Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God”
Now let’s start our meeting. We’ll first read an article of God’s words, “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God.”
Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God
It is Heaven’s law and earth’s principle to believe in God and know God, and today—during an age when God incarnate is doing His work in person—is an especially good time to know God. Satisfying God is something that is achieved by building on the foundation of understanding God’s will, and in order to understand God’s will, it is necessary to have some knowledge of God. This knowledge of God is the vision that one who believes in God must have; it is the basis of man’s belief in God. In the absence of this knowledge, man’s belief in God would exist in a vague state, in the midst of empty theory. Even if it is the resolution of people like this to follow God, they will gain nothing. All those who gain nothing in this stream are the ones who will be eliminated—they are all freeloaders. Whichever step of God’s work you experience, you should be accompanied by a mighty vision. Otherwise, it would be difficult for you to accept each step of new work, for the new work of God lies beyond man’s capacity to imagine, and is outside the bounds of his conception. And so, without a shepherd to tend to man, without a shepherd to engage in fellowship about visions, man is incapable of accepting this new work. If man cannot receive visions, then he cannot receive the new work of God, and if man cannot obey God’s new work, then man will be unable to understand God’s will, and so his knowledge of God will amount to nothing. Before man carries out the word of God, he must know the word of God, that is, he must understand God’s will; only in this way can God’s word be carried out accurately and in accordance with God’s will. This is something that everyone who seeks the truth must possess, and it is also the process that everyone who tries to know God must undergo. The process of coming to know the word of God is the process of coming to know God, and also the process of coming to know the work of God. And so, knowing visions not only refers to knowing the humanity of God incarnate, but also includes knowing the word and the work of God. From the word of God people come to understand God’s will, and from the work of God they come to know God’s disposition and what God is. Belief in God is the first step to knowing God. The process of advancing from this initial belief in God to the most profound belief in Him is the process of coming to know God, and the process of experiencing the work of God. If you only believe in God for the sake of believing in God, and not for the sake of coming to know Him, then there is no reality to your faith, and your faith cannot become pure—of this there is no doubt. If, during the process by which he experiences God’s work, man gradually comes to know God, then his disposition will gradually change, and his belief will become increasingly true. In this way, when man achieves success in his belief in God, he will have completely gained God. The reason why God went to such great lengths to become flesh for the second time to do His work in person was so that man would be able to know Him and to see Him. Knowing God[a] is the final effect to be achieved at the conclusion of God’s work; it is the last requirement God makes of mankind. The reason why He does this is for the sake of His final testimony; it is in order that man may finally and completely turn to Him that He does this work. Man can only come to love God by knowing God, and to love God he must know God. No matter how he seeks, or what he seeks to gain, he must be able to achieve knowledge of God. Only in this way can man satisfy God’s heart. Only by knowing God can man have true faith in God, and only by knowing God can he truly revere and obey God. Those who do not know God will never arrive at true obedience and reverence of God. Knowing God includes knowing His disposition, understanding His will, and knowing what He is. Yet whichever aspect one comes to know, each one requires man to pay a price, and requires the will to obey, without which no one would be able to continue following to the end. The work of God is too incompatible with the conceptions of man, God’s disposition and what God is are too difficult for man to know, and everything that God says and does is too incomprehensible to man: If man wishes to follow God and yet is unwilling to obey Him, then man will gain nothing. From the creation of the world until today, God has done much work that is incomprehensible to man and that man has found hard to accept, and God has spoken much that makes the conceptions of man difficult to heal. But He has never ceased His work on account of man’s having too many difficulties; rather, He has carried on working and speaking, and even though great numbers of “warriors” have fallen by the wayside, He is still doing His work, and continues without intermission to choose one group after another of people who are willing to submit to His new work. He has no pity for those fallen “heroes,” and instead treasures those who accept His new work and words. But to what end does He work in this way, step-by-step? Why is He always eliminating some people and choosing others? Why is it that He always employs such a method? The aim of His work is to allow man to know Him, and thus be gained by Him. The principle of His work is to work on those who are able to submit to the work He does today, and not to work on those who submit to the work He has done in the past while opposing the work He does today. Herein lies the reason why He has been eliminating so many people.
The effects of the lesson of coming to know God cannot be achieved in one or two days: Man must needs accumulate experiences, undergo suffering, and attain true submission. First of all, start from the work and the words of God. It is imperative that you understand what is included in the knowledge of God, how to achieve this knowledge, and how to see God in your experiences. This is what everyone must do when they have yet to know God. No one can grasp the work and the words of God in one fell swoop, and no one can achieve knowledge of God’s entirety within a short time. There is a necessary process of experience, without which no one would be able to know God or to follow Him sincerely. The more work God does, the more man knows Him. The more at odds the work of God is with man’s conceptions, the more man’s knowledge of Him is renewed and deepened. If the work of God were to remain forever fixed and unchanging, then there wouldn’t be much to man’s knowledge of Him. Between creation and the present, what God did during the Age of Law, what He did during the Age of Grace, and what He does during the Age of Kingdom: you must be crystal clear about these visions. You must know the work of God. Only after following Jesus did Peter gradually come to know about much of the work the Spirit did in Jesus. He said, “Relying on the experiences of man is not enough to achieve complete knowledge; there must be many new things from the work of God to help us to know Him.” At the beginning, Peter believed that Jesus was one sent by God, like an apostle, and he did not see Jesus as the Christ. At this time, when he began to follow Jesus, Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of Jonah, will you follow Me?” Peter said, “I must follow he who is sent by the heavenly Father. I must acknowledge he who is chosen by the Holy Spirit. I will follow You.” From his words, it can be seen that Peter simply had no knowledge of Jesus; he had experienced the words of God, had dealt with himself, and had suffered hardship for God, but he had no knowledge of the work of God. After a period of experience, Peter saw in Jesus many of the deeds of God, he saw the loveliness of God, and he saw much of God’s being in Jesus. So too did he see that the words Jesus spoke could not have been spoken by man, and that the work Jesus did could not have been done by man. In Jesus’ words and actions, furthermore, Peter saw much of the wisdom of God, and much work of a divine nature. During his experiences, he did not merely come to know himself, but also paid close attention to Jesus’ every action, from which he discovered many new things; namely, that there were many expressions of the practical God in the work that God did through Jesus, and that Jesus differed from an ordinary man in the words He spoke and the actions He took, as well as the way in which He shepherded the churches and the work He carried out. And so Peter learned from Jesus many lessons that he was supposed to learn, and by the time Jesus was about to be nailed to the cross, he had gained a certain amount of knowledge of Jesus—knowledge that became the basis of his lifelong loyalty to Jesus and of his crucifixion upside down for the sake of the Lord. Although he was possessed of some conceptions and did not have a clear knowledge of Jesus at the beginning, such things are inevitably a part of corrupt man. As Jesus was about to depart, He told Peter that His crucifixion was the work He had come to do: It was necessary that He be forsaken by the age, and that this impure and old age should nail Him to the cross; He had come to complete the work of redemption, and, having completed this work, His ministry would be at an end. Hearing this, Peter was beset with sorrow, and became even more attached to Jesus. When Jesus was nailed to the cross, Peter wept bitterly in private. Prior to this, he had asked Jesus, “My Lord! You say You are going to be crucified. After You’re gone, when will we see You again?” Was there no element of adulteration in the words that he spoke? Were there no conceptions mixed into them? In his heart, he knew that Jesus had come to complete a part of God’s work, and that after Jesus left, the Spirit would be with him; even though He would be nailed to the cross and ascend to heaven, nevertheless the Spirit of God would be with him. At that time, Peter had some knowledge of Jesus: He knew that Jesus had been sent by the Spirit of God, that the Spirit of God was within Him, and that Jesus was God Himself, that He was Christ. Yet it was because of his love for Jesus, and because of his human weakness, that Peter spoke such words. If, in every step of God’s work, one can observe and painstakingly experience, then one will be able gradually to discover the loveliness of God. And what did Paul take for his vision? When Jesus appeared to him, Paul said, “Who are You, Lord?” Jesus said, “I am Jesus whom you persecute.” This was Paul’s vision. Peter took as his vision Jesus’ resurrection, His appearance for 40 days, and the teachings of Jesus’ lifetime, until the end of his journey.
Man experiences God’s work, comes to know himself, purges away his corrupt disposition, and seeks growth in life, all for the sake of knowing God. If you only seek to know yourself and to deal with your own corrupt disposition, but have no knowledge of what work God does upon man, of how great His salvation is, or of how you experience God’s work and witness His deeds, then this experience of yours is fatuous. If you think that one’s life has attained maturity just because one is able to put the truth into practice and to endure, this means that you have still not grasped the true meaning of life or God’s purpose in working man. One day, when you are in the religious churches, among members of the Repentance Church or of the Life Church, you will come across many devout people, whose prayers contain “visions” and who, in their pursuit of life, feel touched and are guided by words. What’s more, they are able in many matters to endure and to forsake themselves, and not to be led by the flesh. At that time, you won’t be able to tell the difference: You will believe that everything they do is right, is the natural expression of life, and what a pity it is that the name that they believe in is wrong. Are not such views foolish? Why is it said that many people have no life? Because they do not know God, and thus it is said that they have no God in their hearts, and have no life. If your belief in God has reached a certain point, where you are capable of thoroughly knowing the deeds of God, the reality of God, and every stage of God’s work, then you are possessed of the truth. If you do not know the work and the disposition of God, then there is still something amiss in your experience. How Jesus carried out that stage of His work, how this stage is being carried out, how God did His work in the Age of Grace and what work was done, what work is being done in this stage—if you do not have a thorough knowledge of these things, then you will never feel assured and you will always be insecure. If, after a period of experience, you are able to know the work done by God and every step of His work, and if you have gained thorough knowledge of God’s aims in speaking His words, and why so many words He has spoken have not been fulfilled, then you may boldly and without holding back pursue the road ahead, free from worry and refinement. You should see by what means God achieves so much of His work. He uses the words He speaks, refining man and transforming his conceptions by means of many different kinds of words. All the suffering that you have endured, all the refinement that you have undergone, the dealing that you have accepted within you, the enlightenment that you have experienced—these have all been achieved by means of the words God has spoken. On what account does man follow God? Because of the words of God! The words of God are deeply mysterious, and they can moreover move man’s heart, reveal things buried deep within it, make him know things that happened in the past, and allow him to penetrate into the future. And so man endures suffering because of God’s words, and is also made perfect because of God’s words: Only at this time does man follow God. What man should do in this stage is accept the words of God, and regardless of whether he is made perfect or subjected to refinement, the words of God are what is key. This is the work of God, and this is also the vision that it behooves man to know today.
How does God make man perfect? What is the disposition of God? And what is contained within His disposition? To clarify all of these things: one calls it spreading God’s name, one calls it bearing testimony to God, and one calls it exalting God. Man will, based upon the foundation of knowing God, ultimately become transformed in his life disposition. The more man undergoes being dealt with and being refined, the more he is invigorated; the more numerous the steps of God’s work, the more man is made perfect. Today, in man’s experience, every single step of God’s work strikes back at his conceptions, and all lies beyond man’s intellect and outside his expectations. God provides everything that man needs, and in every respect this is at odds with his conceptions. God utters His words in your time of weakness; only in this way can He supply your life. By striking back at your conceptions, He makes you accept the dealing of God; only in this way can you rid yourself of your corruption. Today, God incarnate works within a state of divinity in one respect, but in another He works in a state of normal humanity. When you cease to be able to deny any work of God, when you are able to submit no matter what God says or does within the state of normal humanity, when you are able to submit and to understand no matter what kind of normality He manifests, and when you have gained actual experience: only then can you be sure that He is God, only then will you stop producing conceptions, and only then will you be able to follow Him to the end. There is wisdom to God’s work, and He knows how man can stand fast in testimony to Him. He knows where man’s vital weakness lies, and the words He speaks can strike you at your vital weakness, but He also uses His majestic and wise words to make you stand firm in testimony to Him. Such are the miraculous deeds of God. The work God does is unimaginable to the human intellect. What kinds of corruption that man, being of the flesh, is possessed of, and what constitutes the essence of man, all these are revealed through God’s judgment, which leaves man with nowhere to hide from his shame.
God does the work of judgment and chastisement so that man may gain knowledge of Him, and for the sake of His testimony. Without His judgment of man’s corrupt disposition, man could not possibly know His righteous disposition, which brooks no offense, nor would he be able to turn his old knowledge of God into a new one. For the sake of His testimony, and for the sake of His management, He makes His entirety public, thus enabling man, through His public appearance, to arrive at knowledge of God, to be transformed in his disposition, and to bear resounding testimony to God. The transformation of the disposition of man is achieved through many different kinds of God’s work; without such changes in his disposition, man would be unable to bear testimony to God and to be after God’s heart. The transformation of man’s disposition signifies that man has freed himself from Satan’s bondage and from the influence of darkness, and has truly become a model and specimen of God’s work, a witness of God, and one who is after God’s heart. Today, God incarnate has come to do His work on earth, and He requires that man achieve knowledge of Him, obedience to Him, testimony to Him—to know His practical and normal work, to obey all of His words and work which do not accord with the conceptions of man, and to bear testimony to all the work He does to save man as well as all the deeds He accomplishes to conquer man. Those who bear testimony to God must have knowledge of God; only this kind of testimony is accurate and real, and only this kind of testimony can shame Satan. God uses those who have come to know Him through undergoing His judgment and chastisement, dealing and pruning, to bear testimony to Him. He uses those who have been corrupted by Satan to bear testimony to Him, and so too does He use those whose disposition has changed, and who have thus gained His blessings, to bear testimony to Him. He does not need man to praise Him in his mouth, nor does He need the praise and testimony of the ilk of Satan, who have not been saved by Him. Only those who know God are qualified to bear testimony to Him, and only those who have been transformed in their disposition are qualified to bear testimony to Him. God will not allow man intentionally to bring shame upon His name.
a. The original text reads “The work of knowing God.”
We’ve just read “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God.” This passage from God’s word clearly articulates how we can effectively bear testimony to God, how we can bear testimony to God according to His will and the conditions we must meet in order to bear testimony to God. What is the main focus of this passage? In order to exalt God and bear testimony to Him, we must understand the truth and know God. What is the purpose of this passage? It seeks to allow all of us who are willing to bear witness, who are willing to stand as good witnesses to God to pursue the truth and strive to know God. This is its most important purpose. Today we can see that many believers are willing to forsake everything to follow God. They are willing to do their duty to bear testimony to God, but why is God still disappointed? The majority of people do not possess the truth; they do not know God. Thus, even if they do their duties, they are not bearing testimony to God. Why do I say that even if they do their duties they are not bearing testimony to God? Because if you do not have the truth, you do not know God. Because if you do not know God, then isn’t talk of obeying God or satisfying God just empty speech? Some people say, “We have worked so hard and sacrificed everything to fulfill our duties. How are we still unable to bear testimony to God?” Without the truth, can you perform your duties up to His standards? Without the truth, will performing your duties be effective enough for you to bear witness to God? Without the truth, will your evangelism win anyone over? Without the truth, as a leader or worker, can you solve the problem of life entry for God’s elects? Without the truth, you cannot even speak of your own knowledge of God. In that case, how can you be truly obedient to Him? Therefore, without the truth, you cannot bear testimony to God. Even if you work hard to fulfill your duty, you will just be doing a service, you still won’t be working in accordance with God’s wishes. So, what does God command us to do? Pursue the truth and strive to know Him. If you fail to get to know God, whatever duty you do is of little value; it’s all just doing a service. You must understand this!
In the past, we have read God’s words about what it means to believe in Him. What does He say about it? “True faith in God means the following: On the basis of the belief that God holds sovereignty over all things, one experiences His words and His work, purges one’s corrupt disposition, satisfies the will of God, and comes to know God. Only a journey of this kind may be called ‘faith in God.’” Knowing God through experiencing His work, this is truly believing in God. If you believe in God for many years but are never able to know Him, then He will not consider you to be a true believer because you have not obtained the truth. To believe in God for many years but fail to know Him, this is the biggest failure of any believer! Believers often gather together and say things like, “What has been your greatest achievement during all your years of believing in God? What have you really gained from it?” When people first hear this question, they do not know how to respond. They’ll say something like, “The biggest thing I gained was understanding lots of truth. Unbelievers cannot obtain the truth. We understand many truths.” What do you gain from understanding the truth? You learn to know God. You get to know God, the Creator, a little bit because the truth originated from God. Is this not the main benefit of believing in God? Some other people say, “Getting to know God a little is the biggest benefit to believing in God. Believing in God causes one to endure so much hardship and persecution, and in the end you just get to know God a little bit better? Is that worth it?” Someone said it’s worth it. Why is it worth it? Because a true understanding of God becomes the truth and life that man has. That is the life from believing in God, which is eternal life, so it is the most valuable life of all. People earn eternal life, obtain the most precious, valuable life. Isn’t that worth it? If you acknowledge all of this, it’s definitely worth it. Obtaining life is more than worth it. What does it mean to obtain life? To obtain life is to truly know God. Truly knowing God will dramatically change a person. What will change? Some people may not be able to see these changes. When a person truly knows a bit about God’s disposition, God’s true essence and God’s almightiness, what is the first thing that happens to them? First, they obtain real faith. “God is real and eminently credible. God’s disposition is righteous, holy and worth of our praise! Additionally, God’s almightiness and wisdom cannot be measured by mortals. He is too omnipotent. He is the true Master of the universe, and everything is in His hands.” People who know God in this manner not only have true faith, but they also begin to treasure the truth, God’s disposition and God’s essence. As soon as they sense the true value of these qualities, as soon as they begin to treasure what God has and is, their life dispositions begin to change as well. What happens to them? Because to know God, His disposition and what He has and is are all part of the truth and are priceless, they feel their past pursuits and hobbies are worthless in comparison, so they automatically forsake them and lose all interest in them, much less continue to pursue them. They consider these things as worthless as dirt. They are willing to submit to God and follow God, are unwilling to leave God, and form an increasingly normal relationship with God. They enjoy the pursuit of God, the pursuit of the truth, the pursuit of justice, the pursuit of life in the light. Is this not evidence of a change in their life dispositions? As soon as their life dispositions change, they are able to see through the things that are pursued by the world and corrupt humans. They recognize that these things are worthless. Some people struggle to find a partner, but as soon as they know God, they say, “Partner? Who needs a partner? There are no loveable ones among the corrupt humans. I can live with or without them. It makes no difference.” Some people like money. As soon as they know God, they see that wealth is just an externality without much use. It is not life, and people who know God are able to set it aside. As far as hardship is concerned, they see hardship as having value and meaning, far better than wealth, because accepting hardship is a normal human quality. Because they are able to endure sufferings and distinguish between what to love and what to hate, they will select the proper path. Therefore, after men know God, their perspectives change. They are able to choose what God loves; they are able to choose the truth; they can choose to follow God and serve Him. This is all because of the changes in their life dispositions brought about by knowing God. Now, what can we learn from this? If you do not know God, you will not be able to truly change your life disposition. You can’t give up things like carnal pleasures or carnal pursuits on a whim. You can’t betray the flesh just because you want to. If you want to put them aside, you need to know God. You must know God before you can be freed of your corruption. You must know God before you can choose the truth or the right path. Therefore, you must know God to have life. Men must obtain true life, must obtain the truth which will give them life, in order to forsake the flesh, willingly do their duty to carry out God’s will, and accept suffering. With life as your motivation and life as your source, there’s nothing you can’t do.
In the past, many people used to say, “I understand all truth, but I cannot practice the truth.” What’s the problem here? They know the truth but cannot practice it. Why is that? Practicing the truth isn’t exciting or motivating to them because they do not know God. They seem to understand the truth, but they only have a shallow understanding. They don’t really know God, so they have no strength to practice the truth. Well, to what extent must you understand the truth in order to obtain the motivation of life, forsake the flesh and act according to the principles of the truth? Is a shallow understanding of letters and doctrines sufficient? You say you understand the whole truth. In reality, you do not understand any truth. If you really understood the truth, you would know God. As soon as I listen to your words, I can tell you do not know Him. If you do not know God, then isn’t your professed understanding of the truth false? Understanding the superficial aspects and doctrines of the truth, is that understanding the essence of the truth? No. So, what does it mean to understand the truth? It means you have known God. Isn’t the truth you understand all that God has and is? What is the true essence of the truth? What is the source of the truth? The truth is derived from the words of God and His divine life. Then, what is the true essence of the truth? How precious is the truth? How lovely is it? What is its value? If you obtain the truth, what can you live out? How will it change you? To know the answers to these questions is to truly understand the truth. Some people think understanding some spiritual words and doctrines means they understand the truth. These people are absurd. They’re taking a far too shallow perspective on this.
God’s word says, “It is Heaven’s law and earth’s principle to believe in God and know God, and today—during an age when God incarnate is doing His work in person—is an especially good time to know God.” What does that mean, “an especially good time to know God”? God becomes flesh and comes down to earth to do His work and speak. People may encounter Him; they can listen to His words themselves. Additionally, they can see what He does, how He saves people through His work, how He judges and chastises people by the word, how He expresses the truth to free mankind from their preconceived notions, how He prunes and deals with men and saves them from their corruption. All these are ways in which we can experience God’s guidance, shepherding and watering in the flesh, and through these experiences, we shall ultimately know Him. If you can know God through Christ in the flesh, this is the best way. It’s the chance of a lifetime. Why do I say it’s the chance of a lifetime? Such opportunities are extremely rare and there are only two since God created this world—His first incarnation and His second incarnation in the last days. The first time He was incarnated, He did not fulfill His work of “the Word appearing in the flesh.” He was mainly focused on the redemptive work instead of expressing the truth to purify and save mankind. This time He comes back in the flesh during the last days is the best chance for humanity to know God. During the Age of Grace, when God became flesh, He only made one person perfect; only Peter truly knew Jesus. During the last days, God becomes flesh to make many more men perfect, that is to say, a group of people, a group of overcomers. These overcomers get to know the practical God; they can bear witness to the practical God. This is the work that God will accomplish during the last days. Some people may ask: “Then, what does it really mean to understand the practical God?” Look at how Peter knew the Lord Jesus. If we fully communicate that passage of God’s word, we will instantly understand.
God’s word says, “Satisfying God is something that is achieved by building on the foundation of understanding God’s will.” Some people do not pursue the truth. They do not comprehend what it means to understand God’s will. Can people who do not understand God’s will know God? Can people who do not understand God’s will satisfy Him? No. Understanding God’s will is the foundation. You must first understand why God does certain things and why He judges humanity. Why does God make us undergo pruning and dealing? Here lies God’s will. Why does God ask us to forsake everything to follow Him? Here lies God’s will. Why does God require us to pursue to know Him, to love Him? Here lies God’s will. Understanding God’s will is the foundation. As soon as you do that, what else will you be able to achieve? You won’t misunderstand God or have any conceptions about Him. Is this not a good way to emancipate humanity from their negativity and passivity? If you truly understand God’s will, do you then know Him as well? Understanding God’s will is the most basic achievement. If you do this, you will then be able to get rid of your preconceived notions and misunderstandings about God. This will make you willing to cooperate with God, but this does not mean you know God. This is only the beginning, the first step of getting to know God. For example, why must God become flesh again in the last days? If He didn’t become flesh, wouldn’t it be alright if He expressed His words through a prophet? Yes or no? In the Age of Law, God raised up many prophets and conveyed many of His words through them. However, prophets are men. They do not have all that God has and is. They cannot just express the truth whenever and wherever they want. They do not have God’s divinity, so it is hard to see all that God has and is or His disposition through the prophets. For the prophets to convey God’s words, or for God incarnate to directly express God’s words, which of these can lead men to know God? Only God incarnate can lead men to really know God. This is why it is so meaningful that He becomes flesh again. He gives men a once-in-a-lifetime chance to know Him. Prophets who spread the word of God do not give us a good chance to know God. People are just fortunate enough to hear God’s voice and achieve some basic results. “We must repent for our past sins and not commit them again.” This type of repentance is the most basic kind, a vow to no longer do evil. It does not rise to the level of a total change in people’s life disposition.
God continues to say, “[I]n order to understand God’s will, it is necessary to have some knowledge of God. This knowledge of God is the vision that one who believes in God must have; it is the basis of man’s belief in God.” This refers to knowing God’s work, why He works this way, why He becomes flesh, why He judges and chastises humanity. If you understand God’s will on these matters, you know God on the most basic level. You will no longer have preconceptions or misunderstandings about God, and you will truly have faith. Those are the only results you shall achieve. This will not cause a change in your overall disposition, because this is a very shallow knowledge of God; it is the first step to knowing God, the foundation of knowing God. Most people have achieved this basic knowledge of God. Otherwise, would they follow so ardently? Most of the people who have forsaken everything have some knowledge of God, be it shallow or deep. Otherwise they would not have forsaken everything else.
After this, God goes on to say, “In the absence of this knowledge, man’s belief in God would exist in a vague state, in the midst of empty theory. Even if it is the resolution of people like this to follow God, they will gain nothing.” That is to say, people who do not understand the vision behind God’s work may have the resolution to follow Him, but will not obtain the truth. Even religious people can condemn Christ and resist Christ. What does this mean? Their faith in God is in vagueness, based on conceptions and doctrines. That is why their faith cannot obtain God’s approval, but actually resists and betrays God. This is to say, they are doing evil. This is the truth. We often say that some people are nonbelievers. What is the main evidence we use to determine that they are nonbelievers? They are not certain of the practical God; they do not really know God. The God they believe in is a vague God. They pray to a vague God. Why do people like this follow the path for so long, yet achieve nothing? Why is this? The bottom line is: They are not really certain of the practical God. They cannot experience the work of the practical God. They have their own conceptions of what the practical God does, so they do not obey Him. They do not obey Him, so they do not experience Him. They do not experience Him, so doesn’t that mean they have obtained nothing? Do you know how some people react after I deal with them? “I obey God, not people. You are a person. Even if what you say is right, you are man, and I cannot obey you.” Is this not living in your own conceptions and doctrines? Are those types of people experiencing God’s work? So, even if they follow Him, they will obtain nothing, because they are not experiencing His work. They have not identified the true God. Some people are different. After I’m finished dealing with them, what do they say? “I saw it from him. It was as if it came entirely from the Holy Spirit. God was not satisfied with me. He was expressing His wrath to me! God was raising this person up to prune me, to deal with me. This message was from God. I must obey and accept it. I must repent. I must know myself.” What do you think of that reaction? This is of the utmost importance. This kind of reception clearly illustrates that they have identified God. They are now spiritual people. They saw it was from the Holy Spirit. It was from God. “I must obey. If I do not obey, then I am rebelling against God and resisting Him.” This person has found spirituality. So what effect does this have on the person? He completely accepts and obeys God and stops rebelling against Him. That way, he gradually casts off his corruption, practices the truth and obeys God. After he starts obeying God, he starts to know God’s disposition, will and reality. When he starts to obey God, this creates a real experience. If this experience causes him to know God, then it becomes his life. This is just like the process of digestion. Someone eats a piece of food, they chew it, it goes down their throat, into their stomach, and then the nutrients get absorbed so that this person can continue living. The food turns into blood which turns into life. This gives people strength.
People can be confident in the existence of God; they can be confident in all He does and says and obey Him. This allows people to truly experience God. This experience will allow them to know God. After they know God, their knowledge will become their life. After it becomes their life, they will obey God more honestly, practically and completely. They will become truly obedient to God. How do we achieve true obedience to God? Through many experiences, we finally come to know God, and then we obey Him more honestly, completely, and absolutely. We have less and less impurity and then are gained by God. After people gain a bit of knowledge about God, they can obey Him a little, which allows them to love Him and worship Him a little. If they gain a lot of knowledge about God, they can obey Him and worship Him even more. This will also increase their love of God. According to this fact, man’s love, obedience and worship of God, what is that based on? On his knowledge of God acquired through experiencing God’s work. The more you truly experience God’s work, the more you’ll know God. After people gain this knowledge, what changes in them? They rebel against God less and obey Him more. They do not have as many of their own conceptions about Him. They love God more. They worship God with their lips less and have more true worship. Are all these changes just from knowing God? They are all based on experiencing and knowing God’s work. That’s for certain. Different people can look at the same sentence of God and have different reactions to it. Some people say, “This is the truth. This is extremely beneficial for all mankind. As soon as I read this sentence, I know God a little more. This one sentence of God has unveiled the mystery. This one sentence has made things clear; it’s gone to the root of the issue. God’s words are the truth. They are eminently practical. When I read God’s word, the knots in my heart are immediately untied and many misunderstandings are resolved. The more I read God’s word, the more I see the light.” Why can they achieve these results? People who truly believe in God believe that God’s word is the word of God. It is not the words of men. It is the truth; it is the voice of God. It can cleanse the corruption of humanity and resolve problems, conceptions and imaginations that people have when it comes to their faith in God. That’s the kind of faith they have. That’s why as soon as they see God’s word they believe, they accept it, they obey it, they practice it. By experiencing and practicing God’s word this way, their knowledge of God deepens. As their knowledge of God deepens, they know it’s because they are practicing God’s word. This makes them cherish God’s word even more and focus even harder on practicing God’s word and experiencing God’s work. After they experience God’s work to the end in this way, they will truly know God. After they truly know God, they will do their duty according to God’s standards; they will practice the truth and bear witness to God. Practicing the truth to do your duty adequately, that is what it means to bear witness to God’s work. This is also evidence that a person’s belief in God has changed their entire life disposition.
Someone asks, “Where is the evidence that someone’s life disposition has changed? What do you use as evidence that their life disposition has changed?” The evidence is what they abandon, how they do their duty, their loyalty to God, their obedience to God, etc. At first, people have impurity within them: impurity in their obedience, in their ability to forsake everything else, in their knowledge of God and in their service. Later, because they gradually deepen their understanding of the truth and start to really know God, their impurity decreases and their heart becomes more and more pure. Performing their duty becomes bearing witness to God. Let’s take an example. What do many people who experience God’s work think it means to do their duty? “If I do not perform my duty, then I am in debt to God. If I don’t do my duty, it means I don’t truly believe in God. If I don’t do my duty, it means I am not doing good. If I’m not doing good, then I will not go to a good destination.” Men all have that kind of impurity in the beginning. Every person is like that. If you do not have any intent for blessings, then you are not a normal person. However, after they are judged and chastised by God, their conceptions and opinions change. “Everything we corrupt humans do is just to receive blessings. That’s not right! This is simply too selfish and mean! Why don’t we care enough to try to satisfy God, even a little? Why don’t we love God? Can we forsake everything to love God? Can we suffer hardship to love God?” See? When you have that awareness, you feel reproached. You feel remorse for your actions. “I believe in God just because I think I’m going to get a blessing? Why don’t I show any care for God? Why can’t I see God’s loveliness?” These kinds of people start to feel remorse and hate themselves. They ask, “Why am I so full of corruption?” They start to feel themselves more and more filthy. When they see the exposure of God’s word, they think, “Yes! This is all too practical! This is me!” When they read God’s revelation about something else, they say, “This is another revelation about me. This is completely relevant to me.” Finally, one day they say, “All God’s word seems to be talking to me, revealing me, judging me and chastising me. It’s just too accurate. I’m completely convinced now.” They forget that God’s word is judging all of humanity’s corruption. They just see their own corruption. Is this a correct way to experience? It’s correct, if a bit naive. It’s not a huge problem. Later they hear another person say, “God’s word is judging me. It completely speaks to my heart. It reveals things that have been hidden in my heart for many years.” They hear that and think, “How is it judging you? I think it’s judging me.” One day they realize, “All of humanity is corrupt like that. No wonder they all say so!” Well, then doesn’t that solve it?
How do those who don’t know how to experience the word of God experience it? When reading something that is extremely revealing, they say, “There really are such people? Who are they? I know, this is talking about Joe Schmoe. God sees all, Joe is completely exposed.” Then there are others that say: “This is meant for the leaders.” They do not check this against themselves. This kind of person can’t experience the work of God. They believe the judgment and chastisement of God is all directed toward villains, devils, and those leaders and workers. As soon as they see the revelation of the leaders and workers, they compare it to the words of God; they do not compare these words to themselves, thus they do not know themselves. What kind of experience is that? Are these people not absurd? How do some other people experience it? When I expose and deal with their performance in doing their duties, I say, “Your way of doing things affects the work, your way of doing things goes against the truth, and it is not bearing witness to God.” Then I expose them and say, “How are you still just going through the motions? How are you this good at acting perfunctorily? Do you have no conscience?” As soon as they consider my words, they say, “You don’t have it right! I have suffered so much, I have put in all this effort, and you still say I am perfunctory? You equate everything I have said and done to nothing. How do you see me as this bad? You are exaggerating and taking it too far, and I refuse to accept this condemnation. If you spoke fairly, I would have no problem accepting your criticism.” How is this type of experiencing? This person is very good at justifying himself, what is the meaning behind his words? “I’m not that bad, all I did was make a few small mistakes, and you are saying I am perfunctory. You have taken it too far and it is hurtful! Do you not think that you are exaggerating too much? I have put in all this effort only to end up with poor results? To be given such a harsh criticism? It is too unfair!” He is very good at making excuses for himself. Can this type of individual who justifies himself accomplish a lot? Can he attain true obedience? No, he cannot. Where is his error? Are we really exaggerating? Is this truly wrong? In fact, it is his failure to do his duty that led to these consequences. When someone says to him, “How can you act perfunctorily like this?” this is not a simple occurrence of perfunctoriness. The work is extremely important and he is completely neglecting his duty. Criticizing in this way is not at all an exaggeration, so why is he unable to accept it? In his heart, he believes he has done a lot of work for God; he has given up everything and has performed his duties with all his heart. Perhaps his error is from a temporary lapse of carelessness or from a superficial understanding of the truth. It is completely unintentional and not persistent, so this criticism is quite harsh and he is not able to immediately accept it. This is a very common reaction in this situation. This is the reaction most people have. However, do not rush to defend yourself, first practice obedience. Others dealt with you, because you didn’t handle this matter well, you did not adhere to principles, and seriously affected the results of the work of God’s house. When others lost their temper and became angry, they were not wrong in dealing with you this way. If you have humility, you should first accept these criticisms and say, “I didn’t do it well, I am wrong, there is no truth in my action, and it has negatively affected the work of God’s family.” When you admit to impacting the work of God’s family, then it doesn’t matter how the others teach you, it is all right. Only you still have the slightest amount of self-confidence, and think that “I’m not that bad, I am very loyal to God, and I am willing to be obedient to God.” Wait until one day after you have had more experiences, you will find that in fact you are not loyal to God and that this is not a temporary lapse of carelessness. If you are not dealt with, this kind of situation will happen regularly. Wait until you have failed two or three times, you will look back and think about the words, “How are you so good at working perfunctorily? You are not the least bit loyal to God!” You will be completely convinced by this accusation and recognize your error. The first time you fail you will not be convinced, the second time you fail you will admit to some of it, but by the third and fourth time you will have nothing to say, and however anyone should deal with you would not be wrong. Go through failure several times and you will be convinced, you will be submissive. How can someone with superficial life experiences have a deep understanding of themselves? Are they able to truly and clearly understand the true condition of themselves? You can’t see clearly because your experience is too shallow. Wait until your experience deepens. When people criticize you, you won’t have any objections; when they scold you, you still will have no objections; and when they slap you across the face, you will say, “You are right to slap me. You cannot slap me enough; I’ll give myself two more.” When you reach this point, you will have succeeded. You will have come to know God, you will have achieved true obedience, and you will have undergone real change. Do you believe that the difference between superficial and deep experiences is significant? The obedience of those that have undergone deep experiences is absolute. When someone with deep experiences is dealt with, when he is faced with failures and setbacks, once he starts talking about his knowledge, someone with only superficial experiences cannot understand. Some people will even think, “What is wrong with this person? If I should encounter these things I would not have this perspective. All you did was make some simple mistakes. Your understanding is too much.” They fail to understand. However, upon looking at your disposition, they will admire you and say: “Upon encountering such dealing and pruning you did not resist, you did not complain, and you kept your remorse to yourself. Why can’t I do the same? If it were me who have encountered this situation, I would reason with my criticizers, I would argue with them. Ten sentences wouldn’t be enough; I would need one hundred sentences to argue against them. How come you don’t do that? It is incomprehensible. It looks like you are better than me, stronger than me!” Those with superficial experiences are like this. This is normal, and this is what I was like once as well.
If someone’s experience is shallow, will they be able to truly change their life disposition? People who always make excuses, can their dispositions be changed? No. This is pretty apparent to you, right? Then you’ll see how you’ll respond in your heart when you are pruned and dealt with, see how many conceptions, imaginations, excuses and complaints come out of your heart, and you’ll see how big your stature is. If you do not voice any complaints, that means you have seen you are nothing. You have seen that you have not gained any truth from your belief in God all of these years. How can these be the results of you doing your duty? How could you have behaved this way? You’ll think it’s incredible. “How have I been getting along all these years? I have not been doing my duty according to principle at all. This isn’t being a true witness at all. How am I returning God’s love this way? Am I not just trying to fool God?” Experiencing God’s work is this kind of a deepening process. When people first experience pruning and dealing, judgment and chastisement, they respond by “making excuses” and start pitching a fit. Someone says one sentence to them, and they have ten sentences ready in response. They think everyone is like this, that if you don’t react that way, you’re not a normal person, you don’t have caliber, you’re worn out trash. They think that the more you make excuses, the better you are. Refuting the criticizer to the point where he is shamed, now THAT is what it means to be capable. It means you’ve obtained the reality of the truth. After two or three years of experience and after some frustrations and failures, their opinion will have changed. “I see that it really was my problem. My former opinions about such behavior were totally wrong. I was not doing my duty with my true heart, nor was I really practicing the truth. I was doing things according to my own conceptions and illusions and only pretending to do these things to make other people see the “hardships” I was going through. Wasn’t I just trying to fool God? How could I have gotten to this point without ever recognizing it? Why am I so convinced of all this today? What’s going on here?” They begin to repent and look back on all their “logic,” their arrogance, their lack of self-awareness. They realize that they never had anything and have only exposed their own corruption. “Oh no! I was so pitiful back then! I can’t even think of it. It’s too disgusting! Before, I wasn’t even a human. Why remember those times?” There are some people with these experiences. There are many people who haven’t even reached this point and are still making excuses, but the majority of people who make excuses aren’t negative. They don’t shirk away. Instead they yap on endlessly quite happily. They think that people who do not make excuses are useless, that it is normal to talk logically. They think that it’s good to clarify. This is a necessary phase of experiencing life. People are all like this initially. I was like that once. I may have even argued and reasoned more than you guys did but most of the time I was saying it in my heart and not with my mouth. From the outside, I looked like a sheep, while my heart was arrogant and did not obey. This situation was quite common.
At this point, I will raise another question to you all: What does it mean to experience God’s work? Is this an easy question to answer? Some people just base their understanding on the facts of their being pruned and dealt with. They say, “Experiencing pruning and dealing is experiencing God’s work.” Is this an acceptable answer? Some people get the most benefit out of being pruned and dealt with, but many people cannot experience pruning and dealing. They do not do their duty; they do not do any work; no one deals with them. How do people experience God’s work? First, they experience the chastisement and judgment of God’s words. This is the most basic method. Then there are those that experience some pruning and dealing when they do their duty and work. This is especially true for those who do important work, as they will receive direct pruning and dealing from God’s family. These people experience pruning and dealing more often, and it’s generally harsher. The leaders at the bottom do not interact with the above. They are only pruned and dealt with occasionally by the upper leaders or workers, which is very shallow. They do not experience pruning and dealing very often, and the results are not as good. There are many other God’s chosen people that do an ordinary job, and seldom experience pruning and dealing. In that case, do they not obtain even less? To experience God’s work, you have to experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s word. This depends on your caliber. If you have good caliber and you love the truth, you can experience judgment and chastisement by God’s word. If you have bad caliber and you do not understand the truth, you will not be able to experience very much of it. Some people may ask: “When you experience pruning and dealing, are you also experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s word?” It depends on how someone accepts it. If they really do have the ability to accept it, and they see that the pruning and dealing is based on God’s word and according to the truth in God’s word, then that person truly has experienced the judgment and chastisement of God’s word. You don’t just experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s word by reading it. You gain a deeper experience of it by being pruned and dealt with while doing your duty. This is obviously a better way to get results. For some people, if they do not do their duty, it will be hard for them to experience pruning and dealing. They just experience a bit of judgment by word alone. Experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s word involves a person’s caliber. If you’re not a person of high caliber, you will never understand God’s word no matter how you read it. You’ll only apply part of it to yourself instead of fully accepting it. You will not achieve the results gained from God’s judgment. Accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s word requires understanding the parts that reveal and judge man’s corruption, and then comparing them with yourself and reflecting on your own behavior. These words will make you convinced. Only then can you fall prostrate before God and really start the process of feeling remorse for your own behavior. If people just interpret some words and phrases as talking about them and about their states but don’t really understand most of the words, if this is the case, they will not be judged or chastised by God’s word largely. If they are just able to recognize some parts of God’s words, but miss the most important parts, they won’t be able to reflect on their own behavior and won’t acknowledge it. Experiencing God’s word this way will not yield much in the way of judgment or chastisement. Then what kinds of people get the best results from experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s word? These people love the truth; they thirst for the truth. When they see the truth, they accept it into their heart. When they encounter the truth, they try to figure it out; especially when they see the words of judgment and chastisement of God, they turn inward and reflect on their own behavior so that they have true knowledge and an accurate understanding of the truth. This way, they can truly pray to God in their heart, obey God’s word and acknowledge God’s word from their heart. The judgment and chastisement of God’s word is only effective for people that pursue the truth. As for those who do not pursue the truth, not only do they not understand God’s word when they read it, they can’t even understand God’s word when other people communicate it to them. They only understand logic and literal meaning. They are not serious about the truth. Therefore, people that do not love the truth seem to have accepted God’s work in the last days on the surface and lived a church life, but their dispositions have not changed, even if they’ve believed in God for twenty or thirty years. There are many people like that. If it isn’t 1/3, it’s pretty close to that. They have believed in God for many years, but it has had little effect. Someone said that they believed in God all those years and they got nothing? You can’t say that they obtained nothing. They believe with certainty that He is God. They admit that God’s word is God’s expression, God’s voice, but they cannot enter the reality of God’s word. They cannot practice and experience God’s word. They are finished. There are many people that have believed in God for twenty years. They still lie too much, obey God too little and make too many excuses. They’re finished.
Some people, because of their poor caliber, are powerless in pursuing the truth. Some people are of suitable caliber, but they dislike the truth and love fleshly enjoyments. Their preoccupation with the search for a partner or daily life causes them to waste or ruin the best times of their lives. Some people are eager to preach the gospel and sacrifice for God, but are then suddenly spotted by the great red dragon; they become wanted and cannot return home. In that case, they should stay at a brother or sister’s house or perform their duties in God’s house. After experiencing this for a few years, they grow to truly understand some truth and make some progress. Therefore, the hardships they suffered were not in vain. The environment was what made them unable to return home. This negative has therefore been turned into a positive. Then what do some people say? They say, “See, he’s become well-known for his faith in God. Even the government is trying to arrest him. We haven’t become well-known for our faith. The government isn’t after us. Our way of believing is better and smarter. It involves less hardship!” What’s the result? They don’t do their duty and definitely don’t forsake everything else. They believe in God for ten to twenty years and obtain nothing. They do not suffer any hardships and obtain nothing. Is there any benefit to this? There’s no benefit at all. Not having the truth is the biggest loss of all. Someone says, “It didn’t disrupt my personal life and I was not arrested or imprisoned. This is a much better way.” Better? His “better” life has ruined him. He obtained nothing. When the great disasters come, he will die. That is his “benefit.” The “benefit” you get from believing in God for many years but not experiencing His work or His words and not focusing on pursuing the truth is to die and be destroyed during the great disasters. The ones who forsake everything else for God and endure many hardships are pursued by the government. They are unable to return home and enjoy the happiness of family life. The hardships they endure enable them to perform their duties and understand the truth. When the great disasters occur, they’ll survive. Instead of dying, they’ll gain life. What do we mean by gain? What do we mean by loss? How do we view “gaining something” and “losing something”? Everyone has a different opinion. Some people like the benefits they obtain from the flesh. Some people like obtaining life, regardless of the hardships they endure in the process. Obtaining truth and life is the most important thing. No matter how many hardships you endure, if you gain life, you have won, you have made it. A person with this attitude is a wise person. Some people find a spouse, then divorce; they find a job, then resign. They say, “I’ve forsaken so many things, if I don’t obtain the truth from my faith in God, it’ll be a huge loss for me. Therefore, I must pursue the truth.” If, by pursuing the truth, you one day grow to know God, your perspectives change, your life disposition changes, you no longer lie or cheat, then you’ll say, “I really am totally different than before. Have I obtained life, have I had the truth as my life? I seek the truth in everything I do and do everything according to principle. My life is now becoming more and more liberated. Have I obtained the truth, have I obtained life? In this case, my sacrifices all these years, the hardships I’ve endured, it’s all been worth it!” People with peace and joy in their hearts who feel a great sense of comfort, aren’t they the most blessed people of all? All of humanity is asking the same question, “What is the meaning of life?” Is it the enjoyment of the flesh? Or is it to live for obtaining the truth and life? What exactly do we live for? Some people are looking for a partner; they want to get married and have children. This is living for children; it isn’t living for the truth. Some people live for money. Earning money comes first; enjoyment comes second. They earn money and just put it all in bags. They love to count it every day in their spare time. They are living for money. In the end, they earn a lot of money, but they die having never enjoyed life. When they’re near death, someone asks them if they want to see their money again and count it again. They vigorously shake their head. It is useless, empty. If you do not have life, it doesn’t matter how much money you have; it’s still useless. Are these people not pitiful? Some people nearing death are penniless but know God. They have done many good deeds in their lives. Their hearts are happy. Their lives have not been in vain. When they die, they will go to a good place, so their hearts are comforted. They say, “I have never done a wicked deed in my life. I’ve acted on my good conscience. When I return to the spiritual realm, I will not suffer many hardships.” Still other people have had many good enjoyments of the flesh, but will still do anything for their own benefit. They’ve committed many evil acts. When these people near death, their hearts are afraid; they feel blamed and accused. They cry a river of tears! What do these people get? Do their lives have meaning? They get curses and regret! The hearts of these lowlifes should not be comforted in the face of death. Everyone has a different attitude toward life. We who pursue the truth view obtaining the truth and Christ as the most precious thing of all. Not only do we obtain the truths expressed by Christ, but we also become compatible with Christ. We become able to worship and obey Christ. We become loyal to Him; we become witnesses for Him and compatible with Him. This is the greatest blessing we obtain. We do not have any conceptions or misunderstandings about Christ. We are compatible with Him and obey Him completely. How much peace and joy should that bring to our hearts? You see, there are many people who believe in Christ, but their hearts aren’t compatible with Christ. They always have conceptions; they’re always disobedient. Are there barriers between their hearts and Christ? It is this barrier that’s the problem. This barrier is trouble. It proves that your disposition has not changed and that you do not know God. It’s this conception, this misunderstanding that is so troublesome. In the end, if you lose, this is where you’ll have lost. If you fail, this is where you’ll have failed. Therefore, by no means is this a small problem. “If you lose, this is where you’ll have lost. If you fail, this is where you’ll have failed.” Store these words in your heart. Think about them. No matter what, if you do not learn to know God by experiencing His work, this is your greatest failure as a believer.
Someone said, “What does it mean to know God? I understand so much spiritual doctrine. I can speak about so much of that doctrine. Does that mean I know God?” There are other people who say, “I have forsaken everything for God. I’ve paid such a high price to follow Him. Doesn’t that mean I know Him? How else could I put my family, my job, my whole world aside to follow God? If this is not what it means to know God, what is? I did all of this because I know God.” This is something that must be clarified. Many people get stuck here. They think, “If I don’t know God, what have I given up everything for? My knowledge of God is confirmed by my actions. Who would give up everything if they didn’t know God? Can you find someone like that for me?” The fact that they forsake things is evidence that they are certain of God. Who would give up everything if they didn’t identify God? But does being certain of God mean you know God? What does it mean to be certain of God? It means that you have true faith. If you didn’t have true faith, you wouldn’t forsake everything else. That is an undeniable fact. However, even if someone can forsake everything, does that mean they truly know God? Does the fact that they can forsake everything mean they truly obey God? This is another matter entirely. You see, there are many people who forsake everything else but still answer the dealing and pruning with their own conceptions. They cannot completely accept it. They have internal conflicts with God. There are other people who forsake everything else but do not do their duties effectively; that is, they do not act on principle of truth at all. Most of these people do not get along well with others. They do as they please, and other people do not approve of their actions. These kinds of situations are quite common, right? Almost everyone here has, right? You can’t coordinate with others harmoniously; you don’t perform your duty according to principle; you’re not loyal to God. Still some people never seek the truth when they encounter difficulties. Instead they rely on their own ideas and conceptions to just do things willfully. What does this all mean? At the very least, it means that people’s current understanding of the truth is too shallow and cannot reach a level where they act on principle. If we go a bit deeper, we can say that although you have true faith, you do not truly know God. This is like Job, whose true faith in God had earned him God’s praise, but who didn’t really know God. Peter truly knew God. This is something we know from God’s praise, not humans’ flattery. He had true testimonies. In the end, he was crucified upside down for God. That is what it means to truly repay God’s love. “God was crucified for me. So I will be crucified for Him upside down.” Having true faith in God does not mean you truly know God, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have obtained the truth. Even though people follow God, forsake everything and perform their duty, this doesn’t mean the performance of their duties is up to standard. These distinctions must be made clear. We cannot mix things up. We can’t rely on our own conceptions and imaginations. We can’t think, “The fact that I forsake everything else for God means that I have true faith in Him. Having true faith in God means that I know God somewhat. If I didn’t know God, I wouldn’t have real faith in God.” You know God a little, but your knowledge is shallow. You do not know God’s disposition and essence. Your shallow understanding can only produce faith; it cannot produce true love, and it definitely cannot produce true obedience. Now we can forsake everything to follow God. We can perform our duties as God’s creations. This is only evidence of our true faith; it doesn’t mean we know God. It certainly doesn’t mean our life disposition has changed and we’ve truly become witnesses to God.
God’s words say, “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God.” What does “bear testimony” mean? First, it refers to all the duties we perform. That is what it means to bear witness to God. Second, it refers to bearing witness to God’s work, communicating the truth, talking about our true experiences, using our experiences to allow people to know and return to God. Things like preaching the gospel to others, writing articles bearing witness to God, talking about your own experiences bearing witness to God in the church, these are all ways you can bear witness to God. Everything we are doing can be said to be related to bearing witness to God. Whether we do this well or not, whether our witness is up to standard or not, this depends on how well we know God. If we have enough knowledge of God, our true knowledge becomes life and motivation for life and allows us to bear witness to God. This is what God means when He says, “What God does is convert words to faith, to love, and to life.” When His word becomes our faith and love, then we are true witnesses. If we want to pursue a knowledge of God, what do we have to focus on? We must focus on implementing and experiencing the word of God. This is the most fundamental task! God’s words say, “If man cannot receive visions, then he cannot receive the new work of God, and if man cannot obey God’s new work, then man will be unable to understand God’s will, and so his knowledge of God will amount to nothing.” If you cannot even receive God’s new work, then you do not understand God’s will. God wants you to accept His new work. What does it mean to accept God’s new work? God intends to purify you and make you perfect, so that you can cleanse yourselves of your corruption and truly break free of Satan’s influence. If you cannot get rid of your corruption, you are not free of Satan’s influence; you live in the satanic corrupt disposition; you belong to Satan. Now what specific problem is God trying to solve with His new work? He’s trying to solve humanity’s corruption. People who don’t accept God’s new work do not know God at all, not in the slightest. Therefore, whether you’re a pastor, elder or preacher, if you do not accept God’s work in the last days, the knowledge of God you speak about is not grounded; it’s just empty, vacuous speech. It can be said that you do not know God at all. We are experiencing God’s work now. If we want to really know God, we must practice God’s words!
God’s word says: “Before man carries out the word of God, he must know the word of God, that is, he must understand God’s will; only in this way can God’s word be carried out accurately and in accordance with God’s will. This is something that everyone who seeks the truth must possess, and it is also the process that everyone who tries to know God must undergo.” Later on it continues, “The process of coming to know the word of God is the process of coming to know God.” Is this sentence important? It’s incredibly important. “The process of coming to know the word of God is the process of coming to know God, and also the process of coming to know the work of God. And so, knowing visions not only refers to knowing the humanity of God incarnate, but also includes knowing the word and the work of God.” If you do not know God’s words and work, you cannot know God. Now there are some people for whom, the more they read God’s words, the more they understand them and the more precious they think they are. What is this feeling they have? They have matured and made progress. They understand how precious the word of God is. They are focusing on the truth. For some people, the more they believe in God, the more they cherish His words; the more they read His words, the more they are enlightened. When they first start to read His words, they don’t understand them. They read more and get confused. They read even more and then get tired. They think the words are good but can’t grasp their meaning. Without experience, they just read the words but don’t understand the content. Through often listening to sermons they remember more and understand more. Then, when they go back and read them again, they think “Why is it so easy to understand now?” How can this be so? You can understand it a bit without me even fellowshiping about it, right? What am I saying here? I’m telling you about things I learned after I experienced and understood God’s words. So, after you listen to my words and understand them, if you go back and read God’s words again, there will be no barrier between you and God’s words. You’ll meet Him face to face. That’s why there are lots of people who read God’s words now and say, “These words are so important. Why didn’t I understand them before? Why can I understand them more at first glance today?” The more a person reads God’s words, the more they understand them and the more they are enlightened. What does this mean? It means they know God somewhat. They’ve seen God face-to-face. If they understand God’s words, can they talk about their real experience and knowledge? If they can speak about their experience and knowledge, that is evidence that they have started to experience God’s words, that they have really started to enter into them. The more you experience and the more you enter into God’s words, the more you’ll understand them. If you understand God’s words, you’ll be able to stand witness to God and talk about your experiences. This is what it means to bear witness to God and His work, exactly. Therefore, some people say the more they preach the gospel, the more they have this feeling, “The words that I communicate are the enlightenments and illuminations of the Holy Spirit. First, I get nourishment from them and understand God’s words, and then others are also moved by them.” This is what it means to experience God’s work. The more you communicate God’s words, the more the Holy Spirit will enlighten you. The more you are enlightened, the more you’ll understand God’s words, which in turn will allow you to communicate them more clearly. This is what it means to bear witness to God. If you cannot communicate God’s words clearly then you are not bearing witness to God, you’re not working effectively. You can stand there and talk as you please but you won’t be bearing witness, right? Religious pastors and elders expound on the Bible, is that testifying to God? People who talk about letters and doctrines, their own conceptions, their imaginations, their own literal interpretations, are they bearing witness to God? That is just fooling people.
“From the word of God people come to understand God’s will, and from the work of God they come to know God’s disposition and what God is.” “[F]rom the work of God they come to know God’s disposition and what God is.” This is what it means to truly know God. The true knowledge of God emerges through the process of understanding God’s work. But when someone asks you to talk about how God does His work to save and purify mankind, you might say, “This subject is far too profound, where would I even start? If I speak too simply, my words will be empty of the truth. When it comes to genuine understanding of God’s work, I don’t know what to say.” This shows that your knowledge of God’s work is shallow and superficial; you merely understand the doctrine, so you don’t know how to talk about it. If you really understand God’s work, you will know exactly what the key points are, and which parts are most important to talk about. When you are able to communicate real, practical things about God’s work, that means you have understood things about God’s disposition and what God has and is that are revealed to you during this work. Why does God express His disposition and what He has and is? Why does He do this? God reveals these things so that people can understand Him. Whenever God reveals anything, it is so people can understand Him. We don’t have to understand what God does not reveal. Even if these things were revealed, we would not understand them. Within this lies God’s will. He reveals His disposition and what He has and is so that people may understand these things. By now, we’ve all witnessed that God has expressed many facets of what He has and is through His work. How else could God say all that He has to say? All of God’s words serve mainly to stand as testament to God’s disposition, substance, and what He has and is, as well as His wisdom and omnipotence. Some people ask, “Where does God reveal His disposition, His omnipotence and wisdom? Where does He reveal what He has and is?” Here we must get specific about the truth. For example, God has expressed many words pertaining to God’s disposition and what God has and is. God says, “I am righteous, I am faithful, I am the God who examines the innermost heart of man!” God reveals to us what kind of God He is; He says this in order to get us to understand Him. “I am righteous, I am faithful, I am the God who examines the innermost heart of man!” Once a person hears this sentence, he might say in turn, “God is righteous, God is faithful, God can see deep into the heart of man, but how do you know this? Where is God’s righteousness embodied, where does God’s faithfulness manifest itself, and how do you confirm that God can see deep into the heart of man? I’m searching for answers.” Perhaps after a little while, he’ll say, “Oh! I see. God reveals the corruptions hidden down within the depths of a man, even the ones that this person doesn’t even know about himself, and makes them known. Even the things lodged deep down inside of you that you’ve forgotten for decades, God will reveal them to you.” What does this show? What does it try to prove? God “examines the innermost heart of man.” Eventually he will find evidence of this statement in that which God reveals to him. Then he’ll say, “God truly does see deep into the heart of man! This statement is completely on point. There’s nothing false about it, it’s absolutely true!” Left to his own devices, a corrupt human like this won’t understand anything about the corruption inside of him. He can’t come to recognize it on his own. He might think rather highly of himself at first, but once God reveals his corruption to him, he’ll understand at last that God truly can see deep into his heart. He’ll say, “God can take all past events, the entirety of human affairs, the events of several thousands of years, and reveal them all to mankind! God truly can see deep into our hearts!” Afterward, he’ll mull things over for a while. “How many hearts does God see into? Is it just you and me?” No, God is all-powerful, He can see deep into all of humanity! You have truly experienced this, right? When you truly understand this and have absolute faith that God can see deep into our souls, other people will ask you, “This God you believe in, what kind of God is He?” “I have complete faith that God has seen all the way into the depths of my soul.” This is knowledge that emerges from real, practical experience. Still, others will say, “How do you know that this is true? How can God examine our souls? Give an example.” “Inside all humanity is corruption. It is our essence, and we can’t perceive it on our own. We don’t know what’s good and what’s bad, we don’t know what comes from Satan and what doesn’t. But once God reveals, we’ll know the answers to all of our questions. Then would you not say that God can actually see deep into our souls? For example, if two corrupt humans do something bad in secret, then only these two people will know about it. And afterward, they’ll swear to each other, ‘What we’ve done, only you and I and the empty sky know about it. No one else will ever know.’ And what’s the final outcome? God will reveal everything. You may think that only you know things, but there are so many things that you don’t know that God does know, there are many things that God can perceive that you cannot.” This real experience you shared, this is true knowledge of God’s word.
Let’s look at these words again, “God is righteous, God is faithful.” God won’t let anyone who opposes Him get away with it. He will praise all those who know Him and love Him. Thus, God is a righteous God. God doesn’t care if a person is poor or rich, if his social status is high or low, if he lives among the rich and powerful or among the poor. God doesn’t care about any of this. He only looks at whether or not a person seeks the truth, whether or not this person does good deeds. Once you begin to think about and experience these things deeply, then you will be able to testify to the absolute truthfulness of God’s righteousness. This is further knowledge of God’s righteousness. People are quick to discriminate in favor of or against others, but God does not do this. In the Old Testament Age of Law, David sinned, and God punished him as He always does. When the Lord Jesus said that He would be crucified and would be resurrected after 3 days, Peter hindered Him by relying on his good intentions. And the Lord said: “Get you behind Me, Satan.” This is how God treats all kinds of people. Everything that God reveals to us is to help us to see God’s righteousness. God is righteous, fair, and just to everyone. Our God is truly fit to receive the praise, admiration, and love of mankind. As for “God is faithful,” God’s word is His bond. But when it comes to the words of mankind, often when people finish speaking, situations will change, and so will their minds, or perhaps they will forget about it entirely. People aren’t trustworthy. Sometimes they’ll say whatever they need in order to achieve a goal, but once they achieve their goal, they’ll forget everything that they have said. Will they still honor their promises to you? It’s just like how presidential candidates behave. When they campaign, they’ll make empty promises to the voters. What’s the purpose of these empty promises? “Vote for me!” Once you’ve voted for them, after they become president, they’ll say, “Honor my promise to you? How I act as president is another matter entirely, it has nothing to do with you.” This is just how people are. People aren’t trustworthy. They’re treacherous and dishonest. But God is faithful. He keeps His promises. He honors His promises to man, whatever they are, whether they are blessings or curses. Even if people forget about them, God will not forget, and He will honor His words. Why does God love honest people? Because He is a faithful God, His essence is faithfulness. God has always honored His words, His words have always come true, all the way from His creation of the world to the present day. Today, you can see for yourself how so many of God’s words have been fulfilled, how He has honored His words. As a result, you will come to understand God, “Every single one of God’s words will be fulfilled, He will honor each and every one of His words.” So you needn’t pay attention to this. When God’s time comes, all that God says will naturally come true; His word will be perfectly and completely fulfilled. You will be completely convinced in your heart. The cares and concerns of people will be of no use. However, you won’t be able to see all of God’s words come true. Some of these words will only be fulfilled in the realm of the spirit. Some do come true in the world, but you won’t see it happen. Who can witness all of the affairs in the world at once? People can only perceive what happens within a small radius around them, just as their field of vision is also limited. When it comes to the words that are fulfilled in the realm of the spirit, will you be able to see any of this from the material world? The angels praising God, the shaming of Satan, can you see any of this happen? Some words are fulfilled where humans can see them, others where people cannot see them. This does not at all alter the fact that “God is a faithful God.” How can we experience these words to attain knowledge of God? If you look at God’s attitude toward different kinds of people, you’ll see which kinds of people God loves and blesses as well as the kinds He hates and curses. From this you will be able to deduce that God is righteous, and that He is fair and impartial to all people. Once you see that God is righteous, how will this make you feel? You’ll feel especially safe and sound, with peace of mind, free from anxiety. You’ll immediately begin to develop admiration for God, “God is so loving! He truly deserves praise! God is truly fit to receive man’s admiration and praise, for He is a righteous God!” When a person sees an antichrist or a false leader defy God and commit savage deeds, he will say, “God is righteous, and you can’t stand against Him. Today you might jump for joy, but who knows when you’ll fall flat on your face. God is righteous, yes, this is absolutely so!” He has knowledge of God and has so much faith in God. Then not long after this, the antichrist or false leader falls. “I know that in God’s family, God and the truth of God’s word reign, the Holy Spirit, and Christ reign. How could this little demon stand firm? God just allowed you to manifest yourself, so that everyone would have some knowledge and discernment. He got you to do some service in doing this. He is truly all-powerful.” Nowadays, antichrists and false leaders in churches everywhere have fallen one after another, and those who have committed all kinds of evil have been expelled, and God’s righteousness has shone out. God has appointed a time for everything. If the stature of God’s chosen people is too low, and you expel these antichrists too early, it will be easy for many people to misunderstand God and have notions about God. When people become conscious and discerning, they’ll think, “Isn’t this an antichrist? Isn’t this a false leader? How has he not been expelled or dismissed yet? We can all see him for what he is, we can see straight through him.” At this time, God will begin to work. Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. Everything that happens is part of God’s goodwill. What is this goodwill? God consciously takes advantage of these situations in order to help men attain certain fruits. This is God’s goodwill.
To understand God through God’s word, you must experience and understand the words which represent God’s disposition and what He has and is. If you have understood and experienced all that God reveals about His disposition and what He has and is, and are able to speak from your experience of the truth to bear witness for God, this means that you understand God’s disposition and what He has and is, without a single doubt. It’s just like how God says, “I appear to the holy kingdom, and hide Myself from the land of filth.” What does this mean? Some people interpret it this way: “God’s word clearly says, God appears to the holy kingdom, and hides Himself from the land of filth. That’s what it means!” Is this real understanding? It is not. Everyone knows how to parrot what God says. So how do we understand this? What does “God appears to the holy kingdom” mean? What does He mean by “the holy kingdom”? Christ’s kingdom. “God appears to the holy kingdom” means that God will only reveal Himself when the kingdom of Christ is realized on earth. Presently, the religious community says, “God will reveal Himself openly, He comes with the clouds.” How do we interpret this? When God reveals Himself openly, who will He reveal Himself to? When He comes with the clouds, who will He reveal Himself to? Will He reveal Himself to the religious community? Will He reveal Himself to the unbelievers? Will that be the case? When will God come with the clouds? After the apocalypse, when Satan, the devil, has been destroyed, God will descend from the clouds to reveal Himself, and when He does, the holy nation will emerge. “I … hide Myself from the land of filth.” What does this mean? Some people interpret it like this: “God will hide Himself from impure lands. Wherever the land is unholy, God will not reveal Himself to the people there. Instead, He will hide Himself.” How is this an interpretation? Could this be considered the knowledge of God’s word? What does “impure lands” refer to? Is the religious world not an impure land? Is the old world not an impure land? When the old world still exists, when the religious world still exists, God will not reveal Himself to the people there, and He will conceal Himself from them. This is one individual way of looking at this. Has God’s will been made clear now? Who in the end will He reveal Himself to? Who will He conceal Himself from? “I appear to the holy kingdom, and hide Myself from the land of filth.” If you really understand these words, then afterward when God reveals Himself, you’ll be able to solve difficult questions like “when will He reveal Himself, and to whom?” easily. When you truly understand these words, what can you learn from them? What knowledge can you attain? You will know that God is truly holy, and He will not reveal Himself to impure lands. If He were to reveal Himself to impure lands, He would sully His hands. This would prove that God is not holy. “I appear to the holy kingdom, and hide Myself from the land of filth.” This proves God’s righteousness to an even further extent. It proves God’s holy substance. If you understand these words, then you will be able to solve a lot of questions you have. And so, the key to knowing God is to know Him through understanding His word. If you abandon God’s word, you will have no way to know Him, and your understanding of God will be very poor. Why would it be very poor? Humans cannot directly cross into the spiritual realm, and the amount of God’s deeds that we can perceive is extremely limited. If God doesn’t reveal His essence, disposition, and make it known to all, humanity will never be able to understand Him. Now, God has been managing mankind for 6,000 years. If God didn’t appear to humanity during the last days, then we would never know Him, even if we would exist for 100,000 years. And so to know God, we must come to know Him through His words. We must first understand God’s words, and if abandon God’s words, we will never be able to know Him.
Now we experience God’s work of the last days, and eat and drink all the words that God has expressed to us. That’s why God says, “[T]oday … is an especially good time to know God.” The religious world and unbelievers have all failed to obtain God’s word, and thus they cannot eat and drink God’s words, because they do not accept God’s words, or perhaps they accept these words but do not understand what they read or hear, for their heart has become calloused. Therefore, they have lost their opportunity to know God. Today, very many people who are experiencing God’s work rely on passion to do their duty, but they do not actually eat and drink God’s words. This kind of person is foolish! Some people, when they hear the fellowship of God’s words, it’s as if they are in a daze, half-conscious, their eyelids drooping. They’ll say, “What’s this?” Some people, when they hear the fellowship of God’s words, have no inclination whatsoever, and their mind will roam elsewhere. When other people hear the fellowship of the word of God, they can only feel, “My mind’s too weak! I can’t do it! I’m not good enough. Don’t share God’s word with me, just let me do labor instead. I will labor, I’ll do anything, just don’t force me to pursue the truth, I don’t have the makings for that kind of thing, I don’t have the necessary qualities. Just let me do some service.” Here they go, persistently evading the truth. There are a lot of people like this. What kind of people are these who aren’t interested in God’s word or the truth? Is it qualities they lack, or is it humanity? It’s humanity.
God’s word says, “Holiness represents His righteous disposition; His holiness actually is His righteous disposition.” This righteous disposition is the very marker of God’s holy essence. Holiness is righteousness, righteousness is holiness. Holiness is truth, and the truth is holiness. What is holiness in human notions? How can humans comprehend holiness? “Holiness” means immaculate, pure, untarnished, flawless, uncorrupted. How could man comprehend this? Man’s understanding is too superficial, insubstantial and insignificant to understand holiness. What does true holiness even mean? True holiness is the righteous disposition of God. God’s righteous disposition is truly holy, and the more you know God’s righteous disposition, the more obvious His holy essence will become. Only His righteousness reveals His holiness; if God weren’t righteous, He wouldn’t be holy. So God says, “His holiness actually is His righteous disposition.” Once a person’s understanding of God’s righteous disposition reaches a certain level, he’ll say, “God is extremely righteous. His righteousness goes much deeper than humans can comprehend. His righteousness is extremely profound, whereas human understanding is shallow and superficial. God’s righteousness is unmatched!” At this point, what level of understanding of God’s righteousness has this person reached? Using holiness to explain God’s righteousness works well, for God’s holiness is great, and great righteousness is essentially great holiness.
But what does holiness mean? We can look upon Christ and see some of God’s righteousness and holiness, but will we be able to see it completely? Regardless of which aspect of what God has and is we seek, we will be able to find it in Christ. We will be able to recognize a part of this aspect, but we won’t be able to see the whole thing. Why? Because God’s work has a time limit. When God appears to mankind, mankind will be in the midst of His work. How many years of work will it take to fully reveal what He has and is? Is 100 years enough time? 1,000 years? 10,000 years? God’s being and possession is vast and limitless. So although we may spend several decades undergoing the work of God incarnate, even this long amount of time would not suffice to experience God’s work in its entirety, nor to understand it completely. This is because the limit for God’s work is too short, and God’s revelations are too constricted by time. However, Christ’s revelations of what God has and is and His righteous disposition are enough to sustain human life for hundreds or thousands of years. But how long must we experience the truth expressed by Christ before we are finished? Once we experience God’s work for 2-3 decades, and God completes His work, the great disasters will come. But how many years do we need to live out all the truths expressed by Christ? We must undergo this process for our entire lives, even for an eternity. It might just be enough to experience the truths for another 1,000 years in the Millennial Kingdom. However, there is only a limited amount of time left between today and the great disasters of the last days. But in God’s plan people will only be able to reach the specific level they’ve attained by this point. Those who have the truth have it, and those who do not, even what they have will be taken from them. Some have undergone God’s work and entered into life; this is what it means to possess the truth. And so, those who are able to enter the reality of truth of God’s word, no matter how deep or shallow their experience, so long as they revere God in their hearts and truly submit to Him, God will give them His blessing. In the Lord Jesus’ prophecy, He mentioned that even though some people might work for 7 hours and others work for 1 hour, they will be rewarded all the same. That is to say, some people will undergo God’s work for 30 years, while others will undergo God’s work for 3-5 years, but ultimately, they will be rewarded all the same; they will all be able to enter the Millennial Kingdom and live on. God doesn’t care about how long a person has believed in Him. This is how fair and righteous God is toward all mankind!
God said in His words, “I am not in essence a lamb but a lion. No one dares to offend Me and whosoever offends I will immediately punish with death, with no feeling at all!” Now, we’ll make sure everyone understands these are Christ’s words: “I am not in essence a lamb but a lion.” During the Age of Grace, when God was crucified to redeem man’s sins, people thought the disposition of Christ was that of a lamb, for He was captured and slaughtered and did not resist. But here God says, “I am not in essence a lamb but a lion.” What does He mean when He talks about the lion? No one dares to offend Him. “[W]hosoever offends I will immediately punish with death, with no feeling at all!” Have you seen how mercilessly a lion devours its prey? If you give it an antelope or a deer to eat, it’ll kill the antelope or deer with one snap of its jaws. Here, God says that this is His disposition; the lion is a metaphor for His disposition. “I am not in essence a lamb but a lion. No one dares to offend Me and whosoever offends I will immediately punish with death, with no feeling at all!” Is this a righteous disposition? Why would God ruthlessly punish someone who offends Him? This is because God’s punishments ensure that God’s kingdom is a holy kingdom, untarnished, without the slightest leeway for corruption or opposition to God. Who opposes God? Those who belong to the devil. We must not let any of them remain, for if the devil remains, the impurity and corruption will still remain, and this will be tantamount to defiling God’s kingdom. And so, these words fully reveal God’s holiness and righteousness. As for this word of God “I am not in essence a lamb but a lion,” this refers to God’s disposition, and describes how His disposition cannot be offended. Because God is righteous, He does not allow Satan’s horde to oppose Him or offend His disposition. Why does God not tolerate this? Some people do not understand this. But if we actually dissect this satanic kind of behavior, we will then be able to see that these people belong to Satan’s horde. If Satan’s horde continues to exist, what will be the outcome? If the devil continues to exist, according to God’s righteous disposition, what will happen to His heart? What will God do? God will suffer and He would be unable to bear it in His heart. God would not stand to endure the existence of the devil’s satanic horde in His kingdom. What does this explain? This illustrates God’s righteous disposition and His holiness, and that God will not tolerate impurity or corruption. Some people say, “The whole world is dark and wicked! If God doesn’t tolerate impurity or corruption, then how could He have let it exist for thousands of years?” How do we explain this? God does not tolerate impurity or corruption in His kingdom. Nonetheless, God handed over the world to Satan and allows Satan to reign over the world. He also allowed corrupt mankind to live on this dark earth for thousands of years. But when God’s management plan draws to a close, God will overthrow Satan. Did God choose a suitable place for corrupt mankind? Let’s consider a similar example. Imagine a person with a special love for cleanliness and meticulousness. He’s lived in this place all his life and makes his living here. He raises donkeys and horses to work the land and pull the plow. He also raises pigs, and dogs to guard his yard. These are domesticated animals and livestock, so naturally they must not live alongside him. What does he do if he doesn’t want to live alongside his animals? He gives the pig a pig pen, the dog a kennel, the horse a stable. He places all of his animals outside, each in their own respective place. As for the man, he has a child and a wife and he lives in the house, and the house has inner and outer rooms. This is a standard, widely accepted practice. This is the fair and equitable administration of a particular social order. Doesn’t God manage the universe in the same way? This world is impure and corrupt, inhabited by both corrupt mankind and all sorts of satanic demons. But good people who obey and worship God all live in the kingdom of heaven, which is another world entirely. God manages the whole universe with fairness and reason, and does so extremely well. No one can rise above God’s direction, God’s plan. What can you learn from all this? That God is holy and righteous, and He will not tolerate impurity or corruption within His kingdom. He will not allow the satanic horde to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is why, in the prophecies of Revelation, He says that some people will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. This all demonstrates God’s holiness and His righteous disposition.
Here is another passage from God’s word: “All those that I love will surely live for eternity, and all those who stand against Me will surely be chastised by Me for eternity.” This passage reveals God’s disposition even further. What does He mean by saying “be chastised by Me for eternity”? Some people oppose God for several years and then die, but to God, he dies in the blink of an eye. Some people say, “Isn’t everything over after you die? Can a punishment really be eternal?” This is not something you can see with human eyes. Paul resisted God, and he received God’s punishment in Hades after his death. Today, after the 2,000 years humans have spent on earth since then, Paul is still in Hades. This punishment is eternal! Each and every person loved by God will live for eternity, but where, exactly? Abraham, Job, Peter—they all died, but now they are in the kingdom of heaven. Living in the spiritual world is much better than living in this world. Isn’t this what it means to live for eternity? Hasn’t God’s word come true? You must understand God’s word, because if you don’t understand it, you’ll say, “There’s nothing after death. How could we live for eternity? That can’t be right.” If you solely rely on human notions and imagination, you won’t be able to understand God’s word. If you don’t know God’s word, then how can you know God? If you always rely on faulty human notions to understand God’s word, you’ll always fail! Everyone should know about this passage we just shared, especially these crucial words of particular importance. We must understand the most important words to an even greater degree. The more you know God’s word, the more you will know God’s disposition and what He has and is. The less you understand God’s word, the less you will understand God. And so, those who seek the truth must prioritize eating and drinking and understanding God’s word. You must come to understand God’s will behind each of His word, for it is all there to help you see what God has and is, the true revelation of His disposition. Once you deepen your knowledge of God through reading God’s word, you will naturally develop a heart that reveres and praises God. “God is fit to receive mankind’s praise and worship. Those who praise God are the happiest and freest of all.”
But how do we actually pursue knowledge of God? Where’s the most important place to begin? Knowing God’s word is the true knowledge of God, it follows that the more a person knows of God’s word, the more they will understand God. If a person can only speak of a few spiritual doctrines and parrot other people’s words and testimonies of God while he himself lacks his own true experience of God’s word, then his kind of understanding merely comes from the understanding of others. God will not praise this. God loathes and resents this. If you do something that makes another person resent you, will you regret that? If you’ve done a dishonest thing or you told a lie, and if a person sees that, they will resent you. Won’t you regret this? You will repent and say, “How could I let this out and let others discover it? After this I will be an honest person. What am I trying to cover up? Who am I fooling? What am I trying to do?” If you did something that you know in your heart will make God resent you, wouldn’t you regret this? It’s easy to get a person to stop resenting you, but it’s far more difficult to get God to stop resenting you! If someone resents you, you can acknowledge that what you did today was wrong. When you get in touch with them tomorrow or the next day, the person will see that you’ve changed, that you are different from before, and then this person’s resentment for you will subsequently disappear. There’s plenty of opportunities for you to do this. But if you do something to make God resent you, it is not something that happens just once in a while. This reflects your nature and a persistent problem within your behavior. If you want God to praise you, then you must pursue the truth, you must earnestly repent and transform yourself little by little. You need at least 2-3 years in order to do this. If you don’t take at least 2-3 years to work on yourself, God will not see or acknowledge your transformation.
If you keep lying often when talking to others, God will be watching you secretly. God will always be the first to know about the problems within your heart that no one else sees. If another person notices that you have this problem, it’ll just prove that God saw it a long time ago, and that God sees you the same way as this person sees you. Some people say, “Well, I just don’t know how God sees me.” Then you must first see how people who understand the truth see you. God will see into you with even more depth, precision and accuracy than they can. If people who understand the truth all say that you lie too much, you’re too dishonest, then your dishonesty will be even clearer to God, is this not the case? Do you know how to practice your submission to God? If you can’t bear it when your brothers, sisters, the leaders and workers communicate the truth to you, then you can’t submit to God. How could it be submission? It absolutely cannot be submission; for anyone to submit to God, they must first submit to the truth. Consider a church that elects a relatively younger leader. An older person in the church with many years of experience will say, “Submit. This is who everyone in the church elected, and we must respect the person that we all chose.” If what this leader says accords with the truth, if he speaks correctly, they’ll submit. In the event that he speaks incorrectly, they will not contradict or scold him, and instead they will communicate the truth with the leader and can treat him properly. Since these people submit to God, it won’t matter if this leader accords with people’s notions or not. However, if this leader lacks even a bit of truth, he is not fit to be a leader, and he cannot undertake this work, they can re-elect a new leader according to the work arrangements of God’s house, but they cannot reveal any corruption, egotism, arrogance, contempt, degradation, debasement, aggression, or rejection, this reveals their own corruption. Some people worship the people they admire, and they will think that everything these people say is right and will follow anything they do. But if someone whom they do not admire says something right, they won’t make a peep about it, and if he speaks falsely, they’ll jump right up and lambast him for his faults. Such a person doesn’t have a single shred of the reality of truth! If a person has believed in God for many years and still treats other people like this, he’s finished, he is not someone whose disposition has been transformed by God. He can’t treat other people properly, he lacks principles in treating others, and he has no truth. This kind of person cannot be called someone with a transformed disposition, let alone a person who understands God.