Chapter 5. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Knowing God Is the Path to Fearing God and Shunning Evil” (V)
Those Who Walk on the Path of the Antichrist Will Never Become People Who Fear God and Shun Evil
What is walking on the path of the antichrist? What kind of people is of the nature of the antichrist? The passage of God’s words we just read refers to the antichrist-type of people. There are such a group of people in God’s house too. They are always satisfied with their own gifts, knowledge, and caliber, and they look down on brothers and sisters as well as other people. They are especially arrogant and self-righteous. In addition, as they have believed in God for some years and understand some spiritual doctrines, they exaggerate and boast and look down on everybody. People like this are antichrists. Then what is the characteristic nature of antichrists? They exalt their own knowledge, their own caliber, their own conceptions and imagination. They think that these things they have are their capital for believing in God. Plus, they understand some spiritual doctrines and can explain some of God’s words, so they see themselves as above all. They think that God should give them important positions and there are no better candidates for leaders and workers in the house of God. Why are they able to walk on the path of the antichrist and not pursue the truth? The reason is because they place knowledge, gifts, and caliber above everything else, even above the truth. Do people like this easily accept being pruned and dealt with? It is the most difficult for people like this to accept being pruned and dealt with. Why? Some people say: “These people are arrogant, self-righteous, and supercilious, so they do not accept pruning and dealing.” Then how was their arrogance formed? Because they have good caliber, and they have gifts and knowledge, they become arrogant. This is the capital and basis for their arrogance. So, they see their own imagination, notions, knowledge, and caliber as capital. Capital is foundation. This foundation, this capital, makes them arrogant and self-righteous, and obey nobody. They do not accept anyone’s pruning and dealing. They think: “What right do you have to prune and deal with me? How am I not as good as you? How am I worse than you?” Isn’t this their mentality? They mean: “You are not as good as me, I am no worse than you, you have no right to deal with me!” So, they do not accept it. They think they are high-up. Are they truly high-up? (No.) What evidence is this based on? That is because they do not have the truth, they cannot do work, they cannot solve problems with the truth, nor can they know their own corrupt essence and dissect themselves according to the truth. So they do not have any reality of the truth. Though they do not have any reality of the truth, they still do not submit to anyone. What is their lack of submission based on? It is based on their capital. “I have a good caliber, I am more knowledgeable than you, I have gifts, I am silver-tongued, I’m better than you. I’m not worse than you in character, knowledge, caliber, or intelligence, so I do not submit to anyone.” Do they not think like this? According to God’s words: “Although they live under the provision and nourishment of God’s words, they are nevertheless unable truly to tread the path of fearing God and shunning evil,” people like this are destined to be unable to walk on the path of fearing God and shunning evil, because they do not love the truth. They overly idolize their own knowledge and caliber, they believe that their own notions and imaginations are always the truth and always correct. What does “they are nevertheless unable truly to tread the path of fearing God and shunning evil” refer to? It means that by believing in God this way, they will never become people who fear God and shun evil, because they do not pursue the truth and are always satisfied with their own gifts, caliber, notions, and imagination. Becoming someone who fears God and shuns evil is an effect reached through changes in life disposition and the inevitable result of growth in life. It is not reached through accumulating too much knowledge and doctrine. No matter how much one knows about knowledge, no matter how many doctrines they know, they cannot become people who fear God and shun evil. We see pastors and elders of religious communities believe in God for their whole lives, but they cannot become people who fear God and shun evil. Why? Because they do not know God. This is the root. Why do they not know God after many years of faith? The conclusion is clear: because they do not pursue the truth, and they only focus on equipping themselves with knowledge and doctrines, and focus on researching the Bible and God’s word. In the end, their life disposition has not changed at all.
We discover that the faith of intellectuals has a huge problem. What is the problem? They emphasize research, not on pursuing and accepting the truth. Then why can’t most intellectuals become people who fear God and shun evil through faith? What is the root of the problem? That is they use their knowledge, caliber, and intelligence as capital to research God’s word and the Bible. They believe that through research they can resolve the problem of how to come to know God. Is this not their notion? They believe in God through this notion, and the result is that they can never reach the point of fearing God and shunning evil. They can never truly walk on the path of fearing God and shunning evil. Now are you clear about this reason? Are there people like this within God’s house? (Yes.) They do not focus on experiencing God’s work, they only focus on researching God’s work, researching God’s word, and researching the truth. Their brains are researchers’, not pursuers’. They are good at research, and that is problematic. The more they research the more notions they have. The more they research the more arrogant they are. The more they research the more they resist God. Why does research have different effects from pursuit and acceptance? Because research is based on the wrong mentality. People who research stand on the perspective of the bystander and of the enemy. People who pursue and accept stand on God’s side, because this involves submission, admiration, and reliance. This mentality is right. The mentality of research is neutral, it is from an adversarial standpoint, so the Holy Spirit does not do work upon those with it. For example, when something is encountered, true believers of God will pray: “God, I do not understand it, please enlighten me. If You enlighten me, when I understand it, I would definitely submit; even if I do not understand, I would not resist You, I would still submit to You.” This is their mentality. What is the mentality of people who do not accept the truth and who are researchers? “What is the problem here? God, I do not understand. If You do not enlighten me, I cannot submit on this issue. Whenever I can understand I shall submit. If I cannot, I will not submit.” This is an adversarial mentality. Does this adversarial mentality involve submission? Does it involve admiration? Does it involve reliance? Does it involve concern? It involves nothing except suspicion, refusal, resistance, denial, and observation. So, those with the wrong mentality cannot receive the work of the Holy Spirit. Are people who walk on the path of the antichrist of this mentality? They have the wrong mentality. How should “the wrong mentality” be explained? It means that they are not submissive toward God. They do not rely on God, they do not look up to God, and they are not people on the same side as God. They show no consideration for God and do not have submission toward Him. They also have attitudes of observation, suspicion, refusal, denial, investigation and research. These attitudes are wrong. This proves that they are enemy forces. The great red dragon also reads God’s word. Leaders of religious communities also read God’s word. What mentalities do they have? Mentalities of research. Do they not have the intention of looking for something to persecute God by? Do they not have the intention of denial? If they find something that does not fit their notions, do they not have the intention of condemning it? This is what research mentalities carry. Then wouldn’t you say people who research the Bible and God’s word belong to the type of antichrists? Regardless of how many years people like this spend in church life, can they receive the work of the Holy Spirit? They will not receive the work of the Holy Spirit, so they cannot truly walk on the path of fearing God and shunning evil, and they cannot become people who fear God and shun evil. This is an absolute principle.
“They take theory, imagination, knowledge, gift, tradition, superstition, and even the moral values of humanity, and make them into ‘investment capital’ and ‘military arms’ for believing in God and pursuing Him.” This is the characteristic of the antichrist. All people who do not pursue the truth have this mentality, so they are arrogant, conceited, and submit to nobody. They cannot take any pruning and dealing, and they look down on all leaders and workers in God’s house. They try to hold something against them, look for small mistakes and pick at their errors, they are perfectionists, they often complain and whine, and they simply cannot submit. In the end, these people are all targets of elimination. Though on the outside it seems like their humanity is not too problematic, they have this mentality for research. What is the problem here? Do they have conscience or sense? What is their attitude to the truth? An attitude of research, “What is the truth? What is the case? I have to research this thoroughly. Is it useful? Can it be man’s life? I have to research.” What does this research show? Are they people who love the truth? Do people who love the truth accept first or understand first? Do they submit first or research first? When people who love the truth hear the truth and feel that the truth is good, if other people say, “You don’t understand, so I won’t give it to you now,” they’ll say, “No! Give it to me! Give it to me!” They would grab it, hold the truth to their chest and not give it up. This is their mentality: “Even if I don’t understand I will properly eat and drink it, I want to accept it and take it in.” What is the attitude of those who are suspicious of the truth and who don’t like the truth? “When you give it to me, I would refuse it at first. Before I have understood it, I would never accept it. I need to have reservations.” This is the mentality of those who research the truth. As for those who truly know the truth is good, their mentality is: “I’ll accept it first, even if I don’t understand it. I’ll put into practice the truths that I understand, and also put into practice those I don’t understand. I will obey truths that I understand, and also obey those I don’t understand.” This is the attitude of a seeker, one who loves the truth. Tell me, when we believe in Almighty God, should we properly understand and know Almighty God before we accept Him, or should we accept Him first and then experience and gain knowledge of Him? When some people hear that Almighty God’s words are so good, they will think “This is the truth, fine! I accept this.” When others ask them, “You won’t research it?” they will answer, “I will accept it without researching it. That’s right! I will accept first and then try to understand and pursue it.” People who love the truth all accept the truth first and then pursue, experience, and gain knowledge of it. It is important to accept first. From this we can see that those who love the truth and those who do not have two different attitudes to the truth. Do you see this clearly?
If it is somebody who loves the truth, what is their attitude to being pruned and dealt with? They submit first, they accept first: “The leader and worker are right. I have deficiencies. This is God’s love coming to me, I must accept it quickly. If what they say is only half right, or if only some of it is right, I will still accept it. It is important to gain the truth. As long as a part of what you say is the truth, then I will accept it.” What is the attitude of those who do not love the truth to being pruned and dealt with? “I will only accept if you are a hundred percent right. If you were half wrong, then I would not accept.” Another type of attitude is: “I will only accept if you are a hundred percent right and you have a good attitude. If you do not have a good attitude and speak harshly, then I will not accept.” Yet another type of attitude is: “You can’t prune or deal with me, it’s normal if my work is a bit sloppy. No matter how right your pruning and dealing is, I would not accept it. Since it doesn’t sound right to me, I wouldn’t accept it.” Are people like this those who love the truth? (No.) How do people who do not love the truth experience God’s work? They cannot. You are too touchy! Can God’s house go by your will? Experiencing God’s work can’t be by your will. This is the situation and this is church life. If you are someone who pursues and loves the truth, then you can submit to this. If you are not somebody who loves and pursues the truth, then you cannot adapt to this and submit to this. You will find it difficult to survive, and you must escape from or avoid it. This is called “survival of the fittest.” So in God’s house, some people, after having believed in God for a period of time, realize through observation: “Ah, these people are pretty good. There are no bad people, they are much nicer than people of the world, it is so happy living with these people, so joyful, so released, so free. You do not have to worry about somebody scheming against you, or worry about somebody trying to hold something against you or bullying you. These people are closer than family. If you were sick, facing disasters, difficulties, or hardships, they would really help you. They wouldn’t stand by, they would extend the hand of friendship. These people are too great!” But they cannot withstand pruning and dealing. When they face pruning and dealing then their head spins, and they do not pray, do not seek the truth, and cannot submit. What kind of people are these? Are they people who love the truth? (No.) People who do not love the truth cannot adapt to this environment. Are there principles in the pruning and dealing of God’s house? They are all based on your problems. The way you work is problematic and obstructive to the work of God’s house. This way of working is not appropriate, it can easily humiliate God, disrupt and disturb God’s work, or obstruct the pace of God’s work. This is why God’s house prunes and deals with you, but it does not mean badly by this. This is in order to help you and to let you grow faster. Does God’s house mean badly by pruning and dealing with you? Have you seen anyone become isolated or expelled after being pruned and dealt with? None at all. What happened in the end? All those who experienced pruning and dealing and who have fast growth in life were not isolated, expelled, or punished, but rather they were raised into important positions. Isn’t this the situation? Who among the leaders and workers in God’s house did not suffer pruning and dealing? They grew up in being pruned and dealt with. If you cannot withstand being pruned and dealt with, then don’t be a leader or worker. Quickly go be a follower instead, because you do not pursue the truth. Every leader or worker in God’s house has experienced many instances of pruning and dealing. How many of them have fallen? Not many have fallen. Those who have fallen are in the minority. They are very few. When leaders and workers first experienced pruning and dealing, most of them faced pain or difficulties. They wept and were passive and weak. After a period of time, as they prayed and sought, they stood up. Then, when they experienced pruning and dealing again, they could withstand them and they knew how to seek the truth. The more they encountered pruning and dealing the more they sought the truth. The more they faced pruning and dealing the more they self-reflected. As their experience of life entered onto the right track, their life continued to grow. In the end, they can submit to any judgment and chastisement, and they become people who fear God and shun evil, people who truly submit to God’s work. Then how do people become ones who truly submit to God? Through being pruned and dealt with, and through being constantly judged and chastised by God’s word, and through experiencing all kinds of trials and refinements. This is the inner workings of God’s work. If you want to attain being perfected by God, your flesh has to suffer many pains. Being pruned and dealt with is one of them. Now I see that some people, especially intellectuals, are the weakest, frailest, most rebellious to being pruned and dealt with. What is the reason? That is because they treat their knowledge, notions, caliber, and brains as capital. They see themselves as above everyone else and better than everyone else, as perfect and flawless, so they do not submit to anyone. When they encounter some pruning and dealing, it reveals their difficulties. Have these people had true connection and communion with God? It says here, “The true reason for this is that they have never become acquainted with God.” That they have not become acquainted with God means they do not know God at all, they have never been in contact with God at all, and they do not know what God’s work is. They only know religious church life, reading God’s word and praying, they think this is called church life, and that having this kind of church life is experiencing God’s work. Isn’t this people’s notion and imagination? Believers of the Age of Grace do not know what pruning and dealing is, they do not know what true church life is, and they do not know at all how God saves people and changes people’s dispositions. Why? They have never known God, they have only enjoyed God’s grace during the Age of Grace, in their “infancy” and “cradle,” but they did not grow up into adults, and they did not know God’s work. Now many intellectuals believe in God in this way. They think believing in God as in religion is experiencing God’s work. This is absolutely wrong! It is too dangerous to believe in God in their notion and imagination! It is too easy for them to resist God!