22. What is following man?
Relevant Words of God:
Some people do not rejoice in the truth, much less judgment. Rather, they rejoice in power and riches; such people are deemed to be snobs. They exclusively seek out those denominations in the world with influence and those pastors and teachers coming from seminaries. Despite having accepted the way of truth, they remain skeptical and are unable to devote themselves fully. They speak of sacrificing for God, but their eyes are focused on the great pastors and teachers, and Christ is brushed aside. Their hearts are filled with fame, fortune, and glory. They do not believe at all that such a meager man is capable of conquering so many, that one so unremarkable is capable of perfecting people. They do not believe at all that these nobodies among the dust and dunghills are the people chosen by God. They believe that if such people were the objects of God’s salvation, then heaven and earth would be turned upside down and all men would laugh their heads off. They believe that if God chose such nobodies to be perfected, then those great men would become God Himself. Their perspectives are tainted with unbelief; indeed, far from unbelief, they are preposterous beasts. For they only value position, prestige, and power; what they hold in high regard are large groups and denominations. They have no regard at all for those led by Christ; they are simply traitors who have turned their backs on Christ, on truth, and on life.
What you admire is not the humility of Christ, but those false shepherds of prominent standing. You do not love the loveliness or wisdom of Christ, but those wantons who associate with the vile world. You laugh at the pain of Christ who has no place to lay His head, but admire those corpses that seize offerings and live in debauchery. You are not willing to suffer alongside Christ, but gladly go into the arms of those reckless antichrists though they supply to you only flesh, only letters, and only control. Even now your heart still turns toward them, toward their reputation, toward their status, and toward their influence. And yet you continue to hold an attitude of resisting and refusing to accept the work of Christ. This is why I say that you do not have the faith of acknowledging Christ. The reason you have followed Him to this day is entirely because you were forced. In your heart forever tower many lofty images; you cannot forget their every word and deed, nor their influential words and hands. They are, in your heart, forever supreme and forever heroes. But this is not so for the Christ of today. He is forever insignificant in your heart and forever undeserving of reverence. For He is far too ordinary, has far too little influence, and is far from lofty.
from “Are You a True Believer of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
There are some people who are often deceived by those who outwardly seem spiritual, seem noble, seem to have lofty images. As for those people who can speak of letters and doctrines, and whose speech and actions appear worthy of admiration, their admirers have never looked at the essence of their actions, the principles behind their deeds, what their goals are. And they have never looked at whether these people truly obey God, and whether or not they are someone who truly fears God and shuns evil. They have never discerned the substance of the humanity of these people. Rather, from the first step of getting acquainted, bit by bit, they come to admire these people, venerate these people, and in the end these people become their idols. Moreover, in some people’s minds, the idols who they worship, who they believe can abandon their families and jobs, and pay the price on the surface—these idols are the ones who are really satisfying God, the ones who can really receive a good outcome and a good destination. In their minds, these idols are the people who God praises. What causes people to have this kind of belief? ...
… There is only one root cause which makes people have these ignorant actions, ignorant viewpoints, or one-sided viewpoints and practices, and today I’ll tell you about it. The reason is that although people may follow God, pray to Him every day, and read the word of God every day, they don’t actually understand God’s will. This is the root of the problem. If someone understands God’s heart, understands what God likes, what God loathes, what God wants, what God rejects, what kind of person God loves, what kind of person God dislikes, what kind of standard God applies to His demands on man, what kind of approach He takes for perfecting man, can that person still have their own personal ideas? Can they just go and worship another person? Could an ordinary person become their idol? If one understands God’s will, their viewpoint is a bit more rational than that. They aren’t going to arbitrarily idolize a corrupted person, nor will they, while walking the path of putting truth into practice, believe that arbitrarily adhering to a few simple rules or principles is tantamount to putting truth into practice.
from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Result of His Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
It would be best for those people who claim to follow God to open their eyes and take a good look to see exactly who they believe in: Is it really God that you believe in, or Satan? If you know that what you believe in is not God, but your own idols, then it would be best if you did not claim to be a believer. If you really do not know who you believe in, then, again, it would be best if you did not claim to be a believer. To say you were would be blasphemy! No one is forcing you to believe in God. Do not say you believe in Me; I heard enough of such talk long ago, and do not wish to hear it again, because what you believe in are the idols in your hearts and the local bullies among you. Those who shake their heads when they hear the truth, who smile widely when they hear talk of death, are all Satan’s offspring; they are all objects to be eliminated. There exist in the church a lot of people who have no discernment. When something deceptive occurs, they just stand by Satan’s side, and they even feel wronged when called Satan’s lackeys. And someone might say they have no discernment, but they always stand on the side without truth; there has not been a single critical time when they have stood on the side of truth, not a single time when they have stood up and argued for the truth—so are they really without discernment? Why do they always stand by Satan’s side? Why do they never say one word that is fair or reasonable in support of the truth? Has this situation genuinely arisen as a result of their momentary confusion? The less discernment people have, the less able they are to stand on the side of truth. What does this show? Does it not show that people without discernment love evil? Does it not show that they are the loyal offspring of Satan? Why is it that they are always able to stand on the side of Satan and speak its language? Their every word and deed, and their facial expressions, are enough to prove that they are not any kind of lovers of the truth; rather, they are people who detest the truth. That they can stand on the side of Satan is enough to prove that Satan really loves these petty devils who spend their lives fighting for Satan’s sake. Are all these facts not abundantly clear?
from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
And what does it mean to follow people? It means that a person follows the one whom he worships. In his heart, God does not have much status; he simply wears the sign of being a believer in God. All that he does is imitate people and follow their example. Especially on major affairs, he lets people make the decisions, and lets people dictate his fate. He himself does not seek God’s wishes, and he does not apply discernment to what people say. As long as what they say seems reasonable, regardless of whether what they say conforms to truth, he accepts it all and obeys it. This is the behavior of a follower of men. His faith in God is unprincipled, and there is no truth in his handling of affairs. He complies with whomever speaks reasonably. If his idol takes a wrong path, he will follow to the end. If God condemns his idol, he will have a notion about God, holding tightly to his idol. His reason is that he should obey whomever is in charge of him. A high official is no match for a hands-on manager. This is simply the logic of a fool. Those who follow man really are this bewildered. People who follow men have no place for God in their heart and have no truth, and they are idolatrous, have been misled by other people and are not true believers in God. Only followers of God truly believe in God.
from The Fellowship From the Above
Whomever you worship in your heart is your idol. Whoever worships the leaders is an idolatrous person. When you worship someone, you will have his status in your heart, and will necessarily be taken over by him and will become his lackey. In our work of spreading the gospel, we have discovered that people of various denominations all worship idols, and are all controlled by their leaders. They dare not even accept truth, and they give an appearance of pitiful servility. People who worship their leaders are idolatrous people, and certainly there is no truth in their hearts. They do not know God in the slightest, so God has no status in their hearts. They are people who are loathed and cursed by God. God is a righteous God, and God is a jealous God. God most hates people’s idolatry. It is most grave blasphemy to God if a person compares their leader on an equal setting with God. In fact, people who return before God should have only God in their hearts; they should not have a place for any human in their hearts. Even if they have this in their thoughts and ideas, it is filthy and corrupt, and makes God loathe and detest it. Most people are mixed up on this issue, and their hearts more or less have some place for the person whom they worship. According to God’s disposition, if a person has even a little human’s status in his heart, it is not acceptable. If from beginning to end his heart cannot be purified, the result is that he will be condemned.
There are specific manifestations in all of those who worship their leaders in their hearts. They can be identified from the following aspects: If your obedience to your leader is greater than your obedience to God, then you worship idols; if you pine and yearn for the people you worship more than you pine and yearn for God, then you worship idols; if you are more fervent toward your leader than God, then you worship idols; if, in your heart, you are close to those you worship and distant from God, then you worship idols; if, in your heart, those you worship rank equally with God, then this is even greater proof that you treat the people you worship like God; and if, no matter what happens to you, you are willing to listen to your leader, and are unwilling to come before God to seek the truth, then this is sufficient to prove that you don’t believe in God, but people. Some people, perhaps, will try to defend themselves, saying: “I really admire so and so, they really do have a place in my heart. Without realizing it, I’ve grown a little distant from God in my relationship with Him.” These words demonstrate the truth of the matter; as soon as someone has a place in a person’s heart, that person becomes distant from God. This is dangerous, yet some people take it lightly, they have not the slightest concern, which shows that they do not know God’s disposition. … worshiping people is so ignorant and blind, it is so corrupt and wicked. Worshiping people is worshiping Satan and demons, it is worshiping antichrists, and those who worship people are without the least bit of truth. People like this are surely bereft of even the slightest knowledge of God; they are degenerates who are cursed by God.
from The Fellowship From the Above