Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement”
“If you believe in God, you must obey God, put the truth into practice, and fulfill all your duties. Additionally, you must understand the things you should experience. If you only experience being dealt with, being disciplined, and judgment, if you are only able to enjoy God, but you are unable to feel when God is disciplining you or dealing with you, this is unacceptable. Perhaps in this instance of refinement you are able to stand your ground. This is still not enough; you must march forward. The lesson of loving God is endless, and there is never an end to it. People see believing in God as too simple, but once they gain some practical experience, they realize that belief in God is not as simple as people imagine. When God works to refine man, man suffers, his love of God becomes greater, and more of God’s might is revealed in him. The less man’s refinement, the less his love of God, and the less God’s might is revealed in him. The greater his refinement and pain and the more his torment, the deeper his true love of God will be, the more genuine his faith in God will be, and the deeper his knowledge of God will be. In your experiences you will see that those who suffer great refinement and pain, and much dealing and discipline have a deep love of God, and a more profound and penetrating knowledge of God. Those who have not experienced being dealt with have but a superficial knowledge, and can only say: “God is so good, He bestows grace upon people so that they can enjoy Him.” If people have experienced being dealt with and disciplined, then they are able to speak the true knowledge of God. So the more wondrous God’s work in man is, the more valuable and significant it is. The more impenetrable it is to you and the more incompatible it is with your notions, the more God’s work is able to conquer you, gain you, and make you perfect. The significance of God’s work is so great! If He did not refine man in this way, if He did not work according to this method, then God’s work would be ineffectual and without significance. This is the reason behind the extraordinary significance of His selection of a group of people during the last days. It was said before that God would select and gain this group. The greater the work He carries out within you, the deeper and purer your love. The greater the work of God, the more man is able to get a taste of His wisdom and the deeper is man’s knowledge of Him. During the last days, 6,000 years of God’s plan for management will come to an end. Can it possibly end just like that, so easily? Once He conquers mankind, will His work be over? Can it be so simple? People imagine that it’s so simple, but what God does is not that simple. No matter what part of God’s work it is, all is unfathomable to man. Were you able to fathom it, then God’s work would be without significance or value. The work done by God is unfathomable; it is too much at odds with your notions, and the more irreconcilable it is with your notions, the more it shows that God’s work is meaningful; were it compatible with your notions, then it would be meaningless. Today, you feel that God’s work is too wondrous, and the more wondrous it is, the more you feel that God is unfathomable, and you see how great God’s deeds are. If He only did some superficial, perfunctory work to conquer man and then that was it, then man would be incapable of beholding the significance of God’s work. Although you are receiving a little refinement now, it is of great benefit to the growth of your life—and so such hardship is of the utmost necessity to you. Today, you are receiving a little refinement, but afterward you will truly be able to behold the deeds of God, and ultimately you will say: “God’s deeds are so wondrous!” These will be the words in your heart. Having experienced God’s refinement for a while (the trial of[a] service-doers and the times of chastisement), some people ultimately said: “Believing in God is really difficult!” This “difficult” shows that God’s deeds are unfathomable, that God’s work is possessed of great significance and value, and is highly worthy of being treasured by man. If, after I have done so much work, you had not the slightest knowledge, then could My work still have value? It will make you say: “Service to God is really difficult, the deeds of God are so wondrous, God truly is wise! He’s so lovely!” If, after undergoing a period of experience, you are able to say such words, then this proves that you have gained God’s work in you. One day, when you’re abroad to spread the gospel and someone asks you: “How is your faith in God?” you will be able to say: “God’s actions are so marvelous!” As soon as they see you say this, they’ll feel that there’s something within you and that God’s actions truly are unfathomable. This is truly bearing witness. You will say that God’s work is full of wisdom, and His work in you has truly convinced you and conquered your heart. You will always love Him because He is more than worthy of mankind’s love! If you can speak to these things, you can move people’s hearts. All of this is bearing witness. If you are able to be a resounding witness, to move people to tears, that shows that you truly are one who loves God. That’s because you are able to act as a witness of love for God and God’s actions can be expressed through you. And through your expression, other people can seek out His actions, experience God, and they’ll be able to stand steady in whatever environment they find themselves in. Only bearing witness this way is genuinely bearing witness, and this is exactly what is required of you now. You should say that God’s actions are extremely valuable and worthy of being treasured by people, that God is so precious and so abundant, He can not only speak, but even more He can refine people’s hearts, bring them enjoyment, and He can gain them, conquer them, and perfect them. From your experience you will see that God is very lovable. So how much do you love God now? Can you really say these things from your heart? When you are able to express these words from the depths of your heart you will be able to bear witness. Once your experience has reached this level you will be capable of being a witness for God, and qualified for it. If you don’t reach this level in your experience, then you will still be too far off. It’s normal for people to have weaknesses in refinement, but after refinement you should be able to say: “God is so wise in His work!” If you are truly able to take in practical recognition of this, it is precious, and your experience is valuable.
What are you pursuing now? What you should be pursuing is whether you are capable of expressing the deeds of God, whether you can become an expression and a manifestation of God, and whether you are fit to be used by Him. How much work has God really done in you? How much have you seen, how much have you touched? How much have you experienced, and tasted? Whether God has tested you, dealt with you, or disciplined you—no matter what, His actions and His work have been carried out on you, but as a believer in God, as someone who is willing to pursue being perfected by Him, are you able to express God’s actions through your own practical experience? Can you live out God through this? Are you able to provide for others through your own practical experience, and expend yourself for the sake of God’s work? In order to bear witness for God’s actions you must be able to express what His actions are, and this is done through your experience, knowledge, and the suffering you have endured. Are you someone who bears witness for God’s actions? Do you have this aspiration? If you are able to bear witness to His name, and even more, His actions, as well as live out the image that He requires of His people, then you are a witness for God. How do you actually bear witness for God? Seeking and longing to live out God, expressing God’s actions through your words, allowing people to know and to see His actions—if you truly seek all of this, God will perfect you. If all you seek is to be perfected by God and be blessed in the very end, then the perspective of your faith in God is not pure. You should be pursuing how to see God’s deeds in real life, how to satisfy Him when He reveals His will to you, seeking how to bear witness to His wondrousness and wisdom, and how to demonstrate His discipline and dealing on you. All of these are things you should be trying to figure out now. If your love for God is solely so that you can share in God’s glory after He perfects you, it is still inadequate and cannot meet God’s requirements. You need to be able to bear witness to God’s actions, satisfy His demands, and experience the work He has done on people in a practical way. Whether it is pain, tears, or sadness, you must experience it all in practice. This is all so you can be a witness of God. Under the dominion of what exactly are you now suffering and seeking perfection? Is it to bear witness for God? Is it for blessings of the flesh or for future prospects? All your intentions, motivations, and personal goals to pursue must be put right and cannot be guided by your own will. If one person seeks perfection to receive blessings and to reign in power, while the other pursues perfection to satisfy God, to truly be a witness of God’s deeds, which of the two means of pursuit would you choose? If you chose the first, then you are still too far off God’s standards. I said before to let My actions be openly known across the entire universe and that I would reign as King in the universe. On the other hand, what you have been entrusted with is to go bear witness for God’s deeds, not for you to be kings and appear to the whole universe. Let the entire cosmos be filled with God’s deeds. Let everyone see them and acknowledge them. This is spoken of in relation to God Himself, and what human beings should do is to bear witness to God. How much of God do you know now? How much of God can you bear witness to? What is the purpose of God perfecting man? Once you understand God’s will, how should you show consideration toward His will? If you are willing to be perfected and are willing to bear witness for God’s deeds through what you live out, if you have this driving force, then nothing is too difficult. What people need now is confidence. If you have this driving force, then it is easy to let go of any negativity, passiveness, laziness and notions of the flesh, philosophies of life, rebellious disposition, emotions, and so forth.”
We have just read the article of God’s words “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement.” In this article, what exactly is God trying to communicate? Everyone may have a clear understanding of it. In the last days, God’s work involves judging mankind, chastising mankind, purifying mankind and in the end, perfecting mankind. Is this something that is very simple? Those with experience all say that it is not something that is simple. Those who are judged by God and in the end, are perfected, will go through many processes. Through these processes, these people will experience a lot of suffering. God’s plans are not necessarily congruent with man’s conceptions. However, those who have undergone the suffering involved in God’s trials and refinements have an understanding of God’s work afterward. God uses many different methods to cleanse and perfect man. He does not only express words. Afterward, there are trials and refinements, dealing and pruning, and the service of Satan’s forces. These things let man understand the work of God. God also uses the service of Satan’s evil forces to force man to seek the truth, to seek God’s will. In the end, those who undergo this process will achieve an understanding of God’s wisdom and almightiness. Experiencing God’s work involves all these things. After experiencing so much suffering, you turn around and try and explain just what it means to experience God’s work. Do you still dare to speak letters and doctrines? You will speak no doctrinal words. Now, if someone asks you, “How have you experienced God’s work?” You can say, “To experience God’s work is not a simple matter, it cannot be described in a single sentence. In brief, you must suffer a lot, endure many refinements. Many of the things that God does are incongruent with the conceptions of man!” Firstly, God utilizes the service of the great red dragon to perfect man’s faith, to reveal man, and to eliminate man. Also, God utilizes all sorts of false leaders, antichrists and evil spirits to create discord within the church. This causes God’s chosen people to learn how to differentiate, rely on God, seek the truth and seek God’s will. At the same time, there should be someone to lead them to fellowship about God’s word and experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s word. Additionally, a man must personally practice seeking the truth and follow principles while he is fulfilling his duty. By doing this, he will be able to appropriately fulfill his duties. There are so many different situations to experience and pass through! In this light, is experiencing God’s work as simple as people think it is? When God started to express the truth, He made known to the public how Peter underwent trials and refinements and attained perfection in the end. In seven short years, Peter endured hundreds of trials and refinements before he was able to obtain an understanding of God, produce a heart that truly loves God and bear beautiful and resounding testimony for God. Taking into account Peter’s achievement and our own limited experience of God’s work, is it enough to just understand letters and doctrines and be able to communicate them? To speak them is shameful, and it indicates that you have nothing and do not have any reality.
“If you believe in God, you must obey God, put the truth into practice and fulfill your duties. Additionally, you must understand the things you should experience. If you only experience dealing, discipline and judgment, if you only enjoy God, but you are unable to feel when God is disciplining you or dealing with you, this is unacceptable. Perhaps in this instance of refinement, you stand firmly where you are. This is still not enough, you must march forward. The lesson of loving God is endless, and there is never an end to it.” If “there is never an end to it,” then is there an end to suffering? To experience God’s work one must suffer, it is not a comfortable matter. In the Age of Grace, believers sought the Lord’s grace. They called on the Lord for whatever situation they encountered. They asked the Lord for solutions. If they were sick, they asked the Lord to help them resolve it, to cure them. When they encountered difficulties, they asked the Lord for solutions. In whatever they lacked, they prayed to the Lord for a resolution. Now, is this believing in the Lord? If they believed in the Lord in this manner, even if they believed for generations, they would not be able to obtain truth and life! In the last days, after we experience the work of God incarnate, we all have come to an understanding of what it means to experience God’s work. At this point, we can say we have some reality of it. If someone then asks you, “What does it mean to experience God’s work?” How would you respond? If you say, “To experience God’s work is to experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words along with dealing and pruning,” is this right? It barely scratches the surface. The words seem to make sense, but if they came out of your mouth, what would others say? You’re only talking theory, there is no connection to reality. Instead, if you say, “I have experienced the many different manners of God’s work and they all lead to the perfection of man. There is no way that anyone can describe this in a single sentence. You must endure a lot of suffering. A lot of these manners are not congruent with the conceptions of man. However, if you avoid or reject this, then you would have failed to experience God’s work, or at least it would have stopped,” well, now, you have a little bit of reality. Whatever situation you come upon, it is imperative that you seek the truth, learn to submit and seek God’s will. No matter what, do not rely on your own notion or imagination to believe in God! Whoever relies on their own notions, imagination or ancestors’ traditions will fail. I’ll give you an example. Someone said, “I want to pursue the truth, I want to understand the truth.” Is this a simple matter? What does it mean to pursue the truth? What is the truth? Another person said, “The word of God is the truth, everything that God says is the truth.” Is this answer correct? The words are correct, but if you said this, then you do not grasp the truth. It is only something that you learned to say, it is not your reality. If you say these things, do you really understand the truth? “It is correct to say that God’s word is the truth, but what part of the truth of God’s word do you actually understand? What part of the truth do you understand? Tell me!” If people ask you in this way, you will have nothing to say. That is why you must, under no circumstance, speak letters and doctrines, or echo the viewpoints of other people. If you do this, then you will be disgraced. Isn’t this the case?
Nowadays many people are filled up with letters and doctrines and spiritual theory; if this kind of person were permitted to give a sermon, they would be able to preach for days on end. Would you say that they possess the truth? Some people said “No.” Why not? Because letters and doctrines are not obtained from your experience. When you talk about these things, are they part of what you are? Do you actually live them out? Are you truly familiar with them? If you are not truly familiar with them—or worse yet, if you have not lived them out—then what kind of problem is there if you expound these doctrines? Isn’t this being hypocritical? Isn’t this cheating others? Isn’t this deceiving God? Aren’t these kinds of people providing false testimony? And aren’t people who provide false testimony telling lies? If this is true, then isn’t there a problem with people who expound letters and doctrines? Nowadays there are a lot of people who just stop here, and they believe: “I have professed my faith in God for more than ten years, soon it will be twenty years, I am aware of many aspects of the truth, and I can preach many sermons, so I have obtained it, I have the reality.” Are there a lot of people who believe this to be true? So what is it that these people truly have, is it reality or are they doctrines? It is difficult to say.
At this moment, if you had to provide testimony to a religious figure, and you had to talk about an experience you had with receiving God’s judgment and chastisement, what actual experiences do you have? Could you talk about anything? Some people wouldn’t know what to say. Some people have a little bit of experience, so they might be told, “Write an essay about your testimony!” But no matter how they try they won’t be able to write anything, they could waste a whole afternoon, they could wrack their brains and still come up with nothing. What they write would be all doctrines and empty talk, and after finishing their writing what you read would not be actual experience. Eventually, they would be worked up into a frenzy and they would say, “This is no good, maybe I don’t have any actual experience in this!” When you get serious and try to write a little bit about something real, you find that you are at a loss for words! What is wrong with this? Do these kind of people have the reality of the truth? They do not have it. But some people might say: “That’s not right, I am not without my hardships, I have learned through experience, and I have come to some understanding through my experience!” Then how come you can’t find words for it? You have learned things through experience, that I do not deny, and surely you have suffered your own hardships. When some people are faced with pruning and dealing, they will cry and cry. Are you saying that this is not suffering? When some people experience setbacks and failures there is no resounding testimony, but they will have heavy hearts for many days. Is this not experience? Is this not suffering? It is. No one can deny that, it is a fact! But then how come they come up with nothing as soon as we start to talk about writing or expounding upon an actual experience? This illustrates that people have not obtained the truth, doesn’t it? In this way we have arrived at a conclusion: There are some people who have experienced the lessons of failures and setbacks, and they have been pruned and dealt with. It is a fact that they have suffered some hardships, that cannot be denied, but they still have not arrived at a true understanding of God, and they have not come to a true understanding of the actual facts and essence of their corruption. After they have gone through a real experience, they do not genuinely search for the truth, they do not receive the illumination and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. So, although they have the experience, they have not obtained the truth, doesn’t this conform to the facts? It conforms to the facts. We must speak fairly and objectively. To experience God’s work is to go through hardships. It is not possible to never experience any suffering, but how many people are there that have obtained the truth? How many people are there that have come to a true understanding of God? How come there are so few that have reached this point? What problem does this point out? If people do not search for the truth, any hardships they suffer will be in vain! Is this something you can say? I think it is something you can say. In some people’s minds they think that whoever has suffered more has been ensured to receive more of the truth, and that they certainly have life, is this correct to say? Truth seekers who have experienced more hardships will obtain more things, and people that do not seek the truth, even if they spend their whole life in prison, will not obtain the truth, isn’t this how it is?
To whom are these words of God spoken to? They are spoken to those people that truly believe in God and experience and submit to God’s work, for these people love the truth, because people that truly believe in God love the truth. For people that love the truth, the more they suffer, the more they are refined, and the more they will acquire. That is because they have a deeper understanding of God, and this is the truth. As for people that do not seek the truth, it’s not as though they don’t experience many hardships, so why is it that they don’t acquire anything? How come they do not obtain the truth? According to the word of God, these people have missed the opportunity for God to perfect them. Since they do not seek the truth, they have missed many opportunities for God to make them perfect. If according to someone’s views they wanted to say, “It doesn’t matter if someone seeks the truth, as long as they experience God’s work and are able to get through hardships, they will be guaranteed to attain perfection.” Is this a sound argument? It really is not sound. Then what should we base what we say on? What we say should be based on the results of one’s experiencing God’s work. If someone hasn’t achieved any result at all, and though they have believed in God for many years and suffered through many hardships, yet they have not obtained the truth or come to an understanding of God, and they do not love God and obey the will of God, then what kind of person are they? They are a person who does not seek the truth. So they are lacking in their pursuit of the truth, they have suffered hardships, they have experienced many things, but since they do not seek the truth they have suffered many hardships in vain, in vain! Does this kind of thing happen a lot? It can be compared to when you go through persecution and tribulations. Some people are arrested and cry and cry, shedding tears as they pray; others sit in a prison cell, praying every day, and once they emerge from their prison, you cannot see how great their faith has grown. Some people acknowledge that “God is real. When I was praying in my prison, God performed a miracle, and He gave words to me, really!” But this has no effect on them when they perform their duties. They are disobedient now just as they were before. They do not take their work seriously, just as they didn’t before. For these people it seems like their faith may have increased a little, but do they have love of God? Some people sat in prison cells for many years and suffered many hardships, so now they feel that they have seniority in their faith in God—“I can be a leader!” However, they cannot say anything about the reality of the truth. Apart from their personal experience of sitting in their prison, they cannot tell how they experienced God’s judgment and chastisement, how they came to know their corrupt essence, and what they know about God’s disposition. They cannot talk about these actual things, so how can they help God’s chosen people enter into life? What is the issue here? Some people believe in God for 20, 30 years, and so everyone might say “He’s believed in God for so many years certainly he has experience, we should choose him as our leader!” But the result might be that after they are chosen, they are unable to communicate anything about the reality of truth. What is the issue here? We can see what is happening here very clearly. If someone does not seek out the truth, no matter how many years they hold on to their faith, no matter how many hardships they suffer, it will all be in vain. They will not receive the perfection of God. Isn’t this the truth of the matter?
Nowadays there are a lot of people that go abroad with the aspiration that “I will perform my duty and pursue the truth!” But when they are performing their duties, do they have any faithfulness to God? Do they have any principles when they handle affairs? There are not many that are able to attain that. As soon as they suffer in the flesh, even if the words aren’t in their mouth, there are complaints in their mind. Soon they become inactive, and simply just go through the motions. Should they seek the truth at this time? Should they reflect on themselves? When some people perform their duties they are indifferent to how they perform them, even though they should attach the most importance to the work of God’s family and consider God’s intentions, instead they put the pleasures of the flesh ahead of everything else. They don’t even know where they would rank their duty, and their work brings no results. Is this having faithfulness to God? God entrusted you with important work, but you don’t consider God’s intentions, you just consider your flesh. Is this being someone who pursues the truth? This is not being someone who pursues the truth. And as a result these people will someday receive serious punishments. They betrayed God and did not do practical work, so they have disappointed God! Some people used to be especially arrogant and self-righteous, and they would think to themselves, “The reality of the truth? I have it! Bearing witness? I’ve done it! Understanding God? I do!” But when they have to fulfill their duty by writing an essay about an experience where they bore witness to God, or by talking about their understanding or by serving as leaders and workers, it becomes very clear that they don’t possess even a sliver of the reality of the truth. What kind of person is someone that clearly possesses none of the reality of the truth, who still does not obey anybody, and who is especially arrogant and self-righteous? Isn’t this someone who is hypocritical? This is being hypocritical! People who are adept at using words and doctrines are hypocritical, they cheat God and deceive God’s people. It’s just like those Pharisees of the past who put it upon themselves to explain the Bible to others. They explained in a very clear and logical manner, but ultimately they didn’t allow themselves to enter the truth even a little bit. These kinds of people want to make others worship and submit to themselves, but in the end it will become clear through the revelation of God that they are all hypocritical Pharisees, and they will suffer the curse of God. Within the word of God there is a sentence that goes, “you will suffer more seriously than the Pharisees when rebuked by Jesus, more seriously than the 250 leaders that had resisted Moses, and more seriously than Sodom under the scorching flames of its destruction.” What kind of people is this sentence referring to? It’s referring to those people who are adept at speaking letters and doctrines, and the punishment that these false leaders and antichrists will receive will be worse than those 250 leaders that were destroyed in the Age of Law. So, as for people who nowadays are adept at speaking letters and doctrines to cheat God, this is a very serious problem, it is very strong resistance to God! Why do we say that they are strongly resisting God? If we compare this to the context of the Pharisees, the Pharisees posed as good people, they resisted God, but at that time these people had not experienced God’s work of judgment and chastisement. And God had not expressed the full truth of revealing the corruption of man, and purifying and saving man. Under this context, these people were merely trying to abide by the law of God, so posing as a good man and abiding by the rules was a very common thing. Since God’s work had not yet attained a level where man had a true understanding of God, man could only recognize the existence of God and know God’s actual requirements of man, but he didn’t have true knowledge of the disposition of God and what God has and is. You could say that the knowledge attained by the laws that were issued at that time was very superficial. But nowadays it’s different, God has issued forth all the truths regarding the judgment and cleansing of man. He has disclosed the entire truth about the substance of corruption of mankind. If someone reads these words and does not become aware of themselves and is still able to be arrogant and conceited, then does the judgment and chastisement of God’s word have any real result on this person? Does it have any real result on someone who is adept at speaking letters and doctrines? It does not, because if there was a real result, these people would be unlikely to be so arrogant and conceited, right? Some people say, “But these people also say that ‘Our corruption goes deep, we are Satan the devil.’” Does this count as true understanding? Simply being able to utter these words is of no use. Some people often speak in this way, but as soon as they finish claiming that they themselves are Satan the devil, if another person says, “You have no humanity,” they won’t put up with it, they’ll get angry and respond, “I don’t have any humanity? It’s you that doesn’t have any humanity!” It won’t take long to make someone angry if you straight up tell them that they don’t have any humanity. But before telling someone this, they may admit in their own words that they are Satan the devil, which means that they themselves admit to having no humanity. We can understand this to be so, but as soon as one person starts telling them that they have no humanity, they will get angry and throw a fit. This is sufficient enough to prove that this person was faking it, they were pretending and cheating people when they claimed to be Satan the devil, it was a label they were wearing on the outside, but on the inside they had not conceded to being Satan the devil. From this situation it can be seen that all those people who are adept at speaking letters and doctrines are cheating others and cheating God, so isn’t this kind of person someone who is hypocritical? This is a hypocrite. All those who do not possess any of the reality of the truth, but who still often make others listen to their words and doctrines are all hypocritical Pharisees. These people do not possess any of the reality of the truth. These people often use their words and doctrines on others and talk about spiritual theories and teach lessons, but are their words true words or false words and lies? Is speaking letters and doctrines actually the same as telling lies? They are very serious lies! They are lies that cheat God and confuse man by their very nature, they are in direct resistance to God!
In the past when we have experienced acting as honest people, we have had some principles. First, we can’t tell lies. Second, in our hearts we can’t be cunning or deceitful. We believe that if we act in accordance with these two principles, if we do not tell lies and in our hearts, we are not cunning or deceitful, and we do not trick people, this is being an honest person. But nobody is aware of what are all the details that are contained within the scope of telling lies. In external affairs we know the difference between telling the truth and telling lies, but what about for spiritual affairs? For your entry in life, if the things you have said are not just the things you are and the thoughts you’ve had, these are all words and doctrines. So aren’t these lies? I believe that these are very serious and flat-out lies, and that they deceive God and delude God’s chosen people. Is this something we can say? Yes, it is; to speak letters and doctrines is to tell lies. For the things we have discussed today, some of you may have come to a sudden realization: “That’s right! That’s the way it is. So now how can we fellowship about the truth? I don’t have the words for it, I don’t have the reality, so I shouldn’t say anything, because as soon as any words come out of my mouth I will be telling a lie. So, it’s better to not make any sound, that way I won’t tell a lie, and at least then I’ll be an honest person.” Is this the right way to think about it? “What can I say if I don’t have any reality? I have no reality and am not allowed to speak letters and doctrines, so what can I say? I should keep my mouth shut!” Is this actually the right thing to do? It’s difficult to say, but it is not okay to follow the rules blindly.
Someone says: “I do not possess the reality of the truth, you want me to speak the truth, but what should I say? I have nothing to say.” Should people with nothing to say speak? If someone with nothing to say speaks, isn’t it annoying? Is it nonsense? What do you do if there is nothing to say? Should you force yourself to speak or say nothing? If there’s nothing to say, then don’t say anything—shouldn’t it be that simple! If there is nothing to say, what are you going to drivel on about? If there is nothing to say but you insist on speaking, aren’t you insane? Are you not speaking nonsense? Are people willing to listen? Are you all willing to listen to a mental patient talk? Someone says they are not. Why not? Because these aren’t true words coming from their heart, they are all nonsense, they do not contribute anything to anyone, isn’t that right? What kind of people are those who don’t think? Human vegetables. If you visit those human vegetables lying in the hospital, they’re only able to breathe, some maybe can eat, but they don’t have anything to say, why is that? They don’t have thoughts, and people without thoughts are human vegetables. Now this problem has been solved, people without thoughts are people with nothing to say inside, they shouldn’t speak, because when they do it is nonsense.
Another person asks: “He who does not possess the reality of the truth shouldn’t speak, but if we have some thoughts and understanding may we speak?” If you have thoughts and understanding, you can speak. Why is that okay? Because these are true words! So long as they are true words, they ought to be spoken if they are beneficial to others, but they should not be spoken if they are not beneficial to others. Is this principle okay? It’s just like if in your heart you want to find a partner, then you tell everybody: “I’ve been thinking, I want to find a partner.” Is this something you can say? Someone says no. Why not? Because it is not beneficial to others, it makes no contribution. Then is it okay to lay your heart bare to someone else? Laying your heart bare is okay, but don’t do it at gathering, to do so would be useless, it would bring no contribution. If you talk with someone that you are close to and say: “Lately I’ve been thinking, I want to find a partner, what do you think I should do?” “In that case we should seek out the truth, and try to grasp God’s intention! What is the context, should you look for one?” This is correct, when talking to someone you are close with you can talk about these kinds of things, because this is a problem, and when a problem emerges you have to search for the truth, and if you do not communicate then the problem cannot be solved. People that seek the truth must search for it regardless of what problem falls before them. Only by seeking the truth will you be able to understand God’s intentions and God’s requirements for people, and only in this way will you be able to come to some understanding of God. As soon as you become aware of God’s intention, you will come to some understanding of God. In this thing you become aware of God’s intention and so in this thing you come to some understanding of God; in that thing you become aware of God’s intention and so in that thing you come to some understanding of God. And if through seeking the truth in many things you become aware of many of God’s intentions, you will then come to a more deep and multi-faceted understanding of God. So, many problems must be communicated, and as long as they are true—do not tell a lie—they can be communicated. Some problems can be brought up in large gatherings, and some problems should be talked about in private with those brothers and sisters that understand the truth, not every problem should be talked about in a large gathering. You shouldn’t say something that doesn’t make a contribution to others, this is something you should talk about in private with leaders or someone who understands the truth; it is okay to communicate this with them. If something doesn’t make a contribution to others, even if they are true words, they shouldn’t be spoken; is this not a principle for being an honest person? These are all principles that ought to be observed. If you are fully aware of these principles of the truth but you do not observe them, then you won’t be principled in your actions, and when you aren’t principled sometimes you may act wildly, and this may sometimes bring troubles, which will disturb other people and interrupt the work of God’s family, which falls short of God, right? So what is the principle for speaking the truth? You can say things that contribute to others, and if they are true words you can speak them; but if they do not make a contribution to others then you should search for the truth in private, you can’t speak of them face to face with everybody. This is the principle for speaking the truth.
Then how do you go about speaking the truth during gatherings? Someone asks, “I do not have a true understanding of God, and I also do not have the reality of the truth, so should I not speak?” How do you solve this problem? Should they or should they not speak? If you don’t have the reality of the truth, does that mean you don’t have thoughts and knowledge? When we fellowship about the words of God, should we talk about our own understanding, our own acceptance? It is okay to talk about our own understanding and acceptance, this does not represent someone having the reality of the truth, but these are not lies. How you accepted and understood at that time, this is something you should talk about boldly and without restriction. However, if you have not reached full acceptance, if your acceptance is partial, and your thoughts are naive, then you ought to thoroughly think it over until you come to a pure acceptance and receive some real light. Then the things you talk about can benefit others. If you talk about all kinds of different things that you are feeling without structure or order, nobody can make sense of even the main ideas, will this contribute to others? It won’t. If your knowledge and your acceptance emerges in a structured way, then when people hear you speak they will think, “Your acceptance is straight and pure. In comparison with your acceptance, mine is somewhat partial, I should accept things in the way you do.” You see, if your acceptance is pure, it will shine brightly, it will illuminate other people, and benefit other people, isn’t this so? Now, if you have true thoughts, true insight and true acceptance, should these things be talked about? They should be talked about. Everyone can obtain great benefits while fellowshiping about this kind of things, and come to a pure acceptance and true knowledge. We should communicate with each other, complement each other, help each other and use the strengths of others to make up for our weaknesses, and then everyone’s knowledge will be increased. These are the results that can be achieved through church life. If every time we gather together we communicate in this way, eventually everyone will come to a pure acceptance and understanding of the words of God, isn’t this progress? Isn’t this kind of progress God’s blessing? This is God’s blessing.
Suppose someone says, “Today I feel I’ve been enlightened some. The way the brothers and sisters have communicated with me really has accomplished something for me. I really feel I’ve gained something. I understand a little of the truth, have a bit of light, some genuine understanding. But it’s too little. How great it would be if there truly were a person who understands the truth and could communicate it clearly all at once, so I could understand the truth thoroughly! “Is this a valid statement? It’s not valid. Why is it invalid? In experiencing the work of God, no one achieves a thorough understanding of God’s words and the truth. I do not have such an understanding at all. I am like you, just a step ahead, with only some of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination to guide me. It’s not that I all of a sudden entered into reality and experienced very deeply, no such thing. God’s work is realistic. So I say while we are experiencing the work of God and live our lives in the church, there is no one who can thoroughly communicate the truth, we can just communicate some light at most. That genuine understanding is already something quite good. So don’t always think of this process based on the notions and imaginations that corrupted people have. Even what I’m telling you now about knowledge of the truth is so limited, we can say it’s too shallow. If you don’t believe me, just wait ten years and then look back on what I am communicating to you now. You’ll think, “Oh, looking back on it now, all that communication then was so inadequate, so superficial.” So I say, do not imagine God’s words and the truth in such a simple way, as if someone after believing in God for many years will fellowship about the truth so clearly all at once. Who can genuinely understand truth with perfect clarity? No one can achieve this. Even though I have a lifetime of experience, I wouldn’t dare say my experience of any truth is absolutely complete, that my understanding is perfect, not at all. Even though I’ve had a lifetime of experience I am still just an infant, just someone with a stature that’s none too big. God’s demands on people are not the loftiest, but practical and realistic. If you imagine that what God demands of people is so far above us, then it becomes impossible for people ever to meet these demands. In that case, you have misunderstood God, for God is a practical God. Whatever God demands of people, is as realistic and genuine as it can be. His demands on people are not too lofty; so long as you try with all your might, you can meet these demands. What is the problem if people imagine God’s demands to be too high? What is the mistake they are making? Such people certainly have no understanding of God’s work, no understanding of how practical God’s work is. Beyond that, God is the Lord of creation, God is thoroughly familiar with the corrupted human race, knows all too well what level of achievement humans can attain, and is completely aware how high humans are capable of reaching. So God’s demands on people are quite reasonable and absolutely not so high that they are beyond reach as people imagine them to be.
I’ve said this in the past. I’ve said that we should have some entry into every truth and that is meeting God’s demands. But it’s not okay if you don’t have any; you must gain some entry and have some basic likeness of a real man. To be absolutely holy, to be without imperfections or flaws is just people’s imagination, and God has no such demands of people! Then there are other people who say, “In the Bible, God says, ‘you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.’” They speak based on this sentence in the Bible, what they say is also true. God’s words testify to that. So how do you explain this, what do you think? True, God spoke these words, but is the standard for the holiness in “you shall be holy” the same as the standard for God’s holiness? They could never possibly be the same. If you attained God’s holiness, the same as God, then you would become God! Then just what are God’s demands on people? To make you into a real man, to be able to obey God, no longer resist God or judge God, but be able to have true love for God and a God-fearing heart, that’s all. You may consider those things to be meeting the standard for the demands that God makes on humans, and this is the standard for humans achieving holiness that God spoke of. Fear God and shun evil: that is what is considered holiness. Just as when Job feared God and shunned evil, and God said he was a perfect and upright man. Consider whether he was as perfect and upright as people imagine. He was not. What the conceptual imagination of people demands of humans, people will never attain. But then why did God say that Job was a perfect and upright man? It was precisely to demonstrate that God’s demands on people are realistic, reasonable demands that people can meet. In the Age of Law, a person like Job met God’s demands, and in the Age of Grace Peter met the demands of God. God made these two models to set an example for people experiencing God’s work in the last days, and through these models to give people experiencing God’s work in the last days a true standard. Can one rely on human notions and imagination to understand God’s words? If that is how you understand God’s words, then you are absurd. You understand neither God’s words nor God’s will. If we can achieve some results in God’s word, in all that God demands of people, in all that He demands people to achieve, demands people to do, and demands people to know and understand, we will then meet God’s demands, we can be saved and completely able to survive. Is that a correct understanding?
If we have some practical experience, some genuine understanding of each truth that God has expressed, then no matter what the depth of the understanding is, we have entered a bit into the truth, and that proves that we have some reality of the truth. For example, when some people experience the truth of being honest, the lies they tell are much fewer and only under special circumstances they may still lie just a bit. Would we consider such people to have the experience and the entry? We would consider that having some entry and reality. You see such a person is not the same as before. Before, when he spoke, ninety times out of a hundred he lied, and now at most it’s only one or two times out of a hundred. That’s a good entry! So are there any lies in what you’ve heard me say? Think carefully whether there are. Some say there aren’t, but in fact I can’t say there are absolutely none. There are very few times when I’ve said something that is somewhat doctrinal, and not very practical. Still, I did not lie intentionally. It’s an issue of my stature. Now whether according to God’s words or according to the standard humans imagine, did I achieve true holiness? I don’t think so! If I told the satans and devils some things that were not true, and did not tell them the truth, would you say that is lying? You cannot tell satans and devils the truth about some things. That’s not considered lying. Now what does God think about this aspect of our lying? God’s demands on us are according to our stature. If we do not tell the truth to satans and devils, we are being wise, and God has not said we are lying, nor will God condemn us for it. But in our ordinary lives, we lie many times out of our corruptness. Lies told out of corruptness are numerous, for some people it can be as much as one-tenth or two-tenths, two out of every ten words. And now I’ve discovered a new question: Is it lying to speak letters and doctrines? This is a new discovery. I feel it comes from the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, because this has so much benefit to our entry into life. Accept this if you can, for it benefits your entering into life. If you cannot accept this, no one is forcing you to. Pursuing the truth is something for each person to choose freely. God’s disposition is holy and righteous, and God does not like falsehood. So I say not to speak letters and doctrines, empty words, or imposing pretentious words. God detests that, God will not accept it, and if you speak them often enough it can infuriate God!
So you see that as we experience God’s work, there are times when the Holy Spirit unconsciously enlightens us, makes us discover new light in the course of our experience, and discover new questions. Is this not the work of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit guides us to experience God’s words, and achieve understanding truth and knowing God. The more we experience these, then truly the greater the results, and the more we understand God’s purpose, and know God’s work. Therefore, God accomplishes His own work. This saying is absolutely true. Someone then says, “So now when I see God’s words made known, isn’t it entirely the man used by the Holy Spirit who is leading us? What we see is that this person is working and speaking! So why don’t we go experience God’s work for ourselves directly? If we don’t accept this person’s guidance, wouldn’t we make the same progress if we go experience God’s work, read God’s words, and communicate God’s words for ourselves?” Is that right? No, it’s not right. Why not? After hearing my words someone says, “That’s right! Why should we listen to you? Why should we obey you? We obey God. It is God we believe in, not you. What you just said makes me think.” You see that these people are also in the dark and have no discernment.
Some Korean brothers and sisters have said, “Can we Koreans worship God on our own? We don’t want you Chinese to lead us. We always feel restrained by you, and we are upset. We can set up a church ourselves and guide ourselves!” Is that a good idea? Some say it is not. Why not? In the past there were some antichrists who would say, “It is Almighty God we believe in, it is God’s words we believe in. Why should we listen to the man used by the Holy Spirit? We read God’s words ourselves, and live our own life in the church. We don’t need your management, and we don’t need your guidance. We are able to experience for ourselves.” Those words make sense. “People have freedom of belief, so why should you interfere?” But over ten years later, where are those antichrists? They’re all washed up, finished. Did anyone benefit from their guidance? Did they themselves have the reality of truth? Did they genuinely search for truth? Were they truly able to serve God? While they were without truth they wanted to lead God’s chosen people away from God’s authority, away from the authority of God’s house. Weren’t they attempting to set up an independent realm? If the Koreans want to choose Koreans to be their leaders, they certainly can, but do they have the truth? Do they have the reality of truth? Can they really lead you into the reality of the truth of God’s words? Are they truly able to gain the work of the Holy Spirit? Can they truly bring you before God to gain God’s perfection? Are you able to understand these things clearly? If you do not have a clear understanding of these things, you are all too ignorant! Go ahead to try and see. If you should be independent for half a year, you wouldn’t even have the work of the Holy Spirit, and you would have to live according to letters and doctrines, as bankrupt as religion, deserted by God and abandoned! Do you imagine that it is so simple to experience the work of God?
At present the house of God is constantly nourishing Koreans from both North and South Korea to let these people enter the reality of the truth, and thereafter let the Korean church select people who have the reality of truth as their leaders. What is the significance of this? It means turning you over to leaders with the reality of the truth, something indeed worthy of God! You Koreans at present have not yet thoroughly entered the reality of truth, and none of you is suitable and can truly lead God’s chosen people, and so for the time being it has been for God’s house to lead in unity. Isn’t this God’s love for you? There are some people who don’t see even this point. If you want to choose a Korean to lead you, there are some whose humanity is rather good, and we are just now training them. But can they lead now? Can they bring out the reality of truth in what they say? Do they have that stature? What is happening now doesn’t mean you are under the shepherding and authority of Chinese, but learning to obey God’s work and God’s plan. Not only you, my Korean brothers and sisters, but the entire world, the people of every nation, after they receive Almighty God in the future, must all be under the united leadership of God’s house. Whoever is able to break away from the leadership of God’s house and whoever dares to separate themselves from the leadership of the man used by the Holy Spirit, is setting up an independent realm. Those of you who want to be on your own, are your wings ready to fly? Do you have the reality of truth? See whether you can write a film script, if you have the reality of truth. See whether you can write down something that bears witness. If you really can write bearing witness out of your own experience, if you can write a film script, fine! God’s house will agree that you lead the Korean church. Do you have that stature? Do you dare stand up to say, “I do!”? “If you do, then try! Let’s see where is your reality of truth, tell us. Tell us about how many years of experience you have, by how many words of God you have been judged and chastised, and what pruning and dealing, trials and refining you have experienced.” You’ve had no reality of truth at all! God’s house has nourished you these past few years, so now you have some zeal and some knowledge, so that everyone can be of one mind. This is God’s love and God’s grace. Then some people feel they are ready to go out on their own and are impatient to assume authority to lead a church, become independent, and break away from the leadership of God’s house. Is this the behavior of antichrists? Is this human ambition? You want to break away from the leadership of God’s house. You think the leaders of God’s house are Chinese, and Chinese are not good enough for you? Is your humanity good? Does your humanity represent the reality of truth? Does it represent your knowledge of God? Those human conceptions and imagination that you harbor are not the truth. “Koreans show filial piety and respect to their parents, Koreans hold the elderly in high esteem, and the traditional culture of Koreans is good,” but these are human conceptions and reasoning, not truth, not God’s words. No matter how well you show filial piety and respect to parents, will that get you into the kingdom of heaven? No matter how good the culture of Koreans, is that truth? Does the moral code that children should show filial piety to parents represent that parents have the truth? Does it demonstrate that parents should be elders, or supervisors, or hold authority in the church? Would that be right? Are those of you who are parents leading others to receive God’s work? Do you have genuine testimony? Are you able to set an example for your children?
Some people who have believed in God for years still do not have a real understanding of traditional culture and still harbor these conceptions about traditional culture: filial piety toward parents, respect for parents, and respect for elders. They are the morality of humanity. They were present in China three thousand years ago. Isn’t Confucianism especially devoted to filial piety, the three obediences and the four virtues? Is that truth? That is the fallacy of Satan, the teaching by which Satan has corrupted the human race. It is just because of these falsehoods that humans do not obey God and do not obey the truth. Is this in the Bible? Was the Lord Jesus a man who showed filial piety and respect for His parents? Was Peter a man who showed filial piety and respect for his parents? No. But the Lord Jesus is truth, and Peter was a saint. Peter’s parents opposed his believing in God and following God. They looked forward to his making a distinguished name for himself and bringing honor and glory to his ancestors. Instead he rebelled against his parents to be with Christ, to follow Christ, while he abandoned his family and abandoned his parents. If it were left up to people’s imaginations, it would have been right for God to curse Peter for being an unfilial son. But the fact is that it was Christ whom Peter sought. It was truth. Because Peter followed the Lord Jesus, followed Christ, he was genuinely able to love Christ, and won God’s praise, becoming the historical model for saints. How do you explain that? How did the Lord Jesus treat His parents? Was He filial? From the age of thirty when He went out to preach, He rarely returned home and did not mention His parents. How did He put it? “For whoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matthew 12:50). How do you explain this? You always judge people by people’s notions, people’s heritage, is that right? Does this represent humanity that is good? Can this represent you as being people obedient to God? If your humanity is good you should be able to pursue the truth, so why aren’t you obedient to the truth? If Koreans are allowed to lead Koreans, then they will put these notions in first place and put truth in second, to one side. Isn’t that so?