If you have no experience of something, then you are guaranteed to not know how to manage it and that you will manage it badly. Even if you do manage it, and you think: “I’ve pretty much explained all this and have said much about it. They have also listened to it a lot. I think all that I have fellowshiped about this problem is basically the truth, isn’t it?” actually, it is all just doctrine, and you are using doctrine to resolve the problem. Why say it is doctrine? Every word you say is correct, but what you say is not directed at the problem and it doesn’t strike at the root of this problem—where this problem lies, what the trouble with it is, why these people can do such things or what conditions have arisen within them. If you cannot dig these things out then you cannot resolve the problem; you must excavate the source of the problem. Just like when people sometimes have a stomach ache. There are many types of stomach ache: Some suffer a stomach ache because they have caught a chill, some because they have eaten something cold, some because they have some inflammation and some due to cramps. It won’t do if you are not able to clearly discern one from another. If you let all of them take pain killers, some may stop suffering the pain only for a while, and for some the pain killers will basically not work at all. Leading people then, is like a doctor curing a patient. You need to understand thoroughly where the root of the illness lies. If you cannot grasp the root or the condition, or discover where the fault lies or what the problem is, or what things people reveal when they speak, then you will not be able to resolve the problem. You think that everything you say is the truth, when in actual fact it is all just doctrine, and it only goes skin-deep. For example, some people below you make some mistakes in their duties, so you then preach to them: “In doing our duty we must be devoted. In doing our duty we must take responsibility for God’s sake. Doing our duty is an obligation that we should perform. We must not be slipshod in our duty.” You always preach about this. In actual fact, they understand everything about doing their duty, and they know they should not be slipshod, and they know how to do their duty well. But they do not do it well, so you must clearly discern what the situations are here. It is possible that they are lacking in caliber so they do things badly, or that they are stupid and are not capable of being perfected, that no matter how you teach them, they still cannot do it right, and this is one kind of situation. Another kind of situation is that they are perhaps attached to their family. Another is that perhaps they are tied up with issues with their job or their marriage. Still another is that they have worries in the backs of their minds, such as “If I am sent home because I fail to get results in my duty, what shall I do?” There are many kinds of situations, so you saying those few words is of no use. “We must not be slipshod, we must be devoted to God. Our inner intentions should be correct, we must not be particular about the conditions when performing our duty and we should obey God no matter how He treats us.” It is no use to preach like this. You also preach the viewpoint of believing in God, saying, “Why do we perform our duties?” This is of even less use, and you cannot apply it to different situations indiscriminately. For those of you who now have some literal knowledge and understand some doctrine, when you come into contact with some problems in the course of your daily lives, you think, “What problem does this pertain to? Oh, there are now so many issues with performing duties and with spreading the gospel, so let’s fellowship about doing one’s duty.” And, going a little deeper, “Let’s fellowship about the viewpoint of believing in God.” After you have preached this, they still make the same mistakes in the future. Actually, it has basically been of no use, because you fellowshiped without having grasped the root of the problem. Before, there were some who were completely tone-deaf, who sang awfully, and they said: “Why can’t I sing?” Afterward, people asked them: “What kind of problem is this?” “It is a lack of caliber!” They said this. How is this a lack of caliber? It was that the singing gene was not inherent within them. You cannot say that it was down to a lack of caliber. Am I right? Their being tone-deaf was inherent and could never change. In the end they concluded it as being down to “a lack of caliber,” but was this not a mistake? It is not right to blindly put two and two together. For those of you who are now equipped with some doctrine and literal knowledge, you still do not know where on earth these words can be applied or where they can be used, so in the end you are unable to resolve any problems. In the end when you are asked to use the truth to resolve problems, you wonder: “Ah, I have a lot of truth, so how come I can’t resolve these problems? How come I feel apprehensive as soon as I encounter a problem?” That proves you still do not understand the truth and have not understood the truth. Some people say: “I have a high level of knowledge. I attended college for several years, so I understand a great deal about philosophy, politics and law, I have a keen mind when it comes to language. I have read much of the word of God and I have memorized a great deal. But when I finish solving problems, how come they say that I used doctrine to resolve them, and not the truth?” What is the problem here? You don’t understand the truth; you don’t understand what is meant by “the truth.”
Those who believe in God can all speak of doctrines, saying, “Our views on belief in God must all be pure,” “We should obey God,” “We should love God,” “We should loyally perform our duties,” “We must not rebel against God,” and “We must understand ourselves.” Though they have often spoken of these things, they do not understand them. There is still no real understanding of the real meaning behind these truths. You only understand the words on the surface, but not the spiritual meaning or inner content of the words. Therefore, you have no truth in your hearts. You may have a little understanding, but it is too facile. For those veterans of the church who have some experiences, they understand in their hearts a little about some superficial things, yet they cannot express or apply their understanding. For those who are new to the church, they can only speak of some doctrines and preach the gospel to gain people, but they do not understand the truth at all. Those of you who are educated and cultured also do not understand the truth. Do not regard your understanding of doctrines or literal meanings to be an understanding of the truth. Some veterans of the church who are of good caliber and who understand the spirit relatively well, may have a little experience of the truth, but they still cannot say that they understand it. When you speak of understanding, out of ten sentences you utter perhaps two contain true understanding. The rest of what you say is doctrinal, but you feel as though you can now make it—you can preach constantly for a day or several days no matter where you go, always having something to say and never stopping. When you are done, you want to arrange them into a book, copy and distribute it, to make a “celebrity’s biography” that, once issued, would allow people to eat and drink these words and that would bring benefits to all. People cannot grasp the truth at all, at best understanding the literal meaning. When they have equipped themselves to a certain degree, because they are smart and have a good memory, because they often go and speak everywhere, about the work of God, the significance of the incarnation, the mystery of the incarnation, and the methods and steps of God’s work, they feel that they themselves are in possession of the truth, that they are abundant with it. This is so senseless! It proves that none of them understand the truth. Now people understand some doctrines, they do not understand themselves, much less have any sense. By understanding some doctrines they feel they are in possession of the truth, that they are not so insignificant, and they stand tall, thinking: “I have read the word of God many times. Some words I remember precisely and have etched them on my heart. Wherever I go, if I start to speak I can go on for days, and I can talk systematically and thoroughly about any passage of God’s words.” In actual fact, you understand nothing. Why is it said that you do not understand? One aspect is that you cannot resolve problems, you cannot find their source, nor can you see through to their essence. Another aspect is that, whatever the problem or issue is, your knowledge of it is only half-baked and inconclusive, and therefore doesn’t come close to the truth.
As for the view of one’s belief in God—how people believe in God, what can be called “belief,” what kind of person can be called “a believer,” what kind of person has God in their heart, how to explain the words “belief in God,” how to understand this truth, what kind of attitude shows that one’s view of belief in God is correct, what kind of attitude shows that one’s view of belief in God is incorrect, and how people should believe in God—have you ever considered these things? You all seem to be the “giants” of the truth. Have you considered what displays constitute belief? What things in your daily lives are displays of unbelief, what displays are made by those believers who possess a real belief, what displays are made by those who do not really believe, and in the things you come into contact with in your daily lives, which of them are to do with belief in God and which of them have nothing to do with belief in God—can you speak about these things clearly? Do you really understand the meaning of belief in God? Do you understand what kind of person has a real belief, or what kind of person is a real believer? All created beings believe in God—do you understand what this means? This involves views on belief in God. Some people say: “Ah! Belief in God is a good thing and it is the right way. Belief in God is better than any business or career. Belief in God is the greatest thing in the life of man. Performing one’s duty for God while believing in God is a practical expression. Belief in God is in order to be saved and it is to satisfy His will.” You have all said these things before, haven’t you? Do you really understand these words? No, you haven’t really understood them. A true belief in God is not about believing in Him in order to be saved and is even less about being a good person. It is also not just about believing in God in order to have human likeness. Actually, people should not view their belief in God as just a belief that there is a God, and then nothing more; it is not that you should merely believe that God is the truth, the way, the life, and then nothing more. Nor is it just so you acknowledge God, much less is it merely to believe that God is the Ruler over all things, that God is almighty, that God created all things in the world, that God is unique and that God is supreme. It is not merely so that you believe this; rather it is that you—your whole being and your whole heart—should follow God, allow God to employ you, allow God to use you in His service, and that you should do anything for God. It is not that only those predestined and chosen by God should believe in Him. Actually, all of mankind should worship God, heed Him and obey Him, because mankind was made by God. This now touches on the issue of essence. If you always talk about the reasons why you believe in God, saying that you believe in God in order to gain eternal life, or in order to be saved, then your belief in God is like some kind of peripheral matter, believing merely in order to gain something—this is not the view you should have of your belief in God. With regard to each and every truth, people should seek, try to figure out and investigate what the inner meaning of the truth is, how to practice that aspect of the truth, and how it can be entered into—these are things people should possess. In all the aspects of truth that you should now possess, you only understand the surface doctrine, the external appearance, and you do not understand the essence of the truth, as you have not experienced it. For example: There is much truth contained within the aspect of performing one’s duty, there is also much truth contained within the aspect of man’s loving God, and to know themselves, people must understand much truth. There is much truth of the significance and mystery of the incarnation that must also be understood. There is much truth contained within the issues such as how people should worship God, how they should live as a human, how they should obey God, what they should do to conform with God’s will and how they should serve God. How do you consider or try to figure out the questions of all these aspects of the truth? There is truth that is especially deep within each and every aspect, and they require people to experience them. If you do not experience them and only ever scratch the surface of the words, never figuring them out or experiencing them from their depths, you will forever live on the surface of the words, and will be incapable of change.
When regular people make comments about you who are leaders in the church, you say: “Humph, what makes you qualified to make comments about me? How many sermons can you give? How much can you speak? 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 churches in an area or a district are handed over to you and no one oversees you for six months, you start to go astray. If no one oversees you for a year, you lead them away and astray. Two years pass and still no one is overseeing you, and you bring those people before you. Why is this? Have you ever considered this question before? Tell Me, could you be like this? Your knowledge can only provide for people for a while. As time goes on, if you keep saying the same thing, some people will be able to tell; they’ll say you’re too superficial, too lacking in depth. You’ll have no option but to try and deceive people by speaking doctrines. If you always carry on like this, those below you will follow your methods, steps, and model for believing in God and experiencing, and they’ll put those words and doctrines into practice, and ultimately, as you talk in this way, they’ll use you as an exemplar. You lead people to speak doctrines, and those below you will learn doctrines from you, and as things progress you will have taken the wrong way. Those below you all follow you, so you feel: I am powerful now; so many people listen to me, and the world is at my beck and call. This betrayal within man unconsciously makes you turn God into a mere figurehead, and you yourself then form some denomination, some sect. How do denominations and sects arise? They arise in this way. Look at the leaders of every denomination and sect. They are all arrogant and self-right, 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 learning, and can speak a little of doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices, through which they have brought people before themselves and have deceived them. Nominally, those people believe in God—but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter those who preach the true way, some of them would say, “We have to consult him about our belief in God.” See how they require someone’s consent to believe in God; 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? This kind of people belong to the same kind as Paul. Why say this? The epistles written by Paul are almost two thousand years old and they pervaded the entire Age of Grace. People all ate and drank these words of his and took his words as the norm, such as suffering, disciplining one’s own body, and the final crown of righteousness. People believed in God in accordance with his words and his doctrines. How much of God’s will could people understand during the Age of Grace? After all, those who followed Jesus at that time were in the minority, and those who knew Him were even fewer—even several of His disciples did not really know Him. One cannot say that a little light man sees within the pages of the Bible represents God’s will. Much less can it be said that a little enlightenment means an understanding of God. People are arrogant and conceited and they do not hold God in their hearts. With a little doctrinal understanding, they set up for themselves and form many denominations. Fortunately, that was the Age of Grace and God was not strict with man; all the denominations and sects in Jesus’ name were worked on by the Holy Spirit, and all was done by the Holy Spirit apart from occasions where the work of evil spirits was done, so the majority of people still enjoyed God’s grace.
No matter whether previously you followed someone else or you didn’t satisfy the will of God, you must come before God in this stage. If in this stage you continue to follow someone on the basis of experiencing this stage of work, then you will be considered unforgivable, and will end up just like Paul. From the start, I used Paul and Peter as examples. Why? These are two distinct paths. If someone in their belief in God doesn’t walk the path of Peter, then they walk the path of Paul. These are the only two paths. No matter whether you are a follower below or a leader, it is all the same. If you don’t embark on Peter’s path, then you are walking Paul’s path. It is unavoidable, and there is no third path to walk. If people do not understand the will of God, do not know God, do not seek to understand the truth and cannot obey God absolutely, then in the end they must end up the same as Paul. If you do not seek to know God, do not seek to understand God’s will, but only seek to speak and equip yourself with doctrines, then you can only defy and betray God, because the nature of man is to defy God. Those things that do not conform to the truth are guaranteed to have arisen from the will of man. One cannot say they are still not too bad, despite them not conforming to the truth. Some say: “Although these things are not done in accordance with the truth, I still don’t think they defy God.” If you do anything that is not in accordance with the truth, then it is guaranteed to defy God. If it is not done in accordance with the truth, then it is done in accordance with doctrines and with the will of man. It will have arisen from Satan or from the will of man. This is in defiance of God. Those who do not seek the truth, though they believe in God, are incapable of obeying God and are only capable of defying Him.