What Kind of People Can Gain God’s Salvation?
On the morning of Sunday, it was sunny. Flowers in the courtyard emitted a beautiful, strong smell. The voices of prayers were coming from brothers and sisters in the meeting place, “Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. … Amen.”
The preacher, Brother Liu, stood on the platform, saying to everyone with a smile, “Today, we change a way of having a meeting. You can ask if you are not clear about something or have any questions. We will seek and fellowship together. On one hand, it can liven up the atmosphere; on the other hand, we will develop the burden and fellowship actively. In this way we can understand more truths. May the Lord prepare. Amen!”
Brothers and sisters began to widely discuss. Believer A said happily, “This is a good way. It can not only make brothers and sisters interact with each other but arouse us to seek the truth. I think we should have meetings like this in future so that the effect will be better.”
Sister Wang smiled: “Then I ask a question first. When the Lord Jesus was performing work, He manifested many signs and wonders, which caused a sensation throughout the entire Jewish state. At that time, some people followed the Lord Jesus. But some people resisted and condemned the work of the Lord Jesus, just like those priests, scribes and Pharisees in the temple serving God. After they listened to the Lord Jesus’ sermons, they neither sought nor investigated but tried to find all kinds of accusations against the Lord Jesus, slandering and condemning the Lord Jesus’ work. They even nailed Him to the cross in the end. While the Lord Jesus was working, why did some people follow Him but some people resist Him? What kind of people on earth can gain the Lord’s salvation?”
Brother Liu paused for a few moments and said: “It’s a very important question that you have asked. If we don’t know how to believe in God in order to walk on the way of success and don’t summarize and absorb the lessons of those who had failed, we are easy to resist God and step onto the path of no return. Brothers and sisters, before fellowshiping the question, I want to ask you a question first: when the Lord Jesus was performing the work at the time, who most should follow Him?”
All believers looked at one another and answered: They should be the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees who are proficient in the Bible.
Brother Liu said, “According to our imaginations and conceptions, the Lord Jesus should enlighten the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees when He began to perform the work. They not only served God in the temple, but also were familiar with the Bible and preached the laws and commandments to believers every day. So they should be the people who followed the Lord. Is this right? (All believers: Yes.) But in fact, not only did they not seek the Lord Jesus’ work after seeing His work, but instead attacked, condemned and resisted Him. Finally, they even combined with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus. Unexpectedly, Peter, John, Matthew and others who were of no reputation and status, and not familiar with the Bible gave up all things to follow Him when hearing the Lord Jesus’ calling. Finally, they gained the salvation of the Lord. From this, we can see that God’s disposition is righteous and faithful. He does not give anyone special treatment. God’s saving of man is not based on our status, seniority, or the time of belief, but on whether we long for and seek the truth.”
All believers discussed widely, “God is very righteous. His work really isn’t in line with our conceptions and imaginations. If we long for and seek the truth, God will save us.”
Sister Wang seemed to understand something, saying, “I thought those priests, scribes and Pharisees should follow the Lord Jesus first, but I never thought that those fisherman and tax collectors kept up with the work of the Lord Jesus. The Lord is too righteous, and He will not treat anyone preferentially.”
Brother Liu asked, “Why can these people keep up with God’s footsteps?”
All believers were puzzled inside, carrying their confusion, they looked at one another.
Brother Liu opened the Bible at ease and said, “The stories in the Bible can tell us the answer. For instance, when the fishermen, Peter and Andrew heard the Lord Jesus’ call, they put aside the fishing net and followed the Lord Jesus; Jacob and John who were fishing for a living also heard the Lord Jesus’ call, then abandoned the fishing boat, said goodbye to their father and followed the Lord Jesus; the tax collector Matthew heard the Lord Jesus’ call, and let go of his work and followed Him. These disciples all heard the Lord Jesus’ call and followed Him purely. A woman of Samaria was surprised that the Lord Jesus told her all things that ever she had done, and then she went into the city, and said to the men that the Lord Jesus is Christ, the coming of Messiah. And Nicodemus was enlightened by God and knew Jesus is from God, for he had a searching heart, visited Jesus in the middle of the night, and heard the Lord Jesus’ teachings. Those people had humble hearts to seek the Lord Jesus’ words and work modestly so that they gained God’s enlightenment, heard God’s voice. And they finally recognized that the Lord Jesus comes from God, and that He is Christ, the coming of Messiah in the prophecy. As a matter of fact, when the Lord Jesus was preaching and doing His work, He did not enlighten anyone, rather let man hear His words and work so as to reveal who did modestly seek the truth and long for God to appear to work. Just as the Lord, ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine’ (John 10:14). ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’ (John 10:27). ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened’ (Mat 7:7-8).”
Sister Wang smiled, “Oh, I am clearer through your fellowship. I thought those who had status, fame and gifts should gain God’s enlightenment and follow the pace of God’s work first. But the fact fights back against my conceptions and imaginations. God doesn’t care about these outward things, yet He cares about who longs for God, which made me think of the Lord Jesus’ words, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Mat 5:3). ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled’ (Mat 5:6). ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ (Mat 5:8). Although disciples who followed the Lord, like Peter, John, Matthew and so on, neither had a high position or status nor were familiar with Bible verses, they were willing to follow the Lord when they heard the Lord’s call and modestly sought God’s words and work. They did not feel constrained by the Pharisees, breaking through all dark influences and devoting themselves to follow the Lord Jesus. Finally, they gained God’s salvation. In future, we should imitate Peter and John and do not rely on our own conceptions and imaginations but on God’s word regarding the return of the Lord. Only when we seek and investigate with humble hearts, can we receive God’s guidance and enlightenment, keeping up with the pace of God’s work.”
Believers discussed widely, “Yeah. It seems that our thoughts before don’t conform to the truth indeed. The Lord’s disciples, Peter and John, are really the examples we should follow. God is righteous and faithful. As long as we put our notions aside, seeking and investigating with our true hearts, God will enlighten us and we can welcome the Lord’s appearance and work like Peter, John and Matthew.”
Sister Wang looked pensive and said, “I still don’t understand that at the beginning, so many people heard the Lord Jesus’ sermons and saw Him perform miracles and welcomed His return in the crowd, but why did most of them follow the Pharisees to resist the Lord Jesus later?”
Brother Liu said with a firm voice, “Sister, your question is very practical. We all know that the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees are religious leaders and elite. Most people looked up to and worshiped them because they had believed in God for a long time, and were familiar with Bible and had status and gifts, regarding the theories of the theology and biblical studies they preached as the truth. Those people believed in God but they didn’t seek or investigate the Lord Jesus’ words and work, nor did they care whether it came from God or benefited people. They just blindly looked up to and worshiped biblical studies, status and power. When the Pharisees found all kinds of accusations against the Lord Jesus and condemned Him by law, most people had no discernment and were deceived by them. They believed Pharisees’ fallacies and followed them to resist the Lord Jesus, being made into the Pharisees’ accomplices. The other aspect is that when they knew the Lord Jesus did not come to be their King and lead them to overthrow the Roman government’s rule, even He Himself was condemned and resisted by the religious leaders, they denied the Lord Jesus’s words and work. They thought that if the Lord Jesus was Christ and Messiah, He should be King and supported by everyone. How come He could be condemned and rejected? Therefore, as the Lord Jesus’ working did not conform to their conceptions, they stood on the side of the Pharisees to beat the drum for them and resist and condemn the Lord.”
Sister Wang said excitedly, “Thank God. I am clear through your fellowshiping. It turns out that the reasons why most people followed the Pharisees to condemn and resist the Lord Jesus are that they looked up to and worshiped people, felt constrained by power and status, and that they did not seek the truth and had no discernment at all, but viewed the Lord Jesus’s work based on their own conceptions and imaginations. It looks like that we should have a heart that reveres God on the subject of welcoming the return of the Lord. We could not listen to the words of pastors and elders. Otherwise, we are easily to be deceived and cheated so that we resist God and suffer His punishment.”
Brother Liu said, “Yes. Facing the work of the returned Lord, only by having a heart that reveres God to seek and investigate modestly, not to judge or condemn willfully, can we get the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination, keeping up with the pace of God’s work and receiving His salvation.”
Believers discussed with a smile, “Yeah. If it were not for today’s communication in this way, we would also have no discernment regarding the subject of welcoming the Lord just like those people at that time who looked up to and worshiped pastors and elders with status and power. And we would treat God’s work based on our own conceptions and imaginations. God is righteous and loves the people who humbly seek the truth. People like Peter, can be approved by God. That’s right. If we still insist on listening to the pastors’ and elders’ words and don’t discern them, we are easily to be deceived. We should follow Peter and John, seeking the truth with a heart that reveres God. Only by praying more and seeking God’s will as well as hearing God’s voice carefully when encountering the problems, can we follow God’s footsteps and gain His salvation.”
All believers, “Thank God! Amen!”