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83. The Principles of Being a Church Deacon

Practice and Exercises for Principled Behavior

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83. The Principles of Being a Church Deacon

1. You should work harmoniously with church leaders and be able to accept being pruned and dealt with. When you have difficulties, make them known to your leaders without delay, so as to avoid causing delays to your work;

2. You must focus on your personal life entry, focus on pursuing the truth and changing your disposition, fulfill your duties and be devoted to God’s commissions;

3. You must supervise church leaders’ work in accordance with work arrangements. If you discover that they are not doing practical work, then you must give them advice or report to higher levels;

4. You must uphold the normal order of church life. When a matter arises whereby someone is causing confusion, you should protect God’s chosen people from being deceived.

Relevant Words of God:

Today the requirement of you to work together harmoniously is similar to how Jehovah required the Israelites to serve Him. Otherwise, just end your service. … Especially those working in the church, would any of the brothers and sisters below dare to deal with you? Would anyone dare to tell you of your mistakes face to face? You stand high above all, you are really reigning as kings! You do not even study or enter into such a practical lesson, and you still talk of serving God! At present you are asked to lead a number of churches, and not only do you not give up yourself, you even cling to your own notions and opinions…. You never take responsibility for many things that should be dealt with, or you just make do, each person venting his own opinion, prudently protecting his own status, reputation, and face. No one is willing to humble himself, neither person will give himself up initiatively to amend the other and be amended so that life may progress more rapidly. Very seldom when you are working together does any of you say: I would like to hear you fellowship with me about this aspect of truth, because I am not clear about it. Or to say: You have more experiences than I have on this matter; can you give me some direction, please? Wouldn’t this be a good way of doing it? You on the upper levels hear a lot of truth, and understand a lot about service. If you people who coordinate to work in the churches do not learn from each other, and communicate, making up for each other’s shortcomings, from where can you learn lessons? When you encounter anything, you should fellowship with each other, so that your life can benefit. And you should carefully fellowship about things of any sort before making decisions. Only by doing so are you being responsible to the church and not being perfunctory. After you visit all the churches, you should get together and fellowship about all the issues you discover and problems encountered in work, and communicate the enlightenment and illumination that you have received—this is an indispensable practice of service. You must achieve harmonious cooperation for the purpose of the work of God, for the benefit of the church, and for spurring the brothers and sisters onward. You coordinate with him and he coordinates with you, each amending the other, arriving at a better work outcome, so as to care for God’s will. Only this is a true cooperation, and only such people have true entry. There may be some speech that isn’t suitable during cooperation, but that does not matter. Fellowship about it later, and get a clear understanding of it; do not neglect it. After this sort of fellowship you can make up deficiencies for the brothers and sisters. Only ceaselessly going deeper like this in your work can you achieve better outcomes. Each of you, as people who serve, must be able to defend the interests of the church in all things you do, rather than looking out for your own interests. It is unacceptable to go it alone, where you undermine him and he undermines you. People acting this way are not fit to serve God!

from “Serve as the Israelites Did” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Work refers not to running to and fro for God; it refers to whether the life of man and what man lives out are for God to enjoy. Work refers to man using faithfulness they have to God and the knowledge they have of God to testify to God and minister to man. This is the responsibility of man and what all man should realize. In other words, your entry is your work; you are seeking to enter during the course of your work for God. Experiencing God is not only being able to eat and drink of His word; more importantly, you must be able to testify to God, to serve God, and to minister to and supply man. This is work, and also your entry; this is what every man should accomplish. There are many who only focus on journeying to and fro for God, and preaching in all places, yet overlook their personal experience and neglect their entry into the spiritual life. This is what causes those who serve God to become those who resist God.

from “Work and Entry (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The more you are mindful of God’s will, the more of a burden you have; the more of a burden you have, the richer your experience will be. When you are mindful of God’s will, God will give this burden to you, and God will enlighten you on the things that He has entrusted you with. After God has given you this burden, you will pay attention to the truths of this aspect when eating and drinking God’s words. If you have a burden related to the state of the brothers’ and sisters’ lives, this is a burden entrusted to you by God, and your daily prayers will always carry this burden. What God does has been entrusted to you, you are willing to carry out that which God wants to do, and this is what it means to take on God’s burden as your own. At this point, your eating and drinking of God’s words will focus on the issues in these aspects, and you will think, how am I going to resolve these issues? How am I going to allow the brothers and sisters to be released, to have enjoyment in their spirits? You will focus on solving these issues when you are in fellowship, you will focus on eating and drinking words relating to these issues when you are eating and drinking God’s words, you will be eating and drinking God’s words while carrying this burden, and you will understand God’s requirements. At this point, you will be clearer about the path to walk. This is the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit brought about by your burden, and this is God providing His guidance to you. Why do I say this? If you do not have a burden, then you do not pay attention when eating and drinking God’s words; when you are eating and drinking God’s words while carrying a burden, you are able to grasp the essence of God’s words, find your way, and be mindful of God’s will.

from “Be Mindful of God’s Will to Attain Perfection” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

In their work, workers must pay attention to two points: One is to do the work exactly according to the principles stipulated by the work arrangements. Workers must not violate these principles, not work according to their own imaginations, and not according to their own will. They should show concern for the work of God’s family, and put the interests of the family of God first in everything they do. The other point is also key, and that is, in everything they do, to pay attention to following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to do everything strictly in keeping with the word of God. If you disobey the guidance of the Holy Spirit or if you stubbornly follow your own mind and do things according to your own imagination, this constitutes a most serious opposition to God. Frequently disobeying the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit leads to a dead end. There is no way to go on with work if one has lost the work of the Holy Spirit, and though one does work, nothing is accomplished. … In order to fulfill the work that God entrusts it is necessary to comprehend these two principles. You must strictly adhere to the work arrangements from the above, and you must pay attention to obeying guidance from the Holy Spirit. Only when these two principles are grasped can work be effective and the will of God be satisfied.

from “The Main Principles of How Workers Work” in Records of Christ’s Talks

2. You should do anything that is beneficial to God’s work, and nothing that is detrimental to the interests of God’s work. You should defend God’s name, God’s testimony, and God’s work.

from “The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

There was no eating and drinking in this meeting; all have said that they would be considerate of God’s burden and defend the testimony of the church. Yet, who has really been considerate of God’s burden? Ask yourself: Are you someone who has shown consideration for God’s burden? Can you be righteous for God? Can you stand up and speak for Me? Can you steadfastly put the truth into practice? Are you bold enough to fight against all of Satan’s deeds? Would you be able to put your emotions aside and expose Satan for the sake of My truth? Can you allow My will to be fulfilled in you? Have you offered up your heart when the crucial time comes? Are you someone who carries out My will? Ask yourself and think about it often.

from “The Thirteenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

In the church, you shall stand firm in your testimony to Me, uphold truth—right is right and wrong is wrong—and do not confuse black and white. You shall be at war with Satan and must completely vanquish it so that it never rises. You must sacrifice everything to protect My testimony. This shall be the goal of your actions, do not forget this.

from “The Forty-first Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Be awake and waiting at every moment, and you must come before Me more. You must recognize the various plots and cunning schemes of Satan, know the spirit, know people and be able to discern all kinds of people, matters and things; you must eat and drink more of My words and, more importantly, you must be able to eat and drink them by yourselves. Equip yourselves with all the truth, come before Me so that I may open your spiritual eyes and allow you to see all the mysteries that lie within the spirit.... When the church enters its construction phase, a battle of the saints against Satan[a] ensues. Satan’s various hideous features are set before you; do you stop and backslide, or do you stand up and walk onward, relying on Me? Thoroughly expose Satan’s corrupt and ugly features, spare no feelings and show no mercy! Fight Satan to the death!

from “The Seventeenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Footnotes:

a. The original text omits “against Satan.”

The Man’s Fellowship:

We must strive to understand the truth, pursue a change in our life disposition. This is positively seeking entry. Doing so will gradually reduce the transgressions you make in your work and produce change within you as you work, making your state more and more normal. This is the most effective way to avoid transgressions. If you do not pursue the truth in your work, and if the more you do, the more you think, “I know how to do these things, I can do these things well relying purely on my own experience,” this is a bad sign. This is dangerous. When you feel this way, you should come before God and reflect on yourself, or you are certain to fall, because experience is not a substitute for truth or dispositional change. Shallow knowledge of the truth is not understanding of the truth, and if you lack knowledge of God, you will resist God.

from “One Must Have Principles in Serving God” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life

All of the church’s work must be carried out according to work arrangements. It is absolutely not allowed to go one’s own way, and it is necessary to practice mutual supervision. Mutual supervision is a principle. Do work according to work arrangements, with each submitting to the other and each supporting the other. Harmoniously cooperating in this way, results will be achieved. If there is a person who violates the work arrangements and goes his own way, that is where mutual constraint and supervision come in. It is perfectly justified to bring the problem out in the open and ask, “Why did you do it this way? We must fellowship about this; are you aware that this goes against the work arrangements?” Should this matter be tolerated any further? It must be brought out and fellowshiped in the open; this is the principle. You say, “Usually I forgive you, tolerate you, and forbear with you. Now, a problem has occurred with you. You have been interrupting and disturbing God’s work, and you are going your own way. I cannot tolerate this. It would be a sin against God’s chosen people to tolerate this, which would oppose God. It will not do for me to stand with Satan. I won’t do it.” This principle must be upheld.

from “Seven Principles for Serving in Coordination” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (VIII)

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