Hello brothers and sisters of Spiritual Q&A:
In the last few years, the pastors and elders often told us, “Now all sorts of disasters have occurred and the prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically been fulfilled. This shows that now is the end of the last days and the critical time for the return of the Lord. However, all manner of heresies and false ways will appear to deceive us as well, so we should watch and pray and adhere to the name and the way of the Lord. If someone is preaching that the Lord has returned, we should refuse to listen to, read, or get in touch with it, lest we be deceived and thus be abandoned by the Lord.” But some believers in God said, “If we do not listen to, read, or contact it for fear of being deceived—giving up eating for fear of choking, can we welcome the Lord?” So I want to ask a question: Is it right that we close our door and wait alone for fear of being deceived? What are your opinions on this question?
Hello Brother Guangming:
This question you’ve brought up is crucial, because it is connected to whether or not we can welcome the Lord. In fact, it is also the confusion of many brothers and sisters in the Lord. Now let’s have a fellowship about this question.
Things That Come From God Make Us Firm and Courageous; Fear Comes From Satan
It is a fact that all manner of heresies and false ways will appear when the Lord comes again in the last days. At such a critical time, for fear of being deceived, we refuse to listen to and read anything related to the Lord’s return, or contact anyone who preaches the Lord’s return. In this way, although we won’t be deceived by false ways, we could easily miss the chance to welcome the true God at the same time. This is Satan’s plot. We believers in the Lord all know that God is almighty and that everything in the world is in God’s hands. Jehovah God said: “And lest your heart faint, and you fear for the rumor that shall be heard in the land” (Jeremiah 51:46). 2 Timothy 1:7 also says: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” From these verses, we can see that what God gives us are strength and courage, rather than timidity and fear. Fear doesn’t come from God but from Satan. The God we believe in is the only true God, and He is the greatest among everything. If we have God’s care and protection and have the presence and leadership of the Holy Spirit, is there any need for us to be afraid of being deceived? As long as we sincerely, rely on and look up to God, we will obtain God’s leadership and guidance and be able to discern between true and false and right and wrong. If we dare not listen to the message about God’s return because all manner of heresies and false ways will appear in the last days to deceive people, aren’t we being fooled by Satan? Haven’t we fallen into Satan’s tricks?
Faith Comes by Hearing, So Only by Seeking and Investigating Can We Welcome the Lord
Thesaid: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). So we must hear the way first before believing in it. Only through hearing the way can we judge whether or not it is the true way and the work of the true God. Thinking back to the time when the did His work, the Pharisees widely slandered and condemned the Lord Jesus. They said that the Lord Jesus was not the Messiah and that He broke the laws to heal people and work on the Sabbath, and even blasphemed Him, saying that He cast out demons with the help of the demon king, etc. Not only did they deny that the work of the Lord Jesus is the true way, but they misled the Jewish commoners and prevented them from seeking and investigating the true way. But some people, such as Peter, Matthew, Mark, John, the Samaritan woman, and so on, didn’t believe the rumors of the Pharisees, nor did they allow the fear of being deceived prevent them from hearing the of the Lord. Instead, they desired to hear the Lord Jesus’ sermons, and followed and listened to the Lord Jesus wherever He was preaching. It was because they had a seeking and yearning heart that they recognized that the Lord Jesus’ words are the voice of God and saw the appearance of Messiah. At last they went out from the law, and accepted the work of the Lord Jesus, thus gaining the salvation and blessings of God. Was all of this not because of their going out to hear sermons?
It is mentioned many times in Revelation: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2-3). The Lord Jesus also said: “Seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). The Lord Jesus told us that God would speak again when He returned in the last days. Only by paying attention to God’s voice and actively seeking and investigating can we welcome the Lord’s return. Yet the pastors and elders ask us not to listen to and read anything related to the Lord’s return, or contact anyone who preaches the Lord’s return. Are they not betraying the words of the Lord Jesus? If we listen to the pastors and elders, how can we welcome the Lord’s return?
It Is Key to Learn How to Distinguish the True Way From False Ways
Now we know that if we want to welcome the Lord’s return, we need to actively seek instead of passively defending. In addition, the most critical aspect is that we must grasp the principles of distinguishing the true way and the false way. Only in this way will we never be deceived. So how should we discern between them? Let’s take a look at God’s words and see what He says about this: “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. … 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.”
From this passage, we can see that if it is the true way, there must be the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the key to distinguishing the true way from false ways. Since it is the true way, it is surely the work of God Himself, and it must be upheld by the Holy Spirit. For example, when the Lord Jesus was working in the Age of Grace, He was subjected to the frenzied persecution and condemnation of the Roman government and the Jewish religion. However, nobody could hinder God’s work from advancing: The gospel of the Lord Jesus was increasingly prosperous. This was achieved by the work and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And all those who had followed the Lord Jesus obtained the work of the Holy Spirit. As long as they prayed to the Lord Jesus, they would be filled with peace and joy, and see God’s blessings and leadership. Because the true way is the work and the word of God in a new age, and is definitely upheld by the Holy Spirit, people who have accepted the true way can enjoy the work of the Holy Spirit, and their faith and love toward God become greater and greater. If it is not the true way, it won’t be accompanied by the work of the Holy Spirit or upheld by the Holy Spirit, and its followers won’t have true faith or love toward God. We often say: That which stems from God must prosper and that which stems from man must be defeated. Thus, we can discern whether it is the true way according to whether there is the work of the Holy Spirit or not.
In addition, if it is the true way, there must be the expression of the truth. This is because only God is the truth, the way and the life, and only He can give us mankind life and supply us corrupt mankind according to our actual need. For example, when the Lord Jesus came, He ended the Age of Law and initiated the Age of Grace. He brought people grace in abundance and bestowed upon them many truths: One can be forgiven of his sins by confessing and repenting; those who are humble, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and who are persecuted in the name of righteousness are blessed and can enter into the heavenly kingdom; one should be tolerant and forgiving of others and love his enemies; one should bear the cross; one should worship God with heart and honesty, etc. These truths are what people of that time didn’t understand, what people needed in life, and the path to practice in the new age. That’s to say, if it is the true way, it can bring people new paths of practice; if it can’t bring people new paths of practice but repeats the previous work and word of God, it is not the true way; maybe it is the old way or the false way, or maybe it is the work of the evil spirit and Satan that imitate God’s past work to deceive people.
What’s more, in weighing whether or not it is the true way, we must look at whether it can enable us to have more and more knowledge of God and whether it can arouse our love for God. As is known to all, when God comes to do His own work, He certainly expresses His disposition and all that He has and is. After experiencing the work of God, people will naturally gain true knowledge of God. For example, in the Age of Law, God decreed laws to guide man’s life on earth. By experiencing God’s work and guidance, people knew that God is present everywhere; God looks upon the entire earth; God’s disposition is majesty and curse and is inviolable by any man. So, they developed a God-fearing heart. In the Age of Grace, God was incarnated into the world and did the work of redemption of mankind. Through experiencing the work of the Lord Jesus, people realized that not only is God’s disposition majesty and curse, but also love and compassion. They also saw that not only is God a Spirit but He can also become flesh and humble Himself to be a man. He can talk with people face to face and He is full of love and tolerance…. All the work the Lord Jesus did brought people a new knowledge of God and aroused more love for God within them. Therefore, if it is the true way, it can bring man more knowledge of God and His disposition.
If we grasp these principles of distinguishing the true way and the false way, we’ll not fear being deceived.
The Lord Jesus said: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). The Lord reminded us that if we want to welcome His return, we first need to actively seek and investigate, and need to grasp the principles of distinguishing between the true way and the false way and pay attention to listening for God’s voice to see if it contains God’s utterance. Only by doing so can we be the wise virgins. If for fear of being deceived we still hold on to our conceptions and do not listen, read, or get in touch—giving up eating for fear of choking, we’ll never be able to welcome the return of the Lord.
Brother Guangming, I hope this fellowship will be useful to you. If you have any other problems, please write to communicate with us!