Chapter 9. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” (IX)

One Must Recognize and Resolve the Issue of “The Temple Is Greater Than God” Before One Can Stand Firm in All Kinds of Trials

Here, God said, “Because they used the temple as a cover, and sacrifices as a guise for cheating people and cheating God, the Lord Jesus said this to warn people. If you apply these words to the present, they are still equally valid and equally pertinent. Although people today have experienced different work of God than people in the Age of Law experienced, the essence of their nature is the same.” “The essence of their nature is the same.” What does this determine? It determines that the path that people today take, the things that they do and the intention with which they believe in God are the same as the path the people in the Age of Law took, the things they did, and the intention with which they believed in God. “In the context of the work today, people will still do the same type of things as ‘the temple is greater than God.’ For example, people see fulfilling their duty as their job; they see bearing witness to God and battling the great red dragon as political movements in defense of human rights, for democracy and freedom; they turn their duty to utilize their skills into careers, but they treat fearing God and shunning evil as nothing but a piece of religious doctrine to observe; and so on. Aren’t these expressions on the part of humans essentially the same as ‘the temple is greater than God’? Except that two thousand years ago, people were carrying out their personal business in the physical temple, but today, people carry out their personal business in intangible temples.” God’s words have explained this fact clearly. What does this indicate? The corrupt substance of the human race today is the same as the corrupt substance of the human race 2,000 years ago, they take the same path in believing in God as those people did, and the essence of their fulfillment of duties is also the same as that of theirs. Before someone has a change in their life disposition, the path that they take in their belief in God is the same as the path that was taken by people during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace in their belief in God. This is for certain. “Those people that treasure rules see rules as greater than God, those people that love status see status as greater than God, those that love their career see career as greater than God, and so on—all their expressions lead Me to say: ‘People praise God as the greatest through their words, but through their eyes everything is greater than God.’ This is because as soon as people find an opportunity along their path of following God to display their own talents, or to carry out their own business or their own career, they distance themselves from God and throw themselves into the career that they love. As for what God has entrusted to them, and His will, those things have long been discarded. In this scenario, what is different about these people and the ones conducting their own business in the temple two thousand years ago?” What the priests, scribes and Pharisees did in the temples 2,000 years ago is exactly the same as what the pastors and elders of today’s religious world are doing. Is the path that is walked by the antichrists and false leaders within God’s family the same as the path walked by the Pharisees and antichrists during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace? They are the same. There is no difference at all. Now, why do these antichrists within God’s family and those antichrists of the religious world walk the same path? Someone said, “The antichrists within God’s family have already received God’s work. The antichrists within the religious world have not received it. How can those who have received it and those who have not be the same?” How can this issue be explained? Can the fact that someone has received God’s work represent that they have had a change in their disposition? What is the difference between those who have received God’s work and those who have not? There is a context to this. Someone said, “Those who have received God’s work acknowledge that it is the truth, and they are able to acknowledge that it is the true way. Those who have not received it do not acknowledge that it is the true way.” Is this a difference in essence? This is an external difference. Would you say that those who are able to acknowledge that the words that Almighty God expresses are the truth and the true way are also people that pursue the truth? We have to first see this matter clearly. If so, that is already half the battle. Someone said, “That they are able to acknowledge that does not mean that they are people who pursue the truth. However, they are able to see that they are the truth and that they are the true way; what is the reason for this?” All that can be said is that their caliber is a little bit better. Those religious pastors that do not understand spiritual matters are fools and good-for-nothings. They are unable to distinguish God’s work and therefore, they do not receive it. However, there are some religious pastors that know in their heart that it is the truth, but their mouth does not confess it, because they are afraid of losing their positions and their livelihoods. For example, there are some religious pastors that secretly read Almighty God’s words and view the website of God’s family. After they finish reading these, they keep the words of the truth and the meaning of the truth in their heads so that they can use them in their sermons. They do this in order to defend their status and livelihood. Do these people acknowledge that the words of Almighty God are the truth and the true way? If they did not acknowledge this, they wouldn’t secretly read it, right? If this is the case, why do they acknowledge this in their hearts yet do not receive the true way? It is because they do not want to give up their positions and livelihoods. Some of these churches contain 300 to 600 people who worship them every day. Every day, their congregations provide for them a life of enjoyment. To them, this is truly living it up! They strut around and flaunt themselves in front of hundreds and thousands of people in order to satisfy their own vanity. It is similar to a rock star with tens of thousands of fans cheering for him off stage. When he gets on stage, he performs for them. To him, it’s that kind of living it up! Once he finishes singing his songs and his fans disperse, he is unwilling to leave the stage. He says, “That was amazing. If only this could go on forever! Why have they gone?” Those religious pastors are unable to leave this vanity and the happiness of their status because they want to continue enjoying them. They say, “Presently, I am a pastor guiding hundreds of people. If I accept Almighty God, will He be able to provide this kind of enjoyment for me? Can Almighty God give me this kind of church and allow me to continue being a pastor? He cannot! Once I switch over to The Church of Almighty God, all I will be is a common believer. I will have nothing at all! This is why I cannot accept Him!” Does this kind of situation occur? (Yes.) It occurs a lot. If you do not believe, find a pastor and tell him, “If you accept Almighty God, you can still remain a pastor at this church. These believers will be under your shepherding, and all the offerings they make to God and their donations to the needy will be yours,” and you will see that they will accept Him immediately. During the Age of Grace, why did the Jewish chief priests and Pharisees nail the Lord Jesus to the cross? They said, “Jesus’ preaching is too profound and too powerful! If this person continues to preach, after a few years, nobody will be left in the synagogues. They will all follow Him. Where else would we be able to enjoy the blessings of our positions? So we must get rid of this person!” They were not scared of 1 robber, 10 robbers or even 100 robbers. They were scared of 1 Jesus. So they would rather release a robber than not get rid of Jesus. Why does the great red dragon hate Almighty God these days? Why does it frantically persecute The Church of Almighty God throughout the country? What is the root cause of this? It is because the great red dragon is afraid of Almighty God. It is afraid of the way of truth expressed by Almighty God. It is afraid of the Chinese people reading Almighty God’s words, accepting Almighty God and following Almighty God. That is why it considers Almighty God as its greatest threat, considering Him to be even more hateful and formidable than an enemy state. That is why it has mobilized its soldiers to try to eradicate The Church of Almighty God. …

Tell me, why is Satan so scared of people worshiping God? Do you understand the reason behind this? In the past, everyone would agree that being a soldier during times of war is life-threatening. Presently, ordinary Chinese folk say that believing in Almighty God is life-threatening. These words are not excessive at all! Presently, believing in God has become a life-threatening matter. Doesn’t it indicate that this world is very evil? In the great red dragon’s country, they do not even place the education of Marxist-Leninist ideology and Maoism as the number one priority. Instead, their number one political task is the elimination of The Church of Almighty God. To what degree is the great red dragon, this evil power, diffident? To what degree is it afraid? Many elderly sisters say to the great red dragon, “We do not have guns and we do not have cannons nor do we participate in politics. Why do you want to capture us? Is it worth the trouble?” The great red dragon smiles, “You do not have guns and you do not have cannons. In fact, you do not even have fireworks. However, you are very formidable!” Wouldn’t you say that some brothers and sisters are extremely childish? They are unable to understand this, and they say, “Great red dragon, why do you hate us so much? We are good people! If everyone believed in God the way we do, the entire country would not have to spend a single penny on public security. How can you not understand this? You should be thanking us!” When the great red dragon hears this, it says, “You are too childish. You are even unable to understand the things that we understand.” Isn’t this the case? Can God’s good intention be found behind this matter? (Yes.) What is God’s good intention? This is to refine people and put people through trials so that in the end, people will be classified according to their kind. Many people think, “I have been completely conquered by Almighty God’s words. I believe firmly that Almighty God’s words are the truth, and that they are the true way, so I have certainly been saved!” Aren’t these words a little premature? When someone has been conquered, does this mean that he has been saved? Perhaps there are some people that are still skeptical of God! They think, “Is God actually almighty? The great red dragon has mobilized so many troops to suppress and capture the members of The Church of Almighty God. At this critical juncture, why doesn’t God make a move? God sent just one angel and it killed one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians. How much more will He have the troops of the great red dragon killed! Up until now, however, not even the trace of one angel has been seen. It seems that God will not rescue His chosen people! What’s going on? Is He actually the one true God?” Other people say, “Oh no! If God does not dispatch His angels to rescue us, perhaps He really is handing us over to Satan. When we finish rendering service to Him, God will hand us over to Satan and His work will be finished.” Are there people who think like this? Of course there are. There is no way that there are not. If these people really do not exist, there would be no need to put people through trials to see whether they firmly believe in God. The complete absence of miracles truly puts people through trials and refines people. From these kinds of tribulations, a group of people will emerge. This group of people are overcomers not just in name only, but also in reality. There are some people who overcome the first time. Can they overcome the second time? In the end, can they overcome? The group of overcomers that emerge in the very end is the group of true overcomers. Is this clear? (Yes.) Sometimes, even I broke out in a cold sweat because of these trials! I said, “Just how many people must die for the faith? How many people must leave? How many people will stand firm? Oh! God’s work is truly coming to an end. Everyone will be classified according to their kind.” From man’s perspective, this many people leaving is really something difficult to stomach! Presently, God’s chosen people are going through trials and tribulations while experiencing God’s work. Let’s see who is able to rely on God and who truly rely on God. These people are not likely to be ashamed and they are guaranteed to be able to stand firm. Those that do not rely on God and always want to flee will fall into Satan’s net. This truly reveals people! Those who rely on God hand over their life to God. Whether they live or die, they completely obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement and they do not have their own choice. This kind of person will stand firm in the end. At this time, if Satan lifts its butcher’s knife and its steel rod and asks, “Will you tell me? If you do not, I will chop your head off with this blade. This steel rod will come down and your life will be over!” This moment really reveals people. This trial is immense! Some people find a place to hide and cannot see their family. They do not dare go into the sunlight for days, and they do not dare go out and walk in the streets. This is no different than sitting in jail. It is at this moment that people are refined. Some people snivel and complain, “God, why do You not allow me to return home? God, I want to go outside for a stroll! God, this is too hard!” Too hard? This is not too hard. The more you say these things, the more it proves that you need to be confined there and the more you need to be refined. The matter will be over the moment you say, “This isn’t too bad. I will still obey even if I have to go through refinement for 10 years.” Have you never suffered? Some believers have been in prison for 20 years. What are you complaining about? Hasn’t this only been for a couple of days? Yet, you whine incessantly! One look and it can be seen that you are not devoted to God and you have never suffered. The more you say these things, the more it indicates that you need refinement. Some people said, “I have not seen my own children for quite some time.” Do you still miss your children? In your heart, are your children more important than God? Some people said, “I haven’t sat down for a dinner with my family for quite some time.” Within your heart, is your family not more important than God? How can your family be this important? Now is the time to shatter your family. Some sister said, “Within my heart, my husband is more important than God.” God said, “I will let your husband’s head get smashed. Let’s see who is more important.” You say, “I cannot leave my mother!” Then, you will be put in a situation where you will be refined so that you will overcome your incapability of leaving your mother. It will be just about okay the moment that you say, “It is okay if I do not have my mother, but it is not okay if I do not have God.” Is this kind of refinement good? It is a good thing when people’s emotions are refined into obedience. Otherwise, your emotions will be too intense. When people’s emotions are too intense, what do they say? They say, “What on earth is love that makes lovers vow to stick together in life and death?” If people all lived according to their emotions, that would be terrible! Presently, you are to be refined into someone who says, “I know what my emotions have become: an enemy of God. I do not want my emotions! I no longer have emotions. If my son does not believe in God, he is a satanic demon. If my husband does not believe in God, he is also a satanic demon and I do not want any of them!” It is a success once someone is refined to this degree. The key to resolving the issue of emotions is refinement. Is refinement good? (It is good.) It is good, but that means you must cry many tears. Once you have finished crying and had no more tears, then you will have succeeded through refinement. Presently, there are many people who do not know God’s work. If that is the case, these people need to be placed in this environment to face some refinement and experience God’s righteousness, majesty and wrath. One day, when people ask you, “Are your emotions more important or are the truth and principles more important?” You will say, “This time, emotions are not important. The truth and principles are more important than everything else.” This will be fine. You will have succeeded through refinement and your refinement will be finished. Someone, after having been in jail for a couple of years, says, “I have not seen my children for many years!” Once they return home, they hug their children and they cry. God says, “No good! This person has not succeeded through refinement. They still have this many tears. Next time, they should be put into jail to continue their refinement. Their suffering is not finished and their emotions have not been resolved.” At the time when this person reunites with their family again and they do not cry in such a manner and say, “God is great! After this instance of refinement, my heart has been purified much. My emotions are no longer that intense. I am able to deal with my family members properly. My heart has a place for God and I am able to fear God and shun evil,” once they have been refined to such a degree, they will have been purified. When they go home, they will be able to interact properly with their family members. Once God sees this, He will say, “You have true testimony and you have succeeded through refinement!” God’s painstaking price has not been wasted. What God has earnestly thought about is finally understood by people! The great red dragon’s service is no longer needed and it can then be destroyed!

How well do you think God makes use of the service of the great red dragon? It is great, but people must pay a price. They must enter into the training and practice of the kingdom. They absolutely must rely on God! This involves taking everything that you understand, experiencing it all the way through and seeing whether or not it is real. Phony words are useless. Take what you understand and put it into use. See whether or not it is useful. If it is of no use, you will be defeated. If you truly have the reality of the truth, can truly rely on God and are someone that obeys God, then you will bear testimony. This instance of the great red dragon’s service is the last situation through which God perfects man. It is the most adverse environment for trying and perfecting man. Once the great red dragon has finished rendering service, if anyone’s work has collapsed, then it will be thoroughly over for him—he will be completely eliminated! Presently, some people have started pondering about escaping without a trace. Other people ponder the following, “Oh no. The great red dragon is capturing people. This is a life-threatening situation! Surrender and your life will be spared! I will start to believe again when the great red dragon collapses.” What kind of path is this? This is biting the hand that feeds you. This kind of person is walking a crooked path. If they continue on this path, they will be completely eliminated. This is not a good path to take. What will you do when the great red dragon is about to put your head into its guillotine? You should hurriedly lower your head and say, “Go ahead and chop!” You let them chop. If God permits it, the great red dragon’s blade will fall. If God does not permit it, its blade will not fall. This is all within God’s hands. At this moment, how would you pray? You should say, “O God! My time to die has come. I will die for You. I will die for the sake of adhering to the true way. I do not regret and I have no complaints!” If you pray in this manner, this is bearing testimony. Even if you die, you will receive God’s approval and your soul will have a final destination. If you are really afraid of dying, if you try to save your life ignobly, even if you live, your spirit will be dead. Now, just what is living and what is dying? “He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it” (Mat 10:39). Finding life or losing life is a truth that the average person is unable to grasp. What would you say is better? Living as a Judas or dying for the faith and having your soul obtain God’s approval? This matter is something that the average person does not understand. He says, “Death is final! Once you are dead, isn’t everything over?” These are the words of unbelievers and atheists. These words are false, they are not the truth. In fact, the soul of the martyr will be taken care of by God, it will receive God’s blessing and it will not go down to hell. The soul of the person who is a Judas will go to hell and will not have a final destination. You must understand this matter! That is why the soul of the martyr is much more valuable than the soul of the person who is a Judas. It has a way out and it will be reincarnated. The soul of the person who is a Judas will be condemned to eternal damnation and it will never be reincarnated! If he does not die today, he will die another day and once he dies, he will be consigned to the same ending as that of the great red dragon: eternal damnation. What will he encounter once he is consigned to eternal damnation? He will burn in hell forever. That is why it is preferable to be a martyr rather than one that becomes Judas! Some people do not understand this, and they say, “Dying for the faith means you’re dead. Wouldn’t the Judas still be alive?” Externally, it would seem that this is the case. However, in reality, the Judas will be dead forever. The soul of the martyr would be reincarnated very quickly and he will live forever. You have not seen through to the essence of this. External appearances are not the same as the essence. The portion that represents the essence and the facts is the truth. The external appearance that people can see is not the truth. That is an image, that is deception, that is a facade. Is it easy for someone that does not have the truth to see this clearly? (It is not.) So it is easy for him to take the wrong path when he encounters trials. Once someone makes the wrong decision when facing a trial, he will face lifelong regret and he can never make up for this or be redeemed. …

What do husbands (wives) and children often bring? Can they bring the truth and life? What they bring is suffering and darkness. They cannot give you the way back! What is the ending for people that rely on their emotions to live? They will end up betraying God and they are not someone that belongs to God. They are someone that belongs to Satan. Who do many people live for? They live for their own wives (husbands) and children. Some young people live for their partners or their parents. Now, in the hearts of these people, do they honor God as great? Do they have hearts that fear God? In their hearts, what they love is greater than God. God occupies their 2nd, 3rd or 4th place in their hearts. Isn’t this blaspheming against God? In the end, what kind of people will receive God’s salvation? Those that fear God. In the hearts of those who fear God, who is the greatest? God is the greatest. When you say that God is the greatest, what place does your husband (wife) occupy? Do they occupy 2nd or 3rd place? What about your children? What about your parents? Can you rank them? If you rank God as greatest and then you rank your husband (wife) as number 2, your children as number 3 and your parents as number 4, is this blaspheming against God? You have placed God in an equivalent position as creations and the devil Satan. Is this not blaspheming against God? If you honor God as great, below God, is there a number 2, number 3 and number 4? No, there cannot! Suppose you say, “I honor God as great!” Beside you, a demon says, “Shouldn’t your father be ranked as number 2? Shouldn’t your mother be ranked as number 3?” “No!” “Well, what about your father?” “The devil Satan!” Once Satan sees that its test is not successful, it will leave without a trace. Isn’t this bearing witness? This is bearing witness. If your wife also believes in God and asks you, “You honor God as great. What place do I have in your heart?” If you say, “God is the greatest. You are number 2 and I am number 3,” are you a person that fears God? (No.) If this is the case, then it is quite troublesome! Satan will say to God, “He says that God is the greatest and his wife is number 2.” Can you say that God is satisfied with this person? (No, we cannot.) Those that fear God only honor God as great. They should not have a number 2 place or a number 3 place for someone in their hearts. Someone said, “If that’s the case, I will only honor God as great in my heart.” Once his wife hears this, she asks him, “What rank do I occupy in your heart? I must be on an equal footing with God!” What kind of person is this wife? (A demon.) If she says, “I cannot be on an equal footing with God. If I want to be on an equal footing with God then I am a demon. So, rank me as number 2.” What kind of person is this wife? She is still a demon. Look! Just how should this position be arranged? Should you still seek a position? Is it not okay that you are not ranked as most important as long as God is ranked as most important? Do you even want to compare yourself with God? You have no sense of shame! You always ask what your position is in other people’s hearts. Are you the devil Satan? Why do you always fight for position? You should say to your husband, “You believe in God and fear God. Can you treat me as your sister?” He will say, “That’s not bad. I will treat you as an ordinary sister then. I have love for you but it is not more than the love I have for God. In my heart, God is number 1, but you cannot be ranked as number 2. As long as I have some love for you it is okay.” You should say, “Good! If I pursue the truth, then treat me as your sister. If I do not pursue the truth, then treat me like I am worthless, and I will have no objection.” Is this request okay? (It is okay.) If your wife always tests you as if she were a demon, if she must occupy first place in your heart, how should you deal with her? Treat her like a piece of garbage and toss her out! Do you have this kind of faith? (Yes.) If you cannot achieve this in your honoring of God as great, then your faith in God has failed. To what degree must you honor God as great? God must be more important than your own life, He must be more important than your own wife (husband), and He must be more important than your own children. If this is the case, you will be able to stand firm and you will be able to satisfy God.

Let’s say that there is a couple, a husband and a wife, that believes in God. The wife always requests that her husband love her especially. She is unable to leave her husband even for a single day. She feels that if she has to leave her husband, she will be unable to live on. In her heart, her husband occupies the number 1 position. Her husband is greater than God. Is this kind of a person worshiping an idol? (Yes.) She does not worship God and her faith in God has failed. Let’s say in this circumstance, the husband sees through his wife’s nature, saying, “You are worshiping an idol! Oh no, you have believed in God for such a long time. I see that you do not truly believe in God. You always tangle me up and keep me from worshiping God. Also, you always worship me as Satan the devil. Isn’t this the same as entrapping me? A wife and husband are partners, they have the same ideals and they are intimate with one another. I see now that you are a demon. You want to drag me into hell! What kind of wife are you? I can see that you are absolutely a demon, a devil.” Should this kind of a wife be tossed aside? (Yes.) She should be tossed aside. This should be very easy. It’s like tossing out some worn out clothes. Just shed those clothes and toss them into the river. You must not marry such a wife, you must not! She is a “messenger of death,” a “bearer of ill luck,” a devil and a demon. She is like Job’s wife. She is not worth one cent! Let’s say you are looking for a partner. The partner you find does not pursue the truth earnestly and does not fulfill her duties properly, but always pesters you to love her persistently. Isn’t she even more repulsive than a toad? A wife and a husband. One party pursues the truth and passionately fulfills duties. Another party says, “Do you love me or not?” She always uses this phrase to entangle you. But you can neither hit her nor get rid of her. Wouldn’t you say that there are brothers and sisters that are like this? Someone leaves her family with great difficulty to fulfill her duties. After half a month of not returning home, she thinks, “Oh no, I haven’t made dinner for my husband for half a month. Is he eating well now? Is he eating instant noodles every day? Wouldn’t this be very unhealthy for him?” The more she thinks about these things, the more she is unable to sleep, “This is not right! I must go back home and check on things. I cannot fulfill my duties anymore.” Isn’t this being entangled? When some people are hiding in host homes and performing spiritual devotions, they always miss their husbands, and they always want to go back home and check on things. They are ill at ease. They are not even calm enough to write essays about their testimonies. What do you think their husbands have become? Entanglements. This kind of person is too attached emotionally! At this critical juncture, if they are unable to resolve their emotional issues, will they be able to bear beautiful and resounding testimonies? They must swiftly cut off their emotions. After cutting them off, they will be able to calmly fulfill their duties and they will be able to stand firm in their testimony. It is too dangerous if they do not cut off their emotions! There are some people who just wanted to go see their husbands and children. However, once they returned home, they were captured by the great red dragon. There are some people who hadn’t been home for more than a few days before they were caught by the great red dragon when it happened to go and look for them. Some people didn’t even make it back home. They made a telephone call and were followed by the great red dragon. In the end, they were captured as well. There are many such workers and leaders! Why did they get trapped by the great red dragon’s net? It is because of their emotions. They were unable to get rid of their emotions. They could not tolerate missing their family. They absolutely must go home and see them. The result was that they got thrown into the great red dragon’s prisons and began to endure refinement. At this time, once you have left your family, should you miss them? (We should not.) Just what is your home? Do not treat it as your home. Wherever God is, that is where your home is. Wherever God is not, that is not where your home is. Is your house your home? Just live in God’s family and let the matter be settled. You must cut off your entangling emotions. Only afterward will you be able to fulfill your duties well. Presently, there are many people hiding outside. The great red dragon is searching everywhere. Every day they shout through a loudspeaker, “Everybody, pay attention! Regardless of which house contains people that believe in Almighty God or harbors people that believe in Almighty God, hand them over to us immediately. Surrender yourselves immediately and you will not go to prison!” People hide inside the houses and dare not budge. Since you do not dare budge, you pray to God. After you finish praying, you miss your family again. Isn’t this troublesome? This indicates that inside your heart, it is not the case that “God is greater than the temple,” but instead, the case that “the temple is greater than God.” You are not a person that fears God. What kind of crucial time has arrived? This is a life-threatening time! The great trial has arrived, but you still constantly miss your home! Wherever God is, that is where your home is. Wherever God arranges for you to be, that is where your home is. Why do you still value your own family? How can your family be so important? Some people do not have partners and have been put into prison by the great red dragon. They do not look for a partner, they have given up. Have those who have families given up on their families? In your heart, is your family greater than God? Does God acknowledge the people who view their family as greater than God in their hearts? Are these people that obey God? Are these people that worship God? In your heart, the position of your family is too high. From the beginning to the end, you defend your own family. You only believe in God for the sake of your family. You believe in God for them to receive blessings and grace. Are you actually someone that worships God? During the Age of Law, the people who served God viewed the temple as greater than God. During the Age of Kingdom, you follow Almighty God and endure all kinds of trials, but in your heart, your family is greater than God. Are you any different from the chief priests and Pharisees of the Age of Law? You are of the same kind as those people! Do you still have your family in your heart? Should you still have your family in it?

Some people, ever since they left their families, have missed them so much that they have even dreamed about them every night. “I wonder how my family is doing. Has my husband (my wife) left our home? Is the door of our house locked every day? Is there a lot of dust in our home? Is it neglected? Is it no longer like a home anymore? I wonder when I will return to clean things up a bit and put everything back in order so that it will be like a home again.” Even if you do not say it, this is what your heart yearns for. You still want to live in your own home again and you do not want to follow God. In your heart, your family is still more important than God. Do you have Job’s faith? When Job was facing trials, he no longer had a family, he no longer had his children and he had no more property. However, what did he adhere to? His wife came to tempt him, “At this stage, you no longer have a family; you no longer have your children. I have stayed with you for almost all my life and now we have no more property. Are you still worshiping your God? Are you still trying to maintain your integrity?” How did Job respond to this? “You foolish woman. Do you know that even if I do not have all of you, I still want God? You still do not understand me? In my heart, you all are nothing. My heart only worships God. If I have God, it is enough!” Even if Job did not say these things, weren’t these things in his heart? This was Job’s faith. This was Job’s testimony. Is your testimony comparable to Job’s? Job’s trials were much more severe than yours. You only have to leave your family and suffer for a few days. Job had nothing left. His cattle, his sheep and his camels were all gone. His children were all gone. His servants were gone and he was sick. Even in this kind of situation, he still adhered to God’s way—he feared God and shunned evil. Even if he would die, he would not leave this way, and he would keep on fearing God and shunning evil. He maintained this integrity. His wife tried to tempt him but he retorted and lashed out at her, “You believe in God but do not honor God as great and instead hold your family, children and property as more important than God. You are foolish, ignorant and stubborn and you are a muddled person! All of those things are merely worldly possessions. As long as I have life, it is enough. As long as I have the true way, it is enough!” This was Job’s testimony. Now, what is your testimony like? Do you have a faith like Job’s? You have left your family for only a few months or a few years and you are already sniveling and missing them. There are some people who have left their families for more than 20 years and they do not miss them. Other people ask them, “How are your family members? Do you miss them?” “I do not miss them. That is useless! They are all satanic demons. Whether they live or die is unrelated to me.” Isn’t this simple? After this major trial has passed, the people that can genuinely stand firm in their testimony, each of them are great. They all have the reality of the truth and they are all people that genuinely worship God. Living with these people, well, that is life in the kingdom, that is the reality of the kingdom! Presently, in some churches there are still some satanic demons, some unbelievers and some people that spout doctrinal words all day yet do not have a bit of the reality of the truth. There are also people that engage in intrigue and that are outwardly devoted but secretly in opposition. They pretend to be good people and they are just going through the motions in the performance of their duties. When you see these people, it’s not enjoyable at all! Once these people encounter trials, they will be eliminated. Those that will remain are truly God’s people. When it comes to “God’s chosen people,” it implies that a portion of them will be eliminated. Those among them that will survive after having endured trials are “God’s people.” God’s people are the people who will be in God’s kingdom not just in name but also in reality. Those that will remain after this major trial has passed are truly God’s people! God’s people love one another, live in harmony with each other, coordinate harmoniously with one another, bear witness to God and serve God. This is even more enjoyable. Look, are some people God’s people right now? When you take a look, you will see that some people are demons, some are unbelievers, some are antichrists and some are evil people. When you see these people, you feel disgusted. They do not say much, but inside, they are full of rebelliousness and they have hatred of the truth. They are at odds with God’s family. Aren’t they demons? They should be eliminated. These kinds of people will never pursue the truth.

Only Those That Know the Practical God Incarnate Will Find True Rest in the Heart

Next, let’s take a look at the last sentence in this passage of scripture: ‘For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.’ Is there a practical side to this sentence? Can you see the practical side of this? Every single thing that God says comes from His heart, so why did He say this? How do you understand it? You may understand the meaning of this sentence now, but at the time not many people did because mankind had just come out of the Age of Law. For them, coming out from the Sabbath was a very difficult thing to do, not to mention understanding what a true Sabbath is.

The sentence ‘the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day’ tells people that God’s everything is immaterial, and although God can provide all of your material needs, once all of your material needs have been met, can the satisfaction from these things replace your pursuit of truth? That is clearly not possible! God’s disposition and what He has and is that we have fellowshiped about are both the truth. It cannot be measured with the heavy price of material objects nor can its value be quantified with money, because it is not a material object, and it supplies the needs of each and every person’s heart. For every person, the value of these intangible truths should be greater than the value of any material things you think are nice, right? This statement is something you need to linger over. The key point of what I’ve said is that what God has and is and God’s everything are the most important things for every single person and they cannot be replaced by any material object. I’ll give you an example: When you’re hungry, you need food. This food can be relatively good or relatively lacking, but as long as you have your fill, that unpleasant feeling of being hungry will no longer be there—it will be gone. You can sit there in peace, and your body will be at rest. People’s hunger can be resolved with food, but when you’re following God and feel that you have no understanding of Him, how can you resolve the emptiness in your heart? Can it be resolved with food? Or when you’re following God and don’t understand His will, what can you use to make up for that hunger in your heart? In the process of your experience of salvation through God, while pursuing a change in your disposition, if you don’t understand His will or don’t know what the truth is, if you don’t understand God’s disposition, don’t you feel very uneasy? Don’t you feel a strong hunger and thirst in your heart? Don’t these feelings prevent you from feeling at rest in your heart? So how can you make up for that hunger in your heart—is there a way to resolve it? Some people go shopping, some find their friends to confide in, some people sleep their fill, others read more of God’s words, or they work harder and expend more effort to fulfill their duties. Can these things resolve your actual difficulties? All of you fully understand these kinds of practices. When you feel powerless, when you feel a strong desire to gain enlightenment from God to allow you to know the reality of truth and His will, what do you need most? What you need isn’t a full meal, and it’s not a few kind words. More than that, it’s not the transient comfort and satisfaction of the flesh—what you need is for God to directly, clearly tell you what you should do and how you should do it, to clearly tell you what the truth is. After you’ve understood this, even if it’s just a tiny bit, don’t you feel more satisfied in your heart than if you had eaten a good meal? When your heart is satisfied, doesn’t your heart, your whole person, gain true rest? Through this analogy and analysis, do you understand now why I wanted to share with you this sentence, ‘the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day’? Its meaning is that what comes from God, what He has and is, and His everything are greater than any other thing, including the thing or the person you once believed you treasured most. That is to say, if a person cannot have words from the mouth of God or they do not understand His will, they cannot gain rest. In your future experiences, you will understand why I wanted you to see this passage today—this is very important. Everything that God does is truth and life. The truth for mankind is something that they cannot lack in their lives, that they can never do without; you could also say that it’s the greatest thing. Although you can’t look at it or touch it, its importance to you cannot be ignored; it is the only thing that can bring rest to your heart.

Here, God explained the truth “The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” This truth tells people “God’s everything is immaterial, and although God can provide all of your material needs, once all of your material needs have been met, can the satisfaction from these things replace your pursuit of truth?” Can material wealth replace the value of the truth? How does the truth satisfy people? How does material wealth satisfy people? The majority of people do not understand this. Perhaps they understand theoretically that the truth can satisfy man’s spiritual needs. Is seeing this equivalent to the true understanding of it? This is a doctrinal kind of understanding. Can you explain of what great value and significance the truth is to man’s life? Those with experience that is too shallow definitely do not know. Merely understanding the meaning of these words will not do. Once trials come, when the final destinations of all types of people are revealed, you will see what the final destination and consequences that those who have not obtained the truth face, and at that time, you will know the value of the truth. At that time, the meaning of these words will be known. Just a moment ago, I mentioned that some people became Judas in the midst of trials. Afterward, they have a reunion with their family. This should be a joyous occasion, for the great danger has passed, the disasters are over, and the good life should start at this point. If this is the case, why are these people not happy? Why do they still suffer spiritually? Is this a physical feeling? Externally, it would seem that this is the case. But what do they feel in their spirit? What is its essence? You have not obtained the truth, you have betrayed the truth and betrayed God, and you will no longer have a final destination. They are suffering because they have lost their final destination! No matter how satisfied they are physically, it is useless. Their final destination is one of destruction or perdition. It is eternal death! This suffering, this punishment is too severe. When people encounter this punishment, what would you say can they use to get rid of this kind of pain? Is there something that will alleviate this pain? Some people have been expelled by God’s family. An unbeliever or a pagan would say, “Isn’t this a good thing? Believing in God is suffering! You do not make any money by doing so. When you have been expelled, go out into the world and look for a good job. What’s wrong with searching for happiness in the world?” This person does not understand that for the person who was expelled, no matter what kind of job the world gives him, he will not be happy, and no matter how much money he earns, he will not be happy. Why? He has lost his final destination. This is important! This is because he understands a truth, that is, he understands what the consequences of betraying God are. He believes this firmly without a doubt. He understands this clearly and thinks, “It’s over for me. This is horrible. I’ve lost my final destination!” For someone who has lost his final destination, if he goes back home and farms, will he be comforted spiritually? He does not have the strength to lift the hoe or pick. Other people ask him “You weigh over 50kg. How do you not have the strength to do some manual labor?” This is not the case only for manual labor. He is not in the mood to do anything. He feels that it is better to be dead than alive. He wishes to die! Some people ask, “If that is the case, would he be happy if he finds a partner? As the saying goes, ‘Happy occasions will reinvigorate you.’” Would finding a partner alleviate the pain he feels? It would not. Why is it that finding a partner would not alleviate his pain? Finding a partner will merely bring a moment of physical happiness. It will not resolve the spiritual suffering he is going through. After this physical happiness is attained, another kind of suffering will come, “Now I’m in even more trouble! I will be consigned to eternal damnation! Before I found a partner, it seemed like there was at least a little bit of hope. Now, there is no way to escape this. It’s a one-way road to hell!” Now, would you say that his suffering has increased or decreased? It is even more troublesome now! All those who have had this kind of experience know that the value of these material things and the value of life are not the same, and the weight they carry and the weight life carries are not the same. Now, you should be able to clearly understand this matter. What then can satisfy spiritual needs? “The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day,” this verse reveals the answer. Man must accept God into his heart so that he can find rest in God. When your heart is able to fear God and shun evil, your heart will truly be at ease, “I am living before God! God is with me. I enjoy God’s grace, God’s blessing and true happiness daily!” When a man reaches the point where he commits no sin, is able to fear God and shun evil, and can put the truth into practice, do things with principles, and have God’s blessings in all respects and have God with him especially when he fulfills his duties, he will be spiritually happy, be okay with eating whatever food, be indifferent to the clothes he wears, and be indifferent to other matters and he will be able to fulfill his duties properly, be able to satisfy God, and be able to enjoy the presence of God, enjoy God’s blessings, enjoy God’s grace, and see God’s blessings in many situations. He will feel, “God is with me. God has bestowed His grace upon me. God leads me. God guides me. God has enlightened and illuminated me.” He will receive all the blessings, and he will be extremely satisfied spiritually. At this moment, he will feel, “It is great believing in God! Understanding the truth is very precious! It is because I understand these truths that I am able to obey God. It is because I understand these truths that I am able to fulfill my duties properly and satisfy God. It is because I understand these truths that I am able to honor God as great. It is because I understand these truths that I can obey God and satisfy God in all matters, refrain from resisting God, committing sins, and doing evil, have beautiful hope within my heart and see God’s guidance and grace in all things.” He will know, “I have God’s love. I am a man that is loved by God!” Is there rest here? Is there joy? Is there happiness? He who is resting in God and enjoying God’s grace is a man who is loved by God. This happiness is tremendous! Even if you have not found a partner, you are happy! Even if you do not have a family, you are happy! Even if you do not have money, you are happy! You would be happy living in any kind of environment! Submitting to God’s orchestrations is happiness. To this kind of a person, what is suffering? Disobeying God will result in internal suffering, and his conscience will feel condemned: “I just disobeyed God. So disgraceful! I am not a human being!” “I have not put the truth into practice, oh no! This is painful. I am living within darkness!” To him, disobeying God’s word and doing something else is painful! Walking his own deviant path is even more painful! If when fulfilling his duties, he betrays God and seeks physical comfort, this is even more painful! There is no need to say how he will feel it a betrayal of God to abandon his duties or stop fulfilling his duties. While fulfilling his duties, if he does them his own way and walks his own deviant path, he will feel that he is not worthy of living before God! His internal condemnation would be strong! If while fulfilling his duties, he seeks personal interests or seeks physical pleasure with a partner, he will feel that he should be cursed and that he is not fit to live. Are these the experiences of someone that understands the truth? Those who understand the truth see these matters very clearly.

Once someone has obtained the truth, they will know clearly in their individual lives when they worship God, when they pray to God, when they appeal to God, when they have real communion with God, when they live in God’s light, when they are obeying God, when they are putting the truth into practice and when they are fulfilling their responsibilities and duties. They will experience these matters very distinctly and precisely. Now, would you say that this person is living in the light? (Yes.) This is awesome! From what God does and all the trials that they encounter, they will also see clearly God’s intentions, what God is doing now, how God is leading and guiding them and what God is perfecting in them. They will understand all this. Their heart will be well aware of how they should obey God in order to obtain results. The visions are surprisingly clear to them. Isn’t this someone that lives in the light? Can those who live in the light not see the fact that “The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day”? The people in the Age of Grace did not quite understand this word. They merely acknowledged that “the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath, the Lord is the greatest and the Lord is greater than the temple.” This is already pretty good. They did not understand anything else. Only those who have entered into the truth of life and gained some knowledge of God through experiencing God’s work of the last days can see that “The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Once someone lives in Christ, lives within God’s work and knows God and feels that God is worthy of man’s love, worship and praise, he will say, “‘The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day,’ this word is very meaningful. This word is true. This word is an eternal truth for the human race!” Can you understand this word clearly if you have not experienced it? (No.) Have you tasted the rest in the Son of man, in God? Someone said, “It is so good and joyous having the Holy Spirit’s work! Without the Holy Spirit’s work, I will be in complete darkness and I will feel like all of life is suffering.” If you only experience up to this point, is that okay? (It is not okay.) Now, to what degree must you know God before you can truly enter into rest? You must know Him to the point where you recognize that He is the Lord of creation and He is the God that rules over everything so that you must obey His orchestrations and arrangements in everything while abandoning your own choice. As a result, you can obey Him and leave yourself to His orchestrations without struggling for yourself or seeking your own interests and you can commit everything you have to Him. Only this kind of person can enjoy the true meaning of “The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” This verse is a promise to them. Now, are you a person that leaves himself to God’s orchestrations? When you obey God, do you have your own demands? Do you still try to deceive God’s family with trickery? Do you still try to negotiate with God? Are you able to obey unconditionally? These situations really reveal people. Right now, there are some people who have relinquished certain things for God, but it is against their own will: “The persecution has come. How can I not relinquish those things? Can I let the great red dragon capture me? If they capture me, wouldn’t it be worse?” If you relinquish certain things, would you be able to refrain from having complaints? Would you be able to leave yourself to God’s orchestrations? This reveals people’s spiritual stature. Right now, some people believe, “Presently, I have relinquished things for God. I have relinquished my family. What else is there? Could it be that I am still unable to receive God’s blessing?” What do you think about this? Do you have the knowledge of this verse: “The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day”? Only because you have relinquished everything, does it mean that you have gained the knowledge of the word “The Son of man is the God whom people should worship”? Not necessarily! Your relinquishing is against your own will. It does not come from your faith. You were compelled to do this. As this is the case, what should you do to stand firm in your testimony? Only if you can guarantee that you can leave yourself to God’s orchestrations without complaints will it show that you truly obey God.

Is now the time that people will be revealed? The great red dragon is frantically capturing God’s chosen people. This is a great trial. All kinds of people must be revealed. Everyone must be classified according to kind. Right now, which kind do you belong to? This is based on your manifestation and your faith. Some people belong to the kind of Judas. Some people belong to the kind of cowards. Some people perhaps belong to the kind of martyrs. Some people perhaps must spend half their lives in prison. If they are able to stand firm in their testimony while in prison, they will be overcomers! What does it mean to live half of one’s life in prison? It is a perilous trial! Once someone can stand firm in their testimony there, they will have succeeded through refinement. Will this kind of person still have their own individual choice? (No.) They do not have a bit of choice. They can leave themselves to God’s orchestrations. Whether they live or die, they will obey God’s arrangements, saying, “If I live one more day, I will still worship God. If I live one more day, I will still obey God. If I live one more day, I will still pray to God and praise God. Nobody can strip me of my right to believe in God. Even if I die, I will still believe in God. If I live I will continue believing. No matter what happens to me, I will still believe.” This is good enough. Can those who have not been to prison believe in God until the end? It is hard to say. If you have not been to prison, do you know what God will arrange before your feet? Who can say what kind of disasters and trials you will encounter? Some people will become ill. Some people will contract plagues. Some people will encounter natural disasters. Some people will encounter famines. In the future, disasters will occur everywhere. Regardless if you are in jail or outside of jail, you will have to face disasters. Throughout the world, people will be encountering trials. Here, the most fundamental thing is whether or not you know God. If you know God, if you understand the word “The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day,” and if you can rest in God and obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, wherever you are, you will find peace and you will find joy. If you do not know the Son of man, and you cannot experience God’s word, you cannot fear God and you cannot obtain the truth, no matter where you are, you will be in danger and you will not find rest.

Previous: Chapter 2. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” (II)

Next: Chapter 17. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” (XVII)

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