Why Can We Not Follow God’s Footsteps by Staying in Our Own Church?
By Yan Dongmei
Many brothers and sisters in the Lord hold the views that they should stay in their own church and that those who run around are licentious in spirit and whores. Therefore, they dare not seek or investigate it when they hear the gospel of the Lord’s second coming, nor dare they under any circumstances leave the way of the Lord Jesus lest they be condemned for their disloyalty to Him. However, have we wondered whether these views really come from God or are truly after God’s heart?
In the Age of Law, as we all know, man who believed in God worshiped God in the temple, and it accorded with Jehovah God’s will. However, when the Lord Jesus came, He did not work in the temple anymore. He led His disciples to preach at the seaside, on the mountains, in the villages and so on, and healed the sick and cast out demons. He told man that they didn’t need to offer sheep and cattle for their sins anymore, and that their sins could be forgiven once they prayed, confessed and repented to Him directly. Besides, He also asked people to worship God in spirit and in truth and not to stay within the temple or keep the Sabbath. All of this was God’s will of that time. Nonetheless, the Pharisees, chief priests and scribes, who slavishly abided by the law and yet didn’t know the new work of God, condemned the way of the Lord Jesus and censured those who followed Him as the betrayers of Jehovah. Finally, they ended up committing a heinous crime of nailing the sinless Lord Jesus to the cross. They held the notions that God was in the temple forever, that to believe in God one must worship Jehovah God in the temple, and that leaving the temple and following the Lord Jesus meant taking a wrong way and being unfaithful to God. Seen from the outside, they were particularly loyal to Jehovah God and obeyed His laws to the utmost. In fact, their absurdity made them unable to follow the footsteps of God, and even worse, be condemned by the Lord Jesus and punished in the end. It’s a fact known to all.
In the last days, to completely save mankind from the domain of Satan, God has brought an end to the Age of Grace and done a stage of work of chastisement and judgment with the word, which brings man into the new age. Those who listen and submit to God are able to live under the guidance and provision of God’s word, have a change in their corrupt disposition, gradually break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, no longer suffer the bondage and restraint of sin, and gain the truth as life. This just fulfills the words of the Lord Jesus: “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). Facing God’s work in the last days, if we stand still and stick to the ridiculous view of staying in our own church, dare not listen to the messages about the work of Almighty God, and even condemn and oppose it without any seeking or investigation, we may appear to be loyal to God outwardly, but in reality we are no different from those Pharisees who clung to the laws and condemned and resisted the Lord Jesus.
It is recorded in the Bible: “Another parable put he forth to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man which sowed good seed in his field” (Matthew 13:24). “and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather you together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:30). As we all know, when the wheat ripens, it cannot be left in the field forever and should be reaped, which means it leaves its original place and is gathered into the barn, while the tares remain to be burned. The Lord Jesus also said: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away” (Matthew 13:47-48). These two verses tell us that when the Lord’s gospel has been spread to the ends of the world, Christ, the Son of man, will pick out the good from every denomination (“gathered the good into vessels”), who are exactly the ones that accept God’s work of the last days, and leave the bad behind in their own denomination (“cast the bad away”). Obviously, God wishes to save those who long for, seek, and can accept the truth, have good humanity and a kind heart. However, those who do not seek or investigate but arbitrarily condemn the work of God in the last days will be eliminated by God without any possibility of salvation. We can now see that God’s will is for us to keep up with His footsteps rather than stay in our own church.
Thus it can be seen that what we hold onto are only our notions and imaginations, which are the total opposite of the truth and invalid. Then what is it to be chaste? What is it to be promiscuous? It is said in Revelation 14:4: “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.” It is so clear that God wishes us to pay attention to the latest work of the Holy Spirit and closely keep pace with it. Only by marching forward in this way can we be real chaste virgins commended by God. Whereas those who hold fast to the view that one should stay in his own church are people who do not seek the truth, rebel against and oppose God, and are truly disloyal to God. It is mentioned many times in Revelation: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” The Lord also told us: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). God’s work is always progressing onward. Since we believe in God, we should closely follow His footsteps and keep moving forward, which is after God’s heart. How can one meet the Lord’s return if he hears the news of the Bridegroom’s coming and doesn’t dare to go out to meet Him? Such people are foolish virgins who will be forsaken and condemned in the end. Only those who can walk out of their notions to seek and investigate God’s work of the last days are wise virgins.
Just as Almighty God’s word says: “Those who cannot closely follow the footsteps of God are incapable of attaining such a life. They will have lowered themselves into darkness, where they will weep and gnash their teeth; they are people who believe in God but do not follow Him, who believe in God but do not obey all of His work. Since man believes in God, he must closely follow the footsteps of God, step-by-step; he should ‘follow the Lamb wherever He goes.’ Only these are the people who seek the true way, only they are the ones who know the work of the Holy Spirit. People who slavishly follow letters and doctrines are those who have been eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit. In each period of time, God will begin new work, and in each period, there will be a new beginning among man. If man only abides by the truths that ‘Jehovah is God’ and ‘Jesus is Christ,’ which are truths that only apply to their respective ages, then man will never keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and will forever be incapable of gaining the work of the Holy Spirit” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“What God wants are people who follow His footsteps. No matter how wonderful and pure what you understood before is, God does not want it, and if you are unable to put aside such things, then they will be a tremendous obstacle to your entry in the future. All those who are able to follow the present light of the Holy Spirit are blessed. The people of ages past also followed the footsteps of God, yet they could not follow until today; this is the blessing of the people of the last days. Those who can follow the present work of the Holy Spirit, and who are able to follow the footsteps of God, such that they follow God wherever He leads them—these are people who are blessed by God. … Today, all those who follow the present words of God are in the stream of the Holy Spirit; those who are strangers to the words of God today are outside of the stream of the Holy Spirit, and such people are not commended by God” (“Know God’s Newest Work and Follow His Footsteps” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
» You may be interested in reading more on our Testimonies page about Return to God, or in the articles below:
• How to Attend the Wedding Feast of the Lamb
• Finding the Church That Has the Work of the Holy Spirit, I Welcomed the Lord
• What Should We Do in the Face of Famine in the Church Prophesied in the Bible?