91. The Principles of Living the Church Life
1. You must eat and drink the words of God and fellowship the truth in accordance with the principles prescribed by the present work arrangements, and you must keep pace with the work of the Holy Spirit;
2. In meetings, you should fellowship more about your experience and knowledge of God’s words, and you must also fellowship the principles of practice about the truth, so as to have a path to put the truth into practice;
3. Those who pursue the truth and who have an accurate understanding should fellowship more. It is best for those without experience or knowledge to listen more to fellowships and contemplate God’s words more;
4. You must abide by the principle of only fellowshiping what you understand. Do not speak carelessly or preach letters and doctrines, and do not say things that have no bearing on the topic.
The Man’s Fellowship:
Of principal importance in following God is that everything should be according to the words of God today: Whether you are pursuing entry into life or the fulfillment of God’s will, everything should be centered around the words of God today. If what you commune and pursue are not centered around the words of God today, then you are a stranger to the words of God, and totally bereft of the work of the Holy Spirit. What God wants are people who follow His footsteps. No matter how wonderful and pure what you understood before is, God does not want it, and if you are unable to put aside such things, then they will be a tremendous obstacle to your entry in the future. All those who are able to follow the present light of the Holy Spirit are blessed. The people of ages past also followed the footsteps of God, yet they could not follow until today; this is the blessing of the people of the last days. Those who can follow the present work of the Holy Spirit, and who are able to follow the footsteps of God, such that they follow God wherever He leads them—these are people who are blessed by God.
from “Know the Newest Work of God and Follow the Footsteps of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In “sharing and communing experiences,” sharing means speaking of every thought in your heart, your state, your experiences and knowledge of God’s words, as well as the corrupt disposition within you—and after that, others differentiate, and accept the positive and recognize that which is negative. Only this is sharing, and only this is truly communing. It does not simply mean having insights into the words of God or a part of a hymn, and communing as you please, and not saying anything related to your own actual life. Everyone talks about doctrinal and theoretical knowledge, and says nothing of knowledge drawn from actual experiences. They all avoid talking about such things, about their personal lives, about their life in the church with their brothers and sisters, and about their own inner world. In this way, how can there be true communication between people, how can there be real trust? There cannot! … If the brothers and sisters are to be able to confide in each other, help each other out, and provide for one another when they are together, then each person must speak of their own true experiences. If you don’t talk of your own true experiences, and only speak high-sounding words, and words that are doctrinal and superficial, then you are not honest, and you are incapable of being honest.
from “To Be Honest, You Should Lay Yourself Open to Others” in Records of Christ’s Talks
“What does it actually mean to obtain truth from God’s word?” You cannot obtain the truth by simply frequently speaking of doctrines; of what use is your only communicating these literal things? You must work out the meaning of God’s word, figure out its basis and intended effect. There is truth in God’s word, meaning in His word, light in His word. There are many things within His word; it is not a simple matter of reciting its letter.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Talk more about reality and less about knowledge, and it is best to be silent; speak more of the path of practice and have less worthless inflated talk, and it is best to begin practice starting now.
from “Focus More on Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If what you say can give people a path to walk, then that amounts to you having reality. No matter what you say, you must bring people into practice and give them all a path they can follow. It is not about only making it so that people have knowledge, but more importantly, it is about having the path to walk.
from “Focus More on Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You are not permitted now in communicating among yourselves to engage in idle chatter or to say anything that is not of benefit to the construction of the church, what is important is to supply the brothers and sisters with your practical experiences or how you are illuminated before God and know yourself; whoever is able to supply this will have stature!
from “The Fifty-third Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you want to do a good job in leading others and serving as God’s witnesses, most importantly, you must have a deeper understanding of God’s purpose in saving people and the purpose of His work. You must understand the will of God and His various requirements of people. You must be practical in your efforts; experience only as much as you understand and communicate only that which you know. Do not boast, do not exaggerate, and do not make irresponsible remarks. If you exaggerate, people will detest you and you will feel reproached afterward; this is just too inappropriate.
from “Providing the Truth Is the Real Way to Lead Others” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Remember this in the future! Do not talk about empty understandings—only talk about the path of practice, and about reality. Transition from real knowledge to actual practice, and then transition from practicing to living out reality. Do not lecture others, and do not talk about real knowledge. If your understanding is a path, then you can release it; if it is not a path, then please shut up, and stop talking. What you say is useless—it is just some words of understanding to fool God and to have others envy you. Is that not your ambition? Is this not deliberately toying with others? Is there any value in this? Only talk about understanding after you have experienced it, and then you will no longer be boasting. Otherwise you are only someone who says arrogant words. You cannot even overcome many things or rebel against your own flesh in your actual experience, always doing whatever you are driven to do by your desires, not satisfying God’s will, yet you still have the gall to talk of theoretical understandings—you are shameless! You still have the gall to talk about your understanding of God’s words—how impudent of you! Orating and boasting has become your nature, and you have become accustomed to doing this. It is at your fingertips whenever you want to talk, you do it smoothly and offhandedly, and you indulge in ornamentations when it comes to practicing. Is this not fooling others? You may be able to fool men, but God cannot be fooled. Men do not know and have no discernment, but God is serious about such matters, and He will not spare you. Your brothers and sisters might advocate for you, praising your understanding, admiring you, but if you have no reality, the Holy Spirit will not spare you. Perhaps the practical God will not pick on your flaws, but God’s Spirit will not pay any attention to you, and that will be enough for you to bear. Do you believe this? Talk more about the reality of practice; have you forgotten already? Talk more about the practical paths; have you forgotten already? “Speak less of the lofty theories or worthless inflated talk, and it is best to begin practice starting now.” Have you forgotten these words? Do you not understand any of this? Do you have no understanding of God’s will?
from “Only Putting the Truth Into Practice Is Having Reality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What you are preaching about is not the real condition, you will not be able to touch the hearts of people; they will forget it even if they want to remember, and you will not be able to help them. If you encounter a situation where you want to preach but feel you cannot preach about things thoroughly, where you only have some doctrinal knowledge but know nothing about the things of substance, and if you are not able to answer questions of substance that others pose, then it is best not to preach at all. There are also times when you will start to discuss a topic at a gathering, and feel that you are fairly knowledgeable about it, and can fellowship about some real things. But once you have discussed it to a shallow level everyone understands it, and you don’t have anything you can preach at a deeper level. What others don’t know, you may not know either. So don’t force yourself to preach; you can instead get everyone to fellowship about the topic. … If a gathering always revolves around a topic, or two topics, then after fellowshiping repeatedly around these topics, there will be some people who come to understand a little.
from “Do You Know What Truth Really Is?” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The Man’s Fellowship:
In order for eating and drinking God’s words in the church life to achieve the effect of understanding the truth and resolving problems, the following five management principles must be practiced in future meetings:
1. Allow those whose understanding of the truth is pure to communicate a little more, but they must not give long-winded speeches. They should discuss their actual experiences and true understanding to resolve real problems of corruption; only this is effective. Those whose understanding of the truth is absurd should communicate less or not communicate at all. This is beneficial to everybody’s understanding of the truth.
2. Communication of God’s words must revolve around the center and never go off topic. Going off topic regularly makes it easy to disturb minds and bring confusion, such that people cannot understand God’s words. Those who often go off topic when speaking must be restricted. This saves time and is beneficial to the understanding of the truth and the attainment of the desired result.
3. It is best if those with poor qualities and understanding capacities speak less and listen more. They should put more effort into contemplating God’s words and accept pure understanding, as well as pray and communicate more to God in their hearts. This not only benefits them but also others. Only through such practice can they improve themselves.
4. When communicating God’s words at meetings, do not repeat other people’s views and opinions and instead discuss some new light or new knowledge. If there is no new knowledge then do not discuss, as this can save time and make meetings more effective. Rather than always repeating the words of others, it is better to calm yourself before God and think carefully and differentiate wisely, and accept other people’s new light and pure understanding. This is beneficial to you, and you also gain something from the meeting.
5. Regardless of which aspect of the truth is being communicated, when others are communicating on how they dissect and look at some problems, do not be too sensitive or speculate blindly, in case it may lead to mutual judgment and attacks. Do not argue about meaningless things; focus on understanding the truth to resolve your own problems. Do not always worry about others but ignore your own entry. Only those who try to gain truths to resolve their own problems of corruption are smart people.
from the fellowship from the above
Sometimes it’s not clear what to do in one’s pursuit of the truth. There are so many words of God and it’s hard to know what to read first. You may first look at the above’s current work arrangements, fellowship and sermons, and all of that will be the pace and the footsteps of the Holy Spirit’s work. That is the pace of the Holy Spirit’s work and that is the work being done now. If you eat and drink God’s words according to this, you’ll be more likely to enjoy the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. Because God’s words are so prolific, you may not know where the work of the Holy Spirit is—you just pick a passage at random to read. Sometimes what you’re reading isn’t what the Holy Spirit is doing right now, and sometimes you happen upon the right passage that is what He is working on. This isn’t the right approach. You must be able to confirm the Holy Spirit’s footsteps and His pace, but how can you do this? Determine this through the fellowship and sermons, and the work arrangements of the above.
from the fellowship from the above
All of God’s chosen people should pay attention to understanding the truth and entering into reality, and must not confuse people by talking about religious letters and doctrines. If someone keeps talking about letters and doctrines non-stop and takes up time during meetings, then people in the church should all prevent that person from doing so. If the person is not dissuaded, and continues to cause trouble or show off, then they should be stopped from attending meetings and made to reflect on their actions and conduct. All those who prevent people from reading God’s words, or disrupt people from reading God’s words and communicating the truth at meetings, and all those who like to talk a lot at meetings and take up too much time, are all disruptors who must be restricted. In particular, people whose minds are not clear and don’t have enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, yet still like to talk a lot, must be restricted even more and may be segregated if they remain incorrigible. Talking during meetings should be limited to communicating God’s words and the light revealed by the Holy Spirit. Communication that is off-topic or not of benefit to people—that is, the type of communication despised by most people—must be banned. If a person can’t give up their erroneous way of communication and does not talk about the right topics, then they should not open their mouth. If a particular church does not congregate to eat and drink God’s words and only chats about trivial things when they meet, then such meetings should also be prohibited. Only when everyone has completed a period of self-reflection can meetings be held again. As for people who like to sleep during meetings, they should be stopped from attending unless they can control themselves.
from “Principles of Practice for Church Life” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God