What Is the Adequate Performance of Duty?

During the last gathering, the main topic of fellowship was the four basic conditions for a person to be perfected through accepting judgment and chastisement. What are these four basic conditions? (The first condition is adequate performance of duty. The second is having a mentality of submission to God. The third is being basically an honest person. And the fourth is having a repentant heart.) There are some details within each of these four conditions, as well as concrete practices and specific references. In fact, these four topics have been discussed for years. If we talk about them again today, would that be considered retreading old ground? (No.) Why would it not be considered that? Because the contents of each of these four conditions involve the reality of the truth and life entry, which are inexhaustible topics. Most people have not yet reached the point of entering the reality of the truth; they only understand the surface meaning of the truth, they only understand some simple doctrines. Although they are able to fellowship some realities, they fall short of entering the truth realities. So, no matter which aspect of the truth is involved, it must be frequently fellowshipped and frequently listened to. In this way, people’s understanding of various truths will deepen through their real experience, and their experiences will become increasingly precise.

We just summarized the four basic conditions for being made perfect through accepting judgment and chastisement. Next, let us begin our discussion from the first condition: adequate performance of duty. Some people say: “The discussions these past two years have all been about performing duty; specifically, how to perform duty, how to perform it well, which principles to abide by while performing it—in my heart, I know these things like the back of my hand, they could not be any clearer. And over the past few years, my daily life has been all about the truths related to performing my duty. Ever since I began performing my duty, I’ve sought, eaten and drunk, and listened to truths related to it, and even now this topic is still being discussed. I’ve understood it in my heart for a long time already; isn’t it really just doing your duty well? Isn’t performing duty adequately just about following those principles mentioned before? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength; seek the principles, do not rely on your own inclinations, and coordinate harmoniously while performing your duty; synchronize performing your duty with life entry—that’s all there is to it.” The things you encounter and experience in your daily lives are just these topics, so that is all you understand. No matter how much you understand, we still need to discuss this truth today. If anything gets repeated, that will be of benefit to you as well, and you can contemplate it again; if it’s something that hasn’t been discussed before, then take it in. Whether it’s repetitive or not, you should listen carefully. Consider what truths are involved here, whether these truths have any benefits for your life entry, and whether they can help you perform duty adequately. So, it is indeed necessary to revisit the topic of adequate performance of duty.

Regarding adequate performance of duty, let us first put aside the meaning of “adequate” and instead talk about what duty is. By the end, you will know what duty is, what is considered adequate, and how duty should be performed; you will have a path of practice for performing duty up to standard. So, what is duty? (Duty is what God entrusts man to do, it is what a created being should do.) This statement is only half-correct. In theory, there is nothing wrong with it, but upon closer examination, this explanation is incomplete; there should be a precondition. Let’s delve into this topic. For every believer and unbeliever, how they live their lives, what they do in this human world, and the destiny of their life—are these not all things that God has preordained? (Yes, they are.) For instance, some people engage in music in this world. Making music is their mission in life; can this mission be considered their duty? (No.) Some people have done extraordinary things in the world, impacting all of humankind, making contributions, and even changing an era; this is their life’s mission. Can this life’s mission be called their duty? (No.) But isn’t this life’s mission and what they have done in their lifetime something entrusted to them by God? Isn’t it something a created being should do? (Yes.) That’s correct. God has given them a mission, entrusted them with this commission, and, within the entirety of humankind, as a part of humankind itself, they have something they should do, a responsibility they should perform. Regardless of the field they are involved in—be it arts, business, politics, economics, scientific research, and so on—these are all predestined by God. There is one point of difference, however; no matter how God has ordained it, these people are outside of God’s management work. They are considered unbelievers, and that which they do is external to God’s management work. So, can their responsibilities, the commission they’ve accepted, and their life’s mission be called duty? (No.) They are not performing duty, because that which they do is unrelated to God’s work of saving humankind. All humans in this world passively accept the Creator’s commission and the mission He has given, but the mission those who do not believe in God accept, and the responsibilities they fulfill, are not duty, because they are unrelated to and have no part in God’s management plan of saving humankind. They do not accept God, and God does not work on them, so no matter what responsibilities they undertake, and no matter what commission they accept or what mission they accomplish in this life, it cannot be said that they are performing their duty. So just what is duty? What kind of prerequisites should be added in order to clearly, accurately, and comprehensively explain this concept and the truth in this regard? Have you understood a concept from our fellowship just now? What concept? That for any individual among humankind, regardless of how great a mission they’ve accepted, or the level of change they’ve effected, or the extent of their contribution to humankind, such mission and commissions cannot be called duties. This is because they are unrelated to God’s management plan of saving humankind; they are merely missions. Whether they act actively or passively, all they’re doing is completing a mission; this is preordained by God. In other words, as long as their actions have nothing to do with God’s management plan, and nothing to do with God’s work of saving humanity, then the fulfillment of such missions cannot be called performing duty. This is certain beyond all doubt. So what is duty? This is how it should be understood: Duty is the commission and mission given by God within the scope of His management work to save humankind. Isn’t putting it this way complete and precise? Only what’s precise is the truth; what’s imprecise and one-sided is not the truth, but mere doctrine. Without fully comprehending and thoroughly recognizing what duty is, you won’t know just what the truths related to duty are. Previously, people may have had many misconceptions in their understanding of duty. That is because they did not understand the truth, which led to all sorts of notions and ambiguities. People then used these notions and ambiguities to explain duty, and subsequently treated it based on these ideas. For example, some people think that since one’s entire life is preordained by God—that what kind of family one is born into, whether one is rich or poor in life, and what career one pursues are all preordained by God—then whatever one does in one’s lifetime and the things they accomplish are all commissions given by God and are one’s mission. Just because it involves a mission, they think it is therefore duty. This is how they haphazardly stumble along in their conception of duty. Isn’t this a misunderstanding? Some people, who get married and have children, say: “Having kids is God’s commission that He entrusted to us, it’s our mission. It is our duty to raise our kids to adulthood.” Isn’t this a wrong understanding? And there are others who say: “We were put on this earth to farm. Since that is our fate, we’d better do a good job of it, because it is our God-given commission and mission. No matter how poor we become or how hard it gets, we can’t complain. Farming well in this lifetime is our duty.” They equate one’s fate with their mission and duty. Is this not a misunderstanding? (It is.) It is indeed a misunderstanding. And there are also some people who do business in the world, who say: “I didn’t succeed in anything before, but after doing business, life has been pretty good and stable. It seems that God has destined me to do business in this lifetime, to support my family through it. So, if in this lifetime I do well in business and expand my operations, providing for every member of my family, then this is my mission, and perhaps this mission is my duty.” Isn’t this a misunderstanding? People consider their everyday affairs, the way they make a living, the lifestyle they attain, and the quality of life they enjoy—all things related to their mission—as their duty. This is incorrect; it is a distorted understanding of what duty is.

So just what is duty then? Most people have some warped and distorted comprehension of this matter. If the house of God arranges for you to go plant grains and vegetables, how do you treat this arrangement? Some people might not be able to understand it, saying: “Farming is for supporting one’s family; it’s not duty. The concept of duty does not include this aspect.” Why do they comprehend things this way? It is because they do not understand the truths related to performing duty, and they do not understand what duty is. If one does understand this aspect of the truth, they will be willing to go and work the land. They will know that in God’s house, farming is not done for the sake of supporting their family, but for the sake of allowing those who perform duty full-time to continue performing it normally. In fact, this is also a God-given commission; the work itself might not be any more significant than a sesame seed, or perhaps even a speck of sand, but regardless of its significance, it is a job produced within the scope of God’s management work. God says now that you are required to complete this job—how do you understand it? You should accept it as your duty, and you should accept it without making any excuses. If you just submit in a passive manner and go do farmwork because that’s what was arranged for you, that won’t do. There is a principle here that you must understand: The church arranging for you to do farmwork and plant vegetables is not so you can become wealthy, nor is it so you can get by and support your family; it’s to meet the needs of work in God’s house during times of disaster. It is to ensure that all those who perform duty in God’s house full-time have their daily sustenance, so they can perform their duties normally without holding up the work of God’s house. So, some of the people farming at a farm church are considered to be performing their duty; this is different in nature from ordinary farmers farming. What is the nature of farming for ordinary farmers? Ordinary farmers farm to provide for their families and survive; this is what God has ordained for them. This is their destiny, so they farm generation after generation; it has nothing whatsoever to do with their duty. Now, you’ve come to God’s house and are also farming, but this is a requirement of the work in God’s house; it’s a form of expenditure for God. This is different in nature from farming on your own land. This is about fulfilling your responsibilities and obligations. This is the duty a person should perform; it is the commission and responsibility entrusted to you by the Creator. This, for you, is your duty. So, when comparing this duty to your worldly mission, which is more important? (My duty.) Why is that the case? Duty is what God requires you to do, it is what He has entrusted to you—this is part of the reason. The other, primary, reason is that when you take up duty in God’s house and accept God’s commission, you become relevant to God’s management work. In God’s house, whenever something is arranged for you to do, be it a hardship or tiring work, and whether you like it or not, it is your duty. If you can consider it a commission and responsibility that God has given you, you are then relevant to His work of saving man. And if what you do and the duty you perform are relevant to God’s work of saving man, and you can earnestly and sincerely accept the commission God has given you, how will He regard you? He will regard you as a member of His family. Is that a blessing or a curse? (A blessing.) It is a great blessing. Some people complain when they face a little hardship while performing duty, blithely unaware of the immense blessings they’ve received. Isn’t it simply foolish to complain about God after having gained so many advantages? At this point, it’s crucial to understand the truth, to recognize that this is your duty and it must be accepted from God. Now, do you have a new understanding or a new insight into what duty is? Have you deeply understood it? Is duty important for receiving salvation? (Yes.) How important is it? It can be said that there is a direct connection between performing duty and receiving salvation. Regardless of what missions you complete in this life, if you did not perform your duty, you have nothing to do with receiving salvation. In other words, no matter how grand the feats you’ve accomplished in this life among other humans, you were simply completing a mission; you haven’t fulfilled the duty of a created being, so you have nothing to do with receiving salvation or God’s work of managing humankind.

In the house of God, there is constant mention of accepting God’s commission and performing one’s duty properly. How does duty come into being? To speak broadly, it comes into being as a result of God’s management work of bringing salvation to humanity; to speak specifically, as God’s management work unfolds among mankind, various work appears that requires people to cooperate and complete it. This has given rise to responsibilities and missions for people to fulfill, and these responsibilities and missions are the duties God bestows upon mankind. In God’s house, the various tasks that require people’s cooperation are the duties they should perform. So, are there differences between duties in terms of better and worse, lofty and lowly, or great and small? Such differences do not exist; as long as something has to do with God’s management work, is a requirement of the work of His house, and is required by spreading God’s gospel, then it is a person’s duty. This is the origin and definition of duty. Without God’s work of management, would people on earth—regardless of how they live—have duties? No. Now you see clearly. What is one’s duty related to? (It is related to God’s management work of the salvation of mankind.) That is right. There is a direct relationship between the duties of mankind, the duties of created beings and God’s management work of the salvation of mankind. It can be said that without God’s salvation of mankind, and without the management work the incarnate God has launched among man, people would not have any duties to speak of. Duties arise out of God’s work; it is what God demands of people. Looking at it from this perspective, duty is important for every person who follows God, is it not? It is very important. Speaking broadly, you are taking part in the work of God’s management plan; more specifically, you are cooperating with the various types of jobs of God that are required at different times and among different groups of people. Regardless of what your duty is, it is a mission God has given you. Sometimes you may be required to look after or safeguard an important object. This might be a comparatively trivial matter that can only be said to be a responsibility of yours, but it is a task God has given you; you accepted it from Him. You accepted it from God’s hands, and this is your duty. Speaking to the root of the matter, your duty is entrusted to you by God. It includes mainly spreading the gospel, bearing testimony, making videos, being a leader or worker in the church, or it might be work that is even more dangerous and more important. Regardless, as long as it has to do with God’s work and the necessity of the work of disseminating the gospel, people should accept it as a duty from God. Duty, to put it in even broader terms, is a person’s mission, a commission entrusted by God; more specifically, it is your responsibility, your obligation. Given that it is your mission, a commission entrusted to you by God, and is your responsibility and obligation, performing your duty has nothing to do with your personal affairs. Duty has nothing to do with personal affairs—why is this topic being brought up? Because people must understand how to treat and how to comprehend their duty. Duty is the commission created beings accept and the mission they must complete within God’s management work. People know the overall premise, but what about the finer details? How should one approach their duties to be considered as having correct understanding? Some people treat their duty as their personal affairs; is this the right principle? (No.) Why is it wrong? Doing things for yourself is not performing your duty. Performing your duty is not about doing things for yourself, but rather doing the work that God entrusted to you—there is a difference between the two. What’s the principle when it comes to doing things for yourself? It is doing whatever you feel like without consulting others, and without praying to or seeking God; it is acting according to your own whims and without regard for consequence as long as it benefits you. Is this principle acceptable for performing your duty in God’s house? (No.) Some people say: “I don’t even take my own affairs as seriously or put in as much effort. I treat my duty as if it’s my own business, and this principle is surely appropriate.” Is this the correct way to receive duty? Definitely not. What should one’s attitude toward duty be then? (Accept it from God.) “Accept it from God.” These four words are easy to say, but how to actually put the truth contained within them into practice depends on how you treat your duty. Just now, we defined what duty is. Duty comes from God, it is a commission entrusted by God, it is related to the work of His management plan and man’s salvation. From this point of view, does duty have anything to do with your personal principles of conduct? Does it have anything to do with your personal preferences, your life habits, or your life routines? Not in the slightest. So what is duty related to then? It is related to the truth. Some people say: “Since this duty is assigned to me, then it is my own affair. And I have the highest principle for performing duty, which none of you have. God demands people fulfill their duty with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. But, in addition to this, I have an even higher principle, which is to treat my duty like it’s my own major concern, and to do it diligently and strive for the best result.” Is this principle correct? (No.) Why is it wrong? If you accept your duty from God and in your heart you are clear He entrusts it to you, how should you treat this commission? This relates to the principles of performing duty. Isn’t it much loftier to treat one’s duty as God’s commission rather than as one’s own business? These are not the same, are they? If you treat your duty as a matter of God’s commission, as performing your duty before God, and as satisfying God through the performance of duty, then your principle for performing duty is not merely to treat it as your own business. What is the attitude you should have toward your duty, that can be called correct and in line with the will of God? First, you cannot analyze who it is arranged by, which level of leadership it is assigned by—you should accept it from God. You cannot analyze this, you should accept it from God. This is a condition. Furthermore, whatever your duty, do not discriminate between high and low. Suppose you say, “Though this task is a commission from God and the work of God’s house, if I do it, people might look down on me. Others get to do work that lets them stand out. I’ve been given this task, which doesn’t let me stand out but makes me exert myself behind the scenes, it’s unfair! I will not do this duty. My duty has to be one that makes me stand out in front of others and allows me to make a name for myself—and even if I don’t make a name for myself or stand out, I still have to benefit from it and feel physically at ease.” Is this an acceptable attitude? Being picky is not accepting things from God; it is making choices according to your own preferences. This is not accepting your duty; it is a refusal of your duty, a manifestation of your rebelliousness against God. Such pickiness is adulterated with your individual preferences and desires. When you give consideration to your own benefit, your reputation, and so on, your attitude toward your duty is not submissive. What attitude should you have toward your duty? First, you must not analyze it, trying to ascertain who it was that assigned it to you; instead, you should accept it from God, as a duty entrusted to you by God, and you should obey the orchestration and arrangements of God, and accept your duty from God. Second, do not discriminate between high and low, and do not concern yourself with its nature, whether it lets you stand out or not, whether it is done in public view or behind the scenes. Do not consider these things. There is also another attitude: submission and active cooperation. If you feel you can perform a certain duty, but you also fear making a mistake and being cast out, and so you are timid, stagnant, and can’t make progress, then is that a submissive attitude? For example, if your brothers and sisters choose you as their leader, then you may feel obligated to perform this duty because you were chosen, but you don’t regard this duty with a proactive attitude. Why are you not proactive? Because you have thoughts about it, and feel that, “Being a leader isn’t a good thing at all. It’s like walking on a knife’s edge or treading on thin ice. If I do a good job then there will be no reward, but if I do a bad job then I will be pruned. And being pruned isn’t even the worst of all. What if I get replaced, or cast out? If that were to happen, isn’t it all over for me?” At that point, you start to feel conflicted. What is this attitude? This is being guarded and misunderstanding. This is not the attitude that people should have toward their duty. It is a demoralized and negative attitude. So, what should a positive attitude be like? (We should be open-hearted and forthright, and have the courage to take up burdens.) It should be one of submission and proactive cooperation. What you say is a bit empty. How can you be open-hearted and forthright when you are so afraid like this? And what does it mean to have the courage to take up burdens? What mentality will give you the courage to take up burdens? If you’re always afraid that something will go wrong and you won’t be able to handle it, and you have many internal hindrances, then you will fundamentally lack the courage to take up burdens. The “being open-hearted and forthright,” “having the courage to take up burdens,” or “never retreating even in the face of death” you speak of, sounds a bit like the slogans shouted by angry young people. Can these slogans solve practical problems? What is needed now is a correct attitude. To possess a correct attitude, you must understand this aspect of the truth. This is the only way to resolve your internal difficulties, and allow you to smoothly accept this commission, this duty. This is the path of practice, and only this is the truth. If you use terms like “being open-hearted and forthright” and “having the courage to take up burdens” to address the fear that you feel, will this be effective? (No.) This indicates that these things are not the truth, nor are they a path of practice. You may say, “I am open-hearted and forthright, I am of indomitable stature, there are no other thoughts or contaminants in my heart, and I have the courage to take up burdens.” Outwardly you take up your duty, but later, after pondering it for a while, you still feel that you cannot take it up. You may still feel afraid. In addition, you may see others being pruned, and become even more afraid, like a whipped dog terrified of the strap. You will increasingly feel like your stature is too small, and that this duty is like a vast, uncrossable abyss, and ultimately you will still be unable to take up this burden. This is why chanting slogans cannot solve practical problems. So how can you actually solve this problem? You should actively seek the truth and adopt a submissive and cooperative attitude. That can completely solve the problem. Timidity, fear, and worry are useless. Is there any relationship between whether you will be revealed and cast out and being a leader? If you are not a leader, will your corrupt disposition disappear? Sooner or later, you must resolve the problem of your corrupt disposition. In addition, if you are not a leader, then you will not have more opportunities to practice and will make slow progress in life, with few chances to be perfected. Although there is a bit more suffering in being a leader or worker, it also brings about many gains, and if you can walk the path of pursuing the truth, you can be perfected. What a great blessing that is! So you should submit and actively cooperate. This is your duty and your responsibility. No matter the road ahead, you should have a heart of submission. This is the attitude with which you should perform your duty.

The topic of performing one’s duty is not unfamiliar to anyone; it is not a new subject. However, for those who believe in God, this topic is very important; it is a truth that must be understood and entered into. Created beings must perform their duty well before being approved by the Creator. Therefore, it is very important that people understand what it means to perform duty. Performing duty is not a kind of theory, nor is it a slogan; it is an aspect of the truth. So what does it mean to perform duty? And what problems can be solved by understanding this aspect of the truth? At the very least, it can resolve the matter of how you should accept and treat God’s commission, and what sort of attitude and resolution you should have when completing the commission God entrusted to you. You can also say that it will resolve some abnormal relationships between people and God at the same time. Some people see performing their duties as capital, some see performing their duties as their own personal tasks, and some see performing their duties as their own work and enterprises, or see a duty as a sort of pastime, entertainment, or hobby to kill the time. In short, no matter what sort of attitude you have toward your duty, if you do not accept it from God, and if you do not treat it as a task that a created being within God’s management work should do or with which they should cooperate, then what you are doing is not performing your duty. Is it right for you to treat your duty as your family business? Is it right for you to treat it as part of your own job or hobby? Is it right to treat it as a personal matter? None of these are right. Why is it necessary to mention these topics? What problem will be solved by fellowshipping on these topics? It will solve the problem of people having incorrect attitudes toward their duty, and the myriad ways they perform their duty perfunctorily. Only by understanding the aspect of truth which pertains to performing one’s duty will people’s attitude toward their duty change. Their attitude will gradually become compatible with the truth, and meet God’s demands and His will. If people do not understand the aspect of truth which pertains to performing one’s duty, problems will come up in their attitude toward their duty and the principles behind their duty, and they will be unable to achieve the result of performing duty. Duties are tasks entrusted to people by God; they are missions for people to complete. However, a duty is certainly not your personal management, nor is it a stepping stone for you to stand out from the crowd. Some people use their duties as opportunities to engage in their own management and form cliques; some to satisfy their desires; some to fill the voids they feel inside; and some to satisfy their trust-to-luck mentality, thinking that as long as they perform their duties, they will have a share in God’s house and in the wonderful destination God arranges for man. Such attitudes about duty are incorrect; they are loathed by God and must be urgently resolved.

Regarding what duty is, how people should treat their duty, and the attitudes and views they should have toward duty, these matters have been largely fellowshipped already. You all should carefully ponder these; understanding the truths in these aspects is most crucial and urgent. What is the truth that you most need to understand right now? In one respect, you need to understand the truths related to the visions in this aspect; in another, you need to understand where you have misunderstandings and distorted comprehension of these truths in practice and in real life. When you encounter issues involving the truths of performing duty, if these words and truths can resolve your inner state, this proves that you have truly and thoroughly understood the content that has been fellowshipped; if they can’t resolve the difficulties you face daily in matters of performing your duty, it shows that you have not entered into these truths. After listening to these truths, have you summarized and reflected on them? Is it that each time you take notes you understand at the moment, but as time passes you forget, as if you have never heard them? (Yes.) This is because you yourselves lack even the slightest bit of entry; what you practice fundamentally has nothing to do with these truths and is completely unrelated to the truth. In fact, these truths about performing duty are the most basic truths that one should understand and enter into in the process of believing in God. If after hearing the words of truth you are still confused and muddled, then your caliber is simply too poor, and you lack all stature. You can only read God’s words, only pray and attend gatherings; you do whatever you are asked to, just like one engaged in religious belief. This means you have no life entry and no stature whatsoever. What does having no stature mean? It means that in the process of believing in God and performing your duty, as soon as someone misleads you, you follow them and stop believing in God; if you do something wrong and someone prunes you a little bit, speaking to you in a somewhat stern manner, you might give up your belief; if you encounter setbacks or various difficulties in your life, you might complain about God, and seeing that He is not granting you grace or resolving your difficulties, you could turn away and leave God’s house, ceasing to believe. If you have entered into some aspects of the truth of performing duty—this most fundamental of truths—it proves that you are already connected with the truth; you are already connected with the truth reality, and have made some entry. If you have nothing of this truth reality, not even a bit, it proves that the truth has not yet taken root in your heart.

I just fellowshipped about what duty is, as well as the origins and generation of duty, to let people understand what exactly duty is. What benefits are there in knowing this? Once people understand the truth about what duty is, they’ll know the importance of duty. At the very least, deep down inside, they will feel that they should have a correct attitude toward duty and that they cannot act arbitrarily. At least this concept will be there in their minds. Though duty is what you should perform, and is the commission and mission given to you by God, it is not your personal affair, nor is it your own work. This may sound contradictory, but it is indeed the truth. Whatever is the truth has its practical side, related to people’s practice and entry, as well as God’s requirements. It is not empty. This is how the truth is; only through experiencing and entering into the reality of this truth can you increasingly understand this aspect of the truth. If you always question the truth, keep raising doubts, and keep scrutinizing and analyzing, then the truth will never be truth to you. It will be unrelated to your real life and won’t be able to change anything about you. If one accepts the truth from the depths of their heart and takes it as a guide for living and acting, as a guide for conducting themselves and believing in God, then the truth will change their life. It will change their life’s goals, their life’s direction, and the way they interact with the world. This is the effect of the truth. Understanding what duty is will certainly be of great benefit and help to people in performing their duty. At the very least, one will know that duty is very important for everyone who believes in God, and that it holds even greater importance for those who are interested in or have specific requirements or aspirations for being saved and perfected. This is the most fundamental truth that anyone should understand to be saved, and it is also the most fundamental truth into which one should enter. If you do not understand what duty is, then you won’t know how to fulfill your duty properly, nor will you know the right attitude with which to receive and regard your duty. This is dangerous—on the one hand, you won’t possibly be able to fulfill your duty well, and you will act arbitrarily and perfunctorily; on the other hand, you might do things that disrupt and disturb the work of the church, or even commit evil deeds that violate God’s administrative decrees. To put it somewhat conservatively, you might be isolated for reflection, and in severe cases, you could be cast out. Therefore, understanding what duty is, although a very basic aspect of the truth, is related to one’s salvation; it’s not irrelevant—this is very important. After understanding what duty is, it’s not just about being familiar with a doctrine; the intended result is to allow people to comprehend God’s intentions and to treat their duty with the correct attitude. In performing any duty, no result can be achieved by simply exerting effort; always thinking that duty can be properly fulfilled just by exerting effort shows a lack of spiritual understanding. In fact, performing duty involves many details, including having the right mindset, principles of practice and genuine submission, as well as possessing spiritual wisdom. Only when someone has these aspects of the truth can they fulfill their duties well and fully resolve the problem of performing duty in a perfunctory manner. Those who do not have the right attitude toward their duties are people lacking in the truth reality; they are people who lack a God-fearing heart, and are devoid of conscience and reason. Thus, to follow God, one must understand the significance of performing duty; this is crucial for following God.

After understanding what duty is and its origins, you will differentiate between the nature of duty and the nature of work in society. What is the distinguishing point between treating the work entrusted to you by God’s house as a duty and treating it as worldly work? If you treat it as a duty, then you need to seek God’s will and the truth. You will say, “This is my duty, so how should I go about it? What does God require? What are the church’s regulations? I need to be clear about the principles behind it.” Only practicing this way is the correct attitude toward treating your duty; only this is the attitude people should have toward their duty. But what kind of attitude should people have when dealing with worldly work or matters in their personal lives? Is there any need to seek the truth or principles then? You might also seek principles, but those would only be about making more money, living a good life, accumulating wealth, achieving success, and obtaining both fame and gain—only principles such as these. These principles are entirely worldly, belonging to current trends; they are the principles of Satan and this wicked humankind. What are the principles of performing duty? They must definitely meet God’s requirements; they are intimately related to, and inseparable from, the truth and God’s requirements. In contrast, the professions or jobs that people engage in in the world have nothing to do with the truth or God’s requirements. As long as you are capable, willing to endure hardship, and diligent, evil, and audacious enough, you can stand out in society and may even build a major career. However, these principles and philosophies are not needed in God’s house. In God’s house, no matter what kind of duty you perform, no matter the nature of that duty, whether it is seen as high or low, noble or humble, whether it’s high-profile or low-key, whether it’s entrusted to you by God or assigned to you by a church leader—no matter what work the house of God assigns to you, the principles you adhere to in doing your work should not exceed the principles of the truth. They should be connected with the truth, connected with God’s requirements, and connected with the regulations and work arrangements of God’s house. In short, duty and the work one engages in the world should be distinguished from each other.

Why are we fellowshipping about the difference between performing duty and engaging in worldly work? Is this important? (Yes.) Where does the importance lie? It relates to the attitude people have toward performing their duty. Do not bring the attitudes and principles you have in your worldly work into the realm of performing duty. What are the consequences if you do so? (Acting according to one’s own wishes.) Acting according to one’s own wishes is a common issue; it means not wanting to confer with others when carrying out tasks, wanting to have the final say, and doing whatever one wants, feeling that acting this way brings comfort and contentment free of any sense of oppression or unhappiness. Additionally, it often leads to intrigue, jealousy, disputes, and the forming of cliques, as well as seeking rewards and recognition, showing off, acting perfunctorily, irresponsibility, deceiving those above and below oneself, and setting up one’s own kingdom. In short, performing duty is different from engaging in worldly work; performing duty is a requirement from God and an arrangement by God—this is the greatest difference between performing duty and engaging in worldly work. Performing duty must be done according to God’s requirements and based on the truth principles. It is not one’s personal management, nor their personal business, and it is certainly not anyone’s private affair. It has no relation to personal interests, pride, status, influence, or future prospects; it only relates to people’s life entry and dispositional change, and it relates to God’s management work. In contrast, when you are engaged in worldly work, you are entirely focused on personal management. Whether you are performing a job or operating a business, no matter how great of a cost you pay, no matter how much you can cast away or how much suffering you endure—be these emotional or physical aspects—or whether you’re bullied and humiliated or misunderstood, or even face tremendous public pressure, all that you do revolves around your personal will, aspirations, ambitions, and desires. It is of this nature alone. This nature is just engaging in personal management and running a personal enterprise. Among humankind, there is not a single person who steps forward to say, “I am doing a public service for the sake of humankind; I want to act according to the divine tenets and principles given by Heaven.” There is no such person. Even if someone does step forward to say, “I want to carry out the most altruistic and greatest endeavor for humankind, to create welfare and do good deeds for people,” their goal is not so pure; they are doing it for the sake of fame. Is this not engaging in personal management? It’s all for the sake of personal management. No matter how good their words sound, no matter how much suffering they’ve endured, how great the cost they’ve paid, how big a contribution they’ve made, or whether they’ve changed humankind, transformed an era, or inaugurated a new epoch, whatever they do, their purpose is not for others but for themselves. Corrupt human beings all do things in this way. Whether someone does something big or small, their intent is either for fame or for profit. What is the nature of their actions? It’s engaging in personal management. Does personal management have anything to do with God’s management? It has absolutely no relation. Some people say, “That’s not true. Some people come into this world and change an era; isn’t that also preordained by God? Doesn’t that also have to do with His management?” Are these things related? (No.) Why do you say there’s no connection? (Because it has nothing to do with God’s management work of saving humankind.) Well said; if it has nothing to do with God’s work of saving humankind, then it’s unrelated to God’s management. However, this statement is only half-true; there’s another precondition here, an issue of essence. If it’s unrelated to God’s management plan, then it is all just human management. That’s one aspect, but let Me add something for you: The nature of what they’re doing is for personal fame and benefit; the ultimate beneficiary is themselves. The nature, principles, and ultimate outcome of all they do are for the sake of whom? (Themselves.) It’s for themselves—and, in a more covert sense, for whom? (Satan.) Correct, it’s for Satan. What is the nature of doing things for Satan? (Being an enemy of God.) And what is the underlying essence behind being an enemy of God? Why do we say this is being an enemy of God? (The starting point, origin, and principles of their actions all go against God’s words.) This is one aspect, and it is a fundamental issue. The starting point, origin, and principles of what they’re doing are all of Satan and are wicked, so what is the ultimate result? Who are they bearing witness to? (Satan.) Correct, they’re bearing witness to Satan. Throughout human history, has there been any historian or writer who has attributed the accomplishments of what humans have done in each era to the Creator? (No.) They will only say that these are the legacies or great achievements left behind from humankind’s grand undertakings. Whom do these great people and famous figures who leave these things behind represent in the eyes of humankind? Any famous figure or great person, or those who have made significant contributions to humankind, are all worshiped by corrupt humans. The place they occupy in people’s hearts is the place that people consider as the position of God. Isn’t this the essence of the issue? (Yes.) We just discussed that the origins, motives, starting points, and principles behind people’s actions are all rooted in satanic logic and are not in line with the truth. People accomplish something through human means or through their gifts and become famous among others, and the ultimate consequence is that humankind attributes all of this to Satan; just the same way as many people now worship famous figures and great people from history like Confucius and Guan Yu. No matter how great the deeds these people have done, fundamentally speaking, it is actually God who arranged for these various characters to come into this world and perform specific deeds in different eras. However, in all recorded human history, whether ancient or modern, there is not a single instance that bears witness to the Creator’s deeds. Only the Bible records some elements of the two stages of God’s work in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace, but even the words of God recorded there are quite limited. In actuality, God has spoken many words and performed numerous deeds, but what has been recorded by humans is extremely limited. In contrast, there are countless books that record, witness, or praise famous and great people. Doesn’t this clarify the essence of the issue we just discussed? We just mentioned that the famous and great people throughout history have acted for themselves; acting, in essence, for Satan. This shows that they were not performing their duties, but were rather conducting their own management or engaging in their own enterprises. What is the nature, the essence, of any work that people undertake in the world? (Engaging in personal management.) Why is it considered engaging in personal management? What is the root cause? Because it is Satan they bear witness to; their principles and motivations for acting all come from Satan, and have nothing to do with the truth or God’s requirements. But what is the nature of duty? It refers to work carried out according to God’s requirements, meaning that the work must be grounded in the truth, conducted according to the truth principles, and done in line with God’s demands. The result is that people can bear witness to God, and possess submission toward God and have knowledge of Him; they have a deeper understanding of and more genuine submission to the Creator, and even more so they can do what created beings should do. This is the biggest difference between the two. When people take up their duties according to God’s requirements, their relationship with God becomes increasingly normal. And can any work that people engage in in the world achieve this effect? Definitely not, the result is precisely the opposite. The more years one spends doing worldly work, the more they rebel against God and the farther they drift away from Him. The better one’s personal management goes, the farther away they get from God; the more successful one’s personal management becomes, the farther they stray from God’s requirements. Therefore, performing duty and engaging in worldly work have two entirely different natures.

Just now, the difference between a person’s duty and a person engaging in worldly work was discussed. What aspect of the truth is this discussion meant to help people understand? No matter what duty you receive, you should perform it as God asks. For example, when you are selected as leader of a church, your duty is to perform the work of a church leader. And what should you do once you have taken this work as your duty? Firstly, know that only the accomplishment of your work as a leader is the performance of your duty. You are not serving as some official in the outside world; if you become a leader and then think of yourself as an official, you’ve gone astray. But if you say, “Now that I have become a church leader, I must not be condescending, I must put myself below everyone else, I must make them higher and more important than me,” then this mentality is wrong, too; putting on any pretense is useless if you don’t understand the truth. Nothing but a correct understanding of your duty will do. First off, you must appreciate the importance of the work of a church leader: A church could have several dozens of members, and you must think how to lead these people before God, how to allow most of them to understand the truth and enter the truth reality. You must also spend more time watering and supporting those who are negative and weak, to stop them from being negative and weak and enable them to perform their duty. You must also guide all who are capable of performing their duty in understanding the truth and entering the reality, acting according to principles, and performing their duty properly and thus to greater effect. There are certain people who have believed in God for several years but are of quite evil humanity, who always disrupt and disturb the work of the church—these people should be pruned as required; those who stubbornly refuse to repent should be cleared out. They should be handled according to principle and arranged properly. There is also the most important thing of all: Some in the church possess relatively good humanity and a bit of caliber, and are capable of undertaking a certain aspect of work; all such people must be nurtured without delay, sooner rather than later; it will take training for them to become competent, and they won’t be able to do anything well if they never receive any training. Are these not the jobs that a leader or worker urgently needs to perform well? If you have become a leader and do not keep these matters in mind, and do not perform work in this way, can you fulfill your duty well? (No.) As a leader, it is essential to sort out each and every aspect of the church’s work: First, the most important matter is to cultivate talented people. Elevate those who are of good humanity and who possess caliber, and cultivate and train them. Second, lead the brothers and sisters to enter into the truth reality, and enable them to engage in self-reflection, know themselves, discern heresies and fallacies, discern people, and fulfill their duties well—this is a part of life entry. Third, enable the majority of those who can perform their duties to actually do so (excluding those of inferior humanity), and ensure that they achieve results in performing their duties rather than just acting perfunctorily. Fourth, promptly handle those who disrupt and disturb the work of the church. If they reject the truth upon fellowship, they must be pruned. And if they remain unrepentant all the while, they should be isolated for reflection, and even cleared out or expelled. Fifth, enable God’s chosen people to discern nonbelievers, false leaders, and antichrists, ensuring they are not misled and can enter onto the correct path of believing in God as soon as possible. All five of the above points are important and are the inherent tasks of leadership. Fulfilling these five aspects of work is what makes someone a qualified church leader. Additionally, special circumstances must also be handled properly. For example, some people’s negativity and weakness may be temporary, and you should treat them appropriately. You cannot make sweeping judgments; if someone is temporarily negative and you label them as a “negative Nancy” or “chronically negative” and say that God no longer wants them, then that is not appropriate. Moreover, everyone should fulfill their individual roles and contribute according to their abilities. Arrangements for performing duty should be made appropriately based on individuals’ gifts, talents, caliber, age, and the length of time they have believed in God. This approach must be tailored to fit different kinds of people, allowing them to perform their duties in God’s house and maximize their function. If you keep these considerations in mind, then you will develop a burden, and you’ll always have to be focused on observing. Observing what? Not who looks good so you can interact more with them; not who you think is ugly so you can exclude them; not who seems to have capability and status so you can ingratiate yourself with them; and certainly not who doesn’t bow down to you so you can try to punish them. Not any of these things. So what should you observe? You should discern people based on God’s words, on His attitudes and requirements toward various types of people, and treat them based on principles; this aligns with the truth. First, categorize all kinds of people in the church: those with good caliber and an ability to accept the truth as one category, those with poor caliber and an inability to accept the truth as another, those who can perform their duties as another, and those who cannot as yet another. Finally, those nonbelievers who always complain, spread notions, fall into negativity, and cause disturbances should also be placed in the same category. Once you have categorized everyone, and have thoroughly perceived the true state of each group according to God’s words, seeing clearly who can be saved and who cannot, then you will be able to see through all sorts of people; you will understand God’s intentions, and know whom God wants to save and whom He wants to cast out. Does all this not arise because of your burden? Is this not the correct attitude to have toward duty? If you possess this correct attitude and a burden arises in you, then you can do your work well. If you do not treat your duties this way and instead view performing your duties as if you’re in an official position, always thinking, “Being a leader is like holding office; this is a blessing from God! Now that I have status, people have to listen to me, and that’s a good thing!”—if you think being a leader is the same as being an official, then you’re in trouble. You will definitely lead in the manner of an official and based on how officials operate; can you perform the church’s work properly then? With such a view, you will undoubtedly be revealed and cast out. You’d always be picturing yourself as an official, where you’d be surrounded by people wherever you went, and people would comply with whatever you said. Also, you’d get first dibs on any benefits in the church. Whatever work the church had, you’d only need to give orders and not have to do anything yourself. What kind of mindset is this? Is this not indulging in the benefits of status? Is this not a corrupt disposition? All of those who do not pursue the truth perform their duties based on a satanic disposition. Many leaders and workers have been revealed and cast out because they always performed their duties based on a satanic disposition, without accepting even a hint of the truth. Presently, some leaders still behave this way. After becoming a leader, they feel somewhat elated inside, and a bit self-satisfied. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but in any case, they think they’ve done quite well. However, they then ponder, “I can’t be cocky. Cockiness is a sign of arrogance, and arrogance is a precursor to failure. I should be low-key.” On the surface, they act low-key and tell everyone that this is an elevation and commission from God, that they have no choice but to do it. Inside, however, they secretly rejoice: “Finally, I’ve been chosen. Who says my caliber isn’t good? If my caliber were poor, how could I have been chosen? Why wasn’t someone else chosen? It looks like I do have advantages over others.” When this duty comes upon them, these are the things they first think about in their hearts. They do not ponder, “Now that this duty has come upon me, how should I perform it? Who has done good work in the past that I should learn from? What are God’s requirements for performing this duty? Are there any such requirements in the work arrangements of the church? I never used to worry about these aspects of the church’s work, but now that I’ve been chosen to be a leader, what should I do?” Actually, as long as you have the resolution and can seek the truth, there is a path. If you treat the work as your duty, it will be easy to do it well. Some people become leaders and say, “These people are now entrusted to me? How they gather and what work is arranged for them will be up to me? Oh my, I feel a heavy weight on my heart right now.” What do these words imply? It’s as if they can accomplish great things; it’s all empty talk and doctrines. Isn’t this kind of person a bit hypocritical? Have any of you ever said such things? (Yes.) Then you all are quite hypocritical too. However, such behavior is normal for people. Even those who become minor officials have to show off a bit. They suddenly feel their personal value has risen and, as soon as they get a taste of some status and fame and gain, their hearts are overturned like a surging sea, and they become like a different person. Their corrupt dispositions and extravagant desires all emerge. Everyone has these negative, passive behaviors. This is a commonality among corrupt humankind. Whoever is a corrupt human being has it. Some people, after becoming leaders, aren’t sure how they should walk anymore; some aren’t sure how they should talk to people. Of course, it is not because of timidity that they’re not sure how they should talk, but rather uncertainty about how a leader should conduct themselves. Others, after becoming leaders, are unsure what to eat or wear. There are all kinds of behaviors. Do any of you exhibit these behaviors? To varying degrees, you all certainly do. So how long will it take to move past these states and behaviors? One or two years, three or five years, or ten years? That depends on one’s resolve and the degree to which they pursue the truth.

In the process of pursuing the truth, some people’s understanding of the truth is directly proportional to their entry; the two are equivalent. They can enter into as much truth as they are able to understand; the depth of their understanding of the truth is also the depth of their entry, as well as the depth of their comprehension, feelings, and experiences. However, some people understand a lot of doctrines, but their practice and entry amount to zero. Therefore, no matter how many sermons they have listened to, they are never able to solve their inner difficulties. When faced with a small matter, their ugly side immediately comes out, and they cannot control it no matter how they try; no matter how they disguise it, their corruption is still revealed. They remain unable to accept the truth or seek the truth for solutions. They even learn to put on a facade, to deceive, and to pretend to be good. All along, their corrupt dispositions are not cast off and do not change; this is the outcome of not pursuing the truth. So, when all is said and done, it all comes back to that same phrase: Pursuing the truth is very important. The same applies to performing one’s duties. No matter what duty you receive, no matter what duty has come upon you, whether it is a duty that entails great responsibility or a simpler one, or even if it’s not very prominent, if you are able to seek the truth and treat the duty according to the truth principles, then you will be able to fulfill your duty well. Moreover, in the process of performing your duties, you will experience varying degrees of growth in both your life entry and dispositional change. However, if you do not pursue the truth and merely treat your duty as your own management, your own task, or treat it as your own preference or personal work, then you’ve got trouble. Treating your duty as your own business and treating it according to the truth principles are different. When you treat your duty as your own management, what are you pursuing? You are pursuing fame, gain, and status, expecting others to meet your demands. What will be the end result of performing your duty in this manner? In one respect, performing your duty in this manner will not meet the standard; it amounts to futile effort. Even if you have exerted great effort on the surface, you haven’t sought the truth, so the fruits of your duty will be poor, and God will not be pleased. In another respect, you will often commit transgressions, often disrupt and disturb, and often make mistakes that result in adverse consequences. Now many people fall far short in performing their duties. They act willfully and arbitrarily, achieving basically no results, and sometimes even causing losses to the work of the church. Performing your duty in such a way is truly disrupting and disturbing the work of the church; it’s the behavior of a downright evil person. Those who consistently take a perfunctory approach to performing their duties must be exposed, so they can reflect upon themselves. If they can truly reflect, recognize their mistakes, and hate themselves, they can stay and continue performing their duties. But if they never admit to their mistakes and still defend and justify themselves, claiming that there is no love in God’s house and that they are being treated unfairly, then this is a sign of being stubbornly unrepentant, and they should be cleared out from the church. What is the root cause of these people’s disruptions and disturbances? Is it because they intentionally planned to disrupt and disturb? No, the main reason is that they have no love for the truth at all, and their humanity is very bad. Some of these individuals have some caliber and can understand the truth, but they do not accept the truth in the slightest, let alone practice it. Their humanity is extremely vile. Regardless of what duty they perform, they are always causing disruptions and disturbances, wrecking the work of the church, and bringing about many evil outcomes with a terrible influence. There is no doubt that these people are nonbelievers, and that they are all evil people. This is primarily why they are cast out. Now, most people can discern nonbelievers. When they see the various behaviors of these individuals, they feel angry. How could these people be considered believers in God? They are Satan’s lackeys, sent to disrupt and disturb the work of the church. Some are purely freeloaders, belonging to those who love ease and hate work; they don’t want to do any work but still want to eat well every day. Aren’t they parasites? They are even inferior to guard dogs. These people have thus been cast out. People who genuinely believe in God are all people who are willing and eager to perform their duty. Although most people don’t know what duty actually means, at the very least they know in their hearts that people should perform their duty, and they are willing to do so. But does being willing to perform one’s duties mean that one is therefore practicing the truth? Does this internal willingness mean that one has fulfilled their duties well? Absolutely not. One must put the truth into practice and meet the standard of acting according to principles to be considered as having fulfilled their duties well. Before you’ve put the truth into practice, no matter how much faith you claim to have, or how eager and willing you say you are—able to risk your life, not hesitating to go through fire and water—these are all just slogans that serve no purpose. You must, based on this willingness, also act according to the truth principles. You say, “I don’t particularly love the truth, nor do I pursue it, and I haven’t changed much in disposition while performing my duties. But there is one thing I’ve held onto: I do whatever I’m told to do. I don’t cause disruptions or disturbances; I may not be able to achieve submission, but I do listen.” Wouldn’t someone who can do this get to remain in the church and perform their duties normally? But those evil people and nonbelievers who were cleared out couldn’t even meet this lowest requirement, and they even created disturbances. Such nonbelievers or evil people should not be allowed to remain in the church to perform their duties. God’s chosen people must discern nonbelievers and evil people; otherwise, they will be easily misled by them. Any person with conscience and reason should adopt an attitude of rejection toward nonbelievers and evil people.

Performing one’s duties is the most crucial aspect of believing in God. First, one must understand what duty is, and then gradually gain genuine experience and understanding of it. What is the minimum attitude a person should have toward their duty? If you say, “The house of God gave this duty to me, so it belongs to me. I can do as I please, because this is my business and no one can interfere,” is this an acceptable attitude? Absolutely not. If this is your attitude while performing your duty, you are in trouble, because your attitude is not in line with the truth principles. Your attitude is one of doing whatever you want rather than seeking the truth, let alone having a God-fearing heart. If a person is too willful, they will be somewhat neglectful of their proper work while performing their duty. What attitude should a person have when performing their duty? They must have a desire to submit to God and satisfy Him. If they do not complete the commission God has entrusted to them, they feel they have let God down; and if they have not performed their duty properly, they feel they are not worthy of being called human. Having this sort of attitude while performing your duty makes you loyal. To perform your duty well, you first must know what God demands, seek truth, and seek the principles. Once you have ascertained that the commission God has given you is your duty, you should seek by thinking, “How can I perform my duty well? Which truth principles should I practice? What does God demand of people? What work should I do? How should I act so that I carry out my responsibilities and am loyal?” Who are you being loyal to? To God. You must be loyal to God and perform your responsibilities for people. You should perform your duty according to God’s words and the truth principles, and hold fast to your duty. What does it mean to hold fast to your duty? For example, if a duty has been given to you for a year or two, but, so far, no one has checked up on you, what should you do? If no one checks up on you, does that mean the duty is gone? No. Pay no mind to whether anyone checks up on you or inspects what you are doing; this task was entrusted to you, so it is your responsibility. You should consider how this job should be done and how it can be done well, and that is how you should do it. If you are always waiting for others to check up on you, for them to supervise you and urge you on, is this the attitude you should have in your duty? What kind of attitude is this? This is a negative attitude; it is not the attitude you should adopt toward your duty. If you adopt this attitude, your performance of your duty will certainly be inadequate. In order to perform your duty adequately, you first must have a proper attitude, and your attitude must be in line with the truth principles. This is the only way to guarantee you perform your duty well.

Regarding what duty is, one’s attitude toward duty, as well as the difference between performing one’s duty and engaging in any kind of worldly work, our fellowship on these topics will conclude here for now. You should all ponder over the content that has been fellowshipped. For example, why discuss the relationship between performing one’s duty and engaging in personal management? What is the intended outcome of discussing these topics? On the positive side, it can provide people with a correct path, correct direction, and correct principles for performing their duty. On the negative side, it can also help people recognize which behaviors count as engaging in personal management. These two aspects are both interconnected and distinct from one another. Understanding these two sides is not only about understanding mere words of the truth; you must comprehend which states and manifestations are involved. Once you have a thorough understanding of these states and manifestations and can discern them, the next time you exhibit these incorrect states and manifestations, if you are a person who pursues the truth, you will seek the truth to find a way out from here. If you don’t understand this aspect of the truth, you may engage in personal management thinking that you are expending yourself for God, and even believing that you are performing your duty and are very loyal. Such consequences will arise from not understanding the truth. For instance, during the process of performing your duty, when some of your thoughts and methods, as well as the intentions and motives behind your actions, are revealed, you realize that you’re not performing your duty and have already deviated from the principles and scope of performing one’s duty; the nature has changed, and you are actually engaging in personal management. Only when you understand these truths can you find a way out from here and put an end to such thoughts, actions, and manifestations. However, if you don’t understand the truth and engage in your own personal management while performing your duty, you will be oblivious to the fact that you’ve already violated the principles. Like Paul, for example; after working and running around for so many years, he ended up shouting at God, saying, “If You don’t give me a crown, then You are not God!” You see, he could still utter such words. If people today, having understood the truth, still follow the path of Paul, they are not ones who love the truth. If you are a person who genuinely believes in God, understanding the truth is crucial for you. Without understanding the truth, you are definitely living based on a satanic disposition. At best, you’ll merely adhere to some regulations and avoid committing obvious wrongdoings, still thinking that you are practicing the truth. That would be quite pitiable. So, if one desires to pursue the truth and aims to enter into the truth reality, they must first understand the truth. The purpose of understanding the truth is so that people can accurately perceive other people and events, be discerning, have principles for action, have a path of practice, and achieve submission to God. When you understand the truth, you can discern all sorts of people, events, and things, choose the right path of practice, speak and act according to principles, cast off your corrupt dispositions, and achieve submission to God. If you don’t understand the truth, then the path you walk will certainly be wrong, and you won’t have any life entry, nor will you be able to be saved. Some people are particularly good at disguising themselves, appearing as though they are in pursuit of the truth, but they have no principles in their actions and all they do causes disruptions and disturbances, creating much trouble for the work of the church; such people cannot be saved. Therefore, the purpose of frequently listening to sermons and frequently eating and drinking of God’s words is not for the sake of superficial engagement or filling the heart, nor is it to equip oneself with doctrines or practice eloquence; it is to equip oneself with the truth and attain an understanding of the truth. What was just discussed is actually not particularly deep in terms of the truth of knowing God; it is the most basic truth. People’s understanding of the truth is limited and varies in depth, and it depends on the individual’s caliber. Some people comprehend more deeply; that is, they have the comprehension ability. Others comprehend quite superficially. Regardless of the depth of one’s comprehension, what’s most crucial is the practice of the truth. However, the truth cannot be divided into big or small, noble or lowly, nor can it be divided into deep or shallow. That is to say, truth can be classified as the most basic or the most elementary, but it cannot be divided into degrees of depth; it’s just that people comprehend and experience it to varying depths. Anything that touches upon the essence of the truth is equally profound and not something anyone can fully experience or completely possess. No matter what aspect of the truth is concerned, people have to start from the shallowest layer in their comprehension and practice, and then gradually progress from the shallow to the deep, reaching a true understanding of the truth and entering into reality. The shallowest part of the truth is what can be understood literally. If people cannot practice or enter it, then they only understand some words and doctrines. Merely understanding words and doctrines falls far short of the essence of the truth. People who don’t understand the truth always regard the ability to explain the literal meaning as understanding the truth; this is just human ignorance. If your practice of the truth is only about following regulations and rigidly applying them without any principles, don’t think that this is practicing the truth and entering into reality; you are still far from it. If you continue to practice and experience for several more years, and discover much more light, which will suffice for you to practice and experience for several more months or years, and later, with yet more experience, you can discover newer light, progressing like this from the shallow to the deep, in a step-by-step manner, then you have truly entered into the truth reality. Only one who has fully entered into the truth reality is one who has obtained the truth. Even if one day you live out the reality of the truth, and it can be said that you’ve obtained the truth, in actuality what you’ve experienced and come to know is still limited. You cannot say that you are the truth, nor can you claim like Paul did that “to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21), because the truth is too profound, and what one can experience and understand in several decades of a lifetime is extremely limited. Obviously, then, understanding the truth is achievable by people to some extent, but obtaining the truth is by no means an easy matter. If one cannot understand or put into practice even the shallowest truths, then that is someone who does not love the truth, and definitely lacks spiritual understanding; people who are nowhere near the truth cannot be saved. Those who never understand the truth cannot perform their duties well; they are wastes of life, beasts in human clothing. Some people think they understand the truth just because they understand some doctrines. If they really understand some truths, then why can’t they perform their duties well? Why do they have no principles in their actions? This shows that understanding doctrines is useless; understanding more doctrines doesn’t mean understanding the truth.

After fellowshipping the topic of duty, we will now move on to the issue of adequate performance of duty. With regard to the adequate performance of duty, the emphasis is on the word “adequate.” So, how should “adequate” be defined? In this, too, there are truths to seek. Is it adequate merely to do a passable job? For the specific details of how to understand and regard the word “adequate,” you must understand many truths and fellowship more on the truth. In the course of performing your duty, you must understand the truth and the principles; only then can you arrive at an adequate performance of duty. Why should people perform their duties? Once they believe in God and have accepted His commission, people have their share of responsibility and obligation in the work of God’s house and in the site of God’s work, and, in turn, because of this responsibility and obligation, they have become an element in God’s work, one of the recipients of His work, and one of the recipients of His salvation. There is quite a substantial relationship between people’s salvation and how they perform their duties, whether they can do them well, and whether they can do them adequately. Since you have become a part of God’s house and accepted His commission, you now have a duty. It is not for you to say how this duty should be performed; it is for God to say; it is for the truth to say; and it is dictated by the standards of the truth. Therefore, people should know, understand and be clear on how God measures people’s duties, what He measures them according to—this is a worthwhile thing to seek. In God’s work, different people receive different duties. That is, people with different gifts, calibers, ages, and conditions receive different duties at different times. No matter what duty you have received, and no matter the times or circumstances of your receiving it, your duty is only a responsibility and obligation you are supposed to perform, it is not your management, nor is it your business. The standard God demands for the performance of your duty is that it is “adequate.” What does it mean to be “adequate”? It means to meet God’s demands and satisfy Him. God must say it is adequate and it must receive His approval. Only then will the performance of your duty have been adequate. If God says it is not adequate, no matter how long you have been performing your duty, or how much of a price you have paid, it is not adequate. Then what will the result be? It will all be classified as rendering service. Only a minority of service-doers with loyal hearts will be spared. If they are not loyal in their service, then they do not have a hope of being spared. Speaking plainly, they will be destroyed in a disaster. If one never meets the mark when performing their duty, they will have their right to perform a duty taken away. After this right is taken away, some people will be cast aside. After being cast aside, they will be taken care of by other means. Does “taken care of by other means” mean to be cast out? Not necessarily. God looks mainly at whether a person has repented. Therefore, how you perform your duty is crucial, and people should take it seriously and conscientiously. Because performing your duty is directly connected to your life entry and entry into the truth realities, as well as big issues like your salvation and being perfected, you must treat the performance of your duty as the first and foremost task when believing in God. You cannot be muddleheaded about it. In the process of performing their duties, various people will exhibit a range of different behaviors. These different behaviors are visible not only to people but also to God. It’s not just the church that scores and evaluates; ultimately, God will also give scores and evaluations to all those who perform their duties. Some people basically meet the standard, while others are utterly inadequate. Some inadequate people will still be under observation, while some will already have been definitively categorized by God. Who are the people that God sees as inadequate? They are those with poor humanity and lacking a conscience and reason, who consistently perform their duties in a perfunctory manner. Regardless of how much of God’s grace they enjoy, they are uninterested in reciprocation and devoid of gratitude. Of course, this naturally includes evil people as well. It can be said that anyone with poor humanity and lacking conscience and reason performs their duties inadequately. Those who are clearly evil will inevitably commit countless evil acts while performing their duties. As long as they are not cleared out, they will keep committing evil. Such people must be cleared out promptly. Of course, there are also some people who appear to have some semblance of humanity and who don’t seem to be bad people, but their performance of duty is perfunctory and yields no results. After being pruned and receiving fellowship on the truth, it will depend on how they ultimately perform and whether or not they have sincerely repented. For such people, God is still waiting and observing. As for those who have poor humanity and lack conscience and reason, as well as those who are clearly evil, God has already reached a conclusive verdict on them—they are to be thoroughly cast out.

Next, let us fellowship about what manifestations there are of the inadequate performance of duty. I’ll fellowship an example first, and you all can discern whether this person is performing his duty adequately and in accordance with God’s requirements. There was someone who was selected to be a leader in the church and was hosted by a half-believing family, where some members were believers and some were not. However, they all had a peculiar trait, which was that they were particularly adept at reading the mood of and flattering those in authority. What would this trait inadvertently form for the leader? (It would form a temptation.) It formed a temptation. Was this a blessing or a misfortune for him? Whether it was a blessing or a misfortune remains to be seen; let’s continue. After this family hosted the leader, they served him meat and good food at every meal. Why did they receive the leader this way? Was it out of love? Would they have received the brothers and sisters this way? Definitely not. When the leader was there, they cooked meat for him every day. Eventually, the leader, delighted with the meals, told the family, “Your whole family loves God. Your mother can enter the kingdom, your son can enter the kingdom, and you and your wife can also enter the kingdom. In the future, your entire family can enter the kingdom.” Upon hearing this, the family became elated, thinking, “Our entire family can enter the kingdom, even the unbelievers among us can enter. It seems the meat we’ve been giving him hasn’t been wasted; we should continue to serve it to him.” In reality, this family had little understanding of what entering the kingdom entails, but they knew it’s a good thing. Who among those who believe in God wouldn’t want to enter the kingdom of heaven and receive blessings? They thought, “As long as the leader says we can enter the kingdom, then we can, right? The leader’s word is final; the leader represents God, after all!” Afterward, the more the leader said they could enter the kingdom, the more lavish the meals they offered him. Gradually, this leader no longer wanted to visit other families because they didn’t offer him these good things or flatter him in this way. Not long after, the leader gained more and more weight; his head grew fatter as well, going from a “human head” to a “pig’s head.” During a co-workers’ gathering, he was immediately noticeable. Having not seen him for just a month, he had gained so much weight that they urgently questioned him about his work. They discovered serious issues and gave him a stern pruning, dissecting the essence of his problem before eventually replacing this false leader. Further investigation revealed more problems: This false leader didn’t do any real work and reveled in the benefits of his status every day. He favored those who flattered him, promoting them, while suppressing those who didn’t offer him gifts. He even demanded that his wife bring him more chicken to eat. So, what do you think of this false leader’s performance of his duties? What was his attitude toward his duties? He wasn’t actually doing the work; it’s more like he had gone somewhere just to be an official. Otherwise, how could he have gained so much weight? There are two reasons for this: On one hand, he deliberately chose host families where he could eat meat, staying there and continually indulging himself; on the other, he definitely had no sense of burden while performing his duties, and he didn’t endure any hardship. If a leader or worker has a sense of burden, upon seeing the extensive workload of the church and the many issues that urgently need resolving, wouldn’t they be stressed and anxious? This anxiousness would whip them into action; they’d immediately start addressing these issues, expending energy and enduring some hardships. Physically, they would only lose weight; it’s a natural law. Under what conditions would one continue to eat more and gain weight? It could only be from eating to one’s heart’s content all day long and not focusing on anything else, being free from burden, sitting high and mighty, disconnected from the community and the workplace, indulging in fleshly comforts. Only then could one continue to gain weight, transforming from a “human head” to a “pig’s head” in just over a month. So, how well was this leader performing his duties? The nature of his role as a leader had changed; this was no longer about performing his duties but about indulging in comfort and the benefits of status. He was acting like a government official. Not only did he shirk real work, he also engaged in wrongdoing. If someone didn’t flatter him or provide him with delicious food, he suppressed them. Moreover, he incited brothers and sisters to join him in pruning them, eventually arousing public ire. People began to feel repelled by him and distanced themselves from him. Setting aside the reasons for his removal, let’s just discuss the adequacy of the performance of his duties. His indulgence in the benefits of status and lack of real work is the most serious issue. He was not serving God’s chosen people; he was acting over them like an official, and was in no way performing his duties. In his work as a leader, he showed not a shred of loyalty in performing his duties, let alone devoting his heart and energy. He only gave his heart and energy to eating, drinking, and enjoying himself. He racked his brains thinking about how to enjoy the benefits of his status, and he didn’t fellowship the truth to the host family to restrict this kind of fawning behavior from them. Moreover, he deceived them, saying that only such hosting would allow entry into the kingdom and earn rewards. Isn’t this doing evil? If this was how he treated the host family, what would he do in the work of the church? How would he treat God’s chosen people? Surely it would be full of deception and perfunctoriness. Did this person truly know what duty was? Did he know what the work that God entrusted to him was? What did he take this commission to be? He took it as capital and as the basis for enjoying the benefits of his status, and as a result, he committed numerous evils, disturbing church life and causing loss to the life entry of brothers and sisters. Such a way of performing duty is not only inadequate, but has also turned into evil deeds. Lacking any adequate component in the performance of one’s duty, can they be remembered by God? (No.) Clearly they can’t, which is quite pitiful. It is pitiful to not understand the truth—is it even more pitiful to understand the truth but not practice it? (Yes.) This is Case One, the “Human Head That Turned Into a Pig’s Head” case. This case is relatively simple: It involves indulging in the benefits of status, performing one’s duty without a shred of loyalty, and lacking even a bit of a God-fearing heart. This leader treated his God-given duty as capital for indulging in the benefits of his status. This is easy to discern. Remember the name of Case One, so that in the future you can draw a comparison, discerning others, and motivating yourselves. What do you think of this case I’ve talked about? Do you detest such people and such actions? (Yes.) If you accept God’s commission, could you commit such acts? If you could have more reason than that false leader and be somewhat restrained, and could strive for the truth, then there is still some hope. But if you could indulge in eating and drinking and enjoying the benefits of status like him, then you will be revealed and cast out; you’ll be purely a false leader and a person detested by God. Now you have some discernment and understand some truths. The extent to which you can restrain and control yourself determines how much hope you have for salvation; they are directly proportional. If you can’t restrain yourself, and continue to act according to your own preferences, living in a corrupt disposition and indulging in the benefits of status, pleased and intoxicated when someone flatters you, without any self-reflection or genuine repentance, then the hope you have for receiving salvation is zero.

Next, let’s talk about another case. During the expansion of the gospel, many people in the church go to various places to spread the gospel. The work of spreading the gospel is a duty for anyone. Regardless of how you treat it or whether you think this duty is good or not, in general, it is a commission given by God to people. Speaking of God’s commissions to people, this involves people’s responsibility, and it also involves people’s duty. Since it involves people’s duty, it also involves how one performs their duty. During the process of spreading the gospel, some people specifically seek out wealthy areas and wealthy households. When they see someone driving a nice car or living in a big house, they feel envious and jealous. If they find a household that hosts them well, they linger and harbor a covetous heart. They think that since they have made contributions in the process of spreading the gospel, they should enjoy some grace. So what does their gospel-spreading become? All they do is indulge in fleshly pleasures, exchanging their service for physical enjoyment; it becomes the selling of their labor. After two or three years, they have gained some people by spreading the gospel there and even established a church, thus accumulating some capital. Then they start to get carried away, and by the time they “gloriously” return to their hometown, they are radiant, having practically become a fashionable person. They bring back high-end household appliances and electronic products, and are dressed in fine clothing from head to toe. The local people don’t recognize them anymore, thinking that they must have struck it rich somewhere. Is there not a problem here? They’ve been a believer for so many years, always performing their duty away from home. Initially, there wasn’t really anything of value in their home, but now they take back all the fine clothing and good appliances people give; they’re both well-dressed and well-equipped. They consider this God’s grace. But where did these things actually come from? It could be said they were exchanged for their labor of spreading the gospel. Some others saw their many years of faith and their hard work in gospel-spreading, so they give this person some good things. Is this “giving” charity? Is it compassion? If these good things were obtained because of gospel-spreading, given to them through flattery by others, is it appropriate for this person to consider them God’s favor or God’s grace? To put it bluntly, they’re taking advantage of the opportunity to spread the gospel to acquire these things. If they’re always lamenting their poverty in front of others, while also mentioning they like this or that item, and then people reluctantly give it to them, doesn’t that have the semblance of extortion or blackmail? Some people who preach the gospel like to tell others, “We gospel spreaders are messengers of God, sent by God. You receive God’s gospel from us—what a tremendous blessing and advantage you’re gaining! Given how wealthy you are and how much of God’s grace you’ve enjoyed, shouldn’t you show some appreciation? Shouldn’t you share some of your excess or unused items with us?” After such persuasion, some people, out of embarrassment, end up giving in, and the gospel spreaders think they’re perfectly justified. Do those who give really do it willingly? Regardless of whether the givers are willing, are these things that gospel spreaders should be receiving? (No.) Some rationalize: “Why shouldn’t I receive these? I’ve worked hard to preach the gospel; isn’t receiving these few things just God’s grace?” What are you doing when you preach the gospel? Is this your job to make a living? Preaching the gospel is not a transaction; it’s your duty. When you demand things from people, you’re essentially demanding things from God. But since you can’t reach God, and you dare not ask Him, you reach out to people instead, and mislead them by speaking a slew of spiritual theories. You feel you’ve earned merit by gaining some people through gospel-spreading and that you are entitled to receive some compensation for your efforts. You don’t think it would be good asking for money directly, so you ask for things instead, believing that this way, your efforts haven’t been in vain. Is this performing your duty? (It’s not.) The nature of your actions has changed. What have you turned gospel-spreading into? You’ve commercialized God’s gospel, bartering it for these material things. What kind of behavior is this? (Opportunism.) This is opportunism? Is calling it opportunism downplaying its severity? Isn’t it actually doing evil, isn’t it an evil deed? (Yes.) Why is it considered an evil deed? Spreading the gospel is performing duty and bearing witness to God; as you bear witness to God, you simultaneously bring the gospel to a person and God gains that person, and you’ve thus completed your mission. Whatever you should receive for completing your mission, God will give it to you; you don’t need to ask anyone, nor does anyone have a reason to exchange charity for this gospel. God’s gospel is priceless; no amount of money can buy it, nor can it be traded for anything. When you use gospel-spreading as an opportunity to gain material benefits, you lose your testimony; this approach is blasphemous and a mark of disgracing God. Moreover, what is the nature of making people grateful to you after you spread the gospel to them? This is stealing God’s glory! God’s gospel and God’s work are not commodities. God freely bestows His gospel upon man; it is free and involves no transactions whatsoever. Yet people turn God’s gospel into a commodity to sell to others, demanding money and material things from them. This lacks testimony and disgraces the name of God. Isn’t this an evil deed? (Yes.) It is indeed an evil deed. Is this adequate performance of duty? (No.) Is this more severe in nature than the case we just talked about, the “Human Head That Turned Into a Pig’s Head”? (Yes.) Where does the severity lie? (In disgracing God.) This is disgracing God, blaspheming God, and stealing God’s glory. Taking God’s gospel and selling it to people, vending it to them as if it were a commodity, and then profiting exorbitantly and seeking personal gain from it—what sort of creatures would do this? These are bandits and evil people, behaving in the way of Satan! God clearly created heaven, earth, and all things, as well as humankind, yet Satan and evil spirits mislead people by saying they are the ones who created humans, heaven, and earth, making people worship them as God and the Creator. Isn’t this stealing God’s glory? This is a sin, it is an evil deed, it is opposing God. Is man’s selling the gospel the same as Satan’s behavior? (Yes.) What is the purpose of their selling the gospel? To make people regard them as the messenger of the gospel, as if the gospel originates from them and they have the power to make decisions. Isn’t this stealing God’s glory? (Yes.) What kind of sin has been committed by stealing God’s glory? What is the nature of this? This is the evil deed of opposing God; it is behavior that blasphemes God. Does spreading the gospel in this way still count as performing one’s duty? This is entirely doing evil; it is opposing God. Spreading the gospel in this way is not bearing witness for God at all, so it is not performing one’s duty; it is purely doing evil. Some people say: “Spreading the gospel is such hard work; getting some good things is only fair. What’s the big deal? This doesn’t count as anything wrong among the unbelievers.” Is this statement correct? It depends on what your intentions are, what you are coveting, and what is the nature of it. If you are doing it for personal gain, what you are selling is God’s gospel, what you are selling is the truth, and what you ultimately gain is your personal benefit—then it is indeed an evil deed. Is it excessive to characterize this as an evil deed? (No.) It’s not excessive in the slightest. When someone has received their duty and carried it out, but then such consequences arise, who is to blame? (The person themselves.) They can only blame themselves. So how did these consequences come about? It is directly related to people’s wicked nature. Some people do not pursue the truth, but they have a sense of shame, character, and conscience, so they wouldn’t do such things. If someone does engage in such actions, it shows that this person lacks humanity; they are greedy and have a vicious disposition. This leads not only to a failure to perform their duties adequately, but it actually turns it into doing evil. Some people say: “How can it be characterized as doing evil? They’ve managed to gain quite a few people through their gospel-spreading; just the fact that they’ve had obvious results should negate the idea that they’re doing evil, right?” Is this statement correct? (No.) Why is it incorrect? Spreading the gospel is their duty, their responsibility. What is the intention and purpose behind their duty? What principles guide their duty? Are they responsible in their actions? Based on these factors, one can determine whether the person is performing their duties or doing evil. Although they have been performing their duties, the starting point for their performance is wrong; they haven’t acted according to principles and have committed many evil deeds. There’s not the slightest manifestation of practicing the truth. What is the essence of this kind of gospel-spreading? (Selling the gospel.) What should this case be called? The “Selling the Gospel” case. Just hearing this name, you know the nature of the issue is very serious. How could someone sell God’s gospel? The nature of this issue of selling the gospel is very serious. So, every time the selling of the gospel is mentioned, shouldn’t people know what the matter is, what the states, behaviors, and methods are? This is Case Two, and the nature of this case is more serious than the previous one.

The following case is also one that occurred during the process of spreading the gospel. In the past, the house of God had established some principles and methods for spreading the gospel, including methods that concern compassion and making friends. This allowed some people to find loopholes to exploit. Which people exploited these loopholes? People with a wicked nature who do not love the truth. In the process of spreading the gospel, there are indeed some wicked people who seize this opportunity to find romantic partners and engage in romantic and intimate relationships. When such things happen, they think there are reasons for it, when in fact it’s these wicked individuals of Satan exploiting loopholes. Using the opportunity of spreading the gospel to come into contact with the opposite sex, when these people find someone suitable or preferable, they do everything in their ability to find chances to interact with and entice them. On the surface, it appears to be for the sake of gaining people through spreading the gospel, but in reality, it’s to satisfy their personal lust. They do all these things under the banner of spreading the gospel, under the banner of expanding God’s work, under the banner of bearing witness for God and dedicating themselves to God, and also under the banner of performing their duty. No one does these things unintentionally; in fact, they are fully aware yet doggedly pretend to be confused. Each person knows in their heart when they do these things that it is sinful, detested by God, and not permitted by God, but they can’t control their fleshly lust, and they try hard to make excuses and justifications for the sins they commit. Can this conceal their own issues? If you commit such sins once or twice and then repent, God may still pardon you, but if you persistently refuse to change, you’re in danger. Some people may feel somewhat uneasy each time they commit such a sin, wondering, “Can I be saved if I act this way?” But they then think, “This isn’t a great evil; at most it’s just a revelation of corruption. I won’t do it again; it won’t affect my outcome and destination.” Is this attitude toward committing a transgression one of genuine repentance? If there’s not even remorse in their heart, will they not continue to relapse? I think it’s very risky. Can such a person perform their duty adequately? In performing their duty, there are still elements of a “private operation”; they’re mixing “public and private,” which is a great adulteration! This is sure to offend God’s disposition. These people cannot be deemed “adequate” in performing their duty; this is more serious than asking for things or selling the gospel. How is it more serious? It’s disgusting; it is a trade in flesh and lust. So, what is the nature of this issue? It’s willfully sinning despite knowing the truth. The word “willfully” changes the nature of the issue. In fact, they know that the regulations and principles in the work arrangements are designed to get people to practice wisdom and to prevent Satan from gaining leverage against them. The aim is to bring people before God, but they exploit loopholes and seize opportunities to freely unleash their wicked lusts; this is called knowingly committing sin. What does the Bible say about this? (“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26).) If even the sin offering of the cross is no longer available, do these people still have any relation to salvation? That depends on the situation. Some people act out of necessity, or denounce themselves internally, but they are forced to act this way due to the circumstances at the time. If the number of times is not too many, no more than three, they can be forgiven. What does it mean that they can be forgiven? It means that upon the first offense, if they can come to their senses, seek the truth, show signs of remorse, and turn back without committing an offense again, all while asking to perform their duties, they can be given a chance to atone for their sins. There is still hope for salvation in such cases, but how much hope depends on individual pursuit. No one can make a definitive judgment for you, no one can give you guarantees; it mainly depends on your own pursuit. I won’t make any promises to you, saying that as long as you don’t commit this sin again, you will surely be saved; I won’t make that promise because I don’t know what your future performance will be like. If you exceed the number of times for which forgiveness is possible, you repeatedly refuse to change, and you have no good deeds in the course of preaching the gospel that can offset your evil deeds, then you are utterly done for. You’ve committed so much evil without a trace of good deeds; your preaching of the gospel is merely to engage recklessly in intimate relationships, not to perform your duty well—it is disconnected from your performance of duty. This is no longer an issue of having or not having a sin offering. What should such people be classified as? They should be classified as filthy demons and evil spirits. They are not normal humans. They are not just committing sins; they have nothing to do with performing their duty. Is there still hope for their salvation? No, there isn’t. Such people have been kicked out of God’s house; they have been cut out and God will not save them. What they do and how they behave not only fails to touch upon their duty; it can’t even be considered a matter of adequate performance of duty. The end result and the outcome for such people will be determined based on their classification. Isn’t this case quite disgusting? Its nature is even more severe than the second case we just discussed. Among such people, there are some whose cases are more severe in nature. Can they turn back? Can they have a repentant heart and stop doing such things, and still spread the gospel and render service in God’s house? Are there people like this? (No.) Can they willingly render service? (No.) In fact, some of these people have gained some people during their time of spreading the gospel. But now, what has all this work they’ve done amounted to? It’s amounted to service, not performing their duty. Actually, these people haven’t been lacking in effort, but the path they’ve taken has determined their fate and outcome. Among those who also spread the gospel, is it the case that each of them will encounter such temptations? It can be said that everyone will face these sorts of temptations to varying degrees in different situations, but does that mean each of them will succumb to temptation and commit sin? (No.) Not everyone can commit sin, not everyone can engage in such activities—this condemns those who do engage in these kinds of activities, and they are thus revealed. This shows there is something wrong with their disposition and their humanity. Who can they blame for having such an outcome? (Themselves.) They can only blame themselves, and no one else.

Some people, no matter what transgressions they commit during their time of spreading the gospel, never seek the truth to resolve them, do not pray to God, and never engage in self-reflection, which shows that they are obstinately unrepentant. In the end, these people are cast out. I’ve heard of someone who, while spreading the gospel, took possession of a woman and would not even allow her to find a partner and get married; the nature of this is very severe. What kind of person is this? (An evil person.) Can such evil individuals remain in the house of God? (No.) God’s house has no room for such tyrants; they disgrace God! By doing such things, they impact countless people’s perception of God and cause so many to misunderstand Him! People will say, “How could someone who believes in God do such things?” This is already a disgrace to God. If the church does not expel and deal with such individuals but instead lets them continue spreading the gospel and offers them a chance to repent, then that is entirely wrong. This person is not a first-time offender; their behavior is severe in nature and they should be directly expelled. Otherwise, it would disgrace God and provide Satan with leverage to judge and condemn the house of God. So Satan cannot be afforded an opportunity to gain leverage; those who are habitually licentious must be expelled from the church. Such individuals are licentious spirits who have already disgraced God, and God will absolutely not save them. Regardless of how effective their preaching of the gospel is or how many people they’ve gained, if they don’t walk the right path, they’ve destroyed and forfeited themselves. Such people are not allowed to exist within God’s house; they are targets for being cut out. So, do their deeds count as performing their duty? No, all their contributions have been completely erased in the eyes of God and will not be remembered by Him. They are not merely inadequate; the nature of their performance of duty has shifted, and it has become doing evil. How does God deal with those who do evil? He cuts them out. What does being cut out mean? It means they are removed from among the people God has chosen and prepared to save—they do not belong among them. They are instead categorized among evil spirits, filthy demons, and the unsaved. What are their chances of attaining salvation? (Zero.) Though they performed their duties and followed God just the same, in the end this type of person reaches this point and is cast out. So you see, this is yet another type of person. Is the nature of this case more serious than the previous case? (Yes.) It is even more serious; it is targeted. This case should be merged with the third one; it falls under the category of a special, typical case in the third example, and it is targeted. What should this case be called? “Wicked People Will Be Cut Out,” let’s settle on that. For the three kinds of people in these three cases, their performance of duty basically amounted to rendering service to no effect. What does it mean to render service to no effect? It means that they turned their duty into the mere rendering of service—and even then, they didn’t render service well or properly perform their duty. They didn’t treat their duty as duty, and even committed various wrongdoings and evil deeds and were ultimately cast out, meeting no good outcome. The nature of all three of these cases is very serious.

There is another case, and its nature is also quite severe. There was an individual who performed work for many years and, on the surface, seemed to pursue the truth and genuinely expend himself. He forsook marriage and family, abandoned his career and prospects, went to many places to perform his duties, and also undertook some work that was of little consequence. But in the process of performing his duties, he understood few truths because he did not really pursue the truth, and he thought he was doing well just because he could talk about some words and doctrines. What was more serious was that this person didn’t practice the truth at all. So his performance of duty was merely preaching some doctrines and following some regulations, usually behaving kindly toward others and offending no one. Regarding how to perform the work of the church and what issues still existed, he was not attentive, didn’t put in the effort, and did not seek the truth to resolve these issues. In short, his attitude toward work was superficial and indifferent; it seemed like he didn’t slack off, but he wasn’t tiring himself out either. He didn’t appear to be acting in a perfunctory manner, but the results of his work were not particularly good. In one particular incident, due to his negligence and perfunctory attitude, he caused a loss of over 10 million RMB to the offerings to God. Just what kind of a figure is 10 million RMB? Ordinary people, upon hearing this amount, would consider it an astronomical figure. They would gasp in disbelief and hardly dare to think about it, having never seen so much money in their lifetime. But this “old gentleman,” after causing a loss of over 10 million RMB in offerings, had no remorse, no hint of repentance, and wasn’t sad. When the church expelled him, he still complained. What sort of creature would do this? Let’s discuss two points. First, this sum of money was lost while you were working, and regardless of whose fault it is, you are responsible. You had a responsibility to protect it, but you failed to do so. This is dereliction of duty, because this is not human money; this is an offering, and people should treat it with utmost loyalty. If the offerings suffer a loss, how should one think? Even death would not be sufficient compensation! What is a human life worth in money? If the loss is too great, even giving up one’s life won’t be enough to repay it! The key is that the nature of this issue is too severe. This “old gentleman” didn’t take the loss of so many offerings seriously; this person is too detestable! Losing over 10 million RMB in offerings was like losing 100 or so RMB to him; he didn’t report it at all to the Above, had no remorse for this issue at all, and didn’t say to those around him, “Let’s analyze how this money was lost and what should be done. Should we repay it or find another solution? Or perhaps we should inform the Above, admit responsibility and resign, and pray to God to confess our sins?” He didn’t even have this attitude; is this detestable? (Yes.) It is all too detestable! His capacity for such great evildoing reveals his attitude toward his duty and toward God. Secondly, after being expelled, not only did he not accept it, nor confess his sin, nor repent, but he even complained. Such a person is beyond reason. Just think about what he could possibly have to complain about. He complained, “I’ve believed in God for over 20 years, I never got married, I gave up so much, endured so much suffering, and now they expel me, reject me. I’ll find my own place!” Not long after, he got married. Tell Me, if a typical person—one with conscience and humanity—had a bit of sense of their conscience, would they get married that quickly? Would they be in the mood for it? Generally, a person with even a bit of conscience and humanity, when faced with such a grave issue, would even contemplate death, thinking, “My life is over, how could I have committed such an act after believing in God for over 20 years? I have only myself to blame and I deserve to be expelled! Forget about 10 million; I can’t even afford to repay one million. Even if I were sold, I couldn’t make up for it, my life isn’t worth anything!” Why did you still do it when you knew you couldn’t afford it? Don’t you know that money was an offering, dedicated to God? That money wasn’t yours; your responsibility was to safeguard it. It wasn’t something that had no relation to you; it was something you had to keep safe. It was the most important thing, and your carelessness was a dereliction of duty. Having lost it, you certainly couldn’t shirk responsibility for it. As someone who believes in God, didn’t you have an obligation and responsibility to keep these offerings safe and prevent any mishaps? Shouldn’t you have minimized the risk of something going wrong? If you can’t even do that, what are you? Aren’t you a living demon? (Yes.) That’s utterly disgusting and devoid of humanity! Moreover, after being expelled, not only did he stop believing in God and get married, but he also disturbed the believers in his family—the nature of this is even more serious. He performed his duty for many years, forsook much, made many sacrifices, did quite a bit of work, took risks, and served time in jail. But these external factors do not determine one’s fate. What does? The path one chooses. Had he taken the path of pursuing the truth, he wouldn’t have ended up like this and wouldn’t have caused such a great loss to God’s house. It was absolutely not random for such a major mishap to occur; it was directly related to the quality of his humanity and the path he chose. Do you think God is aware of the path he’s on? (Yes.) God knows. So, was this incident meant to reveal him or cast him out? It was both to reveal and to cast him out. From the human perspective, he seemed to be performing his duty well, with loyalty, expenditure, a willingness to pay the price, and an ability to endure hardship. So why would God do something like this to him? Why would God reveal him? What was meant to be revealed? Was it merely to reveal his outcome? No, it was meant to reveal his faith, reveal his humanity, reveal his essence and nature—all of these have now been laid bare. Can God still save such a person? Does God hold even a glimmer of hope for him? God has absolutely no hope for such a person. Does God have any love or mercy left for him? None at all. Some might say: “If God has no love or mercy for him, then is there only righteousness, majesty, and wrath left?” That’s correct. Such an evil person no longer needs love or mercy, and there’s no longer a need for that, because he has severely offended God’s disposition. All that’s left from God for him is righteousness, majesty, and wrath. His outcome has nothing to do with God’s management work, it has absolutely nothing to do with God’s work of saving humankind; he has been cast out and removed. Therefore, no matter where this person is now, in God’s eyes, he is but a living dead man, a walking corpse dwelling among filthy demons and evil spirits, among those who wear human faces but possess beastly hearts and are beasts in human clothing. These are his qualities, and he has been cut out from the Creator’s sight. Considering his outcome and his final attitude toward this major event that occurred in his life, did his performance of duty all this while have anything to do with the word “adequate”? (No.) How do you know that his performance of duty was not adequate even before this event occurred? Is it through judgment and inference, or did you make this evaluation by observing his essence? (By observing his essence.) That’s correct. Take Paul as an example—if he had pursued the truth, if he could have sought to be perfected like Peter, he would not have spoken such blasphemous words. Every outcome has a cause; the outcome this individual met with has its underlying reasons. From the fact that this person was able to reach this point today, and from his attitude toward God, his attitude toward the offerings, and his attitude toward his own evil deeds, it’s enough to let people see clearly what path he was walking and what his faith in God really was. This completely reveals his essence and the path he was on. If he were on the path of pursuing the truth, the path of fearing God and shunning evil, and if he could genuinely treat his duty as his responsibility and obligation, how would he have handled this situation when it inevitably occurred? He definitely would not have the attitude he has now—that of resistance and complaint. His demonic side has been laid bare; the nature essence deep within his soul has been completely exposed. He is not a human being, he is a devil. If he were human, he wouldn’t have ended up like this after having believed in God for over 20 years. If he were human, how much regret would he feel for such a great loss of the offerings? How many tears would he shed? To what extent would he tremble? He would feel inescapably responsible and guilty of terrible sin, believing himself to be unforgivable, and would feel he should repent and confess his sins to God. At the very least, even if the church expelled him, he would not stop believing, nor would he betray God, let alone disturb his family’s faith in God. What do we discern from this person’s various subsequent behaviors? That he is a nonbeliever who has no love for the truth, and that his humanity is also malicious. This is the fourth case. What should we name this case? (“The Loss of Ten Million in Offerings Case.”) We should add his reaction to it and call it “Losing Ten Million in Offerings with No Sign of Repentance.” Isn’t that name better? It serves as a warning to others; at the very least, it makes people aware of where the severity of his actions lies.

The occurrence of all these events, the various behaviors displayed by these people, as well as their attitudes toward God after these events took place, all arose and were exposed in the process of performing their duties. Therefore, to some extent, the path one takes in believing in God and one’s ultimate outcome are greatly related to the performance of one’s duty; it could even be said that there is a direct relationship. The topic of performing duties should be an everlasting subject, and the truth concerning this aspect should also be an everlasting subject. It’s the truth that people most fundamentally should understand, and a topic that should be continually discussed in the process of people’s life growth and believing in God. This is because it’s inseparably connected with changes in people’s dispositions, with their life entry, and with the type of path they walk and what kind of outcome they ultimately have. Today, we’ve fellowshipped extensively about performing duties and have also fellowshipped about several cases. The main purpose of this is to make you understand how to perform your duties in a way that God approves of, what the consequences are if you do evil, and the importance of performing your duties up to standard. The events in these cases got progressively more severe and increasingly frightening, but they weren’t concocted by Me. They truly occurred among those who believe in God and who are within the ranks of those performing their duties. What does this signify? Some people say: “Eh, there’s no issue if we don’t perform our duties, but problems always arise when we do. So is it alright to just not perform our duties?” How is this line of thinking? Isn’t this giving up eating for fear of choking? Isn’t this foolish? You must learn to seek the truth to resolve these issues; this is a proactive attitude and the kind of attitude a normal person should have. If you’re afraid that problems may arise while performing your duties that will lead to being condemned, expelled, cast out, or cut out, and finally losing any hope of attaining salvation, and you simply stop performing your duties or adopt a negative, antagonistic approach toward them, what kind of attitude is that? (A bad one.) Some others say: “Our humanity is too poor for performing duties, so why don’t we just contentedly render service? God doesn’t have high requirements for those service-doers, and there aren’t any standards or principles—just exerting effort is enough. Do whatever is asked, be obedient, don’t take on any significant responsibilities, and don’t have any ambitions to become a leader or worker. Just being able to remain until the end would be the greatest blessing.” How are these motives? Aren’t they rather base and vile? Can such unambitious individuals obtain God’s salvation? Can a person without humanity render service adequately? Those without humanity cannot render service adequately; they will not become the loyal service-doers who get to remain.

The number of examples mentioned during these last few times in fellowship is relatively high. These events are easy to remember, but the truths I have fellowshipped on are difficult to understand. However, there’s a benefit to this: By discussing these events, you may recall or come to understand the truths they touch upon a little. If we didn’t talk about these cases, achieving this kind of result would probably require more effort. Discussing these cases serves as both an impetus and a warning, helping people find the right path from within them. It guides you in knowing which path to walk in your faith to avoid violating God’s administrative decrees, making major mistakes, or taking the wrong course. The main goal is to help people perform their duties adequately. After hearing about these four cases, how do you feel? Do you have a new understanding of performing duties adequately? Is it easy for people to perform their duties adequately? (It’s not easy.) Where does the difficulty lie? Is it because people don’t understand the truth and cannot find principles, and thus keep making mistakes? (No.) So where does the difficulty lie, then? It is in this: People don’t love the truth, nor do they pursue it. In the process of performing their duties, if people don’t pursue the truth and don’t practice it, coupled with their vicious, wicked, and arrogant dispositions, this can easily lead to certain consequences and bring about outcomes that people don’t expect or don’t wish to see. Does anyone anticipate a bad outcome for themselves? (No.) Are there those who hope for just a mediocre outcome, thinking that as long as they scrape by to the end without dying, it’s fine? (Yes.) What kind of people are these? They are people who don’t pursue the truth; they’re merely marking time until death. For such people, their performance of duty is bound to be completely perfunctory, making it easy for them to make mistakes or commit sin, and very difficult to perform their duties up to standard. What kind of people can perform their duties up to standard? (Those who pursue the truth.) Who else? (People with humanity.) What does humanity encompass? (Conscience and reason.) Those who have conscience and reason, who possess humanity, will easily perform their duties up to standard if they pursue the truth. Some people say: “You keep talking about these serious negative examples of people failing to perform their duties adequately, and it’s making us lose confidence. When will we ever reach the standard of performing our duties adequately? Are there any positive examples of this?” Let’s discuss something more uplifting and positive, then. Currently, many people are beginning to focus on pursuing the truth, and they are also starting to become more diligent when performing their duties. For instance, some can cooperate harmoniously with others while performing their duties. What does harmonious cooperation mean? Here’s one manifestation of it: It’s not merely about everyone getting along well on the outside, without conflict or intrigue. Harmonious cooperation means that when facing various issues at work—whether or not you have insight into them and whether or not your perspective is correct—you can still confer and fellowship with others, seek the truth principles, and then reach a consensus. That is harmonious cooperation. What is the purpose of reaching a consensus? It’s to better fulfill one’s duties, to do the work of the church better, and to be able to bear witness to God. If you want the performance of your duties to meet the mark, then in the course of performing your duties, you must first achieve harmonious cooperation. There are currently some people who are already practicing harmonious cooperation. After understanding the truth, even though they are unable to fully practice the truth, and even though there are failures, weakness, and deviations along the way, they still strive toward the truth principles. So, they have hope of achieving harmonious cooperation. For example, sometimes you may think what you are doing is right, but you are capable of not being self-righteous. You can discuss with others and fellowship on the truth principles together until they are clear and apparent, so that everyone understands, and is in agreement that doing this will achieve the best result. Also, that it does not step outside the principles, that it takes the interests of the house of God into consideration, will protect the interests of God’s house to the greatest degree possible. Practicing in this way is in alignment with the truth principles. Although the end result may not always be as you envisioned, the path, direction, and goal of your practice was right. So how does God see it? How does God define this matter? God will say that the performance of your duty is adequate. Does adequacy mean that your duty was performed in accordance with God’s will? No, it doesn’t. Adequacy is still a ways off from satisfying God’s will, receiving God’s affirmation and practicing in full adherence to God’s requirements. Adequacy simply means that you are on the right path, your intentions are right, and your direction is right, but you haven’t yet reached the high standard of acting according to the truth principles as required by God. For instance, regarding submission, let’s say the house of God arranges for you to do something in the course of performing your duties. How should you practice so as to meet the mark in performing your duties? When you first hear about the task, you may have some opinions. But after some consideration, you think, “God has said that we should learn to seek and submit in matters we don’t understand. So, I must seek. Although I don’t understand the truth or know how I should practice, the task has fallen to me, so I must comply and submit. Even if it’s just following the regulations, I should follow them first.” If you can practice in this manner, then you are meeting the mark. But is there a gap between reaching this standard and receiving God’s affirmation? (Yes.) This gap is determined by the extent to which you understand the truth. Although you can submit, you do not understand God’s intentions and have not fully identified the truth principles or put them into practice; you have merely adhered to the regulations. You have adhered to the basic things one should do, according to the standards of conscience and regulations, so in terms of execution, there are no problems, and in terms of the nature of your actions, there’s nothing wrong. However, this doesn’t meet the standard of practicing the truth; you still don’t understand God’s intentions. You’ve only passively and reflexively upheld your duties; you did not fulfill them properly according to the truth principles. You haven’t reached a level where you can bear witness to God or satisfy God’s will. You have not met the standard for bearing witness. Therefore, performing your duties in this manner is merely adequate, and does not yet meet with God’s approval.

What is the standard for determining whether one has performed their duty adequately? If the path of performing one’s duty is correct, the direction is correct, and the intention is correct; if the origin is correct and the principles are correct—then if these aspects are correct, the duty one has performed is adequate. Many people understand this in theory, but become confused when something actually happens to them. To sum it up, I’ll tell you a principle: Do not act arbitrarily and unilaterally when facing situations. Why can’t you act arbitrarily and unilaterally? For one thing, acting in such a manner is not in line with the principles of performing duty. For another, a duty is not your own private affair; you are not doing it for yourself, you are not engaging in your own management, it is not your own personal business. In God’s house, no matter what you do, you are not working on your own enterprise; it is the work of God’s house, it is God’s work. You must constantly bear this knowledge and awareness in mind and say, “This is not my own affair; I am doing my duty and fulfilling my responsibility. I am doing the church’s work. This is a task God entrusted to me and I am doing it for Him. This is my duty, not my own private affair.” This is the first thing people should understand. If you treat a duty as your own personal affairs, and do not seek the truth principles when you act, and carry it out according to your own motives, views, and agenda, then you will very likely make mistakes. So how should you act if you make a very clear distinction between your duty and your own personal affairs, and are aware that this is a duty? (Seek what God asks, and seek principles.) That’s right. If something happens to you and you don’t understand the truth, and you have some idea but things still aren’t clear to you, then you must find brothers and sisters who understand the truth to fellowship with; this is seeking the truth, and before all else, this is the attitude you should have toward your duty. You shouldn’t decide things based on what you think is appropriate, and then slam the gavel down and say case closed—this easily leads to problems. A duty is not your own personal affair; whether major or minor, matters of God’s house are no one’s personal affair. As long as it relates to duty, then it is not your private matter, it is not your personal affair—it concerns the truth, and it concerns principle. So what is the first thing you should do? You should seek the truth, and seek the principles. And if you do not understand the truth, you must first seek the principles; if you already understand the truth, identifying the principles will be easy. What should you do if you don’t understand the principles? There is a way: You can fellowship with those who do understand. Don’t always assume that you understand everything and are always right; this is an easy way to make mistakes. What kind of disposition is it when you always want to have the final say? This is arrogance and self-righteousness, it is acting arbitrarily and unilaterally. Some people think, “I am college-educated, I’m more cultured than you, I have the comprehension ability, you all have small stature and don’t understand the truth, so you should listen to whatever I say. I alone can make the decisions!” How is this view? If you have this kind of view, you will run into trouble; you will never perform your duties well. How can you perform your duties well when you always want to be the one to have the final say, without harmonious cooperation? Performing your duties this way will absolutely not meet the mark. Why do I say this? You always want to constrain others and make them listen to you; you don’t take in whatever anyone else says. This is biased and stubborn, it is also arrogance and self-righteousness. In this way, not only will you fail to perform your duties well, but you will also hinder others from performing their duties well. This is the consequence of an arrogant disposition. Why does God demand harmonious cooperation from people? In one respect, it is beneficial for revealing people’s corrupt dispositions, thus allowing them to know themselves and cast off their corrupt dispositions—this benefits their life entry. In another, harmonious cooperation is also beneficial for the work of the church. Since everyone lacks understanding of the truth and has corrupt dispositions, if there can’t be harmonious cooperation, then they will not be capable of performing their duties well, which will impact the work of the church. The consequence of this is severe. In summary, to achieve adequate performance of duty, one must learn to cooperate harmoniously and, when faced with situations, fellowship the truth to find solutions. This is essential—it benefits not only the work of the church but also the life entry of God’s chosen people. Some people just can’t get this; they always think that harmonious cooperation is too troublesome, and that at times, fellowshipping the truth doesn’t easily yield results. These people then raise doubts, saying, “Is it really necessary to harmoniously cooperate to achieve adequate performance of duty? When faced with some situation, will everyone’s fellowshipping together definitely produce results? I think this is all just going through the motions; following these regulations is pointless.” Is this view correct? (No.) What problem does this view expose? (Their attitude toward performing duty is problematic.) Some people have an arrogant and self-righteous disposition; they are unwilling to fellowship the truth and always want to have the final say. Can someone so arrogant and self-righteous cooperate harmoniously with others? God requires people to harmoniously cooperate in performing their duties to resolve their corrupt dispositions, to help them learn submission to God’s work in the course of performing their duties, and cast off their corrupt dispositions, thereby achieving adequate performance of duty. Refusing to cooperate with others and wanting to act arbitrarily and unilaterally, making everyone listen to you—is this the attitude you should have toward your duty? Your attitude toward performing your duty is related to your life entry. God is not concerned with what happens to you each day, or how much work you do, how much effort you put in—what He looks at is what your attitude toward these things is. And what does the attitude with which you do these things, and the way you do them, relate to? It relates to whether or not you pursue the truth, and also to your life entry. God looks at your life entry, at the path that you walk. If you walk the path of pursuing the truth, and you have life entry, you will be able to cooperate harmoniously with others when you perform your duties, and you will easily perform your duties in a way that is adequate. But if, while performing your duty, you constantly emphasize that you have capital, that you understand your line of work, that you have experience, and are mindful of God’s will, and pursue the truth more than anyone else, and if you then think that because of these things, you are qualified to have the final say, and you don’t discuss anything with anyone else, and are always a law unto yourself, and engage in your own management, and always want to be “the only flower in bloom,” then do you walk the path of life entry? No—this is the pursuit of status, it is walking the path of Paul, it is not the path of life entry. The way God has people walk the path of life entry and the path of pursuing the truth doesn’t involve such behaviors or display these manifestations. What is the standard for adequate performance of duty? (Seeking the truth in all things, being able to act in accordance with principles.) That’s right. To perform your duty adequately, it does not matter how many years you have believed in God, how many duties you have performed, nor how many contributions you have made to God’s house, much less does it matter how experienced you are in your duty. The main thing God looks at is the path a person takes. In other words, He looks at one’s attitude toward the truth and the principles, direction, origin, and starting point behind one’s actions. God focuses on these things; they are what determine the path you walk. If, in the process of your performing your duty, these positive things cannot be seen in you at all, and the principles, path, and basis of your action are your own thoughts, aims, and schemes; your starting point is to protect your own interests and safeguard your reputation and position, your modus operandi is to make decisions and act alone and have the final say, never discussing things with others or cooperating harmoniously, and never listening to advice when you have made a mistake, let alone seeking the truth, then how will God see you? You are not yet up to standard if you perform your duty so, and you have not set foot on the path of pursuing the truth, because, as you do your duty, you do not seek the truth principles and always act as you wish, doing whatever you like. This is the reason why most people do not perform their duties adequately. So how should this problem be resolved? Would you say it is difficult to fulfill one’s duty adequately? In fact, it is not; people must only be able to take a stance of humility, possess a bit of sense, and adopt an appropriate position. No matter how educated you are, what awards you have won, or what you have achieved, and no matter how high your status and rank might be, you must let go of all of these things, you must get off your high horse—this all counts for nothing. In God’s house, however great these glories are, they cannot be higher than the truth, for these superficial things are not the truth, and cannot take its place. You must be clear about this issue. If you say, “I am very gifted, I have a very sharp mind, I have quick reflexes, I am a quick learner, and I have an exceedingly good memory, so I am qualified to make the final decision,” if you always use these things as capital, and see them as precious, and as positive, then this is trouble. If your heart is occupied by these things, if they have taken root in your heart, it will be hard for you to accept the truth—and the consequences of that don’t bear thinking about. Thus, you must first put down and deny those things that you love, that seem nice, that are precious to you. Those things are not the truth; rather, they can block you from entering the truth. The most pressing thing now is that you must seek the truth in performing your duty, and practice according to the truth, such that your performance of your duty becomes adequate, for the adequate performance of duty is merely the first step onto the path of life entry. What does “the first step” mean here? It means to begin a journey. In all things, there is something with which to begin the journey, something that is most basic, most fundamental, and achieving the adequate performance of duty is a path of life entry. If your performance of duty merely seems fitting in how it is done, but is not in line with the truth principles, then you are not performing your duty adequately. So how, then, is one to work on this? One must work on and seek the truth principles; being equipped with the truth principles is what is crucial. If you merely improve your behavior and your temper, but are not equipped with the truth realities, it is useless. You may have something of a gift or specialty. That is a good thing—but only by putting it to use in performing your duty are you using it properly. Performing your duty well does not require an improvement in your humanity or personality, nor that you set aside your gift or talent. That is not what is required. What is crucial is that you understand the truth and learn to submit to God. It is all but inevitable that you will reveal corrupt disposition as you perform your duty. What should you do at such times? You must seek the truth to resolve the problem and come to act in line with the truth principles. Do this, and it will not be a problem for you to perform your duty well. Whatever realm your gift or specialty is in, or wherever you may have some vocational knowledge, using these things in the performance of a duty is most proper—it is the only way to perform your duty well. One prong is relying on conscience and reason to perform your duty, and the other is that you must seek the truth to resolve your corrupt disposition. One gains life entry by performing their duty in this way, and they become able to perform their duty adequately.

As it appears now, adequate performance of duty is inseparable from seeking the truth and acting according to the truth principles. If one cannot seek the truth to resolve problems and reach the level of acting according to principles, then they cannot achieve adequate performance of duty. The definition of adequate performance of duty is as explained. Are God’s requirements for man high? Actually, they’re not high. He just asks you to have a correct attitude, intention, and view in your actions. On this basis, you can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and deepen your knowledge of yourself. You will then be able to undergo trials and refinements, enabling you to enter into deeper truths and undergo changes in disposition. Before you undergo trials and refinements, God will, on the basis of your understanding of the truth, give you some judgment and chastisement. But what is the foundation for judgment and chastisement, as well as trials and refinement? It’s whether you have reached the level of performing your duty adequately—in other words, whether you have achieved life entry. Your life entry is not disconnected from your work and responsibilities in the church. If you spend all day at home reading God’s words and emptily talk about performing your duty and life entry, this is unrealistic and fruitless. It’s like armchair strategizing; you talk all day about performing your duty adequately, about receiving God’s commission, but without any dedication or expenditure, and certainly without suffering or experiencing hardships. Even if sometimes you’re moved to tears by singing hymns or reading God’s words, this won’t produce any effect. From this perspective, is there a relationship between reaching the level of performing your duty adequately and attaining salvation? Or, is it related to receiving God’s judgment and chastisement? They are related. To receive God’s judgment and chastisement, one must achieve adequate performance of their duties. Why does God set such a standard, requiring people to achieve adequate performance of their duties? It’s because God uses your performance of duty to gauge the degree of your life entry. If you have achieved adequate performance of your duties, it means your life entry has already attained a standard that qualifies you to accept judgment and chastisement, which also means you are eligible for accepting God’s perfecting work on you. So what conditions has God put forward to man for achieving this? Your performance of your duty must be seen as adequate in God’s eyes, meaning, in other words, that there is a fundamental path and direction to your life entry which God acknowledges and deems qualified. How does God test this? Mainly through your performance of duty. Once you’ve earned God’s affirmation by performing your duties adequately, the next step immediately begins: God will start subjecting you to judgment and chastisement. No matter what mistakes you make, you will be disciplined; it’s as if God has begun to closely monitor you. This is a good thing—it means you have been validated by God, you’re no longer in danger, and you’re the right kind of person who absolutely will not commit glaringly evil acts. In one sense, God will protect you; in another, subjectively speaking, the path you’re on, your life goals and direction, have been rooted in the true way. You won’t leave God, nor will you deviate. Next, God will certainly perfect you; this blessing is upon you. So, if one wishes to receive this blessing and walk the path of being perfected, the first requirement is to achieve adequate performance of one’s duties. God observes your various performances in the house of God, as well as the tasks, commissions, and missions He gives you, to understand your attitudes toward God and the truth. Through these attitudes, God assesses exactly which path you are walking. If you are on the path of pursuing the truth, then your performance of your duties will meet the mark, and you will surely also have life entry and varying degrees of dispositional change. These are all achieved during the process of performing your duties. Before God formally perfects you, this is as far as you can get relying on human effort. Without God’s work, you can only reach this level; striving further would be difficult. You can only rely on yourself to accomplish what’s within your means and within human capacity, such as restraining yourself through willpower, enduring suffering, paying prices, forsaking, pruning feelings, abandoning the world, recognizing evil trends, rebelling against the flesh, loyally performing duty, discerning, and not following man. When you have achieved all these, you are qualified to be perfected by God. God basically doesn’t interfere with what humans can accomplish. He continually supplies you with the truth, continually waters you, supports you to understand the truth, tells you how to comprehend the truth in various aspects, and how to enter the truth realities. Once you have understood and entered these, God will give you a qualification certificate, and your chance of being saved will be 80 percent. However, before reaching 80 percent, all your energy and effort must be invested; you can’t live this life in vain. Some people say: “I’ve been believing in God for twenty years now; have I invested all my energy?” This isn’t measured by the number of years. Some say: “I’ve been believing in God for five years now, and I’ve come to understand some truths. I know how to do my duty adequately and am striving in this direction; I know some ways now and seem to feel somewhat peaceful and comforted in my heart.” This feeling is basically accurate, but does it mean that you have an 80 percent chance of being saved? No; how much have you really reached? Between 10 to 15 percent. Because in the process of fulfilling your duty adequately, you still have to go experience being pruned many times; you have to experience many circumstances. In these circumstances, on the positive side, God will expose you to quite a bit. In the process of exposure to these people, events, and things—that is, in these practical circumstances—God lets you understand some truths. Why does He let you understand truths through these people, events, and things? If you don’t go through these experiences, your understanding of the truth will forever remain at the level of words, doctrines, and slogans. Once you’ve experienced various circumstances in life, those doctrines you previously came to understand or have been able to comprehend and grasp within your memory will become a kind of reality. This reality is the practical side of the truth, and it’s what you should understand and enter into.

What are the odds of someone being saved when they haven’t yet met the standard of performing their duty adequately? At most, it’s between 10 and 15 percent, because they do not understand the truth and absolutely cannot have true submission. Can a person who doesn’t understand the truth act according to principles? Can they take their duty seriously and responsibly? Absolutely not. Those who do not understand the truth definitely all act according to their own will, do things in a perfunctory manner, mix in a lot of selfish motives, and act based on their own preferences. Even if you can speak many doctrines, and can spout theories and slogans, it doesn’t mean you have the truth reality, so your chances of being saved are not high. To attain true salvation, and to break free from Satan’s influence and live by the word of God, the next step is to put effort into various truths. What is the purpose of this effort? It is to enter into the truth reality more accurately and solidly. Only when you have entered into the truth can you embark on the right path for your life. If you only know how to spout doctrines and slogans, but do not grasp the truth principles of performing your duty, and are even capable of acting recklessly based on your own whims, then you lack the truth reality; and you are still a long ways off. After someone has experienced many things in the course of performing their duties and realizes they do not understand the truth, as well as how much they lack, they start to put effort into the truth. Gradually, they shift from spouting doctrines and slogans to having a true understanding, to accurately practicing the truth, and to truly submitting to God. In this way, their hope of being saved increases, and the odds become higher. What is this increase based on? (It’s based on the degree to which they understand the truth.) The degree to which one understands the truth is not the most important factor; what matters most is practicing and entering the reality of the truth. Only by practicing the truth can you understand it; you will never understand the truth if you don’t practice it. Merely understanding words and doctrines is not the same as understanding the truth. The more you practice the truth, then the more reality you have, the more you change, and the better you understand the truth. Hence, your hope of being saved will increase accordingly. In the process of performing your duties, on the positive side, if you can treat your duties in the correct manner, never abandon them regardless of the circumstances you face, and even when others lose faith and stop performing their duties, you still hold fast to yours and never abandon them from start to finish, remaining steadfast and loyal to your duties until the end, then you are genuinely treating your duties as duties and demonstrating complete loyalty. If you can meet this standard, you’ve essentially met the mark for performing your duties adequately; this is on the positive side. However, before reaching this standard, on the negative side, one must be able to withstand various temptations. What kind of problem is it when someone can’t withstand temptations in the process of performing their duty, so they abandon their duty and flee, betraying their duty? That amounts to betraying God. Betraying God’s commission is to betray God. Can one who betrays God still be saved? This person is done for; all hope is lost, and the duties they previously performed were merely rendering service, which vanished into nothingness with their betrayal. So, it’s essential to hold fast to one’s duty; by doing so, there is hope. By loyally fulfilling one’s duty, one can be saved and earn God’s approval. What does everyone find to be the most difficult part of holding fast to one’s duty? It is whether they can stand firm when faced with temptation. What do these temptations include? Money, status, intimate relationships, feelings. What else? If some duties carry risks, even risks to one’s life, and performing such duties might result in arrest and imprisonment or even being persecuted to death, can you still perform your duty? Can you persevere? The ease with which these temptations can be overcome depends on whether one pursues the truth. It depends on one’s ability to gradually discern and recognize these temptations while pursuing the truth, to recognize their essence and the satanic tricks behind them. It also requires recognizing one’s own corrupt dispositions, one’s nature essence, and one’s weaknesses. One must also continually ask God to protect them so they can withstand these temptations. If one can withstand them, and hold fast to their duty without betrayal or escape under any circumstance, then the likelihood of being saved reaches 50 percent. Is this 50 percent easily achievable? Each step is a challenge, fraught with peril; it’s not easy to attain! Are there people who find pursuing the truth so hard that they feel life is too exhausting and would rather be dead? What kind of people feel this way? This is how nonbelievers feel. For mere survival, people can rack their brains, endure any hardship, and still cling to life tenaciously in disasters, not giving up until their last breath—if they believed in God and pursued the truth with this kind of vigor, they would definitely achieve the results. If people do not love the truth and are unwilling to strive for it, they are good-for-nothings! The pursuit of the truth isn’t something that can be achieved through mere human effort; it requires human effort combined with the work of the Holy Spirit. It requires God orchestrating various environments to test and refine people, and the Holy Spirit working to enlighten, illuminate, and guide them. The suffering one undergoes to obtain the truth is entirely warranted. Just like mountain climbers who risk their lives to scale peaks, they aren’t afraid of hardship in their quest to challenge the limits, even to the point of venturing their lives. Is believing in God and attaining the truth harder than climbing a mountain? What kind of people are those who desire blessings but are unwilling to suffer? They are good-for-nothings. You can’t pursue and obtain the truth without willpower; you can’t do it without the ability to suffer. You must pay a price to obtain it.

People have come to understand the definition of adequacy, the standard for adequacy, the reason why God has set forth this standard for adequacy, the relationship between performing one’s duty adequately and life entry, and other such factors related to the truth of adequate performance of duty. If they can then get to where they can hold fast to their duty regardless of time or place, without giving up on it, and can withstand all manner of temptations, and then comprehend and gain knowledge of and entry into all the various truths that God requires in all the different situations He lays out for them, then in God’s view, they have basically achieved adequacy. There are three fundamental ingredients to achieving adequacy in the performance of one’s duty: First, having a correct attitude toward their duty, and not abandoning their duty at any time; second, being able to withstand all sorts of temptations while performing their duty, and not stumbling; third, being able to understand every aspect of the truth while performing their duty, and entering into reality. When people accomplish these three things and have met the mark, then the first prerequisite for accepting judgment and chastisement and being perfected—performing one’s duty adequately—will have been completed.

Regarding adequate performance of duty, some content concerning the term “adequate” has been discussed before. How was “adequate” basically defined in previous discussions? (As acting according to principles.) The “adequacy” discussed today has risen to God’s intentions and the standards God requires for man. Why does God require that people perform their duty to an adequate standard? This relates to God’s intention to save people and His standards for saving and perfecting people. If you do not achieve adequacy in performing your duty, God will not perfect you; it is the most crucial condition for God to perfect people. Therefore, whether one can be perfected by God crucially depends on whether their performance of duty is adequate. If your performance of duty is inadequate, then God’s work of perfecting people has nothing to do with you. Now, some people are on the right path in performing their duty, and their direction is also correct, but they still cannot be considered as performing their duties adequately. Why? Because people understand too little of the truth. It is like some children who want to share some household responsibilities with their parents, but they may not have the stature to do so. At what point will they have the stature to truly share some household responsibilities? It’s when they can do some things without worrying the adults; then they can share in the household duties—that’s when they can do it. Although you can do some things now, you still remain at the stage of exerting effort and rendering service because the truth you understand is too shallow, the truth you can put into practice is too little, and the principles you can grasp are too few. You are often in a process of groping, often acting in a state of haziness, so it is very difficult for you to confirm whether what you are doing is in line with God’s intentions; you are always unclear in your mind. Can your performance of duty be considered adequate, then? It still cannot, because you understand too little of the truth, and your life entry has not reached the level God requires; your stature is too small. What does it mean for one’s stature to be too small? Some say it’s shallow understanding of the truth, but actually it’s not just about a shallow understanding of the truth. It is also directly related to one’s immature humanity or their poor caliber and having too many negative things. For example, if a duty comes upon you now and you don’t know how to do it, you may feel that you are useless and that you can’t be considerate of God’s will. This leads you to become negative and weak, feeling that God’s arrangements are bad and that you can’t do anything, and that you’re sure to be cast out. Then you no longer want to perform your duty. Isn’t this a manifestation of small stature? Moreover, there are now many young brothers and sisters who are not yet married. If they encounter a good-looking man or woman, they may feel smitten, and a few glances exchanged between them can generate feelings; with such strong affections brewing, can they still perform their duties well when they start dating? This is falling into temptation. Isn’t this indicative of a small stature? It is indeed. Additionally, some people have some special gifts, and they perform some special duties in God’s house. This makes them feel they have some capital, so they want to put on airs, always wanting to show off. As soon as they show off, they lose principles in doing things. And if others praise them even a bit, they will certainly lose their principles in doing things, becoming complacent and forgetting their duties. This too is falling into temptation. Isn’t this indicative of a small stature? Even minor matters can cause a person with small stature to stumble. For example, some people work as actors within God’s house; with their looks and charisma, they appear in a few movies and then feel like they’ve gained a bit of fame. They think, “I’ve made a bit of a name for myself now; if this were in the secular world, wouldn’t people be asking for my autograph? Why doesn’t anybody in the house of God want my autograph? Seems I’d better act in another good movie.” However, when they don’t get the lead role in the next movie, they feel like giving up their duties, deeming them pointless. They always want to play leading roles and be a famous actor, and when they don’t achieve that, they become dispirited, moody, and even consider quitting. This is having a small stature. Having a small stature means you’re unfit for significant responsibilities. Even if you are granted a duty by God, you still can’t earn His trust. With one wrong thought or one thing that goes against your wishes, you could relinquish your duties and turn against God. Isn’t this also indicative of a small stature? (Yes.) It’s an exceedingly small stature. With such small stature and these behaviors, how far away is one from performing their duties adequately? Where does the gap lie? It lies in how much one loves the truth. There are also some people who, in the process of performing their duties, find that their closest family member has fallen ill. They then stop attending gatherings and neglect their duties, thinking that skipping their duties for a couple of days is inconsequential—after all, if their family member were to die, they’d be gone forever. But they fail to consider that performing one’s duties is a crucial matter related to life, that it is one’s only chance for attaining salvation. They place feelings and family above their duties and attaining salvation. Is this not indicative of a small stature? Their stature is far too small! This shows they don’t understand the proper affairs of life, and they don’t know to engage in proper tasks. Does the size of one’s stature depend on their age? It does not. Corrupt human beings, whether male or female, and regardless of age, birthplace, or nationality, all have the same corrupt disposition. They all possess the nature of Satan and can rebel against and resist God, committing all kinds of evils. If one does not pursue the truth, can they have genuine repentance? Never; they will not change. Some people fall sick and shout about relying on God and not fearing death, yet they also feel they can’t just sit around and do nothing. They think that if they don’t perform their duties they’ll surely die, so they immediately go to perform their duties. They look at which duty entails the busiest tasks and is most important, which one is valued by God, and rush to sign up for it. Throughout the process of performing their duty, they keep wondering, “Can this illness be cured? I sure hope it can be. I’ve devoted my life; shouldn’t I be cured?” In actuality, the illness they have is terminal; whether they perform their duty or not, they will die. Although they’ve come to perform their duty now, God observes the hearts of man—with such small stature and such a motive, can they perform their duty well? Absolutely not. People of this kind don’t pursue the truth, and their humanity is not good. They always have their own little schemes in mind. Once their illness flares up or they feel even slightly unwell, they start thinking, “Has God really blessed me? Has He really cared for and protected me? It seems like He hasn’t, so I’m not going to perform my duties anymore.” The moment they feel a little uncomfortable, they want to give up on their duties. Do they have any stature? (No.) Therefore, don’t think that just because various people can sit here and listen to sermons, or that they can abandon their families and careers to perform their duties in some position in the house of God—doing work related to their own professional skills or areas of expertise—that they are necessarily performing their duties. Nor does it mean that everyone who performs their duties does so willingly, much less that all those who perform their duties possess a certain stature. On the surface, people seem busy and appear to be willingly doing things and expending themselves for God on the foundation of genuinely believing in God. In actuality, deep in their hearts, everyone is often weak. They often harbor thoughts of giving up their duties, often have their own plans, and even more often hope that God’s work will finish soon so that they can quickly receive blessings. Their goal is just that. What God aims to resolve are these human weaknesses, rebelliousness, and small stature, as well as people’s ignorant thoughts and actions. When these issues are all resolved and are no longer problems, when nothing that arises can affect your ability to perform your duties, then that’s sufficient, and your stature has grown. The path a person will ultimately walk, and the extent to which they will walk it, is not determined by how loudly they shout slogans, nor by their fleeting emotions or desires. Rather, it depends on their pursuit and the degree of their love for the truth.

In what situations will you give up your duty? Is it when you are facing death? Or when you encounter some minor disappointments in life? Some people have many demands when it comes to performing their duty. In one respect, they must not be exposed to wind or sun, and their work environment must be comfortable. They cannot bear even a slight grievance. Additionally, they must often be with their husband (or wife), live a world for two, and also have their own private lives, such as going out for entertainment, going on vacations, and so on, all of which must satisfy them. If they are not satisfied even a little bit, in their hearts they will become uncomfortable and incessantly resentful, and they’ll even disturb others by spreading notions. Some people who understand the truth can discern that these people are no good, that they are nonbelievers, and they will distance themselves from them. But there are some people who don’t understand the truth; they have a small stature and lack discernment, and they will be affected by these people’s disturbances. Tell Me, should such evildoers be cleared out from the church? (Yes.) This kind of person, who consistently disturbs and disrupts the work of the church, must be cleared out to protect those who have small stature and are ignorant. In what circumstances might you yourselves abandon your duties and leave without notice? For example, while spreading the gospel, you see someone who is especially good-looking and speaks charismatically, and the more you look at them the more your adoration grows, thinking, “How great it would be to not perform my duties and find a partner like this!” Once you think this way, you are in danger; it will be easy to succumb to temptation. And once you’ve thought about it too much, you’re set on pursuing this relationship. But when you finally win them over, you realize that they are also a corrupt human being and aren’t that great after all, but by then it’s too late for regret. Once someone falls into the temptation of romantic entanglements, it’s not easy to get out. It won’t be easy to turn back without spending one or two years, or three to five years. During these three to five years you’ve forfeited, how much truth will you miss out on? How great will the loss to your life be? How much will your life growth be delayed? Some other people see others making a lot of money in the secular world, wearing designer clothes, eating and drinking well, and their heart stirs; they want to go make money too. That’s how temptation arises. Anyone whose mind starts racing when they face situations, thinking about abandoning their duty, is not able to withstand temptation; they’re in danger. This is a sign of small stature. You feel upset and discontent when you see someone else eating some good food. You also feel discontent when you see someone else with a good partner. And you become unhappy when you see someone who is around your age and similar in attractiveness, but who is dressed better than you and even famous. You start to think, had you not abandoned your education and had you graduated and found a career, you would definitely be doing better than them. Whenever you face these situations, you’re troubled for days. These temptations are a kind of constraint, a kind of vexation for you, which shows your stature is small. When you’re spreading the gospel and you meet a suitable member of the opposite sex, a “tall, rich, and handsome” type or a woman who is fair-skinned, rich, and beautiful, you might not necessarily be able to avoid temptation. What does it mean that you might not be able to avoid it? It means your stature hasn’t reached a level where you can overcome various temptations; you cannot avoid them, so your heart gets taken over and lured away. What you think about, what you ponder in your head, even what you dream about and discuss with others all become about these matters. It affects the performance of your duties; while fellowshipping the truth, others have a lot to say while you contribute less and less, and you lose interest in believing in God. Isn’t this being lured away? It’s falling into temptation, and it’s dangerous. Some people think that you’ve only fallen into temptation when you’ve started dating someone or gone off with them, but by the time you’ve reached that point, you’re done for. Could situations like this arise if you encountered such matters? (I don’t know.) If you don’t know, that proves your stature is small. Why does this prove your stature is small? In one respect, you’ve never been faced with such matters, so you don’t know how you’d react; you don’t have a handle on yourself. In another respect, when faced with this kind of situation, you don’t have the right attitude and approach to deal with this kind of problem. If you can’t seek the truth to resolve the problem, that means you are passive. Being passive proves that you have small stature, and you are ignorant. While you may not actively seduce others, others can certainly seduce you, which brings temptation your way. If you can’t overcome it, that’s a problem. For instance, what if someone offers you money and status, or what if an even better person comes along and tries to entice you? Would it be easy to overcome that? What are the odds you could overcome it? It’s said that some people, upon receiving just two chocolates from someone who fancies them, get infatuated and consider starting a relationship with that person—that’s how small their stature is. Is this a matter of not believing in God for long enough? Not necessarily. Some people have been believers for over a decade and can still fall into temptation when encountering such situations. Whether it’s their first, second, or third time encountering this, they can still be enticed. What’s the reason for this? Their stature is small, and they truly lack understanding of some truths. Why do they lack understanding? Because they don’t pursue the truth; they’re always muddleheaded. In their view, such matters are not significant. They think, “If a suitable match really does come along, why can’t I get married? It’s just that I haven’t met anyone suitable yet, and I’m not impressed by anyone, so I’ll just muddle through.” This muddling through is not an attitude of pursuing the truth; it’s not walking the path of attaining salvation and being perfected—it is not this mindset. They just want to scrape by, living each day as it comes, going wherever life takes them. And if there really comes a day when they can’t go on, then so be it. They are not interested in God’s intention to save people or the work God does for this salvation. Moreover, they don’t earnestly seek the various truths related to God’s salvation of man, nor do they take it to heart. Some might say: “But they always show up to sermons; how can You say they don’t take it to heart?” But merely observing the ritual of attending gatherings and listening to sermons is different from accepting the truth. There are plenty of people who listen to sermons, but how many actually practice the truth? Even fewer are those who embark on the path of pursuing the truth. There are many people who focus solely on understanding doctrines and enriching their own notions and imaginings when they listen to sermons. Those who love the truth listen with the aim of seeking and accepting it. They are able to listen to sermons and reflect upon themselves, comparing what they heard to their own states, and focus on resolving their corrupt dispositions. They latch onto the practical aspects of the truth; they emphasize practicing and experiencing these aspects, and gaining the truth. Therefore, those who love the truth listen to sermons in order to obtain life, to understand the truth and transform themselves. They accept the truth in their heart, and when they practice it, the truth they understand benefits them; understanding the truth provides a path. As for those who don’t pursue the truth, they listen to sermons in a muddled way. They’ll listen to an entire sermon from beginning to end, and when you ask them what they’ve understood afterward, they’ll say, “I understood it all. I took clear notes about everything.” But if you ask them how this helps them, they’ll just vaguely say that it’s somewhat helpful. Is this actually helpful? No, because they haven’t acquired the sermon’s truths. Why haven’t they? Because they haven’t accepted it, how could they acquire it? Some people say: “How could they not have acquired it? How could they not have accepted it? They listened very attentively and even took notes.” Some people take notes just for the sake of formality, not because they yearn for the truth. Some who fellowship the truth may not necessarily accept it; it depends on whether their hearts truly yearn for the truth. What does it mean to truly accept the truth then? It means that after reading God’s words, one can align them with their own states, their own conduct and deeds, the principles of believing in God, the commissions and responsibilities given by God, and the path they are walking. They can reflect on themselves in relation to all these things, discern them clearly, achieve understanding of the truth, and then practice and enter into it. Only this is one who accepts the truth; only this is one who pursues the truth.

Just now, the manifestations of people with small stature were discussed. In the gradual process of understanding the truth, people will gradually resolve the issues of their small stature, such as foolishness, ignorance, timidity, and weakness. What does weakness refer to? It means that the component of your belief in God is particularly small; your belief in God is very minimal. In doctrine, you believe that God can accomplish everything and that He reigns sovereign over all things, but when faced with actual situations, you dare not trust in God; you dare not wholeheartedly hand everything over to Him and you cannot submit—this is weakness. People’s foolishness, ignorance, timidity, and rebelliousness, these negative things, can only be resolved gradually or improved to varying degrees through seeking the truth in the performance of duty. What does improvement mean? It means that these negative things are gradually resolved; the results of your performance of duty get better and better, and when faced with situations you can endure more than you could before. For instance, in the past, when confronted with such situations, due to your small stature, you would be weak, you would become passive, and it would even affect your attitude toward performing your duties. You would throw tantrums, give up duties, be perfunctory, and not demonstrate loyalty. Now, when faced with such situations, your degree of loyalty to performing your duty does not diminish; if you have difficulties or weaknesses in your heart, you can seek the truth to resolve them. That is to say, the issue of life entry will no longer impact your performance of your duty. Your moods, your state, and your weakness will no longer affect your designated work, nor will they affect your responsibilities, duties, and obligations. Isn’t this an increase in your ability to handle matters and cope with external events? This is growth in stature. Some people, if asked to play the leading role, become very happy, and even walk as if floating on air; but if asked to play an extra, they are reluctant and become moody, and walk with their head bowed. Some people always want to stand out when spreading the gospel, but cannot fellowship the truth. They do not practice training but still always want to stand in high places and show their faces. Is this genuine submission? Is this the correct attitude toward performing one’s duty? When one’s mindset is incorrect and their state is wrong, they should seek the truth for resolution, and eventually be able to seek and practice the truth no matter what situation arises; this is having life experience. Once you can discern all sorts of matters, then you have gained immunity. No matter what you encounter or when it occurs, it will not affect your performance of your duty; nor will your performance be affected by any minor issue, any slight mood, or changes in people, events, things, and circumstances; your capacity to overcome sin and overcome various circumstances and moods will become stronger—this means your stature has grown. How does stature grow? It is the result achieved when people gradually enter into the truth reality by seeking the truth to resolve problems. Once you’ve understood some truths, and these truths become your life, become the foundation of your conduct, become your view for observing matters, and become your guiding light, then you are resilient; you will not weaken so often. For example, you would be very happy if you were made a leader before; if you were replaced, you’d be negative for a month or two, unwilling to do anything you were asked to do, performing any task with a negative attitude, acting in a perfunctory manner, even to the point of giving up altogether. Now, if you were going to be replaced, you’d say, “Even if I am replaced, it won’t affect me. I won’t be negative for a single day. If I’m replaced today, I’ll continue with what I should do tomorrow. I accept and submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements.” This is resilience. How does this resilience come about? If you do not pursue the truth, and when faced with matters you do not seek the truth for resolution, and do not focus on acting with principles, will you have this stature? You won’t ever be resilient if you live by the unbelievers’ philosophies for worldly dealings. Only if you live by the truth can you gradually let go of pride, status, and vanity, so that in the end, nothing can topple you and nothing can affect you in performing your duties well. This is having stature; it is being resilient. When you are resilient and your stature has grown, don’t you perform your duties more and more up to standard? When you perform your duties adequately, does it not mean that you already have a certain stature? What does this stature include? Genuine faith in God, genuine submission to God, and loyalty to God, as well as the ability to treat your duties correctly; accepting everything from God, and being able to submit to God, fear God, and shun evil. These are the manifestations of the growth of stature.

Now, have you felt in your consciousness that being saved needs to be put on the agenda, and that you can no longer be muddled about it? Understanding each and every truth is extremely important for being saved; you cannot be muddled about any single truth. Believing in God is not merely exerting some effort, running around, enduring some suffering, and being able to persevere through trials without stumbling. If people who believe in God truly regard being saved as a significant matter in life and treat obtaining the truth as a significant matter in life, then they can let go of anything; letting go will be easy for them. If one hasn’t yet felt how important it is to be saved, then that’s foolish and ignorant; their faith is too small, and they’re still living in dire straits. If someone doesn’t love the truth, it will be difficult for them to achieve adequate performance of duty. This is because to achieve adequate performance of duty, one needs to understand many truths and also enter into many truths. In the process of understanding and entering into the truth, the duty one performs will gradually become adequate; their various weaknesses and moods will gradually change, and their various states will also gradually improve. In the process of understanding the truth and entering into the truth reality, one will be increasingly clear within them about the vision concerning belief in God and being saved, and at the same time, one’s desire and demand for being saved will become increasingly urgent. What is meant by urgent? It means you can feel that being saved is an urgent matter, an extremely important matter; and that if you don’t resolve your corrupt dispositions, it could be very dangerous and you won’t be able to attain salvation. This is the kind of mindset that carries a sense of urgency. In the beginning, you have no concept of being saved or perfected. Gradually, you come to understand that humans have corrupt dispositions and need God to save them. You discover that people live in sin, trapped in a corrupt disposition with no freedom, living a life of extreme suffering, and that sooner or later they’ll be swept away by Satan’s evil trends. You realize that humans can’t stand firm on their own—no matter how resilient or determined you are, you can’t guarantee that you will follow God to the end—and that you must pursue the truth, you must experience judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinements in order to understand the truth and know yourself, and only then will you have the resolve to follow God to the end. It is at this point that you begin to feel some urgency about being saved. Understanding the truth is crucial for being saved. Pursuing the truth is a significant matter that one must never abandon or overlook. Whether or not you pursue the truth has a direct relationship with being saved, and it is inextricably linked to whether you can be perfected by God. In the process of performing your duties, all the problems and difficulties you encounter must be resolved by seeking the truth; your weakness, ignorance, and foolishness will gradually change as well. What does this change refer to? It means that your ability to overcome sin has grown stronger, and you are becoming increasingly sensitive to your corrupt dispositions and to wicked things. You are gaining more discernment and feeling toward these matters in your heart. Currently, some people still lack this awareness, and feel nothing when they see sin, wickedness, or satanic things—this is unacceptable and shows their stature is still some ways off. Some others have no feelings, no discernment, and not even a trace of genuine hatred toward various sinful behaviors and the various ugly aspects of Satan. Nor do they have any awareness or discernment, or much less any hatred, for their own actions and the corruption they reveal, as well as the corrupt dispositions and ugly things deep within their hearts—these people are still far from having stature. However, no matter how far the gap is, no matter how weak one is or how small their stature is at the moment, this is not a problem, because God has provided people with a path and direction to resolve these issues. As you gradually reach the standard of performing your duties adequately, you’re also pursuing an understanding of the truth and entry into the truth realities. As you pursue understanding the truth and entering the truth realities, your ability to overcome sin grows stronger, and your capacity to discern wicked things also increases, thereby resolving your weakness and rebelliousness to various extents. For example, when your stature is small and you encounter a situation, even if you know it’s not good, you might still be constrained and bound by it, and even engage in it. When you understand the truth and can practice some truths, aside from detesting such matters in your heart, you will also reject and refuse to engage in them; at the same time, you will also help others break free from them. This is progress; this is the growth of stature. What are the markers of the growth of stature? First of all, one has loyalty in the performance of duty, with no more perfunctory behavior. Additionally, one’s faith in God becomes more genuine and more practical, and there is true submission to God. Furthermore, one can discern and overcome Satan’s temptations and disturbances; Satan can no longer mislead or control them, and they can break free from Satan’s influence. With this, one has truly met the standard for being saved.

After today’s fellowship, do you know how to gauge whether the duties you perform are up to standard? If you do, it proves that you have some understanding of these truths and have made progress; if you do not, it proves that you haven’t understood what was said, and you’ve fallen short. You need clarity in two aspects: One is the ability to evaluate yourself, and the other is knowing how to perform your duty so as to meet the standard and knowing the path. In the past, the focus most of the time was on the performance of duty, with little mention of performing it adequately. Today, the main discussion has been about the standards for adequate performance of duty. The standards for adequacy and the various truths involved in this aspect have been basically fellowshipped quite clearly. Additionally, what issues should be avoided and what principles should be upheld in the process of performing duties, as well as the mistakes that should not be made—these are all very important. In particular, don’t steal offerings, don’t recklessly engage in romantic relationships, and don’t defy work arrangements. If you commit these errors, then you are utterly finished; there is no hope of being saved. So, do not take the wrong path, do not walk the path of an evil person. Once you set foot on that road, there truly is no hope; no one can save you. If God doesn’t save you, then you certainly cannot save yourself either. If someone reaches that point, it’s a serious problem; it’s not easy to turn back. That is essentially a road to nowhere.

November 28, 2018

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