Walk Out of Desolate Church, Regain the Holy Spirit’s Work (I)
Dear brothers and sisters, have you ever felt confused like me? These years, churches are getting more desolate, and many people’s faith is becoming colder and colder. We have looked everywhere for a church with the Holy Spirit’s work, but the result is always disappointing. Today, I’d like to share my own experience with you.
In 1997, from a fortuitous opportunity I made the acquaintance of a Christian, and on her recommendation I went to the church.
At first, the brothers and sisters were all cordial to me, which made me feel the warmth of home. Through listening to messages, I understood many mysteries that I had not understood before, knowing that man is created by God, that all things originate from God, and that it’s God who gives us the breath and created the living environment for us. I wanted to understand more of the way of life provided by the Lord Jesus in the Bible so that I could become someone truly worshiping the Lord. So I began to attend meetings in the church. In December of 1997, I was baptized. Since then, no matter how tired I was after work, I would persist in gathering. At that time, there were many people in the church attending meetings, and the brothers and sisters were all very active in gatherings. At every gathering, all of us would listen quietly to the preaching of the pastor, and felt especially fulfilled in our spirit. Besides, the brothers and sisters were very loving; no matter who had difficulties, we would do our best to help them. In my daily life, when I encountered troubles, I would pray to the Lord. I felt that belief in God was so good and had peace and joy in my heart.
However, a few years later, I obviously felt that the condition of the church was different from what it was in the former time. There were fewer and fewer people worshiping in the church, and we were not so active and enthusiastic as we were before. Most of the people who came to meetings would chat on Facebook or play games with their phones, or chat with others, or doze off; they had no inclination to listen to the preaching of the pastor at all. Having lived such a church life for several years, I was somewhat weary of it. In addition, the sermons the pastor preached had no illumination; after hearing them, we didn’t feel enjoyment, and our difficulties and problems in life couldn’t be resolved at all. Since there was no illumination when the pastor interpreted the Bible, I wanted to get some help from my sisters. However, every time I asked them some questions, they always seemed to be anxious and left even before I had finished speaking. I felt very disappointed, but the original hopes of my faith in the Lord didn’t change: I still hoped to become a true believer in the Lord and enter the kingdom of heaven in the future.
Since my wish to pursue the knowledge of the Lord couldn’t be fulfilled in the church, I intended to find another church. After having prayed to the Lord several times, I left the previous church and went to another church. Although there were more people in that church, the sermons of the pastor were the same old platitudes, and after the gathering, people in the church all engaged in chatting about eating, drinking, and leisure activities and no one talked about the issues of belief in the Lord at all. Seeing that this church was no different than the previous one, I again felt disappointed and no longer went there. Later, I went to other churches, and found that the situations of these churches were almost the same. I felt weary in body and mind, and had no confidence to find other churches. Gradually I began to drift along. I devoted myself to work and spent my spare time in eating, drinking, and carousing with my friends. I treated my job as a kind of sustenance, and when I was swamped with work, I no longer prayed unless something unpleasant befell me in the work or I was ill. After a period of time, I felt that I was further and further away from the Lord and felt very uneasy. I wanted to find someone to have fellowship with but was unable to find one. I was extremely miserable inside, so I returned to the previous church in 2011, only to find the condition of the church was still the same as before without any improvement. In order to recover the faith of brothers and sisters, the church arranged a tour; those who hadn’t come to the church for a long time all took part in it actively. However, this situation didn’t last long. After the activity, they didn’t come to the church anymore. Furthermore, I saw that everyone including me was living in a vicious cycle of sinning and repenting. I followed the worldly trend and clung to the pleasures of the flesh; I had prayed to the Lord that I would be loving and tolerant toward others, but I was unable to put it into practice. That time was the most painful period of my life. Every night I felt dark and empty in my spirit, feeling an inexpressible fear and piercing pain in my heart. I thought: I don’t want to leave the church, but there is nothing worth my lingering here; I haven’t seen the Lord’s leading and have no peace in the spirit; I listen to preaching in the church while living under the conditions of sinning and repenting in my daily life; even if I don’t leave the church, what significance does it have then?Every night I would pray to the Lord, “O Lord, what should I do? It’s merely a form of ceremony even if I go to church, but if I don’t go to church, I have no peace then. O Lord, I feel as if I am wavering at the crossroads and don’t know where to go. O Lord, where are you? Have you really left our church and abandoned us?”
Man’s end is God’s beginning. In June of 2017, I made the acquaintance of Brother Lin, who was very zealous and had a unique perspective on the Bible. Every time when we fellowshiped together, I always gained a lot. Later, at a meeting with Brother Lin and the others, I told them all the pain in my heart: “These years, I have found four churches, where there is no enlightenment or illumination in sermons; the faith of the brothers and sisters has grown cold; they all concern themselves with eating, drinking, and the pursuit of pleasure, behaving like non-believers, and they don’t have the work of the Holy Spirit at all. It is the same with me. I always live in a state of sinning and confessing and can’t feel the Lord’s presence, and I’m at a loss what to do, which annoys me so much.”
Having known my difficulties and confusion, Brother Lin fellowshiped with me: “Now, the whole of the world of religion is a widespread desolation, devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit, and many people’s faith and love have turned cold—this has already become an accepted fact. What exactly is the primary cause of the desolation in the world of religion? About this question, let us first look back a moment at why the temple became desolate in the latter days of the Age of Law. If we are able to understand thoroughly the cause of the church’s desolation in the Age of Law, then the confusion in our heart will be released. In the latter days of the Age of Law, the temple which was once so full of Jehovah’s glory became desolate; Jewish people didn’t hold to religious laws; priests made improper sacrifices, and the temple became a place of trade, a den of thieves. It is primarily because the Jewish religious leaders didn’t abide by Jehovah’s laws or have a heart that reveres God. They abided by men’s traditions but rejected God’s commandments, completely strayed from the way of God and lost the work of the Holy Spirit. That the Jewish leaders didn’t keep God’s commandments, walked their own path and went against God is the main reason that directly resulted in the desolation of the temple. Another reason was that God’s work had already been transferred. God had left the temple and had been incarnated to do the work of redeeming mankind in the Age of Grace. Since God had carried out a new stage of work, the Holy Spirit no longer upheld the old work. When thehad started His work of redemption, He initiated the Age of Grace and concluded the Age of Law. Only those who accepted the Lord Jesus had the Holy Spirit’s work and the Lord’s guidance and received the provision of the living water of life, being steadfast, peaceful, and joyful in spirit, while those who remained in the temple, rejected and even resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, were naturally forsaken by the work of God. Now we come to today’s religious pastors and elders. They mainly preach Bible knowledge and theological theories in the church and always interpret the Bible to flaunt themselves and show themselves off so that others worship them; they do not follow the words or commandments of the Lord Jesus and fail to keep the Lord’s way. They seldom preach about life entry and don’t lead people to know the Lord, only talking about how they suffer for the Lord to be worshiped by others. As a result, all the believers have strayed from the Lord’s way; even though they have believed in the Lord for many years, they have no knowledge of Him and no reverence for Him and have completely strayed from His words, becoming people who believe in the Lord but don’t know Him, and who are able to resist and betray Him. The leaders of the religious world have completely strayed from the Lord’s way, with the result that the religious world has lost the Holy Spirit’s work and God’s blessings. It’s also because God’s work has been transferred. Actually, the Lord Jesus has already returned as the incarnate Almighty God. He has performed the work of judgment beginning at the house of God on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, establishing the Age of Kingdom and ending the Age of Grace, and the core of the work of the Holy Spirit has been transferred into God’s work of judgment in the last days. God has become flesh and come among man again, expressing the truths that can save and purify mankind. These words are all the truths that can make us break away from the bondage of sin and achieve . Therefore, only if we accept the work of Almighty God in the last days can we enjoy the supply of the living water of life that flows from God’s throne. This completely fulfills the prophecy in the Bible: ‘And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered’ (Amos 4:7).”
Brother Lin continued to fellowship: “From this verse we can understand that the ‘one city’ in ‘to rain on one city’ refers to the church where God incarnate appears and does His work, and ‘another city’ in ‘not to rain on another city’ naturally refers to the world of religion which doesn’t comply with God’s words or follow God’s commandments but denies, resists, and condemns the manifestation and work of God incarnate. God causes famine to befall the world of religion in order to force those within religion who sincerely believe in God and love the truth to leave religion, to search for the footsteps of God’s work, to search for the words spoken by the Holy Spirit to the churches, and to seek the appearance and work of God. All those who hear theand accept and obey Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days are the wise virgins and are those who are raptured before God’s throne. They are all attending the wedding feast of the Lamb and enjoying the supply of the living water of life flowing from God’s throne; their original faith and love have been renewed, and they are training in eating and drinking God’s words, practicing and experiencing His words to achieve an understanding of the truth and an entry into reality. When these people understand the truth and have true knowledge of God, they will then be able to revere God and obey Him, and in this way, they will obtain a new life from God. All those religious organizations or individuals that don’t accept the work of Almighty God are detested and eliminated by God, and are devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit.”
When hearing Brother Lin say that God has carried out His new work, I was immediately on my guard and thought, “Why have I never heard of God’s judgment work in the last days? What is going on here? But his communication conforms with the facts. Thinking about the current situation of the church: The brothers and sisters are not concerned with the issue of faith in the Lord; when attending meetings, they are always dozing off or playing with the cellphones, and gathering is merely a case of going through the formalities. This is simply a kind of religious belief. Isn’t this the manifestation of the desolation in the church? Has God really done a new work? It seems that I should seek more on this issue; I can’t deny and rejectbased upon my own conceptions and imaginations. But I still can’t accept that God is to do the work of judgment by the word. If God really does the work of judgment, then won’t I be condemned?
So I asked Brother Lin, “Why does God need to carry out a stage of work of judgment? If God judges people, then won’t we be punished?” He read a passage of God’s word to me: “The work in the last days is to speak words. Great changes can be effected in man through the words. The changes now effected in these people on acceptance of these words are much greater than that of people in the Age of Grace on acceptance of those signs and wonders. For, 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. … Therefore, after that stage was complete, there is still the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage makes man pure through the word so as to give man a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for the sinful nature of man would not be cast away and man would only stop upon the forgiveness of sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remains within them and man can still sin and resist God; God has not gained mankind. 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. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s management plan for the salvation of man” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”).
Brother Lin fellowshiped, “Although we are forgiven our sin for believing in the Lord, our corrupt disposition still remains, which is deeper than sin and much harder to resolve. If our satanic nature and corrupt disposition which resist God have not been resolved, we still can’t help but sin. We have believed in the Lord for many years and experienced one thing ourselves, that is, although our sins are forgiven, we still involuntarily sin often. We still follow the worldly trend and engage in debauchery. We often lie, cheat, make excuses, and argue speciously for the sake of reputation and status, and we even shirk responsibility and get other people in trouble for our own sake. When faced with disasters, trials, or tribulations, we can complain against God and even betray Him. When God’s work conflicts with our conceptions, we can deny, judge, and resist God. Although we believe in God in name, we still worship and follow man. If we obtain position, we can stand in God’s place to exalt and testify to ourselves so that others will admire and look up to us, just like the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees. It can be seen that if our satanic nature and disposition are not resolved, we are not qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven even if our sins are forgiven. The Bible says, ‘you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45). God’s substance is holy, so can we, who have been thoroughly corrupted by Satan, gain the approval of God and enter the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, based on the work of the Lord Jesus, God has once again become flesh to speak words and carry out His work of purifying man; through the judgment and revelation of His words, He will utterly dispel our satanic nature. Only in this way can we gradually cast aside our corrupt disposition, no longer disobey or resist God, and truly obey and revere Him, and only then can we be purified and enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Through Brother Lin’s fellowship, I understood the reason why we have been living under the situation of sinning and repenting and cannot obtain release: It is because what the Lord Jesus did was the work of redeeming the human race, and that our faith in the Lord Jesus only absolves us from our sins; because of the redemption of the Lord Jesus, we can come before God and pray to Him, enjoying the abundance of grace and blessings bestowed by Him, and feeling peace and joy in our hearts; however, we haven’t broken free from the bondage of sin, and our corrupt disposition still remains, so we need God to carry out a stage of work of judgment and chastisement to release us from the bondage of sin and purify us.
Later, we read another two passages of God’s words: “Through what is God’s perfection of man accomplished? Through His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and His perfection of man is primarily through judgment. Some people don’t understand, and ask why it is that God is only able to make man perfect through judgment and curse. They say that if God were to curse man, wouldn’t man die? If God were to judge man, wouldn’t man be condemned? Then how can he still be made perfect? Such are the words of people who do not know the work of God. What God curses is the disobedience of man, and what He judges are the sins of man. Although He speaks harshly, and without the slightest sensitivity, He reveals all that is within man, and through these stern words He reveals that which is essential within man, yet through such judgment, He gives man a profound knowledge of the essence of the flesh, and thus man submits to obedience before God. The flesh of man is of sin, and of Satan, it is disobedient, and the object of God’s chastisement—and so, to allow man to know himself, the words of God’s judgment must befall him and there must be employed every kind of refinement; only then can God’s work be effective” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God”).
“All of you live in a place of sin and licentiousness; you are all licentious and sinful people. Today you not only can see God, but more importantly, you have received chastisement and judgment, received such deepest salvation, that is, received God’s greatest love. All that He does is true love for you; He has no ill intention. It is because of your sins that He judges you, so that you will examine yourselves and receive this tremendous salvation. All this is done to work man. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and He is certainly not willing to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Now He has come among you to work; isn’t this even more salvation? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude to personally lead you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intention toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because of people’s disobedience that He has to save them through judgment; otherwise, they would not be saved. As you do not know how to lead a life or how to live, and you live in this licentious and sinful place and are licentious and filthy devils, He does not have the heart to let you become even more depraved; neither has He the heart to see you living in the filthy place like this, being trampled by Satan at will, or the heart to let you fall into Hades. He only wants to gain this group of you and thoroughly save you. This is the main purpose of doing the conquering work on you—it is just for salvation” (“The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (4)”).
From God’s words I understood His will. It turns out that God’s work of judgment with His word is in order to purify and save man, not to punish man. God’s words are stern so as to change us. Then Sister Chen fellowshiped, “God’s work of judgment in the last days is the judgment of the great white throne, as prophesied in the Book of Revelation. That God reveals His righteous, majestic, and wrathful disposition is completely in order to reveal man, to separate man according to kind, and also to save man. Even though some words judge and expose the expressions and truth of our corruption, seeming to be condemnation, this is for us to clearly see the essence of our corrupt dispositions and see through to the heart of the issue, and to attain the fruit of understanding of the truth. If God didn’t judge and expose our corruption, we wouldn’t be able to recognize the truth of our corruption and satanic nature, and it wouldn’t be possible for God’s work in the last days to achieve the outcome of purifying and perfecting mankind. So, through experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, we will be able to gradually understand the truth and clearly see our own satanic disposition and nature; we will be able to achieve a true understanding of God’s righteous disposition and thus develop a heart of reverence for God; our way of looking at things will unconsciously change and our life disposition will start to change, and then we will be able to revere God and shun evil. We can see that concealed within the judgment and chastisement of God’s word are the true love that God has toward us and His earnest intention to save us. But to those who hate the truth and resist God, the judgment of God’s word is condemnation. This also shows the essence of God’s righteousness and holiness.” Having heard the fellowship of the brother and sister, I was so excited and moved. The word expressed by God has exposed our nature of resisting God and shown us the path to dispositional change. God’s judgment and chastisement is for the sake of changing and purifying us. If His judgment were to punish man, He wouldn’t become flesh to express so many words. He uses His word to guide and supply us, allowing us to see Him face-to-face. It is God’s true love that has come upon us. At this time, I had some true understanding of God’s work, and my heart was instantly enlightened.
Through several gatherings, I confirmed that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus, and I happily accepted God’s new work. Now I eagerly read Almighty God’s words every day. The more I read His words, the more I feel that these words are so great, and I feel unprecedented enjoyment in my spirit. Sometimes when reading God’s words, I am moved to tears, truly feeling that God has given so much to save us, and that I am so blessed to follow His footsteps. Now I have begun to reflect on myself in every matter I face in real life, and learn to know my corrupt disposition and then find a way to practice in God’s word to seek change of disposition. I am no longer as decadent as before. Every day I eat and drink God’s words and preach the gospel to testify to God with my brothers and sisters; each day is very enriching. Thank Almighty God for bringing me before Him and allowing me to have some knowledge of His work. All the glory be to Almighty God! Amen!