Chapter 17. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” (XVII)
A Tendency to Argue Is the Greatest Obstacle to Knowing God, Obeying God, and Loving God
Today, there are especially many people who like to argue. Those who argue do not understand what their arguments represent, and what is hidden behind their arguments. Behind their arguments are personal notions and intentions. Such arguments represent a lack of knowledge of God and God’s work, and represent a deep misunderstanding of God, and that they don’t know the significance of what God does or that God is the truth. When you argue, it represents that you are that argument, and what is represented by that argument? That you are attempting to trade with God and reason with God. You think that your arguments are higher or more significant than God’s truth. Are such people not arrogant and self-righteous? They are the most foolish and ignorant people! What use could come of presenting your insignificant arguments? They are your own notions and reasoning, and they are incomparable to God’s truth. They represent that you are selfish and despicable, that you only seek to gain benefits, and that to gain those benefits you are attempting to trade with God. They represent your own intentions, and that you are foolish and ignorant. What sorts of people argue most? Those who do not pursue the truth are most likely to argue, as are intellectuals, who always use their knowledge and reasoning to evaluate God. Intellectuals, those who do not pursue the truth, and those who are calculating always attempt to argue with God. Such people lack spiritual understanding. Can people without spiritual understanding ever understand the truth? I’ve met many people who lack spiritual understanding, and who’ve believed for decades without gaining anything. When things happen to those who lack spiritual understanding, they argue with God, and after they argue, they don’t dare leave God. If other people talk and fellowship with them, they appear to understand on the outside, but next time something happens, they again argue with God and get stuck in the same place. Later, others fellowship with them, and they awaken again, and promise not to argue with God next time. Yet, the next time something happens, they argue with God again, and again become stuck in the same place. They do nothing but argue. They argue and fall down, argue again and fall down again, and finally, after falling down countless times, when they get back up, they still haven’t gained the truth and still are not genuinely obedient to God. What do most people call this? Digging in one’s heels. Those who dig in their heels are the most apt to argue. If you fellowship with someone like this, he will grind on about one matter, with no end, and will insist on continuing until everyone else is convinced by him. He will only finish once everyone thinks he is right, and he won’t stop arguing until he achieves that. He never talks about whether he has obedience, whether he can obey God, or whether he can satisfy God when he has all reasons on his side. He doesn’t want to do so, or expend any effort on it. Reasonable people don’t present their reasons, because obedience to God is the truth. Your arguments are petty, but obedience to God is most just, so why don’t you obey God? Are there any parents who are so foolish that they argue with their children? Such parents will argue with a child over his or her demands or actions, and in the end, when they can’t convince the child, they beat the child. Is there any love in such people? They lack all reason. Is it reasonable for an adult to argue with a child? Sometimes a son or daughter will argue with his or her parents, “You didn’t do a good job as parents, so I won’t be filial to you!” Sometimes these arguments drive parents to cry, and they finally say, “Be unfilial if you want! I won’t want filial devotion from you!” What are such people? Completely unreasonable. In matters of the truth or filial devotion, do these involve appeals to reason? No, arguing here is worthless. You should stress responsibility, your own duty, and obedience. In the common vernacular, we should focus on great principles. Spiritually speaking, we should pay attention to the truth, and put our petty reason aside, because it’s useless! There are some who always speak about their own difficulties, about this or that difficulty, but finally, we come to fellowship of the truth: “Can you bear suffering for God? Can you be obedient to God without presenting your good arguments?” If we ask such people these questions, they are silent. Do they know the difference between a great principle and a petty reason? Such people don’t understand. Do such people pursue the truth? Such people are unable to pursue the truth. This is why many times, when trials and refinements come to them, they become stuck here. They are unable to bear testimony or learn obedience, and they do not have a heart that loves God. If they had a heart that loved God, would they still argue? If they could genuinely obey the truth, would they still argue? Are their pathetic arguments even worth speaking? Now, no matter what your reasons might be, you are asked to obey God, forsake everything, and love God. No matter how many arguments you may have, if you cannot obey God, you are in the wrong and you have no realities. No matter how many arguments you may have, if you cannot forsake the flesh and instead make individual demands, it proves that you have no truth. If you refuse to let go of your petty argument, you are abandoning the truth, and what does this prove? That you do not love the truth, and that you only love your own reasoning. What does it mean when you love your own reasoning? That you insist that your own notions and imaginings are the truth, and that you do not submit to Christ. Is it over the line to say that? (No.) This is a question of life entry. Today, this is how we must practice if we wish to pursue love of God, as well as if we wish to pursue knowledge of God and entry into the realities of truth. If you argue, you are nothing. You may have many arguments, but you don’t speak them, and you only obey God. If you obey God, this surpasses stating numerous arguments, and it means that you have realities, and that’s better than speaking anything. Did Abraham argue when he sacrificed Isaac? (No.) Did he have a good argument? (Yes.) Why didn’t he argue when he had an argument? Why didn’t Abraham say, “God, why do You want to take from me what You’ve given me? Is it right to take back what You’ve given to me on a whim? You’re doing so without justification”? Did he say that? (No.) He made the sacrifice without a single argument. He said, “This was given by God, so it is right that God should take it back. I must obey God.” He obeyed God. Was his obedience true or false? (True.) What proved this? Abraham really sacrificed Isaac. He took Isaac to the place, prepared the firewood, and raised the knife to kill him. The facts proved that Abraham truly sacrificed Isaac, so God told him to stop before the knife fell. God uses many things as trials for people, but God’s good intentions are in all of them. God says, “I allow you to have arguments, and then I insist on doing things this way. Will you argue with Me?” God says, “Yes, I promised you a son, but now I’m being ‘unreasonable.’ I tell you that I want the boy back. Will you give him to Me?” Abraham didn’t hear God say those words, and he had an argument, but he didn’t voice them. “God granted me my son, and now He wants him back, so I will obey. Because He is my Lord, I must do whatever He demands. To argue would make me less than human, it would be unconscionable, so I will not argue. I will sacrifice my son.” Now do you understand why God did that? Did Abraham understand at the time? (No.) He didn’t understand, but he did as God told him anyway. What does this prove? (That he had true obedience.) Did Abraham know to argue? (Yes.) If he knew, why didn’t he argue? Some say, “Abraham must have been stupid. He didn’t know how to argue, he was simply a puppet who did whatever he was told. When God gave him a son, he simply took the child, and gave the boy back when God demanded. He knew nothing else.” Is that the case? (No.) This was the level of Abraham’s faith. Who else could do it? No one else in Abraham’s time could do it, and even today very few are capable of that, which is why Abraham is the father of faith. Why was Abraham able to gain such great blessings? Because he had arguments, but didn’t argue. Man should not argue with God, and we must obey whatever God demands. This is the rationality that man should possess. Those who argue with God are the most unreasonable people. They are beasts! If you are truly someone who believes in God, is Abraham’s faith present in your belief? It’s a serious problem if you argue too much, and it means your faith is unqualified. All that the Lord of Creation does has meaning. Sometimes His actions are to test people. When He tests someone, He does things “unreasonably.” He simply allows you to have an argument but He insists on doing in His own way. “I’ve granted you things, and now I strip them from you to reveal whether or not you have obedience.” If you argue, God will not condemn you, but you will not gain His blessings, because you failed to understand the test or pass it. This proves there is a problem in your faith and in your character. God need not say anything else. And this alone reveals people all too well. Abraham’s level of obedience earned him God’s blessing, and it was a great blessing. How great? Abraham’s descendants numbered as many as the stars in the sky and grains of sand on the beach! They were countless! Any who have sincere faith in God are the descendants of Abraham. He became the father of nations because he had this level of faith. Why don’t other people gain such blessings? Because they always argue. It is because you argue that you are unfit to receive this blessing. Abraham had arguments, but didn’t voice them, so he gained these blessings. Does arguing have any significance? (None.) Then what is it to argue? Foolishness, a lack of faith, the act of the most unreasonable and the most shameless! What arguments could you have against the Lord of Creation? Unconditional obedience is the rationality that people should possess. Will you be able to enact such obedience to God in your practical lives? Do you still require me to give more examples? When things happen to you, if you want to argue, “Why do You treat others like that, but not me? Why do You promote him, but not me?” just stop it. Learn to obey, and simply say, “I am unqualified and unworthy to argue. I am a part of corrupt mankind, whatever God does is the truth, and I should obey.” Do you understand?
Without knowledge of God’s work, it is very difficult for people to meet God’s requirements. In this state, is it possible to withstand trials? When trials come, such people will argue and use human notions to evaluate them, and what will happen in the end? They will be revealed. Some people believe in God for years, but God is uninterested in them, because they have no truth, and do not pursue the truth. Some people believe for years but never accomplish anything, they are incapable of being leaders because they lack the realities of truth, they cannot spread the gospel because they do not understand the truths of spreading the gospel, and they can achieve nothing no matter what they do. Is God interested in such people? But they make demands of God, “Why don’t You love me? Why don’t You pay attention to me?” Do they have an answer to those questions now? (Yes.) What is the answer? If you believe in God for years without gaining any amount of truth, how is God to love you or pay attention to you? If you can’t accomplish anything despite your years of belief, you are a waste. Does God like waste? Imagine the head of a large, wealthy household who cleans out all the useless things at home, the brick fragments, tile shards, broken furniture, assorted broken basins, plates, and jars, and throws them out with the trash. Those useless things complain, “I am a brick fragment or a tile shard, why did you throw me out? I am scrap, why did you throw me out? I am a broken vessel, why did you throw me out?” Are these questions reasonable? The master of the house will say, “I don’t like these old, broken things, I like valuable and useful vessels, so I eliminate the useless things!” If you happen to be one of those broken bricks or tile shards, how should you pray? You should say, “God, I am one of these broken bricks and tile shards, and I will go wherever You throw me without complaint, because I am worthless. I hold no grudge against You. No matter what, I recognize You as God, and I will still worship You and praise Your name!” In this there is at least some rationality. Certain people, when asked to perform any duty, are incapable of accomplishing anything, they produce no results, and without direction and help from the above, they succeed at nothing. Neither do they put their heart into their duties nor pray and seek. After a time, if such people truly turn out to be waste, they must be eliminated. If you wish to gain God’s favor and approval, but are unwilling to work for it, you are waste. You are attempting to force God to love waste. Is that reasonable? What should you do if you want to gain God’s favor and approval? You should work hard and produce results, after which God will naturally approve of you. Some people say, “Brother, why are your words for me always so harsh? Why do you always deal with me? Can you stop dealing with me this way?” Is that an easy question to answer? If what you do is in accordance with God’s will, will I deal with you? If you are not contaminated with so many personal things, if you do not cause serious disruptions, will I deal with you? Do I deal with you blindly? If you want me to stop dealing with you, there’s only one way: Pray before you act, and once what you do is in accordance with God’s will and based on principles, do you think I will deal with you then? It’s that simple. If you really have the ability, do something that most accords with the truth and is most significant, then see if I will blindly deal with you or not. If I do, I will admit my mistake and apologize to you, and acknowledge that you do have the ability. Many people never have knowledge of God’s work, yet they always blindly argue. Is that reasonable? Take your arguments before God, or take those arguments before your brothers and sisters and ask them to judge whether you are right or wrong. Will you not be clear on this then? You may not take them before God for now; just fellowship on them in the meetings and ask the church for discernment. Do you dare do this? If you don’t, what does that prove? It means your arguments are not the realities of truth, and everyone can discern them, and they cannot withstand scrutiny and are unpresentable before people. Those arguments only stand in secret, between two or three people, but fall before eight or ten people. What should you do in such situations? Repent! If your arguments are things that can’t bear being brought before the public, and still you refuse to admit your mistake, learn to obey, or accept the truth, do you have any rationality? Do you have any humanity? You do not understand what it is to pursue the truth, yet you still do nothing but argue without end, grinding on about your petty arguments. Take your arguments before everyone and see whether they are justifiable, let God’s chosen people confirm it. If your reasoning passes scrutiny, if all of God’s chosen people say, “You are right, this accords with the truth,” then you can continue arguing. If God’s chosen people don’t approve of or agree with it, then you should admit your mistake and repent rather than stubbornly making yourself an enemy of God. The pursuit of truth is not something that is spoken, it is something that requires reality. If you continue to always argue in secret, and yet say, “I’m a pursuer of the truth,” who are you fooling? You do not believe in God’s righteousness or God’s judgment. Some people are expelled for doing much wickedness, and after reflecting for 3-5 months, they come to knowledge of themselves, and say, “Being expelled was a turning point in my faith in God. It was only after I was expelled that I came to know I was truly someone who resisted God and who did not pursue the truth. I was finally thoroughly convinced!” Is it too late if this effect is achieved only after someone is expelled? I don’t know. We can’t say for sure that those who are expelled can never attain salvation, we don’t dare say that, and the few who genuinely repent and bear testimony will likely attain it. But I dare say that the majority will never attain salvation, because the eyes of God’s chosen people are sharp. Those who only awaken after they are expelled are like those who don’t stop running until they crash into a wall. They need to feel their heads bleeding before they realize their mistake and what it is to believe in God. Are there not many such people? Are there only a few individuals, or do they make up a significant portion of people? To me, those with a tendency to argue are precisely this kind of people. I ask you, will those who do not pursue the truth and have no knowledge of God see the appearance of God in the future? Such people will be abandoned, and will not see God’s appearance.
Today, there are many people who pursue the truth, whose love for God in their hearts grows, and whose love for God in their hearts becomes more and more sincere. They are repaying God’s love by exerting their fullest efforts to fulfill their duties, and they pursue the truth as they fulfill their duties, so they perform their duties better by the day, and they gain more of the work of the Holy Spirit by the day. Such people will be able to attain salvation and be perfected. There are those who have the work of the Holy Spirit in their duties, but why do they have it? They seek the truth, and rely on God and pray when encountering difficulties, which is why they receive the work of the Holy Spirit, and they are also capable of bearing suffering and paying a price in the course of their duties, and finally, they achieve good results, which serve as their testimony. This is why, each time such people finish a particular duty, they gain something. They all have new experience and new knowledge of God. Isn’t this the experience of being perfected by God through their duties? After performing a duty for a period of time, you gain truth, and once you gain some truth and knowledge of God, this is perfection of God. If you continue doing this, you will finally gain all the truth and have a true knowledge of God, which is the ultimate effect of being perfected by the Holy Spirit. Can those who always blame God or argue with God in the course of their duties, or those who become negative, and refuse to pray to God or seek God when encountering difficulties receive the work of the Holy Spirit? (No.) What is the final end of those who cannot receive the work of the Holy Spirit? They will be revealed and eliminated. God says, “If you perform your duties in this way, you are muddling through, you are doing this to fill your belly, so I will not work upon you, and instead I will eliminate and reveal you.” So, in the last days, at this stage of God’s work, the wheat will be gathered up and stored in the granary, and the tares will be bound and thrown into the fire. And so it is that each man will be sorted according to his kind. Those who do not love the truth, in time, will be revealed and eliminated. What use is it to argue with your twisted reasoning? Will your arguments save you? Will they save your life? Will they allow you to gain the truth? God wants to reveal whether or not you have obedience, so if you are someone who is absolutely obedient to God, why would you argue? If you argue, you are not obedient to God. You are instead someone who demands that God obey you and satisfy you. Isn’t that an extravagant desire? A fantasy? Will God satisfy you? God asks you to forsake the flesh and your family. Will He satisfy you? God sends you trials and refinements, and demands that you satisfy and obey Him. If you demand that God satisfy you, isn’t that rebelliousness? This is outrageous! God asks that you forsake the devils and the desires of your corrupt flesh, and if you can’t put them down, are you someone who obeys God? Are you someone who can forsake everything to follow God? Do you have such testimony? In the Age of Law, could such a person have followed the angel out of the city of Sodom? He would not have been able to. He would have thought, “No, I still have family, a husband (a wife) and children, in the city, I can’t run. If I must die, I will die with them!” He would not have been able to escape. And even if he had, he would have been like Lot’s wife, looking back as she ran, thinking, “Has the fire descended? If the fire doesn’t descend, then I’ll go back, because all my possessions are there!” She still thought about returning, and in the end she was turned into a pillar of salt. God would say, “People such as you are unworthy of my blessings. I’ll simply make you a pillar of salt!” Even today, people go to that place and lick the pillar of salt and it still taste salty. See, that’s the end of those who always worry about their family. Now is the time to escape Sodom. If your family are devils and dead ones, why are you worried about them? If they are someone who truly believes in God, why do you fear that God will not save them? Aren’t they also in God’s hands? Then why are you worried? Why can’t you entrust them to God? Why can’t you trust God? Those who cannot love or satisfy God should never imagine they will receive God’s blessings!
Abraham and Job were able to gain God’s blessings because they had testimony and did not argue with God. Job didn’t argue with God, and he never said, “God, why are You taking away what You granted me?” Job didn’t say that, and instead he said, “God is the One who gives, and I see that clearly; God is also the One who takes away, and I see that. But, I still want to praise God’s name, and I don’t blame God.” This was Job’s humanity, rationality, conscience, and faith. Job had arguments, but didn’t voice them, he didn’t argue with God, so God blessed him and what he received multiplied. God allowed him to live another 140 years, granting him long life in this world, and doubled his wealth as well. Why did they gain God’s blessings? They had true obedience to God. They never complained no matter what God did, and they simply obeyed. They never argued with God, and simply obeyed God. This is why people like Job and Abraham are the cleverest people of all. Such people are wonderful! So, what is the intended result of God’s work in the last days? Like what was achieved in Abraham and Job, people have absolute obedience to God, without argument. They have the ability to bear any suffering to satisfy God, and have become someone who truly obeys God through pursuing the truth. This is correct. They can forsake all that God asks them to forsake, and be it the flesh, the relatives, or the life or death of their families, they do not worry about them, believing that all is in God’s hands, that if they die, it proves that they are devils and Satans, and if they survive, it is because they believe in God, and that worrying about them is useless. This is true obedience, in which there is no argument, and only obedience to the truth and God. Can you achieve that? Some people always blindly argue. They have no truth and argue blindly, and the more they argue, the more doomed they are. Is it easy to pursue love of God? Those who can accept the truth can love God; those who cannot accept the truth or who always blindly argue cannot love God. You must accept the truth and seek the truth, and stop your blind arguments. What are those arguments? They are your own notions, imaginings, and reasoning. God does not work according to people’s notions, imaginings, and reasoning. God sends you trials and refinement, and God does whatever He wants, whatever He likes. If you can obey, you are doing well; if you cannot obey, you are doomed, and you are in trouble! There is a well-known verse in the Bible: “I … will be gracious to whom I will be gracious” (Exo 33:19). This is God’s right, and man cannot interfere. The Lord Jesus once gave us a parable: There were workers, some who came late and worked for an hour, and others who worked longer hours, but all were paid the same wage. So, do you see? God does some things that don’t accord with the notions of man. One of the workers argued, saying, “I worked a whole day and was paid one denarius, and he who came late was paid one denarius for one hour of work. Isn’t this playing favorites?” The householder answered, “Does it irritate you to see me be generous? Are you jealous?” It’s jealousy, isn’t it? “I will give him as much wage as I see fit. Have I mistreated you? Have I given him your portion? I have not mistreated you! Why do you say I am unfair?” Do such people have any rationality? (No.) The Lord Jesus told us another parable: If there are a hundred sheep, and one goes missing, the shepherd takes more joy in finding that one lost sheep than the 99. If those 99 sheep, in turn, have notions about it, saying, “We never got lost, but you don’t feel that much joy in us. That lamb deserved to get lost; why do you feel so happy at finding it?” Is arguing like that correct? (No.) God does whatever He wants to do, so don’t argue. So, when you see certain matters that aren’t fair according to human notions, how should you pray? “God, all You do is the truth, but I am blind, and do not know You. If I use my reasoning and notions to evaluate You, this is a great misunderstanding of You, and it is my rebelliousness and blindness. Your disposition is the most lovable, and You are the most fair, but I lack knowledge of it. I am blind!” Also, you can pray like this, “God, You may be gracious to whoever You like, and I know there is truth here. This represents Your righteousness, and it’s not that You are unfair to people. Only corrupt, ignorant mankind could think this way. You are the Lord of creation, and You have authority. Everything You do is meaningful, but we corrupt mankind can’t see the significance, and instead, we rely on our notions and misunderstand and judge You. Now, I understand Your good intentions, that all You do is meaningful, and that man cannot fathom it. All You do is the truth, and I only wish to be able to obey You and bear a beautiful, resonant testimony for You.” If you can pray and fellowship with God like this, you have the right attitude. This is how we must practice as we experience God’s work in the last days. If we can practice this way, we will have obedience, the obedience of Abraham and the testimony of Job. We will know what the truth is, what righteousness is, and what holiness is. We cannot experience any other way.
There is a background to God’s work in mankind, which is that mankind is corrupted very deeply. God works to save mankind, so it’s unavoidable that some of His methods won’t fit with the notions of man. However, there are God’s good intentions in all of it, but man lacks penetration, and always judges God based on his own imaginings. What will happen in the end? One day, he will be humiliated and regret it, and say, “Oh, God is so lovable! How was I so blind? How could I have judged God like that?” He’ll feel like he should slap his own face. Do you know now how to experience? (Yes.) Do you still argue? (No.) “No matter how God treats me, I have to love and obey God.” Do you possess this faith? (Yes.) If, when you have finally been trampled on by countless men, you can still obey and love God, and if you can bear this testimony, that is impressive! And one day you will be lifted up, and that is formidable! This is how God tests your love for Him, but most people can’t see this. If you have arguments but you don’t voice them and you only focus on loving God and obeying God, and if you can do that, your obedience becomes absolute obedience, the utmost obedience, obedience to the death. When you don’t argue, and you obey God even if He demands that you die, this is truly what it means to not argue. Only obedience without any argument is absolute obedience, but obedience with arguing is not true obedience, nor is it testimony. Now you understand more of the truth, yes? Under what circumstances is a genuine testimony borne? When you do not argue, when you have arguments but don’t raise them, you desire only to satisfy and obey God, and you make no arguments and hold no notions about God and obey whatever God does. Only then is testimony produced. People will say, “This person has none of man’s intentions, notions, or contaminants in him, he is pure inside, and there are none of Satan’s poisons in him.” Arguing and trading are the characteristics of satanic poisons in man, and it is selfish and despicable. Whoever argues most fiercely and obstinately is the man poisoned and corrupted most deeply by Satan, and is the most disobedient, stiffest, and most stubborn of all men. Perhaps one day, someone will say to you, “You are a service-doer, it is fixed. You have no truth, and you are nothing but a service-doer. Continue doing service if you’d like or go home if you don’t want to.” If you don’t become negative, and answer, “Yes, I am a service-doer, but I want to serve to the end!” and you weep and refuse to leave, and insist on doing service to the last, then you have done well. This is testimony, and even in this situation, you haven’t argued. Perhaps, one day, someone will say to you, “That person you despise is one of God’s people, and he has testimony.” If you answer, “Yes, he is much better than me, he is obedient, and he doesn’t argue. I often argue, I am worse than him, I am not as sensible as him, and my humanity is worse than his,” this shows that you have knowledge of yourself, and you have testimony. When you are brought to such a step, it’s enough. Finally, when you receive a little of God’s grace, and you are moved to tears and say, “I am unworthy! I cannot reach out my hand for shame of my unworthiness to receive such grace from God!” that’s fine, and you are obedient. If you can achieve this, you are doing well, you have obedience. You do not argue, and you simply obey. Even if you must die you have no complaints, even if you weep you have no complaints, even if you suffer you have no complaints, and you still obey. This is enough. Is this not the effect intended by God’s work? (Yes.) There are some who blatantly insist on arguing. Do such people possess life? (No.) Such people are a great deal of trouble! The strength with which they argue betrays the extreme blatant recklessness of their satanic disposition!