A Surprising Gain From Receiving a Stranger
I used to be a preacher of a house church. One day in a co-worker meeting, Pastor Chen read a passage of the, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another : Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7). And then he said, “Co-workers, now the followers say that the Lord has returned to do the work of judgment. And many good sheep in other churches have been stolen by them. How can we give an account to the Lord in the future if we fail to look after His flock well? So I decide that in order to protect the flock, no one is allowed to receive any stranger. And if anyone accepts the Eastern Lightning, he will be expelled from the church.” I was greatly shocked by his words, thinking, “Why have so many true believers in the Lord accepted the Eastern Lightning? How could that be? From now on I must be cautious and never receive strangers.”
In the following days, I went to every meeting place to communicate Pastor Chen’s words and asked the believers to obey them. After that, I breathed a sigh of relief, believing acting this way was devotion to the Lord. One day, an elderly sister came to my home in a fluster and said, “Fengying, a stranger came to preach the Eastern Lightning, and she said thehas already come back to express the truth …” “Where is she?” I immediately interrupted her. “I’ll go and have a look.” As soon as I got to the elderly sister’s house with her, I quickly walked up to the sister who came to preach the gospel and said, “You are the one preaching the Eastern Lightning?” “Yes, auntie,” She said with a smile. “The Eastern Lightning is the Jehovah God, of the Lord Jesus.” “Which verse of the Bible records that the Eastern Lightning is the Jehovah God?” I asked. “You’d better go now. We won’t believe whatever you are preaching.” Then she replied peacefully, “Auntie, have you forgotten that the Bible says, ‘Ask you of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain’ (Zechariah 10:1). Isn’t the LORD the God who makes the lightning?” Her words made me speechless, like giving me a head-on blow. In order to save my face, I fought back, “You can preach to those unbelievers if you will. Besides, we don’t know you. And the pastors and elders forbid us to receive strangers. Go now!” A sister said, “Right! We don’t know you. Go away!” But she said calmly, “Actually, we believers in the Lord should listen to the Lord’s word. The Lord Jesus has never said that no one is allowed to receive strangers; instead He said, ‘Whoever shall receive this child in my name receives me: and whoever shall receive me receives him that sent me’ (Luke 9:48). The Lord said that whoever receives the messengers that preach the gospel receives Him. But your pastors and elders don’t allow you to receive strangers, aren’t they disobeying the Lord’s teachings?” Another one said hastily, “If you don’t leave, I’ll call 110 and then you’ll go.” Everyone present attacked or threatened her, and she was driven away.
After the sister left, I couldn’t help thinking: This stranger’s words don’t depart from the Bible. And she is rather devout and doesn’t look like a bad woman. At night, my heart beat violently and I felt very uncomfortable. So I examined in what way I had offended the Lord. Then I remembered how I rejected the people who preached the Eastern Lightning in the past. Was my doing so against the Lord’s will? Thinking of this, I felt it hard to calm down. Recalling that the Lord Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves in the Bible, I got even more confused. So I prayed, “O Lord, I have worked, preached, and protected the flock for You. Why am I having a heart attack? Is it wrong for me not to receive the stranger? O Lord, I am so confused and don’t know what should I do to be after Your heart. O Lord, please guide me.” After the prayer, the words in the Bible that young sister said occurred to me, “Whoever shall receive this child in my name receives me: and whoever shall receive me receives him that sent me” (Luke 9:48). I pondered: Right! The Lordwe should even receive a child, and He never said not to receive strangers. So, is it wrong for me to reject that sister? Then I recalled what the pastors and elders said, thinking: They don’t allow us to receive strangers for the sake of the sheep’s life. They’ve done no wrong. I was really confused at the moment. So I prayed many times and entrusted the Lord with this matter, asking Him to guide me to understand His will.
A few days later, that young sister came to my home. I said, “These days there are many people preaching the Eastern Lightning, and our pastors and elders repeatedly ask us not to contact strangers. You are a stranger, and I don’t know you.” Then she said quietly, “Auntie, as a preacher, you should know that in the Bible there were many people who obtained unexpected blessing unawares just because they received strangers. The Bible records: Abraham received three strangers, and then he had a son when he was one hundred years old. Lot received strangers, and when Sodom was destroyed, he and his two daughters survived. Rahab the harlot received strangers, and she and the others in her house were spared. The poor widow from Zarephath received a stranger, the prophet Elijah, and then the bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry; and when the son of the widow was seriously sick and there was no breath left in him, Elijah prayed to God and cured him. All of those who received strangers obtained God’s grace unawares. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward’ (Matthew 10:41). These are the Lord’s teachings to us, and we should put them into practice. Auntie, is what I said true?” I replied, “Yes. We also frequently preach these at gatherings.” Then she said, “Auntie, if we merely talk about them without practicing them, we won’t gain the truth. Just like the Lord Jesus said, ‘Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock’ (Matthew 7:24). From these examples recorded in the Bible, we can see that if we receive strangers, not only won’t we be deceived, but instead we will gain God’s protection and blessings. The Bible also says, ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares’ (Hebrews 13:2). If no one had received the strangers just as what the pastors and elders said, then how could the gospel ofbe spread from the western countries to our country? Do we know those missionaries from the West? The Lord Jesus said, ‘Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). Since those people went to all nations to preach the gospel, there must be lots of people who didn’t know them. Just like when the Lord Jesus’ disciples and Paul were spreading the Lord’s gospel everywhere, how could many people know them? So, is it in line with the Lord’s teachings that the pastors and elders said not to receive strangers? If we blindly believe those religious leaders’ words and refuse to receive strangers, aren’t we disobeying the Lord’s word and being foolish? Then how can we enter if we just believe in the Lord but don’t obey His word? Isn’t it so, auntie?”
At her words, I thought: Right. People who believe in the Lord should obey the word of the Lord. Since the Lord Jesus never asked us not to receive strangers, is what the pastors and elders said wrong? Then I thought: No! The pastors and elders told us not to receive strangers in case we follow any other gospel. And what they said is for our good. Thinking of this, I said, “The Bible says, ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ’ (Galatians 1:6-7). Thus the reason why we don’t receive strangers is that we fear to follow another gospel.” She smiled and said, “Auntie, a lot of people in the religious world don’t at all understand the verse of the Bible you mentioned. It is from an epistle that Paul wrote to the Galatian churches. But many people think it’s a teaching to the believers in the Lord in the last days. So they never have a proper attitude toward these words. At that time, Paul was preaching the gospel in another place, and he learned that many brothers and sisters in the Galatian churches had left the way of the Lord Jesus Christ and returned to the temple and continued to worship Jehovah and keep the laws. Paul was concerned about the churches, but he couldn’t go back to the Galatian churches immediately. So he wrote this epistle to exhort and remind the brothers and sisters in the churches. Just like he said, ‘O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?’ (Galatians 3:1). The leaders, chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of Judaism disturbed and deceived the Galatians, and asked them to deny the word of Jesus Christ. So Paul wrote an epistle, saying, ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.’ In that age, there were two groups of people preaching the gospel. One preached the old way of God, the gospel of believing in Jehovah God and keeping the law; the other preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, there were some who troubled the Galatians, trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, and make them go back to keep the law. So Paul said in the epistle, ‘… preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed’” (Galatians 1:8).
After her fellowship, I felt brightened in my heart: So, this is what happened. How do the pastors and elders not know that? Since we all believe in the Lord, how could she know so much? And where does she get these? So I asked quizzically, “Sister Zhang, you are right. But how do you know all of these? The book in your hand is…” “Auntie, how could man know these things? I learned all of them from this book. This book is particularly different from any other book in the world, because the words in it are expressed by the second incarnate God Himself. It explains everything that man doesn’t understand and all the mysteries in the Bible, including what you don’t understand.” Her words reminded me of some believers who love the Lord in other churches. They had believed in the Lord for many years, yet easily accepted the Eastern Lightning, and no one could bring them back. It seemed that the Eastern Lightning really had the truth. Therefore, I received the book.
Then she fellowshiped a lot with me, such as the truth of the three stages of God’s work, the prophecies about the “Eastern Lightning,” and so on. I thought: What this young sister said is well-founded and illuminating, and I enjoyed it and learnt from it so much. I’m also a preacher, yet why do I not understand these? Before leaving, she left several tapes of the recitals of’s words to me. I turned on the player from which a pleasing sound came, “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. … Those who wish to gain life without relying on the truth spoken by Christ are the most ridiculous people on earth, and those who do not accept the way of life brought by Christ are lost in fantasy. And so I say that the people who do not accept Christ of the last days shall forever be despised by God. Christ is man’s gateway to the kingdom during the last days, which none may bypass. None may be perfected by God except through Christ. You believe in God, and so you must accept His words and obey His way. You must not just think of gaining blessings without receiving the truth, or accepting the provision of life. Christ comes during the last days so that all those who truly believe in Him may be provided with life. His work is for the sake of concluding the old age and entering the new one, and is the path that must be taken by all those who would enter the new age. If you are incapable of acknowledging Him, and instead condemn, blaspheme or even persecute Him, then you are bound to burn for eternity, and shall never enter the kingdom of God.” Hearing this, I felt both joy and sorrow with tears in my eyes, thinking: These words with authority can only be expressed by God Himself. The Lord Jesus also said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6). This is indeed God’s voice. At that time, the scene of my rejecting the brothers and sisters who came to preach the gospel to me time after time rose before my eyes. I was very distressed: How foolish and ignorant I am! During my years of belief, I have listened to what the pastors and elders said more than the Lord’s word, so that I didn’t dare to receive any stranger who preached the Eastern Lightning. Besides, not only did I not seek or investigate the true way, but I hindered my brothers and sisters doing that, thinking that this was devotion to the Lord. Never did I think that I was in opposition to God. However, God didn’t give up on me because of that, and instead He arranged for a sister to preach the gospel to me once more, giving me another opportunity to repent. When I received the sister, a stranger, God blessed me, and so I received the Lord and welcomed His return unawares. I thank God for His salvation of me, and I am willing to cooperate with Him to bring my brothers and sisters before Him to comfort His heart.
Not long after, I began to live the church life. Having meetings and performing my duty with my brothers and sisters, I was filled with joy. Thank God for His guidance. Later, I cooperated with some brothers and sisters and brought those who truly believe in the Lord in my former church before God. All the glory be to Almighty God!