In April of 2016, I started to believe in the. At a gathering, the elder said to us, “We are all sinful. But the Lord was crucified for our sins, and redeemed us by His blood, and thus our sins have been forgiven. As long as we persist in reading the Bible, love brothers and sisters, work and preach more, we’ll be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Hearing what the elder said, I thought: I must pursue hard to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven in the future.
However, after a period of time, I found that when I was scolded without cause by my colleagues, I felt wronged and angry and couldn’t forgive them, much less love them. Knowing I hadn’t put the Lord’s words into practice, I was very worried. Later, I found that in the church, we didn’t exalt the Lord at all but listened to the pastors and elders in all things. The believers all admired and looked up to them. In addition, the brothers and sisters engaged in disputes and jealousy. They would turn hostile immediately when encountering something against their will and would ignore each other even if they met. I thought: How can there be any work of the Holy Spirit in such a church? Is there any difference between the church and the world of the unbelievers? And we’re caught living in a cycle of sinning and confessing, having not escaped from sins. Can we enter into the heavenly kingdom? Can it be that those who still sin are permitted to enter into the heavenly kingdom? Thinking of these, I felt rather weak and negative and had less and less faith.
From then on, I seldom went to the gatherings. Gradually, I felt I was getting further and further away from the Lord. Every day when I was faced with disputes between my colleagues, I felt pained and helpless. And I had no way but to constantly pray to the Lord, hoping to be reunited with the Lord some day so as to put an end to the painful days.
In August of 2016, I happened to know Sister Lin when I was learning Japanese. After knowing she was a Christian, I asked, “Could I take part in your meetings?” She told me happily that they had small group meetings on the internet and invited me to join in.
The one who was in charge of our meetings was Brother Wu. From his fellowship, I found he was modest and very familiar with the Bible. I asked him, “Brother, the Lord Jesus said He would come again to take us into the kingdom of heaven. Can you tell me when the Lord will come back?” Brother Wu asked me in reply, “Can we surely be taken into the heavenly kingdom if the Lord comes back?” I said, “The elder of my church says that as long as we stick to attending meetings, work and preach more, the Lord Jesus will definitely bring us into the kingdom of heaven.” Brother Wu said with a smile, “Most believers in the Lord think that way. But can we really enter the heavenly kingdom by practicing in the way? We all know the Pharisees knew the laws of the Old Testament very well, and that they all worked hard and compassed sea and land to preach. But they didn’t recognize the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah when He came to work. For the sake of protecting their own status and livelihoods, they, along with the Roman government, condemned the Lord Jesus, and even nailed Him to the cross, committing a grave sin. Can they enter the kingdom of heaven? They believed in God but didn’t know Him and even resisted and condemned Him. Therefore, no matter how great their faith was, no matter how much work they did, God wouldn’t allow them to enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
I was a little shocked at what the brother said, thinking in my heart: That’s the case. The Pharisees knew the Bible very well and did so much work, but they opposed and condemned the Lord Jesus. They certainly couldn’t enter the kingdom of heaven. It seems that we can’t judge whether or not a man can enter the heavenly kingdom by his external sacrifices and suffering. So I said, “Brother, we won’t necessarily enter into the kingdom of heaven even if we read more of the Bible, and work and preach more; then what should we do to enter the kingdom?”
Brother Wu said, “As is recorded in the Bible, the Lord Jesus said, ‘Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21). Jehovah God said, ‘You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45). And Hebrews 12:14 says: ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ From the above verses we can see that only those who obey the will of the heavenly Father and those who seek to break free from the bondage of sin and to be cleansed can enter the kingdom of heaven. This is the standard of entering the heavenly kingdom. Even though we read the Bible more, and preach and work more, we still can sin and be controlled and bound by sins. For example, for the sake of our own profits, we often make a fuss over little things, criticize each other, and engage in jealous and disputes. We often lie and cheat. Being arrogant and haughty, we look down on others. We lust for the secular world, and pursue money, status and reputation. Similarly, the pastors and elders, when they work and preach, always elevate and aggrandize themselves so that the believers will adore them. Their hard work is for their status and livelihoods. So much corruption we have, which means we aren’t the ones who obey the will of the heavenly Father, much less become cleansed, so how can we enter the heavenly kingdom? God is righteous and holy and those who are impure won’t be permitted to exist in His kingdom. Therefore, if we want to enter the heavenly kingdom, we must get rid of our sins.”
What the brother said caused me to think: In my work, when the opinions or suggestions my colleagues put forward don’t accord with my will, my heart will be filled with hatred. The Lord demanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and love our enemies, but I can’t put it into practice anyhow. Besides, in the church, the brothers and sisters have jealous disputes with each other and the pastors often exalt themselves when preaching. We have so much corruption indeed, then how can we enter God’s kingdom? And how can we resolve our corrupt disposition? If it cannot be resolved, doesn’t that mean we will never enter the kingdom? I still had many questions in my heart.
Though I had a lot more to chat about, we had communicated for over two hours before we stopped that gathering. And I benefited greatly from what the brother said. Thinking that it had been a long time since I gathered the last time and that this could be another opportunity God gave me to know Him, I decided to seize this opportunity.
About a week later when I was online a second time, I talked to Brother Wu about my questions. He said that if we want to resolve our sin at its root, we need God to do a stage of judgment and cleansing work in the last days, and that only by accepting God’s judgment work of the last days can we be cleansed of our sins and qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. Then he told us that the Lord Jesus has already returned in the flesh to express the truth, and started doing the judgment work beginning with the house of God. Hearing Brother Wu say that the Lord has returned, I was stunned: The Lord has come back? How could that be? And how could he know that? I couldn’t accept this fact right now, thinking: Who on earth is this brother? Why did he know so much? The return of the Lord is important, and I have little discernment so what if I believe by mistake? I must first become clear on this matter. So at the rest of this gathering, I didn’t hear a single word that the brother said.
That night, I lay tossing in bed, thinking that I wondered at what time the Lord would return or whether He had already returned, when the pastor said that it is now the last days, and the Bible’s prophecies surrounding the Lord’s return have basically come true, which shows that the Lord is coming back. However, facing the fact that the brother said the Lord has returned, I felt it was too unexpected. It concerns my destiny and end. What should I do? I felt very confused and had to come before the Lord to pray and seek. I remembered that during our whole gathering, all we did was fellowshiping the truth and the Lord’s will, and their communication let me feel quite fulfilled in my heart. In case what he said is true but I refuse, will I not be unable to receive the Lord? No, I’ll go on to listen and seek.