How are such people capable of following God to the very end? Even if you do make it to the end of the path, what benefit will it be to you? It is better to change your ideas before it is too late, either truly pursuing, or else throwing in the towel early. As time goes on you will become a freeloading parasite—are you willing to play such a low and ignoble role? This is the minimum that must be achieved by those who seek to know God. Man himself cannot come up with a true knowledge of God. Such a knowledge cannot be achieved on a whim, nor is it something that can be taught. It is wholly related to personal experience.
This is what is most difficult for man to identify, and is difficult for man to understand. One stage of work can only represent one part, and is limited within a certain scope. This is a clearly obvious fact. Such knowledge can neither convince nor conquer man, such knowledge is out of line with reality, and is not the truth. Not only will He not commend your knowledge, but He will also take retribution on you for being a sinner who blasphemed Him. The words of knowing God are not spoken lightly.
Though you may be glib and silver-tongued, and your words can bring the dead to life, and make the living dead, still you are out of your depth when it comes to speaking of the knowledge of God. God is not someone that you can judge rashly, or casually praise, or nonchalantly denigrate. You praise anyone and everyone, yet you struggle to the right words to describe the great virtuousness and graciousness of God—and this is what is learned by every loser.
Even though there are many language specialists who are capable of describing God, the accuracy of what they describe is but a hundredth of the truth spoken by people who belong to God and have only a limited vocabulary, yet possess rich experience. The lesson of knowing God is higher than any of the natural sciences of mankind.
It is a lesson that can only be achieved by an extremely small number of those who seek to know God, and cannot be achieved by just any person of talent.
And so you must not view knowing God and pursuing the truth as if they can be achieved by a mere child. Perhaps you have been completely successful in your family life, or your career, or in your marriage, but when it comes to the truth, and the lesson of knowing God, you have nothing to show for yourself, you have achieved nothing. Putting the truth into practice, it can be said, is of great difficulty for you, and knowing God is an even greater problem.
This is your difficulty, and is also the difficulty faced by the whole of mankind. Among those who have had some achievements in the cause of knowing God, there are almost none who are up to the standard. Man does not know what it means to know God, or why it is necessary to know God, or what extent counts as knowing God. This is what is so confounding to mankind, and is quite simply the biggest riddle faced by mankind—and no one is capable of answering this question, nor is anyone willing to answer this question, because, to date, no one among mankind has had any success in the study of this work.
Perhaps, when the riddle of the three stages of work is made known to mankind, there will appear in succession a group of talents who know God. They will become those who bear testimony to the fact of these three stages of work, and, of course, will also be the first to bear testimony to these three stages of work. Whatever the case, I still hope that those who truly pursue can gain this blessing. Since the beginning of time, there has never before been work such as this, such an undertaking has never occurred in the history of human development.
If you can truly become one of the first of those who know God, would this not be the highest honor among all creatures? Would any creature among mankind be more commended by God? Such work is not easy to achieve, but will ultimately still reap rewards. This is the work of today, and is also the work of the future; it is the last, and highest work to be accomplished in 6, years of work, and is a way of working that reveals each category of man. Whether it be tribulations, refinement, or judgment, all are for the sake of allowing man to ultimately achieve a knowledge of God and so that man may submit to God.
This is the only effect that will ultimately be achieved. All this work is of benefit to man.
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The work of God Himself is the vision that man must know, for the work of God cannot be achieved by man, and is not possessed by man. Without visions, man would not have been able to come this far. It is the visions that have safeguarded man until today, and which have provided the greatest protection to man. In the future, your knowledge must become deeper, and you must come to know the entirety of His will and the substance of His wise work in the three stages of work. Only this is your true stature. The final stage of work does not stand alone, but is part of the whole formed together with the two previous stages, which is to say that it is impossible to complete the entire work of salvation by only doing one of the three stages of work.
Even though the final stage of work is able to fully save man, this does not mean that it is only necessary to carry out this single stage on its own, and that the two previous stages of work are not required to save man from the influence of Satan. No single stage of the three stages can be held up as the only vision that must be known by all mankind, for the entirety of the work of salvation is the three stages of work, not a single stage among them.
As long as the work of salvation has not been accomplished, the management of God will be unable to come to a complete end. What man gains from one stage of work is merely the disposition of God that is expressed in a single part of His work. It cannot represent the disposition and being that is expressed in the stages before or after.
It is work that is carried out in stages, and is not completed in a single stage. His entire being and entire wisdom are laid forth in these three stages, and each stage contains His being, and is a record of the wisdom of His work. Man should know the entire disposition of God expressed in these three stages. Since God has carried out the three stages of the work of salvation among man, man should know the expression of what He has and is during these three stages of work. This is what must be done by man. What God hides from man is that which man is incapable of achieving, and that which man should not know, whereas that which God shows to man is that which man should know, and that which man should possess.
Each of the three stages of work is carried out upon the foundation of the previous stage; it is not carried out independently, separate from the work of salvation.
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Though there are great differences in the age and type of work that is carried out, at its core is still the salvation of mankind, and each stage of the work of salvation is deeper than the last. Each stage of work continues on from the foundation of the last, which is not abolished. In this way, in His work that is always new and never old, God is constantly expressing an aspect of His disposition that has never before been expressed to man, and is always revealing to man His new work, and His new being, and even though the religious old guard does its utmost to resist this, and openly opposes it, God always does the new work that He intends to do.
His work is always changing, and because of this, it is always encountering the opposition of man. So, too, is His disposition always changing, as are the age and recipients of His work. Furthermore, He is always doing work that has never been done before, even carrying out work that appears to man to be in contradiction to the work done before, to run counter to it. Man is only able to accept one kind of work, or one way of practice. It is difficult for man to accept work, or ways of practice, that are at odds with them, or higher than them—but the Holy Spirit is always doing new work, and so there appear group after group of religious experts that oppose the new work of God.
As such, man is utterly unable to tell if it is work that comes from the Holy Spirit, and if it is the work of God Himself. Many people cling to an attitude in which, if it corresponds with the words that came before, then they accept it, and if there are differences with the work of before, then they oppose and reject it. Today, do you all not abide by such principles?
The three stages of the work of salvation have not had any great effect on you, and there are those who believe that the two previous stages of work are a burden that is simply unnecessary to know. They think that these stages should not be declared to the masses and should be retracted as soon as possible, so that people do not feel overwhelmed by the previous two stages of the three stages of work. Most believe that making the two previous stages of work known is a step too far, and is of no help to knowing God—that is what you think. Today, you all believe that it is right to act in this way, but the day will come when you realize the importance of My work: Know that I do not do any work that is of no significance.
One day, you will all realize the importance of this work. Your opposition to God and obstruction of the work of the Holy Spirit is caused by your conceptions and inherent arrogance. Will the day not come when such people are rejected by the work of the Holy Spirit, and burned by the fires of hell? They do not know the work of God, but instead criticize His work, and also try to instruct God how to work. How can such unreasonable people know God? Man comes to know God during the process of seeking and experiencing Him; it is not through criticizing Him at whim that he comes to know God through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.
In contrast, the less people know of God, the more likely they are to oppose Him. Those who are possessed of grievous conceptions and have a self-righteous disposition are even more in enmity of God incarnate, and such people are the antichrists. If your conceptions are not rectified, then they will always be against God; you will never be compatible with God, and will always be apart from Him. Only by putting aside your old conceptions can you gain new knowledge, yet old knowledge is not necessarily old conceptions. If the old knowledge was already outdated in the old age, and it stopped man from entering into the new work, then such knowledge is also a conception.
If man is able to take the correct approach to such knowledge, and can come to know God from several different aspects, combining the old and the new, then the old knowledge becomes an aid to man, and becomes the basis by which man enters the new age. If you use these principles as the foundation for entering into the lesson of knowing God, then your knowledge will become deeper and deeper. The three stages of work were done by one God; this is the greatest vision, and is the only path to knowing God.
The three stages of work could only have been done by God Himself, and no man could do such work on His behalf—which is to say that only God Himself could have done His own work from the beginning until today. Of all the visions, this is the greatest vision that man should know, and if it can be completely understood by man, then he will be able to stand fast. Today, the biggest problem facing various religions and denominations is that they do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, and are unable to differentiate between the work of the Holy Spirit and work that is not of the Holy Spirit—and so they cannot tell whether this stage of work is, like the last two stages of work, also done by Jehovah God.
Though people follow God, most are still unable to tell whether it is the right way.
Those who follow God are unable to determine the way, and so the messages which are spoken only have a partial effect among these people, and are incapable of being fully effective, and so this then affects the life entry of such people. If man can see in the three stages of work that they were carried out by God Himself at different times, in different places, and in different people, if they can see that although the work is different, it is all done by one God, and that since it is work done by one God, then it must be right, and without error, and that though it is at odds with the conceptions of man, there is no denying that it is the work of one God—if man can say for sure that it is the work of one God, then the conceptions of man will become mere trifles, unworthy of mention.
Because the visions of man are unclear, and man only knows Jehovah as God, and Jesus as the Lord, and is in two minds about the God incarnate of today, many people remain devoted to the work of Jehovah and Jesus, and are beset by conceptions about the work of today, most people are always doubtful, and do not take the work of today seriously. Man has no conceptions toward the last two stages of work, which were invisible.
That is because man does not understand the reality of the last two stages of work, and did not personally witness them. It is because they cannot be seen that man imagines as he likes; regardless of what he comes up with, there are no facts to prove it, and no one to correct it. Thus man believes in his own imagined God in his mind, and does not seek the God of reality. If one person has one kind of belief, then among a hundred people there are a hundred kinds of belief. Thus it is through their own conceptions that people who have only been believers for a year believe in God, and the same is true for those who have believed in God their entire lives.
Those who cannot see the facts will never be able to escape from a faith in which they have conceptions of God. Man believes that he has freed himself from the bonds of his old conceptions, and has entered new territory. Does man not know that the knowledge of those who cannot see the true face of God is nothing but conceptions and hearsay? Man thinks that his conceptions are right, and without error, and thinks that these conceptions come from God.
Today, when man witnesses the work of God, he lets loose conceptions that have built up over many years. The imaginings and ideas of the past became an obstruction to the work of this stage, and it becomes difficult for man to let go of such conceptions and refute such ideas. The conceptions toward this step-by-step work of many of those who have followed God until today have become ever more grievous and these people have gradually formed a stubborn enmity to the God incarnate, and the source of this hatred is the conceptions and imaginings of man.
It is precisely because facts do not allow man to give free rein to his imagination, and, moreover, cannot be easily refuted by man, and the conceptions and imaginings of man do not brook the existence of facts, and, furthermore, because man does not give thought to the correctness and veracity of facts, and merely single-mindedly lets loose his conceptions, and employs his own imagination, that the conceptions and imaginings of man have become the enemy of the work of today, work which is at odds with the conceptions of man.
This can only be said to be the fault of the conceptions of man, and cannot be said to be a fault of the work of God. You may give free rein to your imagination, and may even compile fine stories about the work of Jehovah and Jesus, but you may not refute the fact of each stage of the work of Jehovah and Jesus; this is a principle, and is also an administrative decree, and you should understand the importance of these issues.
Man believes that this stage of work is incompatible with the conceptions of man, and that this is not the case for the two previous stages of work. All those who today resist and oppose this stage of work would also undoubtedly have opposed God in times past, for such people will always be the enemies of God. These are people who know God, and such people are those who truly follow God.
When the entire management of God is nearing its end, God will class all things according to kind. Man was made by the hands of the Creator, and in the end He must completely return man under His dominion; this is the conclusion of the three stages of work. Although people have not experienced or witnessed much of this work, the facts are still the facts, and this is undeniable by any man. People who believe in God in every land of the universe will all accept the three stages of work.
Many Christians think our Father is the source of all their troubles and suffering. They think He uses those problems as tools to teach them something or change their behavior, even though the Word clearly proves the opposite James The church, as a whole, has proclaimed that Jesus died for us to keep us from going to hell. Knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ is eternal life.
Knowing God eternal life is something we can have right now John It is speaking of intimacy. To receive salvation and then stumble through life without experiencing intimacy with the Lord is to miss or ignore the most important part of what Jesus provided.
Let me put it this way: if you received forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus and then continue on without an intimate, personal, close relationship with God, then according to John , you are missing the real purpose of salvation. This is where the vast majority of Christians live. So they get saved and then they get stuck. They are waiting on the sweet by and by, but struggling in the rough here and now. It begs the question, how do we get started in our pursuit of intimacy with the Lord?
We can begin by spending time getting to know Him through His Word. What a deal! Knowing the Word is knowing God. I talk about the real meaning of eternal life, how to see with our hearts clearer than with our physical eyes, and much more. This is a series that may not sound really interesting on the surface, but it is one of the most important messages I teach. If you ever want to fulfill what God has called you to do, you must know Him personally, and I believe this message will make a huge difference in your relationship with the Lord.
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