3. Believers must be able to identify false shepherds and antichrists in order to cast off religion and return to God

Bible Verses for Reference:

“Thus said the Lord Jehovah to the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat, and you clothe you with the wool, you kill them that are fed: but you feed not the flock. The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill: yes, My flock was scattered on all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them” (Eze 34:2–6).

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mat 7:15).

“They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Mat 15:14).

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2Jn 1:7).

“Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1Jn 4:2–3).

Relevant Words of God:

Look at the leaders of each denomination—they are all arrogant and self-righteous, and their interpretations of the Bible lack context and are guided by their own imaginings. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they could not preach at all, would people follow them? They do, after all, possess some knowledge and can preach on some doctrine, or they know how to win others over and make use of some artifice. They use these to bring people before themselves and deceive them. Nominally, those people believe in God, but in reality, they follow their leaders. When they encounter someone preaching the true way, some of them say, “We have to consult our leader about our faith.” A human is the medium of their faith in God; is that not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way? Such people are of the same ilk as Paul. …

Previously, believers in God might have followed a person, or they might not have satisfied God’s will; in this final stage, they will have to come before God. If your foundation is your experience of this stage of work, yet you continue to follow a person, then you are unforgivable, and will end up as Paul did.

Excerpted from “Only to Pursue the Truth Is Truly to Believe in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks

There are those who read the Bible in grand churches and recite it all day long, yet not one among them understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one among them is able to know God; still less can any one among them accord with God’s will. They are all worthless, vile people, each standing on high to lecture God. They willfully oppose God even as they carry His banner. Claiming faith in God, still they eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such people are devils that devour the soul of man, head demons that deliberately get in the way of those trying to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks impeding those who seek God. They may appear of “sound constitution,” but how are their followers to know that they are none other than antichrists who lead people to stand against God? How are their followers to know that they are living devils dedicated to the devouring of human souls? Those who hold themselves in high esteem in God’s presence are the most abject of men, while those who humble themselves are the most honored. And those who think they know the work of God and who are, moreover, capable of proclaiming the work of God to others with great fanfare even as they look directly at Him—these are the most ignorant of men. Such people are without the testimony of God, arrogant and full of conceit. Those who believe that they have too little knowledge of God, despite having actual experience and practical knowledge of Him, are those most beloved by Him. Only such people truly have testimony and are truly capable of being perfected by God. Those who do not understand the will of God are opponents of God; those who understand the will of God and yet do not practice the truth are opponents of God; those who eat and drink the words of God, and yet go against the essence of God’s words, are opponents of God; those who have notions about the incarnate God, and moreover have a mind to engage in rebellion, are opponents of God; those who pass judgment on God are opponents of God; and whoever is unable to know God or to bear witness to Him is an opponent of God.

Excerpted from “All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The work of a qualified worker can bring people to the right way and grant them greater entry into the truth. His work can bring people before God. In addition, the work he does can vary from individual to individual and is not bound by rules, allowing people liberation and freedom, and the capacity gradually to grow in life and to have a more profound entry into the truth. The work of an unqualified worker falls far short. His work is foolish. He can only bring people into rules, and what he demands of people does not vary from individual to individual; he does not work according to people’s actual needs. In this type of work, there are too many rules and too many doctrines, and it cannot bring people into reality, nor into normal practice of growth in life. It can only enable people to adhere to a few worthless rules. Such guidance can only lead people astray. He leads you to become like him; he can bring you into what he has and is. For followers to discern whether leaders are qualified, the key is to look at the path on which they lead and the results of their work, and to see whether followers receive principles in accordance with the truth, and whether they receive ways of practice suitable for their transformation. You should distinguish between the different work of different types of people; you should not be a foolish follower. This bears on the matter of people’s entry. If you are unable to distinguish which person’s leadership has a path and which does not, you will easily be deceived. All of this has a direct bearing on your own life.

Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Work in the mind of man is too easy for man to achieve. Pastors and leaders in the religious world, for example, rely on their gifts and positions to do their work. People who follow them for a long time will be infected by their gifts and influenced by some of their being. They focus on people’s gifts, abilities and knowledge, and they pay attention to supernatural things and many profound, unrealistic doctrines (of course, these profound doctrines are unattainable). They do not focus on changes in people’s dispositions, but rather on training people to preach and work, improving people’s knowledge and their abundant religious doctrines. They do not focus on how much people’s disposition is changed nor on how much people understand of the truth. They do not concern themselves with people’s essence, and much less do they try to know people’s normal and abnormal states. They do not counter people’s notions, nor do they reveal their notions, much less do they prune people for their deficiencies or corruptions. Most who follow them serve with their gifts, and all they release is religious notions and theological theories, which are out of touch with reality and completely unable to confer life onto people. In fact, the essence of their work is nurturing talent, nurturing a person with nothing into a talented seminary graduate who later goes on to work and lead.

Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Many people behind My back covet the blessing of status, they gorge themselves on food, they love to sleep and give every care to the flesh, always afraid that there is no way out for the flesh. They do not perform their proper function in the church, but freeload off the church, or else they admonish their brothers and sisters with My words, lording themselves over others from positions of authority. These people keep saying they are doing God’s will and always say they are God’s intimates—is this not absurd? If you have the right intentions, but are unable to serve in accordance with God’s will, then you are being foolish; but if your intentions are not right, and you still say you serve God, then you are someone who opposes God, and you ought to be punished by God! I have no sympathy for such people! In the house of God, they freeload, always coveting the comforts of the flesh, and give no consideration to the interests of God. They always seek what is good for them, and they pay no heed to God’s will. They do not accept the scrutiny of God’s Spirit in anything they do. They are always maneuvering and deceiving their brothers and sisters, and being two-faced, like a fox in a vineyard, always stealing grapes and trampling over the vineyard. Could such people be God’s intimates? Are you fit to receive God’s blessings? You take no burden for your life and the church, are you fit to receive God’s commission? Who would dare trust someone like you? When you serve like this, could God dare to entrust you with a greater task? Would this not cause delays to the work?

Excerpted from “How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

You serve God with your natural character, and according to your personal preferences. What’s more, you always think that the things you are willing to do are what are delightful to God, and that the things you do not wish to do are what are hateful to God; you work entirely according to your own preferences. Can this be called serving God? Ultimately, there will not be the slightest change in your life disposition; instead, your service will make you even more stubborn, thus deeply ingraining your corrupt disposition, and as such, there will be formed within you rules about service to God that are primarily based on your own character, and experiences derived from your service according to your own disposition. These are the experiences and lessons of man. It is man’s philosophy of living in the world. People like this can be classed as Pharisees and religious officials. If they never wake up and repent, then they will surely turn into the false Christs and the antichrists who deceive people in the last days. The false Christs and the antichrists that were spoken of will arise from among such people. If those who serve God follow their own character and act according to their own will, they run the risk of being cast out at any time. Those who apply their many years of experience acquired to serving God in order to win the hearts of others, to lecture them and control them, and to stand on high—and who never repent, never confess their sins, never renounce the benefits of position—these people shall fall before God. They are of the same kind as Paul, presuming upon their seniority and flaunting their qualifications. God will not bring people like this to perfection. Such service interferes with the work of God.

Excerpted from “Religious Service Must Be Purged” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Some people only arm themselves with certain truths for emergencies or to forsake themselves and help others, and not to solve their own troubles; we call them “selfless people.” They regard others as puppets of the truth and themselves as its masters, teaching others to hold fast to the truth and not to be passive, while they themselves remain as spectators on the sidelines. What kind of people are these? They arm themselves with some words of truth but merely use them to lecture others, while doing nothing at all to keep from meeting their own destruction. How pathetic! If their words can help others, then why can they not help themselves? We should label them as hypocrites who have no reality. They supply words of truth to others and ask others to put them into practice, while making no effort to practice them themselves. Are they not despicable? They themselves clearly cannot do it, yet they force others to put the words of truth into practice—what a cruel method this is! They are not using reality to help others; they are not using love to provide for others. They are simply deceiving and harming people. If this continues, with each person passing the words of truth onto the next, then will this not end up with everyone merely speaking the words of truth while being incapable themselves of putting it into practice? How can such people change? They do not recognize their own problems at all; how can there be a path forward for them?

Excerpted from “Those Who Love the Truth Have a Path Forward” in Records of Christ’s Talks

When God becomes flesh and comes to work among men, all behold Him and hear His words, and all see the deeds that God works from within His body of flesh. At that moment, all man’s notions become foam. As for those who have seen God appearing in the flesh, they shall not be condemned if they willingly obey Him, whereas those who purposefully stand against Him shall be deemed an opponent of God. Such people are antichrists, enemies who willfully stand against God. Those who harbor notions regarding God but are still ready and willing to obey Him will not be condemned. God condemns man on the basis of man’s intentions and actions, never for his thoughts and ideas. If He were to condemn man on the basis of his thoughts and ideas, then not a single person would be able to escape from the wrathful hands of God. Those who willfully stand against the incarnate God shall be punished for their disobedience. With regard to these people that willfully stand against God, their opposition stems from the fact that they harbor notions about God, which leads them in turn into actions that disrupt God’s work. These people intentionally resist and destroy the work of God. They do not merely have notions about God, but they also engage in activities that disrupt His work, and for this reason people of this kind shall be condemned.

Excerpted from “All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

If you have believed in God for many years, and yet have never obeyed Him, and do not accept the entirety of His words, and instead ask that God submit to you and act according to your notions, then you are the most rebellious of all, you are a nonbeliever. How could such people be able to obey the work and words of God that do not conform to the notions of man? Most rebellious of all are those who intentionally defy and resist God. They are the enemies of God, the antichrists. Theirs is always an attitude of hostility toward the new work of God; they never have the slightest inclination to submit, nor have they ever gladly submitted or humbled themselves. They exalt themselves before others and never submit to anyone. Before God, they consider themselves the best at preaching the word, and the most skillful in working on others. Never do they discard the “treasures” in their possession, but treat them as family heirlooms for worship, for preaching about to others, and they use them to lecture those fools who idolize them. There are indeed a certain number of people like this in the church. It can be said that they are “indomitable heroes,” generation after generation sojourning in the house of God. They take preaching the word (doctrine) to be their highest duty. Year after year, generation after generation, they go about vigorously enforcing their “sacred and inviolable” duty. None dare touch them; not a single person dares openly reproach them. They become “kings” in the house of God, running rampant as they tyrannize others from age to age. This pack of demons seeks to join hands and demolish My work; how can I allow these living devils to exist before My eyes?

Excerpted from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Your opposition to God and obstruction of the work of the Holy Spirit is caused by your notions and inherent arrogance. It is not because God’s work is wrong, but because you are naturally too disobedient. After finding their belief in God, some people cannot even say with certainty where man came from, yet they dare to make public speeches appraising the rights and wrongs of the Holy Spirit’s work. They even lecture the apostles who have the Holy Spirit’s new work, passing comment and speaking out of turn; their humanity is too low, and there is not the slightest sense in them. Will the day not come when such people are rejected by the work of the Holy Spirit, and burned by the fires of hell? They do not know the work of God, but instead criticize His work, and also try to instruct God how to work. How can such unreasonable people know God? Man comes to know God during the process of seeking and experiencing; it is not through criticizing at whim that man comes to know God through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The more accurate people’s knowledge of God becomes, the less they oppose Him. In contrast, the less people know of God, the more likely they are to oppose Him. Your notions, your old nature, and your humanity, character and moral outlook are the “capital” with which you resist God, and the more corrupt, degraded and low you become, the more you are the enemy of God. Those who are possessed of strong notions and who have a self-righteous disposition are even more in enmity of God incarnate; such people are the antichrists.

Excerpted from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Do many people not oppose God and obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit because they do not know the varied and diverse work of God, and, furthermore, because they possess but a smidgeon of knowledge and doctrine with which to measure the work of the Holy Spirit? Though the experiences of such people are superficial, they are arrogant and indulgent in nature and they regard the work of the Holy Spirit with contempt, ignore the disciplines of the Holy Spirit and, moreover, use their trivial old arguments to “confirm” the work of the Holy Spirit. They also put on an act, and are wholly convinced of their own learning and erudition, and convinced that they are able to travel across the world. Are such people not those who are despised and rejected by the Holy Spirit, and will they not be eliminated by the new age? Are not those who come before God and openly oppose Him ignorant and under-informed little people, who are merely trying to show how brilliant they are? With but a meager knowledge of the Bible, they try to straddle the world’s “academia”; with but a superficial doctrine to teach people, they try to reverse the work of the Holy Spirit and attempt to make it revolve around their own thought process. Short-sighted as they are, they try to behold in one glance 6,000 years of God’s work. These people do not have any sense worth mentioning! In fact, the greater people’s knowledge of God, the slower they are to judge His work. Furthermore, they only talk a little of their knowledge of God’s work today, but they are not rash in their judgments. The less people know of God, the more arrogant and overconfident they are and the more wantonly they proclaim God’s being—yet they only talk of theory, and offer no real evidence. Such people are of no value whatsoever. Those who see the work of the Holy Spirit as a game are frivolous! Those who are not cautious when they encounter the new work of the Holy Spirit, who run their mouths off, are quick to judge, who give free rein to their natural instinct to deny the rightness of the Holy Spirit’s work, and who also insult and blaspheme it—are such disrespectful people not ignorant of the Holy Spirit’s work? Are they not, furthermore, people of great arrogance, people who are inherently proud and ungovernable? Even if a day comes when such people accept the new work of the Holy Spirit, still God will not tolerate them. Not only do they look down upon those who work for God, but they also blaspheme against God Himself. Such foolhardy people will not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come, and they shall forever perish in hell! Such disrespectful, indulgent people are pretending to believe in God, and the more people are like this, the more liable they are to offend God’s administrative decrees. Do not all those arrogant ones who are innately unbridled, and who have never obeyed anyone, all walk upon this path? Do they not oppose God day after day, God who is always new and never old?

Excerpted from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

What are the conditions a person must meet in order to receive salvation? First of all, they must possess the ability to identify satanic antichrists; they must have this aspect of the truth. It is only by possessing this aspect of the truth that they can genuinely believe in God and refrain from worshiping or following man; only people who can identify antichrists have the ability to truly believe in God and follow and bear witness to Him. In order to identify antichrists, people must first learn to see people and things with complete clarity and understanding; they must be able to perceive the essence of antichrists, and they must see through all of their conspiracies, tricks, inner motivations, and objectives. If you can do this, then you can stand firm. If you want to obtain salvation, then the first test you must pass is to learn how to defeat Satan and how to overcome and triumph over hostile forces and interference from the outside world. Once you possess stature and sufficient truth to persevere to the end in a battle against Satan’s forces, and have defeated them, then—and only then—can you seek the truth steadily, and only then can you step steadfastly and without mishap upon the path of seeking the truth and being granted salvation. If you cannot pass this test, then it can be said that you are in great danger, and you are liable to be captured by an antichrist and come to live under Satan’s influence. … So, if you want to get to where you can be granted salvation, the first test you must pass is one of being able to see through Satan, and you must also have the courage to stand up and expose and forsake Satan. Where, then, is Satan? Satan is at your side and all around you; it might even be living inside your heart. If you are living within Satan’s disposition, it can be said that you belong to Satan. You cannot see or touch the Satan of the spiritual realm, but the Satan that exists in practical life is everywhere. Any person who detests the truth is evil, and any leader or worker who does not accept the truth is an antichrist and an evil person. Are such people not living Satans? These people might be the very ones you worship and look up to; they could be the people who lead you or the people you have long hoped for, admired, trusted and relied upon in your hearts. In fact, however, they are roadblocks standing in your way and hindering you from obtaining salvation; they are antichrists. They can take control of your life and the path you walk, and they can ruin your chance to be granted salvation. If you fail to identify them and see through them, then at any moment, you could plummet into their traps or be captured and taken away by them. Thus, you are in great danger.

Excerpted from “For Leaders and Workers, Choosing a Path Is of Utmost Importance (1)” in Records of Christ’s Talks

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