2. What is the difference between the work of those used by God and the work of religious leaders?
Bible Verses for Reference:
“And he said, Hear now my words: … My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all my house” (Num 12:6-7).
“Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat, and you clothe you with the wool, you kill them that are fed: but you feed not the flock. The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill: yes, my flock was scattered on all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them” (Eze 34:2-6).
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Mat 23:13-15).
Relevant Words of God:
The work carried out by the one who is used by God is in order to cooperate with the work of Christ or the Holy Spirit. This man is raised up by God among man, he is there to lead all of God’s chosen ones, and he is also raised up by God in order to do the work of human cooperation. With someone such as this, who is able to do the work of human cooperation, more of God’s requirements toward man and the work that the Holy Spirit must do among man can be achieved through him. Another way of putting it is like this: God’s aim in using this man is so that all those who follow God can better understand God’s will, and can attain more of God’s requirements. Because people are incapable of directly understanding God’s words or God’s will, God has raised someone up who is used to carry out such work. This person who is used by God can also be described as a medium by which God guides people, as the “translator” who communicates between God and people. … In terms of the substance of his work and the background of his use, the man who is used by God is raised up by Him, he is prepared by God for God’s work, and he cooperates in the work of God Himself. No person could ever stand in for his work, it is human cooperation that is integral to the divine work. … He who is used by God, on the other hand, is someone who has been prepared by God, and who possesses a certain caliber, and has humanity. He has been prepared and made perfect in advance by the Holy Spirit, and is completely led by the Holy Spirit, and, particularly when it comes to his work, he is directed and commanded by the Holy Spirit—as a result of which there is no deviation on the path of leading God’s chosen ones, for God surely takes responsibility for His own work, and God does His own work at all times.
from “Concerning God’s Use of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Why is it said that the practice of those in the religious churches is outdated? It is because what they put into practice is divorced from the work of today. … The work of the Holy Spirit is always moving forward, and all those who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit should also be progressing deeper and changing, step-by-step. They should not stop at a single stage. Only those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit would remain amongst His original work, and not accept the new work of the Holy Spirit. Only those who are disobedient would be incapable of gaining the Holy Spirit’s work. If the practice of man does not keep pace with the new work of the Holy Spirit, then the practice of man is surely dissevered from the work of today, and is surely incompatible with the work of today. Such outdated people as these are simply incapable of accomplishing God’s will, much less could they become those final people that will stand testimony to God. The entire management work, furthermore, could not be concluded amongst such a group of people. For those who once held to the law of Jehovah, and those who once suffered for the cross, if they cannot accept the stage of work of the last days, then all that they did will have been in vain, and useless. The clearest expression of the Holy Spirit’s work is in embracing the here and now, not clinging to the past. Those who have not kept up with the work of today, and who have become separated from the practice of today, are those who oppose and do not accept the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people defy the present work of God.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Work in the mind of man is too easily achieved by man. Pastors and leaders in the religious world, for example, rely on their gifts and positions to do their work. People who follow them for a long time will be infected by their gifts and be influenced by some of what they are. They focus on people’s gifts, abilities and knowledge, and they pay attention to some supernatural things and many profound unrealistic doctrines (of course, these profound doctrines are unattainable). They do not focus on changes to people’s disposition, but rather they focus on training people’s preaching and working abilities, improving people’s knowledge and rich religious doctrines. They do not focus on how much people’s disposition is changed or how much people understand the truth. They do not concern themselves with the substance of people, much less try to know people’s normal and abnormal states. They do not counter people’s notions or reveal their notions, much less mend their deficiencies or corruptions. Most of the people who follow them serve by their natural gifts, and what they express is knowledge and vague religious truth, which are out of touch with reality and are completely unable to confer people with life. In fact, the substance of their work is nurturing talent, nurturing a person with nothing into a talented seminary graduate who later goes on to work and lead.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You serve God with your natural character, and according to your personal preferences; what’s more, you keep thinking that God loves whatever you like, and that God hates whatever you do not like, and your work is guided entirely by your own preferences. Can this be called serving God? Ultimately your life disposition will not be changed one iota. In fact, you will become more stubborn because you have been serving God, and it will make your corrupt disposition deeply ingrained. Inside yourself, you will develop doctrines of service to God based on nothing more than your own character, and the experience derived from your serving according to your own disposition. This is human experience and lessons. It is man’s philosophy of life. People like this are among the Pharisees and the religious officials. If they never wake up and repent, then they will ultimately turn into the false Christs who will appear in the last days. They will be deceivers. The false Christs and deceivers that were spoken of shall come from this type of people. If those who serve God follow their character and act according to their own will, then they are in constant danger of being cast out. Those who apply their many years of experience to serving God to ensnare the hearts of people, lecture and control people, elevate themselves—and who never repent, never confess, never renounce the benefits of position—these people will fall down before God. They are people of the same type as Paul, conceited with and showing off their seniority. God will not perfect people like this. This kind of service interferes with the work of God.
from “End Religious Service” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Look at the leaders of every denomination and sect. They are all arrogant and self-right, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imagination. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they were incapable of preaching anything, would those people follow them? They do, after all, possess some learning, and can speak a little of doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices, through which they have brought people before themselves and have deceived them. Nominally, those people believe in God—but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter those who preach the true way, some of them would say, “We have to consult him about our belief in God.” See how they require someone’s consent to believe in God; is that not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way?
from “Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you have believed in God for many years, yet never obeyed Him or accepted all of His words, and instead asked God to submit to you and follow your notions, then you are the most rebellious of all, and you are an unbeliever. How is one such as this able to obey the work and words of God that do not conform to the notions of man? The most disobedient person is one that intentionally defies and resists God. He is the enemy of God and is an antichrist. Such a person always retains hostility against the new work of God, shows no intent to submit, and has never gladly obeyed or humbled himself. He exalts himself before others and never submits to another. Before God, he considers himself the most proficient in preaching the word and most skillful in working on others. He never discards the treasures already in his possession, but treats them as family heirlooms to be worshiped, to be preached to others, and used to lecture those fools who adore him. There are indeed some such people in the church. It can be said that they are “indomitable heroes,” generation after generation sojourning in the house of God. They think preaching the word (doctrine) to be their highest duty. One year after another and one generation after the other, they perform their holy and sacred duty. None dare touch them and none dare openly reproach them. They became “king” in the house of God, acting tyrannically through the ages. These demons seek to join hands and together destroy My work; how can I allow these living devils to exist before Me?
from “The Truly Obedient Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach God. Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of “robust flesh,” how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?
from “All Who Do Not Know God Are Those Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh