Believers must be able to discern false shepherds and antichrists to cast off religion and return to God
4. Believers must be able to discern false shepherds and antichrists to cast off religion and return to God
“Thus said the Lord Jehovah to the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat, and you clothe you with the wool, you kill them that are fed: but you feed not the flock. The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them” (Eze 34:2–4).
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mat 7:15).
“They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Mat 15:14).
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2Jn 1:7).
Relevant Words of God:
The work of an unqualified worker falls far short; his work is foolish. He can only bring people into rules; what he demands of people does not vary from individual to individual; he does not work according to the actual needs of the people. In this type of work, there are too many rules and too many doctrines, and it cannot bring people into reality or into normal practice of growth in life. It can only enable people to stand by a few worthless rules. This kind of guidance can only lead people astray. He leads you to become what he is like; he can bring you into what he has and is. For followers to discern whether leaders are qualified, the key is to look at the path they lead and the results of their work, and look at whether followers receive the principles in accordance with the truth, and whether they receive ways of practice suitable for them to be transformed. You should differentiate between the different work of different types of people; you should not be a foolish follower. This impinges on the matter of your entry. If you are unable to distinguish which person’s leadership has a path and which does not, you will easily be deceived. All these have a direct bearing on your own life.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in
Work in the mind of man is too easily achieved by man. Pastors and leaders in the religious world, for example, rely on their gifts and positions to do their work. People who follow them for a long time will be infected by their gifts and be influenced by some of what they are. They focus on people’s gifts, abilities and knowledge, and they pay attention to some supernatural things and many profound unrealistic doctrines (of course, these profound doctrines are unattainable). They do not focus on changes to people’s disposition, but rather they focus on training people’s preaching and working abilities, improving people’s knowledge and rich religious doctrines. They do not focus on how much people’s disposition is changed or how much people understand the truth. They do not concern themselves with the substance of people, much less try to know people’s normal and abnormal states. They do not counter people’s notions or reveal their notions, much less mend their deficiencies or corruptions. Most of the people who follow them serve by their natural gifts, and what they express is knowledge and vague religious truth, which are out of touch with reality and are completely unable to confer people with life. In fact, the substance of their work is nurturing talent, nurturing a person with nothing into a talented seminary graduate who later goes on to work and lead.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Many people behind My back covet the blessing of status, they gorge themselves on food, they love to sleep and give every care to the flesh, always afraid that there is no way out for the flesh. They do not perform their proper function in the church, but freeload off the church, or else they admonish their brothers and sisters with My words, lording themselves over others from positions of authority. These people keep saying they are doingand always say they are God’s intimates—is this not absurd? If you have the right intentions, but are unable to serve in accordance with God’s will, then you are being foolish; but if your intentions are not right, and you still say you serve God, then you are someone who opposes God, and you ought to be punished by God! I have no sympathy for such people! In the house of God, they freeload, always coveting the comforts of the flesh, and give no consideration to the interests of God. They always seek what is good for them, and they pay no heed to God’s will. They do not accept the scrutiny of God’s Spirit in anything they do. They are always maneuvering and deceiving their brothers and sisters, and being two-faced, like a fox in a vineyard, always stealing grapes and trampling over the vineyard. Could such people be God’s intimates? Are you fit to receive God’s blessings? You take no burden for your life and the church, are you fit to receive God’s commission? Who would dare trust someone like you? When you serve like this, could God dare to entrust you with a greater task? Would this not cause delays to the work?
from “How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You serve God with your natural character, and according to your personal preferences. What’s more, you always think that the things you are willing to do are what are delightful to God, and that the things you do not wish to do are what are hateful to God; you work entirely according to your own preferences. Can this be called serving God? Ultimately, there will not be the slightest change in your life disposition; instead, your service will make you even more stubborn, thus deeply ingraining your corrupt disposition, and as such, there will be formed within you rules about service to God that are primarily based on your own character, and experiences derived from your service according to your own disposition. These are the experiences and lessons of man. It is man’s philosophy of life. People like this can be classed as Pharisees and religious officials. If they never wake up and repent, then they will ultimately turn into the false Christs who will appear in the last days, and will be deceivers of men. The false Christs and deceivers that were spoken of will arise from among such people. If those who serve God follow their own character and act according to their own will, they run the risk of being cast out at any time. Those who apply their many years of experience acquired to serving God in order to win the hearts of others, to lecture them and control them, and to stand on high—and who never repent, never confess their sins, never renounce the benefits of position—these people shall fall before God. They are of the same kind as Paul, presuming upon their seniority and flaunting their qualifications. God will not bring people like this to perfection. Such service interferes with the work of God.
from “Religious Service Must Be Purged” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Why is it that most people have spent much effort reading God’s words, but merely have knowledge and cannot say anything about a real path afterward? Do you think that possessing knowledge amounts to possessing the truth? Is that not a confused point of view? You are able to speak as much knowledge as there is sand on a beach, yet none of it contains any real path. Are you not trying to fool people by doing this? Are you not making an empty show, with no substance to back it up? All such behavior is harmful to people! The higher the theory and the more it is devoid of reality, the more it is incapable of taking people into reality; the higher the theory, the more it makes you defy and oppose God. Do not treat the loftiest theories like precious treasure; they are pernicious and serve no purpose! Perhaps some people are able to talk of the loftiest theories—but these contain nothing of reality, for these people have not personally experienced them, and therefore have no path to practice. Such people are incapable of taking others onto the right track and will only lead them astray. Is this not harmful to people? At the very least, you must be able to solve people’s present troubles and allow them to achieve entry; only this counts as dedication, and only then will you be qualified to work for God. Do not always speak grandiose, fanciful words, and do not use a bunch of unsuitable practices to bind others into obeying you. Doing so will have no effect and can only increase their confusion. Carrying on like this will produce much doctrine, which will make people loathe you. Such is the shortcoming of man, and it truly is mortifying. So talk more of problems that actually exist.
from “Focus More on Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When regular people make comments about those of you who are leaders, you say: “Humph, what makes you qualified to make comments about me? How many sermons can you give? How many people can you lead? What can you do?” It is as if you are qualified. If you carry on this way you will be in trouble; you may serve for a while, but then you will go wrong. As far as all of you are concerned, if the churches in an area were handed over to you and there was no one overseeing you for six months, you would start to go astray. If no one oversaw you for a year, you would lead them astray. If two years passed and still no one was overseeing you, you would lead them away and bring them before you. Why is this? Have you ever considered this question before? Could you be like this? Your knowledge can only provide for people for a certain period of time. As time goes on, if you keep saying the same things, some people will discern that; they’ll say you’re too superficial, too lacking in depth. You’ll have no option but to try and deceive people by preaching on doctrines. If you always carry on like this, those below you will follow your methods, steps, and model of faith and of experiencing and putting into practice those words and doctrines. Ultimately, as you keep on preaching and preaching, they’ll all come to use you as an exemplar. In your leadership of others you speak of doctrines, so those below you will learn doctrines from you, and as things progress you will have taken the wrong path. Those below you will take whatever path you do; they will all learn from you and follow you, so you will feel: “I am powerful now; so many people listen to me, and the church is at my beck and call.” This nature of betrayal within man unconsciously makes you turn God into a mere figurehead, and you yourself then form some sort of denomination. This is how various denominations arise. Just look at the leaders of every denomination—they are all arrogant and self-righteous, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imagination. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they were incapable of preaching anything, would those people follow them? They do, after all, possess some knowledge, and can preach on some doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices. They use these to bring people before themselves and deceive them. Nominally, those people, but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter someone preaching the true way, some of them say, “We have to consult our leader about our faith.” Their faith has to go through a human being; is that not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way? Such people are of the same ilk as Paul.
from “Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
When God becomes flesh and comes to work among men, all behold Him and hear His words, and all see the deeds that God works from within His body of flesh. At that moment, all man’s notions evaporate. As for those who have seen God appearing in the flesh, they shall not be condemned if they willingly obey Him, whereas those who purposefully stand against Him shall be deemed an opponent of God. Such people are antichrists, enemies who willfully stand against God. Those who harbor notions regarding God but are still ready and willing to obey Him will not be condemned. God condemns man on the basis of man’s intentions and actions, never for his thoughts and ideas. If He were to condemn man on the basis of his thoughts and ideas, then not a single person would be able to escape from the wrathful hands of God. Those who willfully stand against the incarnate God shall be punished for their disobedience. With regard to these people that willfully stand against God, their opposition stems from the fact that they harbor notions about God, which leads them in turn into actions that disrupt God’s work. These people intentionally resist and destroy the work of God. They do not merely have notions about God, but they also engage in activities that disrupt His work, and for this reason people of this kind shall be condemned.
from “All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you have believed in God for many years, and yet have never obeyed Him, and do not accept the entirety of His words, and instead ask that God submit to you and act according to your notions, then you are the most rebellious of all, you are a nonbeliever. How could such people be able to obey the work and words of God that do not conform to the notions of man? Most rebellious of all are those who intentionally defy and resist God. They are the enemies of God, the antichrists. Theirs is always an attitude of hostility toward the new work of God; they never have the slightest inclination to submit, nor have they ever gladly submitted or humbled themselves. They exalt themselves before others and never submit to anyone. Before God, they consider themselves the best at preaching the word, and the most skillful in working on others. Never do they discard the “treasures” in their possession, but treat them as family heirlooms for worship, for preaching about to others, and they use them to lecture those fools who idolize them. There are indeed a certain number of people like this in the church. It can be said that they are “indomitable heroes,” generation after generation sojourning in the house of God. They take preaching the word (doctrine) to be their highest duty. Year after year, generation after generation, they go about vigorously enforcing their “sacred and inviolable” duty. None dare touch them; not a single person dares openly reproach them. They become “kings” in the house of God, running rampant as they tyrannize others from age to age. This pack of demons seeks to join hands and demolish My work; how can I allow these living devils to exist before My eyes?
from “Those WhoWith a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Your opposition to God and obstruction of the work ofis caused by your conceptions and inherent arrogance. It is not because God’s work is wrong, but because you are naturally too disobedient. After finding their belief in God, some people can’t even say with certainty where man came from, yet they dare to make public speeches appraising the rights and wrongs of the Holy Spirit’s work. And they even lecture the apostles who have the Holy Spirit’s new work, passing comment and speaking out of turn; their humanity is too low, and there is not the slightest sense in them. Will the day not come when such people are rejected by , and burned by the fires of hell? They do not know the work of God, but instead criticize His work, and also try to instruct God how to work. How can such unreasonable people know God? Man comes to know God during the process of seeking and experiencing Him; it is not through criticizing Him at whim that he comes to know God through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The more accurate people’s knowledge of God, the less they oppose Him. In contrast, the less people know of God, the more likely they are to oppose Him. Your conceptions, your old nature, and your humanity, character and moral outlook are the “capital” with which you resist God, and the more corrupt, degraded and low you are, the more you are the enemy of God. Those who are possessed of grievous conceptions and have a self-righteous disposition are even more in enmity of God incarnate, and such people are the antichrists.
from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Anyone who does not understand the purpose of God’s work is one who opposes Him, and one who has come to understand the purpose of God’s work but still does not seek to satisfy God is even more to be deemed an opponent of God. There are those who read the Bible in grand churches and recite it all day long, yet not one among them understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one among them is able to know God; still less can any one among them accord with God’s will. They are all worthless, vile people, each standing on high to lecture God. They willfully oppose God even as they carry His banner. Claiming, still they eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such people are devils that devour the soul of man, demons that deliberately get in the way of those trying to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks impeding those who seek God. They may appear of “sound constitution,” but how are their followers to know that they are none other than antichrists who lead people to stand against God? How are their followers to know that they are living devils dedicated to the devouring of human souls?
from “All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What are the essential differences between the work of God and the work of man?
You have to know how to differentiate God’s work from the work of man. What can you see from the work of man? There are a lot of elements of man’s experience in the work of man; what man expresses is what he is. God’s own work also expresses what He is, but what He is is different from what man is. ...The work of God Himself involves the work of all of mankind, and it also represents the work of the entire era.
Recognize the differences between the incarnate Christ and the false Christs and false prophets
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Mat 24:24). ...He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way.
Why did the Lord Jesus curse the Pharisees? What was the essence of the Pharisees?
Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What’s more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. ...These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth.
What are the differences between the work of those used by God and the work of religious leaders?
The work carried out by the one who is used by God is in order to cooperate with the work of Christ or the Holy Spirit. This man is raised up by God among man, he is there to lead all of God’s chosen ones, and he is also raised up by God in order to do the work of human cooperation. ...God’s aim in using this man is so that all those who follow God can better understand God’s will, and can attain more of God’s requirements.