2. Which people can obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and which cannot
Relevant Words of God:
The work of the Holy Spirit is always moving forward, and all those who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit should also be progressing deeper and changing, step-by-step. They should not stop at a single stage. Only those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit would remain amongst His original work, and not accept the new work of the Holy Spirit. Only those who are disobedient would be incapable of gaining the Holy Spirit’s work. If the practice of man does not keep pace with the new work of the Holy Spirit, then the practice of man is surely dissevered from the work of today and is surely incompatible with the work of today. Such outdated people as these are simply incapable of accomplishing God’s will, much less could they become people who will ultimately stand testimony to God. The entire management work, furthermore, could not be concluded amongst such a group of people. For those who once held to the law of Jehovah, and those who once suffered for the cross, if they cannot accept the stage of work of the last days, then all that they did will have been in vain, and useless. The clearest expression of the Holy Spirit’s work is in embracing the here and now, not clinging to the past. Those who have not kept up with the work of today, and who have become separated from the practice of today, are those who oppose and do not accept the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people defy the present work of God. Though they hold onto the light of the past, it cannot be denied that they do not know the work of the Holy Spirit. Why has there been all this talk of the changes in the practice of man, of the differences in the practice between the past and today, of how the practice was carried out during the previous age, and of how it is done today? Such divisions in the practice of man are always spoken of because the work of the Holy Spirit is constantly moving forward, and thus the practice of man is required to constantly change. If man remains stuck in one stage, then this proves that he is incapable of keeping up with God’s new work and new light; it does not prove that God’s plan of management has not changed. Those who are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit always think they are right, but in fact, God’s work in them ceased long ago, and the work of the Holy Spirit is absent from them. The work of God was long since transferred to another group of people, a group on whom He intends to complete His new work. Because those in religion are incapable of accepting God’s new work, and hold only to the old work of the past, thus God has forsaken these people, and does His new work on the people who accept this new work. These are people who cooperate in His new work, and only in this way can His management be accomplished. The management of God is always moving forward, and the practice of man is always ascending higher. God is always working, and man is always in need, such that both reach their zenith and God and man achieve complete union. This is the expression of the accomplishment of God’s work, and it is the final outcome of God’s entire management.
In each stage of God’s work there are also corresponding requirements of man. All those who are within the stream of the Holy Spirit are possessed of the presence and discipline of the Holy Spirit, and those who are not within the stream of the Holy Spirit are under the command of Satan, and without any of the work of the Holy Spirit. People who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit are those who accept the new work of God, and who cooperate in the new work of God. If those who are within this stream are incapable of cooperating, and unable to put into practice the truth required by God during this time, then they will be disciplined, and at worst will be forsaken by the Holy Spirit. Those who accept the new work of the Holy Spirit, will live within the stream of the Holy Spirit, and they will receive the care and protection of the Holy Spirit. Those who are willing to put the truth into practice are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and those who are unwilling to put the truth into practice are disciplined by the Holy Spirit, and may even be punished. Regardless of what kind of person they are, provided that they are within the stream of the Holy Spirit, God will take responsibility for all those who accept His new work for the sake of His name. Those who glorify His name and are willing to put His words into practice will receive His blessings; those who disobey Him and do not put His words into practice will receive His punishment. People who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit are those who accept the new work, and since they have accepted the new work, they should cooperate appropriately with God, and should not act as rebels who do not perform their duty. This is God’s only requirement of man. Not so for the people who do not accept the new work: They are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit, and the discipline and reproach of the Holy Spirit do not apply to them. All day, these people live within the flesh, they live within their minds, and all that they do is according to the doctrine produced by the analysis and research of their own brains. This is not what is required by the Holy Spirit’s new work, much less is it cooperation with God. Those who do not accept the new work of God are bereft of the presence of God, and, moreover, devoid of the blessings and protection of God. Most of their words and actions hold to the past requirements of the Holy Spirit’s work; they are doctrine, not truth. Such doctrine and regulation are sufficient to prove that the gathering together of these people is nothing but religion; they are not the chosen ones, or the objects of God’s work. The assembly of all those among them can only be called a grand congress of religion, and cannot be called a church. This is an unalterable fact. They do not have the Holy Spirit’s new work; what they do seems redolent of religion, what they live out seems replete with religion; they do not possess the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, much less are they eligible to receive the discipline or enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. These people are all lifeless corpses, and maggots that are devoid of spirituality. They have no knowledge of man’s rebelliousness and opposition, have no knowledge of all of man’s evildoing, much less do they know all of God’s work and God’s present will. They are all ignorant, base people, and they are scum that are unfit to be called believers! Nothing they do has any bearing on the management of God, much less can it impair God’s plans. Their words and actions are too disgusting, too pathetic, and simply unworthy of mention. Nothing done by those who are not within the stream of the Holy Spirit has anything to do with the new work of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, no matter what they do, they are without the discipline of the Holy Spirit, and, moreover, without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. For they are all people who have no love for the truth, and who have been detested and rejected by the Holy Spirit.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Work and Man’s Practice
God works in those who pursue and treasure His words. The more you treasure God’s words, the more His Spirit will work in you. The more a person treasures God’s words, the greater their chance of being perfected by God. God perfects those who truly love Him, and He perfects those whose hearts are at peace before Him. To treasure all of God’s work, to treasure God’s enlightenment, to treasure God’s presence, to treasure God’s care and protection, to treasure how God’s words become your reality and provide for your life—all this accords best with God’s heart. If you treasure God’s work, that is, if you treasure all the work that He has done upon you, then He will bless you and cause all that is yours to multiply. If you do not treasure God’s words, He will not work in you, but He will only grant you paltry grace for your faith, or bless you with scant wealth and your family with scant safety. You should strive to make God’s words your reality, and be able to satisfy Him and be after His own heart; you should not merely strive to enjoy His grace. Nothing is more important for believers than to receive God’s work, gain perfection, and become those who do God’s will. This is the goal you should pursue.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God Perfects Those Who Are After His Own Heart
God having spoken so much, you should do your utmost to eat and drink His words, and then, without you realizing it, you will come to understand, and without you realizing it, the Holy Spirit will enlighten you. When the Holy Spirit enlightens man, it is often without man’s awareness. He enlightens and guides you when you thirst and seek. The principle by which the Holy Spirit works is centered around the words of God that you eat and drink. All those who place no importance on the words of God and are always of a different attitude toward His words—believing, in their befuddled thinking, it a matter of indifference whether they read His words or not—are those who do not possess reality. Neither the Holy Spirit’s work nor His enlightenment can be seen in such a person. People like this are merely coasting along, pretenders without true qualifications, like Mr. Nanguo of the parable.[a]
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word
What kind of person does the Holy Spirit enlighten? Those who are of keen and subtle intellect. When they are given a feeling or an enlightenment, they can sense that this is the work of the Holy Spirit, and that it is God doing it. Sometimes, they can tell as soon as they are being reproached by the Holy Spirit, and so they rein themselves in. These are the people whom the Holy Spirit enlightens. If someone is careless and does not understand spiritual things, they will not realize when they are being given a feeling. They are heedless of the work of the Holy Spirit, and so the Holy Spirit will not try to enlighten them again. If they remain unreceptive even after three or four attempts, the Holy Spirit will no longer work on them. Why is it that some people feel dark, depressed, deflated, bereft of the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit within themselves the further they go? There is nothing but lifeless things, lifeless doctrines, within them, so how could they possibly feel energized? People do not last for long by only relying on their enthusiasm. You must understand the truth to have strength. Therefore, in your faith in God, you must be of subtle intellect, you must take God’s words seriously, and focus on knowing yourself. You must understand the will of God through understanding the truth, through knowing and experiencing; only then will you gain the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is extraordinarily practical. Some people have the capability to understand the truth, yet they have no personal experience of the work of the Holy Spirit. Going forward, you must focus on the subtlest of feelings, and the subtlest of light. Each time something happens to you, you should observe it and approach it from the perspective of the truth, and in so doing, you will gradually set foot upon the right track.
—“See All Things Through the Eyes of Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
If in people’s belief in God, they do not give their heart to Him and if their heart is not in Him and they do not treat His burden as their own, then everything they do is an act of cheating God, an act typical of religious people, and cannot receive God’s praise. God cannot gain anything from this kind of person; this kind of person can only serve as a foil to God’s work, like a decoration in the house of God, something superfluous and useless. God does not make use of this kind of person. In such a person, not only is there no opportunity for the work of the Holy Spirit, there is not even any value in their being perfected. This type of person is, in truth, a walking corpse. Such people have nothing that can be used by the Holy Spirit, but on the contrary, all of them have been appropriated and deeply corrupted by Satan. God will weed these people out. Currently, in making use of people the Holy Spirit not only employs those parts of them that are desirable in order to get things done, He also perfects and changes their undesirable parts. If your heart can be poured into God and remain quiet before Him, then you will have the opportunity and the qualifications to be used by the Holy Spirit, to receive the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and even more, you will have the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to make good your shortcomings. When you give your heart to God, on the positive side, you can attain deeper entry and attain a higher plane of insight; on the negative side, you will have more understanding of your own faults and shortcomings, you will be more eager to seek to satisfy God’s will, and you will not be passive, but will actively enter in. Thus, you will become a correct person. Assuming your heart is able to remain quiet before God, the key to whether or not you receive praise from the Holy Spirit, and whether or not you please God, is whether you can actively enter in. When the Holy Spirit enlightens a person and makes use of them, it never makes them negative but always makes them actively progress. Even though this person has weaknesses, they can avoid basing the way they live their lives on those weaknesses. They can avoid delaying growth in their life, and continue to seek to satisfy God’s will. This is a standard. If you can attain this, it is sufficient proof that you have obtained the presence of the Holy Spirit. If a person is always negative, and if, even after receiving enlightenment and coming to know themselves, they remain negative and passive and unable to stand up and act in concert with God, then this type of person just receives the grace of God, but the Holy Spirit is not with them. When a person is negative, this means that their heart has not turned to God and their spirit has not been moved by God’s Spirit. This should be understood by all.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. It Is Very Important to Establish a Normal Relationship With God
The work of the Holy Spirit has its principles, and it is conditional. In what kind of person does the Holy Spirit typically work? What must a person possess to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit? In one’s faith, one must clearly understand that to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, at the very least one must have a conscience and an honest heart, and one’s conscience must have elements of honesty. Only once you have an honest heart—as well as the conscience and reason that one’s humanity must possess—can the Holy Spirit work on you. People always say that God looks deeply into one’s heart and observes everything. However, people never know why some never gain enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, why they can never obtain grace, why they never have joy, why they are always negative and depressed, and why they are incapable of being positive. Take a look at their states. It is certain that not one of these people has a functioning conscience or an honest heart. Those who have peace and joy, who are always active and improving in the performance of their duties, who always gain something, who always have understanding, and who always get something from their efforts after a period of time—is what they gain achieved by their imagination? Are those things learned from studying books? How are they gained? Can the Holy Spirit’s work be gotten rid of? (No.) The work of the Holy Spirit is the main thing. When you possess an honest heart, and the conscience and reason that are the prerequisites of one’s humanity, God will observe you. Have you figured out a pattern of how the Holy Spirit works? The Holy Spirit usually works on those whose hearts are honest, and He works when people get into trouble and are seeking the truth. God will not pay heed to those who have no shred of human reason or conscience. If someone is very honest but, for a period of time, his heart is turned away from God, he has no desire to improve, he falls into a negative state and does not come out of it, when he does not pray or seek the truth to resolve his state, and he does not cooperate, then the Holy Spirit will not work in him during such occasional darkening of his state or his temporary degeneration. How, then, can someone without the consciousness of humanity be worked in by the Holy Spirit? That is even more impossible. What, then, should such people do? Is there a way for them to follow? They must genuinely repent and be honest people. How can one be an honest person? First, your heart must open up to God, and you must seek truth from God; once you understand the truth, you must then practice it. You must then submit to God’s arrangements and allow God to take charge of you. Only in this way will you be praised by God. You must first set aside your own prestige and vanity, and forgo your own interests. Try to set them aside first of all, and once you have set them aside, put your entire body and soul into your duty and into the work of testifying for God, and then see how God guides you, see whether peace and joy arise within you, whether you have this confirmation. You must first genuinely repent, surrender yourself, open your heart to God, and set aside the things that you treasure. If you continue to hold on to them while making requests of God, will you be able to gain the work of the Holy Spirit? The work of the Holy Spirit is conditional, and God is a God who hates evil and who is holy. If people always hold on to these things, constantly closing themselves off to God and rejecting God’s work and guidance, then God will stop working on them. It is not that God must work within every person, or that He will force you to do this or that. He does not coerce you. The work of evil spirits is to force humans to do this and that, and even to possess and control people. The Holy Spirit works especially gently; He moves you, and you do not feel it. You simply feel as though you have unconsciously come to understand or realize something. This is how the Holy Spirit moves people, and, if they submit, they will find themselves able to truly repent.
—“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Deep down, people harbor a few bad states—negativity, weakness, and depression or fragility; or a persistent base intent; or always being in the thrall of worrying about prestige, selfish desires, and their own benefits; or they think themselves of poor caliber and are in possession of certain negative states. When you live constantly within these states, it is very difficult for you to gain the work of the Holy Spirit. If you have difficulty gaining the Holy Spirit’s work, you will contain very few positive things within you, and it will be hard for you to gain the truth. People always rely on their willpower to exercise restraint, holding back in this way and that, but they still cannot free themselves from those negative or adverse states. Part of this is due to human reasons; people cannot find a path of practice that suits them. Another reason—and this, too, is a major one—is that people always fall into these negative, sinking, degenerate states, and the Holy Spirit does not work. Even if He occasionally gives them enlightenment, He does not do major work in them. Thus, it takes people great effort to take action, and it is difficult for them to see and understand anything. It is hard for you to obtain enlightenment and illumination, and very hard to have light, because too many negative and adverse things have occupied all the space within you. If one cannot be enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and is unable to gain the work of the Holy Spirit, then one cannot leave these states or transform these negative states; the Holy Spirit does not work, and you cannot find a path forward. For both these reasons, it is difficult for you to attain a positive, normal state. Even though you can endure a lot and work hard at fulfilling your duties, and even though you have expended great effort and are able to abandon your home and occupation, and completely let go of everything, your inner state has still not actually changed. Too many entanglements still hold you captive from practicing the truth and from entering truth reality. Various things fill the space within you: Personal notions, imaginings, knowledge, and philosophies for living, as well as negative things, selfish desires and self-interests, concerns about prestige, and disputes with others. People have nothing positive within them. Their heads are full of negative and adverse thoughts; this is a fact that no one can deny. Their hearts have been filled and occupied by satanic things. If you do not eradicate these things, if you cannot free yourself of these states, if you cannot transform into the genuine likeness of a child—innocent, lively, guileless, authentic, and pure—and come into God’s presence, and if you do not come before Him, then it will be very difficult for you to gain the truth.
—“Give Your True Heart to God, and You Can Obtain the Truth” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “of the parable.”