Walk Out of Desolate Church, Regain the Holy Spirit’s Work
In 1997, from a fortuitous opportunity I made the acquaintance of a believer in the Lord, and on her recommendation I began attending church. At first, the brothers and sisters were all cordial to me, which made me feel the warmth of a home. Through listening to their messages, I understood many mysteries that I had not understood before, knowing that man was created by God, that all things originate from God, and that it’s God who gives us breath and created the living environment for us. I wanted to understand more of the way of life mentioned by thein the Bible so that I could become someone who truly worshiped the Lord. So I began to attend more 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 the meetings. At every meeting, all of us would quietly listen 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 felt it very obvious 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 on 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 listening to 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 before I had even 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 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. When I was swamped with work, I no longer prayed unless something unpleasant befell me in my 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 anyone. 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 actively took part in it. However, they weren’t around for 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 me lingering here; I haven’t seen the Lord’s leadership and have no peace in my spirit; I listen to preaching in the church while living in the cycle of sinning and repenting in my daily life; even if I don’t leave the church, what can it bring me?” 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, then I have no peace. O Lord, I feel as if I am wavering at 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, in a meeting with Brother Lin and some 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, all the churches in the entire religious world are in 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 religious world? 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 thoroughly understand the cause of the temple’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; the Jewish people didn’t abide by the 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 revered God. They abided by men’s traditions but rejected God’s commandments—they 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, are the main reasons 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 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 the Lord Jesus had 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 let’s look at today’s religious pastors and elders. In the church they mainly preach Bible knowledge and theological theories, 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, 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 is performing 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 salvation. 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 in which God incarnate appears and does His work, and ‘another city’ in ‘not to rain on another city’ naturally refers to the religious world 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 religious world 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 matter of faith in the Lord; when attending meetings, they are always dozing off or playing on their cell phones, 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 words to me: “The work of the last days is to speak words. Great changes can be effected in man by means of words. The changes now effected in these people upon their accepting these words are much greater than those effected in people upon their accepting the signs and wonders of the Age of Grace. For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out 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 as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this did not mean that man no longer had sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within his corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”).
Brother Lin fellowshiped, “Although we are forgiven of our sins 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 for ourselves, that is, although our sins are forgiven, we still often involuntarily sin. We still follow the worldly trend and engage in debauchery. We often lie, cheat, make excuses, and speciously argue for the sake of reputation and status, and we even shirk responsibility and get other people in trouble to protect ourselves. When faced with disasters, trials or tribulations, we can complain about 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 try to take God’s place in people’s hearts by exalting and testifying ourselves so they admire and look up to us instead of God, 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 will we be purified and able to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Through Brother Lin’s fellowship, I understood the reason why we have been living in the cycle 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: “By what means is God’s perfection of man accomplished? It is accomplished by means of His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and He perfects man primarily by means of His judgment. Some people do not understand, and ask why it is that God is only able to make man perfect through judgment and curse. They say, ‘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 relentlessly, He reveals all that is within man, revealing through these stern words that which is substantive within man, yet through such judgment, He gives man a profound knowledge of the substance of the flesh, and thus man submits before God. The flesh of man is of sin and of Satan, it is disobedient, and it is the object of God’s chastisement. Thus, in order 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 land of sin and licentiousness, and you are all licentious and sinful. Today you are not just able to look upon God, but more importantly, you have received chastisement and judgment, you have received truly profound salvation, which is to say, you have received God’s greatest love. In all that He does, God is truly loving toward 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 for the purpose of making man complete. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and has no desire to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Today, He has come among you to work; is this not salvation all the more? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude in order to personally guide you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intentions toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because people are disobedient that He has to save them through judgment; if not for this, saving them would be impossible. Because you do not know how to live and are not even aware of how to live, and because you live in this licentious and sinful land and are yourselves licentious and filthy devils, He cannot bear to let you become even more depraved, He cannot bear to see you living in this filthy land as you do now, trampled on by Satan at will, and He cannot bear to let you fall into Hades. He only wants to gain this group of people and thoroughly save you. This is the main purpose of doing the work of conquest on you—it is just for salvation” (“The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (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 achieve a real 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 gradually be able to 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 a change in disposition. I am no longer as decadent as before. Every day I eat and drink God’s words and preachto 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!