45. The Principles of Obeying Brothers and Sisters
1. No matter the position or stature of brothers and sisters, as long as they fellowship in conformity with the reality of the truth, then you should accept and obey it without personal choice;
2. Everyone is equal before the truth. As long as what brothers and sisters fellowship is enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit, then you should accept and obey it, and live in the light;
3. You should respect those who understand the truth and who expend sincerely for God, and you should accept and obey those who are able to lead you into the reality of the truth;
4. When brothers and sisters point out your shortcomings or rebuke or criticize you, you should accept and obey even if you are unaware of them. Never try to justify yourself.
Relevant Words of God:
Now your statures are put to a practical test to see whether the church can be built and whether or not you can obey each other. Viewed from this aspect, your obedience is indeed an obedience in which you pick and choose—though you may be able to obey one person, you find it hard to obey somebody else. There is indeed no way people can be obedient when they rely on their conceptions. However the ideas of God always surpass those of man! Christ obeyed unto death and died on the cross. Christ said nothing about any conditions or reasons; so long as it was His Father’s will, He obeyed willingly. Your current obedience is too limited. I say to you all, obedience is not obeying those outside yourselves, it is obeying the inner life within and it is obeying God Himself. … You must take the time to figure this out, what obedience is and how you can live out the life of obedience. You must come before Me more and fellowship this matter, and slowly you will come to understand it, and will consequently relinquish the conceptions and choices within you. This way in which I do things is hard for people to understand thoroughly. It is not how people are good or capable—I use the most ignorant, the most insignificant to reveal God’s almightiness whilst at the same time reversing some of people’s conceptions, opinions and choices. God’s deeds are wondrous in this way, and they are beyond people’s speculations!
from “The Twentieth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What is it to accept truth? It means that no matter which corrupt disposition you have or which venom of the great red dragon poisons your nature, you acknowledge it when it is revealed by God’s word and submit to God’s word with utter conviction. And, you know yourself according to God’s word. This is what it means to accept God’s word. No matter what God says, no matter how piercing to the heart, no matter what words He uses, you can accept it as long as it is truth, and you can acknowledge it as long as it conforms to reality. You can submit to God’s word regardless of how deeply you understand it, and you accept and submit to the light of enlightenment from the Holy Spirit that is communicated by the brothers and sisters. When such a person’s pursuit of truth has reached a certain point, he can obtain truth and achieve the transformation of his disposition.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature”in Records of Christ’s Talks
Holy Spirit not only works in certain men who are used by God, but even more in the church. He could be working in anyone. He may work in you for the present, and when you have experienced it, He may work in someone else next. Make haste to follow; the more closely you follow the present light, the more your life can mature and grow. No matter what manner of man he may be, so long as the Holy Spirit works in him, make sure to follow. Take in his experiences through your own, and you will receive even higher things. In so doing you will progress more quickly. This is the path of perfection for man and a way through which life grows. The path to being made perfect is reached through your obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit. You do not know through what kind of person God will work to perfect you, nor through what person, occurrence, or thing He will enable you to enter into possession and to gain some insight. If you are able to walk onto this right track, it shows that there is great hope for you to be perfected by God. If you are unable to do so, it shows that your future is bleak and devoid of light. Once you get on the right track, you will gain revelation in all things. No matter what the Holy Spirit may reveal to others, if you proceed on the basis of their knowledge to experience things on your own, then this experience will become a part of your life, and you will be able to supply others out of this experience. Those who supply others by parroting words are people who have not had any experiences; you must learn to find, through the enlightenment and illumination of others, a way of practice before you can begin to speak of your own actual experience and knowledge. This will be of greater benefit to your own life. You should experience in this way, obeying all that comes from God. You should seek the will of God in all things and study the lessons in all things, that your life may mature and grow. This kind of practice affords the fastest progress.
from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God”in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Very seldom when you are working together does any of you say: I would like to hear you fellowship with me about this aspect of truth, because I am not clear about it. Or to say: You have more experiences than I have on this matter; can you give me some direction, please? Wouldn’t this be a good way of doing it? You on the upper levels hear a lot of truth, and understand a lot about service. If you people who coordinate to work in the churches do not learn from each other, and communicate, making up for each other’s shortcomings, from where can you learn lessons? When you encounter anything, you should fellowship with each other, so that your life can benefit.
from “Serve as the Israelites Did”in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If your words are riddled with excuses and valueless justifications, then I say that you are one who is extremely loath to put the truth into practice.
from “Three Admonitions”in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
Where is the reality of submitting to God? How do you prove it? If you truly have the reality, if you can truly obey God, then you must submit to the truth absolutely. Whoever speaks the truth, you must accept and submit. “No matter whether I think highly of this person or not, no matter whether this person has status or authority, I accept the truth that comes from God, I accept these words from God.” Someone who can do this is impressive. What is this called? This is called possessing reality. How can we discern if someone possesses reality? Like this—if someone discovers truth in the least of his brothers and sisters, he can accept it, he can listen and submit when he hears something right or in accord with the truth. No matter who says it or where he discovers it, the moment he encounters God’s word, the moment he encounters truth, he treats it as an order. He submits the instant he hears God’s word, he bows and accepts. This is someone who submits to God.
from “Only Through Pursuing Truth Can One Escape the Influence of Satan and Attain Salvation” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VII)
A regional leader said, “You are just an ordinary brother or sister that communicates the light of the truth. I will not submit to you. You must listen to me. You are under my command. Who do I obey? I obey the supervisors because their status is higher than mine.” Notice that he exercises obedience according to status and hierarchy. Is this in accordance with the principles of the truth? It is not in accordance with the principles of the truth and God’s intentions. Within God’s intentions, God’s words are the highest authority. If the things I say are not in accordance with God’s words and the truth, even though you are ordinary brothers and sisters, you do not have to listen. In God’s family, what is the highest authority? The words of God, which is visible, are the highest authority. Christ is the highest authority. The Holy Spirit, which is invisible, is the highest authority. This is the highest principle in regard to obedience. If you understand this principle and can put it into practice, you are someone that obeys God. If a regional leader says, “The supervisor has spoken. I don’t think what he said is right, but because he is the supervisor, I will listen.” Is this a person that obeys God? He does not obey God. He obeys status and power. Those who obey status and power do not regard obeying the truth as the highest principle. They do not regard God as the highest authority to obey. Their hearts do not honor God as great. Internally, they have a space for Satan and they do not know God.
from “How One Should Pursue the Truth to Gain Life” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VI)
During the time in which we experience the work of God, we often experience discipline from the Holy Spirit. God uses various trials to manifest our corruption, and to manifest our disobedience. God prunes and deals with us through various people, events, and things. It all proceeds as the Holy Spirit dictates and arranges. We may say that it all comes from God, and that it stems from God. Sometimes, a brother or sister suddenly reveals your corruption, and censures you. Each sentence pricks your heart when you hear it. This also comes from the Holy Spirit, and starts from God. No matter what sort of person you meet in what situation, if a person truly exposes us, and censures us, this is all pruning and dealing with us by God, and it comes out of God’s discipline of us.
from “How to Know Christ Is the Truth, the Way, and the Life” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (II)
If what they do is beneficial to the life entry of God’s chosen people, can truly supply God’s chosen people, can use the truth to resolve the real-life problems of the life entry of God’s chosen people, and can lead God’s chosen people to enter the right track of belief in God, then this leader or worker is approved by God and recognized by God as someone who truly serves Him. Such leaders and workers certainly have the work of the Holy Spirit, which is why God’s chosen people need to support them, welcome them, and cooperate with them.
from “It Is Crucial to Guard Against Antichrists and the Path of Antichrists” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God
What a person who genuinely possesses truth submits to is truth, not a person’s loftiness, greatness, or knowledge. No matter how lofty or great you are, to him, you are just a stupid swine. If you don’t have truth, you are trash. No matter how lofty you appear, or how majestic a bearing you have, you are still a stupid swine. In God’s family, no one looks at appearances, goes according to height or according to the relative superiority of knowledge. Whoever has truth, whoever has reality, whoever has humanity is a good person, and a person of high quality, and someone who is worthy of respect. Such a person has dignity and integrity. In addition, whoever in God’s family reaches the standard in doing his duty as God’s creation, and can put into practice various aspects of truth, gaining approval from people, this person is a good person in whom God is pleased, and whom the brothers and sisters support. Whoever is an honest person, and whoever lives by God’s word is the person who is most respected and is after God’s heart. This is our view on treating people. This is the view of life and value that every person who pursues truth should possess.
from “The Main Signs of Attainment of Truth and Entry Into Reality” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VII)
How shall we explain “the right way to handle the situation”? That would be: “If it’s my problem, I will accept it, I will acknowledge and accept things honestly. If I have made an error, I will apologize sincerely, and I will guarantee to repent.” If you did that how could God’s chosen people be anything but satisfied? So why can’t you do that? If you don’t have the truth you just can’t do it. If God’s chosen people denounce and criticize you for something that’s not factual, how would you handle that? If you were to deny and refuse to acknowledge that by saying, “I did not do that. Do not talk nonsense,” is that OK to say that? Then what is the right way to handle that? You can instead accept it and say, “Even though I don’t know about this problem that you are talking about, it might have been something that I with such a corrupt disposition could have done. Even though I’m not aware of it, I nonetheless accept it. I will accept responsibility. However, on the specifics I need some time so that I can reflect and understand. So, I accept the suggestion that you have given me, and I thank you for that.” Is this a good way to phrase it? The requirements of God’s chosen people are not overly strict, and they will be satisfied if you are fair and reasonable. … Suppose one of God’s chosen people has misunderstood you, and he might say “You’ve attacked and oppressed me.” And you could respond, “Can you explain how I have attacked and oppressed you? Please help me understand.” And he might say, “You said that thing the other day that really made me feel bad and put pressure on me. This means you’ve attacked and oppressed me.” And you could respond, “What I said then has to be taken in context. Let me speak from the heart. I had no intentions of attacking and oppressing you and I didn’t know it put so much pressure on you. If you feel I attacked and oppressed you, then I accept that. I won’t do that again. I want to offer you my sincere apology.” Is this the right way to handle things? If you handle things in this manner you are doing so in accordance with reality and the words are coming from your heart. Even though you didn’t do it deliberately, you accept it. You could say something like, “At that time what I said was not deliberate and I wasn’t aware of what I did. However, based on objective facts, I see what the consequences were. I admit that could put a certain amount of pressure on you. I want to formally apologize to you. I am sorry. I won’t let that happen again.” This is the right way to handle it.
from “Several Issues That Must Be Resolved to Get the Work of the Church on the Right Track” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VII)