The Lord Jesus performed a lot of miracles during His work, yet He always told people not to tell others. What’s God’s will in it?
Meet the Lord Again, Find the Way of Casting off Sin and Entering the Kingdom of Heaven
By Jing Xin, Australia
Dear brothers and sisters, my name is Jing Xin. Today, I would like to tell you a story about myself. In April of 2010, I joined the Methodist Church and was baptized. During my belief in the Lord, I fully enjoyedand mercy, and also had some gain in spirit. What’s more, I strove to pursue the growth of life and longed for the Lord to return quickly. Then I could enter and behold the face of God.
However, in recent years, when I saw the state of the church and the situation of brothers and sisters studying the, I became more and more unclear about how to enter the kingdom of heaven. Firstly, there were contradictions and divisions among the elders and priests as well as preachers of the church. During their sermons, they all said we could enter the kingdom of heaven as long as we had faith in the Lord. But as for the question of how to believe in the Lord, they only insisted that their own explanation and understandings were right, and none of them gave way to another. Secondly, some brothers, appearing devout on the outside, going to the church very early each time and trying their best to do the work the priest assigned, they were the most trusted by the priest, and brothers and sisters also thought them to be devout. However, through serving the Lord together with them, I did learn that they gave the specific work to ordinary believers, and then they showed the priests the achievements to take credit and made others look up to them. Thirdly, some sisters, due to occasionally receiving some enlightenment of the , thought they had true knowledge of God and shed bitter tears in prayer every time. They even wanted to study theology and devote themselves to God. But when spreading the , they would lose their tempers if others didn’t accept the work of the , without any living out of the Lord’s love. Each time when seeing these phenomenon, I thought in my heart: Could they also enter the kingdom of heaven if they believed in the Lord like this? There were a majority of other brothers and sisters who had their own intentions in the gatherings at church. Some hoped it would be helpful to their careers if they could know more people at church; some went to church to ask for help due to their poor economic conditions; some wanted to be cured because they suffered from diseases, and some went to the church only for seeking comfort to their spiritual emptiness and so on. They thought they could enter the kingdom of heaven as long as they followed the Lord in this way, listened to the words of the pastors and elders and treated the Bible as knowledge to learn. As to the issue of how to enter the kingdom of heaven, every one had their different understandings and practices. But I always thought the changes in our lives were the most important, for it was recorded in the Bible, “Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Now we are still living in the state of sinning and confessing. We are all filthy, yet God is holy. If we haven’t been made clean, how can we be fit to witness the face of God? Why did the Lord Jesus say these words? “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Judging from this, the gate for entering the kingdom of heaven is narrow, and only the violent take it by force. What’s more, it was also written in the Bible, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). However, how do we strive to attain to being cleansed?
When I raised these questions and sought them, the pastor read a few passages of scripture for me, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “For by grace are you saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). “For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:10). The pastor interpreted, “God loves us, gives His only begotten Son who has been nailed on the cross to take on the sins of us. Due to the grace of God, we can be saved as long as we confirm our belief in the Lord with our words and believe in Him in our hearts, and then we can be brought into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes.” The pastor also mentioned another verse, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Then he explained that there seemed to be a veil covering our viewpoint of how to enter the kingdom of heaven, but it would be clear when the Lord comes. After listening to the pastor’s interpretations of these verses, I still didn’t know how to get rid of sins in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Furthermore, I didn’t agree to his point that we could enter the kingdom of heaven as long as we confirmed our faith in the Lord with our words and believed in Him in our hearts. Because the Lord Jesus has said clearly, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever” (John 8:34-35). Therefore, these doubts still exist in my heart all long.
This year, because some sudden changes occurred in my job, there was a year’s layoff and I had to stay at home, which made me feel very upset. In the past, I regarded my job as my whole life, but I lost it now. I didn’t know what I could do at that time. Then I prayed to the Lord, but I didn’t get any answer, feeling as if I fell into darkness. Therefore, I went to a fewgroups to look for answers, yet I still didn’t receive any enlightenment from the Lord. I had no way out, feeling very upset and depressed. And I even began to complain about God in my heart, unable to understand why these things had happened to me. At this lowest point of my life, I got a call from a sister whom I knew before and made an appointment with her. From ten o’clock in the morning until over four o’clock in the afternoon, we fellowshiped together, and I indeed gained a lot from her knowledge of the Bible and her pure faith in God. She also told me the story about Job’s faith in God: Job lost all his property and all of his children, and even sore boils broke out across his body, but he didn’t complain about God. His wife and friends didn’t understand him, and let him confess and repent his sins or curse God and die, yet he said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Through Job’s experience, I understood that the job I had in the past was bestowed upon by God, and losing my job was also permitted by Him. So in any case, I should not complain about God but praise Him. She also said there were several types of believers in God. Some believed in God externally but resisted Him in their hearts; some truly believed in God and relied on Him from the outside to the inside; some were muddled in their faith…. During our communications, she always said “does God approve it or not?” After she left, I began to ponder her word, “Yes! Does God approve what I have done? I have never thought of this issue, and the pastors have never given sermons about this either.” I though her fellowship was very enlightening, how come I haven’t thought of this? She had much understanding of the Bible, and her preaching was profound, so I was willing to study the Bible with her.
Later, she introduced two brothers to me, and we studied the Bible together. I was very happy about this, because I felt the Lord knew the needs in my life, and thus He brought these brothers and sisters to me. We together shared verses in the Bible. What they fellowshiped was something I have never heard, and it actually did much help to me. At that time, a brother asked me why I believed in the Lord Jesus. I said happily, “Because we are all sinners. The Lord Jesus has already redeemed us through His precious blood, so that we can be called righteous because of our faith. We practice according to the requirements of the Lord Jesus and pursue the changes in our life, and in the end, we can enter the kingdom of heaven and obtain everlasting life.” Then he again asked me how the Lord Jesus comes to receive us into the kingdom of heaven? I answered, “When the Lord Jesus returns on the clouds, He sits on a white throne to judge the quick and the dead. And He will judge whether one enters the kingdom of heaven or goes to hell according to every word and deed as well as every thought and idea of every man recorded by angels.” He smiled and said, “Let’s read some more verses and see how the Bible says about this issue!” So we continued to read some other verses, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15). “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). “If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief” (Revelation 3:3). Then we began to discuss in which way the Lord Jesus will return, coming as a thief at midnight or descending on the clouds. If the Lord Jesus will come as a thief at midnight, but due to the time difference, it is at midnight here while in the daytime in America. So such a saying was too superficial. If the Lord Jesus will descend on the clouds, why it was written in revelation in the Bible, “Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him” (Revelation 1:7). We all have longed for the return of the Lord Jesus night and day. Then why shall all kindreds of the earth wail when He returns? Finally, the brother explained, “In fact, ‘as a thief’ refers to the Lord coming in secret, and ‘descend on the clouds’ means that He will openly appear to mankind after completing His secret work in the flesh. Just like the first time God was incarnated, the Lord Jesus secretly descended to do His work, and then He ascended to heaven publicly on a white cloud after He was nailed to the cross, was resurrected and publicly appeared to His apostles for forty days. There are two ways for the return of the Lord Jesus, coming in secret, then appearing publicly. And He comes secretly to do the work of salvation, while He appears publicly to determine each type of person’s ending. So God has warned us in Revelation, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me’ (Revelation 3:20). Apparently, only those who can listen to the voice of God can welcome the arrival of the Lord and follow the footsteps of God. Otherwise, when God appears to mankind publicly after finishing His secret work in the flesh, those who can’t keep up with the footprints of God’s work will be forsaken by Him. This is the true meaning of the verse ‘all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him’ in Revelation.”
The brother continued fellowshiping, “Sister, actually the Lord Jesus has already come. He has secretly descended among man and is doing the work of judgment with His word. This has fulfilled the words in the Bible, ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). ‘And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:47-48). Only those who accept the work of judgment ofin the last days and are cleansed can be brought into the kingdom of heaven. Yet those who don’t accept the work of judgment of God’s word in the last days can’t be cleansed, and they will fall into the disaster and be destroyed when God appears publicly to reward good and punish evil. However, those who await the Lord’s public arrival upon a cloud to judge man can only weep and gnash their teeth.” At that point, I felt what the brother fellowshiped was very amazing and enlightening, and I had never heard of this. As for the brother’s saying that the Lord Jesus has already come, I couldn’t totally agree with him, but I thought there was truth to be sought here.