By Xinming, Canada
The Duty of Preaching
After I came abroad with my children, I believed in the Lord. At that time, I often heard the pastors say that thewas about to come back, so I was naturally looking forward to meeting the Lord earlier. Later on, I got acquainted with Sister Zhenshi. She told me that the Lord Jesus had returned and had done a stage of new work. Through seeking and investigating, I readily accepted God’s work of the last days. After a period of gathering, I understood some truths, knowing that the Lord Jesus only did the work of redeeming mankind, and that in the last days, God has come and expressed all the truths of judging mankind in order to completely purify and change us. Only by accepting God’s judgment work of the last days can we be utterly saved. From then on, I had more .
One day, I read, which says, “As members of the human race and devout Christians, it is the responsibility and obligation of us all to offer up our mind and body for the fulfillment of God’s commission, for our entire being came from God, and it exists thanks to the sovereignty of God. If our minds and bodies are not for God’s commission and not for the righteous cause of mankind, then our souls will be unworthy of those who were martyred for God’s commission, much more unworthy of God, who has provided us with everything.” From God’s word, I understood that preaching the gospel is both Christians’ duty and mission, and God’s requirement for people who follow Him. By the grace of God, I have followed the footsteps of the Lamb and welcomed the Lord’s return. But there are still many people who live in Satan’s bondage, who have not heard God’s voice. God’s heart is sad and anxious for them; I should care for God’s will and repay His love. So, I prayed to God, “O God! I’m willing to cooperate with You and bring people who have true faith in You yet live in darkness to Your family. May You lead me!”
Learning Lessons From Preaching the Gospel
After that, I read a passage of God’s word: “If you wish to be perfected by God, you must learn to experience all things and be enlightened in all that you face. Whenever you are faced with something, be it good or bad, you should benefit from it and it should not cause you to become passive. No matter what, you should be able to consider it by standing on the side of God, and not analyze or study it from the perspective of man.” It’s true. Everything that comes upon me contains God’s kind intention. I couldn’t be passive or distressed because of the failure in preaching the gospel, but rather, I should learn and sum up lessons from the failure. I reflected on myself: When I preached the gospel, I adored knowledge, believing that people with knowledge had high caliber. But now, I see that people who trulyshould be those who are able to put themselves aside and seek humbly, because they know God’s deeds are unfathomable to man. Arrogant people only rely on biblical knowledge and firmly hold on to themselves; even if others’ words are right, they still refuse to seek. Such people have forgotten the teachings in the Bible, “For God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). Think back about the Pharisees. They knew the Bible very well, but in the treatment of the Lord Jesus’ new work, not only did they not seek, but they were very arrogant and self-conceited, using the biblical knowledge to condemn and oppose God’s work. After knowing this, I regained faith, and I was willing to continue to cooperate with God and preach of the last days to more people.
A few days later, I called him again and continued our unfinished talk from last time. But no matter what I said, he just held that his perspective was right. I told him that the Lord had returned and had done the work of judgment in the last days, which fulfilled the biblical prophecy of “judgment must begin at the house of God.” At my words, he immediately interrupted and questioned me, “Have you believed in Almighty God? Presently, only The Church of Almighty God is preaching the Lord’s return.” He also spoke some negative news, and even tried to dissuade me. Before I could talk further, he quickly hung up. After a while, he sent me some negative messages. I was distressed by his attitude, and thought: I think he is sensible since we used to be neighbors who had friendly communication in the past, and I know he is a brother in the Lord. So I decided to preach the gospel to him. Now that the Lord has come back, why does he hold on to his notion instead of having a heart of seeking and investigating? But then I thought: I should have love and patience. I can’t give up because of his attitude. Subsequently, I called him and told him that I wanted brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God to communicate with him. But he refused and said, “Auntie, if you still talk to me about that, then we got nothing to say to each other.” I said in a hurry, “We should seek humbly. And the Lord Jesus also said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ To confirm whether the Lord Jesus has come back, we should put aside our own perspective and seek it.” “No need to seek. I have read the Bible many times; I know how the Lord will come to work.” After that, he hung up. His obstinate attitude saddened me. I had thought he would be rational in treating the Lord’s coming, but I never expected that he would be so resistant.
After that, I read a passage of God’s word: “If you wish to be perfected by God, you must learn to experience all things and be enlightened in all that you face. Whenever you are faced with something, be it good or bad, you should benefit from it and it should not cause you to become passive. No matter what, you should be able to consider it by standing on the side of God, and not analyze or study it from the perspective of man (this is a deviation in your experience).” It’s true. Everything that comes upon me contains God’s kind intention. I can’t be passive or distressed because of the failure in preaching the gospel, but rather, I should learn and sum up lessons from the failure. Reflecting on myself: When I preached the gospel, I adored knowledge, believing that people with knowledge had high quality. But now, I see that people who truly believe in God should be those who are able to put themselves aside and seek humbly, because they know God’s deeds are unfathomable to man. Arrogant people only rely on biblical knowledge and firmly hold on to themselves; even if others’ words are right, they still refuse to seek. Such people have forgotten the teachings in the Bible, “For God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). Think back about the Pharisees. They knew the Bible very well, but in the treatment of the Lord Jesus’ new work, not only did they not seek, but they were very arrogant and self-conceited, using the biblical knowledge to condemn and oppose God’s work. After knowing this, I regained faith, and I was willing to continue to cooperate with God and preach God’s salvation of the last days to more people.
Adversities Carried the Love of God
Before long, I met Brother Xiaoqiu in the Lord from an English school. Through interacting with him, I found he was honest, and was a true believer in the Lord from appearance. So I wanted to preach God’s work of the last days to him. Then I often prayed to God, “O God! I want to preach the gospel to him, but I don’t know whether he is Your chosen sheep. May You lead and guide me, and give me wisdom.” Thank God for His leading. Afterward, Brother Xiaoqiu attended our meetings twice. At the meetings, he felt that our fellowship was good and had resolved many questions that had confused him. And in the meantime, he understood many truths that he hadn’t understood in the Bible. Hearing his gain and knowledge, I felt this brother was good at receiving the truth, and I was very happy for him. But when it was time for the next meeting, he didn’t show up as arranged. So I quickly phoned him, but it couldn’t get through. We were all very anxious, not knowing what had happened to him. That day, I kept praying to God in my heart.
On the next day, a sister told us, “Yesterday, when Brother Xiaoqiu was on his way to the meeting, his pastor called him and said some negative things regarding our church. And the pastor asked a deacon in their church to send lots of negative messages to Brother Xiaoqiu’s cellphone. Influenced by the pastor’s words, he was so scared that he dared not come to seek.” Hearing this news, I was terribly indignant at the pastor’s doings. I thought: The pastors and elders don’t seek or investigate Almighty God’s word, but judge and condemn The Church of Almighty God at will, which is completely in violation of the Lord’s teachings. The Lord has taught us, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned” (Luke 6:37). They don’t have factual basis and blindly judge and condemn God’s work of the last days. Isn’t this opposing God? Later, we called Xiaoqiu many times, but he was unwilling to continue to seek and investigate. On top of that, the pastors and elders all frantically sealed off the churches, and stopped and restricted believers from seeking and investigating Almighty God’s work of the last days. Seeing these phenomena, I was a little weak in spirit, feeling that preaching the gospel was too difficult, and I didn’t know how to cooperate with God.
Afterward, when I had a meeting with brothers and sisters, I spoke about my difficulties in preaching the gospel, and they all gave me comfort. Brother Zhang fellowshiped, “Sister, we shouldn’t lose heart. When we have difficulties in preaching the gospel, we should quiet our heart and come before God to seek the truth. God will lead us to understand His will. Meanwhile, we can gain discernment of the pastors and elders through their deeds, and see through their nature and substance of hating the truth and being hostile to God. Let’s read a passage of God’s word: ‘Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach God. Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, head demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of “robust flesh,” how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?’ God’s word reveals the religious pastors’ and elders’ nature and substance of hating the truth and opposing God. Think back to the time when the Lord Jesus did His work. He fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, made the blind see, raised the dead, and so forth. The work of the Lord Jesus shocked the entire Jewish nation. Many people were preaching God’s name, and more and more people began to follow the Lord Jesus. However, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees spared no effort as they condemned and created rumors to frame the Lord Jesus, and even colluded with the Roman government to crucify the Lord, in order to maintain their status and livelihood. Likewise, today the pastors and elders in the religious world see that Almighty God’s word has authority and power, and that more and more people all acknowledge that Almighty God’s word is God’s voice and confirm that the Lord Jesus has come back after they read His word. Therefore, they are afraid of believers seeing Almighty God’s words, and even more afraid that believers will all follow Almighty God, as this will make them lose their status and livelihoods. As a result, they ferociously create rumors to judge and oppose Almighty God, and try their utmost to stop and disturb believers from investigating the true way. From this, we can see their nature and substance of hating the truth and opposing God.”
Sister Lu said, “Right. The pastors often tightly seal off the churches under the banner of protecting the flock. In fact, they just want to keep believers under their close control; they are the antichrists obstructing people from investigating God’s work of the last days. But no matter how the pastors and elders oppose God’s work, God’s sheep will be bound to return to God’s family. Because the Lord said, ‘I … know my sheep, and am known of mine’ (John 10:14). People who truly believe in God can follow God when they hear God’s voice, while those who dislike the truth or adore the pastors and elders can’t recognize God’s voice even if they have heard God’s word. Through such an environment, God reveals the wise virgins and foolish virgins. This is God’s wisdom. On the other hand, we should believe in God’s almightiness and sovereignty. God’s work can’t be disturbed by any force of Satan. As long as we rely on God, He will help and lead us. The sheep that belong to God will return to God’s family sooner or later.”
After hearing the fellowship of brothers and sisters, I understood: It turns out that God uses these environments to make me have discernment and increase my faith toward Him. These adversities really carry the love of God for me. One day, I read God’s word, which said, “While undergoing trials, it’s normal for people to be weak, or have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work…. That is, it is only from within your faith that you will be able to see God, and when you have faith God will perfect you. Without faith, He cannot do this. God will bestow upon you whatever you hope to gain. If you don’t have faith, you cannot be perfected and you will be unable to see God’s actions, much less see His omnipotence. When you have faith and you can touch His actions in your practical experience, God will appear to you, and He will enlighten and guide you from within. Without that faith, God will be unable to do that. If you have lost hope in God, how will you be able to experience His work? Therefore, only when you have faith and you do not harbor doubts toward God, only when you have true faith in Him no matter what He does will He enlighten and illuminate you in your experiences, and only then will you be able to see His actions. These things are all achieved through faith, and faith is only achieved through refinement—faith cannot develop in the absence of refinement. What does faith refer to? Faith is the genuine belief and the sincere heart that humans should possess when they cannot see or touch something, when God’s work is not in line with human notions, when it is beyond human reach. This is the faith that I speak of.” God’s word gave me faith. God was using difficulties to test whether I had faith in Him and also to let me see His deeds. Think back to the period when Noah preached the gospel to the people of the world, he suffered ridicule and slander from them, but Noah wasn’t disheartened or discouraged. Instead, he treated doing God’s will as his bounden duty and mission. No matter what difficulties he encountered, he didn’t complain to God, nor was he restrained by any person, matter, or thing, but rather, he only satisfied God with a simple and obedient heart. At that moment, I saw: I was too selfish and mean; once something difficult happened to me, I had grievance and wanted to draw back. I not only never cared for God’s will, but my faith toward God was so small. From now on, no matter what difficulties I will meet, I’m willing to rely on and look up to God, preaching the gospel to more people.
To Be Continued …