“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
“Fools die for want of wisdom” (Proverb 10:21).
Relevant Words of God:
Since we are searching for the footprints of God, it behooves us to search for God’s will, for the words of God, for His utterances—because wherever there are new words spoken by God, the voice of God is there, and wherever there are the footsteps of God, God’s deeds are there. Wherever there is the expression of God, there God appears, and wherever God appears, there the truth, the way, and the life exist. In seeking God’s footprints, you have ignored the words that “God is the truth, the way, and the life.” And so, many people, even when they receive the truth, do not believe that they have found God’s footprints, and still less do they acknowledge the appearance of God. What a grave mistake!
To study such a thing is not difficult, but requires each of us to know this truth: He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. To investigate whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, man must determine this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, must be judged from His substance. And so, in determining[a] whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key is to pay attention to His substance (His work, His words, His disposition, and many more), rather than external appearance.
from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those who do not understand the truth always follow others: If people say that this is the work of the Holy Spirit, then you, too, say it is the work of the Holy Spirit; if people say it is the work of an evil spirit, then you, too, become doubtful, or also say it is the work of an evil spirit. You always parrot the words of others, and are incapable of distinguishing anything by yourself, nor are you able to think for yourself. This is someone without a position, who is unable to differentiate—such a person is a worthless wretch! You always repeat the words of others: Today it is said that this is the work of the Holy Spirit, but chances are one day someone will say it isn’t the work of the Holy Spirit, and nothing but the deeds of man—yet you can’t discern this, and when you witness it said by others, you say the same thing. It is actually the work of the Holy Spirit, but you say it is the work of man; have you not become one of those who blaspheme against the work of the Holy Spirit? In this, have you not opposed God because you cannot differentiate? Who knows, maybe one day some nitwit will appear who says that “this is the work of an evil spirit,” and when you hear these words you’ll be at a loss, and once again bound up by the words of others. Every time someone stirs up disturbance you’re incapable of standing by your position, and this is all because you do not possess the truth. Believing in God and pursuing the knowledge of God is no simple matter. They cannot be achieved simply by gathering together and listening to preaching, and you cannot be perfected by passion alone. You must experience, and know, and be principled in your actions, and gain the work of the Holy Spirit. When you have undergone experiences, you will be able to differentiate many things—you will be able to distinguish between good and evil, between righteousness and wickedness, between what is of flesh and blood and what is of the truth. You should be able to distinguish between all these things, and in so doing, no matter the circumstances, you will never be lost. Only this is your real stature.
Knowing the work of God is no simple matter. You should have standards and an objective in your pursuit, you should know how to seek the true way, and how to measure whether or not it is the true way, and whether or not it is the work of God. What is the most basic principle in seeking the true way? You have to look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit in this way, whether or not these words are the expression of the truth, who is testified to, and what it can bring you. Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still the belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way can take man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way. I say these words not to make you accept other ways in your future experiences, nor as a prediction that there will be the work of another new age in the future. I say them so that you may be certain that the way of today is the true way, so that you will not only be half-sure in your belief toward the work of today and unable to gain insight into it. There are even many who, despite being certain, still follow in confusion; such certainty has no principle to it, and they must be eliminated sooner or later. Even those who are especially ardent in their following are three parts sure and five parts unsure, which shows that they have no foundation. Because your caliber is too poor and your foundation is too shallow, you have no understanding of differentiation. God does not repeat His work, He does not do work that is not realistic, He does not make excessive requirements of man, and He does not do work that is beyond the sense of man. All the work He does is within the scope of man’s normal sense, and does not exceed the sense of normal humanity, and His work is according to man’s normal requirements. If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, man becomes ever more normal, and his humanity becomes ever more normal. Man has an increasing knowledge of his satanic corrupt disposition, and of the essence of man, and he has an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes capable of more and more changes—all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the essence of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing him before God or giving him a true understanding of God, and even causes his humanity to become ever more lowly and his sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit. You have believed in God for all these years, yet you have no inkling of the principles for differentiating between the true way and the false way or for seeking the true way. Most people aren’t even interested in these matters; they merely go where the majority go, and repeat what the majority say. How is this someone who seeks the true way? And how can such people find the true way? If you grasp these several key principles, then whatever happens you will not be deceived.
from “Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh