart. The reason He speaks this way is a representation of His disposition. These words were placed here, they were spoken in the Age of Grace, and looking at them now you are probably well able to understand, but if it were at that time, there would be few people who could understand them. Because they had just come out of the Age of Law, there weren’t many people who were able to understand these words. But looking at them now, there are some people who have some understanding in principle, yet they are not truly able to understand and treat these words as the truth in their hearts.
God created all things—when He created all things, were His wisdom and almightiness greatly revealed? (Yes.) Didn’t He use His wisdom and His almightiness to create all things? (He did.) Then aren’t His wisdom and almightiness the truth? (Yes.) This is the creation of all things! No matter how lavish, how magnificent a temple is, how great it is, isn’t it nothing but a material object? (It is.) So comparing this material object to God’s almightiness and wisdom, which is more important? (God’s almightiness.) Aren’t these words wrong? See, at times I mislead you a tiny bit, and then you answer incorrectly. Comparing God’s almightiness and wisdom with a physical temple—how can they even be compared? (They can’t.) Now this is correct. You understand the meaning of these words, right? There is nothing comparable between material things and God’s almightiness and what He has and is. What’s the implication of this? That is, do not compare God—God’s own being, God Himself, and God’s everything—with a material thing or any other thing that you think is great. This is erroneous in and of itself. Do not compare—engage in the knowledge of it; understand it, and share it. Do not compare them—the moment they’re compared it’s wrong. Would you say that you are able to weigh the truth? (No.) Can you say that the truth is more important than doctrines? (No.) It can be put this way: If you want to compare their weightiness, they simply cannot be compared because there is no possible comparison, but if it’s about which is useful, then that comparison can be made. Because for people, the truth is life. What do you see in these words? In the passage of “The Son of man is the Lord of the Sabbath,” we should see that in people’s hearts, God is immaterial, but He can provide you with all material things and material needs. However, when your material needs are met, can they replace your pursuit of the truth? (They can’t.) That is, even though we can’t describe God’s disposition and what God has and is that we have had fellowship on with an equivalent material object, nor can we weigh their value with money since they are not material, for every single person, the value of these immaterial things exceeds the value of the material things that you enjoy or that you believe to be good. Can it be put this way? (It can.) This is very certain, right? Then why have I said so much awkward things? You must slowly savor this. Right now it sounds awkward to you, but if you listen to it a few more times it probably won’t seem that way. What’s the main point of what I’ve said? What God has and is and His everything are all the most important thing for every single person. They are most important. I’ll give you an example—when you’re hungry, you can get some food, and maybe fairly good food or food that isn’t so great, but after you’ve eaten your fill you feel satiated and you’re no longer hungry. You can sit there and be at peace. That unpleasant feeling of hunger in your body, in your stomach is gone, it has disappeared. But when you follow God and you feel that your understanding of God is nonexistent, or you really want to understand Him, what can you use to satiate this feeling of hunger? That is, during the process of your experience of being saved, while pursuing a change in disposition, if you are not clear on God’s will or what the truth is, if you don’t understand God’s disposition and you particularly do not know what His will is, what can you use to satiate that hunger of yours? Is there a way to satiate it? Some people have tried going shopping or going to find someone they like to chat with, to chew the fat, or they take a nap, sleep their fill, or they read more of God’s words or they take on more of words of doctrine, fulfill more of their duty, put out more effort. Can this be resolved? (It can’t.) You all have deep personal experience of this. It can’t. At these times when you feel that your ability cannot match your wishes, when you feel that you really, really long for God’s enlightenment so that you understand the path of seeking the truth, so that you understand God’s will, what is it that you most need? What you need is not a good meal, nor is it a few kind words. It particularly is not the temporal comfort and satisfaction of the flesh, the consolation of those dear to you, or performing some of your duty. So what is it? You urgently need God to directly and clearly tell you what He would have you do, how you should do it, and what the truth is. After you have understood these things, even if it’s just a little bit, how will you feel? Won’t you be more satiated than as if you had eaten a full meal? (Yes.) You have a deep personal experience of this, right? (Right.) When I make this analogy, when I analyze this in this way, don’t you now understand why I had you read this: “the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day”? Why is it said that the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day? The implied meaning is that all that comes from God, what He has and is, and God’s everything surpass all things, even what you once believed to be your most treasured items. First remember this—in your future experiences you will understand why I had you read this passage today. This is very important! “The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” is not a matter of whether He is the Lord or not the Lord, it is that every single thing done by God is the truth, and the life. The truth is something that is indispensable in people’s lives, it is something that they cannot be away from at any time. Isn’t this the greatest thing for mankind? (Yes.) It can be said that it’s the greatest thing. It can’t be seen or touched, but only when you feel it in your heart will you truly know the meaning of what I am saying—why I say it is the greatest thing, why I say that any material object is incomparable with it, and they cannot be compared.