2. Practicing the Truth and the Duties One Should Do
Most people now are basically clear regarding the question of what after all we should obtain from our faith in God, namely we obtain from God the truth, the way, and the life. On the two occasions that He was God incarnate, God said that He is the truth, the way, and the life. This also explains that God’s intention and the aim of God’s work is to confer upon man the truth, the way, and the life. Regardless of the manner in which God conducts His work, men are able to obtain from God the truth, the way, and the life. What is the relationship between the truth, the way, and the life? We may put it this way, the truth is the life, and it is the path that man ought to follow. Once he obtains the truth, he also has life, and he has a path for his life. Once he obtains the truth, all is resolved. These three things are in fact one thing that is explained from three aspects, God is the truth and He is also the life and the way. These three aspects are three major aspects that ought to be resolved through man’s belief in God. Once these three questions are resolved, the important questions in the life of man are resolved. We obtain life once we have the truth, and the truth itself is also the way. When we have the life, our lives are resolved, and when we have life, the fundamental questions of man are resolved. This is precisely the entire work of God’s salvation of man, and it is a simple and generalized way of explaining it.
Having experienced several years of God’s work, all pursuers of the truth have obtained something, and they all have a little knowledge of every aspect of the truth. Some truths are relatively clear to those who pursue the truth, while other truths are still quite vague to them, and therefore pursuers of the truth need to pursue them in greater depth. But with regard to those who pursue the truth, the practice of the truth is particularly important. It is only by practicing the truth that you are able to know the truth and to obtain the truth. If you have not experienced the word of God, you cannot know the word of God. Reciting words and sentences of the truth is not the same as understanding the truth, and you only truly understand the truth when you have a substantive knowledge of God’s words. You can only understand the truth and obtain the truth by practicing the truth. The more experience you have, the deeper and more penetrating is your understanding of the truth. If you understand the truth and do not practice it, you cannot penetrate into it, and what you’ve understood is actually words and sentences of the truth. If you do not practice the truth you are unable to know the essence of the truth. What do we call practicing the truth? We may say that practicing the truth chiefly refers to carrying out one’s duties, and carrying out one’s duties is the main part and the crucial part of practicing the truth. We may also say that if we do not carry out our duties, we have not practiced the truth. We only possess the truth if we have fulfilled our duties, we only have reality once we have carried out our duties, we only bear witness through fulfilling our duties, we only truly obey God once we have done our duties, we are only people in accord with God’s heart and devoted to God having carried out our duties well. It is only those who are able to know their place in their duties that are people of conscience and reason, and those whom God has made complete are precisely those people able to truly worship God, and able to normally carry out man’s duties well. Those who are unable to carry out man’s duties are people without the truth, without humanity, and even more so are they people without reality. Men who do not carry out their duties in the slightest are precisely degenerates who have lost their conscience and reason through extreme disobedience of God, false believers and disbelievers who cannot be rescued. The period of God’s work is the process whereby men attain a change in their disposition to be saved by receiving judgment and chastisement. This is the time when men receive the truth, know the truth and obtain the life. When God has completed His work, the time has come for man to carry out his duties. Whether or not man is able to carry out his duties is precisely the best standard for measuring whether or not he has the truth, whether or not he has humanity, and whether or not he has been saved. Therefore, it is most important that man carries out his duties as this relates to his final destination and in fulfilling his duties man will receive the greatest degree of revelation. Fulfilling one’s duty includes several aspects, none of which can be ignored. Only those who can completely fulfill every aspect of their duties are perfect people who are loyal to God, people who are mindful of God’s will, and people who can be used by God. The duties that need to be done chiefly include the aspects of serving God, bearing witness of God, defending God’s work, fulfilling your function, as well as the duty of morality, these are some major aspects.
The aspect of serving God refers to the duties to be carried out by workers. Some people lead and are responsible for the entire work of a region, and directly take charge of the work of spreading the gospel, some people are responsible for looking after the church, while others are charged with watering recent converts to the faith. These are all duties that should be done by workers, and which God has directly entrusted to them. They are required to be responsible to God. The consequences are severe, and they are in danger of being punished and eliminated, if they fail to carry out these duties well. Because the duties to be done by workers involve the overall situation, and they have a bearing on the future and the lives of a large number of people, they cannot be without discipline, pruning, and dealing. Where people have held up matters of great importance or the outcome of their work is poor, or they cease their work, they must be subjected to punishment. Now when knives are held at throats there is great pressure, and because it is a critical point in time, things need to be handled in this way. If people truly love God and care for His will, this work is so much easier, and it is certainly not too difficult to do. It is only due to a fact that people simply go through the motions that such severe disciplining is imposed. The goal is to force people to do their work well. If people who serve God are devoted to Him and there will be not the slightest going through the motions, God will be at ease, and God’s heart will be truly comforted.
The work of bearing witness to God refers chiefly to the work of spreading the gospel, and this is the duty of every person. Everyone has an obligation to bear witness to God, and it is the responsibility not only of those who spread the gospel but also of the leaders of the church. Each person has a share, his own work to do, and everyone has a part of the duty to undertake the work of saving people. Although this work is not easy to do, it is able to be done with cooperation, method, and wisdom. Every person has someone with whom they have an association or acquaintance, or family and friends; as long as we have in our sights someone who believes in God and may be rescued, we should then come up with ways to save them before God. This is the responsibility of every one of us. It is best if all who are not among those whose profession is to spread the gospel should each be able at the very least to save one or two persons. This would be considered as a share in God’s work of expansion and God’s heart can be comforted in this way. God has expended all that He has in His work on us, and He has suffered enormously. Now is the time for man to do his duty to repay God’s love and I believe that the best sacrifice that we should be offering to God is to be able to save one or two people, this is most compatible with God’s intentions. If it is not possible for one person alone to carry out this work, it may be done in cooperation by two people. I don’t think that this is too difficult a thing. Nothing in the world is difficult for one who sets his mind into it. Hard work pays off. We should not take too simplistic a view to the work of spreading the gospel and saving people. It will not succeed if done hastily. If we take it carefully, the work will reach its objective. If you look at two people who start going out together, it can be six months or a year before they fall in love. What kind of spirit is that? Saving people should have such a spirit. It matters not where one believes in God. As long as they are not too evil, they are not possessed by a demon, they are not garbage, as long as they are able to receive the truth they can all be saved (of course, people of the Three-Self church will have the gospel preached to them after a period of time). The subsequent work is the work of saving people, and those who can exert themselves should go all out, those who can speak should speak, none must be idle. All the living who have their wits about them must go into action, they should not be bystanders, they must not be waste matter, bearing witness to God is the duty of every man. Those whose profession is to spread the gospel are the first and second line, they are the vanguard. Those who spread the gospel in the church are the third and fourth line, and they are also able to save people. This is the final opportunity to repay God’s love and those who are unable to discharge their duty at the final moment will have regret all their lives! We do not know what the consequences will be.
The aspect of defending the work of God is mainly directed against the actions of Satan or unhealthy trends. If some are disrupting God’s work, then we have a responsibility to stand up and speak out, with the aim of retrieving the situation, to avoid God’s work suffering, enabling the work of the church to turn toward a normal direction, and to display the function of bearing witness. Regardless of who is causing the disruption, they should be brought under control, without the slightest exception. No matter who it is that is spreading notions around, voicing absurd opinions, creating a deadly atmosphere, they should all be corrected by means of communicating the truth. God should take up the sovereign power in God’s home and God’s word should have sovereignty. Now righteousness wields power, and we will later see the magnificence of Christ wielding power. With the truth you’ll walk the entire world; without the truth, you’ll get nowhere. Those in the church who are unable to defend the work of God are certainly people who do not have the truth, and without doubt they do not have the life. It is only those who are able to practice the truth and to uphold the principles of the truth who have the truth. All those who act in the role of Satan are dangerous figures. We should keep them at a distance to avoid suffering harm, and wait to see their fate as they suffer retribution and receive punishment.
Communicating God’s word in the church, communicating our experiences, communicating the knowledge of the substance of our own corruption, knowing the nature of Satan, knowing the essence of the truth, knowing all that God has and is, how to understand the duties of man, how to completely carry out our duties, communicating all truths in belief in God, these are all on point and proper, they are beneficial to man’s life entry and completely compatible with God’s intentions. Contrary to this, forming gangs and bands, organizing cliques, talking about people behind their backs, attacking people, disrupting the work of the church, confronting the leaders, scrambling for authority and power, saying one thing to people’s faces and another behind their backs, venerating publicly and disobeying privately, overturning right and wrong, concocting lies, and spreading slanderous rumors may destroy the life of the church. These are all the deeds of Satan, and they are the most grievous resistance to God. The chief offenders taking on the role of Satan must be eliminated, those who behave in this way cannot be targeted for rescue, they are evil ones who are full of the disposition of Satan; they can only await God’s punishment. Men must keep a long distance away from them, and avoid them like the plague. The faith in God of such a person is not pursuit of the truth, striving for the attainment of life to reach salvation. He appears to be an evil one who is the emissary of Satan sent to deliberately disrupt the work of God. This sort of person is precisely the anti-Christ who is to be punished, he cannot have a good end!
Fulfilling one’s function in the life of the church is also an important duty which has a great bearing on one’s experience of life and knowledge of the truth. The formation of the life of the church is arrived at through cooperation of the functions of several aspects. Without the cooperation of the members of God’s family the existence of the life of the church is not possible. In the church, leaders take responsibility for directing and managing the normal life of the church. Whenever the situation of any aspect is abnormal and loses its effectiveness, they need to adjust it and use the truth to solve the problems, and this is a means of supplying life. People can only be sincerely convinced when the truth is used to resolve all problems. Achieving a change in disposition through the experience of practicing the truth is a crucial link in the life of the church. No person serving on his own can succeed in this aspect, he must be accompanied in his service for there to be an outcome. There is nothing more ideal in leading a church than having a relatively receptive ability, a good foundation in belief in God, in addition a good nature able to forgive people and be soft and gentle, conscientiously handling matters, and getting things into shape. People in the church who coordinate with the leaders are the backbone force and their function of assistance is crucial. In every aspect these people are used to set an example which ensures that they are able to fulfill their coordination. Leaders and those who work with them in the church belong to the progressive force, they are all relatively good people, and their effect stands out in particular in communicating their experience of the word of God. Their effect on the life of the church can only be even greater by always advancing in their knowledge of the truth. The church also has those who spread the gospel, who liaise and handle matters, who teach singing and dancing, who receive people, who serve, who are responsible for copying. These functions are all important, there is not a single role that is not needed, and they are all duties that people should carry out. These duties have all been entrusted to men by God. The function of men in a particular aspect is bestowed by God, and has been predestined by God. If man does not fulfill this duty he is derelict in his duty and he has violated God’s intention, that is, he has put up resistance and refused to comply, and caused obstruction, and therefore he cannot receive God’s salvation. Even though men who do not perform their duties live the life of the church, they cannot enjoy a share in it. True belief in God is validated by carrying out one’s duty, the life of the church is formed by all those who fulfill their duties, and each enjoys the life of the church and is certain to receive the blessing of God.
In the life of the church there is also the duty of morality. Belief in God requires even more morality. Someone who does no good deeds whatsoever is not a man, and only the person who behaves in a righteous way is a righteous person. This is the difference with the good works of those unbelievers; we do not do things in order to exaggerate ourselves in pursuit of a good reputation. To behave in a righteous way requires having the truth, and having principles. It is man’s duty and responsibility to behave with righteousness. This is an expression of having a normal humanity, it is the expression of mutual love between brothers and sisters. We are supposed to help out those that are seen to be in difficulties, giving charity to those that should be assisted, exerting ourselves where it is necessary. In particular, some who spread the gospel are outside all the year round and their homes need all the more to be looked after so that they can incur expenses for God’s sake with no trouble on the home front. This is a duty that everyone should do. Some families are really in such dire straits that they lack even basic foodstuffs, and they do not have winter clothes. Can anyone see this and not care? Regardless of whether rich or poor, everyone has a responsibility to make offerings to God, give charity to, receive, and shield our brothers and sisters, and all of these are an expression of righteous behavior and doing good deeds. This is true readiness to take up the cudgels for a just cause. It is conduct that conforms with the truth, and it is marked and blessed by God.
People have many duties. It could be said that whatever people should do, put into practice, pursue and possess is their duty. And even more so, people’s duty is what God entrusts them with and what people should complete. Apart from these five aspects of one’s duty, one should also in his life’s pursuits love God, know God, show consideration for God’s intentions, and comfort the heart of God. The individual life entry and practice should even more embody these. How to eat and drink the word of God every day, how to pray to and worship the practical true God, in what manner to live out a devout worshiping of God, these have been entrusted to us by God. They are the reality that everyone should possess, and they are also the duties of man. In practicing the truth, apart from fulfilling all aspects of one’s duty, there is also the aspect of life entry and living out reality, such as the practice of denying oneself, knowing oneself more deeply, compensating for deficiencies in a normal humanity, initiating practice in respect of the particulars of normal human relations, which aspects of the truth of normal humanity to be lived out, what to possess to be an honest man, as well as some general knowledge of how to conduct oneself, these are all a part of practicing the truth. There is also the aspect of practice in respect of the life of the spirit, which has a bearing on the gain and loss of an individual’s life, as well as affecting whether or not a man can fulfill other aspects of his duties, and therefore it should not be ignored. The entire life of holy believers and the people of the kingdom is like this–fulfilling the duties of man. To only fulfill one aspect of one’s duties does not conform with God’s intention; to be a person who is devoted to God, we need to do our utmost to complete every aspect of our duties. Everyone must obey the arrangements of God, and show consideration for God’s intention in all things, taking on God’s heart as their own. Regardless of where you are, you should fulfill all the duties that you are able to complete. If you are required to spread the gospel then you should give your undivided attention to spreading the gospel; if you are required to look after the church then you should take good care of the church. You need to fulfill all the duties that you are able to carry out, but it is most crucial that you give primacy to work in your own field. It is only such a person who completely practices the truth, who truly obeys God, and who worships God. A man who is able to complete all of his duties has reached the standard that God demands.