How to Know God’s Disposition and the Result of His Work (Part One)
First, let’s sing a hymn:
The Kingdom Anthem (I) The Kingdom Descends Upon the World
1. God’s kingdom has come on earth; God’s person is full and rich. Who can stand still and not rejoice? Who can stand still and not dance? O Zion, raise your banner of victory to celebrate for God. Sing your song of victory to spread His holy name over the world. Countless people praise God with joy, countless voices exalt His name, looking at His awesome deeds. Now His kingdom on earth has come.
2. All things on earth, make yourselves clean; come and make offerings to God. Stars, return to your nest in the sky, show God’s might in the heavens above. On earth voices rise up and sing, pouring out infinite love and boundless reverence to God. He attently listens to them. Countless people praise God with joy, countless voices exalt His name, looking at His awesome deeds. Now His kingdom on earth has come.
3. On that day all things are revived, God in person comes to the earth. Flowers burst out in joyful bloom, birds sing and all things rejoice. See the kingdom of Satan fall as the salute of God’s kingdom sounds, trampled down, never to rise again, drowned beneath the anthem of praise. Countless people praise God with joy, countless voices exalt His name, looking at His awesome deeds. Now His kingdom on earth has come.
4. Who on earth dare rise to resist? When God stands among men, He’s brought His wrath and all disasters to earth. The world has become God’s kingdom. Clouds roll and toss in the skies, lakes and streams stir up a merry tune. Resting animals leave their caves, and man is awakened from their dreams. Now that longed-for day has arrived and all honor God with their songs, the most beautiful songs of all time. Countless people praise God with joy, countless voices exalt His name, looking at His awesome deeds. Now His kingdom on earth has come.
What do you think about every time you sing this song? (Very excited; thrilled; think about how glorious the beauty of the kingdom is, and mankind and God will be joined forever.) Has anyone thought about the form man must take on in order to be with God? In your imaginations, how must a person be in order to join with God and enjoy the glorious life that follows in the kingdom? (They should have a changed disposition.) They should have a changed disposition, but changed to what extent? What will they be like after it has been changed? (They will become holy.) What is the standard for holiness? (All their thoughts and considerations are compatible with Christ.) How does such a compatibility manifest? (They don’t resist God, don’t betray God, but offer absolute obedience to God, and fear God in their hearts.) Some of your answers are on the right track. Open your hearts, all of you, and share what your heart is telling you. (People who live with God in the kingdom can do their duty, faithfully do their duty, by pursuing the truth and not being restrained by any person, event, or object. And it becomes possible to break away from the influence of darkness, align their hearts with God, and fear God and shun evil.) (Our perspective of looking at things can be aligned with God, and we can break away from the influence of darkness. The minimum standard is to not be exploited by Satan, to cast off any corrupt disposition, to achieve obedience to God. We believe that breaking away from the influence of darkness is the key point. If someone cannot break away from the influence of darkness, cannot break free from Satan’s bonds, then they have not attained God’s salvation.) (The standard for being perfected by God is man being of one heart and mind with God. Man doesn’t resist God anymore; he can know himself, put truth into practice, attain an understanding of God, love God, and align with God. That’s all one needs to do.)
The Outcome’s Weight in People’s Hearts
It seems like you have got something in your hearts about the way you should walk in and you have developed a good grasp and understanding of it. But whether everything you said turns out to be hollow words or actual reality depends on what you pay attention to in your day-to-day practice. You have reaped a harvest from all aspects of the truth over the years, both in doctrines and in the content of the truth. This proves that people nowadays put an emphasis on striving for the truth. And as a result, every aspect and every item of the truth has surely put down roots in the hearts of some people. However, what is it that I fear the most? That though the subjects of the truth, and these theories, have put down their roots, the actual content just doesn’t hold much weight in your hearts. When you encounter issues, faced with trials, faced with choices—how much will you be able to put the reality of these truths to good use? Will they help you pass through your difficulties and emerge from your trials having satisfied God’s intentions? Will you stand firm in your trials and testify loud and clear for God? Have you been interested in these matters before? Allow Me to ask you: In your hearts, in all your daily thoughts and contemplations, what is it that is most important to you? Have you ever come to a conclusion? What do you believe is the most important thing? Some people say “it’s putting truth into practice, of course”; some people say “of course it’s reading God’s word every day”; some people say “it’s placing myself before God and praying to God every day, of course”; and then there are those who say “of course it’s doing my duty properly every day”; there are some people yet who say they are only ever thinking about how to satisfy God, how to obey Him in all things, and how to act in harmony with His will. Is this how it is? Is this all there is? For example, there are some who say: “I only want to obey God, but when something happens I can’t obey Him.” Some people say: “I only want to satisfy God. Even if I could satisfy Him just once, that would be enough, but I can never satisfy Him.” And some people say: “I only want to obey God. In times of trial I only want to submit to His orchestrations, obeying His sovereignty and arrangements, without any complaints or requests. Yet almost every time I fail to be obedient.” Some other people say: “When I’m faced with decisions, I can never choose to put truth into practice. I always want to satisfy the flesh, always want to satisfy my personal selfish desires.” What’s the reason for this? Before God’s test comes, have you already challenged yourselves multiple times, and tried and tested yourselves multiple times? See if you can really obey God, really satisfy God, and be certain not to betray God. See whether you can not satisfy yourselves, not satisfy your selfish desires, but only satisfy God, devoid of your individual choices. Is anyone like that? Actually, there is only one fact that has been placed before your very eyes. It’s what every one of you is most interested in, what you most want to know, and that is the matter of everyone’s outcome and destination. You may not realize it, but this is something that no one can deny. I know there are some people who, when it comes to the truth of man’s outcome, God’s promise to humanity, and what kind of destination God intends to bring man into, have already studied God’s word on these matters several times. Then there are those who are repeatedly looking for it and thinking it over in their minds, and they still get no result, or maybe arrive at some ambiguous conclusion. In the end they still aren’t certain about what kind of outcome awaits them. When accepting communication of the truth, when accepting church life, when performing their duty, most people always want to know a definitive answer to the following questions: What will my outcome be? Can I walk the path right up to its end? What is God’s attitude toward man? Some people even worry: I’ve done some things in the past, I’ve said some things, I’ve been disobedient to God, I’ve done some things that have betrayed God, there were some matters where I did not satisfy God, hurt God’s heart, made God disappointed in me, made God hate me and loathe me, so perhaps my outcome is unknown. It’s fair to say that most people feel uneasy about their own outcome. No one dares say: “I feel with one hundred percent certainty that I will be a survivor; I am one hundred percent certain that I can satisfy God’s intentions; I am a person who is after God’s heart; I am a person who God praises.” Some people think it’s particularly hard to follow God’s way, and that putting truth into practice is the hardest thing of all. Consequently, these people think they’re beyond help, and don’t dare to get their hopes up about a good outcome. Or maybe they believe that they can’t satisfy God’s intentions, and can’t become a survivor, and because of this will say that they don’t have an outcome, and can’t attain a good destination. Regardless of how exactly people think, everyone is wondering about their outcome many times. On questions of their future, on questions of what they’ll get when God finishes His work, these people are always calculating, always planning. Some people pay double the price; some people abandon their families and their jobs; some people give up on their marriage; some people resign to spend for God; some people leave their homes to do their duty; some people choose hardship, and begin to take on the most bitter and tiring task; some people choose to dedicate wealth, dedicate their all; still some people choose to pursue truth, and pursue knowing God. No matter how you choose to practice, is the manner in which you do so important? (Not important.) How do we explain that it’s not important, then? If the manner isn’t important, then what is? (Outward good behavior is not representative of putting truth into practice.) (What everyone thinks is not important. The key here is whether we have put truth into practice, and whether we love God.) (The fall of antichrists and false leaders helps us understand that outward behavior isn’t the most important thing. They outwardly seem to have forsaken much, and they seem to be willing to pay the price, but upon dissection we can see that they simply don’t have a heart that fears God; in all respects they oppose Him. They are always standing with Satan at critical times, interfering with God’s work. Thus, the main considerations here are which side we stand on when the time comes, and our viewpoints.) You all speak well, and it seems like you already have a basic understanding of and a standard for putting truth into practice, God’s intentions, and what God demands of man. That you’re able to speak like this is very moving. Although there are a few inappropriate words here and there, your statements are already nearing an explanation worthy of the truth. This proves that you have developed your own real understandings of the people, events, and objects around you, all of your surroundings that God has arranged, and everything that you can see. These understandings are nearing the truth. Even though what you said isn’t totally comprehensive, and a few words aren’t very appropriate, your understandings are already nearing the reality of the truth. Hearing you speak this way makes Me feel good.
People’s Beliefs Cannot Substitute for the Truth
There are some people who can bear hardships; they can pay the price; their outward behavior is very good; they are well respected; and they have the admiration of others. What do you think: Can this kind of outward behavior be regarded as putting truth into practice? Can you say that this person is satisfying God’s intentions? Why is it that time and time again people see this kind of individual and think that they are satisfying God, think that they are walking the path of putting truth into practice, that they are walking in God’s way? Why do some people think this way? There’s only one explanation for it. And what explanation is that? It’s that for a great many people, questions like what it is to put truth into practice, what it is to satisfy God, what it is to really have the reality of the truth—these questions aren’t very clear. So there are some people who are often deceived by those who outwardly seem spiritual, seem noble, seem to have lofty images. As for those people who can speak of letters and doctrines, and whose speech and actions appear worthy of admiration, their admirers have never looked at the essence of their actions, the principles behind their deeds, what their goals are. And they have never looked at whether these people truly obey God, and whether or not they are someone who truly fears God and shuns evil. They have never discerned the substance of the humanity of these people. Rather, from the first step of getting acquainted, bit by bit, they come to admire these people, venerate these people, and in the end these people become their idols. Moreover, in some people’s minds, the idols who they worship, who they believe can abandon their families and jobs, and pay the price on the surface—these idols are the ones who are really satisfying God, the ones who can really receive a good outcome and a good destination. In their minds, these idols are the people who God praises. What causes people to have this kind of belief? What’s the essence of this issue? What are the consequences it can lead to? Let’s first discuss the matter of its essence.
These issues regarding people’s viewpoints, people’s practices, which principles people choose to practice, and what everyone normally emphasizes, essentially these all have nothing to do with God’s demands on mankind. Regardless of whether people are focusing on shallow matters or deep ones, on letters and doctrines or reality, people don’t adhere to that which they should adhere to most, and they don’t know that which they should know the most. The reason for this is that people don’t like the truth at all. Therefore, people aren’t willing to put time and effort into finding and practicing principles in God’s word. Instead, they prefer to use shortcuts, and sum up what they understand, what they know, to be good practice and good behavior. This summary then becomes their own goal to pursue, becomes truth to be practiced. The direct consequence of this is people using human good behavior as a substitute for putting truth into practice, which also satisfies people’s desire to curry favor with God. This gives people capital with which to contend with the truth, and to reason with and dispute God. At the same time, people also unscrupulously put God aside, and place their heart’s idol in God’s position. There is only one root cause which makes people have these ignorant actions, ignorant viewpoints, or one-sided viewpoints and practices, and today I’ll tell you about it. The reason is that although people may follow God, pray to Him every day, and read the word of God every day, they don’t actually understand God’s intentions. This is the root of the problem. If someone understands God’s heart, understands what God likes, what God loathes, what God wants, what God rejects, what kind of person God loves, what kind of person God dislikes, what kind of standard God applies to His demands on man, what kind of approach He takes for perfecting man, can that person still have their own personal ideas? Can they just go and worship another person? Could an ordinary person become their idol? If one understands God’s intentions, their viewpoint is a bit more rational than that. They aren’t going to arbitrarily idolize a corrupted person, nor will they, while walking the path of putting truth into practice, believe that arbitrarily adhering to a few simple rules or principles is tantamount to putting truth into practice.
There Are Many Opinions Concerning the Standard With Which God Establishes Man’s Outcome
Let’s come back to this topic and continue discussing the matter of outcome.
Since every person is concerned with their outcome, do you know how God determines that outcome? In what manner does God establish a person’s outcome? And what kind of standard does He use to establish a person’s outcome? And when man’s outcome has yet to be established, what does God do to reveal this outcome? Does anyone know this? As I just said, there are some who have already researched God’s word a long time. These people are searching for clues about mankind’s outcome, about the categories that this outcome is divided into, and about the different outcomes awaiting different kinds of people. They also want to know how God’s word establishes man’s outcome, the type of standard that God uses, and the manner in which He establishes man’s outcome. Yet in the end these people never manage to find anything. In actual fact, there is precious little said on the matter among God’s word. Why is this? So long as man’s outcome has yet to be revealed, God doesn’t want to tell anyone what’s going to happen in the end, nor does He want to inform anyone of their destination ahead of time. The reason for this is that God’s doing so would not have any benefit to man. Right now, I only want to tell you about the manner in which God establishes the outcome of man, about the principles He employs in His work to establish the outcome of man, and to manifest this outcome, as well as the standard He uses to establish whether or not someone can survive. Isn’t this what you’re most concerned about? So then, how do people conceive the way by which God establishes man’s outcome? You spoke a bit on this matter just now. Some of you said it’s a question of doing their duty faithfully, spending for God; some people said obeying God and satisfying God; some people said being at the mercy of God; and some people said leading a low-key life…. When you put these truths into practice, when you practice the principles of your imagination, do you know what God thinks? Have you considered whether or not going on like this is satisfying God’s intentions? Whether it caters to God’s standard? Whether it caters to God’s demands? I believe that most people don’t really think this over. They just mechanically apply a portion of God’s word, or a portion of the sermons, or the standards of certain spiritual men they adore, forcing themselves to do this, to do that. They believe that this is the correct way, so they keep adhering to it, doing it, no matter what happens in the end. Some people think: “I’ve believed for some many years; I’ve always practiced this way; I feel like I have really satisfied God; I also feel like I’ve gotten a lot out of it. For I’ve come to understand a lot of truths during this period, and come to understand many things I did not understand before—in particular, many of my ideas and views have changed, my life values have changed a lot, and I have a pretty good understanding of this world.” Such people believe that this is a harvest, and it is the final result of God’s work for man. In your opinion, with these standards and all of your practices taken together—are you satisfying God’s intentions? Some people will say with all certainty: “Of course! We are practicing according to God’s word; we are practicing according to what the brother preached and fellowshiped; we’re always doing our duty, always following God, and we have never left God. Therefore we can say with complete confidence that we’re satisfying God. No matter how much we understand of God’s intentions, no matter how much we understand of God’s word, we have always been on the path of seeking to be compatible with God. If we act correctly, and practice correctly, then the result will be correct.” What do you think about this perspective? Is it correct? Perhaps there are some who say: “I’ve never thought about these things before. I only think that if I continue to do my duty and keep acting according to the requirements of God’s word, then I can survive. I have never considered the question of whether I can satisfy God’s heart, and I have never considered whether I am achieving the standard required by Him. Since God has never told me, nor provided me with any clear instructions, I believe that as long as I keep going, God will be satisfied and He shouldn’t have any additional demands of me.” Are these beliefs correct? As far as I’m concerned, this way of practicing, this way of thinking, and these viewpoints—they all bring with them fancies and a bit of blindness. When I say this, perhaps there are some of you who feel a little disheartened: “Blindness? If it’s a ‘blindness,’ then our hope of salvation, our hope of surviving is very small, and very uncertain, is it not? Isn’t Your phrasing it like that akin to pouring cold water on us?” No matter what you believe, the things I say and do aren’t meant to make you feel as if cold water is being poured on you. Rather, it’s meant to improve your understanding of God’s intentions, and improve your grasp on what God is thinking, what God wants to accomplish, what kind of person that God likes, what God loathes, what God despises, what type of person God wants to gain, and what type of person God spurns. It’s meant to give your minds clarity, to help you clearly know how far the actions and thoughts of each and every one of you have strayed from the standard required by God. Is it necessary to discuss these topics? Because I know you have believed for so long, and have listened to so much preaching, but these are precisely the things that are most lacking. You may have recorded every truth in your notebook, you may have also recorded that which you personally believe to be important in your mind, and in your heart. Plan to use it when you’re practicing, to satisfy God; use it when you find yourself in need; use it to get through the difficult times that lie before your eyes; or simply let these truths accompany you while you live your life. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re only practicing, how exactly you’re practicing isn’t important. What, then, is the very important thing? It’s that while you’re practicing, your heart knows with all certainty whether or not everything you’re doing, every deed, is what God wants; whether or not everything you do, everything you think, and the result and the goal in your heart satisfy God’s intentions, cater to God’s demands, and whether or not God approves of them. These are the important things.