60. The Principles of Fellowshiping on God’s Word the Truth
(1) It is necessary to accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, as well as to accept being pruned and dealt with by them, and one must accept and practice the truth. Having done so, one’s fellowship of the truth is then practical;
(2) It is necessary to fellowship on each aspect of the truth in light of God’s words. Do not be sullied by notions, prejudices, or imaginings, but discuss what you know from experience;
(3) It is necessary to address actual problems among God’s chosen people head-on. Target them directly and resolve them with the truth, and avoid empty talk of doctrine;
(4) In fellowshiping on the truth, it is necessary to follow the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. Do not fellowship mechanically, according to a set of rules; let others understand the truth and have a path on which to practice.
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
When bearing testimony for God, you should mainly talk more about how God judges and chastises people, what trials He uses to refine people and change their dispositions. You should also talk about how much corruption has been revealed in your experience, how much you have endured and how you were eventually conquered by God; talk about how much real knowledge of God’s work you have, and how you should bear witness for God and repay Him for His love. You should put substance into this kind of language, while putting it in a simple manner. Do not talk about empty theories. Speak more down-to-earth; speak from the heart. This is how you should experience. Do not equip yourselves with profound-seeming, empty theories in an effort to show off; doing so makes you appear quite arrogant and senseless. You should speak more of real things from your actual experience that are genuine and from the heart; this is most beneficial to others, and most appropriate for them to see.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Man is able to fellowship what he experiences and sees. No one can fellowship that which they have not experienced, have not seen, or their thinking cannot reach, those being things they do not have inside of them. If what man expresses is not from his experience, it is then his imagination or doctrine. Simply put, there is no reality in his words. Were you never to come into contact with the things of society, you would not be able to fellowship clearly the complex relationships of society. If you had no family, were others to talk about family issues, you would not understand most of what they said. So, what man fellowships and the work he does represent his inner being. If someone fellowshiped his understanding of chastisement and judgment, but you had no experience of it, you would dare not deny his knowledge, much less dare to be one hundred percent confident in it. This is because their fellowship is something that you have never experienced, something you have never known, and your mind cannot imagine it. From their knowledge, all you can take is a path to undergo chastisement and judgment in the future. But this path can only be one of doctrinal knowledge; it cannot take the place of your own understanding, much less your experience. Perhaps you think what they say is quite correct, but in your own experience, you find it impracticable in many ways. Perhaps you feel some of what you hear is completely impracticable; you harbor notions about it at the time, and although you accept it, you only do so reluctantly. But in your own experience, the knowledge from which you derived notions becomes your way of practice, and the more you practice, the more you understand the true value and meaning of the words you heard. After having had your own experience, you can then talk about the knowledge you should have of what you experienced. In addition, you can also distinguish between those whose knowledge is real and practical and those whose knowledge is based on doctrine and worthless. So, whether the knowledge you profess accords with the truth largely depends on whether you have practical experience of it. Where there is truth in your experience, your knowledge will be practical and valuable. Through your experience, you can also gain discernment and insight, deepen your knowledge, and increase your wisdom and common sense about how you should conduct yourself. The knowledge expressed by people who do not possess the truth is doctrine, no matter how lofty it may be. This type of person may well be very intelligent when it comes to matters of the flesh but cannot make distinctions when it comes to spiritual matters. This is because such people have no experience at all of spiritual affairs. These are people who are not enlightened in spiritual affairs and do not understand spiritual matters. Whatever sort of knowledge you express, as long as it is your being, then it is your personal experience, your real knowledge. What people who speak only of doctrine—those being people who possess neither the truth nor reality—discuss can also be called their being, because they have arrived at their doctrine only through deep contemplation and it is the result of their deep rumination. Yet it is only doctrine, nothing more than imagination! The experiences of all types of people represent the things within them. Anyone without any spiritual experience cannot speak of knowledge of the truth, nor of correct knowledge about various spiritual things. What man expresses is what he is inside—this is certain. If one wishes to have knowledge of spiritual things and knowledge of the truth, one must have real experience.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Why is it that most people have spent much effort reading God’s words, but merely have knowledge and cannot say anything about a real path afterward? Do you think that possessing knowledge amounts to possessing the truth? Is that not a confused point of view? 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.
If what you fellowship can give people a path to take, then that amounts to your possessing reality. No matter what you say, you must bring people into practice and give them all a path they can follow. Don’t only allow them to have knowledge; more important is having a path to take. For people to believe in God, they must walk the path led by God in His work. That is, the process of believing in God is the process of walking the path led by the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, you must have a path you can walk, no matter what, and you must set foot upon the path of being perfected by God. Do not fall too far behind, and do not concern yourself with too many things. Only if you walk the path led by God without causing interruptions can you receive the work of the Holy Spirit and possess the path of entry. Only this counts as being in line with God’s intentions and fulfilling humanity’s duty. As an individual in this stream, each person should fulfill their duty properly, do more of what people should be doing, and not act willfully. People carrying out work must make their words clear, people who follow must focus more on enduring hardship and obeying, and all must keep to their place and not step out of line. It should be clear in the heart of every person how they should practice and what function they should fulfill. Take the path led by the Holy Spirit; do not go astray or go wrong.
Excerpted from “Focus More on Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people work and preach and, despite superficially appearing to be fellowshiping on God’s utterances, they are only discussing the literal meaning of His words, and nothing essential is mentioned. Their sermons are like teachings from a language textbook—arranged item by item and aspect by aspect, and when they are done, everyone sings praises, saying, “This person possesses reality. He preached so well and in such detail.” After such people are done preaching, they tell others to compile their sermons and send them out to everybody. In doing this, they have gotten to where they are deceiving others and all that they preach are fallacies. On the surface, it looks as though they are preaching only God’s words and their sermons conform to the truth. However, with more careful discernment, you will see that they are nothing but letters and doctrines and false reasoning along with some human imaginings and notions, as well as some things that delimit God. Does this kind of preaching not amount to an interruption of God’s work? This is service that resists God.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Achieve a Change in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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 Christ’s Talks
Remember this from now on! Do not speak of empty knowledge; only talk about the path of practice and about reality. Transition from real knowledge to real practice, and then transition from practice to real living out. Do not lecture others, and do not talk about real knowledge. If your understanding is a path, then let your words go free upon it; if it is not, then please shut your mouth and stop talking! What you say is useless. You speak of understanding in order to deceive God and make others envy you. Is that not your ambition? Are you not deliberately toying with others? Is there any value in this? If you talk about understanding after you have experienced it, you will not be seen as boasting. Otherwise, you are someone who spits out arrogant words. There are many things in your actual experience that you cannot overcome, and you cannot rebel against your own flesh; you are always doing whatever you want, never satisfying God’s will—yet you still have the gall to talk about theoretical understanding. You are shameless! You still are so bold as to speak of your understanding of God’s words. How impudent of you! Orating and boasting have become your very nature, and you have become accustomed to doing so. Whenever you wish to speak, you do so with ease, but when it comes to practicing, you indulge in ornamentation. Is this not a way to fool others? You may be able to trick men, but God cannot be deceived. Men are unaware and have no discernment, but God is serious about such matters, and He will not spare you. Your brothers and sisters might advocate for you, praising your understanding and admiring you, but if you possess no reality, the Holy Spirit will not spare you. Perhaps the practical God will not seek your faults, but God’s Spirit will ignore you, and that will be difficult enough for you to bear. Do you believe this? Talk more about the reality of practice; have you forgotten already? Talk more about practical paths; have you forgotten already? “Offer fewer lofty theories and worthless, inflated talk; it is best to begin practice starting now.” Have you forgotten these words? Do you not understand at all? Do you have no comprehension of God’s will?
Excerpted from “Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Possessing Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
When fellowshiping on the words of God, testifying to God is of the utmost importance. Why God says this, what effect God wishes to achieve in saying this, what God’s will is, what God’s disposition is—these must all be fellowshiped clearly. Fellowshiping on God’s words in this way will achieve an effect. Fellowshiping on the words of God is essentially the testimony to, and exaltation of Christ, so that people may know what Christ has and is. Only this is true testimony to God, and the true fellowship of God’s words. If, when fellowshiping on the words of God, only a few words and doctrines are spoken, there is no testimony to what Christ has and is, and the content of what is fellowshiped bears no relation to God’s will, His requirements of man, and what He has and is, the disposition of God, and God Himself, then such fellowship is without any significance and is ineffectual—it is empty talk of God’s words. If, when you fellowship on the words of God, you do not incorporate the will of God, the disposition of God, and what God asks of man, then your words are mere deception; you are making it appear that you have a great understanding of God’s words, and have great skill in fellowshiping on His words, but in fact, what you are doing is showing off and exalting yourself. People who fellowship on God’s words in this way are all false leaders and antichrists. When you fellowship on the words of God, testify to what Christ has and is, testify that Christ is God, make people understand God’s words, and truly obey, fear, and worship Christ. In so doing, the more you fellowship on God’s words, the more people will know God, and the greater their obedience to Christ. Only such fellowship of God’s words is true testimony to, and exaltation of Christ; only this is true work to serve God.
Excerpted from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life