59. The Principles of Congregating to Fellowship on God’s Words
(1) It is necessary to fellowship real experience and knowledge of God’s word the truth, to be able to make others understand the truth and edify them, so that they may have a path of practice;
(2) Fellowship of God’s word the truth must speak of real experience that reflects self-knowledge. As you talk, use the facts; do not speak of letters and doctrines, and do not try to explicate God’s words;
(3) When you congregate, let those with the work of the Holy Spirit and practical experience fellowship more, so that the majority may be edified and benefit from it. Only then will they be able to enter truth reality;
(4) Absurd people, evil people, and evil spirits that disturb church life must be exposed and dissected so that people can discern them. The benefit this has for their understanding of the truth cannot be overstated.
Relevant Words of God:
Going forward, talk of God’s words should be the principle by which you speak. Ordinarily, when you come together, you should engage in fellowship about the words of God, taking God’s words as the content of your interactions, talking about what you know of these words, how you put them into practice, and how the Holy Spirit works. As long as you fellowship the words of God, the Holy Spirit will illuminate you. Achieving the world of God’s words requires the cooperation of man. If you do not enter into this, God will have no way of working; if you keep your mouth shut and do not talk about His words, He will have no way of illuminating you. Whenever you are not otherwise occupied, talk about the words of God, and do not just engage in idle chit chat! Let your life be filled with the words of God—only then will you be a devout believer. It does not matter if your fellowship is superficial. Without shallowness there can be no depth. There must be a process. Through your training, you will grasp the illumination of the Holy Spirit upon you, and how to effectively eat and drink the words of God. After an interval of probing, you will enter into the reality of the words of God. Only if you are resolved to cooperate will you be able to receive the work of the Holy Spirit.
Excerpted from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
“Sharing and communing experiences” means giving voice to every thought in your heart, your state of being, your experiences and knowledge of God’s words, and the corrupt disposition within you, and then letting others discern them, accept the positive parts, and recognize that which is negative. Only this is sharing, and only this is truly communing. It does not simply involve having certain insights into God’s words or a part of a hymn, and then communing as you please without taking it any further or saying anything related to your own actual life. Everyone talks about doctrinal and theoretical knowledge, but says nothing of knowledge gained from actual experiences. You all avoid talking about such things—about your personal lives, about your life in the church with your brothers and sisters, about your own inner world. In doing so, how can true communication between people occur? How can there be any real trust? There cannot be any! If a wife never voices the words in her heart to her husband, are they confidants? Do they know what is on each other’s mind? Suppose that they are constantly saying, “I love you!” They say only this, yet have never laid bare what they are actually thinking deep down, what they want of each other, or what problems they have. They have never spoken to each other of such things, nor have they ever confided in each other—so are they really a couple who love each other? If, when together, they have nothing but superficial niceties for each other, then are they truly husband and wife? Certainly not! If brothers and sisters are to be capable of confiding in each other, helping each other out, and providing for one another, then each person must speak of his or her own true experiences. If you do not talk of your own true experiences, and only speak catchphrases and words that are doctrinal and superficial, then you are not an honest person, and you are incapable of being an honest person.
Excerpted from “The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Some leaders and workers cannot see the real problems that exist within the church. While at a gathering, they feel like they have nothing worthwhile to say, so they just bite the bullet and voice some letters and doctrines. They know perfectly well that what they are saying is mere doctrine, yet they say it anyway. In the end, even they feel that their words are insipid, and as their brothers and sisters listen to them, they, too, feel that these people are dull. This is how it goes, is it not? If they have to force themselves to say those words, then on the one hand, the Holy Spirit is not working in them, and on the other hand, their words have no benefit for others. If you have not experienced the truth, yet you still want to speak about it, then no matter what you say, you will not be able to penetrate through to the truth; anything you say further will just be letters and doctrines. You may think that they are somewhat enlightened, but they are just doctrines; they are not truth reality, and no matter how hard they try, anyone listening will not be able to grasp anything real from them. While listening, they might feel that what you say is quite correct, but afterward, they will forget it completely. If you do not talk about your actual states, then you will not be able to touch people’s hearts; they will forget what you say even if they want to remember it, and you will be unable to help them. If you encounter this sort of situation, wherein you want to speak but feel you cannot talk about things in a way that penetrates through to the truth, and you merely have a bit of doctrinal knowledge while knowing nothing about essential things, and if others bring up questions of an essential nature, which you are unable to answer, then you would be better off not saying anything at all. There are also times when you might be discussing a topic at a gathering, and you feel that you are fairly knowledgeable about it and can fellowship about some actual things. However, everyone will understand what you are talking about if you discuss it rather superficially, but you have nothing to say on a deeper level, for others might not have experienced some things, and you might not have either. In such a case, you should not force yourself to keep talking; rather, you may get everyone to fellowship about the topic. If you think that it is doctrine, then it is useless to talk about, and people will not be able to be edified from it; in this situation, no matter what you say, the Holy Spirit will not do His work, and when you try to bulldog your way through anyway, you may end up saying absurd and deviant things, and can lead people astray. People cannot completely absorb relatively in-depth ideas within a short period of time; most people have a very poor foundation and are of low caliber, and cannot easily commit what they hear to memory. However, they are still quite quick to accept those absurd, regulatory and doctrinal ideas. How truly strange this is! Thus, in this respect, you must pay special attention. People are vain, and sometimes dominated by their vanity; they know perfectly well that what they are saying is doctrine, yet they keep on saying it anyway, believing that their brothers and sisters might not notice. In an effort to save face, they might ignore those things and instead just focus on dealing with the situation at hand. Is this not just fooling people? This is being disloyal to God! If you are a person who understands the truth, then you will feel reproached inside, feeling that you cannot speak that way anymore and that you should change the topic. You can fellowship about something you have experience with, or you can talk about some knowledge you have of the truth. If you cannot speak clearly about something, then all of you can fellowship on it together! Just having one person doing all the talking is never a good thing. Because you lack experience, no matter how well you are able to imagine and conceive of something, what you say will ultimately just be doctrine and the stuff of human notions. Those things that can be categorized as the truth must be experienced; without experience, no one can completely understand the essence of the truth, much less explain clearly the conditions of experiencing a truth. One must have experience of the truth before one can have something actual to talk about, and having no experience is not acceptable; even if you have experience, it will be limited in scope, and you will only be able to speak about some limited states, nothing more. If a gathering always revolves around one or two topics, then after fellowshiping this way for a while, some people will come to understand a little. Another possibility is that immediately after you have begun to speak, you might think that you are communicating in a very practical manner, but your brothers and sisters still do not really understand. This is because your condition is your condition, and the conditions of your brothers and sisters are not necessarily exactly the same as your own. In addition, you have some experience with this subject, but your brothers and sisters might not, so they feel that what you are talking about does not apply to them. What should you do when encountering this sort of situation? You should ask them some questions to get a bearing on their circumstances. Ask them what they think one should do when this subject comes up, and how one should practice in line with the truth. By fellowshiping in this manner for a while, a path forward will open up. In this way, you can lead people to come to the point, and if you fellowship further, you will achieve results.
Excerpted from “Do You Know What the Truth Really Is?” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
You are able to speak as much knowledge as there is sand on a beach, yet none of it contains any real path. Are you not trying to fool people by doing this? Are you not making an empty show, with no substance to back it up? All such behavior is harmful to people! The higher the theory and the more it is devoid of reality, the more it is incapable of taking people into reality; the higher the theory, the more it makes you defy and oppose God. Do not treat the loftiest theories like precious treasure; they are pernicious and serve no purpose! Perhaps some people are able to talk of the loftiest theories—but these contain nothing of reality, for these people have not personally experienced them, and therefore have no path to practice. Such people are incapable of taking others onto the right track and will only lead them astray. Is this not harmful to people? At the very least, you must be able to solve people’s present troubles and allow them to achieve entry; only this counts as dedication, and only then will you be qualified to work for God. Do not always speak grandiose, fanciful words, and do not use a bunch of unsuitable practices to bind others into obeying you. Doing so will have no effect and can only increase their confusion. Carrying on like this will produce much doctrine, which will make people loathe you. Such is the shortcoming of man, and it truly is mortifying. So talk more of problems that actually exist. Do not treat other people’s experiences as your own personal property and hold them up for others to admire; you must search for your own, individual way out. This is what each person should put into practice.
Excerpted from “Focus More on Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
Fellowshiping on God’s words has several principles that must be abided by:
Firstly, prior to fellowshiping on God’s words, you must contemplate the essence of God’s words, figure out what the words are getting at, understand their true meaning, and try to fathom why God would say such words and what effects they are trying to achieve. Regardless of what He says, God’s intentions and requirements are in His words. This is the main point that must be fellowshiped. God’s chosen people must search for the truth and grasp His will in His every word, and understand what He requires of people and the truths with which they ought to be equipped. Fellowshiping in this way is of benefit to both you and others. If you simply go through the motions and breeze through the process without contemplating in earnest after reading them, only speaking doctrines literally, then your reading of God’s words will not have much meaning, and you will never be able to understand the truth.
Secondly, there are many truths contained in God’s words. Each line of God’s words involves many aspects of the truth, which cannot be explained thoroughly through literal meaning. Man cannot take God’s words lightly. If you see them as too simple, that would be too foolish and ignorant. Even the simplest line of God’s words cannot be experienced in its entirety over a lifetime. This is because all that expressed in God’s words is the truth, the reality of positive things, and cannot be fully attained or entered into too deeply by man. If people do not regard God’s words with an upright attitude, and do not have a desire to seek the truth, then they can never understand them. You must therefore be God-fearing and have a devout attitude when you fellowship on His words.
Thirdly, you must communicate only as much of God’s words you understand. Do not pretend to understand when you do not and speak carelessly about letters and doctrines. At gatherings, only fellowship your actual knowledge and understanding of God’s words; do not talk about things unrelated to the truth, as you are just wasting other people’s time. For everybody’s benefit, it is best for each person to only fellowship for five to ten minutes or so, or fifteen minutes maximum. A single person must not take up too much time. If they cannot finish in one go, then split it up into two or three times so that everyone can have the opportunity to speak. For those who are especially talkative, if they digress, you may interrupt them so that they learn how to be sensible and respect others. Practicing in this way benefits everybody.
Fourthly, when fellowshiping on God’s words, one may communicate about conditions shared by the majority of people as well as problems that exist in the church. This type of fellowshiping is legitimate, but you must not have intentions of attacking or belittling other people. No matter who you are, if you possess these conditions you should face it properly and humbly accept it. You must not be arrogant and conceited, intolerable to other opinions, or use your position to pressure others, forbidding them to talk or restricting their fellowshiping of the truth. The process of fellowshiping on the truth is also the process of exposing people’s corrupt nature. Those who genuinely accept the truth will be able to face themselves correctly when it comes to such things and have no difficulties whatsoever. If people do not dare to open their mouths and fellowship on God’s words during gatherings, or fail to tie what they are fellowshiping to real life due to being too scared to offend others or lose face, it will be very difficult to understand and gain the truth, and eating and drinking of God’s words in this manner will not yield any results to speak of. People who are sincerely willing to accept the truth should join with their conditions and fellowship their knowledge of God’s words in a simple and open manner. Only by fellowshiping on God’s words in this way is it easy to understand the truth and achieve results. As for special problems that emerge in the church, all members are welcome to fellowship and express their own views, but they must see things based on God’s words and stand on the side of the truth. Such fellowshiping has the advantage of being able to resolve problems, can shame Satan, and can achieve real results.
Excerpted from Work Arrangements
In order to achieve the effect in church life of being able to understand the truth and resolve problems through eating and drinking of God’s words, there are five principles that must be practiced during gatherings:
1. People of good caliber who have an unadulterated appreciation of the truth may fellowship a bit more, but they should not be long-winded about it; they should speak of actual experience and knowledge of God’s words to solve real problems. Only in this manner will the gathering be effective. Those who have erroneous understandings should fellowship less, or may even refrain from fellowshiping. Practicing this way will be beneficial for everyone trying to understand the truth.
2. When fellowshiping on God’s words, people should stay on topic and absolutely not go off on tangents; doing so will help people to understand the truth. Frequent digressions tend to break people’s concentration and confuse them, and make it impossible to get them to understand God’s words. People who tend to digress must be limited; this can save time and allow the gathering to achieve good results.
3. It would be best if those who are of poor caliber and are incapable of understanding listened more and spoke less. They should put more effort into pondering God’s words and accepting a pure understanding of them, and pray and commune more with God internally. Doing so will be of benefit to them as well as to others; this is the only way to advance.
4. While in a gathering and fellowshiping on God’s words, do not repeat other people’s viewpoints and opinions; talk about some new points of light and knowledge. If you have no new knowledge, then do not converse. This will save time and can make the gathering more effective. Rather than constantly reiterating what others have said, it would be better to just sit there quietly before God, listen attentively, and discern, accepting the new points of light and pure understanding brought up by others. This is beneficial to yourself, and you, too, can be considered to have reaped a share of the benefits from the gathering.
5. Regardless of what aspect of the truth people fellowship on, when they are communicating their dissections and views about an issue, do not grow oversensitive or blindly compare them to yourself so as to prevent everyone from judging and attacking each other. Do not argue about meaningless things, and do not always be concerned about the problems of others while neglecting your own entry. Concentrate on seeking and understanding the truth so that you can resolve your own issues of corruption. People who do this are the intelligent ones.
Excerpted from Work Arrangements
In church life, all levels of leaders and workers should take the lead in fellowshiping on the truth; this is the duty and responsibility of everyone who is a leader or worker. So as to make a gathering more effective, all those who have experience and knowledge of God’s words should fellowship what they have gained, offering up their share for everyone’s enjoyment and so that everyone can understand the truth and enter the reality of God’s words. It is especially important for people pursuing the truth to fellowship their knowledge and experiences of God’s words and any enlightenment and illumination they have gained from the Holy Spirit; only in this way will God’s love and the work He does in humans not be stifled. And only in this way will people please God and gain even more of the Holy Spirit’s work and grace, and then understand and gain entry into even more truths. People who have no experience or knowledge of God’s words may refrain from fellowshiping, but they should understand what other people fellowship and ponder it in earnest. After that, they should practice and experience what they have learned, and they, too, will gradually gain knowledge. People who never fellowship on the truth are but spiritless dead people. The more people fellowship on the truth, the more they become able to enjoy the work of the Holy Spirit; these are the only sort of people who can come alive. Fellowshiping on the truth is the best way to exalt and testify to God; it is a true way to fulfill one’s duty and serve God. A person’s life matures through fellowshiping on the truth. All those who pursue and love the truth should fellowship during gatherings on their experiences and knowledge of God’s words; this will bring about a favorable church life.
Excerpted from Work Arrangements