Chapter 25. Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” (X)
Honest People With a Sense of Righteousness Most Easily Fear God and Shun Evil
What kind of people can most easily fear God and shun evil? Those with good humanity, who can separate love and hate, and who have a sense of righteousness can easily and joyfully fear God and shun evil. We might ask, how do they achieve fear of God? And how do they shun evil? Many people don’t understand this. They’ll say, “It’s easy! We fear God because we have knowledge of God’s omnipotence and sovereignty, and we know that God’s wisdom is higher than everything, that God rules over all things, that God presides over the fate of all people, that God presides over the entire universe and the fate of any nation, ethnicity, or of any person. The fates of good people and the endings of bad people are all subject to God’s sovereignty and have all been planned and predetermined by God.” When someone has seen this fact clearly, can it be possible that he doesn’t fear God? This is because people are all concerned about their own end. I’ll give you an example. In a given church, the church leader takes charge of the church’s work. When a good person sees this, how would he view it? “I should listen to the church leader and do whatever the church leader arranges.” This is a good person. But what about a bad person? “What? You’re the church leader? I won’t submit to you. Why aren’t I the church leader? Fine, you’re the leader! I’ll find an opportunity to get leverage over you, and once I have enough, I’ll pluck at your power until one day I squeeze you out, and then I’ll take your place as leader.” Isn’t this an evildoer? This is happening in a church. In God’s house, some people say, “The man used by the Holy Spirit controls all affairs of God’s house, so I must pay attention to obeying his arrangements, and listen more closely to his sermons to better understand the truth.” This is what a good person says. This thought naturally occurs in a good person’s heart. He pursues progress. “I’ll listen to whoever has more of the truth and whoever God uses.” Evildoers, on the other hand, refuse to submit to anyone by nature, “Why are you the man used by the Holy Spirit? Why aren’t I?” These are the words of an evildoer. We can see that good people and bad people have different ways of viewing things, express different behaviors toward them, and react differently toward them. Isn’t this something decided by their nature? (Yes.) Their nature controls them. They have no control over it themselves!
So, tell me, if someone is kindhearted, can separate between love and hate, has a sense of righteousness, and loves the truth, will it be easy for him to fear God and shun evil? Very easy. Some people don’t practice the truth at all. What does this prove? That there is no sense of righteousness or separation of love and hate in them. They love evil things, love to sow discord, spread gossip and rumors, pass judgment on others, spread notions, and provoke disputes. As they love these things, these things come out when they speak. When they open their mouths, they are very close to these things, and these are the results and flavor of their words, such that when others hear someone like this, they think, “There’s something wrong with him, how could he say such things?” Everything that comes out of his mouth sounds different. What is the problem here? A good person’s fine words come across sounding proper, but a bad person’s fine words sound improper. The flavor of the words changes. This proves this person has a bad nature. Even his fine words are unpleasant to hear, because you always feel they are awkward. What does this mean? This is a problem of his humanity. Do deceitful people and upright people speak in the same manner? What marks the manner of speech of the deceitful? They beat around the bush. Where their words came from and where they are going is unfathomable. Some people are so cunning in their words that you can’t guess where their words are going at all. You can’t even defend yourself against them. No matter how you answer, it’s easy to give them something to hold against you and a chance to strike. Language like this is very cunning. It’s the language of the devil’s diplomacy. How do upright people talk? Directly and straightforwardly, with clear, obvious meanings. The work God did upon Job perfected him—by fearing God and shunning evil, he was perfected. But what kind of a person was Job that he was able to be perfected by God? First, he had a good heart. Second, he separated between love and hate. Third, he had a sense of righteousness. Within his normal humanity were primarily these three qualities, and these three qualities were what made him able to gain the truth, fear God and shun evil, and gain God’s approval. Without possessing these three qualities, can you become someone who fears God and shuns evil? (No.) Why can’t you? Here’s an example—in the Bible, it says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” All believers in God have read this sentence, but how many people believe in their hearts that this is the truth, a fact? It must be a minority of people that believe it and a majority that don’t. Then why do the believers believe and the non-believers disbelieve? Are we clear on this matter? Is there any truth in this matter we can seek? The believers are honest, and honest people believe whatever God says. They know God would never lie, that God’s word is the eternal truth, and that no one can change it. The dishonest, the deceitful, never believe it. The deceitful are not only suspicious of God, they don’t trust anyone. Isn’t that a fact? Then are those who understand the truth but don’t practice it also deceitful? (Yes.) Then what about those who have believed in God for years without practicing the truth? Are they honest or deceitful people? (Deceitful people.) Would you dare be 100% certain that this kind of person is deceitful, does not trust the truth, is suspicious of the truth, and doesn’t love the truth? (Yes.) So, when you see someone in the church who doesn’t bother to practice either the large or small aspects of the truth, it’s reasonable to say that this is a most deceitful and cunning person. If someone often talks about doctrines to you, and then practices no one of the truth, this is a most deceitful person. Are the deceitful able to fear God and shun evil? (No.) Why? The deceitful do not love the truth, so they are unable to fear God.
Upon what basis is a fear of God built? First, belief in God, an absolute belief that God is the Ruler of all things, He decides everyone’s fate, and He is omnipotent; also, a love of the truth from within yourself, a sense of righteousness, and a separation of love and hate. Once you possess these things, first, you can fear God, and second, you can shun evil. If you lack one of these things, you will be unable to fear God or shun evil. At present, there are those who admit God is the Ruler of all things, that this is absolutely true; they believe 100% that when it is time for the great red dragon to fall, it absolutely will, and that when it is time for the world to be extinguished, it absolutely will, because God’s word has prophesied these things. Then why are such people unable to shun evil? Because they have bad humanity, because they don’t love the reality of the truth, and they instead love injustice, they are unable to shun evil. Let’s say being fond of passing judgment on others is evil and muddling through one’s duties is evil, but as such people do not love the truth, they enjoy passing judgment on others, muddling through their duties, sowing discord, forming cliques, commenting on this and that, scheming against others, and to what end? Such people are unable to shun any of these evils. They require them every day just as they require food. What is the problem here? A problem of their nature. Someone who does not love the truth cannot shun evil. But shunning evil is easy for those who love the truth. Consider, when a problem arises, they will say, “I cannot lie, I cannot deceive, I cannot be false,” and this disposition of honesty will naturally arise, a refusal to deceive or be false, and even more so to lie. When such a person sees certain brothers or sisters who aren’t in accord with his own notions, and he looks down on them, what does he do? “I must shun evil, these are my brothers and sisters, I must treat them properly, out of love, just as if they were brothers and sisters in my family.” He does not bully them, pass judgment on them, or belittle them, much less exclude them. Is this not shunning evil? When he sees someone else pass judgment on him or belittling him, he will think, “This person’s humanity may be lacking, but they are of God’s house, so alright, I’ll help where I can, tolerate where I can’t, and treat them according to principles.” Practicing the truth in this way, and treating others according to principles, is this not shunning evil? By doing this, it is very easy to shun evil, so if someone loves the truth, they are able to practice the truth no matter the depth of their understanding of it. Those who are able to practice the truth can shun evil, but those who don’t practice the truth at all are incapable of shunning evil.
The Thirty Types of Evil Which Must Be Shunned to Achieve the Fear of God and Shunning of Evil
There are also those today who understand fearing God and shunning evil without understanding which types of evil to shun, so let’s briefly speak about this matter. Muddling through your duties and deceiving God is evil; oppressing, constraining, and sorting others out is evil; forming cliques and factions is evil; fomenting disputes out of jealousy and scheming against others is evil; arbitrarily judging, attacking, slandering, and condemning others is evil; being unable to obey or opposing things that originate with God or are in accord with the truth is evil; following evil people in the oppression of good people, honest people, and those who pursue the truth is evil; knowing the truth clearly but not practicing it and instead protecting one’s own interests is evil; not protecting the interests of God’s house, being irresponsible, and fearing offending others is evil; deceiving both those above and below you, using trickery, and being fraudulent is evil; not exposing, resisting, or rejecting evil people (as well as false leaders and antichrists) is evil; seeing God’s chosen people in difficulties or suffering and not helping or protecting them is evil; not offering support or provision to those feeling negative or weak, but instead mocking, slandering, and simply standing by is evil; not accepting the blame or pruning and dealing of your brothers and sisters, refusing to accept their help, resisting them in your heart, and refusing to obey them is evil; embezzling, squandering, and wasting the church’s wealth and resources is evil; being irresponsible, not doing practical work, and lusting after the benefits of status as a leader or worker is living off the church, and is evil; also, erroneously understanding or suspecting God’s word, and always coming up with and spreading notions is evil; criticizing the work of God’s house and always trying to find fault with it while refusing to obey is evil; not recognizing God’s work, and always complaining against and judging God is evil; always showing yourself off and expressing how much you have suffered, how high a price you have paid, and how much of a contribution you have made, as if God is not fair, is evil; not worshiping God or reflecting on oneself, always feeling oneself free of problems and making others worship him, and having no place for God in his heart is evil; living by knowledge and philosophy, considering knowledge to be a resource, not loving the truth at all, and desiring that others look up to and worship you is evil; always using your own experience and the lessons you learned from it and the rules you distilled as the truth to teach others and deceive others is more evil still; speaking with tricks to make others misunderstand God and make others develop notions toward God is deceptive behavior, and is also more evil still. Before us we already have thirty examples, and if we wanted to continue, we could easily list fifty.
Today, to fear God and shun evil, God’s chosen people should mainly shun at least these thirty types of evil. If you can do so, you are truly someone who fears God and shuns evil; if you can’t shun these thirty types of evil, you won’t make it. There are many kinds of evil of which if you are able to shun even one or two, you aren’t very far away from shunning the others. Are you able to understand that? For example, suppose you promise not to judge others, and that when you discover someone who is weak, has committed transgressions, or has revealed his corruption, you will not judge them, and will instead help them with love. What happens the moment you judge someone? That judgment carries enmity, contempt, and belittling. So if you do not judge them, but instead understand them, and treat them all the same, and help them with love, then you will be able to shun the evil behaviors of abuse and mistreatment of others. Some evils have a shared property, and if you possess love and principles, by shunning one kind of evil, you can shun several others at the same time. Then I ask you, when you don’t understand much of the truth, or in situations where you lack clarity in the truth, can you fear God and shun evil? Is it easy? Not doing evil should actually be easy, but which is harder, doing good deeds or shunning evil? (Doing good deeds is harder.) Not doing evil is a very easy, simple task! Not doing evil ought to be easier. Doing good deeds is proactive entry, and it should be harder, just as obeying God should be harder. You must not do evil before you can accrue good deeds and achieve genuine obedience to God. Not doing evil is the most basic standard for practicing the truth, and the real standard for practicing the truth is achieving entry into life. What does practicing the truth primarily consist of? Obeying God. When you practice the truth, you must act according to principles; not doing evil is simply keeping from doing evil, but if you can act according to principles, you will become someone obedient to God. Does simply shunning evil mean that you can act according to principles? (No.) Also, which requires paying a price, not doing evil or accruing good deeds? (Accruing good deeds.) What price does accruing good deeds require? Accruing good deeds requires time, charity, and suffering. For example, some brothers and sisters might require help, and more than words might be required to help them, they also might require material help, or help with certain tasks, or require you to personally resolve problems for them. Won’t this require paying a certain price? (Yes.) Then what is the price we pay for not doing evil? Does it cost money to not judge others? Does it cost money to not provoke disputes? Does it cost time? Not doing evil or shunning evil requires paying no price at all, you simply have to not do it. Another way to understand it is that sometimes, to do evil, we need to speak or do some thinking, but if you simply shut your mouth and say a prayer in your heart, haven’t you avoided committing the evil? Did that require spending money? Did that require suffering? This is a matter of saving effort, you needn’t toil at all. Not doing evil is relaxing, it is a kind of ease, it takes no suffering at all, and even less does it require paying a price. But sometimes accruing good deeds requires paying a price. If, for example, someone has difficulties and needs help, and you fellowship with him, what price are you paying? Here, you are spending time and emotional effort. You pay a price, however much. Accruing good deeds and fulfilling your duties properly require paying a price, but not doing evil requires no price, and is a matter of saving effort. But what about obeying God or standing firm in your testimony? The price that must be paid for this is large. Perhaps when a trial comes, you not only must suffer, you must also pay a price! If you are arrested by the great red dragon, it’s not simply a matter of spiritual torment, you must endure physical torment. And once the physical torment is finished, the great red dragon will search your home, fine you, take your house, take the money you need to live, cause you to lose your job, and forbid your children from going to university. Isn’t this paying a price? So, when trials come, if you want to stand firm in your testimony and obey God, the price you’ll pay is very high! At this point, we should understand this aspect of truth, that fearing God and shunning evil doesn’t require paying a particularly price. Shunning evil simply means not doing evil, “If I meet an evil person, I shun him; if I meet an antichrist, I shun him, reject him, and expose him.” These don’t require paying much of a price, but when trials come to us, we must stand firm in our testimony, we must be absolutely obedient to God’s arrangements, and at such times, we will need to pay a price. When we practice the truth, we must pay a price, because sometimes practicing the truth goes beyond words, and we must personally act, expend effort, and resolve problems. At such times, we must pay a price. If you are, for example, a leader or worker, when a problem occurs in a certain church, you might have to go there to resolve the problem. Will you be able to resolve it in ten minutes? Will a single meeting be enough to resolve it? Sometimes it might take you several days, and some problems require you to speak on them clearly, and if you leave the problems will still exist, so you might have to hold 2-3 days of meetings before you can resolve it. This is why, when practicing the truth, when it comes to fulfilling your duties, being loyal to God, or standing firm in your testimony, you need to pay a price and suffer. Without the will to do this, you will be unable to make it.