By Sarah, Philippines
Baffled Once and Again During My Search
I was born into a Catholic family, and since I was little I had followed the rules of Catholicism. But later I found that keeping these rules couldn’t make me understand the Lord’s will, or solve my various confusions in belief and in life, nor could it provide for my life. Thereupon, I constantly searched for Christian videos to watch, and hungrily, thirstily read the Bible, wanting to solve my confusions. However, when I saw more, my questions also increased. From then on, I went to other denominations to serve and to look for someone who could solve my confusions. I sought and explored in many churches, yet I didn’t know which church was the one that was really after God’s heart. I remember, in a church, the dean said that their church was a true one, but at the same time, he deliberately vilified and judged other churches, and even sometimes said some words of condemnation and curse, and he also lashed out at the people from other churches. All this was so hard for me to accept that I left the church.
Later I went to another church, where they focused on spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus and bringing glory to Him. I thought that I had found a true church, but after a while, I found out that many believers there adored and looked up to their pastor. Once, an elderly woman even rose from her seat to express her respect for the pastor. The pastor smilingly gave his thanks to her, but he said nothing to prevent her praise. I thought: The pastor only has his eyes on enjoying the believers’ praise for him. Why does he not stress that the Lord Jesus is our Savior and is the truth, the way and the life? Why does he not exalt the Lord? Given this, I prayed to the Lord and asked Him to guide me in measuring whether the church was after His heart.
In the later meetings, I discovered many times that what the pastor preached was different from what I understood. For example, the pastor said, “In believing in the Lord, we don’t need to seek to sin no more, because it is normal and understandable for us humans to sin.” But the Bible clearly says, “Be you holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16), so, in our belief in the Lord, we should seek to break away from sin and to be cleansed. Why did what the pastor preached differ from my understanding of the verse? Which was right? If the Lord Jesus could be among us and lead and guide us, we would easily know which was right. It was too difficult for us to look for answers on our own. At the thought of all this, I couldn’t stop myself from sobbing, and I felt very perplexed and couldn’t help praying, “O Lord, if only I had been born into the time when You were performing Your work. You personally led us people and could directly answer our questions, and this would enable me to follow You more easily. O Lord, where are You? …” Because I didn’t know in which church my life could gain sustenance, I decided to go on attending meetings in that church. This continued until one day when I saw that the pastor asked us believers to offer a lot of money in the name of buying chairs for the church, and said that the money donated before wouldn’t be spent in doing that. I wondered: Why do we need new chairs? Is there something wrong with the present ones? Where will the tithes we previously offered up go? … These questions made me again become lost. And so I no longer went to church but read the Bible alone at home.
Since then, my spiritual state always varied: For a while it was good, and for a while it was not. I didn’t read the scriptures so thirstily as before, and working, eating, sleeping and watching TV series were all I had left in the world. Day after day passed and I felt my life was empty. I longed to regain my confidence and so I again started to attend gatherings. However, I still didn’t progress in spirit, for in every meeting, the content communicated was either the same as before, or didn’t have a center and couldn’t give me a practical path. I ended up losing my way again. I often thought in my heart, “O Lord, where are You? When will You come back? I can’t feel Your presence. I so much want You to return …”
After I Met My Church Friend Kirsten, My Many Years of Confusions Were Undone
The Lord really heard my prayers! In September, 2018, I got in touch with a fellow church member Kirsten who I had looked for a church with several years before. Speaking of the belief, she said, “Over the past several years, I have visited many churches, but I feel I haven’t obtained provision for my life and my spirit is still parched. Besides, the believers do business there and seldom fellowship the Lord’s words. This all illustrates that there has been no work of the Holy Spirit within such churches. In this situation, we should hasten to seek out a church with the work of the Holy Spirit, and this requires understanding the principles of discerning real and false churches.” Hearing this, I thought: “This topic is good. We indeed need to understand the principle.” I very much wanted to listen and wished to find the answers to my questions.
Kirsten continued fellowshiping to me, “Whether or not a church is real is mainly determined by whether or not it has the work of the Holy Spirit. If there is the work of the Holy Spirit, we’ll gradually understand truths, our spirits can gain provision, our lives will make progress constantly, and we’ll have a greater knowledge of God and have a closer relationship with God. Let’s take a look at the church today. What pastors preach are only letters, and can’t resolve the practical difficulties of the believers; they have listened to their sermons for many years, but they don’t grow in life, their faith becomes colder and colder, and they even aren’t willing to gather together. Moreover, some pastors and elders exalt and testify to themselves as much as possible in meetings, which causes the believers to worship and look up to them. Not only that, but some, in order to rope people into their churches, attack and judge other denominations, and some even embezzle the church’s money in the name of all manner of things. All these are the manifestations of violating the Lord’s teachings, committing sins and resisting the Lord. It is evident that these pastors and elders have no place at all for the Lord in their hearts and don’t treat the Lord’s teachings seriously. So, the Holy Spirit doesn’t work within them. Under their leadership, the believers all have deviated from the Lord’s will and are living in the state of committing sins and resisting the Lord. If it is a true church, the leaders will have hearts that fear God, and when working and preaching, they should pay attention to leading people to understand the Lord’s will and to practice His teachings in life, and what the believers live out will become more and more normal and their knowledge of God will also increase. Contrarily, if our lives can’t gain sustenance in a church, but instead we get further and further away from God and what we live out is not much different to what the unbelievers do, this will prove that the church has no work of the Holy Spirit and is a false church. Then we should leave it as soon as possible, and go to find one with the work of the Holy Spirit.”
Hearing Kirsten’s fellowship, I felt it was very enlightening. Over these years, I had visited different churches and had been looking for a true one, yet I couldn’t say for sure what it was. At that moment, I came to understand: A true church has the Holy Spirit’s work. It can satisfy our spirits, make our relationship with God become ever closer and enable us to live out His teachings. When I thought about what the pastor had said—“It is normal and understandable for us humans to commit sins”—I realized this couldn’t point out the way to not commit sins, but instead would make believers indulge themselves, not thirst to break away from the bondage of sin, and instead drift along so that they would become further and further away from God. I thought of how, in the past, I was perplexed, my spiritual condition wasn’t good, and I went to take part in church life yet couldn’t obtain new light. The pastors all preached the same old things, and after hearing them, we believers couldn’t receive any enjoyment and our spiritual hunger couldn’t be resolved. So, such churches weren’t real ones.
I emotionally said to Kirsten, “Your fellowship today is very good, and is able to supply my spiritual needs. Could you fellowship more with me?”
How to Listen to God’s Voice
Kirsten happily said, “Thank God! Just now we mentioned that we should look for a church with the work of the Holy Spirit, but where and how can we find such a church? We all know the Lord Jesus once promised that He would certainly return in the last days. The Bible says, ‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes’ (Revelation 14:4). That is, as long as we find God’s footsteps, we’ll find the church with the work of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus prophesied, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 2:7). ‘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). It can be seen that, when the Lord Jesus returns in the last days, He will speak more words to the churches, and tell us all the truths that will enable us to be saved and be freed from corruption. If we’re able to find the Holy Spirit’s utterance, we will find the Lord’s footsteps, and will be welcoming the Lord, and then we will not worry that our lives can’t be provided for.”
After listening to what Kirsten communicated, I came to understand a little: It turns out the Lord Jesus long ago prophesied that He will speak again when He returns in the last days; therefore, if we find the utterances of the Holy Spirit to the churches, then we will be welcoming the Lord!
Kirsten continued, “So, we must learn to listen to God’s voice. How then can we distinguish God’s voice? What differences are there between God’s voice and man’s words? Let’s look at a passage of words.”
And then she sent me these words, “The words of God incarnate open up a new age, guide all of mankind, reveal mysteries, and show man the direction he is to take in the new age. The enlightenment obtained by man is but simple instructions for practice or knowledge. It cannot guide all of mankind into a new age or reveal the mysteries of God Himself. When all is said and done, God is God, and man is man. God has the essence of God, and man has the essence of man” (“Only He Who Experiences the Work of God Truly Believes in God”).
Kirsten fellowshiped, “From this passage, we can see that God’s utterances differ from any person’s words, and are also different from those of prophets and apostles. We humans don’t have the substance of God, and aren’t possessed of the truth. Even prophets and apostles can’t express the truth either, and they can only convey God’s words or, with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, speak some words that are in line with the truth. Only God incarnate can express the truth, unveil mysteries, and show us mankind the direction of practice in a new age. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 18:3). ‘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). Apart from God, no one can tell us the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus also said, ‘And no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven’ (John 3:13). The Lord made it known that none of us humans have ever been raptured up to heaven. And the Lord Jesus told the people at that time many mysteries, such as that John was the Elijah who had come. Only the Lord Jesus could speak these mysteries while we humans would never be able to know them by ourselves whatsoever. What’s more, the Lord Jesus taught people how to confess, repent, forgive, endure, suffer and bear crosses, and all else that comprises the way people in the Age of Grace should adhere to. From all this, we can see that God’s word is the truth, can reveal mysteries and show us humans a new path of practice.
“In addition, we should understand that God’s words have authority and majesty. No human could ever say or imitate these words. Just as some passages of words say, ‘It is not hard to discover that the authority and identity of God are clearly revealed in the wording of God’s utterances. For example, when God says “My covenant is with you, and you shall … have I made you … I will make you…,” phrases such as “you shall” and “I will,” whose wording bears the affirmation of God’s identity and authority, are, in one respect, an indication of the Creator’s faithfulness; in another respect, they are special words used by God, who possesses the identity of the Creator—as well as being part of conventional vocabulary.’ ‘These words were spoken from the mouth of God, and there is power, majesty, and authority in the words of God. Such might and authority, and the inevitability of the accomplishment of fact, are unattainable by any created or non-created being, and unsurpassable by any created or non-created being.’ ‘When words like these are uttered from the mouth of God, they are a revelation and expression of God’s true disposition, a perfect revelation and manifestation of the essence and authority of God, and there is nothing more appropriate and suitable as proof of the Creator’s identity. The manner, tone, and wording of such utterances are precisely the mark of the Creator’s identity, and correspond perfectly to the expression of God’s own identity; in them there is no pretense, no impurity; they are, completely and utterly, the perfect demonstration of the essence and authority of the Creator’ (“God Himself, the Unique I”).
“These words tell us that we can distinguish from the characteristics of the words spoken by God. God’s words possess authority and power, and especially some special words and tones, they are the symbol of the unique identity and essence of the Creator. We can see from what is recorded in the Bible that, in the age of the Old Testament, when God made a promise to Abraham, He said, ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. … And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you’ (Genesis 17:4,6). ‘That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore’ (Genesis 22:17). No one of us humans would dare to say like this. We can only say some words to express our good wishes, such as ‘May your family have great wealth’ and ‘May your offspring multiply.’ But after saying, we can’t fulfill these words because we have no authority of God. Only God has the authority to say these words and has the power to accomplish these things. Nowadays, the descendants of Abraham have spread across the entire world, and this is a reality which is evident to all people. In the same way, let’s look at what the Lord Jesus said in the age of the New Testament, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death’ (John 8:51). ‘I am the bread of life: he that comes to Me shall never hunger; and he that believes on Me shall never thirst’ (John 6:35). These words of the Lord Jesus are full of authority and power. His words are the bread of life and can provide for our lives. Who, among us humans, dare to say “If you listen to my words, you won’t die” or “I’m the bread of life: I can allow you never to hunger or thirst”? The Lord can also directly forgive man’s sins, just as He said, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ (Luke 7:48). At that moment, people around said in their hearts, ‘Who is this that forgives sins also?’ (Luke 7:49). That’s because they knew that no one can directly forgive sins, only God has this authority, and humans can never say such words. In fact, as long as it is God’s word, once reading it, we can feel its authority and power. Even though sometimes we might not totally understand God’s words we’re reading, in our hearts, we can ascertain that they are God’s voice.”
After hearing this, I felt those passages of words were really good. Before, I was worried whether I could have recognized the Lord Jesus if I had been born in His time. Now these words so clearly told us how to discern God’s words. God’s words actually carry authority, and can reveal all kinds of mysteries which we humans have never known. Truly, God’s words are a symbol of God’s identity and status, which we can feel in our spirits after hearing God’s words.
Oh, This Is Really God’s Voice
Before ending the meeting, Kirsten sent me a wonderful clip from the film What a Beautiful Voice and a video of recitation of God’s words Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God. In the video, there was the following passage of words, “Among those who have had some achievements in the course of knowing God, there are almost none who are up to standard. Man does not know what it means to know God, or why it is necessary to know God, or to what degree one must attain in order to know God. This is what is so confounding to mankind, and it is quite simply the biggest riddle faced by mankind—no one is capable of answering this question, nor is anyone willing to answer this question, because, to date, no one among mankind has had any success in the study of this work. Perhaps, when the riddle of the three stages of work is made known to mankind, there will appear in succession a group of talented people who know God. Of course, I hope that is the case, and, furthermore, I am in the process of carrying out this work, and hope to see the appearance of more such talented people in the near future. They will become those who bear testimony to the fact of these three stages of work, and, of course, they will also be the first to bear testimony to these three stages of work. But nothing would be more distressing and regrettable than if such talented people do not emerge on the day that God’s work comes to an end, or if there are only one or two who have personally accepted being made perfect by God incarnate. However, this is only the worst case scenario. Whatever the case may be, I still hope that those who truly pursue can gain this blessing. Since the beginning of time, there has never before been work such as this; such an undertaking has never occurred in the history of human development. If you can truly become one of the first of those who know God, would this not be the highest honor among all creatures? Would any creature among mankind be more commended by God? Such work is not easy to achieve, but will ultimately still reap rewards. Regardless of their gender or nationality, all those who are capable of achieving the knowledge of God will, in the end, receive God’s greatest honor, and will be the only ones that possess the authority of God. This is the work of today, and it is also the work of the future; it is the last and highest work to be accomplished in 6,000 years of work, and it is a way of working that reveals each category of man. Through the work of causing man to know God, the different ranks of man are revealed: Those who know God are qualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises, while those who do not know God are unqualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises. Those who know God are the intimates of God, and those who do not know God cannot be called the intimates of God; the intimates of God can receive any of God’s blessings, but those who are not His intimates are not worthy of any of His work. Whether it be tribulations, refinement, or judgment, all these things are for the sake of allowing man to ultimately achieve a knowledge of God, and so that man may submit to God. This is the only effect that will ultimately be achieved. Nothing of the three stages of work is hidden, and this is advantageous to man’s knowledge of God, and helps man gain a more complete and thorough knowledge of God. All this work is of benefit to man.”
After listening, I felt these words are too authoritative and powerful, and my heart was deeply rocked. In particular, when it came to some things about God, the words say “of course, I” and “I hope;” apart from God, who else can speak in such a tone? Some things about mankind’s destination are also mentioned in these words, and they are spoken in a positive tone, without any uncertainty. Who could dare to definitely say the mysteries about the destination of mankind? Moreover, from these words, I saw God’s hope and love for mankind, and that He hopes that we can gain His blessings and promises. This moved me a lot. And when I, from these words, saw that whether or not one could gain these blessings depended on one’s pursuits and very few people could achieve the knowledge of God in the end, I witnessed God’s righteous disposition and my heart could not help but revere God. I felt that these words couldn’t have come from an average person, as though they were indeed God’s voice! After finishing watching the video, I couldn’t wait to ask, “Kirsten, where does the video come from? The words in it are very authoritative and mighty! Are they God’s words?”
At this point, Kirsten excitedly answered, “Thank God! Only God’s sheep can really hear God’s voice. Since we can recognize God’s voice from His words, we’re the most blessed. It was also after conversing with the Lord Jesus that the Samaritan woman came to recognize He is the promised Messiah. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). Sarah, in reality, what I read to you today are all God’s words. The Lord Jesus we have longed for has returned with the name of Almighty God, beginning the Age of Kingdom and bringing the Age of Grace to an end. He has expressed all truths to enable humans to attain salvation. These words not only have shown us the path of practice in the new age and unveiled the mysteries of God’s management work, they’ve also disclosed our corrupt substance and judged our disobedience. In God’s words, we can come to have knowledge of our own nature of resisting God, see the reality that we have been corrupted by Satan and find the correct path to being freed from the bondage of sin and being cleansed and saved. Only God can express these truths, which are the manifestation of God’s supreme authority. From God’s words, it can be seen that Almighty God and the Lord Jesus are of the same source, and They do the work of the same Spirit—Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus! Nowadays, branches of The Church of Almighty God have been established in many foreign countries, and those from various denominations who truly believe in God, after hearing God’s utterances, have submitted before His throne one after another. This precisely fulfills the prophecy in the Bible that states, ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west’ (Matthew 24:27). Almighty God is indeed the returned Lord Jesus we have always longed for!”
Hearing the news, I felt like I was dreaming, and I thought, “This is shocking news. It turns out that these words are really the words of the Lord Jesus. The Lord I have been awaiting for years has really returned.” I didn’t know how to convey my feelings. I believed all the time that the Lord would come back, and I had been yearning for His return, so that I could be led by the Lord Jesus just like how He led the people when He was working on earth. Thinking that the Lord Jesus is now with us on earth, and in the name of Almighty God, is doing a stage of work to save us, I couldn’t stop myself from crying, and I felt that the Lord loved me much and that I was truly blessed. Then I couldn’t help calling out in my heart, “O Lord, You’re here. I always expect to have an opportunity of being with You, and be able to hear Your words and see You like those who were blessed to be born in the age of Your working. Now I have found Your footsteps. I thank You for giving me the good news and ending my search.”
After Following the Lamb’s Footsteps
Afterward, I began to read the words of Almighty God every day and take part in church life. From God’s words, I understood the mysteries of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, the three stages of God’s work, the mystery of the incarnation and many other aspects of the truth, and this confirmed even more for me that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. Meanwhile, I understood that only God is the truth, and no religion, no person, event or thing is the truth. Only through Almighty God’s words did I fully understand the true meaning of “God is the truth, the way, and the life.” Thank Almighty God for bringing me before Him, allowing me to welcome the Lord’s return and ending my search.