It is right and proper for people to know God in believing in God. In particular, it is a good opportunity for people to know God in the present age when the incarnated God works personally. It is on the basis of understanding God’s will that people can satisfy God. To understand God’s will, one has to have knowledge of God. Such knowledge is the vision he must have in believing in God and is the foundation for his believing in God. If one does not have such knowledge, he is believing in God in vagueness and in empty doctrines. Such people will gain nothing even if they have the will to follow. All those in this stream who gain nothing are the ones to be eliminated in the future and are freeloaders. No matter which step of work you experience, you have to have great vision accompanying you. Otherwise you will find it hard to accept these steps of new works, because every new work God does is beyond man’s imagination and beyond man’s thinking. So without the shepherding of the shepherds or their fellowship about the vision, no one can accept these new works. If one cannot receive the vision, he cannot receive the new works. If he cannot obey the new works, he cannot understand God’s will. Thus his knowledge of God will be naught. Before practicing God’s word, one has to know God’s word, that is, understand God’s will. Only thus can he practice accurately and according to God’s will. This is what everyone who seeks the truth must achieve and is also a process everyone who wants to know God has to go through. The course of knowing God’s word is the course of knowing God and is also the course of knowing God’s work. So to know the vision not only means to know the humanity of the incarnated God, but it also includes knowing God’s word and God’s work. From God’s word people come to understand God’s will, and from God’s work they come to know God’s disposition and God’s being. “Believing in God” is the start of knowing God. The process of one’s believing in God from the initial stage to the most profound stage is the process for him to know God and the process for him to experience God’s work. If you believe in God only for the sake of believing in God but not for the sake of knowing God, your “belief” is without reality, and your “belief” cannot become pure. There is no doubt about this. As one gradually knows God in the course of experiencing God, his disposition will be transformed gradually, and his belief will become more and more “genuine.” Then when he has “succeeded” in believing in God, he will have completely gained God. God has spent so much painstaking effort to work personally through being incarnated the second time, just for the purpose that man can know him and see him. “Knowing God” is the ultimate result God will achieve in man when he ends the work and is God’s ultimate requirement for mankind. God does such a work for the sake of his ultimate testimony and for the purpose that mankind can completely return to him in the end. Only when one knows God will he love God, and to love God, one has to know God. No matter how one pursues and what he pursues to gain, only if he can know God can he satisfy God’s heart. Only when one knows God will he have true faith in God, and only when one knows God will he have true fear of and true obedience to God. Those who do not know God will never have true obedience to and true fear of God. Knowing God’s disposition, understanding God’s will, and knowing God’s being are all included in knowing God. However, knowing any of these requires people to pay a great price and have the will to obey. Otherwise, no one can follow to the end. God’s work is greatly discordant with man’s notions. God’s disposition and God’s being are very difficult for man to know. God’s every word and deed and every act and move are really very hard for man to understand. If one wants to follow God but is not willing to obey God, he will gain nothing. From the creation of the world until today, God has done so many works which are hard for people to understand and accept and has spoken so many words which make their notions hard to heal. But he has never stopped his work because people have too many difficulties. Rather, he has been working and speaking all the time. Although group after group of “warriors” have fallen, he has been doing his work and has been continuously selecting group after group of people who are willing to obey his new work. He does not feel pity for those “heroes” who have fallen but treasures those who accept his new work and new word. But what is his purpose in working step by step like that? Why has he always been eliminating people and selecting people? Why has he always been working in such a way? His purpose in working is to let people know him and thus be gained by him, and his principle in working is to work on those who can obey his work of today and not on those who obey his work of yesterday and yet resist his work of today. This is the reason why he has been eliminating so many people.
One cannot achieve results in the lesson of knowing God in one or two days. It requires his experience, suffering, and true obedience. First, start with God’s work and start with God’s word. You have to understand what knowing God includes, how you can know God, and how you can see God in your experience. This is what everyone should do before knowing God. No one can see clearly God’s work and word at one glance, nor can anyone know God’s entirety within a short time. For everyone there has to be a necessary process of experiencing. Otherwise, no one can know God, and no one can genuinely follow God. The more works God does, the more knowledge people will have of God. The more God’s work is discordant with people’s notions, the more it will cause them to have a newer and deeper knowledge of him. If God’s work never changed, people’s knowledge of God would be little. From the creation of the world until today, what God did in the Age of the Law, what he did in the Age of the Grace, and what he does in the Age of the Kingdom, these visions you must be clear about. You must have knowledge of God’s work. Peter followed Jesus, and so he gradually knew the many works the Spirit did in Jesus. He said, “We cannot fully know God just through our experience. We still need many new things of God’s work to help us know God.” At the beginning, he knew Jesus as one sent by God, just like an apostle, and he did not regard Jesus as the Christ. When he followed Jesus, Jesus asked him, “Simon Bar-Jonah, are you willing to follow me?” He said, “The one sent by the heavenly Father I will surely follow, and the one appointed by the Holy Spirit I will surely acknowledge. I am willing to follow you.” From his words, it can be seen that he did not know Jesus at all. Although he experienced God’s word, dealt with himself, and suffered for God, he did not know God’s work. After he experienced for some time, he saw in Jesus many deeds of God and the loveliness of God, and saw that Jesus had much of God’s being and the words he spoke no man could speak and the works he did no man could do in his stead. And from his words and doings, he saw a lot of God’s wisdom and saw many works of divinity. In his experience, he did not just know himself, but he paid attention to observing Jesus’ doings. From them, he discovered many new things, that is, God’s work in Jesus had many manifestations of the practical God, and the words he spoke, the things he did, the ways he shepherded the churches, and the works he did were different from those of an ordinary man. Thus, he learned from Jesus many lessons he ought to learn. By the time Jesus was about to be crucified, he had some knowledge of Jesus, which became the foundation for his being faithful to Jesus all his life and being crucified upside down for him. Although he had some notions and at the beginning he did not know Jesus clearly, these were inevitable with a corrupt man. When Jesus was about to leave, he told him that the work he had come to do was to be crucified, that he would be rejected by the age and the filthy old age would crucify him, and that he had come to accomplish the redemptive work and after he accomplished that work, his ministry would have been finished. After Peter heard that, he was sorrowful in his heart and became more attached to Jesus. When Jesus was crucified, he wept bitterly in private. Before that, he asked Jesus, “My Lord! You said you would be crucified. When will you meet us again after you leave?” Weren’t there mixtures in his words? Weren’t there his notions? He knew in his heart that Jesus had come to accomplish part of the work, the Spirit would be with him after he left, and although he would be crucified and ascend to heaven, God’s Spirit would be with him. At that time, he had some knowledge of Jesus and knew that he was sent by God’s Spirit, God’s Spirit was in him, and he was God Godself and was the Christ, but because of his love for Jesus and because of his human frailty, he said such words. If you can observe and carefully experience in each step of God’s work, you will gradually discover God’s loveliness. What did Paul have as his vision? Jesus appeared to him, and he asked, “My Lord! Who are you?” Jesus said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” He had that as his vision. Peter had as his vision Jesus’ resurrection and his appearing for forty days and his teachings when he was alive and thus walked to the end.
Man experiences God, knows himself, casts off his corrupt disposition, and pursues to grow in life, all for the purpose of knowing God. If you only pursue to know yourself and deal with your corrupt disposition but do not have any knowledge of what work God does on man, how great the salvation is, how you experience God, and how you see God’s deeds, then you are experiencing foolishly. If you only know that being able to practice the truth and be patient means growing up in life, you still do not understand the real meaning of life or understand God’s purpose in working man. If one day you go to the religious churches, the Repentance Church, or the Life Church, you will meet many devout people, who have “visions” in praying, have moving and have the guidance of the words in pursuing life, and can be patient in many things and drop their self in many things and do not act according to their flesh. Then you will not be able to discern. You will think that all that they do is right and is a natural expression of life, but it is a pity that they believe in a wrong name. Won’t that be a foolish view? Why do I say that many people do not have life? Because they do not have knowledge of God. So I say that they do not have God and do not have life. If you believe in God to the extent that you can know clearly God’s deeds, God’s practicalness, and every stage of work God does, it means that you have the truth. If you do not know God’s work or know God’s disposition, it will not do for you to experience like this. How Jesus’ work in that stage was done, how the work in this stage is done, how God worked and what work he did in the Age of the Grace, and what work he does in this stage, if you do not know these clearly, you will always feel unassured and insecure in your heart. If after experiencing for some time, you can know the work God does and each step of God’s work and can know clearly what is God’s purpose in speaking and why his so many words are not fulfilled, you will be able to pursue the way ahead assuredly and boldly, and you will not have misgivings or suffer refining. You should see, by what means does God do many works? By speaking. He refines people and corrects their notions by various kinds of words. The sufferings you undergo, the refinings you experience, the dealings you receive within, and the inspirations you experience all result from God’s word. Because of what do people follow God? Because of God’s word! God’s word has innumerable mysteries and can touch people’s hearts, disclose the things deep in their hearts, and enable them to know the things of the past and see clearly the things of the future. So people undergo suffering because of God’s word and are perfected because of God’s word. It is at this point that people follow God. In this stage, people just receive God’s word. No matter whether they are being perfected or refined, the key is God’s word. This is the work God does and is also the vision people should know today.
How does God perfect people? What is his disposition? What does his disposition include? You should know all these. This is proclaiming God’s name, testifying God, and exalting God. Eventually on the basis of knowing God you will be transformed in your life disposition. The more one experiences dealing and refining, the greater strength he will have. The more steps of God’s work there are, the more one will be perfected. Today in people’s experience, each step of God’s work counters their notions, is beyond their thinking, and is beyond their expectation. When God supplies what people need, it is always discordant with their notions. When you are weak, God speaks. Only in this way can your life be supplied. By countering your notions, God causes you to receive his dealing. Only in this way can you be rid of your corruptions. When God is incarnated today, he works in his divinity on the one hand and works in his normal humanity on the other hand. You should not deny any of the works God does; no matter what God says and does in his normal humanity, you should obey it, and no matter how normal he is, you should obey and have knowledge of him. Only if you have practical experiences will you be certain that he is God, have no notions, and be able to follow to the end. God has wisdom in working. He knows how man can stand his testimony, and he knows what man’s fatal wounds are. His words can touch your fatal wounds, but he can enable you to stand his testimony by his majestic words and wise words. These are God’s wonderful deeds. The work God does is beyond man’s thinking; what corruptions man, being of flesh, has and what are the things of his essence are all exposed by God’s judgment, so that everyone feels extremely ashamed of himself.
God does the work of judgment and the work of chastisement for the purpose that people can have knowledge of him and for the sake of his testimony. If he did not judge people’s corrupt disposition, they could not possibly know his righteous disposition which is not to be offended, nor could they turn from their old knowledge of him to a new knowledge of him. For the sake of his testimony and his management, he makes his entirety public, so that people can, because of his appearing openly, know him, be transformed in their disposition, and bear a resounding testimony for him. It is in the various works of God that one’s disposition is transformed. If one is not transformed in his disposition, he cannot testify God or be after God’s heart. One’s transformation in disposition marks that he has broken away from the bondage of satan and from the power of darkness, has truly become a model and specimen of God’s work, and has truly become a witness of God and a person after God’s heart. Today when the incarnated God comes to earth to work, his requirement for people is that they can know him, obey him, and testify him, knowing his practical and normal works, obeying any of his words and works that does not fit man’s notions, and testifying all his works of saving man and all his deeds of conquering man. He who testifies God must have knowledge of God. Only such testimony is accurate and practical, and only such testimony can put satan to shame. God uses those who have known him through experiencing his judgment and chastisement and his dealing and pruning to testify him. He uses those who were corrupted by satan to testify him. And he uses those who are transformed in their disposition and receive his blessings to testify him. He does not need people to praise him with their lips, nor need the brood of satan not saved by him to praise him or testify him. Only those who know God are qualified to testify God, and only those who are transformed in their disposition are qualified to testify God. God will not let anyone purposely bring shame to his name.