1. Only Knowing God’s Work Enables One to Follow to the End
I wish to share with you a few words.
I have read your work reports. It’s great that you reported these specific issues. We fully understand your anxiety and stress because I also went through many of the same experiences. Anxiety and stress are not necessarily negative, for they can prompt us to pray and commune with God more often. They can motivate us to work. If someone has no anxiety and stress about issues appearing in the church, it means that they carry no burden for what God has entrusted to them, and that the Holy Spirit is not at work in them. If someone is mindful of God’s will, they will seek solutions to all problems they encounter in order to perform their duty well. When people find more problems as they perform their duties, their anxiety and stress will also increase. They will become more aware of how much they still lack, and feel helpless. That’s when they will begin to thirst for the truth and pursue the truth. Therefore, it is a good thing with respect to someone’s life entry when they become aware of their helplessness, and realize how much they still lack. People have a tendency to boast and exaggerate, and often do not realize their limitations until they find themselves in situations they cannot handle. Now, you are only able to detect obvious superficial issues as you carry out the work, but fail to spot the essence of the issues, which shows that you are not up to speed yet. If you can perceive the essence of issues after you have discovered them, and apply the truth to address the issues, then you have the ability to carry out actual work. Evidently, it takes time to identify issues and to apply the truth to address them. It depends on how people seek the truth and whether or not they are mindful of God’s will. Under normal circumstances, people have only rudimentary knowledge and comprehension of God’s word. As they seek to apply the truth to solve problems, they are more likely to truly understand the essence of the truth. If a leader fails to perceive the essence of the issues and does not know what truth works well for solving them, he will not be able to address the fundamentals of the problems. This suggests that such a person does not have working abilities and they are not someone who is equipped with the truth. If a leader always comes before God to pray, seek, ponder, and learn about God’s intentions whenever he encounters a problem, and is able to perceive the essence of the problem as he has comprehended the truth, he is someone who has the ability to apply the truth to solve problems. One must comprehend the truth before he can address the fundamentals of any problem. Any leader must seek the truth in this manner as they face all sorts of problems. Once they have more experiences in solving problems, they will attain more understanding of the truth, and they will also mature in life accordingly. This is the path of leading others into the truth. At the same time, they themselves will be being perfected. In fact, leaders grow and mature in this manner. No one is an exception. Unless these problems are present, one will find no way to enter the truth, and as a result they will not mature in life.
We believers in God travel on a bumpy road. It is perfectly normal for us to encounter difficulties and obstacles, which are something God has planned for the sake of nurturing and perfecting us. They are controlled, planned, and predestined by God, and they are also God’s blessings. One can only grow to maturity by seeking the truth to solve problems. One can only do God’s will and attain perfection from God by seeking the truth and consistently applying the truth to solve problems. If one chooses to avoid or devotes little effort to handling a problem when it comes along, he will only delay the work or entrap himself. He will never attain the truth, and there certainly won’t be any changes in his life disposition. Seeking the truth to solve problems is the most practical experience in life when it comes to believing in God. Why do we say that this road is narrow? It is because one who walks the path can only receive the work of the Holy Spirit and expect to be saved and perfected by God by relying on God’s word and pursuing the truth. Apart from it there is no other road. If someone stays away from God’s word and faces all problems, they are not experiencing God’s word. Instead, they are straying away from the true path, which is what is practiced by those who disbelieve. We see that many people remain unchanged in their life disposition despite believing in God for their entire life. It is because they fail to seek the truth and fail to rely on God’s words to solve problems. They rely on Satan’s philosophy or human methods to solve problems. Consequently, they attain nothing. Though they suffer a great deal, they fail to please God. Instead, they become further and further from God. Some leaders have never even seen this path to entry into the truth, so how can they attain perfection? There is only one way to attain perfection, and that is to view matters according to God’s word and solve problems according to the truth. Whoever can practice and enter in this way will please God and will surely be perfected. A person can only perceive the essence of problems and solve them after they have truly comprehended the truth. How can anyone who serves God solve others’ problems if they are not equipped with the truth? Only he who views things according to God’s word and applies the truth to solve problems can really lead people into God’s word. Only this is considered a practical experience of entering into God’s word, and only this is truly serving God and bearing witness to God.
Having experienced God’s work until now, most leaders might have realized that without the truth, one cannot carry out any work at church or help others to experience God’s word when they encounter all sorts of difficulties. At the same time, they are unable to address the issues of people in the church revealing their corruption. Under such circumstances, they become aware that they lack too much and their stature is too small. They have no idea where to start when they encounter a situation. They find themselves overwhelmed, even having trouble catching a breath. This is normal, so do not be negative. You should strive to improve and seek the truth by reading God’s word and praying to God. You will indeed grow in life stature as you enter the truth. This is how the Holy Spirit guides man forward step by step. For each step we take, despite it being arduous, there will always be rewards. We firmly believe that as long as we walk according to God’s word, our efforts will not be in vain. Then one day when we have grown in stature and performed our duties in line with God’s will, we will sense that we have been transformed. Also, we will become less likely to resist God. Whatever God does or whatever trials we may face, we will be able to figure out God’s intentions and seek the truth. Consequently, we will not formulate notions, criticism, or resistance, but instead we will find it rather easy to submit to everything God has planned and arranged. This is how our life disposition is transformed.
As for now, you can probably only detect obvious superficial issues as you carry out the work. This is not good enough. You must detect the hidden issues that people often do not see. You must be able to see through their appearances to spot the essence of these issues. Such is the mark of the people who have stature. It is not an easy task to completely figure out problems. It pertains to levels of people’s understanding of the truth as well as their stature in terms of experiencing God’s word and knowing God. As you are dealing with problems, you must first look for their essence and root and then seek the truth to find solutions. I will give you some examples regarding how the essence of an actual issue may be completely figured out. Many religious leaders fail to focus their attention on pursuing the truth and transforming their life disposition after entering the house of God. Instead, they occupy themselves in pursuit of reputation, position, power, and profit. They strive to show off themselves to win over people. Such people are blessed with some gifts and talents, they always consider themselves better than others as if they have been sanctified. Just like Paul, “living is Christ,” they even believe they’re on equal footing with God. It goes without saying for them that they deserve to be leaders of the house of God. Their status can never be lower than others. They deserve to lead others, and they can never submit to others’ leadership. In essence, these people are arrogant, self-righteous, egoistic, worshipers of power and status, rebellious, and perverse. That’s why they offer no true submission to God. They fail to understand that experiencing the work of God’s salvation and perfection of man during the last days means addressing the real issue of mankind’s corrupt disposition and their total escape from Satan’s influence. They completely fail to realize this. They are acting like they still have faith in a vague God. They seek their own blessings, regarding status the top priority in everything. They seek reputation and status by whatever means possible, and unknowingly end up on the wrong path. In fact, God does not care about someone’s status, qualifications, or their sufferings for their faith in God when He perfects them. God cares if they pursue the truth and surrender themselves to His judgment and punishment, pruning and dealing, and if they are transformed in their life disposition after they have gone through trials and refinements. Such is the path to perfection by God. If people could somehow perceive the great blessings that come after they are perfected by God and the real meaning of human life, they would never strive for such worthless reputation and status now. People are “nearsighted” and they fail to see the meaning of perfection by God. They fail to see the actuality and reality of God’s work, which leads to their constant pursuit of reputation and status. That’s why they are eliminated by God’s work. It is entirely their petty tricks that lead to their own demise. They think they are smart but they are misled by their own craftiness. When the day comes when God’s work is concluded, they will fall into darkness weeping and gnashing their teeth. Their regret for pursuing status will have no effect then. In essence, these people eagerly seek status because they have no interest in the truth and value status greatly. Therefore, they couldn’t care less about getting to know God’s work. They eagerly pursue status and then reap its rewards, which is totally motivated by their arrogant nature. They cannot control their arrogance and conceitedness, and they are preoccupied by their insatiable greed for status. If they could somehow calm down to experience God’s word and obtain a true understanding of their arrogant nature, they could easily step onto the right track. Those who are exceedingly preoccupied with the pursuit of status should get to know God’s work and the meaning of being perfected by God. They should understand clearly that God is righteous and He totally emphasizes practicality. God treats people most fairly and reasonably. He treats everyone alike and He practices impartiality. After realizing this, people will be more likely to find a more balanced attitude. Therefore, we see that those who lose their reason by being overly arrogant and worshiping status are at high risk! Unless they repent, they will ultimately ruin themselves.
Another question is how we look at death. Some people respond negatively when some of our believers suddenly died. Some even start having various notions and doubt God’s work. The essence of the problem is that people have no true understanding of God’s work. They reveal their ugliness once they come across matters which do not conform to their notions. As created beings, humankind has been corrupted by Satan and has lived in sin, which is hated and cursed by God. The lives and deaths of all human beings are predestined by God. Among denominations of those who believe in God which one has never had someone die? Was there ever a time when God was carrying out His work that people didn’t die? Who among humankind can escape death? God’s promise of everlasting life is fulfilled on this group of people in the last days who truly experience God’s work and receive salvation. Now, God’s work has not ended. God will gradually reveal what will become of each kind of people. Those who do evil and fail to seek the truth are plenty in number, so surely some of them are doomed to be eliminated. In the end, only a fraction of people, that is, the remnants God has perfected, will gain everlasting life. Only those people will not taste death. It is perfectly normal for people to die during this time. Why do you find it surprising? People must understand that it is not the case that by accepting the name of Almighty God they will enter the kingdom, attain life everlasting, and be exempt from death. God has said many times that some will still be eliminated. Some evil doers who sneaked in will be annihilated. Those who do all sorts of evil will be punished. There is no need to speak of what will become of them. Haven’t you heard of God’s warnings for each kind of people? God has spoken many times that among those who believe in Him, some will be perfected, others will be service-doers, while others will be eliminated. Those eliminated ones will die in the end. Therefore, it is perfectly normal for people in the church to die. When we look at death, we should first realize that life and death are totally in God’s hands. God decides who dies and who lives. God plans and predetermines, and His actions are righteous. What right do people have to ask God for this or that? Is this the sense that a creature of God should have? Mankind ought to submit to God’s work regardless of whether or not they understand it. A created being ought to perform his duty, and is absolutely not qualified to take part in the work which God controls. In the presence of God, people are simply dust. Besides doing their duty, what else can people do? Mankind of arrogant nature has really made an enemy of God in every way. They want to figure out, get involved, demand, and manipulate God in all things in order to satisfy their extravagant desires and goals. How can such corrupt people deserve to know the mysteries of God’s work? God has come today to save and perfect mankind, and they should unconditionally submit to His work, arrangements, and plans. This is the sense that mankind should have. Corrupt mankind is too arrogant and unreasonable. They are quick to pass judgement when they can’t figure out things. They become negative and complain once they find things incompatible to their own notions. They want to know the reasons behind God’s actions and expect God to give them explanations for everything. They even demand God to do this and that. Such behavior illustrates corrupt mankind’s grievous rebelliousness and unyielding resistance to God. How can they be servants of God if no solution to their corrupt situation is found? Life and death are predestined by God, and in the work of God, some are martyred for God’s work, while others are imprisoned or die in accidents. In fact, it’s all part of God’s plans. There lies particular significance behind this, and they are witnesses to God’s victory over Satan. God has particular plans for different kinds of people, and each individual must play his or her own part. Some must die early or receive punishment, and this represents particular significance which mankind has no way to figure out. Some are victims for Satan, and are the ones who are eliminated. Others play the part of bad guys, like Judas and those antichrists, and are the ones who are punished. Still others find success, and they are the good guys who are perfected. Although these people have suffered greatly from judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, and experienced all sorts of trials and refinements, they have been perfected. Such roles are determined by God according to each individual’s nature. For example, God chose Judas Iscariot to play the part of Jesus’ betrayer. God is righteous. God looks into the minds and searches the hearts of men. His plans for everyone are fair and reasonable. They are entirely determined by the essence of each individual’s nature. This is what is meant by “God will repay each man according to his deeds.” For some people, it is not necessarily a bad thing to die, while for others, it is not necessarily a good thing to live. Who can figure this out? The battle between God and Satan is not as simple as mankind has imagined. God does not turn away from the trials, temptations, works of evil spirits, the disruptions of the antichrists, cases of unfortunate deaths, or any other matters which do not comply with men’s notions. Also, God allows such things to happen in the church. He lets every believer see with their own eyes and experience themselves so that they can choose their own path. God watches each individual in secret and keeps track of his or her every action and word. This is a training exercise in the kingdom which God plans and oversees and it is also a realistic rehearsal of the struggle between life and death. It is like being tested in a furnace, and no one can escape being revealed in all things. What should we learn from these trials? This is a puzzling question most people do not understand. That’s why many people seek the comfort of an easy life and always want to turn away from God’s work, which is also driven by their nature of betraying God. In order to save and perfect this group of people, God has carried out such large-scale work, which is not easy. We should strive to cooperate with God in His work so that we may be saved by Him.
The goal of studying the lessons is to prepare us to enter the truth in its entirety. It is not an easy task to get to know the sovereignty, omnipotence, and wisdom of God. Only such practical training is considered the exercise of the kingdom. Once you graduate from here, you will have a higher level of understanding of God and His work, His omnipotence, and His wisdom. This is something you cannot learn in any other place. We believers in God ought to have true knowledge of God’s work. God indeed maneuvers all things to make them serve this stage of His work. In this place where God carries out His work, He puts all things under His control through His word. In order to let people understand His word and His actions, God even maneuvers the great red dragon’s regime to persecute, hunt, and restrict all who believe in and follow Him. In such a terrifying environment, God also allows the works of Satan and all sorts of evil spirits to deceive people for the benefit of perfecting God’s chosen people. At the same time, God also allows the evildoers and antichrists to engage in all kinds of disruptions, sabotage, and destruction. He also allows all sorts of tribulations, diseases, and torments to befall upon all those who believe in Him. God has put out a lavish feast. Anything that does not conform to mankind’s notions, that is, anything that people think impossible, shouldn’t happen, or have never even imagined has come upon all people for them to face, choose, and respond to. Indeed, God makes people reveal themselves at every turn, which provides us with enough lessons to study. It is such an ideal place for the training exercises of the kingdom! If we do not rely on God or seek the truth, we will be unable to remain standing. If we do not rely on God’s word or seek the truth, we will not be able to make it through to the end. Instead, we will fail and be eliminated. In the end we will die, will not remain. Up to now, only a few believers in God have died. In the future anyone who does not seek the truth will die and I’ll see if you still have notions! Only those who seek the truth will attain the work of the Holy Spirit and God’s safeguard, be perfected and survive. Therefore, in the church, where the training exercises of the kingdom take place, anything that does not conform to people’s notions is planned by God to allow them to know Him. This is absolutely true. It is extremely realistic. Now is a good time and opportunity to get to know God and be perfected by Him. Without such work of salvation and perfection, mankind would never be able to know God. Only those who cannot relate to spiritual matters will formulate misconceptions, and only those who fail to know God’s work are blind. Knowing God is really not an easy task. Whatever may befall us, even if they are things that do not comply in the least with human notions, they are all planned by God. They are learning lessons for us to know God and submit to Him. At the same time, they reveal and eliminate people, which is rather significant. It is the training that we need most, and it is beneficial to our entry into the truth and our growth in life. God loves us so much that He lets us undergo the training of the kingdom, which is an exceptional uplifting. In the end, we will know that God will remain forever as God, and Satan will remain as Satan forever. As a created being, we ought to praise God’s actions, and praise His omnipotence and wisdom. God’s work is absolutely perfect. It is indeed extremely rare to have the opportunity to be perfected. People would not have misconceptions if they have some knowledge of God’s work as well as of His omnipotence and wisdom. They would not have time to seek worthless reputation or status, much less have interest to chase after worldly or fleshly enjoyment, because they would know that future disasters will be even greater and anyone who does not seek the truth or has no life is in grave danger. The last moment for deciding who lives and who dies has arrived. Those who refuse to repent will soon be wiped out by all sorts of disasters, which could occur at any time. No matter how great one’s status may be or how reasonable his notions may be, it will not save him. Those who fail to seek the truth and cannot truly submit to God are doomed to destruction and perdition in the end.
July 14, 2005