Walk Out of the Wilderness and Enter the Good Land of Canaan
Jedidiah Villan Philippines
In 1985, I was hired by an employment agency in Hong Kong. Soon after I began working, I met a lady, who introduced me to the International Life Center in Hong Kong. It was the first time that I joined in the Lord’s Day meeting. That day, the pastor said to me, “If you receive the Lord as your , He will help you overcome all the difficulties. Men are all sinners, so the world is full of unfairness and unrighteousness. Only the Lord Jesus is the Savior of mankind. Because the innocent Lord Jesus was crucified to take on man’s sins, as long as we believe in Him, we will be forgiven of our sins and then enjoy His care and protection. Only by believing in the Lord Jesus and obeying His teachings can we be saved. Just as the recorded, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the of God’ (John 3:3).” As I had experienced many vicissitudes of life, at that time I firmly believed that I was a sinner who needed to receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. Thus, I said, “I am willing to accept the Lord Jesus as my Savior.” Thanks be to the Lord! Just at that very moment, I felt the peace, comfort and joy that I had never had before. All my worries vanished at that instant. I felt I had found the direction of my life. Through the preaching and fellowshiping of the pastor, I tasted the Lord’s love more deeply and began to serve in the church.
As I served in the church more often, gradually, I had a strong desire in my heart that I would devote myself to the Lord’s work. Later, seeing that I was pious and zealous, my pastor encouraged me to return to Philippines to build a church and start my ministry, and he promised that he would help me fulfill this great commission. Therefore, I returned to Philippines in 1990, busying myself with preaching the and building the church. In March of 1991, I formally became a pastor and started to serve the Lord in our local church. I knew my responsibilities were greater. So, I followed the path of Paul to fervently work and began to widely preach the gospel. I preached the gospel from town to town and from house to house. Every Tuesday, I would bring my microphone to the market place to share the word of the Lord Jesus. When I heard people say, “Thank the Lord for giving us these words. We are so blessed,” I felt very happy. Thank the Lord for letting people in my hometown understand His word. During the great work of the , we enjoyed so much of the Lord’s grace and . Our families became harmonious, the production of rice increased, and various illnesses were healed. Because of the Lord’s bountiful grace, everyone had great faith and was fervent within. At that time, when I was preaching, I spoke unceasingly and all brothers and sisters could obtain provision and benefit. When they felt weak and passive, I also knew how to sustain them and resolve their problems.
Then it was 1995. I felt more and more that I had nothing to preach. I lived in sin and was unable to extricate myself. I often lost my temper and lectured others. My heart was often full of opinions about my brothers and sisters, and my desire to love the Lord Jesus was not so strong as it was before. There were disputes and even adultery in the church. The brothers and sisters were unwilling to spend for the Lord. They all followed worldly trends and seldom attended church unless there were dinner meetings. I began to worry about such conditions of our church, so I prayed more often and led those brothers and sisters who still had a little faith to join in all kinds of prayers, such as half-day prayers, team prayers and overnight prayers. We hoped that through these prayers, the Lord could help us to revive the church, and even more, could forgive our sins and make us get rid of sins soon. However, no matter how hard we prayed, the desolate situation of our church did not change a bit. Later, in order to feed the spiritual needs of my brothers and sisters, I went to various places to attend revival meetings, but I received nothing but clichés that could not benefit them at all. Then, for the sake of reviving our church, I spent a lot of money sending the youth of our church to attend all kinds of training courses every year. In that period, I also bought many spiritual books, trying to rely on those books to improve my preaching, so that I could supply my brothers and sisters. But no matter what I did, it was of no avail. Facing the desolation of our church, I felt confused and dark and was at a loss. I felt despaired. I often wept at this and prayed to the Lord, “Oh Lord, why do You allow all these things to happen to the church? My brothers and sisters and I are unable to practice Your teachings, we live in sins, and there is no growth in our life. Now I feel it difficult to support this church. Lord, You selected me to serve You, but now why can’t I feel Your presence? Lord, I know I cannot do anything without You. I am helpless. Lord, please help me, and guide me the way I should walk.”
Until one day in July of 2016, Christopher, a pastor of Tondo Church, invited me to a sermon at his church. I had sought from many pastors and had gone to many churches, but I did not find out any solution to the desolation of our church. But this time, I still hoped I could gain something from the sermon because I knew Christopher was a pastor who truly believed in the Lord and had been seeking the path to achieving purity and entering the kingdom of heaven. In the sermon, Christopher preached on the platform, “I have believed in the Lord Jesus for many years. I often preached to the believers and subdued my body, but I could hardly keep the Lord’s way, living in sins and being unable to get rid of sins. I felt pained and distressed every day. But now I’ve found the way to purify myself. I want to read out two passages of ’s words to you: ‘A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as sinners because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance’ (“Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life’ (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
After reading , Christopher said, “These words let us understand what the Lord Jesus did was the work of redemption. His flesh was innocent, but He was crucified for redeeming mankind. However, the Lord Jesus just forgave man’s sins, not their sinful satanic natures, so they still sin in spite of themselves. Therefore, the Lord returns to flesh in the world of men, and does the work of judgement of the last days under the name of Almighty God. The work of the Lord’s second coming is aimed to solve man’s sinful nature thoroughly. When man has understood and gained the truth from God’s work of judgement, they will completely break free from their sinful natures and be saved by God. Only such people can obtain God’s blessings and inherit His promises. Now we all have seen the desolation of the churches. This is because God’s work has risen higher. In the last days, God has been incarnated and expressed the words to do the work of judgement. However, we are still holding onto the Lord Jesus’ work and have not kept up with the pace of the Holy Spirit’s work. Only when we walk out of the Age of Grace and accept God’s work of judgement in the last days can we be purified and enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Hearing what Christopher read and preached, I felt they were very new and true. I had been a pastor for more than twenty years, but I never heard such words and such good preaching. It was true that we still lived in sin and were unable to free ourselves. Though our sins had been forgiven and God no longer treated us as sinners, we had not changed and God had not gained us completely. In the last days, God comes to purify and save us through the judgement and chastisement of His word. This was reasonable and practical. At that moment, I finally understood the reason why I’d been living in sin, continually sinning and confessing, though I had read the Bible for more than thirty years was that I didn’t accept God’s work of the last days. Then, Christopher testified to many truths expressed by Almighty God to us. Sister Anna, who sit next to me, asked, “When you hear that the Lord Jesus has returned and done the work of judgement, what do you think? Can you accept it?” I said, “Yes, I can. Because God is almighty and He can do anything He wants. When He intends to do something, He will surely accomplish it. I am willing to investigate what Christopher preached because I’ve benefited from it. Now I know why we’ve been living in sin and cannot get out of it. The Lord Jesus redeemed us but there is still the root of sin within us, so we need the judgement and chastisement of God’s words to cleanse us. This is totally reasonable.”
When I got home, my heart couldn’t calm down for a long time and I felt I had learned so much. I understood that Almighty God has done a stage of work of judging and purifying man built upon the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work. At the same time, the problem of the desolation of our church, which had bothered me for many years, was solved. It turned out that these years all my efforts to revive our church were in vain because I didn’t keep up with the work of judgement and purification God has done. I should seek and investigate Almighty God’s work carefully to avoid missing the opportunity to welcome the return of the Lord.
A few days later, Christopher invited me to Manila to attend a meeting, and I was quick to agree. However, there were some misgivings inside me. I had attended many revival meetings and got many teachings before, but I could not discern which of those teachings conformed with the truth. Therefore, before going out for each meeting I would come before the Lord to , and this time was no exception. I prayed, “Lord , I do not want to be deceived by false teachings. Please give me the truth, help and guide me no matter what meetings I am going to attend….” After the prayer, I felt God was with me because I was very grounded and peaceful inside. And these words of the Lord Jesus came across my mind, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). I knew God was guiding me. That day, I asked why God changes His name to Almighty God and why He doesn’t perform signs and wonders in this stage of work. Regarding these issues, Sister Anna read some of Almighty God’s words to me. Through those words, I understood the significance of God’s names and the reason why God saves man in the last days by using His word to judge and purify man instead of performing signs and wonders.
After dinner, I continued to read God’s words and I felt the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I was greatly joyful and my tears couldn’t help but drop down. When I woke up in the morning, I strongly felt I had been too deeply corrupted by Satan. I realized I had sinful nature, and that satanic things had occupied my life. It was the first time I had recognized there was sinful nature inside me because I was convinced before that the Lord Jesus had redeemed us from sin so we were free from sins. I had been considering how to tell my brothers and sisters this news after I went back to my church, but I was comforted this morning. I felt God was wonderful, so I no longer worried about it. I prayed to Almighty God, “Almighty God, I believe You are exactly the return of the Lord Jesus and that You have done the work of judgment and purification in China. You are almighty and You can do whatever You like. I am convinced that You come to purify us filthy and corrupt man, and I am willing to make You my life.”
After staying in Manila for two weeks, I returned to my church and brought the good news that the Lord Jesus has returned. Since then, because of the work of Almighty God, all things in our church had changed. More and more brothers and sisters began to read Almighty God’s words, and kept up with God’s work of the last days. A sister said that when she read Almighty God’s words, she no longer felt sleepy as she used to do when reading the Bible. The more she read them, the more she enjoyed it. An old believer who had been extremely passive and seldom attended meetings began to gather with us and fellowship about Almighty God’s words with full confidence. Before, I would feel tired after reading the Bible for half an hour in the morning, but after accepting Almighty God’s work in the last days, I could tirelessly read His words for more than five hours. Like my brothers and sisters, I recovered my faith, love and the will to expend for God. I knew that all these were the results of the work of the Holy Spirit.
In the days hereafter, I read many more of Almighty God’s words, such as “The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Work of Satan” “End Religious Service” “How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will” “Only Those Who Know the Work of God Today Can Serve God” “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” “Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” “Those Who Love God Will Forever Live Within His Light.” Thanks be to God. I have gained so much from Almighty God. Almighty God is the wellspring of living water of life, who provides the ever-flowing living water for everyone who comes before His throne. Thank Almighty God for bringing me to the good land of Canaan so that I’ve gained access to the watering of the truth and found the path to changes in life disposition. All the glory be to Almighty God!
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The Hymn of Life Experience “The Happiness in the Good Land of Canaan”