By Joseph, Kenya
Brothers and sisters, peace in the Lord! I feel very fortunate to be able to fellowship with you all today about my experiences of welcoming the Lord, and I feel very honored and very grateful to the Lord for giving me this opportunity.
I was born into a Christian family. My mother is a very pious believer, and when I was little, she used to lead us in reading the Bible and singing hymns and take us to events at our church. When I grew up, I left home to work and began attending church gatherings in my new local church, and after a couple of years, I was appointed to be in charge of the church. Because the pastor there never preached anything new, because he just always preached the way of making offerings and he was without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, some of the faithful would fall asleep whilst listening to his sermons, and some decided not to come back again as they were not getting anything from him. In order to retain believers, we would sometimes invite a few preachers to come from other churches to give sermons, or we would hold some events. But these methods only had a temporary effect, and when the faithful had finished attending the gathering, they wouldn’t come again. There were also some new believers who would come for a few days and then not come again. I worriedly thought to myself: “What’s going on here? The situation in our church is so bad and we can’t even get any new believers to stay. Are we doing something that isn’t in accord with God’s will? Or has our church been abandoned by God?”
That was not the only problem, however, as I myself, who was in charge of the church, was constantly committing sins. Whenever I saw anyone who was living a richer life than me or who was better than me at something, I would feel so jealous, so much so that I would come up with reasons for the Lord to bless me: “Why doesn’t the Lord bless me?” I would think. “I expend myself for Him, so He should bless me more.” Moreover, I became addicted to online games and my heart was possessed by these things, so that sometimes I wouldn’t even read the Bible or pray at regular times. When I saw pictures of pretty women online, I would have wicked thoughts, and these wicked thoughts would intrude constantly on my mind. I couldn’t help but think of what the Lord Jesus had said before: “But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). “I’m committing sin,” I thought. “Although I pray to the Lord, repent to the Lord and try to restrain myself, I still sin all the time. I just don’t understand why I’m still capable of sinning, when I pray to the Lord and try to master myself.”
And so, I told the pastor about this condition I was finding myself in, but all he did was try to comfort me by saying, “The Bible says, ‘Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 6:11). Don’t worry. All our sins, whether they be the sins we have committed in the past or the sins we shall commit in the future, are all forgiven through Jesus Christ our Lord. All we have to do is pray more to the Lord and confess and repent to Him.” I wasn’t very convinced by what the pastor had said, and instead I felt even more confused. The Bible says, “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14), but I was still capable of sinning all the time. Was this behavior worthy of the Lord’s praise?
In order to resolve this problem in my spiritual life, I began to search for some videos on YouTube, and I visited other websites to look for spiritual information. One day, I was searching online when I happened to come across this passage: “Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word ‘God’ and phrases such as ‘the work of God,’ they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. People do not take belief in God seriously because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they fall short of the demands of God. In other words, if people do not know God, do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, much less can they fulfill the desire of God. ‘Belief in God’ means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of faith in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God. Yet people often see belief in God as something very simple and frivolous. The belief of such people is meaningless and shall never gain the approval of God, because they tread the wrong path. Today, there are still those who believe in God in letters, in hollow doctrines. They are unaware that their belief in God has no substance, and that they are unable to gain the approval of God, and they still pray for peace and sufficient grace from God. We should stop and ask ourselves: Could believing in God really be the easiest thing on earth? Does believing in God mean nothing more than receiving much grace from God? Can people who believe in God but do not know Him, and believe in God yet oppose Him, really fulfill the desire of God?”.
I contemplated the words as I read them. These words revealed what genuine faith in God was: Faith in God was not merely asking God for blessings or for grace but, more importantly, it was to believe that God rules all things and, on this basis, to experience God’s utterances and work. I looked at the situation in our church. The pastor’s sermons always focused on how to make us richer and on how to live peaceful, happy lives. He never preached about how to practice or experience the Lord’s words, or what the Lord’s will was, and the result of this was that we believed in God only to receive blessings. No wonder the problems of my spiritual life could not be resolved. I thought of how I got jealous whenever I saw anyone living a better life than me, or anyone with a higher status than me, and about how I then blamed the Lord, and wished to capitalize on how I’d expended myself for the Lord to come up with reasons to be blessed and to make conditions with the Lord, demanding that He bless me as well. When I’d finished reading this passage, I finally realized that the way in which I’d been believing in God was wrong: I’d been believing in God in order to get His blessings in return. I’d been so selfish and contemptible, always demanding that God bless me more, and that kind of belief was not praiseworthy at all. The Lord Jesus once 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). The Lord said that only by doing the will of the Father in heaven can one enter into heaven, and yet I had not been doing the heavenly Father’s will, nor experiencing God’s words and work in my pursuit. To believe in God in this way all one’s life was totally futile, and I knew that I could not carry on this pursuit. This passage I’d read online led me to embark on the correct path of belief in God, and it made me want to read even more.
I then read another passage of words, “Today, God has new work. You may not accept these words, they may feel odd to you, but I advise you not to reveal your naturalness, for only those who truly hunger and thirst for righteousness before God can obtain the truth, and only those who are truly devout can be enlightened and guided by God”. Reading this, I was amazed: God is performing new work? How could God be performing new work? I’d never heard about this before. My heart was filled with confusion, but when I read these words, “Only those who are truly devout can be enlightened and guided by God,” I thought of what the Lord Jesus had said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). I thought that these words were great, and I felt that they would definitely be able to resolve the problem of my sins, so why not seek and investigate? I therefore wrote in the chat column all about my confusion concerning the problem of committing sins. I also wrote that I wanted to understand more about God’s new work. It was a sister who replied to me. Because it was difficult to explain this issue in online chat, we decided to connect and fellowship on Facebook.
The sister said, “As people who believe in the Lord, we are all waiting for His return. But now He really has returned, and He has come back in the flesh to perform a new work….” When I heard this, I didn’t dare believe it. “Has the Lord Jesus truly returned?” I thought.
The sister then continued her fellowship, saying, “Having incarnated once again, this time God is primarily expressing His words to save people, which precisely fulfills the prophecy made by the Lord Jesus: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13). Because the statures of the people at that time were so small and they could not bear what the Lord Jesus had to say, there were many truths which He withheld. When He returns in the last days, however, He will reveal all these truths and mysteries to us. Now this prophecy is fulfilled, and Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. He expresses all the truths that enable people to be purified and to attain true salvation, and He performs the work of judgment and purification. Only by accepting God’s work of judgment in the last days, by taking the truths God expresses as our life and living by His words can our corrupt dispositions be purified and, ultimately, can we be qualified to enter into the kingdom of God.”
I listened to the sister’s fellowship and contemplated these verses of Scripture. Although we had often read them before, we had never understood their true meaning. Only now did I understand that the Lord Jesus had been saying that He would tell us more things when He returned in the last days. This made me think of what the Lord Jesus had said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Only God Himself could deliver the truth to mankind, show people the way and enable us to gain life.
I attended several meetings with the sister after that and many of my problems were resolved. I still wanted to know, however, why people could only get into heaven if they accepted God’s work of judgment in the last days, because the pastor had always stressed to us that our sins had been forgiven and that, when the Lord returned, we would immediately be received into heaven. I had never been sure about this, for the Lord said: “Be you holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). God is holy and yet we sin all the time, so how could we earn the Lord’s praise?
In our next meeting, the sister gave fellowship on that which I was confused about. “Although our sins are forgiven through our faith in the Lord and we show some good behavior on the outside, such as refraining from stealing, robbing, smoking and drinking, and we don’t do anything obviously sinful, this does not mean, however, that we have been purified, and neither does it demonstrate that we are after the Lord’s heart and can enter into heaven. This is because, in our lives, we are still capable of sinning and resisting the Lord. To name just a few examples, when something infringes upon our own interests, we tell lies and try to cheat other people; when we see someone else who is not as good as we are at things, we belittle them and look down on them in our hearts; when we see someone else better than us at everything, we become jealous. The Bible says, ‘Be you holy; for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16), and ‘Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). God is holy, and those who enter into heaven must cast off sin and attain purification. And yet we sin all the time and we are utterly filthy, and we cannot earn the Lord’s praise or enter into heaven. We’ll be able to have a better understanding of this by reading two passages of Almighty God’s words.
“Almighty God says, ‘At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer a sinner, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins: Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin.’ ‘A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! 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. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.’
“The words of Almighty God have uncovered this mystery. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus accomplished the work of redemption, and by having faith in the Lord and being willing to pray and repent, our sins can then be forgiven, and the Lord will no longer remember our sins. Within us, however, there still remains deeply rooted our sinful nature and satanic dispositions, and these are much more severe and difficult to resolve than our sins. Unless these things are resolved, we will always be struggling within the cycle of sinning and confessing, and we will be incapable of being set free from sin. The Bible says, ‘For the wages of sin is death,’ and by sinning and confessing we remain simply unworthy to see God’s face and are unable to enter into God’s kingdom. Furthermore, we can perceive from our own experiences that by relying on our own ability to restrain ourselves, our sinful nature has no way to be resolved, and we still need God to personally perform His work to save us mankind. As the Bible says, ‘So Christ 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 salvation’ (Hebrews 9:28). God incarnating in the last days to express the truth and perform the work of judgment is done in order to resolve our sinful nature, and only by accepting God’s work of judgment can our sinful nature and satanic dispositions be purified, and we can ultimately attain God’s true salvation and be led into heaven.”
I attained great enlightenment through the sister’s fellowship. The Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins, and yet our satanic nature still exists within us, and that is why we are still capable of committing sin and resisting God. I thought of how, although I had really wanted to resolve this problem of sin and had sought out my pastor, it had still not been resolved. We really do need God to perform a further stage of salvation.
“As we are indeed incapable of setting ourselves free from sin, sister, in your fellowship just now, you said that God is performing His work of judgment in the last days in order to cleanse away our corruption. So how does God perform His work of judgment?” I asked.
The sister then read me another passage of Almighty God’s words: “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God.”
The sister gave me fellowship, saying, “God expresses the truth to perform the work of judgment and He exposes our corruption by means of His words, and with His words He fully exposes such things that exist in our faith in God as our wrong motives and the root of our resistance to God. After we read God’s words of judgment, we feel terribly upset and distressed, as we see that we have been so deeply corrupted by Satan, and that our nature is filled with arrogance, selfishness, greed, wickedness and deceit. Under the domination of our satanic dispositions, we have no genuine love for God or devotion toward Him, and although we may appear to give things up, expend ourselves, suffer and pay a price for the Lord, our motive is only to be rewarded with heaven—we are just trying to strike deals with God. And the moment God does not grant us grace or blessings, then even though we may not speak it aloud, we blame God and resist Him in our hearts. In our lives, in order to maintain our own interests and self-regard, we often tell lies and cheat other people. We follow worldly trends, we covet riches and material pleasures, and we scheme against each other and the like for the sake of money, fame and fortune, becoming more and more devoid of conscience and reason, and without the smallest semblance of a true human being. At the same time, through the judgment and revelations of God’s words, we come to know what kind of person God loves, what kind of person He hates, what kind of person He saves and what kind of person He weeds out, and so on. We also come to have some understanding of God’s righteous disposition, we begin to possess a God-fearing heart, and we become willing to fall to the ground before God, obey His judgment and chastisement, and repent and become new people. God also arranges all manner of environments for us in our lives in order to expose our corruption, and to test, refine and purify our satanic dispositions. Through our experiences, we perceive from the bottom of our hearts that, if we wish to be set free from sin and for our life dispositions to change, then we must be more accepting of the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and we must experience practically the trials and refinement God arranges for us. Only then can our corruption be cleansed away, and we can ultimately attain God’s true salvation and be led into the kingdom.”
I thought of how I had been living in sin, always constrained by the bonds of my sin and without any path to resolve it. Now, through the sister’s fellowship, I had come to understand that God had returned in the last days to perform the work of judgment, that He was expressing the truth, exposing and dissecting our corrupt nature, and arranging practical environments in order to purify and change us, so that we may finally be led into heaven. I saw then that God’s work of judgment is so important to us. Later on, I continued to seek and investigate this way and to fellowship together with my brothers and sisters and, from God’s words, I became absolutely certain that Almighty God is indeed the Lord Jesus returned.
I have now been believing in Almighty God for over a year. Every time I read God’s words, my heart is filled with joy, and I feel that God is by my side, watering me, supplying me, and showing me the path of true faith in God. I never had the correct goal to pursue before, and I believed in God in order to get material blessings and to live a rich life in return. But when reality failed to live up to my expectations, I would blame and misunderstand God, I lived constantly in a state of sin, and my spirit was dark. Now I have the supply of God’s words and I know that, in one’s faith in God, one must correct one’s views, seek to love God with all one’s heart and mind, and perform the duty of a created being. I no longer blindly pursue material blessings in life, and I wish to live in God’s presence and perform my duty; my spirit no longer feels parched, and I feel the joy of having God beside me. I am so fortunate to have been born in the last days and am lucky to have accepted God’s work of the last days. I now know the path to resolve sin, and I have hope of attaining true salvation and entering into heaven. Thank Almighty God!
» Further reading on Sermons on Sin page, or in the articles below: