Chapter 18. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” (III)
Only Those Who Fear God and Seek the Truth in All Things Can Stand Witness During Trials
In the Age of Law, Satan directly persecuted a man who God had made complete during that age—Job. What suffering was Job subjected to during his trials? He lost all of his wealth and his children—he was only left with his life. At that time, Job’s trials were an instance of Satan’s persecution, attacks, slandering, and judgment of God’s chosen people within the scope that God had allowed. Now in the last days, the great red dragon is acting as a foil and a serving object in God’s work. What is the great red dragon doing to God’s chosen people within the scope that God allows? Madly pursuing them, brutally suppressing them, and viciously slandering, judging, and discrediting them. It is also arresting and cruelly torturing some of them. Is Satan’s oppression of God’s chosen people more or less severe in the last days than in the Age of Law? (More severe.) It really is. And to what degree? (Lives are being taken.) Now, the great red dragon not only takes away your money and everything you have, but it also imprisons you and takes your very life away from you. Why is it so fierce in the last days? It’s because in the Age of Law it didn’t dare go outside the bounds of God’s command: “but save his life.” Now that these are the last days, it has gone so far as to pay no mind to God’s words—it is determined to take away the lives of God’s chosen people. Do you think that Satan is more vicious in the last days than it was in the Age of Law? It is! That is why the suffering of God’s chosen people may be greater than the suffering of Job in the Age of Law. How is it greater? In the Age of Law, Satan took Job’s oxen, sheep, camels, and mules through bandits and murdered his servants and his children, with Job left there. What’s the meaning of this? “I’ve taken all of this from you and you’ll get angry enough to die. You won’t make it. I don’t need to kill an old man like you—there’s no way you’ll make it.” Isn’t that what it means? There’s an old saying in China: The cruelest thing for someone in old age is to lose their children, the cruelest thing for someone in middle age is to lose their wife (or husband), while the cruelest thing for someone in youth is to lose their parents. When Job was 70 years old his several children were all taken—who can bear that? No one can. Not a single one of them was left. Even leaving one girl or one boy behind to take care of him in his old age would have been fine. Not one remained—they were all swept away. Satan is so vicious. When Satan looks at it now, it regrets keeping Job alive: “I should have just killed him at the time, then God wouldn’t have a witness.” This is why the great red dragon wants to completely eradicate God’s chosen people in the last days. It is vicious.
It mentions in the Book of Genesis that it was a serpent that corrupted mankind, and according to the Book of Revelation, when God’s work comes to an end, what is it that harms mankind? The great red dragon. What’s the difference between the dragon and the ancient serpent? The dragon has greater force and its abilities to harm and deceive people are greater. That serpent became a great dragon, which is the great red dragon of the last days—the Chinese Communist Party. Would you say that the great red dragon is well-qualified for the position of acting as a foil for God’s work in the last days? (It is.) It’s busily engaged in this work. From the start of spreading the gospel until now, it has taken this on as its primary work and has spared no effort to arrest God’s chosen people. It is so busy! The great red dragon has been whipped into a state of frenzy by God, and it is at its wits’ end. The CCP’s internal and external affairs are a mess now—it is in a terrible fix. It’s gotten to this point, but it is still making striking The Church of Almighty God its highest-priority work. Wouldn’t you say that it is very well-qualified to be a foil? It is worthy of being the foil for God’s work in the last days. So in what ways does it act as a foil? Some people say: “As a foil, it is causing God’s chosen people to suffer. That’s it. They used to have a nice home but they no longer do since the great red dragon has gone into such a frenzy. They had earned some money, but the great red dragon took it away. They want to have gatherings, but the great red dragon disperses them. Some people have believed in God for a number of years and their children can’t get into university. Some people get a good job but are forced to resign. The suffering of God’s chosen people over all the years of their faith is caused by the great red dragon.” Isn’t that what some people believe? Do you think this is the service that the great red dragon does in its work as a foil? (No.) Then what is it? What is its main role as a foil? What outcome does it primarily achieve? If it does nothing but cause you to suffer, is that meaningful? The outcome achieved from a foil should be positive; otherwise, God wouldn’t make use of it. God does nothing that does not contain significance. Job was able to see through this. What is your understanding of it? If you can see through this, your faith will be as great as Job’s. The great red dragon tears down your house—would you say this is a good thing? Some people can’t really say. The great red dragon pursues you so you cannot return home—is this a good thing? (It is.) So then why do you hate the great red dragon? What do you hate about it? You can’t make heads or tails of it, right? These issues must be resolved, and must be seen clearly. If you don’t, you will still blame God. Did Job blame God when he encountered such great trials? He didn’t. He saw that everything God does is good. What truths do we need to possess in order to not blame God? What outcomes must we achieve? This is critical.
Would you say that the trials that are currently befalling us are greater or lesser than Job’s? (Greater.) Can you bear witness the way Job did? Why was he able to bear witness that way? Why are you unable to do that now? You must gain clarity on this. There are some things you haven’t seen through. Job lost quite a bit of wealth that he had worked hard for over his lifetime. What did he say? He said that he had come naked out of his mother’s womb and had brought nothing with him, so he had lost nothing. Isn’t that what he meant? (It is.) Would you be able to say that? Isn’t it a problem if you can’t? “God has not mistreated me. During my life God has provided for me very well. I was well-off, I had everything I needed. I lacked nothing that others had, and I had everything that others lacked. God has only taken it away from me in old age. Returning with nothing is both fair and reasonable.” Do you have such an understanding? If you don’t, then you lack the understanding that Job had. He lived with clarity. Isn’t this a deficiency that is revealed when we compare ourselves with Job? We are inferior to Job. What would you think if God stripped you of everything you own? In your current pursuit of the truth you need to be able to see through these issues—these are truths that you must understand. If you don’t, you won’t be able to bear a witness; when trials come upon you, you will crumble, you will collapse. This is why you must understand these truths. Job had long before saw through these things; it was not that he understood them thoroughly in the three days after trials befell him. He had fully considered this before his trials. I have thought before: How should I handle it if God one day strips me of everything He has given me in the past? I can’t not consider this. Would you dare say that Job had never thought about this by the time he was 50 or 60 years old? He certainly had—he was a person who feared God. He said: “God has continually blessed me and bestowed things upon me, so if one day He takes it away, what will I do? Can I thank Him? Can I sing His praises?” Job had considered this long before. Job took all of these things into consideration that were going to occur before he had a sense that they were coming; his thinking was not simplistic. Do you have these kinds of thoughts? Some people have a good husband (or a good wife), and they say: “God has bestowed this upon me. Thanks be to God!” One day it suddenly occurs to them, “If one day God were to take my good husband (or wife) away from me, if he (or she) died of an illness, what would I do?” Is this something that people can conceive of? Some parents see that their children are so adorable and think, “Oh, God has given us such a lovely child. If He hadn’t, we wouldn’t be so close. This child is our treasure, our very heart, our lifeline.” And then one day they suddenly realize: “What if God took our child away? That would be awful. I would rather die than have God do that. I wouldn’t want to go on living.” Aren’t there some people who think this way? There certainly are. What is the meaning of this kind of thinking? How does their faith compare to Job’s faith? It’s inadequate. It’s not up to standard. When that’s the case, what happens when trials come upon them? They will certainly fail. They will blame God, become angry with Him, and blaspheme Him, only to be discarded straight away. Then their life will be terminated by God.
When Job’s faith is mentioned some people feel that they are much inferior to Job. If that’s the case, what can be done? Waste no time to pray: “Oh God, I do not have the faith of Job, so please do not allow me to face the trials that he did. I could not withstand them.” Isn’t that how you should pray? Then God will say, “My work has concluded. You do not possess Job’s faith, so you cannot be saved. You cannot enter the kingdom.” How would you respond? “Then I’d like to undergo Job’s trials. I will do my utmost to stand witness. Is that okay?” You cannot not have the truth. If you cannot see through this, how can you stand witness? We just talked about why Job was so composed, so calm, so rational when those trials came upon him. It was because he had prepared for them long before. He had the stature, he had mentally prepared himself, and he had known for a long time that that day would certainly come. He had equipped himself with the truth of life. Is this a realistic thing to say? (Yes.) So should you now prepare yourself by entering into this aspect of truth of life? (Yes.) You should, so how would you pray for it? Should you hand all of this over to God? First give it to God, and say: “I will give my husband to God, and at any point God wants to take him away, I will not complain. I will also give my child to God, and although he is dear to me, if God would take him I will not complain. I will still praise God.” Do you dare to make this kind of prayer? There are some people who really do. In fact, even if you say that you dare to, your stature may not be adequate. It just means that this is your current will. How well-equipped with the truth are you? Are you really equipped with the truth? If you were, you would be able to see through this, and when trials came upon you, you certainly would not have any great difficulties. Without being equipped with the truth and without seeing through this issue, trials will be much more painful. They will be like a living death, and you will be beating your head against a wall. So, you must first be equipped with the truth, and you must use the truth to see this clearly. Once you have done that, you will possess a proper perspective. The day that something comes upon you, you will display the calmness, the reason, and the steadiness of Job. You will not complain, get angry, or do anything foolish. This is a fantastic thing—it is life. Only with Job’s own life can Job’s testimony be lived out. We do not have that kind of life, so we cannot live out that kind of testimony. It’s not something that can be done as easily as a duck using all its might to fly up onto a perch. You must first have that kind of life within you. Just like people’s paintings—some people are good at it, they have an artistic touch, and others find their paintings enjoyable. Why is that? It’s because they had it in their hearts first. That painting was first in their heart, and then they could paint it with their hands. Likewise, you cannot live something out unless you possess it within your life. So if we are to give the kind of testimony that Job did, we should understand the truths that Job possessed, use those truths to fully understand these things, and then when those kinds of trials come upon us, we will be on firm footing. Many people don’t fully understand this, so they’ll desperately struggle with others, fight with them. “You’re some kind of thief? You came into my territory to take my things—do you know who I am? Since you stole from me, I will steal from you. Today you robbed me, so tomorrow I’ll rob you, believe it or not.” Wouldn’t you say that this kind of behavior is a real problem? It is. What does this show? People’s foolishness. It didn’t originate with man, but through God’s allowance. God is requiring you to stand witness. If you just struggle for that little bit of property, how are you any different from animals fighting over food? In the animal kingdom the fittest survives. They don’t care what the reason is, they just rely on strength in their struggles.
Do you think that’s the way it is in this world? Countries fight over territory with each other—what is this based on? Is it based on reason? None of it is based on reason, but on force. Each country makes its own argument and has its own grounds, all of which make sense, so it comes down to a show of force. “I’m more powerful so I’ll just occupy it. What are you going to do about it?” But in the spiritual world, Satan battles with God for His chosen people. These people are truly human. Those who know God—God’s chosen people—have a different perspective than non-humans when they encounter issues. They approach things differently and have different manifestations. This must be seen clearly. If you struggle for wealth and advantages like those in the animal kingdom, what do you look like to God? Like a non-human. You will not be remembered by God and will be a target of His destruction. You are someone who follows God; you are one of His chosen people, so in this battle you must act according to the truth and according to your understanding of God. This is what should be achieved in a spiritual battle. If you possess the truth and can stand witness, that is different from non-believers using arms or relying on force to gain the advantage or some wealth—it’s on a different level. This has to do with a spiritual battle. Your witness has to do with God’s management and God’s glory, so if you bear a good witness, you will be saved and blessed by God. You will be able to inherit God’s promise. The meaning in this is so profound. Most people cannot grasp this.
After Job completed his marvelous, resounding witness, what did he enjoy? His wealth doubled and he had ten children. What else was there? What was even better and even more valuable was that he lived another 140 years; he lived to the age of 210, and he died at a ripe old age. Is God’s blessing something you could seize by force? No matter what worldly forces you bring together, you could never seize this kind of blessing. Job bore this kind of witness and he satisfied God through living out a true human likeness, and in the end what he enjoyed was beyond what he had imagined or sought. It was something that no force or person in this world could give. Not only did he gain longevity in the world, living 140 years longer, but his wealth doubled. He also gained God’s blessing and became a classic representative of one who has been made complete in God’s management plan. It can be said that he is someone who gained eternal life—this is such an incredible blessing. So if you achieve salvation and are perfected through your faith, the blessings that you receive cannot be given by any earthly creature or force. Only God can bestow these things. What is the standard for us to reach salvation through pursuing the truth? Is it Job’s testimony? If it is, how prepared are you now? If trials were to come upon you now, would you deny and reject God? These are the times that really lay people bare. Have you now seen all of the great red dragon’s aggression? It has mobilized its entire propaganda machine to thoroughly defame, judge, and slander The Church of Almighty God. It has instigated a decisive battle with God. When Satan is on the offensive are you able to stand witness? Are you able to uphold what you possess? Can you follow God until the very end? This requires true ability. And what is this ability? It is the truth and knowledge of God. What is the simplest attack in this spiritual battle? Its political propaganda presses down on you and you can’t take a full breath. Those words that defame, judge, and slander overwhelm you, and as soon as you lift your head you can see them. Can you still follow God, or not? Can you follow Him until the end? You believe in God, but how long can you follow Him? Can you uphold your integrity? Can you keep on God’s way? This really exposes people. There are some people who start to doubt God under this kind of siege by Satan. Some people lose their faith in God, and some people sell themselves to Satan. Those are the kinds of people who are eliminated by God; He does not want them. So, no matter what kind of trials there are, people cannot stand firm without the truth. Job could stand firm because he had faith, and what was inside of his faith? The truth. Various aspects of the truth allowed him to develop true faith in God. Because Job was equipped with these truths—that is, he was equipped with the truths included within that faith—he stood witness, he did not fall down, and he gained God’s approval. You must be clear on whether or not the truths you now understand can allow you to stand firm. Some people understand a bit of the truth and feel like they’re pretty okay: “I can follow Almighty God no matter what. No one can take me away from Him.” But just a few days later they are taken away by the great red dragon for one of its brainwashing courses, and what happens after a month of that? The name of Almighty God has been completely washed out of their brains; they sign the “three statements.” Then, the great red dragon lets them go. What happens after that? They go back home dejectedly and their family asks them: “What happened? Did you stand firm?” They don’t say anything. “What happened, hm? Were you a Judas?” Before long they start to cry—their faith was washed out of them, they did not overcome, and they signed the “three statements.” Isn’t this a surrender? Does anyone who can’t get past the test of the great red dragon’s brainwashing have true faith in God? They’ve been exposed. They have been eliminated. There are many delicate girls around 20 or so who are arrested while preaching the gospel and bearing witness to God, and then what happens? They’re slapped around a bit then kicked a few times. After they were kicked down, they cry hard. But some people pray to God after they’re done crying and think: “No! What am I crying for? I shouldn’t be crying.” After praying to God, He enlightens them with some words and these words give them strength. They wipe away their tears and say: “I will sit up—what am I crying for? I won’t cry even if they beat me to death.” In the end, they stand witness. How do you explain that? On the outside they seem very delicate, as if they can’t withstand a single blow, but they are able to stand witness. What can be said about this? Some people stand firm, and some people seem very strong but cannot stand firm. What kind of issue is this? The critical issue here is whether or not someone has a heart of reverence for God. Just because the flesh can endure doesn’t mean that the person can stand firm. Those with a heart of reverence for God behave differently. Once they pray to God He becomes their backup force; He alleviates their pain, gives them strength, and is present with them. Then Satan is thwarted and it gives up. See, it’s their heart of reverence for God that protects them, that guides them through the crisis. It plays a critical role here. Their reverence for God makes them pray to God, lean on God, and continually call out to God. It allows them to have true communication with God. In the end, it moves God. He wants to relieve their pain, He wants to take up their pain for them, and He wants to dispel their anxiety and resolve their problems. Then the Spirit of God begins to work and in the end He displays signs and wonders, bringing His power into play, bringing His everything into play. At the critical moment, this heart of reverence for God plays such a critical role. Without this, no matter how unyielding you are, that will be no use—you won’t be able to rely on that. Having a heart of reverence for God is incredibly important.
Job had a heart of reverence for God, so at the critical time he sought and waited before God, and he reflected on the problem before God to see it clearly. This made him incredibly calm and rational, and gave him immense strength to face it. In the end, his heart of reverence for God protected him from doing anything foolish, arrogant, or reckless. This way the name of God was glorified through him. Whether a person has a heart of reverence for God is extremely important. Just understanding many doctrines is useless—without a heart of reverence for God, but by just relying on yourself, on your empty theories and your imaginations you will achieve absolutely nothing. At the critical moment when trials are at their most intense, when Satan is persecuting man, what is it most important to draw on? God’s words! If your heart of reverence for God does not bring the sustenance of His words or His presence, then it is empty and useless. At the critical moment the role played by a heart of reverence for God will be immeasurable. How does someone who fears God react as soon as they encounter an issue? First they pray to God; they come before God to seek: “What does God say and what is His guidance? What words will He enlighten me with and how will He move me?” After praying to God, they will wait to see: “What crops up in my heart? Is there any idea or path?” Then, they will know how to face this. Praying to God is awesome. Satan fears this. As soon as you pray to God it is at the end of its rope and does not know what to do. But if you don’t pray and instead act, speak or respond by relying on yourself, although you always feel that you have wisdom, that you have a measure or a solution, you will ultimately be shamed and you will fail at every turn. Isn’t that true? When people who fear God encounter a trial, their first reaction is to pray, to come before God and seek: “How does God move me, guide me or enlighten me?” Then they can determine how to face this, how they should proceed, what they should do. If they don’t pray to God, if they don’t gain a clear understanding of this before Him they will do nothing but wait and they are not be anxious. Isn’t this what Job manifested? This is the first response of someone with a heart of reverence for God when facing a trial. If an average person, a person of flesh and blood, faces something similar, what do they do first? For example, if someone reports: “There’s a gang of robbers stealing our cattle,” what will they do? “Let’s get a team together and go get them back!” Did Job do something like that? Job didn’t react. He said, “Did this come from God? It did. Otherwise why would it suddenly befall me? I’ll wait and see.” He also prayed, and when he didn’t gain clarity from his prayers he didn’t just act recklessly. At that time, Job was so calm; he lived before God and waited for His instruction. He thought, “I won’t make a move until God’s intention is revealed to me. I’d rather have all of my property taken away—I will still wait for God’s command. If He doesn’t have me do something, I won’t do anything.” Isn’t this a great heart of reverence for God? “My belongings have been lost but I won’t make a move. I will wait for God’s instruction.” Praying to God is the most important thing.