Very early on, the necessity of having a proper church life was mentioned in the sermons. So why is it that the life of the church has not yet improved, and is still just the same old thing? Why is there not a completely new and different way of life? Could it be proper for a person of the nineties to live like an emperor of a bygone era? Although the food and drink may be delicacies rarely tasted in previous ages, there have been no major turnarounds in conditions in the church. It has been like putting old wine in a new bottle. What then is the use of God saying so much? The churches in most places have not changed at all. I have seen it with My eyes and it is clear in My heart; even though I have not experienced the life of the church for Myself, I know the conditions of church gatherings like the back of My hand. They have not made much progress. It goes back to that saying—it’s like putting old wine in a new bottle. Nothing has changed, not in the least bit! When someone is shepherding them they burn like fire, but when no one is there to support them, they are like a block of ice. Not many can talk of practical things, and very rarely can anyone take the helm. Although the sermons are lofty, seldom has anyone had any entry. Few people cherish the word of God. They become tearful when they take up God’s word and become cheerful when they set it aside; they turn gloomy and morose when they depart from it. Speaking frankly, you simply do not cherish the word of God, and you never see the words from His own mouth today as a treasure. You just become anxious when reading His word, and feel it is very strenuous when memorizing it, and when it comes to putting His word into practice, it is like facing a Sisyphean task—you are unmotivated. You are always energized when reading God’s word, yet forgetful when practicing it. In fact, these words need not be spoken so painstakingly and repeated so patiently; people just listen but do not put them into practice, therefore it has become an obstacle for God’s work. I cannot not bring it up, I cannot not talk about it. I am compelled to do so; it is not that I enjoy exposing the weaknesses of others. You think that your practice is just about adequate and you think that when revelations are at a peak, that you have also entered into that peak? Is it so simple? You never examine the foundation upon which your experiences are ultimately built. As of this moment, your gatherings absolutely cannot be called a proper life of the church, nor is it a proper spiritual life at all. It is the gathering of a bunch of people who enjoy chatting and singing. Strictly speaking, there is not much reality in it. Saying it a little more clearly, if you do not practice, where is the reality? Is it not boasting to say that you have reality? Those who always perform work are arrogant and conceited, while those who always obey keep quiet and keep their heads down, without any opportunity for exercise. People who do the work do nothing but talk, going on and on with their high-sounding speeches, and the followers only listen. There is no transformation to speak of; these are just ways of the past! Today, your being able to submit and not daring to interfere or behave willfully is due to the arrival of the administrative decrees of God; it is not change you have undergone through experiences. The fact that there are many things you would not do today that you would have done yesterday is because God’s work is so apparent that it has conquered people. Let Me ask someone, how much of your accomplishment today was earned with the sweat of your own hard work? How much of it was told to you directly by God? How would you answer? Would you be dumbfounded and speechless? Would you stick out your tongue? Why is it that others are able to speak out about many of their experiences to provide you with sustenance, while you simply enjoy the meals that others have cooked? Do you not feel ashamed? Aren’t you embarrassed?
You may carry out a fact-finding examination, examining those at higher levels who are somewhat better: How much truth do you understand? How much do you ultimately put into practice? Whom do you love more, God or yourself? Do you give more often, or receive more often? On how many occasions when your intent was wrong have you forsaken your old self and satisfied the will of God? Just these few questions will baffle many people. For most people, even if they realize that their intent is wrong, they still knowingly do wrong, and they are nowhere near forsaking their own flesh. Most people allow sin to run rampant within them, allowing sinfulness to direct their every action. They are unable to conquer their sins, and continue to live in sin. Having arrived at this current stage, who does not know how many evil deeds he has done? If you say you don’t know, then I would say that you are lying. To speak frankly, it is all an unwillingness to forsake your old self. What is the use of saying so many repentant “words from the heart” that are worthless? Would this help you grow in your life? To know yourself is your full-time work. I perfect people through their submission and their practice of God’s words. If you only wear God’s word as you would wear your clothes, just to look smart and snazzy, are you not deceiving yourself and others? If all you have is talk and you never put it into practice, what will you attain?
Many people can talk a bit about practice and they can talk about their personal impressions, but the majority of it is the illumination gained from the words of others. It does not at all include anything from their own personal practices, nor does it include what they see from their experiences. I have dissected this issue earlier; don’t think that I know nothing. You are merely a paper tiger, yet you speak of conquering Satan, of bearing victorious testimonies, and of living out God’s image? This is all nonsense! Do you think that all the words spoken by God today are for you to admire? Your mouth speaks of forsaking your old self and putting truth into practice, yet your hands are carrying out other deeds and your heart is plotting other schemes—what kind of a person are you? Why are your heart and your hands not one and the same? So much preaching has become empty words; isn’t this heart-breaking? If you are unable to put God’s word into practice, it proves that you have not yet entered into the way that the Holy Spirit works, you have not yet had the work of the Holy Spirit in you, and you have not yet had His guidance. If you say that you are only able to understand the word of God but are unable to put it into practice, then you are a person who does not love the truth. God does not come to save this kind of person. Jesus suffered enormous pain when He was crucified in order to save sinners, to save the poor, to save those humble people. His crucifixion brought the sin offering. If you cannot practice God’s word, then you should leave as soon as you can; don’t laze around in God’s house as a freeloader. Many people even find it difficult to stop themselves from doing things that clearly resist God. Are they not asking for death? How can they speak of entering God’s kingdom? Would they have the audacity to see His face? Eating food that He provides you with, doing crooked things that oppose God, being malicious, insidious, and scheming, even while God allows you to enjoy the blessings He has bestowed upon you—do you not feel them burning your hands when you receive them? Do you not feel your face turning red? Having done something in opposition to God, having carried out schemes to “go rogue,” do you not feel frightened? If you feel nothing, how can you speak of any future? There was already no future for you long ago, so what greater expectations can you still have? If you say something shameless yet feel no guilt, and your heart has no awareness, then doesn’t it mean that you have already been abandoned by God? Speaking and acting indulgently and unrestrainedly has become your nature; how can you ever be perfected by God like this? Would you be able to walk the world over? Who would be convinced by you? Those who know your true nature would keep their distance. Is this not God’s punishment? All in all, if there is only talk and no practice, there is no growth. Though the Holy Spirit may be working on you while you speak, if you do not practice, the Holy Spirit shall stop working. If you continue to go on like this, how can there be any talk of the future or giving your entire being to God’s work? You only speak of giving your entire being, yet you do not give to God your heart that truly loves Him. All that God has received is the heart of your words, and not the heart of your practice. Could this be your true stature? If you were to continue on like this, when would you be perfected by God? Do you not feel anxious over your dark and gloomy future? Do you not feel that God has lost hope in you? Do you not know that God desires to perfect more and newer people? Could old things hold their own? You are not paying attention to God’s words today: Are you waiting for tomorrow?