By Zhihui, United States
It was in 2012. The complicated human relationships made me weary in body and mind. In the depths of perplexity and helplessness, I didn’t know to whom I should pour out my heart, nor did I know how to free myself from these sufferings. Later, on my friend’s recommendation, I went to church. The brothers and sisters welcomed me cordially, which warmed the cockles of my heart, and they often prayed and had heart-to-heart talks with me; at the meetings, the pastor frequently fellowshiped about loving each other, telling us to act according to the word of the Lord Jesus; sometimes in the fellowship, the sisters would talk about how to get along with our family and colleagues, which was very helpful to me and made me feel that believing in God was a good thing. Gradually, I began to enjoy going to church and then joined the ranks of serving the Lord.
Three years later, my husband passed away suddenly, and then the heavy burden of life fell on me. I had to work while taking care of my two young children, so I couldn’t go to church regularly, and naturally I donated and attended the dinner meetings less and less. Gradually, I found that the co-workers and other brothers and sisters started to keep their distance from me, which made me very sad. I couldn’t understand: We are all brothers and sisters, but why are they so realistic like those unbelievers in their behaviors and conducts? Before when we met, they showed great concern for me, but now I can’t feel the slightest warmth from the church and feel that I’m treated as a stranger. Besides, my children not only hadn’t learned any positive thing since they went to church, but followed the trend and had become game addicts despite of my exhortation and discipline. The misfortune of my family, indifference of the brothers and sisters, and disobedience of my children all made me distressed, and I often thought: I go to church just for gaining the happiness and peace of spirit, but why haven’t my pains been solved but even become a torment to me? Sometimes I didn’t want to go to church any more, but according to the world situation and various signs, I knew it was already the last days, and I was afraid if I didn’t go to church, the Lord wouldn’t acknowledge me when He returned. I was caught in a dilemma and felt so distressed …
One day in March of 2017, I met Sister Lin of my church. During our conversation, we both felt that the pastor didn’t have any new light but just talked the same platitudes so that we often dozed off during the sermons. We all had lost our original faith, feeling very far from the Lord, and even were unable to raise our enthusiasm to go to church. Sister Lin suggested: “How about we find a few brothers and sisters who truly pursue to study the Bible together? In this way, we may reap some results.” Hearing her words, I felt curious because I had always listened to the pastor’s preaching in the church and had never gone out to study the Bible. I thought: Since I feel suppressed when attending church, if I can gain some new light which is beneficial to my spiritual life, there is no harm in going out to study the Bible. With this kind of attitude, I went to study the Bible with my sisters.
On the day we studied the Bible, we ran into Brother Liu who had just returned from South Korea. When he fellowshiped about the desolation in the churches, I was attracted. Brother Liu read a passage of scripture: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said to them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12-13), and a passage of fellowship: “Just like at the end of the Age of Law, when the temple, once so full of Jehovah’s glory, became desolate, the Jewish people didn’t hold to religious laws. Priests made improper sacrifices, and the temple became a place of trade, a den of thieves. Why did this happen? It was primarily because the Jewish religious leaders didn’t abide by Jehovah’s laws and didn’t fear God in their hearts. They abided by men’s traditions, but rejected God’s commandments. They departed completely from the way of God and so lost the work of the Holy Spirit. And another reason was that God had been incarnated to do the work of redeeming mankind in the Age of Grace. God’s work had changed. All those who accepted the’ redemptive work received the work of the Holy Spirit, and had a new way to practice, but those who rejected and resisted the work of the Lord Jesus were eliminated by God’s work and fell into dark desolation.” Then Brother Liu said: “The temple became desolate when the Lord Jesus came, which shows the work of God had changed. Those who believed in and accepted the Lord Jesus were forgiven their sins and really and actually got a lot of grace and blessings of the Lord: the blind could see, the lame could walk, and even the dead could be restored to life, and the disciples that followed the Lord Jesus had truly gained the supply of the Lord Jesus’ words; while those Pharisees who rejected and resisted the Lord Jesus were punished. Then look at the present church: the pastors and elders have no light during their preaching and always talk the old things, and are completely incapable of resolving the present problems of the believers, which causes the believers to doze off in the meetings, lose their love, and become weak in faith; the pastors and elders scheme against each other for their own interests and even eat God’s sacrificial offerings; in order to ensnare the hearts of believers, they follow the worldly trend and wave the flag of belief in God to give secular parties and organize trips. This kind of church, just like that at the end of the Age of Law, has become a place of trade. Does it not show that the church has long been without the work of the Holy Spirit?” Hearing these conditions Brother Liu spoke of, I felt that our church was just like this, and other sisters had fully the same feeling. Then, Brother Liu played a video of the recitation of “The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” and told us: “Actually, the Lord Jesus has already returned. The reason why the church today doesn’t have the work of the Holy Spirit is the same as that at the end of the Age of Law: on the one hand, the pastors and elders no longer follow God’s way; on the other hand, God is doing a new stage of work, and the work of the Holy Spirit has moved.”
At this news I was surprised: What? The Lord has returned? And He is doing new work? Doesn’t the Bible say the Lord Jesus said “” when He was crucified? Doesn’t this prove that God’s work has already been finished? Why does He do new work? I spoke out my confusion to Brother Liu. Then he fellowhiped with us: “Hebrews 9:28 says: ‘So was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to .’ Here, it mentions ‘once offered’ and ‘appear the second time.’ We all know that in order to redeem us humans, the Lord Jesus was personally crucified as a sin offering and had taken upon Himself the sins of us. Isn’t it the meaning of ‘once offered’? ” I thought: Yes, it is. Then he continued: “Here it also says ‘and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation.’ It shows that God will appear the second time and no longer serve as a sin offering, but to completely save us. Sisters, let’s look at 1 Peter 1:15: ‘But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation,’ and Revelation 14:4-5: ‘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. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.’ From these scriptures we can see that the man who is truly approved by God is one who has been purified and are without blemish, for God is holy. However, we haven’t been purified now. If God didn’t do the work of cleansing and changing man in the last days, none of us would be saved or raptured into the kingdom of heaven. Am I right?” I thought: It’s true. What the brother has fellowshiped conforms with the Bible and makes sense.
Then Brother Liu read two more passages of God’s words in the new age: “in the Age of Grace, the demons went away from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but the work for just how the corrupt satanic dispositions within man could be cast away was not done in him. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not taken away and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through God incarnate, but it does not mean that man has no sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but man has been unable to resolve the issue of just how he can no longer sin and how his sinful nature can be cast away completely and be transformed. The sins of man were forgiven because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live in the old, corrupt satanic disposition. As such, man must be completely saved from the corrupt satanic disposition so that the sinful nature of man is completely cast away and never again develops, thus allowing the disposition of man to be changed. This requires man to understand the path of growth in life, the way of life, and the way to change his disposition. It also needs man to act in accordance with this path so that the disposition of man can gradually be changed and he can live under the shining of the light, and that he can do all things in accord with the will of God, cast away the corrupt satanic disposition, and break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation. … That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to reveal the corrupt disposition of man and asks man to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one and more fruitful as well, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a stage of work more thorough” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”). “You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity”).
Brother Liu fellowshiped: “From God’s words we can see that, though our sins are forgiven and we are no longer condemned by law because of the salvation of the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion, our sinful nature has not been taken away and our inner selfishness, deceit, arrogance, greed, evil etc., that is, our corrupt satanic dispositions still remain. We continue to lie, to envy, belittle, and judge others, and live in a situation of sinning in the day and confessing at night, which shows that we haven’t achieved salvation. Through these facts we can see that when the Lord Jesus said on the cross, ‘It is finished,’ He meant only that God’s work of redemption was complete. If we want to solve our corrupt dispositions, we need God to do a higher stage of work. The work of Almighty God in the last days is mainly judging and cleansing man through His word. God uses these razor-sharp words to reveal our satanic nature and corrupt disposition, making us know the truth of our corruption in His judgment, come to know God’s holiness and the righteousness and intolerance of offense in His disposition, and thus come to revere God and hate ourselves for our corruption. Finally, through the guidance of God’s words, our corrupt disposition can gradually achieve change and purification, which leads to us becoming new people. It is just as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ Here we can see that we indeed need God to come to do the work of judgment and purification. Only by experiencing God’s work of judgment in the Age of Kingdom can we become the new creatures.”
Hearing the fellowship of Brother Liu, I fully agreed in my heart: It’s true. I often tell lies, envy others, and act by my flesh, which are all of sin. One who commits sin is the servant of sin; such a sinner is indeed not able to enter the heavenly kingdom. Brother Liu has communed very clearly, and it seems I need to seek and investigate the new work of Almighty God. Just like this, I began to live the life of the church with the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God (CAG). I also downloaded the APP of the CAG, where plenty of hymns, dance videos, and gospel movies were available. I was very excited, so after returning home, I immediately opened the APP to watch. I was attracted by the lyrics and catchy tunes of the hymns, and was touched by the sincere smile of the brothers and sisters when they were dancing to praise God. My oppressed heart was relieved a lot.
Through reading God’s words, watching gospel movies and videos of hymns, and living the church life with the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God for a period of time, I was sure that the Lord Jesus has really returned, and He is Almighty God. Now, my church life is no longer dull, and at meetings it’s no longer that only one person has the say; I’m no longer just a listener but begin to share my experiences with my brothers and sisters, through which we learn from each other; when I tell about my difficulties and confusion, the brothers and sisters not only don’t disdain me but communicate the related truth to me. Gradually, I’m able to let go of my husband’s death; furthermore, through fellowshiping God’s words with my brothers and sisters, I have understood that my children’s addiction to the games is due to the affliction of Satan’s evil trend, and that they are also the victims, so I no longer blame them; besides, through reading God’s words I know that I myself also have many corrupt dispositions and mistaken intentions and views in my belief in God…. All this allows me to realize that God’s words are exactly the wellspring of living water.
From then on, I went to church much less than I used to. In June when I went to the church to attend a meeting, our pastor’s wife found me and asked me why I went to church less, and whether I had heard something. Then she said to me sadly: “I’ve been living a bitter life recently. My husband found a young woman and we have lived separately for over half a year …” Even before she had finished she began to shed tears. In fact, I had heard about this from a sister when I first went to church, but I didn’t pay much care to it. Now the words of the pastor’s wife just confirmed it. This allowed me to have more discernment about the lawlessness in the church and to see more clearly that the church today is indeed desolate, and is no longer the place where God works but a den of thieves abandoned by God. Thinking of this, I am even more grateful to God. It is God who led me to find the source of life so that my life could be nourished. All the glory be to Almighty God!