Next God says: “But I exhort you to equip yourselves with more tangible things!” What does He mean by “tangible things”? He is referring to the truth. All of these truths that God issues forth in the last days are the most tangible things. To use man’s wording, the truth can be said to be the most tangible thing. Do you understand? Only the truth is the true reality! “For in the past, present, and future, many of those who come in contact with Christ have failed….” “The past” refers to the Age of Grace, “the present” refers to the here and now where we are currently experiencing God’s work, and “the future” refers to the reappearance of God. “Many of those who come in contact with Christ have failed; they all play the role of the Pharisees.” What is the main manifestation of all those who have failed? That they have all played the role of the Pharisees. What essentially is a Pharisee? A hypocrite. On the outside a Pharisee is the exact opposite of a wicked man. On the outside a Pharisee appears devout, and whenever someone looks upon them they think: “Now that’s someone who truly believes in God, they truly are worthy of being a saint!” On the outside they appear devout, but as God has said, this is not the reality of the truth, it is hypocritical! So, hypocrites appear to do no evil from their outward appearances. They appear to be saints, they appear to be good people, but, this will not be able to receive the commendation of God. On the contrary, this will invoke the wrath of God and be cursed by God, for this is tantamount to deceiving God.
God says: “What is the reason for your failure? It is precisely because in your notions there is a lofty, admirable God.” The reason for people’s failure is right there, and it’s “precisely because in your notions,” which is to say in people’s thoughts and ideas, “there is a lofty, admirable God.” As people have this kind of God in mind, a vague God, a lofty God, then once they come into contact with Christ, they will find that “Not only is Christ not lofty, but He is particularly small; not only is He a man but an ordinary man; not only can He not ascend to heaven, neither can He move freely on earth.” Then what will happen to people? Their notions will suddenly erupt. But what is in their notions? The evil heart of unbelief will emerge, and they will think: “Is this really God? Isn’t this just some ordinary man? How could you say this is God? This is really far from the lofty God I had imagined in my thoughts.” How much do you think you believe in Christ? You all come gather together here every day, sometimes you don’t even go to work, you don’t go make money, so how much do you believe in Christ? If Christ were to suddenly appear among you right now, you might have notions and turn around and run away, and when you got back home you wouldn’t believe in Him because of your notions. Would you be able to promise yourself that you wouldn’t act in this way? Tell me, if Christ were to appear in front of you, just as God’s word says: “Not only is Christ not lofty, but He is particularly small; not only is He a man but an ordinary man; not only can He not ascend to heaven, neither can He move freely on earth.” What would you do? Would any new notions rise inside of you? We all eat and drink a lot in the word of God, we all realize that on the outside Christ’s humanity is normal, He appears average, ordinary. We all know this. If you were to see Him you might think: “Wow, it really is just as God has said, He is not lofty but rather He is small, not only does He appear to be ordinary, in fact He seems to be one of the most ordinary of men.” If you keep this kind of thinking stored in the back of your mind, then you won’t run. But will you not have any notions? Some people say it’s possible that they might have some notions. You must first think about this: “When God became flesh why did He not appear as a lofty body? If He appeared very dashing and elegant, then people would be able to revere Him as soon as they saw Him. Why must He appear as ordinary, in a flesh that is nothing remarkable?” Have you ever had these kinds of thoughts? Some people say: “I would never think in this way, because I have seen what is spoken in the word of God, so what else would I need to think about?” You say you would never think in this way, but think about why God put on a most ordinary flesh. What is the true significance of that? If you understand this then you really won’t think in that way, but if you don’t understand this you might say you don’t want to think in this way but you will not be able to control it. So, why is it that God appears as ordinary, in a body that is nothing remarkable? Some people say it’s in order to expose man. But is it only in order to expose man? Is there no other significance? There’s no way that God could do things in such a simple way, there must be some other deeper significance. Do you not know what it is? Is there nothing of God’s disposition, of what God is within this? Think about this for a while.
It is said that Satan the devil’s inherent characteristic is that it is arrogant and conceited, so then what is the loveliest thing about God? God delights in being humble and hidden, God does not show Himself off. This is the loveliest thing about God. It truly is the opposite of the nature and disposition of Satan. Why do you think the satanic demons would reincarnate themselves as a lofty and formidable figure? And then why would God choose to incarnate Himself in the style of a regular, ordinary person that no one would look upon as out of the ordinary? Isn’t there a clear distinction? What are the forms that Satan would reincarnate itself as? Think about all those presidents and other mighty people, what kind of forms do they take? They are lofty, tall and sturdy. Their appearance is majestic. Whoever lays eyes on them regards them highly, feels adoration and reverence for them, and would rush to bow down at their feet. This is the disposition of Satan, is it not? So then why does God incarnate appear in the form of a man that others would look down upon and hold in contempt? What is the disposition of God that is manifested here? You must be able to recognize this disposition of God and all that God is from this. The loveliness of God is right there! In man’s conceptions and imagination don’t we all like lofty things? Don’t we all like things that look beautiful? Does the criteria that people have for their partners represent their nature? Whenever looking for a partner nobody likes someone who appears small and ugly. Everyone wants someone who is tall. So what kind of disposition is this? This is the disposition of Satan. So then why does God appear in the form of a normal person that people look down upon? Therein lies the truth, for this represents the disposition of God. If you’ve finished experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God and come into contact with Christ for a period of time and say that the humble and hidden manner of God is lovely, then it seems as though you have come to have some understanding of God. But if you harbor notions about God because He wears a flesh that is so ordinary and common, then you belong to the same sort as Satan! This exposes an issue. Man still has the nature of Satan, and he does not have knowledge of God! When a person truly loves the practical God, what is the cause of their love? It is because of the substance of Christ, because Christ is the embodiment of truth. He not only can save people, He can also perfect people, purify people and change people. Most importantly, from His being you can witness many of the lovely things about God. Only those who have this kind of knowledge of Christ are able to truly obey Him, for they no longer have notions about the outward appearance of Christ, but rather, the more they look upon His humble and hidden manner, how He does not show off, the more they feel that God is lovely, that the disposition of God is so beautiful, that He deserves the eternal admiration of mankind! Satan’s disposition is shameful and ignorant, and it deserves to invoke the hatred of mankind! So, through the outward appearance of God incarnate you will be able to recognize the intentions of God and understand the disposition of God. If you can do so, then you are someone that has knowledge of Christ. Can you accept this as true? Those who get more and more notions as they look more upon Christ will become part of the same sort as Satan. Those who feel that Christ is more and more lovely as they come into more contact with Him will be perfected by God and compatible with God. This is polarization! You can see in the house of God that the more that God’s chosen people listen to and study the word of Christ, the kinder they will feel that Christ is, and ultimately the more they obey Christ and the more they practice the truth, the lovelier they will feel that Christ is. With this kind of a pursuit, they will eventually be compatible with God and they will forever be without notions. No matter how much the great red dragon disparages Christ, no matter how much it discredits or blasphemes Him, it will not diminish your love of Christ. On the contrary, it will only add to it. This is what it means to be a person with true knowledge of God. God doesn’t solely use the word of God to perfect people; most importantly, it is through the conduct and deeds of Christ, the actions of Christ, and the flesh of Christ that God perfects man and enables you to witness the disposition of God, to witness all that God has and is, to witness so many of the things that make God lovely. Experience God’s work in this way, and you will ultimately be able to obtain the truth and be compatible entirely with Christ. Look at how the great red dragon blasphemes and slanders God, is it not, as a foil, rendering service to Him? What results are achieved through the service rendered by this foil? For those of you who do not love the truth, it overthrows and binds you and blocks your path to the entrance of the kingdom of heaven. For those who love the truth, it allows them to be perfected. The more that the great red dragon judges, resists, discredits and blasphemes Christ, the more they will pursue the truth and the more they will dispose of their notions, ultimately becoming more compatible with Christ. Is this not the use that the great red dragon has as a foil? So, in the Book of Revelation it is said: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still … and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11). You see. He that is unjust encounters the great red dragon doing this or that, and then he gives up his faith. He eliminates himself. For those who love the truth, the more they see the great red dragon blaspheme, disparage and attack Christ, the more they hate the great red dragon and the more they seek the truth; ultimately the effect that will be achieved is that they will be completely compatible with Christ, without a single notion about Him. And so is fulfilled God’s word that His work in the last days is to save and perfect the truth-seekers, and to reveal, eliminate and condemn those who do not love the truth, who hate the truth. Think about those who have some notions. As soon as they fellowship in the truth their notions will be resolved, and eventually they will come to have a deeper love of God. They know that these words spoken by the devil are only lies, which almost make them fall, almost ruin them, so they have even more hate for Satan the devil. For those who listen to the rumors and lies of the great red dragon, who carry notions and retreat and no longer believe, one day will come when God will appear publicly and say: “I am the Almighty God that you have persecuted and condemned.” And they shall weep and gnash their teeth! Whom can you blame? Why did you have notions and leave the church? Why did you not seek the truth? Why did you not read more of the word of God? Why did you believe the devil’s words? Some people have notions, but whenever brothers and sisters in God’s house fellowship with them out of love, some of these people’s notions will be alleviated or eliminated, and they will accept God’s work in the last days. But for some people, no matter how our brothers and sisters fellowship, it will be of no avail. Today after our fellowship is over their notions will be settled, but tomorrow when they see some bad things, once again, they will have notions. Then, our brothers and sisters will once again fellowship with them to settle these notions, and then the day after when these people see negative things, once again, they will fall down. They will continuously stand up and fall down, stand up and fall down, but in the end they will still be fallen, and eventually no one will regard them. This kind of people enjoy the words of the devil, they do not love the word of God. These people will be kicked aside, the church does not want them. They can fall down one or two times, but they are not allowed to be fallen forever, and it is in this way that some people are eliminated. Did you think that the house of God could not d
o without you? That’s not how it is. God does not force things on people. It is our brothers and sisters who have been fellowshiping to you with their love. As far as God is concerned, if you refuse to settle your notions through seeking out the truth, then you were kicked aside long ago. And some of the people that enter the church are those who God detests, as soon as He hears them He will be disgusted, and at first glance it will be clear they are people who do not love the truth.
Let’s continue reading the word of God. “And so people treat Him as an ordinary man; they do as they please when they are with Him, and speak careless words to Him, all the while still waiting for the coming of the ‘true Christ.’” Still waiting for the “true Christ” to come, is this kind of person a non-believer? This is a non-believer. Even after all of God’s work is done, this person will still be waiting for the “true Christ” to come. So what exactly is the “true Christ” referring to? It’s referring to the transfiguration of God. When God is clothed in the flesh as Christ, that is the period when God does work and saves man. If it is not until Christ is transfigured that you believe, accept and fall face down before Him, what then would God say? “Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Who was the Lord Jesus saying these words to? Thomas. What kind of person was Thomas? He was always suspicious. He always generated suspicions toward God. He always spoke based on his notions and imagination. So, according to what we know about God’s revelation of man’s true image in our experience of God’s work, we can draw a portrait of Thomas and he can be correctly called an “unbeliever.” If Thomas were in the work of God in the last days, he would be a nonbeliever, and Paul would be of service as an antichrist. If the “true Christ” actually comes, He will be the transfiguration of Christ, like the Lord Jesus who was resurrected from death and turned into a spiritual body to appear among men for 40 days. There were at least 500 people that came to witness the appearance of the Lord Jesus. That is certain. That is the “true Christ,” Christ who fits into man’s notions. He can walk through any windows in His way, He can pass through any obstructing walls. He comes without a warning and leaves without a trace. Some people think this is what it is to be God. If you see this kind of God appear before you then you are in trouble, you will be condemned. After the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, some people finally acknowledged Him, “The Lord has been resurrected, so now I believe.” This is what it took for you to believe. It’s too late. So, in the religious world people are always waiting and hoping to see Christ come down upon a cloud. That is the “true Christ.” But when will that day come? It is the time when God will appear publicly. On that day when they witness Christ come down upon a cloud, they will be condemned. “All the people will weep in sorrow.” Isn’t this the scene that will appear? The prophecy in chapter 1, verse 7 of the Book of Revelation will come true: “Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” But in the end people in the religious world will ask: “Who are You?” It’s just like Paul asking the Lord Jesus, “Who are You?” How did the Lord Jesus reply? “I am Jesus whom you persecute” (Acts 9:5). At that time Paul’s heart broke, a sudden chill overcame him, and his entire body went into shock as he fell down, proclaiming: “Jesus, He who I have persecuted, truly is Christ! The true Christ! It’s all over! All hell will break loose!” Now, in the religious world they are all waiting and hoping for God to descend and make Himself known, but on what day is He going to do this? Will it be on a happy day or a day of calamity? The day of weeping and gnashing one’s teeth will come. At that time, the words we speak now will come about as predicted: “You will not shed tears until death stares you in the face.”
Let’s continue reading the word of God. “You regard the Christ that has already come as an ordinary man and His word as that of an ordinary man. Therefore, you have not received anything from Christ and have instead completely exposed your ugliness to the light.” This is troublesome. Right now we all gather together every day to fellowship in the word of Christ—in all the truths God has expressed in the last days. The entire religious world will not understand. They will say that these people have gone mad in their faith, that they read and fellowship about the word of Almighty God every day while they set aside the word of the Bible. They will say, is this not apostasy? But they do not know it is expressed by God in the last days, and it is these words of God that are able to truly cleanse and save man! All the words that came before this have paved the way, they are all preparatory words. They cannot cleanse, save and transform man! How far backward must the notions of religious people go? At least 2,000 years! Right? You’ve witnessed many evil people and antichrists being expelled from the house of God. Few of them become believers in religion. So what kind of people are able to get into religion? Those who retreat after just believing for a few days are able to go into religion. Those who are scared away by the great red dragon, the Communist Party, are able to escape into religion. Everyone in the house of God who has believed for several years, they will not return to religion. As soon as they hear pastors or elders give a sermon they will think: “This is so shallow, this is so backward, they are behind 2,000 years!” They will not truly hear what is being said. They will not be satisfied or quenched by what they hear. What issue does this highlight? This proves that what we eat and drink here in the Church of Almighty God truly is all of the truth that will cleanse man and save man! God’s work in the Age of Grace and in the Age of Law has paved the way, but, those words are not able to ultimately cleanse man, save man and transform man’s disposition. Only that which is issued forth by Christ in the last days, only that which is issued forth in the work of judgment will be able to cleanse and rescue man.