Who Has Hindered You From Following God?
Once, Brother Yang shared his experience with me.
Brother Yang is the only son of his family. He didn’t get married until he was middle-aged. Seeing that his parents were getting old, he wanted to get married and have children as soon as possible. Later, through a matchmaker’s introduction, he got married. After his marriage, he had hoped that his wife would believe in the Lord together with him, but she not only did not believe, but also did her utmost to oppose his belief in the Lord. They often argued about it, and their life was not happy at all. Brother Yang didn’t want to give up believing in the Lord and serving Him, but he wondered whether he could divorce his wife. So, he went to ask his pastor. The pastor told him that marriage was arranged by God; no matter what happened, he shouldn’t divorce his wife; and instead, he must respect marriage and his wife. Then, Brother Yang kept the pastor’s words for more than ten years as if they were the truth. Over those years, he could only read the Bible occasionally and secretly. He could no longer attend meetings regularly, not to mention working or spending for the Lord. In the end, he said because he hadn’t attended meetings for a long time and he had already strayed too far from God, he really didn’t want to attend meetings….
Brother Yang’s story provoked us into thinking: Over two thousand years of the continuation and development of the religion, a great number of denominations have been formed, and now no one can approach the standing and prestige of pastors and elders in our hearts. Because they graduated from seminaries, can preach biblical knowledge and theological theories, are ones who serve the Lord, and are the head sheep in the church, many of us think they must be good servants and good stewards of the Lord. For this reason, in times of problems and difficulties, we first turn to the pastors and elders, rather than seek and pray to the Lord and put His words into practice. We do whatever the pastors say. Few of us are actually serious about whether their words accord with the Lord’s will. And we seldom ponder over these important problems: Are their requirements on the basis of God’s words? Even if they are, is their understanding of God’s words pure or one-sided and distorted?
Now is the crucial moment for us to wait for and meet the Lord’s return. We learn from brothers and sisters who have visited many denominations that outwardly all denominations are anxiously yearning for the Lord’s return. For instance, some churches require believers to pray, fast regularly and wait for the Lord watchfully. Some pastors often tell believers, “Now is the time when the Lord is to return. Don’t crave for the world and money anymore. We should often read the Bible and attend gatherings actively. Only in this way can we welcome the Lord.” However, while they are seemingly preparing to welcome the Lord’s return, they often warn believers that only the head sheep and leaders of the church can convey the message of the Lord’s return; they should never read, listen to, or believe any messages that say the Lord has returned or that are related to the return of the Lord, much less receive those who testify about the Lord’s return; and whoever violates this is betraying the Lord and will be expelled from the church. Some brothers and sisters obey all these mandatory and arbitrary regulations without discernment.
It is very common in the religious world that the believers must obey what the pastors and elders say and must always stay within their churches. Even if they can’t feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in meetings, and can’t receive the moving and guidance of the Holy Spirit while reading the Bible and praying, they are still forbidden to search for the movement and footprints of the Holy Spirit’s work outside of their churches. Aren’t the pastors and elders the same as the Pharisees who, in order to maintain their status and power, did their utmost to control the Jewish people and hinder them from seeking and investigating the words and the work of the Lord Jesus? At that time, many Jewish people were deceived and controlled by the Pharisees. They didn’t accept and obey the Lord Jesus’ new work, and even nailed the Lord to the cross together with the Pharisees, and thus became the eternal sinners. Until now, Judaism hasn’t woken up—the Jewish people are still being deceived by those religious leaders who consume people whole like devils, and as if slumbering in a big dream, they are still ignorantly waiting for the coming of the Messiah.
Then, in the matter of welcoming the return of the Lord Jesus in the last days, has the tragedy already been repeated? The leaders of all denominations spare no efforts in sealing off churches, as if they are about to put their hands over the believers’ ears and blindfold their eyes. They desperately hinder the believers from seeking any messages about the return of the Lord. From this we can see that the religious world in the last days has indeed walked on the old way of Judaism. The return of the Lord will be a thorough test and revelation for these impenetrable and watertight religious groups.
In reality, many of us are very clear that today the disasters in different countries are getting bigger and bigger, that the international situation is becoming increasingly tense, and that the biblical prophecies about the signs of the last days, such as the four blood moons, have been fulfilled one by one. All of these things show us that the day of the Lord has come. However, due to the constraint and bondage of the pastors and elders, many brothers and sisters dare not to seek the messages about the Lord’s return, and they can only cling to the letters and doctrines of the Bible and the religious rituals. Then what shall we do? Shall we come out from the religious community to look for “what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7), and accept it and follow the Lamb’s footsteps the moment we find it? Or shall we repeat the historical tragedy of the Jewish people who didn’t seek the truth but followed the evil ones to oppose God while believing in Him?
Actually, a number of true believers in the Lord have found that today’s religious world has long lost the Holy Spirit’s work. The pastors and elders have repeatedly preached the same biblical knowledge, doctrines, and theological theories for so many years and they don’t have anything new to preach, unable to supply life to the believers at all. And the believers all sense that staying within the church is just conducting services and observing religious rituals. Without any watering of the living water of life, their spiritual life became ever drier and they even have been parched and starved to death. Now, smart people have known that they should not wait interminably, and they have begun to search for the message of the Lord’s return through all sorts of means. For example, they look for the church that has the work of the Holy Spirit through social platforms online. One day, an online friend that believed in the Lord excitedly sent me a post, saying that he had found the church with the Holy Spirit’s work on Facebook. I asked him how he could tell. He answered, “What is of God will thrive! This church openly testifies on the internet that the Lord has come back and has disclosed many mysteries in the Bible about the Lord’s return in the last days. It’s really worth our immediate seeking and investigating….” After that, I asked more than ten online friends about it and they all thought the same way. I thought: We can find online the gospel of the Lord Jesus’ return. Isn’t it accepting the gospel in the air? Then, I thought of the prophecy in Revelation, “And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:6-7). Amen! Thanks for the Lord’s guidance! Now, many online friends in the Lord are no longer restrained by the pastors and elders. They are seeking and investigating this church, and warmly discussing the message of the Lord’s return testified by it. We trust that the Lord will surely lead us to recognize His voice and follow His footsteps.