My name is Ma Yu and I’m an ordinary believer of a house church. In 1991, I started to believe in the. At the beginning, I was full of enthusiasm in my faith, and so were my brothers and sisters. However, afterward, the situation of our church got increasingly worse. So I urgently longed for the Lord’s return, yet meanwhile I was very fearful. Because our preachers always said, “In the last days when the Lord comes back, more and more people will spread false ways. So, don’t listen to other sermons outside casually lest you be deceived for lack of discernment,” I was afraid I would be deceived for lacking discernment. What if I not only failed to welcome the Lord’s return but betrayed Him? What should I do?
On the Christmas day of 1998, Sister Xu and Sister Cheng came to my house. Then we talked together about the desolate situation and the difficulties of the church. After our communication of these things, Sister Cheng said to me, “Sister Ma, today, we came here to tell you that the Savior Jesus whom we’ve been awaiting has come back. He has expressed new words and done new work. This time, His name is Almighty God rather than Jesus. This fulfills the words of Revelation, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty’” (Revelation 1:8). After hearing her words, I was both happy and afraid. What made me happy was that it was time for the Lord to come back, for the signs of the Lord’s return had appeared—the church was desolate and the disasters got increasingly greater everywhere. Yet, there were many people spreading false doctrine. If what I accepted was false, I would be thrown into the lake of fire and suffer eternal punishment. At the thought of that, I said to them, “Sisters, I daren’t believe what you said. Because our preachers often tell us that various false doctrines will appear when the Lord returns, and that we’ll be deceived if we’re the slightest bit careless.” After my words, Sister Xu fellowshiped to me, “Sister Ma, nowadays, all kinds of disasters occur frequently all over the world, such as floods, droughts, earthquakes, famines, and unceasing wars between nations. The world situation is volatile and unstable. All these phenomena show the last days have already arrived and that the prophecies of the Lord’s return have been fulfilled. Besides, the Lord told us to be wise virgins and vigilantly await Him to take us. So, we can’t, because of the appearance of false ways in the last days, guard against and reject all those who preach the Lord’s return. Isn’t that throwing the baby out with the bathwater? If so, we’ll never welcome the Lord’s return. Thehas told us, ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ (Romans 10:17). So, if wanting to welcome the Savior Jesus’ return, we should be clever virgins who can seek more and recognize the Lord’s voice. Take Peter and the Samaritan woman for an example. Because they had heard the Lord Jesus’s words, they recognized these were the words of God, and that the Lord Jesus’ preaching came from God. Then they followed the Lord Jesus. Similarly, in dealing with the Lord’s return, we should first seek in Almighty God’s words to see whether they are God’s voice and whether this way is the true way.”
After hearing Sister Xu’s words, I felt conflicted inside, not knowing whether to believe and accept theof the Lord’s return they spread. At that time, I prayed silently in my heart, “O Lord, I know You’ll come back to receive us in the last days. Yet there are many people spreading false ways, and I lack the truth and can’t discern the true way from the false ones. So when the two sisters said You have come back and done new work, I daren’t accept it, for fear that it’s false. In case I take a wrong path, I’ll descend into hell and be punished. However, if You really have come back but I refuse it, am I not rejecting and resisting You? If so, I’ll suffer more severe punishment. O Lord, I feel very conflicted. Please guide and lead me.” Just then, I felt clear guidance within me. I thought about the following scriptures: “‘And lest your heart faint, and you fear for the rumor that shall be heard in the land’ (Jeremiah 51:46), ‘For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7), and ‘But the fearful, and unbelieving … shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death’” (Revelation 21:8). Because of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, I calmed down gradually, thinking inside: “Right. It’s God whom I believe in. With God there is no fear but strength and courage, and what God bestows on me is a strong and courageous heart. So, my fearful thoughts come from Satan. Satan frightens me into giving up seeking the gospel of the Lord’s return that the two sisters spread. Its purpose is to let me miss the chance of meeting the Lord’s return, so that I’ll be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, and suffer eternal punishment. I can’t fall for Satan’s tricks.” With the guidance and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, I, just like being injected with cardiac stimulants, became strong immediately and had the courage to continue to seek.
Then I said to them, “Sisters, the Lord’s return is a big event. I’ve been longing for it throughout all my years of belief. Now, you told me the Lord has come back, I’m very excited. Yet meanwhile I feel very afraid, for I have no idea how to measure whether it’s the true way. Please fellowship what you base this claim on, that the way you preach is true.”
Sister Cheng said to me, “Sister Ma, if wanting to discern whether it’s the true way, we should grasp the relevant principles. We can’t measure it based on our own imaginations. Otherwise, we’ll easily confuse the true way and the false way. Just like now, there are many fake notes in the market. However, if we master the ways of telling the real from the fake, we naturally won’t mix them up. Similarly, mastering the principles of discerning the true way from the false ones is very important for us, because it affects whether we believers in God can. Knowing what we’re lacking, Almighty God tells us clearly about these principles. After reading His words, we’ll naturally know how to distinguish the true way from false ways.” With these words, she gave me the book The Word Appears in the Flesh. I took it and read, “What is the most basic principle in seeking the true way? You have to look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not these words are the expression of the truth, who is testified to, and what it can bring you. Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still the belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way takes man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way. … If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, man becomes ever more normal, and his humanity becomes ever more normal. Man has an increasing knowledge of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan, and of the essence of man, and he has an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes capable of more and more changes—all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the essence of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing him before God or giving him a true understanding of God, and even causes his humanity to become ever more lowly and his sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit. You have believed in God for all these years, yet you have no inkling of the principles for differentiating between the true way and the false way or for seeking the true way. Most people aren’t even interested in these matters; they merely go where the majority go, and repeat what the majority say. How is this someone who seeks the true way? And how can such people find the true way? If you grasp these several key principles, then whatever happens you will not be deceived.”
After I read God’s words, Sister Xu fellowshiped, “God’s words are very clear. The true way has three characteristics. First, it has the work of the Holy Spirit. Second, it contains the truth. It can show people ways of practice in the new age and allow them to gain the new supply of life, so that their life disposition can change more and more, they can cultivate love for God inside and get increasingly closer to God, and their humanity can become ever more normal. Third, it can make people have an increasing knowledge of God. Next, let’s communicate about these principles in details.”