How the Four Principles for Obedience to God Ought to Be Put Into Practice
How should the four principles for obedience to God be put into practice? Obedience to God encompasses a relatively large scope; the four principles for obedience to God are most basic things. Regardless of which truth is put into practice, a principle for practicing it needs to be found, and obedience to God is no exception. The four principles of obedience to God are first, obey the authority of God’s words; secondly, obey the authority of Christ; thirdly, obey the authority of the work of the Holy Spirit; fourthly, obey the arrangements of the man used by the Holy Spirit. These are the four principles of obedience to God. Obeying God primarily comprises these four aspects. Once you have grasped these four principles and entered into reality, it may be said that you are someone who obeys God. If you only obey one aspect of these four, your obedience to God is still incomplete, and it is probable that your obedience still has serious problems. For example, if you are only able to obey some of God’s words, but can’t be compatible with or obedient to Christ, and if you also have many notions, then you are still resisting God. Even if in the end a person possesses all obedience, he still has to obey Christ. It is only if you are able to obey Christ that you will be of one heart and mind with God. If you only put into practice three of these four principles and can’t obey Christ, are you someone who obeys God? Therefore, you need to possess all four principles, and you cannot miss out any one of them. If you want to examine whether you are a person who obeys God, then you should weigh yourself up using these four principles: First, how do you obey God’s words, and is it absolute obedience? Secondly, are you able to absolutely obey all that Christ says and does? Thirdly, are you able to obey the authority of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination and the Holy Spirit’s work? Fourthly, are you able to accept and obey the work arrangements, and fellowship and sermons of the man used by the Holy Spirit? The only kind of person who genuinely obeys God is someone who has done these four things and has true obedience, without the slightest resistance and forsaking. Only he who genuinely obeys God can be called one who is of one heart and mind with God. Because God has said that in the last days He will obtain a group of people who are of one heart and mind with Him. Being of one heart and mind with God is a sign of being obtained and made complete by God. When you ultimately are someone who is of one heart and mind with God, it may be said that you are one who absolutely obeys God. Whether or not someone has obedience, and whether he is one who obeys God and has been made complete and obtained by God depends in the end on whether or not he is someone of one heart and mind with Christ.
The first principle for obedience to God is obeying the authority of God’s word. How should this principle be put into practice? Some people are able to obey some of the work of the Holy Spirit, and they can also obey, accept, and offer no resistance or hostility to the arrangements of the man used by the Holy Spirit. However, they have very little understanding of God’s words and they put very few of them into practice. Are such people genuinely obeying God? This sort of obedience has still not attained the most basic outcome. What is the reason for that? If a person’s life experience is too shallow and his understanding of the truth in God’s word is inadequate, then the scope of his putting the truth into practice is too narrow. Such a person cannot become someone truly obeying God. The person who truly obeys God most importantly must have a greater understanding of the truth in God’s words, and he must have deeper knowledge of God’s words. In this way he will know how to put into practice any of God’s word. He will know how to put it into practice as obedience to God and he will have a path for practice. It is only such a man who has genuinely entered into the reality of God’s word. Regardless of who communicates which part of God’s word, regardless of which part of God’s word is read, they all know how to obey and how to put it into practice. Such a person has the truth, and God’s word is the foundation within him. If a sentence of God’s word is selected at will, and he does not know how to put it into practice, nor does he know how to put it into practice as obedience to God, has such a person obtained the truth? He has not obtained the truth. We may say that the truths within God’s word that a man ought to understand are very many. For example, God requires man to be honest; much of God’s word speaks of this. So, how should you put into practice being an honest man? How should you enter into it? You need to have a path. Further, God mentions what is genuine belief in God, what entering onto the right track for belief in God means, what man needs to have to believe in God. God’s word also says quite a lot about the truths of belief in God, how many of them do you understand? If you truly understand, then you should know what belief in God is, and when you then explain what belief in God is, it is completely different to the doctrinal words and habitual sayings of people of religion. This is because you have grasped the essence of the truth and you have seen through clearly the words of God regarding belief in God. It is only through this way that you are able genuinely to enter into reality of belief in God, and enter onto the right track of belief in God. If you are perfectly clear regarding the truth of what obedience to God is, then you will know which principles you ought to follow to obey God, and how obedience to God ought to be put into practice. Therefore, regardless of which aspect of God’s word is involved, if you can find from the word of God the way for practice and entry, and you know how to put it into practice as obedience to God, then you are ones who have the word of God as their life, and we may say that only someone who has belief in God to this level is a person who has grown in stature. So, what is your stature? Having believed in God for several years, how much of God’s word do you in fact understand and know? He who genuinely understands and knows God’s words will think this way when he opens up and reads God’s words: The truths in this work are really abundant, and there are so many that a man should enter into. Regardless of which passage or which sentence of God’s words that he turns to, he is able to find the path to practice and entry, and he knows what God’s will is. Isn’t such a person one who genuinely understands the truth? If you read a sentence of God’s words at random, are you able to communicate your own knowledge, and clarify the path to practice? If you cannot achieve that, you are not suitable to be used by God. If you can, then you are fit for God’s use, and when you are asked to water new believers, and to resolve certain problems, it seems like a piece of cake to you. Some people find it extremely difficult when they are asked to lead a church. He is unable to lead the life of the church no matter how hard he tries. Leading the life of the church is organizing everyone to eat and drink God’s words, and to fellowship about the truth. Isn’t this quite an easy matter? If you are unable to achieve such an outcome, is not your stature too small? Previously some people persistently spoke of letters and doctrines, and as soon as they opened their mouth, they could talk for several hours. But if you asked them to resolve problems using the truth, what was the situation? They did not have a word to say. Even if they said one hundred words, or one thousand words, not one word would involve problems. All that is spoken by such people is nonsense that has nothing to do with the truth. If you are able to say so much, why are you unable to resolve a single problem? Doesn’t this show your lack of knowledge of God’s words? Therefore, you must not say anything that has nothing to do with the truth or speak nonsense. In other words, you must not say such things that brothers and sisters don’t wish to hear, and keep your mouth shut. If you say a few sentences that people can benefit from on hearing them, words that contain knowledge of God’s words, words that contain the reality of life experience, words that can resolve the substance of problems, then that can be considered to be good progress. Such speech has benefits for people. If you often read God’s words, seek the truth in God’s words, are able to speak of some true and practical knowledge, as you practice so often, what you say will have value. If you do not know how to practice, you can practice in this way: Turn to a passage of God’s words and read them. When you have read them, give them some thought. See how much true knowledge you can have, how much you can speak of the path to practice, and whether you see clearly or not how to enter into the truth. If you can see it clearly, then speak about it, and let everyone listen and verify it. This is quite a simple matter. Therefore, on what basis is obeying the authority of God’s word established? You need to understand the word of God, and know the word of God. If a man does not understand God’s word, and does not know God’s word, what sort of errors can he make in putting into practice obedience to God’s word? If he only obeys the superficial part of God’s word, if he only obeys God’s word according to the few doctrinal words that he understands, then this man can speak doctrinal words and he can observe the external part of God’s word, but that is not obeying the authority of the word of God, nor is that putting the truth into practice. Many who speak doctrinal words practice in this way. They do not obey the essence of God’s word, they do not obey the truth in God’s word. They only obey external and superficial meaning of God’s words, they only obey the meaning that they are able to comprehend and imagine according to the surface of God’s words. Even if such people obey well the exterior of God’s word, they still do not put the truth into practice, and even less do they obey the word of God. Therefore, how should you enter into obeying the authority of God’s word? You need to understand God’s word, know God’s word, discover and obtain that which is clarified in God’s word, enter into its reality, and have it become your life. In this way, your practice contains the reality of God’s word, and your obedience involves the authority of God’s word. Obeying the authority of God’s word requires understanding the truth within God’s word, which is knowing what the reality of God’s word is referring to. Having understood the truth, you need to determine the principle for practice, and it is only at this time that you are able to enter into the reality of God’s word. It is no use if you only observe the exterior of God’s word, and you only observe those few doctrinal words that a man is able to grasp. That is not putting the truth into practice. Why do we say that it is not the truth? When people speak of these letters and doctrines, do they resolve people’s problems? Do they resolve corruption? Have they brought benefits to people’s entry into life by being able to speak of those letters and doctrines? Are people willing to listen? Therefore, one’s ability to speak of letters and doctrines doesn’t represent his understanding of the truth, nor does it represent his knowledge of God’s words. His practice has nothing in the slightest to do with obeying God’s words. If some people believe that “I live according to my own ideas, but I have not disobeyed God’s words. This is the reality of obedience to God’s word,” this belief does not hold up. Some people can speak many letters and doctrines, and keep these doctrines as their life. Is this keeping God’s words? Such people simply don’t understand the spirit, and they do not know the truth. If a person does not know the truth or understand the spirit, then it is not easy for them to enter into reality. Therefore, if you want to enter into reality, you must completely throw away those letters and doctrines you speak of, all that rubbish, and eliminate them from your mind. You must not regard these things as precious, as these things are nothing at all. Some people even say with no sense of shame, “I understand everything, it’s just that I can’t put it into practice.” Are there not many who have believed in God for a long time who often say this? These people don’t understand the spirit, they are nothing at all, they have nothing whatsoever. They have nothing at all, yet they still believe that they understand everything. When you say “I understand everything,” that means you understand all the letters and doctrines but you do not understand the truth. Without the truth, you just do not have reality. Therefore, the more that one says that he understands everything, the more muddle-headed he is, and the more that he is someone who understands nothing at all and who doesn’t understand the spirit. If he really understands everything, why does he not have reality? Why can he not practice the truth? That just means he doesn’t understand the truth, and that he understands those external things of belief in God, yet knows nothing about the substance of belief and the truth. What is it called? “Rubbish coated in gold and jade.” What should one possess first of all to obey the authority of God’s word? He needs to be equipped with the truth by eating and drinking more of God’s word, and have true knowledge of the word of God. What level of knowledge of the word of God is genuine knowledge? Only if you attain understanding of the truth, come to realize many truths in the word of God, and realize all the truths that you should possess to conduct yourself can you be a person who genuinely knows the word of God. Once you genuinely know God’s word, even if you read a passage of God’s word at will, you can communicate some practical knowledge regarding genuine human life and how to conduct yourself, which can supplement the inadequacies of mankind. Only such a person genuinely understands the word of God. Therefore, with regard to obeying the authority of God’s word, if you do not understand the word of God, your practice is observing rules, and it has no meaning. If you take those few doctrinal words that you understand within God’s word as rules to be observed, you can observe them all your life and you would still not be a person who truly obeys God. …
The second principle in obedience to God is to obey the authority of Christ. What does obeying the authority of Christ principally refer to? On one hand, it is obedience to Christ’s words, and of course also includes obedience to the word of God. On the other hand, it is obeying the essence of Christ, which, to be accurate, is obeying all that Christ has said and the work that He has done. Suppose you have complete obedience to Christ. Regardless of how He speaks or what He does, you can obey it all, and you can accept it all. As for what you do not comprehend, what you cannot know and the notions that you have, you can discard them and forsake yourself to obey Christ. Such a person has achieved compatibility with Christ. It is no easy matter to be in complete compatibility with God. Some people only accept a part of that which Christ has said, only accepting that part which they have understood and believe to be the truth. They do not obey that which they themselves have not been able to see through and do not understand. Such a person’s obedience is selective, and he does not obey that part which he does not believe to be the truth or which does not suit him. Is such a person in compatibility with Christ? He is not someone in compatibility with Christ. Therefore, to be in compatibility with Christ is not simple; it is not, as people imagine, compatibility in personality, or being compatible in work, or living together compatibly with others. The most important thing is being compatible with Him in the reality of truth, and having true obedience to Him. This is the criterion for genuine compatibility. Having true obedience is not a simple matter. It is not being able to obey what you like to obey, just obeying what you see as being right, and what you can accept, but it is being able to obey what you do not believe is right, what you cannot accept, and what you do not regard as the truth. This is crucial. If it is put into practice according to your principles of obedience, you will easily resist Christ in some situations. You are compatible with Him in some cases, while you are antagonistic and incompatible with Him in other cases. People who are like this are not those who have had genuine change of life disposition. This is the aspect which is now most lacking in man’s obedience. He does not obey that which he does not see as right, or he puts to one side that which he cannot see the meaning within and does not know is right or not. If he practices in this way, is such a man someone who is truly obeying God? He is not. So, what does genuine obedience refer to? With regard to the part that we know to be the truth, we must put obedience into practice. We must also obey, and accept, the part that we have not come to know to be the truth. It is only such a person who pursues completely entering into the truth. If a man is able to put obedience into practice with regard to things that he is unable to obey, or things he still has notions about, this is true and absolute obedience. What must a man possess if he is to arrive at true and absolute obedience to God? He needs to have change of life disposition. Why does God want to change man’s disposition? It is because man cannot absolutely obey God, he can only obey the aspect that he is able to accept, that which he is unable to accept he does not obey. In God’s view this is not genuine or absolute obedience. Therefore, if God is to bring to finality man’s genuine obedience He needs to change man’s life disposition, and it is only the work of changing man’s life disposition that is the work of truly perfecting man. Only when man’s life disposition has changed and man has attained perfection does he have absolute obedience to God. If someone is asked to put into practice the truths that he understands, he may arrive at that after a period of experience. If someone is asked to obey that which he does not acknowledge to be the truth or obey God’s work that is not compatible with his notions, he will not obey; even if in his heart he intends to obey yet he will not achieve it. What is the reason for this? Man’s nature which has been corrupted by Satan has not been resolved. By nature, man does not have obedience and he only goes about things relying on his own personal preferences. He is willing to accept anything that conforms with his notions, anything that delights him; anything that does not tally with his notions, or does not conform with what he likes, is rejected. This is a characteristic of all corrupted mankind. So, how can such a corrupted being be able to arrive at absolute obedience to God? This is an impossible thing. Does man have true love of God when he does not know God? He does not have true love of God. Even if he loves God a little it is because he has seen God’s greatness, His omnipotence, His wisdom. This slight admiration and reverence is certainly not real love. Well, what is the foundation for true love of God? After man has true knowledge of God’s words, and true knowledge of all the truths that God expresses, he will begin to develop true love. How great is the ability that this love brings? Man can obey unto death, and he can die for God with no regret. This love is extraordinary, it can conquer death. Therefore, once man has true knowledge of the word of God and the truths that God has expressed, this produces impetus and ability with regard to obeying the authority of Christ. The more man knows the word of God, the more he will obey the authority of Christ. Regardless of what Christ has said or done, even if it does not conform with his notions, he is still able to obey, and there will be no judgments in his heart, and even less will there be doubts. What should you possess in order to attain genuine obedience to Christ’s authority, and to achieve compatibility with Christ? Knowing Christ’s words and knowing the truths that Christ expresses, it is only in this way that you will be able truly to obey Christ. If a man does not know Christ, and he has never read all that Christ has expressed, then how does he regard Christ? He only sees Christ as an ordinary man, and treats Him as an ordinary man. Therefore, if you do not know God’s word, and you do not understand the truths within God’s word, you will absolutely not attain obedience to Christ. As you can see, some people who read the word of God acknowledge that God’s word is the truth but they do not know the truth. Can such people become ones who obey Christ? They have no way of obeying Christ. Therefore, some people show no obedience to Christ when keeping company with Him. From the outset they stay at a respectful distance from Christ and as time goes by they treat Christ as an ordinary person. The result is that, without knowing it, they offend against God’s administrative decrees, and without knowing it they become blasphemers of God. Therefore, they are regarded by Christ as bad people, as evil people, Christ sees them as people without humanity. Such people must die without doubt, they cannot continue to exist. People who are despised by Christ are absolutely not good guys, I want you to understand. If a person is truly a seeker of the truth, someone who really reveres God, Christ will know it at first sight. Even though such a person is still unable to completely obey Him, even though he still does not love Him from his heart, Christ is full of compassion for him, and full of grace toward him. Therefore, we see that all that Christ does is love, full of compassion, full of lovingkindness, while at the same time full of the truth. We see that what is expressed in Christ is the expression of God’s disposition, which is exactly true. In this way we arrive at knowing the practical God through knowledge of God’s word. When we have certain knowledge of the practical God, we then have true and absolute obedience to the authority of Christ. When the day comes that no matter how normal the humanity of Christ on the outside, you will be able to see Him as the incarnation of God, the incarnation of the truth, there will be within you reverence, obedience and love. Such a person has genuinely attained compatibility with Christ. Although a man has some obedience, he is unable throughout to arrive at compatibility with Christ. What does this show? His life disposition has not changed; he is still the old Satan, the old demon, who remains unchanged. Is it correct or not to put it this way? Through what is obedience to the authority of Christ achieved? It is achieved mainly through eating and drinking the word of God and understanding the truth. If you are a person who is truly practicing the truth, and truly obedient to God’s word, then you are someone who can obey Christ. It’s that simple. If you are able to obey Christ, this shows that you have knowledge of Christ, and you are a person who can develop absolute obedience to Christ. Man attains knowledge of God through eating and drinking God’s word. Only when he has genuine knowledge of the practical God is he able to obey all that Christ does. Regardless of what Christ may say, even if it does not conform to his notions, he is still able to accept and obey it without the slightest resistance. Such a person is someone who is made complete by God and is at one with Christ. As now you have not seen Christ, do you dare to guarantee you are someone who is in compatibility with Christ? If you are now brought close to Christ, are you able to be in complete compatibility with Him? Will you develop notions about and resist Him? If you dare not guarantee it, why is that so? You do not have the truth. Therefore, while you do not have the truth, whether or not you see Christ has no meaning. Tell me, if you have not seen Christ, are you able to arrive at absolute obedience to Christ? As long as you pursue the truth and attain understanding and possession of the truth, then you can become someone who is in compatibility with Christ. If you do not have the truth, the number of times that you have seen Christ has no meaning. The work of the Holy Spirit is not undertaken according to whether you have seen Christ, but rather it is according to your pursuit of the truth and your sincerity in eating and drinking the word of God. Those who are not pursuing the truth, even if they have seen Christ, even if they have lived alongside Christ, in the end they are unable to obey Christ. Some people say, “In a family, some members are very obedient: The wife can obey her husband, the husband can obey his wife, and the children can obey their parents. Is this not also a kind of obedience?” Is this real obedience? This has no substance of obedience; it is only being relatively compliant. It is nothing more than possessing a little of the normal reason and conscience of humanity. That little normal reason and conscience of humanity produces a little external obedience; that is not true obedience. True obedience means that regardless of what He says or does, even if it is not in line with your notions you are still able to obey and will not betray Him; only this is true obedience. Suppose one day He says something that is most unacceptable to you but you can acknowledge that “As long as the words have been spoken by Christ, then I accept them and I firmly believe that they are the truth and I will obey them.” It is only such a person who is genuinely obedient to Christ’s authority. Once you genuinely obey Christ, you are then a person of one heart and mind with God. If you do not have absolute obedience to Christ, you are definitely not a person who absolutely obeys God. Christ is God incarnate, what He expresses is God’s word. Then some people would say: “If the word of God ceases to be expressed, does He still have God’s Spirit within Him? Does He still have the essence of divinity?” What do you say, does He or not? He is not like people who are used by the Holy Spirit, or like the prophets who prophesied when the Holy Spirit undertook His work and could not do so without the work of the Holy Spirit. He is not transitional, God incarnate is the Spirit of God realized in the flesh. As long as He lives for one day He has the essence of divinity. For example, Jesus was nailed to the cross, and in the end “died” and rose again. The essence of divinity within Him did not change regardless of how long He was “dead” before His resurrection. We need to see this clearly. Because He had the essence of divinity He could rise from the dead. What does resurrection from the dead prove? That He had the essence of divinity, which is absolute. That He is God; there is nothing false about this at all. Some people have their doubts on this. Such people do not understand the essence of Christ; they do not understand the mystery of God incarnate. They place the incarnate Christ on a par with prophets used by the Holy Spirit. This shows that they have no understanding of the truth and the mystery. When Christ is not expressing the word, what would you say, can He express the word? He can express the word. It has not been predestined that there is a certain amount of the word that He can say; He can say it at any time. Further, what can we observe in Christ? He has within Him a powerful intuition, as if He could see through to your heart. He can tell from the first contact whether or not a man has humanity, which is especially accurate. This is the difference between having divinity and not having divinity; a man is unable to see through it. As well, at the crucial time, without being aware of it one word from Him would strike you in the heart, speaking to the deepest recess of your soul. At times it hits the nail on the head, just like a double-edged sword going straight to the marrow with one blow. As seen from these things, Christ has the essence of divinity and that is absolutely true. The outcomes of the work undertaken by men used by the Holy Spirit can be attained if a man has experienced to a level and been made perfect by the Holy Spirit; but with regard to Christ’s work and that which Christ possesses, no matter how the Holy Spirit works in him, man will never possess or attain it. If you look at all of the word that Christ has expressed, all of God’s word written by Christ, would you say that a man who understands the truth would be able to write it all down? He could write at will a passage of God’s word, and regardless of which perspective He spoke from, or with what status He said it, a man could never achieve this. This is absolute. Therefore, Christ is God incarnate, the incarnation of the truth and there is nothing false about that. This is the minimum knowledge of Christ that man should have.
The third principle in obedience to God is obeying the authority of the work of the Holy Spirit. Those whose experience is too shallow cannot have true knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people who do not have true knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit cannot attain obedience to the authority of the work of the Holy Spirit, because they cannot grasp how the Holy Spirit works, nor can they grasp the meaning of the Holy Spirit. When it comes to knowing the work of the Holy Spirit, such people feel that it is vague and cannot be seen. Therefore, some people do not have a path to follow in obeying the work of the Holy Spirit, and they have no means of putting it into practice. Some people are especially earnest in this matter, and so they place importance on understanding the sensation that the work of the Holy Spirit brings, how the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit can be confirmed, and how the guidance of the Holy Spirit can be confirmed. Some people believe that it seems as if all that the Holy Spirit does cannot be grasped, and cannot be seen and so there is no way of confirming it. Isn’t this a real problem? Then how is obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit achieved? You should first have knowledge. If you only attach importance to it, you cannot attain knowledge. Do not now attach importance to the work of the Holy Spirit; you should only care about eating and drinking the word of God, and communicating the truth. In this way, the work of the Holy Spirit will naturally come upon you. If you attach importance to Him, He will not come and He will not work. If, regardless of whether or not the Holy Spirit is working on you, you only concern yourself with pursuing the truth, then He will work quietly without you being aware. As long as He starts His work, after a period of experience you will feel it naturally. You do not have to specially sense it or attach particular importance to it. You only have to concern yourself with placing importance on God’s word, and attach importance to pursuit of the truth. It is just like you “do not take notice of” the Holy Spirit’s work. The result is that without knowing it you experience the work of the Holy Spirit. When you have a relatively clear understanding of the truth, you will have some understanding of a variety of truths and have somewhat entered into them. This explains that the Holy Spirit has been working on you for a long time. Naturally in this way you have accumulated a little knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit. Once you have some knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit, at times you can feel that something has come about through the Holy Spirit and this lays the foundation for you. In actual fact, it is more accurate to say that in obedience to the authority of the work of the Holy Spirit, if you only concern yourself with obeying the authority of God’s word, without being aware of it you will then have obedience to the authority of the work of the Holy Spirit. This is because the more you obey God’s word, and the more you put the truth into practice, the more knowledge you will have of God’s word and the more new enlightenment you will have. The more new enlightenment you have of God’s word is evidence that you have more of the work of the Holy Spirit; whenever you do not have fresh enlightenment, or you do not sense the authority of God’s word or the power of His word, then you do not have the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, you should not first attach importance to the work of the Holy Spirit. As soon as you attach importance to it, it is easy for you to become oversensitive mentally. When a man is oversensitive mentally it is easy to create muddledness or bring about confusion. If you only concern yourself with obeying the word of God, and putting the truth into practice, when you pursue the truth you are illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Act according to the illumination of the Holy Spirit and practice according to the new illumination received, and without knowing it you are obeying the work of the Holy Spirit, without knowing it you are obeying the illumination of the Holy Spirit. When you have more new enlightenment in putting the truth into practice, there is an increase in the component of your obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when putting the truth into practice, without being aware of it you are actually obeying the work of the Holy Spirit. If for some time you have no new enlightenment of the truth, and you only practice according to the truth received in the past, your obedience at this time is only obeying the authority of God’s word, and it does not involve any new work of the Holy Spirit. If you have new illumination from the words of God as well as even deeper knowledge, and you practice according to this new illumination, new enlightenment and deeper knowledge, would you say that this is obeying the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit? This is obeying the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. It is obeying the authority of the word of God, as well as obeying the authority of the work of the Holy Spirit; it is killing two birds with one stone. Therefore, obeying the authority of the work of the Holy Spirit is mainly to obey the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination. Let’s put it in most simple terms: Does man’s true knowledge of the word of God originate with the Holy Spirit? It all originates with the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination. Therefore, when you are putting each truth into practice, particularly when you have even deeper knowledge of the substance of that truth, this is obeying the work of the Holy Spirit, and obeying the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. Would you say that all such people as those who obey the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit have true obedience to the authority of God’s word? They also have true obedience to it. The work of the Holy Spirit is many-faceted. The work that is undertaken on those who pursue the truth is principally enlightenment and illumination of God’s word, leading them to understand and enter into all truths. He principally performs this work but there is another task that is also worked by the Holy Spirit. While you experience and put into practice the word of God, He guides you, and enlightens you. Regarding your duties, your living environment, and the things that you encounter, He guides you to understand and enter into the truth, and to enter into reality. When you eat and drink the word of God He enlightens you to understand God’s word. In real life He will lead you to enter into the reality of the truth. This is the principle of the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, many people experience the guidance of the word of God, the discipline of God’s word, as well as experiencing the Holy Spirit’s discipline of man, the Holy Spirit’s restraining of man, and the Holy Spirit’s guiding of man. Sometimes the Holy Spirit restrains man from doing this or that. When you imagine doing this or that, the environment does not allow you to take action. That is the Holy Spirit making use of the environment to restrain you. Man’s environment is under God’s control and arrangement and it is also under the control and arrangement of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit controls and arranges man’s environment as well as people, affairs, and things. Therefore, in your individual living environment you should pray in all things, and through prayer you will act in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. At times, He will grace you with a few words through enlightenment and unexpectedly God’s word will appear within you. As soon as you think of these words of God, it seems as if your previous plans are not practical. At times, you practice according to these words of God; at other times, because of these words of God, your plans and arrangements for that day will change. At times, your route or destination for carrying out your duties is arranged through the environment. These all come from the control and arrangements of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in our real lives there is discipline by the Holy Spirit, there is restraint by the Holy Spirit, and there is also guidance by the Holy Spirit. Some people say, “How can we confirm the Holy Spirit’s guidance?” This is something that man has no means of understanding ahead of it occurring. At times, you pray wholeheartedly and you feel greatly at peace, but you do not know what may happen afterward. This is why we say that we have no way of confirming the Holy Spirit’s guidance ahead of time. At times without knowing it we yield to the arrangements of the environment and arrive at a place to fulfill our duty and do our work. The result meets our expectations and we have received the work of the Holy Spirit. Only then do we realize: “Ah, this is guidance by the Holy Spirit. So that’s why I wasn’t able to complete the things I had planned today, while actually I completed things that I hadn’t planned and I was filled with the work of the Holy Spirit.” In these circumstances you only realize that it has come from the Holy Spirit’s guidance after something has happened. Can you confirm it before the event? No one can confirm it before it happens, this is a fact. According to this fact, how should we confirm guidance of the Holy Spirit? You must not define it before the event; even if you confirm it 80 percent it’s no use. All you can do is to try to do something in a particular way. You think that by some chance it is guided by the Holy Spirit, that if you don’t put it into practice the opportunity will be missed, and you then put it into practice with this attitude in mind. Once you have put it into practice and you see that what has been done today involves the work of the Holy Spirit and bears fruit, and it has been arranged by God, it is only at that time that you can confirm that this thing today really has been guided by the Holy Spirit. Subsequently you bear witness that this is guidance of the Holy Spirit; this conforms with reality and it is natural to have done it this way. But is how the Holy Spirit guides you real testimony? Does it represent that you have reality? What is the outcome that this matter has brought you? It has brought you this outcome—you can see that a plan does not work out well for some matter; at times the guidance of the Holy Spirit disrupts the plans of men. Therefore, if you want to do something, you should not always decide that that is what is to be done. If you decide to do that thing, what will you do if the Holy Spirit disrupts it? Once we have seen through this thing, we will think this way: We cannot decide our own footsteps; as man, we must not be decisive in speaking and doing things. When you say: “I have planned to do it this way but I don’t know what the consequences will be,” do you know the meaning of “what the consequences will be”? It means that you do not know how the environment may change, that you do not know how God is arranging. If you always pray and obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit, over time you will have knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit, and you will feel that the Holy Spirit’s guidance is really mysterious, that it is excellent. In this way you will not dare to be determinative in your intentions and plans. You will feel that man cannot decide everything and that all arrangements lie in the hands of God. Further, if a man has practical knowledge through some experience of the work of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination, and particularly the Holy Spirit’s guidance, restraining and discipline, then does that man have knowledge of God? The man has knowledge of God’s conduct, of God’s love, of God’s wisdom and omnipotence, and of God’s sovereignty. Therefore, the work of the Holy Spirit represents the work of God, and it is the work of God. The Holy Spirit is God Himself, do you follow? … Through what is obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit attained? It is arrived at through pursuit of the truth and putting the word of God into practice. If you have genuinely attained understanding of the truth in the word of God, that is, understanding the substance of the word of God, then you should practice in accordance with the truth. In this way you will obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is going to enlighten, illuminate and guide you in your practice to enter into the reality of the truth. This is at the heart of the Holy Spirit’s work, and it is also the Holy Spirit’s most important work. The deeper and clearer your understanding of the truth, the more absolute your putting the truth into practice. This explains that your obedience to God is more and more real, this is reality. In communicating the truth, you should communicate true knowledge of the truth, real experience in putting the truth into practice, real knowledge of God, real knowledge of God’s disposition, God’s substance, and God’s conduct, and subsequently you will achieve change of life disposition. However you communicate these several aspects, and even if you communicate them many times, it is not excessive. It brings many benefits and has no shortcomings. It is fine to communicate knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit, to enable people to understand the work of the Holy Spirit and have discernment, and enable their practice to be even more accurate, without errors, without relying on their own views. This is advantageous to them. If you are always communicating the work of Holy Spirit so that people specially attach importance to the work of the Holy Spirit and ignore pursuit of the truth and the word of God, then you have committed an error, and this is troublesome. So, what is obeying the authority of the work of the Holy Spirit based on? It is based on obeying and putting the word of God into practice and on obeying the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. We should speak less of or even avoid speaking about the other things. It is even more beneficial to man’s putting into practice and entering into the truth. If someone speaks of the spiritual work as being transcendental, and you realize that he is transcendental and abnormal, you have to expose him as this is probably the work of an evil spirit. This is because the Holy Spirit is rarely transcendental in His work. It is not absolute that He is never transcendental. In particular, exceptional circumstances the Holy Spirit has to be transcendental and only then does He do some transcendental things. In general circumstances, He absolutely does not do transcendental things.
The fourth principle in obedience to God is to obey the work arrangements and communication of the man used by the Holy Spirit. Why do we list this as the fourth principle in obedience to God? This is because the work of the man used by the Holy Spirit represents a part of the work of the Holy Spirit, and it is also a mode of the work of God incarnate, which is to lead the chosen people to enter into all of the truths and words expressed by God. Therefore, we list it as the fourth principle. To obey the work arrangements and communication of the man used by the Holy Spirit indicates that his work arrangements and the truth that he communicates come from the work of the Holy Spirit, and they are a part of the work of the Holy Spirit. This is also a mode and a step in God’s work of the last days. If this were not treated as a principle in obedience to God, what would the consequences be? The consequences would be that it would not be easy for God’s chosen people to get onto the right track because if people do not understand the truth they have no means of entering into reality. Just think, if after God had finished working and expressing His word, all of God’s chosen people were provided with a book of His word, and later God’s chosen people had to come together and read the word of God by themselves, without any management, without communicating or leading, without shepherding, what would the consequences be? People would be unable to get onto the right track, they would all be loitering around outside the gate for several years without finding the gate. This is absolute. Christ is the gate to the kingdom. To enter the kingdom through the word of God, you must enter into the word of God, and understand the truth. Once you have obtained the truth in God’s word, found the path for entry into life, found the road to being made perfect, at this time you will have entered into the reality of the kingdom, and properly entered through the gate of the kingdom. If you have not obtained the truth in God’s word and do not have a path for entry, it means that you have not found the gate through which to enter into the kingdom. Is it correct to put it this way? This conforms to reality. Well, now you have undergone several years of watering, and supplying. Do you feel that you have a road? You have a road; you know that pursuit of the truth is extremely important, and with regard to conducting yourself and living a genuine human life, pursuit of the truth is most crucial. Therefore, you are now putting in an effort to pursue the truth. Obedience to the work arrangements and communication of the man used by the Holy Spirit enables you to get onto the track of belief in God, enables you to properly enter onto the road of pursuit of the truth and achieving salvation, and enables you to obtain the truth and the supply of life. This is true. There are some who do not wish to accept the guidance of the man used by the Holy Spirit, nor do they wish to hear the preaching and communication of the man used by the Holy Spirit, believing that: “The man used by the Holy Spirit is also corrupted, he also has mixed intentions, therefore we do not submit to his guidance. It’s enough that we only obey God.” Looked at from the outside, such a way of putting it seems to be rather reasonable, but what is it like when it is put into practice? Can you achieve results? Can you genuinely obtain the truth and enter into reality, and be made perfect by God? Most people have probably now confirmed this point: Belief in God cannot work without the guidance of others. If there are not people to provide leadership who understand the truth and have entry into reality, it will absolutely not work. But some people say: “That’s not certain. If the Holy Spirit is at work, we can also enter into reality, and be made perfect by God.” What will the results be if there is only the work of the Holy Spirit but no one to lead? There would be some results but the entry would be too slow. If a person with genuine experience of ten or more or twenty-something years, or who has been made perfect by the work of the Holy Spirit, guides your entry, then the progress would be too quick. In three years you would achieve ten years of progress. Therefore, man’s notion would not be tenable. If this notion of man were tenable, then God would not need to set up a person to be used by the Holy Spirit. Only the work of the Holy Spirit would be enough. Why would God set up such a person, and He Himself speak out and bear witness to this person to make everyone submit to him? Without any doubt, this is a mode of work adopted by God in His last days work: Christ expresses the words, and then the man used by the Holy Spirit leads people to enter into the experience of God’s word. This is a mode of work predestined by God. Every time in the work of God incarnate a person used by the Holy Spirit leads the chosen people. Since God adopts such a mode of work, we should understand the significance of God’s work. With the leadership of such a person, it is easy for us to understand the truth, we have a road to follow, and our pursuit has direction and an aim. If you are able to obey the leadership, preaching and communication of such a person, the Holy Spirit then works on you. If you contravene or resist it, the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do so, and you will be pruned, dealt with or disciplined. Why does the Holy Spirit act in this way? It is because this is a mode of work that has been predestined by God. In this way, the Holy Spirit safeguards and brings it to completion. If you obey the work arrangements and communication of the man used by the Holy Spirit, you need to accept and obey all the truths that he communicates, you need to obey his work arrangements, and you must not go against them. This is sufficient. It is certainly not obeying everything to do with the man used by the Holy Spirit. You are not required to obey the person, but to obey his work arrangements and preaching and communication. Therefore, when this truth is communicated, you need to be clear that this person is not to be obeyed in the same way as God is obeyed, but that it refers to obeying his work arrangements and communication. Leaders and workers of every level need to put his work arrangements into practice. Whichever of God’s words you need to eat and drink and how these are to be eaten and drunk according to him, you need to put them into practice. However he asks you to fulfill your duty and the principles for carrying out your duty, you need to accept and put them into practice. You should accept whatever truth and knowledge that he communicates which you regard as correct. In this way you will be made complete by God, you can attain entry into the reality of truth and be suited for God’s use, and you will genuinely become a person who obeys God. Therefore, is there any connection between obeying the work arrangements, preaching and communication of the man used by the Holy Spirit and man’s entering into life and being saved? There is a connection, this is true. With regard to obeying the work arrangements and communication of the man used by the Holy Spirit, there is an important factor here which needs to be understood. What does this important factor refer to? The communication of the man used by the Holy Spirit at times represents the newest enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and at other times represents the newest pace of work of the Holy Spirit. Whatever the man used by the Holy Spirit communicates in a period, it is guaranteed to be a step of the work of the Holy Spirit, it is the pace of the Holy Spirit’s work, and this is absolutely not arranged by the will of man. Whatever he wants to say in a period is not decided beforehand by him, but comes from the leadership of the Holy Spirit; this has been confirmed. According to such circumstances, his communication and his work represent the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and they represent the pace in the work of the Holy Spirit. If you do not accept these, is this not a loss with regard to your entry into life? It truly is a loss. Therefore, in one period when I communicated a topic, some people were not listening, and then I said: “Oh, you’ve missed out, you’ve missed out on so much, and that’s become a loss for you. If you want me to say it again, I’m unable to repeat it. If you try to look for another opportunity later, you won’t find it. What I’ve said previously paves the way for today. It goes higher and becomes clearer, based on past foundations.” So, would you say that only obeying that small amount of enlightenment and illumination on you is enough when obeying the work of the Holy Spirit? Is not it richer if you accept that which is communicated and known by the man used by the Holy Spirit? You should accept much more as when you receive all the enlightenment and illumination that comes from the work of the Holy Spirit, what you obtain is richer. You need to accept the enlightenment and illumination from the Holy Spirit regardless of who communicates it. Do not look at who the person is, do not look to see whether he has status, do not look to see if you like him or not. None of this is important. The most important thing is that you have received all that comes from the Holy Spirit. Only then will you be someone who has obtained a bumper harvest, an enormous harvest, and only such a person is intelligent. Some people often weigh up others when they communicate with others. And what is the outcome? They develop concepts and prejudices about others. Therefore, others communicate well enough but it is not accepted, and the result is that all the richness of God is neglected and discarded. Some of you have others in your family who also believe in God; the husband believes, the wife believes, the children believe, or the parents believe. When you return home, you communicate together whenever there is a difficulty. What some people say conforms with your thinking, and what others say does not conform with your views, and is even contrary, hostile, and contradictory with your thinking. Would you say that this is a good thing? If you are a person who is really pursuing the truth, how should you practice? The more that which is said is contradictory and hostile to your view, the more you should attach importance to those areas, and whether or not they contain the truth, this is crucial. If they really contain the truth and you accept them, this has enormous advantages for you; if you always weigh up whether or not they conform to your intentions, and you accept those that do conform and reject those that do not conform, you will gain little of the truth, and it will not be easy for you to obtain the truth. Whether or not you can now absolutely obey what comes from God, or whether or not you are controlled by man’s notions and imagination, this is crucial. Those who truly obey God are not subject to the control of man’s notions, imagination, and preferences. All that comes from God, even if it does not conform with their own intent, can be accepted. Even that which is said by people who are not after their heart can be accepted. Such people are able to become persons who are genuinely obedient to God. If a man always has his own preferences, notions, prejudices, and imagination, and he is always controlled by these things, this person cannot attain absolute obedience to the Holy Spirit and absolute obedience to God. These things really block man’s obedience and entry into life, and the blockage is enormous. Therefore, to be after God’s heart in your service and duty, you need to pay a price, and put some effort into seeking the truth, not relying on your own imagination, not making decisions based on the few things that you know, and you need to cast yourself aside, deny yourself, forsake yourself. It is then easy for you to be after God’s heart in your work and fulfilling your duties, and only then can you satisfy God’s intent. Concerning obeying the work arrangements and communication of the man used by the Holy Spirit, there is this kind of principle: All of the work arrangements from the above should be obeyed, all of the preaching and communication from the above should be listened to, and all that accords with the truth that you consider to have edification and value for your life ought to be accepted. This will benefit you greatly in getting onto the right track for belief in God and attaining salvation. If you do not accept this principle of obedience and you act in breach of it, you can well imagine what kind of consequences this will bring you in the end.