How are we supposed to free ourselves from the spiritual emptiness and the degenerate life and find a genuine life? I was so lost and befuddled before, but now I’ve found the answer.
I Have Seen Through the Religious Pastors
When my husband passed away, I sank into extreme grief. In addition, I had to raise our kids alone. So my life was really hard then. However, the Lord had never left me alone but pulled me through with the help of my brothers and sisters. To repay the Lord’s love, I began to spend and sacrifice for Him in the church. Throughout these more than 30 years since then, I had experienced both the prosperity and the desolation of the church. Originally, in the church there was the work of the Holy Spirit. The believers felt enjoyment and received edification after hearing the pastors’ sermons, loved each other like a family, and preached the gospel and testified to the Lord with one heart and mind. Later, their faith and love gradually grew cold somehow. The number of the people attending meetings was decreasing. Most of the serving people were perfunctory in their duty, and the pastors’ preachings had no new light, almost all of which were platitudes, thus providing no benefit or help for the believers. Though being the servants of the Lord, we all watched the pastors’ expressions and then acted accordingly, which was actually not serving God but doing things diligently before people to please them. I knew such service didn’t fulfill God’s will, yet I could do nothing. I often felt painful about it.
In 2016, I was fortunate to investigate God’s work of the last days. Through the fellowship of the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God, I knew that God has become flesh in the human world and expressed words to do the work of judgment in the last days, which has disclosed the mystery of the Lord’s return that I had puzzled over for many years. I knew that the Lord’s return in the last days will be in two different ways. One is to come in secret, and the other publicly appear. First, the Lord will descend in secret as the Son of man in the flesh to express words to judge and purify man, and make a group of overcomers. After that, the Lord will send down great disasters to reward the good and punish the wicked, and descend publicly to appear to all nations and all peoples. At that time, those who have refused the work of God of the last days and those who have condemned and resisted God will all weep and gnash their teeth. The brothers and sisters also fellowshiped with me about the truths concerning the three stages of God’s work of saving mankind, the significance of God’s incarnation, how God does the work of judgment in the last days, and so on. From their fellowship I came to know the reason why we found it ever harder to serve the Lord in the church, and why we had no path to tread on and couldn’t feel the presence of the Holy Spirit at all when praying, reading and studying the Bible. As it turned out, God had started a new work and the Holy Spirit no longer worked in the churches of the Age of Grace. For this reason, the believers in the Lord felt distressed without the slightest joy or satisfaction, much less could they receive the spiritual supply. Thank God! If I had not been saved by God, I would still be confused about my faith and still regard serving man as serving God. If I had gone on like that, no matter how many efforts I devoted to serving the Lord, they would be in vain. From Almighty God’s words, I recognized God’s voice and realized the appearance and the work of Almighty God are the appearance and the work of the returned Lord Jesus, and thus happily accepted God’s work of the last days.
One day, unexpectedly the wife of a pastor sent me a message, “Why did you like the posts of the Eastern Lightning on Facebook? Aren’t you afraid of taking the wrong way? You allow them to tag you and post on your timeline; that will influence others. You can’t contact the people of that church and you must unfriend them. Put your mind to your service. Anyone who doesn’t serve the Lord with diligence can’t ….” I said, “I think the hymns and MVs of the Church of Almighty God are pretty good, so it is natural for me to like them….” And she went on with some evil words against the Church of Almighty God. Seeing her attitude was hostile, I didn’t want to say more about that to her and changed the topic. I thought, “Her view that whoever doesn’t serve the Lord with diligence cannot enter the kingdom of heaven is the same as my former view. But now I have accepted the work of Almighty God and learned from His word that God decides the destination of a person on the basis of whether he possesses the truth. This corresponds with what the Lord : One shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven if he doesn’t become as a little child; whoever doesn’t do the will of the Father in heaven shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven; no one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the . Never did the Lord Jesus say that he who does not serve the Lord with diligence shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. So the view of the religious world—that only by serving the Lord with diligence can one enter into the kingdom of heaven—is completely wrong.”
A few days later, unexpectedly Pastor Yang (another pastor) came to talk with me. After exchanging a few words of greeting, Pastor Yang asked me, “Have you investigated other denominations on the internet?” Not knowing his intention, I said, “I have Facebook friends from many denominations. If I feel what they post is right and good, I will take a close look at it and see whether there is new light. Is there anything wrong with my doing so?” Pastor Yang went on, “Have you believed in the Eastern Lightning since the year before last? Why did you investigate the Eastern Lightning? And do you often go to visit XX (a sister who had accepted the work of Almighty God of the last days and was condemned and rejected by the pastors of her former church, and whose photo was even posted up)….” His inquiries made me a bit angry. I said, “The Church of Almighty God is quite good and there is nothing wrong with my investigation. I’ll follow the pace of the Holy Spirit’s work; this is what I should do. In our church there is no new light. I can’t receive spiritual supply or find enjoyment in the worship service on the Lord’s day. There is no work of the Holy Spirit in our church, and I feel quite lonely and dark in the spirit. So I want to look for the church that has the work of the Holy Spirit. I hope to find the truth that can supply my spiritual needs. The messages of the Eastern Lightning are very good. I think I have the freedom to investigate it.” Pastor Yang said, “Outside the Bible there is no God’s words. The messages given by the people from the Eastern Lightning are beyond the Bible. They have gone astray from the Bible, and that’s why they are wrong.” I said, “I also had such misunderstandings before. But through investigating the Church of Almighty God, reading Almighty God’s words, and fellowshiping with the brothers and sisters from the Church of Almighty God, I have found that the facts are not like what we have imagined. The work of Almighty God is on the foundation of that of the Lord Jesus, and both are done by one God; and moreover, what they preach about is integrated with the Bible, which has made me better understand the mysteries in the Bible….” After hearing my words, Pastor Yang still didn’t have any intention to investigate at all. He then said some words to resist and condemn Almighty God and His Church. And he even questioned me closely, “How did you know the website of the Church of Almighty God? Do you have their books? Have you ever preached it to others? Have you preached it to your children? Give me the names of the people from the Church of Almighty God….” More than that, he even wanted me to promise him never to have gatherings with the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God, and said that if I didn’t listen to him and insisted on contacting them, he would expel me from the church, forbid my entry into any church, and ruin my reputation. I told him, “You can investigate the Church of Almighty God. Search the Web for ‘Almighty God’ and you will see the official website of the Church of Almighty God, where there are abundant information and books of all kinds. You may investigate it on their website first. Don’t blindly condemn it.” However, Pastor Yang did not listen to me and went on opposing and condemning the Church of Almighty God and threatening me, trying to force me to drop out of it. Seeing him so unreasonable, I said, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged …’ (Matthew 7:1-2). How can you judge the Church of Almighty God when you haven’t investigated it? By what do you say the church is not right? Have you investigated it?” When he saw I was advising him not to arbitrarily judge God’s work rather than taking his advice, he said nothing more, and thus the questioning ended.
However, in the ensuing days, Pastor Yang began to monitor me and tried to have me follow in the steps of the pastors, which made my life filled with annoyances and deprived me of my freedom of belief. In the church, there was only a corridor in between the office of Pastor Yang and mine. From time to time, he would enter my office and look around; sometimes he would deliberately go to the toilet and then come out and stand in the corridor watching my office. The “kind” pastor, contrary to his usual practice, watched me like a thief, which made me not liberated at all. One day, two sisters of the Church of Almighty God came to my office and chatted with me. The moment they left, Pastor Yang called away my assistant, who later told me that she was asked about whom the two sisters were and why they came. Apart from watching me every day in the church, Pastor Yang even came to my house to disturb me. One day, I didn’t go to the church but instead had a meeting with my brothers and sisters on Skype. When I was attentively attending the meeting and taking down notes in the sitting room, from behind me came his sudden voice, “What are you doing? What are you typing?” It gave me a nasty start. (As my house with the front and back yards is a little far from the gate, I would unlock the gate after getting up for the visitors to come in straight.) Because of his disturbance, I was uneasy and could not quiet my heart to do anything. I thought, “It is just and proper for a believer of God to investigate the true way, and it is also the due right of every Christian. Since there is no work of the Holy Spirit in our church and the believers live in a dry and dark state, what’s wrong with my seeking for the church that has the work of the Holy Spirit, looking for the footsteps of God, and investigating the true way? Why are you monitoring me? Why aren’t you giving me freedom?”
Not only did the pastor monitor and disturb me, an elder also began to disturb me by telephone, saying, “What the Church of Almighty God preaches is beyond the Bible. You can’t betray the Lord. The Lord has given you so much grace. You should have a conscience….” He said some words of condemning and resisting Almighty God and His Church, as well as the words of preventing me from accepting the work of Almighty God of the last days. I said, “Almighty God and the Lord Jesus are one God. I haven’t betrayed the Lord Jesus but rather have followed the footsteps of the Lamb.” As the elder said negative words like the pastor, I did not want to listen, and I made an excuse and hung up. But the elder didn’t let me go. He still called me and tried to interfere in my acceptance of God’s work of the last days. The pastor and the elder always said that my believing in Almighty God meant forgetting the grace of the Lord Jesus and betraying Him. Then the prophecy in Revelation came to my mind, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Revelation 14:4). I thought, “How could my believing in Almighty God be a betrayal of the Lord Jesus? When the Lord Jesus did His work, His disciples walked out of the law and accepted the way of repentance and forgiveness preached by the Lord Jesus and followed Him. Could it be said that they forgot the grace of Jehovah God or they betrayed Jehovah? Absolutely not!” After that, the pastor sent me more messages of blaspheming, resisting, and condemning Almighty God and His Church. Those filthy words could only be spoken out by demons. I felt a panic fear for those who could say and do such things, because offending God is a terrible thing!
Though I had advised the pastor and the elder so many times to first investigate the work of Almighty God of the last days and discern from His words whether He is the returned Lord Jesus, they still condemned and opposed the work of Almighty God, and even blasphemed Almighty God. I was greatly puzzled: The pastor and the elder have biblical knowledge and have studied theology, and what’s more, the words of Almighty God are so plain to understand, but why don’t they investigate His work and instead condemn and resist it?
With this confusion in mind, I asked the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God. Sister Lin fellowshiped with me, “About the reason why pastors and elders don’t seek or investigate but condemn and resist His work, Almighty God says, ‘Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What’s more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah, and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of paying empty tribute to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means. These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God is: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous?’ (‘When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth’ 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?’ (‘Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God’ in Records of Christ’s Talks With Leaders and Workers of the Church). When the Lord Jesus did His work, the Jewish leaders—the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees—frantically condemned and opposed Him; ultimately, they nailed Him to the cross. The Pharisees had believed in God for generations and were versed in the laws, but why could they do that? Almighty God’s words have revealed to us that it was mainly caused by their stubborn and arrogant satanic nature that disobeyed the truth. The Lord Jesus had expressed so many truths, but they were opinionated, and still believed in God according to their notions and imaginations and interpreted the Bible out of context, which blinded them and prevented them from receiving enlightenment from God, knowing the work of the Holy Spirit, understanding the truth, and recognizing God’s voice. Just like them, the pastors and elders of today not only refuse to investigate God’s work of the last days but also condemn and oppose it, which is determined by their arrogant nature. The purpose of the pastors and elders equipping themselves with the biblical knowledge is to flaunt and exalt themselves and protect their status in the religious world, to be looked up to and venerated by the believers and live off the benefits of status. So when God’s work doesn’t conform to their notions and threatens their fame and fortune and status, they crazily condemn and oppose it, vainly attempting to abolish God’s work and rule God’s chosen people forever. So they are the Pharisees of modern times, they are stumbling blocks to people walking the right path, and they are the antichrists who oppose God’s work and treat God as the enemy.”
After I heard the words of Almighty God and the fellowship of Sister Lin, looking back on what the pastor and the elder had said and done, I realized that the words of Almighty God have indeed revealed the fact that the pastors and the elders rely on their innate talents, gifts, and erudition to do their work in order to establish themselves and let others worship them. Thank God! Through time after time of disturbance from the pastor and the elder, I have seen clearly that they do not seek for the truth though they believe in God, and that they are those who serve God and yet oppose Him. And also I have seen the fulfillment of God’s words. Although the pastor and the elder haven’t given up disturbing me until now, I have seen through their essence and no longer felt upset by their disturbance. I am more certain about God’s work of the last days and more resolute to follow Almighty God. I vow to follow Almighty God forever and never regret! Amen!
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