What does man ultimately gain from experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement? What does God want to fulfill? Someone says it is for man to gain the truth and life. What kind of life does he gain? This new life is essentially a life that obeys God, a life that loves God, and a life that fears God. It is a new life. With this new life, you are willing to obey God as you understand the truth. With this new life, you will fear God no matter what happens to you or whatever choices you encounter. You wouldn’t dare to offend or defy God. With this new life, you will never go against the truth or defy God’s will. If you committed a transgression, you would be tormented by your conscience. You would feel uneasy and indebted to God. You would slap yourself in the face, hate yourself and curse at yourself. All of these are true behaviors of your new life. With this new life, if man were to sin again, his reaction would be drastically different from that before receiving the new life. How did this new life come about? It came from knowing God, from understanding many truths. Some people say, “Understanding the truth doesn’t do me any good. I feel so exploited and humiliated when I practice the truth. There is nothing in it for me.” Is there really nothing in it for you? You don’t see it because you are blind. This is a new life. This is how a new life comes about. When you have this new life, try hanging out in a ballroom, gambling in a casino, beating someone up or cursing at someone, see how it acts up inside. Having life is a far cry from not having life. It is so different!
Someone says, “You don’t lie when you speak. Why do I speak with all these lies? Why can’t I do away with all these lies?” What is this all about? Getting to the bottom of it, the problem is the lack of life. Putting it more frankly, the question is whether one likes the truth or not, practices the truth or not. Someone says, “How come you understand the word of God and I don’t, no matter how much I try to read it? When I speak about it, I only speak of the literal meaning but have no words from experience. What is it all about?” What is it all about? How would you be able to speak from experience if you had never experienced God’s word? How would you be able to speak in depth when your experience is so shallow? You can’t communicate God’s word when you don’t understand the truth. Even if you do it, you could only communicate the literal meaning of the word. Just like those religious figures who only speak of the literal meaning of the Bible when they preach. Is this what it is all about? How does the word of experience come about? It mainly comes from experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s word. Some people assume, “When we congregate every day like this to communicate God’s word, wouldn’t the experience of God’s word rub off on us and allow us to have more experience and knowledge to share?” Is it simple like that? There needs to be a process within, the process of tears, the process of regret, and the process of self-knowledge. Could this be a thoughtful process? Without thinking, how would there be tears and regret? You need to go through so much hardship. Whatever event that involves tears invariably involves hardship! The word of God is sometimes a direct dealing and pruning that makes you feel embarrassed and uncomfortable, more uncomfortable than being slapped in public. It makes you unable to raise your head among people. In the past, when I was being judged and chastised by God, I felt like burrowing in the ground. In front of so many brothers and sisters, God’s word directly dealt with me and pruned me. How could I lift my head in front of people? Where could I hide my face? There was an awkward expression on my face. I put on a poker face, acting calmly while shedding tears in private. Other than me, who could understand the bitterness in my heart? Under such circumstance, wasn’t it a thought-provoking experience? On one hand, I was reflecting upon myself. “After believing for so many years, why was I so benighted in the past? Look at this corruption and rebellion exposed by God’s word, the truth is so vividly clear here! Why did I do it? I wasn’t young then. How could I do it? It was shameless!” After these thoughts, do you know what followed? “Once revealed by God, the truth is quite understandable, isn’t it? It is so simple. I should just obey without thinking about myself and the flesh, live for God, and testify to God. Why was I unable to do that? What was it all about?” I kept asking myself. “What was it all about? Why didn’t I do it this way before?” I pondered, “What was dominating me and governing me? What I did on the outside was brazen. I wanted blessing and power to rule as king with God. Wasn’t it the disposition of Satan? Wasn’t I dominated by my satanic nature?” This was the result of my long introspection. How was this result? Was it effective? This was the effectiveness of judgment and chastisement. There was no room for my pride after so many rounds of dealing and pruning. I was bracing myself and toughing it out while people frequently watched to see how I would react. It was how I came along in those two or three years. I sometimes spoke with people and they didn’t pay much attention to me. I said, “It served me right! It was just natural retribution.” By then no one wanted to listen to my chatter. When I preached to them before, they showered me with admiration and praises, holding me in high esteem. But now, they showed me nothing but contempt, dismissiveness and disdain. This kind of scene and background was transformative to one’s heart, mind and soul. Man could not help but reflect on himself. Would you be able to control your heart if you didn’t want to reflect? It wasn’t up to you. You kept pondering. You pondered when you couldn’t fall asleep. You pondered after you woke up. You pondered in front of people. You lived in that mood anyway. Days passed by in pondering like this. Some result was figured out and some effectiveness was seen. What did I say in the end? “Don’t do those things any more. When blessings and crowns are in the offer, turn them down! Doing my part to do service for God is good enough. Never accept blessings or crowns. Be sensible, don’t accept them. Keep a low profile. Turn down positions and crowns. Just do my part to do service. That’s correct. That’s much more rational!”
If you experience God’s judgment and chastisement by simply reading God’s word, would you undergo great suffering? How do you experience it? For example, when you read God’s word, you come across some stern words of exposure like, “Aren’t you resisting God this way? What good ends will such people meet? I shall eliminate them one by one, forsake them one by one!” What do you think about them? Someone may say, “Eliminating us one by one, can I be eliminated too? No way, it couldn’t be me. It refers to other people, like that sister whose humanity is bad. My humanity is good. Nothing will happen to me.” Is that how you read God’s word? Considering the cursing words, severe words are all directed at others, and separating yourself from others, you can then get away with suffering. Is it a smart thing to do? Someone says it isn’t. How many people here are doing this “not so smart” thing? Do you have the courage to raise your hands? There really are a lot of people who practice like this. Honestly speaking, it was how I thought at that time. I considered that all the words of elimination and condemnation were directed at the wicked people, the false leaders and workers in the church, the people who speak of letters and doctrines, especially those deceitful people. All the blessing words were aimed at me, not at them. That was how I used to read God’s word too. Later, after experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, my way of thinking was changed. Do you still read the word of God like that now? Did you change your way of thinking? You all say you did. If you did, that’s correct. Not all the cursing words and judging words are addressed to others. Are there such corrupt dispositions within us? Yes, indeed. There is such a statement in God’s word like: The corruptions of mankind are all the same. Their corrupt essence is all the same. The manifestation of their corruptions is all the same. Someone then says, “If this is what God says, since we are all corrupted in the same ways, then we should all go to hell and there can be no salvation for us.” Is there anyone who thinks like that? Since the corruptions of mankind are all the same, it should either be elimination for all or salvation for all. Why are some people saved and others eliminated? It is unfair! Is this a correct idea? Obviously not. Where is the mistake? Despite the same corruptions, there are those who pursue the truth and others who don’t. For instance, whether other people are lying or we are lying, isn’t it the same nature? Doesn’t it describe the corruption of mankind? The corrupt disposition is all the same. Isn’t it the same corrupt essence? But there are differences among people. Some people pursue the truth while others don’t. The humanities of some people are good while those of other people are bad. Some people love the truth while others detest it. Some people are able to obey God while others aren’t. People make different choices when facing the truth. Their wills in pursuing the truth are also different. So the degrees of cleansing and salvation they receive are different too. Isn’t this what it is all about? What are the differences between religious figures and us? Are they corrupted differently than us? Are their notions about God different than ours? Do they resist God differently than us? It’s all the same. Then what is the difference between those religious figures and us? They didn’t accept the true way but we did. They didn’t hear God’s voice, and they denied having heard God’s voice even when they had. When we heard God’s voice, we recognized it and accepted it. They didn’t acknowledge God’s judgment and chastisement as God’s work in the last days, but we did and accepted it. This is the difference between religious figures and us. Now they are still reading the Bible and listening to the preaching of pastors. As for us, we are eating and drinking God’s present word. Whose preaching do we listen to? We listen to the preaching of the man whom the Holy Spirit uses. What is the difference between the man used by the Holy Spirit and the pastors and elders? Someone says the man used by the Holy Spirit has experienced God’s judgment and chastisement. He is a perfected person with the reality of the truth and the work of the Holy Spirit. Is it a simple feat to be used by the Holy Spirit? When the Holy Spirit uses this person to preach to God’s chosen people, the Holy Spirit’s work he has is evident. That is, he has real experience. Without real experience, without the work of the Holy Spirit, the preaching is no different than that of religious pastors and elders. When the Holy Spirit uses this person and works on him, there is a huge difference in his identity and status. We said this before, if there is no change in a person’s life disposition, he cannot be formally used by God. Why do we say that the apostles and prophets of the Age of Grace were doing service for God? Because there were no changes in their dispositions, they were unqualified to be used by God. They were merely doing service and having a bit of work of the Holy Spirit. We are talking about being “used by the Holy Spirit” here. This term only appeared in the Age of Kingdom. It was not present in the Age of Grace or the Age of Law. Therefore, when we are brought before God today, we are directly listening to the personal utterances of God on one hand, and we are listening to the preaching of the man used by the Holy Spirit on the other. Is this an exceptionally exaltation of God? Nowadays, there are some people who don’t realize it. They would say, “I don’t hear any difference between the preaching of the man used by the Holy Spirit and the religious pastors. It is just someone there talking about different things.” One day you will understand how principled God is. God never says the religious elders and pastors are used by the Holy Spirit. Is this what it is about? During the Age of Grace, were Paul and Peter used by the Holy Spirit? The Lord Jesus did not bear witness for them, right? As for Paul, the Lord Jesus only dispatched him to spread the gospel. And as to Peter, the Lord Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of Jonas, love you me?” Peter said, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” The Lord Jesus said, “Feed my sheep” (Ref: John 21:16). The Lord didn’t speak about him being formally used by God. He only allowed Peter to “Feed my sheep.” It was not until the Age of Kingdom that “being used by the Holy Spirit” was said. God is very precise with His word. Man cannot interpret it willfully. In the Age of Kingdom, man directly eats and drinks the truth expressed by God in the last days. What is the difference between the truth expressed in the last days and that in the Age of Grace? This truth is based on the expression of God’s judgment and chastisement. It is very different from the way of speaking in the Age of Grace. In addition, the word of the truth is not the same. The word in the Age of Grace was limited, too limited. It was confined to the Age of Grace. It was only about God’s requirements of man, how man should act. It is very different in the Age of Kingdom. God demonstrates His righteous disposition for His chosen people to completely rid themselves of corruptions and accept the truth, to get to know God and become those who fear God and shun evil. The word in the Age of Kingdom is to perfect man, cleansing man on one hand while perfecting him on the other to let him receive the truth, to live out the true likeness of man and a meaningful life. So the word of God in the Age of Kingdom is the word that can truly save man and perfect man while that in the Age of Grace was only about the requirements on man, with no cleansing and perfecting effects for man. Therefore, it was impossible for man to transform his life disposition during the Age of Grace no matter how he pursued. No matter how well man understood and spoke the word of the Bible, he was unable to know God. What is the reason? It is because God’s work is not the same, isn’t it?