VIII. One Must Fellowship Clearly the Aspect of Truth Concerning the Difference Between the Work of God and the Work of Man
4. One who believes in God must be able to discern false shepherds and antichrists 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” (Eze 34:2-4).
“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).
Relevant Words of God:
The work of an unqualified worker falls far short; his work is foolish. He can only bring people into rules; what he demands of people does not vary from individual to individual; he does not work according to the actual needs of the people. In this type of work, there are too many rules and too many doctrines, and it cannot bring people into reality or into normal practice of growth in life. It can only enable people to stand by a few worthless rules. This kind of guidance can only lead people astray. He leads you to become what he is like; 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 they lead and the results of their work, and look at whether followers receive the principles in accordance with the truth, and whether they receive ways of practice suitable for them to be transformed. You should differentiate between the different work of different types of people; you should not be a foolish follower. This impinges on the matter of your entry. If you are unable to distinguish which person’s leadership has a path and which does not, you will easily be deceived. All these have a direct bearing on your own life.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Work in the mind of man is too easily achieved by man. 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 be influenced by some of what they are. They focus on people’s gifts, abilities and knowledge, and they pay attention to some supernatural things and many profound unrealistic doctrines (of course, these profound doctrines are unattainable). They do not focus on changes to people’s disposition, but rather they focus on training people’s preaching and working abilities, improving people’s knowledge and rich religious doctrines. They do not focus on how much people’s disposition is changed or how much people understand the truth. They do not concern themselves with the substance of people, much less try to know people’s normal and abnormal states. They do not counter people’s notions or reveal their notions, much less mend their deficiencies or corruptions. Most of the people who follow them serve by their natural gifts, and what they express is knowledge and vague religious truth, which are out of touch with reality and are completely unable to confer people with life.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Many people behind Me 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 of the flesh. They do not perform their normal function in the church, and eat for free, or else admonish their brothers and sisters with My words, they stand up high and lord it over others. These people keep saying they are doing God’s will, they always say they are God’s intimates—is this not absurd? If you have the right motivations, but are unable to serve God’s will, then you’re being foolish; but if your motivations aren’t 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 eat for free, and always covet the comforts of the flesh, and give no consideration to the interests of God; they always seek what’s good for them, they pay no heed to God’s will, all that they do is not looked upon by God’s Spirit, they’re always maneuvering and plotting against 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 responsibility 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? Are you not delaying things?
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 keep thinking that God delights in whatever you wish to do, and hates whatever you do not wish to do, and you are guided entirely by your own preferences in your work. Can this be called serving God? Ultimately, your life disposition will not be changed by one iota; rather, you will become even more stubborn because you have been serving God, and this will make your corrupt disposition deeply ingrained. This way, you will inwardly develop rules about service to God that are primarily based on your own character, and the experience derived from your serving according to your own disposition. This is lesson from human experience. It is man’s philosophy of life. People like this belong to the Pharisees and the religious officials. If they never wake up and repent, then they will ultimately turn into the false Christs who will appear in the last days, and will be deceivers of men. The false Christs and deceivers that were spoken of will arise from among this kind of person. If those who serve God follow their own character and act according to their own will, then they are in danger of being cast out at any time. Those who apply their many years of experience to serving God in order to win the hearts of others, to lecture them and lord it over them, and to stand on high—and who never repent, never confess their sins, never renounce the benefits of position—these people will fall down before God. They are people of the same type as Paul, presuming upon their seniority and flaunting their qualifications. God will not bring people like this to perfection. This kind of service interferes with the work of God.
from “Religious Way of Service Must Be Banned” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When regular people make comments about you who are leaders, you say: “Humph, what makes you qualified to make comments about me? How many sermons can you give? How much can you speak? How many people can you lead? What can you do?” It is as if you are qualified. If you carry on this way you will be in trouble; you may serve for a while but then you will go wrong. As far as all of you are concerned, if churches in an area are handed over to you and no one oversees you for six months, you start to go astray. If no one oversees you for a year, you lead them away and astray. Two years pass and still no one is overseeing you, and you bring those people before you. Why is this? Have you ever considered this question before? Tell Me, could you be like this? Your knowledge can only provide for people for a while. As time goes on, if you keep saying the same thing, some people will be able to tell; they’ll say you’re too superficial, too lacking in depth. You’ll have no option but to try and deceive people by speaking doctrines. If you always carry on like this, those below you will follow your methods, steps, and model for believing in God and experiencing, and they’ll put those words and doctrines into practice, and ultimately, as you talk in this way, they’ll use you as an exemplar. You speak doctrines when you lead people, and those below you will learn doctrines from you, and as things progress you will have taken the wrong way. Those below you follow your path, and they all learn from you and follow you, so you feel: “I am powerful now; so many people listen to me, and the world is at my beck and call.” This nature of betrayal within man unconsciously makes you turn God into a mere figurehead, and you yourself then form some denomination, some sect. How do denominations and sects arise? They arise in this way. Look at the leaders of every denomination and sect. They are all arrogant and self-right, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imagination. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they were incapable of preaching anything, would those people follow them? They do, after all, possess some learning, and can speak a little of doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices, through which they have brought people before themselves and have deceived them. Nominally, those people believe in God—but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter those who preach the true way, some of them would say, “We have to consult our leader about our belief in God.” They require someone’s consent to believe 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 belong to the same kind as Paul.
from “Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
One expression of arrogance is rebelliousness to God. And after rebelling against God, you are liable to create your own kingdom, to do things your own way, to hold others in your own hands, and pull them into your own embrace. People are capable of doing such things; with their arrogant substance, they have become archangels, and their substance has determined that they are archangels and will likely put God to one side. With this disposition, you are without God.
Why is it that many leaders of various denominations never accept anything we say, no matter how many times we have preached to them, and no matter how we have tried? Their arrogance has already become their nature, and they are without God. Some people say: “God is among the people that person leads, and that person really longs for God!” As he is capable of making people believe in him, is God within his heart? He is not, yes? He is capable of making people follow him and hold him up high, he is able to monopolize people, he doesn’t allow people to go elsewhere to seek God and the truth, and he believes that what he says contains the truth. What does he see himself as? As God. And so because of this arrogance of his, purely because of this arrogance, he has done things that rebel against God.
from “Man’s Arrogant Nature Is the Root of His Opposition to God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
When God becomes flesh and comes to work among men, all behold God and hear His words, and all see the doings of God in the flesh. At that time, all the conceptions of man dissolve into nothing but foam. As for those who see the God appearing in the flesh, all who have obedience in their hearts shall not be condemned, whereas those who purposefully stand against Him shall be deemed an opponent of God. Such men are antichrists and are enemies who willfully stand against God. … Those who willfully stand against the incarnate God shall be punished for their disobedience. Their willful opposition to God stems from their conceptions of Him, which result in their disturbance to the work of God. Such men knowingly resist and destroy the work of God. Not merely do they have conceptions of God, but they do that which disturbs His work, and it is for this reason that such manner of men shall be condemned.
from “All Who Do Not Know God Are Those Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The most rebellious person is one who intentionally defies and resists God. He is the enemy of God and the antichrist. Such a person constantly bears a hostile attitude toward the new work of God, has never shown the smallest intention of submitting, and has never gladly shown submission or humbled himself. He exalts himself before others and never shows submission to anyone. Before God, he considers himself the most proficient in preaching the word and the most skillful in working on others. He never discards the treasures already in his possession, but treats them as family heirlooms for worship, for preaching about to others, and uses them to lecture those fools who idolize him. 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 and generation by generation, they go about vigorously enforcing their “sacred and inviolable” duty. None dare touch them and not a single person dares openly reproach them. They become “kings” in the house of God, running rampant as they tyrannize over 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?
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 conceptions 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 can’t 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. And 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 Him; it is not through criticizing Him at whim that he comes to know God through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The more accurate people’s knowledge of God, the less they oppose Him. In contrast, the less people know of God, the more likely they are to oppose Him. Your conceptions, 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 are, the more you are the enemy of God. Those who are possessed of grievous conceptions and have a self-righteous disposition are even more in enmity of God incarnate, and such people are the antichrists.
from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You see that some people say some things that are foolish and ignorant, and they are forgiven. They are forgiven for their ignorance and what their responsibilities were is not looked into. Why isn’t this the case for some others? Because they said things that were too serious: “You are God, but still I will not obey You.” These people are antichrists; they defy God and do not accept the truth.
from “To Serve God One Should Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Every single church has people who disturb the church, people who interrupt God’s work. These people are all Satan masquerading in God’s family. This type of person is especially good at impersonating, coming respectfully before Me, nodding and bowing, behaving like mangy dogs, devoting their “all” in order to achieve their own objectives, but showing their ugly countenance before brothers and sisters. When they see someone practicing the truth they attack and exclude them, and when they see someone more terrible than they are themselves, they flatter and fawn upon them, acting like tyrants within the church. It can be said that the majority of churches have this type of “local villainous snake,” this type of “lap dog” within them. They sneak around together, winking and secretly signaling to each other, and none of them practice the truth. Whoever has the most venom is the “head demon,” and whoever has the highest prestige leads them, bearing their flag aloft. These people run wild within the church, spreading their negativity, releasing death, doing as they please, saying what they please, with no one daring to stop them, being full of satanic dispositions. As soon as they begin to cause disturbance, an air of death enters into the church. Those who practice the truth within the church are abandoned and are unable to achieve their potential, while those who disturb the church and spread death run wild within the church. What is more, the majority of people follow them. This kind of church is simply under Satan’s control and the devil is their king. If the people of the church do not rise up and cast out those head demons, then they will also come to ruin sooner or later. From now on measures must be taken against this kind of church. If those who are capable of practicing a little truth are not engaging in seeking, then that church will be banned. If there is no one in a church who is willing to practice the truth, no one who can stand witness for God, then that church should be completely ostracized, and their connections with other churches must be severed. This is called burying death, and casting Satan out.
from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If there are several local villainous snakes in a church, as well as some small flies who follow them who have no discernment whatsoever, if those of the church still cannot cast off the binds and manipulation of these snakes after they have seen the truth, then these fools will be eliminated in the end. Though these small flies may not have done anything terrible, they are even more cunning, even more slick and evasive and everyone like this will be eliminated. Not one will be left! Those who belong to Satan will be returned to Satan, while those who belong to God will surely go in search of the truth; this is determined by their natures. Let all those who follow Satan perish! No pity will be shown to these people. Let those who search for the truth attain provision and allow them to take pleasure in God’s word to their hearts’ content. God is righteous; He does not treat people unjustly. If you are a devil then you will be incapable of practicing the truth. If you are someone who searches for the truth then it is certain that you will not be taken captive by Satan—this is beyond all doubt.
from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh